Author Topic: I'm failing  (Read 14399 times)

EconDiva

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I'm failing
« on: December 04, 2015, 12:22:44 PM »
I'm starting to think I'm just not cut out for the whole mustachian thing.  I just revised my budget for the new year to include my goals of travel and a down payment on a home.  A little about me:

Turning 37 in January
~30K in 401K
Gross salary = $80k (+7% bonus)
Living in Chicago, IL
No car (take train to work daily...1.5 hour commute each way).  Take trains and Ubers on the weekend when going out, running errands, etc.
2 bedroom 1.5 bath apartment which is a 20 minute drive downtown (35 minutes on the train)

Goals:  See my brother graduate from college in Tokyo in 2016, put $20K towards a $100k house in 3 years, buy a $5k car in 3 years, travel to: home in SC for thanksgiving and Christmas next year, plus 2 beach trips (likely Puerto rico and Miami)

Currently saving 5% in 401k with 5% match
About $5K in my ROTH IRA
About $5K in savings (mutual funds-this is my emergency fund stash)

house down payment 600
travel   500
savings   100
rent   1085
grocery   450
household   50
me   200
gas   50
electric   90
cell   70
cable   115
gym   30
move   100
transportation   150

*total   3590
*remaining 210


Facepunch all you like.  I seem to not be getting that I can't retire early and do things like get my hair done, watch cable tv and travel.  What's it doing to take to get this through my head??  I can't have it all.  But I am having a hard time accepting it.  Only 5% to my 401k sucks and I KNOW it.  I don't want to work the rest of my life but can someone direct me to other threads or a blog or something to help me figure out to gain more balance in getting to a 50%+ savings rate -and- still enjoying parts of like I like to enjoy?  I'm failing at all of this and I'm getting too old to keep living this way.

FYI:  Also, long story short I had 2 major hits to my credit this year and applied to 3 apartments trying to get a cheaper place; I was declined by all of them.  So I'm flexible with the housing but right now I'm in a bad place because of my credit score :(

RunHappy

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2015, 12:41:52 PM »
Step #1:  Stop telling yourself you are failing.

Step #2:  Take an honest look at your budget.

Step #3:  Take an honest look at your lifestyle and your goals.

Do you have any credit card, student loans or any other debt?  You should read, how to write a case study, and repost in that format.

What is the ME = $200 category? What are you doing with $200 a month that is not itemized?

What is the move category?   I would simplify all your savings buckets and put it all in one savings category.

Off the top of my head I see cable as an easy expense to cut, if you are working 8 hours a day and commuting 3 hours easy day when do you have time to watch TV?  The me category can probably be dramatically trimmed.  gym.  How often do you go?  Can you workout in your apartment or go running?

Do you live in a 2 bedroom apartment by yourself?  Can you get a roommate to share rent and utilities?

With the travel you want to do, I'm guessing you will need about $5k minimum, so you might want to repriortize  the travel.  I'm assuming

EconDiva

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2015, 12:53:24 PM »
Only debt now is about $400 on my cap1 card.

ME=my discretionary bucket.  Money in this category goes to anything and everything I choose to spend it on is usually things like a dinner night out, getting my done, new clothes or shoes (usually from thrift stores or ebay though luckily), or even things like gifts.  What I don't use goes into savings but honestly I usually spend most of it.

Move = saving to move out of my apartment into a cheaper place.  Hopefully in July of 2016.  It's to help with a deposit on the new place if that is required, and a truck rental.

I am a bad tv junkie meaning whenever I'm home that's what I do.  Really the HGTV channel watches me.  I go to the gym 5 days a week because I live in an apartment without a gym and although I'm a female, I lift weights pretty heavy.  I don't go running outside because a good part of the year by the time I get home from work it's too dark and cold here in Chicago. 

I 'could' get a roommate but I have a bat issue in my apartment.  Yes, bats.  And I've been dealing with it for months, have contacted attorneys and all that and no, I do not have a case to break my lease legally without getting sued.  My entire building is covered with these huge nets now so I doubt anyone will move in with me unfortunately. 

The travel is my heart and keeps me sane despite living in a city away from all my friends and family for the job I have.  I know if I cut it out I'll be deeply unhappy but it's GOT to go....right?

Robot

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2015, 12:57:08 PM »
Yeah, the first thing is you are not failing but doing pretty well. 

I'd calculate your savings rate at over 30%.

Take Home:
$80,000
-$18,400 taxes (~23%)
+$4,000 401K match
= $65,600 take home ($5467 per month)

Savings:
$333 401K
$333 401K match
$600 Savings for house
$100 Savings
$100 Move savings
$210 Additional for Savings
=$1,676
30.7%

I'd knock out cable right away.  You'll pick up a ton of channels over the air in Chicago anyway.  Get Netflix if you need to for a net savings of $107. You can still get your junkie fix.
Look into Project Fi from google for cell.  We are paying about $30 per month for my wife's phone.  You would have to buy a Nexus 6 or similar which have gotten as low as $250.
Are you using the gym enough?  If you don't use it at least 2-3 times a week, I'd knock that one out.  [Just saw you posted and you go enough -- keep it up!]

Other changes are a little more drastic (like moving closer to work).  But you are already doing well and can make some easy tweaks to push your savings rate toward 35%. 

KisKis

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2015, 01:00:21 PM »
The travel is my heart and keeps me sane despite living in a city away from all my friends and family for the job I have.

I think the mustachian thing to do would be to get a new job closer to your friends and family.  Right?  (Looks around at the real mustachians.)

JLee

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2015, 01:05:56 PM »
Quote
so I doubt anyone will move in with me unfortunately. 
Ah, but have you tried?  Getting a roommate to split rent/utilities would give you an instant $600/mo.

G-dog

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2015, 01:07:57 PM »
Some things to think about:

$450/mo for groceries for one person - this seems high, I think you could halve this and still eat quite well
$115/mo for cable - downgrade or ditch - there is Netflix, etc., or radio
$200/mo for me - well, what do you really want? Do you want to fritter away $200/mo, or do you want to develop a bit more impulse control and planning and/or retire early?

This just comes down to priorities, if your money is going toward what you really value, then no changes needed. But if it doesn't, then time to reprioritize something to align your cash with what you value.

EconDiva

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2015, 01:09:17 PM »
Quote
so I doubt anyone will move in with me unfortunately. 
Ah, but have you tried?  Getting a roommate to split rent/utilities would give you an instant $600/mo.

No, I haven't but I can....I'd just feel so bad if they ended up seeing/having contact with a bat like I did and have to go to the ER and then have 4 subsequent series of shots for possible rabies exposure like I did! 

And yes, I know that's a crazy story.  Don't want to get hung up on that part of things.

But yes, I am willing to try.

tarheeldan

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2015, 01:13:06 PM »
First - as Robot pointed out you are saving more than you think. Down payment money will become equity when you buy, and the home cuts your FIRE overhead vs renting right?

Here's where I would focus:

$6,000/yr for travel is the big one - travel hacking, off-season, etc. to cut this one but still enjoy would make a big difference

$5,400/yr for groceries for one person is too much, like G-dog said. Optimize.

$4,800/yr in "me" plus unaccounted ($200+$200=$400/mo). This could be $100/mo or $200/mo.

Even just cutting these guys in half is $8,100/yr in savings.


AZDude

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2015, 01:13:29 PM »
Sling TV has HGTV and its $20/month. Assuming you have wifi, then a roku plus SlingTV plus OTA antenna will get you 90% of what you watch for $95 less per month. Cell phone is the same. You can get close to the same service for far less. That is ~$150 a month in savings. $450 in groceries seems high. We budget about that much for two adults and a young child. You could probably cut that in half without really giving much up.

Suddenly you are saving almost $400 a month without giving up travel, etc...


StetsTerhune

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2015, 01:14:13 PM »
I'm real curious about where you live and work in Chicago. 1.5 hours by train to your work? $1085 in rent?

6k a year budgeted for travel doesn't sound at all unreasonable to me, but I'm guessing you can lower that number without dropping anything you care about if you work at it. Travel is a huge priority for me, but within travel I prioritize the things that matter and don't spend money on the things that don't. What are you actually looking for in beach trip? Have you considered camping on the beach in puerto rico?

EconDiva

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2015, 01:33:25 PM »
I'm real curious about where you live and work in Chicago. 1.5 hours by train to your work? $1085 in rent?

6k a year budgeted for travel doesn't sound at all unreasonable to me, but I'm guessing you can lower that number without dropping anything you care about if you work at it. Travel is a huge priority for me, but within travel I prioritize the things that matter and don't spend money on the things that don't. What are you actually looking for in beach trip? Have you considered camping on the beach in puerto rico?

I'm in Rogers Park so you know that's nowhere near being luxurious.  I commute to Lake Bluff, IL.

As far as what I'm looking for?  I always go to the beach to eat, chill, and catch up on some photography.  A little bike riding/people watching near the boardwalk in South Beach.  Photography at various spots throughout the day.  I pretty much zone out/meditate on the shore by the water daily.  A long dip in the Jacuzzi in the evenings.  A nice dinner at night to end the day.  I vacation to recharge.


Edited to add:  My rent the first year wasn't 1085, but when I went to renew at the end of that first year in July this year, rent was jacked up on me 14%!!!!
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 01:37:59 PM by EconDiva »

EconDiva

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2015, 01:36:23 PM »
First - as Robot pointed out you are saving more than you think. Down payment money will become equity when you buy, and the home cuts your FIRE overhead vs renting right?

Here's where I would focus:

$6,000/yr for travel is the big one - travel hacking, off-season, etc. to cut this one but still enjoy would make a big difference

$5,400/yr for groceries for one person is too much, like G-dog said. Optimize.

$4,800/yr in "me" plus unaccounted ($200+$200=$400/mo). This could be $100/mo or $200/mo.

Even just cutting these guys in half is $8,100/yr in savings.

For travel...don't forget the credit hit I mentioned...my score is way down right now...can't get any new cards....any suggestions here?

I admit I'm eating too much.  I have a nasty habit of going to Whole Paycheck and eating off the hot bar.  I.need.to.COOK.more.  Will lower the budget here and go back to my Allrecipes.com menubox and pull out some of my old but favorite recipes to try to start getting this down asap.  Oatmeal in the morning and chili for lunch saved me so much money at the beginning of this year....

Where are you getting the "unaccounted" from...?
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 01:39:00 PM by EconDiva »

EconDiva

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2015, 01:41:36 PM »
Sling TV has HGTV and its $20/month. Assuming you have wifi, then a roku plus SlingTV plus OTA antenna will get you 90% of what you watch for $95 less per month. Cell phone is the same. You can get close to the same service for far less. That is ~$150 a month in savings. $450 in groceries seems high. We budget about that much for two adults and a young child. You could probably cut that in half without really giving much up.

Suddenly you are saving almost $400 a month without giving up travel, etc...

Thank you SO SO MUCH for the SlingTV suggestion.  I was trying to figure out how to watch HGTV alone so I could cut my cable package.  I will look into this...do you know if they have Investigative Discovery channel by chance as well?  That is really the only other channel I watch.  I really can't do this Comcast thing anymore...it has GOT to GO....fast.

tarheeldan

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2015, 01:43:10 PM »
First - as Robot pointed out you are saving more than you think. Down payment money will become equity when you buy, and the home cuts your FIRE overhead vs renting right?

Here's where I would focus:

$6,000/yr for travel is the big one - travel hacking, off-season, etc. to cut this one but still enjoy would make a big difference

$5,400/yr for groceries for one person is too much, like G-dog said. Optimize.

$4,800/yr in "me" plus unaccounted ($200+$200=$400/mo). This could be $100/mo or $200/mo.

Even just cutting these guys in half is $8,100/yr in savings.

For travel...don't forget the credit hit I mentioned...my score is way down right now...can't get any new cards....any suggestions here?

I admit I'm eating too much.  I have a nasty habit of going to Whole Paycheck and eating off the hot bar.  I.need.to.COOK.more.  Will lower the budget here and go back to my Allrecipes.com menubox and pull out some of my old but favorite recipes to try to start getting this down asap.

Where are you getting the "unaccounted" from...?
That was the remainder of 201 in your OP. Seems to jive with the numbers Robot estimated for you too.

Even if that's not a hole to plug, travel and groceries alone are a big chunk and, along with little improvements here and there it could really add up.

You are not doing so bad you can do even better I think without hurting quality of life much or at all
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 01:52:41 PM by tarheeldan »

andy85

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2015, 01:48:53 PM »
I think it is because you have a lot going to just cash (short-term) savings and less going to retirement (long-term)

I experienced the same thing earlier this year. I was putting away 500-1000/month for a house. Savings rate was high, but in reality my long-term accounts were flat. It is just a phase on this journey. Once you buy a house it will free a little (not all of it due to new mortgage) to go towards long-term goals and your savings priorities will change from short to long-term.

It has been hard going from stashing away so much cash to just having a modest emergency fund and trying to stash the rest in retirement accounts. It was nice seeing i had $18k in cash before i bought my house...more of a mental thing i guess.

2ndTimer

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2015, 01:49:54 PM »
When I wanted to get a handle on my spending I wrote down every cent in a small notebook.  EVERY SINGLE CENT.  It was a real wakeup call on how I was spending my personal money.  Try it with your $200 me money.  Seeing it written down really made me ask myself why I was buying things like potato chips when I was concerned about being overweight. 

Rubic

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2015, 01:52:02 PM »
Quote
so I doubt anyone will move in with me unfortunately. 
Ah, but have you tried?  Getting a roommate to split rent/utilities would give you an instant $600/mo.

No, I haven't but I can....I'd just feel so bad if they ended up seeing/having contact with a bat like I did and have to go to the ER and then have 4 subsequent series of shots for possible rabies exposure like I did! 

And yes, I know that's a crazy story.  Don't want to get hung up on that part of things.

But yes, I am willing to try.

We used to have the occasional bat creep into our office building.  I always thought they were cool and never had any problems with them.  Did you get bit by one? You could always post a craigslist ad along the lines of:

"Are you a chick who likes bats?  I'm looking for a female roommate who doesn't mind an occasional nocturnal visitor.  Bat-haters need not apply."

Daisy

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2015, 01:53:25 PM »
I struggle with the "forced" spending that comes along with friends that don't share my frugal attitude. This mostly affects my eating out and travel budgets. And I am not willing to ditch friendships because of differing spending attitudes.

Soooo...that requires some stealth frugality in the face of spendy friends. I don't say yes to every single eating out invitation. If there is another activity involved as well then I join for that and skip the meal out. If I do eat out, I try to avoid ordering drinks.  I "pregame" and eat a big lunch or something right before the dinner out. Then I  say I already had a big meal and order a small appetizer or dessert out.

For travel, I try to take charge of the plans. I may not go as frugal as desired, but better than the spendy alternative. Most recently though, I suggested a more frugal stay at a location at a hostel and got rebuffed by a friend not wanting to "slum it". Oh well, my sister actually liked the frugal option so she is going instead. I just started looking at hostels for travelling.

And WTF are you doing staying IN South Beach? I'm a local here and there are plenty of beach options just a little north and you can still make it to South Beach. But the prices there in the main section are insane. And you don't have to stay right on the beach to make it to the beach.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 01:56:05 PM by Daisy »

Telecaster

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2015, 01:55:56 PM »
I admit I'm eating too much.  I have a nasty habit of going to Whole Paycheck and eating off the hot bar.  I.need.to.COOK.more.  Will lower the budget here and go back to my Allrecipes.com menubox and pull out some of my old but favorite recipes to try to start getting this down asap.  Oatmeal in the morning and chili for lunch saved me so much money at the beginning of this year....


That's an easy cycle to get into.  You don't have anything to cook so you pick up something quick to eat...but then still don't have anything to cook the next night, so you pick up something quick to eat...

I'm a huge believer in meal planning.   It takes a little time up front, but saves huge amounts of time down the road because you aren't running to the store every day.   Probably cut your dinner bill in about a third, and leftovers for lunch. 

seattlecyclone

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2015, 02:02:12 PM »
Look at what you're already saving:
401(k): $333/month plus $333 match
Down payment fund: $600/month
Moving fund: $100/month (assuming most of this will go toward a refundable deposit and isn't actually being spent)
Remaining unbudgeted: $210/month (where does this go? I'm assuming toward savings by default)

That's $1,576 monthly, roughly 24% of your gross salary, or more if you calculate on a post-tax basis. This isn't all that bad, certainly not "failing". As you've noted, some of the most impactful areas of improvement would be to spend less on travel and housing. Other smaller things you could do to save a few hundred dollars per month would be to spend a bit less at the grocery store, switch from cable to Netflix, and find a cheaper cell phone plan. You shouldn't necessarily do any of these things if they would truly make your life less happy, but you should absolutely run the numbers to see how much extra time you're adding to your career to have these things now.

sloth bear

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2015, 02:04:37 PM »
EconDiva, you're in the right place. :) Here's what stands out to me as things that you could cut/reduce ...

TRAVEL - In 2016 alone, you're aiming to go to Tokyo, South Carolina twice, Puerto Rico, and Miami. That's FIVE trips in one year. Can you narrow that down to two or three and adjust your travel budget accordingly?

RENT - A 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom apartment seems like too much for one person, but it seems like you're aware of this and working on it.

CABLE - There are ways around this. I'll defer to the experts like AZDude, but rest assured, you can slash this cost!

FOOD/HOUSEHOLD - Aim for $200/month, all in. My boyfriend and I spend less than $400 per month for our groceries and household supplies, and we have so much that we could cut! Stay out of Whole Paycheck and cook your meals in advance! There are a ton of threads on this forum regarding reducing grocery costs.

ME - $100 max.

GYM - Keep this! I love that you lift weights.

ELECTRIC - Does that include hot water? $90 seems high for one person. Do you use a dryer? Leave the lights on? Take super long hot showers?

OVERALL - Figure out what you really want. Easier said that done, I know, but none of these suggestions will stick unless you figure out what your priorities are. Like the totally awesome Paula Pant says, you can afford anything, but you can't afford everything. Go read her entire blog (www.affordanything.com) -- I think it will resonate with you -- and then figure out what you want and get after it!

Good luck, and keep us posted!

- Trin

mtn

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2015, 02:13:12 PM »
Where do you work in Lake Bluff? How do you get from the train station to your job? I'd be looking in Gurnee, Mundelein, Grayslake areas. Find a roommate if possible and stay in Lake Forest/Bluff area. If you're not afraid of anything or like danger, North Chicago and Waukegan are inexpensive options as well. Try to find a private landlord and tell them you understand your credit issues, but can pay 3 months up front if necessary or something like that.

You can definitely get a roommate at your current place. Rental market in Chicago right now is INSANE. And you're near Loyola, so always students looking.

Hmmm... Now for some reason I want to go to the Full Moon at 3 AM.

AZDude

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2015, 02:18:23 PM »
Sling TV has HGTV and its $20/month. Assuming you have wifi, then a roku plus SlingTV plus OTA antenna will get you 90% of what you watch for $95 less per month. Cell phone is the same. You can get close to the same service for far less. That is ~$150 a month in savings. $450 in groceries seems high. We budget about that much for two adults and a young child. You could probably cut that in half without really giving much up.

Suddenly you are saving almost $400 a month without giving up travel, etc...

Thank you SO SO MUCH for the SlingTV suggestion.  I was trying to figure out how to watch HGTV alone so I could cut my cable package.  I will look into this...do you know if they have Investigative Discovery channel by chance as well?  That is really the only other channel I watch.  I really can't do this Comcast thing anymore...it has GOT to GO....fast.

You can check out the channels and details here:
https://www.sling.com/

I dont see Investigative Discovery listed, unfortunately, but there is plenty to watch.

mtn

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2015, 02:19:56 PM »
Also, ease up on your vacations. If you need to get away, do it to Wisconsin or Michigan in the summer. Or do a staycation in Chicago, we have Lake Michigan here!

Last thing: Scour the Chicago Rental laws. Most tenant friendly laws in the world. Good chance you could find something in there to break your lease.

norabird

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2015, 02:22:58 PM »
I agree about finding a roommate--I love living with someone (two someones actually), and I'm in my 30s too.

You're right that you can't do everything. Perhaps start by cutting the travel savings and upping the 401k. I have found in my own life that resistance to cutting X (tickets to events, dinner out, whatever) fades the more I think about and get creative about finding alternate, free or cheap substitutes. So initially I stopped getting manicures and did my nails in sephora; now I just don't really paint them much. You think right now that you need to get your hair done--the more you sit with it, the more you'll realize you'd rather not waste the money, I suspect. Or I started saying no to invites to get tickets for a musical or a concert and focus on attending free concerts outdoors in the summer, and get tickets for other events now as gifts or treats on a rare (not weekly or monthly basis). I am not a 180 type person and have done things gradually and still in fact have things I can probably learn to drop or shave. Not giving up but telling myself it was a process and journey was helpful. I suspect you can spend less on food too. It starts choice by choice, day by day, with little things.

Once your credit recovers you can get a miles card. I would love to travel all of the places at once, but I know I can't, so I've accepted deferring some of the places for now. Priorities will become clear the more you focus on your goals.

boarder42

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #26 on: December 04, 2015, 02:31:32 PM »
I assume your parents have cable since you do. Just get their login info and the hgtv app and a Chromecast. All the hgtv you can watch.

little_brown_dog

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #27 on: December 04, 2015, 02:49:45 PM »
+1 to a lot of the previous suggestions. There’s a lot of low hanging fruit here. Try a $100/mo “me” budget, a $350/mo grocery budget, cutting cable, and limiting yourself to one beach trip and Tokyo. As for cooking, invest in a crockpot. Seriously, you actually don’t need to have any skill or motivation to cook and can still whip up good food. Spend 5 minutes browsing the internet to find 3 highly rated recipes you want to try and use that to plan your grocery list. If you make a big pot each time, you can eat left overs on the other nights of the week. Winter/fall are great times for crockpot recipes – think chili, stews, soups, etc.

StetsTerhune

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #28 on: December 04, 2015, 02:51:23 PM »
I'm in Rogers Park so you know that's nowhere near being luxurious.  I commute to Lake Bluff, IL.

Ouch.

Have you considered getting a new job?  That commute is a nightmare and there's only one obvious way to make it go away. 3 hours a day commuting? If you worked downtown you could save at least 2 of those hours and still live somewhere nicer and just as cheap as Rogers Park.

I suspect a large amount of these "unnecessary" expenses are due largely to that horrific commute. Whole Foods hot bar -- commute. Vegging out in front of HGTV -- commute. Using your vacation to "recharge" -- commute.

You'll be so much happier and all this will be so much easier to tackle if you don't have the huge anchor of that commute around your neck.

thingamabobs

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2015, 03:01:35 PM »
there are a bunch of HGTV shows on netflix, $10/month

Exflyboy

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2015, 04:08:43 PM »
You basically have to choose what is most important to you.

If (like me) getting to FI ASAP, well then you have  few changes to make.. Here is what I would do.. not telling you to do it, just if getting to FI is your top priority then you going the way your going is not very helpful.

Forget travelling... take a tent and go hiking in the wilderness twice per year.
cable?.. WTF is cable??.. I'm well past FI and still use rabbit ear antenna and get OPB for free.
$70 for a cell phone?.. Your kidding me right? I use PTEL and spend $5 a month on a cheap $15 flip phone.. need unlimited Talk and Text, Republic phone. You don't need data.
Going out to eat, this was extremely rare for me to do.. eat beforehand and join your friends for a single drink once in a while.
Gym.. really?
Getting a roomy?.. great idea. see if you can block the hole where the bats are getting in.

Make all your own food for lunch an all that stuff.

You have a decent income and with roomy your rent will be about $600. No reason not to be stashing like crazy.

Now what do YOU want?



mozar

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #31 on: December 04, 2015, 05:17:18 PM »
Hulu also has HGTV. And even plain old youtube has hgtv shows.

Please don't camp in a tent by yourself on a beach in Puerto Rico.
Not safe.

It might be worth building your stache some then moving back home even if you are making less. It's not worth your mental health.
+1 for roommate. There are some laid back people out there.

RunHappy

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #32 on: December 04, 2015, 07:33:01 PM »
Hulu also has some Investigative Discovery.

I think you are doing pretty well but can use some tweaking.  Try setting a challenge for yourself, reduce your "me" budget to $50 a month.  Carry it in cash and when it is gone it is gone. 

You want to take two beach trips, two family trips, and one international trip in 2016, but that might be too much for right now.  Maybe focus on one family trip and the Tokyo trip. Tokyo is crazy expensive. It is a 14-19 hour flight.  The last time I bought a ticket to that part of the world it cost $1500 round trip and that was just the ticket alone, not food, hotel, touristy stuff.

If you are hitting the weights like you say you are then you know the importance of nutrition.  Start meal planning all your meals.  I found meal planning is a huge help in reducing grocery costs. I'm still working on getting 8 weeks worth of meals we like to eat.

Daisy

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #33 on: December 04, 2015, 07:39:23 PM »
Instead of taking so many individual trips, take one or two and make each longer. The most expensive and time wasting part of a trip is travelling there. Plus if you stay a week or two you can get a small apartment on VRBO cheaper than a hotel would be.

Or expand your horizons and stay at a hostel. I am mid 40s and recently started doing this. I'd rather spend my money on other stuff and a longer trip than an expensive bed to sleep on. My expensive bed is back home.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2015, 07:43:06 PM by Daisy »

arebelspy

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #34 on: December 04, 2015, 08:16:04 PM »
You're not failing. You're starting.

:)
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elaine amj

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #35 on: December 04, 2015, 09:20:52 PM »
I agree about finding a roommate--I love living with someone (two someones actually), and I'm in my 30s too.

You're right that you can't do everything. Perhaps start by cutting the travel savings and upping the 401k. I have found in my own life that resistance to cutting X (tickets to events, dinner out, whatever) fades the more I think about and get creative about finding alternate, free or cheap substitutes. So initially I stopped getting manicures and did my nails in sephora; now I just don't really paint them much. You think right now that you need to get your hair done--the more you sit with it, the more you'll realize you'd rather not waste the money, I suspect. Or I started saying no to invites to get tickets for a musical or a concert and focus on attending free concerts outdoors in the summer, and get tickets for other events now as gifts or treats on a rare (not weekly or monthly basis). I am not a 180 type person and have done things gradually and still in fact have things I can probably learn to drop or shave. Not giving up but telling myself it was a process and journey was helpful. I suspect you can spend less on food too. It starts choice by choice, day by day, with little things.

Once your credit recovers you can get a miles card. I would love to travel all of the places at once, but I know I can't, so I've accepted deferring some of the places for now. Priorities will become clear the more you focus on your goals.

I highly recommend reading norabird's journal :) A riveting read about finding alternatives to spendypants habits...without sacrificing the quality of life she wants. She used to spend a lot of money on eating out and the NYC arts scene. Then she analyzed what she liked about what she did and what benefits she got out of her spending (many sacred cows here)....then proceeded to find frugal alternatives. It was very inspiring.

lukebuz

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2015, 07:13:12 AM »
You're not failing. You're starting.

:)

I don't like most of your bristly posts...but this one, great job!  OP - these are the words you need to heed.  Get going!  You know the decision to make!

StetsTerhune

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #37 on: December 05, 2015, 08:34:10 AM »
Quote from: mozar link=topic=47648.msg891873#msg891873
Please don't camp in a tent by yourself on a beach in Puerto Rico.
Not safe.

To clarify, there are lots of national parks and established campgrounds in Puerto Rico with perfectly safe camping. I'm not suggesting you throw up a tent in San Juan, despite what my profile picture might suggest.

mandy_2002

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #38 on: December 05, 2015, 10:15:27 AM »
... travel to: home in SC for thanksgiving and Christmas next year, plus 2 beach trips (likely Puerto rico and Miami).

I consider myself a big traveler. This year I started the year in Spain (Christmas / New Year trip which was paid on airline points), went on a 5 day cruise cruise, went to Turkey and Israel (really cheap flights using Turkish Air), Disney World (points again, and an inexpensive place to stay), home to South Dakota for Thanksgiving, and I have a Christmas trip to South America planned (used either http://www.secretflying.com/usa-deals/ or http://www.theflightdeal.com/category/flight-deals/ to figure out where I was going, instead of deciding where to go and then trying to find a deal; from Chicago, you should have a LOT of options). I believe in travel. What I dont believe in is spending a boatload to see my family twice in a little over a month. I always go home for one holiday (chose your favorite) and do the other somewhere I want to go.

My suggestion, for your travel, talk it over with family and go back for only one holiday. You can use the other holiday as one of your beach getaways. I feel as if I would choose to go yo the beach in the dead of winter anyway since Chicago is beautiful in the warmer months. This way you won't be going on 3 or 4 vacations in 2 months.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2015, 12:26:47 PM »
I think you're beating yourself up unnecessarily. You're doing much better than most people outside the forum, and it's more important to make incremental, sustainable changes than go MondoMMM all at once and rebound.

You're not failing. You're starting.

:)

I don't like most of your bristly posts...but this one, great job!  OP - these are the words you need to heed.  Get going!  You know the decision to make!

Bristly? arebelspy averages 1.5 smiley face per post.

Exflyboy

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2015, 01:52:38 PM »
Bristly?.. Remember the OP did ask for helpful suggestions.. cough..:)

I don't think he is failing either, in fact the realization that you could do better is huge!

Not surprisingly there have been a bunch of suggestions equaling 100's of $$ per month, added together this will improve the savings rate considerably!

I was out for a hike with friends this morning and the group conversations turned to phone and TV services etc. Each person was spending $200 to $250 on TV service, Cell phone and internet... Knowing I like to save money they asked me.. Hmm lets see $10 for phone, $30 for internet and pay for TV?.. you are kidding me right?

I'm sure I came across as a self righteous a$$.. but $40 for ALL my communications needs vs $250... Why aren't these people hunting these deals down?

The answer is of course is they can't be bothered.. Easier to earn it than save it.

OK then... Did I tell you I don't have to work another day in my life?

arebelspy

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I'm failing
« Reply #41 on: December 05, 2015, 02:20:31 PM »
You're not failing. You're starting.

:)

I don't like most of your bristly posts...but this one, great job!  OP - these are the words you need to heed.  Get going!  You know the decision to make!

Bristly? arebelspy averages 1.5 smiley face per post.



(I like to use posts like this to up my average. ;) Then it evens out when I have none when I face punch! )
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Kwill

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2015, 03:29:43 PM »
You're already getting a lot of good advice, but I wanted to share some suggestions for the Tokyo travel & other travel. What time of year are you going? Can you stay with your brother?

My sense is that travel to Tokyo from the US is cheapest on Wednesdays. The rainy season (June) and times when everyone is in school are maybe a little cheaper, too. Japan-specialty travel agencies like IACE and Nissin used to have the best prices, but now Tripadvisor seems to be better. You might be able to get round-trip flights for under $1000.

For lodging, Air B & B is on the expensive side for Tokyo. Sakura House http://www.sakura-house.com/en may be a little better, especially if you are doing an extended stay. Booking.com has a lot of cheaper hostel-style options, some under $150 for 6 nights. I just used that site for the first time last month when going to Taipei, and it worked out fine.

Most American debit cards work at post offices and at 7-11. You shouldn't need to change money at a currency exchange place. There are many cheap places to eat near train stations that have picture menus. You can get dinner for $5, but you wouldn't want that sort of dinner every time.

hoping2retire35

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2015, 09:12:54 PM »
+1 previous responses
First I would say you need to think more about your goals. You are here because you want to make a change but enjoy? Life but not really. Wage slave or FI. What's it gonna be? The biggest unnecessary expense is the travel, air travel, Miami and Puerto Rico are out. Going home to SC is in a bus. You probably make more than your folks, unless they are lawyers. I know, I live here and make more than most coworkers, even as little as it is. You have a great opportunity, little debts and great pay to only be used for saving and basic living expenses, all luxuries are free now.

Here is your new budget

Rent-1085
    Bats-http://bertc.com/subfive/recipes/fruitbat.htm
     After roommate new line item is 542.5
Cell-20 max: republic wireless
Internet:50
   Cable is just entertainment. Get a DVD player and a library card.
Food-90 max. There is an mmm article for this about no more than a meal(660 calories) should only be $1. 30 days and 3 meals a day. Look at beans, peanuts, chicken thighs on sale and making cooking your entertainment.
Gym-push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, running
Transportation, electric, gas-290- I trust that you are already wearing a sweater and extra socks anytime the heat is on.

So in summary for total budget=992.5 per month and the rest is saved all on a $80k salary! Wow you must be an exemplary of mustancianisms!

Ok, didn't include travel, but that should be minimum with bus trips and a trip to Tokyo? Family is in SC so I doubt your are from there, so is that to see your brother( he must know that many people would not see him graduate when he attended there) or is that a foreign trip?

EDIT: *or is that a foreign trip for you?
No facepunch, just a classic mmm course correction, lots of little things add up to make a HUGE savings rate.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2015, 09:20:33 PM by hoping2retire35 »

RosieTR

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #44 on: December 05, 2015, 10:06:17 PM »
As long as you are thinking of each of your choices in the context of 1) what the cheaper alternatives are and 2) how important they are to you in the grand scheme of things, then you are not failing. This is a process, not a race or one-up for each other.

Cable could definitely be cut, esp if you're just interested in one or a couple of channels. What about HGTV interests you? The actual process of doing work? The transformation of various people's homes and thus vicarious watching of folks fulfilling their dreams? Or the house-purchasing/avoid these traps type of things you are learning? That sort of analysis can help you figure out how to get that "fix" without paying big bucks.

Start with your biggest expenses or where you believe the most "waste" is, and work on that first. Is it travel? Saving for a house? Rent? Maybe your retirement savings is actually fine, if you generally enjoy your job but just need to work on the housing bit to fix the commute. Most mustachians don't want FT work, but there are a few that do and find it's their sense of purpose. Some have a different track, such as repeated sabbaticals rather than complete FIRE. Some people have really big staches because that's what their lifestyle demands, and they like their lifestyle very much.

In any case, feeling like you're failing, or that any amount of money you spend on anything is wrong, is pretty discouraging. Feeling like you're on a journey to figure out what is important to you, what your purpose is, and how to fill your life with more and more of that every year is much more inspiring and also true for you!

horsepoor

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #45 on: December 05, 2015, 10:50:37 PM »
Not a traveler so much, but as my name implies, I have an expensive habit that gets in the way of FI.

My advice:

Increase the funding of your 401(k) first.  Prioritize that.  Put it up to at least 10% (if you truly can't stomach maxing it), and then if you get any pay raises, just increase your 401(k) contributions so that your take home pay doesn't change. If you don't get raises, then just inch it up 2% at a time until you're maxing it out and not feeling the pain.  What you have left is what you can play with for your travel habit and saving for a house down payment.  Perhaps you'd be more motivated to cut other costs for more immediate rewards of travel and home ownership, whereas now you're looking at it as cutting costs for a far-distant goal of FIRE that is apparently not very compelling.

Cut your cable and suddenly you'll have enough time to cook your own meals.  Two birds killed with one stone.

And then get a bat-loving roommate.

Peony

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #46 on: December 06, 2015, 05:49:28 AM »
Following for the great suggestions here.

iris lily

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #47 on: December 06, 2015, 11:50:36 AM »
How can you get a $100,000 house in
Chicagoland?

daymare

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #48 on: December 06, 2015, 04:14:55 PM »
TRAVEL - First, I see that you don't have the kind of credit score that would allow you to apply for CCs with travel mile bonuses (which could cut your travel spending by a TON).  It doesn't sound like you have a ton of flexibility on travel home for holidays, or to Japan for your bother's graduation.  But there's the possibility of saving on the beachy/tropical trips, especially if you're not set on a destination or particular time.  Flightdeal send alerts for cheap flights, and here's the Chicago-specific website: http://www.theflightdeal.com/category/flight-deals/chicago/ .  You can set up a 'recipe' on the If This Then That website (info on how here: https://saverocity.com/milewriter/2014/12/27/how-do-you-find-those-super-cheap-flights/).  I do this, and set things up so I get a text whenever there's a new flight deal for my city.  This setup is perfect when you're flexible on where/when to travel.  (I too love traveling, so I care a lot about finding ways to do it while spending less money, rather than cutting my travel.)  Also, consider using AirBnB when traveling - I do this, and it's nice to have the space/privacy of an apartment, and it's way cheaper than getting a hotel.

CABLE - Figure out how you like to watch HGTV, and find creative ways to do it without spending money (or by spending less money).  I definitely understand the allure of those shows, I have at times been hooked myself.  First, hulu has some episodes of some HGTV & DIY network shows for free.  Next, a bunch of episodes are on Youtube, if you don't mind sometimes less quality of image or slightly shifted/smaller screen.  HGTV has some full episodes on their website, as well.  And you can buy individual seasons on iTunes - so if there's a particular show you love to watch, just pay for the season and watch each episode as it downloads every week.

GROCERIES - Your grocery is how much my husband and I spend ... though we do cook most of our food.  I am utilitarian with my cooking - I don't enjoy it or feel it's a creative pursuit, but I like to eat healthier/cheaper than restaurants, so I look for meals with a good ratio of time/effort and amount of food produced.  If you're someone who can't eat the same meal several times in a row, this might not be a good suggestion (but since you mentioned chilli for lunch, I figured you'd be receptive).  I love crockpot meals - I make soups and chilli.  Current faves are classic chicken noodle, creamy chicken wild rice, split pea soup with ham, and turkey chilli.  I just googled for the recipes.  I will buy whole carrots, onions, and celery and take some time to chop them all up and create baggies of chopped vegetables to go in my freezer.  Thus, when I make the soup, all I need to do is boil water to add to broth (I like the better than boullion chicken paste), dump in the veggies, dump in the meat, add the spices, and then leave it for several hours.  It's easy/fast and makes a bunch of meals.  The other thing I like to do is make salads.  It does mean there's prep time every day (because you can't exactly pre-make salad for the week), but it's mindless because you're just washing and chopping, and I find this to be pretty painless since I'll do it while watching something on my laptop, or listening to a podcast.  I do lettuce, tomato, cucumber (some bell peppers, but those don't last super long), avocado, green onion, and season with salt and olive oil.  I just love the taste of a fresh salad, so the effort feels worth it.

Your housing/commuting/work situation is what's most problematic and what could yield the biggest benefit from changing, but you were in the exact same position when you posted before, so I don't think I can say anything (again) that would convince you to change.  I will say, though, that being in the similar position of living in a city where none of my friends are, I hope you're thinking long-term about how to change where you are, by getting a job closer to home/friends.  Never hurts to do research in advance, think about potential employers, connections you have, organizations/societies to join, networking, certifications, etc.

Good luck!

midweststache

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Re: I'm failing
« Reply #49 on: December 06, 2015, 05:14:30 PM »
Turning 37 in January
~30K in 401K
Gross salary = $80k (+7% bonus)
Living in Chicago, IL
No car (take train to work daily...1.5 hour commute each way).  Take trains and Ubers on the weekend when going out, running errands, etc.
2 bedroom 1.5 bath apartment which is a 20 minute drive downtown (35 minutes on the train)

Goals:  See my brother graduate from college in Tokyo in 2016, put $20K towards a $100k house in 3 years, buy a $5k car in 3 years, travel to: home in SC for thanksgiving and Christmas next year, plus 2 beach trips (likely Puerto rico and Miami)

Currently saving 5% in 401k with 5% match
About $5K in my ROTH IRA
About $5K in savings (mutual funds-this is my emergency fund stash)

house down payment 600
travel   500
savings   100
rent   1085
grocery   450
household   50
me   200
gas   50
electric   90
cell   70
cable   115
gym   30
move   100
transportation   150

*total   3590
*remaining 210


Facepunch all you like.  I seem to not be getting that I can't retire early and do things like get my hair done, watch cable tv and travel.  What's it doing to take to get this through my head??  I can't have it all.  But I am having a hard time accepting it.  Only 5% to my 401k sucks and I KNOW it.  I don't want to work the rest of my life but can someone direct me to other threads or a blog or something to help me figure out to gain more balance in getting to a 50%+ savings rate -and- still enjoying parts of like I like to enjoy?  I'm failing at all of this and I'm getting too old to keep living this way.

Also a RP resident!

If you're serious about looking for a roommate, you might be able to cater your Craigslist post (or whatever) to reach out to Loyola graduate students--they're on a college student stipend with the maturity of... well, not silly undergrads. They might be willing to put up with the bats, and $600/rent sounds like a damn deal.

(Also, I can commiserate about the crazy increases in RP rents. Ours went up $100 last year--about 9%).

I guess you're taking the Metra to work, and CTA while in the city? I'd re-assess your use of Uber; occasionally is fine, but for grocery shopping? Unnecessary in this neighborhood. (Plus, buying only what you can carry will help reduce the grocery budget!)

Drop the cable. This is low-hanging fruit. Get Netflix. Lots of HGTV shows.

More low-hanging fruit: don't go to Whole Foods. Ever. Shop at the Aldi in Edgewater (or in Evanston, depending on where in RP you are) as much as you can. Mariano's or Jewel for what you can't get at Aldi.

Drop "Me" spending to $150.

Is "move - $100" in preparation for moving to a different apartment?