Thursday Battle: Will the 1500 Cold War lead to Mutually Assured Marriage Destruction?

There are conflicts going on all over the world. Look no farther than any news outlet to read about wars in the Middle East and chaos in Ukraine. Unfortunately, a battle is raging in the 1500 household as well and it’s starting to get ugly.

Guess who touched the temperature setting. Hint: Not Mr. 1500.

Guess who touched the temperature setting. Hint: Not Mr. 1500.

Mrs. 1500 is currently a stay at home mom and I work out of the house. As a result, both of us spend a good deal of time at home. Normally, we live a fairly harmonious existence. We have small battles when I forget to put down the toilet seat or Mrs. 1500 loses all of my underwear when doing wash. She “falls in” and I end up a little chafed, but these spats are short lived. However, a full on battle breaks out every year when the winter weather sets in.

Mrs. 1500’s corrections to the inconsistencies in the above paragraph: Mr. 1500 lives in a house with 3 girls and zero other boys. I don’t think it is an unreasonable request to ask him to put the seat down. Second, I have never lost all of his underpants when doing the wash. I do “lose” the ones he has had since high school, that are in an indecent state. When mere threads connect the myriad of holes, they suddenly “disappear” never to be seen again. Oops.

Mrs. 1500 is comfortable when the thermostat is set at about 102. I’m a lot better at 67. There is no common ground. Continue reading

Posted in Rants, Something Completely Different | Tagged , | 84 Comments

Call me Chief Fart Captain

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I may lose my job. As I type this on Monday evening, I have just three work days left. I still don’t know if I’ll be employed after Thursday at 5pm, but a bad situation (getting canned) may turn out to be a really good one. Read on.

Way back in 1998, I was interviewing for my first real job. I had quit pharmacy school* about 8 months earlier when I realized pharmacy wasn’t for me. I then enrolled in a certificate program to learn mainframe programming. As we neared the end of the program, employers were fighting to hire us to help resolve the Y2K issues.

One particular company was conducting a mass hiring event. There were about 100 of us there all interviewing that day for entry level programming positions.

The HR department

Actual picture of the HR department at this particular company (I apologize to sheep everywhere)

The day started out with a big presentation given by the human resources department. I don’t remember much about what they bleeted on about, but one thing really stuck out. The HR person was singing the praises of the company when she started talking about job titles. She said something like this with great enthusiasm:

Here at Blah Blah Blah Corporation, we’ve reconsidered all job titles! Now, “Programmers” are called “System Software Developers!” “Senior Programmers” are now known as “Super Duper Senior Developers!” Isn’t that great?

Nope, not great at all lady. Do you know what would be great? You paying me more than what all of the other companies have offered.

Here is my list of stuff I don’t care about in a job: Continue reading

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Ask the Readers: What’s your favorite holiday recipe?

My mouth is watering just thinking of this creamy deliciousness!

My mouth is watering just thinking of this creamy deliciousness!

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, looking for your favorite holiday recipe.

But let’s go back to last week and talk about adding extra guests to birthday parties.

Mrs. PoP has a great point, “If the extras are easy to accommodate, I would say sure. But if it’s a more choreographed affair, or where the extras would be out of place (ie kids at an adult party – or in your case boys at a girl party), I would not hesitate to say no.” It was very easy to accommodate the most recent add-on, because the party was in our home. I spent an extra dollar on a Matchbox car for his goodie bag. The TCBY party was equally easy to add one more kid, but cost an additional $10. Not really the end of the world.

As more and more of you responded, it seems like this happens frequently. Reader Zaxon had people ask to bring extras to his wedding! So did Mrs. Frugalwoods and Michelle from Making Sense of Cents!

Even Steven just says yes, because “it’s probably less taxing to pay an extra $14 a head than to tell them no and deal with the backlash and such. Maybe I’m soft on this stuff, idk.” That is why I ended up saying yes both times… Continue reading

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10 Questions and a Pizza Place with Deets LaMoss at Freedom595

Today is the 47th 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 Questions features Deets LaMoss who writes over at Freedom595. Deets plans to retire in just a few years at the age of 59. He and I also share a love for Chicago pizza. Deets, let’s meet up in Chicago someday post-retirement over a deep dish!

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Why did you decide to start blogging and why is your blog so great?
A friend told me how much fun she was having writing a blog about something she was passionate about.  Around the same time I came across Rockstar Finance’s Bloggers net worth tracker.  I decided that a public facing forum was a great way to hold me accountable to my financial goals.  It is also quite cathartic summarizing my financial strategy in terms that other people can understand. I chose to post the results of my passive income instead of my net worth. It is never to old to start your path to financial freedom, but I hope I can influence some younger people so they can enjoy financial freedom earlier in life.

What’s the worst financial mistake you’ve made?
In 1999, the stock market was going through the roof in the midst of the dot com bubble.  We had decided to move into a new house in a new housing tract.  I had some stock options from my company that just kept going up.  When we moved, I had the choice of selling my stock options to buy the new house and keep our old house as a rental or sell the old house and keep the stock options.  Unfortunately I did the latter and in 18 months my stock was basically worthless when the company was accused of padding the books.  Lesson learned: paper profits are not the same as cash in hand.  Make sure you systematically take some profits from your rising assets so you aren’t left holding the bag in the next downturn. Continue reading

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Extreme Home Improvement Chaos

Backsplash in master bath

Backsplash in master bath

This (Tuesday) is the last day of a 4 day weekend and I had set huge goals for myself including (in order of easiest to completely ridiculous):

  • Finish the tile backsplashes in both bathrooms
  • Finish the tile backsplash in the kitchen
  • Finish installing about 400 square feet of hardwood flooring
  • Tile our entryway from the garage
  • Tile the shower in our master bathroom
  • In our guest bedroom, build a shower pan, tile the entire thing and install a glass shower door
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My unconventional (big pain in the ass) shower tile

Most of the time, I’m pretty good about setting achievable goals*. I’ve done this work enough times that I can estimate it pretty well. Not this time. As I type this, not one of these projects is completely done. The first 4 are just about there. However, the last 2 aren’t going to happen.

Some of the forces that conspired against me:

  • Our 7 year old had a wild meltdown Saturday morning**. I decided she needed some daddy-daughter time. We went walking by the river.
  • The lure of a local microbrewery proved too much temptation early Sunday evening.
  • I actually did put all of these down, still need to grout though...

    I actually did put all of these down, still need to grout though. And what is that? Yes, those are my black underpants in the upper right. I’m too tired and delirious to figure out how they got there.

    After the microbrewery, I made a very poor decision (perhaps influenced by the beverages consumed at the brewery) to watch the Chicago Bears game. I’m a Chicago native, but the Bears are horrible. I have no idea how they won 3 games. The team is like a car accident, I know I shouldn’t look, but can’t help it***.

  • Old nasty man winter showed up in force on Monday afternoon. I draw the line at working a wet saw outside in a windy snowstorm.
  • Also on Monday, all of the computers broke at my real job, so I had to log in to work and jiggle some cords.
  • I like doing unconventional tile designs and working with natural stone, but I underestimated the difficulty of one of the projects. It will turn out great, but it is taking a long time. More next week…
  • Finally, Mr. Buttcrack Builder continues to be a roofing nail in my side. He was the poorest excuse for a carpenter ever and I should have fired him much sooner than I did. I don’t think he ever framed a straight wall in his life. Dealing with these issues is enough to fill even the kindest mind with very bad images of things you’d like to do to him.****

So that brings me to today; I’m worn out and a bit disappointed in my lack of progress. I don’t regret it though. My neighbors just paid $3,000 for horrible tile work. More on that on Thursday.

 

Mrs. 1500 notes:

*This is a lie. This is such a big lie I cannot believe his nose didn’t grow 10 feet. Mr. 1500 absolutely does NOT set achievable goals. He sets goals that no one could possibly achieve. The sheer amount of work, assuming perfect conditions, was too much for him to finish. And then, after he sets said unattainable goals, he feels awful for not completing all tasks he unattainably set for himself…

**I was supposed to help with the floor, but instead I dealt with the older little 1500’s horrific meltdowns. She spent quite a bit of time in the Uncooperative Chair this weekend…

***Mr. 1500 is continually surprised at the poor performance of his beloved Bears. I am not. I gave up on them, in favor of the Colts and their awesome QB Peyton Manning back in 2011. Remember that season? The one he sat out? Guess who else Mr. 1500 likes? The Cubs. Sigh.

****Seriously, the difference between doing it right and doing it wrong is about zero extra minutes. Make sure the board is plumb. If all boards are plumb, the whole wall will be, too. Not rocket science…

Posted in Something Completely Different, Uglyhouse | Tagged , | 19 Comments

Ask the Readers: How do you handle extra guests?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today asking how you handle extra guests. I have had a birthday party for each of my girls this year, and both times I was asked by the mother of an invited guest if it was OK for the younger sibling to also attend. So how would you handle that?

But first, let’s go back to last week’s question, How do you handle your children’s birthday parties?

Mrs. SSC from Slowly Sipping Coffee planned her kids to be born within days of each other (on the calendar, but years apart) so she could combine their birthday parties! Just kidding, but it worked out that way, so she can hold joint parties for a while, until they start to complain… Good job!

Jen at Jen Spends had a great idea – solid color decorations, rather than licensed character decorations. Far less expensive. She even suggested skipping the party aisle altogether and going to the regular disposable servingware aisle. Thanks, Jen!

Reader Stephanie told a sad tale of her friend who spent $600 on a party for a 7-year-old. Her own daughter had turned 8 the week before and had a sleepover party at her house with make-your-own pizzas, and a home baked cake. Of course they had a blast at home, because spending time with the people you love is what counts. Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers, Mrs1500 | Tagged , | 37 Comments

10 Questions and a Pizza Place with Mixing Maroons

Today is the 46th 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 Questions features Mixing Maroons. The Maroons blogging journey is a bit of a mirror image of ours. Just like us, they started their blog to share their financial journey with the world. Very cool. They also share our Friday pizza/movie night tradition.

Mrs. 1500 also has an issue with “refrigerator science experiments.” Mr. Maroon, if you figure out how to put a permanent end to this needless experimenting from the Mrs. (we already know about penicillin), please do let me know! :)

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Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
Mrs. Maroon and I were inspired to change our spending habits and chronicle the entire journey after becoming enthralled with 1500 Days to Freedom.  We are embarking on a new lifestyle that we have admittedly tried in the past without success.  Simply put, I felt a blog would encourage us to maintain focus and motivation on our fiscal journey, as well as give us an opportunity to share our new-found frugality and self-sufficiency with the world.  We don’t hold anything back – our mistakes are there for our readers’ review.  I come from a lineage of educators and, much to the chagrin of Mrs. Maroon at times, I find the desire to teach and encourage people to strive for self-improvement comes quite naturally to me.  Teaching breeds learning and that’s what keeps us constantly seeking out new and better ways to advance our life – never stop learning.

Mr. Maroon

Mr. Maroon

What is the worst financial mistake you made?
Funding, not one but, two college degrees and the associated six total years of living expenses with FAFSA loans to the tune of $50,305 (principal).  I am elated that our big kick start to our new lifestyle was paying off the remaining balance in December 2013. Continue reading

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Thursday Rant: Horrible Haiku Edition

Twelve hour workdays,

Installing floors half the night,

Bye, I’ll be back soon*.

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*Now that is 24 seconds of your life that you’re never going to get back.

Posted in Rants | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Performance Update 22/50: October asterisk overload edition

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 2014 and 2015.

Last month, I wrote about how boring my performance update was. October proved to be the opposite. Stock portfolios experienced wild gyrations. One company I owned even went belly-up-bankrupt! Although I finished the month at $965K, that little mini-correction sent me down to $900K on 10/15. Whoah.

Woweee!!

Woweee!!

In October, my portfolio resumed its march upward. I started the month at $948,294 and ended at $965,210 for a gain of about 1.7%. I under-performed the S&P 500 which saw a gain of 2.3%. My poor showing this month is attributable to facebook and another stock which I’ll tell you about in a moment.

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Chart from Personal Capital**

Facebook had stellar earnings, but Mr. Market did not like the fact that the company will be investing heavily in its business in 2015. Remember that Mr. Market cares most about the next 3 months. For someone who looks a decade out, I couldn’t be happier that facebook is investing in itself. Long term thinking baby.

Anyway, here are the numbers: Continue reading

Posted in Performance | Tagged | 50 Comments

Ask the Readers: How do you handle your child’s birthday parties?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 this morning, talking to you about birthday parties. So think about that, while we wrap up last week’s best/worst home improvement stories.

Congratulations, Big Guy Money!

Congratulations, Big Guy Money!

Ree Klein from Escaping Dodge offered up a 4-pack of can cozy’s (I have no idea the proper way to spell that. Cozies? Cozys with no apostrophe? However the proper way to spell, you get the idea…) for the best/worst home improvement story.

Mrs. PoP from Planting our Pennies told us about removing rotting fascia and having a snake fall off the roof. (Which reminded me of that part in Indiana Jones Does Something where he gets locked into a room full of snakes. “Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?” It also reminds me of a time when Mr. 1500 and I were on Washington Island in Wisconsin, waaaay before kids. We were riding our bikes all around the island, and came across an alarmingly large snake lying on the road. Mr. 1500 wanted to save it from becoming smashed, so he went over to see if he could move it. That snake* wanted no part of being moved, and jumped about 3 feet into the air. I have never seen anything like that! Mr. 1500 made a sound that, thankfully, I have never heard him make since. Turns out he isn’t a snake person, either…) Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers, Mrs1500 | Tagged | 28 Comments