Taxes Hackses 101

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One of my (many) pet peeves of the modern era is the evolution of the word “hack” from meaning what you do with a dull axe (OK), to then meaning trying to break into a computer (OK), to, now meaning any and every kind of “amazing” tip or trick or — often — just the way something is designed to be used (not OK). I came across this recently in a blog post about “ceiling fan hacks,” which included the suggestion of adjusting the direction of the fan to blow up in winter and down in summer to save energy and money. Umm . . .  that’s great, but that’s not a “hack,” it’s just how ceiling fans work.

So, I’m sorry (not sorry) to say it, but this post is not about hacking your taxes. There is no way to “hack” your taxes. You just have to do your taxes . . . sorry (not sorry). But ’tis the season, and there are some tried and true tips that I keep in mind to make the tax-reporting and paying process less painful: Continue reading Taxes Hackses 101

Frugality in Beast Mode

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As an aspiring professional athlete,* one of my favorite kinds of stories is the kind of story about professional athletes who do amazing things with all their professional athlete money. Amazing things like completely ignoring it.

Last year, my favorite story was about Daniel Norris, an MLB (that’s baseball, goofball) pitcher who lives in a van. A van!

This year, hands down, the best thing to come out of the NFL (football!) is from my neck of the woods, now retired and truly FIREd** Seahawk Marshawn Lynch. Apparently he never spent any of his NFL salary and instead lived off side gigs like product endorsements and saved money through standard frugal favorites like avoiding fines by performing at press conferences.

So now he’s retiring at age 29 with a cool $50 million in the bank. Assuming a conservative 4% withdrawal rate, that leaves him $2 million per year to live on without ever touching his principal or earning another penny. That’s a lot of Skittles!

I’m hoping to do something similar, though maybe on a smaller scale (?). Just as soon as my product endorsement checks start rolling in . . .

 

 

*I am not an aspiring professional athlete.

**FIRE = Financially Independent / Retired Early. Not “fired” as in terminated from employment. Duh. Nobody would fire Marshawn! Sad to see him go, but I support his decision 12,000% and wish him nothing but the best. And I really hope he reads this post.

I’m back!

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I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last post! Time to declare failure on the ole “publish once a week” goal for 2016 … ha! Oh well. I feel A-OK about this.

I had high hopes that my recovery and attendant absence from work would entail lots of activity on the personal front. Alas, and I’m sure not surprisingly to any of you who have been through something similar, no. I’m not sure what I’ve even been doing, but it’s like being in a weird time warp where the days slowly stack on top of each other like a house of cards and then suddenly all disappear at once. I’ve been working remotely the last couple of weeks, which has been great for turning the brain back on, but it’s meant than any other entertainment has gone out the window — I haven’t even binge-watched a new favorite tv show, so I have no new favorite tv shows to show from this experience . . . and that’s fine.

One interesting/not-interesting thing that happened over the last few weeks is that I completely lost interest in, well, pretty much everything. When I paid my monthly $4 hosting fee for this blog, I actually thought seriously about just throwing my hands up and saying poops it all, why bother, this is dumb, I should just quit, I do not need to be spending $4/month on something I don’t even want to do when I have nothing to do . . . thankfully, I didn’t quit, paid the bill, and here I am back at it again.

Over the last six months I’ve been here, I have generally enjoyed having this blog as an outlet/journal/dump for my thoughts and as a way to keep me accountable to myself and my financial goals. I have realized, though, that it doesn’t need to be work and I don’t need to force it. If I need to take a month off, that’s ok, because I’m only doing this for me anyway, and the beauty of that is that I can do whatever the hoot I want with my time and energy — just like, say, the whole point of this FIRE (financially independent + retiring early) idea that I’m here for anyway . . . funny how that works!

So, yay, here I am. January financials and a couple of book reviews coming soon. I guess I haven’t been completely idle . . .

 

Being Patient

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In addition to my terrific, specific, and mostly-achievable goals for 2016, I decided to add a new twist to the mix by also picking a “word of the year” as my mantra. That word? Patience.

It’s a virtue, they tell me, but not one I’m intimately familiar with. I like to Get. Shit. Done. And when I’m ready to GSD, it’s hard to wait. But this year, I’ve got a lot of waiting to do, starting now — I get to be not only patient, but a patient as well. A patient patient, I hope! Continue reading Being Patient

FTPH: Holiday Gratitude

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Dear Cheddar,

Don’t you just hate winter? It’s cold and dark and the holidays are the WORST. I hate spending so much money and my family drives me crazy!

Everyone Else

Dear Everyone,

Au contraire, my friend, I love this time of year — here in the Northwest, it’s cold, rainy, wet, and glorious. From Halloween to New Year’s Day, I get such a warm and cozy feeling from the food, the cheer, and spending time with people I love. Sure, there are occasional holiday stresses, but for the most part, I’ve found a good balance of being able to make time for myself, celebrate with loved ones in ways that don’t feel forced, and frugalize my gift giving in ways that don’t detract from the generous spirit of the season. I get along with my and Sweetie Pie’s families, find a strange amount of joy in decorating my Christmas tree, and love the extra snuggle time I get with Cheddar Pup. And there is nothing like a good cup of tea with a Youtube Yule Log.

I hope you all find similar warmth in your holiday celebrations wherever they may take you! Thanks for reading and for encouraging me to keep up with this blog. It’s been a fun year.

Love,

Cheddar