Author Topic: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]  (Read 37157 times)

MidWestLove

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #100 on: August 14, 2016, 08:09:55 AM »
I think OP already heard everything the thread wanted to say , just couple of things from me for coming in late

1. thank you for reaching out, you are trying and that is the first and most important thing (realizing you are stuck is important before moving forward)
2. as others said, figure out what are your true priorities , for both yourself, and your marriage as partnership.  if that is private school  then it is private school, if it is 5k camera it is 5k camera.
3. focus on it and be ruthless cutting out anything that does not fit - 'friends' that attach you to specific lifestyle, expectations of others, etc.
4. be real, don't lie to ourselves/yourself. if you can not afford it , everything else does not matter. as they use to say - man up or shut up , either ramp up your income very significantly to fund that need or go without.


you are still living on an edge , any single financial event will seriously f$ck you up. step away from the ledge, breath out, and start working on getting where _you_ want to go
« Last Edit: August 14, 2016, 08:31:46 AM by MidWestLove »

Red Beard

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #101 on: August 14, 2016, 10:43:35 AM »
Welcome to the community! This has been a great thread with lots of fantastic advice to this point and I wanted to throw my cent or two in.

1. You do you. A feel like a couple of posts have missed the mark to this point - in my opinion this whole philosophy, at its root, is about finding happiness that can be sustained for your entire life. If for you think you have found that happiness in coffee, great! If that happiness comes from hobbies in photography and coding, awesome! If that happiness comes from knowing that you have enough money in the bank to retire at 40 with no debt, fantastic! The key is determining what will truly make you and your family happy and living the best life you can.

2. I mentioned sustainability of that happiness. Soul sucking jobs aren't a way to sustain happiness. Being unprepared to handle unexpected costs is also not a way to sustain happiness. After you figure out what makes you happy, your goal should be to have a plan that allows you to maintain that happiness over your life. For me, owning my own time makes me happiest, so I save as much money as I can to work towards owning my time, all the time.

If coffee makes you happy, you might need to make sacrifices in order to continue in coffee. If you have to constantly weigh whether or not you should go back to a higher paying job, that's a problem - you are doing SOMETHING that undermines the sustainability of your happiness, in this case spending too much!

3. There is a pattern that shows up here on occasion. Dire financial situation looking for help - great advice given by members of the community - dire financial situation responds with "I can't, I can't, I can't". When you say "I can't", you really mean "I don't want to" because there are a lot of folks in similar situations that have proven it can be done. It's up to you to take all of the great, potentially life changing, advice that's been given and say "I'll try".

Sorry for the ramble - good luck in finding happiness OP!!

georgialiving

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #102 on: August 14, 2016, 02:50:25 PM »
What is your actual budget? Have you tracked every expense? You listed an initial budget but I think that is your guesstimation. What are the hard numbers? You need to look at the last three months minimum. Are you really saving $500 monthly? What's the balance in the savings account then?

In the nicest way possible! I think you are being silly with the reasoning behind Waldorf this year. Want to keep her there no matter what? Fine just say so. But forgetting dates because you can't "find" your calendar and can't get ahold of someone.. No papers on file? Just makes me raise an eyebrow. Go online. It's probably all online.




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forestj

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #103 on: August 14, 2016, 05:22:02 PM »
I was about to reply saying that 1,700 is insane for a single family apartment. That's close to what we pay for a 6 bedroom with 6 people and 6 incomes.  But then I looked briefly at Seattle's rental Craigslist.  Hohhh. Leee. Shiit. It's rough out there. Looks like there is basically nothing up to about the 1300 range.  We pay about $350 per person-month for rent and utilities.

I just talked to my housemate who works entry level at Peace Coffee here in Minneapolis. He said that he would make about 18k a year before tips if he worked there 40 hours a week.

He also said that he was making about $30k a year working for Caribou Coffee in the airport. Although, he was paid extra since it was the opening shift and he had to get up at 3am to catch the first train to the airport.

Considering that your rent is 2.6x what we pay, and your food is 2x, maybe taking a ~%25 pay cut to move to an LCOL area might be a good idea? If I were you, I would consider myself priced out of that area. There is coffee culture elsewhere -- Here in Minneapolis we have Peace Coffee, tons of independent shops, small chains like Spyhouse, successful corporate chains like Caribou, etc. I think there are latte art competitions and coffee conferences and events in multiple venues as well.

(not that being priced out has to be a bad thing! I kinda hate rich areas and rich people so maybe I am biased... but I love my nighborhood! I feel a lot safer here than I think I would in a place where apartments go for $1300 a month and up)
« Last Edit: August 14, 2016, 05:54:20 PM by forestj »

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #104 on: August 14, 2016, 05:37:54 PM »
There's an artsy coffee shop in walking distance from my house in my lower-middle-class suburb on the edge between the Acela corridor and the Rust Belt. I'm sure Seattle has the most, and maybe the best, but it's not making movies, or for that matter software. Consumption decisions are much, much more distributed in the coffee industry than they are in software, the example used upthread justifying staying in Seattle.

(For the record you can rent a just-renovated house here for $1300.)

DavidDoes

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #105 on: August 14, 2016, 06:20:51 PM »
What is your actual budget? Have you tracked every expense? You listed an initial budget but I think that is your guesstimation. What are the hard numbers? You need to look at the last three months minimum. Are you really saving $500 monthly? What's the balance in the savings account then?

In the nicest way possible! I think you are being silly with the reasoning behind Waldorf this year. Want to keep her there no matter what? Fine just say so. But forgetting dates because you can't "find" your calendar and can't get ahold of someone.. No papers on file? Just makes me raise an eyebrow. Go online. It's probably all online.


Please read the full thread.

This is the actual budget. I used the code tags because it's a straight copy/paste from our budget spreadsheet. No, it's not a copy/paste of our register from YNAB...

I remember putting the date that people returned to admissions offices on my Calendar, but couldn't find that. It'd be hard to misplace a digital Calendar app. ;) And yes, I did call them. I spoke with someone. And no, they could not find any of her information. That makes you raise a brow? Have you never had to deal with something getting lost? I wouldn't make this up... And how does one "go online" to find it "all online" when you fax in the paperwork...? It's not like everyone is born with access to the School District's database...
I was about to reply saying that 1,700 is insane for a single family apartment. That's close to what we pay for a 6 bedroom with 6 people and 6 incomes.  But then I looked briefly at Seattle's rental Craigslist.  Hohhh. Leee. Shiit. It's rough out there. Looks like there is basically nothing up to about the 1300 range.  We pay about $350 per person-month for rent and utilities.

I just talked to my housemate who works entry level at Peace Coffee here in Minneapolis. He said that he would make about 18k a year before tips if he worked there 40 hours a week.

He also said that he was making about $30k a year working for Caribou Coffee in the airport. Although, he was paid extra since it was the opening shift and he had to get up at 3am to catch the first train to the airport.

Considering that your rent is 2.6x what we pay, and your food is 2x, maybe taking a ~%25 pay cut to move to an LCOL area might be a good idea? If I were you, I would consider myself priced out of that area. There is coffee culture elsewhere -- Here in Minneapolis we have Peace Coffee, tons of independent shops, small chains like Spyhouse, successful corporate chains like Caribou, etc. I think there are latte art competitions and coffee conferences and events in multiple venues as well.

(not that being priced out has to be a bad thing! I kinda hate rich areas and rich people so maybe I am biased... but I love my nighborhood! I feel a lot safer here than I think I would in a place where apartments go for $1300 a month and up)

MPLS is an awesome coffee scene and an even better haven for cyclists! I would love to move there, but no family. My family is in Boise, ID where the Cost of Living is waaaayyy lower. But so are wages. We have considered moving back there, but it also gets over 100F in the summer and below freezing in the winter. We've got a few places on our radar. :)

BlueHouse

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #106 on: August 14, 2016, 06:25:18 PM »
I live in a walkable neighborhood and two blocks south is a Starbucks and a Philz.  two blocks west is another Starbucks and an independent coffee house.  Another coffee shop is coming in a building that is under construction.  I just don't get it, but apparently everybody loves coffee.  Good luck OP.

Cpa Cat

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #107 on: August 14, 2016, 06:43:04 PM »
You probably don't need someone to tell you for the 5 millionth time, but seriously... don't let your 5 year old make major financial decisions. Think about this for a minute - if you had put your child in public daycare for this extra year, your emergency savings would be up to $1300 per month (assuming you keep an eye on your budget and don't fritter your intended savings away). That's pretty solid savings. And why shouldn't you reach FI on that? You'd easily max your ROTH IRAs and have some extra for taxable investments.

Why do you want to own a home? There's no subsidy for mortgages*. There's nothing wrong with renting. [*Not actually true - you might qualify for Habitat for Humanity down the road.] Owning a home doesn't automatically lead to FI.

Consider for a moment - you are already working retirement jobs. What does your retirement look like that's different from what you're doing now? So why do you feel so bad about your future?

You might never have enough money to open your own coffee shop (but maybe, with SBA or other financing). But that's probably a good thing. As a CPA, I see the inner workings of a lot of people's businesses. It can take a lot of time and a lot of effort to eke out roughly $50,000 in after tax income - which you'd need, since you and your wife would both be working at this business. You would also have a lot of your assets and financial security wrapped up in a business that could fail, and at the least will have bad years.

Owning your own coffee shop really could cripple your financial future - but working at one seems like a fine financial proposition.

Are you going to get rich as a dual income family making $50,000 per year? No. But what, exactly, is missing from your life that you're worried about it? Take away Waldorf school, and you have a 30% savings rate within your grasp.

BeautifulDay

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #108 on: August 14, 2016, 10:18:52 PM »
Best of luck on your coffee career.  My BIL just opened a small coffee store front.  They (he and his brother) started out as managers in local shops.  They opened a coffee catering business on the side doing weddings, events, farmers markets, etc. They just had their cart (home made) and bit of gear.  Then they bought a roaster and started selling to other shops and to individuals.  At this point they quit their day jobs managing the other coffee shops since they now had multiple revenue streams. Now they were ready to open their shop. They limited start up capital by utilizing the help of others.  Family and friends helped them build their business to keep costs down - web development, custom built furniture, a promotional video - all done for free or thru bartering.  The shop is a new venture, but I think they've been smart about their way of expanding the business.  These various revenue streams should help stabilize their business. Next they are talking with a local grocery chain about carrying their product.  So basically, develop a good plan that is manageable for you and your family.  You can start slow and build your business. 

I'm a photo hobbyist and a Wordpress wantabe.  I don't have anything helpful on the Wordpress stuff.  You have more skill than I.  But have you tried Gimp for photos?  It is free. I have an old creative suite I use, so haven't used gimp myself.   But DH runs a computer lab and says they use gimp instead of Photoshop. 

Larsg

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #109 on: August 14, 2016, 10:54:56 PM »
Couple things - you have to think hard about your commitment level to this. Take it from someone in their late 40's that I wish I had discovered a site like this then. However, within your current situation you do have some opportunities. First is the school for your daughter - it has to go...seriously, don't get sucked in to the elite life that many Seattlites do live (here too). I have heard that there is a really good, artsy type public school either in downtown Seattle or possibly Ballard so please do look around. For net results on public vs. private, I went to all public as a kid, put myself through a state college, then rode the coattails of big multinational that gave me an education of a lifetime and now I make more than the average Harvard Grad in my age group - let me emphasize...I grew up in the bottom of the pyramid so smarts, talent, survival, etc. come from many variables but mostly having true grit, curiosity, and a love for life. Your kid needs you to help her foster these things and it does to cost a penny - only your engagement and creativity.

Next is your phone bill - 121??? no way! I cut the cord on a hard line back in the year 2000 and always got the best cell deal and never went over minutes. Now with the ability to use google talk for free, why are you paying 121? Revisit this. you just need one phone # between the 2 of you and should be able to get a far better deal at least half the cost. If you are afraid of emergencies and cell not working, well in 16 years, we have just never had that happen and if it had, there are always people around near by that can help.

I would start w/those 2 things and do some soul searching about what you really desire as well as research options on all of the possibilities of having a career in coffee that can lead you to the path you want - we have star bucks and mukiltio coffee right here - you might consider sucking it up for a few years like many of the 3m's do and reach for something that pays well in coffee. For example, given that Starbucks is right here - start looking on their web site fir managerial track jobs. Don't listen to any noise about how you need to have special degrees, ivy league, MBA, etc. This I know - with my state college degree I paid for myself, I reached for the biggest multinational i could find at the time and applied for a management training program (they exist all over the place - pick a company - look at start bucks) and I got in and the rest is history. These companies look for those who are willing to work hard (they love self made people), willing to adapt to anything and learn all the time, intellectual curiosity, and so on. My only regret is that I wished I knew more about money younger so take the gift of this site, take the gift of of all the experience out here in the forum and dig into the possibility of a better life.

georgialiving

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #110 on: August 15, 2016, 02:33:30 AM »
What is your actual budget? Have you tracked every expense? You listed an initial budget but I think that is your guesstimation. What are the hard numbers? You need to look at the last three months minimum. Are you really saving $500 monthly? What's the balance in the savings account then?

In the nicest way possible! I think you are being silly with the reasoning behind Waldorf this year. Want to keep her there no matter what? Fine just say so. But forgetting dates because you can't "find" your calendar and can't get ahold of someone.. No papers on file? Just makes me raise an eyebrow. Go online. It's probably all online.


Please read the full thread.

This is the actual budget. I used the code tags because it's a straight copy/paste from our budget spreadsheet. No, it's not a copy/paste of our register from YNAB...

I remember putting the date that people returned to admissions offices on my Calendar, but couldn't find that. It'd be hard to misplace a digital Calendar app. ;) And yes, I did call them. I spoke with someone. And no, they could not find any of her information. That makes you raise a brow? Have you never had to deal with something getting lost? I wouldn't make this up... And how does one "go online" to find it "all online" when you fax in the paperwork...? It's not like everyone is born with access to the School District's database...
I was about to reply saying that 1,700 is insane for a single family apartment. That's close to what we pay for a 6 bedroom with 6 people and 6 incomes.  But then I looked briefly at Seattle's rental Craigslist.  Hohhh. Leee. Shiit. It's rough out there. Looks like there is basically nothing up to about the 1300 range.  We pay about $350 per person-month for rent and utilities.

I just talked to my housemate who works entry level at Peace Coffee here in Minneapolis. He said that he would make about 18k a year before tips if he worked there 40 hours a week.

He also said that he was making about $30k a year working for Caribou Coffee in the airport. Although, he was paid extra since it was the opening shift and he had to get up at 3am to catch the first train to the airport.

Considering that your rent is 2.6x what we pay, and your food is 2x, maybe taking a ~%25 pay cut to move to an LCOL area might be a good idea? If I were you, I would consider myself priced out of that area. There is coffee culture elsewhere -- Here in Minneapolis we have Peace Coffee, tons of independent shops, small chains like Spyhouse, successful corporate chains like Caribou, etc. I think there are latte art competitions and coffee conferences and events in multiple venues as well.

(not that being priced out has to be a bad thing! I kinda hate rich areas and rich people so maybe I am biased... but I love my nighborhood! I feel a lot safer here than I think I would in a place where apartments go for $1300 a month and up)

MPLS is an awesome coffee scene and an even better haven for cyclists! I would love to move there, but no family. My family is in Boise, ID where the Cost of Living is waaaayyy lower. But so are wages. We have considered moving back there, but it also gets over 100F in the summer and below freezing in the winter. We've got a few places on our radar. :)

Hey bud. I DID read the whole thread. Please read your initial post.

You haven't been contributing the 500 in months and so that isn't a current realistic budget no? Where are the $10 little outings you say add up? Are those part of the $400 a month grocery bill? Just some questions for you to think about. I'm outta this thread now, I feel like you don't need or want my input. Good luck!


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BattlaP

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #111 on: August 15, 2016, 03:34:01 AM »
Hey mate,

Just wanted to chime in a 'case study' for the coffee industry naysayers.
Started as a barista, got a job as a delivery driver for a roastery, moved into working as a coffee machine technician and now support both me and my missus with a two-day-a-week coffee 'side' hustle.
It's an industry that will reward insight and courage - but also one where hard work and passion can potentially get you nothing but 30 years of no progress.
If you want to move forward, get your ass out of the cafes and into a roastery, whatever it takes. If Seattle roasteries like the personal touch and hire delivery drivers, I especially recommend it. You get to learn the basics of technical, training, roasting and you need to be up to speed on everything in the company because you are the first point of contact. They usually have their pick of internal promotions when the positions come up (I certainly did).

Anyway PM me if you want to chat or brainstorm or ask me specifics about my business. I've got a journal on here as well that might be informative.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #112 on: August 15, 2016, 06:58:08 AM »
MPLS is an awesome coffee scene and an even better haven for cyclists! I would love to move there, but no family. My family is in Boise, ID where the Cost of Living is waaaayyy lower. But so are wages. We have considered moving back there, but it also gets over 100F in the summer and below freezing in the winter. We've got a few places on our radar. :)

David, you make $11.76 an hour by my calculations. You're clearly not a dumb guy - I am confident you could get a job making $12/hr in Boise.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #113 on: August 15, 2016, 09:44:35 AM »
Having just got back from a nine day trip in the pacific Northwest, including 3 days in Seattle, I think it would be extremely hard to break into the Seattle coffee market. I'm obviously a noob with limited knowledge of the coffee industry, but that is just my impression.

My fiance and I walked the entire city on our first day there. We started at our hotel (the Westin on 5th), went down to the market, went to Pioneer Square, went all the way to the stadiums, circled all the way back on 4th street, went to the Space Needle, back down to the market, then back to our hotel. The thing that amazed us (as simpletons from the Midwest) was how many coffee shops there were. It is no exaggeration to say that walking on any given street, there would be 3-4 coffee shops per block, sometimes more. Other types of restaurants (i.e., little bakery shops) also served coffee.

To me at least, the market was completely over-saturated and would seem damn near impossible to break into. By definition, you'd be opening up with 10 competitors within a block and hundreds within a square quarter mile. You'd really have to differentiate yourself to make things work, but with especially tight margins and your limited ability to build startup capital, it seems like breaking into the Seattle market would be extremely difficult.

I think a good idea would be to network within Seattle with your eyes on opening a shop somewhere with lower cost of living. Get to know some of the best roasters and others in the industry. Build up your contacts. And then dominate a smaller type of market out west. Something like Boise, ID; Missoula, MT; Spokane, WA; etc.

And if your product is online--great! Your revenue won't be determined by where you're located. If you make $50,000 selling online coffee orders, wouldn't you rather live in a city where your dollar can go further?

Just my two cents. Good luck to you.

Helvegen

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #114 on: August 15, 2016, 11:25:51 AM »
I think the nice thing about working as a barista is that you can work basically anywhere you want in the US because where is there NOT a Starbucks?

I live outside of Seattle, make way more household income than you do, and I can't afford to buy a house. It is completely off the radar. I don't even have to live in Seattle to be priced out! If you want a house, you are going to have to move. To eastern Washington/Oregon at the very least, but more like flyover country.


Playing with Fire UK

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #115 on: August 15, 2016, 11:27:51 AM »
David,

Regarding the title of your thread. May I suggest "We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why that's okay."

You may not reach what I or others here want from FF, but I think you are closer to what you want from FF than you give yourself credit for.

I want FIRE so that I can stop paid work, do some volunteering and never be compelled to deal with a stupid manager ever again. Your dream seems a lot more similar to what you are doing right now than a lot of the other worker bees on the forum (no offence forumites).

Consider this: If you woke up tomorrow with your mustache fully funded, I think you would choose to spend much of your day working in a coffee shop, or working with coffee in some way. If I woke up tomorrow and the 'stache fairies had been my days would look very different to today (e.g. I would not be sitting in boring meetings or filling in a timesheet).

If you are happy with parts of your life, that's okay. Maybe if you feel resistance to making a change (e.g. the Waldorf), instead of telling us why you can't do something, tell us that you choose to do something else. If you choose to stay in Seattle because of the coffee culture, that's okay; but it's different from being unable to move. However, in order to do this you will need to be brutally honest with yourself, you can only spend each dollar once, and while you are working for relatively low wages you will need to be more thoughtful than most about how you spend each one (OTOH, you have the same number of hours as everyone else, and how you spend each of those matters too). If you can't do something now that you really want to do, rephrase it as I can't yet...

Reading between the lines, I think you have a pretty good handle on balance in life, but this thread is coming across as if you are complaining that you can't have things (like an efund) because of choices you have made and are sticking by.

DavidDoes

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #116 on: August 15, 2016, 03:49:31 PM »
Hey mate,

Just wanted to chime in a 'case study' for the coffee industry naysayers.
Started as a barista, got a job as a delivery driver for a roastery, moved into working as a coffee machine technician and now support both me and my missus with a two-day-a-week coffee 'side' hustle.
It's an industry that will reward insight and courage - but also one where hard work and passion can potentially get you nothing but 30 years of no progress.
If you want to move forward, get your ass out of the cafes and into a roastery, whatever it takes. If Seattle roasteries like the personal touch and hire delivery drivers, I especially recommend it. You get to learn the basics of technical, training, roasting and you need to be up to speed on everything in the company because you are the first point of contact. They usually have their pick of internal promotions when the positions come up (I certainly did).

Anyway PM me if you want to chat or brainstorm or ask me specifics about my business. I've got a journal on here as well that might be informative.

Good to hear! Roasting is actually where my passion is, and what I really excel at. I'm moving to a company that has just opened a second shop. They started roasting their own coffee about a year ago, and are growing quickly. When their current head roaster leaves, I'll take his spot (part of the reason they're hiring me). :)

BTDretire

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #117 on: August 15, 2016, 04:58:20 PM »

Your kid goes to the school for which you're zoned. That's how public schools work, by default, almost everywhere.


 Unless you have creative paperwork.
My wife altered my daughters birth certificate (or a copy) to get her in kindergarten
a year early*. Then made a false rental agreement to put both of my kids in the better
middle school and high school district. (immigrants run with different rules) (OK, some)
 I think we're past the statute of limitations, daughter graduated from college 4 years ago.

*I knew a kindergarten teacher,  she ran my daughter through some tests and
said she was more than ready for kindergarten. I got a scolding though, she ask me, "how
come you never taught your daughter how to skip?" I guess it was not part of my wife's culture,
leaving it up to me. She never had any social problems fit right in with the older kids.

 Funny story, her Kindergarten teacher told me. The teacher noted during the day my daughter
went into a bit of a funk. She ask her what's up, my daughter responded, " I'm going start keeping
everything I know under a sheet." Huh? After some more quizzing, the teacher realized she had been
delegating to my daughter, the job of helping other students a little to much, and my daughter had had enough!

DavidDoes

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #118 on: August 15, 2016, 05:11:17 PM »
David,

Regarding the title of your thread. May I suggest "We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why that's okay."

You may not reach what I or others here want from FF, but I think you are closer to what you want from FF than you give yourself credit for.

I want FIRE so that I can stop paid work, do some volunteering and never be compelled to deal with a stupid manager ever again. Your dream seems a lot more similar to what you are doing right now than a lot of the other worker bees on the forum (no offence forumites).

Consider this: If you woke up tomorrow with your mustache fully funded, I think you would choose to spend much of your day working in a coffee shop, or working with coffee in some way. If I woke up tomorrow and the 'stache fairies had been my days would look very different to today (e.g. I would not be sitting in boring meetings or filling in a timesheet).

If you are happy with parts of your life, that's okay. Maybe if you feel resistance to making a change (e.g. the Waldorf), instead of telling us why you can't do something, tell us that you choose to do something else. If you choose to stay in Seattle because of the coffee culture, that's okay; but it's different from being unable to move. However, in order to do this you will need to be brutally honest with yourself, you can only spend each dollar once, and while you are working for relatively low wages you will need to be more thoughtful than most about how you spend each one (OTOH, you have the same number of hours as everyone else, and how you spend each of those matters too). If you can't do something now that you really want to do, rephrase it as I can't yet...

Reading between the lines, I think you have a pretty good handle on balance in life, but this thread is coming across as if you are complaining that you can't have things (like an efund) because of choices you have made and are sticking by.

Man... I think you hit this on the head! We've been thinking, If we can't retire, we're failures! when we spend most of our time building our business plan and what-not. There is a quote out there about if you're doing what you love, you don't need to retire.

:)

Villanelle

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #119 on: August 15, 2016, 07:57:23 PM »
David,

Regarding the title of your thread. May I suggest "We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why that's okay."

You may not reach what I or others here want from FF, but I think you are closer to what you want from FF than you give yourself credit for.

I want FIRE so that I can stop paid work, do some volunteering and never be compelled to deal with a stupid manager ever again. Your dream seems a lot more similar to what you are doing right now than a lot of the other worker bees on the forum (no offence forumites).

Consider this: If you woke up tomorrow with your mustache fully funded, I think you would choose to spend much of your day working in a coffee shop, or working with coffee in some way. If I woke up tomorrow and the 'stache fairies had been my days would look very different to today (e.g. I would not be sitting in boring meetings or filling in a timesheet).

If you are happy with parts of your life, that's okay. Maybe if you feel resistance to making a change (e.g. the Waldorf), instead of telling us why you can't do something, tell us that you choose to do something else. If you choose to stay in Seattle because of the coffee culture, that's okay; but it's different from being unable to move. However, in order to do this you will need to be brutally honest with yourself, you can only spend each dollar once, and while you are working for relatively low wages you will need to be more thoughtful than most about how you spend each one (OTOH, you have the same number of hours as everyone else, and how you spend each of those matters too). If you can't do something now that you really want to do, rephrase it as I can't yet...

Reading between the lines, I think you have a pretty good handle on balance in life, but this thread is coming across as if you are complaining that you can't have things (like an efund) because of choices you have made and are sticking by.

Man... I think you hit this on the head! We've been thinking, If we can't retire, we're failures! when we spend most of our time building our business plan and what-not. There is a quote out there about if you're doing what you love, you don't need to retire.

:)

It's great that you've had this mental shift.  Just make sure that you are also owning the downsides of this decision.  Would you rather work in coffee until you drop dead (so potentially 60+ years), deal with the possibility of being laid off, not be able to contribute to your kid's college education (which is fine, but some people care deeply about doing so) and have to watch every penny you spend for life?  Those aren't necessarily bad things.  But you don't get to choose to good (I love working in coffee!) and not own the bad that comes with it, and a well-informed decision is one in which you look at all the things, not just the good, and still decide is the right choice. 

If a Coffee Life is the priority, great!  You are fortunate to have found your passion.  But then you need to get your financial house in line with that priority.  You can't afford Waldorf.  Even if there's a penalty for withdraw, it seems like a sunk cost.  You might not even be able to afford to work the same shifts as your wife, in order to cut childcare costs.  You may not be able to afford to live in Seattle.  (And if moving toward your own business is your goal, you need to be saving even more aggressively because there will be a time when the business is seeing money go out and at least one of you has quit your job, and you are going to need to be able to afford to live and to keep funding the business.  How on earth are you going to do that without some very drastic changes?)  You may need to downsize your apartment, even if that means going very small.  You pick the priority, and then EVERYTHING ELSE has to be on the table in order to make that priority realistic.  That's the part you seem to be missing.  It's not just early retirement you are giving up. It's likely also retirement at all.  And it's Waldorf and Seattle and cable and 2 cell phones, and just about everything else.  You are going to need tens and tens of thousands of dollars in order to start your business and make it through the first year, all.  You are not on that path right now. You've got the dream, but are you willing to truly do what it takes to make the dream happen? 

Beriberi

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #120 on: August 16, 2016, 12:31:32 AM »
Coming in late, to beat the kindergarten thing to death -

I have a child starting K in SPS this year (a middle child, so we've done this before). If you want anything done, you go to the district office.  It's a hassle. There will likely be a line. It will take more time than a normal human will think is necessary.  Spend some quality time on the internet before you go so that you know you have everything you need.

The offices take a mid-summer break. They opened last Monday, August 8.  (It was on my calendar, too).  You can walk out of the district office with your completed school assignment. You are guaranteed an assignment at your zoned school (you can verify what that is online).  This can be done via email or fax, but just go do it in person. It costs you nothing but time.  Also, contrary to a previous poster, this is the first year kindergarten in Seattle is free for everyone.

You are going to have to navigate the Seattle Public School system in the future. Do it now, while it is lower stakes.  There are lot of options (other than your neighborhood school) - in the future.  Much easier to figure that out next spring when your daughter is in public K than coming in cold. Not all Seattle schools are good, but there are many good choices - and I believe your kindergarten option is just fine. I'm pretty sure I can identify it from the info you've posted- but I'm not interested in outing you. However, no Kindergarten in Seattle starts at 9:45 next year, so recheck your times.

I think Waldorf has a lot to offer children and I believe it is a great early years option. However, I make far more than your HHI and I think it is a luxury I cannot afford.

electriceagle

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #121 on: August 16, 2016, 04:17:09 AM »
Your daughter is only in kindergarten for another year (honestly, I'd seriously reconsider that expense in your current position; she's five, and will be going to public school next year and making friends, she will be able to handle the transition now just fine). After that year (or now), you'll have $832/month to again, put toward debt and then savings.

Although it might already be too late, I'd reconsider this too. When she goes to the public school, she'll be the only one who wasn't with the other kids during kindergarten, and will have to make friends in an environment where friendship groups have already been formed.

Or maybe it doesn't work that way with such young kids. I dunno.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #122 on: August 16, 2016, 04:30:05 AM »
David,

Regarding the title of your thread. May I suggest "We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why that's okay."

You may not reach what I or others here want from FF, but I think you are closer to what you want from FF than you give yourself credit for.
...

Man... I think you hit this on the head! We've been thinking, If we can't retire, we're failures! when we spend most of our time building our business plan and what-not. There is a quote out there about if you're doing what you love, you don't need to retire.

:)

Boom... So glad that was useful.

catccc

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #123 on: August 16, 2016, 08:31:07 AM »
Not retiring early or not retiring at all isn't a failure.  But not having any kind of financial cushion isn't a good situation.  You should still work on lowering expenses and saving, perpetually living hand to mouth is stressful.  I've never done it, but this is what I hear from those that do. 

Just don't want you to leave here thinking nothing needs to change.  A paycheck to paycheck situation can get dire fast.  And opening a shop or roasting operation is probably going to mean initially taking a pay cut while you get things started.  The shop DH works for is a few years in and the owner is still not pulling in what he did managing someone else's shop.  And it looks hugely successful on the outside.  (I think he will get there, it's just going to take time.)




nexus

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #124 on: August 16, 2016, 10:47:48 AM »
Hey DavidDoes,
Too many comments to read through them all so I'll apologize in advance for any redundancy. I will, however, refer you to this:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/12/avoiding-ivy-league-preschool-syndrome/

Anyway, what's done is done. If you have a second kid, I'd suggest channeling MMM and perhaps taking an alternative route.

You'd like to own your own coffee shop. That's a great ambition to strive for. The issue is that it is going to take capital, and a LOT of it. That means you've got to get your spending under control so that you can save enough money to get that business going.

-> Can you move up/become a manager and make more money? It would also be super beneficial for if/when you start your own business.

Recommendations
1. Switch cell carriers when possible. In the meantime, perhaps reduce your cell plan to smaller data. You work in a coffee shop so you have free wifi. You also have internet at home. How much more data could you be using outside of those two places?
2. Internet: I also have Wave. I suggest calling and getting that sucker to $50/month. I call and complain every 12 months and they drop me back to $50. I never exceed the data cap, even with constant Netflix running so I suggest downgrading to their cheaper plan. (I also bought my own router so I don't have to pay rent for theirs).
3. Pay off that discover card. You don't have a car, which is what I think my emergency fund would go towards (car repairs, dentist). You both have health insurance so I'm wondering what other emergencies you'd need to really save $500 per month for?
4. If renter's insurance isn't mandatory at your apartment, ditch it unless your place is furnished with ridiculously expensive stuff. Trust me, if anything happened it would be a blessing to have less stuff. (MMM article, the more you own, the more it owns you).
5. Spotify Premium: Ditch it!! Doesn't your coffee shop play music? Use free Pandora or torrent a bunch of stuff. This is wasteful IMO. (MMM article, a millionaire is made $10 at a time).

Total potential monthly savings from items 1-5
1. By either reducing your data or switching carriers, let's say $20
2. $10
3. $100
4. $10.95
5. $16.41

Total: $166.36
If you invested that money each month into one of the index funds for the next 10 years, you'd have an extra $28,780.28 sitting in your stash. (multiplied by 173)

In order to retire, you need to save 25x your annual expenses. Well, $166.36*12 = $1996.32 per year you're spending on those things. 25x 1996.32 is just shy of $50,000!!!! YOU CAN SHAVE OFF YOUR TARGET RETIREMENT AMOUNT!!!

For each of your monthly expenses, multiply it by 12 months, then by 25. That's how much you need in your nest egg to cover that expense indefinitely. You spend $400 per month on groceries, that means you need $120,000 of your stash built up just to cover that portion of your expense. In theory, if you had a $120k stash and withdrew 4% per year you'd be able to cover all of your food costs indefinitely. (Read up on MMM The 4% rule & Trinity Study)


MandyM

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #125 on: August 16, 2016, 11:57:16 AM »
David,

Regarding the title of your thread. May I suggest "We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why that's okay."

You may not reach what I or others here want from FF, but I think you are closer to what you want from FF than you give yourself credit for.

I want FIRE so that I can stop paid work, do some volunteering and never be compelled to deal with a stupid manager ever again. Your dream seems a lot more similar to what you are doing right now than a lot of the other worker bees on the forum (no offence forumites).

Consider this: If you woke up tomorrow with your mustache fully funded, I think you would choose to spend much of your day working in a coffee shop, or working with coffee in some way. If I woke up tomorrow and the 'stache fairies had been my days would look very different to today (e.g. I would not be sitting in boring meetings or filling in a timesheet).

If you are happy with parts of your life, that's okay. Maybe if you feel resistance to making a change (e.g. the Waldorf), instead of telling us why you can't do something, tell us that you choose to do something else. If you choose to stay in Seattle because of the coffee culture, that's okay; but it's different from being unable to move. However, in order to do this you will need to be brutally honest with yourself, you can only spend each dollar once, and while you are working for relatively low wages you will need to be more thoughtful than most about how you spend each one (OTOH, you have the same number of hours as everyone else, and how you spend each of those matters too). If you can't do something now that you really want to do, rephrase it as I can't yet...

Reading between the lines, I think you have a pretty good handle on balance in life, but this thread is coming across as if you are complaining that you can't have things (like an efund) because of choices you have made and are sticking by.

Man... I think you hit this on the head! We've been thinking, If we can't retire, we're failures! when we spend most of our time building our business plan and what-not. There is a quote out there about if you're doing what you love, you don't need to retire.

:)

It's great that you've had this mental shift.  Just make sure that you are also owning the downsides of this decision.  Would you rather work in coffee until you drop dead (so potentially 60+ years), deal with the possibility of being laid off, not be able to contribute to your kid's college education (which is fine, but some people care deeply about doing so) and have to watch every penny you spend for life?  Those aren't necessarily bad things.  But you don't get to choose to good (I love working in coffee!) and not own the bad that comes with it, and a well-informed decision is one in which you look at all the things, not just the good, and still decide is the right choice. 

If a Coffee Life is the priority, great!  You are fortunate to have found your passion.  But then you need to get your financial house in line with that priority.  You can't afford Waldorf.  Even if there's a penalty for withdraw, it seems like a sunk cost.  You might not even be able to afford to work the same shifts as your wife, in order to cut childcare costs.  You may not be able to afford to live in Seattle.  (And if moving toward your own business is your goal, you need to be saving even more aggressively because there will be a time when the business is seeing money go out and at least one of you has quit your job, and you are going to need to be able to afford to live and to keep funding the business.  How on earth are you going to do that without some very drastic changes?)  You may need to downsize your apartment, even if that means going very small.  You pick the priority, and then EVERYTHING ELSE has to be on the table in order to make that priority realistic.  That's the part you seem to be missing.  It's not just early retirement you are giving up. It's likely also retirement at all.  And it's Waldorf and Seattle and cable and 2 cell phones, and just about everything else.  You are going to need tens and tens of thousands of dollars in order to start your business and make it through the first year, all.  You are not on that path right now. You've got the dream, but are you willing to truly do what it takes to make the dream happen?

Well put. Said another way: if you aren't willing to cut an expense to achieve your dream, then you have just prioritized that expense above your dream.

Kaplin261

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #126 on: August 16, 2016, 12:16:07 PM »
Have you worked out the math to see what it would look like if you or your wife quit working and take care of your daughter? I would imagine you would qualify for the earned income credit, food stamps and maybe housing vouchers.

mm1970

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #127 on: August 16, 2016, 12:32:16 PM »

Your kid goes to the school for which you're zoned. That's how public schools work, by default, almost everywhere.


 Unless you have creative paperwork.
My wife altered my daughters birth certificate (or a copy) to get her in kindergarten
a year early*. Then made a false rental agreement to put both of my kids in the better
middle school and high school district. (immigrants run with different rules) (OK, some)
 I think we're past the statute of limitations, daughter graduated from college 4 years ago.

*I knew a kindergarten teacher,  she ran my daughter through some tests and
said she was more than ready for kindergarten. I got a scolding though, she ask me, "how
come you never taught your daughter how to skip?" I guess it was not part of my wife's culture,
leaving it up to me. She never had any social problems fit right in with the older kids.

 Funny story, her Kindergarten teacher told me. The teacher noted during the day my daughter
went into a bit of a funk. She ask her what's up, my daughter responded, " I'm going start keeping
everything I know under a sheet." Huh? After some more quizzing, the teacher realized she had been
delegating to my daughter, the job of helping other students a little to much, and my daughter had had enough!
It's also highly location dependent.  "No Child Left Behind" created some rules.  Here in CA, here's how they worked: if you were attending a "failing" school per NCLB, then you were allowed a transfer. 

The "failing" definition was not quite arbitrary, but odd.  Based on test scores, you were failing if your school scored a "1" out of "10".  In this case, you were allowed to transfer within the district and to another district. 

Your school was *also* deemed failing (Title 1) if it didn't improve enough year to year.  That meant that some *good* schools were listed as failing, which allowed parents to transfer students from a "7" school to a "10" school.

Now, NCLB is done, but our district still allows transfers.  These have changed a bit over the years.  There are priorities: 1. children of teachers at the school, 2. siblings of students at the school, 3. children of district employees, 4. children at schools who score a 1, 5. All others.  Now, they have changed things more recently:

1. children who have problems with safety/ bullying at their old school get priority #1
2. when it comes to transfers that are not children of teachers/ siblings/ district employee kids...they are now prioritizing "English learners and socioeconomically disadvantaged".  So, that doesn't mean an upper middle class white kid can't get a transfer, but it's unlikely to happen until 3rd grade.

Each year, families at failing schools get a letter about the school and a list of the schools that they can transfer into - with no real information about how many spots in each grade.  Surprisingly, there were 3 on the list this year.  (First few years there was only 1, the district-less alternative school, which is kind of crunchy with WORSE test scores than my current school).  The other 2 schools on the list are #1 and #3.  You are unlikely to get into the #1 school, despite it being on the list.  You are only allowed to choose one school, and if there is no space then you are out of luck.

Interestingly, there was a family at our school (English learner) whose daughter made GATE and opted to transfer.  She was miserable.  A lot more homework, no friends, no time for soccer. Cried herself to sleep every night. After a year they decided to come back.  Apparently, the director of the GATE program at the school slotted her to a MUCH worse school, just to be an asshole (I'm not 100% sure this is kosher.  In fact, I told the person who was giving me this info that they should just go to the district and re-register at our current school, which is not full.  In otherwise, go AROUND the asshole.)

Likewise - there is a district with 3 elementary schools next door that is very highly rated because the houses are estates, really.  I knew of at least one person who got their kid into the school by using a friend's address.  They cracked down on that and said friend opted to pull out because at that point, she'd be asking her daughters to lie about where they live for 7 years.  We could have attended that district because of the NCLB and our home school being a "1".

Just on the other side of that district is another district with 8-10 elementary schools that feed into the same JH/high school district that we do.  THAT district allows ZERO transfers from outside the district (unless you teach AT THE SCHOOL) and they do not allow ANY transfers within the district.

In short (too late I know), there are open transfers in our district.  About 30% of the students in our home school transfer out.  About 30% of the students in the school we attend are transfers in, and probably 20% transfer out.  Private schools abound.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #128 on: August 16, 2016, 01:55:11 PM »
OP has taken a lot of harsh criticism on this thread.  To some degree it's understandable, but I think a part of the harshness may stem from some prejudice against the BK and possibly the subsidized housing when a voluntary income decreasing job change took place.  If I'm right on that, forget those folks because many of them (like me) plan on ACA subsidies and Roth IRA conversions, taking advantage of legal breaks available, same dif.

Another point to mention, many folks on this forum got their shit together really young, I am not one of them.  As far as I'm concerned you are still young and have the right to be "wishy washy" about future plans of owning a home, starting a business, career changes, etc.  People in general are horrible about predicting what will make them happy a year from now, forget about 10 or 30. If your current job/life situation truly makes you happy, stick with it until it doesn't.  No amount of money is worth absolutely hating your job!  Been there, done that, not worth it!

Once the tuition is gone (this year or next) your situation is bright!  You'll be saving a third of your income or more using the good cost cutting advice you received.  In five years or so you'll have a powerful six figure FU fund, living a relatively frugal lifestyle, and still only be in your early 30's.  Not too shabby!  Keep it up and parlay your above average liquid wealth into a house, starting a small biz, a new career, or a jump start on FIRE by moving to a lCOL area.  Whatever suits your fancy at that time.   I only wish I was as smart as you are at 28.

Cranky

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #129 on: August 16, 2016, 03:38:40 PM »
Your daughter is only in kindergarten for another year (honestly, I'd seriously reconsider that expense in your current position; she's five, and will be going to public school next year and making friends, she will be able to handle the transition now just fine). After that year (or now), you'll have $832/month to again, put toward debt and then savings.

Although it might already be too late, I'd reconsider this too. When she goes to the public school, she'll be the only one who wasn't with the other kids during kindergarten, and will have to make friends in an environment where friendship groups have already been formed.

Or maybe it doesn't work that way with such young kids. I dunno.

Lots of kids move from private to public at either the K or 1st grade level, and adapt quickly. But Waldorf is pretty quirky academically, and I'm not sure that staying just for K is a great idea. I am highly sympathetic to wanting your kid to stay with her friends, but I think there's a good chance that she'll miss some stuff academically by moving at that particular point.

And I agree that it's a big, big expense in the OP's budget, and I think that his kid would actually be benefited more by financial stability than by private school.

tonysemail

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #130 on: August 16, 2016, 03:55:16 PM »
Lots of kids move from private to public at either the K or 1st grade level, and adapt quickly.

it builds character.  That's what I was told anyways ;)
my family moved a bunch through elementary school, before finally putting down roots through high school.
when I was in my twenties, I swore my kids wouldn't go through the same shuffling every few years.
But then I changed my mind and my daughter has changed school after K and 1st grades.
Kids are super resilient!

on the topic of costco/amazon, there are a few other competitors to try out, like jet.com and boxed.com.
selection of inventory may not be as good, but they have the same deal where buying $50 gives you free shipping.

bridget

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #131 on: August 16, 2016, 04:09:05 PM »
OP has taken a lot of harsh criticism on this thread.  To some degree it's understandable, but I think a part of the harshness may stem from some prejudice against the BK and possibly the subsidized housing when a voluntary income decreasing job change took place.  If I'm right on that, forget those folks because many of them (like me) plan on ACA subsidies and Roth IRA conversions, taking advantage of legal breaks available, same dif.

*snip*

Possibly, and I think another source of criticism has been because some commenters are pretty biased against careers in the service/coffee industry. But, I think most of the criticism (including mine) comes because it seems like OP's early posts were a little ... complainy-pants. (TBH, I kind of hate that word most of the time on this forum/the blog). The universe is not conspiring against him to keep him from ever getting ahead. He is in his current money crunch because of easily identifiable choices he made. If he's happy with those choices, fine. He can own them and try to figure out other ways to optimize. But living in an expensive city on under $50k per year while sending a kid to an ivy league preschool is not some random curse from the heavens; a LOT of those variables are in his control to change if he wishes. If he doesn't wish, fine, but he can't complain like he's getting unfairly screwed over.

DavidDoes

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #132 on: August 16, 2016, 04:35:08 PM »

You are going to have to navigate the Seattle Public School system in the future. Do it now, while it is lower stakes.  There are lot of options (other than your neighborhood school) - in the future.  Much easier to figure that out next spring when your daughter is in public K than coming in cold. Not all Seattle schools are good, but there are many good choices - and I believe your kindergarten option is just fine. I'm pretty sure I can identify it from the info you've posted- but I'm not interested in outing you. However, no Kindergarten in Seattle starts at 9:45 next year, so recheck your times.

I think Waldorf has a lot to offer children and I believe it is a great early years option. However, I make far more than your HHI and I think it is a luxury I cannot afford.

I want to be able to apply for APP First Grade (missed the deadline for APP Kindergarten this year wasn't the deadline in the first week of January or something?).

Our elementary school is Lowell, which just got another new principal for this coming year the third in, what, five years? Testing scores are very low, but family reviews of the school seem positive. Pretty apprehensive.

My mistake the bell starts at 9:35. :) Here is the new bell schedule.

OP has taken a lot of harsh criticism on this thread.  To some degree it's understandable, but I think a part of the harshness may stem from some prejudice against the BK and possibly the subsidized housing when a voluntary income decreasing job change took place.  If I'm right on that, forget those folks because many of them (like me) plan on ACA subsidies and Roth IRA conversions, taking advantage of legal breaks available, same dif.

Another point to mention, many folks on this forum got their shit together really young, I am not one of them.  As far as I'm concerned you are still young and have the right to be "wishy washy" about future plans of owning a home, starting a business, career changes, etc.  People in general are horrible about predicting what will make them happy a year from now, forget about 10 or 30. If your current job/life situation truly makes you happy, stick with it until it doesn't.  No amount of money is worth absolutely hating your job!  Been there, done that, not worth it!

Once the tuition is gone (this year or next) your situation is bright!  You'll be saving a third of your income or more using the good cost cutting advice you received.  In five years or so you'll have a powerful six figure FU fund, living a relatively frugal lifestyle, and still only be in your early 30's.  Not too shabby!  Keep it up and parlay your above average liquid wealth into a house, starting a small biz, a new career, or a jump start on FIRE by moving to a lCOL area.  Whatever suits your fancy at that time.   I only wish I was as smart as you are at 28.

Thank you for the enforcement! Our families on both sides always commend us on being so frugal and being "able to send our daughter to Waldorf". That was great when Waldorf was the more affordable option, but now that it's not, we feel like fools. Hah! The bankruptcy was also a huge hit to our financial egos. We've always been really great with money. But hey! Things happen. :)

on the topic of costco/amazon, there are a few other competitors to try out, like jet.com and boxed.com.
selection of inventory may not be as good, but they have the same deal where buying $50 gives you free shipping.


Jet.com was recently purchased by Wal-Mart. Definitely not shopping there anymore! I'll check out boxed.com. Haven't heard of that one. :)

If he doesn't wish, fine, but he can't complain like he's getting unfairly screwed over.

I don't think I ever did approach it that way, and if it came out that way in text, then maybe I'm no published author. ;)
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 04:37:23 PM by DavidDoes »

Kansas Terri

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #133 on: August 16, 2016, 06:18:05 PM »
I did not read all 3 pages, but I am sure people have pointed out you will soon have over  $800 per month to invest. That is rather a LOT of money!

I would start reading advice on how to invest my savings if I were you.

Beriberi

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #134 on: August 16, 2016, 06:19:11 PM »
David -

There is no such thing as Kindergarten APP.  You don't sign up for APP, either - you test into it.  IQ is labile at this age (or at least results of IQ testing are labile).  That means if your kid has an IQ in the 97th percentile, she may test at 99 or she may test at 97,92, or 95. Only one of those test results will enable placement in APP for first grade.

Also, why on earth would you APP?  It is pretty much the exact opposite of Waldorf - incredibly fast paced academics. Right for some people, but not much overlap with the Waldorf crowd. Also, I believe they are implementing testing fees for non-SPS students who are in private school.

It is okay that you don't know these things yet - but navigating the school system takes a bit more than just signing up for kindergarten. There are a lot of forms, dates, etc - that you will likely miss if you are not currently in the system.  The first APP deadline is sometime in October, I believe.

DavidDoes

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #135 on: August 16, 2016, 06:51:32 PM »
I would start reading advice on how to invest my savings if I were you.

Once we have six months of EF in a liquid account, we will be doing index funds, I think. :)

Just opened Capital One 360 checking and savings accounts with .20% and .75% APY respectively. Trying to get Bank of Internet accounts set up (1.25%), but they're not being very helpful in doing so.

David -

There is no such thing as Kindergarten APP.  You don't sign up for APP, either - you test into it.  IQ is labile at this age (or at least results of IQ testing are labile).  That means if your kid has an IQ in the 97th percentile, she may test at 99 or she may test at 97,92, or 95. Only one of those test results will enable placement in APP for first grade.

Also, why on earth would you APP?  It is pretty much the exact opposite of Waldorf - incredibly fast paced academics. Right for some people, but not much overlap with the Waldorf crowd. Also, I believe they are implementing testing fees for non-SPS students who are in private school.

It is okay that you don't know these things yet - but navigating the school system takes a bit more than just signing up for kindergarten. There are a lot of forms, dates, etc - that you will likely miss if you are not currently in the system.  The first APP deadline is sometime in October, I believe.

I must have been thinking of something else. It's been a while.

Our daughter shows advanced understanding of mathematics (fractions, multiplying visually and in head, adding/subtracting with ease), none of which has come from us helping her. This summer, we've started working a little more with her on math, and a lot more on reading and writing, and she's a sponge like all kids!

We won't push her into anything, and will most likely do her first year of public w/o testing for APP, at the very least.

lhamo

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #136 on: August 16, 2016, 07:30:16 PM »
APP doesn't technically exist anymore -- though people who went through Seattle schools even just a few years ago tend to still use the term more than the current official name (HCC = Highly Capable Cohort). 

Here is the link to the skeleton version of the testing office's website: 

http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=1548870 

Testing application deadline will be in early October as noted by Beriberi.  If you do decide to stick with Waldorf and want to have her tested, you should probably let them know ASAP.  My impression is that Waldorf teachers/administrators may be very opposed to the idea of HCC and testing -- after all, they think that kids shouldn't start reading until relatively late, right? 

The following two blogs have been very valuable resources for me as I have been navigating SPS for my daughter --  I actually just pulled her OUT of HCC testing (which was supposed to be today), because she got admitted to an option school that was not on the HCC pathway.  We've decided to see how that works for her, and have her tested this fall.  If she likes current school, she'll shift into Advanced Learning pathway there.  If she isn't happy with the current school, we'll give the HCC pathway school a try next year. 

http://discussapp.blogspot.com/
http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/

Be aware that both of these websites can turn into a bit of a rabbit hole and increase any anxiety you might have about SPS.  There is a LOT of venting that goes on.  I had to learn to read each comment with the mindset that I don't know if this family/kid has a legitimate gripe, or is just making mountains out of molehills.  I think as far as big urban public schools go, SPS is not that bad.  There are HUGE management issues and a lot of waste, and leadership is lacking across the board.  But at the granular level of the classroom, I think most teachers are competent and doing a good job/providing a safe and healthy environment.  Anyway, reading either of these blogs will give you a crash course in Seattle area civic engagement -  lots of discussion of race, class, gender and what not. 

I personally think you would be wise to give Lowell a try for K.  It used to be a great school back in the day (I worked in a Montessori preschool in college and Lowell was one of the schools parents would jockey hard to get their kids into).  The change of principal could actually be a good thing, if the last one was underperforming.  Good parent feedback is important.  Anyway, if you find it isn't working for your daughter for K, you can try to switch to an option school for G1.  Be forwarned that those are hard to get into, too, though -- the K level waitlist at the option school my daughter finally got into was over 100 kids.  There were 60+ on the G6 waitlist (we started at #1, dropped to #3 after some adjustments for application errors, and eventually got a slot in July).  I don't know how mobile your subsidized housing setup is, but if you have the option to move so that you are in a different reference area to get priority for a school you want to change to you need to time it carefully. 

OK, that got really long, but hopefully it is helpful.  I've obviously been a bit obsessed with SPS the last few months, myself.....

DavidDoes

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #137 on: August 16, 2016, 07:52:26 PM »
APP doesn't technically exist anymore -- though people who went through Seattle schools even just a few years ago tend to still use the term more than the current official name (HCC = Highly Capable Cohort). 

Here is the link to the skeleton version of the testing office's website: 

http://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=1548870 

Testing application deadline will be in early October as noted by Beriberi.  If you do decide to stick with Waldorf and want to have her tested, you should probably let them know ASAP.  My impression is that Waldorf teachers/administrators may be very opposed to the idea of HCC and testing -- after all, they think that kids shouldn't start reading until relatively late, right? 

The following two blogs have been very valuable resources for me as I have been navigating SPS for my daughter --  I actually just pulled her OUT of HCC testing (which was supposed to be today), because she got admitted to an option school that was not on the HCC pathway.  We've decided to see how that works for her, and have her tested this fall.  If she likes current school, she'll shift into Advanced Learning pathway there.  If she isn't happy with the current school, we'll give the HCC pathway school a try next year. 

http://discussapp.blogspot.com/
http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/

Be aware that both of these websites can turn into a bit of a rabbit hole and increase any anxiety you might have about SPS.  There is a LOT of venting that goes on.  I had to learn to read each comment with the mindset that I don't know if this family/kid has a legitimate gripe, or is just making mountains out of molehills.  I think as far as big urban public schools go, SPS is not that bad.  There are HUGE management issues and a lot of waste, and leadership is lacking across the board.  But at the granular level of the classroom, I think most teachers are competent and doing a good job/providing a safe and healthy environment.  Anyway, reading either of these blogs will give you a crash course in Seattle area civic engagement -  lots of discussion of race, class, gender and what not. 

I personally think you would be wise to give Lowell a try for K.  It used to be a great school back in the day (I worked in a Montessori preschool in college and Lowell was one of the schools parents would jockey hard to get their kids into).  The change of principal could actually be a good thing, if the last one was underperforming.  Good parent feedback is important.  Anyway, if you find it isn't working for your daughter for K, you can try to switch to an option school for G1.  Be forwarned that those are hard to get into, too, though -- the K level waitlist at the option school my daughter finally got into was over 100 kids.  There were 60+ on the G6 waitlist (we started at #1, dropped to #3 after some adjustments for application errors, and eventually got a slot in July).  I don't know how mobile your subsidized housing setup is, but if you have the option to move so that you are in a different reference area to get priority for a school you want to change to you need to time it carefully. 

OK, that got really long, but hopefully it is helpful.  I've obviously been a bit obsessed with SPS the last few months, myself.....

Great info! Definitely have to learn about Option schools. Ah, that page is the one that lead me to believe there was a K APP, because it says "Grades K-8".

Thanks so much!

Yes, Waldorf teaches parents to not encourage any academic growth until Grade 1. But she, along with five of her classmates that I know of, show initiative and wonder towards the academics, so we parents cater accordingly. The teachers understand that as well. They're taught to preserve innocence, but they (at least the ones we got) understand that children grow at a self-driven pace.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2016, 07:55:08 PM by DavidDoes »

lhamo

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #138 on: August 16, 2016, 08:28:04 PM »
That sounds like a much healthier dynamic than I have heard of in some Waldorf environments, which quite honestly have sounded a bit kooky.   Glad the info was helpful.  Do look into the Option options.  Some are really great.  I was really impressed by Salmon Bay over in Ballard, but we were outside the geozone for that so likelihood of admission was low.  I THOUGHT we would be a shoo in for Hazel Wolf, as it was literally across the street (and down two blocks) from our last apartment, but we ended up on the wait list for several anxious weeks.  I'm still a little nervous that they will ask us to re-prove our address before school starts, and that they will kick us off because we are no longer in the geozone (couldn't find a suitable 3br nearby when I needed to move).  In any event, I'm not going to put in the change of address form until DD's butt has been firmly in her seat at Hazel Wolf for a week or two.

SPS actually puts up pretty good information about the option school enrollment statistics that can help you get a sense of which schools are easier or harder to get into.  Though it can change.  Hazel Wolf is moving into a new building this year, which is probably why there was a surge in demand.  But if you are not dealing with that kind of a situation you can look back at the waitlist data for several years to see roughly how many kids were admitted at each grade level. 

john6221

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #139 on: August 17, 2016, 07:03:53 AM »
So...to summarize...a guy and his wife willingly work in low-paying jobs in a HCOL city; the guy creates this thread to complain about not having enough money, and then spends numerous pages worth of posts defending his spending. Ok. Was this thread the ultimate troll?

boarder42

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #140 on: August 17, 2016, 07:19:29 AM »
So...to summarize...a guy and his wife willingly work in low-paying jobs in a HCOL city; the guy creates this thread to complain about not having enough money, and then spends numerous pages worth of posts defending his spending. Ok. Was this thread the ultimate troll?

yeah i mean at the end of the day he probably should start his own blog about this b/c its not a mustachian life he is trying to lead. its spend a bunch of money basically all you make but do a job that makes you happy til you die.

DavidDoes

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #141 on: August 18, 2016, 11:50:57 AM »
That sounds like a much healthier dynamic than I have heard of in some Waldorf environments, which quite honestly have sounded a bit kooky.   Glad the info was helpful.  Do look into the Option options.  Some are really great.  I was really impressed by Salmon Bay over in Ballard, but we were outside the geozone for that so likelihood of admission was low.  I THOUGHT we would be a shoo in for Hazel Wolf, as it was literally across the street (and down two blocks) from our last apartment, but we ended up on the wait list for several anxious weeks.  I'm still a little nervous that they will ask us to re-prove our address before school starts, and that they will kick us off because we are no longer in the geozone (couldn't find a suitable 3br nearby when I needed to move).  In any event, I'm not going to put in the change of address form until DD's butt has been firmly in her seat at Hazel Wolf for a week or two.

SPS actually puts up pretty good information about the option school enrollment statistics that can help you get a sense of which schools are easier or harder to get into.  Though it can change.  Hazel Wolf is moving into a new building this year, which is probably why there was a surge in demand.  But if you are not dealing with that kind of a situation you can look back at the waitlist data for several years to see roughly how many kids were admitted at each grade level.

QAE looks awesome! And quite opposite of what Waldorf teaches. We believe that kids are sponges and do well in multiple types of environments. Ours just happens to tinker in a bit of everything outdoors, arts, math, science. I think most kids are that way too, though.

So...to summarize...a guy and his wife willingly work in low-paying jobs in a HCOL city; the guy creates this thread to complain about not having enough money, and then spends numerous pages worth of posts defending his spending. Ok. Was this thread the ultimate troll?


yeah i mean at the end of the day he probably should start his own blog about this b/c its not a mustachian life he is trying to lead. its spend a bunch of money basically all you make but do a job that makes you happy til you die.
[/quote]

I actually wasn't complaining, but reaching out. I think by this point most people in this thread understand that.

Not that I have anything to prove to you, but you need to understand that our lives did not start when I made this post. We've lived the last few years making financial decisions for the better.

- In 2012, we moved from Idaho to Washington. Income boost from $18,000 to $30,000
- In 2013, we pay off our car and student loans. DEBT FREE! Monthly savings increased by $350.
- In 2014, we purchased a house. Mortgage payment $200/mo less than rent. But +2.5 hours every day in commuting and +$300/mo in maintenance/insurance costs, +200/mo in heating costs.
- Late 2014, our car was totaled. We purchased a new one w/ a loan. +350/mo in loan payments & insurance.
- In 2015, we completed our bankruptcy almost exactly one year after purchasing the house.
- Between 2012 and 2015, I received promotions and accepted a new job, and my wife went back to work. Income improvement from $30,000 to $72,000.
- Wife's parents were living with us and helping care for child while they got situated after moving from Idaho to Washington. Free Child Care!
- Wife's parents move out, we're looking at $1,500/mo for daycare. We find Waldorf for $754/mo (for that year). Saved $746/mo over daycare.
- Before kiddo starts school, the property I worked at was selling. I did not want to retain employment with them, and also needed to figure out the logistics of getting kiddo to/from school. If I wanted to work part-time instead of hiring someone, I could afford to lose $20,000/yr (The cost for 4 hours of child care, 5x per week. That's not even counting extended summer care.)
- Took part-time job in industry that I want to be in. Loss of $12,500/yr*, but the lower costs of child care more than make up for it.
- In the middle of the winter of 2015, we sell our car (that we now owned), and got bicycles. Savings of $200/mo.
- Because of the new work schedule, we only need to find care for her for a couple of hours 3x per week during the summer. We find a summer camp that is $50/day that lasts from 7:30 A - 6:00 P, and we can drop her off or pick her up at any point in that time-frame.

We've done the math. Financially and emotionally, this is a better position for us. You don't have to read this thread. But what we have been worried about is being able to save enough. And I think we've addressed those concerns here. We will be doing public school, we've paid off our last debt, and I did something that the community didn't mention switching to a bank with higher yield. Granted, this is a tiny improvement, but I'll take the extra $40/month on my savings... Then we will start thinking about retirement/index funds.

* Just looked at my spreadsheet that I keep for all the tips I receive. I am making $22/hr as a barista, working 30 hours/wk. We are slated to make ~$55-62,000 this year. Much higher than I previously estimated.

Samuel

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #142 on: August 18, 2016, 12:35:54 PM »
I think OP should be commended for doing whatever they needed to do to score subsidized housing in the extremely competitive Seattle market (esp in Capitol Hill -- definitely look into at least PT Air BnBing to maximize income earning potential.  Your daughter can sleep in your bedroom a couple of nights a month if you can't find opportunities for her to sleep over with friends/relatives, and then you can rent out her room/bathroom for a higher rate rather than expecting guests to sleep on the sofa).
...

Be careful with this.  Make sure taking in a roommate or AirBnB-ing won't jeopardize the housing subsidy.

Yeah, that sounds like a good way to lose an amazingly generous subsidy.

OP:
54k a year gross income with 21k (1750 per month) in rental subsidies means the city is supplementing your current lifestyle by 38% (21k of a 75k lifestyle). You'll need to raise your income 38% just to have the same lifestyle on the open market.

This is all well and good as long as you're honest about the numbers that qualify for you the help. You need to know the limit you can increase your income before the help phases out, and factor that into your plans for side hustles and the next major move in your lives (which I image is to a lower COL area). As others have mentioned contingency planning is key here. What happens when this help is no longer available? Develop realistic plans to step into something as good or better when the opportunity is there.

If it were me I'd spend this time gaining experience and learning as much as I can about the coffee business while squeezing the maximum savings out of the income I can earn while keeping the subsidy. So all expenses are on the table. Including school.

In the mean time I would be very grateful that I can live in one of the most dynamic and desirable neighborhoods in the country while working a lower paying passion job. It's a huge luxury. Don't take it for granted.

DavidDoes

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #143 on: August 19, 2016, 12:14:44 PM »

Be careful with this.  Make sure taking in a roommate or AirBnB-ing won't jeopardize the housing subsidy.

Yeah, that sounds like a good way to lose an amazingly generous subsidy.

OP:
54k a year gross income with 21k (1750 per month) in rental subsidies means the city is supplementing your current lifestyle by 38% (21k of a 75k lifestyle). You'll need to raise your income 38% just to have the same lifestyle on the open market.

This is all well and good as long as you're honest about the numbers that qualify for you the help. You need to know the limit you can increase your income before the help phases out, and factor that into your plans for side hustles and the next major move in your lives (which I image is to a lower COL area). As others have mentioned contingency planning is key here. What happens when this help is no longer available? Develop realistic plans to step into something as good or better when the opportunity is there.

If it were me I'd spend this time gaining experience and learning as much as I can about the coffee business while squeezing the maximum savings out of the income I can earn while keeping the subsidy. So all expenses are on the table. Including school.

In the mean time I would be very grateful that I can live in one of the most dynamic and desirable neighborhoods in the country while working a lower paying passion job. It's a huge luxury. Don't take it for granted.
[/quote]

You're absolutely right on all accounts. And yes, we definitely understand how fortunate we are we actually had to put money down before seeing the unit because of how in-demand and competitive this program can be. We went from a studio apartment [with no amenities] to this 2x2 [with all the amenities] for only $100 more a month, so we really do understand how fortunate we are.

As for being honest on the numbers of course! We actually have to submit our financial info every year with this program. And all of the information is readily accessible online, and the individual representing the program is very easy to get a hold of. :)

Quality post. Thank you for contributing!

DavidDoes

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #144 on: March 17, 2017, 11:19:58 PM »
Hello again, folks.

I wanted to post an update on our progress, and I wasn't sure that creating a new topic would be the best route. So I'm reviving this old topic.

This month marks our last silly tuition payment to our daughter's school. Next school year, she will be entering public school. Unfortunately, we live in a poor school zone – I've tried to get into contact with them, and have spoken with parents there, and it just doesn't rub well with me. They have very poor test scores as well. Therefore, we are planning on moving to another neighborhood by September. We've already looked into and toured the schools in other neighborhoods, and the apartments are within our budget, especially staying on the rent program that we are on.

Tonight, I went over a six month recap of our finances, and we went over-budget on all of the non-fixed budget items. That is, ones like groceries, health & beauty, etc. where it's not an actual bill coming in. Unfortunately, this means we failed a bit. Fortunately, this means a sobering moment and a time for reflection.

With a couple of tiny windfalls, we "decided" that we "needed" a television. Seven years of marriage and six years of rearing a child, and we never needed one before. Now, just four months after having purchased it, we absolutely despise it. Chalk it up to a lesson learned. So that was one bad decision.

Some other poor decisions may not have really been decisions, but unplanned circumstances. Our grocery budget averaged out to being $133 over per month. Unacceptable. I feel that $400/month for three people should be doable. We also spent way too much on dining out. One budget item that has been costing us quite a bit is the Bicycles budget. We have been car-free for over a year now, but we are still learning some things. One of those being not to leave your lights on your bicycle if you don't want them stolen. Another is that we've finally learned to patch tubes properly (100 patches cost about as much as one tube), so that'll help cut costs. The cost of maintaining the bicycles are a bit more than anticipated, but I've also included in the Bicycles budget, any such gear used for bicycling, including rain gear.

All-in-all, I think we're doing okay. Starting next month, we are dedicating $950/month ($832 of which coming from the kiddo's tuition) toward moving costs for September, while still saving $500/month for general savings. After we move, we will finally be able to get healthcare for all of us, rather than just vision and dental. After getting healthcare, we should still be saving ~25% of our income (not calculating change in income).

I am starting a new position sometime in April or May, which should bring in ~$600/month. Also, I recently completed my course on Front-End Web Development, and am actively seeking side jobs to build my portfolio. Thankfully, I have built a small network of industry professionals, so I have some support there. Also thankfully, there are a few websites that pair you with open-source projects so that you can contribute code. This helps you not only build your portfolio, but also gain industry experience, and exposes you to working individually, as a team, and working with unfamiliar languages/frameworks/etc.

I am also super happy to report that our daughter's account hit $100 the other day! She earns $.25 every evening for cleaning up, helping us clean up dinner, feeding the pets, watering plants, and getting ready for bed in a timely manner. If she does this extraordinarily independently, she gets a $.25 reward. She is never reminded about the reward, so anytime she does it is because she was being honestly superb. ;)

I have been reading How Children Succeed by Paul Tough, and in it one of the character strengths of successful individuals that stood out to me was the ability to persevere through boring or meaningless tasks, or delayed gratification. Well, I also know this is something my daughter struggles with, so I have been working with her. Much to my surprise and delight, she told me a couple of weeks ago that she didn't want to spend any of her money until it was over $100. This made my heart sing. :)

By the way – does anyone have any suggestions for what to use her money for? I feel sort of guilty if she says she wants something, and I'm not sure where the money for it should come from. For instance, we got her a paint set a few weeks ago. I'm not sure something like that should come out of her money... I also don't want her to go around spending money on frivolous things. We try to keep only items that we use and that bring us joy.

Thanks for reading this update!
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 11:35:54 PM by DavidDoes »

Cannot Wait!

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #145 on: March 18, 2017, 07:00:53 AM »
Start her on 3 money buckets.  % for long term savings , % charity, and a % for whatever she wants -  frivolous or not.

DavidDoes

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #146 on: March 18, 2017, 10:48:38 AM »
Start her on 3 money buckets.  % for long term savings , % charity, and a % for whatever she wants -  frivolous or not.

Ooh! Good idea! 

We give to charities (incl. political campaigns I know that's not a charity but the same type of expense) sometimes, but not on a regular basis. I think this is a great idea!

I'm thinking ≥75% for Savings, 10% for Whatever, 15% for Charities. I'll give her a visual (she's really good with fractions already) and let her be part of the decision process for what portions go where.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #147 on: March 18, 2017, 03:35:11 PM »
Start her on 3 money buckets.  % for long term savings , % charity, and a % for whatever she wants -  frivolous or not.

Ooh! Good idea! 

We give to charities (incl. political campaigns I know that's not a charity but the some ame type of expense) sometimes, but not on a regular basis. I think this is a great idea!

For a cool charity, check out www.kiva.org. With Kiva you can show your daughter how to help others become financially stable and support people in need. It would be nice for her to get a global perspective as well.

I'm thinking ≥75% for Savings, 10% for Whatever, 15% for Charities. I'll give her a visual (she's really good with fractions already) and let her be part of the decision process for what portions go where.

tralfamadorian

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Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #148 on: March 18, 2017, 07:49:47 PM »
My first thought was Kiva, too!  You can do microloans and see the individual person they are lending to and what they are using the money for.  So it's also a mini-lesson on how loans work.  Then hopefully as the person repays the loan, she will be able to loan the money out again to another person.