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
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.
Crunched Some Numbers
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.
(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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.