Penny Wise, Pound Foolish? – Auto Insurance Renewal

Auto insurance is one of those necessary expenses in my opinion.  But at the same time I recently came to the conclusion that maybe I don’t need as much coverage.  You see I own a 2007 Honda Fit and it has been truly an amazing car.  It still runs really well but it is getting old and the age is starting to show.  It has some rust spots that have started in the wheel wells and the interior, although I try to maintain it, is also showing some signs of wear.  When you put this together with the mileage of 135,000+ it isn’t worth a whole lot.  After doing some calculations on Kelley Blue Book I determined my resale value is anywhere between $2,000-$3,000.  Now this car likely has many years left and I am not ready to get rid of it but it did make me think when my semi-annual auto insurance renewal came in this summer.  Is it really worth paying $355.83 every 6 months when the total value isn’t all that high?

My first step was to go to another insurance carrier to get a quote matching my current policy.  I was able to find something less expensive so my next call was to my existing insurance agent.  Although I might be able to move my auto coverage to another carrier there was a huge downside.  We currently have the property insurance for both properties as well as the auto insurance all with Allstate.  If I were to move my auto insurance to another carrier I would lose my multi-policy discount on the homeowners policies.  This difference was more than the savings I would receive for switching the auto insurance.  No go with that plan. Continue reading “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish? – Auto Insurance Renewal”

“Coasting” FI

I haven’t been blogging a whole lot recently as I have been trying to get out and enjoy life and be present in the moment.  Sometimes I spend a little too much time dreaming about the future that I forget to enjoy the present and what is right in front of me.  The past few months have been about improving myself, finding balance, and enjoying life.  After all, we need to make sure to enjoy life now and not wait until we hit our FI goals.

One of my many hikes this summer.

One thing I have been doing though when I have extra time is checking out the Financial Independence boards of Reddit.  A question that has been asked a lot recently is what if you want to leave your full time job but don’t mind working in some lesser capacity – what are your options?  This perfectly fits our lives and what we are striving for.  I hate being tied down to my desk 40 hours per week, often times bored out of my mind, but I don’t mind some work.  I actually think that working 3 days a week might actually be kinda nice as it would give me a little purpose, and also a little income.

I have discussed our plan previously but didn’t have any terminology for it.   Continue reading ““Coasting” FI”

Evaluating One Bad Month’s Numbers

I am going to be honest, July was a brutal month when I look at my spending and my resulting savings rate.  Twice per month I automatically transfer $250 to our savings account.  This helps to make sure that no matter what I am putting some money away.  At the end of the month I will transfer any additional money over into savings.  Well when the end of July rolled around I had no money left to transfer.  My heart sank a little as I looked at my dismal savings rate of only 26%.  Last year I saved an average of 42% of my take home pay and yet here I was saving only 26% of a much higher amount.  WTH?  Has lifestyle inflation really gotten the better of me?

When I got my promotion last fall initially thought I would be save almost 100% of of my raise which would amount to a nice little sum of money by the years end.  Yet it appears that lifestyle inflation has hit me a little as I am not saving as much as I should/could be.

Continue reading “Evaluating One Bad Month’s Numbers”

Fit FIRE

This spring my husband introduced me to the subreddit board for Financial Independence.  Although it seems the majority of those who post are males in the tech field (my husband fits this category) I have started to read the posts regularly.  Since it is much smaller than the Mr. Money Mustache forum it is much easier to manage.  I get too overwhelmed sometimes trying to find topics of interest when I go to the MMM forum so Reddit has been my go to recently.

In addition to the regular Financial Independence subreddit there are also a couple more specific pages.  There is a page for LeanFIRE which is for those who are trying to reach Financial Independence and Retirement (FI/RE) but with smaller budgets.  These individuals are trying to make it happen with $40,000 or less in expenses.  For many this means they might need only $1,000,000 in investments as a 4% withdrawal rate would generate enough income for these individuals.  Although I wish we could get our expenses down to that level it is just not possible where we live.  We live solidly in a medium COL area and our mortgage and property taxes alone are almost $18,000 per year.  No, we don’t live in an extravagant house.  Our home is a very modest duplex where the majority of this cost is covered by the rental income but still, it demonstrates that where we live is not cheap.  So as much as I would love to be after a LeanFIRE lifestyle it is just not realistic for us. Continue reading “Fit FIRE”

Our 4th of July Adventure

Mr. SFF and I had a fantastic long four day weekend for the 4th of July.  The rain finally relented on Sunday and we had three glorious days of weather.  The best part though was the evening of the 4th.  We planned an evening hike with a couple of close friends and boy, was it amazing!

4.6 miles with 2800 of elevation gain.

The four of us carpooled to the trail head and strapped on our hiking boots around 6:30 pm.  I love hiking but this was the first time I had set out for a hike when I would normally be heading home.  None of us had hiked this particular trail but based on research we figured it would be one of the most direct routes to the top of one of the highest peaks in our area, giving us a clear view of the entire valley. Continue reading “Our 4th of July Adventure”

Travel

Travel can be great…but it can also be such a pain in the butt. This past weekend Mr. SFF had a long weekend business trip planned to Florida and I got to tag along. The plan was to leave Thursday afternoon, work Friday and into Saturday if needed, then drive 3 hours to see my Memere (grandmother) for the night before flying back home in Sunday.

As we strolled in to the airport on Thursday afternoon everything seemed grand. There was literally no one in the security line, the terminal was brightly lit by sunshine, and everything we thought would go just as planned…until we sat at the end of the runway for seemingly no reason for at least 15 minutes (with no ac). This is certainly not great with only a 40 minute layover but we thought we should still have enough time since our gate was in the same terminal. Continue reading “Travel”

Loosening the Purse Strings

Since starting our journey to financial independence I have really tried to buckle down on non essential expenses.  I may have gone a little too extreme in some respects as I do of course still need to enjoy life.  A few weeks ago I posted on the Financial Independence boards of Reddit posing the question of what are others planning on retiring to.  I have this slight fear that I will be bored once I no longer have a full time job.  Some people found this question strange but being that I have a Type A personality who likes to have things neatly planned, this was an important question to me.

One of the things that I realized after reading all of the posts was that I had actually cut out some hobbies because they cost money.  One in particular is sewing.  I love being able to create things and sewing is one great outlet for this.  So this past month I decided I would loosen the purse strings a little and delve into some sewing projects.  I found a few free skirt patterns online that I liked as well as wanting to reuse a pattern for a dress I made 7 years ago.  With coupons in hand I headed over to Joann Fabrics to find some fabrics.  They had a few bins with fabrics up to 70% off so that is where I started.  I found two fabrics that would work well for two of the skirt patterns and on another sale rack I found two stretchy knit fabrics which were also on sale.    One I planned to make a colorful mini skirt and the other I planned for the dress pattern I have used before.

With a pile of fabric in hand I got to work.   Continue reading “Loosening the Purse Strings”

Fearing Older Car Repair Bills

I recently had a bit of a scare with my beloved 2007 Honda Fit.  First let me start off by saying I love my car.  I bought it when it was only a year old and never regretted it.  It has been so trustworthy and even though it has 128,000 miles on it I have had very few problems.  That was until we started to notice water INSIDE the car.  Yup, that is not supposed to happen.  And it has been a rainy spring.  So when we kept noticing water collecting in the rear passenger foot wells I called to make an appointment.

When it comes to water related issues, whether it is with a car or even a house, it can sometime be hard to diagnose.  This is due to the fact that water runs.  So you could have a problem in one spot but the water runs to a different place making it hard to find the actual culprit.

Initially we thought the water issue was due to the after market roof rack we had purchased which had damaged the seal at the top of the doors.  It turned out to be a good thing that I had to wait over a week for my appointment as one day when driving around Mr. SFF noticed a sloshing sound.  Low and behold after a little searching, he realized there was water the in rear, hiding in the compartment with the spare tire.  We then deduced that it was more likely a leak in the rear hatch and that water had sloshed into the rear passenger foot wells when going down a hill.  We removed the spare tire, tire iron and jack and pumped out this water and then had another week to evaluate.  I guess it was a good thing that it was rainy all week as we we able to note which side the water was at least running from.  We didn’t know exactly where it originated but we had at the very least narrowed things down a little.

A small puddle formed in the spare tire compartment after rain overnight.

Continue reading “Fearing Older Car Repair Bills”

Would a Shorter Work Week Do The Trick?

This whole journey towards FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) really has to do with changing our lifestyle and giving just just a little more time to play or do what we want instead of being stuck in the office.  Heading to the office five days a week, spending the whole time looking forward to those two days that make up the weekend, is just not a great fit for me.  Even though I get out at 4:30 every day I feel that most of the day is gone and between eating dinner and winding down for the day I don’t have enough time to do fun things.  My job is fine but I don’t love it.  And sometimes I end up mentally take the job home with me, making the day seem worse. Continue reading “Would a Shorter Work Week Do The Trick?”

Vitality – An Amazing Program!

For the past few years my employer has offered an amazing wellness program through Vitality.  Unfortunately in February my employer announced that they will no longer be offering this program after 3/31/17 because participation has been too low.  First of all, I am incredibly bummed that they are no longer going to be offering this benefit, and secondly, why were people not enrolled?!  This program was AMAZING! Continue reading “Vitality – An Amazing Program!”