Net Worth Week 55

Gentle Readers,
I think I figured out my self-employment taxes last weekend. Based on the forms I filled out, I don’t need to prepay quarterly taxes for Self-Employment Tax purposes because I do not anticipate earning enough through my business this year. I also received my federal refund and immediately plowed it into paying down debt as intended.
My overtime goal was thwarted this week because we were made to leave early on Thursday. I used the “extra” time to mow my lawn before we get into the 90s this weekend, which was great because all of the rain had prevented me from maintaining it properly. The added $30 from my roommates never hurts either.
I’m still doing what I can overtime-wise, but it will be smaller than I intended this week.  My project got a surprise two new coworkers this week. Our project manager is now indicating more strongly that we will have work after the next eight weeks, but there are never any guarantees in this industry. I’m still going to try to overload on OT while I can, because you never know what the future holds.  If all goes according to plan, I will pay off my balance transfer before the 0% interest rate changes in early July. In the past two weeks, I have paid off 49% of the remaining balance. The next two paychecks are entirely devoted to debt reduction.
I have used my girlfriend’s old crock pot twice now, which means my lunches have been far more frugal than usual. I’m still getting the hang of the process and seeking out better recipes. Do you recommend any?
This weekend I’m looking forward to dinner with a friend who is in town and also a college alumnae resistance event. See, I do some balance.

This week’s net worth numbers

4/21/2016 4/28/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 1239  1324
 IRA  12768  12974
 Brokerage 691  698
 Rewards Card 2 -1000 -1859
 CC (largest) -2761  -1629
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1176 -1200
SL 1 -104490 -104606
 SL 2 -46029 -46081
 Earnest -5296 -5307
 Net Worth -143478 -143110
 Percentage Change .92 % .26%

Has the rain ended in your area yet?

Net Worth Week 46 – She’s Gone Edition

Gentle Readers,
I took my girlfriend to the airport this morning and called in “sick” to work. I believe mental health counts for a sick day, and that it is a stupid system that tells me I can only use the time-off I’ve earned in one particular way.
My best friend is meeting me after work. I am meeting my other best friend’s new puppy this weekend. I’ve got some client work to do and also am not trying to get any OT this week, in part because the holiday pay calculation means that I would have to physically work 40 hours plus 1 in order to get the time-and-a-half pay-rate. Not today, Satan.
 Time to do the errands I’ve been putting off while focusing on her move: trip to the tailor,  oral surgeon,  preparing taxes so that I can understand how to do my schedule c/k? properly, grocery store, skill-building.
My net worth took a slight dip this week, which is attributable to my getting a hotel for her last night in our city. Absolutely worth it.

This week’s net worth numbers

2/17/2017 2/24/2017
 Joy 1104 1104
 Travel 324 324
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 810 810
Business 751 751
Bed  0.19 0.19
 Life 1608  1622
 IRA 11974  12163
 Brokerage 688  693
 CC (largest) -4203 -4215
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1682 -1909
SL 1 -103970 -104085
 SL 2 -45738 -45844
 Earnest -6122 -6133
 Net Worth -144139 -144323
 Percentage Change .33% -.13%

What should I do for self-care?

Have a poem by a black, queer poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Happy Black History Month, y’all!

“I loved my friend
He went away from me
There’s nothing more to say
The poem ends,
Soft as it began-
I loved my friend.”
Langston Hughes  

Net Worth Week 44 – Best Week Yet

Gentle Readers,
My high credit score officially returned last week. It took a beating down from excellent to high-ish after I completed a balance transfer last summer. The balance transfer rate ends in July. I am doing a lot of OT right now, and part of the aim is to use those funds to knock it out before then.
I still have not made an appointment  with an oral surgeon.  There is not time right now, and my focus is elsewhere. I am going to try and sneak in a massage or reflexology. My body is terribly stressed right now.
My streak re-set to 2 week’s positive net worth growth! This is my closest to zero since I’ve kept track.

This week’s net worth numbers

2/3/2017 2/10/2017
 Joy 1103 1104
 Travel 324 324
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 810 810
Business 7511 751
Bed  0.19 0.19
 Life 1356  819
 IRA 11459  11536
 Brokerage 674  679
 CC (largest) -4182 -4182
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1530 -1120
SL 1 -103998 -103854
 SL 2 -45804 -45738
 Earnest -6562 -6109
 Net Worth -145201 -144610
 Percentage Change .33% .40%

Are you making plans for Valentine’s Day? Do you spend a standard amount?  

Net Worth Week 22

8/19/16 8/26/16 9/2/16 9/9/16
Joy 1100 1100 1100
Travel 323 323 323
Down Payment 19 19 19
Retirement 21 21 21
Health 45 45 45
Moving 31 31 183
EF 2003 1004 1004
Business 1 1 1
Bed 0.29 0.29 0.29
Life 2127 1775  747
IRA 10058 10118  10186
Brokerage 401 402  403
CC (largest) -4791 -4755  -4699
CC (longest) -437 0 0
Rewards Card -1022 -644  0
SL 1 -102719 -102835  -102594
SL 2 -45220 -45273  -45163
Earnest -8540 -8094  -8109
Net Worth -146599.71 -146761.71  -146532
Percentage Change -0.37% -0.11%  .15%

Have you had to reduce debt payment in order to save for a possibility?

Net Worth Week 21 – Tacos Trucks On Every Corner

Date 8/12/16 8/19/2016 8/26/2016 9/2/2016
Joy 1100 1100 1100  1100
Travel 323 323 323  323
Down Payment  19 19 19 19
retirement  21 21 21 21
health  45 45 45 45
Moving  31 31 31 31
EF  2003 2003 2003 1004
Business  1 1 1 1
Bed  .29 0.29 0.29 0.29
Life  769 1844 2127  1775
IRA  10087 10127 10058  10118
Brokerage  410 402 401  402
CC (largest)  -4791 -4791 -4791  -4755
CC (longest)  -295 -319 -427  0
Rewards Card  -273 -564 -1022  -644
SL 1  -102489  -102604 -102719 -102835
SL 2  -45115  -45167 -45220 -45273
Earnest  -8404 -8522 -8540 -8094
-$146657 -$146050 -$146599 -$146761
  -.38% change .41% change -.37% change -.11% change

Have you ever felt more secure even when the numbers stayed the same?

The Downsides of Co-ops

Gentle Readers,

While I am nowhere near ready to begin my home-search in earnest, since my current net worth has been hovering around the -$146,500 mark for the summer, I did check out my first open-house this weekend. It’s a cooperative I’ve been watching on Zillow and I had the time for a small trek.

I walked the 20 minutes from my current home, which also gave me another look at the neighborhood I’m considering. Before I was in such pain, I used to be a marathon runner and would run through that neighborhood as part of my training. Walking a neighborhood is very different from running in a neighborhood. As a woman in a city, I expect street harassment in both scenarios, but it is different when you are in running clothes. During that time of day, the walk felt safe. Good perk to feel first hand.

The building was a little more run-down than the photos showed. That was not a surprise. It’s also a bit off the beaten path, which is why it is going for $135,000 for all of its 700 square feet. I live in a group house now and could not really visualize what 700 SF meant and this was a good learning opportunity. It’s a lot of space for one person, but not overwhelming. I am hoping to buy something around that size, because I want the opportunity to live with someone comfortably if that is a possibility in the future. I definitely don’t want a studio, because I want the ability to host people without us all looking at one another’s pajamas.

The layout was a little strange. The kitchen is a good size, but it is currently situated so that you cannot fully open the oven or fridge because they face one another. This seems to be an issue of old outlets, but the room to move the oven over is available. There’ll be a whole in the cabinetry, but you could work with it. Overall, the place was cute and had nice windows and a bathroom of one’s own plus some good closet space.

Not bad as an incentive to keep me working toward my home-buying goal.

What distinguishes a co-op different from a condo?

Co-ops are different from condominiums in very important ways. With a condo, you are buying the unit you live in. With a co-op, you are buying a share of the building’s corporation. This is a huge difference with enormous impacts on you for as long as you own. The corporation/board has a lot of power. You do not.

Co-ops almost always require higher down payments and have higher monthly fees. I cannot find a co-op in my city that requires less than a 10% down payment. FHA loans are a no-go here, which would make it hard on first-time home-buyers.  Co-op and condo buildings both prefer to have relatively high owner-occupancy, which prevents owners from renting their homes out easily or at all. Co-op boards have the power to block potential buyers, which means closing on a co-op is hard when you are buying in and when you are trying to sell. It’s a lot of hassle that could keep you paying on a space you do not want anymore.

Co-ops often have high association fees. Partially, this is because the co-op fee may cover an underlying mortgage on the building and property taxes on top of maintenance and utility costs. The share you live in may sell for lower than a similarly sized condo, but the co-op fee can more than offset that. In some buildings, the fees include all utilities up to wi-fi. It may be a wash. You must look at the bylaws closely.

You also have the problem of finding a real estate agent and mortgage broker who knows what co-ops mean for buyers. At the place I checked out near me on Saturday the agent could not answer any of my questions. She eventually told me that she does not normally do co-ops, and it showed.  A big problem in some cities is the dearth of banks that offer co-op mortgages. Shopping around rates will be hard.

There is one major perk for those of us who would like the safety of stealth-wealth. Co-ops offer privacy. You own a share in a corporation, which does not include a public record of ownership. You can hide your address to people not in the building. This is helpful for folks fleeing abuse or famous people who’d like to be left alone.

The more I learn about co-ops, the less I want them. They feel less free than I’d like in my major purchase, but I am intrigued by the privacy option.

Would you consider a co-op over a condo?

 

Net Worth Week 13

Gentle Reader,

Man, the violence in our world is a lot sometimes. It is hard to be hopeful, but then I see the image of the strangers in Dallas who immediately surrounded a baby in a stroller when the shots rang out.  They were willing to put their body in harm’s way to protect a small life. That crowd was diverse and, I assume, did not all personally know that baby. They did not know why the shots were happening or who was being targeted, but they decided to protect a defenseless child. That is my hope for the world. That crowd of strangers who chose danger for another.

I know that y’all noticed I was quiet on twitter this week, and thanks for checking on me. PF bloggers are a great community. I had family in town and they had shenanigans to put me through.  I’m still trying to win my way to FinCon – in large part to meet y’all. It is already an honor to know you and I can only suspect that honor will grow when I can shake your hand.

My net worth plucked along in the positive direction and that small victory is helping me remember the destination this journey is leading me to.

I still love Earnest and credit them with my ability to conquer some of this debt.

Date 6/17/16 6/25/2016 7/1/2016 7/8/2016
Joy 1098 1098 1099  1099
Travel 323 323 323 323
Down Payment  19 19 19 19
retirement  21 21 21 21
health  45 45 45 45
Moving  31 31 31 31
EF  2597 2597 2002 2002
Business  1 1 1 1
Bed  .29 0.29 0.29 0.29
Life  1839 1140 1929  863
IRA  8285 8765 9580  9653
Brokerage  221 315 324 329
CC (largest)  0 0 0 0
CC (longest)  0 0 0 0
Rewards Card  -5300 -5347 -5675  -5247
SL 1  -102268  -102284 -102482 -102258
SL 2  -45017  -45067 -45112 -45010
Earnest  -9286 -9306 -9328 -8878
-$147390 -$147748 -$147222 -$147006
  -1.0% change -.24% change .35% change  .14% change

Have you been encouraged by small progress?

My Frugal DIY Hair Routine

Gentle Readers,

You know that I have a frugal face-routine, and you will not be surprised to learn that my hair routine is similarly personally tailored and low-cost. I spend less than $2 a year on the products I need to look fantastic.

I have a very short hair-cut and was frustrated at the amount of money I was spending on shampoo and conditioner and products. It felt wasteful. It was also just silly since none of the products did precisely what I wanted.

I have very clear vanity needs. I want to look a very particular way. I like that women stop me on the street to tell me how much they love my hairstyle. I even had a woman at my podiatrist’s office ask to take photos of my hair, because she is a stylist and wanted to try and replicate it.

Everything that touches my head is created by me.

I ditched traditional shampoo and conditioner nearly two years ago. I read around and asked my friends, and learned about the No Poo movement (a horrible name).  I thought it was worth a shot since the ingredients were simple and were things I had around my house. I was also intrigued at the idea of washing my hair once a week. Shorter showers means less water waste and more time sleeping in.

On Sundays, I wash my hair.

I have a little container I bought at CVS that holds some baking soda and water. I use a squeeze bottle with a lid that closes so it does not dry out. That’s all you need. I personally add tea tree oil,  which is good for my scalp since my hair is so thick. I don’t like the smell of tea tree, so I add in some mint oil  to have a smell I like that adds a little scalp tingle.  I pour some into my hand and scrub it into my scalp. I leave it in until I feel the tingle and then rinse it out. After that, I use a bottle that is 1/4 apple cider vinegar and 3/4 water as conditioner.  I make sure to rinse thoroughly because I don’t want to smell like a salad. Once I’m out of the shower, I warm a tiny bit of coconut oil in my hands and put it through my hair as a deeper conditioner. That’s it. My hair is clean for a week!

I like my pomade to have a little bit of shine, but mainly I want it to just let my hair’s glory come through.  My current favorite version is easy to make and much cheaper than buying a product that someone else made for me.

I use a glass bowl and a pot as a make-do double-boiler. In the glass bowl I put some Shea butter or coconut oil and then half as much Beeswax.  It melts quickly on a low heat. I stir it and watch carefully to prevent burning. Once it is all melted down, I put on my potholders and carefully transfer into a little metal one ounce container. I let it sit with the lid off until it solidifies. That’s it. My pomade is ready for 8-12 months. You only need a little when your hair is short.

The shea butter version feels a little greasier, but is nice in the winter when my hair just wants a little more love. The coconut version is my go to in the summer when looking crisp is my greater goal.

Sometimes I add an essential oil for a little scent, but not much, because I don’t want to cause anyone to have an allergic reaction around me. I try to have so little in that only someone who actively tried to smell my hair would know.

Do you make any of your own hair products? Share your recipes below.

 

Net Worth Week 12 – A Glimmer of Progress

Gentle Reader,

This summer and year have been about volatility in unexpected places. We all watched the markets dip and rebound after the initial Brexit vote. I personally had some shenanigans at my gig, but was really encouraged by the community’s response to my attempt to get to FinCon. Y’all are wonderful and supportive. Thank you.

I am an hourly employee at my temp gig, and I had the misfortune of being sent home after a half day unexpectedly. I did nothing wrong, but they could not get their systems to work, which meant that I couldn’t work either. This will definitely impact next week’s paycheck and comes at an unfortunate time since I had worked a half-day on Monday as well. You are guaranteed nothing as a contingent employee. This week reminds me that I need to pursue FIRE to rid myself of the vicissitudes of laboring for others.

Brexit definitely impacted my retirement accounts. I’m personally on the right track, but am worried for the world in the next few years. Increased volatility hits financial markets definitely, but it absolutely increases violence in the world. I’m watching Venezuela and worrying what other countries will respond to market conditions in a similar vein.

I still love Earnest and credit them with my ability to conquer some of this debt.

Date 6/10/16 6/17/2016 6/25/2016 7/1/2016
Joy 1098 1098 1098  1099
Travel 322 323 323 323
Down Payment  19 19 19 19
retirement  21 21 21 21
health  45 45 45 45
Moving  31 31 31 31
EF  2597 2597 2597 2002
Business  1 1 1 1
Bed  .29 0.29 0.29 0.29
Life  1729 1839 1140  1929
IRA  8516 8285 8765  9580
Brokerage  226 221 315 324
CC (largest)  0 0 0 0
CC (longest)  0 0 0 0
Rewards Card  -5434 -5300 -5347  -5675
SL 1  -102120  -102268 -102284 -102482
SL 2  -44971  -45017 -45067 -45112
Earnest  -9258 -9286 -9306 -9328
-$147176 -$147390 -$147748 -$147222
  -1.0% change -1.0% change -.24% change  .35% change

How did your week go? Have your accounts already recovered from Brexit?

What Financial Health Means to Me – Fincon 2016

Gentle Readers,
I want to travel to FinCon this year, but it will be hard on my budget. I live on the East Coast. I’ve never even been to California at all. You know that I am working my behind off to get out of debt. My goal is to end my credit card debt by November. A cross-country flight and a few days in a hotel would definitely impact that goal negatively.  I’m trying to win my way to FinCon instead.
The brilliant planners at FinCon partnered with The Center for Financial Services Innovation for an essay contest and some lucky bloggers will receive support for traveling to San Diego if their piece on Financial Health is excellent. #FinHealthMatters!

For me, financial health is the freedom to pursue empathy and curiosity in equal measures.

I believe that radical empathy is one of the greatest traits available to humans. It increases resilience and takes you down unplanned paths. It is incredible. Even if you only ever get to the point where you can practice radical empathy on yourself, you will have gained the world.

Empathy teaches you. It grows you. It allows you to make peace and joy with the previous versions of yourself. It allows you room to grow into many new selves as you change in time with new data and situations.

Having empathy for others means that you can learn from them, too. You do not have to contain all knowledge, nor do you have to make all mistakes in order to learn and grow. Empathy for others will reveal what choices, financial and otherwise, are better for the world. Empathy will have you shoveling your elderly neighbor’s sidewalk and sit down for tea and conversation as payment. Empathy will give you a glimpse into other sides of your community. Empathy will reveal whole new worlds to you.

My other favorite character trait is curiosity. Curiosity will give you so many opportunities. You will open and walk through so many doors that you cannot imagine right now. Curiosity unbounded taught Galileo realms of science that had not yet been discovered. Curiosity led Elon Musk to create the Tesla because he wanted an option that did not require fossil fuels. Curiosity led Picasso to deconstruct the lines of the body to see deeper into color and meaning than most artists before him. Curiosity told e.e. cummings to destroy syntax to create some of the most moving poetry in the English language.

When I’m truly financially healthy, I have the time and energy to grow both of these traits. I am able to understand other perspectives and add to my knowledge and wholeness. I am able to create things that the world has never seen before. Financial health allows my mind to play and frees me to create new solutions to old problems. When I’m financially healthy, I can afford the time and money to support other people with my time and money. We all grow more whole as a result.

What does financial health mean to you?