I was contemplating to buy a new car for a long time, a new motorcycle perhaps. I wrote about it in my previous post. There are days that I will take a walk on my 10 minute break at work and this is what I always run into:
One day while driving, I saw a lady biking, on her scrubs, biking towards the hospital where my wife works. I just dropped off my wife and we were heading the opposite direction as I was heading back home and she was heading towards work. That was a year ago and that's how I started biking to work. If she can do it, I can do it too! I borrowed my brother's Cannondale road bike for a month just to see if it was doable. My butt was sore for a week!
Switching to Geico Insurance saves you 15% on your car insurance, But wait, there's more! Changing your day to day habbit can be more beneficial than switching to Geico insurance. Before the start of 2014 I created my personal goals, and one of those goals goes like this:
Increase my savinsg rate. 2013 has been a really good year for me. I learned so much about techniques on how to increase my savings. I have a lot more of room for improvement, a lot more room to learn. I'll try to increase my savings rate by minimizing my expenses.
It says right there at the very end, minimizing my expenses.
My breakfast baon, PBJ and free office coffee. Skip the Starbucks to maximize savings!
The typical conversation at work when the clock hits 11AM goes something like this:
"Whats for lunch?" or "hey Chris, we are buying at Panda Express or In n' Out or Chipotle, do you want something?"
Of course my response will be like:
"No thanks, I brought my own baon" (pronounced as bah-on in Tagalog, baon is the food that you bring for school or work)
Sometimes my co-workers won't ask me anymore because they already know me. Now lets analyze mathematically how much does lunch cost us if we work the typical five days a week.
So I pre-ordered the iPhone 6 Plus last week hoping to make some money off of it on Craigslist and this is my update as promised. First I asked myself, why do I need a new iPhone? For making phone calls, browsing, texting, pictures, video recorder, emails, etc. Dang! I need to slap myself! My current phone can do all of those! Good thing my brain is still functioning. Second thing I asked myself was "is it a good value since all the options above are all upgraded such as landscape texting, wifi calls, video recording with 1080p, time elapse and slow mo at 24 fps! Faster everything! Thats a great value right?" Another well deserved slap in the face! No Ogie! I don't need none of that shit, I have a perfectly working iPhone that meets my current needs! Third thing I asked myself was "but we all planned the cost of it. It'll cost us half the price since we are going to sell it at craigslist with inflated price." I need to punch myself in the face this time! No! If you don't need it, do NOT buy it! Simple as that. We want to save money right? We want to have financial freedom right? We want to set as a good example for the people and especially for our kids right? Then don't buy it! The best way to save money is to avoid buying stuff we don't need. Being materialist (like cars) becomes a wall, a hindrance to our path to reach our goals. We need to be a minimalist, to continue taking the road we had started and to finish it strong. So after multiple virtual bruise from the slap and punch in the face I had woken up and I will cancel my $150 AT&T service and switch with a cheaper plan or even to a prepaid service. How about you, did you upgrade to the new iPhone or Samsung smartphones or never planning to upgrade ever? If you don't have a plan of upgrading your phone, you are multiple steps ahead of me! I will see you at the finish line of our financial independence journey! :)
I am not a financial guru or a wall street hot shot. I wish I am, I have so much to learn and I treat everyday as an opportunity to learn thru reading books and personal financial blogs to pick some tips here and there, and today is my turn to share my little knowledge and the basics of investing. These tips are not in order and I'm still improving my writing skills.
Save you money. How can you invest if you don't have money in the first place. The more you save the more money to grow your investment.
I posted a challenge last week and here are my result:
1. To make money- I worked my scheduled 7 days and worked 64 hours on the clock. I am taking a three days off to enjoy some family time and to rest. But even if I'm taking a three days off I am still getting paid right now. Yesterday was labor day, I am getting paid holiday pay times 2 (both jobs are paying the Labor Day holiday in US), then today and tomorrow I am using my PTO(paid time off). We had a backyard BBQ yesterday, I invited all the family to get together. Right now while I am writing this blog I'm just outside the house watching my kid play at the school playground. I am doing the laundry right now and after that I will wash the car, so no wasted opportunity here.
writing a blog while enjoying/watching my kid at school
How's your weekend? Mine is great if you'll ask me. My weekend started Saturday night after work, we had some good times with friends and co-worker. It was just a simple house party with around 15 people, just some eating and drinking. I got there 10pm and left the party at 1am.
My Sunday was better, I get to hangout with my little girl and with my wife the whole day. We went to CSUN pond in the afternoon feeding some ducks and turtles, after that we went to the mall my wife bought some maternity clothes at Old Navy then dinner at Musashi since my daughter requested that one, she likes to watch the Teppan chefs cooking her food in front of her.
My wife is 4 months pregnant, we are going to have a new addition to the family and if you are going to ask its another girl :). To be honest I am not ready for another baby for now, our plan is to have another baby in the next 2-3 years when we are almost financially independent but God has plans and a gift to us so we are very very thankful for the blessing. Yesterday we celebrated our 12 year wedding anniversary, how time flies! We still argue once in a while but way way less compare to our younger selves. We had an amazing dinner last night with a great view of the northern LA outside the patio.
My 3 girls (or should I say two and a half lol)
Everything is good especially with our life and with the new upcoming member of our family, we are extremely excited and can't wait to finally meet her. The only downside is I have to work 6-7 years to achieve financial independence for our adjusted expenses but its all good, kids are expensive and the reason why we work hard is to be a good provider to our family and thats a sacrifice I'm willing to take.
How about you, how long do you plan on working to achieve financial independence?
I've been thinking long and hard about buying a car. I posted this yesterday, and few months ago was this. So today I decided I don't need a fancy car! I've been doing good being frugal for the first half of the year why stop there right? So from now on I will stop thinking about my earthly wants and focus more on the future. How can I do that? I will prioritize what is important to me. I will stop searching for car and keep using the one I am using right now.
A car is a man's status symbol. Its a way of showing how he is doing in life. Nice car means that person has a lot of money. Crappy car means the guy is broke. Well at first that how I saw it. I always thought whenever i met a new friend with a fancy car Ill be thinking in my head "wow! This guy must have lots of money!". I was always impressed. Or "this guy must have a good career". But now I understand how it all works now. Some guys are flashy, they like to have all the finer things in life, nice clothes, nice cars, nice shoes, nice toys etc. But it comes with a price.
Take my friend/co-worker for instance. He used to drive a nice Camaro, boy that car was a beast. But he wasn't happy, he had to trade it in for a fancier, newer model with more horsepower. He asked my advice one time, he said he wanted to return it back to the dealership coz his contract got screwed up by adding things that he didn't fully understand and he signed the contract. I told him to go back to the dealership and renegotiate the contract and explain to the dealership that there was a misunderstanding. Then i asked him how much was his monthly payment out of curiosity, he told me $800+. I was like "whoa! You have to go back there and really renegotiate your contract". He seek advice from other co-worker as well, they said that once the contract was signed, there was nothing he can do but to pay for it. Seems like he listened to our co-workers advice. This friend is a good guy, just made a bad financial decision. His monthly car expense in my guesstimate with insurance is around $1,000.
One of my closest friend right now drives a Lexus hybrid. Really good guy, he is humble and practical. Bought the car brand new, he used to drive a 6-7 year old BMW but with the gas price and the headache of maintaining a german car he realized it will be best to switch to a worry free brand new gas saving car. We talked about expenses sure, gave him some advice on money and life, and at the same time I seek his advice as well. He is far younger than me so it is just obvious that Im the one giving more advice. Anyway, he is thinking of switching to a used civic now due to all of our talks of saving money. i don't know how much he pays but my guesstimate is 500+ insurance his monthly is around $700.
Then we have two friends, they both own a used car almost 10 year old, one is civic and the other one is an old suv (I cant remember what kind of SUV exactly). But Im guessing their monthly payment is $0 + insurance of $50 (cost of liability without full coverage). Thats a lot of money being saved! We all work on healthcare and makes approximately same amount of money.
Then there's me, I don't own a car right now, I used to have a car but I was involved with an accident last year so I have no car at the moment. My mother has two cars, I borrowed my mom's old car for 5 months paying zero dollars. I offered to buy the car from her but she refused. I offered to pay for the car insurance but she refused. I felt bad borrowing her car so I returned it back to her. Then my brother borrowed $5,000 from me. He used the money to buy a used car, a two year old diesel car. He had a good deal overall on the car. He said he is selling his 2001 civic, and the proceeds will be used to pay me back. So I said let me use his car for now and I'll pay $35 per month on insurance plus gas. I am on the market looking for a used car on craigslist. My problem right now is fighting this itch. I feel the need of a luxury vehicle, I miss the feeling of having that pride of ownership of having a fancy car. Just imagining myself getting inside that car, appreciating the fine dashboard elegance, and the power of that fine engine. I want a fancy car but if I buy a Camaro just like my friend I know I'll be hitting my head with a big rock while driving it! Should I buy a less fancy hybrid car? Maybe.. its practical with gas but I don't want that much monthly payment. Should I buy a used car, maybe a luxury german used car? I thought of that too. My budget during my car hunting was $6,000, now it went up to $15,000 for a used car. I withdraw some money on my stocks account to purchase a fancy car and I am not adding any more money to my account but I am having a hard time buying it. Coz i know the feeling of having a fancy car will only last for few months and after that its just 'a car'. Thats right, a car, a mean of transportation to bring me from point A to point B. I need to constantly remind myself what is more important to me, is it a fancy car or my financial freedom? I clearly know the answer and yet here I am struggling not to spend that money that was supposed to go towards my investment. Why is it so hard to do the right thing. The answer is right in front of my face, NOT TO SPEND the money and save it. Should I just get the current car that I am using right now? Or should I buy a fancier used car? Clearly I haven't master the art frugality yet. I wish I don't care about material things. I wish I don't care what others think about me. I will do my best to flex my frugality muscle and stop caring about what others think about me.
We recently moved a few months ago, it is in a much nicer and more upscale neighborhood than what we are used to, rent remains the same for us compared to our old condo. We got kicked out of our last place that we are living at coz the landlord was selling the house. I can't blame him, if I'm in his shoes Ill probably do the same due to the fact that housing market is red hot again.
Its the first day of July, we are half way done with the goals that we set when I first started this blog on December 30, 2014, so here's our recap:
My goals for 2014 are:
To start this blog. Done!
Increase my savinsg rate. I've been bringing my own lunch to work and trying not to spend anything during work days, there are weeks that I spend zero when Im at work, not even a dollar coffee sometimes. My goal is to save more than half of my net income. But of course the more savings the better.
Who can't appreciate an ice cold craft beer straight from the fridge? That sound when pouring it in a glass straight out of the freezer? The nice color that's very pleasant to the eye, that golden bubbly clear color? And the smell, the smell is floral and strong, you could almost actually taste the beer right beneath your nose. Ultimately the taste, that bitter sweet taste of molasses and hops and other fruity flavor that the brew master put together to give you the unique experience. And it doesn't end there, even in your burp you can taste the beer, it may sound nasty to some but that's what it is. Still it doesn't end there... the buzz that it gives after finishing a bottle makes the beer drinker happy. Another one ups the buzz. One more and you might be heading to bed. Finish a six pack and you might be sleeping where you're sitting at (at least for me, I'm way past my drinking prime).
We went hiking twice last week. The first one was so fun, just me and my daughter, that we had to do it again. The second time I had decided to bring more people in, there was 10, but there were rules. It was a 'No Electronics Day' for the kids. No smartphone, no ipad, no gadgets. It was a simple exercise for them.
I have created my blog to utilize it for my own advantage to encourage myself to meet my personal goals but this month of May is my worst month so far. I havent been biking much, maybe twice or three times a week. I've been spending too much eating out with the family and went to Vegas on a weekend. We watched two movies at the theatre this month which is way too much. We usually rent bluray on redbox and be happy about it. In short, my credit card budget of $500 per month for grocery, eating out and entertainment is twice as much of what its supposed to be. I cant catch up now i know it but this is my short term one week goal to get me back on track.
Family time doesn't need to be expensive. What matters is the love shared with each other, the time spent with the ones we love. Last weekend we had an unplanned mini get away. I had Saturday and Sunday off and we just had to make the most out of it.
We had our usual weekend breakfast in the morning then my girls picked some flowers in our backyard.
Everyday as I wake up there are two roads I can take to get to work. The first one is paved, smooth and straight. I can take a car to get there easily. Everybody is taking that same road every day to get from point A to point B. Then there is the second road, it is dirt, rough and lots of curves, cars cant take this road, you have to take it by foot or by bicycle and sometimes by a bus.
I see a nice Camaro I want it
I see a nice Bimmer I want it
I see a nice Ducati I want it
I ask myself, whatever this is I am doing, is it worth it?
I can buy a nice car but what is it that's holding me to buy it?
I am trying to be frugal as much as I can so I can invest it instead of spending it but is it all worth it? I am controlling myself not to buy expensive stuffs so I can achieve the freedom that I always been wanting.
I woke up today with my little one being sick. I hate to call in sick but I have to take care of family first. I haven't gotten any day off for a month and this is my first off in a month. I haven't called in sick for more than 2 years. The last time I called in sick was when I got hit by a truck on my bike, thankfully no fracture, just a swollen wrist and elbow. One time I remember limping from work and everybody is looking at me like crazy, I had this massive swollen ankle from playing basketball, I iced it and wrap it with ace bandage and went to work. Ill be coughing and sneezing at work but never called off. This time I have no choice but to call off from work and I think to myself since Im not the one who is sick, I have to make this day a productive one. We woke up 5:30am, called my boss saying I can't make it today.
I just got home from work right now, Its a regular day for me today, rode an 8 mile bike ride to work, which is a thirty minute ride. Hit the bathroom for 5-10 minutes to clean up and wash my upper body sweaty parts lol! Brought my own lunch and dinner for my 12 hour shift. Didn't spend a penny. I feel good.
During my downtime at work i will search for ways how to make money and how to increase my *frugality muscle (per MrMM), I need to increase my earning power and decrease my spending habbit. Like today I made an x amount of money without spending any.
Now do it over and over again for 5-6 days a week, guess whats gonna happen.
How about you, whats your regular work day frugality looks like?
All comments are highly appreciated =)
*Thanks to Mr MoneyMustache for opening my eyes on biking at 6am on a 40 degree cold January. Anything that seems impossible is possible.