My financial plans for 2019

Earlier this week, I lamented the fact that my net worth plunged by more than 15% in 2018. Although much of this was due to accounting quirks (buying back this website and remodeling the house, neither of which get tracked by my personal net worth) and larger economic forces (the stock market declined by 6.2% last year), some of the problem is that I've allowed myself to succumb to lifestyle inflation. I've been spending more than I used to.

As a result, I've resolved to make some changes.

I've already trimmed nearly $500 of recurring monthly costs. (This number will increase to nearly $750 once a couple of contracts end.) But that's just the beginning. Over the past month, Kim and I have discussed other steps I can take to cut costs. It's time for me to get back to basics.

Back to Budgeting

Because I track every penny I spend, I have a pretty clear idea of where my financial weaknesses are. When Quicken shows that I spent $4675.56 dining out last year, that's clearly an issue. (And that doesn't even count what Kim spent!) When it shows that I spent $2820.39 on iTunes downloads, that's clearly an issue too.

Analyzing my spending summary for 2018 allowed me to find several ways to curb my spending.

  • I'm going to cut back on groceries. To start, I'll give HelloFresh a trial run. Kim and I enjoyed a free two-week taste of this meal-delivery service last spring. We liked it. It seemed a little expensive but not outrageous. (Here's my HelloFresh review.) Because my grocery spending continues to be higher than I'd like — primarily due to impulse spending in the grocery store (beer! juice! fancy cheese!) — we're going to use HelloFresh for three months to see whether this actually cuts costs. If not, fine. We'll try something else.
  • I'm going to build barriers between me and “frictionless spending”. Big companies like Apple and Amazon make it easy to achieve instant gratification with one-click shopping. I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff. I spend far, far too much on the iTunes store, for instance. Back when I was trying to get out of debt, I deliberately avoided bookstores and comic book shops because I knew they'd tempt me to spend. Similarly, I'm now going to deliberately avoid browsing online stores. If I have a need and want to order from Amazon, great. If Kim and I decide we want to rent the latest Marvel movie from Apple, great. But I'm not going to kill time by browsing.
  • I'm going to move from tracking my finances casually to tracking them seriously. For the past two years, I've used two tools to manage my money. I use Personal Capital to keep tabs on my accounts, to get a sort of overview of my financial situation. And I use an antiquated desktop program (Quicken 2007 for Mac) to manually enter my earning and spending. These habits won't change. What will change is how carefully I use the tools. I'll monitor Personal Capital daily. I'll be much more accurate about how I enter expenses in Quicken.

These are the big changes I've already begun to implement. There are plenty of smaller things I hope to do, as well.

For instance, Kim and I want to spend less on dining out. Last year, I spent about $400 per month eating in restaurants. My gut feeling is that I spend about $50 every time we go out, which means I've been buying eight restaurant meals per month. (Kim probably pays for another four restaurant meals per month.) I want to aim for $200 per month in restaurants instead. Dining out once per week is a perfect treat.

I've also gotten out of the habit of using the public library. Back before my divorce, I enjoyed walking to the library and carrying home a backpack of books a couple of times per month. It's been a l-o-n-g time since I regularly made use of this resource, though, and that needs to change. My local library isn't in walking distance, but it's certainly on my way home from various errands. Or from the box factory.

Which brings up another big change, one that I've hinted at for a couple of months.

Back to Boxes

My cousin Duane is dying of throat cancer. I recently took three weeks to travel Europe with him, yes, but I'm also exploring the idea of taking over his job.

Long-time readers know that my family owns a small business here in Portland. In 1985, my father founded a company that manufacturers small runs of custom boxes. For many years, I was the company's salesman. I hated it. Also, I sucked at it. I quit my job in 2008 (much to the relief of my brother and cousin) to work on Get Rich Slowly full-time.

Well.

Duane manages the office at Custom Box Service. He answers phones, pays bills, and processes payroll. He takes care of anything related to the financial operation of the business. (My brother Jeff is in charge of the rest of the company's operations. He quotes prices, enters orders, and schedules production.)

With Duane's time on this Earth dwindling, the company needs to find a replacement. We could hire somebody new, it's true. Or maybe another family member could take on the job. But for a variety of reasons, it seems to make the most sense if I assume the position. I know the company. I'm emotionally invested in its success. I'm good with computers. I like managing money. Plus, Kim has been urging me for years to find some sort of job so that I get out of the house.

So, we're exploring this idea.

On Tuesday, I spent three hours learning how to process payroll. Today, as soon as I finish this article, I'm driving down to the box factory to learn how to do year-end bookkeeping. Next week, I'll spend several days learning other aspects of Duane's job.

My return to the box factory isn't a for-sure thing yet, but it seems extremely likely.

Obviously, it's far too early to know how this will effect my financial life. Will this be part-time work? Full-time work? Will I get a retirement plan? Health insurance? How much will I earn? When will I find time to do my work at Get Rich Slowly? And how will I adjust to having a work schedule after a decade of doing whatever I want, whenever I want to?

Back to Basics

As I contemplated these changes during the past few weeks, I realized I've grown lazy. Complacent. Inattentive. No serious damage has been done, but I don't want to continue down this path.

Because I have a sizable nest egg, it's easy to let my guard down. I have a big safety net! What does it matter if I spend $400 per month on restaurants? What does it matter if I buy every movie I want from iTunes? Well, it matters.

I'm a vocal advocate of conscious spending, especially for people who are in the process of building wealth. If you want to reach your financial goals quickly, it's vital that you make deliberate decisions that are aligned with your purpose and direction. When you don't do this, you're essentially wasting money.

The same principle applies even to those who have built a nest egg, those who have retired early or achieved financial independence. Just because you're reached an arbitrary financial milestone, that doesn't mean you can relax your vigilance. If you want to keep your nest egg, you have to actively maintain it. You have to continue making smart financial decisions that help you pursue your purpose.

That's what 2019 is all about for me. It's an opportunity for me to revisit the lessons I learned while digging out of debt a decade ago. It's a chance to practice skills I once honed but have since allowed to atrophy. The bottom line? This year, I'm getting back to basics. I'm going to be a money boss once more!

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Pete
Pete
1 year ago

Good to see renewed focus! I can relate. Not in the FI sense yet, but my wife and I have been on auto-pilot for a long time with finances. Not anymore. 🙂

My wife and I are pretty sure part-time work, at an office, will be with us for a long time. I actually enjoy some of the routine.

Susan
Susan
1 year ago

Most libraries also offer a service to check out audiobooks/ebooks over the computer so you don’t have to stop in. It looks like you also have a service to stream some movies and comics (although the newer Marvel releases usually require placing a hold on a DVD copy).

For groceries, you may also want to look into grocery store delivery for a lower price than Hello Fresh but keeping a reign on the impulse items.

Thanks for keeping it real and good luck regarding your decision on the box factory.

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
1 year ago

The return to basics is great. I’m with you. Focus on what we can control, enjoy life, live within our means.

To a healthier and happier 2019

Sam

S.G.
S.G.
1 year ago

Serious question: How did you manage to spend almost $250 per month at iTunes?

I live in a glass house and can’t cast stones, that is just so far outside my experience I don’t understand it. What do you get for that kind of money? Is that like nightly movie rentals plus music subscription?

Eileen
Eileen
1 year ago
Reply to  S.G.

I’m curious too. My guess is that he buys books from iTunes? I’m pretty sure JD’s talked about the various music subscriptions he has, so if you have an Apple Music sub, I don’t think you buy additional? If it’s books, my method is to use a Firefox plug-in that is tied to my county library system. It tells me if they have e-books or regular books for this title. Makes it easier to avoid buying. If I’m using my work pc (where I wouldn’t install a plug in), I just put it on a “wish list” so I don’t… Read more »

Eileen
Eileen
1 year ago
Reply to  Eileen

My Firefox plug-in is for Amazon. So I can look up a book on Amazon and on the right side of the browser it will tell me if my Library has it.

S.G.
S.G.
1 year ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Not to poke a bruise, but do you watch them all? Or is it more of a “I like that movie and want it in my library”? Once again: not judging the purchases. If just knowing one has something makes them feel good I don’t condemn (though if it’s compulsive you definitely want to get control). I’m just picturing spending that much time in front of the TV/computer and can’t picture it. Honestly, I think that’s more of a reflection on my life. Life is busy and most of my entertainment is either taken in small doses (eg, books I… Read more »

S.G.
S.G.
1 year ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

We all have those. I give you credit for putting it out there for us to poke at. There’s a reason some of us have low online profiles.

Mine aren’t as much about money. But the important thing about life is to do our best to stay in that zone between striving to be better versions of ourselves (and often falling short) and forgiving ourselves for not being that person yet.

dh
dh
1 year ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

JD, a new book recommendation for you: Goodbye, Things. It’s the book that makes Marie Kondo look like a hoarder.

Pete
Pete
1 year ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I have a Steam library with the same issue so I see how it happens.

Steve
Steve
1 year ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

@Pete me too, but it’s an order of magnitude smaller. Do you have 750 games in your steam account?

Selena
Selena
1 year ago
Reply to  S.G.

If you play a gatcha game, you can spends hundreds and thousands without realizing it. I have spent thousands on a single game. I have friends who have spent hundreds of thousands on mobile gatcha games.

Frogdancer Jones
Frogdancer Jones
1 year ago

It’s so easy to let lifestyle creep occur. I guess that’s why they call it “creep”… it sneaks in while your attention is on other things.
I really enjoyed reading this post and I think that you’ll enjoy the structure of the box factory work. Kim’s right – one good thing about a job is that it certainly gets you out of the house!

Rachel
Rachel
1 year ago

Before I got to the part about a possible job I was thinking some of your spending might be boredom. I was thinking, maybe he needs another job. Going out to eat and spending money is something to do and provides a little boost in feeling good. One thing we did to really get our spending down was to ask ourselves this series of questions: how long can we go without it? can we borrow it? If not, can we rent it? If not, can we buy it used? If not, then consider buying new. It has helped a lot… Read more »

Cindi
Cindi
1 year ago

I have a theory about people who dole out financial advice or set themselves up as financial gurus. I truly believe that the best financial geniuses come from people who have gone completely bust and then managed to build themselves up once again, sometimes to millionaire levels. Those people, who successfully recovered from the bottom and catapulted back to the top, know, IMHO anything about proper money management. Sorry. But that’s how I feel. You can go to any Ivy League school you want but it’s the experience that truly educates. You may have gotten yourself out of debt, but… Read more »

Van
Van
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

I agree. It’s a fact that most millionaires have gone broke before they acquired their wealth. It’s only after you have done lost your money doing stupid things that you acquire the wisdom to do the smart thing.

Pete
Pete
1 year ago
Reply to  Van

I wouldn’t say that exactly. It’s just means that those people now realize how easy it is to lose it all. Sure, they’ll be clawing back really hard but it’s partially because they realize they want it back.

I know plenty of millionaires who never lost it all, know how to manage their funds, and are doing just fine. And I happen to appreciate their advice, too.

PawPrint
PawPrint
1 year ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Having seen comments by Cindi on other blogs I read, this is her modus operandi so it’s good to see her go. Having read you from the beginning, I, too, disagree about your drive/ambition, JD. Thank you for being honest. Wish we had more of that today.

dh
dh
1 year ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

I don’t understand why she’s acting like this, but I like her point about just listening to free music on YouTube or wherever and cooking more meals at home:

http://tynan.com/cook-a-super-healthy-meal-in-one-pot-in-twenty-minutes

Crew Dog
Crew Dog
1 year ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

JD,

What I (and many other people, I suspect) like about you is your willingness to be humble and transparent about your struggles and your journey. Your honesty is refreshing and appealing. So keep being you, and we’ll keep reading.

S.G.
S.G.
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

Was this supposed to be a mic drop? I’m sorry, but this was unfair, uncalled for, and unproductive. I have been reading J.D. since almost when GRS started. He has always been gracious and humble, especially about money. If anything I’ve been frustrated with him for not calling people on clearly bad decisions and letting them justify it to themselves. I see the value people get out if poverty. But experience is only one way to learn a lesson, and also the most painful. I have a ton of respect for addicts that get clean. But I don’t have to… Read more »

WantNot
WantNot
1 year ago
Reply to  S.G.

+1 I could not have said this better.

Spencer for Hire
Spencer for Hire
1 year ago
Reply to  S.G.

I just wrote a quick blurb and didn’t see your response. Well said.

Spencer for Hire
Spencer for Hire
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

You have probably already signed off so this is me spotting off my thoughts rather than responded to you directly. I never thought of JD as a financial guru which is the charm of this site. He is a normal guy who takes us on his financial journey in life. I personally use this site as a barometer for what I do and don’t agree with. I love reading about peoples individual perspectives as it either gives me a new way to look at something or confirms what I was already feeling. I agree to an extent that loosing it… Read more »

JanBo
JanBo
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

Oh La La! IS this the pot calling the kettle black without really knowing the kettle’s background? I’ve been reading Get Rich Slowly for many, many years. My only break was when JD sold it. Saying that, I have never felt that he represented himself as a person who has all of the answers. He, very openly, struggled though his many phases- not unlike finding yourself making unwise investments and then having to pay to get out of them. Personally, I do not feel that a person ever has to get so low as to have to declare bankruptcy or… Read more »

JanBo
JanBo
1 year ago
Reply to  JanBo

BTW- I have used a composition book for our budget and balance. If the method works for you, why pay to change it? No WAY would I do it all on line.

Suze
Suze
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

Wow. Mercy. Maybe this isn’t the place for you, maybe JD isn’t the right voice. I am not sure that bracing critique is really necessary as a goodbye. A gracious, quiet exit might have been better.

JD, I’ve read Get Rich Slowly for years. I never comment, but I read. I’ll say I appreciate your honesty. As a person who has their own share of stupid and moronic problems, it’s what draws me here and keeps me coming back.

AD
AD
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

There is so much to take issue with in Cindi’s comment, including the overall tone and mean-spiritedness of it, but I’m guessing most people can see that for themselves.

But seriously, would anyone really judge someone for using 2007 software to track their finances? It’s not like tracking money is rocket science or something. In fact, as JD has shown us over the years, most of the principles of money management are timeless. I would consider myself pretty good at managing my finances and I’ve never used anything more sophisticated than pen and paper.

Ron C.
Ron C.
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

J.D., have you thought about doing any of the following? -Going broke. I hear it’s good for you. -Taking a class to properly understand the word “Investment”. -Stop buying anything. It’s a sharing economy, dammit. Only dumb dumbs try to buy things like underwear these days. -Listen to people when they tell you what you -should- do. (btw – telling people what they -should- do is noticeably absent from your blog – thanks) -Please replace your clock radio. It’s from 1992, and although it does the job perfectly well, I’m uncomfortable with asking you for the time knowing that you… Read more »

Eileen
Eileen
1 year ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Deliberate meal planning is really the only way to solve this. This can *include* Hello Fresh (or something like it), but picking a day of the week to plan really is step one. We do it on Sunday mornings before we make our trip to the grocery store. We try to get to Friday with meals at home (we never cook on Friday nights). We ALWAYS include (or have on hand) quick meals that can be used if we have to “bail out” of cooking the more involved meals. It can be as simple as a “nice” frozen pizza or… Read more »

Mal
Mal
1 year ago
Reply to  Eileen

Agree that deliberate meal planning for at least some of your meals will be hugely helpful. If impulse shopping is a problem, you may consider having Safeway or some other grocery store deliver your groceries. You just place your order online the previous day (they save previous orders so it becomes faster after a few attempts). Safeway charges $7 for a 4-hr delivery window where I live, which isn’t bad if you’re spending more than that in impulse shopping.

Ingrid
Ingrid
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

J.D. – I have been following your blogs (GRS and Moneyboss) for a few years and they have inspired me. My own retirement began 5 days ago – and you are one of the people to thank for that. It helped that you shared your problems with everyone – we all have our own failures and it helps to understand that you’re not alone. It’s sad that there are people like Cindy, trolling FIRE blogs with her mean-spirited, self-important posts. I’m sure I’m not the only one to be happy to see her go. Looking forward to new articles from… Read more »

JoDi
JoDi
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

Damn, Cindi! What an unkind and unhelpful comment. Unlike others who think you won’t see their replies, I’m going to reply because I know you WILL. People who make comments like yours don’t disappear afterward – they come back to see the responses they’ve generated. Some of what you wrote is illogical, and others have addressed most of those points. Within your comment are some good points, but they will be completely lost because they’re buried in vitriol. A class in effective communication might be a good investment for you to consider. My impression from some of what you’ve written… Read more »

Jennifer
Jennifer
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

Your post is unduly harsh. Although I agree, as does J.D., that his spending was a bit out of control in 2018, your post and tone is completely unnecessary. I, for one, am glad you’re moving on to other sites.

Michael King
Michael King
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

Cindi I hope you come back to at least read the comments. As for your examples they are bad and hand-picked to make your argument fit. I only really know Dave Ramsey and you lumping him as some type of financial guru is crazy. He has good advice that works for most people but, most of his advice especially on investments is some of the worst advice there is. Not to mention the whole funneling people to advisors where it was subpar service and he got kickbacks. That is one thing I like about JD. I think if he got… Read more »

AJ
AJ
1 year ago
Reply to  Cindi

I’m just going to address one part of this as it’s so ridiculous that it’s worth pointing out. Everyone else has addressed the rest in better ways than I could. You are really going to complain about how he spends his money but then ALSO demand that he spends money on the latest and greatest software? I have news for you, accounting hasn’t really changed much in the past 12 years. You want him to pay extra for an updated interface with some new features that maybe allow him to do some things a little more efficiently but are exactly… Read more »

Van
Van
1 year ago

Nice honesty, JD. I’ve just started HelloFresh too and think it’s great. I don’t think it works out any more expensive than doing the shopping ourselves as we always inevitably have some wastage of fresh produce when we do our regular shopping/cooking, and having the exact ingredients in the HF box eliminates this. $2800 on iTunes? Whew!!

WantNot
WantNot
1 year ago

J.D…..these are two terrific columns reminding me to get back to basics in the new year. Your honest writing and perspective are much appreciated by your longtime readers. We too have had lifestyle creep—-we made our target number and then some, and we got a little soft of late. So in the next couple months, I’m digging into expenses and trimming, simplifying. It’s like my garden—every once in a while, I look around and say, agh! while I was busy working on that other corner, some weeds have sprouted up, and even the trees need to be pruned! You are… Read more »

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
1 year ago

I love the library, I’ve read over 100 books in the last 2 years. Since they come to my kindle I don’t even have to go and I think having them for a limited time encourages me to read them before they are deleted. Between Netflix and Hulu I have access to more excellent content than I can watch. But then I adore tv and almost never watch movies. I rarely rewatch or reread so there is no utility in ownership.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
1 year ago

What if you only allowed yourself to buy something if you’ve watched everything you already own?

You buy dinner out 8x per month and Kim 4x? That’s like 50% of the month! I thought moving to the country was supposed to be a barrier to eating out?

Morgan
Morgan
1 year ago

Your candor over the years is why I’ve followed you from blog to blog. Thank you for sharing your story; it’s helped me understand my own impulses when it comes to spending and eating and other ways we distract ourselves from our purpose. I’ve been tracking my spending carefully since I was laid off and went freelance two years ago, and it’s fascinating month to month how the dollar amount of outgoing expenses doesn’t change that much, but the categories of where that outgoing money goes do change. I’ve started tracking my emotional connection to the money to understand where… Read more »

Jen G
Jen G
1 year ago

You are the most honest financial blogger out there (and I read many) and most willing to share your vulnerabilities, and that I why I have been a loyal reader for so many years. I am a very disciplined spender. Like crazy disciplined. That has its own downfalls (my poor husband and kids!), but there are so many other areas in my life where I am not as disciplined and struggle then succeed and then struggle some more (a healthy diet! time management!) Everyone has their stuff. It is all in the journey. Don’t spend too many hours at the… Read more »

Deborah
Deborah
1 year ago

I think taking on Duane’s job at the box factory is a good idea…for the short term. Kim is right that getting out of the house would be good for you. And like someone else mentioned, boredom may be contributing to increased impulse spending. But I think most importantly, it’s a way to honor your cousin in his last days by helping the family business in a time of need. As you said, you already know much about how the business works and you’re good with numbers and computers. The learning curve would be minimal. Your contribution would keep the… Read more »

Steve
Steve
1 year ago

I’ve been finding it hard to find any motivation or impetus to curb spending or fight lifestyle inflation. In a month where we lost six figures in the stock market, what does it matter if I spent $400 eating out? On a day where we gained five figures of that back, does a hundred or two on theater tickets really matter? I do feel some pangs of regret for not putting in the time and effort to find a used vehicle vs. buying the new one I got last year. But if I only buy one vehicle every decade or… Read more »

Kim
Kim
1 year ago

What’s so helpful about you, JD , is that you share yourself in the middle of the story. We get to see how you think about issues and work toward things, but you include the flaws and the hope vs reality that we ALL live in. No one brings their A game to every day and most of us have areas we struggle with long term. Many people when they don’t make progress, give up or pretend they are ok with where they are … but you keep self improvement on the table but never pretend things are better than… Read more »

Lynne
Lynne
1 year ago

Keep up the good work JD. I too, have been reading for years. Good luck with your new plans for 2019 and keep us posted. We all learn together.

debthaven
debthaven
1 year ago

JD I think it might be very interesting for you to spend some time at the box factory at this point in your life. But, I think it would be a mistake for you to go back there full time, Mon to Fri. Personally I think you’d be much better off negotiating a more flexible schedule, and agreeing to do certain tasks rather than spend X hours there per week. Once you get the hang of it, you can do some of it from home, and you will go faster. I would suggest offering to go in 3 days a… Read more »

Eileen
Eileen
1 year ago
Reply to  debthaven

I have the same curiosity about JD going back to the 9-5. Lack of flexibility is truly the biggest downside of traditional jobs/careers. But I think the part about “offering” seems odd to me. Doesn’t the role have a known quantity in regard to hours required? Shouldn’t there be years of data as to what this role does, which things can be given to others (if at all) and which will remain with Duane’s replacement? I can think of nothing more off-putting to those already working full time than to have someone “offer” to have a plum role at the… Read more »

debthaven
debthaven
1 year ago
Reply to  Eileen

There are different ways to do things. While Duane worked there FT, and was perhaps happy to do that, or never questioned it, that doesn’t mean that JD can’t do Duane’s tasks on a different schedule, or differently, or (sometimes) remotely. I am American but I live in Europe and here there is generally more flexibility about working PT or working from home, as long as one gets the work done. I do agree that JD stepping in may indeed be off-putting to someone who might have been hoping to move up, but it’s not a huge surprise if you’re… Read more »

Eileen
Eileen
1 year ago
Reply to  debthaven

I agree. My viewpoint is from someone who IS a 9-5er (ha! if I had only had those hours). Equity in opportunity and perks is important. That was really it.

Sandy
Sandy
1 year ago

What about the puppy? Will she be OK home by herself for long periods of time? (I can’t be the only one worried:))
PS -I’ve worked for myself for 20 plus years. I know I am most productive when my days are filled with meetings and I have to be scheduled. Finding that drive to produce when you have nothing on the schedule is hard. I can see why you might want to step into something more structured for awhile.

Eileen
Eileen
1 year ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

How old is Tally now? That is one thing I wish we’d done better about socializing our dog (she’s 7). She’s actually great with people we encounter while walking her and good with dogs in most neutral settings. She is not great about going into other places. She’s not a big fan of slippery tile-like floors (and wasn’t a huge fan of us replacing almost all our carpet with hardwoods either lol). I always wonder if it’s too late to get over the hump with her so we can take her to public places more easily (stores that allow dogs,… Read more »

Dave @ Accidental FIRE
Dave @ Accidental FIRE
1 year ago

Stepping in to help family… that’s the true mark of a man JD. Sure it’s probably not an ideal job but we only get one family in life. Kudos brother.

Ben
Ben
1 year ago

J.D. – longtime reader and infrequent commenter here. I’d simply like to add my voice to the chorus of readers cheering you on and saying “keep it coming, man!” I’m sorry you took such a hit financially in 2018, but I know that you grew in many other ways – financially and otherwise – last year too. And I also know that you will for sure be able to dig yourself out of whatever hole you feel you’ve gotten into, and both you and all of us readers who enjoy your site so much, will come out the better for… Read more »

bh
bh
1 year ago

I would be interested to learn how much packaging you get if you do HelloFresh for 3 months. I tried Blue Apron for a while but I just couldn’t take all the plastic and boxes and allegedly disposable freezer packets. (They said it was okay to dump the contents of the freezer packet down the drain but I am not willing to risk my pipes on that!)

MrFire+Ice
MrFire+Ice
1 year ago

Sometimes a market correction can be a good thing. Helps us tighten up and stay focused.

Emily Brown
Emily Brown
1 year ago

Good work JD,keep it up.You are the most honest financial blogger out there (and I read many) and most willing to share your vulnerabilities, and that is why I have been a loyal reader for so many years.Keep focusing on what you do.Good luck with your new plans for 2019 and keep us posted. We all learn together.

Simon
Simon
1 year ago

I doubt Cindy is for real. Anyway, about learning, I would like to bring up that putting money on your home isn’t so simply an investment. It took me long time to understand this. It’s so easy telling yourself that paying for stuff and mark it up as improvements is a great idea financially. I like Bodo Schäfer’s argunents and distinctions of investments, speculation and obligations. With best wishes from Stockholm.

Sandy
Sandy
1 year ago

I’m sorry to read about your cousin’s health battle. With that being a deciding factor in your return to the family business, I find it interesting that you have come a full circle. What did you learn along the way? Was the ‘other side of the fence’ as great as you imagined it would be? Will you find that a return to your original ‘roots’ is more … you? My own personal observation is that it’s quite fine to do what I want when I want with no accountability to anyone other than those directly affected by my choices. I… Read more »

Brittany
Brittany
1 year ago

Wow, this is so exciting to hear you potentially back in the box world! Having read GRS and MB and remembering our old blogger meetups, I’ve loved following along your journey. This sounds like such an interesting twist and I think that Kris is right in that maybe a job to get you out of the house for a bit could be a good thing! Especially since it’s your family’s company. I look forward to seeing how the year treats you!

Lynda
Lynda
1 year ago

Hi JD – Thanks for your candid update. Rarely is anything in life linear and the twists, turns, and corrections are all part of a life and self improvement. I think you are correct to focus on meal planning – not only will it save you money you will be eating much healthier. I would highly recommend skinnytaste.com she creates healthy weekly meal plans and shopping lists. The food is excellent and it will really help you get organized on the food front. Ordinarily I would consider Hello Fresh a big waste of money, but if you are really struggling… Read more »

sasha
sasha
1 year ago

There is one issue I see over and over with your writing and planning (especially in the last few posts, though I have read you since 2007ish). You track your spending, you realize your spending is an issue and you realize you want to reduce your spending/expenses…but there doesn’t seem to be a clear connection to a plan to SAVE your money. When you had a plan to reduce your debt, the debt reductions was a form of savings. But when you received your windfall by selling your website, there doesn’t seem to have been a new plan for saving… Read more »

Tim
Tim
1 year ago

JD, your honesty is the best part of your blog. I was a regular reader for years, but stopped reading finance blogs for a while. (When you pie chart your wife’s coffee habit spending, you know you have gone over the edge!) Your old habit is now my habit, comic books. But I have them insured, so when I decide to sell, I will re-coop most of the money. Hopefully, if I ever sell, (wife laughs at that statement). Keep moving forward.

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