July had some travel, some shopping, but LOTS of returned items
July brought more travel home to visit my mom, and to get my dental work finished. I had to actually pay the dental bill this time, too, which was...not fun (but again, less than I thought it would be). My mom is officially cancer-free, so now we just monitor closely for several years and hope she doesn’t relapse! It was good to spend time at home. I even got to go to dinner with my BFF’s parents and w(h)ine about life with them, which is always super fun.
My fourth of July was VERY tame - a friend and I just went to my old apartment complex pool and hung out with snacks and a couple of White Claws. We are SO late 20s/early 30s. And July was relatively cool for where we live, so we didn’t get the AWFUL heat waves we usually do. Those are happening now that it’s August, but that’s usually the hottest part of the summer anyway. I can’t believe it’s halfway to September already! Bring on the best season of them all…College Football Season!
August report will be here in only a few weeks, and then it will be time for FinCon! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I saw all of my new money friends! If you’re going to FinCon, tell me in the comments so I can remember to say hi!
1) Spend less money & repay most of the consumer debt
This summer I replaced most of my workout clothes - I haven’t bought anything new in 6 years, which is crazy. Anyway, I ordered a few pieces from an expensive, trendy workout site (Carbon38 - you can get cashback for the site and other “luxury” products through UseJewel < that’s my referral code! You’ll get $5 and I’ll get $5 if you sign up. Free money for all!). Unfortunately for my fancy workout dreams, a lot of what I bought looked weird on me, didn’t fit correctly, or felt low-quality (most of it was great quality, but a couple of the colorful leggings were quite see-through, which is NOT a lewk I’m going for). So a few hundred dollars will be going back in my account! I’ll call that a win.
Reducing my dining, grocery, travel and shopping expenses.
Those expensive workout clothes are going back (keeping the Lululemon I bought, though. The quality is high enough to justify the cost- for me anyway) along with a replacement pair of Tory Burch flats I just didn’t need to replace yet. Instead of buying new ones (on sale for $189.99...which is a really good savings over the normal price), I am getting mine cleaned, polished & the heels redone for $16. Overall, I’ll return $500+ of stuff I bought! So that’s pretty good.
My blogger friend Sugar & Money and I talk often about the importance of returning items you bought that you don’t like, won’t use, or won’t need - so many people needlessly pile up unused items when they could get their full price back! Set aside a bit of time each week to take care of that and it will impact your finances more than you could imagine!
I booked a flight to Europe for October and am in the process of completing my FinCon travel booked. So not doing great on the travel expenses, but I did decide to bunk up with Liz, Chief Mom Officer, for FinCon this year, and thereby saved a good $400 on my hotel! That’s actually going to be a lot of fun and an improvement over last year when I paid to stay alone (a preference but not good for the wallet…)
I forgot to cancel a Plated box a couple weeks ago and then didn’t have the energy to use it, so I’m not sure that’s a success either? But otherwise I”ve been good about grocery spending. Unfortunately have trashed a lot of strawberries this year as they haven’t been keeping well. Anyone else dealing with rogue strawberries this year?
Accept all somewhat reasonable Poshmark offers.
I’ve sold a couple of rugs on Facebook, but haven’t gotten any Poshmark offers worth accepting! So sad. Like...someone offered $30 for Tory Burch flats listed at $80 that are in excellent condition (and cost $250 new). I’d have netted like $24...nah. They’re also listed on Facebook, so I’ll sell them eventually at the price I want! Last pair sold for full asking at $80 I did list quite a few things in the past few weeks though, so hopefully I’ll make a few sales!
(2) Build the blog (including monetization)
I’m closing in on 200 subscribers to my newsletter and I’m starting to get back on track with everything in terms of writing. I mean, I wrote this post, didn’t I? Oh AND just realized I have some decent earnings built up on Amazon Affiliates, which is pretty sweet too! Not even enough to float the annual cost of webhosting, but enough to cover a couple of small things! Thanks to everyone who has bought things through my affiliate links - it really means a lot :)
AND...I was nominated for a Plutus Award for Best Student Loan Blog and I am beyond thrilled! That will be so much fun at FinCon, and it’s a huge honor. I can’t wait to hang out with all my peeps and celebrate everyone’s accomplishments from the past year!
(3) 50 Blog Posts
Definitely not on track.
(4) 30 Minutes of Productive Screentime Daily
Productive screen time has been on track! Plenty of Duolingo and keeping up with my Givling. Eventually they’ll pay off my student loans, right? I also listed several items on Poshmark, which is super productive. Hopefully they’ll sell pretty soon!
(5) Fewer than 5 hours/week of TV (except football season/sports)
I’ve been watching more than 5 hours but either multitasking or not falling asleep watching TV, so that’s a decent win. Football season is about to start too, so that will be tons of productive TV time, but most certainly not less TV time.
(6) Read 12 books
I’m almost finished with The Happiness Advantage, and it’s honestly one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. My worry was that it would just be very “think positively and good things will happen; ignore negative things!” or you know, YoUr ViBe AtTrAcTs YoUr TrIbE or whatever, but it actually outlines the science behind positive psychology and gives you action items to help you implement better habits in your life (without turning you into a modern-day Pollyanna).
As I mentioned last month, I’m also reading Organizing Solutions for People With ADHD, a book my therapist suggested to help me streamline my life a bit in light of my focus issues. It’s a little bit outdated so far (“put a pen and paper by every phone in your house”….lol) but it has had a LOT of organizational tips designed to help people with focus issues streamline their daily activities so they have more bandwidth to focus on their creative or other endeavors that interest them. This one is more of an as-needed reference book than a sit-down read, but it’s nice because the tips are concise, actionable, & easy to find.
I’m debating what to read next, but I’m thinking Driven to Distraction by Dr. Edward Hallowell, or The Queen of Distraction by Terry Matlen. I’m REALLY trying to implement some structure to my routine both at home and professionally so that I have more time to do (and rest) and can reduce anxiety over task completion. (PS: The links in this section affiliate links - you don’t pay any extra to click through, but I get a small payment if you end up making a purchase which will help me run the site!)
(7) Finish The Federalist Papers
Read 0 Federalist Papers this month. Going to have to really get on this one to finish by the end of 2019.
(8) Walk my dog more (specifically: around the block almost every day at least once)
Dog has been getting his morning and evening walks around the block, along with all the walks from my roommate, so we’re still good here. I’m trying to get this in a little bit earlier in the mornings, because it’s SO unbearably hot. The difference in getting out there at 7:30AM and 9AM is ridiculous. I love summer, and we’ve actually had a pretty mild one overall, but August is the dog days...which is ironically bad for my dog’s outside time! :D
(9) Work out 200 times this year
I worked out 15 times in July and cracked the 100 workout mark! Currently at 110 workouts for the year! Hooray!
And for those asking, this is the Equinox member app. It has some pretty cool tracking capabilities (I even think it syncs to Apple watch, but I don’t have an Apple watch, so I can’t verify how well it works). If you live in a city with an Equinox, let me know and I can tell you all about how much I love it! Totally worth the cost to me, and it motivates me to actually work out because if I didn’t, I’d be wasting all that money...
(10) Go to church 12 times (and preferably commit to one)
Not on track, but I did go to a housewarming party for a friend last weekend and a bunch of the people there go to a church I’ve been interested in visiting and maybe joining, so I think I’ll go there in the next few weeks. It’s just so hard for me to go to church by myself and not know anyone, and I am unfortunately somewhat picky about the type of church services I want to attend. But everyone I met was super welcoming, so I want to give it a try.
(11) $5,000 in Emergency Fund
Savings is at $2,426.78 after my recent transfer of my “found savings” from the past few weeks of $125.66. I actually also switched savings accounts in July for the first time in ~7 years! Kept the old one open, technically, but I’m not using it for regular transfers anymore.
Betterment started offering a savings account with 2.69% interest (for a hot minute, until the Fed lowered interest rates, and now it’s only 2.41%). If you aren’t in a high-interest checking account, it’s an easy way to keep your money from losing value due to inflation. I have had my Discover high-interest checking account since law school (it was ~0.75% then, which was AMAZING), but it’s been lagging behind the industry leaders’ rates for awhile and I finally made the switch when the spread hit >0.50%. I finally made the switch since it’s super straightforward to open online savings accounts and I’ve been putting it off for forever.
Anyway, should be on track for $5,000 by the end of the year. Just too many goals for how much money I have!
(12) 1-2 new dates per month (unless I meet someone)
Sooooo I have a confession. I ghosted someone.
It was MOSTLY unintentional, but we’d agreed to go out once he was finished with a huge work project that was taking a ton of time over several weeks, so we talked a lot in the interim. I found out through mutual friends that he is a smoker (like cigarette smoker, and a vociferous one at that), and to be honest, that is maybe the ONLY true dealbreaker I have for *outright rejecting a single date with you* ...sorry smokers, quit the cigs my dudes; it’s almost 2020!
Anyway, I postponed our date for valid reasons (tons of friends from out of town were in my city randomly on the same weekend, and I couldn’t say no to seeing them), but I just never replied to his question about my weekend and never rescheduled. I feel badly but can’t win ‘em all. Nonsmokers don’t get ghosted. Promise.
What’s happening in August?
Well, so far we’ve had more contractor disasters...y’all. If you are doing a project and can avoid general contractors, DO IT. Or at least find ones who you know personally or who people you know personally will vouch for, because the guys we’re using suck beyond anything I’ve ever seen in my entire life. And my roommate is paying INSANE amounts of money for them!
Other than that, my friends from the South Africa trip booked our flights to France & Morocco for the end of October and I am SO freaking excited. I haven’t gotten to do a lot of France outside of Paris and I’m looking forward to some of the towns we’re going to visit! I really need to find a French group or something where I live to both practice my French and find travel buddies who want to go to France as often as I do.
Also, I’m approaching two years at my current job which has me thinking about future possibilities, next steps, etc. Stay tuned for that!