Author Topic: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome  (Read 21232 times)

fruitfly

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #50 on: January 11, 2016, 03:58:16 PM »
I apologize for not responding to everyone individually, but often the assumptions are incorrect. But I don't want to come across as defensive (I'm not really, more baffled in general because I think the real issue (as many of you have said!)) is that I don't really know where the money goes. I have a general idea and our spending has risen to the money available. But it's risen $40 at a time, not in big ticket items so I guess that's why I feel like I'm not living the high life. But of course I am, it would be better to save the $40 a day and blow it all on coke or something.

Today, I paid off my 401k loan and ate the lunch leftovers from last week I had in the work fridge. So if I get food poisoning I am blaming all y'all. :) I also dropped the cell phones to $38 a month.

The liquor: I will confess right now to having a liquor collecting hoarding issue. So you know, there are a lot of bottles in the bar, we aren't drinking them all every month. I promise. That doesn't excuse the amount spent but hopefully it explains it better.

Cassie

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #51 on: January 11, 2016, 04:09:58 PM »
It sounds like you would benefit from using food, liquor up, etc before buying new. I sometimes do this with my freezer and pantry. I quit buying and eat what we have.  I won't eat leftovers that are older then 3 days-bad idea.  You really are not going to get anywhere until you figure out where your $ is going. Print out your bank statements and see what you are spending your $ on. It can be eye opening.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #52 on: January 11, 2016, 04:14:41 PM »
There are lots of Gauntlet Challenges on the forums that might help you, like "Use up all the food in your pantry". You could start a "Use up your whole bar" challenge! I bet many would join in.

It'll result in some awesomely creative drinks I bet you!

And welcome to case studies. You don't always get the feedback you expect! I got some face punches too, but trust me- staying openminded about it all really does help your outcomes. =)

Exflyboy

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #53 on: January 11, 2016, 05:15:07 PM »
I apologize for not responding to everyone individually, but often the assumptions are incorrect. But I don't want to come across as defensive (I'm not really, more baffled in general because I think the real issue (as many of you have said!)) is that I don't really know where the money goes. I have a general idea and our spending has risen to the money available. But it's risen $40 at a time, not in big ticket items so I guess that's why I feel like I'm not living the high life. But of course I am, it would be better to save the $40 a day and blow it all on coke or something.

Today, I paid off my 401k loan and ate the lunch leftovers from last week I had in the work fridge. So if I get food poisoning I am blaming all y'all. :) I also dropped the cell phones to $38 a month.

The liquor: I will confess right now to having a liquor collecting hoarding issue. So you know, there are a lot of bottles in the bar, we aren't drinking them all every month. I promise. That doesn't excuse the amount spent but hopefully it explains it better.

How many cell phones does that $38 a month cover?.. It should cover almost 4 cellphones!!!.. If its only covering a single phone thats almost 4 times too high.

Making the assumption that you really want to get a grip and start saving/investing blah blah

Villanelle

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #54 on: January 11, 2016, 06:48:40 PM »
I apologize for not responding to everyone individually, but often the assumptions are incorrect. But I don't want to come across as defensive (I'm not really, more baffled in general because I think the real issue (as many of you have said!)) is that I don't really know where the money goes. I have a general idea and our spending has risen to the money available. But it's risen $40 at a time, not in big ticket items so I guess that's why I feel like I'm not living the high life. But of course I am, it would be better to save the $40 a day and blow it all on coke or something.

Today, I paid off my 401k loan and ate the lunch leftovers from last week I had in the work fridge. So if I get food poisoning I am blaming all y'all. :) I also dropped the cell phones to $38 a month.

The liquor: I will confess right now to having a liquor collecting hoarding issue. So you know, there are a lot of bottles in the bar, we aren't drinking them all every month. I promise. That doesn't excuse the amount spent but hopefully it explains it better.

Great.  You have a supply, so that means you can set a rule for yourself of absolutely $0 on alcohol for the until July 1.  If you drink it all before then, you go without.  Depending on the size of the stash, perhaps you even push that out until December 1.  Ration it, and drink what you have.   

Have you canceled your monitored security system yet?  ;)

olivia

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #55 on: January 11, 2016, 08:47:35 PM »
You're getting some harsh facepunches and taking them like a champ! Just wanted to chime in again because I'm nowhere near a hardcore Mustachian (we probably have a lot more in common than other people posting re: spending on food :P ) and we make similar salaries. But we have made a lot of changes for the better based on what I've learned here, even if I'm not gunning to retire early. 

1. FOOD: again, HUGE challenge for my husband and I. I had to get used to the fact that not every meal has to be gourmet or even taste great-just okay is perfectly acceptable. Sounds dumb but when you get used to delicious restaurant food it's hard to remember that.

A major and relatively easy savings is to stop getting breakfast/lunch out at work. I realized we were spending plus $10-15/day on coffee/breakfast and $30/day on lunches that were also making us fat, so we stopped.  I bring breakfast stuff (big thing of yogurt, frozen berries, cold brew coffee concentrate) to work and eat it every morning.

For lunch I bring a couple of "healthy" frozen dinners or a thing of salad greens and put tuna fish/salad dressing on top.  I keep tuna, sunflower seeds and salad dressing in my office (Bragg's which doesn't require refrigeration).

2. BOOZE: Our friend group loves to eat out/get fancy cocktails. Lucky for us, a lot of our friends have or are having babies, so our friend group has switched from dinners and drinks out to "chill at someone's house while the kids sleep upstairs." We do it BYOB style (we share what we bring) and we'll occasionally bring snacks too. Honestly your friends sound like scrubs if they don't do the same!

I'm not assuming you and your husbands are raging alcoholics, but not drinking during the week is a great way to save money and calories. If you cut out weeknight drinks entirely and stopped buying liquor the booze spending would drop considerably.  (And if you find it is hard to quit the weeknight drinks, then maybe reevaluate things.)

farmerj

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #56 on: January 11, 2016, 09:34:07 PM »
" STOP buying pre-prepared food."

I'm going to be slightly contrarian, and allow some while you're trying to move into Good Habits. Some microwave meals/pre-packaged rice and so on to keep at the office, to help wean yourself off the restaurants and... well, whatever the other stuff you spend money on in the grocery store. (People have mentioned that it's really high, right? :-) )

I suggest  trying to be SNAP - conscious. SNAP is ~$4.50/person/day, which means when you are shopping, figure out how to feed the family based on that number. Rice or flour for the super-cheap calories - rice is trivial to make in a rice cooker, but using of flour requires either some skill in baking, or a lot of pancakes & waffles. Usually spaghetti is the cheapest pasta by weight. Milk and eggs for protein. Judiciously buy chicken pieces for $1.25/lb or less; stew, soup or roast.  Beef is pricey, as is pork. I'd view fish as similarly a  special treat, but while you're weaning yourself away from fancy restaurants (or preprep microwave) lunch, canned tuna/kippers/oysters/whatever are probably a judicious spend of a few bucks. Mix them up with leftover rice/noodles from last night's dinner.

Oranges/pears/apples/carrots - all remarkably cheap per lb and take a while to go bad if you're storing them properly. (Bananas are even cheaper, but you have to pay attention to them.)

lbmustache

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #57 on: January 11, 2016, 10:38:19 PM »
" STOP buying pre-prepared food."

I'm going to be slightly contrarian, and allow some while you're trying to move into Good Habits. Some microwave meals/pre-packaged rice and so on to keep at the office, to help wean yourself off the restaurants and... well, whatever the other stuff you spend money on in the grocery store. (People have mentioned that it's really high, right? :-) )

I suggest  trying to be SNAP - conscious. SNAP is ~$4.50/person/day, which means when you are shopping, figure out how to feed the family based on that number. Rice or flour for the super-cheap calories - rice is trivial to make in a rice cooker, but using of flour requires either some skill in baking, or a lot of pancakes & waffles. Usually spaghetti is the cheapest pasta by weight. Milk and eggs for protein. Judiciously buy chicken pieces for $1.25/lb or less; stew, soup or roast.  Beef is pricey, as is pork. I'd view fish as similarly a  special treat, but while you're weaning yourself away from fancy restaurants (or preprep microwave) lunch, canned tuna/kippers/oysters/whatever are probably a judicious spend of a few bucks. Mix them up with leftover rice/noodles from last night's dinner.

Oranges/pears/apples/carrots - all remarkably cheap per lb and take a while to go bad if you're storing them properly. (Bananas are even cheaper, but you have to pay attention to them.)

Agree with all of this. Like others have said, sometimes at the end of the day you just don't want to cook anything - and even reheating leftovers seems unappealing. I keep a few frozen pizzas etc on hand so I don't go to Pizza Hut or something.

I often find chicken for DIRT CHEAP at the grocery store on weekdays, it's like 50% off and I get like 14 drumsticks for $3.50 or something outrageous.

lemanfan

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #58 on: January 11, 2016, 11:26:12 PM »
... is that I don't really know where the money goes. ...

My first recommendation would be to start tracking everything you spend.  Either in a paper notebook or in an spreadsheet (Excel or its cousins).  Not only will this give you better control of where the money goes, but just the fact that you have to write down each purchase manually will give you "greif" upon entering unplanned ur unnecessary purchases thereby perhaps avoiding that kind of purchase in the future.  Sometimes just knowing that you'll have to write it down will cause you to reconsider the purchase.



 

TealBlue

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #59 on: January 12, 2016, 08:31:57 AM »
I agree with tracking!  Have you signed up for mint yet?  It's free and when I signed up it automatically put in my expenses for the 2 months prior to the month I was in.  At that point it only took me 10 minutes to go through and categorize a few things.  It was completely shocking to me what I was spending and where I was spending it.  I felt frugal but then I saw the numbers...

Jakejake

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #60 on: January 12, 2016, 08:56:41 AM »
just the fact that you have to write down each purchase manually will give you "greif" upon entering unplanned ur unnecessary purchases thereby perhaps avoiding that kind of purchase in the future.  Sometimes just knowing that you'll have to write it down will cause you to reconsider the purchase.
This is great advice. When I was dropping extra weight a few years back, I logged my food on a fitness website, and just the act of logging it made me change my habits. I didn't want to have to type out that I ate a half block of cheese or a bag of chips. Something about knowing you will have to see it in print (online, whatever) changes our perception of whether it's a fleeting inconsequential blip or a concrete decision with permanent consequences.

ZiziPB

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #61 on: January 12, 2016, 09:57:33 AM »
I apologize for not responding to everyone individually, but often the assumptions are incorrect. But I don't want to come across as defensive (I'm not really, more baffled in general because I think the real issue (as many of you have said!)) is that I don't really know where the money goes. I have a general idea and our spending has risen to the money available. But it's risen $40 at a time, not in big ticket items so I guess that's why I feel like I'm not living the high life. But of course I am, it would be better to save the $40 a day and blow it all on coke or something.


These $40 or even $4 purchases add up so quickly!  Before you even know it, your CC bill for the month is $2000 and you have no idea where the money went.   It's a couple of lattes at Starbucks and snacks for the kids, and a quick lunch for the family when you are out and about on a Saturday....  Then you stop at Target to get some needed clothes for the kids and some house supplies while you're at it.  Of course the kids see toys and start whining...  Then everyone is tired so you just order take out for dinner and get some beer.   Once you're done - $500 gone in a day with nothing much to show for it...

You really need to track your expenses religiously for a month or two.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #62 on: January 12, 2016, 10:15:25 AM »
... is that I don't really know where the money goes. ...

My first recommendation would be to start tracking everything you spend.  Either in a paper notebook or in an spreadsheet (Excel or its cousins).  Not only will this give you better control of where the money goes, but just the fact that you have to write down each purchase manually will give you "greif" upon entering unplanned ur unnecessary purchases thereby perhaps avoiding that kind of purchase in the future.  Sometimes just knowing that you'll have to write it down will cause you to reconsider the purchase.

I want to piggy back on this.  Prior to the start of 2015 I kind of knew my budget similar to you--I knew I was spending a certain amount but I couldn't point to exactly where the money was going.

Last year I decided to purchase a day planner and write down every purchase.  That not only helped me track my expenses, but it helped my visualize exactly when I was spending.

Turns out I eventually hated having to write in this planner so I just stopped buying things during the week.

I don't log my expenses anymore because I have a really good understanding of where my money goes. And maybe more importantly, I have pretty much adopted a habit that I don't spend any money Monday through Thursday (with limited exceptions, e.g., when I need gas or a partner invites me to lunch to talk about a case).

And on that note of habit, I recommend looking into "The Power of Habit," which is a great book that helps you recognize your habits and how powerful they are. And it also teaches you how to change your habits, which is what you might ultimately need more than any individual "facepunch."

laka

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #63 on: January 12, 2016, 11:07:12 AM »
Hi tikimama! I recognize you from elsewhere on the web, so I kind of feel like I know you (in that weird internet-y way).  I do recall your in-home tiki bar, and I can see how it would be easy to subsidize friends' drinking.

I think you have the opportunity to make a lot of really big improvements without changing too much.  Definitely changes, don't get me wrong, but I think you have some real low hanging fruit. 

So.  Were I you, I would:

1. Cancel/reduce everything you can. Tivo, cable, internet, alarm, all that stuff.  Add it all together, and then set up automatic savings in that amount.  You can do an automatic deposit from your paycheck or an automated savings transfer. You know you can get by without that money - you're already spending it. 

2. Stop going to Walgreens if that amount is pretty common.  I have the same issue with Target - my money just disappears there, somehow.  When I don't go, I don't miss anything, but if I do, suddenly I'm out several hundred dollars a month (on things we ostensibly "need").

3. Lunches. So much money.  I know how easy it is to let that slide, but I found that seriously packing my lunch after dinner every night (leftovers) and having it completely ready to go in the morning really helped.  I had to get more tupperware to make that happen.  But if I think I'm going to put something together in the morning, I may as well just resign myself to a lunch out. I won't do it.

4. There are tons of threads about cutting your food bill, so I won't get too much into that. Know that you can do it, especially if you're already cooking so much at home.  I was the same way - I cooked a lot, but somehow that didn't translate into a lower overall food bill.  I was really just making a meal plan and buying whatever I wanted/needed. I got our bill down a significant amount by really thinking about what we were going to have for meals, and what that meant cost-wise.  We still eat really really well (if I do say so myself), but we're having the more expensive stuff less frequently.  No one's complaining. 

5. Budgeting software. I'm a fan of YNAB, although I haven't tried their new version.  Having to enter every single purchase on my phone makes me pay attention to my spending.  And I really like YNAB specifically for how it has you think about your expenses. 

6. Set a goal. Pick a debt and pay it off, then roll that into your next debt.  Many people will dither about what to pay down first, but honestly, I don't think it matters that much, as long as you start working towards one.  Keep that money from #1 going into savings for your emergency fund. And set a non-debt goal.  Save for something a bit bigger - something for the bar? The house?

7. Talk to your friends about the bar.  Explain that you love having them over, but that it's getting really expensive. Can they bring a 6 pack each time? Or a bottle of something to contribute to the bar? Or even just $5-10? I know I wouldn't begrudge a friend that, especially because it means I get to hang out with friends, not at an expensive bar, and I don't have to clean up my house. 

That was kind of a lot.  Maybe don't tackle every single thing at once, but pick a couple. I know that so much of your spending feels fixed, with the mortgage and daycare, but you have so much room to maneuver with everything else.  You can do it!

golden1

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #64 on: January 12, 2016, 11:39:38 AM »
You definitely have a lot you can change, and you have a nice income to work with, so that is all good news.  You also have a lot of debt you need to clear. 

I would definitely start with income tracking for a month or two before doing much else.  You need to see where the leaks are first. 

After that, focus on paying one debt at a time and reducing one expense at a time, starting with food.  I understand how hard that can be with two working parents but it can be done.  Personally, I am not much of a cook, and I tend use a lot of shortcuts and hacks, like frozen meatballs to make a quick hearty spaghetti.  Or making tacos by throwing a jar of salsa and chicken into a crockpot.  You don't have to cook from scratch or eat boring bland meals just because you are trying to save money.  Just experiment until you find stuff you like. 




fruitfly

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #65 on: January 12, 2016, 11:44:35 AM »
Thanks ReadySetMillionaire ! I downloaded the Power of Habit for bus reading.

Hi laka! I am not so anonymous. :) Thanks for the encouragement.

I brought my lunch and breakfast today. Weeee. I also realized last night while throwing away food how much waste we have in our meals (which I knew, but not in a $$$ way).

csprof

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #66 on: January 12, 2016, 10:35:37 PM »
This is a harsh post because frankly your case study is a dumpster fire and you don't seem to realize it. I know that you love your kids and want to do right by your family. I think you can do better.

We get take out like 1-2x a week, and usually cheap, burritos or take n bake pizza.

These are cheap for the restaurant, and they're cheap when you buy the ingredients at the grocery store. They are not cheap when you get them from a restaurant.

Making a burrito is the easiest thing in the world. It takes like 90 seconds. Your 7-year-old could make his/her own. Why are you paying somebody else to do this?

I will agree with this one.  We have some insane spending habits on time-saving services by the standards of this board (two workaholic parents), but even with that, I make a dozen burritos every weekend or three and throw 'em in the freezer for quick lunches.  It's a fun 30 minutes of cooking -- when you factor in the prep time and cleanup, it's not much more work to make a dozen than to make two, and then everyone gets some nice hot burritos for lunch that day, and later in the week, there's emergency food. :)

There've been a few food related suggestions on here -- you might pick one and try to implement it for two weeks until the habit settles in, such as the saturday-make-a-batch-of-burritos habit, or the pack-leftovers-for-lunch habit.  (We do the latter as well -- as I'm cleaning up, I'll pack some leftovers for lunches the next day.  It's pretty effortless.  My wife forgets to take hers at least twice a week and I end up grumbling about the extra expense, but life is too short to let $#* like that cause a family conflict. :-)  I'm just glad for the three days where she does take lunch from home.)

Good luck!

Bee21

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #67 on: January 13, 2016, 02:17:52 AM »
Work on your impulse control and build some discipline. Apparently it is a muscle, the more you practice, the stronger it is.practice saying no to yourself and kids.

Food
Give yourself a food budget, say 200 a week. Write a list of the dishes your family eats( breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks) and cost them. Have a few 5$ dinners,10$dinners, 15$ etc. write a weekly menu and buy the ingredients only. Stocking up and batch cooking saves a lot, but it is not for everybody. Have a leftover night and a cupboard/ freezer dinner once a week if you can organise it. Try to do it for February, it's a short month :)


Parties: I love hosting (and offer all the food and drink), but do it 3-4 times a year only. I consider it an investment into our social capital, as we are usually invited back to other people's parties. I am quite realistic at Evaluating the guest list: do we get invited back? Are we asked to bring our food and drinks  to their parties? Do they often mention their successful parties we are not invited to? If some people seem to be taking advantage of our generosity, I'll reconsider the guest list next time. I personally hate potluck parties, it might be cultural, but when I'm asked to bring my own pizza toppings, I cringe. Do whatever you are confortble with, but reduce the partying and hosting until you pay off your debt. You can't afford it right now.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #68 on: January 13, 2016, 06:00:15 AM »
Thanks ReadySetMillionaire ! I downloaded the Power of Habit for bus reading.

Hi laka! I am not so anonymous. :) Thanks for the encouragement.

I brought my lunch and breakfast today. Weeee. I also realized last night while throwing away food how much waste we have in our meals (which I knew, but not in a $$$ way).

Do you just...throw away leftovers, instead of taking them for lunch the next day?

fruitfly

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #69 on: January 13, 2016, 08:14:59 AM »
(We do the latter as well -- as I'm cleaning up, I'll pack some leftovers for lunches the next day.  It's pretty effortless.  My wife forgets to take hers at least twice a week and I end up grumbling about the extra expense, but life is too short to let $#* like that cause a family conflict. :-)  I'm just glad for the three days where she does take lunch from home.)

Thanks for this. I honestly pack lunches from leftovers all the time and someone in my house WHO IS NOT ME forgets and/or ignores and goes out. I'm trying to let it go.

Jakejake

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #70 on: January 13, 2016, 08:37:55 AM »
Can you reserve the leftovers as side dishes for the next dinner, then? Or freeze and reserve as a main course if there is enough for that? Or repurpose? In my house, leftover pulled pork might be on rice or buns one night and will reappear as taco filling another night.

fruitfly

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #71 on: January 13, 2016, 08:40:11 AM »

I brought my lunch and breakfast today. Weeee. I also realized last night while throwing away food how much waste we have in our meals (which I knew, but not in a $$$ way).

Do you just...throw away leftovers, instead of taking them for lunch the next day?

No, I mean throwing away food that has gone too long in the fridge and has to be tossed. Because there are too many leftovers or leftovers that are ignored, or I didn't plan and a produce impulse buy spoiled. I just sometimes forget there is a money element there - I get caught up in the tragedy of wasted food.

The irritating part is I'm actually fairly skilled in using up food. I save my vegetable trimmings and make stock for god's sake. So I capable but disorganized.

Today the kids finished a giant batch of sweet potato pancakes I'd made and frozen from some getting questionable sweet potatoes. I sold them initially as pumpkin pancakes.

ANYWAY, today's money challenge is that our sole shower is broken. We tried to DIY it but probably made it worse. Man, I really appreciate running water now that I don't have it.

nereo

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #72 on: January 13, 2016, 09:06:19 AM »
Quote
ANYWAY, today's money challenge is that our sole shower is broken. We tried to DIY it but probably made it worse. Man, I really appreciate running water now that I don't have it.

Can you describe what exactly the problem is?  Perhaps we can help.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #73 on: January 13, 2016, 09:10:19 AM »

I brought my lunch and breakfast today. Weeee. I also realized last night while throwing away food how much waste we have in our meals (which I knew, but not in a $$$ way).

Do you just...throw away leftovers, instead of taking them for lunch the next day?

No, I mean throwing away food that has gone too long in the fridge and has to be tossed. Because there are too many leftovers or leftovers that are ignored, or I didn't plan and a produce impulse buy spoiled. I just sometimes forget there is a money element there - I get caught up in the tragedy of wasted food.

The irritating part is I'm actually fairly skilled in using up food. I save my vegetable trimmings and make stock for god's sake. So I capable but disorganized.

Today the kids finished a giant batch of sweet potato pancakes I'd made and frozen from some getting questionable sweet potatoes. I sold them initially as pumpkin pancakes.

ANYWAY, today's money challenge is that our sole shower is broken. We tried to DIY it but probably made it worse. Man, I really appreciate running water now that I don't have it.

That's terrible. I'm sorry to hear that. There are some real knowledgeable badasses on the DIY section of the forum who might be able to help.

Easye418

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #74 on: January 13, 2016, 09:12:30 AM »
For full disclousure, I am not a MMM,  but I am definitely a debt averse person now after reading the forums and have my face punched in and embarassed from the responses.  My wife and I make the choice to live how we want to live.   I like to play in the middle between a MMM and a fancy pants.

First of all, congrats on taking the first step to come on here.  These people will slap you around and cut into your life in ways you never wanted them too, take what you want and leave the rest.

I am most concerned about the fact that you are your early 40's and have such a light retirement account.   $68k, however, you have this home appreciation of $200k (probably 10% overstated because of the fees it would take to sell and buy or rent). 

With that said, you love your home and you are not going to sell.  I am okay with that as I am a home lover and the vast majority of MMM insights you get will absolutely slaughter you because you live in a nice home.  You will receive highly subjective feedback.  Seems like this is your last resort in case the floor collapses. 

You need to start, as others have said, and cut the food from $2,000 to $3,000 a month.  That is just insane.  Get that down in half and start snowballing your debt aka pay the small amounts off first.  We all took our lashings but we have adjusted and are down the road to recover and living a debt free life. 

After that, I would be in a hurry to maxing out 401k and ROTH accounts.  On top of that, saving for college for your children.

Good luck.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 09:15:01 AM by Easye418 »

fruitfly

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #75 on: January 13, 2016, 12:20:56 PM »
Thanks Easye418! The house is actually that fancy, but I have a lot of impractical feelings about it. We've been working to improve it (which is a lot of the debt!). We didn't have any insulation before a couple of years ago, so the heating bill was way worse. So I got compliant about keeping on the improvement.

The shower thing has been sort of half broken for a while and my trying to DIY it broke it worse. So now I'm gun shy!

Exflyboy

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #76 on: January 13, 2016, 05:35:38 PM »
Have you posted the shower problem in the DIY sections?

A broken shower is a tiny DIY issue, the only reason you didn't manage to fix it was because you have probably done very little DIY before. If you are passionate about saving money (and not everybody is) then you will earn DIY.

Houses are very simple, there is nothing in them that is complicated.. Nothing!.. But unless you have done significant work you won't know this of course.

fruitfly

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #77 on: January 14, 2016, 12:03:52 PM »
Have you posted the shower problem in the DIY sections?

A broken shower is a tiny DIY issue, the only reason you didn't manage to fix it was because you have probably done very little DIY before. If you are passionate about saving money (and not everybody is) then you will earn DIY.

Houses are very simple, there is nothing in them that is complicated.. Nothing!.. But unless you have done significant work you won't know this of course.

I'm actually pretty handy and DIY, I assure you! I'm a spendthrift but I'm not an idiot. Your tone is really moving into being patronizing.

Thanks for your suggestion. I will see what the DIYers have to say.

Kaspian

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #78 on: January 14, 2016, 12:11:50 PM »
Misc: $800

Miscellaneous is not a category.  That money had to be spent on food, auto, entertainment, personal care, or something.  All the offices I've ever worked in, I will not let someone create a "Misc" folder under my watch.  ...Because they'll eventually just start sticking everything in that instead of doing it properly.  My advice--track that stuff better.  It's almost $10K a year.

dkaid

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #79 on: January 14, 2016, 12:17:35 PM »
Have you had a chance to check the "use all the food in your house" posts in the gauntlet section?  Seriously some great ideas over there.  I bet you could eat out of your pantry/freezer for a month, just buying the most basic of produce to get you through.  And then this would inspire you to keep going. 

I'm typically a high grocery spender but have really buckled down in January and doing so has really opened my eyes to the waste we've had.  I'm also doing theme day cooking and am finding this simplifies the shopping and unique ingredients needed.  Monday is crock pot, Tuesday is Mexican, Wed is breakfast for dinner, Thursday is soup and salad, Friday is Italian, Sat. is cooks choice, Sunday is fast food at home (i.e. homemade nuggets or burgers and fries).  I have some pretty picky eaters in my house and so far so good. 

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #80 on: January 14, 2016, 01:10:09 PM »
I'm typically a high grocery spender but have really buckled down in January and doing so has really opened my eyes to the waste we've had.  I'm also doing theme day cooking and am finding this simplifies the shopping and unique ingredients needed.  Monday is crock pot, Tuesday is Mexican, Wed is breakfast for dinner, Thursday is soup and salad, Friday is Italian, Sat. is cooks choice, Sunday is fast food at home (i.e. homemade nuggets or burgers and fries).  I have some pretty picky eaters in my house and so far so good.
That's a terrific idea.  We may be stealing that for our house.  Thanks!!

mm1970

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #81 on: January 14, 2016, 01:26:35 PM »
Jakejake, lunch is lunch bought out at a restaurant during the workday. I started separating it out since I wanted to find out what the real cost of not packing lunch was! Unfortunately we both work in a city and in neighborhoods that have great food decided we care more about eating nice lunches than paying for our kids' college.
Fixed that for you. :)

Edit: Eh, I was overly blunt there, but hopefully you'll see past my tactlessness - and get that it's not "we can sort of afford the nice food and it's a luxury that we have access to it" but more a matter of whether  as a parent there are more important things that money should be earmarked for.

You guys can each easily pack a lunch for 1.50 a day ($3 a day combined). Times that by 22 working days in a month, you could spend $66 for lunches, or save $251 a month, or $3000 a year. But really it's more if you figure what that money would save if you put it toward your most expensive loan, and figured in compounded interest that it would save you. I put it into a compound interest calculator at 6.55%, and after 10 years it grows to over $41,000. That's enough to cover one child's college at a cheap school, or a year at a  pricey school. And that's not even beginning to address your dinner costs.

Just for fun I compared how much you would save if you spent what I spent on groceries for all meals. I doubled my costs because we are only two people, I used $2500 per month for your expenses, and I used that 6.55% interest rate. Over ten years the difference is $361,241. Over 20 years, it's $1,038,383.
I did the math once for my husband and I, and I came up with $3500 a year, or $16,500 in 5 years.  When someone asked me why I brought lunch every day, I mentioned the math.  They teased me.  I said "you see my shiny new Civic out there?  Because my prior car was totaled?  Yeah, paid for it in cash.  Because I bring my lunch."

To the OP: You have student loan debt.  And  in 11 years, first kid going to college.  You have WAY better things to spend your money on than "yummy food".

Firstly, we used to eat out lunch a lot.  (I got fat, had to stop that.)  So first, I cut back to Fridays only with friends.  Then I dropped Fridays.  Then I cut my husband down to Fridays.  Then I cut him down to every other Friday.

In part, I learned to cook.  I learned to cook "yummy food", so that we weren't feeling like we were missing out by eating PB&J when we could be eating curry, burgers, burritos, thai food.

mm1970

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #82 on: January 14, 2016, 01:36:33 PM »
I apologize for not responding to everyone individually, but often the assumptions are incorrect. But I don't want to come across as defensive (I'm not really, more baffled in general because I think the real issue (as many of you have said!)) is that I don't really know where the money goes. I have a general idea and our spending has risen to the money available. But it's risen $40 at a time, not in big ticket items so I guess that's why I feel like I'm not living the high life. But of course I am, it would be better to save the $40 a day and blow it all on coke or something.

Today, I paid off my 401k loan and ate the lunch leftovers from last week I had in the work fridge. So if I get food poisoning I am blaming all y'all. :) I also dropped the cell phones to $38 a month.

The liquor: I will confess right now to having a liquor collecting hoarding issue. So you know, there are a lot of bottles in the bar, we aren't drinking them all every month. I promise. That doesn't excuse the amount spent but hopefully it explains it better.
I'm a wine drinker myself.  My mother was an alcoholic, and it killed her, so I have to be very careful.

I make smart and/or silly "rules" for myself, to cut these costs.

First, it's good that you are socializing with friends, but have them bring something.

Some of the rules that I've used now or in the past:
Only can drink on Fridays and Saturdays.  Or: only can open a bottle of wine on those days.
Only can drink socially. So, no drinking wine at home with my family.  My neighborhood has a weekly potluck at the park every Sunday night from spring till fall.  So that means, the majority of my wine drinking is Sunday night only.  I take a bottle every other week or so - generally have 2 glasses.  And that's it. 
I also meet friends once every month or two (I am a wine club member, and the membership includes a free glass of wine for you and a friend EVERY DAY.  But since I have kids, I can't go every day.)
I go dry in November.  Have done that the last 2 years.  I have a friend who goes dry in February
I most certainly avoid drinking when my husband is traveling - that whole ER trip thing

This year, I set an annual budget of $100.  This includes socializing (note: I currently have 4 bottles of wine, and over the year my wine club memberships - 2 of them - will provide me with 20 more).  So that's 24 bottles of wine, and $100 on "whatever else" - aka beer if we have friends over - for the year.  Two bottles of wine a month.

Like I said, some of the rules are silly, but they seem to work.  I'm 45 and had a baby at 42.  I lost a bunch of weight in 2014, but hit a plateau like crazy.  Limiting alcohol really helped - I dropped 6-7 lbs both dry Novembers.

fruitfly

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #83 on: January 16, 2016, 07:19:29 PM »
You guys will be pleased to know we fixed the shower ourselves for under $20. Whew. I will never take running water for granted again.

thanks mm1970! My father was an alcoholic and I worked with addicts for a time, so I'm pretty versed in the way of things. I do watch my own drinking because I like drinking and I don't want to HAVE to stop because it is a problem. For a while there I quit drinking every 2 years but I guess I can done with kids so I might have to reinstitute a dry period!

I started writing down all my purchases as per a suggestion here. It reminded me of journaling for weight watchers. You're so right that you don't want to write down "ate a block of cheese/spend $45 on fancy cheese."

Ok, this is basically a journal now so I'm heading over there.

Exflyboy

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #84 on: January 16, 2016, 08:40:01 PM »
You guys will be pleased to know we fixed the shower ourselves for under $20. Whew. I will never take running water for granted again.

thanks mm1970! My father was an alcoholic and I worked with addicts for a time, so I'm pretty versed in the way of things. I do watch my own drinking because I like drinking and I don't want to HAVE to stop because it is a problem. For a while there I quit drinking every 2 years but I guess I can done with kids so I might have to reinstitute a dry period!

I started writing down all my purchases as per a suggestion here. It reminded me of journaling for weight watchers. You're so right that you don't want to write down "ate a block of cheese/spend $45 on fancy cheese."

Ok, this is basically a journal now so I'm heading over there.

Great soon you will have no problem dealing with any issue that can happen on a house (except maybe an earthquake)..:)

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #85 on: January 16, 2016, 09:36:50 PM »
You guys will be pleased to know we fixed the shower ourselves for under $20. Whew. I will never take running water for granted again.

thanks mm1970! My father was an alcoholic and I worked with addicts for a time, so I'm pretty versed in the way of things. I do watch my own drinking because I like drinking and I don't want to HAVE to stop because it is a problem. For a while there I quit drinking every 2 years but I guess I can done with kids so I might have to reinstitute a dry period!

I started writing down all my purchases as per a suggestion here. It reminded me of journaling for weight watchers. You're so right that you don't want to write down "ate a block of cheese/spend $45 on fancy cheese."

Ok, this is basically a journal now so I'm heading over there.

Looked in your post history and didn't see a journal yet- be sure to come and post the link on here once you have one up! =)

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Case Study - Facepunches Welcome
« Reply #86 on: January 17, 2016, 05:16:30 AM »
Some of the rules that I've used now or in the past:
Only can drink on Fridays and Saturdays.  Or: only can open a bottle of wine on those days.
Only can drink socially. So, no drinking wine at home with my family.  My neighborhood has a weekly potluck at the park every Sunday night from spring till fall.  So that means, the majority of my wine drinking is Sunday night only.  I take a bottle every other week or so - generally have 2 glasses.  And that's it. 
I also meet friends once every month or two (I am a wine club member, and the membership includes a free glass of wine for you and a friend EVERY DAY.  But since I have kids, I can't go every day.)
I go dry in November.  Have done that the last 2 years.  I have a friend who goes dry in February
I most certainly avoid drinking when my husband is traveling - that whole ER trip thing

This year, I set an annual budget of $100.  This includes socializing (note: I currently have 4 bottles of wine, and over the year my wine club memberships - 2 of them - will provide me with 20 more).  So that's 24 bottles of wine, and $100 on "whatever else" - aka beer if we have friends over - for the year.  Two bottles of wine a month.

The convenient thing about lowering your alcohol intake is that when you're used to less, you truly don't want more. On Friday night I had a beer as I sometimes do, and a little later my wife, who isn't a drinker, said "These beers nobody else likes are taking up a lot of room in the fridge. You want another?" Well, sure.

I felt like shit! I have adjusted my body way, way, down from certain times in college. Sort of a reverse hedonic adaptation - I have one beer now and I'm pleasantly buzzed.