dog on the lookout

About the blog:

The goal of this blog is to evaluate different ways of spending your time and money.  For example, is it better to change car oil yourself or have someone else do it?  The overall idea is to look at spending decisions as investments: what decisions will return the most value to you over time?

Each scenario is evaluated over a 10-year horizon with the following summary statistics:

  • Present value – what is the total value of your investment and expected returns in today’s dollars?
  • Return on investment (ROI) – how much of your original investment will you make back?
  • Payback period – how long will it take you to recoup your original investment?

The running results of all scenarios are posted to the ROI Scoreboard.

About me:

I am 30 and live in Portland, Oregon with my beautiful wife and oversize lap dog.  We are big outdoor enthusiasts when the weather permits (hiking, camping, squirrel chasing, etc.), but settling into a cozier lifestyle isn’t that hard for us either, especially during the rainy season (food, books, movies, music, etc.).

I didn’t get fully turned on to early retirement and financial independence ideas until early 2013, but I haven’t looked back since.  As a financial independence late-bloomer, I found myself somewhat behind the 8-ball. It is hard for me to work without a goal, so I drew a line in the sand to “retire” by age 45 or earlier (on track so far).  This doesn’t mean I will stop working at 45, just that I  simply plan to be in a position to pursue a more balanced lifestyle and career by then.

To hit my early retirement goal, I started building spreadsheets to evaluate different ways to spend my money and time, really thinking deliberately about how to optimize my life.  For example, my wife and I shared a car for nearly two years as a way to save money and live more simply, but after crunching the numbers it turns out that buying a second car would actually save us money in the long run, not to mention reduce a lot of rush-hour headaches (not the most optimal solution, but an improvement nonetheless).  Update: now biking to work to save even more money.

All this to say that I am a classic type-A efficiency geek, the kind of person who organizes grocery lists according to item location in the store.  That is my basic reason for starting Flannel Guy ROI… as an outlet for these life optimization experiments and impulses, a way to make deliberate, informed decisions and help you do the same.  With this blog, I have another check to hold myself accountable, stay motivated, and learn from all the other F.I.R.E. enthusiasts out there.


For those of you who are new to the ideas of financial independence and early retirement, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention Mr. Money Mustache (MMM).  I borrowed many of his ideas for this blog, and more importantly, I would not be on the path to early retirement if it wasn’t for him.

The short version of his story is that he and his wife retired by the age of 30.  More than anything else, they were able to retire in less than 10 years  as a result of their frugal (but comfortable) lifestyle.  MMM emphasizes that his family actually found more meaning and happiness living frugally than they would have otherwise.  This is one of his most important insights in my opinion: spending money does not always make you happier and often times has the opposite effect. It sounds counterintuitive and doesn’t necessarily jive with classic utility theory, but there must be some weird cat-in-the-box quantum mechanics type stuff going on there, because it works.

I plan to highlight some of his other concepts later on within these pages, but in the meantime, please pay yourself the favor of soaking up some of his frugal wisdom, humor, and general early retirement badassity at www.mrmoneymustache.com.

Real talk:

Lastly, I feel that I owe you, the reader, some real talk about this blog.  Everything I have said about the blog on this page and elsewhere on the site is true.  I am really excited to share ideas with you and learn more through the process, but I am also hoping to pick up a little passive income along the way.  You probably guessed as much, seeing that I most likely wouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of buying a domain name and designing a clean-looking site otherwise.

However, with that being said, here is the thing: I pride myself on honesty, integrity, and authenticity.  It is important to my self-image that I can look in the mirror and feel like a good dude… it makes me happy.  What that means in terms of this blog is that I am not here to swindle anybody nor let potential financial gains taint my judgment.  Website earnings should be secondary to the utility of the information provided on this site.

I genuinely want your life to be better after visiting www.flannelguyroi.com.  That is my top priority here, full stop.  That’s the kind of person I am, and I don’t plan to compromise that 🙂  Practically speaking, this means that anything I explicitly endorse or encourage you to try is something I truly believe could be valuable to you, regardless of what I stand to gain.  All other third-party links and content are simply there, occupying real-estate, and should not be interpreted as having an implicit endorsement from yours truly.

And if you don’t know, now you know.   Thanks for visiting; surf on and spend well- 


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