Journal Entry 328 – 2018 Recap

This was by far the busiest year of my life. Let me try to make this in a list format in chronological order:

  • Shifted departments at work.
  • Traveled to Greensboro for an epic Rehearsal Dinner and Wedding.
  • Marriage!
  • Honeymoon to St. Lucia.
  • Moved out of the apartment of 1.5 years.
  • Bought a house!
  • Moved into that house. (A lot of work)
  • Bought a Shicon (Shih-tzu and Bichon) and named him Luke! (After Luke Skywalker)
  • Became a Wine Club members at Cooper’s Hawk. (Free bottle of wine each month.)
  • Benched 225lbs for the first time in years.
  • My niece Abby was born!
  • Bought a PS4. My first game system in 5 years.
  • Bachelor Party for my friend David.
  • David gets married in October.
  • Washington DC trip.
  • Coming soon this year:
  • Bachelor Party for a good friend of mine.
  • Another very good friend of mine will be married at years end.

This is a long list. I’m really hoping this year is much more laid back. Now that we are in the house and settled, I think it will be a much less chaotic year. I do have a few personal goals I would like to achieve this year. Again not in any particular order:

  • Learn to play the guitar. Aiming for 30 minutes a day.
  • Bench 250lbs by years end and get 225lbs for 3 sets of 8 reps easily.
  • Drop down to 175lbs again.
  • Stress less and relax more. Should be easier this year.
  • Listen to music more often.
  • Read more books. I like books where I feel like I’m learning something.

There is probably more than I am thinking of here, but this is all that is coming to mind. I have always wanted to know how to play the guitar, especially the electric guitar. It is not an easy instrument to learn, but if I do it every day for 30 minutes to maybe an hour I think I’ll make good progress. Sarah has a list of goals as well. She definitely wants to start eating better more consistently, so that is another goal for 2019.

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Journal Entry 323 – Finance

The end of the year is approaching very quickly. I can’t believe the Holidays are almost here. Very busy year overall and I have spent more money this year than any year to date. A first house will do that to you. That being said my Net Worth is still looking pretty good. Similar to writing this blog, working out and eating well, personal finance is a huge topic of interest for me. My interest in personal finance is what led me to my current job, to begin with. My current job has taught me a tremendous amount about the financial industry. I’m not an expert compared to some people but consider myself strongly inside of intermediate territory. I could compile all you would need to know into finance in a few simple tips:

  • Get out and stay out of debt. 
    • This one is probably the most important. If you understand this, then you likely have your ducks in a row. Don’t get behind on credit card payments, don’t buy a car you can’t afford and have $3-400 a month payments with interest or any other instrument of debt. Many places offer financing on just about any expensive item and you want to be wary of this. Financing implies you will be paying interest and this means more money you have to pay then the initial cost of the item. BEWARE.
    • A mortgage is somewhat of an exception because paying off a house is unrealistic for most people.
    • I have talked to some very smart people and some of them still haven’t grasped this concept, which is shocking to me. Do you really need a $40000 SUV with huge tires when all you do with it is commute to work or the store? – Probably not.
  • Invest in a 401(k) ESPECIALLY if you have company match (free money)
    • Be a loyal employee. It costs a lot of money to hire people and the longer you work somewhere, show up and do a great job, the more the company likes and invests in you.
  • Invest in a Taxable Account
    • Taxable accounts are the new savings accounts in my opinion. You can withdraw the cost basis (the money you put in the account – after-tax) tax-free and the money will grow far more (investment earnings) than it would sitting in a checking/savings account.
  • Keep 3-6 months of savings in your checking and savings and move the rest to a taxable account or other savings account
    • The value of your money in checking and savings accounts actually loses money each year due to inflation. Keep an amount that feels comfortable to you here, but save the rest.
  • Beware Lifestyle Inflation
    • This is a tough one, because it kind of happens automatically. Lifestyle inflation is basically earning more and spending more to match it. For example, say I got a $25000 annual raise. Most people would go “Hell Yeah” and spend it all by getting a bigger house and a nicer car even though they were fine with what they had before. Some of this is just the way society is set up as it is highly materialistic. Smart people take this money, pay off debt, invest it (which essentially means you will earn more money down the road) and live the same way they were living before. Quality of life is the same before the raise, but their wealth would increase tremendously.
    • Image result for fight club you are not the thing you own
  • Get rid of things you no longer use.
    • This is actually a very underrated tip for saving money. I shudder at the thought of hoarding. I’m possibly the only person in my family that is a minimalist or non-materialist. When your house becomes piled up so high with crap, you don’t even realize what you have any more. We don’t live in a third world country, therefore, we do not need to collect goods as if our life depended on it. Clean out your house and really go through everything you have to see if you truly need that item. Odds are if you don’t use it every day and haven’t seen it in years then you don’t need it. This doesn’t apply to pictures or family heirlooms, but mainly to excessive clothing that you don’t wear or any material goods, decorations that you would be better served getting rid of.
  • Buy Quality over Quantity
    • This may sound like I’m recommending never to buy anything. This is not so. I mainly recommend getting all of your debt paid off and your savings in place (investments or savings should be automatic. There should never be an excuse not save each month. Set up savings like you would an automatic bill payment). When you do buy something, make sure it is a quality item. This is something you would use daily or use for a long time before replacing, but it is also something you can afford. Never use financing to pay for a small item. Obviously, I don’t recommend buying too much quantity of anything, unless you actually need the volume of what you are buying. Buy nice things within your means, not a lot of things.
  • Appreciate Money
    • At an early age, I learned to appreciate food. As a fat child, I learned that it was through food that I was grossly overweight for my age and height. From that day forward, I manipulated food to achieve my desired effect. Which for me was to be slim. I have gone through one hell of a learning curve with food and can honestly tell you that when I eat something I appreciate what it is doing for me. I look at cheat meals as something I have earned and the rest of the time I choose foods that I know are benefiting me. (Protein, healthier fats, low sugar, green vegetables etc..) I only learned to appreciate food after it became scarce, however. The same is true of money for most people. Most kids or people even have no concept of what it means to appreciate money. Personal finance is not even a required class in school. (frightening thought) So when most kids graduate college in mountains of debt, then get a job that can barely pay the bills, money then becomes scarce. THEN they appreciate money. Unfortunately, it takes going through this for most people to “wake up” and truly appreciate it what money is and how to manage it.
    • Other people that don’t follow the rules above are in the same boat. They could make plenty of money and still be broke because they are truly idiotic with their spending habits.
    • You also have people on the other side of the coin that are so rich, money is no longer appreciated. It just becomes what Leonardo Di Caprio coins “Fun Coupons) in Wolf of Wall Street. Something to waste on material goods. This mindset can lead you to ruin down the road if you are not careful.

This actually ended up being a lot longer than I thought haha. I may add this under a new article. Ideas just kept hitting me as I was writing.

My strength is stuck in a plateau. Going to bump up the protein and calories by 2-300 to see if this helps. Other than that been keeping it pretty low carb still and my weight is hovering around the 178lb mark.

Sarah and I went to DC last week, which is why I didn’t post. We met up with my brother and his wife, as it was my sister-in-law Rebecca’s birthday, Sarah’s birthday and little Abby’s birthday on Halloween. She was much bigger than the last time I saw her! It was a fun time though. Sarah and I went to a few museums and then ate out at some local restaurants. On Sunday, we drove back and chilled most of the day and then went to Red Salt Chophouse and Sushi with Sarah’s parents for her Birthday dinner. The Sushi was great. I got Batman roll and Black Russian roll, mainly because I like the names.

 

Journal Entry 275 – Chicago

Life:

Last week Sarah and I went to Chicago to visit my brother Justin and his wife Rebecca. We haven’t been up there since he moved, so we wanted to visit his new house. Awesome city though. I have been to a few big cities and Chicago is one of the cleanest I’ve seen. It has about 3 million people living directly in the city and a lot more on the outskirts. Much less than New York, but way nicer and more affordable. Lake Michigan was Bahama water blue and basically looked like a beach. If this “lake” was in Europe it would be called a sea. It was a massive body of water. There was also a river cutting through the city, which is actually disconnected from the sea due to keeping the lake clean from the river’s toxins. That being said the river looks very nice cutting through the city.We ended up going on a boat tour through the river and a bus tour through the city. Both were nice, but I liked the boat tour better as we didn’t have to weave through traffic. The last day we went to Wrigleyville and saw Wrigley field. Cool town even though I’m not a huge baseball fan.

I recently got a promotion to shift lead, so my schedule is no longer 9-6 Monday through Friday. It is now 1pm-12am Wednesday through Thursday and 9am-8pm Friday and Saturday. I’m looking forward to it though as the job comes with more money and more responsibility.

Food:

Chicago’s eats didn’t disappoint. The first thing I wanted to get there was deep dish pizza. It took about an hour to get, but it was awesome. Reminded me of pizza, lasagne, and pie mixed together. We got cookie dough ice cream, burgers and fries from a place called Shake Shack, carrot cake from Mandy B’s and biscuits from Crosby’s. I was convinced I just didn’t like biscuits, but these were life changing. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Really good. Mandy B’s was a dessert place that pretty much served everything. Sarah is the one that loves sweet’s, so I told her to get whatever she wanted and I would share it with her. It didn’t disappoint.

For my normal diet, I have started to add in some kefir to my diet. After doing research on it, I think it can really help clear up my psoriasis. One of the most potent probiotics on earth, mainly because it has 15-20 billion probiotics per cup and since it’s also a prebiotic, the probiotics don’t get destroyed in your stomach, before they actually reach your intestines. This is supposed to fix a lot of issues with digestive enzymes, leaky gut, skin issues, bloating, energy and mental health. Looking forward to seeing the benefits. My plan is to pound it pretty hard the first month or so and then back off to maintenance dosages.

Macro wise has been much higher in carbs, moderate in fat and somewhat lowish protein for me 90 to 120 grams.

Workouts:

My chin-ups have finally progressed up past 3 sets of 8 reps with 30lbs to 3 sets of 12 reps with 30lbs. My accessories have also increased.

My bench press is sadly still the same, but still feels good when I’m doing it. My dips, however, are way up at almost 3 sets of 20 reps. I’m not adding weight to dips, but instead I’m adding a lot of reps. Really good pump from these.

Barely been doing any cardio recently, mainly because my gym has been packed at 7am when I usually go run. Luckily, I dont have to go at the time anymore, so I will probably pick up running 2-3 times a week again.