10 Questions and a Pizza Place with Root of Good

Today is the 45th 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.

There are a lot of bloggers with early retirement dreams, but Justin from Root of Good actually crossed the threshold into early retirement at age 33. He tells his early retirement story, and his after retirement experiences at www.rootofgood.com.

Why is your blog so awesome?
I write with a personal touch. I talk about my own early retirement experience, how I got there, and tricks you can use to get there, too. However, it’s not all business at Root of Good. There’s the occasional silly post. I also like to share tales of my travels and photography.

Here are a few of the most popular articles at Root of Good:

How we made a six figure income but pay almost zero tax: $150,000 Income, $150 Income Tax

How we developed our $32,000 retirement budget: Developing A Retirement Budget

The full story explaining how I retired at 33: Early Retirement at 33: An Overview

One of a series of almost-monthly updates on what I’ve been enjoying in early retirement: Loving Nine Months Of Early Retirement

What is the worst financial mistake you made?
I have to pick just one?  I’m tempted to say “going to law school.”  It took three years to get the Juris Doctor degree, cost a fair bit of coin, and I missed out on three solid years of earning money in engineering (which is what I ended up pursuing full time). Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thursday Rant: Ain’t got time for a rant

I had something almost worked up for today, but it didn’t feel quite right. We have been working our butts off on the house, so there is little time for much else lately. It is all our fault though.

A couple months ago, we successfully convinced all of our relatives to come to our house for the holidays. Score! Oh wait, there isn’t flooring or doors in half of the rooms in the house. This makes for interesting and abbreviated bathroom time: “Hey Dad, what are you reading?!?”

Anyway, not much time for writing either, so I’ll share with you a couple of the things we’ve been working on. I’ll have a more detailed post on my projects soon including one on my favorite skill in the world, tiling! However, that is for another day.

Oh, but before I get to the projects, I wanted to emphasize how important I think DIY is for your bank account. These projects would have costs thousands in labor if hired out. For this house alone, I’m saving somewhere in the neighborhood of $75,000 just by doing the work myself. It is tough at times; my bike rides suffer and there are some late nights, but the money saved makes it so worth it. Now before you say, “I don’t have the skills,” neither did I 10 years ago. I just picked up some books from the library and watched some tutorials online. Feel free to ask me questions at any time if you’d like to try some of these projects yourself. Heck, if you’re in Colorado (or living on a beautiful tropical island), let’s work on a project together!

One project which I hope to get done soon is our 3rd bathroom. I built the shower curb just now and hope to get the rest of it done within a couple weeks. I’ll be using MMM’s method to build the base.

IMG_3748

 

Frugalsaurus is a great assistant, anticipating what tool I need and always on time.

IMG_3747

 

Spendosaurus had other things* on his mind and was of no use whatsoever.

IMG_3744

 

We weren’t planning on installing wood floors until 2015, but then Home Depot had this great hickory on clearance. It was a deal too good to pass up.

One other crazy thing; I bought that air compressor about 10 years ago at the local grocery store. I have no idea why a place that sells apples and meat was also selling these, but it was on clearance and I needed one, so into the cart it went. To my surprise, it’s still chugging along in fine form. Also note my plant from college in the lower left corner (20+ years old!).

IMG_3735

 

Here is a picture of a finished floor in our new dining room. While the floor looks great, do you know what the best part of this is? I hardly did any of it! To my great surprise, last week Mrs. 1500 announced that she wanted to install the floors. Ummm, great! I got her started and off to the races she went.

Also, I have no idea what that toilet paper is doing there.

IMG_3742

 

Finally, our town is also under construction. We were out this week for our evening walk and I was thrilled to see these new bike lanes on the fresh asphalt.

IMG_20141022_180546962_HDR

 

I’m soooooo tired; time for bed. Tune in next week when I tell you about how I offered my tile skills to my neighbor for free, but they didn’t want to wait for me, so they hired a random person. The result isn’t pretty.

 

*Speaking of beer, don’t forget to tell us your home improvement story for a chance to win some nifty beer cozies from Ree at Escaping Dodge!

 

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Why I can’t throw my torn shirt out

Madison Wisconsin, home of Hippie Christmas

Madison Wisconsin, home of Hippie Christmas

We spent a good number of years living in the awesome college town of Madison, Wisconsin. Except for the harsh winters and terrifying taxes, Madison is almost a perfect place to live. It’s a beautiful city with lots of outdoor activities and good people. The Dane County Farmers’ Market may be the best in the country.

One fine August day in Madison, Mrs. 1500 came home all excited:

  • Mrs. 1500: I have a bunch of clothes for you!!!*
  • Me: Ummmm??? I don’t really need any new clothes. What are you talking about?
  • Mrs. 1500: It’s Hippie Christmas! I got them out of someone’s trash!!!

At this point in the conversation, I was not nearly as enthusiastic as Mrs. 1500. Actually, I was a bit disgusted.

  • Me: Garbage? Hippie Christmas?!? What on earth are you talking about? Are you on drugs?!?
  • Mrs. 1500: No! Hippie Christmas is when all of the college students move out and throw all of their belongings in the trash because they’re too lazy to move them. Much of it is perfectly fine. Come look at what I found for you!!

Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Ask the Readers: What is your best/worst home repair story?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, asking about your best or worst home remodeling story. The best story wins a set of beer cozies* from Ree Klein over at Escaping Dodge.

Ooh ooh! Win us!

Ooh ooh! Win us!

But before we get into that, let’s go over your best weight loss/exercise tips from last week.

As you recall, Mr. 1500 took a work trip to Chicago a few weeks ago, which led to his overindulging on donuts, pizza, cookies, pizza, Italian beef sandwiches and pizza. He came back from his gluttonous adventure close to the highest weight he has ever been in his life, and decided to try an all-soylent diet for a week.

As I am also close to my highest non-pregnancy weight, I asked for your advice, which came in spades. Thank you! Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers, Mrs1500 | Tagged , | 13 Comments

Thursday Rant: Beer cans are not construction materials

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” -I have no idea who said this.

“What the hell is wrong with people?!?” -me

Formerly known as Uglyhouse

Formerly known as Uglyhouse

We’ve lived in Uglyhouse* our current home for 16 months now and we’ve been working on it almost the whole time. This isn’t the first time we’ve renovated a house, but some things never change. One consistent and disturbing thing I’ve noticed in every home I’ve ever renovated is extremely shoddy work performed by past occupants. Some of it is superficial. In other cases, it’s dangerous. The current home is no exception. We’ve stumbled upon the following: Continue reading

Posted in Uglyhouse | Tagged , | 33 Comments

The soylent experiment was never about the soylent

Trees about to go through their annual reset.

Trees about to go through their annual reset.

Last week, I went on a liquid diet of DIY soylent. Soylent intrigued me since I first heard about it sometime last year. I had wanted to try it for a long time and after I started to pack on some unsightly pounds, I figured now was as good a time as any. However, my body experiment was never really about soylent. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first I’ll tell you what happened on the liquid diet:

  • My weight dropped like a rock. I dropped from 168.2 down to 165.2 in 5 days. After going back on solid food, my weight creeped up by about a pound. Success!
  • Mentally I felt no different, but I didn’t crash in the afternoons. After I eat a heavy lunch, I’m ready for a nap. I felt great in the afternoons on the soylent.
  • Physically, I felt a lot better. I had more energy. Going to the 2nd floor of my home, I always skip every other stair. On Thursday I caught myself skipping 2 stairs at a time. It surprised me. I also noticed that I had a lot of pep during my workouts. On Thursday, I did almost 300 push-ups.
  • Sleep was horrible. I could not get to sleep. Despite going to bed around 10pm, I would still be tossing and turning 2 hours later. I think that this is either from having an empty stomach or maybe one of the ingredients had caffeine.
The Earth's daily reset

The Earth’s daily reset

While disgusting, I’m going to continue on with the DIY soylent. I’ll mix it with normal meals on a semi-regular basis. I’ll make a 1 day batch and consume it over the course of 2 days.

While the liquid died intrigued me, the experiment was never really about the soylent. It was about resetting my relationship with food. Prior to the 5 days on soylent, I had been eating a lot of junk. Way too many cookies, way too much pizza and not enough vegetables. After a week on the liquid diet, my willpower to eat the right thing is a lot stronger.

Resets are a necessary and powerful part of life

I’ve been thinking about resets a lot lately. Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , | 37 Comments

Ask the Readers: What is your best fitness or healthy eating tip?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 back from a leisurely blog-vacation, while Mr. 1500 regaled you with stories of his DIY soylent experiment last week. He wraps that up tomorrow, while I take time today to recap the answers from two weeks ago’s question, Do you have a sibling schism?

Mr. 1500 has two sisters, both of whom are younger. Neither of them are good with money. I have a sister and a brother. My sister told me just last week that she was at the mall and left without buying anything, because of the good influence I am on her. I cannot believe she even listens to me spout off about money! (Sometimes I feel like I sound like a broken record…)

My brother, sadly, is a completely different case. He likes to think he’s frugal, because he pays little to nothing for things by buying them at thrift stores, garage sales, and getting them from listings on the FREE section of Craigslist. But he is a “collector.” Or more accurately, a Junior Hoarder. (A brief conference with Mr. 1500 removed the Junior. “They aren’t as bad as the people on TV, but those are the worst of the worst. They are definitely full-on hoarders!”) If he didn’t spend that little bit on this and that, which adds up quickly, by the way, he would have more money and less stuff. Sigh.

Since this was basically a yes or no question, answers generally fell into two camps. Michelle from Making Sense of Cents says that both of her siblings are good with money. Mrs. Frugalwoods also has frugal siblings, who all married similarly frugal spouses. Excellent point! (And a post for another day about marrying your financial soul mate…) Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers, Mrs1500 | Tagged , | 47 Comments

10 Questions and a Pizza Place with Kapitalust

Today is the 44th 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.

Some bloggers provide good information and others are entertaining. The best are good at teaching you something while not putting you to sleep. Steve from Kapitalust does just that. He wrote a fun post on efficient market hypothesis recently (has anyone ever used “fun” and “efficient market hypothesis” in the same sentence?). I also greatly enjoyed the one he posted this week about the recent market gyrations. If that doesn’t have you on the hook, check out some of his photography.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 10.16.52 PM

What is the worst financial mistake you made?
Inflating my lifestyle in college with student loan money when I had no business living that kind of lifestyle. Learned the hard way, racked up student loans, and then spent 2 gruelling years paying it all off.

What would you do if you inherited $1,000,000 (after taxes) today?
Invest all of it into dividend producing stocks and then take the excess dividends that are left over after expenses and place that excess in fixed income investments like CDs. Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Soylent Update #4: Bacon to the rescue? (and Mrs. 1500 tries it!)

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

This picture has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

This week, the blog takes a slight diversion while I experiment with soylent, a liquid food substitute. At the end of each day, I’ll write a brief post telling you how it went. Below is my update for Thursday. The Thursday Rant returns next week.

I won’t be be providing an update tomorrow (Friday). Instead, I’ll be posting 10 Questions early from one of my favorite new bloggers. However, I have a lot more to say about this soylent experiment. Tune in Tuesday for a wrap up.

Before we get to today’s update, here are my stats:

Weight

  • Sunday night: 168.2
  • Monday night: 168.0
  • Tuesday night: 166.6
  • Wednesday night: 166.0
  • Thursday night: 165.8

Toilet time

  • #1: Yep, still crazy neon yellow.
  • #2: First thing in the morning and then another afternoon movement; just like clockwork.

Other important information

  • Hungry?: Yes*.
  • Lust after real food?: Yes, read on.
  • Convinced Mrs. 1500 to try it?: Yes. Read on…

Bacon to the rescue?

Bacon has the ability to make almost anything taste better. I put bacon on my bacon. I shouldn’t have been surprised when Mrs. Frugalwoods suggested I add it to the soylent. I think that this is a worthy experiment and one that I’ll try at a later date.

Now, I turn the post over to Mrs. 1500 who miraculously tried soylent today.

Mrs. 1500 takes the plunge

Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Soylent Update #3: Hot sauce is not the answer

Hot sauce in the soylent was a horrible idea.

Hot sauce in the soylent was a horrible idea.

This week, the blog takes a slight diversion while I experiment with soylent, a liquid food substitute. At the end of each day, I’ll write a brief post telling you how it went. Below is my update for Wednesday. The Thursday Rant returns next week.

Before we get to today’s update, here are my stats:

Weight

  • Sunday night: 168.2
  • Monday night: 168.0
  • Tuesday night: 166.6
  • Wednesday night: 166.0

Toilet time

  • #1: Still crazy neon yellow.
  • #2: First thing in the morning and then another afternoon movement.

Other important information

  • Hungry?: No
  • Lust after real food?: No. I made Mrs. 1500 put all the delicious food out of sight.
  • Does it still taste disgusting?: Yes, but getting better.
  • Convinced Mrs. 1500 to try it?: Nope.

Hot sauce is not the answer

Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , | 16 Comments