Thursday Rant: In life, there are no tradebacks

I don’t always enjoy writing these things, especially when it comes to friends and family. While their money mistakes make good fodder for this blog, I’d much rather have those that I love or care about be money superstars instead of having to write about the errors of their ways. However, something just landed in my inbox not more than 5 minutes ago. I must tell you the story.

I just received this message from my good friend who I’ll call John:

John

My heart sank and I felt horrible when I saw this. There aren’t many things in life more traumatic than losing your job. However, this isn’t the first time this happened to John and he has made some mistakes.

Meeting John in the land of Bad Car Bill

I first met John way back in the place where I worked with Bad Car Bill and Mr. Corvette. He was highly intelligent and well respected.  John was about 30 when he was promoted to a software architect position and rewarded with a 6-figure salary.

John had no trouble spending every bit of his income and then some. He bought a sports car. He traveled all of the world to exotic destinations. He had a house full of gadgets. It was lifestyle inflation taken to the limits.

 “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”

-Will Rogers

Strike 1

John’s rock star lifestyle didn’t last long. Continue reading

Posted in Rants | Tagged , | 60 Comments

Flip your life upside down and you may just live the best life ever

Spendosaurus, his girlfriend and their ridiculous car. Don't be like Spendosaurus.

Spendosaurus, his girlfriend and their ridiculous car. Don’t be like Spendosaurus.

I see people making ridiculous financial mistakes almost every day. Some of them really stick out though. At my first job, a 22 year old new hire, right out of college bought a new Corvette in his first month of employment. Buying a car equivalent to one year of your pre-tax salary at the tender age of 22 is a money mistake of epic proportions.

Mr. Corvette’s financial stupidity got me thinking. I have come to the conclusion that the best way to live your life is to flip it upside down. What on earth am I talking about? Read my guest post over on White Collar Freedom to hear the rest of the story.

PS: Mr. White Collar is one dude with the right idea. He’s the opposite of my Corvette Comrade. At 23, White Collar is already plotting his escape from the corporate cage. I wish I would have thought like that when I was 23.

Posted in Bad Role Models | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Ask the Readers: Do you use a local bank or a chain?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, asking about your banking habits. Do you use a large, nation-wide chain bank, or do you use a local bank? And what are your reasons for choosing?

But first, let’s talk about your finance book recommendations from last week.

Normally, I would open up my computer at the end of the day and respond to all my comments, but I didn’t really know what to say last week. Thanks, 30 times, seemed silly.

So thank you all who commented.

Reader Lucas had a great point, “…jumping right to a strict “budget” book would not be the most effective means of helping her change her thinking and motivations (which then would leave to effective budgeting, etc. . ). I would say you are looking for something that helps her understand her values, how much of what she spends doesn’t help her achieve those and how to be aware of your priorities in life (and how you need to consciously pursue them, not just assume you will achieve everything without effort/sacrifice). …”

He then goes on to suggest “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. I have to admit to not having read this book yet, but I think I am going to make a library list and put this at the top. The title suggests it would be a great read.

He also suggests “Smart Couples Finish Rich” – by David Bach and couldn’t remember if she was married. She isn’t married, and is currently in a relationship with an incredible loser, so I am not going to share this title with her, but I will share it with you.

He rounds up his suggestions with “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. Mr. 1500 owns this book, and has read it and gives it to all couples for a wedding present. Sounds like we need to send this to his sister, too. Thanks for taking the time to answer, Lucas. Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions, Mrs1500 | 64 Comments

10 Questions and a Pizza Place with Leigh’s Financial Journey

Today is the 54th 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 17. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions. Note: We’ll be switching up our questions and starting a new feature very shortly. Stay tuned…

I first came across Leigh’s Financial Journey way back in July, when FI Fighter listed her among his favorite blogs. I hopped on over to her site, and loved it. She is a young woman, working in the high-paying tech industry. But rather than drive a Mercedes, carry a Louis Vuitton bag, and walk around in Louboutin’s, she saves her money.

Her story is quite interesting. She has a crush on math. (I don’t share your crush Leigh, but understand it on those rare occasions where my work gets me to the right answer.) She shares her spending, saving, and goals for each year, which I think is so helpful. I am always so impressed when I see younger people on the right financial track. In today’s society, it is easy to be led astray. Too bad they don’t make reality TV shows about personal finance…

Leigh

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
I blog with real numbers, from the perspective of someone in their twenties who makes pretty darn good money. (I grossed just under $200,000 in 2013.) I want to show the world that not everyone with a high salary spends it all. I started my blog because I found all the financial advice on the internet for twenty somethings was to contribute to a Roth IRA while your income is low! Well I surpassed the Roth IRA contribution limit my second year out of college, at 23, so that didn’t apply to me. I also bought a condo with 20% down at 23 and started maxing out my 401(k) at 22. I am neither a partying twenty something nor a “let’s get married and have a bunch of kids” twenty something. That voice didn’t exist! I think I’ve carved out a bit of a niche and it’s been going well.

What would you do if you inherited $1,000,000 (after taxes) today?
Oh that’s easy! First, I would pay off my mortgage in full (there is about $150,000 left today). Then, I would set aside the rest of the money into one year CDs at four different banks (since you should give it some time to think before acting on the windfall). Honestly, after a year, I would probably lump sum the money into my regular AA and then call it quits. I’m pretty burnt out from the tech industry and would love to try something else. My net worth right now is around $500k and another $1 million would most definitely be enough to call it quits for good, as that would give me about 35 years’ expenses saved with the mortgage gone. Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Thursday Rant: Push Present Preposterousness

Have you ever heard of a Push Present? I had not until I went camping with some friends this past summer. Some of the ladies in the group were talking and the conversation went something like this:

  • Lady 1: So, you’re about to have a baby, what are you getting for a Push Present?
  • Lady 2: Hmmmmm, dunno.
  • Lady 1: A trip to San Diego or a diamond tennis bracelet would be nice!

I had never heard of a Push Present and didn’t want to give away the fact that I was eavesdropping, so I filed the information away.

Later that evening when I was alone with Mrs. 1500, I asked her what the conversation was all about:

  • Me: The ladies were talking about “push presents.” What on earth is that about?
  • Mrs. 1500: Oh, that. After you have a baby, some women expect a gift in return for their efforts of pushing the baby out.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. If I laughed, I’d spit my expensive beer out, so I didn’t do that. If I cried, everyone would laugh at me, which would make me cry even more. So I didn’t do that either. Instead, I decided to turn the whole episode into a foul and vulgar rant which is what you get next.

push present2

Warning: Reader discretion is advised. Those who are easily offended by my sense of humor that has not evolved beyond the 7th grade may wish to click away now.

Continue reading

Posted in Rants | Tagged , , | 53 Comments

Guest posting on Frugalwoods: Frugal friends and where to find them

IMG_4041Like many financial independence (FI) bloggers, I consider myself to be an introvert. Meeting people for the first or second or eighth time can often be an awkward experience. This was a problem for me most of my life, but recently I figured out what the issue is.

I find that I just don’t have a lot in common with most people. If all you want to talk about is sports, TV shows or celebrity gossip, the conversation is going to run out of steam quickly. However, I can talk endlessly about topics such as architecture, personal finance (ok that one is a given), software development, technology, books, travel, plastic dinosaurs or motorcycles. I find that frugal folks and those on the FI journey tend to have a lot in common and appreciate the same stuff.

Frugal friends and I on a frugal adventure this past weekend.

Frugal friends on a frugalventure this past weekend.

So, my problem was that I was looking for friends in all the wrong places. As soon as I realized what I was doing wrong, my friend making skills got a lot better:

  • Sports bars: bad
  • FI meetups: good
  • Fancy parties: bad
  • Bicycle events: good

I’ve compiled my best tips in a guest post I wrote for my 2- and 4- legged friends over at Frugalwoods. Please click over to read

OK, you’re still here, so I’ll throw out some more carrots. Among other things, you’ll learn:

  • Why the dinosaurs are playing Scrabble in the picture above
  • Why frugal folks aren’t as dangerous as badgers, but why you still need to approach with caution
  • Why frugal friends are more loyal than a greyhound (and can help you fix your toilet)
  • How I made $10,000/week working from home

OK, I made that last one up, but the rest are all true. Bonus: Click over in the next 30 minutes and we’ll throw in a KISS t-shirt. Wait, no we won’t. Why on earth would we do that?!?

The Stardog; Frugal Hound's rock and roll persona.

The Stardog; Hello Rock and Roll!!!

OK, sometimes I can’t stop talking. See, I told you. Put me around frugal people and I can’t shut up. But I will now. Meet you over at Frugalwoods.

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Ask the Readers: Can you recommend a good finance book?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, cautiously excited to ask you for a good book recommendation.

But let’s go back to last week’s creative side hustle question. It was a leading question – I only asked so I could tell you about my neighbor’s Swinging, Banging Side Hustle on Tuesday.

But I am always thinking of a side hustle I could do to bring in some extra cash. Here’s what you had to say.

Mr. Frugalwoods has a friend who “refurbishes old axe heads and fits them to new handmade handles for a hipster outdoors store in Portland OR. He buys the rusty heads at garage sales and flea markets for $5-10, and sells the finished product for $150 or more.” I love it. Too bad I don’t know anything about axe handles…

Norm from Ridinkulous used to “…make paintings of scenes from Nintendo games in all their 8-bit glory…” Oh, Norm, I would LOVE to see one of those!

Eric over at Retire 29 lives in an apartment building, and collects the bank offers “$500 for you” coupons and sells them on eBay. I didn’t know there was a market for them, and neither of us are too sure of the legality of this endeavor, so please check with your attorney before you do this, yadda yadda yadda. But he averages about $15 for each one. Not bad…

Reader Zugzug is a pizza delivery driver. He says it is one of the easiest jobs and he is paying down his student loans much faster now. I love to hear stories like this! Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions, Mrs1500 | Tagged | 31 Comments

10 Questions and a Pizza Place with The Shop My Closet Project

Today is the 53rd 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 17. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions. Note: We’ll be switching up our questions and starting a new feature very shortly. Stay tuned…

Michelle from Shop My Closet Project lives near us, and works even closer. (Update: Michelle just quit her job.) But right now, as the weather in the great state of Colorado is in the middle of a rather long deep-freeze, she is sunning it up down under. That’s right, she is enjoying summer in Australia while we are freezing our butts off in Colorado. Wish I was there, Michelle…

Michelle, on an alligator tour in New Orleans.

Michelle, on an alligator tour in New Orleans.

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great-First, I want to clear up the idea that all I do is talk about shopping. I discovered that there is another blog with a very similar name that only talks about shopping. My blog’s address is: www.shopmyclosetproject.com I want to encourage people to use what they already have in their homes, explore the psychology of spending, and discuss my stumbling steps towards being a financial Rock Star!

What is your favorite pizza place (I am a pizza nut)? I used to make pizza for 4 years in college so I don’t go out for pizza often as it has to be really, really good. But, the best pizza that I’ve had in Colorado was made during a First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe street in Denver. Basta (Boulder) had a wood fired oven and ROCKED an amazing Daisy pizza. The restaurant is located in Boulder. I can’t wait to go.

What advice would you give to a 24 year old, just out of college?It’s ok to explore and check out the world but make sure to start a retirement fund as soon as you start working. No one told me that and I really wish someone had.  Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions | 11 Comments

The 1500 children drop the F-bomb

F-bomb!

F-bomb!

There has recently been a very disturbing development in the 1500 household. The 1500 children, ages 7 and 5, have started dropping the F-bomb on a regular basis. Every time I hear it, I cringe and want to yell. I never say it. Neither does Mrs. 1500, so they didn’t learn it from us. I place the blame completely on society. It only takes a visit to the local mall or a couple minutes watching TV to see why the children use this horrible word so much.

Since this is a family blog suitable for all ages (most of the time), the F-bomb* that I refer to may not be the same one you’re thinking of. Get your mind out of the gutter please. The F-bomb that I’m writing about today is the word “fancy” and the children use it as much as they can, often to antagonize me since they’re aware of how I feel about the word: Continue reading

Posted in Good Role Models | Tagged , | 54 Comments

A Swinging, Banging Side Hustle

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today. We are detouring from our family-oriented blog for this story, so please take the little ones out of the room before you continue.

An artistic representation of what happens at our neighbors' home

An artistic representation of our neighbors’ side hustle*

A few years ago, Budgets are Sexy featured a guest post by T. Thema Martin from Savionaire, who wrote about a side hustle as a Phone Sex Operator. J. Money noted that “…This may or may not be my all-time fave hustle yet ;)…” Well J., we have another side hustle to throw into the sordid mix. Our neighbors’ approach is a little more “in-depth,” a little more “hands-on.” Their hustle is probably more “hard-core” than most. (Forgive my Junior High humor.)

Our street is not normal

Our little street is a fascinating place to live. We have told you about the Secret Millionaires on our Street, and the Crapcycles across the road. We recently discovered that the people who live all the way at the end of the block have quite the side hustle.

We had already known that this particular house hosts a huge party about once a month. There are cars parked up and down the street for these bashes. The house has an indoor pool, and the neighbors have jokingly suggested that they are having orgies. In fact, when we talk about it, we refer to it as the “orgy house.” (We also refer to the house where our neighbor passed away inside as “Dead Harold’s house.” New owners, still Dead Harold’s house.)

Rumors are confirmed

Continue reading

Posted in Mrs1500, Something Completely Different | Tagged , | 61 Comments