On the Road to Financial Independence I Traded My Muscle Car in on a Corolla

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I drove a muscle car for a long time because it fed my ego. I liked how people turned to watch as I drove by. I liked people (usually dudes) commenting on it when I was fueling up. I liked feeling powerful stomping on that pedal. So you would think I would regret a decision like this one.

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I didn’t wake up Wednesday morning and think to myself, “Hey, Dave ol’ buddy ol’ pal, you know that hot and totally rad Dodge Challenger you’ve got sitting in your driveway? You know the one with the 392 Hemi and that awesome shaker hood with the blower? Yeah that’s the one! Whadda’ ya’ say we trade that sucker in on the most practical daily driver we can possibly fine. Something like say… A USED TOYOTA COROLLA!”

And yet that’s exactly what I did.

I wouldn’t say it was a total spur of the moment decision. I’ve been knee-deep in financial independence books, blogs and Facebook groups, so I had slowly been coming around to the idea of buying something more practical for what is essentially a shuttle for me to and from work.

Yet when I arrived at work Wednesday of this week, I had no clue that by day’s end I would have traded the face-melting monster machine in on the face-massaging safety wagon.

We are in the midst of refinancing our house, because we could use the extra bit of change it will provide each month. (Don’t bother debating on whether or not that’s a sound decision. It’s already done, short of signing in two weeks.)

Our home loan agent called with closing costs, and I freaked out because they were more than we were originally quoted. Things escalated quickly, and before I knew it, I was chatting with an agent at a reputable Toyota dealer here in my neck of the woods about trading my car in.

I had just reached my breaking point in terms of being stressed about my finances constantly, and yet driving around in a car that costs me $40-$60 bucks a week in gas alone. Plus I didn’t actually go anywhere with it. 99% of my car’s use is driving me to and from work. That’s it. On weekends we mostly drive my wife’s vehicle. So why did I need a gas-guzzling, high insurance, high payment vehicle to do that?

Turns out I didn’t!Read More »

Site News: 100 WordPress Followers!

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Hey we hit another mini-milestone today! We hit 100 WordPress Followers to bring the grand total of awesome people following this blog up to 116.

I also had a post this week receive my highest number of likes to date. I appreciate that you appreciate my ramblings!

You all are awesome, and I really can’t thank you enough for the rad response I’ve received to the blog thus far. This post is a celebration, but also a quick reminder to all of you to make sure you take the time to celebrate all of your life milestones as well, both big and small!

If you haven’t subscribed yet, the link is in the righthand column over there, so what are you waiting for! [Just look for the dog with the cash in his mouth.]

Oh… and make sure you tune in tomorrow. HUGE financial independence news in my world, and a big step forward on my road to freedom!

Thanks again to all!

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A 44 Year-Old Man and His Love for Disneyland

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The Thursday Think Tanks are semi-random thoughts that may not necessarily fall directly into the category of finances, but I still feel are worth sharing. Read at your own risk!

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Disclaimer: If you’ve been following anything about Disneyland of late, you know that there has been some controversy over worker salaries and benefits with a Disney family member even speaking up on behalf of the park employees. I 100% believe that the workers should be paid a fair wage, and even above. The job they do of making that park function in a spotless and seamless manner is world class.

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I know I’m not alone when I say that I have a fascination with Disneyland. It’s obviously a mildly popular destination for families and Disney fans alike.

I will also say that I don’t believe in magic, at least in the traditional sense, but Disneyland is the closest thing I’ve found on the planet to a truly magical experience. It’s pretty gutsy to put it in your tagline, “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” but damn if they haven’t done everything humanly possible to deliver on the promise.

My first trip to Disneyland as a child was also my last trip to Disneyland as a child. For parents I had the one-two punch of a mom who hated animated films almost as much as she hated airplanes, and a dad who hated vacationing anywhere that didn’t have slot machines, black jack tables, and relatively few people. So each year he and my mom would go on their retreat to Reno and then as a family we’d go to places within driving distance like the Oregon Coast or Yellowstone. Great places to vacation no doubt, but they weren’t Disneyland.

So when the time finally came (meaning us kids wouldn’t shut up about Disneyland and finally wore mom and dad down), we drove from my house in central Washington State some 1,100 miles to the front gates of Disneyland. It was a true Wallyworld experience to say the least, complete with breaking down on a massive stretch of freeway in Central California, and being forced to spend the night in a cockroach infested hotel while we waited for our Chevy Blazer to be repaired.

The trip is relatively blurry now some 30 years later, but aside from remembering that we spent time at Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Universal Studios, I also remember one fact crystal clear:

We never fought or bickered once while we were in Disneyland.Read More »

The Road to Financial Independence – The Thrill of $9 Dollar Jeans

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I was determined to get a deal though. The deal bug was now crawling up my leg, looking for a nice juicy piece of flesh to clamp down on.

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Up until about four weeks ago, I wasn’t even aware of the entire Financial Independence movement. I may have heard the term thrown around on a post here or there, but overall the overall concept was about as foreign to me as people who don’t eat peanut butter on their hamburger. (You should seriously try it.)

As I started to understand what FI meant, I’m going to be honest that I went through some growing pains in my understanding of the effort. My initial thought was, “These just sound like a bunch of uptight tightwads that replace toilet paper with their read newspapers to save a buck.”

Slowly I began to realize though that my perception was skewed via the Facebook groups I was reading. The collection of posts all cumulated into a belief that every person on the group was cutting every possible corner that they could to save a buck, and I frankly didn’t like the sounds of that at all.

What in fact was happening was that each person on the group was making the money saving changes that made sense for them. Some were switching to LED lightbulbs in their homes, some were buying used cars to reduce loan length and cost, others were probably using newspapers on their backsides.

So I started to settle into this mindset instead. What were the things that made sense for me? I was frankly already doing a lot of things out of shear necessity, given our financial situation, but very quickly I got bitten by “the bug.”

We all know “the bug” I’m referring to. The bug is that thing that you kind of hate doing at first, but then it becomes a challenge, then kind of fun, and then an activity or action you extract great satisfaction from.

I got bit by the gym bug many years ago. At first, I hated the gym. I f*cking DESPISED the gym. Yet I kept going, and slowly started to enjoy it. Eventually I flipped the script and got to the point where I get really bummed if I don’t make it to the gym on a scheduled day.

With FI and frankly just being more frugal with my dollar, I was not a fan. I hated the fact that I had to actually start looking at price tags on things, and comparing, and shopping for the best deals. IT WAS A LOT OF WORK! I just wanted to grab the brand that I knew because it was familiar and walk out with it, even if it meant paying more because it had a “Swoosh” or similar well-know symbol stuck all over it.

And yet this past week I think I had a breakthrough!Read More »

Tuesday Tip Jar: Side Hustlin’ with Four-Legged Friends

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Welcome to another “Tuesday Tip Jar” where I will share awesome savings and financial tips as I find them. I might not have something for you every Tuesday, but when I do, you’ll find it here!

If you’ve got a financial tip you think others would benefit from, please send it to me via my contact page at the top of the blog!

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My wife and I absolutely love animals. Currently we own 1 Black Lab (Sylvester), 1 Chiweenie (Hoppa), 1 cat (Rico), 1 tortoise (Stormy), and 2 Hermit Crabs (Shelby and Bubba.) Previously we’ve owned lizards, snakes, bunnies, a pig, and many other dogs and cats. By the time I’m done writing this post we’ll probably have a guinea pig, because they are cheap and my daughter won’t shut up about getting one. I think we’ll also make the leap and get chickens next year. We’re all very excited.

Fun Fact: My 11 year-old son did *not* in fact name his pet tortoise after the pornstar/stripper/Trump buddy, Stormy Daniels, but thanks for asking! (I get asked a lot.)

As my wife and I looked for awesome side hustles to bring in some extra scratch, one of the options mentioned to me was Rover.com. Rover is a site that allows two things:

  1. It allows others to watch your pets for you.
  2. It allows you to become a pet sitter for others!

Their plan is relatively straightforward. My wife (who will be primarily responsible for the animals while I’m at work) filled out a simple questionnaire that asked things like if our yard was fenced, what dogs and cats we have, and what size of dogs we’d like to take care of. It took about 15 minutes to answer fully, and after adding a few pictures of her, our pets, and our home, we were off and running!

(You can sign up for sitting cats as well, which we did.)

The site allows you to offer the following services:Read More »