Author Topic: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???  (Read 22440 times)

eldred

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Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« 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!

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #1 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.

rugorak

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #2 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.

boarder42

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #3 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.

Louisville

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #4 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.

mxt0133

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #5 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.

ltt

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #6 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?

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #7 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.

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #8 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.

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #9 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...

JLee

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #10 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.

boarder42

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #11 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.

thedayisbrave

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #12 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.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 10:08:48 PM by thedayisbrave »

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #13 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.

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #14 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...

colganc

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #15 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?

minority_finance_mo

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #16 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.

colganc

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #17 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.

Setters-r-Better

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #18 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.

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #19 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.

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #20 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....  :-(

thd7t

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #21 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.

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #22 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?

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #23 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...

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #24 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.

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #25 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...

morning owl

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #26 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.

colganc

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #27 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.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2015, 08:28:34 AM by colganc »

colganc

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #28 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.

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #29 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... 

horsepoor

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #30 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.

Milizard

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #31 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?

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #32 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....

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #33 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.

cashstasherat23

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #34 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?

justajane

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #35 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.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2015, 11:41:43 AM »
Do you have a friend that watches F1 racing?

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #37 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. :-(

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #38 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...

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #39 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.

jaye_p

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #40 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.

Mazzinator

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #41 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?

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #42 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.

Scandium

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #43 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.

BBub

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #44 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.

SantaFeSteve

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #45 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.   
« Last Edit: January 29, 2015, 04:21:42 PM by SantaFeSteve »

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #46 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?

eldred

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #47 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.

mxt0133

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #48 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.

DCJrMustachian

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Re: Is this even going to be POSSIBLE???
« Reply #49 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, 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