Frugality

So long 2015, Onward and Onward to 2016!

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: (more…)

By Cheddar Pie, ago
Frugality

Emergency Funds and the Pricelessness of Peace of Mind

In trying to figure out how to balance my finances, I've often struggled with how much is the right amount for an emergency fund. Should I save more in cash, or invest it? Should I pay off my mortgage faster, or save more? How much is enough for an emergency? How much is too much? Should I buy more cheese or less? One of those questions is easy to answer; the rest, not so much... Standard advice is that an emergency fund should include 3-6 months' worth of living expenses. (more…)

By Cheddar Pie, ago
Frugality

Budget Basement Reno Rundown!

Woohoo! I am proud to report that my basement renovation is finally, totally, completely, almost done. There are just a couple of minor repairs (shaving off a door that can't clear the new, plushy, cushy, awesome carpet and repairing a leaky toilet) and then hanging some pictures on the walls when my photo prints arrive in the mail. I am even prouder to report that it came in ... over time and over budget! Not a surprise, but thankfully the overruns were not too extreme. (more…)

By Cheddar Pie, ago
Frugality

Basement-in-Progress Update

I have been working my butt off recently on my mini basement renovation. So far, so good, but like many projects there are more moving pieces than I had included in my initial budget-and-agenda list. I suspect I may end up over my budgetary goal of $4,000, but I’m feeling confident Read more…

By Cheddar Pie, ago
Frugality

A Short-Term Rental Experiment

Three years ago I moved to Seattle and bought a house. For someone accustomed to tiny New York City studios and one-bedroom apartments, it’s HUGE — three bedrooms plus a separate two-bedroom basement apartment. (By normal standards, it’s normal — your typical Seattle 1902 pre-craftsman.) I immediately rented one of Read more…

By Cheddar Pie, ago