Coming to terms with a year’s worth of spending

Tracking your spending is one of the most basic things you need to do when on the FI path. December 2016 is the first month I actually kept track of everything I spent, which means I have data for the entire year of 2017.

I have to admit, for months now I’ve been thinking about totaling up everything from 2017, but I’ve also been avoiding it. While I moved to spending more intentionally overall during the year, I know for a fact there was a lot of waste, and I was scared to see what I’d find. But for the sake of better knowing my finances, I sucked it up and took a peek at the numbers. Continue reading “Coming to terms with a year’s worth of spending”

Looking ahead to debt-free life

It’s happened, friends. The credit card debt is GONE. I don’t yet have a zero balance screenshot for posterity but it’s going to happen. Soon. Yes, I am side-eyeing all of my various financial institutions collectively because I see them making sure charges get posted to my credit cards way sooner than it takes for my payments to get sent over.

Anyway. The fact remains that IT’S GONE! 🎉

ETA: I spoke too soon!

I’m not completely debt-free yet, but all of a sudden that day seems so much closer. After the extra $350 I just sent over to my student loans last week, I’m sitting on about $800 left on those. Continue reading “Looking ahead to debt-free life”

Life update: job, taxes, and debt (payoff)

Hey, y’all. As you might’ve noticed, I didn’t post on Tuesday. I was in LA enjoying quite a lovely birthday weekend trip and was too busy spending Monday evening at the beach in Malibu to write. Ditto for the previous nights on being too busy. I brought my laptop with me to LA on the off-chance that I’d find some time to write (or spend time on the plane doing so). Nope. Didn’t open it even once, and you know what? That’s fine. That’s called having a life and enjoying my vacation, which was my first visit to California and my second visit to the West Coast. Continue reading “Life update: job, taxes, and debt (payoff)”

Financial lessons from Les Misérables

I drove home two weekends ago and, as often happens when I’m there, my mother and I had a culture weekend.

I love musicals and I love ballets (and I did plenty of both in years gone by[*]), but, as odd as it sounds to say this, honestly I could afford to see so many more shows back when student tickets were an option. It’s just a fact of life that buying tickets to the Kennedy Center doesn’t fit in my budget at the moment. But since my mother and I both love them, she’ll usually buy a ballet or musical (or sometimes both) ticket to bribe me to come home as inducement for some mother-daughter bonding time.

This time, as an early birthday present to me, we saw the Carolina Ballet perform Romeo and Juliet and then saw Les Misérables that evening.

I’ve seen both shows before (Les Mis is one of those that gets me every time), so I could better appreciate that essentially the theme of the day was “love at first sight” followed by “everyone dies.” It was dramatic, to say the least.

Obviously the ballet had no words, so even if I could pull some brilliant personal finance-related things out of a tale of two very young star-crossed lovers, they would be hard to narrate, given that ballet is a visual art. (Yes, of course I’ve read and seen the play. I’m still not dissecting Romeo and Juliet.)

Communicate with your partner might be one—and one that has financial implications for those of you who are partnered up. Honestly there would be no need for the entire story if they could just text each other:

“hey so imma appear dead when u see me but don’t worry it’s only fake so I can get out of marrying that totally lame other dude my parents want to hook me up with UGH lol”
“ok cool lol then i def won’t bring the poison that’ll come in handy when i think ur for REAL dead hahaha love u see u in the crypt!”

BUT ANYWAY. It’s hard to write a post about a ballet, but a musical? That’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.[**] Especially because almost two weeks later and I’ve still got Les Mis songs in my head on constant repeat.

It all started with that fateful song, “I Dreamed a Dream.” Continue reading “Financial lessons from Les Misérables”

January 2018: uber frugal month?

So I started off 2018 with the goal of doing an Uber Frugal Month challenge (among other goals, with varying degrees of success) for January. And then I broke that with a car repair and a plane ticket to LA over my birthday weekend.

Yet again, here’s where emergency funds are amazing: I didn’t break (much of) a sweat swiping my credit card for either of those transactions (and to be fair, the plane ticket was decidedly not an emergency. That came out of my Tip Yourself savings which is not earmarked for emergencies). Those pushed my spending up much higher this month, but I was not worried about covering them.

I’m leaving for LA next week and I cannot contain my excitement. That $370 is already well-spent and I’m not even there yet! Continue reading “January 2018: uber frugal month?”

Doing hard things, part 2: waiting

Last week I told you all how I’d asked for a raise and a title change for the first time ever in my life. And I also wrote about all the awful things my anxious brain has been thinking about in response. While this is still incredibly uncomfortable, I’m pleased to say that the title of that post is still accurate: nothing horrible has happened (yet)!

I was told it would be at least a week for the high-level conversations to happen, which would mean in theory they would happen by last Friday. I haven’t heard anything back yet about how that went. But I do have more to report.

That first post was about the first conversation I had with HR. The day I wrote it, I had a second conversation with HR. Continue reading “Doing hard things, part 2: waiting”

Twelve months of experiments: January 2018

When last I wrote, dear readers, I’d cliffhangered you at the end of the first of what’s likely to be an exhaustive series on how my first-ever request for a raise goes. I regret to inform you that today’s post is not a continuation of that series, which is something you’d probably surmised from the title.

Instead, since it’s a new month (also my birthday month! I suppose turning 26 means my quarter-life crisis will be over, right?), here’s an end of month update on the challenges I took on in January. I was decluttering, doing a no-spend/uber frugal month challenge, a barre challenge, and still trying to meditate every day.

In case that sounds like an overwhelming number of things to do all at once, may I remind you how the last bit of my first post of 2018, which laid out the four challenges I was doing, ended?

Ridiculously overly ambitious? We shall see!

In a surprise to absolutely no one, turned out it was ridiculously overly ambitious! Continue reading “Twelve months of experiments: January 2018”

Doing hard things, part 1: nothing horrible has happened (yet)

Listen, y’all, I’m going to tell you a secret: I have never once in my life asked for or negotiated a raise.

For my first big girl job, I was coming off of two months of unemployment and would’ve (and did) accepted the first thing offered to me with zero questions asked. For my current job, it was such a step up in terms of salary and job description that I didn’t feel it was my place to fight for more, other than the obligatory asking if that was the highest they could go. Plus they told me that they were paying me a bit extra because raises were coming out in a few months, which I’d miss out on, so I’d have to wait until the next year for a raise.

So, okay.  I got a 3% raise last year as a cost of living increase. I didn’t ask for more then, especially because my job was…let’s just say up in the air as a result of the reorganization happening in my department. Not in the sense that I’d be let go eventually, but in that no one knew (or still knows) what my job will ultimately look like.

But a switch flipped for me last week. Continue reading “Doing hard things, part 1: nothing horrible has happened (yet)”

The unconventional (but critical) part of my FI pursuit

I’ve got a trick up my sleeve (literally, actually, but we’ll get into that later) that I’m using to help me on my path to financial independence. It’s unusual in that it’s not a savings app and it’s not a mindset that helps me spend less money. But it’s not a secret: everyone’s heard of it, and a vast majority of women have used it in some form or another for a variety of reasons.[*]

I am, of course, talking about birth control.

While I’m on the yelling about women/political post train, what’s another this week, huh? Buckle up, kids! Or rather, don’t. Because kids—or more specifically a lack of them—is what I want to talk about. Continue reading “The unconventional (but critical) part of my FI pursuit”