Budgets Are Sexy is a money blog trying to spice things up a bit. They rock out budget planning, retirement, credit cards, 401k, templates & becoming a millionaire. The author is a 20 something blogger just trying to make personal finance interesting.
Guess what?? They talked about personal finance on the radio today, and I almost had a moneygasm! Haha…
The clip was on some new savings recommendations that apparently just came out, and while I couldn’t find the exact article off the show’s website, I did come across this one that matched it to a T (and which was also over a year old?): “Here’s how much money you should have saved at every age“
Never heard of targets like these before, but hey – let’s play along! Here’s what “they” are now recommending ;)
At 25 years old — you should have 1/2 of your yearly salary saved
At 30 years old — you should have 1x your yearly salary saved
At 35 years old — you should have 2x your yearly salary saved
At 40 years old — you should have 3x your yearly salary saved
At 45 years old — you should have 4x your yearly salary saved
At 50 years old — you should have 5x your yearly salary saved
At 55 years old — you should have 6x your yearly salary saved
At 60 years old — you should have 7x your yearly salary saved
At 65 years old — you should have 8x your yearly salary saved
At retirement — you should have 10x your yearly salary saved
So pretty much, once you hit 30 years old you should be adding another 100% worth of your salary to your savings with each passing 5 year period… And then once you hit around 10x your salary you’re safe to pull the cord.
(Although really, how you can determine a retirement date without mentioning EXPENSES even once is beyond me, but again – I’ll continue playing the game ;))
Before I had much time to even marinate on it though, the comments from the radio host and sidekicks were pretty obvious about their feelings, haha…
“Aww, how cute!” – one of them blurted out.
And then, “Explain to us millennials again what “savings” is?” – said another ;)
Pretty sad to hear, particularly as many of their listeners were probably laughing along in agreement!, however it did make me smile because I knew the second I reached my computer I’d have something fun to do with all my data ;)
So you ready to compare?? Think I’ll match up or miss the marks completely?
Okay, here we go… I counted both my savings and my investments btw in the calculations since it looks like that’s what “savings” entailed per the CNBC article (along with debt payments, fyi), and then I also did my best to exclude my wife’s contributions to better estimate the #’s for just *one* person too.
Here’s what it churned out!
The “New” Standard vs J. Money
25 years old (2005): $2,000’ish ÷ $35,000 = .05% yearly salary (standard = 1/2)
30 years old (2010): $250,000 ÷ $60,000 = 4x yearly salary (standard = 1x)
35 years old (2015): $450,000 ÷ $75,000 = 6x yearly salary (standard = 2x)
40 years old (2020): $900,000 estd ÷ $100,000 = 9x yearly salary (standard = 3x)
Woot woot! Major #FAIL there with 25 year old J. Money (and no big surprise, considering I couldn’t even tell you what an IRA or 401(k) was!), but come age 30 and beyond we turned up the heat on that puppy! Putting us around 3x the recommended rates – alright alright alriiiight! (Said in the best Matthew McConaughey voice available)
(It’s no coincidence btw that our money skyrocketed the minute we started tracking it all and blogging about our journey… The ’08 market crash and generous employer benefits also helped speed it up, but you really can’t discount the power of accountability with this stuff! And really just CARING ENOUGH to make things happen!)
So yeah – new or not, I’m all for these savings targets here, but only because I’d choose ANY targets being passed around mass media than NO targets at all, haha… Whatever it takes to wake people up!
As for me though, I’m sticking to the trusty 25x yearly expenses plan based on the “Trinity Study” we here in the FIRE world love so much. Gotta forecast things on your lifestyle costs, not your salaries!
My two cents anyways… What are your thoughts? You like these targets or think they’re a bunch of hippy dippy bologna? (Bonus points if you can tell me where that reference is from ;))
Feel free to compare your own #’s to these targets too and share… Maybe they’ll put things in better perspective for you?
Welcome to another edition of me “accidentally” hearing other people’s conversations! And then them “mysteriously” landing on this blog here!
You know what they say – what happens at coffee houses does not stay at coffee houses ;)
And we’ve got a ton to offload on ya today too as they’ve been adding up over the year since our last one and cracks me up just revisiting some of these again, haha… It really does take all kinds to run this world of ours, and a few of these characters are certainly highlighted here.
Hope you enjoy, as you prob won’t learn anything! :)
Overheard At The Coffee Shop:
“Beaver Bucks! Everyone knows what they are… Beaver Bucks!”
Um… nope. Can’t say that everyone does, haha… And my “no interjecting” rule prevented me from jumping in unfortunately and asking!
“Windows aren’t sexy, but a guy’s gotta be comfortable.”
Haha… I’m assuming this was around home upgrades?
“I’m gonna sue them bro… And I have the money for it! As soon as I finish this term paper, I’m totally suing them bro.”
Not too often you hear “suing” and “term paper” in the same sentence :)
“How much do you think my thigh weighs?”
Not even touching that one…
Person #1: “The new Tesla car is only $35,000” Person #2: “My father’s first house was $35,000!”
Now that’s perspective!!
“Rock, paper, scissors… OCEAN!! (I wash you away!)”
Next up was “Rock, paper, scissors… DETENTION!” but couldn’t catch what that one did ;) Maybe beats out all but the paper? Since rocks and scissors have a higher probability of getting you in trouble, unless you’re Mr. Sue-Happy Term Paper Bro? ;)
“I save Shakespeare until 8th grade when the kids can handle how dirty he is.”
Is he really??
“It’ll be India all over again, where you’re naked with a middle-aged woman. Only we won’t be oiled up this time.”
Teen: “You know what “swag” means, mom?” Mom: “Of course I know what swag means!”
Work it, mom…
“The disease is hereditary. But you actually don’t know you have it until you just one day drop dead.”
Can you imagine? :(
“Just because you said it two years ago, doesn’t mean you have to still do it!”
YES YES YES!!!! IT’S COMPLETELY OKAY TO CHANGE YOUR MIND on stuff when life changes!! Which is like all the time, so why would you stick to yesterday’s plans when the future just flipped on you?? Smart people tweak their plans and adapt to the changing world, stubborn ones don’t…
Person #1: “I’m back like a bad penny!” Person #2: “You might be the penny someone’s looking for!”
“A couple years ago I met a couple who retired at 28 and 29 and left their jobs to live a life according to their values… Now we’re about to do the same in three years since they’ve been mentoring us.”
I swear, I really did hear this one and did NOT plant it! :) This was real people talking about real epic $hit here and I loved hearing every last word of it… I could have hugged these guys if it didn’t give away my slyness!
“I want all my debt gone within 6 months… We have $70,000 in cash and a $120,000 townhouse that’s paid off in full. We should be able to do this, right?”
Another great money one!! And I would hope it’s enough to pay off the debts?? Though I never caught exactly how much debt we were talking about here… errr, what THEY were talking about here ;)
“I would buy this if I were allowed to… Unfortunately my wife won’t tolerate any other person’s art in our house except for her own.”
Best line of the year right there, haha… I was DYING listening to this conversation… DYING.
“Can you put your frog in your pocket?”
Let’s not, and say we did. (Remember that comeback???? 90’s era baby – yeah!)
Mom: “So what did you think about the DMV?” 3 y/o daughter: “It was FUN!!!” Mom: “What now?”
“Being old and in retirement is the most expensive thing there is… Back in the day you didn’t have to worry about it when you died in your 40s – but these days we’re living until 80 and 90 years old!”
Yup, a good problem to have, but no less a problem! All the more reason to gobble up money blogs while you’re young and able to do something about it!!
“I can afford Starbucks two days a month: paydays”
Ironically enough said by a Panera worker, haha…
“Whenever you get the hiccups it means you’re growing taller”
Definitely not true, but definitely stealing to use on my kids ;)
“I give homeless people a few bucks whenever I come across them… I used to give sandwiches but got tired of them throwing them on the ground right in front of me.”
Ugh… But good for him for not getting jaded and still wanting to help people! Sandwich throwing or not, they’re still much more troubled than any of us :(
Wife to husband as he walks to throw something away: “You’re an old MEAN man…” (Turns to me and asks if I agree once he leaves…) Me: “Maybe he’s just grumpy today?” Wife back to husband: “This guy here thinks your grumpy today!”
Serves me right for eavesdropping ;)
Happy weekend everyone… Watch those wallets and secrets!
Fellow blogger and $$$ personality, Ramit Sethi, tweeted out a request a few weeks ago, and now that my tiny brain has had time to think about it I’m ready to contribute to the conversation :)
He challenged us to come up with some money lies we tell ourselves (or worse – others!), and today we debunk some of them and add in a few of our own.
Here was his post:
YES YES YES!!! All nasty little lies there! Especially those first two, which I’m sure doesn’t come as much surprise to you ;)
I love renting, and it really is the best!!!! (For me)
I love buying expensive coffee because it also is the best!!! (For my tummy)
So either I’m a big fat idiot, or you can still thrive financially by doing things in your own way :) Namely, by prioritizing what’s truly important to YOU and then letting everyone else mind their own dang business… (Who usually don’t even know you well anyways)
I may spend $40.00 on coffee every month, but it’s the stuff that people *don’t* see that more than make up for it. Like the $20,000 invested ever year, or the fact I eat out once every 4 months instead of every single day, or that I hustle on the side to make extra money to “blow” and therefore it’s all “free” money I’m spending on my coffee et al anyways!
So perhaps spending your money on XYZ can sound bad on its own, but it’s really the *whole picture* we’re concerned about here that makes or breaks a wallet.
If I were spending money on coffee and clothes and electronics and ALL THE CATEGORIES in the world – then yes, there is a problem. But when you selectively send your money to only the most important areas that you enjoy, your finances become nice and balanced! And you’re not any worse off for it!
As Paula Pant likes to say, you can afford anything, just not everything.
But back to the money lies…
Here are Ramit’s last two, along with a handful I’ve thought up too… Let me know if you agree, and then add your own down in the comments!
“Our fund can beat the market”
Nope. It may beat the market *sometimes*, but not *all the time*. So unless you’re perfect at timing the market and knowing when to get in and out, then don’t trust the hype around funds who boast. (And also play the lottery if you’re that lucky!!)
“Avoid credit cards”
ONLY IF YOU SUCK WITH MONEY AND DON’T TRUST YOURSELF WITH THEM!!! Which is totally fine – the world has gone hundreds of thousands of years without credit cards, haha…. But similar to The Internet or any other tools that can be both good and bad, it’s all a matter of how you use it. Credit cards can do wonders for your budgeting and peace of mind and just overall ease, not to mention the rewards you can reap from them if you’re a fancy travel hacker. All goes back to what’s best for YOU.
“You need a lot of money to start investing”
Another lie!! Fintech has made it so easy these days, that you can literally just start with $5.00 if you wanted! Not to mention participate in any of your employer’s retirement plans like 401(k)s, TSPs, etc. This ain’t your pappy’s world anymore – the barriers are long gone!
“You need to spend money to make money”
Another big nope. There are times where it can help, but the simplest way to save it to literally just do that – SAVE IT! It really isn’t that complicated!
“You need business cards before starting a business”
Nope again. What you need are clients to have a business – not more excuses to procrastinate. Save the money on cards and focus that energy on getting your very first client instead. Then do it again and again and again until you know you’re on to something, and *then* feel free to buy all the fancy cards and stationary you’d like.
“The cheapest option is always the best option”
Yes, of course it’s great anytime you can get something cheaper where it makes sense, but just make sure it indeed *makes sense* and saves you in the long run than just temporarily! Whether it’s with your finances or your health, career, relationships, whatever… There’s usually a reason something is so cheap, so just be sure to take in *all* the variables, rather than singling it out based on price alone.
“Wanting more money is bad.”
Ugh, this is one of the worst… Obsessing about money and being consumed by greed is bad, but wanting a better future for you and your loved ones is anything but. Money opens up an incredible amount of options for you and everyone around you – something that strenghtens society! – so please don’t let others bring you down if you’ve found yourself eager and excited about this stuff… Money is not the devil. It’s how you *treat* the money that’s the differentiator.
“Being good with money means you’re a better person”
Another commonly misunderstood one ;) Being good with your money just means you’re good with your money – it has no relevance on what type of person you are! Just as the opposite is also true. You have poor folks who are angels, and millionaires who are assholes! I know all we talk about is $$$$ and #’s and goals up in here, but it’s important to remember that this is just a small sliver in life. There are greater importances out there, and being a decent human being to others is surely one of them :)
You deserve happiness, but there’s a big difference between getting something you’ve earned, and getting something you “deserve.” Ain’t nothing in this life is free, so if you don’t make it a point to hustle and GO AFTER what you want, you’re likely to be disappointed over the years… And that’s not good for anyone…
So that’s what I got today! What I miss? What are some of *your* hated money lies?
Share below, and as always we’ll discuss throughout the day…
But if any of you dare say, “Budgets aren’t sexy,” you can go ahead and unsubscribe right now ;)
[Oh do I have a good story for you guys today!! I hope you like long-form posts, because my man Ryland from TheHiddenGreen.com stops by the blog today to pour his heart out to us… Amazing how much your life can change when you find something that *clicks*! And shockingly, it wasn’t a budget that did it for him ;) Take it away, Ryland!]
I was 23 and crying.
I had just graduated college after working my tail off.
I had received $100k in scholarships to pay for school, founded a nonprofit while there and won numerous awards for my work.
I thought I had done everything right.
But I missed one piece of the puzzle – my finances. And there I was, in my black 2007 Nissan Xterra, with tears in my eyes because of it.
This is where my financial life started, and I owe it all to a little journaling.
Here’s the story of how I went from broke to over $100,000 in my accounts and completely changing my life in the process.
Zilch Financial Knowledge and $7k of Debt
In 2007 I had just walked out of an accounting office.
I had been told I owed almost $7,000 in taxes – of which $7,000 I did not have, nor with any income to pay it back.
That $7k may sound small to some, but I can tell you it’s enough to make you drop your head in your hands and wonder how the hell you got there.
It’s enough to feel scared.
I’ve always been someone who worked hard and tried to do the right things, but I’ve also always been someone (maybe behind the scenes) who struggled with money.
Let me give you one example.
In college I was up to get an award for my work and needed a suit. So I went to Nordstrom and tried on the $200, the $500 and the $800 suits.
Which did I get?
The $1,271 suit.
I’ve never wanted a luxurious life, but somehow I’d do stuff like that all the time.
And at that moment it was hitting me…
I sat there with tears rolling down my cheeks trying to figure out how I could pay it off.
When I got home I pulled up a Google Sheet (this exact one here) and gave my first petty attempt at building a budget.
To say the least, I hate budgets.
(Sorry, J. Money. I guess I’m just into other things…)
After a few hours of thinking it through, I decided to sell my car, most of my surfboards, as well as my professional trumpet to pay it off.
But it forced me into an uncomfortable place and brought about self-motivation to create a better life for myself.
Stop Budgeting, Start Journaling
About a month later I got my first job.
It was one of those jobs at a company that makes your mom proud.
Here look. She even took this picture of me on “Ryland’s first day of work.”
To be honest, I was excited about it too, but I knew from day one that it wasn’t going to be my end-all-be-all.
I wanted to have more time to work on the things I was passionate about. I wanted to take a few trips a year without breaking the bank. And I wanted to make enough money to live a fun, yet simple life.
I remember thinking, “Is that really too much to ask for?”
But the biggest thing holding me back at that time was my money situation.
I didn’t know how to make it work for me.
I tried budgeting and that (obviously) didn’t work. I tried putting cash in categorized envelopes, but that didn’t work either.
Everything I tried just wasn’t for me.
But what was for me was writing lists.
I wrote one almost every day. I still do. Here’s my list right now.
From doing that for years I had grown this belief that *what you write* becomes your life.
So back then, while stuck in my hard place, I decided to write a list.
I wrote out a few lines in my journal of what I wanted to accomplish just for that month.
Here’s exactly what it looked like:
Pretty basic, right?
A few weeks after, something interesting started to happen.
I noticed myself going back to look at the list every few days. In it I’d see the things that deep down I wanted to accomplish, and almost subconsciously my mind would refocus on how to bring them to fruition.
It was so helpful that at the end of that month I wanted to do it again.
But when my fingertips began writing the next list, my mind kept looking back at the old one.
I had unfinished business.
The old list was calling for an honest reflection, and so that’s what I did.
Yep, I failed on some items.
But that didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was continuing to write – continuing to bring the life I wanted into reality.
So I wrote next month’s list and at the end of that month, I wrote about how I did.
Here’s a look at that one too:
There wasn’t some special format, outline or directions to follow, and it felt great because of it.
This is my life. It doesn’t fit perfectly inside anyone else’s lines.
My goal became one thing: Write.
Every. Damn. Month.
And that’s what I did.
I wrote down things like “eating only nuts, fruits, veggies and fish,” and other things like “doing push ups, pulls ups and stretching” each morning.
Along with those things I wrote down how to make money work.
I wrote out where I wanted my savings account balance to be at the end of each month.
I mapped out how my credit card worked with my paycheck and bank accounts.
And I made a list of all the quality items I wanted to have in my life, so I could focus on buying things that really made me happy rather than $1,271 suits.
Did I hit every goal every month? Hell no.
Did I write like clockwork on first of every month? Hell no.
But I did it.
Slowly and surely things started to change. Here’s what happened.
Getting a Grip on My Money
While writing my goals, I began wanting to learn how other people accomplished the things I wanted.
I Googled everything I was interested in, and came across a whole underground movement of people that were designing their life for the things I was after.
(I linked to my favorite article by each of them above, if you’re interested)
And I read everything. Seriously, everything.
One of the most important things I learned was the importance of hitting this number called your “savings rate” every month and year.
By tracking that one number you can get a ballpark estimate of how long it’ll take for your investments (your passive income) to cover your lifestyle cost (your normal spending).
To me, that was perfect.
All I needed to do was hit that number and I’d know I was on track. I went off and built a whole automated system that became my personal financial dashboard.
From it I could see my net worth.
I could see my net income.
And I could track my savings rate too.
My net worth started going up month after month, and it felt awesome.
For the first six months, I just shoveled money into my savings account trying to hit the balance I wrote in my journal each month.
That worked great, but I began wondering when I should start investing, 401k-ing, Roth IRA-ing…
You know, all that adult-ing stuff.
That’s when I came across the godfather of this underground movement, Jim Collins.
I read his entire stock series and so much of his blog that I told my girlfriend I felt like he was my long lost Uncle while on a date one night.
(Even with a comment like that I still couldn’t get her to read his stuff!)
From him I learned 90% of everything I’d ever need to know about investing, and I figured out what to do with my money. [Editor’s Note: Jim was the catapult of my (J. Money’s) investing strategies as well. Great teacher!]
To jump four years ahead for one moment, here’s a look back at where I put my monthly net income (savings) each month.
I’d work on one step until I maxed it out, and then I’d move on to the next.
The only thing I might recommend you change from the list above is the investing related lines.
By doing a little research you can choose the investment class (or combination of classes) that’s best for you. (I’ve linked to the three best resources I know in those links above to point you in the right direction)
So this is how my puzzle pieces began coming together.
But I want to make one thing clear.
My whole journey above didn’t go down smoothly. It was messy, hard and even disappointing at times.
It was life.
I just kept writing. I just kept going.
Here are a few real-life highlights from how it went down.
What You Write Becomes Your Life (And $10,000 Mistakes)
I really don’t believe my life was that different than my peers.
But there were differences.
I’d say the most helpful differences were how I handled these three parts of my life: Housing, Cars and Travel.
Let me tell you what I mean.
“I will never move back in with my parents.”
I said those 9 words hundreds of times to my friends in college. In my mind there was no way, no how that I’d move home after graduation.
That was the first thing I did.
One unforeseen benefit of the job I had landed was that the office was about 15 miles from my parents’ house.
I remember driving home from college with my dad and all my stuff in the back of his truck. We pulled into the driveway and my neighbor came out to say, “hello.”
I was so embarrassed.
I couldn’t believe I was moving back home.
We met with a brotherly handshake, and one of the first things I said was “Yeah, man, I’m only going to be here for a month. I’m already looking for spots in the city.”
I ended up staying for 11 whole months.
But this action made a huge difference for me, especially at the start.
I was paying $400/mo in rent while my peers were paying $1,400/mo for rent in San Francisco. That put an extra $1,000 in my wallet every month ($12,000 over a year).
Beyond that, I loved that my rent went to people I knew and loved, and, by being more of an adult, I built a new relationship with my parents which was great.
I know this option isn’t available for everyone.
But if I could talk to my old self without the “move in with parents” option, I’d tell myself to reach out to family friends, extended family or whoever I could to see what is possible.
In the end though, my parents are my parents and I needed freedom.
I wanted to live in an awesome apartment in the city. For me, that was one near the beach, close enough to bike to work and shared with great people.
I started asking friends and coworkers if they’d want to move into a place like that if I found one.
Key point – “If I found one.”
I didn’t want anyone on a 14-day or 30-day time schedule to make the jump. I wanted to move only if the perfect apartment came up.
I ended up finding two great coworkers who loved the idea and hopped on board.
Together we hacked Craigslist to send us any new listings that matched our “perfect apartment” specifications.
Here’s how (link to video here if it doesn’t show up):
How to See New Craigslist Postings BEFORE Anyone Else - YouTube
And in one month here’s what we found:
I took the small office room that was connected to the living room by a sliding door for $1,000/mo.
It was a great price, but I’d be lying if I said that room was perfect.
There were definitely nights where people wanted to stay up many hours later than I preferred. But for the most part, I was respectful about hanging out with everyone late and my housemates were respectful about the noise.
(Pro tip for noisy rooms: Earplugs. They saved me numerous times.)
All in all this rent kept me well below the city’s average rent, giving me an extra $400/mo ($4,800/yr) to stash beyond my peers.
Living in that apartment with good housemates at that price was another huge help.
But not everything went that smoothly…
The Car. The F—in’ Car
Maybe I’m weird, but I’ve always had this love-hate relationship with cars.
I love the flexibility they provide for my life, but I hate how much they cost when things go wrong.
Let me tell you why.
Three months after starting my job I started searching for a car. I searched and searched and searched, and felt like I’d never find the right one.
One day I came across some ol’ Swedish wheels — a 2001 Volvo XC70 (a wagon) for $5,400.
My dad drove me about 45 minutes to test drive it.
I was so tired of searching for cars that I decided then and there that I’m just going to buy this thing.
After eight months, a Baja California surf trip (that ended with a tuna can lid duct taped over a missing piece of the engine) and $6,500 in unforeseen maintenance costs later, I sold that piece of junk for $1,900.
That’s a $10,000 loss. In 8 months.
I still facepalm when I think about that.
From that day forward I went into car-diac arrest for nearly a year.
I sold it a few days after I moved biking distance from work (5 miles), and began using my bike as my daily mobility for 3 months.
It was great. I listened to so many amazing podcasts, came in to work energized and my body never felt better.
After a few months of that I bought a 125cc Yamaha Vino Scooter for $1,800.
Getting the scooter was the perfect transition into getting a car (and the ladies totally love the goofy looking scooter vibes).
After about 8 months of my bike, scooter, car share program, it became time to get a car again.
This time I thought through what I needed the car to do.
I wanted something that I could pack up with gear, throw surfboards on top and drive to Big Sur for weekend adventures with a friend or two.
I then used these guidelines to help meet my money goals:
Buy a car that’s at least five years old (here’s why)
That library is a frugal man and woman’s best friend!
And that passage comes from a thoroughly fantastic article in itself linked below, as well as a handful of other great reads I’ve enjoyed over the months…
Lots of great writers and ideas out there, and hopefully these just add to the beauty of the weekend coming up :) Let me know if any of them shake you!
The Good Room by Frank Chimero — “I once heard that a library is one of the few remaining places that cares more about you than your wallet. It means that a person can be a person there: not a customer, not a user, not an economic agent, not a pair of eyes to monetize, but a citizen and community-member, a reader and a thinker, a mind and—God, I am going to say it—a soul.”
This Beautifully Designed ‘Dumb Phone’ Can Only Make Calls and Send Texts by Business Insider – “The Light Phone 2 is a gorgeous, minimalist “dumb phone” that can do only a handful of things. The phone doesn’t have any apps. Instead, it can make calls, send texts, handle simple directions, and set alarms. Light, the company behind the phone, wants to make a device that is used as little as possible to get people off their smartphones.”
The Money Doesn’t Care Who Makes It by Defined Sight — “Money doesn’t care who makes it. You can be Jeff Bezos or Joe Schmoe, there is plenty of opportunity for all of us to make it out there. How bad do you want it?”
How to Save More Money and Bulletproof Your Futureby Charles Ngo — “I read an interesting experiment in a book. 1) Take a photo of yourself 2) Age yourself using an app. It’s hard for people to see the future. But when they saw what they look like in the future, it makes them aware that this is a “real person.” And those people start making decisions better for the long term.”
New Survey Proves Spreadsheets Are For Loversby Tiller HQ — “People who use spreadsheets to manage their personal budgets report the greatest satisfaction in their romantic relationships compared to people who use other tools or don’t keep a budget at all.”
Love Money Mission with J. Money from Budgets Are Sexyvia Kiné Corder — “Want to know the 5 Cs of a successful marriage? Wondering how you and your partner can get on the same team financially to win the money game? Listen and get tips to lead you to your Marriage Money Mission.” (Not an article, but a podcast I recently did… in case you miss my voice ;))
Here’s something you don’t see every day: a pamphlet from 1958 giving you over 300 tips “to save you time, money and trouble!”
Found it on Ebay for $3.00 and just had to pick it up for the blog :) (You’re welcome)
There’s a ton of stuff that’s no longer applicable (sewing machine tips, typewriter hacks, and a bunch of not-so PC comments around house wives), but by and large it’s actually a pretty solid brochure even in these days. Our parents would be so proud seeing us talk about them today ;)
In fact, why don’t you *email them* this and get some good bonding in? I’ll wait…
Alright, so here are my favorites from the batch…
If you feel like frugality has been lost in your lives, hopefully this will bring it back for good. And then you can pass it along to your future generations in another 60 years too ;)
If we don’t save frugality, who will??
My Favorite Frugality Tips:
#1. To remove water marks from furniture, use several drops of spirits of camphor on damp cloth and rub over mark.
#6. An emergency ice bag can be made by folding a wet towel and freezing in an ice cube tray. Put frozen towel in a plastic bag and tie end shut.
#11. Keep your shower cap pinned to the inside of your shower curtain with a small plastic clothes pin. It will drip in the tub and always be there to use again.
#17. Run hard candy through a food chopper and sprinkle it on ice cream or frosted cakes. A joy to see and eat.
#21. If you are remodeling your basement, don’t throw away left over moldings. Some shapes make very attractive picture frames.
#29. Cut the bristles of an old toothbrush down to 3/8″ and you have a good fingernail brush.
#33. Fresh vegetable salads of all kinds are greatly improved by adding a little lemon juice.
#47. Squeaky floor boards can usually be stopped by pouring hot melted soap in the crack.
#66. Peanut butter mixed with honey and raisins make an ideal sandwich.
#68. Removing rust spots from metal tools can be done safely and easily with a typewriter eraser.
#70. Temporary counter space in a kitchen can be provided if you pull a drawer out part way and put a cookie sheet on it.
#71. A belt to match any dress can be easily made by folding material over an old belt and fastening the center on the underneath side with iron-on tape.
#79. Don’t throw away that old large hand bag. It makes a good first aid, sewing or what-not kit to carry in your car trunk for emergencies.
#83. If you have trouble threading a needle, push it through a piece of white paper; the white background will help you see the eye better.
#89. A periodic wiping with a cloth dipped in turpentine, of the tile and shower stall in the bathroom, will renew its look.
#94. Too many shoes on the floor, fasten a curtain rod to the inside of your closet door and hang them by their heels.
#100. Dental floss is ideal for sewing on buttons. It’s stronger and will last longer than thread.
#108. Green leaves on the outside of lettuce contain more vitamins than the inside ones, so don’t throw away more than necessary.
#113. When reading and mixing from an open recipe book, place a piece of clear glass or plastic over it to keep it clean.
#119. Left over scraps of floor tile or linoleum can easily be made into very nice coasters for beverage glasses.
#125. If the canary refuses to use his bath bowl, put a little sand in the bottom of the bowl. He may be afraid of the slippery bottom.
#127. Iodine will cover a scratch in mahogany furniture just fine.
#137. If the wire in your cheese cutter breaks, you can replace it with a wire violin or music string.
#144. If you need a bed tray, some ironing boards make a good substitute.
#149. Melted marshmallows make ideal toppings for cup cakes. Ten minutes before the cup cakes are finished baking, pace a marshmallow on top of each cake. When finished baking, they are covered with a delicious topping.
#156. Seldom used luggage is a good place to store blankets, if short on storage space.
#161. You can mend small tears in many curtains, by merely applying colorless nail polish.
#162. To keep plants fresh when you are away, stand them on bricks covered with water in your bath tub. The bricks will absorb enough water to keep the plants moist.
#180. A mason jar of ice cubes, if packed with your picnic lunch, will keep it cool and tasty. When ice cubes melt, you have a jar of good drinking water.
#185. Grapefruit seeds if planted thickly in rich earth about half inch deep and kept well watered, will sprout into a beautiful green center piece in about two weeks.
#193. Bake potatoes in a muffin pan. The potatoes will not move around and will be easy to remove from oven.
#195. Shoe or boot laces that lose their metal tips can be prevented from fraying at the tips with several light coats of fingernail polish. (Editor’s Note: I personally just burn the tips with a lighter to fix any frayed cords, but nail polish definitely sounds like a better – and safer – option :))
#201. Those small clear glass jars with screw tops are invaluable for holding nails, tacks, screws, bolts, herbs, spices or what-have-you. If you nail the lids to the underside of shelves, they are out of the way, easy to reach and easy to see.
#221. Your house key will be easy to locate in your handbag if you tie it to a cord and the other end of the cord to the top of your handbag. Just fish it out.
#223. A finger cut from an old rubber glove and slipped over the top of your broom or mop handle will keep it from falling when leaned against the wall.
#236. For a special occasion cake, stick short pieces of macaroni into icing as vases to hold tiny flowers.
#252. A small amount of vinegar in your dishwasher will protect hands and make dishes sparkle.
#260. Envelopes attached to the inside of drawers with thumb tacks or scotch tape will hold many small items and keep the items easy to locate.
#278. Pieces of maraschino cherries, oranges, grapefruit, etc. frozen in your ice cubes will add color to your iced drinks.
#281: Store your folding summer chairs in the garment bags you get from your cleaner. It will keep them clean and dust free.
#284. When hanging a picture, mark the spot for the nail with a moistened finger; the spot will stay until you drive in the nail.
#286. You can keep neckties unwrinkled when traveling if you pack them between the pages of a magazine.
#291. To use the last bit of ketchup from a bottle, why not pour in a quantity of oil and vinegar and make a delicious salad dressing.
#293. If your medicine cabinet or shower has sliding that stick, just rub a little soap on the slides.
#299. Put a cup hook near your sink to hold your rings when washing dishes. This habit may save a precious stone from coming loose and going down the drain.
#303. Ivy leaves make unusual and attractive place setting cards for your dinner table. Write names on leaves with white ink.
Not too bad, right?? Anyone already doing any of these? Anyone find some good ones they think they’ll try out?
I was LOVING the marshmallow one and the little macaroni vases, haha… How do you even come up with that? Accidentally drop macaronis on the cake and think – “Hey! I could put a flower in that!?”
Either way – some solid ideas and something our generation is not the best at ;)
The back cover also had some interesting items from back in the day…
Here’s a snapshot of the banking ad that was attached, and whom apparently the pamphlet was made for (or in partnership with anyways – looks like there were spaces for the producer to market it to a handful of businesses which was pretty slick!)
Christmas Clubs!! Those used to be all the rage back in the day! I remember a good friend telling me about them a few years back – pretty cool concept that seems to have fallen by the wayside. From Wikipedia:
The Christmas club is a savings program that was first offered by various banks and credit unions in the United States beginning in the first half of the 20th century, and including the Great Depression. The concept is that bank customers deposit a set amount of money each week into a special savings account, and receive the money back at the end of the year for Christmas shopping.
And you’ll see similar ones up there too like “Vacation Club” and “Tax Club”… Though sadly no “Early Retirement Club” – yet ;)
Our first loss since August of last year, but the first major loss since January of 2016. In fact, it clocks in at #3 on the Greatest Losses of All Time – a new record! Haha… And probably much needed to put things in better perspective again ;)
Here’s a list of the major losses over the 10 years I’ve been tracking this:
January, 2016: -$51,000 (sold house + market crash)
Always at the mercy of the markets if stocks are your strategy of choice! But luckily none of these “losses” ever matter until the day you cash out, so if you’re in it for the long haul you just keep grin and bearing it and doing your best to stay the course… (while snatching up as much extra as you can too, of course, while everything’s on sale!!)
It can be scary at times, but it’s much LESS scary than liquidating and coming back in after the rally(s)!! Stay strong and ignore the noise!!
Onto February’s Numbers….
[As always, these reports are shared to keep things transparent and start great convos around money. Sometimes we’re up, sometimes we’re down, and sometimes we’re just plain boring – but whatever the case, we disclose it all and hope it helps you in your journey too!]
CASH SAVINGS (-$2,522.66): The one area you DO typically have control over, but wanna guess what happened to cause this last month? I’ll give you a clue – my bestie landlords ;) Putting down $5,000 for a deposit and future month’s rent never looks pretty on net worth reports, haha… Though thankfully it all gets recouped, and we should be back to “even” within the next month or two.
SPAVINGS FUND! (+$123.77): This side however is looking pretty! And one of my favorite things to update these days, despite such relatively low numbers (strange how that is, right? That you can get more excited finding 10 cents on the floor than seeing your investments soar?). If you haven’t caught our article on what “Spavings” means you can do so by clicking that link, but as always it comes down to being more conscious with your spending, and then actively saving your savings. And this month we throw in a couple extra checks we received that wasn’t expected too.
THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN (TSP) (+$230.13): Another nice bump here, and basically only because the amounts going in every month are super high relative to the balance. My wife actually put in $500’ish this month, which as you see was enough to cover the losses and still come out ahead :) Still, a win is a win!
ROTH IRAs (-$5,794.55): 20% of the overall losses this month right there! And not much we can do about it except max out this year’s accounts again here soon, which we plan on doing… (But even so – $5,500 out of a $5,800 loss would still come out negative, haha… The opposite problem as above ;))
SEP IRA (-$20,529.14): Same with this one too – when the market moves, it either goes way up or way down! And this month it clocks in at 70% of our losses, womp womp…. But similar to our Roths, we’ll be filling this bad boy back up next month as well. Just gotta wrap up our taxes and see what we’re playing with. Here’s a snapshot on how it’s progressed over the years:
(Everything’s in VTSAX over at Vanguard – a “total market” index fund)
CAR VALUES (-$181.00): Another expected dip here, and always tracked using Kbb (Kelly Blue Book). Here are the present values of our two cars:
Lexus RX350: $9,721.00
Toyota Corolla: $3,029.00
Total change in net worth: -$28,673.45!
Not the best over the years, but also apparently not the worst either ;) Let’s see if it gets knocked off the “top lists” over the next handful of months, haha…
But to put things in even better context, here’s a 12 month window on how our finances have fared:
10 months up, 2 months down!
And now our kids’ net worths… because of course we track that too ;)
So that’s February! How’d you do? Anything juicy happen?
I suspect most of you were in similar boats, but tell us anyways and let’s have a party ;)
2) In the “packing up” stage now and finding even more things to condense/declutter! Which feels great!! I swear, if you ever need to be motivated to do this, just pretend you have to move!
3) Baby Dime coming in t-minus two months :)
(“Oh, me? I’m just chillin’… enjoying the peace”)
Happiness levels – Pretty good! I have my off days, but hard to complain :) Interestingly, the movements of our finances have little effect on it?
Book news – I’ve decided to table it for now as just too much stuff going on… Also can’t seem to get my heart into it either? You ever experience that? When you know something could be REALLY good for you or your career/money/mission, yet for whatever reason you’re just not feeling it? Can’t tell if I’m just scared or lazy or truly don’t want to do it, but in either case not a good place to be for such an endeavor, haha… So for now – pause button.
Charity idea – Hit a snag here too and need to recalibrate… What I REALLY want to do is just raise a $hit ton of money to form something that will go on to help people forever (maybe like a foundation of sorts?), but still searching for that *one* thing I can really sink my teeth into and make an impact… And if I’m being honest with myself, this stuff is MUCH more exciting to me than coming out with yet another money book! Is that bad? That I’d rather work on ways to give it all away than earn more??
So yeah – this mo’s Life Worth: 70% Happy /20% Busy / 10% still searching for life’s meaning :)
********** PS: If you’re looking for help getting started tracking your net worth, here are a couple of good spreadsheets that might help you:
If you’re not a spreadsheet person and prefer something more automated, try your hand at Mint.com, or it’s turbo-charged cousin Personal Capital (both of which are free). Tons of financial bloggers love and use Personal Capital, and you can find our full review of them here from one of my early-retired friends: Why I Use Personal Capital Almost Every Single Day. Hope this helps!!
Got a couple cool things to share with ya today around nasty student loan debt stuff, so if that’s something you’re currently struggling with, read on, and if not – here’s a different article for you to feast your eyes upon instead –> 9 Awesome Money Jokes!
One of these is much more fun than the other ;)
But if you are dealing with student loans, don’t worry – we got your back! But I do have one simple question to throw your way: what are you doing about it right now?
Are you paying off extra every month? Sending in just the minimum payments? Pretending it doesn’t exist and video gaming away your worries hoping it solves all your problems? (Actually – how awesome would that be?? “Congrats on making it level 10! We just paid off $1,000 for you – now get back to kicking a$$!” Haha…)
Whatever stage you’re in though, a bunch of us bloggers are getting together for a new initiative this month, and we’re hoping you’ll join us to help pay off a total of $1,000,000 collectively as a community :) It’s the brain child of veteran blogger Robert Farrington from TheCollegeInvestor.com, and he’s put together a solid page on it along with resources and a tracker and all.
Robert’s also upping the game by giving away $500 in cash each week to a lucky participant, so not only do you already win by shredding more of your debt away, but you also get a chance to turbocharge the pay off even more! Double win!
You’ll also find resources around pay off strategies, refinancing, $$$ tips in general, as well as a “Movement” Facebook Group he put together to keep people more accountable.
If you’re someone who thrives being around like-minded people, this is the event for you :) This stuff doesn’t have to be so scary!! And it also doesn’t have to last forever too. But you DO have to make t he commitment to knock it out, and we hope this community can give you the push you’re looking for.
So that’s tool #1 today. And you can learn more here.
Tool #2? A new app called Pickpocket!
Who helps you “Steal from yourself” to “Give to your student loans”, haha…
Similar to Qoins and other roundup-up apps we’ve featured here before, Pickpocket is a new service that will “quietly steal” an extra 10% of every dollar you spend, and then apply that money directly over to your student loan debts. Which seems kinda high at first, but then again – if you don’t miss 10%, by all means throw it against your debt and speed up the process even more! Or you can just change it as they give you the option, but now I think it would make for an excellent challenge ;) And I’m sure they’ll be adding in all kinds of other tweaks as they move out of beta too…
In fact, they’re literally soft-launching the app today as I type this! So you may have to add yourself to the “waiting list”, but I’ve asked them to let you slip in so you don’t have to wait as long to poke around… Got on the phone with them last night just to learn more and see what types of vibes they gave off, and they def. checked out :) So if you end up giving them a shot, you’ll be one of the first to test-drive them!
And because they’re still in beta, the app is currently 100% free (woo!). They also have a system for involving friends and family to match your contributions, but if you can figure out how to make that happen please let me know :) I’ve been trying to get my family to drop in 529 contributions for years, and still haven’t cracked that nugget! Why can’t people understand what us money nerds like??? Haha…
Anyways, seems like a cool service and you can learn more about them here: Pickpocket.me.
And literally besides them and Qoins, I honestly don’t know of *any* other companies using technology like this in the debt space, do you? It’s so crazy to me because our nation is just DROWNING in this stuff, and we need all the help we can get. In fact, Carlton (the co-founder) said he salutes any app in the space for giving it a shot whether they fail or not, and I agree 100%. There can never be too many apps around financial support, so please keep them coming Techies!!
So yeah: Student Loan Movement // Pickpocket
Try one or both this month, and then come back and tell me if you’re sleeping better at night ;)
And especially if you win one of the $500’s!! Just make sure to save $20 of it so you can mail me beer later as a thank you, haha… Which I like to joke about, but every now and then it actually comes true!
(You have restored my faith in humanity, Mitchell! ;))
At the end of the day though, remember this: All the learning and tips are great, but without *action* none of it moves the ball forward.
Get your learn on, keep taking those baby steps, and before you know it you’ll be doing the infamous Dave Ramsey scream while radiating in your new debt-free lifestyle :)
It’s not easy, but it’s do-able! And we’re here rooting you on!!
Go get your freedom!!
****** PS: The Pickpocket team will be monitoring comments here, so if you have any questions or ideas at all for them, drop them below and they’ll follow up! And no – I’m not getting paid to talk about them today, but if they wanted to throw me some dollars I would not turn it down ;)
PPS: I’ll also not turn down free coffee, babysitting, gold coins, or these retro Sauconys (size 12 please!). It worked for the beer, maybe it’ll work for these too? ;)
After multiple confirmations over the months that we can continue to rent our house until the end of the school year, our landlords decided to kick us out anyways, despite how pregnant my wife is or the slew of promises that we had planned our life around.
And let me tell you – if you ever wondered how to piss off a pregnant lady, this is how to do it ;)
What changed? Their realtor said they have a better shot of selling it for more money if they list it in the Spring vs the Summer (we knew they wanted to sell, but only after we moved out in June), and hours later we got the boot without much room for negotiation whatsoever. And because we were on a month-to-month lease (oops), they had every legal right to do so.
Now ethics wise it’s a whole other story, and we’ll get to that in a bit, but the GOOD news is that we miraculously found a new place within days of looking – even with a slow rental market and it being in the middle of winter!! So crisis averted for now, but what a whirlwind of emotions, wow.
And I know you home owners right now are just shaking your heads thinking this is exactly why you own, haha…, and rightfully so, but it’s still not enough to get me to switch back quite yet ;) I’m just chalking it up to finally being my time to deal with some of the nastier sides of renting after years of bliss!
Anyways, here’s a look at some of the perks of our new place, just to keep things a bit positive up in here. And now that the chaos over, I’m actually starting to get a bit excited about it!
We’re going from 1,100 sq ft to 2,500 sq ft (which is a welcomed change, not gonna lie… I thought I could do small-home living with a family of 4, but it’s a lot harder than it sounds! Haha… We got through okay, but I’ll be glad to have some extra space again…)
Has 4 bedrooms instead of 3 (maybe room for an office finally?)
3 bathrooms vs 1 (<– my wife’s favorite part)
Bigger backyard and play room (<– kid’s favorite part!)
Much more open and SUNNY! (<– cat’s favorite part ;))
Private driveway vs street parking
And then MY favorite part –> It’s right down the street from the school so I can WALK MY SON THERE every morning!! Which is something I’ve always wanted to do! We’ll have to move him out of his current school since we’re now gonna be in a new district (literally couldn’t find one house under $2,600 in his current district – crazy!) but it’s just as nice a school, and fortunately he’s great at meeting new friends…
So by and large we’re turning lemons into lemonade here, and will probably enjoy our new home even MORE once we’re settled and everything calms down… And it will be nice not having to deal with moving *after* the baby is born too. As for price, it’ll cost us about $100 more a month now ($2,300 vs $2,200) which is still ridiculous, but we did manage to negotiate it down by $100 which is something?
(A funny aside to that btw – I had originally put down our *entire net worth* in our application thinking that it would showcase how solid we were, however after my wife scolded me for “showing them our cards” and wiping away all chances for a discount, I scaled it back by a good 80% and sure enough it did the trick :) First time I’ve ever had to lie in *that* direction to get something I wanted! Haha… And another win for stealth wealth too – BOOM.)
I still can’t wait to move back to my beloved Virginia though, but Mrs. BudgetsAreSexy promises this is our last year here in the DC area, so 16 more months to go and then it’s back to the promise land… The things you do for love (and career!).
House stuff aside though, I’d love to get your opinion on the *ethics* part of the equation here. And it’s something that affects so many different parts of our lives too, and is good to draw the line NOW before future situations arise and you accidentally choose the path that goes against your true values.
And the question I’d like to pose to you is this:
At what point do you choose what’s best for YOU vs what you’ve promised others? Or more specifically to this situation – when does the *money* outweigh your *integrity*? Or does integrity not even matter in such business deals?
Personally, I know myself well enough that I couldn’t ever screw ANYONE over even if I wanted to regardless of the financial benefits, because I’d just be too riddled with guilt! And that’s before even bringing a pregnant person into the picture, haha…
Now of course, if we’re talking about a lot of money here that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try to work *something* out to be more beneficial to everyone, because it certainly doesn’t have to be so cut and dry, but at the end of the day if it put my people in a $hitty situation I’d have to draw the line there and just suck it up.
Because after all, as the landlord *I* was the one who made the bad call earlier for not figuring out this stuff in the first place! These jokers had alllll the time in the world to research and consult with realtors, they didn’t have to wait until the last minute and put everyone in a tight spot?! We’re not mad because we have to move out, we’re mad because of the way it was handled and the fact they were suck dicks about it all. Which you know is bad if *I’m* the one calling someone that as I love everyone, haha…
So yeah – that’s where I stand, anyways. But of course I’m probably biased ;) What about you though? What would you have done if you were our landlords? Kicked us out because business is business, or shown a little compassion and at least tried to work something out for everyone?
On the flip side, how would you have handled it if you were US – the renters – getting the boot? Would you have fought back and challenged it, or just do your best to move on and make the best of a crappy situation? In the end of course that’s what we chose to do as we were glad to just be done with them once and for all (it wasn’t the first time we’ve had a bad experience with them), but curious to hear your thoughts and maybe even learn something today… Especially if you side with them on all this! :)
We’ll see how it plays out in the end, but hopefully it’ll be a blessing in disguise and we can look back at it later and just laugh at it all :)
Now time to get to packing and be thankful for all the decluttering we’ve done over the years, boy… The one nice thing about living in a smaller house is that it forces you to get rid of all the fluff! And we’ll now have to make sure we don’t regress and expand again moving into a place double the size too…
Thanks for listening and letting me vent a little today, guys… Always nice to have an outlet for that :)
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