Net Worth Week 94 – Conference Edition

Gentle Readers,
It’s so nice to bunk off work for this conference. I got in 30 hours instead of the 80 they’d prefer and I don’t feel bad in any way. I had to skip soccer, but this was also worth it. I am glad that I recently dry-cleaned a suit and favorite shirts. Looking good for networking is important. Being prepared for whatever may happen is a good investment in yourself, but it takes energy.
I begin dog-sitting again tomorrow for the dogs I actually like. It will involve a longer commute, but their home is lovely and the room for me feels like a sanctuary. And since they have multiple pets, the pay rate is better. It would be easier if I didn’t have such a high overtime gig, but I could not predict the future. It’ll be hard for the last two days of the conference, but everything happened at weird times and putting the dog-owners in a lurch would not have felt appropriate.
Professional dues had to be paid this week and they were not cheap. My credit card debt went up because of them. Sigh.
Still, no advances on the estate paperwork and the government shutdown does not make the VA work any better.
 It is hard to focus on my skill-building with everything going on, but I am still doing what I consider the minimum necessary.

This week’s net worth numbers

1/19/2018 1/26/2018
 Joy 1112 1112
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
Moving 286  286
 EF 57  57
Business 5  5
Life 2128  2099
IRA 16960  17216
Brokerage 896  894
Rewards Card 2 -4114  -4563
CC (largest)  0  0
CC (longest) 0  0
Rewards Card -5000 (BT)  -5000 (BT)
SL 1 -105948  -106063
SL 2 -46694  -46747
Earnest -1378  -1381
 Net Worth -141649  -142044
Percentage Change .96%  -.28%

How many conferences do you attend a year for work or pleasure?

Net Worth Week 93

Gentle Readers,
The gig has gone even more ridiculously this week. They let us know on midday Wednesday that for the next three days they’d like us to work even more and that they’ll base their culling decisions on h0w much we work. It’s been exhausting, especially because the systems naturally did not cooperate.
I made it back to the free cabaret and played soccer. My deskmate asked why I was not putting in 15 hour days and then bemoaned that I’m “probably making healthier choices” than them. Yes. Yes, I am.
No advances on the estate paperwork.
I received a present from my girlfriend and her mom. A delicious King Cake. This may signify nothing, or is just a nice thing to do, or maybe I should let hope grow. Outlook unclear. So I’m just going to keep focusing on the things I’m doing to make my life great.
A friend from grad school contacted me at midnight and set me up with tickets to a great networking and learning event. I’ll have to miss four days of work, but, per above, it is not clear that I’ll have the gig by the end of next week anyway. I chose advancing my career. I think it was the right choice.
The numbers look slightly better than they are because my brother has not cashed the check I gave him yet. But I like the trend.

This week’s net worth numbers

1/12/2017 1/19/2018
 Joy 1112 1112
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Moving 286 286
 EF 57 57
 Business 5 5
Life 1479  2128
IRA 16837  16960
 Brokerage  877  896
 Rewards Card 2 -4469  -4114
 CC (largest  0  0
 CC (longest 0  0
 Rewards Card -5400 (BT)  -5000 (BT)
 SL 1 -105832  -105948
SL 2 -46641 -46694
Earnest -1375 -1378
 Repay brother  0! 0!
 Net Worth -143023 -141649
 Percentage Change .16% .96%

Have you ever worked at a job with so much downtime?

Net Worth Week 92 – Birthday Edition

Gentle Readers,
Progress towards the new good-gig is happening. I got my fingerprints done. My nails looked fabulous, but the tech did not care. Current gig has been a little more in flux than I’d prefer. Lots of sitting around waiting for a task and being sent home early.
I figured out a portion of the problem with not receiving the estate paperwork I’ve requested. Neither the VA nor the medical school who accepted his body has signed the damn death certificate. Both are blaming the other. I’m going to keep calling until I annoy someone into signing this vital record. That does not explain why his life insurance paperwork has not even arrived for me to fill out and submit, but I am trying to focus on one thing at a time as possible.
My efforts to work a ton while also seeing friends is bearing fruit. I attended a free cabaret, I played soccer, I shared food with folks. It has been great for my psyche. I do wonder if I should not up the overtime even further; my roommates’ negligence regarding cleaning and the mouse situation grows more frustrating.
I send my brother the check to repay him! Not having that over my head feels wonderful! I don’t like and am not used to owing individuals money.
It’s my birthday week and letting my friends show up for me while also doing what I like without regard to anyone else’s plan has been nice. There is still bittersweet mixed in with the waiting, but I’m living my life.

This week’s net worth numbers

1/5/2017 1/12/2018
 Joy 1112 1112
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Moving 286 286
 EF 57 57
 Business 5 5
Life 2719  1479
IRA 16639  16837
 Brokerage  866  877
 Rewards Card 2 -4200  -4469
 CC (largest  0  0
 CC (longest 0  0
 Rewards Card -5400 (BT)  -5400 (BT)
 SL 1 -106154  -105832
SL 2 -46788 -46641
Earnest -1839 -1375
 Repay brother  -600 0!
 Net Worth -143256 -143023
 Percentage Change .95% .16%

How do you celebrate your birthday?

Net Worth Week 89 – A LOT of Work Edition

Gentle Readers,
These past few weeks have been a challenge. Now I’m on to a new type of challenge. I started a high overtime gig and was finally hired by a client for my business. That client, naturally has an immediate emergency order for me to fulfill. This is the first client emergency I’ve had to handle. I learned a lot in the process. Hopefully that will make me a better businesswoman. I also reached out to my mentors for feedback and direction. Vital. It’s very possible that this client may have continuing work for me, if they like me.
But I am earning money again, while waiting for the good government gig to start. It also has overtime, but does not market itself as 40 hours of OT a week for four months. So I am grateful. The vicissitudes of gig-life mean that I have another interview for this gig, but with a different section of the government. This agency is trying to secure me work that would not be impacted by any government shut down.
I still have not received the paperwork I’m expecting for my dad’s estate. I know it’s the holidays, but they told me 3-4 weeks. I’d like to fill it out and get my siblings their life insurance payment. I know that the estate part will still take some time, but it appears that his debts and assets matched up fairly closely. That is less urgent. I also would like the life insurance for me. I have plans for debt reduction and asset purchasing. It would also just feel different to have all of that money in my bank account for a little bit. With the financial uncertainty of this year, it will be nice to get the unexpected influx.
Soccer is on hold for two weeks due to the holidays and I’m trying to stay fit enough with some simple body-weight exercises at home. I have a hard time sticking to this with everything going on. But some planks and stretching do a lot.
I was able to do a few small holiday things, which was nice. I really do like greenery and festive people. I’m so grateful that my friend invited me to her home for Christmas. It’s her first time hosting and I love her and her sister and her sister’s kids.  It’ll correspond with the start of my dog-sitting, but hopefully that just means it will be easier to get out to her.
Yes, I will have a Rover client, a fast-turn around client and a new high overtime gig all at the same time. November and December should have balanced themselves better. But, I am finding that I’ve got the energy to do this all. It is weird, but the energy is there.

This week’s net worth numbers

12/15/2017 12/22/2017
 Joy 1111 1111
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Moving 286 286
 EF 57 57
 Business 5 5
Life 1481 1872
IRA 16064  16077
 Brokerage  863  861
 Rewards Card 2 -2947  -4269
 CC (largest  0  0
 CC (longest 0  0
 Rewards Card -5613 (BT)  -5600 (BT)
 SL 1 -105791  -105923
SL 2 -46623 -46683
Earnest -1827 -1831
 Repay brother  -600? -600?
 Net Worth -143493 -144596
 Percentage Change -.22% -.77%

Are you staying in your own place for the holidays or traveling this year?

Net Worth Week 57 – One is Done Edition!

Gentle Readers,
This week has been a whirlwind. We sat for days at work waiting for our task to be available. Naturally, our supervisor did not communicate with us for two and a half days. So we sat. Thursday morning rolled around and we were told that unlimited OT was being “temporarily” suspended since work was not available. Sensible, but frustrating to my plans. A few hours later, not only do we have work, but we have multiple urgent projects. No word on OT until I had to ask my supervisor if the approval would be back since we have deadlines. This is the uncertainty of my job. We just never know what will happen.
I used my downtime at work to study and it feels like it’s paying off. I’m feeling very hopeful about my ability to get a gig in this new skill soon.
In wonderful news, I paid off the balance transfer ahead of schedule!!! No weird spike in interest rate on that bit of money. I’ve been throwing money at this particular sore-spot for weeks. In mid-April, I still had a balance of over $3000. This is one of the reasons I’ve been working my tail off in overtime. I wanted this gone and now it is!
My remaining credit card debt is $2571. Much better than the almost $6000 it was just a short while ago. I will continue working hard towards demolishing this debt. If my job can keep overtime available, it will be very useful for me. I am traveling next weekend, so my ability to work a ton will be diminished substantially.
This is my fourth week in a row of positive gains. I love that sort of trend!

This week’s net worth numbers

5/5/2016 5/12/2017
 Joy 1106 1106
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1003 1003
Life 1397  832
 IRA  12937  13002
 Brokerage 689  693
 Rewards Card 2 -1727 -1572
 CC (largest) -879  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1150 -999
SL 1 -104721 -104577
 SL 2 -46134 -46068
 Earnest -5318 -4862
 Net Worth -142414 -141059
 Percentage Change .55 % .95%

Have you paid off something lately ?

Net Worth Week 54 – Dine With Friends Edition

Gentle Readers,
At long last, my client who insisted everything was urgent weeks ago, is coming in for final approval this weekend. Then my business can get paid!
I’m trying really hard to get a ton of overtime this week, while also planning on finally doing my Self-Employment taxes, which I am still intimidated by. I really want to pay off these credit cards and keep them paid off. My project is only scheduled for 8 more weeks, but could potentially last longer. I want to get myself into a really good position before the ability to do so much overtime goes away. Nearly $5K I’d like to pay off in the next eight weeks, and then I can re-focus on funding my IRA.
I did have a delightful text asking me to join a friend and his family for lunch in ten minutes on Thursday. I ignored my packed lunch and met them. This was the first time their son actually talked to me, too. It was wonderful. Dining with friends makes such a difference in my happiness levels. I would like to do this at least once a week. Lunch or happy hour or a walk or something.

This week’s net worth numbers

4/14/2016 4/21/2017
 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 518  1239
 IRA  12645  12768
 Brokerage 682  691
 Rewards Card 2 -1138 -1000
 CC (largest) -3227  -2761
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1231 -1176
SL 1 -104375 -104490
 SL 2 -45976 -46029
 Earnest -5285 -5296
 Net Worth -144811 -143478
 Percentage Change -.24 % .92%

Have you ever ditched your packed lunch for camaraderie?

Net Worth Week 47 – Grind it Out Edition

Gentle Readers,
I’ve been doing a great job this week of getting lots of things done and getting overtime in to tackle this debt. I was really worried that her absence would make me despondent, but I still feel wrapped in her love from hundreds of miles away. I’ll use this time to focus on being even better at tackling debt and growing my business. When I’m with her, I can then just focus on exploring her new city with her and enjoying being near her without worrying about costs. (remind me of this when despondency rears its head)
I made it to the tailor who is fixing a suit for me. She estimates that it will be ready this weekend and I’m very excited to finally wear it. I scheduled my oral surgery; it still does not feel like the best time financially, but I would like to have a happier mouth and less pain.
I’m going to draft my taxes tomorrow so that I can talk to my accountant friend for a paid-review of the Schedule C I’ll prepare. I also need to prepare to pay my quarterly taxes for the first time since I paid myself from profits in December. I know that I have the money on hand because I have kept all profits I’ve paid myself in a sub-account. I don’t know what I’ll do with that money once I know what it is like paying self-employment taxes. Right now that money has the job of teaching me how much I’ll bring home depending on the number of clients I have. It’s a good lesson.
My skill-building classes return again next week. I’m really excited. I love the class and the teacher, and it is free. I intended to finish a book on the subject during the 2.5 months we did not have class, but I did not make the time with how much happened in my world.
We also can’t seem to keep a fourth contractor on this project. The most recent hire did not make it a month. No one has explained his absence to us; he’s just not there. It’s a very strange work environment. I hope he found a permanent job somewhere. He was nice and diligent.

This week’s net worth numbers

2/24/2017 3/3/2017
 Joy 1104 1105
 Travel 324 324
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 810 811
Business 751 1002
Bed  0.19 0.19
 Life  1622  2640
 IRA 12163  12234
 Brokerage 693  698
 CC (largest) -4215  -4260
 CC (longest) 0  -191
 Rewards Card -1909 -2322
SL 1 -104085 -104201
 SL 2 -45844 -45896
 Earnest -6133 -6145
 Net Worth -144323 -143831
 Percentage Change -.13% .34%

What do you like to have on hand for post-surgery self-care?



Net Worth Week 42 – Back to the Dentist, Again

My streak ended at 8 weeks’ positive net worth growth. However, we got word that the project which was scheduled to end in four weeks will now extend an additional four months. I also have a new client signing this weekend. There should at least be some cash coming in. We’ve not been told anything about our current unlimited overtime, and I’ve tried to take advantage of that this week knowing that I was spending so much on my mouth.

This week’s net worth numbers

1/20/2017 1/27/2017
 Joy 1103 1103
 Travel 324 324
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 810 810
Business 501 501
Bed  0.19 0.19
 Life 1716 1501
 IRA 11020 11458
 Brokerage 663 674
 CC (largest) -4265 -4209
 CC (longest) 0 -10
 Rewards Card -1365 -2030
 SL 1 -103767 -103883
 SL 2 -45698 -45751
 Earnest -6532 -6546
 Net Worth -145120 -145688
 Percentage Change 0.29% -.39%

Why do we separate dental and mental health insurance from the rest of our body? 

Goals 2017 – Accountability and Chutzpah!

Gentle Readers,

I am not typically into resolutions, but I think that financial ones could be helpful in focusing me and so I will try them this year. Last year at this time, I did not have this blog or the goals the blog has led me to pursuing. I was ignoring my money and figuring that student debt would constrain my choices for life.  That’s unpleasant to consider.

In April of 2016 I began this blog, and I was in debt to the tune of -$151,728. Focusing on my money had my debt diminish to -$146,049 by year end. That’s an increase of 3.74%. I had hoped to do better than that, but was not anticipating so many medical expenses. Explicit goals are said to be helpful. Let’s give it a go.

2017 Achievable Financial Goals for ZJ Thorne

  1. Pay myself from my business at least a nominal amount every month. If I get one client a month to cash-flow properly, I could pay myself $500/m before taxes.
  2. Finish contributing to my 2016 IRA ($1340 to go)
  3. Increase my Emergency Fund to $1000. ($691 to go)
  4. Pay off Credit Cards ($5785).
  5. Fully fund 2017 IRA ($5500 to go)

This is $13,316.  That is $256.07 a week or $1109 a month for all of these goals. I have until April 15 to finish contributing to my 2016 IRA. It and the emergency fund will be my first priority. Then I will shift to paying down my credit card. The 0% balance transfer ends in July. If I cease spending on my credit cards and pay them off in 6 months, that would be $964.17 monthly. Perhaps this is attainable. If July through December is dedicated to funding my 2017 IRA, that is $916.67 a month in contributions.

My current gig is scheduled to last until mid-February, and we are supposed to continue with unlimited overtime until then. It is possible they will extend beyond February. We won’t know for some time. Our industry shifts rapidly. It is not uncommon to be told at 2 pm that your gig ends that day. Staying gainfully employed is helpful to achieving these goals.

The big goals are even grander and dependent upon finding a gig utilizing the skill I’ve been mastering. If I do that, I can double my pay for some gigs. If I do that, my goals can become enormous depending on how long a gig at that rate could last. These goals are too big for one year, but they are in my mind. Luring me.

2017 Stretch Goals for ZJ Thorne

  1. Get my Emergency Fund up to $5000-$10000 ($4691-$9691 to go).
  2. Save up a down-payment of $15000-$30000 ($14981-$29981 to go).
  3. Spend $5000 on my brokerage account.
  4. Pay off the smaller student loan in a fell-swoop $45000.

What are your goals for 2017?

Net Worth Week 34 – Overtime Edition

11/18/16 11/25/16 12/2/16
Joy 1102 1102 1102
Travel 324 324 324
Down Payment 19 19 19
Retirement 21 21 21
Health 45 45 45
Moving 284 284 284
EF 309 309 309
Business 1 1 1
Bed 0.29 0.29 0.29
Life 2288 1632  2617
IRA 10004 10170  10124
Brokerage 400 406  399
CC (largest) -4370 -4332  -4341
CC (longest) 0 0 -98
Rewards Card -454 -1443  -1683
SL 1 -103247 -103378  -103477
SL 2 -45461 -45521  -45566
Earnest -7335 -7351  -7364
Net Worth -146069 -147712  -147283
Percentage Change .15% -1.12% .29%

How are your Decembers starting?