I’m back in Portland, our beloved city. I am beat! We made a little better time coming back from San Jose than going down. We left at 4:30 am and got here just a little after 6 pm. RB40 Junior did very well on the ride back. He slept a lot and only got crazy during the last 100 miles… He wanted to stop and play with the cows, but I really wanted to push on home. You can’t play with cows anyway, right? He was just very whiney in the last leg of the journey. As soon as he got home, he ran around like a maniac. I guess he needed to release all that pent up energy. We didn’t stop at the rest area to play much this time because it was raining. Anyway, we were all glad to be home.
So today, I’m still trying to recover from the long distance driving. We vacuumed, checked the blog, checked email, went to the gym, had lunch, and now I’m going to write an easy article. I’m just too worn out to write an in-depth article today.
All right, you probably know that I’m a pretty cheap guy. Normally, I prefer the free or cheap option to expensive/luxurious ones. I don’t drive a fancy car because I’d rather save some money. We usually cook at home instead of eating out every day. We go out to a restaurant about once a week for a change of scenery. I like paying less for almost everything, but there are a few exceptions. Here are the 5 things I don’t skimp on.
I put on my glasses when I wake up and take them off when I go to bed. A cheap pair of glasses never worked for me. The cheap ones don’t fit right, feel cheap, and/or they don’t look good. In this instance, I don’t mind paying for designer frames because I’ll wear them every day for about 3 years. Even if the glasses cost $350, that’s only about 30 cents per day. My prescription is quite bad so I go for the lightest lenses (high index) available. Anti reflection coating is also a must for me. All these add up, but I don’t mind paying for a high quality product. I wear glasses all the time and that’s what people see first.
We put international travel on hold for the last 4 years. We didn’t want to travel until our kid is a little bit older so he could enjoy it too. Taking a vacation in the state is quite nice too and we saved quite a bit of money these last few years. We mostly visited family and friends so we didn’t spend too much. Next year, RB40 Jr. will be four years old and we’ll be ready for international vacations again. We’ll head to Thailand next year and perhaps visit South America the following year.
International travel will be more expensive than vacationing locally, but we love seeing new sights and experiencing different cultures. I think it will be good for the kid to see how the rest of the world live as well.
Of course, I try to get the best deal with the flight tickets and hotels. We used to stay in cheap hostels and then splurge on a nice hotel after about a week. I’m not sure if that will work with a small child. The flight tickets are also pretty expensive. I’ll have to churn some credit cards to pick up some travel miles next year.
Woodstock is the hot up and coming area in Portland. It has a great elementary school, but mediocre middle and high school. The housing price in that area is much cheaper than where we purchased. We looked in Woodstock, but ultimately decided to buy in a better school district. Our duplex is more expensive, but we want our kid to go to good schools. Buying in the Woodstock area would probably be a better investment, though. I guess private school is another option.
Child car seat
As a cheap guy, I love hand me downs. However, a child car seat is one item that I won’t take or hand down to my friends and family. Most child safety seat is good for around 5 years. The materials degrade as the seat age and you shouldn’t use the car seat pass the expiration date. Another reason to buy new seat is that safety standards improve all the time. A new seat is not cheap, but it’s probably safer than an older one. You never know if an old seat was in a car crash or if it ever been recalled.
In the process of buying and selling our property investments, I found out that smoke detectors last about 10 years. Anything older need to be replaced before the deal could close. That’s a good rule because you never know if an old smoke detector is still functioning property. Previously, I just change the batteries whenever the smoke detectors chirp, but now I’m going to replace them every 5 years or so. Also, your smoke detectors are probably the cheapest model available. Better smoke detectors have duel sensors to detect different kinds of fire, but they are a bit more expensive. I’ll order these First Alert SA320CN to replace the old smoke alarms soon. They are still affordable at around $25.
What about you? What are some of the things that you don’t mind splurging on?
Disclosure: Amazon affiliate link for the smoke detector.
For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.
Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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