tax return, woohoo!…

…of $22, state and federal combined 🙂 Actually, this is great news, since I made several thousand dollars in fellowship last year that didn’t have anything deducted from it, so I was worried I’d have to pay this year. On the other hand, my job deductions were very strange due to the lump-sum payment I got in the fall, so I was pretty sure that enough “extra” had come out of that one to compensate. And it did, obviously, working out almost exactly equally. I spent about $20 on brunch today, which I don’t do often these days, so that’s that.

Anyone have a more exciting tax return story to tell?

That does brighten the day (slash car musings)

My freelance check showed up! $1250. Not life-changing but also not bad. I immediately transferred it into the “life fund” which is now over $13,000 again. (It was up to $15,000 or so last year before I moved some of it into my IRA.) Even with that, I am still under $60,000 though! Between the car repair bill, paying rent, and taking my cash draw out…. Close, though, and when I get paid next week I’ll be back over $60K, and also be able to transfer $650 into the life fund and $190 into the emergency fund.

Continue reading “That does brighten the day (slash car musings)”

Net Update and General Update, February 2017

Hi! Yes, it’s been two months 🙂 I’m definitely not in a place where I think about my money every day, or even every week. Which I guess is kind of good? But after two months I wanted to drop in here with at least a quickie net worth update. Here’s where I’m at:

SAVINGS: $16273

CHECKING: $2595

INVESTMENT/RETIREMENT: $41648

TOTAL NET WORTH: $60516

Hey, excitement, I made it over $60K! Less excitement, I will very shortly be back below that due to paying rent and also paying for a car repair. It’s still “pending” in my credit card, so about $400 of that money in checking will disappear tomorrow when I pay that off. It’s my first test of the infinitely refreshing emergency fund concept. It does bother me a little to see my e-fund down around $3600 when it was just broke $4000 a couple weeks ago, but I think it’s still a good idea to just keep refilling it on schedule rather than scramble to get it back up to where it was ASAP.

I should also have a substantial freelance check, a little over $1000, arriving this month. The company has a really annoying new online system for paying out and it’s taking forever! But I don’t think it will be much longer; it’s already been over a month.

Generally, how are things going? Well, ok. I’ve been working really, really hard the last couple of weeks on the end of a big project at work and I turned in a not-quite-final draft of that earlier today. Still got a ways to go, but it was a big step. Speaking of work, I should have news on the job front pretty soon — but not today.

Politics…well. Sigh. I’ve been working on the resistance too. Although I had to back off the last couple of weeks and work on my work project instead of going to meetings constantly 🙂 I’m glad I’ll have a little more time for the next few months to do stuff in my community.

Net Worth Update, December 2016

I didn’t do one of these in November, due to my post-election lack of interest in money, and I just wrote a big spending analysis for the year. So rather than doing my normal monthly spending analysis, I’m just going to put the chart in comparing where I’m at right now (December 24) to where I was on October 31. Continue reading “Net Worth Update, December 2016”

Year-End Spending Roundup, 2016

Wow, hi, anyone still reading. Even by my low posting standards this year, this has been a long stretch. Honestly, after the election I kind of lost most of my interest in where my money was at, and also I’ve been really busy with various organizing and work activities.

But I have a few quiet moments now, and I figured I’d look at where I’d ended up this year. Still a few days to go, but I’ll be out of the country on New Year’s Eve so I’m doing this now!

First of all, yearly spending. Here’s last year’s post for comparison. I’ll drop a cut on this since it’ll get long. First, all the expenses; then, the analysis.

Continue reading “Year-End Spending Roundup, 2016”

Net Worth Update, October 2016

Well, it had to happen eventually! A bad month for the markets and a high month for spending combined to result in my first reported net worth decline in over two years. Let’s do the spending first:

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woo! Basically, this is coming down to three categories: travel, slush, and clothing.

The slush really isn’t so great. I ate out more than usual, and bought more convenience/pre-prepared food than usual, as well as buying a few “things.” Not awesome.

Travel and clothing bother me less. The travel expenses are for three separate trips: two I took this month (one to California and one to Philadelphia) and one, to Cuba, that I’ve got planned for Christmas break. At this point, I’ve paid for plane ticket and lodging for that trip. Since these expenses together drained my travel sinking fund and then some, I’ll adjust that in various ways. I moved some extra unspent money into the travel category, and also plan to put my normally budgeted November travel money towards paying off this ‘deficit.’ That should leave me with my  normally budgeted December and January travel money to actually use on the trip.

Clothing was basically a giant order of winter stuff. I needed new boots, and also got some warm shirts and sweaters. Last year’s pants, fleece-lined leggings, etc ought to hold up at least another year, and I also decided to make do with the coat I already have. It doesn’t fit very well and it has a broken zipper, but I think I can deal for one more year at least. If I end up somewhere cold next year I’ll buy one then.

Everything else was pretty minor. But I need to figure out this slush spending thing, for sure.

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Yikes! Most of that isn’t so bad, though — it’s really mostly market decline. I did withdraw $200 from the life fund to pay for some of those clothing costs, and the travel fund is down to almost nothing for the time being, but the three funds at the bottom really drove the low numbers this month. Even with contributing $670 to retirement I’m only showing a gain of $225 and the other two (which didn’t get contributions) lost money accordingly. The issue is mostly that because of the giant paycheck I got earlier this semester, my ongoing monthly income aside from that month just isn’t enough to make up for this level of market decline unless I’d had a super frugal month (which obviously I didn’t.) C’est la vie!

The Infinitely Refreshing Emergency Fund

Longtime readers of this blog will know that I’ve wrestled with the idea classic emergency fund pretty much since the beginning of my financial journey a few years back. First I wondered if I needed one at all, then I decided to save $5000 over the course of a year, and I did and bored myself to tears with the boring-ness of it all, then I put most of that into the stock market and started over again on the cash savings, then finally this year I decided to do the 52-week challenge and have been genuinely enjoying that. But I think I may finally have come up with a real solution to my psychological e-fund woes.

Continue reading “The Infinitely Refreshing Emergency Fund”

Net Worth Update: September 2016

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Every now and then I really like to go look at my net worth graph in Mint. (For a long time I did this multiple times a day! Now it really is “every now and then,” maybe twice a month.) Here it is, beginning in May 2014, my last month with a negative net worth. I was still in debt, but was getting much closer than I had been to being out of it; I date my official debt-free point from December 2014.

I’ve never reported a net worth decline on the blog but there are a few here — mostly artifacts of having a lot on my credit card in certain months because of work expenses that hadn’t been reimbursed yet. Mostly what I see, though, is actual progress. Sometimes it’s slow and steady, sometimes there’s a huge uptick in one month due to an income and/or market quirk. But it feels pretty good to have come this far in less than 2.5 years.

For this month’s update see below! Continue reading “Net Worth Update: September 2016”

It’s finally fall

The weather hasn’t been great this summer. It’s been more humid than usual, leading to more mosquitoes and more sweaty days when I just wanted to lie around and do nothing, or, alternately, was really cranky, which is even worse than lazy. Also, we had an extended late summer, which has gotten to the point where I was almost tired of fresh tomatoes.

A few days ago, though, the weather finally turned, all at once. It is lovely. It’s raining right now, and I have wool socks on. The last few days have been cool and crisp and I’ve actually enjoyed the cardigan I had on, instead of sweating my way through the class I’m teaching. We pulled the tomato plants out yesterday to prep their bed for winter, and production of green tomato salsa and fermented green tomato pickles is underway. And the evenings are starting to close in, so we’ll have cozy nights. By March, I know, I’ll be wild for long summer evenings and shorts, but right now it’s great to be settling in for winter.