March 2020 Report: The Longest Decade

Well…what a month. March 2020 was the longest decade. I have had the analytics for this report done since March 31st, but it took a long time to figure out what to say about *gestures at the world*.

This is the third month of me being in “I’m working a ton and everything else is falling apart” mode – I’m still working a full-time job (which had some overtime this month due to the pandemic), my 15-hour-week job doing Finance & Grants for Xray.Fm and, of course, working on Oh My Dollar!

But…everything has changed. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a pandemic on. I haven’t left the house more than going on a couple no-contact jogs since March 13th , as we have a Stay Home Order in place in Oregon. I’m immunosuppressed, so I’m at greater risk and have pretty much stopped going outside – I can’t even grocery shop or pick up my PO box mail anymore.

I’m so grateful that I have jobs that I can work from home (though having to do live radio from one’s closet- it isn’t great).  Thus far, my health is holding. All of my jobs have become much more stressful as a result of this pandemic, but at least I still have work.

This month has been terrible, though. I’ve had an acquaintance die of COVID-19, and an uncountable number of friends get sicker than they’ve ever been. I’ve watched friends’ businesses have to shutter, and musicians and performers have to cancel all their paying gigs. I’ve had to lay off staff after only 3 months working as finance director at the radio station. I’ve spent more than 20 hours on the phone talking with people experiencing the mess that is applying for unemployment assistance and small business support right now. We had white supremicist trolls zoombomb the virtual house party I co-hosted for friends running for office. I haven’t seen anyone other than my partner and cat in a month.

I find myself getting glimmers of hope, though, watching how folks are providing mutual aid and support to one another. People creating virtual happy hours and game nights, venmo-ing to pay for other’s groceries and filling virtual tip jars for service workers. Folks delivering no-contact care packages to friends and neighbors and sewing masks for strangers. Honestly, the memes on the Oh My Dollar! forums are keeping me going.

I spent money at the beginning of March that just looks ridiculous now – on clothing, makeup and costumes for events that are now cancelled and – on flights and hotels for speaking gigs that were cancelled. I was supposed to be in the air as I’m writing this, in fact.

I also spent more on groceries than I usually do, as I generally drink coffee in my offices, and I usually don’t stock up for more than a week at a time. All my “cheap staples” – like dried beans and rice – ran out at the grocery stores. Now we’re having to get canned beans and more expensive options.

Having to accept other people helping me get groceries is humbling – I am both so appreciative of how many people have extended offers of help, and frustrated by what is a slight lack of control over my food choices. It’s a very tiny thing in the scale of this pandemic, but even though I know the science supports someone who is immuno-supressed staying home and I am extremely privileged to be financially stable enough to be able to afford it – I feel perfectly healthy, and don’t enjoy asking other people to put themselves at risk to do a task I could complete.

Because I am privileged to still have significant income right now (due to way much work right now) I’m trying to spend more money than I’m naturally inclined to do – on small local businesses (including getting food from restaurants, something I almost never did before), greater charitable giving, and hopefully buying things from small artists and musicians.

The hardest personal transition for me has been that I’m still working this intense schedule – 65+ hours a week – with the added stress of dropping revenue and more complicated logistics (plus the baseline background stress the whole world is dealing with.)

This schedule wasn’t easy to begin with, but now I don’t have my physical exercise outlets from figure skating (the rink is closed) or my daily bike commutes (which were about an hour a day). Cardio is important for my mental health, but I haven’t been prioritizing it when it’s not nearly as fun as figure skating, or as utilitarian as riding my bike to work. After working a 10-12 hour day, I simply do not want to work out. And also – does ANYTHING really matter anymore?

Oh, also, I’m still contributing to my investments for now – but I am steadfastly not checking my investment accounts. I recommend you follow that example, if you’re in the position to contribute to retirement at all (many of us are not). I’m pretty sure my IRA has dropped about 20% of its value from where it ended in 2019, so I’m not even checking my net worth.

I have had the opportunity to do a lot more OMD content and livestreams, though.

March 2020 Post-Tax Income: $4,031.35

  • Day Job: $3,204.31
  • Radio Job: $936.90
  • Oh My Dollar (full income/expenses report below): $0 – took no income this month, actually put in a tiny bit of personal money
  • Checking Interest: $.03

Full March 2020 Spending Report

the financial graph for 2020

Total Spent: $1,351.94

18.2% of total annual budget at 24% of the way through the year.

Household & Insurance – $687.50

  • Rent: $615
  • Water, Commons, Garbage, Sewer: $27.50
  • Trash: $7.50
  • Electricity: $29.36
  • Household Items (detergent, TP, toothpaste, razors, etc): $3.14
  • Internet at Home: $0 This is now paid for by SSO’s employer due to being remote employee, was $20 per month.

Basic Food – $160.78

  • Basic Groceries: $145.17
  • Treats (non-essential snacks): $10.62
  • Coffee/Tea For Home: $4.99

Travel – $0

Health – $32.49 ***Why this is so cheap

  • Health Insurance Premium: $17.00
  • Co-pay: $5
  • Over the Counter Medication: $10.59

Figure Skating $41.00

Figure skating is super expensive- ice time is one of the most expensive things you can buy. However, for the forseeable future, the rink is closed. In March, I was able to get in a few skating sessions before social distancing went into effect. For 2019, my marginal cost per hour of skating was $7.06/hour. Year-to-date in 2020, it is $4.27 per hour.

  • Freestyle: $24.00
  • Skate Sharpening: $17.00

Looking Good – $128.33

  • Makeup: $44.75 (restock on stuff I ran out of)
  • Clothing: $83.58 (1 pair of used “work leggings”, this suit from ASOS)

Food & Drink Out – $0

  • Restaurants: $0
    I did actually order delivery twice –  wanting to support local businesses, but I have a $60 doordash credit via my credit card, and so I used that (the credit covers tips,  too, I tipped 30% on both orders).

Giving/Gifts – $170

  • Charitable Donations: $170

Costuming: $131.84

  • Used Costume Skirt: $32.00
  • Shopping Service for TaoBao: $99.84 (Costume Shoe Order For July Costume)

Retirement savings: $150

Cash  savings: $2,396

YTD Total Savings: $8,207/$20,000 goal (43% Total of goal at 24% of the way through the year)

OMD Business Income + Expenses Report

Everything dropped this month, revenue-wise. My distributor, Buyolympia, has experienced huge decline in orders because most retail businesses they supply are shuttered (you can order directly from them to support small artists like me though- free domestic shipping!)

Podcast advertising has dropped as less people are commuting and listening to podcasts, and I had two upcoming sponsorship deals cancelled.

Far less people are ordering books and stickers (for obvious reasons). Amazon (rightly) has completely de-prioritized fulfilling physical book sales while they focus on life saving goods.

I had 5 speaking gigs cancelled this month, representing $1,500 worth of expected revenue. There are still expenses for travel that’s now cancelled – a hotel room we’re still trying to get refunded, and a flight that has been refunded as a travel credit, waiting to be able to travel again.

My purrsonal finance society members have been the only thing keeping the business at near break-even point, and I cannot get over how much that means to me. It’s allowing me to pay hosting, shipping, and pay the contractors who work on my show, at a time when I’m producing more shows than ever (we’ve moved to 2-3 episodes a week while the economy is in freefall and people have lots of questions). Thank you so much. I’m not taking a salary from OMD for the ongoing future, and everything is just going to paying contractors and overhead.

Luckily I’m not living off this income, because if I was, I’d be in dire shape. I also have sinking fund savings in the business, and so things will be okay. But they will be tight – possibly for the rest of 2020.

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

Gross Receipts + Sales: $1000.03

  • Amazon Book + Kindle Sales (net after fees): $10.78
  • Shopify/Direct to Consumer Book Sales: $10.90
  • Radio Ads: $40.61
  • Wholesale (Buyolympia): $123.74
  • Interest: $.03
  • Speaking: $300
  • Patreon Memberships: $513.97

Total Expenses: $1,208.32

Travel: $450.80

  • Flight (Gig Cancelled, Now a Flight Credit) $206.80
  • Hotels (Gig Cancelled, Pursuing Refund) : $244.00

Contractors: $300.71

  • Artwork $57.91
  • Engineering: $200.00
  • Transcription : $33.60

Operating Expenses: $298.27

  • Phone: $0 (prepaid via Mint – average is $20 a month)
  • YNAB: $45 (annual fee)
  • Streaming Fees: $19.99
  • Domains: $27.94
  • Convertkit: $49
  • $6.00
  • Meals: $0
  • Backblaze : $6.00
  • Storage: $3.98
  • Hosting + Servers: $20.00 (Linode and Dreamhost)
  • Media Subscriptions: $5
  • Sonix: $15.00 (will be phased out as I do the work to copy old transcripts out of their player)
  • Adobe Creative Cloud: $29.99
  • Marketing: $51.37 (new business cards, marketing materials, and events for OMD)

Cost of Goods Sold: $76.49

  • Shopify Monthly Fee: $29.00
  • Stickers: $19.00
  • Shipping: $28.49

Equipment: $79.95

  • Audio Equipment: $79.95

Net Income: -$169.79

  • Tax Savings: $0 (25% of net income)
  • Lily’s Salary: $0

One thought on “March 2020 Report: The Longest Decade

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