Staying the Course – A Tale of Money & Things

When I bought my car, I pulled a Bruce Hornsby, said to myself..There are Gonna Be Some Changes made. For anyone born after 1990, here’s the video.

So some of the changes:

  • Only ate out once this week, lunch and dinner included. Went out with a friend, spent $10.82 for dinner. Feel healthier since I eat salad at least once a day and have a ton less guilt. Do need to go food shopping soon though. Savings: Lunch – $40/wk Dinner – $80/week (some weeks it’s more but being conservative)  = $480/mo combined. Still leaving room to eat out on weekends, or go out occasionally and be frugal. 
  • Using Toll Road sparingly. I use a combination of the George Bush Tollway and Dallas North Tollway to get to work in the morning. It it $1.25 each way, I typically only take it to work in the morning and take the side roads back. Due to less overall traffic I end up losing less than 5 minutes commute time. Savings = 6.25/wk $25/mo
  • Strongly considering getting rid of one of the DVRs. There are 2 of us and 3 tvs. The tv in one of my rooms is only used about once a month. My Chromecast or computer can be used to watch video on it. Savings = $8/mo
  • Spotify – It’s $10/mo and causes me to go over the 5Gb of ‘unlimited’ data usage on my phone every single month without exception. XM Radio subscription in car is good for 3 months. I could sign up online but have read horrible things about SiriusXM’s customer service. It is integrated with my car’s stereo, but not sure I’d rather stream or do FM radio..
  • Cancelled Apple Developer Membership. I’d love to be a developer, but I lack the free time to reach the level of knowledge required to become one. There are also plenty of free courses online that I can use to get familiar with the basics, then reassess. Savings = $99/yr 8.25/mo.

All in all that’s about $530 in savings. Just need to make these changes now, less deliberation, more doing. That’s the Home Depot way. Ok I swear I haven’t lost it..

Talked to my friend who bought a fancy coupe recently. I was literally blown away by what he told me. His car gets 20mpg and his drive to and back from work is 30 miles each way plus an additional 250 miles a week in personal travel. So about 100/wk in gas He pays $100/mo in tolls, car payment is $600/mo. Total overhead (insurance, gas, tolls, car note) for his car is $1600/mo, not including depreciation or maintenance. Already in 3 months he put 10k in mileage on a brand new car.  He tried to trade it in upon realizing what a huge financial mistake he made but would only get half of what it was sold for. I couldn’t offer much words of wisdom and it wasn’t the right time / place for I told you so.

Moral of the story is sometimes people have fancy things but a whole lot of stress to keep those things. I could’ve made a similar decision to get a fancy sports car that wasn’t great on gas and not so practical for carrying passengers. Also my new car purchase didn’t boost my overhead much. Insurance went up $5 for 6 months and my payment is under 10% of my net income.

Suze Orman was right: People First, Then Money, Then Things, Now You Stay Safe. People meaning yourself because at the end of the day you are your biggest supporter or biggest enemy to financial security.

I hate ants


The more I think about it, the more I think moving into a townhouse is a good idea.  The latest chapter of events is a reminder.  We’re currently having a problem with ants. Ants fall below roaches and spiders on my freakout radar.  I killed about 300 of the suckers.  I’m not exaggerating either.  They crawled under our front door and were around the door, along the walls, on the kitchen counter.  I didn’t leave any food out.  An exterminator came and is coming again Wednesday.

Also got our electricity bill, it went up to 142 and it’s not even super hot out yet.  One of my friends with a house over 2500sq ft pays on average 100-120 for his entire place. a month.  Also got the paperwork for renewing our lease, which we won’t doing.  They want to go up from 1275 to 1295 a month, not including pet fee or water which adds on around $45 extra each month.  Our discount for the first year gone.  16080 for a year’s worth of rent.  In the words of Suze Orman… “I don’t think so”.

Don’t get me wrong, I like this place but it’s just a big money pit long term.  After 5 years out half our townhouse would be paid off.

Work is going well, my employer is okay with paying us some OT.  Quite an adjustment to go from my lower hourly rate NY job with a 30miles roundtrip commute, state tax, can’t work over 37.5hrs a week, working 3 saturdays a month, double the real estate prices and double the insurance premiums to Dallas job where I drive 10 miles, pay no state tax, work 40+ hours, and all everything else.  I think I see why a lot of people in NY area cranky.  Pay so much money out without so much to show for it.  Of course there are always exceptions…

I still ❤ New York and plan to visit in the next few months.  Really want to see Fire Island and Manhattan in between seeing family and friends.