The Last Splurge

If you follow Grant Cardone at all he preaches increasing income above all else. The 2nd step in the process is to reduce taxes. I have done a relatively good job of that thus far, my internship allowed me to dictate how much income I make because it was a 100% commission job. I have tracked all receipts and have started researching how to minimize my tax bill this upcoming spring as well. The third step in his cycle is to save specifically “save it all”. This requires you to live your daily life without increasing your cost of living while you increase your income.

We see people violating this rule every day, some guy gets a promotion at work makes an extra $10k a year and goes out and celebrates by purchasing a new BMW. That promotion and pay increase did not make any difference since he increased his cost of living. He probably would have been better off getting a $5k pay increase and not blowing the money on material things.

I never was into blowing my money, here and there I would “treat yo self” but nothing drastic. Last summer at the end of my internship which paid me quite well and was a decent increase from the previous year ($150 more a week) I bought my only watch and a piece of wall art. That was my form of treating myself which came out to be about $250.

This summer by the time it is over and with bonuses included as well as any lingering payments I should avg a pay increase of about $350 more a week (no living stipend though) than last summer. I should be able to reduce my tax bill because of my 1099 status this year substantially. (I received about $1300 back last year, but I also had taxes taken out every paycheck and I am not taxed under my current pay system yet.) So, check box 1 and 2 for Mr. Cardone. I should also note I didn’t upgrade my standard of living during this time. I currently live in the cheapest apartment my roommate and I could find that would be able to accommodate a 3-month lease. It is cockroach infested and is pretty hood for a $400 a person month rent ($450 for 3-month lease). I drive the same car, I wear the same clothes, I buy the same food, I buy the same beer, and spend the same amount at the bars.

Onto box #3 spending: Looking over my expenses which I track to the penny, we’re looking pretty good. I went over them in a blog post about halfway through the summer and you can check them out here. I spent some extracurricular on/with my girlfriend for the vacation and everything like that. I also spent some money at the bars and on booze and other non-constructive habits and vices, but that was minimal. Overall, I didn’t blow any of my money. That is until this upcoming weekend.

I plan to spend a bunch of money when I return to home and go shopping with the girlfriend Saturday. I WANT new clothes, new shoes, a new suit, and some other Knick knacks. I say want and not need because that’s just what they are. The clothes I wear are fine but perhaps a bit dated. Some of my shorts and shirts I often wear I purchased 3-4 years ago and some are not in the best condition. I’d still wear them though, so it isn’t necessary I purchase new ones. Essentially this shopping trip is to purchase my “adult clothes” things that I will need in the future after I graduate college. That is why I call it the last splurge. This theoretically should get me the next two years or so of my life in terms of clothing and what not and would be considered the “treat yo self” portion of my saving.

Some of these purchases have been a long time coming for example the suit I currently wear I’ve owned for about 5 years, and I received a gift card for the purchase of a new suit last Christmas. The watch I purchased previously was intended to go with this new suit I plan to purchase. With upcoming interviews for full time jobs and the networking, events and other occasions I plan to attend you could consider this an investment in my dated wardrobe.

So, what do you all think? A waste of time and money or a much-needed update to prepare myself for what comes in my future.

 

 

Personal Finance Overview 7/17/18

Personal finances overview for this summer:

Have you ever taken a hard look at your personal finances? I mean a hard look, like track every transaction, every paycheck, every bill you pay? Two years ago, I started tracking my personal finances during my co-op and internships. It has really opened my eyes to what I spend money on every day and gives me a better idea of where I am at with my finances. Let’s look at how I’ve been doing this summer!

finances

Above is a snip of my master spreadsheet for this summer. It contains all my expenses, paychecks, investments, some of my goals etc. Let’s go over this briefly to get a sense of what is going on. In color coded column is a category, from left to right: food, gas, fun, gym, girlfriend, bullshit. Sorry you’ve got your own column Nikki, but you cost some money and I’m not going to put you down at the bullshit level.

Anyways let’s analyze each column starting with food. Obviously, this is critical as you need food to survive and it’s a very basic need, I have included any eating out (fast food, restaurants etc.) as well as coffee and energy drinks and things of that nature. I work from my car and my job is pretty demanding out in the heat and having considerable amounts of energy is vital to my success so while I could opt for cheaper energy substitutions (majority of my coffee is from Starbucks) it is a necessary evil for me to preform well. Considering all of that, I average just under $300 a month over a 2-month span for my food consumption and it will hopefully taper down to $250 when I near the end of the summer.

Next up is gas, again a very necessary portion of my job is I must drive a lot and I also travel back home and back to school on occasion (200+ mile trips one way). At just under $200 a month on gas, I do go back to STL this upcoming weekend but that should be my last trip home besides actually going home for the summer, hopefully we can reduce that expenditure a tad and I can drive more efficiently.

Fun money! This is the column I try to minimize the most, as you can see I have some of paid subscription services but in my defense, I pay for the Netflix for my whole family and my brother and I use Spotify and I pay for it all. But besides that, you see alcohol and tobacco costs taking up the bulk of this column, I will have a substantial increase here as I will be paying for copious amounts of alcohol this weekend. Its gonna be litty titty.  This column will make its way up to $200 a month without a doubt here shortly.

Gym: If you didn’t already know my health and fitness is very important to me as I am a rugby player and have been lifting all my teenage years. The gym membership was a large upfront cost and I should have enough supplements to get me through the rest of the summer, hopefully this column ends at about $60-75 a month in costs.

Girlfriend: Sorry not sorry but you cost me some money this summer babe. Mainly in plane tickets to vacation but also lots of food and nice little gifts. Again, I wasn’t going to put it in the bullshit column so it gets its own column. There probably won’t be any additions to this column for the remainder of the summer so hopefully ending around $200 a month on this one.

Bullshit: this one is a toughie. To preface, this isn’t all bullshit like obviously I need to pay rent and to live somewhere but that’s what I called the column even when I wasn’t paying rent, so I stuck with the title. As you can see we have a deposit and lots of rent, I am paying 2 rents right now, one for Rolla (college town) and one for here in KC this summer. That started in July and my KC august rent will be low and the Rolla rent will increase slightly so it’ll lighten the load overall, but July rent sucked up a lot of my money. We have electric and internet bills, they both had start up fees, so they have since flatlined and we’ll only need to pay another month of two of those. Some of my supplies for work cost me a decent chunk of change including ladders, shoes, clothes, but those can be tax write offs as well. I also got my first ever speeding ticket this year which cost me $220 to get it moved to a non-moving violation. Anyways this is the largest chunk of my costs but hopefully with august being a short month it will taper down, and I can get my deposit back and we can wash our hands of this.

As of today July 17, 2018, my monthly costs of living is $2,134.50, I’m not sure if that is a lot or a little compared to most of the people reading this. I don’t have kids, I live in a cockroach invested shit hole of an apartment, I am partially paying for two rents, I eat cheap, etc. My assumption would be yes this is very cheap cost of living. I would like to reduce it further though. As I’ve stated above for some of the columns they should not increase anymore and as father time keeps ticking my avg cost per month will reduce. I had the goal of $1500 a month this summer however that was way underestimated and simply won’t be possible, I would like to have a cost of living under $2,000 though I think that would be very reasonable considering the circumstances.

My monthly conversion for what I am paid comes out to $3,033 a month. To me this is extremely low and pisses me off, (salary equivalent = $36,400) because I made $50k salary + living stipend last summer, and I am working significantly harder than I did last summer. My numbers should bump up soon and I will get a bonus as well at the end of the summer which will help. My goal was to make an equivalent of $60,000 salary from this job and I am very very far behind that goal.

As always let me know what you think!

Do you keep track of your personal finances? Do you keep track like this?

Could you benefit from tracking like this?

How do your expenses compare with your income?

Thanks, B^2

 

 

Aspiration|Summit checking account

I just recently opened another savings/checking account through Aspiration. Aspiration has been in the news lately with its Glassdoor reviews and recent awards. I am using this new savings/checking account as my emergency fund. Aspiration is known for its high interest rates specifically, 0.25% APY for accounts below $2500, and 1.00% APY for accounts above $2500. My short-term goal is to reach the $2500 amount by the end of 2018. In the future I would like to use their IRA, and investment account options. Another perk of Aspiration is that they will allow you to use any ATM and they will pay the transaction fees. This proves extremely useful in the context of an emergency account. That along with the high interest rate gives Aspiration the dynamic duo I was searching for.

I will provide further review as I become more familiar with the platform and explore some of its other features and investment potential.

I encourage you to take a look at this great banking option.

Aspiration Referral Program

Every time a friend or loved one opens an account using your invitation link (linked below), you both will receive $25 Do Good dollars to donate to the charitable cause of your choice. So lets start the new year off right!

https://my.aspiration.com/app/token/referral/42IC50VR6ON2QX0B

Stretch Investing

I am currently using a method that I have called stretch investing in my current life and we will see how it turns out as I make it through this school year. In case you didn’t know.  I am a student and I have little to no income coming in from August to May every year. Fortunately I work as an intern/co-op in the engineering industry in the summer which is a very lucrative and rewarding experience. This past summer I was working at a large manufacturing company as an intern and decided I was going to try to maximize my returns and to stretch the money I made as much as I can. So here is what I did. I invested everything I made and I mean EVERYTHING.  I use excel spreadsheets to  track my income and expenses down to the dollar every summer when I work and as you can see I spared no expense to invest everything I made.

Date: Income: invested
6/2/2017 $1,438.95 RH $3,000.00
6/16/2017 $1,458.27 LC $1,500.00
6/30/2017 $1,453.97 Stash $1,450.00
7/14/2017 $1,533.03
7/28/2017 $1,472.80
8/11/2017 $1,400.00 .75 of paycheck
reimbursement $197.95
IN tax refund $22.00
ebay alternate  income sources
amazon $56.44
gas money $100.00
resell $3.00
total made: $9,136.41 total invested: $5,950.00
% invested of net 97.80%
% invested of tot 65.12%
net: $6,084.03 invested per month $1,878.95

How and why did I do it?

How: I use my credit card for all purchases, between the ease of keeping track of what I was spending and where I also received cash back rewards. On pay day (every 2 weeks on Friday) when the direct deposit hit my bank account I would pay off my credit card routinely. This kept my credit utilization low and prevented me from digging myself in a hole. The rest was invested as you can see nearly 98% of what I didn’t spend to live (food, gas, rent, etc). I didn’t really have any savings that summer, I didn’t intentionally stash away money in a savings account or anything, it all went to investment accounts (Robinhood for stock investing, Lending club for peer to peer lending, and Stash to invest in ETF’s)

Why: I believed that the returns of over investing and the hassle it created would outweigh the risks. I should also mention that a job as an intern is relatively secure, it would cost more to hire and fire me than it would to let me work the 12 weeks I was designated to. The pay was consistent, if anything big happened I had my parents I could rely on and a joint debit card between my dad and I. With all of that in mind that is why I assumed this risk.

What happened afterwards:

The plan was to use Lending Club payments to cover my weekly expenses and use returns in stash to cover larger expenses that came up. Again my parent’s cover my living costs at school and what not so I have relatively little financial obligations during the school year besides what I do myself (going out to eat, bar, etc). Unfortunately I do the latter quite often and the $100 a month I was receiving a  month from Lending Club just couldn’t keep up. That and added costs of things like winter break trips etc required me to pull money from stash more often than I liked to. Overall I think it worked out alright, if you can stick to a stricter budget and can forecast your expenses well then the returns you receive from your investments will benefit you. An example is while I was pulling money out of Lending Club from September to November 15th, my immediate average return increased 2.8% in 2.5 months. Which is clearly better than sitting in a savings account earning a measly .1% interest annually.

I plan to keep updating this method that I have created and give my results and feedback from it. I would also like to point out that this is not for everyone by any means. I took a calculated risk with a safety net of my parents should anything go seriously wrong with my investments.