Confused money feelings

This summer has been full of contrasting monetary feelings.

Last school year we were starting to feel pretty wealthy until we bought a car.  We have not yet completely refilled the emergency fund, but it is close.

Now this summer I’m not being paid because it is summer (disclaimer:  I will get some summer grant money, but closer to fall), so I see the check register balance (where his paycheck is deposited) going down each month instead of up.  Twice a month the balance goes up when DH gets his paycheck, but the end number is lower than it was a month prior because we spend more than his take-home pay.  So when I see that, I don’t feel rich and I start cutting back on spending or at least questioning purchases.  The Disney vacation also put a pretty big dent into our buffer, even though DH’s parents paid for Disney itself and housing.

Meanwhile DH still feels wealthy and keeps buying stuff without questioning as the household needs/wants it (things like electric toothbrushes or new ballasts for the kitchen light), and we *are* still wealthy and he doesn’t need to question about stuff like that.  But it’s weird how I have a hard time thinking about annual income instead of monthly income.

I’ve still been making myself donate to something #resist-worthy for each weekday I don’t get an action in.  If I don’t make my phonecalls or do some other real form of activism, then I have to find someplace to give $25 to.  Should that $25 feel like a real sacrifice or should it be a bagatelle?  I don’t know.

Maybe it’s good to have a 9 month salary because it causes me to reset my spending ideas each summer.  Or maybe we’re meant to be spending more (though we would seriously regret getting used to 2x my income if DH lost his job).

I don’t really know how to feel about money amounts this summer.

How are you feeling about your income/saving/spending balance right now?

Links we’ve loved and not lost

Here are some links for your perusal:

This book looks neat and you should check it out.  Books are great!  You can donate some.

On reviewing articles.  How words mean things.  Don’t email academics in July, we’re not getting paid.

Have you got any hang-ups about money?  Or collaborating with others?

Sad?  Or furiousOrganize.  Or do this.  Everything is terrible.

This person is trash.  Are your senators?  This one might be, I dunno.

And here are all the tweets that #2 sent me that I haven’t looked at because I can’t stand twitter:

Welcome to our blog, now you feel bad. Congratulations, if I have to look at it you do too.

We’re never going to get to stop talking about Russia, are we.


Movie goofs

Ask the grumpies: teen drivers

omdg asks:

How do you feel about teenagers and driving?

#1:  Terrified.

#2:  They have to learn sometime, right?  Kids today don’t seem super eager to get behind the wheel like kids in my generation (#notallkids).  Most of my friends with older kids report forcing their teenagers to get learning permits.  I’m not sure what the change is.  It’s not like we’re living someplace with great public transportation.  Maybe it’s more of the kids spending time with parents and enjoying doing so and not being off on their own much thing that’s been happening.

Do you twirl your spaghetti?

And if you do, do you use a spoon to assist with the twirls?

What are your thoughts on cutting spaghetti noodles?  Pro/Con/Ambivalent?

#1:  I twirl but don’t use a spoon. A very small part of me cringes at the thought of cutting spaghetti noodles, but the bulk of me thinks it makes total sense.  This is somewhere around the level of split infinitives for me, maybe some other grammar thing that I don’t do in formal writing myself but don’t mind when others do it.  (I’m pretty sure I occasionally split infinitives in formal writing.)

#2:  Yes twirl, no on the spoon, I think cutting it is wrong but my dad does it (and I continually give him [excrement] for it)

Do you track your net worth?

#1:  I really don’t.  Our long-term finances are kind of a mess.  We have so many different accounts with different providers.  (The paranoid part of me thinks this might be a benefit if the fascist government cracks down on dissidents– we might be able to get to Canada or another safe harbor and transfer at least a subset of our accounts before they figure out all of them… hopefully.  We’ll see.  Or hopefully this won’t actually happen.)  I do track some of our accounts on mint (but mint often double-counts things or can’t log into things, so even that number isn’t accurate) and I monthly track our savings and checking account because I need to know whether or not we’re on track for the unpaid summer.

I think I’ve calculated our entire net worth 3 times in the past 11 years.  (Back in graduate school it was easier– our networth was just our checking and saving (and DH’s student loans…) and then later a few etrade accounts).  Each time it’s come as a bit of a pleasant shock.  I think that’s what happens when you wait a long time between calculations and keep spending less than you earn.  (Markets going up has also helped.)  Knowing it is above a number has helped me loosen up on spending, so it’s probably just as well I don’t look more often (assuming it is going to keep going up… I might need to recheck in case of a major market meltdown).

#2:  I have never done so before. Well, back before retirement accounts I guess I did because there wasn’t anything to track. Retirement accounts are worth such a varying amount from month to month. Thinking about retirement account balances is stressful, so I just put money in and don’t think about it too much.

Do you track your net worth? If so, how often?

Link Love

Drinking toilet water and more torture stories about abuse for child detainees in the US

Even more horrible stories about immigrant children being tortured after being separated from their parents at the US border.

Dark money groups no longer need to disclose donor groups to the IRS with new Treasury rule

Official Whitehouse transcript is missing most explosive part of the Trump-Putin press conference.

But when a *man* says it…

1985 death row final statement

Another white US terrorist that barely makes the news

Republican men on paying for their mistresses’ abortion and similar things

Leigh discusses her current career situation and women in tech

Women in tech and money

In case you were wondering who the women in the Maroon 5 video are

She did not buy a new car

Debt free!

How to restart your writing practice

library reopens after 9 months

What is the lioness and the cheese grater? (NSFW, maybe?  though you could read a 22 page scholarly article on the topic…)

Sleepless fantasy comic

An apple for a dollar

Clawsome humble bumble

Beth Stern’s cat foster home

Sooo cute


Ask the Grumpies: Update from Finally Facing it

Here’s an update from last week’s ask the grumpies!

FFI says:

I’m appreciating reading folks’ comments!

I’ve done all the paperwork for a home equity loan and am hoping it will be finalized by the end of next week. Our credit score was better than I’d anticipated (our bank takes the middle of the three scores, and ours was a 767, which felt good). We therefore got an interest rate of 5.38% on a loan of $50,000, which was more than we needed, but borrowing the extra amount lowered the interest rate further, and I will simply take the extra and pay it immediately back to the loan against the principle. It’s a ten-year loan, but the loan officer (whom I liked and had a very frank and informative conversation with) calculated that putting the extra money directly back into the loan and then paying just the standard payment would have us paying off the loan in 8 years. And of course paying extra would make that go even faster. And I made sure that there were no closing costs and no prepayment penalty on the home equity loan and that it was for a fixed rate. So prepaying on a regular basis is definitely part of the plan.

I’ve got the budgeting app Honeydue set up and am working on a household budget, and my partner called and got our cable bill reduced by $50/month. It will take a couple of months for us to get a workable budget, I think — figuring out what we currently spend on what and where we want to make changes — but we’ve started on the process. And I’m reading Elizabeth Warren’s All Your Worth.

Also, re: side gigs: I’m starting a 3-week summer gig on Monday, and I just responded to a call for SAT proctors for the coming year. The latter doesn’t pay much, but it’s easy (other than getting up early on a Saturday), and I can send the $$ directly to the equity loan. I’m actually feeling pretty excited about these side gigs, since it’s a way I can directly get more income to pay down the loan. I like the suggestions people made for gamifying this process, and I’m going to play around and find one that works for us.

I hadn’t actually thought about taking that “found” $50 from the cable and automatically adding that to the monthly loan repayment; I was just thinking about its being a good thing in general principle. So perhaps this is where I need to change my thinking around budgeting and paying things off! But I definitely was thinking about continuing to pay the $791 we’re already paying so that we’re making more progress (because the monthly payment the loan will require is in the $500’s). Also, I’ll get a small pay raise that kicks in in September, so that’s some more $$ — not much more, but every little bit counts if I concentrate on making it count.

That all sounds great!

Isn’t it crazy how the cable company was just like, sure, here’s $50/mo? We try to call around about once every two or three years just to ask for discounts.  (If you’re not using Ting or a similar discount service, the cell company is usually pretty eager to give big discounts as well.)

Note that All Your Worth has really great advice for long-term planning and getting your fixed and variable expenses about right.  Her savings number is a lower bound and her spending number is an upper bound.  When you’re in a temporary savings blitz, it’s ok to be way out of whack with increased savings vs. decreased spending.  The key word there is “temporary”–  I do think she’s right that you shouldn’t have to feel deprived long-term if you have the income not to be, but for a short-term blitz so that you can get those fixed expenses down (which is what debt repayment does), a little pain earlier makes for more freedom later.  Dave Ramsey’s “Live like no one else so you can live like no one else” hits that idea hard.

Bankrate has a LOC repayment calculator.  If I did everything right (and assuming it matches the type of loan you have), it looks like you might be able to knock the HELOC out in under 6 years just keeping your current monthly payment of $791/month. A single pre-payment of $50 in the first month knocks off more than a month of payments. Applying all of your cable savings each month in addition to the $791 you were originally paying gets you to a payoff date of 63 months, or 5.25 years. You can play around and see what kinds of benefits your side-gigs add.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if in 2 or 3 years you could call that $841/month plus any raises you get your own income to spend and save as you please?  Even 6 years isn’t so bad compared to the dread you were initially feeling.  This is totally doable!


Have any of  you just called to get a discount?  How did it feel when you paid off a major debt?