Month Wrap-Up

Back to Basics

Oh hey look everyone, now that’s I’ve started an official blog about money, I’m doing worse financially than ever. (Ok, maybe not ever.) Hmm, wonder what that’s about.

I realized while at Sasquatch that I’m up to my old shit again. Going to an event that I can’t really afford, one eye on the concert and one on my funds running low.

On the way home, I had $12 in my bank account and had to put $11.99 in my gas tank.

What is up?

I realized I forgot about the basics, the things that kept my blog going and got me out of $20,000 in debt when I started the first iteration of this blog 7 years ago:

  1. Someone I didn’t want to disappoint reading it. In my case, Jeri.
  2. A visual representation of my progress or lack there of. In other words, graphs.

So here I am, getting back to basics.

Hi Jeri. Thanks for reading this after I email it to you.

And here are my graphs.

I thought about making pretty ones in Illustrator, and I do want to do that one day. But with this blog paying zero dollars, needing hours to market my book, and not making jack s this year, I don’t have time.

If you don’t have time for the fancy, go with the rinky dink. The rinky dink is still something.

So here are my ugly graphs.

Ok this is my normal Net Worth graph, but I realized the scale is too huge and dips seem so little, so I made one for just this year. Wee what a fun slide into financial ruin I’m on.

This is one area I’m proud of. I haven’t put anything toward retirement in two years, which is bad. But when I had the tech job, I threw money in there like crazy because I knew saving early was key and when I was in my first years of full-time writing, I would be making jack s.

If you do not have a retirement account, start one with Acorns today, literally. I’m not kidding.

Hey, that’s not good! Short-term stuff is money I have on hand, and includes my checking accounts and my owed taxes, which are $3,800.

My Fuck Off Fund is a fucking disgrace.

 

But I don’t totally hate myself.

I’m working so hard these days. It’s the year of the grind. I am doing shit. It’s not all money-making right now, but I’m building momentum for my career that I fully trust will pay off in the future.

January Wrap Up: What We Learned This Month

In January I worked with Amanda Clayman, financial therapist, to figure out what the fuck is wrong with me. Here’s what she had me do, and what you can do:

Unearth Your Money Story.

I talked to my mom and aunts and uncles. I unearthed an old recording of my mom interviewing my grandpa about his life. I found out my great grandpa only saw the sun on – twist the knife – Sunday. He woke up before sunrise, walked four miles to the coal mines, worked until after sunset, then walked home. Somewhere in there, he did the farm work.
My great grandmother on my dad’s side left Russia for the United States at 16 with her sisters, and with her mom running after the train, which is the last time they ever saw each other.
The angle at which I saw my life shifted. Each generation worked their ass off in ways I will never even begin to comprehend to give the next generation a better life, and the next, and now here I am, a writer, with no need to ever feel desperation, given the gifts I’ve received from 100 years back. So why do I keep making myself feel desperate?

Examine Your Self-Talk

Over the years, I’ve developed a habit of yelling at myself when I fuck up. I’ve successfully added to this positive self-talk, more of a “Come on buddy, let’s just get to work, you’ll be fine.” But then I slip back into my other nickname for myself, bitch. “Bitch you knew you could not afford that lunch out with your friends, why did you go?”
Amanda told me to bring it in, to watch out for those times when you split into the “you,” as if you’re yelling at another person. She says that’s just another way to avoid solving the problem, to which I get a huge, mom-watching-Oprah style HMMMM.

She provided the following guidelines on identifying and managing your moods with money:

Identifying and Managing Moods:

Situation
  • Describe the situation in detail.
  • Specify emotion(s) in this situation, such as sad, angry, afraid, helpless, etc. Rate degree of emotion 1-10.
  • Identify and describe relevant historical information pertaining to self-defeating thoughts.
Self-Defeating Thoughts
  • Record thought(s) that occurred prior, during, and after the situation. Rate belief in thought 1-10.
  • Identify self-defeating underlying belief that generates self-defeating thought.
Styles of Thinking
  • Analyze distortion present in self-defeating thought.
Balanced View / Constructive Action
  • Write realistic, not ideal, response to self-defeating thought.
  • Identify new constructive or realistic underlying belief that is an alternative to the self-defeating underlying belief.
  • Choose appropriate action, such as calming counts, gathering more evidence, replace self-defeating thought with realistic thought, consider ways to handle or manage the situation differently, etc.

Quantify What You Want

I feel general panic about never being able to get a house, wanting to retire, this hole in the only pair of jeans that I can breathe in. So Amanda encouraged me to actually quantify how much I need to do what. I made a Pinterest board, and it was quite fun, actually, to look at it all. I made a list of what I want soon, within a few years, and someday. I also made a section of things I want and I already have.

Set up a Time to Review, Predict, and Plan

Set up a recurring, weekly time to sit down and look over the last week, predict how much you’ll need, and make a plan to get where you want to be. I started slacking on my monthly money check-ins, but I’m going to re-instate those.

Here’s my checklist, as a freelancer, but you can adjust it to your needs:

Review:
  • Earned last week:
  • Saved last week:
  • Personal Checking Balance: $0
  • Business Checking Balance: $3
  • Fuck Off Fund Level:
  • Weekly wins:
Predict:
  • Look at all bills due this week
  • Update and review budget (I’m changing to YNAB)
  • Look at any social events where I might want to spend some of my Fun Money.
Plan:
  • Transfer 10% of money received last week
  • Transfer $200 to Fuck Off Fund
  • Transfer 20% of earnings to Tax Savings Account

The best part is, Amanda says I get to pair it with something fun. So maybe I get a Monday morning café hangout.

After talking about all this, Amanda asked me: You know what the fuck is wrong with you? Nothing.

We just have to keep moving forward.

So, to recap, first steps:

  • Find out your family money story
  • Examine Your Self Talk
  • Quantify what you want
  • Set up a weekly date to Review, Predict, Plan

 

Podcast episodes from this month:

Jeri Can We Talk About Money

Mom And Sis Can We Talk About Money

Amanda Clayman, Can We Talk About Money?

Mom Can We Talk Family Money History

Mom Talks To Grandpa About Money

Aunt Janice, Can We Talk About Money

Uncle Jon, Can We Talk About Money?

Amanda, Can We Talk About Why I Call Myself A Bitch (Second Session)

Amanda Can We Talk About Maximizing (Third Session)

Amanda, Can We Talk About Keeping Myself Accountable (4th Session)

Amanda, Did We Figure Out What The Fuck Is Wrong With Me (5th Session)