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.  When I was still in college back in 2001, I remember everyone talk about how there was so much money to be made in the stock market with internet stocks. Everyone thought they were expert stock pickers because their stocks picks always panned out.  Everyone was glued to CNBC and the stock ticker. I decided that I was missing out and took all the money that I saved up to open a trading account. It was a lot of money to me at the time. I bought some internet stocks that were recommended by analysts and from my self-proclaimed expert stock picker friends (who were college students!). I also bought well known stocks like AT&T (they were soon offering a wireless IPO and IPOs were hot!). Yes this is AT&T wireless. Cellphones were the next big thing.  There was no way I could lose money!  About one month after I opened by stock trading account, the internet bubble burst and my stocks came crashing down. I lost 50% of the value in my account.  Now I stick to index funds.

What would you do if you inherited $1,000,000 (after taxes) today?
I would say buy a house, but that $1,000,000 would be mostly gone if I bought a house in a decent neighborhood in NYC. Once again, I mean Queens because $1,000,000 won’t get you a house in Manhattan.  With $1,000,000 I’d put $300,000 in VTSMX, $400,000 as a down payment on a house in my neighborhood (a multi-family house or one where you can rent out office space), $200,000 as down payments for multiple out-of-state rental properties where it cash flows, $100,000 in the bank for whatever opportunities come up.  I might even buy some individual stocks

What kind of car do you drive?
2009 Hyundai Sonata that I bought used. Before that I drove a 1997 Nissan Altima which was my first (used) car and I drove it for 10 years.

What is the best financial move you have made?
Saving and investing early.  I have to thank my father for that.  Not only did my father buy me an investing game when I was a kid (Wall Street Kid for Nintendo), he invested in a mutual fund for my college education.  The mutual fund did really well and when my father showed me the statements with 20% to 40% growth, I was hooked. I continued to be interested in investing as I grew up, and signed up for the deferred compensation plan immediately after starting my first job and opened an IRA.

Mr. 1500 note: Wall Street Kid? I had no idea that there were video games like this! This is pretty awesome! Does anyone know if there is anything like this around today?

What is your favorite place to vacation?
Hawaii. I don’t think any explanation is necessary!  If only the flight wasn’t so long.

What’s your favorite tip for saving money?
Make it automatic…that way you don’t miss not having the money.

What is your favorite pizza place (I am a pizza nut)?
Pizza Classica. It’s just a local spot in our neighborhood which we love.  We love the chicken caesar salad slice.

What are your biggest goals in life?
Financial Freedom ASAP.  Live a life worth remembering (yea, I know, it’s kind of vague).  I need to work on goal setting.

What is your favorite movie?
Gladiator, Shawshank Redemption, Rain Man and There’s Something About Mary.

What advice would you give to a 24 year old, just out of college?
Continue to live like a college student and start investing as soon as you get your first job.  No excuses.

What are your favorite personal finance websites?
Frugal RulesYoung Adult Money because I learn something new everyday. Done by Forty because he delves into the psychology of personal finance.  The Frugal Farmer because the posts inspire me and The Heavy Purse  because I want to raise financially responsible children and she’s a great resource for that.

What is the worst personal finance mistake you see people making?
Spending above their means. I know that sounds very general but that is the main problem that causes people’s financial woes. It’s pretty simple. They spend more than they make, and for a lot of people, they’re spending on things that are not necessities. Cable TV and eating out are not necessities!

Big thanks to Living Rich Cheaply! Keep up with him on Twitter, or his blog over at Living Rich Cheaply.

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17 Responses to 10 Questions and a Pizza Place with Living Rich Cheaply

  1. I didn’t know there was an investing game for Nintendo. You may laugh but Monopoly was the game that lured me into investing and financial freedom.

    Mr. LRC,

    You ever consider moving to a lower cost of living area to reach financial freedom quicker?

    Gen Y Finance Guy recently posted…Example of Buying Into Weakness – Investment Rule #1My Profile

  2. LRC,

    I also am on the path to FI and live in NYC, Manhattan to be precise, and it is sad that I think of Queens being out in the boonies 😉 I do think NYC has its many challenges in reaching your FI goals, but I think it also allows its opportunities as I do not own a car (and don’t need one anymore as I can walk to work). Also it offers a ton of job opportunities for many industries and some of the highest salaries in the US. I’ve had to say no to a lot of boozey brunch invites and expensive dinners (the only expensive dinners I do are when work is paying) but it gets easier as time goes on.

    Good luck on your journey,
    Fervent Finance recently posted…Keeping up with the JonesesMy Profile

    • Nice to meet another blogger in the NYC area who has a goal of financial freedom! Yea it does seem Manhattanites think of Queens as the boonies and have only heard of Astoria or Long Island City because their proximity to Manhattan. Good luck on your journey as well…I will definitely check out your blog.
      Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Ode to My Frugal WifeMy Profile

  3. I love reading about how people are able to practice these principles even in the highest COL areas – it goes to show you that you can live in a practical way no matter what your situation is.
    Brian @ Debtless in Texas recently posted…How to Calculate Your Monthly Savings RateMy Profile

  4. I had no idea they made an investing game for Nintendo! Like Brian said, I like reading how others are trying to reach FI in places that are considered expensive cities. So much of it comes down to choices and even in a big city you can accomplish it if you’re committed to it. Thanks much for the mention, I appreciate it!
    John @ Frugal Rules recently posted…7 Cheap Cell Phone Plans We’re Looking AtMy Profile

  5. I had no idea they made an investing game for Nintendo! Like Brian said, I like reading how others are trying to reach FI in places that are considered expensive cities. So much of it comes down to choices and even in a big city you can accomplish it if you’re committed to it. Thanks much for the mention Andrew, I appreciate it!
    John @ Frugal Rules recently posted…7 Cheap Cell Phone Plans We’re Looking AtMy Profile

  6. Gotta say, I looked that game up on eBay. It’ll sell for ~$12 unless you have it complete in the box. I think I have a problem.
    Chris @ Flipping A Dollar recently posted…Vintage Mille Bornes Card GameMy Profile

  7. I think it’s awesome Mr. LRC is saving money while in NYC. I have a friend in NYC who says living there is very expensive and it’s hard to save up money. I was there for work for a day and I saw how expensive everything was. Ouch.
    Savvy Financial Latina recently posted…Cut the ChordMy Profile

  8. Hey Mr. 1500, thanks for having me! As a big fan of your blog, it was definitely an honor.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Ode to My Frugal WifeMy Profile

  9. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini says:

    You are really blessed to have such a wise dad. I am doing everything in my power to make sure my daughter becomes financially savvy at an early age. I was raised in New Jersey so I am familiar with the NYC life and I believe with discipline you can save money anywhere you live. Enjoyed your interview.
    Petrish @ Debt Free Martini recently posted…The Feeling Of Having Financial ControlMy Profile

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks Petrish! My son is still young but one of my main goals is for him to be financially savvy as well! Sometimes it feels like it’s harder to save as much money here…but it definitely is possible.
      Andrew recently posted…Ode to My Frugal WifeMy Profile

  10. Liz says:

    Thanks for sharing! I, too, started investing right before the bubble burst in 2001 – it’s taken a lot of time to get back to where I was before, but I was lucky that I was young enough to be able to rebound. Lots of good advice in this article!
    Liz recently posted…Why Cook with Cast IronMy Profile

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