10 Questions with Simple Cheap Mom

Today is the 2nd edition of our new periodic guest post series called 10 Questions. We have a list of 17 NEW questions we pose to fellow financial bloggers, and they are free to pick and choose 10 or answer all of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions. (If you have already answered the first set of 10 questions, please feel free to answer these new ones.)

Today’s answers come from Emily over at Simple Cheap Mom. She and her husband live off half of his salary, while she stays home with their Little Miss, hoping to be mortgage free by their mid-30s.


Tell us about your blog

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
Simple Cheap Mom follows my family as we live off one half of our single income to be mortgage free by our mid thirties.  It’s got lots of motivation to focus on what is important to you, to stay on your budget and to reach your financial goals.  We even include our actual budget to put our spending into perspective.

Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).
The world will be a better place because of Simple Cheap Mom.  People will learn the power and freedom of living well within your means.

Tell us about you

1500 Days is about early retirement.  Do you have early retirement dreams?  At what age do you think you will retire?
In my mid twenties I left my 9-5 job to start my own business.  I got a fancy pen as a parting gift, so it pretty much felt like I retired then.  When we became parents I closed my business to be a stay at home mom at 28.  I don’t really have plans to go back to work at this point, so I may never get the chance to officially retire early.  Our plan is to pay off the mortgage, become financially independent, then consider the early retirement question for Simple Cheap Dad.

When you are 90 and look back on your life, what do you hope you have accomplished?
I hope that when I’m 90 I can look back on my life and be proud that I let the people who were important to me know it, that I wasn’t afraid to take on new challenges, and that I valued money as a tool and not for its own sake.

Money, money, money

What is the best money management or investment tool you have come across?
We’ve started to use GNUCash this year and I’m pretty excited about it.  But, anything that gets people tracking their spending is good in my books.

How do you handle people with different views on money, ie spendy people?
We all have our own goals and priorities.  Who’s to say which camp will be happier when we look back on our lives?  But, if people’s spendy ways aren’t actually in line with their goals and priorities, then I’ll probably introduce them to budgeting.  Sweet budgeting.

Did your parents teach you about money as a kid?  How so?
My parents opened a bank account for me when I was pretty little for my small savings.  I remember being 5 or 6 and going to the ATM to update my bank book to see how much interest I’d earned for the month.  So they did foster an early appreciation for savings.

Random silliness

What is your favorite style or beer – and what is your favorite beer in that style?
Vodka.  Simple Cheap Dad likes wheat beers.  Specifically Hacker-Pschorr.

We notice a lot of frugal people into board games – what is your favorite?
As a child I really liked Monopoly, but no one ever wanted to sit through a full game.  These days my favorite is probably Settlers of Catan.  The bartering can get intense!

What do you do for exercise?
I do laps inside my house with our Little Miss chasing me.  It’s been a while since I’ve done any regular, organized exercise.  I think I’ll get to the point where I’d like to get in better shape, but I’m not there yet.  I can only care about so much at once!

Thanks so much for participating in our 10 Questions series, Emily. Follow her adventures on her site, or keep up with her on Twitter or facebook, or check out what she is pinning on Pinterest.

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Thursday Rant: Isn’t it ironic – don’t you think?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, channeling Alanis Morissette from her amazing first album.

Mr. 1500 note: Hello 90s! Now you’re going to have that song stuck in your head all day. Remember, blame it on Mrs. 1500, not me!

So back in November, we broke into the Double Comma Club. Not by much, and we only spent 5 days there before dipping back down into the Single Comma Society, but we made it. We are in our early 40s, and according to this calculator, we are in the top 1%. While we’re nowhere near the top 1% measured by income, being a 1% saver feels pretty great.

So we have money. It isn’t easily accessible right now, as it is almost entirely wrapped up in the stock market and our home, but Mr. 1500 makes a decent wage at his job, so we can pay our bills.

Job shuffle

Here is a

The leadership team at one of the companies

Except, as you may recall, Mr. 1500 recently changed jobs. Kind of. You see, he works as a contractor, writing computer code. The end client hired Company A to perform the work, but Company A doesn’t have enough employees to do the job, so they subcontract the work out to Company B. Mr. 1500 works as an employee of Company B.

Company A has decided they don’t like Company B, and want to stop using all their employees. But the end client LOVES Mr. 1500, because he is awesome in every conceivable way. So Company A went behind Company B’s back and asked Mr. 1500 to stop working for B, and instead subcontract through Company C, D, or E. (Confused yet? Just wait…)

Mr. 1500 note: This is the type of stuff I hate about the work world. I’d love to just write code all day and not get involved in conflicts between co-workers, companies or the corporate sheep. Expressed in computer code, it would be as simple as this:

boolean completedWork = didMr1500CompleteHisCode();

if (completedWork == true)

Continue reading

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The one where I answer my own 10 Questions

I totally feel like I’m cheating today. We came up with a new set of 10 Questions and I’m going to answer them myself. Is that cheating? Maybe. But, I don’t care.

The good news is that you’re free to submit answers again, even if you’ve already done it under the old format.

Tell us about your blog

Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.

This photo has nothing to do with this post.

Frugalsaurus isn’t shy about sharing his thoughts on the greatness of this blog

Well, you’re already here, so I don’t really have to tell you about the blog. I don’t think I’m great, but I am getting better as time passes. Just like life, blogging should be a journey of constant self-evaluation and improvement. I look at some of the early stuff that I wrote and cringe.

I started this just a little over two years ago. I had no idea where it would take me and still don’t, but I have loads of fun writing and taking goofy pictures.

Tell me how you’re going to change the world with your blog (dream big or don’t dream at all!).

Wow, this is a hard one. Why did I write this question? Continue reading

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Ask the Readers: Where do you live?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, wanting to know where you live. Before you answer, let me say that you can get as specific or as general as you like. We say we live in Northern Colorado, and that is as specific as we prefer to be, as we blog anonymously for several reasons.

But even more before you answer, let’s go back to last week, when we asked What is sentimental value worth to you?

As you may recall, Mr. 1500 came across a signed baseball that used to belong to his Grandfather. It is worth quite a pretty penny these days, and neither Mr. 1500 nor I watch baseball, preferring to spend our time viewing paint drying or grass growing. (This past weekend we watched snow falling for hours, and had infinitely more fun than any of the times we attended a baseball game.)

We took our children to the local baseball team’s home game once and left around the 4th inning, the girls were complaining so vociferously. We are just not a baseball family.

Chris over at Flipping a Dollar (my new favorite blog that I cannot get enough of – Chris please write more!!!) had a real great point. This isn’t the last thing that Mr. 1500’s grandfather ever gave him, in fact he didn’t really give it to him at all. We found it in a box of stuff we have moved around for several years. If we never came across it again, it wouldn’t have been missed by us. Continue reading

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10 Questions with James Collins (jlcollinsnh.com)

Today is the 58th 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 of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions.

This is the last edition featuring our old questions and I can’t think of a better way to end them than with James Collins from jlcollinsnh.com. Mr. Collins writes some pretty great stuff, but he is most known for his excellent stock series.

Confession: I have come to believe that index funds should be the core of any healthy portfolio, but before I started blogging, I barely knew what an index fund was. I’m a pretty stubborn guy, but Mr. Collins’ stock series convinced me to abandon my stock picking ways in favor of Vanguard index funds. I’m in the process of moving it all to Vanguard. Thanks Jim!

Besides the investing stuff, Mr. Collins is a pretty interesting guy. He has:

And really, I’m just at the tip of the iceberg. However, I’ll stop talking now and turn things over to Mr. Collins.


Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.

What is the worst financial mistake you made?
Thinking I, or anybody, could pick individual stocks successfully over time. Yes, I know Warren Buffett has. That’s why he’s famous. I can’t get in the ring with Mike Tyson either. If you think you can, let me know and I’ll sell the tickets.

What would you do if you inherited $1,000,000 (after taxes) today? Continue reading

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Thursday Rant: When good birthday parties go bad; terror at the symphony and jumping the sheep

Sometimes, I must aim the Rant Cannon at myself. This is one of those times. Our older daughter (I’ll call her C) just turned 8 and her birthday party didn’t go so well. We had the best of intentions, but much went wrong. And, it cost us a load of money.

Our neighbors’ child’s birthday party involved a zebra and sheep. That one had some hiccups too. Luckily, I crashed the 6 year old’s party, so am able to give you a first-hand report.

IMG_20150207_154938879_HDRDaughter C enjoys classical music. I was surprised this last summer when a classical piece started playing on Pandora and she successfully identified it as Mozart. I didn’t even know, but a glance at the screen told me she was correct.

A couple months before C’s 8th birthday, we learned that the Colorado Symphony Orchestra would be performing Danny Elfman music from Tim Burton films. The concert was on our daughter’s birthday, so we asked her if she’d like to go and bring two friends along. She enthusiastically said “Yes.”

I bought the 6 tickets for our family and her two friends and was a bit taken aback by the price; $213. I swallowed hard and ordered the tickets though. We had already promised her. Note to self: Check the price first next time.

Shortly after, I wondered if the idea was a good one. Most adults these days probably aren’t into classical music. Now, we were going to take two of C’s young friends with. Would they be bored? The answer was a resounding ‘Yes‘, but that wasn’t the worst part.

Terror at the Symphony

Continue reading

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Antiques Roadshow and the sad tale of my grandfather’s death

Hey everyone, I just applied to be on the Antiques Roadshow this June in Omaha. More on that in a moment…

My grandfather’s death

IMG_20150216_124327959My maternal grandfather was a good person and was my favorite member of my extended family. He was kind, worked his ass off his entire life and never stopped learning. As a kid, I’d go over to my grandparents home and we would talk about science. He’d help me with my math homework.

He died on cold January day when I was away at college. My older sister was the one who told me. I was working at the college computer lab when the phone rang. The conversation started out with: Continue reading

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Ask the Readers: What is sentimental value worth to you?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today, asking about memorabilia. Is sentimental value worth anything?

Signed by Rogers Hornsby, the $6,000 man.

Signed by Rogers Hornsby, the $6,000 man.

But first, let’s go back to last week, where I think every single person who reads this blog commented about the correlation between their upbringing and how they handle money today.

Reader Jacq was raised in a similar fashion as I was, frugal but secure. I love this quote, “As kids we knew the roof over our heads wasn’t going anywhere, had food on the table, but got hand-me-down clothes from friends and family, shopped with coupons, and large purchases were saved up for. I am 100% grateful for how I was raised.”

I know I didn’t appreciate hand me down clothes when I was getting them, but you can bet your sweet bippy that my girls are getting hand me downs until they can’t stand it anymore.

Mrs. SSC was raised just like Jacq and I, but what really shaped her feelings toward money was watching her dad, who was devoted to his job, get lost in the shuffle when the company was sold – zero loyalty was shown to him, and he was eventually forced into early retirement. She learned that the company doesn’t have your back, so don’t give them your heart and soul.

Reader Scooze said it much better than I did, “I think that it doesn’t matter whether grew up poor, rich or in-between: what matters is how we were taught to look at money. Were your parents mindful and thoughtful about their spending, or not? If they were rich but spent whimsically without purpose, chances are that you learned it’ll just work out. If you were poor and your parents couldn’t manage with what they made, then you may have learned that there is no point in trying to save, it’s out of your control. Or your parents can teach you to save whether you have a lot or a little, and spend the rest wisely.” Continue reading

Posted in Ask the readers, Mrs1500 | Tagged , | 31 Comments

10 Questions and a Pizza Place with Living Rich Cheaply

Today is the 57th 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 of them. Let us know if you would like to be featured in a future edition of 10 Questions. Note: We just changed the questions, so feel free to submit again.

Today we feature Living Rich Cheaply. Mr. LRC lives in New York City, and believes that if you can be frugal there, you can be frugal anywhere. He shares his journey to keep himself accountable and to track his progress.


Tell me about your blog and why it’s great.
My family lives in one of the highest cost of living areas in the world: New York City (well we live in Queens and while many Manhattanites don’t consider the outer-boroughs to be a part of the “City”…it is!) People say that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.  I’d like to think that my blog inspires others to save money diligently while spending money smartly.   I want to show people that a rich life is not an expensive life, and that you can have your cake and eat it too.

What is the worst financial mistake you made?
Investing in tech stocks right before the internet bubble burst. Continue reading

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Thursday non-rant: Home improvement update

Sorry folks, nothing to whine about here today. Life is going pretty well. We’ve been making a lot progress on the home, so I’m providing an update today.

PS: If you saw this post on Wednesday, it is because I am unable to read a calendar. I hope to learn this skill some day.

MDWe don’t discuss our early retirement dreams much with our normal circle of friends. Most people are uncomfortable or get plain bored talking about such things. However, a couple of our neighbors know. Last year, I was changing one of the car’s oil when I had the following conversation:

  • Neighbor: You’re always working on stuff. If you have so much money that you can almost retire, why don’t you pay others to do it all?
  • Me: Well, I have enough money to retire because I do all of this work myself.

I also enjoy most of the work. Well, not changing oil. I have a genetic deficiency which prevents me from changing the oil without spilling at least half of it all over the place. Often, I look like the creature from the black lagoon by the time I’m done. Hopefully, geneticists locate this gene and come up with a cure. Until then, you know why our driveway is covered with kitty litter. (Mrs. 1500 note: I only wish he was making this up or exaggerating the extent of the mess he makes. Every. Single. Time. Sigh…)

I do enjoy home improvement though. It’s fun to take an old, ugly room and turn it into something great. Since I’m the designer and worker, I can do everything just how I like it. Another huge benefit of being a DIY master is that you don’t have to deal with contractors who: Continue reading

Posted in Something Completely Different | Tagged | 43 Comments