2017 – That’s a Wrap!

I was listening to a Mad Fientist episode the other day and was thrilled to hear the guest, Chris Hutchins, speaking about a habit I too have formed for myself over the years.  He was saying that each month he does one thing significant so he can look back on his life and know that he made the best of it.  He can pinpoint exactly what he was doing at the time – whether it be learning a new task, breaking a bad habit, or volunteering on a project.  I too have adopted this idea throughout the years, I just never wrote it down…until last year.

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2018 – A Fresh Start! (FYI  this picture was taken at 10am…NO SUN!!!)

At the start of 2017 I took a normal size calendar ($1 at Dollar Tree), cut all the months apart, and pinned them to our bedroom wall (very romantic – in hindsight the kitchen would have been better) – 3 across, 4 down.  In a few minutes, I had a giant wall size calendar to keep track of our crazy lives.  My work trips, my boyfriends (John) work trips, Dr appointments for us and the boys, birthdays, anniversaries, sleepover’s (for the kids, not us), vacations, dog walkers – everything went on the calendar.  Important things were highlighted and slowly, one by one, the days were crossed off.  This method made it super easy to see everything at a glance and make sure I was accomplishing all of the things that I had set out to do.

I won’t bore you with the details, but a few of my highlights from 2017 are as follows:

  • Multiple meetups hosted by yours truly via the Rockstar Finance Forum – heck, I even crashed one in MSP!
  • Travels abroad to Cuba, Budapest, and Prague
  • The almost purchase of a caboose (more on that soon)
  • Community-based events like Camp Mustache, Lola Retreat, and FinCon
  • More charitable donations than ever before including Houston Food Bank, Red Cross, Ronald McDonald House and PAWS (you know I can’t forget the pups!).
  • A last-minute opportunity to attend Tony Robbins’ seminar Unleash the Power Within (UPW)… (also, more on that soon!)
  • And taking my mom on a day trip to NY to do a crown tour of the Statue of Liberty

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I also had the opportunity to meet several friends during overnights from work.  Anyone care to guess who is responsible for this madness?? Continue reading “2017 – That’s a Wrap!”

2017 1st Qtr Net Worth & Savings Rates…Homerun!!

2017 is fully underway.  It is strange – at the start of the new year, I had experienced equal parts excitement and depression regarding my quest for FI.  The excitement was based on a high due to the insane accumulation and addition of 100k to my 2016 net worth.  I was floored!  All the tiny boxes from my spreadsheet were filled in with various colors and calculations that could make even the most deaf tone numbers geek sing a solid Do Re Mi.  Beautiful.  And then the depression hit.  I flipped to my new spreadsheet with all its blank spaces and wondered if I could ever repeat what I had just accomplished.  Hmmmm… I imagine this must be what it feels like to be the Cubs facing opening day after winning the World Series last year.  Expectations.  They are the best and, sometimes the worst, motivator…

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NET WORTH

So here we are 3 months in and I’m curious to see how things have stacked up.  Are you??  Well, I am pleased to report that so far they are stacking up quite nicely if I do say so myself.  Here is how 2017 has played out thus far:   Continue reading “2017 1st Qtr Net Worth & Savings Rates…Homerun!!”

It’s Payday!! Non Budgets & Allocations…See Where My Money Goes.

The moment I have been waiting for all month…It’s payday (technically the 20th)!!

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Ok, Ok – It isn’t quite that much that I can afford to buy you all cars.  🙂

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I get paid only once a month (minus the few month shit show I cursed upon myself).  Because of that, payday is like Christmas around here.  On the eve of, you can often find me baking cookies, caroling from door to door, and waiting for ole’ St. Nick to electronically deposit my check as the clock strikes midnight.  It’s a BIG deal!  But once it’s here, what do I do with my hard-earned cash?

Well, let’s start with a little confession...I don’t use a budget.  I know, I know – how can I write about FI without a stinkin’ budget?  It’s just not my style.  But, don’t you worry, my finances are not in complete anarchy.  I have a nonbudget system that has worked pretty well so far and it all started with tracking.

At the end of last year, I began tracking my spending.  Every dollar I spent was put into my handy-dandy spreadsheet and tallied up at the end of the month.  I thoroughly enjoyed filling in each blank spot (yes, I’m a nerd) and seeing the grand total automatically tallied at the end of each month.  What I didn’t enjoy was seeing how much money I was wasting shopping all high falutin at Whole Foods and enjoying lunches out with my day drinking gals – the flight attendant life creates many occasions to sip wine at 11am 2pm on a weekday

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Life was expensive!  Money was pouring out of my wallet, into my glass, and down my gullet.  You see, when your job is extremely flexible, you can pretty much find any reason not to go.  Weather sucks, the dog is lonely, boyfriends neighbors sister has a birthday…all great excuses to be lazy.  With a lazy girl schedule comes an emaciated paycheck.  Though I wasn’t scraping bottom, I knew that my days out were time that could better be spent working and making money instead of eating it. Continue reading “It’s Payday!! Non Budgets & Allocations…See Where My Money Goes.”

Savings Bonds – To Cash or Not to Cash

** UPDATE – Feel free to read the original post about what to do with your savings bonds, however, don’t forget to read my update at the end to see how much $$ I made!! **

Savings bonds.  The bummer of all gifts when we were kids.  It wasn’t cash, it had 1/2 the value that was stated, and we were forced to lock them up in our parents safe deposit box.  Ugh.   Well, like the little interest we shared back then – the bonds having none and me having less than none – we have both grown exponentially over time.

I have me a stack of 11 crisp Series EE savings bonds ranging from purchase dates of September 1991 to September 2000…any guess what month my birthday is?  All of my bonds are $50 and as of this month add up to  $727.18  in value.  That includes $452.18 in interest!   Here is a break down on the numbers…

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Who knew my little collection of bonds would grow to such a number?  Crazy!  But is it crazy good or crazy bad to keep them??

Continue reading “Savings Bonds – To Cash or Not to Cash”

The # 1 Investment Advice I Didn’t Follow

Though index funds are the #1 piece of investment advice that most follow, including me, that’s not where this post is going.  Let’s talk about the other main piece of advice…
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Seriously, my decisions in the past few months have led me to quite the predicament for the upcoming month.   You see, up until 4 months ago, I only got paid once per month.  It was a choice I made years ago when I wasn’t working much and didn’t want a “draw” on my paycheck at the start of the month (5th) in the event I couldn’t cover it at the end of the month (20th).  We’ve all heard about writing checks your butt can’t cash – the same idea.  
For those who aren’t familiar with what a draw is, in our case as hourly employees, we are paid for a certain amount of hours at the beginning of the month regardless of if we have worked them or not.  When the second check rolls around they calculate our total pay for the month then deduct the draw we had at the start of the month.  It is a great option for those who need help budgeting or for those that enjoy the twice-monthly pay…I needed neither.  However, what I thought I needed was to get a hold of my money earlier each month so I could invest it sooner.  

Enter Dollar-Cost Averaging… Continue reading “The # 1 Investment Advice I Didn’t Follow”