029R - The Friday Roundup

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0 - 15 Jonathan Mendonsa OK guys you made it to the weekend. Congratulations. This is your Friday round up and of course I have Brad here with me in the studio. And today we're going to be talking about the ideas from the week talking about this week's episode and really exploring this wonderful world of financial independence. How you doing Brad.
15 - 21 Brad Barrett I am doing well Jonathan Yeah everything's going well. Looking forward to the weekend for sure. What about you.
21 - 38 Jonathan Mendonsa It's been a great week. I actually do have some pretty cool news so my wife and I were able to use travel rewards to book a two week trip to Cape Town South Africa taking our infant son with us and it is going to be completely free. So that's a huge frugal windo I get the frugal winof the Week award for that.
38 - 43 Brad Barrett Aha. I think that is when so do tell what kind of points did you use. You know give us some info.
43 - 98 Jonathan Mendonsa So I have probably 350000 chase ultimate rewards points sitting in my account right now. And I originally was going to try to use one of their transfer partners. I'm a big fan of United. Thanks to Brad's input and and one of their partners is South African Airlines. And I tried to do that first but they didn't have a lot of availability and the redemption really wasn't as good as I was hoping for. So I kind of went back to the drawing board and since I have the sapphire Reserve which gives you a 1.5 cents per point valuation when you redeem it to the ultimate awards portal which makes it a great holding account for storing all of your points after you come to the end of the chase gauntlet. I was able to essentially just use that to book it and I ended up getting two round trip tickets for me and my wife and also my infant son as a lap carry for 128 thousand points. So it was yeah it was great. It was really cool. And we're just kind of as a family so it's going to be a wonderful time.
families, travelrewards
98 - 103 Brad Barrett Wow that is so cool. That's an amazing redemption. So 128000 you said.
103 - 119 Jonathan Mendonsa 128 thousand ultimate awards and it was actually interesting because I was bringing my son as a lap carrier. I had to call ultimate rewards to book the flight and the attendant was very impressed at the amount of points I had so I got some kudos from the ultimate awards people as well.
119 - 120 Brad Barrett That's amazing.
120 - 120 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah very.
120 - 242 Brad Barrett So. I remember we were talking about your redemption and yeah we looked through a bunch of options for actually transferring like you said. We figured that would be the best bet. But it wound up and this is for everybody out there listening. It's always important to really look at every possible option even if it's slightly unconventional. Right. So normally we would say Oh of course you want to use frequent flyer miles in the traditional sense because you're going to get a better redemption. Well that sounds great in a vacuum but until you actually prove out what it's going to cost you for a regular cash flight. Right like if you go to United dotcom or Travelocity or kayak or wherever it is and you need to get that price. So I think that is the starting point that's always my starting point is just get some ballpark sense of how much a round trip flight is going to cost. So you really have some idea like does it make any sense for me to use miles. So like Laura and I are actually trying to book a vacation for us to Mexico around Christmas this year. And I wound up seeing a flight that incredibly had Delta saver tickets from Richmond to Cancun which I was absolutely shocked by especially like around Christmas and Delta award availability. It was really unlikely but the flight was only going to cost $200 for that one way or they wanted. Seventeen thousand five hundred miles which is the saver level one way plus $51 in unavoidable taxes and fees that you have to pay the Mexican government. So I was only going to save $150 and I would've had to have spent seventeen thousand five hundred Delta miles so that's well less than one cent per point which is a terrible redemption. So I realized very very quickly that is not a good idea. So what we did when Jonathan was was looking this up was he just kind of eyeballed How much is a roundtrip flight from Richmond or DC to to South Africa and it was coming in. Right Jonathan somewhere in the vicinity of about a thousand dollars.
242 - 243 Jonathan Mendonsa Yes.
243 - 325 Brad Barrett So I mean that changes the calculus because you're going to spend for roundtrip on United to Africa from the U.S. it's going to be 80000 United Miles. And considering that on international award flights you do have to pay the taxes and fees to the country that you are going to. He was looking at probably about 100 bucks in taxes and fees for each round trip. So he was only going to net a savings of about $900 because it was about a thousand bucks less the taxes and fees. So $900 savings for 80 thousand miles. Now that's not an ideal way to spend your chase ultimate rewards points. But then the aha moment was oh wow I have the Chase Sapphire reserve I get 1.5 cents per point. When I book through the chase portal. So Jonathan just logged into the Chase portal search those flights and their search engine came back with something reasonable. And yeah I mean he was able to get it for 120000 for the two round trips and that's inclusive of taxes and fees. So it was only 64000 chase old timer awards points for each round trip and instead of the 80000 plus the 100 bucks in taxes going the standard method. So again that's a long way of saying you really do have to look at your options and just kind of think broadly as we always say here it's just look at a problem a little bit differently. So it's definitely getting that starting point of what is the cash price. So I think this is a pretty good illustration.
savings, tax, travelrewards
325 - 371 Jonathan Mendonsa Very cool and we don't normally start with travel rewards but I'm glad we. I'm glad we did today. And if you want more information on how I accumulated those 350000 ultimate rewards points go to our website ChooseFI dot com slash travel. That will show you all the information that we've collated to teach you how to do this yourself. And if you want to listen to our podcast which in my opinion nonbiased is one of the best resources on the internet for getting started with travel rewards go to choose F-I dot com slash 0 0 9. Or just go to Episode 9. That's our travel rewards episode and we will walk you through this beginning. to end so you too can be traveling the world for free or nearly free. All right and maybe we should start talking about this week's episode. The aspiring minimalist versus the reluctant frugalist. I think it came out really well.
frugalist, travel, travelrewards
371 - 415 Brad Barrett Yeah we got a lot of good feedback from this episode. I had a couple of people definitely say this was our best episode ever. And I know a bunch of people definitely appreciate the psychological aspects of FI and when we delve into those subjects and I know I'm out of the two of us I'm definitely the one that harps on that the most because I think the Psychology of Investing. I think the psychology of saving and saving for the future thinking decades down the road. This is not common. It's not difficult but it's not common. So whereas you see your neighbors spending money and buying new cars and buying expensive houses and clothes and things like that we're thinking a little bit differently. So to me the psychology is absolutely essential. And I'm glad that we touched on this and gave your different perspectives.
415 - 461 Jonathan Mendonsa And I will say that I am probably not the best person to unpack minimalism. I was I was trying to research it a little bit for this particular episode. I know that this is a growing movement and that it is a powerful one once you latch onto it and there are other podcasts that have really explored this now for several years. Books have been written about. I think there is even a documentary on Netflix so I'm sure there are better resources for exploring this concept in its entirety. But I think for the sake of what we were trying to accomplish this week which is give you a place to start with the quote unquote uninitiated someone that has not been exposed to FI before. It gives you a place to figure out how to start that conversation because if you can establish where someone is at it helps you figure out a strategy to get this thing going.
461 - 562 Brad Barrett Yeah I completely agree and as usual after these episodes I had a long talk with my wife Laura about the episode because she is an avid listener and she her point was about how to make this relatable for your spouse or significant other or just people in your life. And I think that is a crucial point. And we did touch on it a little bit but I think what she wanted me to emphasize was especially when you're trying to convince a spouse a lot of people hear the word retire and they get scared to death because it evokes this thought of sitting on a couch for 10 hours a day watching NCIS reruns or something and just not having any value in life essentially just kind of sitting there wasting your life away. And that is not a pretty picture for people at all. And there's no easier way to get your significant other turned off from a conversation than by leading with this retirement concept because they think that really is just so loaded with negative connotations. So for me it's about that thought of we're a team and we can become wealthy for our entire lives and for generations to come. Plus the added benefits of having this wonderful happy life where we're working together we get to spend more time together we have a common goal. It's not just two people kind of getting through the week or month buying this and that to make you happy for a short term. This is about long term existential happiness really. And that to me is how I would lead this conversation. And we do get a lot of questions of how do you talk to your spouse or significant other about this. And even though we just talked about it on Monday I really did want to emphasize this because I think it is so crucial.
562 - 577 Jonathan Mendonsa So Brad. I'm curious as a an aspiring minimalist and in general someone that believes that less is more. Tell us what are the things that you splurge on. That money is no issue or that it is a backseat to quality. What is it that you're willing to drop the dollars on.
577 - 701 Brad Barrett Well that is a good question. I I will answer that in a minute but first I just want to say like the aspiring minimalists I think the more that I've thought about this the more I I'm not sure that I fit in to that definition by any means. As evidenced by our conversation on Monday right it's there are all these little rules that require you being a minimalist. I'm not sure that I fit any of this it's but to me it's more of this mindset of I don't I don't buy things just frivolously. I don't really like buying anything or even owning anything. Like we've kind of joked about before. My ideal scenario in this alternate universe would be to basically own a suitcase were the clothes and a laptop. And that's pretty much about it. That would be kind of like in my alternate Bizarro Universe that would be about what I had so possessions don't give me any satisfaction per se but what's interesting and again I will get back to your question Jonathan but I've had this really fascinating back and forth conversation with one of our listeners. He's a doctor. His name is Bo and we think very very similarly. And he actually added something that I thought was fascinating. And he said I'm going to read his entire e-mail here and. I just listened to your latest podcast frugalist versus minimalist. I enjoyed the dichotomy and identified with both, but it got me thinking I think I am and you may be too. Neither a frugalist nor a minimalist but a valueist. Isn't that what life is all about anyhow. Value. This might be why so many fire people don't fully retire. If you get value out of your work or you value getting paid for a side hustle then so be it. If you value having as little material possessions as possible minimalism then so be it. If you value frugality and are motivated by a sense of scarcity so be it. Valueist and I think that is really cool and it just kind of hit me. It hit me pretty hard that that I think that is what I am truly and it's funny because I've always used that term in my head and I buy what I value. So to me it's not about a price tag and it's hard to even verbalize how I arrive at this value.
frugalist, frugality, hustle, mindset, valuist
701 - 706 Jonathan Mendonsa It must be so frustrating to host a podcast and not be able to verbalize something.
706 - 749 Brad Barrett It is indeed. Believe me man I wish I could do better for the audience but I have to say when it comes to a purchasing decision I never think in terms of scarcity. I never think in terms of oh I don't have the money or Oh I don't want to spend hundred dollars on that. Because at the end of the day that small fry is like nothing I'm buying it's going to move the needle that much in terms of a percentage of net worth for any or even monthly income or anything like that. But it's do you get some sense of value out of this. And I do have my own arbitrary sense of what that is and again as you can tell by me kind of stumbling over my words here. There's no succinct way to describe it but valueist is definitely how I look at it and I'm going to adopt that term from BO.
networth, valuist
749 - 757 Jonathan Mendonsa Did that exist before Bo sent that to you if I were to type up valueist Is there a whole web site or a blogosphere dedicated that concept or did he just make that out of thin air.
757 - 762 Brad Barrett I believe that he made it up out of thin air. We can certainly Google it after all the podcast.
762 - 770 Jonathan Mendonsa It shall be googled no doubt about it that appeals to me as well. It really does feel like it brings those different mentalities or concepts together.
770 - 832 Brad Barrett Yeah. Absolutely does. And you know to try to double back to your question before it's in all honestly I don't buy that many items. So I'm not sure that there's anything that I frivolously waste money on. I mean I think one thing that I am very open to spending money on is for my health and fitness and that's just become certainly much more so in the last year and a half two years where I've really made a focus on my on my health and fitness in general. And I'm in better shape now at 37 than I've ever been in my entire life. Even when I played soccer in high school and so I'm definitely not shy to spend money like I mentioned on a recent episode. I just joined CrossFit and that is not cheap by any means. It's going to be probably a couple thousand dollars or a little less than that. After all I haven't done for a year. I mean that's a crazy amount of money and it kind of freaks me out. Just say it out loud. But but I am loving it and it is certainly going to get me in great shape. I love the camaraderie. So I don't have an issue with that. I guess that would be what I spend money on without even thinking about it. Is health.
fitness, health
832 - 937 Jonathan Mendonsa Brad. I love what you and Bo were talking about with the the whole valueist scenario and we got some feedback from some people in our Facebook community and I think just for the sake of thoroughness and completeness it's important to round out this discussion. We approach this from the perspective that we wanted to broaden the F-I umbrella and we wanted to give people a way to talk to their spouses. But while we were talking about the differences between the aspiring minimalist and the reluctant frugalist they certainly do have much in common and we could have just as easily done a whole episode on the commonalities of those two approaches. And so Christopher message us and he said first I love the podcast. Please keep up the good work you're bringing a lot of value. He said I feel like you set up something of a false dichotomy in the last podcast. Frugality and minimalism are not mutually exclusive. It's possible to be both. Minimalism is not a monolith. There are lots of ways to be a minimalist and some of them could be very spendie. I think the two philosophies support each other nicely and Jessica said she just wanted to add she's not a fan of all the rules described in our particular podcast. She said there's no such thing as a true minimalist. You don't have to own a certain number of things. Get rid of a certain amount of things in a timeline dress a certain way or spend a certain amount of money it misses the whole point entirely. Minimalism is a process. There is no destination it's a journey it's discovering what is most important to you. Activities possessions people and continually focusing your resources on them time attention money. It's uncovering your values and aligning your life with them. I think that that is great perspective that I do not disagree with in any way. And so just for the sake of putting it out there there are certainly many different ways to tackle any conversation or any topic that you want to have. And I love that we could take an extra second to come back and bring in some other people's information and input into this conversation.
frugalist, valuist
937 - 1043 Brad Barrett Yeah agreed. I think they were both very value added comments for sure. I agree with Jessica entirely that these arbitrary rules. They just they feel wrong. To me it just doesn't sit well and if that again is what's required to be a minimalist then I'm out basically because I just don't like arbitrary rules that have no basis in anything but I liked her focus on it being a process being there's no destination it's a journey. So I wholeheartedly agree with that and I think that is where my quote unquote aspiring minimalism comes into this show. To me it's just about the thought process of trying not to just be overburdened by stuff in the house all the time and just really get to what's essential gets what we use. So that definitely rang true. And yeah. Christopher Hopefully we didn't intend to set up a false dichotomy by any means and it wasn't like some kind of crazy click bait like oh the aspiring minimalists versus the reluctant frugalist. But so. And I agree that these are very very similar and they dovetail nicely in and that's the thing we're just trying to trying to explain more and more than anything here that Jonathan and I approached life very very differently. But it's very similar at the end of the day. That's the funny thing we have the same ultimate goals. We just have a slightly different perspective and there's nothing wrong with that. I think that's the crucial point for the audience to understand is that you can approach almost any of this stuff with what you value and what is important to you. So at choose FI at least there are no rules that make you in or out. This is about just being a little bit smarter and just getting a little bit better really in every aspect of your life. That's that's how I approach my life and my FI journey.
Brad_Catchphrases, frugalist
1043 - 1095 Jonathan Mendonsa I love that I want to say though and I hinted at this at the end of the episode I would have never in a million years or at least in 31 years of my life considered myself even willing to contemplate minimalism until right now this year and it has gotten more and more appealing to me and so I'm going to make this announcement in a few weeks and I'm not going to tell exactly what it is. But it's very exciting. It has to do with 1500 days and FFLC and I'm to leave it there and I'm going to play this message that we got from Jeffrey and I wanted to set the stage because I'm actually planning on doing a version of this challenge and maybe it's something that somebody else in our audience can benefit from as well because I think if you find yourself wanting to be a minimalist in training sometimes you just need a place to start and you're ready to do what. Brad did and create some sort of Oasis in your life that maybe you're willing to be what Jeffrey is going to call a minimalist in training at least in the short term and so let me go and pull up this voicemail. Hang on just a second Brad.
1095 - 1196 Jeffrey - (voicemail contributor) Hey guys love the podcast calling in response to your most recent episode on minimalism. Before joining the FI community I consider myself an aspiring minimalist. I think there's a lot of core values that are similar between the two communities. One of the things that sort of one of the hacks that I've used over the years is curating my closet and what I mean by creating my closet is only having a closet with the essentials that I deem worthy of keeping and I feel like the best on me. This is also a good practice. Now I don't have to really deal with the paradox of choice waking up the morning spending 20 minutes 30 minutes trying to decide what to wear. Now I can spend my mornings doing things that are more meaningful to me like drinking coffee listening to a record or with some music reading a post listening to a podcast maybe doing some light exercise. It really clears up my morning so when I leave the house I feel like I'm starting my day off and on a good note. So anyway the way the hack works is this In over 30 days what you'll do is you'll go into your closet you can pick any day and purposely turn every hanger around in your closet. Now when you start what you'll do is you'll just go into your closet normally and just pull out the things that you use on a normal week or day. Whatever the case may be you'll wear those things to a conclusion and then you'll put them back on the hanger and put them back into your closet. The normal way you'd put a hanger. Now you'll continue to do this for 30 days and it includes 30 days what to do as you look in your closet and you'll just sort of look to see OK where are the hangers the hangers that are put in the regular way or the items that you'll keep and those that are not or in the irregular fashion of things that you've not touched are to be discarded donated or sold. Cause they haven't thought about 30 days chances are you won't touch it for another 30 days and it's sort of taking up space.
1196 - 1325 Jonathan Mendonsa And Jefferey actually posted on her Facebook community group and he says can't even begin to tell you how liberating it is to wake up in the morning and select your wardrobe in less than a minute I no longer have to deal with the fatigue of choice. And I'm also confident in my wardrobe since it only includes items that provide comfort and in my opinion make me look at my personal best. Now just to set this up in contrast he says Alternatively my wife Feaver Ashley spends 15 to 20 minutes trying to decide what to wear and often changes her wardrobe at the last second. I used to lecture my wife on the issue but it made very little progress once I made the changes. And my wife started to see how simple my mornings were. She started to make the small simple changes herself. There are so many amazing points to pull from this post and one of the biggest ones is instead of just talking at somebody model it for them that's what he did. So instead of just trying to convince her with logic he actually just went ahead and did it himself and she was able to see the benefit for his life and then make a decision based on that instead of just someone shoving his ideas at her. And I think that's messaging that you don't need to confine to this one particular conversation. I think that's a tool that you should absolutely be considering. Any time you're trying to convince somebody of something. Don't just talk the talk walk it model it model it for people. That is powerful and Brad. I have three closets of clothes that I have just been accumulated. They may not even fit anymore frankly but I've just been terrified to get rid of them in the off chance that I might actually need them at some point down the road or that they will fit again at some point down the road and then I wouldn't want to have to repurchase them. There's probably like less than a 10 percent chance that I wear 30 percent of those clothes ever. But my frugal brain didn't want to risk wasting money was unwilling to go through those closets and claw that stuff out and actually donate it or get rid of it. That ends now I'm tackling it doesn't mean I project for middle of August I'm going to do this and Jeffrey and anybody listening that's interested I'll report on that at the beginning of September. I fully anticipate to have decreased my wardrobe by 30 percent starting in September because of this episode and how empowering that message was.
1325 - 1330 Brad Barrett Wow that's really cool. Let me just stop you you have three closets worth of clothes. Is that for real.
1330 - 1349 Jonathan Mendonsa It's like painful dude. I just can't throw stuff out. That's bad. Wow. I don't know if it's like it's just I'm not sure I'm sure it doesn't look good if it fits would be probably horrible but it's just yet still there. But I've got a great deal on it so it is OK. Yeah. It was 25 and. It was twenty five percent off man.
1349 - 1366 Brad Barrett Wow that's crazy. Yeah I've definitely gotten rid of the vast majority of my clothes. I could easily fit them in one little dresser at this point. But yeah you'll enjoy that process because you'll you'll find that realistically if you said 30 percent you're probably wearing 10 percent of that stuff on a yearly basis.
1366 - 1367 Jonathan Mendonsa Oh 5 percent dude.
1367 - 1480 Brad Barrett Yeah. But yeah the one thing that I like Jeffrey mention I no longer have to deal with the fatigue of choice. I did kind of allude to this in the prior episode and I'm going to link to the Wikipedia entry on decision fatigue. This is definitely if you don't keep up on psychology and the latest research you probably haven't heard of this but this is like an actual real thing and actually I just I'll just read the first paragraph here in decision making and psychology decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making and that can even be this is my own editorial here that could be like a day. So it doesn't have to be a session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational tradeoffs in decision making. For instance judges in court have been shown to make less favorable decisions later in the day than earlier in the day. And it says decision fatigue may also lead to consumers making poor choices with their purchases. So yeah I mean clearly I think it benefits your brain to make as few decisions as you have to especially on just the background stuff of life. So try to take decisions out of the breakfast you eat especially early in the morning have a morning routine. I know I have a routine every morning where I get up I stretch I listen to the headspace meditation out for 10 minutes. I read a book just do these things every single morning and I know exactly what my breakfast is. I know essentially exactly what I'm going to wear that day because it's just a pair of athletic shorts and a T-shirt and and I don't have to make a ton of these crazy decisions early in the day because I know it's going to make me if I had to do that it would make me less mentally agile later in the day. So this is a real thing as bizarre as it sounds if this is the first time you're hearing about it. But definitely try to cut out just some of the needless decisions in your life if you can. And I guarantee you it will make a big difference.
1480 - 1493 Jonathan Mendonsa It's so good that I feel compelled to actually finish this up. Jeffrey provides the tips on how to completely get rid of 60 percent of your wardrobe and feel good about that decision coming away with it and so for step 2. Let me go ahead and play the last part of this voicemail.
1493 - 1614 Jeffrey - (voicemail contributor) So now step two is to take the items that you did keep and to do what I call an aesthetics check now what I mean by that is pick either a Saturday or Sunday or any day you deem suitable and just try every item on that to have remaining look in the mirror and just really be honest with yourself and ask yourself Do I truly love this or do I not truly love it. You look in the mirror and you say to yourself Oh it's a nice shirt but it doesn't quite fall right or it's expensive. I mean a lot of us hold on to things because we feel it's a good value where we paid a lot of money. And what it does is it really promotes no joy. And we're just holding on to try to get some type of return on that initial investment. And you have to get that out of your mind to just discard it. And at the conclusion of that 30 days if you go through the aesthetics check and the 30 day gain you'll find out that you have a finely curated closet of only items that you feel look good and feel good in. And then also when you wake up when you have limited choices it literally takes me about a minute to pick what I'm going to wear. Oh it's 80 degrees short sleeve shirt and my brown slacks Oh it's cold oh brown slacks. Let's use one of my sweaters. So it just makes my life so much easier. Now from a financial standpoint it's also beneficial seemingly because I purposely decide what I bring into the closet I don't bring in trendy fashion or things that I can use over a long period of time. I don't buy sale items that are regular. That may be good but they there's a reason why they're on sale that are regular. Maybe there's a button that's off or a screen that's a little longer or maybe it's a little bit tighter around one part of the body and it doesn't look very flattering. So I've eliminated that and I can pretty much confidently say over the last year I've probably spent less than three dollars in total and buying or bringing in new clothes. The only time I've spent money is maybe taking a shirt that I bought previously and got a little bit tattered and I replaced that exact same shirt discard that and I have a new one. Love the podcast. Look forward to the upcoming episodes. Thanks a lot.
1614 - 1674 Brad Barrett Yeah that √¶sthetics check that he mentioned is definitely rings true to me. I know there were shirts that I used to love that I had in my wardrobe that I would wear once a week or once every other week that I put on recently and they just don't feel right for whatever reason they just sit wrong and I'm not especially vain person or anything like this. But but I think a lot of these T-shirts that I that I mentioned to you guys last episode about how half my wardrobe is basically from free shirts I've gotten from fincon and these companies go all out they buy these really good material shirts like the 50 50 shirts from American Apparel and and they just fit well you just feel good when you're wearing them. And my old shirts that I actually had some attachment to. I got them in Hawaii on my honeymoon or something like that. I wear them now. And they just don't they just don't feel right. So at this point I'm not wearing those shirts anymore and I've really donated essentially all of them. So at this point honestly my entire wardrobe is free shirts from Fincon which Jonathan you can certainly attest to.
1674 - 1684 Jonathan Mendonsa He does indeed it is Fincon and choose FI gear and that's about all I've ever seen him wear. In the one and a half plus years that we've known each other.
1684 - 1688 Brad Barrett And you will see them for the next 10 years because I stock up at function every year.
1689 - 1776 Jonathan Mendonsa This year right. Double dipping. Jeffrey thank you so much for sharing that with our community. I personally have received value from that information and plan on implementing it. Very much appreciated. Thank you everybody for posting your feedback on this episode. Most of these ideas come from our Facebook group. And if you want to join that conversation you can go to choose FI dot com forward slash Facebook. There's a simple opt in form and we will send you the link to the private Facebook group and you can join the community. This is more and more of the resource that we're relying on to figure out how we can make this message even better and more applicable to the life that you're living and your specific scenario. So we want and need your feedback in order to make the show even better. So thank you for participating in that dialogue. So a book kept popping up on our Facebook community group this week. And Joe was the first one to mention this. And this book is called The Life changing magic of tidying up the Japanese art of de-cluttering and organizing. He says that on Sunday him and his wife started this method. So this episode was very timely and the focus of it is to tidy up and do so in two phases and it really walks you through this process and kind of changes your mentality it gives you permission that you may not have felt that you had to discard all the old stuff that you're hanging onto. And that sense of freedom is constantly what we refer back to in the FI community. So we'll link to that book in the show notes someone was saying there's actually a free version of that audio book on YouTube that you can listen to. So maybe that's something that's worth checking out as well.
1776 - 1809 Brad Barrett Yeah I've read that book a couple of years ago when it came out and it definitely resonated with me for sure. I know it's sold millions of copies so this is extraordinarily popular book. There were a couple of things and we saw some of these comments in the Facebook group where there are a couple of things that are a little hokey about it where it's about like literally like talking to your clothes and like seeing what sparks joy and if you can get beyond that and I'm not trying to minimize the message by any means or make fun of it because you know there are people that certainly get a ton of value out of every aspect in this book.
1809 - 1810 Jonathan Mendonsa Including talking about your clothes.
1810 - 1847 Brad Barrett Yes. Including talking to your clothes but if you can. Yeah I don't want I don't want to ever needlessly make fun of people but if you can put that aside like if you happen to be very skeptical of that like I was you can still get a ton out of this book so don't pick it up. Read the first chapter and say oh this little weird. It's got a great message and I know people who have literally donated 20 garbage bags worth of possessions after reading this book. I mean it changed their entire lives. And I would highly recommend grabbing it from the library I guarantee you they have a copy or multiple copies at your local library. And we will link to it in the show notes just so you have the author name and the title.
1847 - 2039 Jonathan Mendonsa So Brad I think that there is room to make just a very slight pivot here because the entire episode was predicated on the idea of how do you start this conversation with a spouse or significant other. And while that's extremely valuable and applicable to everyone that's listening to this podcast there is another angle to this that we could have easily made another pitch and that is how do you have this conversation with friends and coworkers and what do you do when you start to get blowback. And we're going to riff off this and kind of talk about our own experiences. But I think it's important for me to go and point out that what inspired this for me was an article that came out earlier this year that I just saw on Twitter within the last couple of weeks by Mad Money monster he linked to it in the show notes Mad Money Monster.com. But this article was called early retirement resistance when friends pushed back and I've really enjoyed her blog I've read a bunch of her articles that have popped up on Twitter over the last several months. And this particular one was dealing with this idea that she's still in her job she's working towards FI and she has to hide this aspect of herself. And when everybody got their bonuses and they were talking about how they were going to spend it at that particular time of the year it was a great conversation but when she said that she was going to take her bonus and use it to max out our 401k. Dark clouds across the sky blocking out the sun. Right. And she realized that just by saying that she had kind of put herself on the other side of an invisible line and she actually got some blowback for some team members and it was hard for her to understand why that had happened and also how to grapple with how to avoid that going forward. I thought this was a really interesting conversation. So we'll link to her article in the show notes so that you can read the entire article. Very very interesting story. And so we're both going to tackle this both from the construct of work and also friends. And I'm going to start just by talking about it in the context of work I learned somewhere along the way. I'm a very open guy who comes through on this podcast there was no alias needed. I don't have a moniker I'm very much in the open even though I'm still at work. Having said that I am cognizant of the fact that there is an invisible line there and in the work force when everybody else is talking about their watercooler show and you change the conversation and talk about your plan to retire. Not in the unforeseeable future. The 20 year 40 year timeline. But in the now in the five 10 year 15 year plan and you start making these unconventional choices like taking your money and instead of blowing it on stuff you're maxing out your 401k. I think that there is very much room for negative blowback if it's done the wrong way. And I think that it requires some discretion. I think it's very easy to have this conversation. I think she found this out in the article as well if you can capture someone's mind as they're just starting the job. It's very easy to act as a mentor and they will buy that entirely. But when you're talking to someone that's been at their job for 20 or 40 years and they've already made their choices and they're kind of locked on that hamster would help Physician on fire's been calling it the hedonic treadmill that's a much more visual image. And I've got to say it's a better phrasing but I'm going to stick with the hamster wheel. But that person has already made those decisions to a degree. They are going to feel judged by your decision because you're making a different choice.
2040 - 2049 Brad Barrett So have you actually had this conversation with anyone in your real life and face some either blank stares or any of that blowback that you're talking about.
2049 - 2112 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah I think this is this is the difference. So my job and I'm essentially the boss of my team. I am the upper management and so to some degree when I'm talking about these concepts I can say it without fear. You know if I go about it the right way and I don't overly expose myself but to some degree I can go ahead and say this stuff I will say though that I would not say this stuff to my upper management I feel like there would be some very real damage to your career by putting this information out there too soon. I think it does put you in an adversarial role. From a management looking down perspective I'm thinking about it in terms of annual reviews and thinking about it in the context of raises bonuses. All of those different scenarios and I think it puts you in a negative place for just from us from a management looking down on you perspective. I'd love to get ESI's thoughts on this actually I'm sure that if he were your boss that would probably be a great boss to have but for your normal run of the mill management I could see them viewing an employee that had this mindset as a threat because you're essentially if you corrupt other people with these ideas.
2112 - 2148 Brad Barrett So meaning the concept of I'm going to retire in five to X number of years as opposed to hey I maxed out my 401 K and I save my money in Vanguard like is there some you know I guess A I'm looking for some clarification on that and B like is there space to subtly inform people about the real pillars of FI without ramming it down people's throats of oh I'm going to retire in seven years when they might that might be such a foreign concept to them that they just recoil and just don't listen to you really like so I guess just give me some more information.
2148 - 2238 Jonathan Mendonsa Well to put it simply in terms that the fi community understands if you empower a bunch of employees with F-you money that's not always a good thing for upper management. I think that you need to start in the right place so I think you probably would want to start with more of the Dave Ramsey approach with your peers. The idea of pursuing being debt free I think that's a completely fine non-controversial conversation to have. Talking about your financial freedom clock and talking about not having the burden of student loans and consumer debt hanging over your head I don't think there's any controversy there. I think that that's a conversation you can have. You don't really need any discretion in order to start that conversation. I think that in that context you can also talk about starting to max out your 401k I think that's probably fine. If you've If you're talking about that after you've already had the other conversation talking about pursuing being debt free but I think once you start moving past and you start talking about financial independence and early retirement I think that you need to be very cautious with how you have that conversation in the workforce especially with the with your upper management. I think that 1500 days to some degree may have felt that because he was keeping that under the belt and essentially using an alias on his Web site I think people that are in the workforce right now and that are talking about financial independence for the most part they're using monikers. And I think that they sense that as well that there could be some negative blowback talking about this idea of Fi because essentially what we're talking about is if you're really exploring what your passions are and putting all your time and your energy into developing that something's got to give. And it might be your job.
401k, college-loans, debt, ramsey
2238 - 2427 Brad Barrett Yeah I think there's a lot of validity to that certainly and I think people rightfully can be a little wary of mentioning this at work. Certainly as overtly as that I think just like anything in life you have to you know your audience and you have to know your relationships. So like for me at my old job before I left a couple of years ago there was one person who was nominally my boss so he was definitely my the person I reported to but he was also my closest friend at work and I knew that he was very financially savvy and we just had a ton of fun talking about a lot of this stuff over a course of five to seven years and just kind of comparing notes. But it was never like oh I'm going to retire at 39. So that didn't come into it. Not that it would have been awkward but maybe and maybe frankly that wasn't even in my plan don't know. I don't know that I had a particular date but if I did I don't know that we necessarily would have talked about it on that level but whereas I easily spoke with him I would not have talked about this as openly with the part you know the V.P.. The next layer up we talked some financial things and I think he certainly knew I was pretty savvy but I don't think I ever mentioned any of these five blogs or anything like that. So you have to know your audience. And I think I think that's also how I've been able to turn some of my friends on to FI. Just in the last four or five months. Since Choose F-I has been around like I had mentioned on on previous episodes I kind of stepped outside my comfort zone a little bit and not that it's self-promotion. But I wound up telling my friends about this podcast because I think I think it resonates with regular people and I think it's a good intro to this concept. Jonathan you and I consider a life superpower so to deprive people of that almost seems like especially people who would be open to it. It just seemed needless. And I did step outside my comfort zone and did get in touch with maybe five to 10 friends who I knew had some level of financial savageness and interest and maybe even saved some money know just these kind of little things just that I've picked up over the course of knowing them for years and years and years. So again know your audience just any anywhere in life like if you talk to the guy next door who just bought two new BMWs. And you see they're wearing offensive clothes and going to you know Tahiti every year. Well maybe that's not the right person for the message right now. So I think it's just finding those people who might be open to it. And then once you have a handful of people in your social circle or your work who are interested in FI. Well then you start talking about it around the table and other people over here. You know there's a way to slowly get people involved in it. So I think I would probably be my method. But to walk up to the proverbial water cooler and say hey guys I'm saving 70 percent of my income and I'm going to retire in four and a half years. Well of course they're going to think you're crazy right. Like you're just asking for it. So if you go about it with the wrong strategy you're going to get the wrong answer. In summation. Know your audience and pick and choose the people that you think would be open to this.
Brad_Catchphrases, relationships, savings
2427 - 2436 Jonathan Mendonsa And man how lucky would that person be for you to share this idea with them if they were ready for it and heard it in the right way. That is the definition of something gone viral right Brad.
2436 - 2498 Brad Barrett Yeah oh for sure. I have multiple friends of mine who e-mail me a few times a week and talk about their FI plan and how this has really changed their entire lives. And that's just in my tiny little social circle of the people that I've even been willing to tell them about the podcast so far. So if everyone out there who's listening to this can be just an evangelist for it and in that small little way find a couple people and this is not about growing choose FI I mean that that's irrelevant we want to we want to grow this movement because this will change lives. Find the couple of people in your social circle your friends your coworkers who might be open to this. Just based on on little conversations that you've had you know you have to be aware clearly but let them know about Mr. Money mustache send a couple of posts let them know about our episode 21 the pillars of FI. That's a good way to get started right. And you never know if in a couple of years you have a group of people basking in the actual FI. Right. And you all just have a better life. So I mean that I would be I would be the way to approach it.
2498 - 2571 Jonathan Mendonsa There are now tens of thousands of people in our community and there are a significant percentage of those people just because they have been digesting this information for years now. So they were some of the first to find us because they were just looking for that next messaging that they are within two or three years of FI. Maybe they're within a year of FI and if you can cultivate that same sense of community in your own social circle the power of having your set of friends all kind of retiring in that same five to 10 year window. That is incredible. The benefit that that has for them also benefits you. It's one thing for you to have freedom all by yourself but have all of your friends are still stuck at their 9 to 5. Who You going to hang out with. So you're helping them out by helping them discover this message and discovered this that freedom is optional for them as well they can make a choice to get that freedom sooner. So I love the idea of spreading the message but do it with a strategy. All right so a few updates from our in-house experts on Millionaire educator just released his 2017 free money tax tables. I use that as a reference for myself each year when I when I do my tax planning and I think that you should consider that as well so we'll post a link to that in the shownotes Brad. I think we have some input from big ern as well right.
2571 - 2736 Brad Barrett Yeah we do. One of our listeners Mark wrote in a question and I sent it over to a big Ern even though I was pretty sure of the answer but it's always better to get clarification and confirmation from Ern since he is the expert on all things technical. So Mark wrote. I'm in the process of rebalancing my portfolio and rolling over a Roth 401K from a former employer and I find myself once again debating the merits of converting all my existing tax sheltered Roth assets from index funds to etfs. Currently I hold all taxable assets in Vanguard ETfs and all IRAs and retirement accounts in Vanguard index funds. I'm aware of the most widely publicized advantages of ETF. Over index funds which are intra day trading ability historically lower expense ratios tax efficiency etc.. However intraday trading doesn't interest me and there is currently no difference in expense ratios between most of vanguards admirable share index funds and their comparable ETFs. This leaves me with the question of whether ETF shares held in Roth accounts offer measurable advantages over index funds due solely to their tax efficiency. I have a high level understanding of the differences in the way that index fund shares and ETF shares are constructed and redeemed which can result in lower capital gains for the ETFs but does minimizing an ETF capital gains distribution actually produce any tax benefit or other cost savings for a shareholder who holds the ETF shares in a Roth account. All right. So that was Marks question and I asked ern if he should record a voicemail for this and he said Hi Brad. No that's a quick one. No need to record anything that ETF advantage over the index fund doesn't apply in the Roth just as you Brad suspect that you don't have to worry about capital gains distributions and mutual funds because in the Roth everything is tax free. Same applies also to tax deferred accounts like an IRA for one k 457 etc where the taxable event only occurs when withdrawing funds in fact Ern says the mutual fund has a few advantages over the ETF. One is no commissions when buying and selling two no commissions when reinvesting dividends three no bid ask spread when buying or selling and for easy rebalancing from one mutual fund to another with the same day transference and guaranteed end of day prices and five you can buy fractional mutual fund shares i.e. no idle cash sitting around for those reasons I prefer index funds in all my tax advantage accounts just like you I'm a long term investor and I don't care much about intraday liquidity. But of course since the expense ratios are the same I don't see a need to liquidate all the ETF. I would probably just invest new funds and ETF dividends into the VTSAX. If that gets you over the 10000 minimum investment for Admiral shares best of luck. Big Ern.
401k, indexfunds, ira, roth, savings, tax
2736 - 2744 Jonathan Mendonsa Wow that's a great answer by Ernie really highlighted some of the features of these tax advantage vehicles so very much appreciate that input.
2744 - 2779 Brad Barrett Yeah agreed. This was a very hopeful look from both Mark and Ern at the differences and advantages disadvantages between ETFs and index funds and that's actually the main reason why we're reading it here because a lot of people have questions about that. And I think those guys did a wonderful job of explaining it so I don't need to add anything further. But there are some slight differences but I think it's at the end of the day it's it's hard to go wrong with either Vanguard low cost ETFs or index funds though I choose index funds personally for the reasons why I Ern detailed in his five bullet points.
2779 - 2822 Jonathan Mendonsa All right. So we have an announcement today. Noah from money metagame dotcom has agreed to come on and essentially be an in-house expert for us and he is going to be helping us with FI life hacks. And Noah this guy knows the math. He spends a lot of time digging into the math and he knows how to apply it to help you game out the everyday aspects of your life. And he has tons of ideas and he wants to share them so he's going to be drip releasing them over the coming months hopefully maybe one to two voicemails per month and just sharing these tips that he's figured out over time that you can use just to execute your FI game plan and maybe get you a little bit closer to your goal on a slightly more math optimized way. So I'm excited to play this Brad give me just a second I'll go and pull this up.
2822 - 2936 Noah Hey everybody. This is Noah from Money metagame with another life hack. This one is all about using discount gift cards for purchases you're going to make anyway. You may have given or received gift cards as a gift in the past but a lot of people don't think about buying gift cards for themselves. This of course doesn't benefit you if you're paying full price but that's where the discount part comes in. There are a lot of gift card exchanges online that sell second hand gift cards at a pretty steep discount. And it's really easy to find them using a Web site like gift card wickie dot com which aggregates all of those exchanges in one place. Hopefully Jonathan will be able to put a link to that in the show notes you can find many stores and restaurants with gift cards at 10 to 20 percent off. And most of them can be delivered instantly electronically. One important thing to note is how long the Web site guarantees the cards value for. So make sure you plan to use it within that time frame. The best part about using these gift cards is that they stack with any other discounts like promo codes and shopping portals that you might already be using the gift cards just a different form of payment. After all of those discounts are applied so you're saving even more money on top. As with any life check that quote unquote saves money. The most important part is to question whether or not you really need to make that purchase in the first place. I find it's best to work backwards from a purchase I need to make. First searching to see what stores have it at what prices they're looking further to see what discounts I can apply at those stores including discount gift cards. If you start by looking at available discounts and then try to brainstorm different ways you might be able to utilize them. You're almost guaranteed to fail at actually saving money. One of my favorite ways to utilize this trick is when I'm out shopping with my wife while she is picking out clothes and trying them on I can pull up gift card Wicky on my phone to see if there are any discount gift cards available for the store we're standing in if she finds something she wants. Then I can purchase the card through my phone and have it ready to use by the time we get to the register an actionable tip that you can take with you is to look over your purchases for the last few months. Look at any big chains that you shopped or eight and then look at those brands up on gift card wiki to see if you could have gotten a discount on those purchases once you get a feel for which places offer good discounts. Just remember to check gift card Wiki the next time you make a trip or purchase online. Thanks Brad and Jonathan keep spreading the fire.
2936 - 2967 Jonathan Mendonsa All right the fires spreading. That's awesome. That is a great tip so a lot of times we go to T.J. Maxx it just part of our kind of biweekly roundup type things. It's our grazing our grazing pastime. And I can't quite seem to cut it but I find myself not really knowing what to do anymore when I get there. Like I'm just kind of holding my hands and I think maybe going forward while I'm on the team I might just log into this wiki site and see what I can find and see if maybe I can while she's my wife is maybe purchasing whatever it is that she's getting. Maybe I can just game it out by 10 to 15 percent. Another way.
2967 - 2974 Brad Barrett Yeah that's cool. Definitely a lot of avenues for saving here. So we are going to look into it and certainly tell Laura about them.
2974 - 2976 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah because she's the expert shopper right.
2976 - 2979 Brad Barrett Yeah yeah. Certainly not me I haven't barely stepped foot in a store.
2979 - 2982 Jonathan Mendonsa So Laura I locked down this life hack for you. Enjoy.
2982 - 2983 Brad Barrett Yep she'll love it.
2983 - 3001 Jonathan Mendonsa OK for our last message that we wanted to do today. Marilyn sent us a voicemail challenging our sacred cow which was used cars and Brad and I started this entire show around the idea that we're not dogmatic about anything. We can be convinced you've got to present your case. So that's what this is. Hang on just like a Brad I'm gonna pull this up.
3001 - 3209 Mariliyn - (voicemail contributor) Hey Brad and Jonathan. OK I'd like to get right to it the last few times I've listened to you. to ChooseFI you guys have mentioned how it's important to always buy used cars and that's the only way to go. For some reason that really riles me up. Every time I hear that so for this voicemail I'd like to challenge the sacred cow of always buying a used car in all the examples I've seen from personal finance bloggers and even you guys good people are buying a twenty five thousand thirty five $40000 car. And then there's the assumption that the owner will be done buy another new car in two years and take a huge depreciation hit. I don't think it necessarily needs to be that way. We've actually decided to buy both of our current cars brand new with a few stipulations. We decided we were not going to spend any more than $17000 for everything. We also finance the car with a dealer promotion and both of our cars we got through 0.9 a 1.9 percent financing. The other stipulation we had was we could not step foot into a dealership without having an emailed agreement of this final price. So what we do is we do competitive bidding off of other dealers and send them an email and say hey I'm interested. in a Toyota Yaris. What is the best price you can give me. And then I bounce that price up with another dealership and I just keep going back and forth until somebody comes up with a price that I think is a competitive a competitive deal. This doesn't take much time and I'm very clear that if the price changes we will not we will leave the dealership both times that we've bought our new cars. We were in the Toyota dealership for less than an hour and a half and we were driving off with our brand new car. So why did we decide to go the new car route. Well initially we had the used car in a way it died at a hundred and fifty thousand miles. We got it like a hundred and thirty five thousand miles and an engine chain broke in a Nissan Altima. We had driven for two years and during those two years me eagerly some fifteen hundred dollars in repairs during that time. And it was incredibly stressful not knowing if our car would have trouble again and also soaked up precious time while we were in training on our Saturdays where it was our only car and we would just have to sit in the dealership all Saturday waiting for it to be fixed. So buying new works best if you plan to keep the car for a long time and you get a fair price for it. Our Toyota Yaris was about $14000 after competitive bidding. Brand new and used cars with 60000 miles at that time were about $10000. After eight years of owning a car we took about 80000 miles on it. So that 60000 mile car used car that we are looking at that actually added up to about six years worth of usage of that car where you can easily get another eight years out of the car we currently have. So I'm sorry probability wise I don't trust that I could get 16 years out of a used car with 100 thousand miles on it. I just know you're going to have more turnover with buying different cars because something crazy can happen like an engine chain can break. There's a much higher risk that things will break down with more miles on the car. So I really value having reliability and simplicity and I think that can be done in a financially sensible way. If you're buying your car brand new thanks for letting me challenge your sacred cow. I appreciate that we can crowdsource this and think critically about the decisions we make.
3209 - 3503 Brad Barrett Marilyn I loved this voicemail. This is the first time I'm hearing it actually when we're recording this episode. I have a smile on my face the entire time because honestly I'm going through that and listening to you and agreeing with essentially every single point. So first off let me say I did the exact same thing. So this was well before FI in fairness so I'm not sure if it came to buying a new car a year from now or four years from now whenever may be if I would buy new or used but I can tell you for sure. In August of 2003 I went down to the Honda dealership and did almost the exact same thing you did. I got a great great deal that was the best deal that I could possibly find amongst all the dealerships. And it was on a super special. And I wound up getting I think it was 0.9 percent interest and yeah it just had a quote unquote car loan which as you said you know dun duh duh dah like it's not about having a car loan I think Jonathan took some flack for this one on one of our prior episodes which I thought was really unfair because Jonathan has a car loan. Right. But he didn't tell you what interest rate he's paying. I don't even care. I don't know the answer but if the if the answer is he's paying zero percent interest or point nine percent interest well maybe that's a pretty good plan actually. Rant like why would I take in your case $14000 out of my bank account. If the dealerships can going to essentially give give that money to me for free over a five year period. So I personally don't in a vacuum have a problem with a car loan if it makes sense financially it's it's always about the math. Right. And I also I have had the exact same conversation Marilyn that you brought up here with my wife Laura which is where in all likelihood going to buy a Honda or a Toyota when it comes time that one of our cars dies but because those cars hold their value so well you're really only getting a couple of thousand dollar discount maybe three to $6000 discount off the original sticker price if you can get a good deal. And like you said with the rate that we drive I drive 3000 miles a year at this point. So to get a car with 60000 miles that'll save me two to six thousand dollars. That's going to be 20 years worth of driving. Right. As silly as that it sounds and I know I drive much less than just about anybody but I mean that's that's a realistic thing to consider in your case. That was going to take off six years worth of useful life. So is six years of useful life worth a couple of thousand bucks. No I mean I would buy a car in that scenario too. And I loved how you went through that competitive bidding process. And what's so interesting actually is I mentioned Bo earlier in this podcast and we had an email series back and forth about almost precisely this where him and I we think very similarly and I had mentioned he somehow brought this up in passing and I mentioned how I wanted to do this when we were getting new airconditioners a couple of years ago I wanted to get like five to 10 different estimates and then literally mass e-mail. This was my grand plan. And I'll tell you it did get kind of nixed by Laura here unfortunately. But to get five to 10 estimates and just say there was no big need it wasn't the thing didn't die we just knew it was reaching the end of its useful life and just say essentially that which is anytime the next six months any given day we will have you do this work for X price and that price would have been let's say 10 to 25 percent below the lowest offer we got. And I'm ready to pull the trigger at any given moment. And I feel like that would have really really worked. And what's funny is Bo actually responded saying regarding the mass e-mail to competitors I think we are wired the same. The one time I bought a new car I did all my normal research got lots of quotes etc. and then I e-mailed all the dealerships within 25 miles. Literally all of them and said that I would buy the car from the first dealer that offered it at X price. No further negotiations or the deal was off. About 10 minutes later I had my car at a rock bottom price and was stoked at the time but never plan to buy a new car again. So yeah that's cool that a lot of us are definitely thinking in a similar fashion here and my challenge to the audiences is find ways where you can take advantage of this and it does take a little bit of courage in my scenario. I would have emailed ten different companies all in one mass email to let them know hey there's some competition for this. And the first person offers it. Like I said on any given day I will pull the trigger. But my challenge again to the audience is find places in your life where you're thinking about making a major purchase. There might be some kind of renovation for your house. It might be a car it might be. Who knows it could be anything but see if you can implement that and I guarantee you you can save easily 10 to 20 percent off of the price and it could be a nice kind of outside of your comfort zone challenge. So anyway Jonathan now that I was yammering on for a while what what were your thoughts about Marilyn's voicemail.
3503 - 3680 Jonathan Mendonsa Yeah she crushed it. I loved it. And I think that one we should like dedicate a segment to crushing sacred cows. You know like we just don't have any so we do not have any. You got to make the case though Marilyn did an amazing job on the case there is no debate but I think that once you move past her initial point you actually see how much we actually had in common. Like for instance she says the two new cars that they own has a Yaris and Scion XB. I went ahead just google image those while we are listening to that voicemail. And those are two hatchback gas sippers. So if you listen to the end of our episode we basically said if you're going to get a car go with a gas sipper hatchback I mean so she is clearly optimizing her life around that concept. And then if you can make the case based on the math to go new I think she's winning. Absolutely I take no issue with that across the board. And if I were looking at that exact same math and you're telling me that I get a brand new car with no miles for fourteen thousand dollars or I can get a used car with 60000 miles for $12000 I'm probably going to go now. I mean I just think that's what I would do. And then the other point that she's leveled up with the competitive bidding. I have never done that. And I there's a part of me that's just so bad at negotiating in person I just don't want to screw anybody over. And that's just my own personal thing. I get that but I'm willing to. I mean I realize I'm leaving money on the table. So I think I would be willing to do like this mass e-mail scenario. It might be a situation in which I would be willing to give that a shot even though in person I can't be as hardcore as I would like to be behind the power of my computer I can send out my hardcore ultimatum emails and see what comes back. So I loved everything about this it really was a useful value added voice voicemail and thank you Marilyn for taking the time to send that to us. OK so let's go ahead and take a couple of minutes and talk about our frugal wins of the week. I told you about mine at the beginning of the episode but we had several more in our Facebook group and if you want to join that conversation please please join us. We want you to be there with us and to get on that Facebook group. Just go to choose FI dot com slash Facebook. There is a simple opt in form and will send you the invite So hopefully we'll see you there. Christy says I needed a new bedframe for my son. First thought was to buy one on Amazon but I took frugal Woods advice to see if I could find one for free or used. Found one in the Facebook marketplace. Contacted the seller and she ended up giving it to us for free. I love free and then west says my frugal win of the past week was buying a nice two year old Weber gas grill off of Craigslist for two fifth of the cost of a new one. After a little cleaning and elbow grease it's looking really nice and very nearly new. Definitely worth the money saved. And can I just take a second and say that the Weber that specifically that the Weber charcoal grill even not even the gas one but the Weber charcoal grill is my favorite grill of all time and I have a gas one and a charcoal grill and the more I spend time learning how to actually grill stuff outdoors I see the value in just even the cheapest version of the Weber charcoal grill. That is one of my favorite BBQ appliances that I own.
3680 - 3741 Brad Barrett That's cool. I'll have to look into them for sure. All right and the last frugal winner of the week we have is from Brian and he said so I think I've got a frugal win for you guys. My wife and I are always looking for something to do on the weekends. The problem is most of the time it's something to do ends up costing thousands of dollars in bikes golf clubs cameras etc.. While all these are very fun none of them are all that financially responsible. Lately we have picked up playing disc golf again and I have to say I think it fits in pretty nicely into this FI ecosystem. It plays just like golf except you're throwing discs which are special. Frisbee at chain basket's. It costs about $20 for a beginning set of deaths for a beginner set up discs and even when you get really into it you don't spend more than $25-ish for the top end discs. Once you have your discs it's free to play literally thousands of courses across the country. And yeah that's really cool. Brian I like the sound of that. I've always seen those baskets but I wasn't 100 percent positive what people. I guess I've never seen anybody actually playing. So yeah I'll have to look into that. That would be fun.
3741 - 3771 Jonathan Mendonsa And I think University of Richmond. Your alma mater actually has a disc Frisbee course and there's a few other here in Richmond and it is fantastic exercise. I've done it a couple of times and I think it speaks to a larger concept. In fact this may be a whole podcast that I'd like to see us do at some point on how to pick your hobbies wisely because he has found something that is essentially free is exercise and can be a community or family based event. And those are the sorts of ideas that you want to start latching onto in finding more of those.
families, hobbies
3771 - 3837 Brad Barrett Yeah I really like this from Brian. I think it's important to find things that are going to challenge you get you off the couch get you healthier and if you can do it and save a lot of money. Or if not save a lot of money and then just not spend a lot of money. Then that's a huge win. I mean so many people get into very expensive hobbies and while they might be enjoyable they might add value to their lives. I mean to go into like Jonathan's mention you know golf. I mean people spend thousands of dollars on golf and not to pick on that clearly but there are many of these really there are much worse examples of people who sit on the couch all day and that is not something we advise here. This is at least the way that we approach FI. It's this holistic journey just to become better in life. So if you can find ways to be active be healthy. Do it with your spouse or significant other and you know go out and play disc golf like this. You know like Brian's mentioning then I mean that's a huge win. So yeah I definitely love that and would really enjoy hearing other options of frugal activities and hobbies from the audience so definitely send it to us in the Facebook group or via email.
health, hobbies
3837 - 3862 Jonathan Mendonsa This episode does have to come to a close and we like to close every episode by featuring some feedback that we got as part of our drawing for a copy of JL Collins book the simple path to wealth. And if you want to enter that drawing you can go to choose F-I dot com slash iTunes. Just leave us a short written review and then just send us a message letting us know that you did that. We'll see you in a drawing. And we announce that drawing every week on the Friday round up.
3862 - 3940 Brad Barrett And once you leave your review on iTunes or stitcher just shoot us an e-mail at feedback. Choose a find out. And just let us know like your screen name just so we can match it up and put you into the drawing. And yeah I did want to mention this week we give away one book for every five written reviews that we receive and you send it to us at feedback at CHooseFI dot com this week while we actually. We got a lot of reviews on iTunes only four people sent us an e-mail actually. So I mean we would love to give away these books so please be sure to send us an e-mail. You don't want to send a screenshot like we used to do or just send us your screen name it that way we can match it up so we can get more of these books in your hands. So this week because of that we're only giving away one book. And the winner is Brian and Brian left this on stitcher and he said I have found my fi home. Brad and Jonathan make me feel like I'm back in school. I leave every episode with a list of notes involving different websites blogs and concepts to research they provide so much information every episode and break it down in a way which is easy to understand. I'm working to incorporate as many of the changes to my life as I can while using this podcast to get my fiance excited about the FI community. Keep up the great work. Yeah that's awesome Brian. Thank you. And yeah we'll send the book out to you very shortly. So congrats and enjoy.
3940 - 3945 Jonathan Mendonsa Alright My friends the fire is spreading and we'll see you next time as we continue to go down the road less traveled.

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