Tag Archive: mr money mustache


So after a year and a half of paying rent again I’m over it. It was pretty much like I woke up one day and was just over it. and that’s apparently how i function in this world. I run my life on major amounts of repetition. Overall I prefer to do, wear, eat and move through my day doing almost the same as the day before. If you look at myfitnesspal I seriously eat the same foods over and over; pasta, bananas and chocolate are the staples of my diet. If you look at what I wear it’s the same Carnival Barker “ice cream freak” shirt 29 out of 31 days. So on and so forth. Because no ones forcing this level of repetition on me I’ll get on a quinoa kick and that will replace pasta and there’s an ebb and flow to it all. I’ll get into small pockets of enchantment where all I’m bathed in magic and feel a tingling & pulse of life everywhere and like everything else in my life it gets replaced almost of it’s own volition. Working out and (these days) dumpster diving food are the standard trying to pump myself up about it but it’s the type of chore that’s enjoyable but always excusable.

To review I’m content with a simple life but just like a light switch going on changes happens in my life often. I think the precursor to change is saying “i don’t want”. Someone asked me if I would ever do a tiny house again and I felt hella embarrassed to admit that I did not want to. For the last 1.5 years I’ve been decompressing from 17 years of work and have reasoned a “real” job isn’t for me. For many people (like my husband) life is very solid and black & white. For me everything is relative which is why I beat around the bush when trying to explain anything, all details are crucial factors.

Scavenger Life podcast (about selling on ebay) mentioned Mr Money Mustache. Mr Money Mustache’s blog really flipped the switch on many areas of my life that I had in the dark. I’ve NEVER thought about retirement and had an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude about it. I think that if something doesn’t matter then it’s fair game to look it. If you have an area of your life that you don’t want to look at because you say it doesn’t matter then talking about it should be easy. If an area of your life is challenging to look at that’s totally fine, we’re complicated humans but it’s unfair to write something off with white wash statements of unimportance because those are just not honest statements. Unimportant things shouldn’t make you clam up.

This is my absolute favorite video right now because it addresses our crazy behavior which branches out from our ideal and the reality. There’s a level of disconnect it seems we humans may always have in our lives. i want to write a blog post on cognitive dissonance.

So I didn’t want a tiny house and a job but now I do. MMM’s blog got me thinking about my future, thinking about what I wished I had given my current self and what I want to pass on to my future self. I think a job will be the fastest way to my goal and like any worth while goal there’s a timeline attached to it.

Having this last 1.5 years away from traditional work has been an eye opener. It seems that time and money are often influx. When I’ve had the most money was I was working a lot and had very little free time. When I was busy one of the main things I wanted was the freedom to go to sleep and wake up when I wanted. Now I have a lot of free time and no money. I get as much sleep as I like and wake up when ever I want but I have very limited options on how my life can play out while maintaining this ultra low income. When we had $24,000 saved we could move where we wanted and could come up with a different arrangement for our lifestyle, options we don’t have now. We don’t want a lifestyle overhaul, we don’t want to live on someones land in exchange for housing and Mark doesn’t want to live in a van. We want to live very much like we live now but smarter. Paying $550 a month for our 2 bedroom, 2 story apartment is not the end of the world but it’s also not smart. We have some of the cheapest rent in Dallas while living in a tiny apartment complex in a nice area and I’m not at all taking that for granted. I am 100% grateful! However paying rent is money we’ll never get back. If we financed a home and payed $550 a month on it then we’d get the money back if we sold the house. I’m just feeling trapped with rent and now that I have serious goals I feel constrained a bit by the trap.

   My goal is to retire in 10 years or at least be very close.

“Time or Money” seems to be the dance most of us are doing. One without the other feels unbalanced and I’m concluding that I really need both. My retirement plan is 100% about having the minimum amount money coming in while having the maximum amount of free time while maintain a lifestyle that isn’t constrained by either.

LIFESTYLE the numbers: Last night I asked Mark to spell out exactly what his lifestyle would look like if he didn’t have time or money constrains. He has one life to live and I wanted to know what his ideal life would look like. Ideally Mark wants to drink top notch coffee that he brews on a top notch machine at home daily. He wants the option to go out to eat (nothing too fancy) about 3 times a week with me if he so choices. He’s like to buy 1 really top notch pair of shoes (a couple thousand dollars) or a few slightly less nice shoes a year. He’d like a few thousand dollars to put into hobbies a year and have a larger budget for buying fancy beer. add in a nice vacation and we concluded that $17,000 a year would cover his lifestyle preferences. $17,000 in very doable! Either I’m some sort of saint or have poor persons mentality but I don’t have any real list of lifestyle wants. Maybe I’d get into permaculture (which cost money… wait, or does it save money?) Or I’d use the tools he has in his hobby budget to create art. Plus most of this shit i think about (going for bike rides, going to the gym, chit chatting with friends) is all hella cheap stuff. Well I do have entrepreneur blood but we’ll not focus on that for now.

RETIREMENT the numbers: Let’s assume that when we retire in 10 years we own (debt free) our home. Let’s say it’s a tiny home and property taxes are $1,600 a year. We build efficient in combination with alternative energy and our utility bills are ultra low.  We eat on the cheap and may grown some of our food. Gasoline, internet, insurance, etc. Maybe we could get by with $10,000 for our livelihood (remember we’d already own our home). So $17,000 for lifestyle and $10,000 for livelihood would require us to have $27,000 as our household income. If we saved $3,500 a month we’d have $615,991.86 in 10 years (8% compound interest). The $615,991.86 would produce $49,279.28 in 8% interest a year so if we just scraped 4% off of the interest that would give us $25,000 to live on while maintaining safety margins and accounting for inflation. This however doesn’t account for taxes ($5,000 a year at 15%), health insurance or unforeseen disability. While these numbers are not perfect they do create an outline on what the approximate steps would be to get from poor to retired.

SAVING for retirement: In order to save $3,500 a month (for 10 years!) or $42,000 a year I’d need to make $42,000 to save plus the cost of living $13,000 would require me to bring in $55,000 net income. While that is a bit of stretch for me to do that all on my own I do have plan. I want to get a full time waitressing job ASAP. If I could earn about $120 per shift and do 6 shifts a week then I’d bring in $37,440. The remaining $17,000 could likely come from ebay because my sellers dashboard shows that i’ve done over $15,000 (gross) this year when I was just dumpster diving and selling $10 items. Plus i’m not leaving the ice cream shop, I love carnival barkers and just making $3,000- $5,000 a year there helps out a lot! Again these numbers are not perfect or taking taxes, health insurance or unforeseen disability into account.

SAVINGS BONUS: my off the cuff savings plan is coming from the point of view that i’m doing all of the work. Marks in school so maybe I can kick some ass, do my best and save a bunch of money. Then in 4 year from now Mark will have a grown up job and we can put 100% of his money into savings. Let’s say he starts out making $45,000 after taxes and within those 4 years of his school I’ve accumulated $194,018.42. Then we add in 4 years of 100% of Marks paycheck then in 8 YEARS WE COULD RETIRE, two years early!!! say what!?! after 8 years our grand total would be $633,442.51! or if we just commit to the 10 years then those extra to years would give us a new grand total of $909,399.02…. almost a million dollars in 10 years. so Marks contributions would double my efforts! that’s a bonus!

This is where the second tiny house comes in!

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RENT the numbers: Our rent is about $6,600 a year. In ten years that’s $66,000 and that same $66,000 could actually be more like $96,798.72 if I could invest it (at 8% compounded interest) instead of giving it to our landlord. When I look at those numbers it makes me want to move in a $2,000 van and reclaim the $550 a month in order to invest it. Our first “tiny house and land” cost $8,000 for the land and about $5,000 for tiny house. <— that’s about the same amount of money we will have spent in when this second lease it up!

If you google “building costs house calculator” there are websites which will show the break down of everything (foundation, roof, plumbing, etc) as well as separating the material costs from the labor costs for whatever basic house design you have in mind. I have my heart set on building another tiny house but a bit different from our last one. Tiny houses are attainable. While they’re more expensive per sqft the overall price can be significantly less if you keep it simple, find affordable appliances and do what you can where you have the skills.

Since this post is long enough I will simply state that it’s now starting to sink in that we actually lived in 150 sqft with no plumbing in the woods for a year. holy hell! We need plumbing and more than 150 sqft, I understand that now. We don’t need it like it’s life or death but i’m no longer trying to live like life or death are my only two options. I’m also willing to admit that I no longer have a desire to move to the woods. I like cities that are under 100,000 people but I live in Dallas and honestly shit is fine out here too. It would be ideal if we could get a small city plot, have our tiny house and do urban homesteading. If we could do urban homesteading in walking distance of friends that would be epic but I’m not hearing anyone say any of that. Urban plots are expensive but right now i’m seeing the value. We’re talking about a 550 sqft floor space with a large loft. I can see us having a shed for Mark’s projects. I can see an epic amount of landscape design for beauty and function.

Besides a lack of money being an obvious derailer for this to come to fruition there’s other issues. I didn’t realize how good we had it zoning/permit wise on our last piece of land until til I started looking through permit requirements just in our area. There are so many requirement it’s hard to absorb it all. Plus “If you want to make god laugh then tell him about your plans”. right on.

 Have you seen this new tiny house TV show? I’m all over it! Mark doesn’t like it but i do.
http://www.fyi.tv/shows/tiny-house-nation

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you guys know i’m crazy and nerdy so i’m sure this post will come as no surprise.

here’s a little bit of financial/fanatical history to paint a personal picture as to where i’ve been and where i want to go.
i grew up poor as shit by pretty educated people. at age 14 i got my first job which i kept for 9 months until i switched to another job and ultimately worked consistently from age 14-17. when i was 17 my partner in crime and i moved out of our parents places and got a sweet duplex together in the humble and hispanic neighborhood that we called “ave R” or “Our Avenue”. short after getting our own place we felt the only way to complete this new found freedom would be to quit our jobs (and somehow get rich to avoid ever working again). freedom guys, that was goal then and that’s the goal now. i had a few homeless vacations and lived in the woods without plumbing for a year all with the feeling of freedom in mind and trying to see where i fit on the spectrum of freedom in respect to lifestyle.

while freedom is a blanket word there are two means according to webster with a total of 11 variations on that. at a daniel vitalis (oh yeah, that guy….boring) said at one of his jazzed up talks that things are fucked when people think that free means “something for nothing”. so let’s think about all of these things, freedom; the quality, the state of being, the restriction and the privilege.

then add in a few more thoughts.
1. we only have the mental capacity to focus on and execute a limited amount of tasks so we can’t do (or undo) it all. “we can do anything but we can’t do everything” – http://affordanything.com/about/
2. being aware that often perfect is often the enemy of good (which keeps us all stuck)

From age 17-28 I thought on varying degrees of consciousness that i hated money. the system of money is illusive and the system of slavery is dependent on making this making of cash-money. when i was 28 and we saved $24,000 in 18 months it was completely coming from the place of wanting to drop out of the system for a variety of reasons. i was really wound tight and thought dropping out would chill me out. when we saved the first $8,000 it was like, “i don’t hate money. my quality of life hasn’t changed and i’m the same person. having money and not having money is seriously a non issue to who and what i am, point blank.” money did impact how i was in the sense that i could buy quality things; paying local farmers for their goods, local artists for their tattoo art, donate a shit load of money and contribute to services that won’t get by with moral support. There was nothing bad about having more numbers on a dead screen saying “you rich, bitch!”. we never had anxiety about making ends meet, shit was good. but i was building up to drop out so there were limitations to that goal. limitations being that now 1.5 years after leaving our land we’re on food stamps and not even scraping by.

jumping into selling full time on ebay did 2 shifts in my thinking.
1. i love money. i never get a sale and feel defeated or unsatisfied. when i make $$$ i feel great because i love money.
2. all i care about is selling fancy, quality, expensive and/or rare shit. period. i used to hate fancy brand, not any more.

humble sales are a thing of the past, we’re over dumpster diving to make a living. dumpster diving food is still great but since trash digging is a bit more out of the loop for our lifestyle we’re paying for food too.

loving food stamps (which i do!) is an extension of me loving money. i think loving money is okay even if i don’t love having a standard job. i love money because it the glue that connects me to the things i love so clearly it’s more about the things than the money itself. if there was another magnet stronger than money then i’d go that route instead. getting things & having options is the root to my love of money. for me, money is freedom. it isn’t the only form of freedom and for most of us (debt) is far from freedom but it’s all in how you use money. when you love something you tend to treat it well. when i thought money was shit i pissed it away. now money is a cute little kitty or puppy that i want to take care of and grow and sail on to some rainbow filled, unicorn dancing future of love and freedom.

while i’m new to loving money i will admit that i don’t fully understand it. using mr money mustaches website as inspiration i’m back in the head space that saved us $24K except this time the goal is early retirement via saving ultra crazy amounts of money (instead of pissing it away).

Mr money mustache and his wife retired at 30 years old!!!!  TEN YEARS AGO! and it all makes sense. what they’re doing makes total sense to my nerdy brain. money is the only math i like. him and his wife had fancy jobs so they lived simply (on maybe $25k a year) until they were 30 years old. They had something like $700k (i’m new to their blog so i don’t remember) and found the 4% – 6% interest pays them $28k a year to live FOREVER. maybe this is totally boring to you but i’m beyond jazzed up just writing about this! we’re living on $18k (or less) so the idea of maxing and relaxing while the dollars roll in just seems like a maricle and it’s more than our bottom dollar lifestyle. and they own their own home and they are always investing the interest and have grown that hundreds of thousands of dollars….it’s all too good, i’m completely on board.

i would like to retire in 10 year or even be million times closer than i am today. i care about my future self. today i scrape by and have to think about where our money is at and making ends meet, i’m not stressed but i could do much better. it’s completely possible to gift my future self by getting my shit together. i actually think we’re in better shape to save now than when we saved our first $24k because we spent way too much of food, way too much on art, way too much on hobbies (well, not really but you know what i mean).

here’s my plan: mark’s taking off of next semester. well, maybe he’ll take just one class. we’re going to get balls to the wall strategic with selling on ebay. we’re going to take concrete steps towards “A to B” goals and see if we can surpass our current plateau. (hopefully we can afford to grow) we’re going to get on the grind and see where we’re at! we’re doing about $1k a month, not shit, so quote me in 4 months to see what our progress may be. in 4 months if we’re not seeing reward for our work then mark will get a temporary job before going back to school. i love ebay so i hope it doesn’t come down to me getting a job but i love early retirement more than ebay so i’m willing to walk away even though i’m hoping i will not have to.

freedom for me is working smarter now to sail on further, longer and easier later. saving them $579 per month and investing this savings would compound into about $102,483.00 every ten years. all i’m saying is that i’m seeing a more passive future ahead.

if you have a different plan towards freedom let me know!

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