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 . . .
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
Lots to cover in this one:
- $27.39 – TJ Maxx – a new handbag, after the number of holes in my old one finally became intolerable. I was hoping to wait and find a higher-quality, more “perfect” one, but alas. I used it up, wore it out, and made it do … until it didn’t.
- $52.80 – Amazon – shower chair (who’s old!) for an upcoming infirmity
- $37.60 – Chevron – gas
- $80 – Christmas Tree (also a fundraiser supporting a local HIV testing and support center)
- $9.99 – Trader Joe’s – holiday wreath to brighten my basement rental
- $46.49 – Target – two new guest pillows to replace those that now live in my basement, a new body pillow for sleeping, and Oxy Clean laundry powder
- $68.80 – Superfeet – two pairs of insoles after finally accepting my others (5+ years old) no longer give me the support I need
- $23.29 – Lowe’s – a large board and supplies for a new Ikea-hack “built in” bookcase and media center for my living room (more on this to come!)
- $167.49 – Ikea – Three Billy bookcases to make a new media center
- $59.95 – Footsmart – A fancy pants pair of Keen winter slippers with heavy duty soles. I am going to take good care of these and will only wear them inside and never, ever for walking Cheddar Pup.
Total — $573.80
I don’t typically include gifts in this list, but since it’s the holiday season, I’ll include a Spending Roundup Special Edition for gifts in December:
- $355 – cash bonuses to a few of the people who help me and deserve a special holiday thank you (support staff at work, Cheddar Pup caretakers, my monthly housekeeper, and yard service)
- $78.13 – gifts for Sweetie Pie and Roommie Pie (not including a gift of future cake-and-pie baking for Sweetie Pie, which Roommie Pie and I will certainly benefit from as well)
- $55.62 – supplies for homemade organic vanilla extract, which resulted in holiday and hostess gifts for 20 friends
- $158.22 – gifts for my family (mom, dad, sister, nephew, close friends)
- For wrapping, I still have a huge roll of paper and ribbon left from last year that I got at Ikea. I am not sure how much it cost, but not more than a few dollars. I like it in part because it’s plain red striped so I can use it for a variety of occasions, not just Christmas. I also used some existing cardstock and art supplies for tags, labels, and gift certificates.
Holiday Gifts Total — 646.97. Frugal? I hate even asking this question … I’m happy giving each and every one of these and I think/hope I found things that the recipients will use and appreciate. I love giving gifts and so this is always a fun time of year for me.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve been very goal oriented and weirdly motivated by the endorphin rush that comes from checking something off my to do list. So it should come as no surprise I enjoy this time of year — reflecting back on what goals I accomplished the past year, kicking myself with a few face punches (metaphorical) for the ones I didn’t, and looking ahead and making lots and lots of lists for the coming year.
2015 was a mixed year for me, though I would say I leave it with a sense of generally pretty spectacularly amazeballs awesome — overall, financially, it was a very solid year, though not without some important lessons. Personally, it couldn’t have been better — Sweetie Pie moved closer to me after being in a different city for two years; I traveled a lot and saw many, many old friends; I started to feel like my house is becoming my home; and I started exploring all sorts of new pursuits outside of work (like this blog!), and somehow managed to achieve some balance of not feeling perpetually “busy” (I chalk that one up to good old fashioned gratitude!). Professionally, however, last year was a disappointment — I had some tough days at work and have been embroiled in some deep soul searching about where I might want to go next, how to get there, and the best recipe for lemonade in the meantime.
In terms of my specific goals, here’s the rundown: Continue reading So long 2015, Onward and Onward to 2016!
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko
Ok, guys. Seriously now. What’s with all the hype about this book? I have been hearing about it for years as a “must read” for finance nerds like me. It’s frequently referenced and people talk about it like it’s a bible for everyday folks aspiring to financial independence. My take? This is one of the worst books I have ever read. Like worst worst. Certainly worst in the financial nerd sphere. Has anyone actually read this book, or you just hear about it and like the message?
The message is a good one: most people with a million-dollar or more net worth are ordinary folks just like you and me. Frugality trumps excessive spending every time … start a business, invest in rental properties, save your pennies, and don’t be the guy who lives in a McMansion and drives a Cadillac Escalade. This is a good message, no question. And now that you’ve read it here, you don’t need to read the book.
So what irked me so much? So many things … Continue reading Book Review: The Millionaire Next Door