Ask the Readers: Do you believe in the 4% rule?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, tag-teaming with the Mr. to ask Do you believe in the 4% rule?

But first, let’s talk about last week’s question and answers: How do you interact with people who are the exact opposite?

When I asked this question, we had just spent a very long weekend with some family who had been in town. They like to spend money, and consider almost any occasion a reason to go out to dinner rather than eat at home. They prefer the gift shop to the visitor center at any destination, and cannot wait to part with their money for trinkets they will inevitably lose or break. We had a difficult time finding things to do with them, because we would prefer to do free things.

Chattanooga Cheapster says he doesn’t act any differently around people who do not share his way of thinking. I try, but one can only repeat the same things so many times before exploding… I keep getting the same response when I say we would rather stay home to eat: “Well, it’s a special occasion.” No, it isn’t. And I am a good cook. Really. (Mr. 1500 once told me about the time he ate spaghetti at a friends house — his wife made spaghetti sauce out of ketchup! I cannot imagine how horrible that tasted…

FI Pilgrim hits it on the head by saying “…you don’t want to come across as arrogant.” He is lucky, in that he has a family who thinks very similarly to him. I don’t want to come across as arrogant, and this is my struggle, because I feel like I do come across as holier-than-thou or snotty when I say I don’t want to go out to dinner. It just makes for an uncomfortable visit all the way around… (PS: Congratulations on a darling brand new baby girl, FI Pilgrim!)

Mrs. PoP from Planting our Pennies redirects the conversation back to them, by asking “Tell me about your new X.” Great idea. Now I just have to remember it.

Even Steven recommends just keeping quiet. MUCH easier said than done, my friend. I am really bossy, and I think my heart believes that if I just keep saying it, eventually I will bring them to my way of thinking. Totally arrogant, totally wrong. My head knows that…

Now, I turn this post over to Mr. 1500.

The 4% rule is based on the Trinity Study which attempted to determine a safe withdrawal rate in retirement. I won’t go into the details here, but MMM has a really good post on it. Please read it if you need a primer. Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers | Tagged , , | 43 Comments

10 Questions and a Pizza Place with Her Every Cent Counts

This is the 34th 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.

Joy from Her Every Cent Counts started her blog in 2006, shortly after finishing college. She created it to keep track of her money, and to remind herself that ever cent does count toward your financial freedom. She expects her 30s to throw her a series of financial curve balls, and is chronicling her journey through life’s little quirks. Read her blog at


Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
My blog is different from most financial blogs out there, because it isn’t really a finance blog at all. It’s a lifestyle blog which happens to talk quite frequently about money, investing, and saving because that’s central to my lifestyle. I started HerEveryCentCounts
in 2007 after reading another younger female personal finance blogger and realizing that I needed to learn about money management. I had about $10k in savings at the time and was in my early 20s. Thanks to the blog, I’ve obtained $250k in net worth (my goal last year) and am well on my way to my next big goal of $500k. However, I suffer from
depression, and maintaining a stable job and excelling in the role isn’t easy, so I write about that a lot as well. Continue reading

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Thursday Rant – Don’t Feed the Squirrels!

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 ranting today.


This means you

Not long ago, we had family visiting from out of town. We live close enough to Rocky Mountain National Park to make that a go-to trip for visitors. We stopped at a beautiful overlook, and I noticed a sign that cautioned against feeding the little ground squirrels* and other small animals in the park. The sign went on to tell of a study that shows the quality of their stored fat is greatly reduced when you feed them, rather than allowing them to find their own food.

Despite their good intentions, some wildlife watchers are loving park animals to death. Feeding junk food to wildlife reduces its ability to survive the long mountain winter. When they panhandle by roadsides, animals fall easy prey to automobiles. As they become habituated to humans and lose their natural fear, the animals become aggressive and may be destroyed. Harassing or feeding wildlife is illegal in all national parks.**

I didn’t see anyone feeding the animals at RMNP, but that changed later in the week at a city park. One of our esteemed guests sat down at a picnic table while we played on the equipment. I glanced over and saw her feeding a very fat squirrel that had waddled up to her. Of course, the little 1500′s saw her feeding the squirrel and ran over to help, but she had run out of food. Continue reading

Posted in Mrs1500, Rants | Tagged , , | 17 Comments


Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today.

Recently, we had a visit from family. The conversation flowed from one topic to the next, but the underlying theme seemed to be the same, “Well, that’s just easier.”

The easier button. Why take the hard road?

The easier button. Why take the hard road?

The first instance of “easier” came a few years ago, when SpongeSister said, “Well, I could get a job and pay for it myself, but it is just easier to let Mom and Dad pay for it.” As she was still in her early years of college, I chalked it up to youthful ignorance.

But as I look around, I see many people taking the “easier” route. A different relative moved in with her boyfriend, because it is “easier” to share expenses with him. It may be easier on your finances to share expenses, but you can do that with a friend. See, she doesn’t actually like this guy. In fact, the more she stays with him, the more she starts to resent him. He also travels the “easier” highway.

He watches TV. Almost all the time. He pays $350 to the cable company every month, so he can continue his practice of sitting on the couch, immobile, watching actors pretend to be other people. I guess sitting completely still IS easier than moving. But being dead is probably easier than living, too. Continue reading

Posted in Mrs1500 | Tagged , | 28 Comments

Ask the Readers: How do you interact with people who are the exact opposite?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today. In fact, this entire week I will be coming at you, giving Mr. 1500 a much-needed break. This week’s posts share a common theme because we just had an extended visit with family whose money philosophy is the exact opposite of ours.

These people have zero saved for retirement and do not let that stop them from spending anything in their pockets. “Oh, we’re on vacation,” they say, or “It’s a special occasion.” Come back tomorrow to check out my post on the topic of “easier.”

So today, I ask “How do you interact with people whose money philosophy is the exact opposite of yours?”

But first, let’s talk about some of your favorite frugal kitchen tips. Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers, Mrs1500 | Tagged , | 40 Comments

Out of the Office

Three ceiling fans and counting...

Three ceiling fans and counting…

This week. we’re trying to wrap up a bunch of random work on the house. I wasn’t going to post at all, but then the blog bug bit me. Today, I’ll share with you the posts I enjoyed writing the most. I’ll also show you what I’ve accomplished so far on the house.

Freedom (2/2013): This is really what this blog is all about.

Sex, Limes and Financial Education (3/2013): Why will parents talk about sex, but not money?

Net Worth of $160,000,000 and Working in Food Service (3/2003): Meet the multi-millionaire teen girl who worked at a deli.

Thursday Rant: I want Smarties Cereal (3/2013): We should worship Albert Einstein and Carl Sagan instead of Lebron James.

The Tale of Bad Car Bill (4/2013): The poorest guy at work turned out to be one the richest. Millionaires really do live next door.

Big Huge WTF (7/2013): This is when I learned that fees were draining my 401k like a vampire draining teen blood in a bad horror movie.

Luke Poopwaker: The Bowels Strike Back (8/2012): Read about the time my cute, young daughter unleashed her GI tract on me.

SpongeSister SpendyPants (8/2013): Thanks to an improper upbringing, my younger sister is a financial nightmare.

Death by Retirement (10/2013): Retirement is killing my parents. With almost 20,000 views, this is my most popular post of all time.

Thursday Rant: Sister Thrifter and the Half-Frugal Prince (11/2013): My older sister has a distorted view of frugality. Very distorted.

The Day I Struck Dishwasher Gold (11/2013): Read how I got a super dishwasher for $50.

Must we Dance with Death to Appreciate Life (12/2013): Nothing like a brush with death to make us appreciate life.

The Most Valuable Day of my Life (1/2014): Read about the day that changed my life.

Enough (6/2014): Some posts take me months to write. This post jumped into my head after a random conversation with a neighbor and I wrote it in about 15 minutes.


Here is a vanity I just installed. The tile on the floor is for the backsplash.

Here is a vanity I just installed. The strip of tile underneath is for the backsplash.

In the middle of installing this guy right now

In the middle of installing this guy right now


I love recessed lighting. We have at least 30 can light all over the home. These are over the back deck.

I love recessed lighting. We have at least 30 can light all over the home. These are over the back deck.

Check out my fancy pants outlets! The one on the left has built-in USB chargers while the one on right has a night light.

Check out my fancy pants outlets! The one on the left has built-in USB chargers while the one on right has a night light.

See ya’ll next week!

Posted in Something Completely Different, Uncategorized | Tagged | 11 Comments

Ask the Readers: What is your favorite frugal kitchen tip?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, looking for your favorite frugal kitchen tip. But first, let’s look back at last week, when I asked you when you replace something.

My luggage is in sad shape. It looks ugly. But the only purpose it serves is to keep my clothes together while I travel, which it does quite well. I asked you when do you replace something large like this.

FI Pilgrim had a great answer. Duct Tape. Even Steven Money agreed. Reader MattW added “That’s why that silver miracle was invented. To further bolster the argument: old, crappy, falling apart luggage never ‘goes missing’.” Too true. Recently at Denver International Airport, a guy was arrested for stealing luggage, and he only took high-end luggage. My bags will never be confused with high-end bags…

Elizabeth Lund pointed out that bags will just get banged up anyway. Good point.

Mr. Frugalwoods pointed out that if you travel often, it makes sense to invest in a good bag. This is true, but I don’t travel enough to make the investment at this time.

I think Wade from Destination Financial Wisdom put it best. “It doesn’t always work, but I like the rule “if it no longer functions as it is supposed to, replace it”. At table with a few scratches on it is still a table. A table with a broken leg is no longer a table. A suitcase with some scuffs and dings is ok. A suitcase with a broken zipper or broken handle or wheels is no longer a suitcase.” Great advice Wade. Thanks! Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers, Mrs1500 | 27 Comments

Sunday Make-Ahead Recipe: Breakfast Burritos

Mondays were always difficult for me to get going, back when I was working. (I am currently a stay at home mom, and yes, that requires effort, but I can do it in my pajamas.) Getting up after a nice weekend, getting ready to be presentable at work, AND having breakfast didn’t always happen smoothly.

Oh Yum!!!

Oh Yum!!!

We went camping with friends recently, and they took care of breakfast by providing us with breakfast burritos. Here is their recipe:

Breakfast Burritos (Makes 6)
6 eggs
1/2 cup crumbled bacon
1 potato, diced
1/4-1/2 onion, diced
1 TBSP oil
Shredded Cheese
Sour Cream
6 Tortillas

Put oil, onion and potato in skillet on medium heat, cook until almost transluscent, about 8-12 minutes. Add crumbled bacon and cook about 2 minutes longer. Add eggs and continue cooking until eggs are set. Turn off skillet.

Warm tortillas in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds. Spoon avocado, sour cream, and cheese into tortilla, then add egg mixture. Wrap in tin foil and put into refrigerator or freezer. Voila, breakfast for a week!

Posted in Mrs1500, Sunday Make Ahead Recipe | 16 Comments

10 Questions and a Pizza Place with Best Financial Freedom Blog

This is the 33rd 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.

Davey Pockets comes from a family of school teachers. He followed in their footsteps, until a chance discovery of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad changed his way of thinking. He is now a real estate investor and financial freedom blogger. Read his blog at

Davey Pockets

Davey Pockets

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
It is called best financial freedom blog. The reason why it is so great is that it follows the K.I.S.S. principle. Keep It Simple Silly. It’s not all geeked out with cool designs and artwork, but it does have very easy to use ideas that ANYONE can implement to start saving money right away.

What is the worst financial mistake you made?
3 years ago I bought my first house. I was raised in the family where a house is an asset and your largest investment. So I was so excited when I got a 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 2500sq ft monster to live in all by myself. Of course after being laid off as a teacher a few years later and reading Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad I learned that a house is really a liability that was eating a whole in my pocket. Currently it is listed for sale and I am in the market for something much smaller! Continue reading

Posted in 10 Questions | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Don’t Read this Blog!

Just kidding, I still want you to read and I’m thankful for all of you. I really am.

However, today I’d like you to flip over to Big Guy Money to read an interview he did with me. You’ll learn:

  • Why I started blogging
  • What Mrs. 1500 thought about early retirement when I first told her about the idea
  • The current state of Mrs. 1500′s hoarding
  • Why I don’t feel comfortable retiring now, even if I meet my goal
  • What my favorite part of blogging is
Order now!!!

Order now!!!

But don’t wait, read in the next 15 minutes and we’ll send you these 2 beautiful steak knives, completely free!!!

All kidding aside, I had a lot of fun doing this interview with Big Guy Money. He asks some pretty great questions and while he hasn’t been blogging for a long time, is writing some really solid content. Also, how many other North Dakota bloggers do you know?

So one more time, check out my interview and while you’re over there, check out the rest of Big Guy’s blog. You’ll like it. And if you don’t, you get to keep the steak knives!

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged , | 7 Comments