December 2020: Let’s Get Rid of that Year

We got through it. We survived 2020. Let’s just put it behind us, eh?

This month was intense. I had a hard time balancing OMTea production, shipping books, making content, with a pretty intense end-of-year work load at my day job. I shipped out over 150 orders this month, and I packaged tea when my shipments finally came. It was a lot, all the time.

I got really sick on Christmas (102.7F fever) and ended up spending two days sleeping.

We had our weekly livestreams like this one:

December’s OMD challenge was called  Put out the Dumpster Fire December fire_extinguisherfirespiral_calendar . And I got like 95% of the way there.

I published a few blog posts (my usual end of year rounds-ups) but here’s the takeaways from December:

Covid is real bad, everywhere. 2nd/3rd wave is intense.

After floundering to get my workout routine back on track after the time change  (read: 7 hours of daylight; pouring rain) made working outside challenging on weekdays, I started using a live workout program called Obé (I can give you a two week free guest pass if you follow this link) and I’m enjoying it. It feels silly to pay $20 a month for workouts you do in your house when there is an abundance of free workout videos available on the internet, but the fact that I’m paying for it is making me use it more (I HATE wasting money), and the quality and variety of the workouts is high. It’s better than spending 20 minutes searching youtube for the workout I want to do. I also like the live workouts (streamed from NYC)  because then I put them on my calendar and they actually happen, rather than “oh yea, I’ll work out today…sure.” and then not making time for it.

I tried to actually get my splits back before the end of the year, with serious concerted effort, but I just can’t get the final 5cms to the floor. Oh well, in 2021, I really hope to have both splits back.

I hit a financial milestone as well: $50,000 net worth. This is the first time I’ve ever had a net worth that high. I hope I can keep it up, my net worth tends to grow rapidly when I have a full-time job (like this year, when it went up by 159%)  and then years when I’m working for myself, or stringing together multiple part-time jobs, it grows much more slowly and sometimes even goes slightly down as I spend some savings and the spending doesn’t offset market growth in my portfolio.

A networth graph from January 2016 until January 2021, showing an upward climb with a big jump at the end
This is my net worth over the past couple years.

I don’t think hitting this milestone says much about my personality or even my skills: I am very very very lucky I continued to have not just one job, but three, in the year that saw more than half my friends become unemployed or furloughed. My state still has more than 8% unemployment (and that’s the official numbers, which don’t count discouraged and furloughed workers, let alone freelancers).

The amount of privilege that factors into my ability to build my net worth so much this year –   my skin color, my education level, my birth country, my upbringing – these privileges are fundamental to the opportunities I was given that led to me having three freaking jobs this year. Which is really what the secret was.

Work a fuck ton, don’t spend money because there’s nothing to spend it on = big net worth gain.

Last but not least, little sweet Dora (Ms. Indie Web Cat) had to have emergency surgery to remove her eye, which has been fighting a virus her whole life, but most notably the last few months. Her eyeball ended up being destroyed by the virus and she had to get emergency surgery to remove her eye. It was really stressful on the day of, because it was very short notice that she was getting the surgery. She’s actually doing so much better without the eye and has a lot of energy now that she’s not fighting what was happening. So here is to the adorable pirate kitty, who is cosplaying as a napping lampshade.

Brown + White cat stretched out on a gray blanket, napping, while wearing a clear cone,
Mis dora kitten is now missing an eye.

(Note, she is not technically my cat, though I live with her, so I did not have to pay for the surgery. I would’ve chipped in if it had been a financial hardship to pay for it to her cat-dad, but luckily it was not, so that’s why you never see cat expenses – except for my purchasing of novelty cat surgery collars out of stress 😂)

A donut chart showing total expenses for teh month of December 2020

December 2020 Post-Tax Income: $5,600

(This is not normal income, just to be clear!)

  • Day Job: $2,927.00
  • Stimulus: $600
  • StreamPDX: $599
  • Oh My Dollar (full income/expenses report below): $1,474

Full December 2020 Spending Report

Total Spent: $2,027

I came in below budget! 88% of my total annual budget at 100% of the way through the year.

Household & Insurance – $724.11

  • Rent: $615
  • Water, Commons, Garbage, Sewer: $32.50
  • Trash: $7.50
  • Electricity: $39.11 (not sure why this was so high, we never turned on the heat)
  • Household Items (detergent, TP, toothpaste, razors, etc): $30.93 (1 year’s worth of paper towels, cleaning products, toothpaste, replacement air filter for purifier – a whole haul)
  • Internet at Home: $0 This is now paid for by SSO’s employer due to being remote employee, was $20 per month.

Biking/Transit – $0

I have noooooowhere to gooooo.

Giving + Mutual Aid – $210 (7%)

I am also donating through OMD (below). Giving this month was to XRAY.FM, Oregon Cultural Trust (get that tax credit) and P:EAR.

Basic Food – $198.98

  • Basic Groceries: $163.16
  • Treats (non-essential snacks): $12.26
  • Coffee/Tea For Home: $15.73
  • Delivery Tips + Fees: $7.83
    I got a $30 off instacart coupon and tried it out, and I used it but I think after tipping appropriately (this is half the tip, split between two of us), it wasn’t really worth it.

Travel – $0 (lol)

Health – $181.35  ***Why this is cheap

  • Health Insurance Premium: $162.45 – The company made my health insurance premium go down this month out of nowhere. Too bad I switch health insurance (again) in January
  • Fitness: $18.90 (Obé App)

Figure Skating –  $0

Rink is closed again.

Looking Good – $25.85

  • Clothing: $21.86
  • Hair: $3.99 (bobby pins)

Extra Food + Drink – $15.60

  • Restaurants $15.60  Chinese takeout on Christmas for the grand old Jewish tradition.

Immigration Costs – $577.34

Currently, I am in the process of applying for Croatian citizenship via heritage (my grandfather emigrated from Yugoslavia) If I end up with an EU passport, this is worth the cost. If I don’t end up with an EU passport, it will at least make a good episode of Oh My Dollar!

I am also in the process of applying for grad school abroad, and that requires random transcript fees.

  • Croatian Lawyer: $527.34 (50%)
  • Wire Transfer Fees: $45.00
  • Transcript: $5.00

Flotsam – $93.65

  • Gifts: $56.19 Two birthdays
  • Spending Money: $2.99
  • Cat Stuff: $34.47 Dora got her eye taken out this month, and I bought her adorable novelty post-surgery collars to make her recovery cuter.

Savings: $3,573

This is a combination of cash + traditional IRA savings.

I maxed out my Traditional IRA for the year ($6,000 maximum).

I am also saving cash towards the possible goal of paying for a master’s degree in cash in 2021-2022. There is nothing certain about that plan, but the worst-case scenario is that I save cash and I have more cash saved and can always invest it instead if the masters doesn’t happen. Not really terrible, all things considered.

Retirement savings: $437

Cash savings: $3,136

Savings rate: 64.2% of Post-Tax Income

2020 Total Savings: $30,473/$20,000

(152% Total of goal at 100% of the way through the year)


OMD Business Income + Expenses Report

It was holiday shipping season, so I shipped a LOT of stuff. OMTea sold out again. 

My purrsonal finance society members have been keeping the business afloat in 2020 –  with book sales, speaking income, and podcast advertising all down.

This is cash-based accounting, not accrual, so this only accounts for income received this month, not invoices billed.

Gross Receipts + Sales: $1,514.57

  • Amazon Book + Kindle Sales (net after fees): $77.46
  • Shopify/Direct to Consumer Sales: $710.34
  • Radio Ads: $17.15
  • Wholesale (Buyolympia): $66.94
  • Patreon Memberships: $721.69
  • Accounting Fix: -$79.05

Total Expenses: $1,557.23

Charity: $200.00

This month our support went to Oregon Cultural Trust and New Avenues for Youth (where I teach Pay it Furward workshops!)

OMTea Specific Expenses: $158.12

  • COGS: $98.12
  • Kitchen Rental: $60

Depreciable Equipment: $488.47

  • iPad $429
  • iPad keyboard: $59.47
    Haven’t actually gotten this yet, but ordered it before end of year for tax purposes.

Operating Expenses: $403.75

  • Convertkit: $49
  • Bank Processing Fees: $194.00
  • Advertising: $27.04
  • Exist.io $6.00
  • Meals: $4.20
  • Mailgun: $11.04
  • Backblaze : $6.00
  • Storage: $4.98
  • Office Supplies: $16.47
  • Hosting + Servers: $30 (Linode and Dreamhost)
  • Media Subscriptions: $5.00
  • Adobe Creative Cloud: $52.99

Cost of Goods Sold: $221.89

  • Shopify: $29.00
  • Shipping Supplies: $26.55
  • Shipping: $166.34

Contractors: $85.00

Net Income: -$42.66

(Savings from previous months wents towards my salary and expenses, I still have quite a lot of extra in the account – this month’s paycheck to me way actually left over from last month).

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