Welcome to my blog! If you are a millennial who hates the rat race, this is the place to be!I started this to document my journey to Financial Independence. My goal is to help guide my fellow millennials along similar paths to financial freedom.
Welcome to the new monthly status report! Now that I am no longer employed by anyone, I figured it was time to change up the format of the status reports. I didn’t want to get rid of them entirely as I feel it’s important to share what transitioning to self-employment/Financial Independence looks like.
Also, I super apologize for publishing this two weeks (plus) late. It turns out personal development and coming to grips with a new identity takes a lot of time and mental effort! I should be back to a more regular schedule after this.
I’m going to break out my personal spending still, but it’s going to be on a higher level than I had been doing considering I split some expenses with my boyfriend now.
Other sections include expenses and income for various endeavors, like separate sections for blog spending, rental expenses and income, and any other side hustles I have.
Disclaimer: some links may be affiliate links. They help offset the cost of keeping this blog running!
Why do I do a monthly status report?
I find it best to do a monthly status report for a few reasons.
It helps me evaluate how I did the previous month. Did I spend a lot of money on something? Why? Did I earn a bunch of money on something? Can I do that again?
It helps keep me accountable. How can I make an extra purchase knowing I’ll have to explain myself to all of you? Talk about awkward when the blogger can’t walk the walk and talk the talk.
I want to prove this crazy thing called financial independence works!
It provides an example of real world budgeting and expenses. Some of the people I talk to haven’t ever seen a proper budget or seen one put into action, and part of the purpose of this blog is to lead by example!
I use Mint to help me track my spending and keep an eye on my accounts. I also use a really awesome and super in-depth spreadsheet. So many formulas….. Some people use Personal Capital and others use You Need a Budget (YNAB). Whatever tool (or combination thereof) works best for you and your needs is the best one for you, since everyone and their budgets are different.
April 2018 Personal Statement:
Notes: Phone was zero thanks to Google Fi and their generous referral program. If you use my link to sign up for their plans (which I HIGHLY recommend!), you’ll get $20 and I’ll get $20. Other expenses were higher than I wanted with little to no income coming in, but it went towards necessary things like a new shelf and contacts.
April 2018 Blog Statement:
April 2018 Rental Statement:
April 2018 Money Makin’ Endeavors Statement:
Combine it all together and.…
Net worth: $200,327
Thanks for reading! What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?
Well I am here to introduce a new concept: The Neverending Vacation.
It’s now been a little over 2 weeks since I quit my job and moved up north to be with my boyfriend, and I thought a recap of my first few weeks would be useful for everyone.
So far, it doesn’t really feel like I quit yet. It feels more like a vacation in a super nice Airbnb. I still get calls from my former coworkers telling me they miss me. I even had my first dream about work. I suspect as I settle in the house it will stop feeling like an Airbnb and more like home. I am really loving living in Minneapolis despite the 20″+ (IN APRIL) of snow that has fallen. I was able to reconnect with a childhood friend of mine for drinks, and start to deepen my connection to the local FI bloggers. (shoutout to Apathy Ends!)
It’s really quite impressive I’ve managed to do that with only leaving the house 4 times in 17ish days.
I have absolutely no reason to go outside, so I don’t. I also have no desire to go outside when it’s cold and snowing tons. It’s pretty awesome to not get up at o’ dark thirty and suffer through the cold and gross, though! I do look forward to going outside more once the weather warms up so I can take walks around the lakes or nice long bike rides on the paths around here.
I have been SUPER PRODUCTIVE since I quit and moved. Lots of work has been done on the podcast, this blog, and on my blossoming Etsy shop. My Inkscape skills have improved a ton since we started our Mastermind course 6 weeks ago! I have plans to create several different bundles in the future: alphabets and the 50 state outlines. Check out this one I did of Nevada recently:
The lines are major roads!
And yet.… despite all the productive work I’ve done.…
I don’t think I can keep up this pace. I’m not going to lie, the first iteration of this post that I wrote made me break down into tears and put off writing for 4 days. All in all, the fact I made it that long without some sort of break is impressive.… I’d say.
I don’t want to admit this, but I think I took on too much at once.
I can deal with quitting my job and starting to hustle online full-time.
I can deal with packing up my entire life and moving to a different state.
I can deal with moving in with my boyfriend and figuring out our new lives together.
I could not and cannot handle all of those at the same time. About the only thing I can say is I am incredibly grateful I don’t also have to deal with figuring out a new job and coworkers and everything that entails.
I was struggling hard core with burnout before I quit. I assumed being burnt out would magically stop once I wasn’t at work for 9+ hours a day.
Oh, how wrong I was.
If anything, I think I am even more burnt out than I was. I have worked harder after quitting. The pressure of losing my “guaranteed” income from work got to me. I am petrified of running out of money, or some major unplanned, expensive repair popping up on the rental.
Therefore, I am overcompensating and throwing myself into work in order to build that income back up.
I don’t regret quitting when I did. Despite the incredible mix of emotions swirling through me right now, I am happy I did. Having someone to give you a hug or be a shoulder to cry on is really, really nice to have around. Instead of seeing my boyfriend once a fortnight, I get to see him every single day! He is an incredibly wise person and has made a number of useful suggestions as we work through figuring out how to live together. Our relationship has moved relatively quickly so it’s really wonderful to get to step back and slow it down a bit.
He’s helped me realize I need to take time off even if my caveman brain is telling me I can’t afford it.
I’m taking next week off.
I’ll be online as little as possible. The house is fully stocked with snacks. We’ve got like, 8 different video game systems I can play. There’s stacks of books calling my name. I used to be able to stretch out and read a book for hours at a time, and I would like to get back into that mode. (any entrepreneurial/finance book suggestions are more than welcome!)
Heck, I’ve even got some counted cross stitch I can work on if I so choose. (Pallet Town home sweet home design in case you were wondering).
This is an ideal time to take off. I don’t HAVE to post things here. We’ve got a hefty backlog of episodes for the podcast and as long as I get my share of the show notes done, I am clear on that for 3 weeks! Our Digital Download Etsy Mastermind groups ended this week. I literally have no reason to be on the computer next week.
The thought makes me giddy.
I was worried that I’d be seen as a slacker, or a hack, or weak but I honestly don’t care what conclusions people draw about me anymore. I need a break, I’ve got the time, so I’m going to take it.
Especially when said bill was about half the cash I have on hand.
Why did I have an $11k credit card bill? Excellent question.
My bill was only going to be about a thousand buckaroos, but then I put the $10k bill from my contractor on the credit card. (The new deck and stairs look amazing, btw. I wish I had a picture but I don’t live there so no updated pictures. Sorry!)
Why would I do that instead of just writing him a check?
I got 10,239 points for putting that bad boy on my credit card and paying it off 3 days later. Pretty sweet!
By the way, said credit card is my trusty Chase Sapphire Reserve card. (affiliate link, you get 50k signup bonus, I get 10k points).
Currently I have 165,873 points sitting around waiting for me to use them. This year, I have booked 3 flights. One completely with points (paid $11 in taxes and fees), one with cash, and another with cash. The first cash flight I bought was completely reimbursed thanks to the $300 travel credit the card offers. The second cash flight was partially refunded because the first one didn’t use up the entire $300 credit. I wish there were a way to see how many points I’ve ever earned, because I know it’s gotta be north of 300k at this point.
So, thanks to this credit card and it’s perks, I’ve gotten two flights effectively for free and one discounted flight. The discounted flight was purchased on Southwest through my frequent flyer number during a special, so that meant I got triple the Southwest points I’d normally get!
I’ve also gotten tons of other benefits through this card, like lounge access and Global Entry fee reimbursement. The lounge access comes through the Priority Pass perk. I’ve visited lounges in 5 countries on 3 different continents and they have saved my life. Comfy seating, free food, free alcohol, and free Wi-Fi are all lifesavers when you’re stressed out by traveling. (or like when, say, one misses their flight from London to Atlanta and suddenly has an extra 2 hours to spend at an airport and are all panicky and upset because they’ve never missed a flight before.)
Now that I am not working a 9–5 job and are living close to a Global Entry office, I can apply for Global Entry! There’s a $100 fee the card will cover, so getting GE will literally just be a matter of digging out my passport, filling out the application form, and going to the airport to get fingerprinted and such. Ironically, I’m not sure when I’ll be going overseas again, but I can attest at how awesome it is to have it when going through immigration. Well, I can attest to how much faster I would have gotten through immigration had I had it. Probably wouldn’t have missed my flight in London if I hadn’t had to wait so long in line.
So, even though I’m not taking the travel hacking thing very seriously, I’m still getting pretty awesome rewards, like a discounted flight that earned Chase points and triple Southwest points, free Global Entry and free stuff when I travel. Pretttttyyyyyy sweet!
Anyways, back to this $11k bill I paid off.
I was sorely tempted to not pay it off entirely for a few reasons. I would really feel better about having more liquid runway to sustain me until my side hustles start picking up steam. So I could either leave it on the card and pay a fair amount in interest each month, or I could try to open a 0% interest card and transfer the balance and pay it off later.
But, as my boyfriend pointed out, would a credit card company give me a 0% balance card? Technically I have no job and no verifiable income right now, so I’m not the most attractive of customers at the moment (despite having a premium card in my wallet as mentioned above). If I applied and didn’t get it, I’d have a hard hit on my credit and that might lower my score.
If they did give me a card, would it have a high enough limit on it? I wouldn’t want to get a card with a limit of say, $15k, and then put $11k on it. That would completely mess up my debt to credit ratio and potentially mess up my credit.
So, in the end, I just bit the bullet and paid it off. This eliminates a lot of hassle and potentially damaging my credit score, which is good because I am THIS close to hitting 800. I don’t particularly need the credit score for anything right now but you never know when that could change. In this case, better to be safe than sorry!
On a completely different note, I am so glad I have the time to figure all this stuff out and write about it for you guys! I’ve had the time to sit and think about all the various parts of the decision instead of quickly thinking about it and moving on to something else. $11,000 is a lot of money and I wanted to make sure I made the right decision. The transition to self-employment might be stressful, but I need the reminder sometimes that this lifestyle actually does come with some perks.
Like being able to write a post in the middle of the day, drop stuff off at the post office, and run a couple of other errands before it snows 8–12″ over the weekend!
Thanks for reading! What’s your biggest credit card bill ever? Have you done the 0% interest transfer? If so, how’d that work out?
Major brownie points if you read the title and immediately started singing the song by Reel 2 Real. You get even more brownie points if you actually knew who sang the song before reading this!
Despite that epic opening, I’m not the biggest fan of mid-90’s rap songs. shocker
Nope. Instead, I like to move. You know, the one where you decide to move to a different location so you have to box up all your crap and shove it in a truck to transport it to the new place so you can rearrange all your crap?
Yeah.…… that kind of move.
In the past 5 years, I’ve moved 6 times. That’s less than 12 months at each location, on average. (In all actuality, it goes 3 mos — 4 mos — 18 mos — 18 mos — 3 mos — 12 mos. Just in case you were curious!)
You’d think I’d be a pro at this by now with just a few backpacks full of essentials and the cat’s stuff. Again.….. nope. I’m attached to my stuff and have managed to accumulate several room’s worth of furniture and well.….. stuff.
All of this soon became VERY apparent as my boyfriend and I moved box after box after box down 3 flights of stairs and around numerous corners.
In preparation for the move to my new city and state, I did a few things. I pared down my belongings and tried to sell some of my bigger stuff like my dresser and futon. I also researched moving companies to figure out what was the best way to transport my belongings 359 miles away.
Since I put in all that effort of researching, here are a few of my thoughts on how to move a 2 bedroom apartment. (or said equivalent of stuff)
I looked around for moving companies on the internet and was completely overwhelmed. Hello, analysis paralysis. As I started to get quotes, I realized I was looking at two classes of moving companies: DIY and Movers.
Companies like U-Haul, Budget, Enterprise, and Penske fit this bill. They are companies that rent you the stuff to do the move: trucks, blankets, boxes, and dollies. Everything else is up to you.
Since I was moving away AND NEVER COMING BACK, I had to figure out transportation. You can do round trip, but who really wants to drive 12 extra hours along the same stretch of boring highways if they don’t have to? Round trip gave me the cheapest option up front, but then sneakily added in mileage costs on the back end to make it deceptively expensive. One way trips don’t charge mileage.… but then what to do about my car? Some places had the option for towing it behind the truck, but that just seemed like a recipe for disaster. I have a lot more experience driving big trucks thanks to the military, but no way was I going to be responsible for hooking up the car behind the truck and then trying to maneuver in tight city streets with it.
Since I moved over Easter weekend, I drove up a few days before the move with my car. My boyfriend and I then headed back down in his car, and then caravaned back up in the truck and car. That was the best solution I came up with that didn’t involve paying a company $.68/mile.
The one way prices I got were actually pretty reasonable after doing some calculations on what a round trip rental would cost me (in both time and money).
U-Haul: $369 (3 Days/421 miles allowed)
Budget: $295 (3 days/unlimited miles)
Enterprise: Strike out, only round trip.
Ryder: $425 round trip, no mileage restriction
Budget was the cheapest by far. This was all thanks to a 20% coupon I found on their site. U-Haul matched the pre-coupon price of Budget, so good going there, guys. Penske, really? $539? No way. Enterprise didn’t have a one way option, so that was out. Ryder would also only give me a round trip option, but they were nice enough to quote that out at $425, no mileage. If I had done a round trip, I probably would’ve gone with Ryder.
The other level of moving was full-service movers.
Full-service is exactly what it sounds like. A big truck comes up to your house, a crew of movers descends upon your house, packs up all your belongings, puts it in the truck, and then a few days to a week later shows up at the new place and does it all in reverse. This includes companies like 2 Men & a Truck, Zippy Shell, PODS, and Allied. I’m positive there are other companies out there, but these are the ones I got quotes from.
Allied: $2800 minimum as they charge by weight/mi with a 2500 lb minimum.
Zippy Shell: $1335
2 Men & a Truck: $2300
Zippy Shell and PODS work roughly the same way. A container shows up at your house, you or someone from their company fills it, they haul it away and a week later it’s delivered to your door. Someone told me PODS was reasonable but $1700? Not super reasonable. I guess it does seem better when you compare it to Allied, but yeesh.
I was tempted to do the 2 Men & a Truck option until I found out the bill for my back stairs was $10k. That’s when the decision to do it ourselves was made, a decision we both sincerely regretted after 200 trips down and up 3 flights of stairs. The other reason we didn’t go with the full-service moving company was the time. At the bare minimum, the earliest I would get my stuff was 4 days. I was operating on a more restricted timeline and couldn’t have my stuff be gone that long.
If a company wants my business, I will happily do so as long as 2 provisions are meant:
Easy quote process: Give me a box on the front page where I can put in the details and have it spit out a quote. Don’t make me give you my email. Don’t make me call you. Don’t make me wait 2 days for someone to call me. Allied and 2 Men & a Truck had the best UI websites. Very easy to navigate and get a quote.
Decent price: I understand they have to make money too but don’t rake me over the coals. Make pricing fair and transparent. No add-on fees at the last-minute.
My final costs for moving 359 miles to a location 2 states away ended up being $348 for a 16 ft rental truck and 12 blankets. I also paid $100 in gas to move the truck, so my final costs were $448, some smoothies, and about 40 hours of my boyfriend and I’s time/labor. Not too shabby!
Thanks for reading! Have you moved recently? What was your experience like? Any handy tips for soon-to-be-renters?
I made it 12 months as a first-time homeowner and landlord! Huzzah!
Location, Location, Location
You know that old real estate adage “location is key”?
It’s true. It’s so true.
Less than a mile from me there is a huge park with its very own conservatory, rose garden, and lagoon. It’s a beautiful place to stroll around in both winter and the summer. The houses there are immaculately kept historical houses that command a very high price when selling.
A mile in the other direction is a bluff overlooking the river. The houses there are sprawling mansions built by former river boat captains and other town notables. The houses in the neighborhood behind those bluff houses, while not quite so sizable, are still wonderful examples of turn of the 19th century architecture. It’s a very in-demand neighborhood and it will cost you a pretty penny to get a property there.
In between those two neighborhoods you have my house. A beautiful Neo-Georgian Revival style house built by a talented carpenter and his sons in 1910. The woodwork is incredible and the craftsmanship would be hard to beat in this day and age. She’s a solid house for being 108 years old.
And yet, if I were to put it on the market, I would be lucky to get a fraction of the price as houses in the other neighborhoods around me, just because of where I’m at.
the gouge in the earth from the bullet
It’s not the greatest of neighborhoods. There have been multiple instances of law enforcement being called in the year I’ve lived here. Recently, a guy decided to shoot up the house directly behind me. My property and people were fine, but the property manager of the house behind me has some drywall patching and window replacing to do.
(sidenote: my Reolink security cameras caught the whole incident and the cops were very impressed with the quality of the video. you could even see the puff of dirt fly up from where a bullet missed the house and hit the ground instead.)
This location has made it tough to find quality tenants. I was lucky enough to inherit two tenants when I bought the place, so it took me a while to figure out just how difficult it would be to get good tenants. The tenant I managed to find in December paid his rent for two months, and then abandoned the lease for a new job. I’m out one months rent, and more while I attempt to fill it. At least this time cleanup was minimal.
Last time I looked for a tenant I papered the internet with the listing. Facebook got a lot of interest, but the quality of the applicants was very low. I do not have the listing up on Facebook this time around so interest has been low, but better quality.
If I’m struggling to find people to pay rent, finances can’t be doing so hot, right? Well.… they’re not as great as they could be but they’re not terrible. I’m not making buckets of money like I thought I would, but I’m not really losing money either.
If you recall, I paid $85k for the house, and rents were $600, $500, and $385.
After a year, I’ve paid off 2% of the mortgage and I now owe $75,762.73 on the property. Rents are now at $575, $625, and $500. I brought the rent down $25 for my good tenant as he will be the “lead tenant” in the house when I move out. He’s an awesome guy and has always paid his rent not only on time, but a few days early. Unit #2 is the one bedroom. I raised the rent $125 when I kicked the first guy out to $625 which worked for a few months. My unit, the studio, was going for $385 a month when I moved in, but I raised that to $500 based on comps from the neighborhood.
I’m happy I found someone to take over the studio! This will definitely help ease my anxiety. He seems like a really nice guy too.
I should be set financially based off those numbers, but that is not the case. I’ve been taking up space in the property so no rental income from me. The other unit needs a solid tenant. And there’s also all the repairs I’ve had to do to the property: things like attempting to paint the outside, replacing the front porch and turning over the after my gross former tenant moved out. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers:
So down about $7k. Not great.
But wait, this doesn’t include the housing costs I saved myself by living here. I would’ve lived in a house or apartment that cost at least $1k a month, so I’ve got an extra $12k to add to the line. That leaves me up about $5k for my first year. I wish I could’ve done better but that’s what it is.
After the shooting happened next door, I just wanted out. I didn’t want to have to care about this drafty pile of wood in a dodgy neighborhood. But it doesn’t look good to sell a house after only a year, so I’ll keep it at least another year. The numbers also don’t make sense and I don’t want to be out that much money.
I am going to find a property manager, though. Hopefully not living in the house, dealing with the day-to-day stress, and having someone else collect the rent and find tenants will make this an easier process.
This property manager only wants the cash.
I also have at least one more major repair. The back stairs and deck were not built to code and won’t pass inspection anymore. The whole kit and caboodle are getting replaced this spring. It will cost at least $10k to get that replaced. I’m having the same guy who did my front porch last year do the project. He does great work and charges a reasonable price. I say starts at $10k, because neither he nor I know how the deck was attached to the house and he could find rot that needs addressed.
I hope he doesn’t find anything. The more money I have to pay to replace the deck, the shorter my financial runway after I quit my job. However, getting a $10k bill has lit a fire under my butt. I’m even more determined to work hard and make it now.
This house is the biggest liability I have.…. but also my biggest asset. Wish me luck with this property in the next 12 months!
Thanks for reading! Landlords, any recommendations for me? If so, sound off in the comments below!
I have a fortnight left. 2 weeks. 14 days. Lots of hours.
2 weeks left of the first phase of my working life. I’m ending my 5 year IT career and it feels weird. Bittersweet.
I’m going to miss so much about working here. I’m also chomping at the bit and can’t wait to blow this popsicle stand. It’s an odd mix of emotions.
Things I’ll miss
The people. I work with some amazing people. They’re fiercely intelligent, generous, and kind. I have some kick butt conversations with them and I’ll miss having them around to chat with. Politics, law, economics.…… I’ll have to find new people to talk about that stuff and people like that aren’t exactly a dime a dozen.
The food. There is an overabundance of free food that floats around my office. It’s not just any food either. No, this is gourmet food that’s been prepared special. I’ve tried so many new food items because of working here. Turns out, I do like asparagus and gouda cheese and brussels sprouts (in limited quantities but I didn’t die eating it like I always thought I would). It’s not every day, but it happens often enough that I consider it a perk of working here. That means I don’t have to pack as many snacks to bring with me to work, or I don’t have to prep lunches.
My friends. Technically, I suppose this could be lumped under the people category, but they’re in a category all their own. I’ve made some amazing friendships in my 5 years here. My work wife, who happened to be sitting near me when I was an intern and turned into my closest friends. My happy hour crew where we hang out and complain about all the old people holding back our careers. My finance-minded friends, who celebrate each pay-day and bonus day with me and talk about optimizing our budgets. I’ll be able to stay in touch with them thanks to the wonders of technology, but it won’t be the same.
The income. I get paid what feels like a LOT of money to work here. I’ve probably taken that for granted, even though I’ve used that money far more effectively than others I know. I’m really going to miss getting regular paychecks, but I’m hoping that’s temporary as I work to build up my own streams of income (both active and passive).
Things I will not miss
Working for someone else. I’m working really hard and seeing most of my efforts pad someone else’s bottom line. I would like to reap ALL the efforts of my hard work. This also encompasses my feelings about having to be in the office at certain times for certain lengths of time. Aka showing up at 6 am and having to be in the office for no less than 8 hours even if there is no work to do.
Office politics. I don’t care who you are or where you work, I can guarantee there are some sort of office politics or drama around you. It’s human nature. I personally work with someone who hates my guts and doesn’t hesitate to share her opinion with others around me. I’ve let it roll off my back because, leaving in 2 weeks, but it still bothers me and negatively impacts how my team can function. I’m also happy I don’t have to worry about advancing to the next rung on the ladder and what that entails.
True story, a friend of mine recently was up for a supervisor position. Despite having the backing of the VP for it, she was passed over because she didn’t have any previous supervisory experience. So now, she gets to work extra hard and do probationary supervisor level work.….… without the pay and without the guarantee of promotion. Awful.
I won’t miss this view either #cubelife
The mental level of food. I love to eat (see above) but I was ruined for making food. I went from my parent’s house to college dorm to military. I had my food prepared for me for the first 23 years of my life.…. and then I had to figure out what to make. The mental effort of making sure I have breakfast, lunch, and snacks ready to go in the morning for a day at work is exhausting. I also hate having to buy food at the cafeteria at work because expensive! When I’ve worked from home, it’s as easy as going into the kitchen and making food. I very much look forward to freeing myself from the battle of what to take into work. I’ll still probably meal prep because it’s efficient but not at the level I do now.
Limited vacation time. I don’t want to travel the world full-time, or even go on that many trips. I do, however, want to not be rushed when I travel. When I’m working for someone else, I get limited vacation time and that leads to stress. Do I want to go on a two-week vacation to London to see the Harry Potter play, or would I like to take 3 day weekends throughout the year? I always seem to run out of vacation after Christmas which usually means no travel in the spring. Sometimes, you just want to get away from the snow and cold for a little bit. No such dice for me. Now I’ll be able to take as much time off.…… as long as I’m ok with getting paid $0 for not working.
My to-do list
As time grows short, my to-do list (both professional and personal) grows ever longer. Funny how they’re inverse like that.
-I need to finish up some projects at work.
-Send out emails to everyone I’ve ever worked with using mail merge. (plus a few actual personalized written cards to those I really want to butter up before I go)
-Schedule lunches/happy hours/coffees with people for one last chat
-Clean up my office space
-Grab some moving boxes
-Pack up my stuff
-Arrange transportation of said stuff to Minneapolis
-Do a small repair on empty unit #1
-Find a tenant for empty unit #1 (again)
-Find a tenant for soon to be empty unit #2
-Replace back stairs
-Swap insurance for rental insurance on house
-Renew car plates
I get to do all this while working on the blog, podcast, Mastermind group, and Etsy shop. It’s going to be a busy 3 weeks coming up, but I’m up to the challenge! Wish me luck!
Does anyone have any advice on cheap one way moving options? Or on how to deal with slightly hostile coworkers? It’d be much appreciated!
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