Affordable Housing

I guess I’m a cynic.


Donner Lofts is a response to the tremendous need for affordable workforce housing in San Jose, a city where rents are among the most expensive in the nation.

Expected to open in summer 2016, Donner Lofts is an environmentally-friendly, mixed-use community which will provide 102 affordable apartments for working individuals. Twenty units will be reserved for the formerly homeless who will receive onsite supportive services. The development also includes over 2,500 square feet of retail space on the street level and a computer lab, exercise room, community room and outdoor courtyard where residents can gather.


SAN JOSE — Police rushed to shut down downtown streets tonight after a man was found unconscious with a serious knife wound to the neck.

The attack occurred just before 6 p.m. in front of the Donner Lofts, the same building where San Jose police shot and killed a man on May 28 after he reportedly came at them with an ax.

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Extra Spending

I’ve been a bit more free with the spending recently, so let’s tally up.  Also, there have been a number of expenses that have come up recently (home insurance, family visit flights, etc.) that have left me feeling a bit broke ass as I’m trying to re-build my emergency fund.

Of the purchases I categorized as “extra,” I found $830 since the condo payoff that weren’t in the budget:

Nvidia shield tv $239.25
handy cleaning $198.00
social $165.36
manduka $98.53
bevmo $79.71
Steam $29.99
Car wash $15.99
starbucks $3.25

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How do these line up with my goals?  Well, the Shield TV probably doesn’t really.  It’s something I use at night before I go to bed.  It’s mostly a solo activity – the controller even has a headphone input to make sure your bed partner can’t hear the TV.  I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit though.

The second biggest category is home cleaning.  I ordered 2 home cleanings with two weeks in between them.  This was in preparation for my girlfriend arriving.  I like how much cleaner things are, but mostly it’s for her benefit, so I think I’d actually put cleaning into more of the social category.

The social category as marked above includes paying for a couple dinners and a couple escape rooms.  No regrets on that spending, even if the restaurants were pricier than my typical taco (which I like quite a lot and don’t include in the extra spending b/c it’s about as cheap was what I eat w/ groceries).

Next is extra long manduka mat I finally bought (40% off) but haven’t used yet (but probably should use).  They want me to “break it in” with sea salt.  There’s even a fun video (meaning I make fun of it) about it:

Since I’ve been “borrowing” one from work for several months, this seems like an okay purchase.  But I need to actually use it!

Next category is Bevmo, which I really didn’t need, but which I’ll be able to offer to people when they visit the (now clean) condo.  It is sake and dessert wine.

$29.99 on Steam / PC game was for an expansion of Fallout 4.  Really not necessary and I don’t have time to play it… and I already own it on PS4.

The car wash was $16… and that was definitely some dude ego stuff.  Kind of like if I was a girl and got a manicure.  My body is shitty so I’ll just make my car look better :-P.

The last was $3.25 at Starbucks.  Why is this worth discussing?  I do this to spend the time w/ my coworkers walking to the coffee shop.  Is it worth the money?  I’m not sure.  I don’t do it every day.  It’s something I need to think about.

My takeaways from all this are…

  1.  Spring is an expensive time of year for me.  I already knew that, but I’m just seeing how it plays out exactly in 2017.
  2. Gadgets are expensive and not particularly social.  $830 is a lot of money to have spend outside the budget… a Nintendo Switch is not in my immediate future.
  3. The cleaning cost is high but has now been dialed back to $100/month, and I think I’ll keep it there… maybe try to find a better rate.
  4. Bevmo and steam need to be limited more in the future.
  5. The social stuff was great and not too expensive.

June Square Up (no mortgage payment edition)

Today is my first paycheck day with no mortgage payment.  Woohoo!  I had to pay for two big items though (home insurance and flight tickets), so that slowed things down.  I have $4367 in checking, less $929 in flight costs.  That leave $3438.  First half of June expense is $700 +$250 food money.  About $1000.  In theory that means I should be saving about $2400.  That will leave me with $2700 in savings once I factor in the money already in my savings account.  Roughly 2 months of emergency savings.  June 15 should be much better, b/c I won’t have any of this random $1000 spending bullshit.

US Household Debt

First, the news: Total U.S. household debt climbed to $12.73 trillion in early 2017, pushing today’s debt level higher than the $12.68 trillion peak in 2008, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Key differences exist between now and 2008, reducing the likelihood of another financial meltdown. The main thing: More of today’s debt is held by older, more creditworthy borrowers compared to 2008, according to the Fed.

“The growing debt level shows that many of the millions of Americans who struggled during the recession have sufficiently repaired their credit to qualify for loans,” The New York Times reports. “It also suggests a rising optimism about economic growth among banks and other lenders.”

While people in 2017 are handling their mortgages and auto loans better — with fewer foreclosures and defaults — the fact is that student loans are fueling the rise in debt.

Relative Rent vs. income

The blue line is the “rent” – lost money I’ve paid into housing over the years.  The red line measures my housing cost as a percentage of the first salary I was ever paid, to show how much is being frugal vs. earning more money.  The yellow line is not a percentage – it just shows the relative change in my salary over the same period of time.

Lessons:  Room mates reduce costs.

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Carry Cost

In marketing, carrying cost, carrying cost of inventory or holding cost refers to the total cost of holding inventory. This includes warehousing costs such as rent, utilities and salaries, financial costs such as opportunity cost, and inventory costs related to perishability, shrinkage (theft) and insurance.[1] Holding cost also includes the opportunity cost of reduced responsiveness to customers’ changing requirements, slowed introduction of improved items, and the inventory’s value and direct expenses, since that money could be used for other purposes.

AKA, my yo-yo collection is probably costing me a few hundred dollars a month.