Net Worth Update: April 2016

networthupdateWow. Does anyone else feel like April went by SUPER quickly? I spent the first part of it traveling and being sick, and the second part with my head buried in work (in a good way; the last two weeks have allowed me to dig deeply into a project I love) and I can hardly believe it’s May already.

Financially, it wasn’t the greatest month, courtesy of a $775 car repair (most of that was the cost of the part they needed) and a last-minute plane ticket when I got sick and had to come home early from a trip. However, since I’m waiting for a stipend check for a summer program I’m participating in, next month ought to show a significant improvement (I am going to use the check to fill my e-fund back up to where it should be.) Also, I had significant freelance income this month — $460.82, to be precise — so that was helpful in offsetting the damage. All the details are behind the jump: to the numbers! Continue reading “Net Worth Update: April 2016”

I actually used my emergency fund!

I think I’ve hit an exciting new milestone in my personal finance development: I actually used my emergency fund to pay for an emergency!

The backstory on this is my lengthy love-hate (mostly meh-hate) relationship with my EF. In short, I have had trouble getting excited about an EF. I didn’t have one for a while, then I slowly built it up to $5000 in the world’s most boring savings campaign, then I promptly nearly drained it in order to fill up my Roth IRA when the markets were very low, and at some point in there I discovered that I would rather be in debt than use my EF cash.

So it actually totally does feel like progress that this week I was very uncomfortable with carrying a $775 car repair on my credit card into next month — so uncomfortable that I took the cash out of my EF and paid the credit card right away. I am expecting a big stipend check sometime in the next few weeks (long story, it’s for an academic project) and plan to fill the EF right back up again. But I’d originally intended to just keep the money sitting on my card and pay for it out of the stipend check. It kind of feels cool that in the end I just couldn’t stand it. I wanted my card back to “normal” — which is now hovering between $0 and $200, instead of routinely being up in the $1000-2000 range. And in order to pay it off, I didn’t have to scramble, or dip into my down payment savings, because I literally had an entire savings account set aside to handle just such situations.

Y’all, I think I get why this is cool now.


Shopping My Values: Sugar

This is kind of a funny followup to my lamentation about my car (which turned out, once they replaced some other things as well as the o2 sensor, to be over $700, sigh) but the other thing going on in my financial life right now is that I’m spending more money on food.

Food shopping is kind of a weird topic in the PF world because people have really different takes. Some are clearly spending as little as possible; they buy pasta and dried beans in bulk from Costco, and fruit at Walmart, and so on. Some don’t cook, so their food budgets are large because they go out to eat and/or buy convenience foods a lot. Some eat meat every meal; others don’t. Some are focused more on quality than on price. Etc. Continue reading “Shopping My Values: Sugar”

When does a car become a money pit?

Don’t worry, it’s not such a disaster! But last week my check engine light went on. I needed an oil change anyway, so I dutifully took it over to the local garage I use, and it turns out I need a new oxygen sensor. Not sure yet how much that will run — they estimated $300-400 depending on how much the part itself costs.

Again, it’s not such a big deal. But it got me thinking about how long I plan to drive this car. I’ve had it for not quite three years, and a little over 20K miles; it’s had about $1200 of work during that time (excluding routine oil changes) so let’s call it $1600 of repair work in three years once I get this o2 sensor done. That’s certainly a heck of a lot cheaper than having a car payment, and it’s only at 112K miles altogether; it could have another 80K to go, 8 years at my current pace. On the other hand, it’s 18 years old and I think things are just going to keep breaking and/or wearing out from now on.

At what point do you decide to quit? Do I just wait until I’m confronted with a $2000 repair instead of a $500 one? Or do I decide at some point to sell while it still has value (I figure I could get $2000ish, maybe $2500, for it now), stop putting in an average of $500-600/year in repairs, and roll that money into paying for a new(er) car?

I’ve never liked this car much — it was available and cheap when I needed a car, but I want a four-door hatchback, not a two-door sedan, and I don’t like how low to the ground it sits. On the other hand, the virtues of not having a car payment are pretty abundant….

Net Worth Update, March 2016, and 2-year Blogiversary


Hi all! My full-time job plus freelancing are still kicking my ass, and I still don’t know where I’m going to live next year, so my energy for blogging is still low. However! I would hate to miss a net worth update as exciting as this one.

First of all, yay stock market, and you can see the raw numbers below. But second of all, a few days ago we quietly passed my 2-year blogiversary. So I’ll also do a flashback section of the post, looking back at my very first net worth. For all the fascinating details, look below the jump!

Continue reading “Net Worth Update, March 2016, and 2-year Blogiversary”

Life & Job Update

Hello all! Long time no see! Like I mentioned I might in my last post, I’ve been taking some blog downtime this month. I thought it was just because I was tired and overcommitted, which is true, but I got some news today that made me feel a little impelled to write, so now I’m not sure my lack of desire to blog was really about having lots of other things on my plate.

Continue reading “Life & Job Update”

Net Worth Update: February 2016

Wow, you guys, I totally didn’t intend to just go to total blackout there. I know those of you who follow me on twitter knew that I was really busy (so busy I haven’t actually logged into twitter for a while now) but still, hope nobody was concerned. It’s just been a combination of things: my day job, my two volunteer gigs, and my freelance work are all occupying a lot of attention right now. And I also think that with the combination of stability and uncertainty (financial stability is much greater, but I don’t know if I’m buying a house here or moving for a new job, which makes it so hard to think about the future) my interest in blogging has been lower lately. Not that I plan to give up the blog! But I will probably be much patchier about posting over the next few months, until I have a better idea of where my financial life and the rest of my life is headed. Just a heads up in case one of these two-weeks-with-no-posts things happens again.

In the meantime, I have been keeping up with recording my finances. This month, I had income from several sources again:

$3108 from my day job (net, including retirement contribution, after taxes & insurance)

$25.00 from Swagbucks

$22.44 from Ebates

$95.00 from freelance writing

$10.00 from credit card cashback

Total: $3260

But I also had lots of travel expenses etc. Did I finally crack the mythical $35K barrier I’ve been working on for a while? To the numbers! Continue reading “Net Worth Update: February 2016”

What I’d Do If I Ran Into Financial Trouble

I started thinking about this again after reading Our Next Life’s post on how this year’s market madness is affecting their early retirement planning goals. It’s certainly a thought I’ve had before; my employment is now secure for at least the next few years and I suspect it’ll be fine beyond that, but you never know. Many people have written about their layers of backup plans for financial shortfalls caused by layoffs, freelance ups and downs, or market issues during early retirement with no full-time income stream. I share some of those common plans: specifically, I agree it’s a good idea to develop one or four freelance income streams, even quite small ones, so that if things go south with your main income in a big way there’s at least SOMETHING coming in.

But what if it were a bigger issue? What if for some unforeseen reason I couldn’t get full-time work I wanted and therefore couldn’t afford to maintain my current exalted standard of living? Continue reading “What I’d Do If I Ran Into Financial Trouble”

Some Stray Thoughts on Debt Freedom, Cash Flow, and Money Anxiety

I’ve been experiencing an uptick of anxiety the last few weeks. In the grand scheme of things it’s no big deal — really! That I’m noticing it at all is an indication of how chill I’ve been for a while now 🙂 I know where it’s coming from: first, my job situation for next year will be up in the air a while longer (I’ll have a job, just not sure which one yet); and second, I’ve gotten involved in a civic controversy which is taking up a TON of time, contributing to my being behind in work, socializing (except with the people I’m working with on the controversy), and things like calling my parents on the regular. I have been on local TV a few times though!

Continue reading “Some Stray Thoughts on Debt Freedom, Cash Flow, and Money Anxiety”