Prologue: Before we talk about money, I need to say something regarding the recent protests in the country. I’ve deliberately avoided talking about political issues on the blog in the past, but I can no longer remain silent. That I even have that option is the utmost privilege. I’m going to write a longer post in the future when I figure out what to say but this is my messy, maybe-won’t-say-everything-right first attempt. It’s long past due that we stop the senseless killings of our Black brothers and sisters, especially at the hands of our police force. If you don’t believe Black Lives Matter, this blog probably isn’t for you. I am all for reforming as much of the system as we possibly can to right the wrongs white Americans ingrained into the fabric of our society. I am here to listen and do what I can.
As it turns out, the stress of transitioning to working from home, social isolation, protests, what’s in the headlines now!?, and family getting sick from Covid takes quite the toll on the old writing abilities. To make up for the fact I haven’t written anything or updated my status reports, for 3 months, I’m doing a bit of a catch-up conglomeration post for all my expenses and whatnot since April. Behold! All the numbers!
My spending has undergone quite the shift in the last 4 months. I can go days without spending money, and then BAM! All of the sudden I have a new hobby and need supplies so a few orders online later, I have more stuff and less money. I need to get a better handle on that side of isolation, but I’ve already made improvements. Notable purchases include 3 bicycles (a road bike for me, a hybrid for me, and a mountain bike for my sister), all the gear that bikes come with, and kombucha supplies. I’m two batches in and loving the ready supply of non-plain water/not sugary soda drinks. I’ve also lost 10 lbs since I took up cycling — 8 of those quarantine weight. In the hunk, chunk, or drunk options of a pandemic, I’m going for hunk. So far so good! I also bought a video game on Steam called Terraria. For $10 upfront, my boyfriend and I are at nearly 150 hours of quality playing time together, which has made isolation much easier to bear.
It’s also nice to see my auto expenses have dropped to basically nothing. I’m working from home, so no more twice a day commute. I’m also not driving to see my boyfriend a few times a week or going to see friends or family back home. June was nothing, while July I was hit with car insurance premiums (slightly lower due to a Covid discount) and repairs when my starter/battery died. My pet expenses were also high in July as I had to take Bartholomew in to get his teefers cleaned. Pet dental care is expensive!! In May, I renewed the hosting plan for this blog for another year, so I’m going to be writing sometimes at least through then 🙂
Notable absences in the budget are restaurant spending, travel expenses, and lowered healthcare expenses as I dropped my paid therapist plan in favor of the free one work offered as a response to the EAP service being overwhelmed.
It’s hard to see July’s spending be so high, but it helps when I compare it to the last couple of months. Nothing exists in a vacuum. You can have a bad month, and have a great month right after that. Or vice versa in my case. It’s ok to have a month where everything goes off the rails, you get hit with big bills everywhere you look and you’re wondering if your savings is enough to cover the bills. It happens to everyone every once in a while. Just take care it doesn’t become a regular event!
Total spending for May, June, and July 2020 was $15,263.48. Big OOF there.
On a totally unrelated note, August will be as much of a low/no-spend month as I can manage!
Other income: $371.70
Obviously, when you look at things 3 months at a time with pre-tax income, things look a little absurd. My net income for the 3 months was $12,318.69. When you compare the net income with the spending above, you can see quite the gap so it’s a good thing I’m reining in my spending as much as possible for August and September.
Unallocated Cash: $0
Total savings: $3,230.04
The 401k line includes my contributions (set at 10%) and my employer’s contributions. You’re getting a very bird’s eye view of my finances with this one!
Chase Sapphire Reserve: $0
Chase United: $0
Zip, zero, zilch. I officially paid all my credit cards off! Woooooo!!
According to this, my total net worth is $244,759. I’ve gained nearly $35k in the last 3 months by doing nothing but staying the course. I’m now made everything back from the crash plus a little extra. This year is bananas. I’m almost at the next big milestone of a quarter of a million dollars net worth. It doesn’t feel real even though I’ve been working hard at this for the last 8 years.
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?
I was so glad to see this post and to hear that you’re doing okay. The cycling sounds awesome, and I might try following in your footsteps!
Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early says
Yep, the stock market is totally bonkers.
Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early recently posted…Women’s Personal Finance Wednesdays: Week 97 Roundup
I’m sure there are people for whom a commitment to BLM would be a turn off but there are others who would be more likely to follow you because if it. Obviously I was already a follower though 🙂
Gwen [Fiery Millennials] says
I like solidfying my readership. Winnowing out all the chafe, as it were. Thanks for being one of the cool kids!
So happy to have you back! As a black woman I want to thank you for your support.
Blessings to you!
Gwen [Fiery Millennials] says
Thanks for reading! All my hugs and support to you <3
A quarter million dollars is a feat — congrats. A million in the next 8 years to retire by 2028 doesn’t look out of order. Good luck.
Gwen [Fiery Millennials] says
Thanks GoFi! It doesn’t feel real somehow.
I’m going to take the bait on your political statements in the introduction.
“That I even have that option [which seems to mean the option to discuss or not discuss politics] is the utmost privilege.”
Actually, the freedom to speak about politics, aka freedom of speech, is not a privilege but is a fundamental right (the right of Liberty). We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed… Don’t let anyone try to take away your rights by telling you that they aren’t rights but privileges.
“If you don’t believe Black Lives Matter, this blog probably isn’t for you.”
I believe that black lives matter, but I do not believe in Black Lives Matter. There are about 9000 black murder victims per year, and the majority of them are killed by other blacks (even though blacks only make up about 13% of the population). I never hear BLM talk about these black lives. There are about 20–30 unarmed blacks per year killed by the police. Why does the BLM group do massive protests, including lobbying to defund & abolish police departments across the US, on behalf of ~25 people, while they seemingly don’t care about ~9000 people? Read the following speech to see what we should really be focusing on to get crime among and against blacks down. Note it even includes the words, “Yes, we need more cops on the street.” https://www.politico.com/story/2008/06/text-of-obamas-fatherhood-speech-011094
Finally, congratulations on the progress in net worth. In August, you will definitely be over the quarter million net worth mark!
It is always so telling when someone’s number one go-to is a fixation with black-on-black crime. You bring it up as if black people aren’t aware of violence in our communities.
Here are some facts for you. A 2013 FBI report (the latest year for which statistics are available) goes on to say that 83 percent of white victims of murder were killed by white people.
Another Bureau of Justice Statistics report explicitly states that between 2008 and 2012, “Poor urban blacks (51.3 per 1,000) had rates of violence similar to poor urban whites (56.4 per 1,000).” Yet, the term black-on-black crime is often used to paint one group of people in a certain light. Very telling.
What does Black Lives Matter’s goal to curb violence by the state have to do with black-on-black crime? Who is the “they” that seemingly don’t care about the black murder victims that die each year?
There are more people working on ending violence (domestic violence, gang violence, etc.) in communities than are involved in the BLM movement. Seriously, just think about all the organizations out there.
Violence at all levels has to stop.
People can advocate against law enforcement abusing their powers, because last time I checked, they are public servants. No one should be above the written laws and that is what BLM is advocating for, equality and justice.
Have a wonderful day.
Back to the Original Message —->
Gwen, great job on all your progress thus far! I look forward to being there myself one day.
M, THANK YOU FOR THIS. I so agree.
The issue is public accountability for law enforcement. I don’t see how anyone can be against that, when it has clearly failed for the Black community.
This is great and it’s always inspiring to go back and read these reports.
I’d say I’ve been able to save more money as well during COVID. Less eating out, less paying for expensive gasoline, and I’ve been able to officially stop driving 100% and thus save on car insurance as well.
Not to mention working remote = way more productive than going to work, and gives me back hours per day, easily. Where those hours can be reinvested in side hustles like writing blogs and other money-making ideas, which effectively yields more money.