You Know What You Should Be Doing

What is right action?

Right action is what you know you should be doing.  It’s intuitive.  It’s also causes resistance. Often you can tell the importance of an action by the amount of resistance you feel.

You see a cute girl across the bar.  You know you should go talk to her, but something stops you.  You sit there telling yourself it wasn’t the right time.  Resistance.

You have been thinking about writing a screenplay for the last two months.  You know you should sit down and start writing it, but you binge watch Netflix instead. Resistance.

We all experience it.  We all know the right action to take, but we fuck off.

How do you overcome resistance?

There is no easy solution.  Life is an ongoing battle against resistance.  Being able to identify it is key.  If you can identify the actions in your life where you feel the most resistance you will know what actions take priority.  You can now put your energy towards towards those actions and let the other stuff fade away.

In what situations do you feel the most resistance?

Ask yourself this question on a daily basis.  It’s a good chance that these right actions that you know you should be doing have dominated your train of thought for the last few months or so.

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How Much Is Too Much Information?

One of my goals is to blog consistently for a year.  So far I’ve been blogging for a little over a month.  The blog has been mostly focused on dieting and financial independence.  I write about these topics because it’s what’s I’m interested in at the moment.

I’ve enjoyed blogging, but I wonder how far I can take it.  Will I have enough material to keep it going for a year?  Everything about dieting and financial independence has already been said a million times over.  There are already thousands of blogs and books on dieting and finance.  The information is out there.  How can I keep coming up with material without rehashing someone else’s words?

Then I think, why is there so much information out there about dieting and finance in the first place?  Most of it boils down to simple truths.  If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume.  If you want to become financially independent you must save more money than you spend.  The techniques you apply to reach these goals may differ slightly from person to person, but generally, you already know what has to be done.

How much information is enough?  If you have already read five books on financial independent is reading a sixth just mental masturbation?  Sometimes getting the spark from consuming good ideas is enough of a high to prevent you from actually applying them in real life.  But I guess this why so many people are terrible with money and dieting.

It’s one thing to understand the philosophy but it’s whole different game to live it.  Execution.  It’s all that matters.  If your trying to stick to a diet you already know what you should be doing.  You know you shouldn’t eat that muffin.  You know that you should drag your ass to the gym.  But will you?

I’m where I want to be when it comes to dieting.  I’m nowhere near where I want to be with my finances.  I hope that this blogs helps me stay accountable to my goal of financial independence.  I hope that it gives you some inspiration, but at the same time doesn’t lead to inaction and mental masturbation.

 

Financial Mistakes I’ve Made

Vanity Purchases:  When I was sixteen I used most of the money I saved up from my summer job to buy a system for my car.  Part of my motivation was to impress my peers.  It was cool for about 3 weeks.  Looking back it was a complete waste of money.  Buying things to impress other people (keeping up with Joneses) is never a good investment.

Going To College:  I don’t think college is a bad thing.  I just don’t think it’s for everyone.  It wasn’t for me.  The only reason I went to college is because I thought it was just the thing to do.  I had no direction. Like most eighteen year olds I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  If I wasn’t entrenched in group think I probably would have dropped out.  After four expensive years all I had was a piece of paper and some good stories.  Just remember college isn’t the only option, more often than not it ends up being a money pit that leaves naive twenty somethings crippled with debt.

Useless Majors:  Once I was in college I jumped from major to major.  First, it was business (the standard major for kids who don’t know what they want to do with their lives, almost as bad as communications).  Second semester it was exercise science.  Lastly, it was geography and regional planning which I majored in.  As you can imagine I didn’t have many job opportunities once I graduated.  It didn’t help that it was 2010 and our country was still reeling from the financial crisis of 2008 either.  Looking back I wouldn’t have gone to college.  I would have continued working or taken a gap year to figure out what I really wanted to.  A part of me wishes I had just went into the trades.  If your a young adult about to graduate or freshly graduated I suggest reading Worthless by Aaron Clarey.  It’s a book I wish I stumbled upon when I was eighteen.

Going Back To School:   After graduation I decided that I wanted to follow my true passion, art (mistake 1).  I enrolled in a diploma mill of school (mistake 2).  It didn’t take long before I realized the school was a scam.  I dropped out after a semester.  Luckily, I hadn’t acquired too much debt by that point.  I think it goes without saying, you shouldn’t go to a college that isn’t accredited.  You also shouldn’t major in Art.  If you’re really passionate about art there is nothing that should stop you from making it.  You don’t need to go to an expensive four year school to be an artist.  Don’t believe me?  Go ask any barista how their art career is doing?

Online Courses:  Most online courses are a money grab.  They’re marketed well, but don’t give you anything more than stuff you could find on Youtube.  I signed up for designlab to learn some web design.  I mine as well have flushed $400 down the toilet.  It didn’t provide me with anything I couldn’t have found myself.  This isn’t to say that all online courses are bad.  I learned a ton on lynda.com.  Just be weary of online courses.  Most of them are targeted at people who want easy solutions.  Guilty.

Buying A Vehicle On Loan:  When I was in my early twenties I bought a truck on loan.  I ended up selling it for a good price before I left for Australia.  This allowed me to pay off my loan.  It worked out, but still doesn’t mean it wasn’t stupid.  You should never buy something on loan.  I repeat,  YOU SHOULD NEVER BUY SOMETHING ON LOAN.  If you can’t pay for it straight up than don’t buy it.  It’s that simple.

Sneak More Fat Into Your Diet

A high fat low carb can prove to be difficult.  It’s hard to eat lots of fats while keeping protein moderate and carbohydrates low.  Since I started a high fat low carb diet I find myself sneaking fat into my meals as much as I can.  One of the best ways to sneak fat into your diet is by fattening up your morning coffee.

Every morning I add two tablespoons of coconut oil and four tablespoons of heavy cream to my coffee.  That’s around 550 calories and 50 grams of fat before you even start your day.  This is the perfect breakfast for me since I’m usually never hungry in the morning, but still want to make sure I keep up my calories up.

Unlike a lot of people who start high fat low carb diets my goal isn’t to lose weight. I enjoy the other positive aspects of a high fat low carb diet.

I want to get at least between 2,000-2,500 calories a day to maintain regular bodyweight.  This is another challenge when eating high fat and low carb.  A high fat and low carb diet is so effective that it’s not always beneficial for people with no desire to lose weight.  This is why I have abandoned a strict keto diet and added more carbs.  I was wasting away without them.

Even after upping my carbs my diet is still mostly fats.  I still won’t touch white carbs or legumes.  But this leads to calorie deficits.  Without the high calorie meals like a bowl of white rice or pasta your body may not be getting sufficient calories.  This is why it’s important to go heavy handed with high calorie fats.  Coconut oil, olive oil, and heavy cream should become your best friends.  Sneak them into as many meals as you can.  They’re high in calories and fat, and low in protein and carbs.  The perfect combination.

They’re also relatively cheap if you buy in bulk.  You can buy a 5 Liter Container of EVOO for $12.  This may last you an entire year.

In conclusion, if you’re want to keep eating a high fat low carb diet but maintain body weight make sure to sneak in fats.  Drink a fat coffee every morning.  Put a little more olive oil on your salad.  Cook with lots of coconut oil and then pour the remaining oil from the pan on top of your meal.   

Lifestyle Hucksters

“Lifestyle design.”  You have probably heard this term by now.  It has become a popular topic in the last decade because of Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Workweek.

In the 4 Hour Workweek Ferriss talks about creating a “muse” business that generates passive income.  You find a product to sell, outsource business operations, and then travel the World while your bank account swells.  The perfect life.

Ferris also talks about his own “muse” business (BrainQUICKEN).  A business that generates enough money for him to travel the World while only working 4 hours a week.

What Ferris fails to mention is the amount of hours it took to build his “muse” business.  Yes, he builds a business that  eventually makes him passive income, but what was his initial time investment? How much work did he put into the business in order for it to be successful?

There’s no doubt that Ferriss is a marketing genius.  The idea of the “muse” business is just another one of his marketing gimmicks.  Ferriss is great at making things seem easier than they are, but then again this is what all the great marketeers do.  Remember six minute abs?

Before I go any further, I’m not here to bash on Ferriss.  I’ve read the 4 Hour Workweek & 4 Hour Body.  I enjoyed both books.  You could even say that a lot of my ideas towards “FIRE” were inspired by Ferriss.  However, with every book you need to cherry pick the ideas that you can use while disregarding the rest.    

I guess what I’m trying to say is to be weary of the person selling easy solutions.  The lifestyle design hucksters.   They’re a dime a dozen these day.

They prey on the nagging feeling that something in your life is missing.  You have a problem and they have a solution in the form of an ebook, course, or modest consultation fee.

Famous American conman P.T.Barnum once said “there’s a sucker born every minute.” 

Don’t be that sucker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tunnel Vision Towards FIRE

I’m coming at FIRE from a different perspective than most.  I’m already in a mini retirement, and have been for the last year or so.  I have some savings, and a internet business that brings in a decent amount each month.  This business is mostly passive.  I usually work at said business for 4-5 hours a week.  Of course, it wasn’t always this way.

I’m not going to lie, that last year or so has been nice.  It’s good to have control over your time.  I now realize, without a shadow of a doubt that TIME is your most valuable commodity.  I’ve had a little taste of what retirement can be, but I also know it’s not going to last.  This has been my main motivation towards FIRE.

  My pot of gold is quickly turning into pot of bronze.  My internet business is barely enough to live off, certainly not enough to amass a decent savings rate.  I will once again have to join the work force.

In the next the 10 years I will burn the candle at both ends.  I’m going to work hard while I still have the energy.  I’m 29 right now.  I keep myself in great shape, but I know that my energy levels will wane as near my mid thirties.  There is no sense in slacking off in a mini retirement when I still have the drive.  The plan is to retire young so I can work on my own terms.

I will also be extremely frugal.  No house.  No car payments.  No cable subscription.  No cell plan.  No designer clothes.  I’m going straight hermit.  I may even live in a van down by the river.

I will resist what people consider the “finer things in life,” and keep my eye on the prize – fuck you money.

Make Your Own Phone

I cancelled my cellular plan today.  I had a plan with Ting.  My average monthly bill was around $23. Sometimes it was as low as $14.  That’s cheap compared to most monthly rates.

Even though my cellular plan is cheap I decided if I’m going to shoot towards financial independence it’s best to cut out the fat.

I realized that I rarely ever turn the data on.  I mostly do browsing and texting when I have WiFi.  I also rarely spend time talking on the phone.  It seems like a no brainer.  I will keep the phone, drop the service, and make my own plan.

My plan will consist of iMessage, Skype, WhatsApp, and TextNow.  TextNow is something I stumbled upon recently.  I like it because it allows you to CALL and text as long as you have WiFi.  There you go, a makeshift cell plan for $0 a month.

The added benefit of this plan is that I won’t be checking my phone constantly.  This may be even more important than eliminating my monthly bill.    

The level of phone addiction in our culture is getting to the point of insanity.  People can’t cross the street without getting lost in their phone.  I’m not above this either.  Sometimes I’m embarrassed by how addicted I am to my iCrack.  Maybe the option of not being “connected” 24/7 will free up sometime to actually experience life.

I’m going to give this thing a shot for the next month.  If I can’t live without it I’ll rejoin Ting.  They offered me $25 off for signing back up.  I hope I don’t have to take them up on that offer.  Only time will tell…

Early Retirement Extreme By Jacob Lund Fisker

This book kickstarted my fascination with early retirement/FIRE.  It’s written by Jacob Lund Fisker the mind behind the popular early retirement blog, Early Retirement Extreme.

Fisker became financially independent in five years.  He didn’t do this by having a six figure income or winning the lottery.  He did it with extreme savings.

I liked his book because it’s NOT a step by step guide to early retirement it’s a complete paradigm shift.  Fisker refers to his book as a “how to to how to.”  He realizes that everyone’s situation is different and there is no one size fits all to financial freedom.  Instead he preaches building an overarching philosophy of what it means to live.

Some important points from the book:

– The lock in – Why you’re stuck in consumerist status quo

– The working man, the business man, the salary man, and the renaissance man, and why you should strive to be a renaissance man.

– Cash flow cycles and making money work for you.

– The true cost of “things”

– Developing skills that will save or make you money.

I would like to say more about how great this book really is, but I feel I can’t do it justice.  If you’re interested in early retirement/FIRE  do yourself a favor and buy this book.

When Should You Spend A Little Extra?

To save money is to cut out the expenses you can do without.

Don’t buy the $3 coffee at Starbucks every morning.  Make coffee at your house and put it into a thermos.

Don’t spend $40 on a t-shirt because it has a little man riding a horse on it. Buy your clothes at thrift stores.

Don’t sign up for a cable subscription.  Use your friend’s Netflix account sign up for Netflix.

There are usually dirt cheap/free solutions to most problems. Craigslist and Freecycle should be your best friend.

When should you spend a little extra?

You could make a case for spending extra on footwear and a bed.  After all, your going to spending the majority of life either on your feet or in a bed.  These are also one time expenses where you can get a lot of bang for your buck.

A good pair of boots will outlive you.  I’ve had my boots for almost a decade and they’re still in great shape.  A really nice mattress has never been a priority for me.  I’ve slept just as well, if not better, on the ground than I have in beds.  With that said, it’s worth shelling out a little more for a quality mattress.  You may not be crazy about getting a mattress off of Craigslist or Free-cycle either.

When purchasing a product ask yourself – will I be using this product 10 years from now?  Will this product last me 10 years?

If the answer is yes, than it may be worth buying.

When you approach shopping with this frame of mine it eliminates emotional purchases.

Cutting Your Grocery Bill: 8 Cheap Fruits & Vegetables That Will Last You A Month.

Your biggest monthly expenses will be housing, transportation, and food.  If you’re American, you can throw healthcare in there too.

Today I will focus on food.

In 2013, the average American family spent $330 a month on groceries.  That’s roughly 4,000 a year.

If you’re like me, you only have to worry about feeding yourself.  This makes it a lot easier to cut down on your grocery bill.  How much should a single person spend each month on groceries?

The early retirement extremist suggest $50-75 per month.

At first glance this seems impossible.  A few days ago I spent $50 on groceries that will hopefully last me two weeks.  Not a good start.

When it comes to food I don’t think I’m ready to go that extreme.  Trying to stay on a low carb diet means eating lots of meat and nuts, and that’s not always cheap.  I’ll spend a little extra on food even if it means delaying financial independence a bit.  I think it’s important, and there’s no way I’m going vegetarian.

However, if you’re vegetarian/vegan you have the advantage when it comes to cutting your grocery bill. Of course, everyone should be eating vegetables & fruits no matter what diet they’re on.  Vegetables & fruits should be a stable for the aspiring financially independents because they’re cheap and filled with essential nutrients.

Some vegetables & fruits are better than others.  When you’re trying to maintain a monthly grocery budget, especially one as extreme as $50-75 per month you want vegetables & fruits that will last.

Here are a few vegetables & fruits that will last for up to  a month and sometimes longer if stored correctly:

1. Carrots – You can find a bag of carrots for under a $1.  Carrots improve eyesight, regulate blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and improve immune system.

2. Cabbage – Under a $1 as well.  Cabbage is great source of vitamin K, C, and B6.

3. Sweet Potatoes – The average sweet potato costs $0.50 per pound.  Sweet potatoes are a great source for vitamin A, C, and B6.  They also have less carbs than regular potatoes, and taste better.

4. Onions – They basically will throw onions at you in the grocery store.  You could probably dig them up in your backyard now.  They make every meal taste just a little better.

5. Apples – Will cost you $1 per pound.  A perfect dessert.  Apples are shown to reduce risk of hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

6. Garlic – A full bulb will be under a $1.  Garlic is a cheat code to make every meal taste somewhat decent.  It can also combat sickness.

7. Lemons – Yet another item thats under a dollar.  Lemons may be one of the healthiest foods on the planet doing everything from restoring your pH levels to fighting cancer.  Put a slice in your water bottle.

8.  Celery – This one may set you back a whopping $2 per bundle.  A great source for antioxidants.

Put these on your grocery list and you can’t go wrong.  They’re cheap, healthy, and will last you for at least a month.

* Some of these items are high in carbs like sweet potatoes and apples.  If you have been following my blog you will know that I’ve talked a lot about a ketogenic diet.  If you’re trying to remain strictly keto eating some of these things aren’t for you but if you’re just practicing a low carb diet than you’ll be fine unless you’re eating an entire bag of apples a day.