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December 27, 2017

Travel Report: Nor-Cal Camping

Our tropical getaway to Puerto Vallarta wasn't our only vacation this year. Our other big trip wasn't nearly as luxurious, but it was just as fun. We ventured on a 10-night camping trip to northern California. Read on to learn all about it.

December 18, 2017

16 Rules to Get Your Spending Under Control

When writing our last post about splurging, I started thinking about how I approach the purchases I make and I realized I have a very complex set of rules I follow to determine what I buy. In this post I will try to explain the things I keep in mind when buying just about anything.

December 11, 2017

Is it OK to Splurge on Anything?

The other day, Sam over at Financial Samurai wrote a post that listed things worth spending "max money on for a better life." After realizing I didn't agree with most of the items listed, it got me thinking--is it alright to splurge on anything? A cheapskate would say no, but frugal folks like us know there are certain things worth their premium pricing. Read on to learn what is and isn't worth top dollar.

December 4, 2017

Why We Bought a Truck and a Camper

I have mentioned previously that we bought a gigantic pickup truck and a camper that fits in the back of it. In this post I will go into a little more detail about what we bought and why.

November 27, 2017

Travel Report: Puerto Vallarta

Our accommodations. Photo courtesy of Sheraton.
For our big trip this year, we decided to go to Puerto Vallarta. Actually, that location was decided for us, but I'll get to that later. We stayed at a great resort and had a wonderful time, without breaking the bank. Read on to learn more.

November 20, 2017

We Were (Cash) Poor for a Month, and it was Terrifying

I've been very fortunate to never have to worry about money in my life. I've never been rich or anything, but I've always been comfortable, so running short on cash wasn't something I ever worried about. All that changed at the end of last year when a series of events left us scrambling to pay our bills. Luckily, it only lasted about a month.

November 15, 2017

Actual Money Saving Software: Keepa

It seems like every week there's a new app coming out that will be our financial salvation, and all the personal finance blogs can't wait to tell us about them (often because they get kickbacks from the company). Unfortunately, I've never found any of these apps particularly useful. Most of them are super gimmicky and don't actually save you any money. I'm also tired of creating new accounts with anyone, especially ones that have my financial information.

Now that' I'm done being a downer, I want to tell you about an awesome piece of software that has actually saved me a lot of money. It's called Keepa, and it's actually a browser extension.

November 6, 2017

How Much Kids Cost - The First Year

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but it just keeps falling through the cracks. I know it's been a while because this post is about Frugal Babe's first year, and she's almost two now. Anyway, we all know babies are expensive, but it's hard to say exactly how expensive. We tracked our baby-related expenses for the first year (we stopped after a year because expenses dropped off quite a bit and it was getting annoying) to see exactly what having a baby did to our finances.

October 30, 2017

I'm Not Very Good at Being Retired

Before I start, I need to say I'm still "retired," but there's a reason I usually use quotes around that word. I feel they give me some wiggle room to pursue activities some might view as a job, but I see as a hobby or learning experience.

For example, shortly after "retiring" and moving to our new home, I started working with a contractor remodeling kitchens and bathrooms. I didn't mean to get a job; it just happened. Read on to learn how.

October 29, 2017

Truth in Advertising

We've been seeing and reading about some pretty questionable advertising practices online, so we decided to create an Advertising Policy to explain how we handle ads on this site. Check out the always up-to-date version here or though the prominent link in the sidebar at right. The initial version is posted below.

October 24, 2017

How We Came to Own Five Cars at Once

Most people know it costs a lot to purchase, operate, maintain, register, and insure a car. That's why car ownership is one of the biggest targets of early retirement bloggers. It seems we ignored pretty much all of that advice because just a few months ago, we owned five cars. That's right, our family of three had five cars at the same time. However, it's not as bad as it seems. Read on to learn how this happened.

October 16, 2017

How We Saved $27,000 Selling Our House

As we've previously reported, we moved several months ago. That involved buying a new house and selling our old one. For the purchase of our new house, we used a realtor. We didn't necessarily want to, but as the buyer, there's not much incentive not to use one*. However, for the sale of our home, there was potentially lots to gain (or save, really) by not using a realtor, so we decided to go it alone and sell the house ourselves. Read on to learn how that went.

September 14, 2017

How We Invested Two Lump Sums

After selling our first home in southern California, we ended up with a pretty large lump sum of cash, and after quitting my job, I rolled a couple 401(k)s into an IRA which became another large lump sum. Deciding what to do with that money took some serious consideration, especially with markets at record highs as they currently are. This post will discuss how we invested all that cash.

July 7, 2017

Our Updated Budget and 2017 First-Half Spending

Remember when I said I would have more time to blog after quitting my job? That has proven to be false. It turns out I'm much busier now than I have ever been at any of my real jobs, so finding time to blog has been a challenge. I am trying to post, but continuing to get settled into our new house has occupied an inordinate amount of my time. Our 17 month old child is another big distraction, but one I wouldn't give up for the world. Anyway, I've finally found the time to put together a post, and it is pretty interesting (at least to me), detailing our updated budget and spending for the first half of this year.

May 15, 2017

We Finally Moved (and Finally Wrote About It)!

Photo courtesy of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance
You may have noticed the posts have been pretty few and far between recently. As usual, I have a good excuse--we have been super busy the last couple months, and the blog has been pushed down the priority list. Read on to learn about our big move and what's coming up.

March 19, 2017

New York on a Budget with a Baby; Part 3--Conclusion

In our last post we described our arrival in New York and the beginning of our adventures in the big city. This post will continue where that one left off and finish this series on New York.

February 17, 2017

New York on a Budget with a Baby; Part 2--Arriving in the City

In our previous post we described how we planned for our December trip to New York. Today we will tell you how the actual trip began. Unfortunately it didn't get off to a very good start.

February 7, 2017

New York on a Budget with a Baby; Part 1--Planning

Without much prior notice, I was told by my boss that I would be taking a business trip to New Jersey in mid-December. This was not my idea of a good time. However, it was some of the best news Chrissy ever received. You see, Chrissy had been bugging me to take her to New York for years, but I had no interest in going. This was her shot; with my travel being covered by the company, this was the best chance she had to convince me to see New York together. Of course, she had her way and I was able to extend my trip and spend a surprisingly fun long weekend in frigid Manhattan. Read on to learn about the planning of our frugal adventures in the Big Apple with our Little Nugget.

February 2, 2017

Why We are Selling our Old House

After purchasing our retirement home, we had to decide what to do with our current home. That decision was much more difficult than it would seem. The obvious solution would be to sell it, but that means dealing with an annoying real estate transaction and potentially paying realtors $40,000-50,000, which I can’t imagine doing. The other option, which a lot of people have been recommending, is to keep the house and rent it out. We finally decided to sell, and in this post I’ll explain why that is.

January 22, 2017

Andy's Goals for 2017

One of my (random) goals for the year.
I know it's a little late, but I'm finally posting my goals for this year. We've been incredibly busy getting our house ready to sell, so a lot of blogging has had to wait. Fortunately, the house is now on the market and will hopefully sell soon.  Anyway, read on for my goals for 2017.

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.