This week was pretty great. The Lady in the Black scored her fourth featured post on Rockstar Finance and continued to keep the flames alive on her continuing financial fire (not FIRE.)
The 3 Most Profitable Things I Did This Week
Week Ending October 13, 2017
Calculate My Net Worth
A simple comment about my net worth triggered an interesting conversation on Twitter. In short, I post my current net worth and was asked why I cared so much about it.
It was a good question because it made me really think. Here’s what I came up with.
Eye On The Prize
First and foremost, it’s a practical way for me to track my progress. Working toward any goal is nothing without tracking how far you’ve come and how far you need to go.
Next, there is an emotional component to net worth. However, let me state once and forever that net worth does NOT equal self worth. Say it with me:
Net Worth does NOT equal Self Worth.
However, it should be acknowledged that changing habits and improving your personal finances are NOT easy things. As with any type of personal growth, improving your finances requires wading into uncomfortable emotional territory, swimming in new-found information, and treading with continual behavior change.
Finding multiple ways to empower perseverance is important. For me, watching the improvements to my net worth is a reinforcing reward.
These are my charts from 8/30/17 (1) and 10/11/17 (2).
Lastly, and perhaps the big revelation here, was that tracking my net worth keeps my view of personal finances balanced.
Balanced, you ask? Yes, balanced.
Personally, I have struggled with managing my money and debt for so long that I become myopically focused on debt reduction. Yes, that important and yes, that is my priority. (I did base my blog name on it after all.) Being deep in debt, you can make huge strides to improve your situation and still be in debt. You might feel a sense of accomplishment but it’s easy to feel defeated as well as debt reduction usually takes a long time.
Net worth not only tallies your liabilities, it also credits your assets as well.
Building assets feels different. It is fun. Assets, if used correctly, can actually be self-perpetuating. Assets build more assets. Assets feel more hopeful and positive.
Focusing on the positive yield higher rewards.That’s what calculating my net worth has done for me.
I’m now focusing as much on “the light” as I am “the dark.” As a result, life seems quite a bit brighter.
Dumping $22,000 debt in 18 months feels good. Building up the equivalent in assets ($26,000) feels pretty head-banging amazing!
Callin’ It Quits On Costly Cat Food
My answer was a resounding “yes.”
I have two adorable cats; Meap and Chloe. (Yes, I’m a 47-year old single woman with 2 cats. What of it?) Based on Muse’s article, I realized I was spending WAY too much spoiling my fur babies.
When I adopted them from the local no-kill animal shelter, I was hesitant to stray too far from the diet the shelter had them on for fear of traumatizing them, or you know, having puke all over my brand new apartment. I kept them on Fancy Feast canned food and Authority kibble to start….and then never stopped. If you aren’t familiar with these brands, let me assure your both are Pricey….with a capital P.
I did some thinking and some number crunching on how much my cats were eating away at my budget. (Get it?) While my monthly “Pet” budget line item said $65/month, I felt intuitively that wasn’t right. At 2 cans per day at $1/can, my cats were eating $730 of Fancy Feast a year! The kibble was running my approximately an additional $250. Yup, that’s nearly $1,000 a year for cat food.
Nope, not having it. Sorry, fur babies. Mama is making some changes.
I think two years post-adoption is the perfect time to start experimenting with some less expensive pet food alternatives. This week, I’ve begun the “taste test” of other, cheaper canned food. The brand I’m trying now would be 1/4 the annual cost. That’s a lot of spavings!
The moral of the story? It’s easy to just let certain habits slide. Sometimes it just takes a shift in perspective (or a well written blog post) to see where your spending is excessive.
So thanks, Financial Muse. I love you for opening my eyes. (My cats might not be your biggest fans but they will get over it.) And, yes, I am tempted to try your cat food recipe…..maybe….eventually. I have a few questions.
Changed Focus on Future and Friends
A profitable life isn’t all about money. Not for this Lady anyway.
This week I pushed my introverted self a bit to really engage with some of my closest friends. That meant some hands-free phone calls during my daily commute, a few-more-than-usual messages via text and social media, and a night out on the town.
It’s vitally important to me to keep up with my friends. These are the people who have quite literally saved my ass more time than I can count. When I say “save my ass”, I mean that emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially.
Beyond the increase in communications, I ventured into some pretty remarkable “mindset shift” territory this week.
For the readers that follow me, you may have heard me talk about the power of dreams. You might even recall that I have created a fairly vivid picture of my future dream life, complete with lake side house and handcrafted wooden boat.
However, it was this week’s renewed focus on my friends that led me to a fairly disturbing realization.
I have been focused on one very specific location for my future (my hometown in upstate NY to be precise.) I’ve been wrapped up in figuring out how to get back there that it hadn’t occurred to me that it was possible that none of my friends nor family would be there by the time I made it back!
What good is a gorgeous lake house if I can’t hang out with my friends and family?
In short, I had lost sight of the forest for the trees.
So I started to re-imagine my dream. I started asking beloved family and friends about their retirement plans. I started mentally toying with a future that is a bit different than what I’ve been envisioning.
For example, it might mean living in a different state than what I had imagined. (It might even turn out to be cheaper!) It might mean living with my sister instead of a yet-to-be-identified romantic partner. It might mean not having to shovel snow when I’m an old lady. It might mean my future grandkids hear a slight southern twang in my craggly old lady voice. And it might mean my future life is far more profitable than I ever dreamed.
The future might be impossible to see per Yoda. But I do see my family and friends…and closer to me than they are right now.
Quite naturally, when asked, many of my friends said they “don’t know” where they will end up in 10-20 years. And that’s totally OK with me…for now. I’ll just keep plugging away and building my assets so I can eventually have my happily-ever-after ….wherever it may land.
(Watch out South Carolina. The Lady is looking at you.)
How was your week? What are your top 3 profitable things?