By: Revanche

Net Worth & Life Report: October 2017

November 6, 2017

Money and Life Report: October 2017

On Money


Our normal income comes from two full time day jobs.

We experiment with earning money on the side, including minimal cash flow that we don’t touch from an investment property and investing in dividend stocks.

Our side income comes from Swagbucks, selling clothes on Poshmark which is hit or miss, using cash back sites like Ebates, Mr.Rebates, and tracking activity through Achievemint (my introduction to it). Any purchases you make going through my Amazon links keep these blog lights on.

The long term goal is to replace our day job income before my health declines enough to prevent me from working.

Poshmark sales. Tiny though they are, I celebrate every one. That’s stuff out of the house, money in our pockets. This month I’ve sold one sweater and a really old wool jacket. For stuff like this, I’m generally happy when I get three times a yard sale price, and often get more like 5 times that.

*pokes universe* I asked for 5 sales in the month, how about it?  

Bye, old home. We bade good-bye to our former residence and said hello to the money in the form of an extra large check. Now, every penny of that check has a home, but even I’m not immune to that delicious moment when you hand over a check to the teller and they read the amount. The money hasn’t changed me, though! On the way out the door, I grabbed the coupons for 88 cents a box pasta. Take care of your pennies and your pounds, I always say.


Our normal spending includes the living expenses for two households so this update ignores those ordinary living expenses. When buying online, I always check Mr. Rebates and Ebates for cashback.

Utilities. We used to pay for trash services, a gym, playground, landscaping, and long term maintenance through the HOA. Moving meant giving up everything but the trash services, so in an effort to make the most of our savings we opted to try the smallest trash can possible. It’s both fiscally and environmentally sound, if we can manage it! So far, so good. We pay quarterly and they billed us $88 for the last three months of the year. Those three months would have cost us about $1350 at the old place. Next year, I’ll stash the difference for maintenance since we’ll have to do our own roof repairs and replace the water heater eventually.

Our water, gas, and electric bills were always separate and those have gone up a bit since we have more space to heat, light, and use the dishwasher more frequently than was our habit at the old place.

New eyewear. I lost my reading glasses in the move. I’m sure it’s here somewhere but after three weeks of searching, my strained eyeballs couldn’t take it anymore. I went to see my optometrist for an updated prescription ($20), browsed the Zenni cheap options for hours and ended up ordering the one fancy pair of glasses that should fit my face ($40), and my eyes have been relieved ever since. Their customer service is decidedly barebones and I didn’t love their shipping options – they were overpriced IMO – but the product arrived within a week so that wasn’t the worst service.

PiC found a brand new bike for me. It costs $2000 new but was listed for $300 on Craigslist. Never mind the newness or MRSP, decent bicycles cost a staggering amount. $300 for a bike??? I’ve owned two bicycles in my lifetime – a tricycle with training wheels when I was 4, bought from a yard sale for a dollar (so technically not a bike), and an oversized purple ten speed bought from a yard sale for ten dollars when I was 13. I was too short for that bike so my rides were always shaky and braking consisted of bailing out at the right time. I’ve wanted a bike for years, literally started looking for one before we were married several years ago, and kept refusing because it was too expensive. Now, once we find a bike on sale for JuggerBaby, we can all go on family rides. But first, I need a helmet. JuggerBaby will be the first one to call me out if I dare ride a bike bareheaded.

FINCON 17 happened!

Not spending

Free laundry basket. I’ve finally conceded we need a second laundry basket but wasn’t ready to spend the money yet. A friend was over to lend a hand with some moving, noticed I was clumsily hauling laundry by the armload, and offered us their extra one! Saved it from the landfill and free to me, I love it!

Free bandages for Seamus. In the ongoing saga that is Seamus and hot spots, I finally found a use for that random hospital gown that followed me home! I’d used up all our medical gauze on Seamus’s paws, which have had a really bad month, we were about to hit Walgreens to stock up on BOGO bandaging materials. Realizing it didn’t need to be sterile, just clean, I cut up the hospital gown into strips, making old timey bandages for him and they worked a treat! It doesn’t stick to his hot spots so it isn’t uncomfortable to peel off his paws.

Saving and investing

We max out a 401(k) and IRA every year. We normally save 20% of cash of our net salaries but that’s on hold while we get ourselves sorted out.

New investments. I was reading up more on Fundrise, planning to test those waters, but this Motley Fool coverage of the many fees has me putting that on pause. We invest with Vanguard for a reason! Maybe the right step is continuing to dump cash into index funds, ETFs, and dividend stocks. Weirdly enough, I feel less versed in index funds than anything else.

Gifts and 529 savings. JB received a generous contribution to zir 529 plan from a relative this month. This, in addition to our $100 monthly contributions brings zir balance up to $40,000. I’ll make additional lump sum contributions once I figure out our cash flow but in the meantime, all cash gifts to JB now go straight into the 529. How much should we save total? In the starter post linked above I speculated that we’d start a custodial account after we hit $50k in here but that now feels like too little. Should we aim for $100k?

Miles & points

Alaska miles: 146,002
Chase Ultimate rewards: 198,498
Starpoints: 137,656

Our net worth: perking up!

Don’t mind my missing September labels, my graphing hates September and October a little bit, for some reason. I haven’t decided what the perfect asset allocation is across our cash on hand, investments, and property but I’d like real estate to make up less than 20% even when we’ve eliminated our mortgage debt. That’s going to be a challenge considering the size of the mortgage and my intent to expand our real estate holdings but I’ll find a way! 10-17 Total Assets

10-17 Asset Allocation

Links from this month

On Life

FREE: We signed up for a Home Depot DIY workshop for kids for the first time. JuggerBaby is currently very much into firetrucks, so the fire truck bank theme perfectly dovetails zir and my interests 😀

We didn’t realize that the recommended age range for this activity was 5-12 until we got there but it made sense once we got the kit with both tiny nails and screws! Whoops. But we were undeterred and are now the proud owners of a painted red firehouse bank with two slots for coins and no way to get them out but smashing the box. Also whoops.

The Home Depot employees overseeing the event are really into it despite the huge crush of humanity. Everyone was relaxed and engaged with their own projects, there weren’t tantrums, yelling or fighting, like I’d subconsciously expected. It was all quite civilized!

Literal nightmares. I’ve never been a great sleeper and one reason is I have horribly vivid, horror movie quality and length, nightmares. Most nights of the week, once I drop off, it’s immediately off to Horrorville. I don’t even watch scary movies! Who needs to, with this imagination?

This has been a problem that goes back as far as I have solid memory. It’s maddening to wake in a sweat night after night, lay back down, and have yet another nightmare.

The only predicable ones are when I’m stressing over my dad and brother – I’ll have nightmares about fighting with my brother for months and wake myself or PiC shouting at him.

This is one of those problems without a good solution – how do you control your dreams?! My best bet so far is to read comedy before bed, nothing mysterious, dramatic, or dark. But that’s no guarantee. I’ve gotten used to it but I feel terrible that I probably passed my night terrors on to JB. 🙁

Storage. I will never understand why we always struggle with storage. Then I realize that despite our best efforts, we still have a lot of stuff. Some is seasonal (our fake Christmas tree and winter coats), some is situational (extra bedding for guests, emergency supplies for an earthquake), some is bulk storage which is continually rotated so always takes up space (paper towels, toilet paper, soap, dog food). We need a better system, to prioritize, and reduce our stuff.

:: How was your Halloween (or Thanksgiving, for the Canadians)?

Read past monthly updates here!

14 Responses to “Net Worth & Life Report: October 2017”

  1. Cindy in the South says:

    I think you are doing well. Keep up the good work!

  2. Always nice to see your NW perk up, right?

    Glad you finally got your bike. I actually just purchased on this past month as well. I’d been shopping for one slowly over the past couple of years. I look forward to the day when my whole family can get out for a ride.

    And, yes, the Home Depot kid’s DIY workshops are great! 🙂

    • Revanche says:

      Yes, it’s so comforting to see those lines start to go back up. Finally!

      Now that the bike’s here, it’s time to go helmet shopping. Eventually, we will all be properly equipped.

  3. Anne says:

    I’ve had stress dreams lately too… not as bad as what you’re describing, but they are infuriating! I wish we could control our minds while sleeping. I hate waking up completely stressed out, especially when daytime me doesn’t give an eff about the situation or realizes thinking about it is a waste of my emotional capacity.
    Anne recently posted…The Most Incredible Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Literally Everyone on Your ListMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I am annoyed that our subconsciousnesses don’t follow our program! If I don’t want to worry about it consciously, that doesn’t mean put it on the dream agenda. Sheesh.

  4. Sense says:

    I couldn’t get past the $1350 for 3 months of trash services before commenting.


  5. LOL, good for JB for calling out the helmetless. Kids do tend to be good about making sure that you, too, are following the rules and good safety protocols.

    I lost my spare glasses in September and the left lens has a tendency to pop out on my daily specs, so I’ve been looking at Zenni for a while. Still haven’t gotten to the ordering stage, though. It’s nice not to be beholden to the $500+ price tag that my eye doctor charges for my glasses, though.

    • Revanche says:

      JB spent 20 minutes sitting on a bridge yelling at bicyclists for riding without helmets when we were in San Diego. Ze was quite dissatisfied with the state of adult responsibility.

      I should see if Zenni will give us referral promotion codes!

  6. Linda says:

    Does your municipality also accept food waste in the compost bin? Mine does, so I manage with the smallest trash bin just fine. I don’t even put it out every week since it usually takes about 2-3 weeks for it to fill up. There is so much that can be composted: paper towels, facial tissues, cardboard and paper containers soiled with food (like ice cream pints and pizza boxes), tea bags, coffee grounds with filters, fat and bones from meat, etc. I used to compost a lot of this stuff (just not the meat/bones/fat) at my home in Chicago, too, so if you don’t have the ability to send it away with the rest of your trash you can always start a compost bin in your yard. A worm bin works for much of this stuff, as well.

    Storage is an issue for me, too. I downsized a lot of stuff before I moved to CA, but there is seasonal stuff, as you note. There’s also basic home maintenance stuff to store: a ladder, tools, etc. I’ve been wanting to organize my tiny one-car garage, but I’ve had to spend so much money on my health and other house stuff this year that my plans will have to wait until next year.
    Linda recently posted…Smoke and ashesMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Yes I think we can, I need to start fashioning paper wrappers to see if that will work well in our bin. But as it is all our food waste seems to be containable in the small bin so I’m pretty proud of that.

      I’m crossing my fingers for you to start having an up year so you can work on that garage project!

  7. My boys used to love those Home Depot workshops. We’ve been to dozens over the years, and used to also go to the Lowes ones when they had them. I’m looking forward to when the little guy is old enough to really do them himself. Right now his brothers have to “help” him.

  8. You should try to Lowe’s events. The Home Depot ones require painting, which either takes a long time to dry, or your kids will get all their clothes dirty (and it’s really hard to get the paint off). With Lowe’s, it’a all stickers – no mess!

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