July in Review, Real Estate, Dividend Income, and Side Hustle

July in Review, Real Estate, Dividend Income, and Side Hustle

fireworksAtlanta Trip: Celebrating the 4th

Now that July is coming to an end, one major event that stood out in this month was celebrating the 4th with our family. In the past, the FEN’s family has been traveling to Atlanta to celebrate this holiday with my side of the family, and now has become our annual tradition. Another tradition is to eat as much as humanly as possible while being here. The supermarkets and restaurants are diverse and plentiful, with food deriving from different ethnic groups and nationalities, all one should worry about is the size of their stomach. There are even restaurants that offer fusion cuisines such as Korean tacos, strange, but somehow this combination works. Living in New Orleans, we get tired of deep fried food rather quickly. New Orleans much like other southern cities, would deep fried t-shirts if they are edible. The best part, all this traveling during a major holiday only cost us $22. Yes, round trip flights for two adults, $22. How this was accomplished? Two words, “Travel Hacking”. Parking near the airport cost us $65, so the entire trip cost was only $87, excluding food. God bless the good ol’ U.S. of A!foodie Continue reading “July in Review, Real Estate, Dividend Income, and Side Hustle”

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June in Review, DIY, and Dividend Income

June in Review, First Birthday Celebration, DIY, and Dividend Income

DSC_1491Baby FEN turned ONE!

June was a very fun month for us as we celebrated our daughter’s first birthday. Being new parents we are blessed with a very healthy, active, smart baby. I am sure most parents would consider their kids smart too, in our case it’s true though. Being a little biased doesn’t hurt anyone. To help us celebrate our Baby FEN’s first birthday we invited her grandparents, uncles, aunties, and cousins to come New Orleans. A few couldn’t make it due to scheduling conflicts but they sent their best wishes, and gave Baby FEN “lucky” money. Typically, “lucky” money is given during the Lunar New Year and special occasions. Something that baby FEN did that surprised everyone was that she took the lucky money and handed over me the money as to say “here you go, invest it for me” [more like, “uuhh, ooh..baba”], we trained her well.

Rest assure baby FEN’s money is going straight to her 529 Plan.

Continue reading “June in Review, DIY, and Dividend Income”

Earn more, Spend Less and Invest!

By Mr. FrugalEnginerds

The Math

The equation of financial independence is simple and straightforward.

Money Earned – Spending = Money Saved/Invested over time = FI

On this blog, we mainly focus on living frugally by reducing unnecessary spending. However, there is a threshold where it’s unhealthy to dip below a certain level as it starts to negatively affect our standard of living, and thus reduce our overall level of happiness.  In Money Can Buy Happiness we discussed the relationship between income and happiness. We learned that the average American family making more than Continue reading “Earn more, Spend Less and Invest!”

Frugalicious :: Wraps and Rolls!

By: Mrs. FrugalEnginerds

When I was growing up, my family didn’t have the luxury of going out for leisure, if we ever did was either to weddings or funerals, of course, the obligatory events, and even those were rare. Our weekends consisted of home-cooking, extra curricular activities, and/or doing house chores. My mother tasked each one of us with a chore based on our availability or luck of the draw. Mine was mostly cooking. It was an easy task for me as opposed to doing five loads of laundry or mopping the floors. Even though I was no more than fifteen at the time, I was already handling cleavers and knives like a real butcher [Mr. FEN said this was one of the reasons why he was fond of me, not sure if it was out of fear or genuine love]. I didn’t hate the fact that I had to cook for my entire family, nor did I love it. It was my way to contribute within my best ability. However, one of my fondest memories about having family dinner was how much I enjoyed everyone’s presence. We didn’t have a lot but we had each other and a lot of pretty darn good meals to reminisce.

For a short while, The FrugalEnginerds family has practiced turning our weekends into “home-cooking family time” [A family that cooks together, stays together]. One of our all-time favorite dishes is Gỏi Cuốn, or Vietnamese Spring Rolls. This simple dish is light, healthy, and refreshing and it doesn’t require a lot of cooking. It’s great for dinner parties. I can eat this dish all day, especially the sweet-creamy peanut butter dipping sauce…It’s absolutely addicting!

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Recipe for Vietnamese Spring Rolls, serves 2 for a full meal (~ 10 rolls) or 5 for appetizers Continue reading “Frugalicious :: Wraps and Rolls!”

Money Can Buy Happiness

By Mr. FrugalEnginerds

Before you grab the pitchforks and torches let me explain

At the FrugalEnginerds’ house, we live a blissful and luxurious life for much less than many typical American families.

Dude!!! You just told us that money can buy happiness, WTH!?!?

Many people associate money with happiness and in some ways they are correct. Money enable us to acquire things, leverage it to buy our dream home, allows us to travel the world, thus elevating our standard of living and happiness. It’s no wonder that money is one of the focal points in our lives. Why is it then that some of our family members, friends, colleagues and neighbors who have all these things and some are finding themselves unhappy, frustrated, and still complain about their jobs, kids, relationships, etc…? These people who are earning just as much money as we do or in some cases far exceeding us. The answer may lie with the study conducted by Princeton University in 2010. Continue reading “Money Can Buy Happiness”

Frugalicious :: Balsamic Vinaigrette Steak Salad

By: Mrs. FrugalEnginerds

Being new parents, we rarely have time to sit down for a proper meal at home and when we do, I try very my best to make it quick, efficient, and delicious. Sometimes I find myself making dishes that I don’t necessarily craved but rather upon availability, and to our delight, our meals turn out quite satisfying. One of our favorites is steak salad. It’s a well-balanced meal with just the right amount of veggies and proteins.

0306161501e Continue reading “Frugalicious :: Balsamic Vinaigrette Steak Salad”

Frugalicious :: Crawfish Boil

By: Mrs. FrugalEnginerds

When we started assessing our financial problem areas, one major bill that stood out was our grocery bill. We spent more than $1,000 a month for two, not counting dining out. This is someone’s mortgage! I grew up in an immigrant family of four kids, and I don’t think my parents ever spent that much within a month for food, ever! It was a horrendous, excessive habit. We knew we had to do something. By living frugally means we’d need to do some serious cutback, but without deprivation. One saving grace for me is I enjoy cooking. I figured if I had to start somewhere, then food would be it. I plan to cook more at home with dishes that we both love. Real delicious, restaurant inspired food that will not break the bank. On this series, I will track our food spending and including a cost analysis/comparison of home cooked meals versus restaurant meals.

This is my Frugalicious series of home cooked meals, homemade crafts, and DIY projects.


 

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It’s Spring time! Here in New Orleans we’re known for abundant seafood, and one of our 0305161835-1family’s favorites is crawfish – and Spring is their prime season. These tiny creatures look almost like mini lobsters, and taste similar to shrimp, except they’re a bit chewier. Mr. FEN usually can devour 5 pounds in one sitting, and with drinks and all the extra fixings, it can be an expensive pastime meal. What we’ve started doing is buy these crawfish live from the seafood market and boil them at home. Not only they cost a fraction of the price compared to restaurant, but the best part is we can enjoy getting messy in the comfort of our home.

After many trials and errors, I’m finally happy with my very own crawfish boil recipe and Whole Shebang sauce. Continue reading “Frugalicious :: Crawfish Boil”

Achieving Financial Independence

By Mr. FrugalEnginerds

**We are super excited to post our very FIRST post, it’s like unwrapping presents on Christmas morning.**

The future is bright, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

As of this blog post, we arbraveheart_freedom4e approximately 25% closer to achieving our goal of Financial Independence aka “FREEDOM” in 10 years. Maybe even sooner if our investments exceed our expectations, time will reveal the truth. Our saving and investing rate is currently at 45% of our combine income. Definitely, improvements are much needed in this department. Our short term goal is to reduce our spending and increase our saving and investing rate to 50% by the end of the 2016. Perhaps even Continue reading “Achieving Financial Independence”