Author Topic: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]  (Read 37109 times)

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1681
  • Location: SE PA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #50 on: August 12, 2016, 11:13:02 AM »
I'm going to go against the grain here and tell you that if your family really values the private K, I think it is okay.  Especially if you plan on just one more year of it.

I have been a lifelong renter (now almost 37), and there are definitely perks.  Jesse Mecham of YNAB recently said something along the lines of "there's nothing wrong with renting.  You are paying for a roof over your head and outsourcing repairs and maintenance... it sounds quite posh, actually."  I will admit, for me, there is perpetual on-and-off pressure that I should buy, this is primarily due to the "American Dream" connotations attached to home ownership.  Another thought that puts my renting mind at ease... "did you really buy a house, or did you get yourself a job and a gardener/handyman?"  Houses are work and money to maintain. 

My husband is a trainer/qc manager at a coffee shop, and believe me, coffee is definitely something you can be "in," despite naysayers in the forums.  I would say it sounds elitist to mock a career in coffee, but I think it's just a lack of knowledge on some posters' part to question it.  DH was just at very large industry conference organized by the SCAA (specialty coffee association of america).  The independent shop is just one little part of the industry.  Before the shop, there are roasters, buyers, importers, farmers.  There's a ton of sophisticated equipment involved- development, sales, repairs and maintenance of this specialty equipment is another way you can have a career in coffee.  Working at a shop is a really great way to make connections in the community, too.  It's a "third place" for a lot of people, and there are a lot of opportunities for networking.

I have to warn you, though, about opening your own shop.  It is a shitload of work, really hard work, and from what I've seen, there are very small margins, I'm talking 1.8% to 5% IF you are doing things right. (Something like 60% fail in the first 3 years).  Restaurants and cafes just have very small profit margins, so there is little room for error, and even if the shop looks like business is booming, costs for overhead can eat away your revenue so quickly.  It's really tough.  Do your homework before taking the leap. (How do I know this?  I'm an accountant and currently keep books for a shop, plus I have for other small businesses in the past when I was in public accounting.)

What you need to do right now is really reduce your unnecessary spending.  Lower your phone bills, get rid of things like spotify premium, adobe, prime.   Try to find a better deal on internet.  What are you spending on "household" and "health and beauty?"  Can you cut some of that out?  Your grocery bill could use a little work.  Don't eat cereal, it is expensive and extruded or highly processed grains aren't good for you, anyway.  Homemade oatmeal/granola is tastier and much better for you.  What are activities?  If you don't spend anything on dining out, good for you, that's something my family could be a lot better about. 

FI is not out of reach.  But you really have to tighten things up on the spending side in order to get there.  And you are still young.  If you like what you do, it's okay if FI takes a little longer than if you hate what you do and want to RE now.


DavidDoes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #51 on: August 12, 2016, 11:24:44 AM »
you're taking your daughter to CAMP!?!?!?!?! is it FREE if so great move if not ... you cant afford this luxury.

$50/day 3x a week.

Show me something more affordable? Or, would you like me to take the summer off with her?


I hear you, and I don't doubt you and your wife are good at your jobs, but I think it's understandable that making $24,000 a year "in" coffee sounds like a really fancy way to describe what's basically an entry-level food-service position.

Adding something constructive here, have you read MMM's 50 Jobs Over $50k Without a Degree lists? Most of them are attainable and surely at least one interests you.

That's a good point. My wife works in a lead position, and I'm moving to her employer in October as well, for more growth opportunities.

I have looked at that list. I was a Maintenance Supervisor for residential properties (fancy phrase for apartments) before I did coffee. That's always on the table, however it would also add expenses in the way of after-school child care. Also on that list of his is Wordpress Developer. I've been learning coding for a while now, and I'm almost to the point where I could build a Wordpress template. :) Someone earlier mentioned that I need to figure it out. I don't see anything wrong with having multiple hobbies and interests. I read, I do photography, I'm learning coding. The thing is that these things don't cost much money (photography certainly can, but I've made sure that I haven't spent any money on it other than the Adobe CC, which I'm looking into the alternatives for). Learning to code is free if you self-teach, and I'm learning to make more time for that on the side. That doesn't mean I'm going to quit my job and learn full-time, though. ;) I know of some people who have been able to do that.

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #52 on: August 12, 2016, 11:28:13 AM »
I'm going to ignore your expenses, because others are really discussing those and have very valid points.

Instead, I'm going to talk about other things. You seem to have 3 major financial goals in life:

1) Become financially independent one day
2) To own a house
3) To maybe start your own coffee shop business

I don't think you have the tools for that right now. You don't say what your education level is or what your previous job/career was. But for your goals, you need these things:

1) Money. Starting a business also requires money, so you don't even just need it for becoming FI or buying a house or even just to have more breathing room in your life.
2) Credit. If you just claimed bankruptcy 2 years ago, you're not going to be able to get a mortgage or a small business loan right now even if you had more money to your name. You need to, over time, build that financial trustworthyness so banks will loan to you.
3) Education. Running a coffee shop business doesn't just mean you know how to make a good cup of coffee or provide good customer service. Actually serving coffee will probably be a small part of your job if you truly become a business owner in the future.
4) Experience. I'll get more to that later though.

Here are my starting suggestions for getting those things:

- Can you get back into the previous field you were in? I don't care if it's not something you love. You need more income right now. Money is a tool. You need more money to get the things you want.

- I suggest dropping your daughter's schooling and instead use that money to go back to school yourself. Get some sort of business bachelor's degree, or if you have a bachelor's, then get an MBA. Even if your bachelor's isn't in business, you will be able to take some catch-up courses so the college/university will allow you in the MBA program. You don't have to go to school full-time. You could go part-time after work and/or on weekends. The reason I suggest this is it'll give you more education on business matters, but it'll also help you look more promising.

- Use that education to help you get a higher paying job *while you are working towards* building up your own business eventually. You can probably also get some good experience out of it that will give you MORE knowledge you will need when you open up that coffee shop. More income also means it's easier to buy a house and easier to save more money so you can become financially independent. DO NOT see more income as permission to start buying fancy cars and other unnecessary things that'll get you in debt. That would be throwing away a tool, and you don't want that.

This is going to take time. You must be patient. The goals you want to achieve are not achievable for you immediately. It'll take several years minimum working toward it. But it's not impossible.

I'm with Red Bird.  You and your wife seem to be all over the place.  You want everything, but none of the stress that goes along with it.  You deliberately reduced your income, because you were unhappy however it looks like you did not reduce your standard of living.  You are still living on your previous salary. 

The two of you should sit down and figure out what your top priorities are.  Do you want to be FI or own a coffee business?  Both are great paths, but both will take a lot of work, time, and sacrifice.   At this time, yes, you are going to have pick one over the other.

It sounds like neither of you are committed to staying in Seattle so I would take buying a house off the list. 

I agree with everyone else that attending a Waldorf school is unnecessary expense at this age, however you seem dead set on it.  So I would suggest you find a way to fund that monthly expense through some other means than your primary income.  Get a second job, sell camera equipment, if her attending this school is THAT important to you then you should be prepared to do whatever it takes to keep her in there, however your current income cannot support it. 




Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #53 on: August 12, 2016, 11:31:48 AM »
I hear you, and I don't doubt you and your wife are good at your jobs, but I think it's understandable that making $24,000 a year "in" coffee sounds like a really fancy way to describe what's basically an entry-level food-service position.

I'm glad not everyone thinks I'm an "imbecile" making "a mockery" of the OP's career.

DavidDoes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #54 on: August 12, 2016, 11:35:45 AM »
I'm going to go against the grain here and tell you that if your family really values the private K, I think it is okay.  Especially if you plan on just one more year of it.

I have been a lifelong renter (now almost 37), and there are definitely perks.  Jesse Mecham of YNAB recently said something along the lines of "there's nothing wrong with renting.  You are paying for a roof over your head and outsourcing repairs and maintenance... it sounds quite posh, actually."  I will admit, for me, there is perpetual on-and-off pressure that I should buy, this is primarily due to the "American Dream" connotations attached to home ownership.  Another thought that puts my renting mind at ease... "did you really buy a house, or did you get yourself a job and a gardener/handyman?"  Houses are work and money to maintain. 

We had a house for a year, which is one of the reasons we claimed bankruptcy, along with a car being totalled and some other things. :(

Quote
My husband is a trainer/qc manager at a coffee shop, and believe me, coffee is definitely something you can be "in," despite naysayers in the forums.  I would say it sounds elitist to mock a career in coffee, but I think it's just a lack of knowledge on some posters' part to question it.  DH was just at very large industry conference organized by the SCAA (specialty coffee association of america).  The independent shop is just one little part of the industry.  Before the shop, there are roasters, buyers, importers, farmers.  There's a ton of sophisticated equipment involved- development, sales, repairs and maintenance of this specialty equipment is another way you can have a career in coffee.  Working at a shop is a really great way to make connections in the community, too.  It's a "third place" for a lot of people, and there are a lot of opportunities for networking.

I have to warn you, though, about opening your own shop.  It is a shitload of work, really hard work, and from what I've seen, there are very small margins, I'm talking 1.8% to 5% IF you are doing things right. (Something like 60% fail in the first 3 years).  Restaurants and cafes just have very small profit margins, so there is little room for error, and even if the shop looks like business is booming, costs for overhead can eat away your revenue so quickly.  It's really tough.  Do your homework before taking the leap. (How do I know this?  I'm an accountant and currently keep books for a shop, plus I have for other small businesses in the past when I was in public accounting.)

Exactly the reasons I got into coffee. Sure, people can learn about the industry and open a shop without ever having worked in the industry, but I'm a hands-on learner. :)

Quote
What you need to do right now is really reduce your unnecessary spending.  Lower your phone bills, get rid of things like spotify premium, adobe, prime.   Try to find a better deal on internet.  What are you spending on "household" and "health and beauty?"  Can you cut some of that out?  Your grocery bill could use a little work.  Don't eat cereal, it is expensive and extruded or highly processed grains aren't good for you, anyway.  Homemade oatmeal/granola is tastier and much better for you.  What are activities?  If you don't spend anything on dining out, good for you, that's something my family could be a lot better about. 

FI is not out of reach.  But you really have to tighten things up on the spending side in order to get there.  And you are still young.  If you like what you do, it's okay if FI takes a little longer than if you hate what you do and want to RE now.

Roger that! I've created a reminder to speak with my wife on all of these things tonight when I get home from work. Unfortunately, we are stuck in a contract with the phones. And that contract is on my father's family plan, so we can't have it bought-out by T-Mobile or anything. I'll look into our options there. :)

About the homemade cereal/oatmeal deal. We can't find affordable items to make this. We've price-checked and it always ends up ~$15/lb. to make! We have not checked CostCo yet, however, as we don't have a membership. But half of Amazon Prime would pay for a year membership to CostCo. The only issue there is that the nearest one is a 20-minute ride, and we can't carry much bulk items on our bikes. Our bike bags hold one full paper bag of groceries each, and we have four of those (two for each bike) and one of us hauls the kiddo. 20 minutes is no issue just don't want to find out we don't have room on the bikes hah. We want to check it out though I think we were planning for this weekend or next to go and see. Someone also just bought us a Vitamix, so we want to be able to buy bulk nuts and the like. :)

---

Thank you!

Quote
I agree with everyone else that attending a Waldorf school is unnecessary expense at this age, however you seem dead set on it.  So I would suggest you find a way to fund that monthly expense through some other means than your primary income.  Get a second job, sell camera equipment, if her attending this school is THAT important to you then you should be prepared to do whatever it takes to keep her in there, however your current income cannot support it.

Why sell the camera equipment? I understand that it would provide a small boost to our income for the month, but all of it together would only go for around $300. And if I find an alternative to Adobe CC, then I can maintain my hobby for free.

tonysemail

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 725
  • Location: San Jose, CA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #55 on: August 12, 2016, 11:36:25 AM »
You want to own a coffee shop, then you want to be a photographer, then you want to be a software developer. MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND!

If you want to be a photographer, forget about being a software developer. If you want to be a software developer, ditch all your photography gear right now and focus 100% on that. If you want to run a coffee shop, forget both of the others and go to business school or something.

Kind of off-topic, but I think there are a few good arguments against this attitude.
1) Software is eating the world and AI is coming for your job.
Any young person with the capacity to learn coding will benefit from spending time developing those skills.
Maybe coffee baristas will be automated away in the next decade... who knows.

2) Some interesting and profitable inventions exist at the intersection of low tech and high tech.
My BIL related an interesting phenomenon in plumbing.
apparently, when people say 'software is eating the world' it includes stuff like mom and pop plumbing outfits.
over the past decade, the "big guys" have deployed software systems that have driven small shops out of business.
now, you will always need a plumber to do the actual repair.
But the billing, supply chain management, scheduling, etc are now managed with software and have become a barrier to entry.
Try googling "plumbing software"... this didn't exist 10 years ago!
And it *should* happen in the coffee industry, if it hasn't already.
I'm thinking of an example like this-
http://www.roastertools.com/

Guesl982374

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #56 on: August 12, 2016, 11:39:17 AM »
- Coffee

Actually, working in coffee is a thing. And it's not only in Seattle. Look up the SCAA, for instance. There are regional, national, and international competitions. My wife's employer paid for her to go to competition in Kansas City last year. Beyond that, there are so many different things that everyone is doing. It's never just coffee.

You don't have to understand it. But you also don't need to be an imbecile about it...

---

Thank you to everyone who is understanding and providing constructive feedback. I'll try to have a conversation with my little family this evening. Didn't get much time last night. :(

As others have noted, you need to increase your income. Instead of being down on the low income job, I am going to hopefully change the way you think about income.

Regarding working with coffee:

Have you considered looking at who in the coffee industry makes the most money? Looks like specialty coffee is pretty big industry: @$3-4B/year in the US. http://dailycoffeenews.com/2015/04/09/at-3-48-billion-coffee-jumps-to-second-place-in-u-s-specialty-food-sales/

I don't drink coffee so take the following questions as food for thought on how to drive income not on the coffee industry specifically:
-Are there opportunities to start selling coffee wholesale to shops?
-Where do you see entrepreneurs in specialty coffee making decent money (>$100K/yr)? Think beyond just coffee shop ownership. What about being some sort of supplier to a coffee shop (cups, marketing materials, etc)? Think about what coffee shops spend money on today.
-Ask the owner of your shop what he hates about his current vendors. You might be surprised to find that you could provide a solution to his issue.
-Are there coffee "sommelier" like in wine? What do they make?
-Assuming you know a tremendous amount about coffee, is there a way you could monetize this knowledge? Blog? Consulting to individuals? How about as some sort of event/party/team building for corporations?
-Since you are learning to code, what about offering some sort of digital service to a coffee shop (webdesign, some sort of ap, etc)?
-Talk to the owner of the shop where you work (or other shop owners in your network), what are their biggest problems? Calculate how much money is associated with said problems and figure out if you can offer value for some sort of service. IE Problem: "My line is too long and I see customers leaving the line without buying anything..." You figure out that the shop loses 20 customers each morning at $10/customer or $200/day in revenue. You also notice that you could rearrange the layout saving employees time which would shorten the line or you notice that the equipment is older and there's a faster model etc. By directly addressing their problem, you are adding value ($200/day of ~$75K/yr in rev) and can be compensated on that value.
-Similarly, how would you make the current place you work more profitable? If you have a decent idea, calculate how much money you could help the business make, and approach the owner with an offer to work on a commission basis where you would be compensated say 50% of whatever extra profits you bring (cost savings or increasing revenue).
-Could you "source" coffee beans for independent shops? Act like a broker between producers/wholesalers and retailers
-Could you be the person who certifies "fair trade"?


My overall point is people get paid on the value they bring. If you are focused on pouring coffee (no offense intended, not sure the correct high-end coffee term) and collecting money at a cash register, they you will always be paid a very low amount. Figure out how to add tremendous value to a business owner and you will increase your income exponentially. The higher value you bring to a business (in quantifiable $$$ terms) the more you can charge for your time whether as an employee or more commonly as an entrepreneur.

DavidDoes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #57 on: August 12, 2016, 11:40:54 AM »
You want to own a coffee shop, then you want to be a photographer, then you want to be a software developer. MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND!

If you want to be a photographer, forget about being a software developer. If you want to be a software developer, ditch all your photography gear right now and focus 100% on that. If you want to run a coffee shop, forget both of the others and go to business school or something.

Kind of off-topic, but I think there are a few good arguments against this attitude.
1) Software is eating the world and AI is coming for your job.
Any young person with the capacity to learn coding will benefit from spending time developing those skills.
Maybe coffee baristas will be automated away in the next decade... who knows.

2) Some interesting and profitable inventions exist at the intersection of low tech and high tech.
My BIL related an interesting phenomenon in plumbing.
apparently, when people say 'software is eating the world' it includes stuff like mom and pop plumbing outfits.
over the past decade, the "big guys" have deployed software systems that have driven small shops out of business.
now, you will always need a plumber to do the actual repair.
But the billing, supply chain management, scheduling, etc are now managed with software and have become a barrier to entry.
Try googling "plumbing software"... this didn't exist 10 years ago!
And it *should* happen in the coffee industry, if it hasn't already.
I'm thinking of an example like this-
http://www.roastertools.com/

Bingo! Matt Perger, a huge name in the coffee industry, actually believes that baristas of the future will be less technical, and more service.

Midwest

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1345
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #58 on: August 12, 2016, 11:44:57 AM »
You want to own a coffee shop, then you want to be a photographer, then you want to be a software developer. MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND!

If you want to be a photographer, forget about being a software developer. If you want to be a software developer, ditch all your photography gear right now and focus 100% on that. If you want to run a coffee shop, forget both of the others and go to business school or something.

Kind of off-topic, but I think there are a few good arguments against this attitude.
1) Software is eating the world and AI is coming for your job.
Any young person with the capacity to learn coding will benefit from spending time developing those skills.
Maybe coffee baristas will be automated away in the next decade... who knows.

2) Some interesting and profitable inventions exist at the intersection of low tech and high tech.
My BIL related an interesting phenomenon in plumbing.
apparently, when people say 'software is eating the world' it includes stuff like mom and pop plumbing outfits.
over the past decade, the "big guys" have deployed software systems that have driven small shops out of business.
now, you will always need a plumber to do the actual repair.
But the billing, supply chain management, scheduling, etc are now managed with software and have become a barrier to entry.
Try googling "plumbing software"... this didn't exist 10 years ago!
And it *should* happen in the coffee industry, if it hasn't already.
I'm thinking of an example like this-
http://www.roastertools.com/

Bingo! Matt Perger, a huge name in the coffee industry, actually believes that baristas of the future will be less technical, and more service.

It's great to continue to work on big picture solutions and continue to learn.  In the meantime, however, you have an income/expense problem.  Most of the suggestions here, including the above, are focused on getting that solved.  You can't afford to start a coffee shop until you solve those problems.

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #59 on: August 12, 2016, 11:46:08 AM »
http://www.roboticstomorrow.com/story/2016/03/cafe-x-robotic-barista/7866/

yeah there will be no need for them with machines on every corner that can do it.  unless your plan is to buy a ton of these or develop your own i think youre about 20 years too late to the coffee shop teet.

the technical burista or however you spell the fancy name for someone who puts coffee in a cup will become non existant and replaced by dudes in trucks filling up the beans and milk in these machines.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 11:47:39 AM by boarder42 »

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #60 on: August 12, 2016, 11:47:46 AM »
however you seem dead set on it.  So I would suggest you find a way to fund that monthly expense through some other means than your primary income.  Get a second job, sell camera equipment, if her attending this school is THAT important to you then you should be prepared to do whatever it takes to keep her in there, however your current income cannot support it.
[/quote]
Quote
Why sell the camera equipment? I understand that it would provide a small boost to our income for the month, but all of it together would only go for around $300. And if I find an alternative to Adobe CC, then I can maintain my hobby for free.
Getting rid of Adobe CC will not be enough to offset the cost of the tuition.  You said yourself that being in photography tempts you to buy more stuff....

Quote
The field leaves me wanting more equipment all the time...

So the logical conclusion is to get rid of the thing that tempts you.

selling the camera equipment is just an example, if you are unwilling to sell the camera stuff to help fund your daughters education then find something else to sell, either stuff or things you can do.  Find a second job, figure out how to immediately use your photography to bring in extra income, if you want to keep your daughter in the Waldorf school then you need to figure another way to finance it.  At least it would only be temporary until she starts public school, then you can quite your side hustle.

DavidDoes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #61 on: August 12, 2016, 12:20:23 PM »
It's great to continue to work on big picture solutions and continue to learn.  In the meantime, however, you have an income/expense problem.  Most of the suggestions here, including the above, are focused on getting that solved.  You can't afford to start a coffee shop until you solve those problems.

I know this. Hence why I'm here and listening. :)

Getting rid of Adobe CC will not be enough to offset the cost of the tuition.  You said yourself that being in photography tempts you to buy more stuff....

Quote
The field leaves me wanting more equipment all the time...

So the logical conclusion is to get rid of the thing that tempts you.

selling the camera equipment is just an example, if you are unwilling to sell the camera stuff to help fund your daughters education then find something else to sell, either stuff or things you can do.  Find a second job, figure out how to immediately use your photography to bring in extra income, if you want to keep your daughter in the Waldorf school then you need to figure another way to finance it.  At least it would only be temporary until she starts public school, then you can quite your side hustle.


Ah, yes! Well, I'm not currently working on building a photography portfolio or trying to make money from it, so I'm not tempted to go get that lens that would better help me get a shot of Mt. Rainier or what-have-you. For now, I use it at home, practicing at least three times a week for about ten minutes. :) I'm not tempted to go get gear at this level.


the technical burista or however you spell the fancy name for someone who puts coffee in a cup will become non existant and replaced by dudes in trucks filling up the beans and milk in these machines.

There are a few schools of thought on this. You have these machines that put out crap coffee. You have Starbucks and Peet's and Seattle's Best that put out crap coffee. Those are the places that will go first. Then you have high-end specialty coffee. Some folks are willing to pay top dollar to dine on coffee, believe it or not. There's coffees (look up Geisha coffees) that sell for over $50/lb. green/unroasted. Roasted, they go for $50/8 oz bag. And believe it or not, the market is there for that.

So what I think we will see happen is a huge division between quick coffee and specialty coffee. That's a discussion for another forum, though! :)

edit: Just looked at Amazon while logged out. Looks like many of the items we get would have to be grouped with other items in order to get free shipping. Free shipping only for orders $49 or more. :( I feel like this would push us into a bad spending habit, as we often purchase one or two items at a time from Amazon, many of which cannot be found locally, or are cheaper on Amazon. It also saves a lot of time.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 12:26:03 PM by DavidDoes »

BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3039
  • Location: WDC
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #62 on: August 12, 2016, 12:24:54 PM »
http://www.roboticstomorrow.com/story/2016/03/cafe-x-robotic-barista/7866/

yeah there will be no need for them with machines on every corner that can do it.  unless your plan is to buy a ton of these or develop your own i think youre about 20 years too late to the coffee shop teet.

the technical burista or however you spell the fancy name for someone who puts coffee in a cup will become non existant and replaced by dudes in trucks filling up the beans and milk in these machines.

Jesus Christ, that is so fucking rude.  What is wrong with you that you cannot be civil and constructive? 

DavidDoes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #63 on: August 12, 2016, 12:27:41 PM »
http://www.roboticstomorrow.com/story/2016/03/cafe-x-robotic-barista/7866/

yeah there will be no need for them with machines on every corner that can do it.  unless your plan is to buy a ton of these or develop your own i think youre about 20 years too late to the coffee shop teet.

the technical burista or however you spell the fancy name for someone who puts coffee in a cup will become non existant and replaced by dudes in trucks filling up the beans and milk in these machines.

Jesus Christ, that is so fucking rude.  What is wrong with you that you cannot be civil and constructive?

Just imagine the types of customers we get sometimes! Thankfully, most of them know what they're paying for. But some folks a few on this forum so far just have no respect for folks. :( Apparently, they're off saving children in Africa while we're just throwing coffee into a cup. What's funny is that our coffee actually has tangible positive impacts on those kids in Africa. :)

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #64 on: August 12, 2016, 12:31:59 PM »
http://www.roboticstomorrow.com/story/2016/03/cafe-x-robotic-barista/7866/

yeah there will be no need for them with machines on every corner that can do it.  unless your plan is to buy a ton of these or develop your own i think youre about 20 years too late to the coffee shop teet.

the technical burista or however you spell the fancy name for someone who puts coffee in a cup will become non existant and replaced by dudes in trucks filling up the beans and milk in these machines.

Jesus Christ, that is so fucking rude.  What is wrong with you that you cannot be civil and constructive?

Agreed.  I think some (not all) of the animosity towards OP working in coffee. From a consumer perspective, MMM's eschew coffee shops like the one OP works in.

I personally don't care if OP works as a barista or as an escort, the fact remains, they do not bring enough money to support their lifestyle.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 12:38:20 PM by MrsDinero »

BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3039
  • Location: WDC
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #65 on: August 12, 2016, 12:37:03 PM »
Roasted, they go for $50/8 oz bag. And believe it or not, the market is there for that.
So what I think we will see happen is a huge division between quick coffee and specialty coffee.
I think we could also see something like the end of the tulipmania in Holland. I'm not a coffee connoisseur though, so maybe I'm wrong.  I do think that a strategy where you are focused on doing the same thing, but expecting people to pay more for it and therefore seeing a rise in your wages is short-sighted. 

Quote
edit: Just looked at Amazon while logged out. Looks like many of the items we get would have to be grouped with other items in order to get free shipping. Free shipping only for orders $49 or more. :( I feel like this would push us into a bad spending habit, as we often purchase one or two items at a time from Amazon, many of which cannot be found locally, or are cheaper on Amazon. It also saves a lot of time.
The shopping cart is extremely convenient because it stores all of your items for you.  Once I have enough items for free shipping, then I check out. But it also serves another purpose and that is it forces me to cool my heels when I'm in the middle of a clicking spree.  Usually when I go back a day or two later, there's always something I remove from the shopping cart or at least "save for later". 

DavidDoes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #66 on: August 12, 2016, 01:00:44 PM »
Roasted, they go for $50/8 oz bag. And believe it or not, the market is there for that.
So what I think we will see happen is a huge division between quick coffee and specialty coffee.
I think we could also see something like the end of the tulipmania in Holland. I'm not a coffee connoisseur though, so maybe I'm wrong.  I do think that a strategy where you are focused on doing the same thing, but expecting people to pay more for it and therefore seeing a rise in your wages is short-sighted. 

I'm sticking with coffee, at least for now. But that's why I'm also learning coding. :)

Just sent our balance payment for that Discover debt that was leftover from the bankruptcy. :) Just removed it from our budget and allocated it to the EF payments.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2884
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #67 on: August 12, 2016, 01:06:57 PM »
MOD NOTE:

So many complaints! OP is looking for help, Kudos to those who are offering constructive thoughts and ideas. While "face punches" and being frank is part of our forums culture - personal attacks, and slamming the OP's occupation is not. Yes, OP needs to bring in more money, There are PLENTY of ways of doing that in the coffee industry. Let's keep the conversation constructive, just because something doesn't align with your personal values, doesn't mean you get to be an asshat.

OP, do you and your wife gets tips? Is this money being accounted for in your budget or just dribbling away as cash tips often do?

bacchi

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3788
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #68 on: August 12, 2016, 01:17:07 PM »
edit: Just looked at Amazon while logged out. Looks like many of the items we get would have to be grouped with other items in order to get free shipping. Free shipping only for orders $49 or more. :( I feel like this would push us into a bad spending habit, as we often purchase one or two items at a time from Amazon, many of which cannot be found locally, or are cheaper on Amazon. It also saves a lot of time.

Thoughts?

Use a wish list until you get over $49.

Use Subscribe&Save for things that you need regularly. You get a small discount and can skip a shipment.

Share the Prime membership with a trusted family member.

DavidDoes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #69 on: August 12, 2016, 01:21:37 PM »
MOD NOTE:

So many complaints! OP is looking for help, Kudos to those who are offering constructive thoughts and ideas. While "face punches" and being frank is part of our forums culture - personal attacks, and slamming the OP's occupation is not. Yes, OP needs to bring in more money, There are PLENTY of ways of doing that in the coffee industry. Let's keep the conversation constructive, just because something doesn't align with your personal values, doesn't mean you get to be an asshat.

OP, do you and your wife gets tips? Is this money being accounted for in your budget or just dribbling away as cash tips often do?

Yes! All tips go into an envelope that we then deposit regularly. :) So yes, they are part of the budget.

edit: Just looked at Amazon while logged out. Looks like many of the items we get would have to be grouped with other items in order to get free shipping. Free shipping only for orders $49 or more. :( I feel like this would push us into a bad spending habit, as we often purchase one or two items at a time from Amazon, many of which cannot be found locally, or are cheaper on Amazon. It also saves a lot of time.

Thoughts?

Use a wish list until you get over $49.

Use Subscribe&Save for things that you need regularly. You get a small discount and can skip a shipment.

Share the Prime membership with a trusted family member.

Ah yes, Subscribe & Save! That's available for non-Prime members?


notactiveanymore

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 212
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #70 on: August 12, 2016, 01:38:09 PM »
I think the biggest thing that sticks out to me (besides Waldorf - if at all possible to get out of it for this year, I would absolutely do that. what you will pay in afterschool care would still be less), is the statement that you haven't made the planned $500 transfer to EF in the past few months and that you frequently spend more than you've planned on outings.

So you moved and that had some expenses associated with it. It happens. Now you need to buckle down and get your spending really under control. Personally, my husband and I budget every dollar. We came from the Dave Ramsey debt-payoff school, and budgeting this way was the best thing we learned. So we track every expense immediately (and manually) and we also check the tracker before going out to make a purchase to know how much we have to spend.

It sounds like your expenses as written are more aspirational rather than real limits on your spending. Maybe you guys need to consider a cash-only budget for a few months until you get the spending under control? It's important for you guys to identify whether you're going over because you're not planning ahead well and remembering expenses that will come up that month OR if you're just deciding to grab lunch out when you know you don't have a budget for it. I suggest going back through your last couple months of bank statements and trying to determine where exactly that $500 is going. It's a harsh wake-up call, but it is so helpful.

As for the coffee stuff, it sounds a lot like several people I know who are getting into local micro-brewing. They have to do apprenticeships and they make very little for several years until they can make their own brews. I think it can be really helpful in these situations to look for people in the field whose careers you would like to imitate and ask for mentorships or just mirror their moves so you can try and move up in the industry.

Finally, I think it's helpful to change your attitude from "we can't ever do this thing because of x, y, z" into "we want to do this thing how do we overcome obstacles x, y, and z."

For example, you say:
Quote
About the homemade cereal/oatmeal deal. We can't find affordable items to make this. We've price-checked and it always ends up ~$15/lb. to make!

This is very confusing to me. Do you have any other local grocery stores closer than costco and with no membership fee? Maybe not, I don't live in Seattle. But steel cut oats are very cheap. So maybe you can't get to the store for it, how can you overcome that obstacle: CHEAP OATMEAL. I'm not sure where you are getting this idea that it would be $15/pound to make oatmeal?

So just in general, try and tackle these spending issues as if they are a challenge that you and your wife are going to conquer together. You've got plenty of time to increase your income, but start today changing your attitude toward spending. There is always an excuse to spend or not save or to claim you're an exception, but they doesn't help you reach those financial goals any faster.

ETA: I don't care if you don't want to eat oatmeal. I hate oatmeal and I love name brand Honey Nut Cheerios. I just got two family size boxes for $1.50 each and they'll each last two weeks for me (and occasionally the husband when his eggs are gone), so that's $3 for a month of breakfasts (plus milk). It's not about the oatmeal, it's about the "defeated before we begin" attitude.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 01:44:02 PM by theotherelise »

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6644
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #71 on: August 12, 2016, 01:42:43 PM »
Other people have already said it but I will reiterate: You need to bring more money in. (right, right, easier said that done). Honestly I think you have a decent handle on your expenses. We can debate paying for Kindergarten all day long, but your kid will be out of kindergarten and into public school before that debate is settled. On the other hand bringing in more money will have a compounding positive effect years into the future. Can your wife look for a higher-paying job? Just as a quick example, Costco pays around 17$/hr for cashiers in Seattle, WA. If she has any education/training then she should be able to find something ever more remunerative. I definitely understand the importance of working a job you enjoy, but you took an enormous pay cut to get that. You need to be seriously looking at ways to bump your salary up, whether that be getting more skills, negotiating for more, or finding a different job. Best of luck to you.

What I don't understand is why OP took the lower paying job to begin with, when they clearly can't afford it at this point. It seems to me like people sometimes feel entitled to a job that they love.  With double the salary, this conversation would be much different. What type of planning went into changing jobs? I guess it doesn't really matter at this point, just something I wonder about in general when I see these types of posts. However, like another poster mentioned, maybe OP would consider getting a higher paying job or a second job temporarily until the debt is paid off and the EF is where they want it. If paying for preschool is that important, the second job or higher paying job could make it feasible. Although, as another person commented, I'd be interested in hearing what the after school care costs would be if they did cut the Waldorf school.
This was pretty much what I was going to say.  You don't quit a high paying job for a lower job, and then say "whoops" or "darn" I can't pay my bills.

Go back to the higher paying job.  Or get a second job.  Keep the higher paying job and do coffee on the side. (I know plenty of entrepreneurs who have gotten into: coffee, wine, beer, vodka, quilting, etc.  Some with long term success, some not.  It varies.)

kitkat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #72 on: August 12, 2016, 01:55:17 PM »
First of all, genuine kudos to the OP for engaging and listening to the comments despite some of the jerks.


One poster made mockery of working in coffee. What's wrong with that? Are you better because you have some sort of important job? Okay...

There's nothing wrong with working at a coffee shop (as long as you're making enough money at it to support your household without feeling the need to whine about the consequences of your choice). It was really the way you phrased it -- "in coffee" as opposed to "at a coffee shop" -- that was weird. Only in Seattle is coffee an industry unto itself rather than merely a subset of the fast food/restaurant industry.

I agree with this, and I absolutely have no judgement for whatever path you choose. HOWEVER, I think it should be pointed out that right now you are *not* "supporting your household" in this career. You declared bankruptcy, are receiving housing assistance, and are receiving school tuition assistance. I understand that you're not going to turn these things down when they are available to you, but I would hope that a serious goal of yours will be to become independent from them. BEFORE owning a house, starting your own business, paying for private school, etc. There is no reason for the government, the school, and your previous creditors to be supporting you when you are fully capable of making a respectable income on your own. I'm sorry if this sounds insensitive, and perhaps it is off-topic, but I think that is something that is being ignored here. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

Tacoma sounds like a great idea. I have a friend who opened up a brewery in Salem, OR and it has done outstandingly well. Similar to Seattle's coffee scene, Portland's craft beer scene was overflowing, but nearby Salem has a mere 3-4 local breweries for its equally-beer-loving population! Seems like the Tacoma coffee scene will be a great opportunity for you in the future if you are able to gain the knowledge and resources to start your own business.

I also support the coding hobby, especially if you can find a way to start making money off of it ASAP. Work on a few sites for some friends for free, build a portfolio, then start trying to see if anyone you know could use and would be willing to pay for some help. There are tons of self-employed folks and small business owners who have a need in this area.

Best of luck to you. I hope you soon realize how much you truly are in control of your own lifestyle, finances, and future.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6644
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #73 on: August 12, 2016, 01:57:44 PM »
Quote
I left my previous field (which I was actually quite good at, receiving three promotions in three years, going from $12/hr to $22/hr) due to stress. In my most recent position as supervisor, the expectations were too damn high. I was overworked, disrespected, and I was unhappy to the point where I was considering seeing a professional. While I did have healthcare, retirement, and a huge savings, in the end it was not worth it. I understand that this could change depending on the employer, but I saw this as my opportunity to do something I've wanted to do for some time.

I'd like to add that there is a benefit here to learn push back.  Especially at your age.  I'd say at your age, my job was similar.  I was a hard-charging type-A person.  I work in an industry (engineering/ manufacturing) that will happily take all you have to offer and demand more.  It was around my late 20s when I learned to "push back" because: I was very good at my job.

I was not ever at a risk for getting fired or laid off because I was one of the best.  So, overworked, disrespected, unhappy, 50 lbs overweight (yep yep yep, being female in tech suuuucks).  "I need you to work 6x12 this week."  "Fine.  By the way, next week my parents are visiting, and I won't be here, and I'm not taking vacation.  You will pay me."

And then just more "give and take". Sometimes it was leaving early on a Friday to make up for the longer hours worked.  As I got older and moved up, I continued.  When disrespected, I made it clear that it was unacceptable.  If necessary, I went up the chain.  When given unrealistic expectations, I was honest with management about what was reasonable.  If they said "do it anyway", I did my best.  Yes, there were a few years of management haranguing everyone for not meeting deadlines (that THEY set without our input on timelines and support we needed).  I learned to (mostly) let it roll off my back.  I did my best.

But again, I was good at my job, and they knew it.  They could get mad, yell, and pressure me.  All I can do is my best.  (This was at several different jobs.)

I'm just suggesting you try and learn coping mechanisms with shitty bosses, because they are everywhere.

And one more thing to everyone else: coffee is a thing!  I have a local friend who owns 3 coffee houses, and they serve a little food and beer/wine too.

Lastly, Waldorf: I wouldn't do the extra year, but if you can't get into the public school by now it's moot.  But summer camp people - even preschools and such like Waldorf, or other schools - some of them CLOSE over the summer (completely) and others at least close for a week or two.  This has been true for both my boys and every place they went.  So, I had to have my 4 year old in summer camp for a week because daycare was closed.  He starts preschool in Sept ($1200 a month, and don't harangue me, this is CHEAP here.  I've only found a few places cheaper, and they have a long waitlist.  The only thing cheaper is the church based ones.  In any event, preschool is cheaper than daycare.)

Even his preschool closes for a week every year, which happens to be the week before kindergarten.  So we will need a week of camp next year.

bridget

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 597
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #74 on: August 12, 2016, 02:00:34 PM »
...

This is very confusing to me. Do you have any other local grocery stores closer than costco and with no membership fee? Maybe not, I don't live in Seattle. But steel cut oats are very cheap.

...

ETA: I don't care if you don't want to eat oatmeal. I hate oatmeal and I love name brand Honey Nut Cheerios. I just got two family size boxes for $1.50 each and they'll each last two weeks for me (and occasionally the husband when his eggs are gone), so that's $3 for a month of breakfasts (plus milk). It's not about the oatmeal, it's about the "defeated before we begin" attitude.

Agreed. When I buy cold cereal, I often pay $4/box and $3 for a gallon of milk to go with it. Since I eat large portions, this often clocks in at over a dollar per serving. You can ABSOLUTELY beat that. I often buy groceries in downtown Seattle, and I guaran-damn-tee you that a large container of store-brand minute oatmeal is less than $3 and has a LOT more servings. Buy a large container of store-brand raisins, dried cranberries, chopped almonds, or whatever else sounds good, add a squirt of honey or a lump of brown sugar or a splash of cream. If you can't make a simple bowl of oatmeal for under $0.25, you are not being creative enough.

I think this is really all about attitude and perspective. It sounds to me like you are "pricing out" the ability to make your own cereal exactly the way that Kellogs would make it, with all the bells and whistles, and if you can't beat their price, you'll just throw your hands up and keep spending money you can't afford to spend. Instead of replacing what you buy now with an exact replica, simplify it and buy a more optimized version of that thing. Apply this thinking to all of your purchases. 1) can you skip buying it entirely? 2) if not, is there a simpler/cheaper version you could substitute?

icemodeled

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 158
  • Location: Southwest FL
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #75 on: August 12, 2016, 02:17:50 PM »
It's great that you found a job that you actually enjoy, most never have that! I haven't found that myself but hoping I do even if it means lower pay. I think if you cut out certain expenses (everyone had touched on those already) and get your spending as low as possible, then it's doable in time. Pay off the discover bill, cut back on expenses, save a bit more up in your emergency fund and start dumping all you can in an IRA or similar. Maybe taking a side job 'hustle' would help. We do lawn mowing on the side, we are making an extra $300 a month but hoping to raise that. Anything extra helps! Good luck!

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1681
  • Location: SE PA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #76 on: August 12, 2016, 02:25:40 PM »
After your kid is in public school, if you can save the $832, and the $100 that was going towards discover, plus the $500 you budget for saving, and ditch spotify, adobe, prime, and cut phone and household/health/beauty in half, you could be saving over $1,500 per month, which is about 1/3 of your income.  Not too shabby.  This is doable.  Get through this year of school and aim high.  Take your YNAB budget balances seriously.

It shouldn't cost $15/lb to make a homemade granola type cereal.  Buy ingredients in bulk.  Oats are really inexpensive. Or just eat a bowl of oatmeal with a side of fruit and nuts and a glass of milk.

It's not "only in Seattle" that coffee is an industry.  I'm in PA, outside of Philly, and working "in coffee" is a thing in many urban parts of the country where there is a demand for specialty coffee.

I don't get why it is a problem that OP is getting whatever assistance if his income allows him to qualify for it.  Many MMM plan on getting healthcare subsidies in RE, and manipulating income to do so.

CestMoi

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 100
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #77 on: August 12, 2016, 02:53:54 PM »
To lose the Adobe CC subscription for now, try GIMP, a free graphic and photo manipulation software. It's available to download here:

https://www.gimp.org/

I've only used it once, but a developer (not a designer, mind) recommended it to me. I'm a professional designer and artist, so I've used Adobe software throughout my career. I wasn't thrilled when Adobe initiated their monthly subscription policy, so if I end up using CC as a freelancer, I'll do so begrudgingly.

Another option would be to find an affordable, packaged, older version of the Adobe software you need and install it on your machine.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5486
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #78 on: August 12, 2016, 03:41:50 PM »
- Waldorf

It's never fun to tell someone you love that you were wrong and that you cannot make something happen that you promised.

Sometimes it has to be done anyway.

Not sure this is absolutely one of those times, but keep that in mind.  Maybe you'll just have to suck it up and waste a year's worth of extra savings in order to keep this promise.  At the very least, make sure you don't make any more promises that are not in line with your and your family's long term interests.


- Previous Job

I left my previous field (which I was actually quite good at, receiving three promotions in three years, going from $12/hr to $22/hr) due to stress. In my most recent position as supervisor, the expectations were too damn high. I was overworked, disrespected, and I was unhappy to the point where I was considering seeing a professional. While I did have healthcare, retirement, and a huge savings, in the end it was not worth it. I understand that this could change depending on the employer, but I saw this as my opportunity to do something I've wanted to do for some time.

In general, people do not get 3 promotions in 3 years AND have their wages almost DOUBLED if they are not thought well of by their management
(Maybe in some old school union contracts.)

So I'm seriously not understanding the "disrespected" comment.

As for the comment "as my opportunity to do something I've wanted to do for some time", I have some questions.
You mentioned bankruptcy not too far back.  Was that also because you made choices you wanted to do for some time?

If it is, it's time to learn some impulse control.  Serious impulse control.   "Because I want to..." is not always a valid justification.

I am working on my photography to try to make it a side income, but it's a far reach. The field leaves me wanting more equipment all the time, and we all know that's not something I should do.

If you can't find a way to make money with the equipment you have, you are unlikely to ever do so.

Lots of iconic photos have been taken with less capable equipment than you now have...

I have actually been working on learning coding at home, with the aspirations to do some app development for iOS and Android, or even become a web developer (which happens to be growing by 27% according to the BLS). Many of my customers are web or back-end developers and they've all spoken about how you don't need a formal education to succeed. About half of my customers are self-taught.

Focus your efforts.   Learning to code well enough to make a living at it is no simple matter.  It will take a huge amount of your time or a real skill at interviewing well.   Either way, expect to have to work crazy-long hours to make up for your lack of knowledge if you get a job.  Since that isn't something that you liked very much in the past, I suspect you won't like it in the future either.

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3259
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #79 on: August 12, 2016, 06:19:21 PM »
What is the path from where you are (pouring coffee, basically the lowest paid/entry level position available in the coffee industry) to where you want to be? Because if you're good at making coffee, that's great. Doing more of it isn't going to help you own a coffee shop, though, because there's an inexhaustible supply of new college grads looking for a first job who are also pretty good at making coffee, or can be trained to be in a couple of weeks.

What I'm trying to say is this: If you want to own a coffee shop (or any other business), what makes you think working at a dead-end entry level job in *someone else's* coffee shop and doing the same thing this year you were doing last year is going to get you there? If you're making $24k after working this job for any significant period of time, that tells me that management doesn't value you enough to give you a raise/more responsibility, or that your skills aren't in fact worth very much in the marketplace. That's not a knock on making coffee, or your skill at doing it - but the world doesn't value what you're doing enough to give you the income/life you want.

You can wail and gnash your teeth about that, or you can take your destiny in your own hands and do something else until you can come back to the coffee industry from a position of strength (ie, with money to your name so you're not living paycheck to paycheck). Personally, I'd go ask for my old job back. Double the pay, and a history of getting raises = something that the world actually wants and will pay for. You might not like it much. Tough. You can come back to coffee in 5 years and actually (maybe) make money paying some other sucker to pour them.

You need some kind of actual plan if you want to get out of this rut, basically. It sounds like you are just sort of stumbling along, periodically being tripped up by various small misfortunes that cause you undue hardship because you've chosen to work for peanuts.

Another vote for ditch the Waldorf, too.

-W

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #80 on: August 12, 2016, 07:10:05 PM »
OP, I'm sorry if you were offended by anything I wrote. Good luck with your life choices. I'm done with this thread.

snogirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 367
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #81 on: August 12, 2016, 09:13:04 PM »
As far as coffee, my best friend started a small batch coffee roasting company out of his garage & 5 years later is making a killing. He's a one man show but started from nothing (he was a bus driver) so I just gotta say there's a future in coffee! His is amazing. His accounts are local healthy markets & farmers markets. He also does all this out of his garage (zoned properly).
As far as any financial advice, I too had a hair on fire situation that forced me to make painful decisions on stuff like A prime & Pandora one plus sell any fancy unneeded gear along with tracking every single penny spent. Seriously every penny. I'm here to report it can get turned around one day at a time. Don't stop your coffee dream, :)

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk


205guy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #82 on: August 12, 2016, 09:37:51 PM »
Wow, that first page of comments was ... uncharitable to be polite, just dripping with prejudice. And now followed with a non-apology (just because it starts with "I'm sorry" doesn't mean it's an apology).

To address a few of the things people are taking issue with:

- The old job was $22/hr, twice minimum wage, perhaps limited upside, and starting to cause health issues. I see no problem jumping to an entry-level position in a field you're more passionate about. But yeah, you're going to need a solid plan to spend less for now and find ways to eventually make more in your field.

- I totally understood being "in coffee" in Seattle. It's like being in gambling in Las Vegas: there are lots of jobs and it's the center of the entire support industry. I really liked the comment listing other jobs in the industry and opportunities to stand out and move up (what I call upside here), I hope the OP already knew most of that. I also think it is a growing industry, and getting in and innovating could be a good move. I really liked the suggestion of finding something at the intersection of your interests: software or photography for the coffee industry.

- I would stick with the Waldorf preschool for one more year. Can't believe people would criticize finding high quality child care for barely over the cost of regular child care--I would call it frugal. This year you do have the option of free public school, so you can see where people are coming from, but the Waldorf still has value. Again, it will cost, but it's a family choice, and I have no problem with kids giving input.

- I see photography as a cheap hobby as long as you don't buy more equipment. Learn to use what you have with the limitations it has--some say that makes you a better photographer. Photoshop can go both ways. You can certainly do basic stuff in gimp, so download and try it out. But if you do advanced work, Photoshop is way better. However, I wouldn't bother to try to make money with it, that always seems like a lot of work with not much reward. Unless you can find a new angle (pun intended) that hasn't been exploited already.

- Coding is the same: great to learn, a lot more learning and work before you can earn decent money for your hours. My wife made websites for a while, but everybody wanted something fancy and custom without wanting to pay her for the hours. Then they called her up every time they broke something and expected her to fix it for free--and of course you don't want your reference website to give you bad feedback/reputation.

- the OP followed your advice and got rid of the discover debt, but it turns out it was a 0% deal. Still, I guess it's better that it's gone now, you weren't going to get rich off the interest on your emergency fund.

- phones: several years ago I learned about MVNOs here on the forums and switched from $150 ATT to puretalk $15 family plan. It doesn't use wifi like republic, it actually uses e same ATT cell network. Note that $15 is a base price, we pay $5-$10 more per month if we have a lot of usage (rarely), and there is no data plan (they do offer one around $40 last I looked. I could probably stat a thread about no-data being the next mustachian thing to do. Anyway, OP said he was still on contract, so see how much it costs to get out--you could have it covered in a few months. Even if you have to buy unlocked phones, used phones are cheap and you'll still be ahead after a few more months.

Best of luck to the OP.

DavidDoes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #83 on: August 12, 2016, 10:21:03 PM »

In general, people do not get 3 promotions in 3 years AND have their wages almost DOUBLED if they are not thought well of by their management
(Maybe in some old school union contracts.)

So I'm seriously not understanding the "disrespected" comment.

As for the comment "as my opportunity to do something I've wanted to do for some time", I have some questions.
You mentioned bankruptcy not too far back.  Was that also because you made choices you wanted to do for some time?

I should have said two promotions and one move to another company for a supervisor role. I just kept it short is all. I went from a west coast company to an international one. It was managed way differently, and my manager actually ended up leaving shortly after me.

The bankruptcy. We purchase a house. We made the mistake of not understanding the neighborhood as well as we thought we had. We ended up on multiple occasions having to chase off intoxicated vagrants, calling the cops because of a woman running up the street away from two men with a bat, a woman pounding on our door in the middle of the night saying her boyfriend was trying to kill her, etc. Also, despite having gotten a home inspection (we did not do a sewer scope), there were a lot of money pits that we had to face. In the first week of being in the home, my coworkers and I had to clear the main drain pipe of wet wipes that the guys who flipped the house shoved down there. Winter hit, and we realized that the central air that was brand new was not powerful enough to heat the tiny 750 sq. ft. house, partially thanks to the old insulation. Our first power bill was over $700. So we got a pellet stove, and that ended up not working out well. We got awesome room heaters that worked decently well, but still not enough to bring the house over 62F. Our kitchen floor started sagging and we found that the corner joist was in sever disrepair. At the same time, I got into a car accident that totalled our one vehicle. We used a line of credit that we had to purchase another one. We then found out that we had a carpenter ant colony in our living room wall and our kitchen wall.

We finally had enough, and we had to call it quits. We were doing so well before buying that house, too. We owned our car, we had scores over 800, no debt for over two years, had healthcare, etc.

It's great that you found a job that you actually enjoy, most never have that! I haven't found that myself but hoping I do even if it means lower pay. I think if you cut out certain expenses (everyone had touched on those already) and get your spending as low as possible, then it's doable in time. Pay off the discover bill, cut back on expenses, save a bit more up in your emergency fund and start dumping all you can in an IRA or similar. Maybe taking a side job 'hustle' would help. We do lawn mowing on the side, we are making an extra $300 a month but hoping to raise that. Anything extra helps! Good luck!

Thanks!

As far as coffee, my best friend started a small batch coffee roasting company out of his garage & 5 years later is making a killing. He's a one man show but started from nothing (he was a bus driver) so I just gotta say there's a future in coffee! His is amazing. His accounts are local healthy markets & farmers markets. He also does all this out of his garage (zoned properly).
As far as any financial advice, I too had a hair on fire situation that forced me to make painful decisions on stuff like A prime & Pandora one plus sell any fancy unneeded gear along with tracking every single penny spent. Seriously every penny. I'm here to report it can get turned around one day at a time. Don't stop your coffee dream, :)

Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk


Thanks so much! I home-roasted for over a year and received a lot of great reviews!

---

Where we want to be in coffee in the future?

Well, in four years, we would like to be able to start laying the ground work on a solid business plan, have a good amount of savings to show investors that we're serious, and both be in management/production/buyer positions.

We did the math. If our financial situation doesn't change at all other than getting rid of the Waldorf expense, and keeping our spending under control, we could save $68,000 in four years...

EDIT: We have been exploring using different bank accounts (we currently use Simple.com). We're now in the process of signing up with Bank of Internet and Capital One 360. Bank of Internet could get us 1.25% if we use the debit card for everything. Our Capital One credit cards provide 1% cash back. Capital One 360 has .75% savings rate. So it depends which one we like better for features, I suppose. :)
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 10:22:54 PM by DavidDoes »

calimom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 929
  • Location: Northern California
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #84 on: August 12, 2016, 10:27:08 PM »
Another one weighing in on the Waldorf preschool/daycare. It would be a ludicrous expense if one parent didn't work but that's not the case here - it's high quality child care. My youngest daughter went to a Montessori preschool day care that provided a great early education and was actually in line with lesser quality day care options in my town.  Agreed the Waldorf is a big expense, but it's just for another year and your child will transition well to public school with good skills.

It's brave to lay out income and expenses to this group,  feedback and face punches are freely given here. Ya ask for opinions, ya get them. The OP has done a great job listening to all that's been offered, even while being pretty beaten up. Kudos to you, OP.

I also work in a "lifestyle" type of industry providing goods and services that no one actually needs but in my case, I own the business. It's something I enjoy doing (working with indoor tropical plants). My buy-in (of an existing business) was not crazy expensive and I've built the business and employ two part time people who don't make huge salaries, but I do my best and they enjoy their work. I'd hesitate opening any sort of enterprise that is open to the public, especially a coffee shop where people will camp out all day with a $2 coffee just to hog up the free wifi. Artisanal coffee is most definitely a "thing", while it seems crazy to many of us to spend huge amounts for tea, wine or as in the case of the OP's dreams, coffee, some people will spend for the very best.

Since others have covered, and the OP has started to work on, expenses, I'll chime in with what seems to be the general consensus that more income definitely would benefit this household to manage debt, the ongoing day-to-day and the wish to become FI. OP, you live in Seattle. Home to Microsoft, Amazon, and second home to Facebook, Google, et al. Not going to bring Starbucks into the conversation for obvious reasons :) . The big tech companies have mega food service opportunities for their employees. Coffee must be a huge part of the experience. Would there be a way you could market yourself to one of those firms for an in-house position? You could do something you liked for people who would appreciate your efforts. You'd earn a decent - not huge - salary, but have benefits, a 401k, stock options and the like. With your wife's current job, and the bumped up salary from a more corporate position, you'd be in far better shape. And you wouldn't need to give up your other dream of hand selected, green or roasted beans. I really liked PP's sharing of the friend who does small batch in his garage and markets to farmer's markets, and you could even sell on the internet or B2B. Just my thoughts, hope some of it's helpful.

What you do have going for you is youth, a seemingly solid marriage, a sweet baby girl and the ability to work hard and  follow your dreams. I wish you and your family all the best. I think you'll go far.

lemanfan

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 818
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #85 on: August 13, 2016, 03:16:06 AM »
Interesting discussion, but as a foreigner I cannot really comment on much of the coffee in Seattle and school/daycare options.  A few things however stand out to me:

First - it's very easy to get up in the day to day stuff.  Finding the real motivation, the WHY can really help in making the day to day decions.  "Does buying service X get me closer to my goal?".  Just by starting this thread, you have made a very important step showing that you're thinking about it.  Unlike many others, you also talk with your spouse about it - great job!

You mention that you cannot find your calendar?  I hope I don't misunderstood that, but you most probably have a very good calendar in your e-mail service, available both in your phone and on your computer.  It can also send you reminders through e-mails and notifications when needed.  I'm personally gmail and google calendar. If you ever think about doing business, having a good grip on the calendar is a must no matter what busiess you're in.  And as the kid grows, I'm sure she won't have less things that would go on your calendar. ;)

For coding and computer stuff.  This can be a very good way of making money, but in addition to the technical skills there are two skills needed to make money here - communication and business skills.  Depending on what setup you do, the degree of the needs may vary but you got to remember that you compete with thousands of cheap workers from China and India if you just rely on written specs and submitting work online like on https://www.upwork.com/ ... by being in the same city as the client, you have a better chance of understanding their real needs and making the client happier with the results.  I personally went the business way and together with some friends started a software company in a specialized niche.  Good money, but absolutely not stress free.  And these days, I just push papers around, no technical work left for me...

For photography - it's a fun hobby, and it is possible to make money. Just do remember that there are SOO MANY people out there trying to do the same thing meaning that the pricing is sort of a race to the bottom. I think you really need to be dedicated to make enough money to make a difference in your life. I would say that if you want to take pictures for others, the success factors would be something like 10% equipment, 30% skills and 60% sales...   

But on the other hand if you just like to do it, why not try to make money?  Selling stock photo online and editing others pictures may not give much money, but more than nothing.

https://contrastly.com/popular-stock-photography-sites/
https://www.fiverr.com/categories/graphics-design/buy-photos-online-photoshopping





marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6371
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #86 on: August 13, 2016, 04:39:39 AM »
My god we are a passionate crowd aren't we?

Mr OP, kudos for being here. We tend to be harsh because many have already gone through years of painstakingly reorganising their lives and now have it all on autopilot. Many forget that you are essentially on Day 1 of this journey, still in the "oh-my-god-we-might-be-in-a-fucking-deep-hole-what-the-fuck-do-I-do-before-I-curl-up-in-a-ball-and-die" phase

Pick one thing a week or fortnight to try and change, embed the habit and then move on to the next item. You won't succeed trying to do everything at once.

Come back to this thread in 3 months and give us a happy update.

Jaguar Paw

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 147
  • Age: 34
  • Location: Texas!!
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #87 on: August 13, 2016, 06:39:30 AM »
A couple things from 2 pages of the thread;

1) Starbucks will not fail anytime in the near future (sorry). Their coffee is crap and their fancy drinks aren't anything coffee related but they appealed to the mass market in a genius way... And that's ok. The thing that makes the smaller coffee shops successful is that they can provide a different experience and better coffee than a brand with millions of stores. Starbucks isn't your competition, all the other hipster coffee shops are.

2) What are you learning about the process at your current job? I ask out of genuine coffee curiosity as a home roaster/caffeine aficionado myself.

3) Just to relate this somewhat back to money: I'm all for finding a job that is low stress and you love but you cannot argue the importance of having money either. Sometimes taking a low paying low stress job can actually create more stress outside of work because you have no money. Plus one to the 20 other people that side pick up a side gig.

Cannot Wait!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 771
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Canada
  • FIREd 2016 @ 49
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #88 on: August 13, 2016, 12:15:56 PM »
Welcome to the forums!    Luckily it is advertised as a place where facepunching is abundant.  You are on an early retirement forum, so your goals might be different - but there's room for all kinds here.

Yikes, that's quite a stream of bad luck with the house and car accident!

Obviously some posters don't understand Waldorf education.  It is practically the opposite of Montessori and has a bit of a cult like following, kinda like a religion - so hard to change people's mind on it.  My kids were involved in it (and we loved it) but we felt our (limited) funds were better saved for their post - rather than pre - school education.

Here's some suggestions:

Can you and your wife work opposite shifts to offset daycare costs?  Coffee shops are open all hours aren't they?
Do you have room to take in a roommate?   Perhaps one that will do daycare in exchange for reduced rent possibly?
Can one of you take in other kids while caring for your own kid?
Can you take care of other pets as a side gig? 

To get different results - you need to do something different!



DavidDoes

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #89 on: August 13, 2016, 01:50:27 PM »
Another one weighing in on the Waldorf preschool/daycare. It would be a ludicrous expense if one parent didn't work but that's not the case here - it's high quality child care. My youngest daughter went to a Montessori preschool day care that provided a great early education and was actually in line with lesser quality day care options in my town.  Agreed the Waldorf is a big expense, but it's just for another year and your child will transition well to public school with good skills.

It's brave to lay out income and expenses to this group,  feedback and face punches are freely given here. Ya ask for opinions, ya get them. The OP has done a great job listening to all that's been offered, even while being pretty beaten up. Kudos to you, OP.

I also work in a "lifestyle" type of industry providing goods and services that no one actually needs but in my case, I own the business. It's something I enjoy doing (working with indoor tropical plants). My buy-in (of an existing business) was not crazy expensive and I've built the business and employ two part time people who don't make huge salaries, but I do my best and they enjoy their work. I'd hesitate opening any sort of enterprise that is open to the public, especially a coffee shop where people will camp out all day with a $2 coffee just to hog up the free wifi. Artisanal coffee is most definitely a "thing", while it seems crazy to many of us to spend huge amounts for tea, wine or as in the case of the OP's dreams, coffee, some people will spend for the very best.

Since others have covered, and the OP has started to work on, expenses, I'll chime in with what seems to be the general consensus that more income definitely would benefit this household to manage debt, the ongoing day-to-day and the wish to become FI. OP, you live in Seattle. Home to Microsoft, Amazon, and second home to Facebook, Google, et al. Not going to bring Starbucks into the conversation for obvious reasons :) . The big tech companies have mega food service opportunities for their employees. Coffee must be a huge part of the experience. Would there be a way you could market yourself to one of those firms for an in-house position? You could do something you liked for people who would appreciate your efforts. You'd earn a decent - not huge - salary, but have benefits, a 401k, stock options and the like. With your wife's current job, and the bumped up salary from a more corporate position, you'd be in far better shape. And you wouldn't need to give up your other dream of hand selected, green or roasted beans. I really liked PP's sharing of the friend who does small batch in his garage and markets to farmer's markets, and you could even sell on the internet or B2B. Just my thoughts, hope some of it's helpful.

What you do have going for you is youth, a seemingly solid marriage, a sweet baby girl and the ability to work hard and  follow your dreams. I wish you and your family all the best. I think you'll go far.

Thank you! You know, I have thought about something similar to what you're thinking in the way of working at one of the corporations here. I have all the equipment to do a catering setup, and could do something like that...

I see a ton of people attacking the OP for the kindergarten costs.

As someone who had kids in Kindergarten and before/after school care in the Seattle area about a decade ago, I can say their Private Kindergarten costs are probably about inline with the costs for full-day kindergarten + before or after school care if the prices followed inflation growth.  Besides, it was further clarified that they can't easily end the contract at this point either.

OP -

I earn quite a bit of money together with my wife (over $200K), and I don't want to try to buy a house in Seattle even though I love the city.

Some great suggestions on cutting expenses were already given.

Have you thought about moving out of Seattle one day?  Might be easier to eventually open up your own coffee shop in a nice bedroom community in a lower cost part of Snohomish or Pierce vs trying to do the same in Seattle/King.  While you have the housing subsidized, it is still pretty expensive as a percentage of your income (more than a third of your pre-tax).

Thanks so much for your support!

Yes, we actually really love Tacoma. We hope to be able to move back there if we find that our future business would do well there. Time will tell.

My god we are a passionate crowd aren't we?

Mr OP, kudos for being here. We tend to be harsh because many have already gone through years of painstakingly reorganising their lives and now have it all on autopilot. Many forget that you are essentially on Day 1 of this journey, still in the "oh-my-god-we-might-be-in-a-fucking-deep-hole-what-the-fuck-do-I-do-before-I-curl-up-in-a-ball-and-die" phase

Pick one thing a week or fortnight to try and change, embed the habit and then move on to the next item. You won't succeed trying to do everything at once.

Come back to this thread in 3 months and give us a happy update.

Thank you! That's a great idea about picking one thing per week.

A couple things from 2 pages of the thread;

1) Starbucks will not fail anytime in the near future (sorry). Their coffee is crap and their fancy drinks aren't anything coffee related but they appealed to the mass market in a genius way... And that's ok. The thing that makes the smaller coffee shops successful is that they can provide a different experience and better coffee than a brand with millions of stores. Starbucks isn't your competition, all the other hipster coffee shops are.

2) What are you learning about the process at your current job? I ask out of genuine coffee curiosity as a home roaster/caffeine aficionado myself.

3) Just to relate this somewhat back to money: I'm all for finding a job that is low stress and you love but you cannot argue the importance of having money either. Sometimes taking a low paying low stress job can actually create more stress outside of work because you have no money. Plus one to the 20 other people that side pick up a side gig.

1) What I love about this industry is that so many folks are willing to help out, even though it means competition. The industry is currently in a position where the general consensus is "the more, the merrier".

2) At my current position, where I've been for a year, I've learned mostly about customer service and the more hands-on techniques that I could not learn by myself at home. I already knew a lot about coffee before, and I'm only learning more every day! When I move to my new employer in October, I will start to learn even more about customer service, leadership, and I'll work closely with the director, so I'll learn about management and supply/demand. I also roasted at home for about a year.

3) Roger that! I've realized this as well.

Welcome to the forums!    Luckily it is advertised as a place where facepunching is abundant.  You are on an early retirement forum, so your goals might be different - but there's room for all kinds here.

Yikes, that's quite a stream of bad luck with the house and car accident!

Obviously some posters don't understand Waldorf education.  It is practically the opposite of Montessori and has a bit of a cult like following, kinda like a religion - so hard to change people's mind on it.  My kids were involved in it (and we loved it) but we felt our (limited) funds were better saved for their post - rather than pre - school education.

Here's some suggestions:

Can you and your wife work opposite shifts to offset daycare costs?  Coffee shops are open all hours aren't they?
Do you have room to take in a roommate?   Perhaps one that will do daycare in exchange for reduced rent possibly?
Can one of you take in other kids while caring for your own kid?
Can you take care of other pets as a side gig? 

To get different results - you need to do something different!


I somewhat agree with what you say about Waldorf, but at the same time I disagree. Many have called it cult-like and religion-esque. I've also heard stories of bullying from parents and what-not. Maybe that happens more in the upper grades. If we made the money, we would most likely keep her in Waldorf.

We do work opposite shifts, and it will get even more synchronous when I start working at the same employer as her in October. :) Coffee shops are not open all hours. Both of our shops are open 6-6.

We have actually thought about the roommate deal! Many local students would be open to it, I'm sure. And we live only two blocks from one of the best community colleges in the state, a block from another one, and three blocks from Cornish. :) We even have a comfy pull-out sofa bed (memory foam mattress). But, taking someone in is a huge life decision.

We can hardly take care of our dog! Hah. She's so poorly-behaved around other dogs, it's sad. :( One of the things we're working on, actually.

---

We had that discussion last night. We considered dropping Amazon Prime, so we looked through our orders, and its cost is offset by the convenience, so we feel it is necessary. Living a car-free life has its challenges, one of which being shopping. Without Prime, we would have to order at least $49 worth of items at a time, and much of what we get is not on Subscribe-and-Save for decent prices.

This morning, I found an alternative to Adobe CC (which provides Photoshop and Lightroom). I only use Lightroom. Turns out, Apple's new Photos app does everything that I use Lightroom for! And it's actually faster! Bye-bye Adobe CC! :) What I am losing from having an Adobe CC account is their free portfolio service. But since I'm not looking to expand my equipment, I'm also not looking to develop a portfolio. I do this for fun, and post to flickr and Instagram, both of which are free.

EDIT: I forgot that I paid for the full one-year subscription. So I am going to cancel the renewal (May 2017), and will either continue to use Lightroom, or I'll just transition over to Photos. If I full-out cancel my subscription, I will be charged 50% ($44) of my remaining plan price. There is also the option to continue using the plan, but receive 60 days free (pushing the renewal date to July 2017). I selected this option, as it's safest. I will not budget for any renewal, however.

Waldorf is hard. I called the school district yesterday and they don't even have our daughter on file even though I sent the registration paperwork on January 10th... So I have to resubmit everything. >.< It's looking like we will continue her through this next year of Waldorf.

Thanks again to everyone! :)
« Last Edit: August 13, 2016, 01:56:39 PM by DavidDoes »

Cannot Wait!

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 771
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Canada
  • FIREd 2016 @ 49
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #90 on: August 13, 2016, 02:19:30 PM »
Explore the roommate option!  When we had toddlers, we rented out our basement to a lovely student; she would occasionally pop up and ask if I'd mind if she took our girls to the park just for something to do!  I'd practically fall on the floor to kiss her feet!  Screen them well and you could get lucky!

ohsnap

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 249
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #91 on: August 13, 2016, 05:08:49 PM »

Roger that! I've created a reminder to speak with my wife on all of these things tonight when I get home from work. Unfortunately, we are stuck in a contract with the phones. And that contract is on my father's family plan, so we can't have it bought-out by T-Mobile or anything. I'll look into our options there. :)

About the homemade cereal/oatmeal deal. We can't find affordable items to make this. We've price-checked and it always ends up ~$15/lb. to make! We have not checked CostCo yet, however, as we don't have a membership. But half of Amazon Prime would pay for a year membership to CostCo. The only issue there is that the nearest one is a 20-minute ride, and we can't carry much bulk items on our bikes. Our bike bags hold one full paper bag of groceries each, and we have four of those (two for each bike) and one of us hauls the kiddo. 20 minutes is no issue just don't want to find out we don't have room on the bikes hah. We want to check it out though I think we were planning for this weekend or next to go and see. Someone also just bought us a Vitamix, so we want to be able to buy bulk nuts and the like. :)

---

How is $15/pound granola even possible ?? - the AVERAGE price per pound of all of your ingredients would have to be $15/pound.  Even if you are using flaxseed, chia seeds, and nuts (what other expensive ingredients go into granola?) they are all less than $10/pound.  So if you have a mix of 50% oats at $2/pound and 50% expensive ingredients at $10/pound, your average is $6/pound.  (the only ingredients that would lose mass during baking would be liquid sweeteners as the water evaporates, but that should have a minimal effect on the cost)  Please show us your recipe/math to get help with your misunderstanding of the average cost per pound.

About the cell phones: I'm skeptical that it's not possible to break part of a family plan and pay a termination fee.  Have you asked?  We did it 2 years ago; we had 3 people on a Verizon plan and switched one at a time to Tmobile (leaving the Verizon plan in place until the 3rd person got their new phone).  T-mobile paid all of the termination fees. 

Bicycle_B

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1825
  • Mustachian-ish in Live Music Capital of the World
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #92 on: August 13, 2016, 05:59:09 PM »
DavidDoes,

Kudos to you for sticking with this after all the flak you are getting.  I think if you are this persistent, you will succeed eventually in many areas.  Congrats also on having the kind of marriage where spouses talk.  I'm sure your little girl is having a wonderful childhood.  In case you haven't heard it before about kids:  "The days are long, but the years are short."  Today's worries will all too soon be just the sepia tone on those photos you look back on, remembering the time before your daughter moved out into the world.  Keep on figuring out how to emerge from this phase with money as well as memories in your pocket.

Here are the 2 financial thoughts/ suggestions I can think to add:

1.  Contingency planning.  A key factor in your current situation is that it pivots on financial assistance, as someone pointed out.  Take advantage of it but plan for the possibility it will disappear.  Two years from now with no changes, you're going to be pouring money in the bank (I mean, your 401k, or IRA).  Soon you should switch from a focus on immediate maximization to one where a significant part of your planning is to prepare for transitions since your current path is quite healthy.  Prepare for scenarios such as:

a.  What's our default plan if we lose our subsidized housing?  Move to another city?  If it's to move, get some details set if possible.  If it's to stay, where is the reliable bolt hole you would use in expensive Seattle?  Or is the best Seattle strategy to build connections with people who can hook you up in an emergency?  How can you do something now for them?
b.  What will you do if one of you gets injured or killed?  (Yep, parents not close to FI might need to consider term life insurance.  Worth researching, at least.)
c. Suppose that things stay stable.  Build towards those next steps.  Will you start a coffee business or a coding one?  If coffee, are you going to befriend current entrepreneurs to learn?  Are you going to get an intermediate coffee job above barista but below owner?  If so, what jobs would be the most practical and enjoyable path forward?  For coding, when can you start doing small practice jobs for money?
d. I'm not suggesting endless analysis, or analysis paralysis.  Explore 2 contingencies for each area, then pick a fave and build towards it. You will feel more peaceful when you have practical plans in your pocket.  Then you calmly move forward with your top plan.  Also, you will recognize great opportunities when they appear.

2. Cereal.  I love cereal.  Recently it dawned on me that if I cook rice or quinoa or millet, they can replace cereal.  I have learned to cook these.  Beans replace expensive milk/soy milk.  It saves a surprising amount of money.  Try it!

Good luck in all your endeavors.

PS.  Moderators, thank you for the excellent work you've been doing.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2016, 06:10:52 PM by Bicycle_B »

chesebert

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 749
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #93 on: August 13, 2016, 06:55:02 PM »
OP, you are heading toward another financial disaster given your spending profile. You are a working class family (for Seattle) trying to live the upper middle class consumer sukka life style - this is not going to end well for you or your family. Good luck and hope you make it.

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1208
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #94 on: August 13, 2016, 09:07:58 PM »
*snip*

We do work opposite shifts, and it will get even more synchronous when I start working at the same employer as her in October. :) Coffee shops are not open all hours. Both of our shops are open 6-6.

*snip*

This could be a big opportunity for you.  Starbucks is open much later than 6 PM in my area, which is less of a city than your location.  Would specialty coffee fanatics also be interested in coffee later at night?  Perhaps at least until 9 or 10 PM?  If you can convince your new boss (when you join your wife) to let you keep the coffee shop open alone until later at night, that would make it a lot easier for the two of you to split your time and cover a lot more of your daughter's time out of school.

*snip*

2. Cereal.  I love cereal.  Recently it dawned on me that if I cook rice or quinoa or millet, they can replace cereal.  I have learned to cook these.  Beans replace expensive milk/soy milk.  It saves a surprising amount of money.  Try it!

*snip*

This is a good point.  You might not be able to find bulk oatmeal in your area, but I'll bet there is at least one Asian, Indian, or Mexican grocery within biking distance of you (and this could be a trip that only one spouse makes so you don't need to worry about taking your daughter through certain areas) where you can get a 10 lb or larger sack of brown rice for around $1 per pound (would be 50 cents/lb in my area, but I don't know Seattle's prices).  Then you can make delicious brown rice breakfast porridge (one of my favorite breakfasts), except you will use cheaper raisin instead of blueberries.  You can also look at dry milk prices in your local grocery stores to see if the cost per gallon would be cheaper than buying fresh milk, as it is unlikely you would notice a taste difference when using it for cooking.  Pick up cheaper ethnic market cinnamon and vanilla as well, because McCormick's prices are ridiculous.  Make sure to look at the reviews, as people have a lot of good idea for ingredient substitutions and different flavors.  Seriously, DBF and I LOVE this recipe.  We serve with extra sweeteners at the table.

Note: Brown rice should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer.  White rice can be kept in a pantry.

*snip*

About the homemade cereal/oatmeal deal. We can't find affordable items to make this. We've price-checked and it always ends up ~$15/lb. to make! We have not checked CostCo yet, however, as we don't have a membership. But half of Amazon Prime would pay for a year membership to CostCo. The only issue there is that the nearest one is a 20-minute ride, and we can't carry much bulk items on our bikes. Our bike bags hold one full paper bag of groceries each, and we have four of those (two for each bike) and one of us hauls the kiddo. 20 minutes is no issue just don't want to find out we don't have room on the bikes hah. We want to check it out though I think we were planning for this weekend or next to go and see. Someone also just bought us a Vitamix, so we want to be able to buy bulk nuts and the like. :)

*snip*

If you would post per pound prices of ingredients and the stores where you found them, we might be able to check your math and/or tweak the recipe to make it more reasonably priced.  It's easy to botch up math in the middle of a shopping trip.  One memorable day I was mentally basing calculation on 6 oz of mushrooms being 1/3 of a pound...which is so very wrong.

cats

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1134
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #95 on: August 13, 2016, 10:17:35 PM »
Quote from: DavidDoes
We had that discussion last night. We considered dropping Amazon Prime, so we looked through our orders, and its cost is offset by the convenience, so we feel it is necessary. Living a car-free life has its challenges, one of which being shopping. Without Prime, we would have to order at least $49 worth of items at a time, and much of what we get is not on Subscribe-and-Save for decent prices.


Okay, the Prime membership is maybe not a huge problem, but this sort of attitude is.  If you want to accumulate money, you have to stop spending money for "convenience", or at the very least recognize that "convenience" is not the same as "necessity". My husband and I were car free until January of this year, and even now we rarely use the car for groceries.  You can probably find a bike trailer on Craigslist for the cost of your Prime membership (or less).  View hauling big loads of oatmeal or dog food as an opportunity to get some free exercise.

I am also curious about this $15/lb granola/cereal.  Even organic oatmeal from the bulk section of whole foods is only something like $1.30/lb.  For a family of three, I don't think your total food cost is actually all that bad, but I guess I actually don't see how you can really only be spending $400/month on food if you can't figure out how to make granola for less than $15/lb.  Something doesn't seem to add up there...is the budget you posted at the beginning an actual representation of monthly averages, or what you'd like to be spending?

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2797
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #96 on: August 14, 2016, 01:21:54 AM »
Taken overall, your posts suggests that you guys are completely rudderless.  You let a 5yo make a major financial decision for you. Sure, she "wanted" to continue.  The job of a parent is to manage a child's wants within the context of the family and the real world.

You want to be a photographer/developer/coffee entrepreneur.  That sort of gives the impression that you don't actually know at al what you want to do.  But you know you don't want stress, and it seems like maybe your threshold for "stress" is pretty low. 

And on the surface, that's okay.  If you want to choose a life making $24k/year because you really can't handle even moderate stress cool.  But you can't have everything.  You can't do that, and cave on a 5yos whims, and retire early so that you don't even have many years of your already low stress job.

There's nothing wrong with working as a barista for as long as you want.  But there's something very wrong with then not begin able to make the sacrifices that go along with that decision.  Pick your #1 priority.  If that's being in coffee, then move to a place with a cheap COL, and suddenly your rent is cut in half and your income stays about the same.  Or maybe staying in your area is more important, in which case getting a higher paying job, and a second job for at least one of you, is probably what you need if you are ever going to get ahead (or even just not fall behind).  Choose what's important, and then have the maturity to realize that every decision has consequences, and not all of them are pleasant.    You sound like a teenager who wants money to spend hanging out with friends, but balks at the idea of having a job because working sucks.  Pick the thing you want, own that decision and move forward. 

There's myriad options that can right the ship for you.  But yes, all of the require sacrifice.  That's how life works.  But you very much do need to decide on an option or options, because continuing on the current course isn't sustainable.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9616
  • Location: Seattle
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #97 on: August 14, 2016, 03:45:15 AM »
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).  And for making efforts to move into a new position in the coffee field that sounds like it has potential for growth.  I don't necessarily think that moving to a LCOL area at this time in the career is the answer -- Seattle is a coffee town, and a great place to really learn the industry/network in ways that will lead to real growth.  Telling someone in this field just getting into the business (which clearly to them does not mean being a barista for life) to move to someplace with less of a coffee "scene" is kind of like telling someone with aspirations of making it in tech that they should ditch their startup job in the Bay Area and go get a nice steady job maintaining 1970s mainframes in Debuque.  Penny wise, perhaps, but most likely pound foolish.

I am going to fault OP for not following through on the school enrollment thing, though.  So SPS lost your initial paperwork.  SOOOOOOO?????  Is that reason enough to pay anywhere from 4-8k more than you really need to in the next year for your daughters schooling?  Especially when the schedule at the new default school works even better for your work schedules.  Yes, maybe the Waldorf school is lovely.  But does it beat FREE?????  If you could invest that 4-8k for your DD's college savings, how much would that be?  How much sooner would it let you retire?  The SPS enrollment process is not that daunting.  It is a 1-2 page form and some supplemental documents (immunization records, proof of address).  It isn't even that hard to get down to the administration building from Capitol Hill (I think light rail goes pretty close, or you can transfer to a bus if you don't want to walk).  I'm not saying you have to enroll your daughter in the local school -- but by not following through on the enrollment process you are by default making a choice.  Own it if that is what you want, but don't try to make it sound like somehow the process is so onorous that it is impossible for you to follow up.  If I can make it through the much more complicated school choice process at middle school level, you can manage to get your daughter enrolled for K in her default school.

Similar thing with the granola example -- stop making excuses based on faulty data or lack of sufficient research/follow through.  You got subsidized housing in Seattle -- anybody who can do that can kick the ass of SPS enrollment, granola making, early retirement, and any other goal or aspiration they might have.

And why on earth you would EVER want to own a home again after that nightmare you went through with the last one is beyond me.  YOU ARE SOME BRAVE FOLK!  Go out there and kick some butt.  You've got it in you, just need to focus and work on both accurate data collection and appropriate follow through.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2797
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #98 on: August 14, 2016, 04:38:55 AM »
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).  And for making efforts to move into a new position in the coffee field that sounds like it has potential for growth.  I don't necessarily think that moving to a LCOL area at this time in the career is the answer -- Seattle is a coffee town, and a great place to really learn the industry/network in ways that will lead to real growth.  Telling someone in this field just getting into the business (which clearly to them does not mean being a barista for life) to move to someplace with less of a coffee "scene" is kind of like telling someone with aspirations of making it in tech that they should ditch their startup job in the Bay Area and go get a nice steady job maintaining 1970s mainframes in Debuque.  Penny wise, perhaps, but most likely pound foolish.

I am going to fault OP for not following through on the school enrollment thing, though.  So SPS lost your initial paperwork.  SOOOOOOO?????  Is that reason enough to pay anywhere from 4-8k more than you really need to in the next year for your daughters schooling?  Especially when the schedule at the new default school works even better for your work schedules.  Yes, maybe the Waldorf school is lovely.  But does it beat FREE?????  If you could invest that 4-8k for your DD's college savings, how much would that be?  How much sooner would it let you retire?  The SPS enrollment process is not that daunting.  It is a 1-2 page form and some supplemental documents (immunization records, proof of address).  It isn't even that hard to get down to the administration building from Capitol Hill (I think light rail goes pretty close, or you can transfer to a bus if you don't want to walk).  I'm not saying you have to enroll your daughter in the local school -- but by not following through on the enrollment process you are by default making a choice.  Own it if that is what you want, but don't try to make it sound like somehow the process is so onorous that it is impossible for you to follow up.  If I can make it through the much more complicated school choice process at middle school level, you can manage to get your daughter enrolled for K in her default school.

Similar thing with the granola example -- stop making excuses based on faulty data or lack of sufficient research/follow through.  You got subsidized housing in Seattle -- anybody who can do that can kick the ass of SPS enrollment, granola making, early retirement, and any other goal or aspiration they might have.

And why on earth you would EVER want to own a home again after that nightmare you went through with the last one is beyond me.  YOU ARE SOME BRAVE FOLK!  Go out there and kick some butt.  You've got it in you, just need to focus and work on both accurate data collection and appropriate follow through.

Except it hard to take him very seriously when he also mentions tech and photography.  And when they can barely make ends meet, I think all things need to be on the table. Sure, Seattle is a "coffee town", but there are coffee shops in nearly every town in American.  Learning how to make a great cup of coffee and how to run a coffee business doesn't really need a coffee town. It needs a job at a good coffee shop.  Just one good coffee shop. 


Elle 8

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
Re: We may never reach that financial freedom. Here's why. [Case Study]
« Reply #99 on: August 14, 2016, 06:34:12 AM »
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.