By: Revanche

Net Worth & Life Report: December 2017

January 1, 2018

Money & Life Report: December 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.

Refund – special request. I missed the return window on some shirts I’d bought from Amazon, preFinCon. It’s a generous window, missing it was totally my fault, but they don’t fit well so I gave it a shot. In a quick chat with customer service, I told them I’d missed it but is there any chance of making an exception to allow me to return the never worn shirts? They graciously agreed and that’s money not wasted, back in my pocket.

Our second mortgage recast! It happened much faster than I had expected. We won’t be recasting again any time soon but this one brings our mortgage down to Less Than Horrifying levels. Still not good, but less  horrible. Our interest went from $2,384.42 to $1,881.84 and it’ll be lower still once the latest recast is fully processed. Now our mortgage is just terrifying! Yay!

Saving and investing

We’ve maxed out a 401(k) and my IRA and saved 20% of cash of our net salaries the past few years. That isn’t enough to kickstart our early retirement savings though. 2017 being what it was, we didn’t even manage that much this year but I’ve automated new savings levels for 2018.

We’re aiming to save at least 30% of our incomes (pre and post tax) and I’m looking in every nook and cranny to figure out where and how to save another 10%. I may have to concentrate on increasing income again, but I sure do think there’s room in our budgets to squeeze some more savings out of our existing income.

Once we are settled in again from holiday travel, we do have a list of things to return and list for sale to recoup our losses when we made bad buying decisions (wrong fit and non-refundable) from the reno, though, and that will also help.

Red envelopes. All of the red envelope money that JB received for Christmas will go straight into zir 529 for this year. Plumping up the college savings! Any token monies we receive will go to defray gas and travel costs.

Net worth numbers

We had a 1.99% increase from last month and a total year end increase of 11.53%. Not great, not horrible. I’m planning for a bigger percentage increase next year but as always, there’s quite a large dependency on the markets and how well they do, or don’t.

I had charts showing the numbers but WordPress hates them so it refuses to upload them now. Grumble. In text form, then, our total net worth trended up a teeny tiny bit. Investments and real estate are up a wee notch, while cash is down a significant bump. Our allocations have shifted so that the majority of our money is in our investments now, with about 30% in real estate, and the remaining 15% in cash.

Miles & points

Alaska miles: 204,001
Chase Ultimate rewards: 299,283
Starpoints: 155,265

On Life

Damn those germs. I came so close to not getting sick this year. Or, the latter half of the year. I can’t remember the first half anymore. I’m mainlining Vitamin C, Mucinex, and anything else that may keep me upright. We even got our flu shots early this year. What gives?? Oh, side note, Mucinex DM really helped keep my symptoms under control, but I was told that Mucinex D, the most expensive stuff behind the counter, is the real gold. I tried that out to the tune of $30 for 28 pills and it hasn’t magically cured me, but it also keeps the symptoms somewhat in check. May I magically recover for January 1st.

Christmas means stress. It has always, in years past. Negotiating family expectations on both sides would use up so much of my brain power and emotional bandwidth that I’d get an upset stomach starting from Black Friday through New Year’s when it was all over. This year, for the first time, I found a way to either feel peace or numb. It’s unclear which it was but we got our tree up early because I wasn’t going to let my dissatisfaction with some parts of the holiday mar my enjoyment of the other parts.

Most years, I’ve turned into a massive ball of anxiety over how to arrange family visits, how to divide time among loved ones, how to minimize the overspending. This year, I found peace with the gifting. I worked on honestly acknowledging who I do (friends, aunts) and don’t want to see (Dad), so we could figure out what our schedule should look like. Maybe I’m softening in my old age.

Much of the holiday visiting WAS stressful for me simply because as an introvert, the nonstop nature of a long holiday visit is completely draining. I did get to spend a little bit of quality time with people I cared about and that was good.

There’s got to be a way to schedule the year end holidays so that I am not overloaded halfway through but that’s a problem for next summer.

Some highlights of family visits which remind me why seeing them twice a year is plenty:

  • It’s important that JB NOT have hair on zir forehead. It’s the center of intelligence / something I can’t translate but clearly very important so it cannot cannot cannot be covered up by hair. No bangs, y’all.
  • One child is hard but a second child is ten times harder so one is plenty or hey, may be best to have no kids at all! Why? Because 2 kids cause arguments and ruin marriages.
  • The casual racism, OMG. We fight it and call it out but they also ignore us.
  • Mom’s death and burial dates, according to some fortuneteller who is touted to be Highly Accurate, says that her descendants will be well off and comfortable. *skeptical look directed at my sibling* Oh really, confirmation bias? REALLY? I’m sure that it’s because Mom happened to time her death to an auspicious set of dates that all my hard work and opportunities of a decade finally paid off. I do my best to foster an abundance mentality since getting away from starvation habits but, really, that’s ridiculous. Clearly I do not find comfort in spirituality or religiosity like they do.
  • Serious authoritarianism: They’ve seen a lot of difficult and spoiled kids in their day so I understand it’s jaundiced their views, but at the same time, recommending that I *never* allow JB choose zir own clothing out of the pre-vetted (hand me down) clothing put in zir closet is far out there. They insist that if you allow even that much choice it’ll basically be the end of things. Good grief. I would actually like my child to have and keep a mind of zir own!

:: How were your holidays and the last month of 2017? 

21 Responses to “Net Worth & Life Report: December 2017”

  1. Joe says:

    Happy New Year!
    11.5% is really good for a normal year. It just looks small because the stock market did so well last year. I think you did very well so don’t be so hard on yourself.
    You’ve got a ton of miles. Hopefully, you’ll get to use them this year.
    Good luck in 2018!

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks, Joe! I haven’t put together a plan for the miles yet but that takes less time than building up the points and miles 🙂

  2. I’ve been sick a bunch in 2017 and I am sick right now with yet another head cold and am feeling really sorry for myself. Especially since I have to work today (given that I haven’t worked in over a week and spent the last two days in bed and I have deadlines coming up this week).
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted…(Mis-)Adventures in trying to get a whole house water filter.My Profile

  3. GYM says:

    11.5% is amazing!!! Didn’t you move? That costs a bit of money doesn’t it?

    Omg you have so many miles- that’s like Travel Hacking porn right there LOL. Where are you going to go? Were these mainly from credit card points or from work travel?

    • Revanche says:

      We did move, and we did have to pay quite a bit for movers, but I think we also made some decent decisions about our money surrounding the sale of our first home (carefully staged it for best price) and the purchase of the second (refusing to go above a certain amount) and we stayed in the market so we benefited from the stock market gains. I know those could go away, though! The majority of these miles and points are from credit card churning, only some are from work travel.

  4. From this and your previous posts, it sounds like you’ve done a lot this year to figure out what you/your family want and need from others. Congrats on figuring out how to deal with the difficult people in your life, especially your Dad.

    Also…$1,881.84 a month in interest? I am so glad I live in an inexpensive city.
    Solitary Diner recently posted…2017 – The Year in ReviewMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      We’ve done a LOT of work this year, and I hope it pays off over the next several years. I know we’ve still got more road to travel with the Dad situation.

      I’m glad for you that your city isn’t absurd like ours! (and ours is the cheap one. Ugh.)

  5. Happy New Year!

    Earlier this year I gave up on the easily grabbable decongestants and made it to the pharmacy counter for actual Sudafed. It made a big difference.

    • Revanche says:

      I had no idea it would make such a difference! Perhaps not in MY case but for other people, at least. Happy New Year!

  6. SP says:

    Happy new year! Congrats on the recast and the reduction of the terror of the mortgage! I totally feel you there!
    SP recently posted…The FIRE community doesn’t feel like my communityMy Profile

  7. Cindy in the South says:

    I think your mortgage is fantastic, considering where you live, which is in California, and an expensive part of California. Good job!!!!

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks, Cindy! It’s better now but still pretty high. That interest alone would more than make up some mortgage payments for reasonable areas 😛

      Happy New Year!

  8. I feel a slight guilt for laughing at some of the anxious situations described here … but you’re funny! I’m an introvert who gets exhausted by the end-of-year gatherings too, yet I love them. And since we don’t travel, it’s all punctuated by more down-time. As for saving money, won’t cutting off your dad (and brother?) help significantly? All the best in getting healthy again. Maybe 2018 will be the year of no sick?
    Prudence Debtfree recently posted…2018: Our Year of Debt-FreedomMy Profile

  9. There needs to be some kind of mass writeup about generic cold/flu medicine and which ones actually might work or something. I never used to have anything when I was younger, besides cough syrup (which I would avoid at all costs, unless it was “the good stuff” / the kind with codeine in it that was the only one that actually worked for me). I’ve slowly come to realize that some medicine actually works and makes life immensely more bearable (like omg decongestants), but there are so many options (and often bordering on dubious claims).

    Eh, anyway, just make sure to *never, ever* give JB bangs or else you’re a terrible parent 😉
    Felicity (@FelicityFFF) recently posted…2017 Recap, 2018 Goals, and a Guest PostMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Growing up I used to be stuffed with Tylenol and antibiotics for EVERYTHING. Colds, flus, you name it, they antibiotic’ed it. It was terrible.

      Bangs are a literal sign on your kid’s head of a terrible parent! 😀

  10. Those mileage points are freaking awesome! We’ve used our Alaska card for years but as there are now three of us : we’d like to take more regular trips, I’m stepping up our game so we can get all our trips covered with points. Can’t stand paying for or airplane travel.
    Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early recently posted…Friday’s Frugal Five (2018 – Week 1)My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks – it’s taken a fair bit of work but I didn’t earn mine the hard way like Tanja (ONL) did 🙂 And we have to keep working on it to make sure we can regularly travel without overpaying for the flights. Good luck with yours!

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