The Airbnb Challenge – Converting the Living Room into our Bedroom

ECA and I have been hosting on Airbnb for nearly two years now.  We have a townhouse with two bedroom suites upstairs which works very well since we don’t need to share a bathroom.  We have been managing everything, and cleaning the room between guests to maximize our profits.  Last year, we grossed around $20,000 and after considering extra expenses such as utilities, we made around $16k before taxes.

Which really got us thinking, what if we could expand this?  Considering our expenses, if we were able to double this amount, we could theoretically maintain our lifestyle off of the income from Airbnb alone (although we don’t plan to do this), and if nothing else, we could make a considerable amount of money.  So, we set out to convert our living room into a third bedroom and try to open our suite on Airbnb.

Confounding Factors:

Now, our first floor is extremely open.  There are no walls separating the living room from the kitchen or the dining room.  It’s all just one big room with the front door on one side and the back door on the other.  To divide the room, we hung a curtain separating the living room from the kitchen, which made our studio plenty large enough for us even with the couch still present.  But, as you might imagine, a curtain is just not sufficient to separate a room…  That’s not the only issue though!  We also only have a half bathroom downstairs.  Which is fine enough, since we have access to showers at work.

And the Results:

After trying this set up for a little over a week, we have decided that there’s no way this is going to work long term!  Although our guests have been very courteous and quiet when they come and go (as they always have been), being on the first floor, every time someone came in or out, they would often wake us, or just as bad, they didn’t want to turn on the lights when going up and down the stairs, which worry us that they may trip and fall trying to not wake us.  It was also very surprising how loud the guests taking a shower was.  Normally, we don’t even really notice the guests in the other bedroom, but being under them, made a huge difference as the house is just not set up for this situation.

After breaking even, (well, maybe making a little money) we have given up on this idea!  It’s simply not worth it.

Well, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting!  And while if we had to do this, it is a viable option, but the sacrifice simply was not worth it.  We’re going back to having the spare suite as an Airbnb because that has worked and has been rewarding, but I don’t imagine us going back to sleeping in the living room!

The Wonderful World of Credit Card Churning

We have been using credit cards for all our purchases for a very long time.  We always pay off the balance every month and never buy any more than what we would anyway, so there has been no cost to do so.  And other than the shear convenience, with cash-back on every purchase that all of our credit cards offer, we have made a few hundred bucks every year.

But then there’s credit card churning which is on a whole ‘nother level.

Churning is all about getting those sweet, sweet introductory offers.  Usually, these are some lump-sum reward bonus such as $100 cash back after spending $500 in 90 days.  Or it’s airline miles.  Or free nights in a hotel.  Or 0% APR for months.  Or it’s a $50 Amazon gift card.  We’ve been seriously churning for about a year now and I finally feel like I have enough experience to talk about it intelligently.

My favorite way to churn is the introductory offer.  Amazon credit cards, for example, are easy to get and immediate rewards with no effort, but the majority of the cards we’ve been churning require spending a certain amount to get the reward.  Most of the time, you must spend some set amount in a relatively short amount of time to get the introductory offer.  Often, it’s very achievable.  But the best rewards we’ve gotten have required much higher spending up to around $4,000 in 90 days.  With our normal spending rate, this is not achievable.  So, we generally must wait until we’re about to have a big expenditure and then open the card.

Churning Opportunities:

Since ECA travels fairly often for her work, the best time to open a card is right before then.  She pays for everything with the new card up-front, we get the introductory bonus and cash-back, and then she gets reimbursed from her work.  We also opened one of our first cards with a big reward when we first moved to Seattle.  We drove across the country with my old car and whatever could fit in there (which wasn’t really that much).  So, when we went to buy furniture, we opened a card, I believe we also may have bought tickets for a trip at that time too (which may have been the bulk of the purchases).  But still, getting $500 cash-back on $4,000 of purchases is awesome IF you were going to do it anyway!

Some big ticket items that can help hit the mark include health-care expenditures (you can reimburse yourself from your HSA if you spend out of pocket), utility bills (you may be able to over-pay them and then not have to pay in upcoming months), vacations (if you’re planning on doing it anyway), annual car and home insurance premiums, car tab renewal, traveling for work (if you can be reimbursed), or paying your income taxes!

And Room to Fail:

My big plan for this year was to open a Chase Sapphire Reserve right at tax season when Chase was offering $1,000 worth of bonus points (there is an annual fee which reduces the overall benefit, but it’s still very good).  You can pay any taxes you owe with a credit card for a relatively small fee of around %1.87 to %2.25.  Which after the cash-back you get on all purchases, is reduced by 1% anyway, so the fee really isn’t very bad, but with the cash-back bonus, makes it an excellent churning opportunity for those of us who are low-spenders.  Well, unfortunately, even though I had planned to owe around $3,000 in taxes, we ended up getting a refund of around $1,200.  Yes, I know complaining about a refund is kind-of-ridiculous, but it did put us in a risky place to not get the reward.  That said, there’s other options to fall back on.  I needed to renew my car tabs (~$180 – thanks Seattle…).  I needed to renew my driver’s license (~$60, seriously?? And it doesn’t meet TSA’s requirements?).  I also was paying for insurance on a month-to-month basis, so I called them, got my rates lowered a bit and then payed for a year’s worth.  I also bought a new computer and an HTC Vive (not a frugal choice, but a very fun one, and I was planning on doing it anyway).  So, we should be good to hit the limit with normal spending now, but if it looks like we’re not going to hit it, my plan is to just overpay my water or electric bill!

Other Considerations:

Many of the best churning cards also have annual fees.  Sometimes these fees are waived, but often it means that I will end up canceling, or downgrading the card to one that doesn’t have fees.  I think downgrading is the way to go because that way, it doesn’t affect your credit score as much by lowering the average age of accounts.  Speaking of credit score, I have not seen much of an impact by doing this.  I opened 6 accounts in the past year and my credit score was barely affected.  I have been consistently hovering around ~810.  I have noticed that since opening several cards fairly rapidly that I have been less likely to be automatically approved, but this didn’t seem to matter as long as I called in, or went to the bank and applied in person.

Another way to churn would be to take advantage of the 0% intro APR that several cards offer.  I haven’t done this as there is quite a bit of risk (and I am a rather risk-adverse person), but you could not pay off the credit card and instead put the money into the market.  It’s a free loan after all, but you have to pay back that loan eventually!

Finally, a big thing to remember is that if you already have a card that offers a bonus.  Some banks will give you the offer again only once every 2 years.  You may be able to call your bank right now and get the introductory bonus again for a card you already have, or sometimes, you need to cancel the card and then re-open it.  That said, there’s a lot of cards out there to churn, so this hasn’t even come up in my experience yet.

My cards so-far:

I haven’t opened very many cards in the grand scheme of things, but here are the ones I’ve used:

Chase Sapphire Reserve

This card was absolutely incredible and is still pretty good.  When ECA and I opened each of ours, Chase was giving a 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in 90 days.  This could be used to get $1,000 cash back, or with this card, you can get 1.5x the value if you use it to buy air travel or hotels through Chase.  Unfortunately, they lowered the reward to 50,000 bonus points, but it’s still pretty good.  The card does have an annual fee of $450, $300 of which is refunded if you spend at least that much on qualified expenses.  It also pays for TSA pre (which is awesome), and you get a membership in Priority Pass Select, which gives you access to lounges in airports that have free food and drinks (including alcohol!) and unlimited wifi.  If you travel frequently enough, the Priority Pass could pay for the card in the savings from food/drinks you might buy anyway, but be warned, you may not get access to the lounge if they are full.  We didn’t get to once because a lot of flights got delayed in a snowstorm and the lounge was full.  Another awesome thing about Chase cards is that you can transfer points between cards, so that 1.5x bonus can be taken advantage of no matter where those points come from.  The card also has pretty good cash back at 3% for travel and restaurants, and 1% for everything else.  It also gives you trip insurance, rental car insurance, and no foreign transaction fees.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Preferred is also a great choice and has many of the same things the reserve has.  50,000 bonus points on $4,000 in 90 days.  1.25x the value as opposed to 1.5x for travel through chase.  Only 2x cash back on travel and dining.  You still get the trip and rental car insurance and the no foreign transaction fees, but you don’t get the Priority Pass or TSA pre.  There’s a $95 annual fee which is waived for the first year, which is nice.  After the first year, we just have down-graded these so that we don’t have to pay and then we can up-grade them when the 2 years comes up to get the intro again.

Chase Freedom:

There are a lot of cards out there with similar rewards, but I recommend the Freedom as a card that everyone should own.  You get $150 when you spend $500 and an additional $25 if you have an authorized buyer make a purchase during that time.  The cash-back is pretty good on the Freedom having rotational categories which you get 5% cash back and 1% for everything else, which as long as you pay attention means you can save 4% on spending in a category that you would spend anyway!

Chase Freedom Unlimited:

The Freedom Unlimited offers the same sign-on bonus as the Freedom, but doesn’t have the 5% cash-back categories.  Instead, it just gives you a straight 1.5% cash back.  Which is good, but there are better cards out there.  Still, I have it and occasionally use it for certain categories.

Chase Amazon Rewards Visa Signature:

This is an easy one.  You sign up and you get a $50 gift card for Amazon.  Which is pretty nice.  It also gets 3% cash back on Amazon, 2% at gas stations and drugstores, and 1% everywhere else.  The Freedom will sometimes give you 5% on Amazon though, so the cashback is nothing to call home over.

Noticing a pattern?  I do like Chase quite a bit, their website works great, their app works great, their customer service has always been top-notch.  For general banking needs, I cannot recommend any other bank higher.  I have definitely been eyeing other cards though, but none of them have quite beat what I can get out of the Chase cards.  Perhaps after I finish off the Reserve I’ll try a card from another bank, or maybe I’ll try to get Chase to give me the offer again for a card I have had for a few years, or if I’m feeling really gutsy, I’ll even do a 0% loan for 15 months and capitalize on that.

If you decide to try this for yourself, be careful and happy churning!

Sparky in Trouble!

Sparky is the name of our car, it’s a 2013 Chevy Spark and I like it quite a bit.  It’s small (just under 12 foot long) so it can fit in basically any parking space.  It seats 3 passengers, so if I do need to drive anyone other than EC Aunt, it can.  It gets fantastic gas mileage (I’ve been averaging over 38 miles per gallon consistently).  It tells me when it needs an oil change, which has been about 3 times per year, and in general it doesn’t require as much maintenance as other cars I’ve owned.  However, recently, I ran into a problem with its battery…

The Spark uses an H6-DLG battery which apparently is pretty rare.  I was having some battery problems (I needed a jump after leaving the lights on for less than 5 minutes), so I knew the battery was bad.  I also needed an oil change so into the shop I went.  Surprisingly, the Firestone (there’s one that I can walk to from my place and I had a $20 off coupon which made it worth it) I took the car to couldn’t source a battery to fit it and they told me the only place I could get one was the dealer!  So, I started to do my own research and while I was able to potentially find a suitable battery.  I did find a potential solution at the Autozone, costing about $160, but unfortunately, Sparky didn’t make it!

I went to garage to set off to buy a new battery, but Sparky wouldn’t start.  Unfortunately, I didn’t notice any neighbors around to give me a jump, and I was worried that even if I did get it started that it would die again once I stopped the car, if they didn’t have a battery that would work for me.  So, I figured I might as well just do what any good mechanical engineer would do and find a suitable replacement regardless of what the official battery was supposed to be.  I mean, a battery is just a battery, there’s nothing that special about the form it comes in.  It just needs to have the right amount of voltage and cranking amperage, right?

I pulled the battery from the Spark, an easy operation, just needing a 10mm wrench, put the old battery into a bag and walked to the light-rail station.  I jumped on the first train and jumped off at the next stop, right next to an O’Reilly Auto Parts store.  I started to look for a battery and asked the extremely helpful cashier if he had anything that fit.  I eventually found a battery that was about the right size, except slightly taller.  I was confident it would fit though since I had already measured the space above the battery, and the polarity was correct, so I traded in my old battery and bought the new one.  The cost was around $130 after tax, not cheap, but not as expensive as the battery I found online that was supposed to replace the one I have.  I jumped back onto the train and made it home with the new battery.

The battery fit pretty well!  The clamp that bolts over-top was specifically designed for the old battery, but I made it work!  That battery’s not going anywhere.  Sparky seems happy about it, so all-in-all, I consider it a victory.  So, next time if I need a battery for the Spark, I think I’ll buy the same one I got, or maybe I’ll just try a different one when the time comes!

2016 in Review

Happy New Year!  One of my favorite annual pastimes is to review the previous years and find out how we did financially and I’m happy to say that 2016 was a very frugal year!  EC Aunt and I have only been out of college since 2012, and there’s a huge difference in our costs from then and now, so I really am only able to compare our expenditures from the last 4 years, but this year we managed to spend the least!

expenditures

This does exclude buying a car in 2016 which I prefer to distribute over several years if possible (assuming that I will be able to continue to drive it during that time).  This does include the cost of my previous car which we did not keep very long, so it’s cost was pretty much entirely in 2014, although we did have it for a bit in 2015.  These expenditures also do not include some costs of buying our house incurred in 2013 such as the closing costs on the house.  The biggest concern for costs not shown on here regarding our path to financial independence is the lack of health insurance, which I currently receive as a benefit through my employer.

Trends:

A few trends that are noticeable for the past few years is the decline in transportation cost, an increase in bills, a fairly consistent expenditure on food, a huge decrease in shopping this year, and a large decrease in vacation.

The transportation costs have been reduced primarily from getting a more efficient car, a slight drop in average price of gas, and the fact that EC Aunt’s work now provides her with a monthly pass for the public transportation.  I would expect once we retire that this cost would actually be even lower since the primary expenditure in this category is the cost to get to and from work.

The increase in our bills over the last few years are primarily due to moving into our townhome in 2014 and starting to pay for our HOA in addition to the other bills we already had and again increasing in 2015 and 2016 as we started to rent out our spare room.  Although I feel like these numbers are high, we’re better off in this position overall since the cost to lease would be higher than the cost to own and we’re actually making a decent amount of money on the house through renting out the spare room and the appreciation of the value of our home.  I’m really not sure how this category will be affected by retiring.  It depends on what we plan to do, and we haven’t quite yet figured it out.  I believe we will sell our home due to the high costs of bills such as the HOA, but whether we buy a new home, or rent, or just travel around for long periods with short rentals to break up trips is still up in the air.

Food costs have been relatively stable, and although we spent quite a bit less on fast food and restaurants, we spent a bit more on groceries this year.  This cost would also be quite variable in retirement depending on how much we travel and when we settle down again.  Traveling generally would make this cost go up quite a bit I expect, but it depends on where we are traveling since the cost of food might also be lower or higher in certain countries.

The decrease in shopping is almost entirely due to a huge cut-back from EC Aunt.  After getting her new position, she has decided that working for money is too hard and it’s easier to just not spend it!  The expenditure was especially high in 2015 for this category as well since EC Aunt bought a new MacBook Pro, an expensive LV purse, and an IPhone 6s…  Of course, she’s still using these, so their cost should carry over a few years as well.  She also cut back on buying clothes this year, although I don’t think her sense of fashion has suffered for it!  We also cut back a bit on our entertainment spending, opting for less expensive activities like clamming on the coast and playing Pokémon Go, heh!

The last major category that we can control actively is vacations.  In 2016, we simply did not travel as much as the last few years.  A big part of this was that EC Aunt felt she was traveling a bit too much with her new job and didn’t want to do it as much.  We were also both very busy with work and finding time to plan out a longer vacation is difficult.  There’s also the fact that we really want to spend more time in each location when traveling but when work is waiting for us to return to, it’s difficult to really enjoy the time we travel.  Of course once we retire, I expect this to be the largest portion of our budget so, this trend is not something I expect to maintain, nor do I want to maintain this low amount.

The only other trends worth mentioning would be the difference in the cost to lease and mortgage interest and property tax.  In 2013, we didn’t have a full year of a lease, so the cost was quite a bit lower for these categories.  We did buy the house that year, but the first payment was not realized until 2014.  Of course, if we continued to lease, the price would have gone up as well, so I’m pretty happy about buying when we did.  Over the last few years, we have been paying off our mortgage at a very accelerated rate.  We owe about $32,000 currently.  This has brought piece of mind and a greatly reduced cost of interest which of course has many pros and cons.  A considerable portion of our expenditures though is our property tax which has been going up and up every year and will go up even further now that Seattle has passed a major expansion to the public transportation system…  Still, as mentioned before, we’re better off owning the house than we would be to lease, so it’s just the cost of living and working in a growing city and really can’t be avoided.

The Breakdown and Its Impact on Financial Independence:

On average in the past 4 years, we have spent just under $28,000 a year, with a high of just under $34,000 and a low of just under $22,000.  Using the 4% rule (ignoring whether or not it is completely valid), we would need at least $550,000  using the low, $700,000 using the average, and $850,000 using the high number.  Furthermore, the high number might not actually be high enough for our retirement since we plan to travel more, we plan to have a modest budget at around $40,000 per year to cover everything, which would allow us a great deal of freedom, but would leave us plenty of room to fall back into super-frugal mode if anything goes badly.  For this, we would need $1,000,000!  So, to be extra sure, EC Aunt and I are shooting for a net worth of a bit over $1,000,000 in our retirement accounts in addition to the house.

balances

Our Progress to our Goal of Financial Independence This Past Year:

This year, we managed to save much more than previous years, not only because we were able to reduce our spending, but also due to the fact that we just made more money.  EC Aunt and I both maxed out our 401ks for the year, saving $18.000 each.  My company matched me $3210 for the year, contributed $3100 into my HSA, and a 401k bonus of $6,100.  Ending the year with a balance of just under $73,000 in my 401k, an excellent gain from my starting balance of $37,200.  We also contributed the remaining amount allowed to max out the HSA with an additional $3550 for a total of $6,550 contributed for the year, putting the final balance at $23,500, up from the starting balance of $14,470.  EC Aunt put in $18,000 into her 401k and received a match of $2850, she also started a Roth IRA, maxing it out for the year, ending her retirement accounts at $84,000, up from their starting balance of around $52,100.  We paid off a great deal of the premium on our mortgage this year!  We started the year with a principal of right at $100,000 and now we’re down to $32,000!  We also started a brokerage account this year which has a balance of $41,500!

In total, we managed to save just under $170,000 for the year, an amazing feat!  We also gained around $16,500 from growth of our accounts.  I expect that we should be able to maintain this rate of savings for the next few years, putting our timeline for Financial Independence at 5 years without any gains!  As long as the markets don’t crash, we could achieve this even sooner!  Here’s to 2017!  Hope it’s a wonderful year!

Uber Frugal Month Challenge – Homework Part 1

One of my fav FI bloggers Frugalwoods is leading the Uber Frugal Month Challenge. We have been very frugal people to start with. I am participating to learn some more frugal tips and share our knowledge with other people. If you would like to participate as well, you can join read all about it in the link above.

Mrs Frugalwoods left us homework, and I will be doing them here in ER Uncle.

Step 1: Establish your goals

  1. Why are you participating in this Challenge?
    • Learn new frugal tips: there is always something new to learn from other people. We feel like we are very frugal people, but want to explore what are other ways to be frugal and still living happy life.
    • Share our store with others: we want to contribute to the community to help others with our experience. We are younger couple in our 20s. I noticed most people in the FI community are older. We hope to bring some unique perspectives.
    • Make new friends & Have fun: Being frugal can be seen as a tough chore. So we want to make it fun!
  2. What are your longterm life goals?
    • Financial independence in the next five years. Having the freedom to pursue wherever our passion leads which can change and evolve overtime. Short term our passion includes exploring the world and creating new experiences together, getting a PhD, etc.
  3. What about your current lifestyle might prevent those goals from coming to fruition and what can you do about it?

My work can be stressful at times, and the idea of treating ourselves with expensive things is very prevalent in my work place. I have a very conflicting personality. By nature, I love very expensive things (I did not think they are that bad but ER Uncle constantly reminds me this is such a luxury) – designer handbags, trench coat, skincare, make up, MacbookPro, household items, etc. On the flip side, I am a minimalist who hates clutter. This really helps counterbalance my spendy nature. I am also a practical person as I want receive the biggest bang for the buck, so my philosophy is to splurge on some quality items on things I really care about that bring me happiness very time when I use them. I hate getting expensive things that do not get used, but am happy to treat myself to something that will get lots of use. So far this philosophy has served me well, but I can see how it may be a potential road block to our FI goal.

Step 2: Review last month’s spending

We use both Mint and Personal Capital. Mint is used for day to day expense tracking and Personal capital is for long term tracking on our wealth building. Below is our 2016 Nov spend.

Screen Shot 2016-12-24 at 10.17.53.png

*** forgot to mention that our water and electricity bill is bi-monthly. Also, we have a sewage bill every quarter ($180) that is not reflected on this chart.

Step 3: Categorize your expenses

I think I picked a hard baseline. November spend listed above is relatively low compared to others. I plan to do this again beginning of 2017 Jan to look at 2016’s full year spend in its entirety. The blue colored ones are what Frugalwoods called “Fixed Mandatory Expenses” and the rest are “Discretionary Expenses”. For the fixed mandatory expenses, our bills are slightly high due to HOA (:() and our Airbnb. I would love to hear your advice on ways to lower it further.

Step 4: What can I eliminate entirely?

Would love to hear your thoughts on lowing the discretionary expenses. We start to get into the mindsets that these spend are what it takes for us to live comfortably. We don’t want to be live miserable or be deprived. We rarely eat out as ER uncle is a good cook and I am decent. We actually enjoy eating at home. Maybe I could get rid of my iphone and get a VOIP. I find VOIP sometimes not working very well and frustrating. I thought it may be good to keep at least one “normal”phone (I think this is just me trying to justify the iphone I really love).

There are 7 more steps. Will continue to cover in the next post 🙂

Until next time,

EC Aunt

Call Your Bank, ISP, Insurance Company, etc.

I recently opened a new credit card and much to my chagrin, I received a late fee after missing my due date.  I thought I had set up auto-payment which I have for all my other cards, but I was wrong.   But not to be dismayed, I called my bank and asked if the late fee could be waived since this was abnormal for me.  They did it, no questions asked!

I think this is a very commonly underutilized way to leverage your finances.  Most of the time, the bank is more concerned with keeping you as a satisfied customer than making a quick buck.  If you ever get a fee, take the 5-10 minutes to call your bank and see what they can do for you.  You can also lower your interest rates on your credit cards, but since I virtually never pay any interest (except when I screw up), I haven’t taken the time to pursue this.

Some utilities are also prime for calling to reduce your monthly bills on as well.  For instance, most internet service providers offer introductory rates which expire after around a year.  Just by calling once a year right before my promotion ended, I have managed to keep about the same rate consistently for several years.

Everyone knows that you should shop around every year for insurance, but even if you don’t decide to switch, you should call your insurance company.  I was quite surprised to find that I could save about $200 a year without any reductions in coverage!  It was also quite a bit lower than the competitor’s rate I was comparing to as well!

Of course, missing payments is generally not a good idea as it can affect your credit and the bank will probably not be so lenient if you make it into a habit and you may not always get a better deal, but definitely call around and see if you can get a better rate!

EC Aunt’s Fav #4 – After a long day at work

Although the blog is intended for ER uncle to share his personal finance ideas, I decided to hijack his blog to share my fav items that bring me constant joy. Every time I pick up the item, I get this immersive feeling of satisfaction and can’t help to think “I am so glad I got this”.

Check out previous posts

EC Aunt’s Fav #1 – Lip Steal vs. Splurge

EC Aunt’s Fav #2 – Make up in the Car

EC Aunt’s Fav #3 – Tropical Vacation

My work has been really busy these days. I am working about 9-10hrs a day. So not crazy long hours compared to lots of other people. But that combined with all the craziness at work can be very stressful and exhausting. Here are some things I love after a long day at work.

Continue reading “EC Aunt’s Fav #4 – After a long day at work”

EC Aunt’s Fav #3 – Tropical Vacation

Although the blog is intended for ER uncle to share his personal finance ideas, I decided to hi-jack his blog to share my fav items that bring me constant joy. Every time I pick up the item, I get this immersive feeling of satisfaction and can’t help to think “I am so glad I got this”.

Check out previous posts EC Aunt’s Fav #1 – Lip Steal vs. Splurge & EC Aunt’s Fav #2 – Make up in the Car.

We had our first snow this week. This totally makes me miss all our tropical island vacations. It’s funny that I always love packing and preparing for our vacation. Writing this post about my favorite things for a tropical vacation is a good opportunity to re-live all the sweet memories.

Continue reading “EC Aunt’s Fav #3 – Tropical Vacation”

EC Aunt’s Fav #2 – Make up in the Car

Although the blog is intended for ER uncle to share his personal finance ideas, I decided to hi-jack his blog to share my fav items that bring me constant joy. Every time I pick up the item, I get this immersive feeling of satisfaction and can’t help to think “I am so glad I got this”. Check out previous post EC Aunt’s Fav #1 – Lip Steal vs. Splurge.

Today we are going to talk about my make-up essentials to quickly complete a cute look for work. These items are compact and easy to apply. In the morning, I carpool with ER uncle and I am able to finish my make up within 15 mins sitting in the car. They fit into a small make up bag that I pack with me when I travel.

Continue reading “EC Aunt’s Fav #2 – Make up in the Car”

EC Aunt’s Fav #1 – Lip Steal vs. Splurge

Although the blog is intended for ER uncle to share his personal finance ideas, I decided to hi-jack his blog to share my fav items that bring me constant joy. Every time I pick up the item, I get this immersive feeling of satisfaction and can’t help to think “I am so glad I got this”. ER uncle and I are all about spending on things that truly matters to us (video game for ER uncle, fashion and beauty items for me, and experiences for both of us). I do splurge quite a bit more than ER uncle. Every time I splurge, I try to make sure I get the highest happiness return for my $$. Here is a series of successful items and I share it a Steal vs. Splurge format.

Continue reading “EC Aunt’s Fav #1 – Lip Steal vs. Splurge”