most profitable things

The 3 Most Profitable Things I Did This Week: The Lady’s Weekly Animated Memoir

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This week was lived a bit more offline than usual. The Lady took a weekend camping trip with her daughter and was slow to re-engage the virtual world. By mid-week, other people’s inspirational blogs kicked her back into financial gear.

The 3 Most Profitable Things I Did This Week

Week Ending September 1, 2017

Preach it, Ozzy.

Reminded Myself What Type of Mom I Am

This past weekend, I escorted my 9-year old daughter to a mountain Girl Scout camp. There were 19 girls and 8 women and a shit ton of activities. There were a couple hundred of opportunities to evaluate myself as a mother.

Here are a few insights:

  • I want to live comfortably in between selfless and selfish as a mom.
  • I will not be the leader but I will be a leader.
  • If you are a whiny bitch, I’ll call you on it–whether you are 9 or 90.
  • I will go along to get along until someone disrespects my kid then all bets are off.
  • I do not feel guilty for resting if the work is done.
  • I am more proud of my child’s attitude than her achievements.
  • All children are worth the benefit of the doubt. All adults are not.
  • I do say thank you to the kitchen staff and I will help clean up crafts, even if no one else does, because it’s the right thing to do.
  • I will prep another mom’s bunk and lay out her pajamas when she’s at the hospital with a sick kid. Because moms help moms. Period.

My daughter’s first day of 4th grade was today. I’ll have a couple of million more opportunities to analyze my parental philosophies and behavior. Self-awareness is a skill and I’m proud that I’m talented in that regard. Will my views on motherhood change? Abso-fucking-lutely but I’m pretty sure I won’t waiver on the list above.

However, I might take a pass on the next Girl Scout camp. Because, damn, that shit is in-tents.

Excel-ent

Crunched Some Numbers

Budget

I ran across this great post at Daily Successful Living about percentage-based budgets. 

Amy’s guidelines for her percentage-based budget is:

  • 50% of your take home income goes towards your needs
  • 30% of your take home income goes towards you wants
  • 20% of your take home income goes towards savings/retirement

This got me wondering about my own budget percentages.

However, I align my budget slightly differently.

I organize it around my Traffic Light finance model. You can read a bit about it here but, in general, I organize my budget into past (red), present (yellow), and future (green.) Somehow, when I landed on this philosophy, something just “clicked” in my mind. My finances finally had some logical structure–something I could wrap my head around, something I could work with. It provided context that I never had before. Things immediately improved after that.

Until today, my Traffic Light model was purely qualitative. I hadn’t attached any target percentages or ratios. However, this concept of percentage-based budgets had me rushing to my spreadsheet(s) and doing a little number crunching.

This is what my Traffic Light looks like right now.

most profitable things

(Note: Percentages are calculated as category expenses/total monthly income*100. I have some “unaccounted” money or an 8% margin of error so it doesn’t add to 100%.)

  • 10% Red (includes debt repayment and car loan payment)
  • 41% Yellow (includes rent, groceries, utilities, entertainment, etc.)
  • 41% Green (includes all savings, investments, all insurances, estimated taxes)

Intuitively, I don’t think this is the ideal split.

First, I’d like to convert the 10% Red into Green. But I think I want to shave another 10 to 15% off of Yellow to move toward Green as well. That would allocate the majority of my income to my future. I dig that thought.

I’ll keep tabs on this over the months to see how I can tweak my Traffic Light so it’s more GO-GO-GREEN.

Net Worth

I also fell in love with an article titled How TF Do You Create a Personal Net Worth Statement by my gal over at Notorious DEBT. The light-hearted approach to the subject provided me the necessary inspiration to create my own net worth spreadsheet.

In the past, I had used an online calculator. Since I wanted to start tracking this more closely (and maybe one day join the FIRE Prowess chain), I felt I should build my own.

The biggest problems with creating my net worth spreadsheet were:

  1. Keepin’ it Real. I was tempted to put in the numbers I was expecting. Since I just dumped a lot of debt, I reeeeally wanted to drop in “future state” figures to improve the bottom line. (sigh) I didn’t. Since the debt is still showing on my credit report, I plugged in actual numbers.
  2. Remembering Everything. I ran my computation and quickly posted my number on Twitter. Then I realized I had forgotten a small retirement 401K I have. Then I realized my new “catch-up” life insurance MIGHT have cash value by now. In other words, I probably should have not rushed it.

I was super proud of my asset list (over $30,000), especially considering 18 months ago I had nothing. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

My net worth might still be negative but my financial attitude is positive.

Genius.

Spent a Little Unwisely

So I may have indulged a few un-wise financial impulses. Nothing too crazy actually.

First, I ordered fake eyelashes online. No real reason except I wanted them. They are reusable and magnetic and I got 4 pairs for about $80. Hey, a girl needs to have a little silly fun, right? (This is not an endorsement. I’m wearing them now though!)

Next, I invested more. WHAT, you gasp?

Yes, I was going to do a $500 investing experiment for 6 months and see how things panned out. Well, that’s out the window. I’m hooked and I needed to balance my allocation pie chart (or whatever they call those damn things.) Three shares of a Goldman Sachs International Equity Index, total about $85. No regrets.

Lastly, I “splurged” and scheduled an appointment with a carpet cleaning company. I contemplated renting a unit and doing it myself….but I know when delegation is of value. And I know that it’s been unseasonable hot here. So fuck that. $100 for a 2-bedroom apartment? Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap. Yup, worth it.

Putting my finances on track is a priority to be sure. But some things are worth the expense.

How was your week? What profitable things did you do? 

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4 comments

  1. I’ve never heard of the traffic light concept… that’s really neat! Sounds like a super profitable week for you 🙂 And you’re definitely right about some things being ‘worth’ the cost. Gotta pick our battles! Good luck next week!! xo

    1. Thanks. You probably never heard of the traffic light concept because I made it up…allz byz myselz! LOL Thanks for the nice comment.

  2. Firstly, lets raise a glass to you because, like you said, tents. Secondly, “I do not feel guilty for resting if the work is done.” OMG do I need to take this to heart because I always feel guilty for chilling out but I work damn hard. And third, its not often you read about a new budgetting system (when you’re a finance nerd) but I am LOVING that traffic light system! We were at a wedding last weekend and have another this weekend, so honestly things don’t feel very profitable right now! Although we’ve saved on accomodation and I have a couple of really nice dresses (and a dislike for clothes shopping) so our wardrobe costs have been minimal! 🙂

    1. The thing I’m learning about personal finance is that the first word is KEY. I struggled so long with money because I couldn’t seem to make it…well, make sense, to me. After I shifted my mindset, everything else followed! And resting is a HUGE part of work. I’m a professional writer for my day job, a blogger for fun, a a single gal trying to pay off debt, build wealth AND date. Oh, yeah AND a mom. I don’t have anyone to help with much (except I do share custody with my ex-husband) so turning my body AND my brain off regularly is important. And wine. Wine is important. And cheese. Cheese is important. You’ll come through this “everybody’s getting married” period soon. Then the baby showers start. It’s always something. Thanks for your nice comment and the share on Twitter. You’re a real sweet tortoise.

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