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January 9, 2017

2016 Spending Report

I must be a personal finance geek, because I've been excited about this post for quite some time. I kept wishing for the year to end just so I could tally up all of our expenses. I will probably do this monthly going forward, both for your entertainment and to make sure we are sticking somewhat close to our budget. On to the numbers...

January 2, 2017

My Concerns in Retirement

Editor's Note:  This post was written a couple months ago and I was too chicken to post it at the time, but I'm trying to be more vulnerable, so here goes nothing.
Choosing when to quit your job and retire is one of the biggest decisions a person makes in life. It is a defining moment that will have a huge impact on the rest of your life. Most people make this decision fairly late in life, which means they are able to draw upon many years of wisdom and experience. I don’t have that luxury. I consider myself very intelligent, but I don’t pretend to possess a great deal of wisdom. That means making the decision to “retire” before my 30th birthday a daunting proposition, especially if I think about everything that could go wrong with my extremely early “retirement.” In this post I will discuss those things and try to reassure myself I’m making the right decision.

December 27, 2016

"Retirement" is Here

This (photoshopped) Dodge ad shows how I left my office for the last time.
It's taken a couple days for it to sink in, but as of December 24th, I'm "retired." Woo-hoo!

December 12, 2016

The Obsessive's Guide to Rooftop Solar

We recently installed a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on our house.* As usual, I did an inordinate amount of research before committing to anything and I discovered a few things I think are worth sharing with anyone else considering going solar.

November 20, 2016

We Bought a House – “Retirement” Imminent

The funky house we almost bought.
I’m not sure we were really ready for this step, but we stumbled upon the right property and now we own it. That means my retirement date is all but set for the end of this year (although my boss doesn't know that yet, so let's keep this just between you and me). Happily, that coincides with my 30th birthday. Here’s the story of how we ended up with a house long before we planned.

October 26, 2016

The Personal Finance Blog Charity Challenge (Updated 3X)

Image from Charity Motors
I just read Mr. Money Mustache’s post about donating $100,000 to charity and I got excited. Not just about the money he is donating, which will surely do much good, but also about the publicity he is bringing to the organizations he decided to donate to. I suspect this publicity will multiply the effects of his giving, so I have a challenge for my fellow personal finance bloggers that will hopefully do even more good.

October 22, 2016

Our Hunt for Affordable Housing

A huge part of our early retirement plan involved selling our expensive home in the Los Angeles area, which has appreciated significantly since we purchased it four years ago, and finding something significantly less expensive. This has proved much more challenging than I anticipated.

October 15, 2016

Don't Call me Cheap!

Please wear shoes when you're saving money by doing your own yard work.
People have used a lot of colorful adjectives to describe me over the years, but the most common one is probably cheap, or cheapskate. I usually wear that title like a badge of pride, but it’s starting to wear on me. In my opinion there is a big difference between being cheap and being frugal. I want to believe I fall into the latter camp, and in this post I will explore the difference between the two.

October 5, 2016

How I Limit (but Don't Eliminate) My Frivolous Spending

My most frivolous purchase, as I found it.
We all want things we don’t need. Frugal people like me are better than most at resisting the urge to purchase those things, but every so often there’s something I just have to have. Fortunately, I have a system for regulating my frivolous spending, and I learned it from my dad—only use credit card cash-back rewards for frivolous purchases.