Happy Thanksgiving week! Can you believe the Holiday Season is here? Wow, the year is almost over! I hope you already picked up your turkey and it is thawing in the fridge. That’s an easy mistake to make if you never cooked a turkey before. On our first Thanksgiving, we picked up a turkey too late and had to delay our big feast until the weekend. Hey, live and learn, right?
This year, we’ll miss out on the Thanksgiving festivity. We’re in Thailand! Instead of Turkey and sides, we’ll be feasting on delicious Pad Thai, Khoa Soi, and curry. Yummm!!! Better yet, this trip to Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan is mostly paid for by travel hacking. Check out how I did it.
We’ll take RB40Jr out for school for 2 weeks and 2 days. However, he’ll only be absent for 7 days. There is no school on Thanksgiving week. It’s the perfect time to get out of town.
Here is an interesting development. RB40Jr scored in the 95th percentile in reading and math. His teacher told us to apply for the TAG program (talented and gifted.) That’s great! RB40Jr is a smart kid, but I didn’t think he’s gifted. Anyway, I think it’ll be great to get into the TAG program. It’ll get him going in the right direction. He still hates school. Maybe new challenges will make school more interesting.
As for writing, he’s having a hard time with it. His level of production is very low. The problem is he doesn’t know what to write. He takes too long to figure out what to write and then runs out of time. Recently, we started making him write more at home. He needs to write a page about what happened at school. This was a great idea. He is getting faster at writing things down. I think it’s easier at home because he can write about all the troubles the kids got into at school. I had this same problem when I was young too. I think too much and try to get the first draft to be perfect. Now, I know it’s easier to just let it flow and edit it later.
We’ll encourage him to write a journal on this vacation. I’ll help him write a few sentences every day. It shouldn’t be too difficult. We just need to set a schedule and stick to it.
2019 is better than 2018
2018 was a tough year for us. My mom was diagnosed with dementia. She lived with us, but the situation was deteriorating. So we decided to move her to Thailand last year. RB40Jr and I took 5 weeks off and helped her adjust. She has been living with my dad for a year now. It’s been a mixed bag. Her dementia continues to worsen and it’s a stressful situation for my dad. He has to supervise her 24/7. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find a good helper. Last month, my dad got sick and had to check into the hospital for a week. It was a huge problem. There was nobody to take care of my mom and she had to stay in the hospital with him. Fortunately, he’s a bit better now and they’re back at home.
This trip, we’ll go check out a new dementia care facility near Chiang Mai. My mom is very resistant to the idea so it’ll be a tough sell. We’ll see if it’s the right fit for her. My dad is doing a good job, but it’s pretty stressful. He is also getting older and he might need help too. Getting old isn’t for wimps.
I’m thankful that my dad is taking care of my mom for now. She can’t live with us because dementia created a lot of conflicts here. Hopefully, my dad can take care of her for a couple more years. Once RB40Jr is a bit older, I’ll spend more time in Thailand. I’m also thankful for our good health. Mrs. RB40, Junior, and I are all healthy. It’s been a good year on that front.
Other things I’m grateful for
- Retire by 40 continues to generate income. We made less this year, but it’s still pretty good.
- We moved to our duplex and consolidated a bit. One less property means one less thing to worry about. Hopefully, we’ll consolidate down to just one property in 2 years or so.
- Our passive income exceeds our expenses. We feel financially secure because we can save over 50% of our income this year.
- We’re happy overall. Mrs. RB40 and I celebrated our 20th anniversary this year and our marriage continues to be very good. We don’t have a lot of problems and life is good. That’s the key to happiness.
Lastly, I’m really thankful for all your support. Last year was tough due to my mom’s health issue. Your comments really helped me get through that tough period. Thank you!
Okay, on to Black Friday. Thanksgiving is great. Black Friday, not so much. We did the Black Friday thing a few times in the past, but we don’t anymore. It just doesn’t make sense to get up so early to go shopping. Sure, you might save a few dollars if you’re lucky, but it never worked out for us. The store would run out of the sale items very quickly and we’d have very little to show for our effort. Anyway, we haven’t gone Black Friday shopping for years.
These days, I shop online instead. It’s so much easier. However, we’ll be out of town this year. I still want to get a few things though.
- New TV! I got our TV in 2006. It’s 13 years old and very outdated now. The new 4k TVs look so awesome in comparison. I’ll go shop for a new TV after we get back from our trip. I’m going to buy it from a local store, though. It’s not a good idea to buy TV online. It’s a huge hassle to ship it back if something is wrong. I’m eyeing the new 2019 TCL 65r625. Let me know in the comment if you have a recommendation for a TV under $800.
- Xbox One. Heh, I still have the original Xbox from 2001. I rarely play video games anymore so it wasn’t a big priority. However, the Xbox One can play 4k blu-ray discs. We don’t even have a blu-ray player so this will be a good upgrade. Our old DVD player is starting to malfunction too. I’m not sure if I’ll get an Xbox One S or splurge on the X. We’ll see what’s on sale when I get back.
Anyway, one way to avoid the Black Friday frenzy is to go on vacation. It’s great. I remember going through immigration on Thanksgiving one year. There was no line at all and we breezed through in just a few minutes. It’s a great time to take an international trip. Of course, it’d be harder to get away if you have families. In that case, check out some of the tactics I use to avoid the Black Friday frenzy.
How to avoid the Black Friday frenzy
1. Ignore Black Friday
It’s not easy to avoid Black Friday with all the advertising going on around us. Mrs. RB40 usually get a Sunday newspaper so she could look at the ads. However, she has an iron will and rarely buys anything. If you don’t have that, then you should avoid opening any junk mail for the next few days. It’s probably a good idea to avoid watching commercials too. There are many good deals to be had. If you pay attention to the ads, you probably will see something you’ll lust after.
2. Stay focused
Of course, if you need anything, Black Friday is a great opportunity to buy it. In this case, make a list and stay focused on just the items you need. In previous years, we’d plan which stores to visit and stick to it religiously. Usually, we only have 2-3 stores on our list. My shopping stamina is really bad. 3 stores are all I can handle. In recent years, I don’t go out at all on Black Friday. We’ll stay home all day, watch movies, and play video games. Ahhh… that’s the life.
If you’re braving Black Friday shopping, then have a game plan and minimize the number of stores you’ll visit. Also, make sure to set a budget and stick to it. Good luck if you’re heading out this Friday…
3. Online shopping
I don’t know why anyone would go Black Friday shopping these days. You can get pretty much anything online now. I guess some stores have really nice Black Friday deals, but the pain is just not worth it. My time is more valuable than that. Even saving $50 wouldn’t be worth the trouble. Why not just buy it online instead. Amazon is already having a great Black Friday week sale. Buy online instead of going out shopping on Friday. Online shopping makes life so much easier. Cyber Monday is great too if you need to spend some money.
4. Wait for the after Christmas sales
Another great option is to just wait for the after Christmas sales. This is my strategy for cloth shopping. Retailers will be desperate and put everything on discount after Christmas. A ton of people will also be returning gifts. Those will be discounted even more. According to the internet, December 26th is the best day of the year for clothes shopping. There will be big discounts and the inventory hasn’t been picked clean yet.
5. Enjoy Thanksgiving with your family!
Lastly, Thanksgiving is about spending time with the family. Why punish yourself by driving around at 4 am? That’s insane. Wouldn’t it be better to relax at home and enjoy the long weekend with the family? That’s what we usually do on Friday. It’ll be rainy outside and we’ll be nice and cozy indoors. We already run around like mad every day, why not relax at home on Thanksgiving weekend?
Alright, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. Do you have any plans for Black Friday? Are you braving the sales?
Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.
Joe also 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 DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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