Financial Update – Sept 2018

Another month, another update. A few random comments.

Good Reads/Listens/Watches

  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (link).
    • Really good book about prioritizing all aspects your life. Paraphrasing some good quotes (I listened to the audio book):
      • Every time we say yes to something non-essential we are saying no a host of potential opportunities down the road.
        • There is power in saying “no” gracefully. Over time, you will develop the ability to do so gracefully and others will respect you for it.
      • Apply zero based accounting to your life. In many accounting systems, the prior year’s budget is carried to the next year. In zero-based accounting, the default budget is zero and any expenditure must be justified anew. Apply this principle to your life: personal budget, time commitments, personal relationships, physical items.
      • If I did not already own this item how much would I pay to retain it?
        • The answer to this question is a resounding ZERO for the majority of physical items in my home. This self-audit encouraged me to get rid of a bunch of stuff this month.
      • Sleep and unstructured thinking time are critically really important. Bezos is emphatic about his 8 hours of sleep. He was quoted as trying to make a few really important decisions each day rather than a myriad of unimportant decisions. The story of Gates’ semi-annual week-long reading retreats was shared in which he would step away from Microsoft for a week at a time and read books on a variety of different topics.
        • I’ve noticed this personally. After a good night’s sleep, my mind has the ability to solve problems much better than the night before. I should probably be better about prioritizing my most important tasks in the morning.
  • Really enjoyed two Tim Ferris interviews:
    • Dropbox founder Drew Houston (link).
      • I loved the story of how the idea was born.
    • Humans of New York founder Brandon Stanton (link).
      • For those that don’t read Humans of New York (link), you should (I subscribe via RSS). It’s an incredibly powerful blog that humanizes humanity. It makes you realize the remarkable similarities in humans from all across the globe. It provides a healthy dose of perspective on our first world problems. It’s hard to complain about waiting an extra 15 minutes at the air conditioned airplane terminal due to a weather delay when you read horrifying tales from war-torn regions of the world. It also provides heartwarming stories that make me want to be a better husband and father.
    • After listening to almost a hundred of interviews of successful entrepreneurs (primarily through NPR’s How I Built This (link)), a few common threads emerge:
      • Those who change the world identify common problems, then fix them.
      • Those who change the world are contrarians, willing to forgo comforts of life (like cushy jobs) and risk it all to pursue a higher purpose.
        • The risk in listening to too many of these interviews (as I have) is to believe that success is guaranteed and that everyone should quit their jobs to go start businesses. After all, the success rate of each interviewee is 100% (in the end, at least, despite hiccups along the way). Someone should make another podcast called “Entrepreneurship gone awry” which features heartbreaking stories of people giving up good job, risking it all, destroying personal and family relationships, and coming out broke and dejected on the tail end.
          • I don’t rejoice in human suffering, but I think this type of podcast would be fascinating and paint a more statistically accurate picture of entrepreneurship.
  • The Dawn Wall, a movie about the hardest sustained climb in history on El Capitan, Yosemite (link).
    • I loved every minute of it. My wife says the liked it too, despite not being an avid climber. We laughed, we cried, we grimaced. It was a good time. If you see the movie, stay through the credits because there is a lot of behind the scenes info at the end.
      • It’s availability is limited to a few theaters (link), though I’m sure it will eventually be available to stream.
    • Alex Honnold’s Free Solo movie, documenting his 3k ft ascent up El Capitan without ropes, is being released in theaters nationwide on Oct 26 (link).
      • I suspect the number of theaters to grow exponentially in the near future.
        • I’m going to see that one as well. I expect it to be as good as Caldwell’s film.
      • The WSJ gives Free Solo very high reviews (link).
      • I think that Honnold’s feat is the ultimate athletic achievement in human history.
  • Reader Joey at MoneyAndMegabytes blogs about his conversion from bloated cell phone plan to streamlined prepaid (link).
    • If you care to read my original post on cell phone hacking, read my thoughts here (link).
    • I’ve successfully converted almost the entirety of my department to Google Voice + Tello.
      • I still remain convinced that anyone planning on using Google Voice should also purchase the $45 OBI 200 (link), which turns your home internet connection into a free home landline. Add some cheap cordless handsets for $35 (link) to make the system complete. When I’m at home, I get far superior call quality through the OBI than I do my google hangouts app over Wifi because I’m not reliant on the strength of my Wifi connection and distance to my router. Once connected, the OBI is one of the many devices that ring whenever someone calls me (in addition to my work phone + cell phone).
    • It’s funny. In real life I often share a few of my life hacks (tax optimization, frugality, index funds), but most people don’t care. One of the best litmus tests for whether someone will take me seriously is if they cancel their sacred cow of a $100/month cell phone plan and transition to GV + prepaid, stripping away 98% of the costs of their cell phones while retaining 98% of the functionality. People’s reluctance to do so honestly boggles my mind. Through their inaction, it’s as if people are refusing to pick up hundred dollar bills on the street month after month after month. If you have a net worth of many millions of dollars, I suppose it is trivial to pick up $100 bills on the street and you might not want to injure your back. However, most people that I know who refuse this advice are worth much closer to zero than many millions of dollars.
      • If you, dear reader, haven’t made the plunge yet, please consider this the requisite kick in the pants to motivate you to do so.
  • The Post (link).
    • Made me really appreciate the role of an independent press and freedom of speech.
  • Mr 1500 featured in NYT article on FIRE movement (link).
    • Speaking of FIRE, there is a new documentary coming out with a trailer available here (link). Looks pretty good.
  • Tutorial from The Finance Buff on saved $500 on an MRI by price shopping (link).
    • As you’ll see in the next section, this is a particularly relevant post for us this month.
  • Yet another WSJ article documenting the slow-moving disaster that is the American retirement system (link).
    • “For many Americans facing a less secure retirement than their parents, the biggest reason is the shift from pensions to 401(k)-type plans.”
      • The problem isn’t 401k’s themselves, but rather 401k’s in conjunction with financial ignorance and lack of discipline that is the true problem.
        • It will be interesting to see how this slow-moving-train-wreck will end over the coming decades.
  • Planet Money on government cheese (link).
    • Great example of the law of unintended consequences.
  • “Darwin on the Trail” just finished his 2,652 mile hike over 4 months and 6 days from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). To save you from having to bust out a calculator, that is an average of 21 miles per day, though he actually averaged higher than that because he took several rest days in which he didn’t hike at all. I really enjoyed following his weekly videos. Here is the link to his final video where he reaches Canada (link).
    • I have aspirations to do a few “thru hikes“, but currently none as ambitious as the PCT. The John Muir Trail, the Wonderland Trail, and the Tahoe Rim Trail are all on my bucket list.
    • Here is his post-mortem gear list (link). Pretty amazing how little gear is required to walk 2,600 miles. His base pack weighed about 10 lbs without including food/water.
  • Hilarious Jason Gay WSJ article on Buffalo Bills cornerback Vonae Davis unexpectedly retiring form the game of football at halftime (link).
    • Speaking of Hilarious Jason Gay articles, here is the beginning to another one on the topic of weird sports mascots: “He looks like Satan’s armpit. He looks like peak-Trail Blazers-era Bill Walton, struck by 100 bolts of radioactive lightning.” (link).


  • Two of my family members have taken up an unfortunate new hobby: Surgical removal of internal organs.
    • One member of FP clan had an emergency appendectomy (with pre-insurance sticker price of $19,447.47 for the procedure) this month.
    • The other member of the FP clan is slated to have a gallbladder removed tomorrow.
    • Given that we’ve already blown through our deductible (and are approaching our annual stop-loss), I have declared to the rest of the FP clan that “2018 IS THE YEAR OF ORGAN REMOVAL!!! (and any other expensive medical procedures). Do it in the next 3 months while the marginal cost is close to zero for any additional medical procedures. Once Jan 1, 2019 rolls around, we’re done with doctors for a few years. Eventually, we’ll accrue another round of organ removals and declare another ‘Year of Medicine’“.
      • To be abundantly clear, despite my financial groanings, I’m extremely grateful to the surgeon (and nurses) who performed the surgery on the FP clan-member this month. Useful doctors, not to be confused with phds like myself who often arrogantly call ourselves “doctors”, are true heroes. Experiences like this make me question why I didn’t become a useful doctor. It’s probably because growing up I liked math and physics and disliked biology and chemistry.
        • I suppose I’m also grateful for diversity in skills and interests….it certainly makes the world an interesting place to live. The world would be a different place if Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin had all chosen to be dermatologists.
      • To state the abundantly obvious, the current medical system incentivizes lumpy healthcare expenditures.
        • Now that we’ve blown past our deductible and are barreling down on our annual stop loss, we’re seeing specialists that we would otherwise have avoided. Mrs Frugal Professor saw an allergist this month. Other members of the FP will follow suit. I haven’t read about this (painfully obvious) strategy elsewhere, perhaps because it is so obvious. Because I’m feeling so left out of the organ removal party, I’m considering removing a gallbladder, appendix, tonsils, and a kidney before Jan 1, 2019.
  • My wife spearheaded painting the interior of our home.
    • It’s funny…when I was an engineer in Seattle, the topic of weekend activities would inevitably come up in conversations with colleagues on Fridays or Mondays. While I frequently shared stories of hanging out with my kids or going camping/hiking, my colleagues who were homeowners invariably shared war stories of slaving over home repairs. At the time, I thought my colleagues were missing out on the joys of life due to the pains of home ownership. A decade later (and two years into my first bout at home ownership), I’m the schmuck battling projects (even voluntary projects like repainting) over the weekend. The circle of life, I suppose <insert sound track to Lion King>.
      • I want to live in a van down by the river!
  • A colleague (same building; different department) passed away in his 50s after a multi-year battle with cancer this month. I didn’t interact much with him, though we used to be located in adjacent offices. We were hired by the university at the same time two years ago.
    • Not sure what to make of such tragedies other than to try to remember that each day is a gift and to try to make the most of this life.
  • My wife was asked to teach a self-defense class to the 12-17 year old girls at church. She knew nothing about self-defense, so naturally she YouTube’d it. After spending a couple hours on the site, she asked me to be her human punching bag for practice….once before work and once after work. In the process, she almost hyperextended my knee. My 4-year-old son witnessed the fiasco, and as I left for work that day, said “mom and dad were fighting.” I hope we haven’t emotionally scarred him for life…
  • We played a ton of Mastermind this month. Finally, my kids like the game as much as me. This is a good online version (link). After taking about 20 minutes to solve a puzzle in 5 moves, my 7-year-old said “I hate this game so much” while laughing and grinning ear to ear. While I was away running errands, my 9-year-old daughter solved a puzzle at home on a phone and drew the solution to share with me. It’s been a fun month with that game.
    • Speaking of games, we bought a $15 dice/card game called Dragonwood on Amazon (link). I highly recommend it for kids (and adults) 7 years and up. Great game mechanics and the game goes pretty quick.
  • My colleagues were commiserating about the horrific traffic caused by city-wide road construction over lunch. I genuinely had no idea of these problems because of my bike commute. It was a serendipitous moment, reinforcing my lifelong commitment to be the biking hippie at the office!
  • I had been eyeing this garage organization kit at Costco (link) on an almost daily basis for the entire summer, patiently waiting for the price to drop so I could purchase a handful of them. The regular price was $19.99, and as is typical for pretty much anything seasonal at Costco, the price eventually dropped to $14.97. Being the savvy Costco shopper that I am, I was not satisfied with the 25% discount because they still had pallets of the product that weren’t selling. After another month, the price dropped to $12.97. Still, I resisted for the same logic. Finally, the price dropped to $9.97 and it sold out before I could purchase a single item (there were still plenty of items two days prior). I am an idiot and should have been satisfied by the 35% discount.
    • I have developed an almost compulsive tendency to purchase things at Costco when they get down to the elusive XX.00 price. Just the other day I purchased a really great set of screwdrivers for $5.00 because I reasoned that they would probably come in handy some day. With all of our painting going on in the house, we have these screwdrivers strewn about the house to unscrew light switches, etc. In general, buying stuff you don’t need because “it’s a good deal” is a recipe to end up in the poor house. But for whatever reason, I am pretty irrational in this regard when it comes to Costco because I know the quality of products offered there is so high and I’ll probably find a use for them down the road. Just the other day I was tempted to purchase the floor model of a nice leather sofa that dropped to $600 from its regular price of $1200 or so.
      • Perhaps I need to join an addiction recovery group, “Costco shopaholics anonymous.”
        • This article was hilarious and discusses the above (link).
          • I’ll add another sign you’ve “gone off the Costco deep end” to the author’s list: “You know the life history of each sample woman and exchange Christmas cards with them.”
            • I’m not really joking about this one.
      • I think an appropriate nickname for my behavior is the “Costco Buzzard.” I circle the store looking for my next product victim. Whereas in nature predators look for the weakest in a pack, often killing the young or the sick, in Costco I look for products that are in high supply, low demand, and are prohibitively costly to ship back to the supplier. This is the perfect recipe for the Costco arbitrage. If a product is inexpensive to ship back to the manufacturer (swim goggles out of season), they just ship it back.
  • Got up my first V6 bouldering problem in the climbing gym. It felt good.


My life’s ambition, minus the government cheese (thanks to Planet Money for the timely explanation of 1990s pop culture government cheese reference).


One of my favorite parts about my day is my bike commute. If you look really hard, you can see three other members of the endangered species officially known as “hippie-biker-people.” These weird specimens find it rational, and maybe even enjoyable, to strategically construct their lives to commute to work by using human power to propel themselves to work on 20 pound frames rather than using fossil fuels to propel 3-4k lb vehicles down the road. One of my favorite parts about my city is the phenomenal infrastructure of dedicated bike trails which eliminate entirely the risk of bike-to-car collisions. The WSJ recently wrote about bike-to-car collisions in this article (link).

This scenery beats the scenery of brake lights and congestion any day of the week.

The bike path flooded due to heavy rains. Fording a foot of water makes for an interesting bike commute. I felt like Indiana Jones for 30 feet of my commute.

Speaking of adventurous bike commutes, here is a picture of my bike commute during grad school. My record was biking to school when it was -30°F outside with windchill (different day from one pictured above). Campus was closed that day due to the extreme weather, but I went in anyway to study. On the way home, I decided to snag a bus ride because it was unbearably cold. I loaded my bike onto the bus, stepped inside, then realized I didn’t have my student ID to swipe in for a free bus ride. All I had was a $10 bill and the bus driver couldn’t make change. So rather than eat the full $10 (rather than a more reasonable $2) fare, I asked to be unloaded at the next stop so I could bike the 5 miles home. My younger brother’s hand-me-down bike from high school, equipped with studded snow tires, is pictured above.

The $19,447.47 portrait (sticker price) of my family member’s internal organs. Given the expense, I will blow it up and frame it in their bedroom.


blankDepictions of the pain my wife inflicted on me while practicing self defense.


blankBeautiful, beautiful Mastermind. This is the game that took my 7-year-old son 20 minutes to complete. Each move was very methodically taken and plausibly correct. Move #4 itself took about 10 minutes. I could practically see smoke coming out of his ears from his brain overheating.

Color run, 2018.

blankCostco doing it’s best to tempt me into buying 2,000 lbs of quinoa. Their efforts were in vain, as I only purchased 1,800 lbs! I have incredible self restraint! Can anyone guess what is on our menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next century? For the curious, the asterisk in the top right corner of the price tag indicates that the item will not be restocked when it is sold through.


This month’s finances

  • The good:
    • No catastrophes…oh wait…
  • The bad/abnormal:
    • Trailing 12 month spending is looming precariously close to $70k, about $20k over where I’d like it.
      • I’m at risk of having to change the name of this blog to “The Professor Formerly Known as Frugal.”
        • Luckily for me, that domain name appears to be available (before one of my four readers front-runs me, purchases it, and sells it to me for $10k)!
      • I realize the glaring irony of myself calling myself frugal while also having voluntarily chosen to procreate five times, producing five money pits in the process.
        • An alternative new name for this blog could be “The Guy Who Was Otherwise Frugal Except for the Catastrophic and Non-Reversible Financial Decision to Have Many Kids.”
          • Speaking of having many kids, this Reddit video is the funniest thing I’ve seen on the internet in a while (link).
            • The guy’s eyes when he says “diapers” slays me.
    • Newfound hobby of organ removal.
      • Payments for this new hobby will begin next month.
    • A second FP child succumbs to orthodontia, resulting in a $365 retainer bill.
    • Lots and lots of paint & paint equipment.
      • $1,209.09 by my tally for lots of paint, brushes, rollers, drop cloths, buckets, etc.
        • Given the discretionary nature of the expense, I classified it as “other expense” rather than “home repair.”
    • Bought 100 shares of MoviePass stock (link).
      • I’ve been a loyal customer for a year. I mean, it’s a solid business. It charges customers less than $10 a month, then reimburses up to $360 (=$12/ticket * 30) of movie tickets per month. I see no flaws with this business model.
      • The share price was $0.0127, so the transaction cost me $1.27 (thanks to free trades at Merrill Edge). I did it for the experience of owning a share that goes to zero and to see if I learn anything in the process.


blankI don’t want to brag, but I achieved a 18.90% gain on MoviePass stock over a few days. Apparently my new investing strategy should be buying companies with hopeless business models.


blankBorrowing from Mrs Frugal Professor’s quote last year when we hit a deer at 75mph:  “That’s what financial freedom buys you; you can piss away money without feeling stressed.”


Full version is downloadable here (link).




  1. I lazily approximate home value as my historical purchase price.
  2. I have a 15Y mortgage; which results in a faster rate of repayment. The true cost of the mortgage should exclude repayment of principal, which I show above.
  3. ~$0 cell phones as described here.
  4. All expenditures at Costco & Walmart are classified as “Food at home” for simplicity (even if it’s laundry detergent, clothing, etc).
  5. Nobody knows the perfect asset allocation. Just pick one and run with it. Use a target date retirement fund as a benchmark if you want some guidance (link).
  6. I prefer Vanguard funds but my employer offers Fidelity instead.
  7. My low portfolio expense ratio is the primary reason why I don’t hold target-date funds, which have expense ratios anywhere from 0.16% to 1%. I can achieve a much lower expense ratio on my own due to Admiral shares, etc. And it’s not hard. Plus, a DIY portfolio allows one to tax-loss-harvest more easily.
  8. ETF’s are a pain to own relative to holding index funds directly. You have to deal with bid-ask spreads as well as the inability to buy partial shares. With a simple index fund, you don’t have to deal with either of these issues. I am currently invested in VTI b/c it’s $10/year cheaper than VTSAX in my Saturna HSA.
  9. The only other administrative cost not captured by my expense ratios is a $19/year administrative fee for my HSA at Saturna Capital ($15 per transaction + 4*$1/dividend reinvestment).
  10. The one blight in my expense ratio analysis is my 529 plan. The underlying Vanguard fund is almost free to hold (0.02%), but the high administrative fees bring the total cost of holding the fund to 0.29%. I abhor fees and would likely avoid 529 plans if I didn’t get to deduct up to $10k of contributions per year on my state return, saving myself $700/year in state income taxes.
  11. CA’s 529 plan has the lowest expense ratio US equity index fund of any in the US. I’d have 100% of my money here if not for the state tax deduction I receive in my own state.
  12. I own one share of Berkshire Hathaway (B Class) for the sole purpose of 4 free tickets/year to Berkshire’s annual meeting, which is incorrectly classified as US stock index because it is a trivial holding and because it essentially is a US stock index.

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9 thoughts on “Financial Update – Sept 2018”

  1. 1. Thanks for the shout out! I’m looking into OBI devices now–not really sure I need one but fixing the occasionally poor call quality would be nice.
    2. Thanks for making me open up 7 new tabs on my browser. That FIRE documentary looks great! A who’s who of financial bloggers. They should’ve interviewed the formerly frugal professor though.
    3. The self defense pictures were hilarious.
    4. Unfortunately MoviePass stock is not supported on Robinhood :(. I guess I’ll have to wait until the next big penny stock to get rich!

    Really enjoyed the post as usual.

    • Joey,

      1.) Understood about the reluctance on the OBI device. You are my brother. My wife and I swear by that device, but if the Wifi Hangouts is working sufficiently, then there is no upside. But for me, I prefer talking on the OBI device 100x over the wifi connection.
      2.) The FIRE documentary indeed looks great. I’ll probably chip in a few bucks to see it funded. The professor formerly known as frugal doesn’t have the reach or the charisma to make an appearance in the film. My story about living below the poverty line for 7 years (with 250k in the bank) while in grad school while supporting 5 kids only to be clawing their back towards financial independence in his late 30s while living a pretty standard middle class lifestyle isn’t as compelling of a story as someone who retired in their late 20s or early 30s with millions.
      3.) It was a close representation of the actual events that transpired.
      4.) Re: Penny Stocks: it’s a recipe for financial ruin. I’m planning on my $1.27 to go to zero and am doing it for fun.
      4b.) Re: Robinhood: Why are you invested in Robinhood rather than 401k/IRA? The hierarchy of savings says taxable brokerage only after the tax advantaged stuff is maxed out. If you were to max go taxable brokerage, it seems that the 0% ER Fidelity funds are the way to go for smaller investors (despite the slight tax inefficiency relative to VTSAX). If I were you, I’d fire Robinhood and hire the 0% ER Fidelity funds.

      • 1.) Yeah, I’ll probably hold off for now and see if I need it later.
        2.) Sounds like an interesting story to me. Plus, I can’t say I recognized everyone in the trailer, but among those I did I didn’t see any tax arbitrage experts.
        not 3.) Forgot to say I also loved the Costco story. I don’t know why, it was just great. So much buildup to a kind of sad but still funny ending.
        4.) Unfortunately for me, I don’t have access to most of the options on the hierarchy of savings. For a while I didn’t even get a W2 for my stipend (I had to report it as “other income”) and didn’t have access to anything. Now I at least get a W2 and can contribute to IRAs (maxed out a few months ago) but don’t have access to a 401k or anything else. I make a very little bit of additional income as an independent contractor and have been reading a little about solo 401ks, but there’s still a lot I don’t understand about how those work.
        Yes, I should fire Robinhood. My lame excuses are that a) there are still some remnants of individual stocks from a former life in which I bought those (not a great excuse since current LTCG is 0%), b) my asset allocation is 80% US stocks, 10% international, 10% bonds and I use a municipal bond fund (HYD) for the bond part of that in Robinhood, and c) it’s free. All terrible reasons, and I’ve been debating just switching to Vanguard for a while. It’ll just take some activation energy but I know I should do it.

        • 3.) Happy to provide cheap entertainment through my stupidity
          4.) Got it. I don’t know much about Solo 401ks either, but you may want to look into them? I hear Fidelity has the best one, though I’m not sure your self-employed income would be sufficiently high for it to be worth the hassle. Good luck firing RobinHood! It’s a necessary step to become a serious investor.

  2. I think your new domain name should be “The Frugal Professor before Costco Came to Town”. Costco seems to be your biggest vice. I don’t have one nearby, but when I have gone to them, they always seem overcrowded and hard to maneuver. Do you have a hack to go at “off peak” times? Does your entire family go as an outing or is it just you or Mrs. FP?

    Also, in a previous job I worked in the benefits accounting role and the company was self-insured for medical claims. I can attest to the “hockey stick” up tick we would see in claims once people hit their deductibles. November and December were typical 2x-4x larger than the average of the previous 10 months.

    • Thanks for confirming that other people in the US are responding rationally to medical claims. The hockey stick phenomenon is really fascinating to hear about!

      I’m mostly being factious when I way I have a Costco “problem.” We do indeed go almost daily, but yesterday I went to pick up carrots and a gallon of orange juice (an indulgence we would normally not partake in but my post-surgery wife craved it). We do indeed buy lots of clothes there, but we only shop on super-clearance and snag many items for around $3/piece. We do indeed purchase shampoo in bulk when it drops in price, but that means we don’t have to purchase shampoo for a year. So yes, I’m addicted to Costco, but the way we use it I’m convinced that we’re saving 50% relative to shopping at a conventional grocery + clothing + electronics store. We do indeed know the sample people (including knowing updates about their dog’s recent surgery) and many of the Costco employees on a first name basis (my youngest adores the multiple employees with his same first name), but if we’re going every other day to pick up a gallon of milk or a bunch of bananas, I don’t really think I have a Costco “problem.” However, if my grocery spend as shown on my financial statements (which also includes clothing, laundry detergent, etc) is out of control relative to what it should be for a family of my size, I’m happy to step back and reassess my claims.

      Visting Costco at “off peak” times is indeed a dream in terms of efficiency in moving around the store. However, there are no samples at this time. My wife and kids love free food more than they love me, so they often go during “peak times” for these treats. My kids love the store so much as a result, so they often come with us. Remember, we live less than 0.5 miles away and don’t have to cross busy streets to get there. I would trust my 6 year old to walk there herself if she wanted (but obviously there is no reason to send her there alone). Perhaps our frequenting of Costco for fun illustrates the pathetic existence we live….


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