Happy Friday: Home remodeling edition

We just finished this last weekend

What we did last weekend

Hey everyone, Mr. 1500 here with a rare Friday post. Actually, it’s a guest post on Planting our Pennies.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I like to complain, especially on Thursdays. I’m not really an angry or unhappy person, but writing about my annoyances is therapeutic. Mrs. 1500 gets tired of hearing my ranting, so I turn my angst into words for your reading displeasure.

Today, I write about my home remodeling project. It has been a long battle. I had to fire one carpenter (“carpenter” used here in the loosest of terms). In the middle of the project, another carpenter discovered that his wife was cheating on him. There was a lot of yelling after that and he quit soon after.

Too much drama.

Despite the wayward contractors, I did much of the work myself, only hiring out the carpentry and drywall. I also have a full time job and two children who greatly enjoy tormenting each other. And then there is this blog. All of these things have consumed me for the past 2 years. Normal bedtime? Nope. Eight hours of sleep. Almost never. Frayed nerves and weight gain caused by a poor diet? Yep!

Lately though, I have a lot to be happy about. After almost two years of spending lots of money and time, I’m just about done. And it feels good. Click over to Planting our Pennies to read all about it.

 

house

Our house, before and after

 

I see that you’re still here. There is nothing more here to see. Please move along now. The Penny Planters are expecting you and they don’t appreciate tardiness. OK, I’ll show you one more picture:

IMG_3819It’s Spendosaurus passed out on the floor after an evening of drinking. He can be a very naughty dinosaur. Who needed to see this? Now please, click over to the Penny Planters. I promise you that they will show you no pictures of drunken dinosaurs.

Posted in Guest Post, Uglyhouse | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Thursday Guest Rant: The Penny Planters take over

Please welcome Mrs. PoP from Planting our Pennies who checks in today for a guest rant.

I’m not normally a ranter. I’m at a pretty good place in my life where Mr PoP and I have a lot to be happy for. I much prefer spending my energy being grateful for those aspects of my life rather than letting myself get worked up about something that I have little (or no) control over.

But this week, Mr 1500 and I are reversing roles. I’m taking over here for today with the Thursday rant, and check in our site tomorrow for Mr 1500’s Happy Friday post. Continue reading

Posted in Rants | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

No Flaccidity in February: Performance Update 26/50

IMG_20150302_171631777My main goal is to build a portfolio of $1,000,000 in 1500 days with no debt*, starting from 1/1/2013. Every month, I provide an update on my status. My goal for 2015 was to get my portfolio up to $874,353. Because we saw exceptional returns in 2013 and 2014, I have already accomplished this. Let’s take a look at February.

February was a pretty great month with almost no dysfunction of any type. We came dangerously close to running out of cash, but the portfolio went up and stayed up, reaching an all time high. It has since drooped just a little bit, but I’m not complaining.

Woweee!!

Woweee!!

I started the month at $975,181 and finished at $1,029,887 for a gain of more than $50,000. Here are the numbers as of 2/28/2015: Continue reading

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Ask the Readers: Can I borrow some money?

Mr. 1500 making a rare appearance on Ask the Readers this morning…

photo (27)Yes, you read the title correctly. Do you have some money I can borrow? I know, I know, just what you want to read first thing on a Monday morning; a millionaire of questionable sanity (how many 41 year olds play with plastic dinosaurs and Transformers?) asking you for money. Wait! Don’t click away there is a good explanation and some fabulous prizes. However, first I turn it over to Mrs. 1500 to talk about last week’s question:

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 here. Last week, I asked you where you live, and if you would ever move to facilitate early retirement. Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers | Tagged , | 51 Comments

10 Questions with Simple Cheap Mom

Today is the 2nd edition of our new periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 NEW questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions. (If you have already answered the first set of 10 questions, please feel free to answer these new ones.)

Today’s answers come from Emily over at Simple Cheap Mom. She and her husband live off half of his salary, while she stays home with their Little Miss, hoping to be mortgage free by their mid-30s.

SCM

Tell us about your blog

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
Simple Cheap Mom follows my family as we live off one half of our single income to be mortgage free by our mid thirties.  It’s got lots of motivation to focus on what is important to you, to stay on your budget and to reach your financial goals.  We even include our actual budget to put our spending into perspective.

Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
The world will be a better place because of Simple Cheap Mom.  People will learn the power and freedom of living well within your means.

Tell us about you

1500 Days is about early retirement.  Do you have early retirement dreams?  At what age do you think you will retire?
In my mid twenties I left my 9-5 job to start my own business.  I got a fancy pen as a parting gift, so it pretty much felt like I retired then.  When we became parents I closed my business to be a stay at home mom at 28.  I don’t really have plans to go back to work at this point, so I may never get the chance to officially retire early.  Our plan is to pay off the mortgage, become financially independent, then consider the early retirement question for Simple Cheap Dad.

When you are 90 and look back on your life, what do you hope you have accomplished?
I hope that when I’m 90 I can look back on my life and be proud that I let the people who were important to me know it, that I wasn’t afraid to take on new challenges, and that I valued money as a tool and not for its own sake.

Money, money, money

What is the best money management or investment tool you have come across?
We’ve started to use GNUCash this year and I’m pretty excited about it.  But, anything that gets people tracking their spending is good in my books.

How do you handle people with different views on money, ie spendy people?
We all have our own goals and priorities.  Who’s to say which camp will be happier when we look back on our lives?  But, if people’s spendy ways aren’t actually in line with their goals and priorities, then I’ll probably introduce them to budgeting.  Sweet budgeting.

Did your parents teach you about money as a kid?  How so?
My parents opened a bank account for me when I was pretty little for my small savings.  I remember being 5 or 6 and going to the ATM to update my bank book to see how much interest I’d earned for the month.  So they did foster an early appreciation for savings.

Random silliness

What is your favorite style or beer – and what is your favorite beer in that style?
Vodka.  Simple Cheap Dad likes wheat beers.  Specifically Hacker-Pschorr.

We notice a lot of frugal people into board games – what is your favorite?
As a child I really liked Monopoly, but no one ever wanted to sit through a full game.  These days my favorite is probably Settlers of Catan.  The bartering can get intense!

What do you do for exercise?
I do laps inside my house with our Little Miss chasing me.  It’s been a while since I’ve done any regular, organized exercise.  I think I’ll get to the point where I’d like to get in better shape, but I’m not there yet.  I can only care about so much at once!

Thanks so much for participating in our 10 Questions series, Emily. Follow her adventures on her site, or keep up with her on Twitter or facebook, or check out what she is pinning on Pinterest.

Posted in 10 Questions | 13 Comments

Thursday Rant: Isn’t it ironic – don’t you think?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, channeling Alanis Morissette from her amazing first album.

Mr. 1500 note: Hello 90s! Now you’re going to have that song stuck in your head all day. Remember, blame it on Mrs. 1500, not me!

So back in November, we broke into the Double Comma Club. Not by much, and we only spent 5 days there before dipping back down into the Single Comma Society, but we made it. We are in our early 40s, and according to this calculator, we are in the top 1%. While we’re nowhere near the top 1% measured by income, being a 1% saver feels pretty great.

So we have money. It isn’t easily accessible right now, as it is almost entirely wrapped up in the stock market and our home, but Mr. 1500 makes a decent wage at his job, so we can pay our bills.

Job shuffle

Here is a

The leadership team at one of the companies

Except, as you may recall, Mr. 1500 recently changed jobs. Kind of. You see, he works as a contractor, writing computer code. The end client hired Company A to perform the work, but Company A doesn’t have enough employees to do the job, so they subcontract the work out to Company B. Mr. 1500 works as an employee of Company B.

Company A has decided they don’t like Company B, and want to stop using all their employees. But the end client LOVES Mr. 1500, because he is awesome in every conceivable way. So Company A went behind Company B’s back and asked Mr. 1500 to stop working for B, and instead subcontract through Company C, D, or E. (Confused yet? Just wait…)

Mr. 1500 note: This is the type of stuff I hate about the work world. I’d love to just write code all day and not get involved in conflicts between co-workers, companies or the corporate sheep. Expressed in computer code, it would be as simple as this:

boolean completedWork = didMr1500CompleteHisCode();

if (completedWork == true)
{
payHim();
}

Continue reading

Posted in Mrs1500 | Tagged , , | 55 Comments

The one where I answer my own 10 Questions

I totally feel like I’m cheating today. We came up with a new set of 10 Questions and I’m going to answer them myself. Is that cheating? Maybe. But, I don’t care.

The good news is that you’re free to submit answers again, even if you’ve already done it under the old format.

Tell us about your blog

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.

This photo has nothing to do with this post.

Frugalsaurus isn’t shy about sharing his thoughts on the greatness of this blog

Well, you’re already here, so I don’t really have to tell you about the blog. I don’t think I’m great, but I am getting better as time passes. Just like life, blogging should be a journey of constant self-evaluation and improvement. I look at some of the early stuff that I wrote and cringe.

I started this just a little over two years ago. I had no idea where it would take me and still don’t, but I have loads of fun writing and taking goofy pictures.

Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).

Wow, this is a hard one. Why did I write this question? Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions | Tagged | 38 Comments

Ask the Readers: Where do you live?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, wanting to know where you live. Before you answer, let me say that you can get as specific or as general as you like. We say we live in Northern Colorado, and that is as specific as we prefer to be, as we blog anonymously for several reasons.

But even more before you answer, let’s go back to last week, when we asked What is sentimental value worth to you?

As you may recall, Mr. 1500 came across a signed baseball that used to belong to his Grandfather. It is worth quite a pretty penny these days, and neither Mr. 1500 nor I watch baseball, preferring to spend our time viewing paint drying or grass growing. (This past weekend we watched snow falling for hours, and had infinitely more fun than any of the times we attended a baseball game.)

We took our children to the local baseball team’s home game once and left around the 4th inning, the girls were complaining so vociferously. We are just not a baseball family.

Chris over at Flipping a Dollar (my new favorite blog that I cannot get enough of – Chris please write more!!!) had a real great point. This isn’t the last thing that Mr. 1500’s grandfather ever gave him, in fact he didn’t really give it to him at all. We found it in a box of stuff we have moved around for several years. If we never came across it again, it wouldn’t have been missed by us. Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers, Mrs1500 | Tagged | 119 Comments

10 Questions with James Collins (jlcollinsnh.com)

Today is the 58th edition of our periodic guest post series called 10 Questions and a Pizza Place. (The 1500′s are pizza fanatics.) We have a list of 17 questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions.

This is the last edition featuring our old questions and I can’t think of a better way to end them than with James Collins from jlcollinsnh.com. Mr. Collins writes some pretty great stuff, but he is most known for his excellent stock series.

Confession: I have come to believe that index funds should be the core of any healthy portfolio, but before I started blogging, I barely knew what an index fund was. I’m a pretty stubborn guy, but Mr. Collins’ stock series convinced me to abandon my stock picking ways in favor of Vanguard index funds. I’m in the process of moving it all to Vanguard. Thanks Jim!

Besides the investing stuff, Mr. Collins is a pretty interesting guy. He has:

And really, I’m just at the tip of the iceberg. However, I’ll stop talking now and turn things over to Mr. Collins.

collins

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.

What is the worst financial mistake you made?
Thinking I, or anybody, could pick individual stocks successfully over time. Yes, I know Warren Buffett has. That’s why he’s famous. I can’t get in the ring with Mike Tyson either. If you think you can, let me know and I’ll sell the tickets.

What would you do if you inherited $1,000,000 (after taxes) today? Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions | Tagged , , | 28 Comments

Thursday Rant: When good birthday parties go bad; terror at the symphony and jumping the sheep

Sometimes, I must aim the Rant Cannon at myself. This is one of those times. Our older daughter (I’ll call her C) just turned 8 and her birthday party didn’t go so well. We had the best of intentions, but much went wrong. And, it cost us a load of money.

Our neighbors’ child’s birthday party involved a zebra and sheep. That one had some hiccups too. Luckily, I crashed the 6 year old’s party, so am able to give you a first-hand report.

IMG_20150207_154938879_HDRDaughter C enjoys classical music. I was surprised this last summer when a classical piece started playing on Pandora and she successfully identified it as Mozart. I didn’t even know, but a glance at the screen told me she was correct.

A couple months before C’s 8th birthday, we learned that the Colorado Symphony Orchestra would be performing Danny Elfman music from Tim Burton films. The concert was on our daughter’s birthday, so we asked her if she’d like to go and bring two friends along. She enthusiastically said “Yes.”

I bought the 6 tickets for our family and her two friends and was a bit taken aback by the price; $213. I swallowed hard and ordered the tickets though. We had already promised her. Note to self: Check the price first next time.

Shortly after, I wondered if the idea was a good one. Most adults these days probably aren’t into classical music. Now, we were going to take two of C’s young friends with. Would they be bored? The answer was a resounding ‘Yes‘, but that wasn’t the worst part.

Terror at the Symphony

Continue reading

Posted in Rants | Tagged , , | 38 Comments