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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: eldred on January 27, 2015, 10:58:08 AM

Title: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 27, 2015, 10:58:08 AM
Someone on the blog suggested that I post a case study, so here goes:
Single male, I'll be 52 this year.

Gross income: about $56K
Net Income - about $1650 twice a month($3300 total)

Monthly expenses:
 Mortgage – 800
--
 Heating - 145 budget plan
 Electric - 110
 Cell phone - 65
 Water - about 30/mth(paid every three months)
 cable/internet - 130
Total utilities - 480
--

 Groceries – 100
 Auto fuel – 300
 Spending money – 100
 Charity – 100
 Bowling – 400
 Car insurance – about 110/mth(paid every 6 months)
 Netflix - 21
--

Groceries is normally 200, but I had a surplus last month so I dropped that amount. Fuel has a current  surplus as well, so that will be lower next month. But most of the other amounts are pretty consistent.
I know I can lower SOME of those, but I don’t see ‘plenty of room’. Where can I cut and still have a life?


Attempted saving/sinking funds:
 house repairs – 100
 car fund(repair/replacement) – 250

Total monthly expenses - 2761

Assets: Retirement account(non-Roth) from a previous employer of about $226,000
            Primary residence worth about $80,000
Liabilities: mortgage of about $102,000 - @4.75% with about 29 years left.  I *was* on an ARM, but was able to re-finance without an appraisal last year.  That's why the mortgage is so new.
I'm debt-free except for the house.

What else?  I live about 13 miles from my current job, and I'm going to try biking to work occasionally when the weather gets warm.  I'm hoping I can find a job closer to home, but I don't think I'll be able to make the same salary.  I would love to own rental property to increase my income, but I'd have to do it with a mortgage, which probably isn't a good idea at the moment.
So I currently have about $539 per month available for saving.  Once I build up an emergency fund of about $8000, then I can direct the surplus to retirement(probably a Fidelity Roth IRA).

If I use 25x expenses as a target figure for FI, that means I need to save another $600,000, or about $828,000 total.  I have about $170 going toward retirement at my current job(contribution plus partial match).  Am I going to have to settle for about HALF that?  I'd appreciate any suggestions.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: Mr. Frugalwoods on January 27, 2015, 11:03:56 AM
I'm assuming if you spend $400 / mo on bowling that it is something that is very important to you?  Are you in a bowling league?

In any case, that's the level where it makes sense to see if you can cut a deal with the bowling alley.  Maybe work a couple hours on saturday afternoons in exchange for free bowling off hours? 

My wife does this with yoga.  It's her passion, and she goes to a very expensive studio.  But she goes for free since she works the front desk for a couple hours each week and takes out the trash.  It's a great system, saves us tons of money, and she gets to take more classes than she ever would have if she was paying.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: rugorak on January 27, 2015, 11:18:35 AM
Cell phone - 65 - easy to drop down. Check out the superguide. Even going with unlimited minutes/texts and 500mb data you can pay less than half (assuming you own your phone)

cable/internet - 130 - Again easy, cut out the cable part. Use netflix/amazon prime/hulu/etc. I pay $55 for higher speed internet and would pay less competition existed in my area.

Auto fuel – 300 - Seriously? What type of gas guzzler do you have? I have a 33 mile commute and I spend half what you do. And I live in NY state so unless you are in CA you probably pay less in taxes.

Bowling – 400 - I rarely bowl but how do you pay $400 a month? I would think you could easily cut this in half.

Car insurance – about 110/mth(paid every 6 months) - I pay half of what you do and have pretty decent coverage. Might be worth shopping around but may also be related to your vehicle.

Netflix - 21 - Ditch the discs and go streaming only and you'll drop this to $8. Yes there are a few things you cannot get but I have yet to run out of things to watch.

So rough potential savings are:
Cell - $30
Cable - $70
Gas - $150
Insurance - $300
Netflix - $12
Bowling - $200
Total potential savings - $762

Obviously you'll have to figure out the specifics but I see that as a big windfall. Even if you spend the same on bowling you can double your savings each month just by ditching the gas guzzler (assuming that is what you have based on the gas and insurance costs). Tweak as you see fit but this seems fairly easy to me.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: boarder42 on January 27, 2015, 11:22:04 AM
you should be able to ditch cable thats 80 more a month.. go to the netflix streaming plan that puts you at 94 saved already.  over half what you are currently saving.  spending 400 a month to bowl seems insane.  Your gas is higher than me and my wife's combined and i live 19 miles from work and she 30 miles from work.  what are you driving a bus? Cell phone shouldnt be over 25 with taxes so there is another 40 bucks if you cut your bowling back to 360 i've just more than doubled your savings in a paragraph.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: Louisville on January 27, 2015, 11:30:09 AM
The title of your post is "Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???". Is WHAT going to be possible? Cutting expenses, sure. But then what? Do you want to stop working? Change jobs? Retire at 55? 65? 75?
I ask because maybe with a goal in mind you could be more motivated to save/make more money.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: mxt0133 on January 27, 2015, 11:45:40 AM
+1 on what Louisville said, what is your goal?


Regarding:

If I use 25x expenses as a target figure for FI, that means I need to save another $600,000, or about $828,000 total.  I have about $170 going toward retirement at my current job(contribution plus partial match).  Am I going to have to settle for about HALF that?  I'd appreciate any suggestions.  Thanks!

If you expect to retire at normal SS age, which i guess is around 66-67 for you then you subtract what you would be getting from SS from your yearly expenses to see what you would need to live on and then use the 25x formula.

If you go to the SS website and create an account you can see what your estimated retirement benefits are and then set your goals accordingly.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: ltt on January 27, 2015, 11:57:19 AM
$400 a month is a lot for bowling--how often are you bowling (and what's included in that bowling figure--eating, drinking, smoking)?  I used to bowl, and it came nowhere near that figure.

What are you trying to accomplish?
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 27, 2015, 02:02:07 PM
I'm assuming if you spend $400 / mo on bowling that it is something that is very important to you?  Are you in a bowling league?

In any case, that's the level where it makes sense to see if you can cut a deal with the bowling alley.  Maybe work a couple hours on saturday afternoons in exchange for free bowling off hours? 

My wife does this with yoga.  It's her passion, and she goes to a very expensive studio.  But she goes for free since she works the front desk for a couple hours each week and takes out the trash.  It's a great system, saves us tons of money, and she gets to take more classes than she ever would have if she was paying.

Two leagues, dues and jackpots.  I occasionally win money, so that amount can vary.  That goes to the leagues themselves, so working at the center wouldn't alleviate that.  I can PRACTICE for free if I can get there when my coach is working the counter, though.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 27, 2015, 02:16:08 PM
Cell phone - 65 - easy to drop down. Check out the superguide. Even going with unlimited minutes/texts and 500mb data you can pay less than half (assuming you own your phone)
Never heard of the supergude - I'll have to check it out

cable/internet - 130 - Again easy, cut out the cable part. Use netflix/amazon prime/hulu/etc. I pay $55 for higher speed internet and would pay less competition existed in my area.
Comcast has a monopoly in the area, so they don't face competition.  If I could figure out a way to watch Formula 1 races without cable, I'd drop it in a heartbeat. 

Auto fuel – 300 - Seriously? What type of gas guzzler do you have? I have a 33 mile commute and I spend half what you do. And I live in NY state so unless you are in CA you probably pay less in taxes.
2003 Malibu with 250k miles on it.  20-22 mpg.  I could probably drop the gas amount to $200, because that was from when gas was $3/gal or higher.  Thanks for the reminder!

Bowling – 400 - I rarely bowl but how do you pay $400 a month? I would think you could easily cut this in half.
Two leagues, averages out to $20 in dues and $30 in jackpots each per week.

Car insurance – about 110/mth(paid every 6 months) - I pay half of what you do and have pretty decent coverage. Might be worth shopping around but may also be related to your vehicle.
Comprehensive coverage because I couldn't afford to write a check and buy a new one if this one gets totaled or stolen.  Rates are high because I live in a suburb next to Detroit.  I'm with Progressive now, which was cheaper than State Farm and AAA which I had before.  When do you make the determination to drop to just Liability?

Netflix - 21 - Ditch the discs and go streaming only and you'll drop this to $8. Yes there are a few things you cannot get but I have yet to run out of things to watch.
I may end up doing that.  I bet they keep a few good movies/shows on one or the other to make people want both...

So rough potential savings are:
Cell - $30
Cable - $70
Gas - $150
Insurance - $300
Netflix - $12
Bowling - $200
Total potential savings - $762

Obviously you'll have to figure out the specifics but I see that as a big windfall. Even if you spend the same on bowling you can double your savings each month just by ditching the gas guzzler (assuming that is what you have based on the gas and insurance costs). Tweak as you see fit but this seems fairly easy to me.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 27, 2015, 02:22:19 PM
The title of your post is "Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???". Is WHAT going to be possible? Cutting expenses, sure. But then what? Do you want to stop working? Change jobs? Retire at 55? 65? 75?
I ask because maybe with a goal in mind you could be more motivated to save/make more money.

Sorry - I want to be able to retire in less than the 30 years that my calculations are showing.  I know that I won't be able to do it at 60 unless I find a job that DOUBLES my current salary.  But would I even be able to do it at *70*?  I don't know if I'm planning correctly.
I'd actually be happy changing careers to get out of IT, but I don't know what I could do that would bring my same income without another 20 years of working my way up...
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: JLee on January 27, 2015, 02:46:32 PM
Have you considered renting a room out in your house? I have a very similar income (also in IT) which is boosted $1100/mo by renting two rooms out in my 3br ($850/mo) house.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: boarder42 on January 27, 2015, 07:20:39 PM
If you're unwilling to cut your unnecessary spending then no it will take you forever and you will never retire. Is this the answer you're looking for because you're grossly over spending in a few areas as was pointed out and it appears you're unwilling to change those. If formula car race watching is worth working 15 more years and bowling is worth working 30 more years then just keep it up.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: thedayisbrave on January 27, 2015, 10:06:59 PM
Dude, dropping the gas down to $200 because "gas prices are lower" does NOT effectively mean you're spending any less money.  Your habits are still your habits, they're just being temporarily subsidized.  If we could all just adjust our budgets when circumstances favored it, well then it'd be a cake walk wouldn't it?

Sorry to be blunt but yeah, it doesn't really seem like you're willing to change.  That's the first step.  Others have already pointed out some pretty minor changes that wouldn't drastically hurt your quality of life but would give you way more dry powder - and you're still not really getting the point.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 27, 2015, 11:01:05 PM
Dude, dropping the gas down to $200 because "gas prices are lower" does NOT effectively mean you're spending any less money.  Your habits are still your habits, they're just being temporarily subsidized.  If we could all just adjust our budgets when circumstances favored it, well then it'd be a cake walk wouldn't it?

Sorry to be blunt but yeah, it doesn't really seem like you're willing to change.  That's the first step.  Others have already pointed out some pretty minor changes that wouldn't drastically hurt your quality of life but would give you way more dry powder - and you're still not really getting the point.

If I had listed the more accurate figure of $200 at first, it would have been close to an acceptable figure of $150, apparently.  So why isn't correcting my mistake acceptable?  I'll be looking for better cell phone and insurance plans, as well as cutting cable.  When it gets warmer I'm planning to bike to work in good weather(which wasn't even mentioned here as a suggestion).  I'm also looking at trying to cut my utilities.  How is that 'not willing to change'?  Granted, I'll never get to the level of saving as most here, but I'm working on it.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 27, 2015, 11:02:19 PM
If you're unwilling to cut your unnecessary spending then no it will take you forever and you will never retire. Is this the answer you're looking for because you're grossly over spending in a few areas as was pointed out and it appears you're unwilling to change those. If formula car race watching is worth working 15 more years and bowling is worth working 30 more years then just keep it up.

Sorry if it seems like I'm not listening to you guys.  I really AM working on it...
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: colganc on January 27, 2015, 11:15:50 PM
If you're unwilling to cut your unnecessary spending then no it will take you forever and you will never retire. Is this the answer you're looking for because you're grossly over spending in a few areas as was pointed out and it appears you're unwilling to change those. If formula car race watching is worth working 15 more years and bowling is worth working 30 more years then just keep it up.

Sorry if it seems like I'm not listening to you guys.  I really AM working on it...

How far is the bowling alley?  It sounds like you go there half as much as you go to work?  knowing the frequency and the distance may help in creating a strategy to minimize fuel costs further?
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: minority_finance_mo on January 27, 2015, 11:42:16 PM
What is the $30 jackpot on bowling? Is that like a bet? Can you (aka is it possible, not is it easy/comfortable) forgo the "jackpot" and just pay the $20/league/week?

That would be an easy way to cut the bowling expense (by $240) without reducing the amount of time spent on something you enjoy.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: colganc on January 28, 2015, 12:02:23 AM
Apologies if you already said, but would you be willing to point is to the metro area you live in?  Wil make it easier to tell if the electricity costs for example are high or used car prices to determine how much a different vehicle may help.

What at your residence is running off electricity?  Water heat?  Dryer? Etc.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: Setters-r-Better on January 28, 2015, 05:29:26 AM
Can you do one bowling league instead of two?  Working part time at the bowling alley was an excellent suggestion. Could you find a job that pays better?  You should stop charity until you feel comfortable with your own finances.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 28, 2015, 07:26:27 AM

How far is the bowling alley?  It sounds like you go there half as much as you go to work?  knowing the frequency and the distance may help in creating a strategy to minimize fuel costs further?

One is 6.7 miles away, and the other is 8.6 miles away.  At one point I considered leaving my equipment there and biking, but since I'm at two different centers that won't work yet.  If I drop to one league next season, then that at least becomes a possibility.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 28, 2015, 07:30:23 AM
What is the $30 jackpot on bowling? Is that like a bet? Can you (aka is it possible, not is it easy/comfortable) forgo the "jackpot" and just pay the $20/league/week?

That would be an easy way to cut the bowling expense (by $240) without reducing the amount of time spent on something you enjoy.

Yes, it's possible to just pay the dues.  I've done that on occasion when I didn't have enough cash for the jackpots.  Of course, that's the time I bowl well enough that I would have won ALL the money if I was in the jackpots....  :-(
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: thd7t on January 28, 2015, 07:31:57 AM
I'm going to chime in in favor of keeping your bowling.  This is clearly something that you love.  I would gather that it's a big part of your social life as well.  It is expensive, but you have other expenses that can be easily cut. 

EDIT: Even keep jackpots.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 28, 2015, 07:36:15 AM
Apologies if you already said, but would you be willing to point is to the metro area you live in?  Wil make it easier to tell if the electricity costs for example are high or used car prices to determine how much a different vehicle may help.

What at your residence is running off electricity?  Water heat?  Dryer? Etc.

Metro Detroit area(Oakland County).  Stove and oven are electric.  Water heater, furnace, and dryer are gas.  I'm working on lowering the thermostat on the furnace to see how much that helps.  The dryer is new, so it should be pretty efficient.  But I can try hanging a percentage of the laundry to dry and see what effect it has.  I have CFLs for the lights that I use most often.  Would LEDs be better?
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 28, 2015, 07:42:14 AM
What is the mysterious $100 of "spending money"? Can that be reduced to $0 since the other categories already cover everything that you need to spend money on?

Also, are you sure you can afford to donate $100 per month to charity? That seems extremely generous for somebody who still has to work for a living.

The spending money usually ends up being spent on fast food or snacks.  So yeah, it could be eliminated.  I'm surprised that several people have mentioned dropping the charity.  I'm not Christian(so it isn't tithing), but I've always thought that giving was the 'human' thing to do(for lack of a better word).  And I'm not even at the 10% that I think is appropriate.  But...since charity isn't necessary for my existence, I guess it could be eliminated...
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 28, 2015, 07:46:34 AM
Can you do one bowling league instead of two?  Working part time at the bowling alley was an excellent suggestion. Could you find a job that pays better?  You should stop charity until you feel comfortable with your own finances.

I'm looking for a better-paying job, but I haven't been able to find one yet.  In fact, the one I have now followed 13 months of unemployment, and I had to take a $22,000 pay cut for THIS.  The other job were $10,000(or more) lower...
If I could even find one at the same salary, but within WALKING distance, that would still help a lot.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 28, 2015, 07:56:57 AM
Had a question about insurance that I forgot to ask.  Currently, I have
Comprehensive with $1000 deductible
Collision with $1000 deductible
$50K each person, $100K each accident - bodily injury/property damage liability
$50K each person.$100K each accident - uninsured motorist
PIP, limited property, property protection, and roadside assistance

Are those levels of coverage reasonable, or should I drop those as well while shopping companies?  When do you make the determination to drop comprehensive($33) and/or collision($85).  Those amounts are for 6 months, not one.
And I just noticed something called MMCA assessment recoupment and Statutory assessment recoupment that are apparently required in Michigan.  Those are $93 and $8.50 respectively(for 6 months).  Geez...
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: morning owl on January 28, 2015, 08:06:24 AM
Also, are you sure you can afford to donate $100 per month to charity? That seems extremely generous for somebody who still has to work for a living.

Wow, this is interesting. So people who work shouldn't give money to charity? Only the people wealthy enough not to need work should give? Strongly disagree with that sentiment.

I am not Christian either but feel that charitable giving is important. This is a very personal choice. If charity is important to you, and you don't have a 'hair on fire' emergency debt situation, then it's fine to give if you really want to. Geez, I'd hate to think that a couple of anonymous comments online would make you give up something that makes you feel more human! But you need to figure out your priorities and goals and cut back accordingly. If you could figure out a way to cut the cost of bowling back, that would be a good place to start.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: colganc on January 28, 2015, 08:13:53 AM
Apologies if you already said, but would you be willing to point is to the metro area you live in?  Wil make it easier to tell if the electricity costs for example are high or used car prices to determine how much a different vehicle may help.

What at your residence is running off electricity?  Water heat?  Dryer? Etc.

Metro Detroit area(Oakland County).  Stove and oven are electric.  Water heater, furnace, and dryer are gas.  I'm working on lowering the thermostat on the furnace to see how much that helps.  The dryer is new, so it should be pretty efficient.  But I can try hanging a percentage of the laundry to dry and see what effect it has.  I have CFLs for the lights that I use most often.  Would LEDs be better?

Electric bill seems high.  Adjusting for electricity costs between Portland and Dettroit, my bill before I put solar up would average ~$50 per month.  My dryer is even electric and was accounting for a third of my power usage if I remember right.  Does your local library have the power usage tools that can be checked out?

Your cable box may consume a nice chunk of electricity when idle and increase your TV watching which depending on TV type would also consume a chunk.  If those are inefficient they may cost $.10 per hour which can add up fast. Averaging two hours a day of watching alone would add $6 per month, add in the vampiric drain and that might be another $3 or so.  Seems small but adds up.  If you cut your cable this may be another $10 of savings you would see.

Replacing CFL with LED is unlikely to have a meaningful pay back.  Run the numbers the next time one dies and it might make sense to replace them with LED going forward.

On the car, it looks like it may be valued between $1500 and $2000.  Briefly checking craigslist I see cars that may return 30mpg for you between $2500 and $3000.  I think that may save about $50 per month with current gas costs.  Pay back in gas could be had in one year.  Obviously there are other risks involved.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: colganc on January 28, 2015, 08:17:31 AM
What is the mysterious $100 of "spending money"? Can that be reduced to $0 since the other categories already cover everything that you need to spend money on?

Also, are you sure you can afford to donate $100 per month to charity? That seems extremely generous for somebody who still has to work for a living.

The spending money usually ends up being spent on fast food or snacks.  So yeah, it could be eliminated.  I'm surprised that several people have mentioned dropping the charity.  I'm not Christian(so it isn't tithing), but I've always thought that giving was the 'human' thing to do(for lack of a better word).  And I'm not even at the 10% that I think is appropriate.  But...since charity isn't necessary for my existence, I guess it could be eliminated...

Maybe you can donate time instead of money?  You will still be helping out, probably contributing more than $100 in time and can save the $100.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 28, 2015, 09:53:07 AM
Apologies if you already said, but would you be willing to point is to the metro area you live in?  Wil make it easier to tell if the electricity costs for example are high or used car prices to determine how much a different vehicle may help.

What at your residence is running off electricity?  Water heat?  Dryer? Etc.

Metro Detroit area(Oakland County).  Stove and oven are electric.  Water heater, furnace, and dryer are gas.  I'm working on lowering the thermostat on the furnace to see how much that helps.  The dryer is new, so it should be pretty efficient.  But I can try hanging a percentage of the laundry to dry and see what effect it has.  I have CFLs for the lights that I use most often.  Would LEDs be better?

Electric bill seems high.  Adjusting for electricity costs between Portland and Dettroit, my bill before I put solar up would average ~$50 per month.  My dryer is even electric and was accounting for a third of my power usage if I remember right.  Does your local library have the power usage tools that can be checked out?

Your cable box may consume a nice chunk of electricity when idle and increase your TV watching which depending on TV type would also consume a chunk.  If those are inefficient they may cost $.10 per hour which can add up fast. Averaging two hours a day of watching alone would add $6 per month, add in the vampiric drain and that might be another $3 or so.  Seems small but adds up.  If you cut your cable this may be another $10 of savings you would see.

Replacing CFL with LED is unlikely to have a meaningful pay back.  Run the numbers the next time one dies and it might make sense to replace them with LED going forward.

On the car, it looks like it may be valued between $1500 and $2000.  Briefly checking craigslist I see cars that may return 30mpg for you between $2500 and $3000.  I think that may save about $50 per month with current gas costs.  Pay back in gas could be had in one year.  Obviously there are other risks involved.

Yeah, I've never purchased a used car from an individual before, so there's some 'concern' about getting caught with a piece of junk.  I bought one from an auction house for my dad about 8 years ago, and that was a disaster...
Suggestions for a decent make/model?
Someone mentioned using ~530 kwh of electricity in a year, and my lowest usage was ~511kwh in a MONTH!  Granted, his home is smaller and a lot more efficient, but that's an unbelievable difference.  My best month uses more than 10 times his average?!?  I run 3 computers pretty much 24/7(servers- monitors are off most of the time), but others didn't seem to think that was the problem when I've mentioned them before.  And I don't recall any big difference when I shut them off for a month...  I have one of those 'kill a watt' devices that MMM recommended a while ago, but I could never get any useful data from it.  I'll try it again.  The DTE site shows an average home using $70 of energy from 12/13/14 to 1/5/15, and mine used $115.  What's that, 64% higher?  Yow... 
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: horsepoor on January 28, 2015, 10:18:24 AM
Can you do one bowling league instead of two?  Working part time at the bowling alley was an excellent suggestion. Could you find a job that pays better?  You should stop charity until you feel comfortable with your own finances.

I'm looking for a better-paying job, but I haven't been able to find one yet.  In fact, the one I have now followed 13 months of unemployment, and I had to take a $22,000 pay cut for THIS.  The other job were $10,000(or more) lower...
If I could even find one at the same salary, but within WALKING distance, that would still help a lot.

How much could you rent your house for?  Could you save money by renting out your house and getting a cheaper apartment very close to work?  Utilities savings could be significant on an apartment, too, so don't forget to factor that potential savings in.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: Milizard on January 28, 2015, 07:12:51 PM
What is the $30 jackpot on bowling? Is that like a bet? Can you (aka is it possible, not is it easy/comfortable) forgo the "jackpot" and just pay the $20/league/week?

That would be an easy way to cut the bowling expense (by $240) without reducing the amount of time spent on something you enjoy.


Yes, it's possible to just pay the dues.  I've done that on occasion when I didn't have enough cash for the jackpots.  Of course, that's the time I bowl well enough that I would have won ALL the money if I was in the jackpots....  :-(

What is your average?  I would suggest that you keep your bowling money separate to see how much you may be winning back.  Are your teams near the top of the roster, so that you'd get a lot back at the end of the season?
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 29, 2015, 11:04:39 AM
Can you do one bowling league instead of two?  Working part time at the bowling alley was an excellent suggestion. Could you find a job that pays better?  You should stop charity until you feel comfortable with your own finances.

I'm looking for a better-paying job, but I haven't been able to find one yet.  In fact, the one I have now followed 13 months of unemployment, and I had to take a $22,000 pay cut for THIS.  The other job were $10,000(or more) lower...
If I could even find one at the same salary, but within WALKING distance, that would still help a lot.

How much could you rent your house for?  Could you save money by renting out your house and getting a cheaper apartment very close to work?  Utilities savings could be significant on an apartment, too, so don't forget to factor that potential savings in.

Since I'm looking for another job right now, I'll delay finding an apartment.  Hopefully I can find something closer to the house.  But renting out the house may still be in the future.  I just have to figure out how to store all the stuff that's IN it....
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 29, 2015, 11:05:48 AM


What is your average?  I would suggest that you keep your bowling money separate to see how much you may be winning back.  Are your teams near the top of the roster, so that you'd get a lot back at the end of the season?

Highest is 225, and we're in first place in that league.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: cashstasherat23 on January 29, 2015, 11:18:25 AM
Can you do one bowling league instead of two?  Working part time at the bowling alley was an excellent suggestion. Could you find a job that pays better?  You should stop charity until you feel comfortable with your own finances.

I'm looking for a better-paying job, but I haven't been able to find one yet.  In fact, the one I have now followed 13 months of unemployment, and I had to take a $22,000 pay cut for THIS.  The other job were $10,000(or more) lower...
If I could even find one at the same salary, but within WALKING distance, that would still help a lot.

How much could you rent your house for?  Could you save money by renting out your house and getting a cheaper apartment very close to work?  Utilities savings could be significant on an apartment, too, so don't forget to factor that potential savings in.

Since I'm looking for another job right now, I'll delay finding an apartment.  Hopefully I can find something closer to the house.  But renting out the house may still be in the future.  I just have to figure out how to store all the stuff that's IN it....

Get rid of it! That will just add another expense of paying for storage...which if you are putting things into storage, you clearly don't need them. Sell them on Craigslist or Ebay and make a little profit instead of holding on to clutter.

Also RE the bike riding-the cold should not really be a factor in that. Bundle up really well, and once you get moving you will warm up! As long as the route is safe, you could definitely ride your bike the 13 miles to work. Why not do a test ride on a weekend day to see how it goes?
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: justajane on January 29, 2015, 11:34:33 AM
Add me to the list who think your electricity is high. We are a family of five in 1,800 square ft, and when we're not running the air conditioning, the bill can drop as low as $50. I know electricity prices vary, but we are in a Midwestern city as well. What's the square footage on your home?

Here's some troubleshooting -
Do you have a deep freeze? (one person shouldn't need one)
Are you running a humidifier or dehumidifier?
Are you electronics on a Smartswitch (http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Strip-Protector-Autoswitching-Technology/dp/B0006PUDQK)?

This will get you started, but you really should be able to get this number down.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: Gone Fishing on January 29, 2015, 11:41:43 AM
Do you have a friend that watches F1 racing?
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 29, 2015, 11:50:58 AM


Get rid of it! That will just add another expense of paying for storage...which if you are putting things into storage, you clearly don't need them. Sell them on Craigslist or Ebay and make a little profit instead of holding on to clutter.

Also RE the bike riding-the cold should not really be a factor in that. Bundle up really well, and once you get moving you will warm up! As long as the route is safe, you could definitely ride your bike the 13 miles to work. Why not do a test ride on a weekend day to see how it goes?

I've actually thrown away a bunch of stuff recently because no one was buying.  And I have some more that I'm trying to sell/give away/trash, because I don't use it and it's taking up space.  But I was mainly thinking of things that I *use*, but wouldn't have space for in an apartment.  Furniture, appliances, drum kit, keyboards, amps...  Although I guess I could leave the appliances for any renter.  I could probably stash my instruments at my dad's house temporarily.  I'm looking for a safe bike route to work.  I *definitely* need some better gloves.  For those who ride in cold weather, what's better than the Thinsulate brand that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?  I have a pair of those, and they're NO help. :-(
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 29, 2015, 12:07:02 PM
Add me to the list who think your electricity is high. We are a family of five in 1,800 square ft, and when we're not running the air conditioning, the bill can drop as low as $50. I know electricity prices vary, but we are in a Midwestern city as well. What's the square footage on your home?
About 1400 sqft.

Here's some troubleshooting -
Do you have a deep freeze? (one person shouldn't need one)
Nope.

Are you running a humidifier or dehumidifier?
No, but I *need* one.  Static electricity in the winter gets bad sometimes.

Are you electronics on a Smartswitch (http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Strip-Protector-Autoswitching-Technology/dp/B0006PUDQK)?
Thanks!  I have one for my computer, but the store I got it from stopped carrying it.  I hadn't thought of setting my TV/Stereo on one, darnit.  That should work!  I actually connected a kill-a-watt device to my TV/Stereo last night, so I'll check the power consumption when I get home from work.

This will get you started, but you really should be able to get this number down.
I'm also thinking about unplugging EVERYTHING(except for the fridge, oven and cooktop) and checking the meter to see if there's still any draw.  If these numbers are THAT far off, there has to be something else going on...
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 29, 2015, 12:12:32 PM
Do you have a friend that watches F1 racing?

No, but maybe I'll see if I can run another line in my dad's house to his basement, and setup my Media PC there.  He probably has every channel under the SUN...  If I can figure out how to access the thing remotely, that would also allow me to watch movies/shows that might not be on Netflix streaming.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: jaye_p on January 29, 2015, 01:07:27 PM
Just a few thoughts:
- ditch the cable and allow yourself only Netflix streaming.  If there are things on cable you really want to watch, wait a few months and then request the discs from your local library system.  If it's anything like ours, they will eventually have everything you want to see - you just won't be able to see it immediately. 
- hang up all laundry that doesn't need to be crease-free (in our house, we dry only my husband's work clothes and our towels - because scratchy towels are unpleasant).  Given your climate (similar to ours - OH), you'd be best off hanging laundry lines in the basement like we do, or getting folding drying racks.  It's amazing how much energy dryers use!
- cultivate a friend who watches Formula 1 racing, and bring drinks or munchies to viewings, or find a local sports bar that plays the races?  (I've never been in a sports bar, so I'm not sure if they show races).
- cut the $100 ready-made food spending budget and either cook all of your own food, or swap skills with a friend:  s/he cooks for you X number of times a week, you do something comparable for him/her using your skill set.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: Mazzinator on January 29, 2015, 01:19:12 PM
Can you do one bowling league instead of two?  Working part time at the bowling alley was an excellent suggestion. Could you find a job that pays better?  You should stop charity until you feel comfortable with your own finances.

I'm looking for a better-paying job, but I haven't been able to find one yet.  In fact, the one I have now followed 13 months of unemployment, and I had to take a $22,000 pay cut for THIS.  The other job were $10,000(or more) lower...
If I could even find one at the same salary, but within WALKING distance, that would still help a lot.

How much could you rent your house for?  Could you save money by renting out your house and getting a cheaper apartment very close to work?  Utilities savings could be significant on an apartment, too, so don't forget to factor that potential savings in.

Since I'm looking for another job right now, I'll delay finding an apartment.  Hopefully I can find something closer to the house.  But renting out the house may still be in the future.  I just have to figure out how to store all the stuff that's IN it....

I'll ask again, like horsepoor..

How much could you rent your house for?
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 29, 2015, 02:19:52 PM


I'll ask again, like horsepoor..

How much could you rent your house for?

To be honest, I don't know.  I think that when I checked last time, some places were renting for $850-$950.  But I really don't remember.  I'd have to check again.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: Scandium on January 29, 2015, 02:29:33 PM
I checked the TV, PS3 and HTPC with a kill-a-watt and found about 0 W draw when off. So a smart switch is a waste. The DVR draw some, but turning that off would reset it every time so a huge pain, and you should ditch cable anyway..

Tried hang drying clothes but made them smell. A dryer is about $1/run. We use it 1-2x per week (usually once) so $50-100 per year. I'll live with that over stiff, stinky towels.

Certainly think about it, but I think you have better places to cut.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: BBub on January 29, 2015, 02:49:56 PM
Yes it's possible.

You aren't factoring Social Security into your retirement income calculations.  Let's assume you can utilize some suggestions here to get expenses down to about $2,200/mo while working.  You now have an extra $1k/mo to save.

And, let's assume you will receive $1k/mo Social Security at age 62*.  At age 62 you will need a $360k stash to provide the additional $1.2k.  Your current stash of $226k will reach $368,130 in 10 years at a 5% rate of return.  Old age retirement is taken care of.

Now, work the numbers to see how/when you can bridge the gap.   My calculations work out to about 7 years.  If you save $12k/yr for 7 years at 5%, you'll have about $98k.  Add that to your Roth & you're at about $415k in total assets.  Spend down $26,400 for the next 3 years.  Your total portfolio value is approx $400k.

So, you will be 62 with a $400k portfolio which you will draw $14,400/yr.  The other $12k/yr will come from social security.

Check your actual benefit amounts & run the numbers.  This was just a hypothetical based on some assumptions - your situation may turn out better or worse depending on your benefit amount.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: SantaFeSteve on January 29, 2015, 04:14:11 PM
Had a question about insurance that I forgot to ask.  Currently, I have
Comprehensive with $1000 deductible
Collision with $1000 deductible
$50K each person, $100K each accident - bodily injury/property damage liability
$50K each person.$100K each accident - uninsured motorist
PIP, limited property, property protection, and roadside assistance

Are those levels of coverage reasonable, or should I drop those as well while shopping companies?  When do you make the determination to drop comprehensive($33) and/or collision($85).  Those amounts are for 6 months, not one.
And I just noticed something called MMCA assessment recoupment and Statutory assessment recoupment that are apparently required in Michigan.  Those are $93 and $8.50 respectively(for 6 months).  Geez...

Ok, your car insurance is RIDICULOUS! you are driving a very old car worth, how much? Maybe $1,000?  Immediately drop your collision insurance completely, it is doing you ZERO good.
I would also consider dropping your uninsured motorist coverage and other limits. 
Michigan is a "True" no-fault state.  This means that it doesn't matter what type of accident you are involved in, your insurance pays for you.  Are you a good driver?  Do you have tickets, accidents?  If not, then you should lower those limits and save yourself a ton of money. 

Shop, Shop, SHOP for better rates, but in the mean time you need to immediately drop your collision and I would also drop the comprehensive.  Think about the vehicle you are insuring, with a $1,000 deductible.  You are on the hook for almost the entire value of the car no matter what, so why pay for insurance you will never collect?!?

edit KBB value is roughly $2,500.  That said you are still WAY over insured on this car.  Do you have $1,000 for the deductible? If you do then that is your next vehicle if you happen to total your.  If not, then that is an important step in getting your house in order.   
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 29, 2015, 11:14:16 PM

Ok, your car insurance is RIDICULOUS! you are driving a very old car worth, how much? Maybe $1,000?  Immediately drop your collision insurance completely, it is doing you ZERO good.
I would also consider dropping your uninsured motorist coverage and other limits. 
Michigan is a "True" no-fault state.  This means that it doesn't matter what type of accident you are involved in, your insurance pays for you.  Are you a good driver?  Do you have tickets, accidents?  If not, then you should lower those limits and save yourself a ton of money. 
Last ticket was probably a little more than 3 years ago.  No accidents in...a LONG time.

Shop, Shop, SHOP for better rates, but in the mean time you need to immediately drop your collision and I would also drop the comprehensive.  Think about the vehicle you are insuring, with a $1,000 deductible.  You are on the hook for almost the entire value of the car no matter what, so why pay for insurance you will never collect?!?

edit KBB value is roughly $2,500.  That said you are still WAY over insured on this car.  Do you have $1,000 for the deductible? If you do then that is your next vehicle if you happen to total your.  If not, then that is an important step in getting your house in order.   

Ok, that makes sense.  That's one of the things I was wondering - when do you make the determination to drop comprehensive, etc.  Yes, I have a BEF with about $1500 in it for now.  So if this one gets totaled would they just give me the $1500 about the deductible and I'd try to find another $2500 car?  I just paid the 6-month policy, so I wonder if I could get the difference in premium as a refund?  Have you ever heard of an insurance company even GIVING such a refund?
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 29, 2015, 11:19:29 PM
Add me to the list who think your electricity is high. We are a family of five in 1,800 square ft, and when we're not running the air conditioning, the bill can drop as low as $50. I know electricity prices vary, but we are in a Midwestern city as well. What's the square footage on your home?

Here's some troubleshooting -
Do you have a deep freeze? (one person shouldn't need one)
Are you running a humidifier or dehumidifier?
Are you electronics on a Smartswitch (http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Strip-Protector-Autoswitching-Technology/dp/B0006PUDQK)?

This will get you started, but you really should be able to get this number down.

Well, it isn't my TV/Stereo as vampires.  I had the kill-a-watt connected for 24 hours, and the equipment in the 'off' state only used .5kwh.  So about 15kwh in a month.  THAT certainly isn't getting me to 500+ khw per month.  I'm not even sure it's all the furnace, because my power usage is still 500kwh even in the summer.  I'll keep checking.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: mxt0133 on January 29, 2015, 11:20:07 PM
Tried hang drying clothes but made them smell. A dryer is about $1/run. We use it 1-2x per week (usually once) so $50-100 per year. I'll live with that over stiff, stinky towels.

Have you tried drying your clothes and then running them in the dryer for 10 minutes?  This should remove the stiffness and smell.  That way you don't have to run a full cycle each time and cut down your cost from $50-$100 to something like $20-$50.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: DCJrMustachian on January 30, 2015, 12:44:31 AM
You asked earlier about using 7% interest rate calculation.  US stocks are volatile in any given day, but return 7% on average over a long period of time (http://www.thesimpledollar.com/where-does-7-come-from-when-it-comes-to-long-term-stock-returns/), such as ten years.  So if the savings you have invested is in a low-expense index fund, you will have earned around 7% by the day you retire.

Obviously paying nearly $100/month just to watch Formula 1 racing is ridiculous.  Instead of paying $12,000 (per decade) to watch the races, why not buy yourself and one of your friends a flight to go watch the race in person once per year?  Internet only cable and a DVR at your family members house would be cheaper too.

When it comes to your car, I think you need to think even more critically about your situation.  You are driving thousands of miles in a relatively large gas guzzler.  You could sell it and buy a used $3,000 car that gets twice the mileage.  If you can get $2500 for your car and halve your gas costs that trade will pay for itself after the first month.  Then buy the minimum amount of insurance that is legally allowed.  The insurance company sells you the "peace of mind" concept, but the concept is hollow compared to a better alternative... having your own money wisely invested.

I really think you should be a bit more strategic about your driving.  Each time you drive one mile, think about how it burns 50 of your hard-earned cents*. 

Could you move closer to work and the bowling alley?

You will have to be flexible and give up the pleasures and conveniences which $$ you too high a price.  I suggest reading this blog from beginning to end.  Get some books on stoicism.  You can change your mindframe so that instead of justifying your current behavior, you can ask yourself better questions, and get out of the sucka-consumer mentality.

Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
becomes
It is possible if I make it happen

* Where does this figure come from?  The IRS dilligently calculates the total cost of vehicle ownership:
http://www.irs.gov/2014-Standard-Mileage-Rates-for-Business,-Medical-and-Moving-Announced
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: Scandium on January 30, 2015, 03:54:18 AM

Ok, your car insurance is RIDICULOUS! you are driving a very old car worth, how much? Maybe $1,000?  Immediately drop your collision insurance completely, it is doing you ZERO good.
I would also consider dropping your uninsured motorist coverage and other limits. 
Michigan is a "True" no-fault state.  This means that it doesn't matter what type of accident you are involved in, your insurance pays for you.  Are you a good driver?  Do you have tickets, accidents?  If not, then you should lower those limits and save yourself a ton of money. 
Last ticket was probably a little more than 3 years ago.  No accidents in...a LONG time.

Shop, Shop, SHOP for better rates, but in the mean time you need to immediately drop your collision and I would also drop the comprehensive.  Think about the vehicle you are insuring, with a $1,000 deductible.  You are on the hook for almost the entire value of the car no matter what, so why pay for insurance you will never collect?!?

edit KBB value is roughly $2,500.  That said you are still WAY over insured on this car.  Do you have $1,000 for the deductible? If you do then that is your next vehicle if you happen to total your.  If not, then that is an important step in getting your house in order.   

Ok, that makes sense.  That's one of the things I was wondering - when do you make the determination to drop comprehensive, etc.  Yes, I have a BEF with about $1500 in it for now.  So if this one gets totaled would they just give me the $1500 about the deductible and I'd try to find another $2500 car?  I just paid the 6-month policy, so I wonder if I could get the difference in premium as a refund?  Have you ever heard of an insurance company even GIVING such a refund?
Yes they will refund you the difference
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: colganc on January 30, 2015, 08:32:01 AM
Apologies if you already said, but would you be willing to point is to the metro area you live in?  Wil make it easier to tell if the electricity costs for example are high or used car prices to determine how much a different vehicle may help.

What at your residence is running off electricity?  Water heat?  Dryer? Etc.

Metro Detroit area(Oakland County).  Stove and oven are electric.  Water heater, furnace, and dryer are gas.  I'm working on lowering the thermostat on the furnace to see how much that helps.  The dryer is new, so it should be pretty efficient.  But I can try hanging a percentage of the laundry to dry and see what effect it has.  I have CFLs for the lights that I use most often.  Would LEDs be better?

Electric bill seems high.  Adjusting for electricity costs between Portland and Dettroit, my bill before I put solar up would average ~$50 per month.  My dryer is even electric and was accounting for a third of my power usage if I remember right.  Does your local library have the power usage tools that can be checked out?

Your cable box may consume a nice chunk of electricity when idle and increase your TV watching which depending on TV type would also consume a chunk.  If those are inefficient they may cost $.10 per hour which can add up fast. Averaging two hours a day of watching alone would add $6 per month, add in the vampiric drain and that might be another $3 or so.  Seems small but adds up.  If you cut your cable this may be another $10 of savings you would see.

Replacing CFL with LED is unlikely to have a meaningful pay back.  Run the numbers the next time one dies and it might make sense to replace them with LED going forward.

On the car, it looks like it may be valued between $1500 and $2000.  Briefly checking craigslist I see cars that may return 30mpg for you between $2500 and $3000.  I think that may save about $50 per month with current gas costs.  Pay back in gas could be had in one year.  Obviously there are other risks involved.

Yeah, I've never purchased a used car from an individual before, so there's some 'concern' about getting caught with a piece of junk.  I bought one from an auction house for my dad about 8 years ago, and that was a disaster...
Suggestions for a decent make/model?
Someone mentioned using ~530 kwh of electricity in a year, and my lowest usage was ~511kwh in a MONTH!  Granted, his home is smaller and a lot more efficient, but that's an unbelievable difference.  My best month uses more than 10 times his average?!?  I run 3 computers pretty much 24/7(servers- monitors are off most of the time), but others didn't seem to think that was the problem when I've mentioned them before.  And I don't recall any big difference when I shut them off for a month...  I have one of those 'kill a watt' devices that MMM recommended a while ago, but I could never get any useful data from it.  I'll try it again.  The DTE site shows an average home using $70 of energy from 12/13/14 to 1/5/15, and mine used $115.  What's that, 64% higher?  Yow...

Check the servers with the kill a watt, depending on how the computers are being used, they can really use electricity.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: SantaFeSteve on January 30, 2015, 09:36:09 AM

Ok, your car insurance is RIDICULOUS! you are driving a very old car worth, how much? Maybe $1,000?  Immediately drop your collision insurance completely, it is doing you ZERO good.
I would also consider dropping your uninsured motorist coverage and other limits. 
Michigan is a "True" no-fault state.  This means that it doesn't matter what type of accident you are involved in, your insurance pays for you.  Are you a good driver?  Do you have tickets, accidents?  If not, then you should lower those limits and save yourself a ton of money. 
Last ticket was probably a little more than 3 years ago.  No accidents in...a LONG time.

Shop, Shop, SHOP for better rates, but in the mean time you need to immediately drop your collision and I would also drop the comprehensive.  Think about the vehicle you are insuring, with a $1,000 deductible.  You are on the hook for almost the entire value of the car no matter what, so why pay for insurance you will never collect?!?

edit KBB value is roughly $2,500.  That said you are still WAY over insured on this car.  Do you have $1,000 for the deductible? If you do then that is your next vehicle if you happen to total your.  If not, then that is an important step in getting your house in order.   

Ok, that makes sense.  That's one of the things I was wondering - when do you make the determination to drop comprehensive, etc.  Yes, I have a BEF with about $1500 in it for now.  So if this one gets totaled would they just give me the $1500 about the deductible and I'd try to find another $2500 car?  I just paid the 6-month policy, so I wonder if I could get the difference in premium as a refund?  Have you ever heard of an insurance company even GIVING such a refund?
Yes they will refund you the difference
Yes, they will refund you the unused portion of the insurance.

Extremely tangential, but magazine publishers will also issue you a refund for a cancelled subscription based on the unused portion. 
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: rugorak on January 30, 2015, 09:50:07 AM
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-son-of-the-superguide!/

Even with a 20% discount at work I was paying an $81 cell phone bill before. Now I am paying $27 a month for unlimited minutes/texts and 500mb data. Since I am on wifi at home and work I rarely come anywhere near the 500mb. Not as badass as many on here but for me shaving any more off the cost isn't worth the effort. It is my only phone too.



Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: frugaldrummer on January 30, 2015, 10:04:17 AM
Quote
Well, it isn't my TV/Stereo as vampires.  I had the kill-a-watt connected for 24 hours, and the equipment in the 'off' state only used .5kwh.  So about 15kwh in a month.  THAT certainly isn't getting me to 500+ khw per month.  I'm not even sure it's all the furnace, because my power usage is still 500kwh even in the summer.  I'll keep checking.

Refrigerator - check that the coils are clean and dusted, that the seals are intact etc.  Can be a big energy drain.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 30, 2015, 01:10:15 PM

Ok, your car insurance is RIDICULOUS! you are driving a very old car worth, how much? Maybe $1,000?  Immediately drop your collision insurance completely, it is doing you ZERO good.
I would also consider dropping your uninsured motorist coverage and other limits. 
Michigan is a "True" no-fault state.  This means that it doesn't matter what type of accident you are involved in, your insurance pays for you.  Are you a good driver?  Do you have tickets, accidents?  If not, then you should lower those limits and save yourself a ton of money. 

Shop, Shop, SHOP for better rates, but in the mean time you need to immediately drop your collision and I would also drop the comprehensive.  Think about the vehicle you are insuring, with a $1,000 deductible.  You are on the hook for almost the entire value of the car no matter what, so why pay for insurance you will never collect?!?

edit KBB value is roughly $2,500.  That said you are still WAY over insured on this car.  Do you have $1,000 for the deductible? If you do then that is your next vehicle if you happen to total your.  If not, then that is an important step in getting your house in order.   

Ok, HERE'S some ridiculousness.  Changing some of my insurance 'settings' would make some of the premiums higher, even though the overall amount drops.
Bodily injury/property - changing from 50k/100k to 20k/40k increases it by $12...WTF?
PIP goes up $10
Limited damage goes up $1
Roadside assistance goes up $6
Overall, the rate would drop from $613.50 to $499.50, and I'd get a refund of about $78

I'm curious about the Uninsured Motorist section.  This says that they would provide payment for injuries to me if I was hit by an uninsured/underinsured motorist.  So don't I need that?  If someone who hits me doesn't have insurance, then I'd have to pay for medical care on my own, right?


Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: caliq on January 30, 2015, 01:21:18 PM

Ok, your car insurance is RIDICULOUS! you are driving a very old car worth, how much? Maybe $1,000?  Immediately drop your collision insurance completely, it is doing you ZERO good.
I would also consider dropping your uninsured motorist coverage and other limits. 
Michigan is a "True" no-fault state.  This means that it doesn't matter what type of accident you are involved in, your insurance pays for you.  Are you a good driver?  Do you have tickets, accidents?  If not, then you should lower those limits and save yourself a ton of money. 
Last ticket was probably a little more than 3 years ago.  No accidents in...a LONG time.

Shop, Shop, SHOP for better rates, but in the mean time you need to immediately drop your collision and I would also drop the comprehensive.  Think about the vehicle you are insuring, with a $1,000 deductible.  You are on the hook for almost the entire value of the car no matter what, so why pay for insurance you will never collect?!?

edit KBB value is roughly $2,500.  That said you are still WAY over insured on this car.  Do you have $1,000 for the deductible? If you do then that is your next vehicle if you happen to total your.  If not, then that is an important step in getting your house in order.   

Ok, that makes sense.  That's one of the things I was wondering - when do you make the determination to drop comprehensive, etc.  Yes, I have a BEF with about $1500 in it for now.  So if this one gets totaled would they just give me the $1500 about the deductible and I'd try to find another $2500 car?  I just paid the 6-month policy, so I wonder if I could get the difference in premium as a refund?  Have you ever heard of an insurance company even GIVING such a refund?

They should give you a refund for overpayment if you change your policy before it expires.  At least, Geico does.  I've gotten two separate refunds from them.   
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 30, 2015, 01:44:54 PM
You asked earlier about using 7% interest rate calculation.  US stocks are volatile in any given day, but return 7% on average over a long period of time (http://www.thesimpledollar.com/where-does-7-come-from-when-it-comes-to-long-term-stock-returns/), such as ten years.  So if the savings you have invested is in a low-expense index fund, you will have earned around 7% by the day you retire.

Obviously paying nearly $100/month just to watch Formula 1 racing is ridiculous.  Instead of paying $12,000 (per decade) to watch the races, why not buy yourself and one of your friends a flight to go watch the race in person once per year?  Internet only cable and a DVR at your family members house would be cheaper too.
I wish I *could* go to a European Gran Prix.  Maybe in my NEXT life...

When it comes to your car, I think you need to think even more critically about your situation.  You are driving thousands of miles in a relatively large gas guzzler.  You could sell it and buy a used $3,000 car that gets twice the mileage.  If you can get $2500 for your car and halve your gas costs that trade will pay for itself after the first month.  Then buy the minimum amount of insurance that is legally allowed.  The insurance company sells you the "peace of mind" concept, but the concept is hollow compared to a better alternative... having your own money wisely invested.
A Malibu is relatively large?  I've always seen it as a SMALL car.  Hell, I had a Grand Am before this one!  And the fact that it was free(inherited from Mom) meant that I never had to worry about payments.  So what kind of car would you recommend?  I think *legally* I could get away with simple 'liability' for insurance.  But what about the possibility of being sued by someone for damages/medical expense?  Or maybe that would put *me* in the category of 'uninsured motorist', and THEIR ins. company would have to cover it?  Hmmm...

I really think you should be a bit more strategic about your driving.  Each time you drive one mile, think about how it burns 50 of your hard-earned cents*. 

Could you move closer to work and the bowling alley?
They're in opposite directions(job is west, bowling is east), but I'm trying to find a different job.  If I can get one close enough that I don't need the car for work except in crappy weather, then that would 'free up' miles.  I got a call today from a former co-worker who has a line on a job that might pay $70k, but it may be farther away.(checking mapquest)
If it's at the main office, it would be 10 miles away by bike.

You will have to be flexible and give up the pleasures and conveniences which $$ you too high a price.  I suggest reading this blog from beginning to end.  Get some books on stoicism.  You can change your mindframe so that instead of justifying your current behavior, you can ask yourself better questions, and get out of the sucka-consumer mentality.
I've already gotten out of the debt rat race(which others consider 'normal'), and I'm now living within my means.  At one point I had $65,000 of credit card and student loan debt, and paid it off in a little more than 5 years.  Fortunately I had gotten most of that paid off when I was laid off for 13 months.  I'm done with credit cards, car loans, etc. FOREVER.

Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
becomes
It is possible if I make it happen

* Where does this figure come from?  The IRS dilligently calculates the total cost of vehicle ownership:
http://www.irs.gov/2014-Standard-Mileage-Rates-for-Business,-Medical-and-Moving-Announced
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: horsepoor on January 30, 2015, 02:04:58 PM

A Malibu is relatively large?  I've always seen it as a SMALL car.  Hell, I had a Grand Am before this one!  And the fact that it was free(inherited from Mom) meant that I never had to worry about payments.  So what kind of car would you recommend?  I think *legally* I could get away with simple 'liability' for insurance.  But what about the possibility of being sued by someone for damages/medical expense?  Or maybe that would put *me* in the category of 'uninsured motorist', and THEIR ins. company would have to cover it?  Hmmm...

That IS what the liability is for - to pay for damage caused by you to other persons or property.  That is where I don't scrimp, and actually go for 100K/300K liability.  Comprehensive is for like, your car is hail damaged or a tree falls on it.  Collision insurance covers repairs to your car in, well, a collision.

A small car is like a Toyota Yaris or a Scion xB.  Tiny hatchbacks are surprisingly versatile and much more economical on fuel.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: DCJrMustachian on January 30, 2015, 07:45:18 PM
I wish I *could* go to a European Gran Prix.  Maybe in my NEXT life...
If this is important to you, think about how easy it will be to make it happen when you have the cash in the bank from altering your lifestyle!  Perhaps you could find someone who feels that they "live a little too close to the track" to trade houses!

A Malibu is relatively large?  I've always seen it as a SMALL car.  Hell, I had a Grand Am before this one!  And the fact that it was free(inherited from Mom) meant that I never had to worry about payments.  So what kind of car would you recommend?

Unfortunately our society is all about spending so a car that gets 20-25mph is considered small by most people.  But because you have goals and you drive so much, your main criterion should be MPG.  A small Honda, Toyota, or Ford Focus hatchback would halve your fuel costs, and so would several models of Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Volkswagen, etc.  It's important to be flexible on the model so you can find the best used car deal.  You can see the EPA fuel consumption of just about any car here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml

I think *legally* I could get away with simple 'liability' for insurance.  But what about the possibility of being sued by someone for damages/medical expense?  Or maybe that would put *me* in the category of 'uninsured motorist', and THEIR ins. company would have to cover it?  Hmmm...

Your legally required insurance would cover any reasonable lawsuit.  The legally required minimums are high enough to cover most situations.  Your health insurance would cover you for any injuries.  If someone were to try to win a lawsuit against you for more, what money would they get?

In general insurance companies are selling an idea, covering their liabilities, operating costs and and profiting handsomely also.  The less insurance you have, the more of your own money you'll keep.

I've already gotten out of the debt rat race(which others consider 'normal'), and I'm now living within my means.  At one point I had $65,000 of credit card and student loan debt, and paid it off in a little more than 5 years.  Fortunately I had gotten most of that paid off when I was laid off for 13 months.  I'm done with credit cards, car loans, etc. FOREVER.

Way to go!  Debt can be a really big trap to those who don't calculate the costs
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on January 31, 2015, 09:38:12 PM


Unfortunately our society is all about spending so a car that gets 20-25mph is considered small by most people.  But because you have goals and you drive so much, your main criterion should be MPG.  A small Honda, Toyota, or Ford Focus hatchback would halve your fuel costs, and so would several models of Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Volkswagen, etc.  It's important to be flexible on the model so you can find the best used car deal.  You can see the EPA fuel consumption of just about any car here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml
It's a lot harder to find a suitable vehicle than I thought.  The ones that get 35mpg or more all cost more than $4000, at least in THIS area.  I found a Toyota Matrix for $2999, but that only gets 26 city/32 hwy.  I've seen Kia and Prius, but they're $5K or higher.  Haven't seen a Yaris yet.  I'm checking Cars.com, Edmunds.com, and Carmax.com.  Are there better sites than those?  I'll keep looking.


Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: horsepoor on January 31, 2015, 09:54:07 PM


Unfortunately our society is all about spending so a car that gets 20-25mph is considered small by most people.  But because you have goals and you drive so much, your main criterion should be MPG.  A small Honda, Toyota, or Ford Focus hatchback would halve your fuel costs, and so would several models of Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Volkswagen, etc.  It's important to be flexible on the model so you can find the best used car deal.  You can see the EPA fuel consumption of just about any car here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml
It's a lot harder to find a suitable vehicle than I thought.  The ones that get 35mpg or more all cost more than $4000, at least in THIS area.  I found a Toyota Matrix for $2999, but that only gets 26 city/32 hwy.  I've seen Kia and Prius, but they're $5K or higher.  Haven't seen a Yaris yet.  I'm checking Cars.com, Edmunds.com, and Carmax.com.  Are there better sites than those?  I'll keep looking.



Craigslist.  Private seller.  I mentioned a Scion and Yaris as the first small hatchbacks that popped into my head, but there aren't older models for those. A Civic or Corolla might be a better bet in the sub $3K range.  Something like this:  http://boise.craigslist.org/cto/4855870479.html

http://boise.craigslist.org/cto/4845733373.html

Remember the listed price is just ASKING price, and there is usually room to negotiate it down.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on February 01, 2015, 04:45:52 PM


Craigslist.  Private seller.  I mentioned a Scion and Yaris as the first small hatchbacks that popped into my head, but there aren't older models for those. A Civic or Corolla might be a better bet in the sub $3K range.  Something like this:  http://boise.craigslist.org/cto/4855870479.html

http://boise.craigslist.org/cto/4845733373.html

Remember the listed price is just ASKING price, and there is usually room to negotiate it down.

Ok, thanks!  Would a seller typically accept an offer 'contingent' on the sale of MY car?  Meaning, I couldn't pay for a new car until I sold MINE, unless I wait for a couple of months while I save up before I go shopping.  I saw a couple of Civics, but I don't have $3000 yet.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: horsepoor on February 01, 2015, 06:55:21 PM
No, I don't think a seller would.  Cars like that usually aren't too hard to sell.  Get your refund IP to like 4k then buy something and refill the refund when your car sells.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: trapezoid on February 03, 2015, 09:34:01 PM
Hi Eldred,

I don't think you should be aiming for extreme Mustachianism of total financial independence.  Frankly, I think you're too old, and you seem already to have figured out your joys in life.  Now you just need to focus in on them, and focus on setting up a life that allows you to enjoy them, worry-free.  Focussing on this goal will allow you to make the sacrifices required.

Save as much as you can, and pay down the mortgage as much as possible, but perhaps shift your vision of your golden years towards working as a part-time IT consultant rather than fully retired. You're 52 now.  If you're unlucky, you have 10 years left. If you're average, you have 20. If you're lucky, you have 30.  I'm not saying to throw caution to the wind.  I'm suggesting you start ruthlessly cutting the fat and living your best life right now.  If that life includes 17 bowling leagues, then go for it!  (But maybe considering buying a bowling alley)

Lets paint a picture of an ideal life:
- House paid off, financial peace of mind and a place to live.
- Enough money set aside that a health emergency for you or your dad is covered.
- A routine that involves bowling in two leagues (which you love and which is a great social network and de-stressor)
- A once a year road trip with a buddy to see the Grand Prix in Montreal.  It's not Europe, but it's still pretty awesome. 
- A once in a lifetime trip to Europe to see the Grand Prix.  Once in a lifetime.  Start saving now.  ;)
- A habit of giving back to your community.  This could be financially, as you do now, or by volunteering your time.

Strategies:
House: Getting a roommate might be a better option than trying to pinch pennies on heat and electricity.  You'd be surprised at the number of mature divorced men looking for an affordable, adult living arrangement.

The car is obviously a huge money pit.  Trade it in for a cheaper, more economical model asap, and re-negotiate your insurance while you're at it.  Use your bicycle or electrical bicycle exclusively for 8 months of the year.  Bonus: your health!

Bring down the cell phone bill, switch to streaming netflix, eliminate internet if possible, get rid of cable entirely.  It may amount to net zero savings to give up the cable if you spend it all on a road trip, but I can guarantee that there is no substitute for experiencing the Grand Prix in person. :)   

Start gradually building up your IT consulting business.  Aim to transition to a better more convenient IT job in two years at 54. Spend next 11 years in decent, convenient (biking distance) IT job with employer pension or matching savings plan.  All the while, work on your consulting on weekends, etc.  Age 65, start transitioning to only part time self-employed consulting. 

Enjoy!


Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: JLee on February 03, 2015, 10:06:56 PM
Apologies if you already said, but would you be willing to point is to the metro area you live in?  Wil make it easier to tell if the electricity costs for example are high or used car prices to determine how much a different vehicle may help.

What at your residence is running off electricity?  Water heat?  Dryer? Etc.

Metro Detroit area(Oakland County).  Stove and oven are electric.  Water heater, furnace, and dryer are gas.  I'm working on lowering the thermostat on the furnace to see how much that helps.  The dryer is new, so it should be pretty efficient.  But I can try hanging a percentage of the laundry to dry and see what effect it has.  I have CFLs for the lights that I use most often.  Would LEDs be better?

Electric bill seems high.  Adjusting for electricity costs between Portland and Dettroit, my bill before I put solar up would average ~$50 per month.  My dryer is even electric and was accounting for a third of my power usage if I remember right.  Does your local library have the power usage tools that can be checked out?

Your cable box may consume a nice chunk of electricity when idle and increase your TV watching which depending on TV type would also consume a chunk.  If those are inefficient they may cost $.10 per hour which can add up fast. Averaging two hours a day of watching alone would add $6 per month, add in the vampiric drain and that might be another $3 or so.  Seems small but adds up.  If you cut your cable this may be another $10 of savings you would see.

Replacing CFL with LED is unlikely to have a meaningful pay back.  Run the numbers the next time one dies and it might make sense to replace them with LED going forward.

On the car, it looks like it may be valued between $1500 and $2000.  Briefly checking craigslist I see cars that may return 30mpg for you between $2500 and $3000.  I think that may save about $50 per month with current gas costs.  Pay back in gas could be had in one year.  Obviously there are other risks involved.

Yeah, I've never purchased a used car from an individual before, so there's some 'concern' about getting caught with a piece of junk.  I bought one from an auction house for my dad about 8 years ago, and that was a disaster...
Suggestions for a decent make/model?
Someone mentioned using ~530 kwh of electricity in a year, and my lowest usage was ~511kwh in a MONTH!  Granted, his home is smaller and a lot more efficient, but that's an unbelievable difference.  My best month uses more than 10 times his average?!?  I run 3 computers pretty much 24/7(servers- monitors are off most of the time), but others didn't seem to think that was the problem when I've mentioned them before.  And I don't recall any big difference when I shut them off for a month...  I have one of those 'kill a watt' devices that MMM recommended a while ago, but I could never get any useful data from it.  I'll try it again.  The DTE site shows an average home using $70 of energy from 12/13/14 to 1/5/15, and mine used $115.  What's that, 64% higher?  Yow...

Check the servers with the kill a watt, depending on how the computers are being used, they can really use electricity.

If we're talking legitimate rack-mount / enterprise grade servers, they can use a LOT of power.

I wish I *could* go to a European Gran Prix.  Maybe in my NEXT life...
If this is important to you, think about how easy it will be to make it happen when you have the cash in the bank from altering your lifestyle!  Perhaps you could find someone who feels that they "live a little too close to the track" to trade houses!

A Malibu is relatively large?  I've always seen it as a SMALL car.  Hell, I had a Grand Am before this one!  And the fact that it was free(inherited from Mom) meant that I never had to worry about payments.  So what kind of car would you recommend?

Unfortunately our society is all about spending so a car that gets 20-25mph is considered small by most people.  But because you have goals and you drive so much, your main criterion should be MPG.  A small Honda, Toyota, or Ford Focus hatchback would halve your fuel costs, and so would several models of Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Volkswagen, etc.  It's important to be flexible on the model so you can find the best used car deal.  You can see the EPA fuel consumption of just about any car here: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/findacar.shtml

I think *legally* I could get away with simple 'liability' for insurance.  But what about the possibility of being sued by someone for damages/medical expense?  Or maybe that would put *me* in the category of 'uninsured motorist', and THEIR ins. company would have to cover it?  Hmmm...

Your legally required insurance would cover any reasonable lawsuit.  The legally required minimums are high enough to cover most situations.  Your health insurance would cover you for any injuries.  If someone were to try to win a lawsuit against you for more, what money would they get?

In general insurance companies are selling an idea, covering their liabilities, operating costs and and profiting handsomely also.  The less insurance you have, the more of your own money you'll keep.

I've already gotten out of the debt rat race(which others consider 'normal'), and I'm now living within my means.  At one point I had $65,000 of credit card and student loan debt, and paid it off in a little more than 5 years.  Fortunately I had gotten most of that paid off when I was laid off for 13 months.  I'm done with credit cards, car loans, etc. FOREVER.

Way to go!  Debt can be a really big trap to those who don't calculate the costs

The legal minimum for insurance in AZ is $10k for property damage.  That is not nearly enough.  States will vary!
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: C_Shof on February 04, 2015, 09:46:41 AM
I have too much to say for one response. Apparently there's a max character limit to cap babblers like me... but whatever, here's the 1st of two posts. 0:-)

Eldred,

First of all, congrats on paying down such a tremendous credit card debt! I'm a big proponent of credit cards & cc rewards though and with a little more planning, discipline and financial security, which you're clearly working towards, you should consider cc’s as a part of your financial planning. They have their place.

I agree with others (cut cable), but my primary itch to respond here is regarding your auto insurance situation. PLEASE call to schedule an appointment to meet with your insurance agent to discuss your coverage & needs as it sounds like you need to better understand them.

While I'm not licensed any longer, nor was I ever licensed in MI, I do have insurance background and will throw this out there as MANY people don't understand what they're paying for, or risking, in their selection/omission of coverage.

First of all-- YOUR CREDIT MATTERS. The lower your credit rating, the more you'll pay for your auto and home ins. premiums. Other factors are claims & tickets, as others referenced. Perhaps you need to work on your credit (hence my opinion on the usage of credit cards responsibly, which should help one's credit score).  You mentioned that your last ticket was "about" 3 years ago. Three is a magic # for insurance providers, for the # of years they’ll rate you for things. Older than 3 yrs, it  'fall off your record' & you’ll no longer be rated for it. If your current renewal period (6 months) is during that 3 yr anniversary, they may not have stopped rating you for that ticket yet. You can ask if you're being rated for a ticket. (It's slightly possible that they haven't pulled your MVR in 3+ years though which would mean that ticket is a moot point.) They will not change your premium mid-term or before a renewal if a ticket or claim falls off, it will happen at the next renewal.

I would keep your Medical Payments or PIP for a while until you've built up a better emergency cushion, mainly because this will protect you as a pedestrian which I THINK includes as a cyclist, if you're hit. It will help with a health insurance deductible.

RE: when you start cycling to work advise your ins. co. of your new reduced usage, which will lower your rate. They may ask for your odometer reading to compare to in another 6 months to verify you're not lying.

I agree to eliminate, at least temporarily, the $100 charity contribution as you desperately need to start saving for another car, IMO. If you're not prepared in the event you need to replace it, you'll be the one needing charity. (kidding! kind of.)  Use all of your additional savings from these tips towards this financial goal. (Yes, air-drying your clothes was a thought I had too, which will add moisture to your indoor air = free humidifier you wanted!) 

Actuaries get paid a lot of money for what they do, and while I'm not one of them, I assume your quote for lowering your ins. coverage discovered an increased price (my guess) because statistically they see more claims made by those who carry those lower limits of coverage vs. those who carry a higher limit. Does that make sense? And remember, someone's credit is one of those rate-determining factors. I'm by no means defending this reasoning but if you think from the insurers perspective, they must see a correlation (at least enough to justify the rate differences) between responsible clients who carry more coverage or have higher credit vs. those who have lower limits and/or lower credit. 

It sounds like you understand that you'll only get the retail value of your car, less your $1k deductible, so as long as you're fine at paying your current premium level for that difference, then keep the coverage. Yes, part of insurance is selling the warm/fuzzy feeling of being covered but if it seriously helps you sleep better at night, then keep it-- it's up to you to determine a coverage's emotional value: fiscal value. I would always tell folks though, that once your car's retail value drops to approx. $2-3k then you should seriously consider dropping the collision coverage. This is your call, but you'll find more savings with my next suggestion or consideration...  (for another reply post)
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: C_Shof on February 04, 2015, 09:51:03 AM
I have too much to say for one response. Apparently there's a max character limit to cap babblers like me... but whatever, here's the 1st of two posts. 0:-)

Eldred,

First of all, congrats on paying down such a tremendous credit card debt! I'm a big proponent of credit cards & cc rewards though and with a little more planning, discipline and financial security, which you're clearly working towards, you should consider cc’s as a part of your financial planning. They have their place.

I agree with others (cut cable), but my primary itch to respond here is regarding your auto insurance situation. PLEASE call to schedule an appointment to meet with your insurance agent to discuss your coverage & needs as it sounds like you need to better understand them.

While I'm not licensed any longer, nor was I ever licensed in MI, I do have insurance background and will throw this out there as MANY people don't understand what they're paying for, or risking, in their selection/omission of coverage.

First of all-- YOUR CREDIT MATTERS. The lower your credit rating, the more you'll pay for your auto and home ins. premiums. Other factors are claims & tickets, as others referenced. Perhaps you need to work on your credit (hence my opinion on the usage of credit cards responsibly, which should help one's credit score).  You mentioned that your last ticket was "about" 3 years ago. Three is a magic # for insurance providers, for the # of years they’ll rate you for things. Older than 3 yrs, it  'fall off your record' & you’ll no longer be rated for it. If your current renewal period (6 months) is during that 3 yr anniversary, they may not have stopped rating you for that ticket yet. You can ask if you're being rated for a ticket. (It's slightly possible that they haven't pulled your MVR in 3+ years though which would mean that ticket is a moot point.) They will not change your premium mid-term or before a renewal if a ticket or claim falls off, it will happen at the next renewal.

I would keep your Medical Payments or PIP for a while until you've built up a better emergency cushion, mainly because this will protect you as a pedestrian which I THINK includes as a cyclist, if you're hit. It will help with a health insurance deductible.

RE: when you start cycling to work advise your ins. co. of your new reduced usage, which will lower your rate. They may ask for your odometer reading to compare to in another 6 months to verify you're not lying.

I agree to eliminate, at least temporarily, the $100 charity contribution as you desperately need to start saving for another car, IMO. If you're not prepared in the event you need to replace it, you'll be the one needing charity. (kidding! kind of.)  Use all of your additional savings from these tips towards this financial goal. (Yes, air-drying your clothes was a thought I had too, which will add moisture to your indoor air = free humidifier you wanted!) 

Actuaries get paid a lot of money for what they do, and while I'm not one of them, I assume your quote for lowering your ins. coverage discovered an increased price (my guess) because statistically they see more claims made by those who carry those lower limits of coverage vs. those who carry a higher limit. Does that make sense? And remember, someone's credit is one of those rate-determining factors. I'm by no means defending this reasoning but if you think from the insurers perspective, they must see a correlation (at least enough to justify the rate differences) between responsible clients who carry more coverage or have higher credit vs. those who have lower limits and/or lower credit. 

It sounds like you understand that you'll only get the retail value of your car, less your $1k deductible, so as long as you're fine at paying your current premium level for that difference, then keep the coverage. Yes, part of insurance is selling the warm/fuzzy feeling of being covered but if it seriously helps you sleep better at night, then keep it-- it's up to you to determine a coverage's emotional value: fiscal value. I would always tell folks though, that once your car's retail value drops to approx. $2-3k then you should seriously consider dropping the collision coverage. This is your call, but you'll find more savings with my next suggestion or consideration...  (for another reply post)

.....Usually the most significant savings per coverage change in terms of auto insurance is in the "Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage category"

Unfortunately, very little people know the following:
A) What this coverage is even for
B) That it's optional
C) That you can carry lower UM/UIM limits than your Personal Liability Limits (i.e. Personal Liability and Property Damage Liability of 50/100/50 and UM/UIM 25/50/25)
D) That there is an "Economic Only Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage" option
E) That both C & D can be combined (by signing off on the selection) for big savings, while still retaining some UM coverage

(Again, I wasn't licensed in Michigan but this is how I explained this coverage to clients while licensed in one of the most expensive states to insure vehicles a few years back. I always found this to be the most logical savings route considering the high number of uninsured drivers on the road in said state.)

A- This needs some background: If another driver were to hit you, you would expect their liability insurance to cover your medical bills, lost wages from work, vehicle repair and pain & suffering, right? Well, if they didn't have insurance, or if they didn't have enough, your UM/UIM comes into play for all but the damage to your car. If you carry matching limits of UM/UIM (matching your liability limits) then it's like you've run into yourself, so to speak, or someone who carries your same limits. Your UM/UIM would come into pay lost wages and medical bills pain & suffering and if you have collision coverage, your deductible of $1000 (as you currently have) would apply. That sucks, but that's the nature of the situation-- you could consider yourself lucky that you carry UM/UIM and Collision in this situation, if injuries were a result.
 
IF you do not carry collision coverage, you have the option to add UMPD or Uninsured/Underinsured Property Damage coverage. This usually automatically carries a low deductible and is very cheap relative to collision coverage.  It would only apply in a specific situation where someone hit you and they didn't have insurance, or a hit & run (low probability=low cost for that coverage, see?)  Also, I believe that if you don't carry Rental Car Reimbursement then you would be out of pocket for that in the event of an accident caused by an UM (although if you have family/friends nearby they could help out in this area).   Just avoid getting hit by an uninsured driver! :)

B) If you (and your typical passengers) have good health insurance and a low deductible (or enough cash reserves for your deductible, despite being high or low) then you probably can remove this coverage.  This is where an HSA would come into play (not only a tax advantage) that can help you reduce other insurance premiums by having this reserve of funds.

C) If you're not comfortable without UM/UIM coverage, but don't want to carry the same limits as you carry for your personal liability, you can lower the UM/UIM portion. You can take it down to the state minimum and still allow yourself SOME coverage in the event of an uninsured/underinsured driver hitting you or a hit & run. Again, if you decide to drop collision coverage, then you can get the minimum UMPD coverage here as well (obviously go with the minimum UMPD as long as your car's retail is lower). 

To illustrate, you can have lower limits with collision coverage or lower limits with UMPD added (if you don't have collision):

Personal Liability & Property Damage Liability - 50/100/50
UM/UIM - 15/30
Comprehensive - $1000 deduct.
Collision - $1000 deduct.

OR

Personal Liability & Property Damage Liability - 50/100/50
UM/UIM/UMPD - 15/30/15 (PD probably has a $500 deductible)
Comprehensive - $1000 deduct.
 
Remember that the series of numbers represent "Personal Liability per person/total liability per accident/Property Damage Liability"  And to disagree with someone earlier who said most state's minimums cover you-- no, as a $15,000 property damage limit, if you plow into the back of a "insert any newer model car" and total it then you would be liable for any cost above and beyond the $15,000 (the 3rd number) or whatever the state minimum is. I know you carry higher PD liability than this, but I'm referencing the 'state minimums' blanket statement earlier. This is why everyone should understand and meet with their insurer.

Now, the biggest savings (apart from dropping this coverage altogether, of course):

D) You can carry lower UM/UIM limits than your personal liability coverage, as stated in C, AND choose to have it pay for economic losses only.  After all, this coverage is for you and your passengers and is completely optional in the first place, why couldn't you customize it? This option is called "Economic Only Uninsured Motorist Coverage"
This essentially means that if you were hit and injured by an UN/UIM driver (or a hit & run) then you are not going to ask for pain & suffering from your own insurance policy.  It will pay for economic losses which are costs that can be proven. You can produce a hospital or rehab bill and pay stubs for lost wages while out of work due to the accident for example. The vehicle repair or replacement comes from either your collision coverage, or your UMPD coverage if you selected it. 

Considering this is a major thing to 'opt-out' of (pain & suffering) you have to sign a waiver. Some companies allow you to sign it electronically now, but it used to be initial and sign in person. This little extra step though, if you don't want to exclude the coverage completely, will usually save you HALF of the premium of regular UM/UIM (whether you choose matching limits or not).

This is a huge savings worth considering for those who have a good reserve and especially if you have disability insurance through your employer or otherwise. It is important though to have a one-on-one in person meeting with your insurance agent and understand what you need in your specific situation though. I can't stress that enough. Everyone's needs are different, I'm simply trying to point out that there are savings to be had, that usually aren't known to be available.

Other Considerations to Save on your Insurance:
-Ask if your provider offers discounts for any organizations or alumni affiliation you have. Sometimes 10% just for having a BS degree, being an EMT/Firefighter or being employed at XYZ company, there are some crazy ones but it proves that there are discounts out there for a lot of people, just ask! (Note: the employment part may be tied to a specific insurer, ask your HR dept.)

-As you age discounts-- I think it's 55> but it may be 65. At a certain age, you can usually take a defensive driving course and get a discount for "x" years. Look up AARP courses that will pay for themselves with the savings they'll give you. Be sure to ask about this from your ins. company before taking it, because you have a couple years.

-Shop around to see if your home & auto insurance can be with the same company for a bigger discount. I'm not clear on your situation, so be sure to check when you're shopping rates for each. This could equal hundreds in savings annually!

-If you do find a different house/apartment, call your provider and ask them if that zip code will cost you more in auto insurance than you're already paying. A "Garaging address" as it's termed has statistics in and of itself (see why actuaries get paid so much).

-While shopping for a different car you can search the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings (http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings) to find the safest rated cars which should mean lower rates on insurance (always get a quote first though).

-Home insurance, do you have a fire extinguisher? Do you have a hip roof? Are you getting a discount for it? There are several factors that you should review on your homeowner's insurance side too.

I'm happy to clarify anything, but you should ultimately talk with your insurance provider to get the facts for your policy and your state's current options/requirements (it’s been a couple of years since I've been licensed).

I hope this helped..if anyone else reads it. 0:-)
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: rugorak on February 04, 2015, 02:09:15 PM
I hope this helped..if anyone else reads it. 0:-)

I did and good information. Most of which I knew but worth the read.

Defensive Driving is a great way to lower your insurance. Actually in many states you can now take the course online. And I found it was cheaper online than even through work with a group discount. Plus for about $30 and 6 hours of my time I save $30-60 every 6 months for 3 years. Plus I find it a good refresher for how to drive safely. I did my last one a year ago during a snow day. I was stuck at home with nothing to do so I would have just been wasting time anyway.
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on February 18, 2015, 02:37:33 PM

If we're talking legitimate rack-mount / enterprise grade servers, they can use a LOT of power.

Not rack-mount.  Just desktop systems that have been re-purposed.  According to the Kill-a-watt device, they would use about 120kwh per month.  That's about 20% of my average power consumption, so I have to think about that.  Other power numbers:  TV and stereo equip use maybe 15kwh per month.  Clothes dryer takes about 0.25kwh per use.  So if I use it 8 times in a month, that's only 2kwh.  I don't keep lights on if I'm not in the room.  If I generously estimate the rest of my devices(clock, lights, etc) as using 80kwh per month that gets me to about 200-220.  What the hell uses another ~300?!?  I'm guessing that the furnace uses a chunk of electricity, but I don't see a significant drop during the summer.  Although I have to run a bunch of fans in the summer(no AC), I can't imagine them drawing the same power as a FURNACE.  Gotta do some more testing, apparently...


The legal minimum for insurance in AZ is $10k for property damage.  That is not nearly enough.  States will vary!
How much would you suggest?
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: eldred on February 18, 2015, 02:47:08 PM
<snip lots of useful information>
I'll have to sit down, study all that, and compare it to my existing policy.  Thanks!

Other Considerations to Save on your Insurance:
-Ask if your provider offers discounts for any organizations or alumni affiliation you have. Sometimes 10% just for having a BS degree, being an EMT/Firefighter or being employed at XYZ company, there are some crazy ones but it proves that there are discounts out there for a lot of people, just ask! (Note: the employment part may be tied to a specific insurer, ask your HR dept.)

-As you age discounts-- I think it's 55> but it may be 65. At a certain age, you can usually take a defensive driving course and get a discount for "x" years. Look up AARP courses that will pay for themselves with the savings they'll give you. Be sure to ask about this from your ins. company before taking it, because you have a couple years.

I was actually eligible for AARP at age 50.  I have a membership, but I need to renew it.  I'll see if that membership has any discounts.

-Shop around to see if your home & auto insurance can be with the same company for a bigger discount. I'm not clear on your situation, so be sure to check when you're shopping rates for each. This could equal hundreds in savings annually!
I used to have both home and auto through State farm, but it ended up being cheaper to switch the auto to Progressive...

-If you do find a different house/apartment, call your provider and ask them if that zip code will cost you more in auto insurance than you're already paying. A "Garaging address" as it's termed has statistics in and of itself (see why actuaries get paid so much).

-While shopping for a different car you can search the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings (http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings) to find the safest rated cars which should mean lower rates on insurance (always get a quote first though).

-Home insurance, do you have a fire extinguisher? Do you have a hip roof? Are you getting a discount for it? There are several factors that you should review on your homeowner's insurance side too.
I have SEVERAL fire extinguishers(kitchen, basement, bedroom).  Don't know if I get any discounts for that.  I had to look up 'hip roof', because I'd never heard that term before.  Yes, I have a ranch-style with a hip roof.  How does that affect insurance costs?

I'm happy to clarify anything, but you should ultimately talk with your insurance provider to get the facts for your policy and your state's current options/requirements (it’s been a couple of years since I've been licensed).

I hope this helped..if anyone else reads it. 0:-)

Thanks for the info!  As I said, I'll have to process all that first...
Title: Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
Post by: KD on February 18, 2015, 03:05:27 PM
Yes, I've received car insurance refunds when changing and dropping comprehensive.  When to drop???  When you feel you can get yourself into another car quickly without a great disruption in your lifestyle/bill paying.  If you've got a large enough emergency fund stash that could replace what you're driving and not totally wipe you out?  ...you should be good to lower your car insurance.