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Do you know your Survival Number?

Stumbled across this clip from an old guest post here, and thought it needed to be re-shared and contemplated again ;)

Have you ever ran your “survival number” before??

From: 4 Tricks to Save More, Spend Less, and Pay Off Debt

Your Survival Number

Try this: calculate how much money you need for a decent survival each day. Count all important expenses, but aim to come up with as low a figure as possible.

For me, this number is $26. That includes fancy things like an entire pot coffee every day, a nice apartment in frozen Alberta, and pretty damn good home cooked food. Your number may vary if you have kids, a spouse to support, soul crushing debt, etc.

Keep your survival number with you during your day. Write it on your hand if it helps. For most people, reducing expenses is about changing their day-to-day habits, not increasing their salary or saving a bunch of money on car insurance. Those small, easy-to-ignore expenses will seem much bigger when compared with your survival number.

For example, as I said my survival number is $26. That delicious ten dollar burger? That’s almost half of a day’s survival budget! Ouch!

You can get more granular with it too, play around a bit. My fairly overpriced internet costs $2/day – which provides for almost all my entertainment and education needs. For what I get out of it, I consider it money well spent. But would I spend an entire day’s internet on a single Starbucks coffee?

When this post was published back in 2013, I noted that MY survival number at the time was $183/day, followed by a “DAMN”, haha…

Though from looking at the number, I was probably being lazy and just calculating my *normal* monthly spending and dividing it by 30 instead of my “bare bones” one…. Doing that same thing again now – 3 kids later and living back in EXPENSIVE WORLD! (aka DC) – we’d actually be higher at $220/day.

DOUBLE DAMN! ;)

If we truly stripped it down though and cut it to the bare essentials, we’d be sitting a little prettier… Getting rid of the Netflixes and Hulus and charity donations, and beers, 529 contributions, babysitters, etc etc, we’d actually half it down to around $122/day. Which is still not the *best*, especially for a finance blogger, haha…, but at least it’s moving in a better direction!

And honestly, kinda makes you realize just how much of our daily spending actually IS going toward the “fluff/comfort” stuff. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing – you gotta enjoy the fruits of your labor! – but something to be aware of for sure…

Run the numbers this morning before the weekend hits, and see what you come up with… We all like to pretend there’s no room for cutting back, but exercises like this remind you we’re cable of a lot more if ever forced to… And some of us will be, unfortunately!

Would love to hear your thoughts and numbers in the comments below…

Just try not to whoop me too much, okay? ;)

******
To read the other 3 tips Trevor shared in that original article, click here. He’s a super interesting dude, and swears that 5 gallon buckets will change your life and your wallet! ;)

********
[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

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A few books to give away today… :)

Been starting to clean off my shelves for our upcoming move (more on that in a bit), and came across a few books I thought you might enjoy ;)

Two of them may seem pretty random, but they actually do tie into money!

Here are the books, followed by how to enter if you’re interested in any…

#1. “Work Optional” by Tanja Hester of OurNextLife.com

This one you already know about from our giveaway earlier in the year, but stumbled across another copy I had so here’s another chance at it if you missed out the first time around :)

Via Amazon:

In today’s work culture, we’re expected to hustle around the clock. But what if you could escape the traditional path and get on one that doesn’t require working full-time until age 65? What if you could wake up every day without an alarm clock and do the things you love most?

Tanja Hester and her husband Mark left their crazed careerist lifestyle to live their dream life in Lake Tahoe, retiring early from high-stress careers. Now Tanja will help you map out a customized plan for freedom and make it easy to succeed, whether you’re good at math and budgeting-or not!

Work Optional is more than just a financial plan: it’s a plan for your whole life-designed by you, not by an employer or clients. Tanja walks you through envisioning your dream life, accounting for variables such as health care and children, protecting yourself from recessions and future unknowns, and achieving a purpose-filled early retirement, semi-retirement, or career intermission with completely doable, non-penny-pinching steps.

You can live a happier, more meaningful life, free from the daily grind. Regardless of where you are in your career, Work Optional will get you there.

More info here: Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way

#2. “Selections From Walden by Henry David Thoreau”

Picked this bad boy up from a used book store a while ago to blog about, but seeing how it hasn’t happened in 4 years now I think it’s finally time to find a new owner, haha…

If you’re a FIRE lover you know this is one of the “required readings” so often mentioned, so now’s your chance at the CliffsNotes version like the true FIRE hacker you are! ;)

Here’s a summary from a new $$$ blogger on the scene who’s aptly named, WannaBeWalden.com:

“Walden” is a an old book written by Henry David Thoreau. Henry moved into a little house in the woods, and stayed there for two years. He embraced frugality, and simplicity. By doing so, he found happiness and freedom. If we let us be inspired by Walden, the world of freedom is right in front us.” – WannaBeWalden.com

[FYI the book is pretty beat up, but it does have a really neat bookplate of mushrooms in it for any of you bibliophiles out there ;) Would also be fun trying to track down the original owner!]

#3. “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon

Lastly, Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon whose newsletter I’ve been immensely enjoying since being recommended by Cait Flanders a few month ago…

He’s more of an artist/writer than $$$ blogger (in fact, he’s not even remotely a $$$ blogger so I don’t know why I just said that?! Haha…) but I’m always finding good takeaways from him, and if you’re an entrepreneur of any sort you probably will too…

Here’s the table of contents which sums it up pretty well (though I must add there are almost as many pictures in it as there are words, which also makes it an enjoyable read ;)):

  1. You don’t have to be a genius.
  2. Think process. No Product.
  3. Share something small every day.
  4. Open up your cabinet of curiosities.
  5. Tell good stories.
  6. Teach what you know.
  7. Don’t turn into human spam.
  8. Learn to take a punch.
  9. Sell out.
  10. Stick around.

More info about the book here: Show Your Work!

Want any of these???

Tell me which one – and why – in the comments below or via email, and you shall be entered to win. I’ll leave the giveaway open until the end of the weekend, and then close it out and notify winners Monday afternoon. (As well as update this post with the winning names as well)

Good luck!

And thanks for reading the blog!!

*******
PS: U.S. residents only, sorry :(

Links to books above are Amazon affiliate links….

********
[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

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9 Interesting New Financial Apps & Services ✨

What up what up!

Been compiling a list of some of the more interesting financial apps and services I’ve been pitched on lately, and out of the 872 of them this year here were the ones I thought looked most promising ;)

Let me know if you end up trying any of them out!

******

Bring Your Own Budget (byobudget.com) — “I made a webapp, BYOB, that lets you use texting to record purchases in a google spreadsheets based budget (e.g. a budget that one might already be using). I built it for myself, and as I did I realized that some people might find it useful as well.”

KeeperTax (keepertax.com) — “Keeper Tax automatically finds tax write offs for 1099 contractors / self employed people. We do this using algorithms and human bookkeepers to search through bank / cc statements for tax write offs. Things like home office, business travel, insurance premiums, etc.”

Worthy Bonds (worthybonds.com) — “Earn 5% interest on $10 Worthy Bond purchases while supporting your fellow humans.” Highlights:

  • Can start investing with only $10
  • Earn 5% annual interest
  • Bonds can be cashed in anytime
  • Totally free service – no account or transaction fees
  • 3 easy ways to buy – on demand, a “set it & forget it” monthly recurring investment or via our round-up your spare change feature to auto invest
  • Bonds are backed by a diverse portfolio of secured loans
  • Supports American companies as bond sale proceeds are lent out primarily for inventory loans to growing businesses

U-Nest (u-nest.com) — “The first mobile app designed to help families save for college with a 529 College Savings Plan. In under five minutes, families can be on their way to ending the crushing cycle of student debt – no paperwork, no expensive advisors, for as little as $25/month.”

Root (joinroot.com) — “A mobile AI app that allows users to save up to 52% on their car insurance. Users receive their rates primarily based off of their driving performance following a 2-3 week long test drive.”

MaxRewards (maxrewards.co) — “MaxRewards is a free app that helps you build your credit, track your spend, and maximize your rewards. Our typical users earn over $1,900 in rewards in their first year.” Features:

  • Best Wallet Recommendation: The app simulates millions of credit card combinations to objectively identify your best combination of cards for your unique profile and preferences.
  • Sign Up Bonus Tracker: The app keeps track of your qualifying spend towards your signup bonus.
  • Upcoming Bills: See all of your upcoming bills and their autopay status in one place so you never pay a late fee again.
  • Best Card To Use: MaxRewards shows you the best cards to use wherever you are. The app keeps track of bonus categories, spending limits, and reward valuations so you can focus on making your life more rewarding.
  • Card Overview and Details: Quickly review your cards, balances, and credit availability. Deep-dive into any card to see rewards, fees, transactions, and card information.
  • Trends: Understand how you spend and how you earn rewards. Filter your spend and rewards over time, by card, and by category.
  • Credit Scores: Instead of relying on one or two scores (not actually used by your banks), see ALL your credit scores, factors, and history from all of your issuers.

(MaxRewards is currently on beta, but you can request an invite here, and it’ll give you access when you put “JMONEY” in for your access code. It’s currently in Apple TestFlight and the Google Play Store.)

Trust & Will (TrustandWill.com) — “Trust & Will is the easiest way to create, edit, store, and share your trust and will. We offer Trusts, Wills, & Guardianship to help protect the ones you love, starting at only $39.”

(Another will-related service that seems to be blowing up is Tomorrow.me, where you can actually craft a legal will right from your phone (and for FREE). Seems a bit wild, but hey – it’s a new age, eh?)

AskZeta (askzeta.com) — “Zeta helps couples master their finances together. Our platform allows couples to link their accounts, auto-set budgets, and understand their spending.” Features:

  • Personal and shared views (budgets, net worth, spending, goals)
  • Privacy controls (you keep 100% control over what your partner sees)
  • Customizable (custom-categories, split expenses, manual transactions)
  • Automate everything (budgets, rules)
  • Easy access (we support both desktop and mobile apps)

And then one new’ish product on the scene, that’s not money related but some of you parents might appreciate, is a spinoff from Republic Wireless called “Relay”.

Relay (relaygo.com) —  “The simplest and safest first phone for your child. It’s screen-free, as easy to use as a walkie talkie — and works everywhere.” Features:

  • Integrated GPS location tracking
  • No screens = no screen time concerns
  • Durable, play-proof design
  • Nationwide 4G LTE coverage, just like your phone
  • Free voice apps available including music, language translation, and more
  • $9.99 per Relay / monthly service + no contracts

We’ve actually mentioned these on the blog before in passing, but I recently got my hands on a few to test out and my kids have been having a blast playing around with them :) Which, granted, isn’t the main point of them, haha, but they def. work well when hiding in closets or any other hidden places around your home/backyard! You literally do just have to push a button and talk into it to use these guys – pretty ingenious… (And also probably good for outdoor enthusiasts or even senors who get frustrated with how fancy phones have become these days…Tons of applications for these things)

At any rate – hope you find something interesting here! We’ll start a fresh new list and see what else smart people come up with over time ;)

Anyone already using any of these products?! Are they as good as they sound?

XOXO,

*******
Some of the product links above are affiliates, meaning I’ll get a few bones if you end up trying them out… Though I’ve listed *all* the products I’ve found interesting lately regardless of affiliations.

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[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

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Got an idea? Give it a name.

That was the subject line of a marketing promo I just got from Go Daddy, and after reading the main point it reminded me how POWERFUL this can be for your *financial goals* too!

For many entrepreneurs, a great name sparks the transition between the dream and the reality. Naming a business makes it real.

Yup! Once you call it something it becomes “a thing”, and all of a sudden feels much more real than just hanging out there in your head… And even better if you sneak “sexy” into the name too, not unlike we did here with the blog ;) Everything is more fun with sexy in it!!

What do you like better – “My savings account” or “my SEXY savings account?”

Or “Vacation fund” vs “SEXY vacation fund”???

It even works for boring stuff! – “Money set aside for my DAMN SEXY taxes”, haha… (and they are indeed sexy because the more taxes you’re paying, the more income you’re usually bringing home!)

In all seriousness though, naming your goals really DOES help make things more tangible and gives you a slight little boost in pulling it off in the end… Which you’ll want as much as you can get!

Here are a few examples from around the community I’ve liked:

The F.U. Fund — A savings fund for all those who can’t wait to quit their jobs and go out on their own/retire/do whatever they want finally! Made popular recently by Paulette Perhach (NSFW).

The #YearofNo — A mission of saying NO to anything “extra” in your life for an entire year to get your savings/sanity back. Devised by Jamie Jeffers and family who went on to pay off over $24,000 of debt, while completely changing their spending habits in the process! (Go Jamie!!)

The Depth Year — Similar to the above, only more focused on *using up/appreciating/deep diving* into the stuff you already have in your life vs going out and accumulating more. Whether we’re talking stuff-stuff or ideas, dreams, skills, books, etc.

“It’s wonderful to have the freedom to continually widen our interests. But like many luxuries, it has an insidious downside. Ever-branching possibilities make it harder for us to explore any given one deeply, because there’s always more “newness” to turn to when the old new thing has reached a difficult or boring part… We need to find a way to put up our own limits. When we give ourselves fewer places to dig, we go deeper, and what we uncover is more rare and valuable than the usual stuff near the surface.” – David Cain

The “Impulse Tax” Fund — An account set up by reader Rachael where anytime she’s tempted to spend money impulsively, she moves that exact amount right over to savings so it feels like she really did “spend” it, only without the buyer’s remorse! A type of fund we also tried here a couple years ago (“Spavings Fund“) where we ended up with $4,040.50 in the end ;) (It really does work!)

Challenge Everything! — A mentality/mission from yours truly where every month I would tackle a new bill or expense in order to get them as low as possible without sacrificing quality of life. Which later went on to save me over $200/mo and completely infiltrate my *daily habits* as well. (We do so much without even thinking about it because we’re so used to it!!)

The Lifetime Wealth Ratio — Another dubbed idea of mine, in order to tell how much you’ve saved over your lifetime vs how much you’ve *earned* ;) Divide your Net Worth by your Total Income Earned and see how close to 100% you can get (or more, if your investments have flourished over the years!)

******

This “naming of things” also works well in other departments too.

I remember once someone telling me they incorporate their goals into all their *passwords* to help motivate them even more. They’d come up with things like “BEdebtFREE2020” or “DEC15FinishB00k!” or “N3tW0rth$200k”, haha… Which is super genius if you ask me, and only somewhat depressing if you happen to miss your goal ;) (Though it would force you to actually update your passwords for once!)

All this to say, naming your goals with something much more meaningful to you could help you slog through the times where you need it most.

You’ll still have to put in the hard work regardless, but at least you can be a little more invigorated along the way! And better yet – the creativity is completely FREE!

Who else is doing this out there?? What are some of the fun names you’ve come up with? ;)

*******
Fun fact – Budgets Are Sexy was almost called “Saving Is Sexy” but Sandals Resorts was sitting on the domain, haha… Plus everyone already knows saving is sexy ;)

Fun Fact II – the word “sexy” shows up 10 times in this post… You’re welcome.

********
[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

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“Student loans are DEAD!”

Got this note this morning and had to share it ;)

Not every day you accomplish something so big like this!

MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA WE’RE DONE WITH OUR STUDENT LOANS!!!!!!!

My husband and I finished grad school with something like a combined $330k… and today, I hit the button to pay off the last of them. I could not be more excited!!! Also, to be truly honest, I kinda teared up when I clicked it. After 9 years (for me) and 10 years (for him), we’re finally done.

I started getting serious about paying down the loans at the end of 2015 (December 28, to be exact), with a grand total of $246,301.18. I finally got sick of having this debt hanging over my head and calculated that if we lived cheaply, we could seriously be done with them after 5 years or so. We figured out a way to live off one income and basically put the other into loans. After almost 3.5 years of paying over $5000 a month into loans…we’re done ahead of schedule!

Please excuse me while I go cry and laugh and force-hug my cat. :D

Haha…

Humor and debt-freedom, how does it get better? :)

I had to follow up with a “HOWWW??” though and pry a little further, and our friend here was kind enough to oblige and recap their journey for us…

I’m sure some people will write it off the second they see “6 figure incomes”, but remember that it takes a lot more than just money to tackle such things, and it was all those 6 figure *loans* that got them to this level to begin with!

So way to go, Jana & husband! Enjoy this next chapter of your lives, and congrats on your new found freedom!!

*******

The 10 year journey:

  • We graduated pharmacy school 1 year apart from each other, with a combined total of around $330k. Both of us were in denial (and for pharmacy school kids, this is apparently normal), so we blissfully paid the minimums and went about our lives, buying $7 cereal in Hawaii and eating out almost daily.
  • End of 2012: We moved to Seattle from Hawaii, reducing our tax burden (due to lack of state tax in Washington state). We moved, deciding to live off of 1 salary and put the rest towards the loans – this was simple to do as we both made in the low 6 figures, but it was an adjustment for me to be given an “allowance” each month. Luckily my pride got in the way of asking myself for more money, so no matter how hard that last week of the month got, I refused to go over budget!
  • A year and a half after this decision, we decided to buy a condo due to rising rent prices in Seattle. We paused the loans for 3 months to save up a down payment and revamp our financial duties (made possible due to our early payments pushing out our next due dates), but our 3 month pause really turned into 6 months as we bought furniture for the condo, etc etc. In December of 2015, I decided to add up all the loans…
  • December 28, 2015: I added our loans up and wanted to cry. $248,301.18 to pay off. We decided to really focus. And by we, I mean *I* got super anal about it and put myself on a strict budget!
  • Many (OMG MANY) spreadsheets were made. And sure, I went over budget a number of times, but the focus was always on the loans. I made sure that I paid the loans on payday so I couldn’t give myself an excuse to put less into it, but always made sure to keep a $500 buffer in my checking account in case of forgotten auto-debited items (in addition to my emergency fund in savings).

[Click to see bigger]

  • I refinanced with Sofi, bringing my interest down from 6.8% to 3.75%. Why didn’t I do this earlier?!
  • I got a raise in 2016, letting me put even more into the loans (from $6k/month to about $8k/month), until 2018 when I decided to change jobs (and take a $33k pay decrease for better quality of life). I cashed out my vacation from the old job and dumped an $8k lump sum into the loans. I was still able to spend about $1.5k on stuff outside of these payments (not including the HOA), so I didn’t really feel deprived. I got addicted to watching the principle drop on my loans every payday!
  • A few of my friends definitely felt weird about me making 6 figures and living off what amounted to about $18k a year, but they soon learned that I would come and hang out, but would decline pricey meals out… Unless it was the beginning of the month. Please keep in mind that when I took the $33k drop in pay, I still ended up in the low 6 figures. We still put 4% (for him) and $530/month (for me) into our respective 401k/403b plans.
  • We picked a combination of the avalanche and snowball methods. We started the pay down process before we were married, but we’d also been together for about 8 years by then. We figured we were in it for the long haul. To make it fair, I planned it out so that we would alternate paying on our loans, but I had consolidated a number of mine so by far mine were the biggest chunk. We combined methods for 1) practicality and 2) positive reinforcement to help fuel our (read: my) obsession.
  • We were due to be done originally in December 2019… then extra payments were made (from taxes, vacation payouts, holiday and/or OT pay) and it moved slowly to September. Then August. Then July. Finally, we were to be done in June… until I said “I’M DONE WITH THESE LOANS” and raided my emergency fund to pay off the last $6k. I’m losing 2.2% interest on that $6k (thanks, Barclay’s!) but am gaining wayyyyyy more peace of mind!
  • Next goal…RETIREMENT! We are planning to max out all plans and contribute to a taxable account so we can retire early… And I’ve already got the spreadsheets made ;)

******

And that’s how the sausage is made!

It looks so easy when you bullet point it all out like that, and when someone ELSE is doing all the sacrificing, haha… But we all know it’s a bit more involved than that, and it surely doesn’t happen over night.

But boy do things speed up when you FOCUS LIKE MAD! They went from $80,000 paid off in 5 years going with the flow (and a decent feat in itself!), and then hit *turbocharge* and tripled their payments in well under the same amount of time…

Pretty incredible!

Now of course we ALL can’t duplicate such drastic comebacks unfortunately, however we can take charge of the key ingredients here that works wonders in any journey:

  • Making things a *top* priority
  • Living on LESS than you’re bringing in
  • Trying out different payoff methods
  • Refinancing whenever you’re able to/it makes sense
  • Automatically sending in payments on paydays!!
  • Keeping a buffer zone in case you screw up
  • Tracking your progress however motivates you (coloring charts? :))
  • Throwing in as much of your *extra* money as you can get (raises/bonuses/overtime)
  • And then of course doing whatever it takes to stick to it until the bitter end…

Not exactly easy, but pretty straightforward once you make the commitment to yourself. (And barring any unfortunate events)

So well done again, guys… Thanks for taking the time to share with us today, and tonight I shall raise a cold one in your honor! Cheers!

*******
More debt loving articles you might like:

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[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

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Resource of The Month: Debt Free Charts!

Just saw these featured in a FinCon newsletter and they are brilliant!!

Debt free charts!

To color in and keep you motivated!

**FOR FREE!!**

You can click here to grab them if you’re too excited to read any further (haha…) — DebtFreeCharts.com — or just keep scrolling to get a good peek at them before kissing away your debt ;)

There are over 80 sheets to choose from!

(More filled-in examples at Instagram: @debtfreecharts)

It’s all a part of Heidi Nash’s mission to keep people motivated in their journeys, and she’s set a personal goal of giving away *300,000* of them in 2019 after surpassing her goal of 150,000 last year! So cool!!!

(I wonder if she’s tracking all these giveaways with a chart?! ;))

She’s also started designing premium versions that only go for $1.00-$2.50 a piece, as well as some *packages* you can get, so if you REALLY want to be fancy you can try your hand at any of those too ;) Especially if you want to custom them towards other goals like saving, investing/etc…

Here are some of my favorites from that group:

Such a fun way to track your progress, as it really is about those small wins adding up over time that pushes us through to the end…

If you love these as much as I do, please pass this forward!!

Thank you for making these available to everyone, Heidi! I hope you hit your 300,000 goal!! :)

To learn more/download them, visit –> DebtFreeCharts.com

******
Previous Resources of The Month:

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[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

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Challenging the Vanguard Faith (or how Fidelity’s ZERO expense funds are increasingly tempting!)

Last September I got the following note from a reader of the blog:

Hi J$,

Not sure if you caught some interesting news, but Vanguard’s rival Fidelity has introduced two ZERO expense ratio funds – one domestic and one international. Interesting maneuver to try and compete with Vanguard and ride the indexing wave:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-04/fidelity-zero-fee-funds-attract-almost-1-billion-in-first-month

Thoughts? I’m a die-hard Vanguard guy, but at 28 years old, the opportunity to shave costs over decades is appealing…

I told him it was SUPER intriguing, but like most things that try getting in the way of my already-locked-in-plans, I tend to ignore them until I actually can’t anymore ;) Similar to how I got into Vanguard to begin with – I finally couldn’t resist the logic from everyone!!

I told him to keep me updated over the months though – especially if he ends up making the switch – and then just yesterday I heard back from him again, offering to share his current insight in the form of a guest post.

So that’s what you’ll see now below – a little analyzation from our friend here to help us all be better about keeping an open mind ;) And to avoid having rotten tomatoes thrown his way, he’s opted to remain anonymous, haha…

Take it away, Mr. Anonymous!

******

Let’s talk expense ratios and question conventional index investing for a moment. It’s important to do this sort of thing, especially when it becomes easy to get lulled into the belief that one product has always been and will always be the way to go, a la Vanguard for index fanatics. The “challenge everything” mindset is a must.

As a faithful follower of the indexing movement, I agree with and submit to all its fundamental assumptions and acknowledgements – passively mirror the market, avoid paying someone to mange your money (only to screw it up), understand that being “average” year after year actually puts you well above average over time, etc.

So, Vanguard it was.

My dad invests with them, and at the early age he got me started, of course I followed his suggestion. He gave me the autonomy to pick the investments I wanted, but they were going to be under Vanguard’s roof, no question.

With time and learning, I became fully committed to the indexing ways. I’ve now moved all my invested money to indexes and am 100% stocks. Why all stocks? Among other reasons, I read the Jim Collins article on Investing for Seven Generations and understood the point.

This money I invest is here to support all my wants and needs throughout my lifetime, yes, but it can and should be about so SO much more than that. It’s for generations of family I will never meet. So I increasingly look long-term – like, really long-term – and can easily subscribe to the idea of being 100% stocks, perhaps for the entirety of my life.

With a general philosophy now adopted, it’s tempting to become complacent. I’ve picked my investment approach, established my risk tolerance, and selected funds that match it (VTSAX, VTIAX and that’s it). Now it’s time to simply cruise, let the automation occur, keep the faith, and not worry about it, right?

Nope, can’t do it. I like to remain engaged and always stay current. That usually doesn’t mean too much in the passive indexing world, but there’s something new on the horizon and I’m intrigued…

That shiny, new thing? Fidelity’s zero expense ratio funds. They caught my attention in September of last year, shortly after Fidelity rolled out four funds that all tout a “0.00%” under that all-important expense ratio listing.

As an indexer, I pay close attention to this, and I know Vanguard has dominated the field for quite some time. The greater investing audience has also paid attention, as report after report tell a story of more investors adopting the passive investing approach, leaving their active fund managers behind.

But Fidelity has pushed the envelope. They didn’t go the Vanguard route and drop ERs by 0.01, as Vanguard’s been known to do periodically. No, Fidelity created four new funds and told investors “invest your money here and pay nothing”.

I was understandably skeptical at first. This went against what I’d known for quite some time and felt the need to keep my distance. So I did. I monitored the two funds I cared about most – FZROX and FZILX – and waited for something to change. Certainly, the funds wouldn’t remain at 0.00, I thought. There must be a point in the not-too-distant future when they’d quietly raise the ERs in the middle of the night. If not that, perhaps Fidelity’s funds couldn’t track their indexes as well as Vanguard, and the returns would be sub-par when compared to the market.

Those were my main concerns, and neither of them happened. The fund is still at an ER of 0.00 and the funds still track their index (and Vanguard’s matching funds) extremely well. See below:

By my assessments – and they may not be entirely comprehensive – the Fidelity funds check out. Now comes the “does it really matter” part. Am I really saving money by seeking a miniscule reduction in ERs? Based on what’s current on Vanguard’s page, investors pay an ER of 0.04% for VTSAX and 0.11% for VTIAX. Great, low rates by all accords, except now there’s something lower.

Time to bring in the expense ratio calculator.

A simple calculator I found is listed below. First, it’s important to tackle a couple of assumptions here:

  • The money that I’m evaluating is what I have invested in a taxable account, meaning I can move it anywhere, anytime with no limitations. My choices are not limited by the options offered through an employer’s 401k selections.
  • Everything I entered would likely be considered conservative. I did this in order to prevent an exaggerated effect from the difference in ERs. I assumed returns of only 6%, I reported that I would not be contributing ANY money beyond the principal amount of $300k, and I took projections out 60 years (remember, I’m thinking seven generations here, not just my lifetime).
  • I actually used 0.03 for the VTSAX ER, not its current listing of 0.04. This is because the matching ETF, VTI, is currently at 0.03 and I’m making a guess VTSAX will drop to match it before too long.
  • I also have money invested in VTIAX, as mentioned above. VTIAX is at 0.11% currently, but I’m not even factoring that in. I’m only evaluating the VTI ER of 0.03 and being extra kind.

That big number in green at the bottom? That’s the $166k I’d be paying to Vanguard over the next 60 years, just to have them manage my $300k plus it’s 60-year growth. STAGGERING!

One might argue that $166k over 60 years isn’t a huge deal and that with inflation, it will be less impactful in the future than it seems now. All good points, but remember my assumptions and purpose.

In reality, I expect to make a greater return than 6%. Also, I will obviously be adding to this investment over the years, not just letting the principal compound. And finally, I want this money to be passed on well beyond my lifetime! With all those “new” assumptions applied, the costs to manage the funds go up “bigly”! The larger the value of the investment becomes, the more that ER drags on my returns.

So what sort of action should and will I take? That’s the big question here. I’ve been sitting idly by for more than six months and not taken any action yet (always a cardinal sin), so should I be compelled to act? Maybe. I’m monitoring for a few things.

The first is the cost of closing out the Vanguard accounts and realizing all the gains. Having been invested over the last 9 or so years, there’s been some powerful growth in the stock market, and the gains would be taxable. That would hurt and make for an ugly time next April 15th.

If the capital gains tax deters me, what I might do instead is monitor for any downturns in the market. They inevitably happen and would actually give me a perfect exist strategy from Vanguard with lesser or no gains to be taxed on. Admittedly, it would have to be a pretty significant downturn, but that’s a good problem to have.

My international funds, however, have grown a lot less than the US funds, so, I could withdraw just the international portion and move it to Fidelity, purchasing the 0.00% ER fund that targets the exact same index. It would cost a lot less in realized capital gains. Would that constitute a wash sale? Would I have to sit on the sidelines for 30 days before entering Fidelity’s international fund? Those are not rhetorical questions – maybe someone can help me answer that.

The second option to consider is remaining idle, although this relies on a big assumption/hope: believing that Vanguard will also drop its ER to zero. I hate relying on things out of my control, which is exactly what I’d be doing.

Nevertheless, there’s plenty of literature out there claiming that zero ERs is inevitably where it all goes. The articles argue that investment firms will ultimately bend to the will of investors who increasingly demand ultra-low cost funds and will leave if their demands are not met. I tend to believe it will eventually happen, but how long must I wait and how much in fees will I lose while waiting? Impossible to answer. This is the conundrum I’m left with.

For new investors, I’d say the answer is easy: if you believe in the indexing philosophy, invest with the firm that offers you the cheapest way in. Right now, that appears to be Fidelity. I hear there are other, smaller investment firms that also offer 0.00% funds, but I also feel the need to be part of a larger, more substantial institution.

Where to go from here largely depends on getting oneself off the sidelines…

******

So there you have it! What do you think?? Have you been tempted to move over too, or perhaps you’ve always been a fan of Fidelity but just kept quiet amongst our sea of Vanguard lovers?? :)

The part that stuck out to me was the fact that if the Vanguard funds are outperforming fidelity’s as it looks like in that comparison up top, even if by just a fraction, wouldn’t it come *closer* to breaking even in the end? Making the fee differences not as important?

I coincidentally came across another Vanguard vs Fidelity article while reading about this (albeit in a more “review” type format), and one of the comments someone left at the bottom brought up an interesting point:

“One of the reasons Fidelity is able to offer Zero fee funds is that its not actually tracking the total market index. Instead they created their own total market index and avoided the index free – which is charged to all index trackers. Now this could be very similar or it could not. Time will tell. But in the meantime, would you like to actually track the total market index or not? That’s the question that the Zero fund investors should answer.”

So it’s not exactly *apples to apples*, even though of course it’s certainly close. But that does explain why the performance is off by a fraction… (and a fraction, mind you, that goes on to become quite the difference in the long term which is the precise point of this post!)

I relayed this over to our friend, who was kind enough to continue the discussion…

******

Sure, solid points. It is true that “time will tell” whether the Fidelity zero-fee funds will actually mirror their intended indexes and deliver returns on par with Vanguards indexes. Nice points by Money Wizard too.

With the screenshots I provided (current as of May 8th), I think it showed Vanguard to be ahead of Fidelity by 0.02% to 0.03% thus far in 2019. If Vanguard’s VTSAX should take a “lead” of 0.04% over Fidelity’s FZROX or more by the end of 2019, then it is true that switching to the Fidelity funds would have created no benefit. However, the lead that Vanguard would have to create for the VTIAX fund would have to be greater though, as VTIAX is currently costing 0.11% annually, while Fidelity’s matching fund is also 0.00%.

Vanguard themselves actually offer a cool “fund cost” calculator at https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/tools/costcompare. Using this, they introduce two different “costs” that an investor absorbs when paying a higher fee than needed.

  • First is the incurred fee, which Vanguard describes as “the cumulative fees, expenses, and other charges associated with buying and maintaining shares”. That is super straight-forward and easy to process.
  • Second are the opportunity costs, which represent “the compounded return you lose because you’d be diverting investment assets to pay fund costs instead of buying additional shares”. This gets at the lost “re-purchasing” power from losing 0.xx% to fees, which could otherwise be going towards buying up more of the fund through dividends. It does operate on the assumption that an investor chooses to have dividends reinvested, not paid out to them.

Finally, if it’s possible that Fidelity’s funds will slightly underperform Vanguard’s because they aren’t following the exact index (and are thus avoiding that small fee to do so), then I see that it’s also possible that Fidelity could slightly outperform Vanguard’s indexes.

There’s no secret “formula” to mirroring the index, so Fidelity can and hopefully did do their homework is studying exactly what a Vanguard fund like VTSAX invests in and tweaking it just enough so that they avoid paying the index-tracking fee, but are comprised of an equally large and equally diverse number of companies.

It comes down to a bit of what can I vs. can’t I control. I can control the fees I pay, but I can’t control the returns experienced over time.

Just my two cents.

One last illustration. This graphic below compares VTSAX and FZROX over the last six months (FZROX has only been around since August 2018) and it shows that at 1, 3, and 6 month periods, the funds have shuffled in terms of who’s generated better returns. VTSAX wins the six month battle, but if you wanted to withdraw your money at 1 or 3 months, Fidelity would’ve been the better option.

******

And that’s the end of this post for real ;)

Thoughts??

********
[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

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“How I Grew My Net Worth to $300,000 in My 20s” – The Financial History of The Money Wizard

Morning guys!

Got another financial history report to share today!

This time from fellow reader-turned-blogger, The Money Wizard, who tells us how he’s amassed $300,000+ before he’s even turned 30. Or put another way, about 4.4x my own net worth of $68,061.80 at his age! Haha… So he def. knows what he’s talking about over there :) Hope it inspires you in some small way today!

*******

I can safely say that if it weren’t for J. Money, my life would look pretty different.

That’s because I’ve been a regular Budgets are Sexy lurker since around when he started the site, all the way back in 2008. At the time, his net worth updates were unlike anything I’d ever seen. After several years of following along, I was inspired enough to start my own blog, where I now publish my own net worth updates every month.

So, how does regular reading of Budgets are Sexy since you were a teenager impact your finances?

Well, in my case, it means a $100,000 net worth by the time you’re 25. And then $300,000 while you’re still in your 20s.

(As of this writing, I’m 29 years old with a net worth of $300,329.24. But who’s counting?)

When I saw J’s request for readers to divulge the nitty and gritty of their financial history, I thought it’d be great to tip my cap to a role model in the best way I know how – getting nerdy with money!

The Money Wizard’s Balance Sheet:

Here’s the breakdown of my net worth, as of last month’s update:

  • Brokerage Account: $143,597
  • 401k: $119,602
  • Roth IRA: $35,601
  • Cash: $5,338
  • Liabilities: $3,809 between monthly rent and credit cards that I always pay in full.

Which, in the spirit of this series, doesn’t tell us a whole lot. We want to know *HOW* I got there. Time to spill the juicy details!

#1. I started investing as a teenager

Between the ages of 0-23, I probably invested $15-20,000 from teenage jobs and college side hustles. Nothing glamorous here. Mostly summer construction jobs, although at one point I did run a small baseball/softball bat flipping hustle. This gave my savings a nice head start and plenty of time to get the compound interest snowball started.

#2. I gave up on stock trading (and instead went with index investing)

I wasn’t perfect in my teenage investing though. Like most teenagers/early 20s, I was young and naïve and thought I could show the world who’s boss.

Luckily, I managed to contain those teenage dreams to a few bone-headed stock investments. (I thought for sure my Buffett-like value pick of Uranium stocks after the Fukushima nuclear disaster would make me a millionaire. It didn’t. I lost thousands.)

Thankfully, I learned this lesson early. Since then, I decided to move to a pretty simple 3 fund portfolio of index funds. It’s a decision that’s helped me earn over 7% in the stock market for the past several years, and more importantly, free up my time to do stuff a whole lot more fun than combing through financial statements.

#3. I avoided student loan debt

This was a mixture of a couple thousand dollars’ worth of GPA-related scholarships, part-time jobs, generous help from parents, and choosing a (relatively) affordable in-state public school.

#4. I took a well-paying job out of college

I was also fortunate to score a lucrative career out of college, although this wasn’t totally by accident.

I double majored in Finance and Economics, specifically because I knew they were some of the highest paying degrees. I’d have loved to major in something like English, but instead I decided to put that passion on the back-burner until I’d saved enough cash to retire early and do whatever I wanted. If I followed the money, I figured that date would come sooner rather than later.

The result? Coming out of school, I scored a $50,000 a year job in finance. And over the past few years, I’ve played the office politics game and worked like a dog, which scored two more meaningful promotions. I landed the first promotion after about 3 years, and it bumped my salary to around $70,000 a year. The second occurred more recently, as I approach my 6-year anniversary, and has me sitting around $90,000 in annual income moving forward.

#5. I took advantage of my above-average 401k match

Not quite an INSANE match, like J’s ridiculous free $16,500. But, solidly above average – my employer matches 7% of my salary at 100%. In other words, at my current pay, the first $6,300 I contribute is matched with an identical $6,300 contribution from my employer.

This wasn’t by accident either! During my second round of interviews, The Money Wizard, as a fresh-faced, not-yet college graduate, grilled the interviewers about the company’s 401k plan. They looked at me like I was a 60-year-old trapped in a 23-year-old’s body, and then relayed the news that ended up being a big factor in my job choice.

#6. I kept living like a college student for years

And I sort of still do…

For the first few years at my career, I spent no more than about $22-24,000 a year.

In part, that’s because I scrutinized every single expense I took on. If it was a monthly or annual subscription, it probably got cancelled, slashed, or at least negotiated. I also rented a modest 1-bedroom apartment away from downtown Denver. The way I saw it, all the Ubers in the world couldn’t match the increased cost of a trendy downtown place.

A few years ago, I moved in with my long-term girlfriend, and we now live in Minneapolis. The house is in her name, although I pay half of the mortgage, utilities, and maintenance every month.  Another key fact, and this is definitely key, is that the house cost a whopping $180,000… a full 1/3 the price that Mint.com said we could afford.

That said, I do tend to splurge on dining out, entertainment, and travel. (What a typical millennial…)

In 2019, my goal is to spend less than $2,250 a month. If I manage that, I should save over $40,000 between my 401k, employer matching, IRA contributions, and Vanguard or Fidelity index funds.

Conclusion

One last thing I’d like to say, before J. Money realizes he accidentally let me on stage. ;)

I recognize my money situation is kind of weird. My inbox is filled with emails from readers at a different stage in this money journey, wondering how on earth a snot-nosed 20-something with $300,000 relates at all to their situation.

But consider this – with my current rate of savings, I’m on pace to reach complete financial freedom by the time I’m 35. Most likely, my corporate career won’t last a day longer than 12 short years, total. That’s a blip in the timeline of a normal working career, even if you’re starting entirely from zero.

So if you’re older, younger, or even still in debt, I hope my story shows the awesome possibilities for anyone who kicks debt to the curb, lives modestly, and invests heavily.

Thanks for having me J. Money!

******

Want to share your own financial journey with us? Hit me up!

For the past two in this mini-series:

********
[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

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Your life doesn’t magically change when you retire!

Good morning!

So USAA hit me up the other day asking if I’d like to partner with them on their #LifeUninterrupted campaign, and after reading the inspiration behind it I was sold on the spot:

“For most people, retirement isn’t about luxury cruises and trips around the world. It’s about making sure their life can go on as normal once they retire. It’s continuing to do the things that make them happy without worrying about financial interruptions. Put simply: Keep living life as you know it”

YES!! 100%! It’s not a magical day where your life changes overnight – it’s just the time when you no longer have to worry about money anymore! And if you’re doing it *right*, you’re already enjoying a version of that “retirement life” up to that point – it’s just relegated to your nights and weekends until you can finally pull the trigger…

There’s a line people say that when you come into a lot of money “it doesn’t change you, it only amplifies who you are as a person,” and I feel the same can be said for retirement.

You’ll still be YOU when you hit that magic number, just a better version of yourself because now you’ve freed up the time to spend even MORE energy toward the stuff you love and enjoy! Which you then smoothly transition to! But if you’re not doing jack with your life up to that point or work IS your life, well, then you’ll only have more jack to look forward to and will probably become one of those people who think the FIRE movement is dumb, haha…

In which case, read this  –> It’s Not About The Money, It’s About The *Lifestyle*

The trick, of course, is knowing *when* you can finally pull that trigger, and we all have our opinions on how to calculate it.

Those of us in this FIRE community like to tout the 25x Rule which says having 25x your yearly expenses banked is a good starting point which you can then adjust from there, depending on your comfort levels and desired lifestyle. Some people prefer to live larger in retirement than they are now, while others think they can cut back even more and be just as happy.

This community has no shortage of different FIRE flavors to choose from, and it seems people are only coming up with more as the days pass ;) Here are some of the more popular ones:

  • Lean FIRE — when you’re comfortable living off a lot less in retirement
  • Fat FIRE — when you’re shooting to live off a lot more in retirement
  • Barista FIRE — when you keep a side gig going even though you’re already retired for additional benefits/income/fun <– What I’m personally shooting for
  • Fart FIRE — when you try to hit whatever FIRE suits you as fast as you can so you don’t end up sacrificing all of your time in the process (“fart” means “fast” in Swedish I’m told ;)). This one comes from Mr. 1500 Days who adds, “living without the distraction of having to earn money allows you to get closer to who you really are. A more authentic version of you.” And considering he’s currently living that dream right now, I believe him!!

Here are some resources around the FIRE strategy if this is the type of retirement that speaks to you the most (FIRE stands for “Financial Independence, Retire Early” btw – for anyone new here. With that first “FI” part there being focused on the most since as you’ve probably noticed many “retirees” in our space don’t actually stop working forever ;) They just re-direct their time to more passion projects!):

And then of course there’s the more traditional/non-FIRE type of retirement planning for those who don’t buy into the whole 25x yada yada yada, which is also fine. Because as we all know there are multiple ways to cross that finish line!

For these types of people, a slew of calculators and planners are much better equipped to answer the age ol’ question of “when can I retire?” – and in a much less aggressive way :)

Here are some good resources if you fall more into this type of party:

[And this is totally unrelated, but a reader just emailed me this morning about some features USAA has in their member portal that I had no idea about! And I’ve been a member for over 20 years!! The next time you log in, look for “Savings Boosters” on the far right side (under “My Tools”, and then “Budgeting and Goals”) and you’ll see all kinds of app-like features you can activate to help save more… The automatic “ATM Rebates” one is a good one!]

At any rate, hopefully some of those resources up there help you along your journey whichever side you fall on ;) You know the one I’m shooting for (hint: it rhymes with WIRE), but again there’s no right or wrong way to manage this stuff outside of the one that’s right for you. And really you won’t even know how certain it’ll pan out until you’re actually LIVING IT! Haha…

So in the meantime, keep tweaking your *current* life to get it as retirement’eque as you can, so by the time that fateful day DOES eventually come (and it will!), you’ll already know what you’re going to do as you’ve been doing it all along…

You’ll of course come across a dozen other little perks to look forward to in retirement too, but better to be enjoying your passions NOW where you can grab ’em vs wasting away your life for “later” to come! It doesn’t always have to be so black or white – enjoy the colors along the way!

XOXO,

******
PS: If you know all this stuff already but just need a good boost of inspiration, try out one of Cait’s Adventure Tuesdays and see if it sparks anything :) Sometimes it’s the littlest actions that end up snowballing into bigger ones! Not unlike saving itself!

[As mentioned above, this is a sponsored article in partnership with USAA… who I’ve been personally using for over 20 years now and highly recommend!]

********
[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

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Things that make your life better for under $50

Morning y’all!

Hope you had a good weekend!

Came across this poll on things that genuinely make your life better, and an hour later I had a list of all kinds of recommendations noted in case I ever need them one day, haha…

And all from like-minded people too! (ie mindful/productivity nuts)

Figured I’d double up on the energy here and pass ’em along to you too in case you’re currently on the hunt for something :)

The books and app recommendations were my favorites…

Here was the more generic answers first, followed by a list of the more specific products which I appreciated the most since it directs you right to “the best” to avoid paralysis by analysis, haha…

Most popular answers:
  • Books
  • Apps
  • Bibles (lots of these!)
  • Underwear
  • Gym memberships
  • Condoms (hah!)
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Water bottles
  • Journals and pens (also super popular)
  • Work out equipment
  • Yoga mats
  • Domain names (guilty!)
  • Dumb phones (surprising to see?)
  • Bluetooth headphones
  • Toilet paper (jokers)
  • Phone batteries
  • Eyeglasses
  • Slippers
  • And then coffee… (my answer too)
And then here were the more *specific* recommendations that I was most interested in:
  • Lamy Fountain Pen
  • Pomodoro clock
  • AeroPress Coffee Maker
  • TEMPUR-Pedic Sleep Mask
  • Thin black hangars from IKEA
  • Moleskine unruled A5 notebook and a Uni Pin 0.3mm fineliner
  • Flex bar by TheraBand — “worked miracles for my elbow tendinitis” – @nbabbitz
  • Kohler Flipside shower head — “I give [it] as a housewarming gift I believe in it so much.” – @jmacias
  • The Five Minute Journal — “I write in it every day. In over one year, the journal dramatically improved my happiness when I focus on mindfulness as I write.” – @BooValu23
  • Flonase — “Using it for one week 5+ years ago somehow cured my lifelong battle with debilitating allergies. Use it every once in a while for maintenance now but symptoms now pale in comparison to before. Nectar of the gods.” – @jonhearty
  • VARIERA Vacuum hose holder, silver-colour SR 17 — “Found it while looking for a shelf and screamed out loud in excitement. It was the thing I NEEDED and never knew til I saw it. As soon as I saw it, I knew: the daily hand-to-hand combat with my damn vacuum has ended thanks to this. And it did ” – @Naomi_Freeman
  • The bestself.co journal — “Planner, journal, goals, notes, quotes, etc all in one great format. I’ve gifted this many times because of the profound impact it’s made on my life.” – @deepATL
  • Mooncup.co.uk — “Since 2004 I no longer: 1) cause extra waste through single use items + packaging 2) put bleached products in my body 3) spend money on #menstruation Serious piece of design, good for me, the world, my bank balance. Men + women should know about them.” – @_riut
  • The Happiness Planner — “Started with the 100 day planner and have used a full one I think 4 years in a row since, it really changed my life.” @happinessplannr
  • F3Omaha/F3Nation — “Free fitness for all men, peer-lead, SUPER fun & challenging, made me a better person, husband, dad, & new friendships/brothers.” – @mursedrew
  • Promixx 2.0 Electric Shaker Bottle — “Saves time, hassle, and cuts out that feeling of “I don’t feel like doing this.” I wish I was getting paid for the plug, because I truly believe in the product.” – @SlauterMatt
  • TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller (26-inch)
  • LectroFan High Fidelity White Noise Machine
  • Everlasting Comfort 100% Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow
  • Mellion Back Shoulder Neck Massager with Heat Deep Tissue Kneading
List of great books people love: List of great apps people love:
  • Brain.fm — We use our patented AI music engine and scientific research to create music to help you improve the activities you already do in 15 minutes or less.
  • Todoist — Life can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. Todoist lets you keep track of everything in one place, so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.
  • Waking Up — Join Sam Harris – neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author – on a meditation course for beginners and experienced meditators alike. Waking up is for everyone who understands that meditation should transform one’s view of the world.
  • WeCroak — The WeCroak app is inspired by a Bhutanese folk saying: to be a happy person, one must contemplate death five times daily. Each day, we’ll send you five invitations to stop and think about death. Our invitations come at random times and at any moment, just like death.
  • FocusMe — The most powerful App and Website Blocker for Windows, Mac & Android.
  • Scribd — Enjoy an unlimited* number of books, audiobooks, magazines, and more.
  • Headspace — A personal meditation guide, right in your pocket
  • Qustodio — The Internet’s best free parental control app. Designed to supervise, manage and protect your child’s device use on the go!
  • Duet Display — Duet is the first app that allows you to use your iDevice as an extra display for your Mac using the Lightning or 30-pin cable.

******

I probably missed some others as the responses continued to flow in (now at over 500!), but hopefully this saves you some time if you were just as curious as I was when I first saw the tweet :)

I don’t normally go looking to spend money, but I’m always open to good recommendations from people in the community! So if you’ve got anything you’re obsessed over, would love to hear it!

What’s something that genuinely makes YOUR life better for under $50?

And before you say it, yes – I agree, Budgets Are Sexy *is* pretty awesome, thanks ;)

———
*Another big shout to James Clear who continues to captivate me!
**Most products and book links above go to Amazon and are affiliate links

********
[Prefer to get these blog posts *weekly* instead of daily? Sign up to my new weekly digest here, and get other thoughts on life/business/money as well: jmoney.biz/newsletter]

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