My Movie Scene with Reese Witherspoon

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If you have been reading this blog for a while you might remember a post I wrote back in 2012 about being an extra in the movie, “Devil’s Knot” and meeting Reese Witherspoon.  I’m not very good at tooting my own horn because the movie finally came out in May of this year and I’m just now getting around to writing about the release of the movie.  I also thought I had previously written a post on how to get a job as a movie extra, but I can’t find such a post.  I’ll be writing a post on that topic soon.

When the movie finally came out I was pleased to see that I had some camera time. Although, I was right next to Reese Witherspoon in a couple of scenes I still wasn’t sure if I’d be viewable in the movie.  The scenes I was in could have been cut from the movie or cropped so that I wasn’t in the scene or I could have just been so far in the background or the scene shown so quickly that you could barely recognize me. As you can see from the photo in this post I got lucky and have a scene that basically features just me and Reese on the entire screen.  I’ve been an extra in a couple of movies before so I know it isn’t usual to get a scene where you are seen with the star.  In the other movies I worked as an extra on I was either totally unseen or only visible for a brief moment in the background so I’m pretty happy that I had such a highly visible scene in this movie.

If you want to check out the movie it is on Netflix right now.  I used my phone to take a picture of the movie playing on Netflix on our TV for this post.  My most visible scene is at about 1:21 into the movie where I can be viewed sitting in the courtroom next to Reese Witherspoon and then standing by her in the hallway a short time later. I’ve also been able to spot myself in the background a few other places in the movie, but I doubt anyone who doesn’t personally know me would be able to spot me in any of those scenes.  The movie is a dramatization of the trial of the West Memphis 3.  If you aren’t already aware of this case it is a pretty interesting story.

Weight Loss Bet – Four Month Update

Four months have passed in my six month bet to lose thirty pounds. The bet will pay me $3600 if I manage to lose the weight ($3000 of the amount is my own money being returned to me) and if I don’t manage to lose the weight I’ll be out $3000. The idea behind the bet is that the prospect of losing $3000 will motivate me to lose the weight.

My starting weight was 226 pounds so I need to get down to 196 pounds to win the bet. Last month I weighed 211.4 pounds so I had lost basically half of the weight I need to lose. This month I weighed 210 pounds. It is good that I lost weight, but I need to lose weight much more rapidly if I am going to win this bet. I still have fourteen pounds to lose in two months. Losing seven pounds a month will not be easy. I’d like to have a little safety margin so it would be better if I could lose eight pounds each month.

Despite the slow weight loss after the first month I still feel that I can lose all the weight. This past week I did great at exercising and eating better and lost four pounds. I just need to continue doing that and I will win the bet. Taking the necessary steps to lose the remaining weight isn’t that hard, but it isn’t easy either. When I’m tempted to skip my exercise or eat junk food I just have to remind myself that I have $3000 on the line. Momentary pleasure is not worth losing $3000. I’ll have another update at the end of this month. I hope to report that I have lost the entire thirty pounds or close to it.

July Safe Withdrawal Rate – 35.22%

My SWR rate for July was 37.58% compared to 34.39% in June. That is a step in the wrong direction, but it isn’t too surprising since I didn’t add to my savings during the month and the value of my stock investments declined. My goal is to get the SWR down to 4% so the lower my SWR is the better. That goal is probably many years from being met. The 4% SWR translates into having 25x your annual expenses in savings or 300 months of expenses in savings. Once I reach that point I will consider myself financially independent.

I have 31.92 months of living expenses saved down from 34.89 in June. This amount went down due to my stocks declining in value and my average monthly expense increasing due to my high expenses in July. I calculate my months of living expenses saved by dividing the average of my trailing twelve months of expenses by my total money saved. When I don’t add any money to my savings the only changes to my SWR and months of living expenses saved are from my investment performance and the average of my trailing twelve month’s of expenses going up or down.

Save on Airfare with the Southwest Hidden City Trick

The hidden city trick to save on airfare has been around a long time and it works especially well on Southwest Airlines.  The idea behind the hidden city trick is that sometimes it is cheaper to book a flight from City A to City C with a stopover in City B then it is to book a direct flight from City A to City B. For example, in June I traveled from Kansas City to Las Vegas.  It was cheaper for me to book a flight from Kansas City to Salt Lake City that changed planes in Las Vegas and just stay in Las Vegas then it was to book a flight (including the same flight that went on to SLC) direct from Kansas City to Las Vegas.  I saved a couple thousand points by booking the flight this way.  When the flight landed in Vegas I just told the gate agent at the new gate that I wasn’t going to get on the flight.  The agent was fine with that, the airline employees do like to know when you are not going to get on a flight since they have to do a passenger count.   Some airlines don’t like hidden city ticketing and have rules against it.  If you violate their rules there is a chance they could suspend your frequent flyer account or impose other penalties. Southwest used to explicitly allow hidden city ticketing.  Although they no longer explicitly allow hidden city ticketing they don’t have a rule against it and don’t seem to mind it being used.

If you do use the hidden city trick you need to make sure you carry on your luggage since otherwise your luggage will end up in City C while you are in City B.  Also, it is best to book two one-way fares rather than a round-trip when using the hidden city trick since some airlines will cancel your return flight if you don’t complete the outgoing flight.  You should always book one-way flights on Southwest anyway since their round-trip fares are just a combination of two one-way fares. By booking two one-way flights you have more flexibility if you need to rebook your flight.  For example, if you see that the return fare has gone down you could cancel and rebook just the return fare to save money. If you had a round-trip fare you would have to cancel and rebook both the outgoing and return fare which doesn’t always work since the outgoing fare may have gone up in price.  By booking two one-ways if either of the legs of the trip go down in price you can save money by canceling and rebooking.  This doesn’t work on most airlines, but it does on Southwest which is why the hidden city trick works especially well on Southwest.  There are lots of other tricks to saving money on airfare.  What are some of your tips and tricks for saving on airfare?

July Income $2816.74

Here is a breakdown of my income for July.

Online Income

$463.00
Interest

$4.63

Dividends

$1.14

Cash Back

$12.59

Mystery Shop

$35.50

Amazon FBA

$50
Medical Study $600
Jobs $1649.88

Total

$2816.74

My income was pretty good in July.  I did work the entire month so I expected it to be a good month.  I did have a couple of smaller paychecks to start the month due to being on vacation the last week of June and having the 4th of July off.  I made $600 from the medical study as well which helped a bit.

My cashback income stayed about the same.  If you haven’t joined Mr. Rebates yet you can get a $5 bonus for signing up through my referral link and I’ll make a little money for referring you as well.
Mr. Rebates

I didn’t keep very good records of my product purchases for Amazon FBA in July, but I believe my profit was about $50 since I sold some items that I got for basically free. So far Amazon FBA has been more of a way to generate Southwest miles than a money-maker, but if I can make a little money while accumulating miles I think it is a fair deal.

My current job has now ended so the job income will be quite a bit less this month. I only have one study visit this months so that will be less as well. My other sources of income will probably remain about the same which will result in less income for August. Since I will still receive two paychecks from my job it will not be too bad though.

 

July Expenses – $2041.92

Here is a breakdown of my expenses for July.

Household $418.03
Entertainment

$67.84

Transportation

$1036.90

Food

$155.59

Travel

$85.64

Student Loan

$106.00

Phone

$26.81

Health

$145.31

Total

$2041.92

 

My July expenses were much higher than I like. The budget buster in July was an $875 car repair.  I hit a curb and busted one of the springs in my car and had to replace the entire front suspension. That should teach me to be more careful and to slow down when parking.  My food bill was a little high since I ate fast food way too often. I plan to cut back on that expense this month. My health expense was larger than normal since I had a couple of dental visits, but considering I did have two dental visits it is actually pretty low. I’ll probably have at least one more dental visit this month.  Everything else was about normal and will probably be about the same this month. If I can manage to avoid any large car repairs this month I should be able to get my expenses back down to the $1000 level.

Extreme Frugality – How to Live Well on Very Little