January- March 2014 Net Worth Update!

January- March 2014 Net Worth Update!

I know you guys have been anxiously awaiting my net worth update since last time. (This, is sarcasm.) But I’m still pretttttty dang excited to share the results with you guys.

Q1 2014 nw pic.jpg

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Awkward Money Chat – Episode 5 – Passive Income

And we are back with Awkward Money Chat! I’m super excited for this week’s episode because it features one of my favorites, Paula Pant from Afford Anything. Paula’s site focuses on how to afford anything in your life either through budgeting or creating passive income, which is what she talked about when we sat down together.

Watch the video below to hear how Paula creates passive income through real estate investing, the creepiest thing one of her tenants has ever done, and how I like my massages.

I’m Now Obsessed With My Quarterly Financial Goals (Q1 2014)

Some of you may remember how I set some pretty lofty financial goals for myself this year. Some of them I’ve mentioned before, others I’ve created for myself since January 1 and I’m happy to share them with you now. As I was revisiting my spreadsheets in preparation for getting my taxes together, I didn’t really have a concrete way of measuring progress on my goals through the year. I realized that by only haphazardly revisiting my goals, I have no way of noticing if I’m on track to hit my yearly goals by year-end.

I was really confused as to how to go about this. Near the beginning of March I realized  I needed to break down my yearly goals into bite-sized chunks. For example, my goal of making $30,000 in side income. What does that even mean? Especially with the fluctuations in income freelancers are bound to go through, I needed a more manageable target to guide my side hustle efforts.

So here is what I did: [Read more...]

5 Things I Learned From My Year Long No Shopping Challenge

*L Bee Note: We are taking a break from #awkwardmoneychat this week, and will be back with the first of four new episodes next week. In the meantime, read Michelle’s excellent reflections on an entire YEAR’s worth of no shopping. 

On April 1, 2014 it will have been a year since I’ve gone shopping for anything that adorns the body. I haven’t purchased a single thing. It hasn’t been easy-complicated by the 6 trips that I took including one international trip (London) and a trip to New York City.

Embarking on a challenge like this one is not for the faint of heart. You have to look a couple of things in the metaphorical eye-greed, desire, lust, and envy were things I had to address. I’ve learned a number of things about myself during this time and so I’d like to share a few things with you.  [Read more...]

Five Years Later-Was Choosing the Safe Option The Right Thing To Do?

There is a lot of change in the air. If you’re a regular reader of personal finance blogs you may have noticed that a lot of people across the blogosphere are in the midst of deciding some major life changes. I am one of those people.  Right now I am at a crossroads and it has been a very intense process of self-reflection, judging myself, and wondering if I’m nuts for contemplating my next major life decision.

First, though, I’ve had to spend some time thinking about the last choice that I made and where it has lead me. Towards the end of 2007 I was at the point where I was going to quit my job. I had put in a number of resumes and was getting some really good feed back. It was highly likely that I was going to find a job in New York City in my field and live a dream life in the NYC.  [Read more...]

Financial Freedom in 10 minutes a week

L Bee Note: Today’s post is by friend Brad about how he uses excel to tame his finances. Being an excel fan myself, I can definitely relate.

Between buying groceries, filling up with a tank of gas, picking up a prescription and paying our mortgage, the money sure goes out the door fast.  It seems that some weeks we have it all under control and we are not spending any more than we need to, and then the next week, we are making meals for friends who just had a baby, buying gifts for our nephew’s birthday party, and paying $975 for the repair of our car’s throttle actuator, which really sounds like something my mechanic made up.  You better believe I was Googling “throttle actuator” before I agreed to have it fixed.  When you think about the hundreds of transactions your family has in a given year, it is no surprise why personal finance can be so overwhelming.

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Awkward Money Chat – Episode 4 – Finances When You’re Living Together

I’m going to go ahead and paint with a broad brush: a lot of couples live together either before they get married, or as a happily un-married couple. Without the legalities though, what is it like to manage your finances together-yet-separately?

Enter my most fabulous pair of couple friends, Kathrine and James. These guys are rock SOLID, both in life, and in the way they manage their finances. Every couple should watch this 4 minute video to find out how you should manage your finances when you’re living together. This video is a bit longer than the first three just because the dynamic duo offer such good advice we couldn’t bear to cut it down. Enjoy the #awkwardmoneychat!

Getting Old Fashioned with Finances: Do Your Own Budget

Oh let’s get old fashioned

Back to how things used to be

If I get old, old fashioned

Would you get old, old fashioned with me?

That’s the chorus of one of my favorite songs by Frightened Rabbit (I dare you to listen to it without tapping your feet. Can’t be done, friends). And while the message of this song doesn’t have anything to do with personal finance or budgets, I can’t help but to start humming it to myself a little every time I sit down to run my numbers.

That’s because I’m a bit old fashioned myself when it comes to tracking our spending and saving. Forget about Mint. I use a plain ol’ Excel file to keep track of our monthly budget. So plain I don’t even have it running formulas, because I like to input all the numbers and do all the math myself. Even this spreadsheet is light years ahead of what I did up until about two years ago – do your own budget by hand, with actual pen to real paper? Yup, that was me!

Why Bother Taking the Time to Do Your Own Budget? [Read more...]

How to Be In Love With Your Life!

A year ago, I was sitting in a gray cubicle 80 hours a week binge-snacking and occasionally sneaking into the bathroom to bawl my eyes out. I spent 24 hours a day with a pit in my stomach because I loathed my job. And I wasn’t even two years in yet!

On top of that, I hated where I lived and barely saw my husband. It was a miserable time and I had let it go on for way too long.

Thankfully, I was only 4 months out from my secret exit strategy. Only my husband and I knew our super secret — we were ditching our jobs in just a few short months to road trip across the country with all of our possessions and move to Portland, Oregon. Knowing this was the only thing that kept me from a complete mental breakdown during my last tax season and final months in Cleveland.

A few months later, we handed in our two weeks notice and packed up the car. Now, I live in a studio apartment in the middle of everything in a city I love, I am my own boss, and I spend copious amounts of time with my husband. Was it risky to leave the state I had lived in my entire life and my miserable-but-stable job? Sure. Would I do it again? Over and over.

Living a life you enjoy is somehow viewed as a luxury. It shouldn’t be. It should be a priority. And while we all have to work a few crappy jobs to get to where we want to be, there is no excuse for not either (a) living a life you are passionate about, or (b) working towards living a life you are passionate about.

I’m lucky enough to be the former now. I love my life because I was willing to make changes, sometimes scary changes, to get a life that mattered to me. Taking stock, I’d say I did pretty well:

I want to have a loving relationship, not measured by gifts or status. Check!

I want to live in a small space, unburdened by excess. Check!

I want to make money, even if it isn’t a large amount, doing something that matters to me. Check!

I want to travel more than the two weeks a year allocated to most employees. Check!

I want to eat good food. More than that, I want to experience this good food with someone I care about. Check!

Somehow I managed to check off all the boxes for my top 5 — marriage, minimalism, fulfilling career, travel, and food. Notice there is not much of a financial influence here. Even in this world of obsessive personal finance, money is relatively unimportant. I recommend everyone make a list of things they WANT. What does yours look like? Does it match up with the life you are currently living?

Live a life that matters…to you. There is no reason to not be totally and completely in love with your life. You only have one (unless reincarnation is a thing) — make it count!

Are you in love with your life? If so, congratulations! It rocks, doesn’t it?

If not, why? Are you working towards a life you care about? Or just making excuses?

Pharmacy Jobs – Good Work Regardless of the High Cost

Working in a pharmacy is a great way to help the public maintain its health. You will be on the front line for anything from explaining prescriptions to helping a working mother find the best allergy medication for her young child and learning to use some high tech scales for counting and weighing medications.

However, to get to the point one must attend a pharmacy school, and that comes with the high costs of tuition and book fees. Pharmacy schools, like every other form of post-secondary education in the United States, has seen tuition costs skyrockets for a variety of reasons over the last twenty years. Here are a few of the factors causing the rise in tuition prices: [Read more...]