Interview with the Frugalsaur

Frugalsaurus before he was Frugalsaurus, somewhere in Montana.

Frugalsaurus before he was Frugalsaurus, somewhere in Montana.

About 10 years ago, Mrs. 1500 and I were going through an old box of random stuff*. She pulled out a little green dinosaur and said, “What is this?” To which I replied, “Wow, I’ve had that dinosaur since I was a little kid. Let’s keep him!”

Shortly after that day, a goofy tradition was born. The dinosaur would travel with us and get his picture taken. Our little green plastic toy has probably traveled more than most people.

Recently, the dinosaur has taken on a new role. Of course, I’m referring to his ongoing role as Frugalsaurus on this blog. Frugalsaurus makes frequent appearances, most recently in this rant.

Anyway, I thought you’d like to learn a little more about Frugalsaurus, so he agreed to be interviewed by Frugal Hound (you read that correctly, a greyhound is interviewing a plastic dinosaur). Today, please flip over to Frugalwoods to read the interview.

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*This past weekend, we pulled a baseball out of another box that is worth as much as $6000. That is a story for another time.

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Ask the Readers: What do I do about my new neighbor???

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today.

Our street has 29 houses, 5 or 6 of which are rentals. For the most part, we have great renters on our block – they treat the house like it were there own. But last month, we got a new neighbor. Or I should say, new neighbors PLURAL because that is the problem. There are so many of them!

But before I tell you my first-world-problem tale of woe, let’s go back to last week’s question, where I asked you where you start? What is the first step toward financial freedom, or financial betterment?

I have a very dear friend who has been hiding her financial status for a while. She is not very good with money, and finally confessed her financial sins to me. The advice I gave her was to start with writing everything down. You can’t know where to make cuts if you don’t know where it is going in the first place. But I wanted to know what you thought, too. I wanted to make sure I was giving the right advice.

Mrs. PoP from Planting Our Pennies responded very quickly, and backed me up. “I always tell people the first step is tracking your spending. Until you know where all your money is going, it’s going to be much harder to figure out what doesn’t match up with your values and can be cut permanently and what does, but can be trimmed in the short term until you get to a better place financially.”

Reader Zaxon, Aldo from Million Dollar Ninja, Wade from Destination Financial Wisdom, Debs at DebtDebs, Emily from EvolvingPF, Even Steven, Kipp from Frankly Frugal Finance and Reader VDB all said the exact same thing. So many great financial minds can’t all be wrong. Continue reading

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Blogs I Dig: Richmond Savers

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today.

Besides his wealth of travel knowledge, Brad is a really nice guy.

Besides his wealth of travel knowledge, Brad is a really nice guy.

We have been collecting Airline Rewards points for years, and been able to use them on our own with relative ease. But then the rules changed, and we moved from the O’Hare Airport area, to the Denver Airport region. What we didn’t know, was that our airline mile redemption ability was about to change, too.

Over the course of our time in Colorado, we have amassed 200,000 miles on British Airways, along with 65,000 Chase Rewards points, that we were suddenly not able to easily use. (Think 2 and 3 stops each way, flying in the opposite direction first, etc.) Enter Brad from Richmond Savers.

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Brad has studied the ins and outs of many major rewards programs, learning the best way to use them. But what is even better, is that Brad loves to share his knowledge with others. He offers free rewards travel coaching that includes access to his free travel rewards coaching video series!

Those Chase points I mentioned above are actually quite valuable. Had I known just how valuable, I would have paid more attention to the statements and made sure I received my 50,000 point bonus after spending the required amount. I missed the amount by $300, which makes me really upset with myself. Sigh. Continue reading

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Thursday Anti-Rant: Life Ain’t Bad

Life has been pretty great lately. I’m too happy to wrap my mind around a whiny post today.

Yep.

Yep.

I’m amazed that I’ve almost reached the $1,000,000 mark. I pinch myself daily.

For my first 25 years of life, money was a huge struggle. We weren’t poor growing up, but we weren’t far from it. Sometimes, life was a bit miserable as my family made poor financial decisions (“We bought a timeshare!!!”).

I turned the tide in my war with money 15 year ago when I graduated college. I finished up college with $60,000 in debt, but going from making $4.25/hour in the college computer lab to a job where I was well compensated as a programmer was amazing. Still, I never thought I’d have anything close to what I do now. It is strange. Deep down inside, I still feel like that struggling college kid eating almost nothing but spaghetti because it was cheap.

But I digress.


Last weekend, I went to the MMM meetup with a group of friends (shout out to L from Longmont and B and L from Loveland). I love being around this type of crowd. I’m an introvert, but I have a hard time shutting up in a group of MMM aficionados. It was wonderful to meet with E from Denver, D and S from Boulder and E from Fort Collins. I look forward to spending time with all of you in the very near future.

Over Labor Day weekend, we went camping near Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The weather was perfect, the conversation was good and the beer was cold. Trifecta!

Oblgatory mountain picture

Obligatory mountain picture

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Marshmallows! (I have the girls convinced that they grow on trees!)

Marshmallows! I have the girls convinced that they grow on trees.

No matter how old I get, this still makes me giggle. My sense of humor stopped maturing in the 7th grade.

No matter how old I get, this still makes me giggle. My sense of humor stopped maturing in the 7th grade.

Don’t worry Rant Fans, Mrs. 1500 and I are working on something extra whiney for next week!

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My Favorite Hikes (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Reset My Brain)

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Half Dome as seen from Glacier Point

Some of the greatest joys in life are the simplest things:

  • Reading! I’m in the middle of reading The Firm now for about the 100th time. I could spend 8 hours a day with books, magazines and newspapers.
  • The beach: What is better than watching the waves roll in? I’d be happy on a beach anywhere.
  • The smile of a baby: Just kidding. I hate it when people say stuff like this.
  • Exploring on foot: A great hike is yet another joy and this is what I’ll be talking about today.

I love long walks. Putting your feet to the pavement and hitting the open sidewalk or rocky trail is one of my favorite things. I open my mind, camera lens, shut my mouth and observe.

A good walk hits the reset switch of the brain. If something is bothering me or I need to work a problem out, by the end of a walk, I’ve usually found a solution. I also come up with some of my best ideas on a walk. I wasn’t surprised when a Stanford study revealed that a good walk boosts creativity.

Vacation_HoundFrugalwoods

Have you checked out Frugalwoods yet? If not, you should. Mr. and Mrs. FW are relatively new on the scene and are already writing some really great stuff. They also have a greyhound* and their blog features some highly amusing pictures of her dressed in various garb.

Anyway, it turns out that the Frugalwoods also really enjoy hiking. So today, the Frugalwoods and I both present our favorite hikes. Please flip over to their site to read about some of their favorites.

My Favorite Hikes

Mist Trail (Yosemite National Park, California)
Yosemite National Park is one of the greatest places on Earth. Continue reading

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Ask the Readers: How do you start?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today. This week’s question is How do you start? What is the first step in getting out of debt, changing your spending habits, living within your means or below your means so you can save up for retirement?

But first, let’s jump into the wayback machine and check out the answers to the question two weeks ago, How do you plan for healthcare in early retirement?

I tried to look up the Medicare rules, but I couldn’t get a straight answer. Whatever they are, I know that most early retirees are not eligible for Medicare benefits at the time of their retirement.

Wade from Destination Financial Wisdom says From what I read, the Affordable Healthcare Act is a mini-boon for early retirees. Can it support itself? Will it be changed?” Continue reading

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10 Questions with My Shiny Nickels

Wow, today is the 40th 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.

Today we feature Laura from mySHINYnickels. I love hearing about people who realize that they’re not living right and then make a big change. This is exactly what Laura did, going from big time debt to bigger time savings in about 2 years. Very cool.

Finally, I am asked all of the time why I want to retire early. Laura provides a very good reason in this post.

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 8.24.49 AMTell me about your blog and why it’s great.
I’m one of those “used-to-be-40k-in-debt-now-on-my-way-to-early-retirement” folks.  I was once like so many others, drowning in a downward financial spiral.  And while I offer my perspective, I don’t pretend to know it all, because I really don’t!  My blog (mySHINYnickels) is about personal finance, with a dash of humor and real-life blunders mixed in.  I think people can relate to that.

What is the worst financial mistake you made?
How many characters do I have?  Ok, ok, just teasing. While I do have a couple to choose from, I’ll say that taking on a $400k mortgage in my 20’s ranks up there pretty high.

What is the best financial move you have made?
Now THIS one is easy.   Continue reading

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Thursday Rant: SpongeSister Strikes Again

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today.

Yes! Yes!! YES!!!

Yes! Yes!! YES!!!

I try to stay away from speaking negatively about Mr. 1500’s family. They are his to complain about, and I really have very little to do with them on a regular basis. But this one in particular bothered me, so here I go.

Mr. 1500 has two sisters. The older of the two has a track record for choosing horrible boyfriends. They don’t abuse her, but they are not the right fit for her (or anyone else with more than 10 brain cells). She has been with her current guy off and on for about 5 years now. He is the one who never stops watching TV, and they pay $350 per month for their cable bill.

She came out for a visit a few weeks back, and lamented that she is done with him because he never wants to do anything but watch TV. She said she was planning on moving out at the end of that month. Continue reading

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Performance Update 20/50: Awesome August

My 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 2014 is to get my portfolio up to $768,536. Because we saw exceptional returns in 2013, I have accomplished this goal as well as my goal for the end of 2015. Time to look back on the month of August.

Woweee!!

My portfolio continued its upward trajectory in August. I started the month at $924,818 and ended at $967,743. Much of my run-up was due to the Apple stock** that I bet big on over 7 years ago and have clung to ever since.

Up, up and more up.

Up, up and more up.

While I’m thrilled at my performance, I admit that I’m uneasy holding such large quantities of single stocks. When my tax situation gets better (retirement!), I’ll unload most of it. Anyway, here are the numbers as of 8/31/2014: Continue reading

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10 Questions and a Pizza Place with Life Part 2

This is the 39th 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.

Today’s 10 Question features Jonathan Look from Life Part 2. In 2011, at the age of 50, Jonathan decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world; one country at a time, one year at a time. His plan is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn’t intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
Life Part 2 is kind of a hybrid retirement, travel and lifestyle blog. I try to show people what is possible when they quit sacrificing their lives on the altar of consumerism and live life as an adventure. I don’t offer a lot of tips or advice but I do try to inspire people to wake up to some of the possibilities. Continue reading

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