Wow, it was super hot in Portland last weekend. It reached 108 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday and 112 on Sunday. Holy moly, it was sizzling. Usually, our summers are mild and we rarely go above 100 degrees. I guess global warming is here. The problem is our home (and most older homes) doesn’t have AC. We didn’t need it in the past because we could cool our house down at night and lock it down during the day. However, this doesn’t work when it is this hot for several days. Is it time to splurge for AC?
Also, AC would be very helpful in another situation – when the wildfire smoke covers the city. We can’t open up at night when the air is full of smoke and ashes. Unfortunately, the Pacific Northwest has more wildfires in recent years. It is a part of the summer now. AC would be very useful then. We’re doing very well financially so money isn’t an obstacle at this point. We really should get a portable AC unit, at least. Being frugal is a hard habit to break, though.
2020 was a weird year. We spent most of our time at home due to the pandemic. This resulted in our lowest spending year in a long time. The most noticeable reduction was our entertainment budget. We didn’t travel much and ate out very infrequently. Also, my active and passive income both decreased. That contributed to my reluctance to spend as well. In a normal year, we live modestly but we splurge occasionally. However, 2020 was different. We didn’t splurge much at all because life was so uncertain. It felt like we’ve been frugal for a long time.
It’s common sense to be more conservative during a crisis. The 2020 Covid recession was different, though. The stock market crashed, but it recovered very quickly. Most investors became wealthier over the last 18 months. We did too. Our net worth increased 36% since April 2020. That’s pretty amazing.
It was good to tighten our belts at first because we didn’t know how the pandemic would hit our portfolio. Now, we know that investors did much better than normal workers. It’s time to splurge a bit after a long frugal year.
This month, the purse-string loosens up. Hahaha! My brother visited and we got take out every day. We also went to the beach and splurged on a $350/day beach house. That’s the most I ever spent on a rental. It wasn’t even on the beach, but that was the best place I could find. It wouldn’t have been comfortable if the rental was too small. RB40Jr had a lot of fun with his cousins so it was worth it. They only get to spend a few days per year together. Hopefully, this kind of family gathering will help them build a tighter bond.
We also splurged on a pergola for our deck. I wanted to build one for a long time, but it’s just too much work for two people. This year, we decided to hire it out. A local company will build one for us for about $4,500. I’ll put the cover on myself and save $2,200. The material (poly should cost less than $500 and the installation shouldn’t be too difficult. That’s a good compromise, right?
We’ll also travel a bit more this summer. We’re going to Yellowstone! Our son just finished 4th grade and he still can use the Every Kid Outdoors pass. This pass lets the family visit any national park for free. That’s a great program. I love it. I booked a campsite for 5 nights. That’s pretty cheap so I splurged for a nice hotel in Boise, ID for our midway stops. This should be a great trip. Hopefully, the weather won’t be too hot when we visit in July.
Also, I’m taking it easy with the blog this summer. Normally, I post twice per week. This summer, I’ll post just once per week. It’s too nice to blog. RB40Jr needs to spend more time outdoors so we’re going to practice sports every morning. Currently, we’re alternating between tennis and baseball. We’ll probably add basketball and some other sports to the mix. He gained a lot of weight last year because he spent all his time inside. Hopefully, the weather will go back to normal soon so we can play outside more. It was way too hot last weekend.
As for the AC, I think it’s too late this year. All the portable AC units are sold out locally. I’ll research online and see if I can order something. Otherwise, I’ll wait until the weather cools down and the demand slows. It should be easy to get a portable AC then. If you have any tips about AC, let me know. I’ll need to check if a window unit would work. It might not fit our old-style windows.
What about you? Were you more frugal than usual in 2020? Are you spending more this year to make life better?
Source: Retire By 40
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