Showing posts from April, 2017

Social appropriateness and other random free associations

It occurs to me I have a number of socially stigmatizing hobbies. I love to talk about personal finance, cutting up fixed brains, and statistics, woo! For some reason, no one wants to talk to me about these things for the most part. And for the most part, they will also actively tell me they're trying NOT to think about the financial part, especially if they have student loan stress. (The stats and the brains I have a little bit better luck talking about at work, but the finances are a no-go about anywhere.)

Now, I do kind of have friends. But it was interesting because tonight a friend of mine invited me to hang out at an event where people run and drink beer. I jokingly responded that I would have nothing in common with those people because I need to meet people who drink wine and want to chat about poisson distributions. He did not pursue the issue. (I hate running. I'd rather be set on fire. Also GF for about 7 years, so not much for beer either.)

I am a fine wine connoiss…

The POWER of TSP contributions...and a long digression on student loans


It's a Sunday evening and I'm sitting here geeking out. Every time I listen to a finance podcast, I get all motivated to increase my TSP contributions. So, I'm going to document some of the considerations, but at least at this point in my typing, I don't intend to put all the numbers together and make a decision right this second...but hey, you never know.

The Deal-io: When I started working for Uncle Sam, I knew they matched TSP contributions up to 5%. Now the little catch here is that it takes 3 years for 1% of that to vest, but the rest of it is yours right off the bat. (And if you read the fine print of the TSP website, all those non-vested 1% TSP contributions are what keep the investment expenses so low - they apply all that defaulted money towards that. Cool, huh?) Right away, I signed up for the 5% because I'm no fool!

After that, I made sure I had enough to live on. You know, starting a new job and all. I had a budget and thought I knew how things w…

The Great Coffee Fiasco

I sincerely wish I had never started drinking coffee. I basically didn't in college. For some reason, the smell always made me nauseated. I think this was probably because it was always blended with the smell of the cigarettes my family members smoked, which was more than enough to put me off of both. Then, after a few years away from them, in grad school, where it was the thing to do, I picked up the habit.

This has been problematic. Y'all have heard of the latte effect, right? Bloggers all over the world make a big deal out of the price of a cup of coffee, or a HUGE deal out of the price of a frou-frou coffee drink, and the most cited example of financial waste in the entire universe is the cost of buying a cup of coffee from a coffee place rather than making it at home and bringing your own on a daily basis.

Well, I have news for you. My coffee sucks. Theirs is better.

I have no idea why this is. I assume there is some special barista-knowledge that I don't have. I hav…

Feeling the Burn

So it was 2.5 weeks ago now, my dog had a freak accident while hiking. She's fine now, but it took one regular vet visit, then another, then an emergency vet visit, then I think two more follow-up vet visits....and the wound just closed a few days ago. It was not pleasant. Also, a few days ago, I had an arthrogram done. That is basically torture. I think it's illegal to do that shit to prisoners of war. Fuck me. It was so miserable.

All that to say it's been a rough few weeks. Should I be cranky about all that? Probably not, but I've never been that well-adjusted, so I am. Also, I'm pretty sure that arthrogram single-handedly (or needle-ly as the case may be) gave me adrenal fatigue. I haven't been this tired in maybe years. Therefore yes, I am disgruntled.

Now, the worse part of all this is that because of my recent focus on FIRE, I'm doubly upset. All that "a dollar saved works twice for you - what you saved and what you make from investing it!"…

My Dog, the Luxury Item

It's been on my mind quite a bit lately, so I wanted to address the concept of "pet as luxury item."

My dog is not a fucking luxury. You know what's a luxury? You popping a baby out of your cooter. The Earth is over-populated by how many millions of people? And yet somehow, you can justify bringing another being into this world? Fuck you. My dog is an act of charity. I adopted her to help ease her suffering and reduce pet overpopulation through proper spaying and neutering. How many kids have you adopted? How much money have you donated to Planned Parenthood lately to reduce human over-population? I have donated on multiple occasions to the shelter from which I adopted her in her honor, because she is genuinely so awesome that I want to help them to help other people to share the experience I've had.

My dog is also my best friend. As a therapist, I can say quite truthfully that one of the best things I've figured out from my years of experience is that many …

Credit Card Spectacularness - Part 1

In my quest to conquer the little things that won’t take me hours of my time once they’re over and done with (i.e. – fixing your credit card shit may take you a few hours one day, but you may only have to do it again every few years, vs. obsessive-compulsively clipping, cataloging, organizing, doubling and using coupons EVERY FUCKING WEEK FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE – as a healthcare professional, probably not an efficient use of your time) I reviewed the credit cards I have and which ones I can get rid of.

If you have an IQ above 50, you can probably skip this paragraph: Pay your damned credit cards on time. Pay them off every month. If you’re reading this blog, I hope I don’t have to tell you that not paying them on time will cause you to be charged late fees, and that they have truly atrocious interest rates. If you can’t do these things, please go read a blog about credit card debt and how to get out of that. Same principles, but I’m not going to tackle that here.
Let’s outline why…

Increasing my Savings via Itty Bitty Tiny Little Baby Steps - Part 2

Alright, so I did my homework. It turns out that although we were all underwhelmed, .65% right now is pretty sweet. There are some places that will give you all of 1%, but is it worth an extra .35% to do the paperwork to have an account with another bank, get the statements, track that, transfer money back and forth from bank to bank….nah. Personally, I don’t think so. I’m just going to try to keep less in that account so that I’m not losing money to inflation.
That might be a little too “risky” for some people. Let me say first of all, that if I get hit by a bus, I have options. In my case, I do have a long term disability policy (this issue is TBD in another post). That kicks in after 90 days of disability, so if something truly catastrophic happens, I’ve only got to have enough in my cash on hand and credit cards to cover those 90 days. Realistically, I don’t think I’ll get fired, both because I don’t suck and because I’m a government employee, so I’m also not super concerned abo…