October 2020 Report: Purrbon, Costumes, and Spooky Savings!

A donut chart showing total expenses for teh month of october and other metrics

October was overall a better month for me after the stress of September, when everything was on fire (literally). I’m not going to say it was a good month, but at least the air I was breathing wasn’t poisoning me. I managed to be more focused at my day job, limit my spiraling-into-a-pit-of-despair-over-the-state-of-the-US and find ways that were healthy and fun to support local candidates (like hosting a virtual transit trivia fundraiser for local candidate Chris Smith) and textbank for national politics.

Lillian looking into the camera winking while wearing a blue hat that says "Banfield light rail project" and several transit buttons
My extreme transit nerd getup for hosting transit trivia.

I also finally got to get back to the training plan that was interrupted by the fires, and ran 10 miles for the first time in several years. I can’t wait for the rinks to be reopened and safe enough to for me to resume training.

Lillian smiling into the camera on a running track and a mask to one side with an overlay that says "10.02 miles), 1:34:12 total time, 9:24 pace)"
I did an even better pace on my 9 mile run – under 9 minutes a mile. My goal is under 9:09, which would put me at a sub-2 hour half marathon, something I’ve come 1 minute from but not successfully done.

I actually signed up for an off-ice training program with Coach Michelle Hong that will last 8 weeks and start November 2nd, focused on flexibility. I thrive on external accountability, so I decided the cost was worth that (especially considering I haven’t spent any money on skating coaching since February).

We also extended our lease out through July 2021, which will make my tenure at this flat the longest I’ve lived in one place since I was 13 years old. I’m grateful for the stability we’ve had here, especially since our rent hasn’t increased – that was a large issue for me and many other renters before Portland passed tenant protections in 2017.

But it’s no surprise that this long tenure, combined with no traveling this year is really making my wanderlust set in. A combination of working on paperwork to try to get my Croatian passport, applying to graduate school abroad, and binging Damon and Jo travel videos this month has really made my travel bug turn into a full-on pack-my-passport-and-book-the-next-flight fever. Too bad there’s still Miss Rona out there..and oh yea, I have a job and a lease. Minor details.

Purrbon Tea Launch

Probably the biggest deal for me, though, was that I finally launched a product I’ve wanted to make for years, and have been working on for months: My first tea line – OMTea. Two mocktail flavored teas – Purrbon and Purrña Colada. ❤️


The launch was fun for me: the packaging of goods in a commercial kitchen, photoshoots and copy-writing and packaging and shipping them out.

I made a very small batch for the first release (100) because this was my first time trying out a packaged foods line, and I knew it was a big difference from my usual products (financial educational materials and stickers!) But, clearly that was a bit too small, because I sold out of the Purrña Colada flavor in less than 30 minutes of pre-launch to my patrons, and I sold out of the Purrbon Flavor within 24 hours of launch.

I will keep up the line through the end of the year, hoping to provide it as a gifting option for folks, before deciding if it makes sense to keep it up as a product line! It’s been a fun (and relatively profitable) experience.

Of course, I’d love to expand to other product lines (I’d love, love, love to do a planner but I’m not sure I’m able to compete in that market) but bourbon-flavored tea is something I just wanted for myself – I just wanted it to exist!

A commercial kitchen counter showing a bowl of tea, a commerical food scale and dozens of bags of tea being packed.
Thanks to the Snackrilidge kitchen for letting me rent!

I shipped all the packages in one evening, and other than extreme printer issues and probably staying up a bit too late (til midnight! That is very late for me), I was very happy to get these out the door quickly.

Two boxes full of pink bubble mailers with stickers of cats drinking tea on them.
All the packages are ready to be shipped!

I will have to do another round of processing and shipping in November since I sold out so quickly, I already have 50 orders waiting for the restock.

Halloween

As a devoted costume-lover and candy-lover, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Obviously, this year was a very different halloween than years past, but I did at least get to wear my planned Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, costume, and post pictures on the internet. Which is all any of us really care about anymore anyway?

I thought Catherine the Great was a good costume because she took over from her mediocre corrupt husband in a coup, and brought inoculation against smallpox, a highly contagious deadly disease, to the Russian people. Somehow this Halloween costume felt appropriate for 2020.

All costumes in 2020 must have a tone-appropriate facemask.

Here is my lovely hat that I don’t even need hat pins for since I am not going anywhere.

Why yes this 100% a hairpiece and a LOT of hairspray and some hair donuts.

I REALLY WISH SASHES WOULD COME INTO FASHION. Please make it so 2021.

If you want to see it in action, I wore it on this livestream:

 

Last but not least – Oh My Dollar!?

A collaboration I did with Vice Media came out this month. I filmed this back in August, so happy to see it finally out! It’s a 4-part series of short videos explaining different financial concepts to kids. It was a really fun thing to shoot!

We also had Budgetober round 2 on the OMD forums, which was a lovely group community challenge as always!

Oh My Dollar…I’m struggling. I love the community we’ve created online, and I have a lot of editorial content ideas I want to be doing, but I’m having a lot of trouble juggling a full-time day job, putting out a weekly radio show and podcast at the quality I expect, and doing the kind of things I need to be doing to grow the business (social media, guesting on podcasts).

I know I should be creating video content other than my live streams (and I want to! I really do! I have a spreadsheet of 47 video ideas)… but I don’t know how to sustainably do that and keep my house mildly clean, make food every week, not get fired at my day job, sleep 8 hours a night, get exercise, and put out 42 radio shows a year…

I’m struggling with my level of content production right now. I know that working on OMD full-time without co-workers was not my ideal work environment, and was also too variable for me to be happy financially – but I’m also struggling to match the kind of output I’d like to have.

It’s a common problem for creatives, and obviously, it’s not big compared to what the world is dealing with right now – but it is something I’m grappling with. Time management can only go so far with 168 hours in the week.

October 2020 Post-Tax Income: $3,793.27

  • Day Job: $2,927.01
  • Bank account interest: $.61
  • Oh My Dollar (full income/expenses report below): $866.16

Full September 2020 Spending Report

Total Spent: $1,537

On track! 72% of my total annual budget at 83% of the way through the year.

Household & Insurance – $726.26

  • Rent: $615
  • Water, Commons, Garbage, Sewer: $32.50
  • Trash: $7.50
  • Electricity: $45.11 (high due to AC + air purifier due to fires in September)
  • Household Items (detergent, TP, toothpaste, razors, etc): $0 
  • State Fees: $26.00 (driver’s license replacement – was stolen in November, finally dealt with it)
  • Internet at Home: $0 This is now paid for by SSO’s employer due to being remote employee, was $20 per month.

Giving + Mutual Aid – $210 (13.7%)

I am also donating through OMD (below).

Giving this month included Black LGBTQIA+ Migrant Project through the Transgender Law Center, mutual aid for family, and Chris Smith for Metro (political).

Basic Food – $166.54

  • Basic Groceries: $135.12
  • Treats (non-essential snacks): $11.46
  • Coffee/Tea For Home: $19.96

Travel – $0 (lol)

Health – $204.00 ***Why this is cheap

  • Health Insurance Premium: $204.00

Figure Skating $200

  • Off-Ice Skating Class: $200.00

Rinks are still closed, but one may reopen next month. I joined an 8 week off-ice stretching class with Coach Michelle Hong, though, because I have been slacking on my flexibility training despite keeping up with my cardio (I ran 44 miles in October! ) and off-ice jump training.

Year to date, my marginal cost of skating is $ per hour.

Looking Good – $23.11

  • Clothing: $23.11 (Used jacket from poshmark)

Extra Food + Drink – $7.25

  • Coffee Out: $7.25  Treat for running 10 miles for the first time in years – plus 25% tip

Flotsam: $.29

  • Spending Money: $.29 (Don’t laugh I really do track everything)

Savings $2,533.36

This is a combination of cash + traditional IRA savings.

I do not qualify for my employer-sponsored Simple IRA until Jan 2021, so for now I am saving in a traditional IRA – particularly because I expect to have a high tax burden this year (due to my highest ever income and having to repay my $70 per month health care subsidy). I expect to max out my Traditional IRA for the year ($6,000 maximum).

I have also begun 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: $2,400

Cash savings: $133

Savings rate: 66.7% of Post-Tax Income

YTD Total Savings: $22,515.68/$20,000

(113% Total of goal at 83% of the way through the year)


OMD Business Income + Expenses Report

I did a product launch this month!

I launched a weird product I’ve been working on for awhile.

Purrbon: Whiskey flavored non-alcoholic tea.

It was way more successful than I actually expected – I completely sold out of one flavor within 30 minutes of pre-launch to my patrons, and sold completely out of all of my inventory within 24 hours of my official launch. It was very fun, and within a week I shipped out 100 packages.

I will have another batch to ship out as I allowed people to take pre-orders for the sold-out teas, so I have put money aside for inventory restock and shipping, and other fulfillment costs.

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: $2,699.56

  • Amazon Book + Kindle Sales (net after fees): $106.45
  • Shopify/Direct to Consumer Sales: $1,784.62
  • Radio Ads: $14.35
  • Wholesale (Buyolympia): $82.75
  • Patreon Memberships: $711.39

Total Expenses: $1,218.78

Charity: $109.00

This month our support went to Black Trans Femmes in the Arts (BTFA Collective).

OMTea Specific Expenses: $170.06

  • Commercial Kitchen Rental: $60
  • Packaging: $46.18
  • Heat Sealer: $39.99
  • Shipping Supplies: $23.89

Operating Expenses: $563.71

  • Convertkit: $49
  • Candy Rack for Shopify: $29.99
  • Credit Card Annual Fee: $150 (yes, this is worth it for me, I get a lot more than this value from it)
  • Exist.io $6.00
  • Meals: $26.40
  • Mailgun: $8.72
  • Backblaze : $6.00
  • Storage: $2.99
  • Office Supplies: $66.94
  • Mobile Phone – 6 months of Service at $20 per month through Mint Mobile – $137.68
  • Sonix: $15.00
  • Hosting + Servers: $30 (Linode and Dreamhost)
  • Media Subscriptions: $5.00
  • Adobe Creative Cloud: $29.99

Cost of Goods Sold: $367.02

  • Shopify Monthly Fee: $29.00
  • Inventory (Print on Demand): $17.54
  • Shopify: $29.00
  • Samples: $16.18
  • Shipping Supplies: $83.11
  • Shipping: $230.19

Net Income: $1,480.77

  • Tax Savings: $370 (25% of net income)
  • Lily’s Salary: $630.00

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