And welcome back to week two of the new Budgets Are Sexy!!
It’s been a trip dusting off the ol’ keyboard and catching up again, and so glad so many of you are still here :) If you haven’t had a chance to re-introduce yourself yet, please do so!
I thought I’d share one more recap of changes over the past couple of years here to get fully caught up, and then later this week we’ll get back to “normal” blog posts again since that’s a lot of talking about myself :)
It really is amazing though HOW MUCH can change in just a short amount of time! Especially lately with the world falling apart all around us! My last posts before leaving were right as the pandemic was going into full force – EEK!
But while we can’t control everything that happens, we DO have more power in our lives than we give ourselves credit for. And regardless of what’s going on around us we can always find some nuggets of joy to appreciate.
Here’s a list of some of my very own, followed by some I’d rather see flushed down the toilet, lol…
Let me know if anything surprises you!
#1. We got a new dog! Or rather, my wife did. And she was sneaky about it… She went out “just looking” on her birthday two years ago, and then ended up bringing home the precious little thing “just for a day or two” to try out fostering…
But as many of you foster parents know, we “fail” at fostering more times than we succeed!! Lol… So she’s been with us now for a little over two years and makes everyone in the house happy (except possibly me – since I’m the one who has to feed her and walk her all the time! MUCH more fun having a dog as a kid when you can reap the cuddle rewards without any of the responsibility ;))
#2. I’m a whisky drinker now!! I never really paid much attention to it, but then someone gave me a bottle of Wild Turkey honey whiskey and by golly if I couldn’t put it down. I eventually started wondering what other types there were out there (Wild Turkey gets awfully sweet at times), and then did a binge sample tasting for an entire month to make sure I got the lay of the land, haha…
Turns out some of the more popular stuff I didn’t particularly enjoy (Bulleit, Crown Royal), but others surprised me like Southern Comfort, Hennessy, and Redneck Riviera?! I tried the whole gamut from $.99 bottles to $8 bottles and all different varieties of whiskey/bourbons/scotch/cognac and honestly the price didn’t usually reflect the taste, at least to me.
But I did get spoiled shortly thereafter when my brothers started bringing me their $80-$150 whiskies to sample and boy did that make a difference, haha… My favorites of the group was the Glenlivet 12 and Laphroaig 10 single malt scotch that tastes like a campfire in my mouth. 😂 So I usually sip on that weekend nights (they gave me a bottle for my bday!), but then stick to the cheaper – just as fine – stuff during the week like Jack Daniels or the more uppity Woodford Reserve…
Though I am far from being a whiskey snob, at least yet haha… Any whiskey is better than no whiskey if you ask me!
#3. I’m now a Cream of Wheat fiend!! Did NOT see this one coming! But with my mouth sores exploding all over earlier this year I was hard pressed to find *anything* I could devour that wouldn’t pain me, and Cream of Wheat came to the rescue (thanks guys, you looking for a sponsor???! Haha…). I now eat it every single morning – with honey, yum!! – and there’s some sort of comfort feeling attached to it which I just love.
I also started the habit of eating cut up apples with peanut butter every single afternoon (MmmMMmmMMmm), along with vanilla yogurt and granola in the evenings, and often followed by some tasty rice pudding – another thing that kept me alive during my illness.
Wait – AM I TURNING INTO AN OLD MAN???!
[About to lay the smack down on my 7 y/o!!]
#4. I’m a card player, again! Particularly Rummy! I saw a mom and her kids playing it earlier this year at the coffee shop, and thought it was the CUTEST – most wholesome – thing ever, so later that night I asked if my boys wanted to play and of course they were ecstatic :) Probably one of the funnest hours I can remember playing together, and they’ve become super good since too… So much so that I now don’t have to “fake play” anymore and can actually enjoy the challenge!
It’s also sparked some fun playing of other card games as well, such as War, 9-Hole Golf (a new one to me that even my 4 y/o can play!), and Solitaire. The best part? NO SCREEN TIME!
#5. I finally added a home Blogging Office! Interestingly we didn’t do any home improvements over the pandemic, but eventually I thought it was time to have my own blogging nook instead of working off the kitchen table as I have these past 3 years…
So I snagged my old Xmas Desk from the guest room that no one was using, found my old speaker system and wall art motivators in storage, and now we’re all set up and rollin’!! Really makes a difference too, psychologically – like I have the space to create and focus that’s all MINE… I swear I can type faster in my little corner too! 😂
#6. I now skateboard 2-3x a week! Which I know I’ve already mentioned 100 times, but couldn’t leave it off of the list since it’s been such a HUGE part of my life this past year and a half… Both physically and mentally – and socially!! I’ve probably expanded my friend network by a solid 20-30 people which I’d never have done otherwise, and it’s been such a thrill…
And while I’m still stuck on many of the basics of skate tricks (can’t get close to a kickflip AT ALL, but I can rock a good ollie and shove-it and more recently board slide (!!!)), it’s been a blast, and I’m getting particularly good at dropping in and skating down all sizes of *ramps* too – which is a nice break from “street” skating. Every new thing I land I feel like I’ve accomplished something!! Even though no one will ever know it! Haha..
#7. I’m obsessed with VANS!!!! 100% due to the skating, of course, but really had no idea how fun and comfy they were! I now have a half-dozen pairs of all kinds of styles and colors, one to match almost all my outfits ;)
In fact, it’s also been teaching me something I never knew though it makes total sense: If you wear a *different* pair of shoes every day, they wear out less and stay more “new”!!! So instead of always wearing the same one like I used to and then getting grungy fast, it feels like I’m wearing a new pair almost every single day because I keep swapping them out! It’s beautiful!!
And something I’m completely making an allowance for minimalism-wise too, because a) they make me happy! and b) I’m *using* each and every pair. And since I’m finding many at vintage shops “gently used”, they’ve been damn cheap too. (Also – Outlet stores!! There’s one at the beach we visit every year (Rehoboth, Delaware) and are all like 50-60% off – It’s amazing!!)
[Latest pair my brother just found me for $8.99:
Sk8-Hi “Aloha Yoda” – Star Wars edition (retails for $150+!!)]
Ironically though, I can’t skate in VANS at all – even though they’re literally made for skating, haha… I don’t know if it’s the souls or the way they fit or what, but they just don’t work for me so I only rock them around town and then switch to other shoes for skating… like Globe or Nike.
[NSFW song – “Fresh VANS” – D-Loc from Kottonmouth Kings (shout out to my Twitter friend I can’t recall the name of right now that sends me this link every time he sees me in VANS, lol… love it.]
#8. I’ve gotten into writing poems (!) – Not your typical ones about nature or philosophy, but more gritty, “raw” ones where you bare your soul of all secrets you’ve kept inside that you wouldn’t dare put out into tho the world but you do it anyways just for the thrill of it!! Haha…
And WOW do things come up that you’ve suppressed for many a years! I’m only in month #6 or 7 and had to take a break when I was sick, but when I’m there and pouring it out it’s amazing the things you find out about yourself…
For example, I noticed that many of my poems are about wanting to be “good” all the time but occasionally saying “screw it” and purposefully doing the opposite, even though it’s against my nature. And then there’s the turning point in my life where I realized you can basically do or wear whatever you want in life and it really doesn’t matter because there are no “rules” – only perceived standards! Deep stuff!! :)
Maybe one day if I’m brave enough I’ll compile them all and release them in small book format or something, but we’ll see… I have about 15 or 16 that are completed, and then maybe another half dozen that still need some work – ranging from interesting episodes in my youth to college escapades to lots about sex (!!) and then a little about love scattered in there too (but mostly around sex for some reason?!)
Again – stuff you usually keep to yourself!! 😂
#9. Launched a new site around financial merch! PF Swagger — “The hottest merch in finance” lol… I created it while waiting for All-Star money to launch to better promote the awesome $$$ shirts and hats and hoodies in our community, but then after a few months it kinda just stagnated and now only gets updated every now and then…
Although with the latest lineup of Budgets Are Sexy shirts I’ll have to get back to it cuz now I have my OWN merch I can promote – woo! WIN for building outlets that goes around to help yourself along with everybody else! :)
You can check out the site here PFSwagger.com
And in more financial news…
#10. We paid off our house! And I’m still waiting for the mortgage company to throw me a party, which I don’t think is coming?? 😂
We went back and forth on this for a while before pulling the trigger, but eventually the need to diversify more got us to finally do it (90% of our investments are in index funds), and then of course we knew slashing our recurring monthly expenses would feel pretty good too.
The greedy part of me wanted to just keep shoveling it into the market because I’m pretty sure we’d be up another $50k-100k or so, but at some point you have to be OK with “winning at money” and not needing to maximize every last dollar, right? Though it certainly didn’t stop some of my $$$ friends for poking fun at me as the run up in markets soared for the next year and a half!! Interestingly though they’ve been awfully quite these past few months ;)
#11. We (finally) got a Will and Trust set up – something that’s been tempting to take away my Blogger Card for the past decade!! And not gonna lie, it was a bitch to do and time consuming and boring, but it did force us to think about greater things like what happens to our kids if both of us die at the same time, or how we want our $$$ divided up later on and do we want the kids to be a certain age when they inherit it, etc, etc..
Probably took 3-4 months from start to finish (with one of those months me just not doing a thing because I didn’t want to deal with it!), but once we got going it was fine and we’ve even since amended it which was 1,000x easier (and cheaper) to do, so now it’s just a maintenance thing that you check in every year or so and see if anything needs to be updated.
I can’t recall exactly, but I wanna say it ran us around $3,000 and then maybe a few more hundred for some extra documents like power of attorney and medical forms/etc. Which also were helpful to consider since there’s more to dying than just a will!
(Oh, and we chose to do a Trust too so it’s easier – and faster/less hassle – when dealing with things later for the kids, and also stays out of the public eye. Though it meant more additional steps like re-deeding our house into the Trust and setting up more bank accounts for it, etc… Again, one time pains for long term gains! And 100% proud and happy with ourselves we finally did it, and of course only wish we did it sooner.)
#12. Speaking of death, I also bought a family cemetery plot!! HAH!!! Ironically on the *same day* I found out I was able to get the first Covid Vaxx shot too when they first came out and didn’t know if it was a sign or not 😂. So got my shot AND final burial place all wrapped up in one fell swoop – BOOM.
What made the plot extra special though was that it was in a cemetery that’s a favorite place of mine to visit and SUPER hard to get into (everyone’s dying too! Nyuck nyuck nyuck…) so the fact it even became an *option* was incredible news.
It cost us around $2,500 for the lot, and I plan on turning it into a “family” one where any one of my siblings or parents or kids can be buried there if they choose so we’re all in one spot. It would mean having to share a tombstone and be cremated to fit (it’s only 3×9 I believe), but hey – less decisions to have to make later and it’s already paid for!
I’ll have to leave it in my dying wishes to tell everyone on the blog where I’m buried so you can come pay your respects and pour out some coffee/whiskey on your homey ;)
#13. I finally sold my basketball card collection! Remember that from an old blog post where I wondered if it was still worth anything? :) Well it is/was! Not as much as they once were, but def. more than “the cardboard they’re printed on” that you hear all the time… At least if your collection is somewhat decent.
Towards the end of my collecting days (1995-1997) I decided it’s probably better to focus on one or two good players vs a smattering of them, so I chose the GOAT at the time – Michael Jordan – and traded/sold away everything else to just bank as many Jordan cards as I could… Better to have a focused collection than a random one, right?
I eventually ended up with around 200 cards I wanna say, including some extra items like magazines and newspaper clippings and even Wheaties boxes of Jordan to round it out, and then I had a dozen or two other rookies from other sports like Shaqs and Ken Griffey Jrs and even some less valuable older baseball cards from the 1950s I kept around for good measure.
You can see the pictures of all of them at OMG My Money if you’d like, which is another financial blogger who I learned hustles in sports cards and eventually accepted my proposal of taking them off my hands and selling for me!
The plan was for him – and me – to blog about the process since cards are similar to liquidating coins that I do for people, but life kinda got in the way and he ended up just buying the lot from me so we could wrap it up and then kept some of them and planned to sell the others…
We estimated them at around $500 retail, and he paid me a flat $350 which we both considered a win. And more importantly, they were now out of my basement and in the hands of others who could appreciate them!! Can’t ask for a better ending than that!
Some things that didn’t go so well the past couple of years…
#14. Covid. Ugh… We weathered the storm fairly well all things considered – no one got seriously sick! – but I quickly learned that staying at home for long periods of time did not do any favors to my mental state as an extrovert. I lasted an impressive year and a half staying away from shops and crowds and coffee shops (!!!), but eventually came back to them and now can’t even imagine doing it all over again?! Which I would if I had to, of course, but what a difference in mood and happiness now that we can venture out again!
And what a great reminder of how resilient and adaptable we are as humans too when we need to be. My kids were absolutely FANTASTIC throughout it, barely even complaining or noticing after a while (I complained more than they did!) and made it through a whole school year and then some virtually and still did relatively okay… They were much happier going back IN school again and seeing their friends, but still – couldn’t have asked for a better situation looking back.
Oh, and our big yard proved massively helpful too! Despite my (still) not really wanting our house, haha… (that’s for those of you who asked if I’ve come to enjoy home ownership yet – NOPE!! :))
#15. My sickness… I won’t go too into this as I already brain dumped on you last week, but since it is a part of my ongoing life now I do have to include it and it def. falls into sucky territory… There’s absolutely NO CURE for it (Pemphigus Vulgaris) and you literally just have to live with it and do your best to maintain your entire life!
But I *did* finally get on the schedule to start real treatments for it (a set of infusions called Rituximab, a monoclonal antibody medication that cancer patients also use) so that’s made me feel more at peace after waiting a month or so for insurance to approve it… It costs in the tens of thousands of dollars too, so thank GOD for insurance!! I’ll have to repeat this process every 1-4 years for the rest of my life 🙃
#16. Lastly, we lost some beloved family members and friends over the past couple of years as I’m sure y’all did too… My beautiful mother-in-law was a biggie who fought the good fight right to the end, and then recently some wonderful coin club members ended up passing which unfortunately is becoming more of the norm lately as it’s not a club for the young :(
Always so weird talking to someone one day about coins or something normal, and then literally the next day they’re gone as if it were all a mirage… Really reminds you how fragile life is no matter how much we don’t want to accept it!! We’re only promised today so get those Bucket Lists and “I love you’s” flowing while you can!!
And I think that’s enough for one day, haha… did NOT mean to put out such a novel here for you – sorry about that! I told you this desk gets my words flowing fast! :)
Later this week we’ll be back to the meat and potatoes of finance again… I’ve been sketching out a lot of good thoughts lately so I’m excited to share and get your opinions on them!
In the meantime, have a great start to your week over there, and feel free to share any major life/money changes of your own if you wish! A fun exercise to reflect on whether you share or keep to yourself :)