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That Old Out-Of-Control Feeling: Feb. 12 Monday Money Check-in

I imagine it’s a bit like a potter, who’s sitting there spinning into life a perfectly round pot, until that first little shift, that tiny excess of pressure on one palm, a wobble, right before everything caves in and goes to shit.

That is the feeling I’m having right now about finances, and it’s one I know well. I’ve been spending, spending, spending. Granted, it’s for my business, a podcast transcriber here and a Hootsuite account there, the hosting for my book’s website, but all accounts flow back to Pauli P.

Plus, I found out last week that Bon Iver and Ray LaMontagne are playing the Sasquatch music festival, which means, no question, that I am going to Sasquatch. I have no regerts about this. Why didn’t I go see Prince the last time he was in Seattle? Because the tickets were $200. Anyway, Sasquatch is $325, camping is $50, plus, there will be beers and burritos. It’s an expense. But Beyonce and Bon Iver. I will never not see them, if they’re coming to town. Sorry not sorry.

Plus, I now have to deal with melanoma right in the sun valley of my cleavage. I have surgery this month and a $4,000 deductible (deductible: n. the amount that will be deducted (taken away) from you before your insurance will do anything). This means that I will probably be dealing with a $4,000 medical bill this year, which makes me want to puke.

As an experienced ostrich, I want to shove my head farther and farther into the sand. The reaction I’ve had to this feeling in the past has been to procrastinate as long as possible looking at my balances, my bills, the facts.

But I aspire to be more like a meerkat, standing as tall as possible on the rock of facts to look out, survey the horizon, and face whatever is coming.

So here I am at my Amanda Clayman-prescribed enjoyable money date with myself. Cost $4.34.

Review:
  • Earned last week:$1,191! Woot woot! I needed this because I was $400 short the week before. Please note that this is pre-tax, pre-expense money. In fact, I should change this label. What is this, gross? (gross: adj. without deduction of tax or other costs. Gross!)
  • Saved last week: $200 toward Fuck Off Fund, 20% for taxes.
  • Personal in red, yellow, or green zone (<$500, $500-$1,000, over $1,000): Red
  • Business Checking red, yellow, or green: Yellow
  • Fuck Off Fund Level: $1,000!
  • Weekly wins: My Fun Money card is working really well. The steps were to open a new account, order a debit card, set up a recurring transfer, and make a fun label for it that says Fun Money. Not too tough and totally worth it.
Predict:
  • Look at all bills due this week: Just my little Freedom and Microsoft ones for my SharePoint site. Less than $20. Ooh, actually, I need to also look at how much the transcriber and other freelance help are and budget for that.
  • Update and review budget (I’m changing to YNAB): Ugh I neeeeeeed to do this. I’m switching systems and having technical difficulties. So I’m sure that’s part of my confusion.
  • Look at any social events where I might want to spend some of my Fun Money: I’m meeting a friend for a work time at the cafe tonight ($10), I want to celebrate a story coming out in The Stranger on Wednesday with a friend at a breakfast ($20), I have my standing Friday Fiester slumber party with my bestie ($15 for beer and ice cream), I meet up with a group of women to submit writing at a cafe ($20), and I really want one of these t-shirts from Oddfellows. Maybe I’ll try to save some $$$ for that this week.
Plan:
  • Transfer 10% of money received last week to Betterment: Just set up my account and need to verify, but I will send $120 next week.
  • Transfer $200 to Fuck Off Fund: Done!
  • Transfer 20% of earnings to Tax Savings Account: Done!

I have to make sure I have enough money to plan, to move all these funds toward my future. For me, that’s meant really making sure I make money. This seems obvious, but as a freelancer, you can work all day and not make a dollar. Pitching, organizing emails, following up on payments, though these move you toward money, they are not actually making money. So I’ve been counting carefully the hours I work at a per-hour rate, the stories I actually sell, and the writer’s course sign ups I get. These have to be my metric.

And I’ve been working my butt off. It’s The Year of the Grind. I spent last Saturday night watching a Sex and the City marathon and setting up 100 automated emails for my writer’s course. Almost every social activity is in some way wrapped up in my work. I do not want to fail, because failure sucks.

Thanks all for this week. Please enjoy this baby meerkat.