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Archive for January, 2019: Monkey Mama*s Monkey Money Blog
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Archive for January, 2019

2018 Wins and Losses

January 8th, 2019 at 02:08 pm

2018 WINS:

**I survived!

Honestly, that's good enough for me. Anything beyond that is gravy. It was definitely the most difficult year of my life.

**I figured out the "next phase" of my career. Time will tell, but I feel like I ended up with a good combo of significantly less stress/responsibility/work, in exchange for better pay than I was expecting (based on the regional job market). I was very open minded going into the job search (open to anything), but fell into a job that hit most of my marks. In the end, is probably a bigger break on the career front than I expected at this point in my life. That is a major win.

**Somehow, in the middle of that madness, we ended up having our highest income year ever.

{If you missed it, my small employer fell ill and sold the business to some super scammy company. I eventually quit without another job lined up. I had wanted to take some time off to regroup, but ended up getting a "too good to refuse" job offer on my very last day at old job. The catch was they needed me to start like "yesterday", which was the general vibe coming from employers. Any other job, I might have gambled some time off, but didn't want to lose this one. Then my old employer ended up undoing the business sale and hiring me to help them through some rough patches. So my expectations of unemployment and a significant salary cut ended up being more "drowning in work" all year}.

The end result? I quit my old job around 9/1 and took a 15% cut in compensation, but we ended the year with $875 more income than we did in 2017. 2017 had been our best income year ever, finally surpassing our 2001 income, last we both worked full-time. 2018 was somehow better.

**Net worth was up $51,000, or in line with our "big picture" goals.

**We finally ditched our gas guzzler (that we have been scheming to get rid of most the years I have blogged here). This newer car purchase was spurred by a cash gift, accepting a job that doubled my commute, minivan getting hit on the freeway, and minivan also needing a medium-sized repair ($750) the last day of my old job. By itself, the repair wasn't a big deal, but I still hadn't gotten around to determining if the vehicle needed any body work or just had cosmetic damage from the accident (or if I would have to spend thousands to repair). With my pay cut, we were extra motivated to invest in a car that used significantly less fuel. I got to buy my "dream car" and we are saving about $200/month in fuel costs. So that is very win-win.

Plus, it's nice to have a significantly nicer car now that I actually spend time in my car. All those years we drove older cars, meh, we never really drove that much. I am glad I saved my pennies for a time in my life where I am spending a lot more time in the car.

LOSSES:

Okay, so my gut reaction was to just use wins/losses, because I didn't like the word "fail". But, now that I am typing this out, I want to use the word fail.

FAIL:

**As an adult, I have never failed so miserably on the work/life balance front. It was definitely a FAIL.

I have no idea what in the heck. I suppose I feel like it was all completely out of my control, and not sure what else I could have done to set my life up to be any easier to deal with it all. So maybe "fail" is a strong word. But I just feel like I so completely failed on this front.

2019 will be a year of trying to find my balance again.

Edited: & to be clear, it was more than just WORK. It was "work" also in the sense of chores/obligations, etc. I suppose I said work/life balance because it seemed to start with that, but it has little to do with work at this point. I've always been a "raising kids and working full-time is more than enough" type and don't have any other commitments, but my friends and family have been going through such hard times, and life has been non-stop Murphy hell. I don't know if I've ever had so little down time during my entire life. It feels mostly out of my control. I felt this way when I was between jobs and two weeks off, because I just had a mountain of chores I am finally starting to have the time for (now in January). It's not all going to magically get better if I stop doing side work. It's just how life is going right now. I don't know how to fix it yet, but am trying.

Good Riddance to 2018!

January 5th, 2019 at 03:35 pm

Good Riddance to 2018! Woohoo!

I wish I could say 2019 was going better. I suppose it is in many ways. I feel like my work life turned to a sea of calm a few days ago. Just the complete polar opposite of this one long year of "putting out fires". I took 10 days off from Job #2 (end of year). At Job #1 we finally "caught up" (last Friday). The employee (on leave) that I have been covering for (the entire time) should be coming back next week. So the mood at my primary job has shifted about 180.

Back to, "I wish I could say 2019 is going better..." *sigh* I had an emergency dental appointment yesterday (because life is apparently still non-stop emergencies). I also saw "twin" at lunch Thursday. While discussing everyone that had passed away during the last week or so, my mom called to tell me someone passed away. So, that is how 2019 is going.

Last weekend was actually pretty peaceful though and I finally got caught up on some stuff around the house. Phew! Literally, for the first time in about 11 months, I feel "caught up".

MH drew the short stick and went to the DMV Monday. Probably for the best because he also had to renew his license. In the end, the DMV was closed last weekend (I was going to go transfer the car title because MH was crazy sick), but he had Monday off so was the only time either of us could go. I then mailed the application for carpool stickers this week. & after all that, we still have to go back in about 10 days so MM can get his learner's permit. I think that is enough DMV for one month.

It was nice to have a little bit of a breather, but my January is shaping up to be pretty crazy. I am wrapping up 2018 for 3 clients I have on my own, and then I am shifting them all to "twin" and her new firm. That's about all I will have time for. MM(15) did some work for my old/forever employer this week and so I stopped by to talk to "workaholic" yesterday. Told him I honestly didn't think I'd be able to help them at all this month. I will see where they are at the last few days of the month. They are losing clients left and right, and have two new employees, so hopefully it equalizes a bit. I also started to temper workaholic's expectations about the rest of tax season. I don't know if he is listening because he thinks we should want to live in the office like he does. I am probably going to cram pretty hard the next two weekends and hope to mostly be done. Some of this is self inflicted because we are going away for a weekend. I just wasn't thinking what a hit that would be as to "job #2" hours. So it will be crazy, but I am continuing to lessen my workload.

I don't think I will realistically be able to hit the "reset" button until February 1.

I will do a separate post about 2018 wins and losses. It will just be a gloss over and I don't expect to have any time to do anything in depth until next month. Which I may or may not ever get to.

Credit Card Reward Tally 2018

January 2nd, 2019 at 01:48 pm

2018 TALLY:

$561 Travel Rewards (Capital One Venture, Moi)
-----------
$561 TOTAL *ONE-TIME REWARDS*

Other Rewards:
$150 Citi Price Rewind
$ 10 Hulu Credits (American Express)

Ongoing rewards:

+$315 AmExRewards (6% cash back groceries/3% fuel)

+$88 Target rewards (5% discount Target purchases; mostly groceries)

+$149 Visa Rewards (3% cash back fuel/restaurants)

+$823 Citi 2% card (2% back everywhere - health insurance/medical is the big expenses that we charge, is more than our mortgage payments)

Grand Total = $2,096

I just want to add that historical figures below do also include bank bonuses. They just don't generally work very well for us so I do not utilize as much. (We did -0- bank bonuses in 2017/2018).

Year 2011 = $4,164
Year 2012 = $2,782
Year 2013 = $2,623
Year 2014 = $3,128
Year 2015 = $2,585
Year 2016 = $1,906
Year 2017 = $3,578
Year 2018 = $2,096

Total 7 Years = $22,862
***Mostly Tax-Free Income***


Note: I have been tracking since 2011 because that's when the rewards got CRAZY. I have always utilized cash back on credit cards. It's just been extra rewarding during the past decade or so.

***CAVEAT - I absolutely do not recommend utilizing credit card rewards in this manner, unless you are in full control of your credit card spending. We treat our credit cards like debit cards; only charging if we have the cash on hand already. We've never paid a cent of late fees or interest.***