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


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.


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 »

Independence Day On A Budget: A Little Less Boom, A Lot More Fun


Turns out that hanging out with friends and loved ones is the key to a good time. It’s not how much you spend on fancy steaks and kebobs to BBQ. It’s not about getting far-too-up-their-own-butts microbrews that are infused with guava and honeydew. It’s really just about enjoying a warm night and laughter with those you love.


Blog Update: As a quick note, I am traveling to New York City this week on business. It’s a short 4 day trip, which means it will be long days in the office. Don’t count on posts all 5 days but if I do miss, I’ll try to make up for it with a zinger on Friday.

Also… I should probably mention now that I took last Friday off to recover from a 4th of July beer hangover, and to spend the entire day reminding myself why I don’t regularly consume beer.


I live in the United States, and every year on the 4th of July, my fellow patriotic citizens celebrate our hatred for tea by blowing our own fingers off in between chugging beer and eating processed meats.

I’m not sure that summary is entirely accurate, but it’s pretty damn close.

Now I’ve never been a big fireworks person. As a kid I found them boring, and as an adult, I can think of around a billion other things I need to be doing than staring up into the air to watch colorful lights.

My Dad was big into M-80s, but I really think it was more for the story of being able to tell his buddies he had illegal fireworks. I really don’t see how he could take any real pleasure in lighting a fuse and then sprinting in the exact opposite direction with his fingers buried up to the second knuckle in each of his ears.

At Disneyland when the fireworks would go off, my family and I saw it as an opportunity to get quickly to where we wanted to be. All we had to do was dodge a bunch of people staring up into the sky, and we could zip around the park with ease!

The point is that I’m not big on the booms or the bangs or the pows.Read More »

Living the Lake Life Lavishly… for Two Days

I could not be more focused on digging out of my financial situation right now, and these types of stories are exactly why. I want to get to a point in my life where not only am I financially secure, but I’m actually so secure that I can share with my friends and family.

Starting Credit Card Debt (01.01.19): $126,310.77
Current Credit Card Debt: $109,045.60
Total Paid Off: $17,265.17
Income Going to Savings: 2%

We had the pleasure of being invited to a house this weekend for a 2 day get-together of several families celebrating the end of our lacrosse season. The house itself was modest to say the least, but the lakeside location was not.

We spent hours on the lake yanking kids around on innertubes, grilling hot dogs in the backyard as we watched the wake lazily lap the dock, chasing frogs, and drinking (far too much) beer as we watched the sun set over the distant pines.

As the weekend progressed and I began to ask a friend about the dude graciously let us borrow his pad for the weekend, I found out it’s not even his main home.

“He’s got several properties,” I was told, “He’s a single guy, so he doesn’t worry too much about keeping them spotless, which is why this place is in need of a coat of paint. It’s also why it’s perfect for 15 lacrosse boys to goof around in without worrying about them wrecking the place. This is really just kind of like one of his bachelor pads, so he often lets us use it to take our boat out.”

Several properties? One of his bachelor pads? Of course my next question had to be, “What does he do for a living?”Read More »

Save the Children, Or At Least Teach Them To Save

You don’t have to spend every dime you make, and if you invest wisely enough you won’t have to worry later in life about making every dime that you want to spend.

Starting Debt (01.01.19): $124,310.77
Current Debt: $107,793.15
Total Paid Off: $16,517.62
Income Going to Savings: 1%

I was probably a spoiled kid.

Both my Mother and Father grew up with next to nothing. They lived humble lives in very rural environments, and they learned to work hard and make their own way in this world.

I was born into modest settings as well. Not long after birth, my father bought a piece of dirt and put a double-wide trailer on it. He had just started a trucking business, and took out two loans to pay for a new home for his family.

Hold up for a second…

There is the making of a really good country song in that paragraph. You’ve got trucks, a double-wide, and dirt. If I can figure out a way to retroactively add a rodeo in there, Garth Brooks has his new smash hit!


In my early years, we didn’t have much. However by the time I hit around 11 or 12 years of age, my Dad was making a pretty good living, and our quality of life improved dramatically. I had more junk than the average kid, and if there was something I asked my parents for, I usually had it in a relatively short amount of time.

You can call that spoiled for sure, but I truly believe that because both of my parents had very little growing up, they decided that their kids would never know that feeling of wanting something you couldn’t have. This is a totally understandable frame of mind given their childhoods and while it’s an incredibly wonderful position to be in when you’re a kid, what they didn’t realize by giving us everything they wanted is that they weren’t ever allowing us to get a taste of the struggle that they went through.

If I wanted a new toy (I was a big Transformers nerd), my parents didn’t say, “Well then save your money up and go buy your little Optavius Prime Rib then!” Instead they just bought it for me. As a teenager I didn’t have to save for my own car, instead they just bought me one. I didn’t have to pay insurance for it either. Hell, I didn’t even have to pay for my own gas!

Now let’s just record scratch this blog post for one second and make something very clear: I’m not for one moment blaming my current financial situation on the fact that my parents treated me awesome as a kid! I had it really well, and I totally get that.

My point is that I spent a good portion of my young life being trained that if I wanted a thing, I got that thing… and usually right away.

So now I move out on my own, and I get married, and guess what? It turns out all of those things cost money when you don’t have parents to give them to you!

Not only did I have to pay for all of the fun things, but I actually had to pay for really lame stuff too like electricity and food. OH AND GET THIS… I had to actually pay for the GAS IN MY CAR!

The reality of this set in, and I couldn’t cope. I still wanted to have fun stuff and I wanted to have it now. So I started taking out credit cards, and lots of them. I didn’t actually save for anything, but instead just took out high-interest loans and bought the stuff I wanted instantly. It was really easy!

We know that old Garth Brooks smash hit. I won’t sing it again… for now.

So as part of this journey out of debt, my wife and I have decided to help educate our children on what we’re learning as well. This means that my kids will be opening savings accounts, and that we’re actually going to ask them to save for things they want.

As an example, my son recently decided that he “needs” a cell phone. With our cell plan, we get a third line for free and can get a heavy discount on a phone. So we told him that if he saves for the phone, he can use the third line. He’s now putting money aside and meticulously tracking it so that he can purchase the phone.

I’ve also told him that a portion of the money he saves must go into a separate savings account or he can use it (with my help) to purchase some shares in companies when he saves enough. The point is that this percentage doesn’t get used for things like phones or other “necessities.”

My daughter is a bit younger and isn’t on the hunt for anything quite as extravagant as a cell phone, but she’s saving money too and will also be buying some shares of her own.

I want to slowly but surely engrain in my children the importance of saving money. You don’t have to spend every dime you make, and if you invest wisely enough you won’t have to worry later in life about making every dime that you want to spend.

Fellow parents, please keep this in mind as you raise your kids. Just because you can buy them lots of stuff doesn’t mean you should.