Well, I’m always late…
This is our comprehensive March AND April financial update made much less boring because of da-da-dum…reader responses!
The peeps (who actually care about this, you naughty voyeurs hahaha, I’m totally the same) have spoken and in a landslide victory of more than 50%+ of the votes have told me to keep doing these reports. I included 20 total written responses from subscribers too (thank you loves) and doubled their votes as was promised.
Since November of last year, I started using the TablePress plugin on WordPress. It makes things easier to input and easier to read as well. I started doing decimals too since I’m late, I decided to smush 2 months into one.
1st Place: Keep going like normal – 40 votes
I was surprised and yet not that surprised. The first few responses were everything but keep going like normal but then out of nowhere, everyone started voting for 6 and it caught on.
2nd Place: You do you boo – 24 votes
This was not an option in the newsletter until Amy (Life Zemplified) came along and was like…”why don’t you do whatever you want?” Kind of revolutionary of an idea! This was also second place on the actual poll report with 20 votes and 4 from subbies.
3rd “Still-a-Winner-in-My-Eyes”: Only send full reports to your email subscribers – 8 votes
I think this almost tied with #4 “stop showing me the income portion” which was a much more popular option for my subscribers than the actual poll itself (with just 1 vote). Very odd since the first two had their supporters and it showed in the poll!
Whatchu Gonna Do?
Whatchu gonna do when they come for you, bad boys bad boys…LOL.
I’m going to do…ALL 3!
Fun fact: that was my parent’s favorite American show, in fact, it was the only English thing they watched. I guess this type of television content isn’t common in the People Republic of China. They really loved COPS, oh god, I just realized how amusing that is. Two old Chinese people pointing at the TV and in Chinese going, “WOAH look he’s running, he’s running! They’re going to cat-………….OOOHHH see, I told you they would taze him.”
1) Why we will keep going like normal…
This is what Randall (reader) said…
“We both save around 90% of our income. It’s honestly pretty fun reading along with someone else who’s in the same position.”
See! I knew my husband and I wasn’t the only saving freaks! (Not that you’re a freak Randall hah.)
I will keep things normal and have expense reports as we go. I think showing everyone our expenses is actually beneficial for us on the personal level because we can track and analyze our own spending under the public eye. If I spend $50 on a toothpick, there’s some explaining to do then.
We went “blind budget” in most of March and half of April. That means we did not keep track of our budget on a bi-monthly basis but totaled everything up after everything was all spent and done.
Our 2 months of “blind budget” did not make me feel…very secure. I actually really like to budget. It tells me how I’m doing even though I know we’re doing OK. I just need that reaffirmation, that’s all.
You can download our Google budget sheet for free. Enjoy!
2) Why I’m going to do me…
Because I can’t be anyone else but me. That applies to you too! I hope no one here thinks I’m a frugal nazi or anything. Just because WE do things one way doesn’t mean other people should. I don’t judge anyone based on their food or house budget etc. That would make me a real b…ichons are cute! xD
I will change up these reports a bit when necessary. When we crossed our first million net worth I questioned what’s the point of us doing net worth updates then. Gen Y Money (GYM) and Mrs. Adventure Rich brought up good points in that net worth reports past a certain point simply don’t matter.
Frugality can’t stop a 1% market drop and our paychecks can’t either. We’re slaves to Mr. Market!
A part of me knows the net worth aspect is totally useless when it comes down to it but it’s still fun to peek for now. I think if we document the compounding effect over the course of years then that would be a super amazi…
(I’m sorry I had to stop writing, my husband WHO IS GAINFULLY EMPLOYED decided to put our laundry basket on his head and pretend like he’s a robot going “beep boop beep” he’s in his underpants.)
We’re both tired, it’s been a looooong week…
I can’t say I’m very confident of a person. For the first 5-6 months of this blog, I was trying very hard to appropriate myself (including the swearing), making sure I came off more professional. Boy are those days long gone…
My husband noticed that I’m more confident than before, which I’m sure would have taken years of therapy and thousands of dollars to figure out. Although blogging is anything but profitable, you can’t get this type of online community support anywhere else!
From Debbie (reader):
“To answer your question, don’t change anything. I subscribed to your blog because of its content. I love your openness and the way you write and I often quote you to my husband.”
And Rachel (reader):
“Understanding and gaining insights based on your truth is invaluable to me.”
WHOOO IS CUTTING ONIONS AT MIDNIGHT.
3) Why the Reader is Holy
GYM said something that totally scared me a little…
“Yeah, I would be cautious. Keep it to subscribers like me!”
She’s super smart – if she says to be careful, I’ll be careful. But nothing happened so I’m trying to appropriate (word of the week!) my paranoia. On another note…there is an obligation to be transparent content wise for readers especially those who are signed to our mailing list.
I thought the idea by Sonya (reader) was brilliant…
“Do the income reports that are from your non-regular job income. Your hubbies job is not really replicable for me. But doing a rental, or other extra income ideas might be.”
This is exactly what I think would help! My husband makes great money and he’s a super smart, deserving, amazing person when he’s not obsessed with the laundry bag. But there’s also the woman lady chick thing (me) with her own dreams and aspirations in life…
(By the way, did you guys notice the Mediavine ads? I’m reinvesting the funds from that into growing this blog and secret project 1 & 2! In terms of business, my husband and I keep finances on those separate.)
The details of my situation is a little more complicated than a 9 to 5 job because I’ve mentioned there’s…other stuff that happened long before I started this blog.
Some people still owe me money. I have loads of expiring inventory right now that I can liquidate and make money but haven’t decided. The garage looks like a bomb went off. This is pre-blog Lily, OK. I was even younger and stupider. If I got my resume of failures…you would chuckle.
Sonya does bring up a great point, I will (when it’s worth being said) ring the breakdowns of my income in my mailing list newsletters. If you are interested in subscribing to our mailing list, sign up here.
From Georgiana1 (reader)
“But what about guest posts from someone with a more typical income or even from someone who is struggling to put away their first few dollars?”
That’s kinda me too? I made $40,000 side hustlin’ last year and I consider that very typical income (if you leave out Hubby tho.)
In all seriousness, yes, I do want to open up for a series of income bracket studies. Any volunteers?!
I’ve had this idea in mind since I started this blog, and I DO have a family friend that makes $60k-ish a year on board…but I’ve been trying to…find appropriate ways to package the data.
Soaps is probably another point that fits the struggles of money (although she’s as untraditional) and I will have an update on her soon.
YESSSSSS everything is coming full circle and almost everyone gets what they want.
(Except for people who wanted #4, I’m sorry it was close!)
This is sort of so late that I was like…why don’t I just wait until the entire month is over and review both of them together.
Everything is swimming along! Actually…OK, there’s A LOT of moving pieces behind the scene. I think I would confuse a lot of people if I went to explain everything in one post so we’ll let it unfold naturally later.
But basically, we made money last month. Yay money.
The drop in my income is because we sold our rental. I can write a post on all reasons a little later.
My husband had a spike of income in April because we wanted to fully replenish our cash funds after HVAC repair and soon closing costs so we didn’t do an automatic deposit into the regular brokerage this month. It will start back up again in May.
The premise is we’re a family of 3 adults living in Seattle, WA. My dad lives with us, we have one dog and one rabbit. My husband eats his meals at work Monday through Thursday but we also have Airbnb guests to feed and run up our utilities 😉
|Groceries||$350||$282.88||$333.36||Hey, it's under budget! April included a large haul (50 lbs) of rice so the grocery bill was higher.|
|Dining Out||$150||$90.68||$169.30||March was fairly quiet. We went out to eat a few times. The warmer Seattle weather picks up around April.|
We went out with friends a few times. Everytime we go out, we try to keep it under $50 for us both but if there's an activity involved, we always end up closer to $75 per outing with friends.
We try to be good and keep under budget. Plus a $25 dollar difference is a very small price to pay. We enjoy going out with our friends.
|Transportation||$100||$15||$7.01||I loaded up my bus pass in March. We used our Car2Go promo credit in April to take our dog to a better dog park further away.|
|Personal Care||$100||$40.73||$26.96||March: 96 rolls of toilet paper (link below) for cheap.|
April: Memory foam pillow for my injured neck, I love this pillow!!! Oh and I got my husband some underpants on sale. (Links below too)
|Entertainment||$25||$88.05||$0||Super cheap computer mouse from Amazon because ours died and I'm not picky.|
A new SSD (solid state drive computer thingy) on sale for $80 and hubby jumped on it.
|Home Maintenance||$300||$1,088.23||$0||HVAC repair. It was suppose to be $7,000+ so I think we got away lucky!|
Pro tip: hiring reputable servicers and contractors can defienitely SAVE you money in the long run!
I'm El Cheapo but this is not something one should cheap out on. If you're in the Seattle or Puget Sound area, check out King's Heating (link below)
|Misc. Expenses||$100||-$34.09||$22.80||When our Sam's Club closed, they refunded us our membership fee in full (via a check). This paid for some misc. expenses and then some so that's why we have a positive balance in March.|
April: I went to the thrift store for fun and I found some frugal gift deals on Amazon worthy of a buy.
|Pets||$50||$11.65||$204.32||Grace had her pet license renewed which was $200. SOOOO expensive but unavoidable.|
We also bought her some new toys and treats back in March when they went on clearance.
|Mobile (AT&T)||$35||$33.98||$33.98||Still too expensive. We're looking to switch to Google FI soon, after I get a new phone. Either Google FI or Republic Wireless. Not sure which one we should go with yet.|
I'm leaning towards Google FI because...I like the acryomn of FI. It suits our goals and beliefs hahaha.
|Vacation + Travel||$50||$0||$0||Didn't do nothin'|
My husband has almost 3 weeks of vacation days saved up now. We will be using them all in one-go either this summer or in September. It might be a cruise or just a trip back to San Francisco to visit family. We'll see!
|Internet||$60||N/A||N/A||Covered by employer.|
|Electricity, Gas, Water, Sewage, Trash (incld Airbnbs)||$350||$198.77||$452.35||Billed every 2 months or so. Up and down. When our rental is closed and summer is here, we should expect a smaller bill.|
|Mortgage, tax, insurance etc.||$4,500||$3,800||$3,974|
|Spending Total||$1,602.11 (Stupid HVAC...)||$797.73||March was naturally higher from the HVAC repair but we simmered down to a normal number in April.|
|Grand Total + Mortgage||$5,600.88||$4,771.73|
|Starting my own spy agency||$231.65||Secret projects, uhh, I'm still not sure where to smoosh this exactly or how to separate it so I'll just leave this here.|
These items below are my affiliate links at no cost to you. I recommend them because it’s what we use and El Cheapo (me) thinks these are deals for what you get at that price point.
*This is how I buy my cheap, cheap, car-free-so-I-thank-god-for-Amazon toilet paper. It’s no Charmin Ultra $$$ but it good for commerical and rental uses. It is 2-ply although it’s still thinner. But at 96 rolls, it lasted our family and our Airbnb guests an entire year for just $40. No one complained (except my husband once, who of all things, is very critical on the subject of toilet paper.)
*I purchased this pillow without high hopes during the weekend when I threw out my neck but it’s actually really good (personally) and I thought the “hot” and “cool” side was a marketing gimmeck, but no! One side is noticeably cooler and the other side retains heat better. We got it on sale for $15 + 2-day Prime shipping sooooo I’m very impressed.
*Hippo’s underpants! Modeled in the image above actually hahahaha. We got 5 per pack for less than $11 because we checked out via Subscriber and Save for extra 5% discounts. The fabric is better than the other Fruit of the Loom ones, these are not scratchy and they don’t ride up.
*I was against a new mouse (because now we have 4 total and I hate piling things on) but at least it was cheap ($5) and it’s very lightweight. It’s as basic as it gets but if you have a small fragile wrist like me, I reccomend it. Some people prefer heavy mouses for gaming and movement control but I’m not one of them.
*My husband ordered a new SSD (solid state drive) because he’s sweet and he knows how much I like to play video games. My games take forever to load because it’s on another drive so he cut my game loading time in half with a new SSD. I don’t think he should be encouraging me to play video games because I have mountains of work to tackle but…gah, what’s my compliant? He’s sweet!
*Seattle area people, check out King’s Heating. They’re expensive but they’re legit!
Although March and April weren’t as frugal as February (that was nuts even for me), I’m still pretty happy with how things turned out.
We blind budgeted March and April so I’m pretty proud to say we don’t necessarily need training wheels (budgeting) to get us to be frugal. I still like to budget and know how much we’re consciously spending though, it’s fun. It’s like a game.
We went out to eat a few times in March and April. I spend an entire day alone shopping and eating out alone, my husband ditched me last minute for extra sleep. I replaced him with 6 burgers, 1 gyro sandwich, 1 poke bowl and 1 expensive dessert I needed to preorder 30 minutes in advance. 10/10 would absolutely food date myself again.
(Oof I read that back and it sounded a little sad. I had a super fun day and I took home leftovers for El Sleepy to eat 🙂 married couples should get their own dates once every blue moon.)
We had a few months of dry spells of nothing free. That’s to be expected because it is winter, we’re against the elements. Now the weather is warming up, people are moving, selling, spring cleaning – there’s been some movement on the furniture and goods front. We went to some garage/moving sales or just finding stuff around the neighborhood while dog walking.
Notable finds: we got a bunch of photo frames for free! By a bunch, I mean…like 7. We purchased 5 frames from a garage sale for 25 cents and 50 cents each. And we found one frame (the quality isn’t great, it’s cheap plastic) that perfectly fits our Seattle Lovers in Rain poster. We tore out a piece of cardboard to keep the poster flushed and flat in the frame. Since it’s going to be hung up, no one can see the back anyway so it looks great.
I learned how to make my own poke bowl using the giant slab of yellowtail fish from my groceries haul. It was pretty good timing because our range and microwave stopped working for a day or two before we figured out the problem. We used the oven or just ate fish since it didn’t require heat which was perfect for us.
Net Worth It
|Brokerage & Savings||$756,255.13||$776,461.73|
|Real Estate (Minus Debts)||$431,210.92||$433,003.35|
Did you see that! We’re over $1.2 million, finally! That was 4 months in the waiting. Compare to last year’s speed of build up, we’re struggling like a pig stuck in the mud.
Market-wise…we’re not too sure what’s going on because we forget to check and follow up with all the other life stuff going on (one shouldn’t focus on it too-too much anyway). I think S&P is still a bit down except we know that Amazon had their earnings report surpass expectations by…a lot so it jumped up to $1,600 per share the last time we checked, which did help our net worth grow.
Let me just say that being millennials who both just barely grazed a very bad recession last decade, I’m not sure what my husband and myself will look like when the tide goes down. There’s a difference between telling other people to stay calm vs staying calm when you see your own hard-earn money dropping off like flies so I think it’s important to be realistic.
I know I said it was 4 months of waiting for just $22K but I confess that sounds rude. There’s a lot of people out there who would be happy saving that in a year. I’m acknowledging it, I’m not taking it back, but I know it and accept this award for bratitude.
Plus…I may get called insensitive for this too but the worst thing for many investors right now would be just swimming in uncertain markets (like this one currently.) The longer it stays this way, the longer we are either buying in at an inflated price or we’re stalling against precious time. So…yes, in a way, I’m waiting for some sell off to happen or a jumpstart to calm nerves. This is like purgatory. Obviously, I’m not praying to Buddha for Little Timmy’s parents to be fired when things hit the toilet, I’m just saying: fear can get annoying.
We are still investing our regular retirement contributions and no, we are not timing the market at all for better or for worst. Net worth reports gets repetitive when we don’t hit any new milestones or see any changes so if it’s a boring month, this section should be much shorter.
You know what’s my favorite part of these reports? The curb side gold aka free stuff section and “look at all the yummy food I ate” section 🙂
How was your month of Mar…oh we’re in May now. Um….what’s your favorite soda? :p