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Starting with a change of plans

Today I was supposed to go down to visit my grandparents since I had to work when the rest of the family had the Christmas get together. I wake up to a text from my grandmother saying that she caught some sort of bug. This saves me 2-2 hour drives today, but now I don’t have anything to do. Not having anything planned is dangerous for me. I tend to resort to sitting around eating, watching TV, and slowly thinking about what I could get from Amazon with 2 day shipping.

Today I got my car cleaned because it was filthy, and went to my chiropractor appointment. Forcing myself to go to the gym this afternoon, and see what I can declutter.

I think every week, I’ll post my net worth and weight as a tracker for how I am doing. I’ll also be creating a spreadsheet to track both, with graphs.

When You Work for a Unicorn

Back in August I asked for a raise as I took on more responsibilities and projects, and slowly learned that several of my co workers that have been here around the same amount of time, but do considerably less work, were getting paid more than me. Because there was a potential bill that was going to massively screw with the company’s taxes, and a couple uncertainties, I was given a “You’ll get a raise, but we need to figure some stuff out, so we just ask for your patience.” And because I have no plans to leave the area, and currently work at the company that is the biggest and highest paying in the area, I had nowhere I’d like to go.

Well I found out really quickly that I work for a unicorn employer. An employer that does things nobody else would have even offered. I asked for a $10,000 to get me from $50,000 to $60,000, which is what other companies outside of the area would have hired me for. When I got called into my boss’ office for my end of the year chat, My bonus was $10,000. Normally it is between $1,500-2,000. I was given my raise retroactively for the entire year!

I would have expected 4 months worth of retroactive pay if they would have offered that, not the whole year! Plus because my boss has seen us (my wife also works for the company), he offered me a deal. I’ll get paid the $50,000 rate in 2023, but he’ll dump my “raise” into my first paycheck to help us get a house, because he’s seen us try to get a house in this crazy market the last couple of years, and wants us to realize the dream of homeownership. He also gave a soft hint again that he’d love to have us on the leadership/ownership team in the future.

In a world of job hopping, like many of my friends do, sometimes you can find a unicorn employer that realizes your worth and will move the world to keep you. In the entertainment industry, most larger companies have a handful for full time, salaried staff, and the rest are contractors, maybe with minimal benefits. My company employs almost 30 full time staff and 4 part time staff (mostly people who want to only work select days of the week). We also tend to hire 6-8 interns every summer, and if they live locally, or can find a place to crash in town, we invite them back to help on their breaks.

We are also offered fantastic benefits like low deductible healthcare (which they paid for all of the premiums while we were shut down during covid), 2 weeks of vacation, having off between Christmas and New Years, so essentially 3 weeks of vacation, a retirement plan, dental reimbursement. And our scheduling person plans in days off when someone is working on the weekend or has a 21 day run like I did last year in July. We also have flexible office hours. I’m able to come in an hour early and leave an hour early. Which is fantastic because that gives me time to get home, finish some chores and get dinner on the table by the time my wife is home.

I am a follower of the Financial Independence (FI) community, and while most people follow the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) part, I have no plans to retire early since I’ve found this job and actually get excited to wake up every morning for work. I’m still barreling towards FI as fast as I can, but that’s so I can some day afford to retire in style, and enjoy my job along the way.

December/ Year End 2022

December was definitely a range of emotions and surprises. This is the first Holiday season without my Grandfather and Aunt as they both passed in early 2022, so I tried to eat my grief, and I’ll let you in on a secret, cookies don’t make you less sad. That was also coupled with a thrown out back for my entire holiday break, so I couldn’t move for 5 days without excessive pain.
On the positive side, I got the raise I asked for of $10,000 and since we were in a financial pickle at work because of some legislation that could have really messed up our taxes, My boss gave me my bonus this year to basically retroactively get me to what I asked for, and then some. Basically I asked for a $10,000 raise in August, and I got a $10,000 bonus. Which is nuts for someone who isn’t a salesperson or project manager. I am lucky to work for a unicorn in my industry.

I have started up my yoga routine again now that I’m cleared for active duty again and am actively working to get rid of the weight I gained during last year and then some.
My wife and I found that she struggles to digest heavier meats, so we have been finding healthier alternatives to some of our favorites, which so far looks like we should be saving money on our grocery bill as well as saving our waistlines.

Goals for 2023
Get food spending down to $400/month
Cut expenses by $100/month
Save $8,000-10,000 for house
Get rid of 2 debts (1 Credit card, 1 Private student Loan, Total ~6,000)
Work on creating a side hustle
Get under 180lbs
Be able to touch hands flat on the floor with legs straight
Net Worth: $50,000
Read 10 Books

Stretch Goal 2023
Pay off Private student loans ($12,000)
Target weight 160
Pay off Federal Loans (Pending Supreme Court Decision)
Debt Free ($40,484.62, 30,484.62 w/o federal loans)
Net Worth: $60,000
Read 20 Books

December 2022 Food Spending: $632.27

Total Assets: $74,581.41
Total Liabilities: -$40,848.62
Net Worth: $33,732.79
Monthly Change:+$13,055.47
YTD change:+$2,310.46

Weight: 198.2lbs
Monthly Change:+6.8lbs
YTD Change:+0.2lbs

November 2022 Review

This month has been a more relaxed month for me. Only 4 show days, not including the 3 weeks of daily rehearsals for my freelance lighting design for a high school production of ‘Bring It On: The Musical’. Luckily it has forced me to plan my lunch and dinner to be on the go so I’ve actually saved a decent amount on my food budget. Plus adding this side gig is making me $750 for my work and my students are good enough that I spent maybe 10 hours programming and they run everything, so I’m basically babysitting the lights they rented from my employer and solving problems as they arise. Easy money that I’ll be throwing all at debt so my end of year should be just that much sweeter. My goal is to be able to have knocked out almost $10,000 of debt this year which is 20% of my pre-tax pay, and almost 30% of my take home.

I have gained a pound this month, but I weigh myself every day and it wasn’t until the rehearsals went late and the parent volunteers fed us that I pigged out. Almost nothing was healthy, but I’m too polite to say no. And midwestern parents can be very persuasive about their food. I was weak. I probably would have gain more if I didn’t have the stomach flu from the day before Thanksgiving until the following Saturday. I was sad that I didn’t get to eat all of the good food.

November 2022 Food Spending: $416.45

Total Assets: $60,565.97
Total Liabilities: -$39,888.65
Net Worth: $20,677.32
Monthly Change:+$345.27
YTD change:-$10,745.01

Weight: 191.4lbs
Monthly Change:+1.3lbs
YTD Change:-6.6lbs

October 2022 Review

This month, my investments stayed about even from last month, so the increase in net worth is from watching ,y spending and paying down debt! I did spend a lot on going out to eat, but I did have a lot of gig that I had to travel for, which is offset by per diem. I think I can squeeze a little bit more to bring my food down to around $400 in November. I might even be able to get below that goal since I have about half the amount of gigs in November than I did in October. And the gigs I am on, feed me so that should drop my spending down.

Even though things are looking up for me on the money side, this is hibernation season. Corporate events, not great weather. It’s desk work season, not physical summer. My drive is super low to work out and my food intake goes up. My wife and I have started doing yoga, which has helped some of my back problems, and should hopefully get me in the mood to exercise more. Its just mentally hard to work out when it is still dark out in the morning.

November Food Spending: $496.32

Total Assets: $60,741.05
Total Liabilities: -$40,409.00
Net Worth: $20,332.05
Monthly Change:+$1,436.42
YTD change:-$11,090.28

Weight: 190.1lbs
Monthly Change:-0.1lbs
YTD Change:-7.9lbs

September 2022 Review

So last month, I went through my spreadsheet and it seems Some new accounts I’ve added were not in my total net worth. I found a retirement account from an old job which shot me up $3,000, but because I was trying to see what the student loan forgiveness would do for me, I forgot to move a couple loans back into the right spot on the ledger. So if you compare my Assets and liabilities from this month to last month, that would be why.

I was able to cut my food spending a bit. Mainly because I’m no longer working fairs and festivals where a bottle of water is $6. I’m into the corporate and indoor concert season, so it is much easier to pack food and not go out to eat several meals a day.

I have been able to use the personal loan I got last month to knock out some of the higher interest debt, which is saving me $300/month just in interest. If the loan forgiveness comes through, I should be able to throw over $2,500/month at debt and hopefully be debt free by Christmas 2023. And that doesn’t include if I throw bonuses and per diem towards, it will be even sooner.

I’m going to work on reducing my spending even more this month to see how much lower I can get. My goal is to get food down to below $500/month. Which should be possible during the not summer months.

August Food Spending: $584.68

Total Assets: $62,598.26
Total Liabilities: -$43,702.63
Net Worth: $18,895.63
Monthly Change:-$2,114.45
YTD change:-$12,526.70

Weight: 190.2lbs
Monthly Change:-0.6lbs
YTD Change:-7.8lbs

August 2022 Review

I write this several days late because my boss decided it was a good idea to shatter his wrist, so I have been out on gigs for the last 8 days and only have today to catch up with life.

I got the notification from my private loan servicer that my rates would go up. What they didn’t say it that they’d go from the lovely 4% they were at to just under 10%! So I am in the process of refinancing to a 5 year loan which actually will save me tons of money over the life of this loan.

One of the gigs I was working was a fair, that didn’t have catering. And I didn’t find that out until we got there, so I didn’t have access to healthy food. I was actually down 2 pounds this month, and then the fair hit. Hopefully with this next month I’ll be able to buckle down and keep getting leaner.

I realized this summer that my spending was getting away from me, so I have used the idea from Waffles on Wednesday, to make a Google Form to help me track my spending. I already see it working because I am thinking twice before buying the extra snacks, or stopping somewhere for a quick bite to eat.

August Food Spending: $746.46

Total Assets: $58,931.68
Total Liabilities: -$37,921.60
Net Worth: $21,010.08
Monthly Change:-$186.60
YTD change:-$10,412.25

Weight: 190.8lbs
Monthly Change:-0.2lbs
YTD Change:-7.2lbs

July 2022 Review

Just a day behind as I was out in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin working a gig. It was almost pre dial up speeds out there so trying to update all of my accounts and get access to my spreadsheet would have been a full time job yesterday.

This month I paid the last of my surgery off! Only to find out that I need to throw another $500 at my teeth because a cavity decided to join the party. I do have to say that I take really good care of my teeth, but genetics is winning the battle on this one. I got my mother’s teeth apparently, and on that side of the family our teeth are like swiss cheese and just love them some cavities.

Due to some lovely pops in my back I’ve focused on starting yoga and lifting less to see if I can let my hamstrings chill out. They’ve been so tight since the first time I threw my back out this year. I’ve also gone between working gigs that are extremely high energy to babysitting gits where I only get out of my chair to get food or because I’m incredibly bored.

Total Assets: $59,918.35
Total Liabilities: -$38,721.67
Net Worth: $21,196.68
Monthly Change:+$1,421.41
YTD change:-$10,225.65

Weight: 191.0lbs
Monthly Change:+0.8lbs
YTD Change:-7.0lbs

June 2022 Review

I know we aren’t technically in a recession right now, but it is starting to feel like it. My retirement portfolio went from $31,000 to $29,000 this month. I also had to pay minimums on all debt this month because I had to drop a little over $2,000 between repairs on my car (new tires, brake pads and rotors), chipped windshield, and new glasses (because they took a 20 foot fall while I was climbing in a truss). Usually I’m pretty consistent with going $2,000 over the minimums each month, but this month was somewhat out of my control. I hit something on the highway with 3 of my tires and blew out 2 of them, and I’ve had these tires 10,000 past the warranty, so they were due.

I have been noticing that my waistline is starting to decrease. I had to drop in a hole on my belt. Which is super exciting. I have been working my ass of this summer including a 19 hour, 35,000 step day last week. If I would just put in the effort to eat healthier, I’d probably be down 10 pounds this month. But the Elephant ear stand that was directly behind me this weekend is very persuasive.

My company went from a 6 figure loss last quarter to, from what I hear, was a massive jump in our second quarter. So I will be asking for a raise and not taking no for an answer.

Total Assets: $58,154.74
Total Liabilities: -$38,379.47
Net Worth: $19,775.27
Monthly Change:-$1,729.27
YTD change:-$11,647.06

Weight: 190.2lbs
Monthly Change:+0.2lbs
YTD Change:-7.8lbs

May 2022 Review

The market is still taking a ski trip down the hill. And I am more than happy to keep buying funds on sale. I have the task on todoist, to go through my spending over the last couple of months to see where I can cut back. I know there’s some subscriptions I can get rid of, and it is that time of year to call my Internet Service Provider and play the phone game of finding the best deal for me. It’s not a fun game, but I need to play it.

I’m finally starting to get back into working out since I had my surgery and then right as I’m given the all clear, I get knocked down with covid for 2 weeks. I’m glad that we were extra careful throughout the pandemic, even when people we know thought we were crazy, because I had a rough time being sick, I can’t imagine what that would have been like 2 years ago when people were being hospitalized consistently for covid. My taste and smell are back and I feel like I can breathe normally again. ANd now it is time to play catchup with my exercise. at the very least I’m striving to hit my 10k steps every day, and reaching for at least 3-4 workouts a week setting my goal for 5-6 soon. And once I feel caught up, I’ll be hitting up my trainer again. It just seems wasteful to go to the trainer to start over again.

Total Assets: $60,010.40
Total Liabilities: -$38,505.38
Net Worth: $21,505.38
Monthly Change:-$855.45
YTD change:-$9,917.31

Weight: 190lbs
Monthly Change:-1.5lbs
YTD Change:-8.0lbs

April 2022 Review

Market downturns and Medical bills all in the same month. Even with that, I was able to pay down my debt an extra $1,000. This month was kind of a blur because of how busy things have been.

My energy has been peaks and valleys because I’ll do a 12+ hour day doing shows, and then a day at the office and sitting on the couch because I’m sore from the day before. I’m working on trying to flatten those valleys and keep me from couch potato-ing.

Total Assets: $61,035.80
Total Liabilities: -$38,675.33
Net Worth: $22,360.47
Monthly Change:-$4950.67
YTD change:-$9,061.86

Weight: 191.5lbs
Monthly Change:-0.5lbs
YTD Change:-6.5lbs