March Money

This week has been one of those weeks that people refer to as ‘a total whirlwind!’ or ‘completely crazy!’. But I won’t refer to it like that since I’m above cliches (except that I’m not at all). This week has been an absolute rollercoaster, full of random personal events that made it feel very significant that I was busy, meaning my well-intentioned plans of assessing my March money and writing it all up for full disclosure fell by the wayside in favour of Ben & Jerry birthday sundaes and outdoor movie attendances (work mandated – life is hard). In any case, I’m thoroughly exhausted, and, if I’m honest, quite nervous at setting out these numbers, because they are not impressive. I struggled hard this month, but it was a very good learning curve as to the costs of not saying no.

This financial assessment is based solely on my $120/week discretionary dollars; it doesn’t consider what we cutely call our ‘team account’ spending, which encompasses rent, food, petrol, and other miscellaneous life necessities. It also doesn’t include personal health insurance, phone bills and other boring costs. The motivation between dividing it up this way was for me to focus more specifically upon my personal spending habits. As a passionate discretionary spender, I have never really faced the true cost of my love of clothes, stationery and other miscellaneous life items that I view as needs, and most view as wants. I started tracking my spending in this category only, which has thrown up some interesting habits.

This financial assessment also gives me an opportunity to review the success of any side-hustle income. This is a slightly more interesting category this time around, as I have expanded my side hustles from online market research and selling old crap on eBay to opening an etsy store. The etsy store has made a whopping three sales, so it’s contribution to my overall side-hustle is very limited. However it has been a really great learning experience, and I’m hoping to see improvement in sales as I increase my product inventory and continue to experiment with different facets of the store.

Spending

Here it is, the numbers for March (to the last Sunday that is still in March):

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 8.42.42 PM

Unfortunately there are very many negative numbers up there. The real killers were:

  • $160 on a ticket to a dinner I didn’t even want to go to. The worst bit about this dinner is that on the day, I was offered a free ticket.
  • $250 for the boyf’s birthday (it did feel worth it, since I got him the second-greatest gift of all time).
  • A confusingly-high $60 on stationery on the 20th – zero idea what that is.

What I took away from this month is that there are always things I will want to say yes to, but often the reason I want to say yes is very confusing: wanting people to like me, avoiding the viral fear of missing out, thinking it will be worth it for some vague, unspecified reason that could be easily shot down if I said it out loud. Most often, that is the time to say no. This dinner I attended is a great testament to that. It was an awards night for women in the law, so a cause I am very passionate about and something that is personally relevant to me. However, I am not a big believer in attending lots of these sorts of celebratory events; I prefer the day to day grunt work of pulling together events, rather than forking out lots of money to just attend. I bought a ticket when a very good friend of mine sent me a random text, dropping important names and making me feel like I’d be a ‘part of something’ if I attended. Of course I immediately regretted it. Then I found out my work had a table, and I could have just gone for free. And on the actual night, the friend who had invited me ended up sitting on a different table. I already forgot what happened at the dinner. The food was underwhelming. I didn’t even network that hard. So it was $160 that would have been much better off in my pocket.

I had a vague plan of not spending as much the next few weeks to recover the cost, but as is very clear from the above, that did not happen. Instead, this $160 blow out acted as a catalyst for not caring at all about what I spent, and I never recovered from it. In fact, I just ended up habitually over spending for the rest of the month. I’m disappointed. But it’s just one month out of twelve.

Side-hustling

A much tinier little spreadsheet, but one I’m very proud of! This month I increased my income by an exciting 8.67%.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 8.46.21 PM

Most of that is due to a very lucrative market research role I managed to land, which accounts for over 50% of that income. But these numbers reflect the sale of many eBay items, and the beginning of my new business!

The Etsy number is a sad 34 cents. Although I did make a revenue of $6 in March, by the time I paid the fees associated with the sale, removed shipping and paid the fees associated with listing items, March finished up with a very low income from Etsy. Although it hasn’t been a big earner, it has been a really fun learning curve. I always talked about wanting to open my own business, and it feels so satisfying that I finally did. Hopefully April’s Etsy numbers will be a bit more impressive, but even if they aren’t, that’s okay.

Looking forward

As always, April is a new month and a chance to use what I learned about myself in March to improve my spending habits and get those numbers without a negative in front of them. And if possible, to improve my total side-hustle income. I’m anticipating it to be a lot more difficult depending on the overly-lucrative market research position, which is very ad-hoc, but nevertheless, it feels good to aim high.

My big financial step for April has been to set up one of those no-fee no-obligation initial consultations with a financial planner. After two months of messing around with my exceptionally annoying bank, I found an independent planner who didn’t waste my time and I have a meeting set up next week. I see this being a good opportunity to build some financial knowledge and to set up a more comprehensive financial plan.

 

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2 thoughts on “March Money

  1. ronprestonjr says:

    Hi Emily, I enjoyed reading your story. I think you are on the right path with your finances. The fact that you track your spending, have financial goals, and have taken the time to bring in “Side Hustle” income are all signs that you will build wealth. I don’t think a meeting with a financial planning is going to solve your problem. I think you need to find the right pieces of information that gives you the tools and passion to win. I found my fire when I read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover which I linked below

    There are some great tips on my blog site that could help you stay on that path you are traveling. Don’t let one bad month get you down!

    https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00DNBE8P6&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_4yVbxb0Z21F81

    Like

  2. Emily says:

    Thank you for being so encouraging! I often doubt my knowledge and feel as though I need expertise in helping me make decisions, which is why I decided to meet with a financial planner, but how you set out the information above and in your blog makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve put in a request for that book at the library, looking forward to getting to know what it’s all about 🙂

    Like

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