August 2022 Financial Update:

My Birthday cake my friend made me 🥺💛

August is always a crazy month for us because my birthday, our anniversary, and other family & friends have birthdays in August.

This month was extra hard though, particularly the week of my birthday. I got Covid for the first time and it hit me really bad right when my friend was staying with us after not seeing her for over 3 years. It was rough. I had every Covid symptom, a terrible cough, sore throat, aches, fatigue, fever, loss of smell & taste, just terrible. I think it was the sickest I’ve ever been. I can see how people who smoke or are elderly can die from it. As I’m writing this, I STILL have a cough left over. Also my mom’s household had to put down their dog and my other close friend’s cat died unexpectedly young. There were some other major challenging things that happened, but I’m not comfortable sharing those things with the internet. Overall, the week of my birthday was one of the hardest weeks of my entire life so far. Not all bad, but difficult.

As for our finances, I’ve started making more money this month, and the week after my birthday I’ve finally found a great work routine to maximize my income in the smallest amount of hours! I basically just work the lunch rush Monday-Friday delivery driving; Roughly 9:45am-1:30pm, and then at the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. It’s going great! My new income is going to be around $2,000/month even though I only work about 20 hours a week.

As always, as a home owner, another unexpected home expense came up! Who would’ve thought??? Our kitchen sink got clogged and it was way down in there deep so it’s costing us $210. We tried to fix it ourselves (by ourselves, I mean Brandon) and it was just too deep, our snake wasn’t long enough and Draino didn’t work.

And as someone in the U.S. we of course have medical bills!! Yay!! *eye roll* We owe about $400 in random medical bills over all now. There is a delay in when we receive services, then receive the bill. We just got these bills in the mail so will probably pay them in September.

Our main financial goal right now is to beef up our savings account & future HSA until the balance between the two is $20,000.

Our Partial Financial Independence Goals:

  • $0 Debt.
  • Brandon works part time at his job.
  • We need $2,000+/month in income, whether that comes from investments, Brandon’s part time job, my blog, etc. it doesn’t matter.

Our Current Numbers as of August 30th, 2022:

  • Roth IRAs (Betterment -SRI Sustainable): $26,507 and $24,075
  • My small Traditional IRA (From an old 401(k) rollover -Betterment): $1,723
  • Tesla: $820 (gambling)
  • Bitcoin: $545 (gambling)
  • Total Invested: $53,670
  • Savings: $4,316
  • Debt: -$116,254 (Mortgage only) -On track to be paid off by end of 2034, will most likely be paid off sooner.
  • Brandon is working 38 hours/week and I am working 15-20 hours/week.

As many of you know, the stock market didn’t do well in August, again, I expected this. It will come back someday & continue its steady growth. At least our savings account balance went up a decent amount & our mortgage balance went down. That’s mainly what we’re focusing on for now.

Thank you for reading! And hopefully I’ll get back to streaming on Twitch again & writing more, but no promises! Life has been crazy so I’m just doing what I can and have mostly been in survival mode. And the little energy I do have, I put it towards taking care of my self, my basic needs, and caring for my relationships. If I’m lucky, I’ll get some cleaning done, but that’s rare right now.

  • My Financial Planning Workbook!
  • ThriftBooks -I LOVE them as a company & order all of my books from them now! They ship super fast, great service, books always show up as described, super cheap, & good for the planet because they’re second-hand, but you get to choose the quality!
  • BetterHelp -A week of Therapy for FREE!
  • Betterment -Invest your first $5,000 for FREE!
  • Back Market -My referral code: 6888f588d6f85083 -$10 off your order! Refurbished Tech! My sister & I both got “new” phones from there. They’re awesome, great quality, so much cheaper than buying new (by up to 70%), came super fast, was super easy to buy, AND we saved 123 pounds of carbon emissions, each!

July 2022 Financial Update:

In July, we mostly had tons of different appointments, particularly for Brandon’s back, he has a tear. Leo had a teeth cleaning he needed to be put under for, and Brandon had to get multiple fillings. Other than that I have been working part time, doing house projects, and like always, constantly evaluating myself & how I want to live my life.

Oh, I also started Twitch Streaming!!! I want to try it out and so far it’s going well. I talk about home stuff like cleaning & decluttering, but it seems people like when I get philosophical on there too. We’ll see where it goes, if I continue to like it then I’ll keep doing it, if not then I’ll stop or pause. That simple.

We updated our living room a bit this month to slowly make it the Mid-Century Modern Living Room of our dreams. It’s not finished, we want to refinish the floors, get new light fixtures, & a new rug.

The floors always photograph well, but in person, they’re covered in paint splatters, nail holes, and patches are missing stain completely. Also, that is not a real Eames chair, it’s a replica, but we still got a great deal on it! $70 at a garage sale!!

The rug was free from my mom’s garage many months ago. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t go with the room & is too small for the space.

We added a shelf above the TV too.

Next Financial Goals:

  • $20,000 in Savings/potential future HSA
  • Max out Roth IRAs for 2023, by April 2024.
  • Pay off the mortgage

Our Partial Financial Independence Goals:

  • $0 Debt.
  • Brandon works part time at his job.
  • We need $2,000+/month in income, whether that comes from investments, Brandon’s part time job, my blog, etc. it doesn’t matter.

Our Current Numbers as of July 31st, 2022:

  • Roth IRAs (Betterment -SRI Sustainable): $27,556 and $24,976
  • My small Traditional IRA (From an old 401(k) rollover -Betterment): $1,783
  • Tesla: $874 (gambling)
  • Bitcoin: $652 (gambling)
  • Total Invested: $55,841
  • Savings: $3,863
  • Debt: -$116,935 (Mortgage only) -On track to be paid off by end of 2034, will most likely be paid off sooner.
  • Brandon is working 38 hours/week and I am working 10-15 hours/week.

The stock market regained some of it’s losses this month, so that’s nice! I’m still expecting volatility for the next while though, how long, I don’t know.

Approximate F.I. date: August 2034 (12 years) probably earlier, there are too many variables to predict exactly when.

  • My Financial Planning Workbook!
  • ThriftBooks -I LOVE them as a company & order all of my books from them now! They ship super fast, great service, books always show up as described, super cheap, & good for the planet because they’re second-hand, but you get to choose the quality!
  • BetterHelp -A week of Therapy for FREE!
  • Betterment -Invest your first $5,000 for FREE!
  • Back Market -My referral code: 6888f588d6f85083 -$10 off your order! Refurbished Tech! My sister & I both got “new” phones from there. They’re awesome, great quality, so much cheaper than buying new (by up to 70%), came super fast, was super easy to buy, AND we saved 123 pounds of carbon emissions, each!

How to Reach Your Financial Goals Faster:

At the end of this post, I list out all of the ways how we were able to accomplish these financial goals with such low incomes, in such a short amount of time. I suggest reading that list for ideas that you may be able to apply to your finances.

Now that we are half way through the year, and I started my monthly financial updates May of 2020; let’s examine where we were financially July 1st of 2020, July 1st, 2021, & July 1st, 2022 to see if we are actually making any progress. Spoiler alert: we are.

Flash back to July 1st, 2020. Although it’s summer, pools are closed & events are canceled. A new virus called “Covid-19” is out and about & most of us are stuck at home, we are only 3 months in and assume it will be over soon, hmmm…

Our finances were:

  • Total invested: $18,326
  • Total in savings: $11,028
  • Total debt: -$149,879

Then 2021 came, and was much the same as 2020:

  • Total invested: $39,942
  • Total in savings: $10,768
  • Total debt: -$133,257

To be honest, I think the pandemic helped us save a lot of money, pause and do a lot of reflection. We could no longer eat out as much, didn’t need to drive as much, couldn’t travel, etc.

And then most recently: July 1st, 2022:

  • Total invested: $52,521
  • Total in savings: $3,662
  • Total debt: -$117,614

And this is with our investments going down drastically over the last 6 months! At their peak, they were at around $62,000. I took out $12,000 this year from savings to invest, that’s what caused our savings to go down the most.

Overall, our investments grew from $18,326 to $52,521. Our savings went from $11,028 down to $3,662. And our debt went down from almost $150,000 to $117,614! In two years.

32,265 – 7,366 + 34,195 = $59,094 in positive change! That’s $29,547/year going towards investing, saving, & paying off debt 🙂 Basically we live off of one of our incomes & use the other person’s income to accomplish our financial goals, it’s a team effort.

I’m so excited to see where we will be 5, 10, 20 years from now!!! The financial growth will be amazing! The sacrifices & discipline have been worth it 100%.

The sacrifices & changes we made (and you can too):

  • We are very mindful with our purchases and buy very little that is not an actual need. We constantly walk away from things we want and put them back on the shelf. (Other than eating out, we do pick up orders for food all the time) I really minimized my skin & hair care routine, and my wardrobe, and stopped buying items in these areas. THIS IS THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOURSELF FINANCIALLY (and mentally tbh), TRY YOUR BEST NOT TO FALL FOR MARKETING & BUYING THINGS YOU DON’T NEED. They will not provide true joy & fulfillment in life, even though you may believe they do because of marketing and the dopamine hit we get after we buy something new, but that feeling fades & the money is gone.
  • We paused all travel, mostly thanks to Covid.
  • The second best thing we did, or it may even be tied for first, for what gave us a major financial boost was: We went down to one car. The older & cheaper of the two cars we had is the one we kept. It’s a 2013 used Honda Civic. This means sometimes I need to get up early to drive Brandon into work so I can have the car later, but honestly it hasn’t been a hassle like we thought it would be. I have a whole blog post about how we sold the other car, for how much, & why. People don’t think about how much a car actually costs, it’s more than the monthly payment, it’s insurance, gas, maintenance, tabs, etc. too.
  • We also buy almost everything that is not a need, second-hand or borrow it from someone.
  • Found ways to make our home far more energy efficient.
  • Refinanced our mortgage in September of 2020 to a 15 year loan with 3.125% interest.
  • Switched insurance providers for our car & home to get a far better deal.
  • Called and lowered our internet speed to save about $20/month and haven’t noticed a difference.

I hope this post helps you jump start your journey to financial independence, or fuel the fire (no pun intended) more, if you’re already well on your way.

Thank you for reading! 💚

-Meghan

  • My Financial Planning Guide!
  • ThriftBooks -I LOVE them as a company & order all of my books from them now! They ship super fast, great service, books always show up as described, super cheap, & good for the planet because they’re second-hand, but you get to choose the quality!
  • BetterHelp -A week of Therapy for FREE!
  • Betterment -Invest your first $5,000 for FREE!
  • Back Market -My referral code: 6888f588d6f85083 -$10 off your order! Refurbished Tech! My sister & I both got “new” phones from there. They’re awesome, great quality, so much cheaper than buying new (by up to 70%), came super fast, was super easy to buy, AND we saved 123 pounds of carbon emissions, each!
  • My business email: themoneyparent@gmail.com

June 2022 Financial Update:

For the United States, June was a wild month politically, about many varying topics. I won’t get into it, but as a young woman who cares about sustainability & freedom, I bet you can guess some of my thoughts. Some choices were a step in the right direction, some majorly stepping backwards.

Personally though, June was another uneventful month. So I’m just going to dive right into our finances! I do want to say that returning to work has been going well!

Brandon had a ton of medical bills and we paid for the fence & some dental work for me, so our savings is now low, but we will slowly grow it again over the coming months/year.

Next Financial Goals:

  • $20,000 in Savings/potential future HSA
  • Pay off the mortgage

Our Partial Financial Independence Goals:

  • $0 Debt.
  • Brandon works part time at his job.
  • We need $2,000+/month in income, whether that comes from investments, Brandon’s part time job, my blog, etc. it doesn’t matter.

Our Current Numbers as of July 1st, 2022:

  • Roth IRAs (Betterment -SRI Sustainable): $26,005 and $23,643
  • My small Traditional IRA (From an old 401(k) rollover -Betterment): $1,651
  • Tesla: $668
  • Bitcoin: $529
  • Total Invested: $52,521
  • Savings: $3,662
  • Debt: -$117,614 (Mortgage only) -On track to be paid off by end of 2034, will most likely be paid off sooner.
  • Brandon is working full time and I am working part time.

I’ll be honest, I personally regret investing in Bitcoin & Tesla, for now. I’m going to hold it though, but as soon as it reaches above what I bought it for, I’m most likely going to sell. As I have said before, I view these two items as gambling, not an investment. I had never really gambled in the stock market before and wanted to try it out, with a small amount of money, it’s definitely not for me. I’ll stick to my index funds, but it’s a good learning experience.

The market over all though has not been doing great for the last 6 months, but I’m not worried, I know it will come back eventually. You don’t lose money until you sell, and I’m sticking to the plan.

That should be it for our finances this month! Basically our savings & investments went down a lot, but we are slowly chipping away at that mortgage and it’s just a matter of time before the market continues its steady climb.

  • My Financial Planning Workbook!
  • ThriftBooks -I LOVE them as a company & order all of my books from them now! They ship super fast, great service, books always show up as described, super cheap, & good for the planet because they’re second-hand, but you get to choose the quality!
  • BetterHelp -A week of Therapy for FREE!
  • Betterment -Invest your first $5,000 for FREE!
  • Back Market -My referral code: 6888f588d6f85083 -$10 off your order! Refurbished Tech! My sister & I both got “new” phones from there. They’re awesome, great quality, so much cheaper than buying new (by up to 70%), came super fast, was super easy to buy, AND we saved 123 pounds of carbon emissions, each!

You’re Creating Problems for Yourself and How to Stop.

“Don’t fix what’s not broken.”

Recently, I’ve caught myself and others, almost looking for problems. It’s kind of comical. We refuse to be content with whatever we have or where we’re at. We only focus on that which we lack or we change our minds to no longer like what we have.

“The main floor is perfect! Now we just need to fix up the basement.”

“If I just made a bit more money…” or “I wish my employer offered better benefits.”

“Once we get new curtains & a rug then the living room will look so much better!”

Now, there may be some truth to these statements, but when will it end? Answer: it doesn’t.

Basically, I’m tired of chasing, and tired of seeing others constantly chasing things too. Nothing will ever be perfect, and you’ll be chasing that false idea until the day you die, wasting time & money. When instead, you can make the best of what you have. Take advantage of the benefits your company does offer or, if it’s really not working for you and you dislike your job, try to find a new one! Start applying! In the words of Jim Rohn, “If you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.”

More often than not, when it comes to the home, people have too much stuff, and rather than buying new stuff, they should declutter and maybe refinish & rearrange what they already have. I guarantee your space will look and feel 100x better without you spending any money on anything new or adding anything to your home. Simply work with what you’ve got.

Will getting new curtains and a rug for my living room majorly change my life for the better? No. Do my curtains and rug still function as intended? Yes. So why waste the money & time actively searching for new, nice ones? Because marketing, social media, other people, etc. make us feel like we need them, like we will feel so much better once we have them. The truth is that it will be exciting for a moment, then we will quickly adjust to our new environment, humans have a knack for adapting to change quickly, then we’ll be wanting something else. Now, if I happen to come across these items that will work perfect for cheap at a garage sale or thrift store, sure, but I’m tired of going out of my way for things I don’t need, I’m talking groceries, shampoo, deodorant, etc.

The same can be said for “figuring out your career”. Almost everyone I know, including many of those who are older workers, in their 50s, have had many “careers” or many jobs they thought they would be at until retirement. Life has other plans, and it’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to stay at a job where you’re “just” a cashier, or teller, or sandwich maker, or whatever. If your bills are paid, plus some extra money, and you don’t hate or dislike your job, why try to fix what isn’t broken?

I, and many other 20-somethings, feel such great pressure to find the perfect career or the perfect major, when it simply may not exist for us. And even if we do, what is “perfect” for us now may not be 10 years from now and that’s okay.

For example, I’ve realized, I enjoy my current job right now, which is part time delivery driving (hopeing to work up to 30+ hours eventually), I’m even making MORE money per hour on average than I was at my old, higher stress desk job that had a better title. I have flexibility, shorter hours, get to be outside, and have coworkers again that I like. So, if I’m happy, making good money, get some free/cheap food, have flexibility, get half of the money I make in cash right away, like my coworkers, etc. Why am I still trying to fix what isn’t broken? Because the grass always seems greener on the other side. Well, I went to the other side and now I’m back realizing I was already on a green lawn. Why am I still feeling like I should find a more noble pursuit? Because society, businesses/marketing, peers, etc. want us to feel discontent to either join them in their misery (rat race lifestyle) or give them our money.

When in reality, a human’s default state is peace & contentment, things come up that disturb that every now & then, but we return to that state. We think and genuinely believe though, that our default state is unhappy/discontent, and that we need to seek out happiness, joy, fulfillment, when really we just need to be. It is already who we are, once we pause and stop chasing.

While “on the pursuit of happiness” you by default are labeling yourself as unhappy.

This isn’t to say, stop trying to evolve & become a better person or not to help others, no, quite the opposite, that is all we should focus on, rather than climbing the corporate ladder or acquiring more possessions.

What are you chasing?

In what ways are you looking at what’s wrong rather than what’s going right?

Feel free to comment your thoughts or reflect privately! This is a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, and I made realizations that I’m happy with where I’m at currently, and going to stick with this path, until it no longer works for me.

As long as our bills are paid, we are healthy, & enjoy our jobs, what more could you really ask for?

May 2022 Financial Update:

Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne!

This month we mainly went to garage sales, gardened/did yardwork, and I started part time work again. Overall, it was a peaceful, chill month.

On to our personal finances for May:

Our savings account did go down because we paid off my medical bill and took some money out in preparation for finally putting up the 1/3 of our fence again. As I am writing this, the construction guys are starting on it today! We already bought all of the materials.

Other than that, it’s nice to be making a bit of money again, but to be honest we are using to pay for things like medical bills, home repairs, & gardening so you will see little change in our numbers for awhile. I’ve been working at our local farmer’s market most Saturdays (7am-12pm) at an Indian food stand with a lovely couple I befriended, I don’t make much, but I enjoy myself, get to spend time outside, and get lots of delicious free food! I also delivery drive part time now 10-15 hours a week. Honestly I made more money per hour during my delivery driving shifts than I did as an HR Manager/Insurance Agent/Office Administrator at my last job LOL and it’s way less stressful and I get to run around outside. My first driving shift I averaged $27/hr. My next shift I was just Emergency Driver, meaning I only go out a couple times if needed and I still averaged $18/hr, and finally my other driving shift I averaged $25/hr. So people can laugh that I’m delivery driving again, but I’m making better money than I was and have way more freedom & flexibility so that I can use my mental and creative energy on my business!

Our financial plan for this year:

  • Pay off Brandon’s medical bill (we still haven’t been sent it yet)
  • Pay the guys for the fence once they’re done
  • Pay to get my bottom teeth straightened again
  • Fix the broken window
  • Build up savings account again (to $18,000)
  • Max out HSA contributions (if we have one) -If so, we don’t need as much in savings.
  • Put all of our extra income, after our needs are covered, on the Mortgage. (If we get to this step this year.)

Our Partial Financial Independence Goals:

  • DEBT FREE
  • Brandon works part time at his job.
  • I am self-employed. I can choose how much or how little I want to work & when.
  • We need $2,000+/month in income, whether that comes from investments, Brandon’s part time job, my classes, my workbook, etc. it doesn’t matter.

Our Current Numbers as of April 30th, 2022:

  • Roth IRAs (Betterment -SRI Sustainable): $27,956 and $25,327
  • My small Traditional IRA (From an old 401(k) rollover -Betterment): $1,668
  • Tesla: $765
  • AYRO (Free Crypto from signing up with Robinhood): $1.05
  • Bitcoin: $869
  • Total Invested: $56,586.05 (Investments are still down a bit)
  • Savings: $4,307
  • Debt: -$118,292 (Mortgage only) -On track to be paid off by end of 2034.
  • Just Brandon is working full time.
  • I am working part time.

(To me, investing in Tesla and Crypto is gambling, that’s why I only put in a small amount.)

  • My Financial Planning Guide!
  • ThriftBooks -I LOVE them as a company & order all of my books from them now! They ship super fast, great service, books always show up as described, super cheap, & good for the planet because they’re second-hand, but you get to choose the quality!
  • BetterHelp -A week of Therapy for FREE!
  • Betterment -Invest your first $5,000 for FREE!
  • Back Market -My referral code: 6888f588d6f85083 -$10 off your order! Refurbished Tech! My sister & I both got “new” phones from there. They’re awesome, great quality, so much cheaper than buying new (by up to 70%), came super fast, was super easy to buy, AND we saved 123 pounds of carbon emissions, each!
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • My business email: themoneyparent@gmail.com

Think No Evil

Found on Instagram

We all know the saying: “see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil”. Well I think a 4th or an alternative option needs to be added: Think no evil. By evil, I mean negative, and by thoughts, I mean about everything, not just about others. That includes you, your goals, life, etc.

You cannot speak evil (negatively) without having thought of evil (negatively) first, and you cannot always control what you hear and see. Although we have more control over what we hear and see than we believe we do.

This is why I believe “Think no evil” is an even better place to start. It’s nearly impossible to not think of negative thoughts, but being aware and catching yourself when you do, is a huge first step. Then you can slowly guide your mind away from those thoughts by using logic and empathy, and eventually, you’ll find yourself thinking negative thoughts far less and speaking negatively far less, and enjoying life more. Our thoughts become our reality. What we focus on and think about is what we will find more of in our life.

I am challenging myself, and you, to “think no evil”. Life is often far worse in our own minds than in reality. We jump to the worst-case scenarios, which causes us to lose sleep, and be distracted & irritable, even if what we’re thinking about isn’t actually happening or has a very low probability of happening.

Stop paying for “debts” that probably won’t happen, and aren’t actually happening right now. Look at the real facts. Even accept the worst-case scenario outcome and figure out what you can choose to do if that worst case scenario occurs. You’ll find there are many solutions and that the “worst-case scenario” actually isn’t as bad as you thought.

This post was greatly inspired by How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. I know this book has changed millions of lives, and will continue to change millions more.

I highly recommend everyone reads this book. It is proof our mindset is everything. It even controls our physical health, the vast majority of the time. If you want to live a long, healthy, peaceful life. Listen to this post and book and apply these principles to your life.

Thank you for reading!

P. S. Since starting to read this book about a month ago, I’ve actually felt content with my life for the first time since about 12 years old. When “bad” things happen, they don’t really feel as bad and I get over them faster. I genuinely feel more at peace and have been living in the moment rather than obsessing over what the future may bring, which we all know is nearly impossible to predict.

  • My Financial Planning Guide!
  • ThriftBooks -I LOVE them as a company & order all of my books from them now! They ship super fast, great service, books always show up as described, super cheap, & good for the planet because they’re second-hand, but you get to choose the quality!
  • BetterHelp -A week of Therapy for FREE!
  • Betterment -Invest your first $5,000 for FREE!
  • Back Market -My referral code: 6888f588d6f85083 -$10 off your order! Refurbished Tech! My sister & I both got “new” phones from there. They’re awesome, great quality, so much cheaper than buying new (by up to 70%), came super fast, was super easy to buy, AND we saved 123 pounds of carbon emissions, each!
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • My business email: themoneyparent@gmail.com

Do Better, Not Your Best.

Photo by Kevin Malik on Pexels.com

It is impossible for someone to be their “best” all of the time. Doing your best is often associated with perfection too.

The goal should never be perfection, but to be a slightly better version of yourself than you were the day before. Thats it. Even if all you did was a therapy session to be a better person for yourself and others, or study a language for 15 minutes, or smoke one less cigarette, or go for a 15 minute walk. Slowly become a better you through tiny actions each day. There may be days that you need to help and support others instead, such as a sick spouse or a child. Helping other beings is one of the most important things on this planet.

Through making yourself a better person each day, you are making the world a better place each day. We are all interconnected.
This is your permission to stop setting the bar so high. If you have an area or two you want to really work on in your life, do something small each day to get better, not perfect and not your absolute best.

Perfection is an absurd goal that will never be reached. Perfection promotes procrastination and insecurity in people. As long as you can look back on the week you’ve had and can say you’ve learned & grown as a person and have made progress, that’s a major success. The small daily actions you take have the largest impact on your life and, ultimately, are your life. What you choose to do everyday is your life.

So, how do you want to live your daily life?

What areas do you want to do better in? How are you going to do better? And why are you going to do better?

Please throw perfection and being your best out the window, and just do better today. Something is better than nothing.

Thank you for reading!

-Meghan

  • My Financial Planning Guide!
  • ThriftBooks -I LOVE them as a company & order all of my books from them now! They ship super fast, great service, books always show up as described, super cheap, & good for the planet because they’re second-hand, but you get to choose the quality!
  • BetterHelp -A week of Therapy for FREE!
  • Betterment -Invest your first $5,000 for FREE!
  • Back Market -My referral code: 6888f588d6f85083 -$10 off your order! Refurbished Tech! My sister & I both got “new” phones from there. They’re awesome, great quality, so much cheaper than buying new (by up to 70%), came super fast, was super easy to buy, AND we saved 123 pounds of carbon emissions, each!
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • My business email: themoneyparent@gmail.com

April 2022 Financial Update:

April was an insanely busy month, so much happened and we had so many events.

Finally, after over 6 months of consideration, and analyzing my infinite options for how I want to move forward, after losing my job in October 2021, I’ve figured out my plan for this next year.

I of course want to focus most of my energy on my health & relationships. Those always come first, then I want to focus my creativity and mental energy on this blog, my workbook, and probably the podcast with my friend.

I still need more balance in my life though, I want to be more physically active and connect with young people. So I have decided to delivery drive again part time like I did when I was 17/18 years old, at the same place my husband works. This job is perfect for me right now. I dont want to sit at a desk inside for 40 hours a week just as we are heading into Spring too. I want to be outside, on my feet, and by the young people I want to educate about finances. This way Brandon can go down to 30 hours a week too if he wants and my job doesn’t mentally drain me. I am also going to work a few random Saturdays over the Summer at an Indian food stand at our local farmer’s market, mainly just to help the owners, who I have befriended.

In my free time over the last month, I have been teaching myself German and reading & writing a lot. I also want to try to do Yoga & Meditation at least 5 days a week. I want to make all of these things a habit.

Ultimately, I want to feel balanced and at peace in life.

Also guess who left social media for the 5th time? 🙃 Lol, me. Brandon was supposed to quit with me, but then was back on it by the end of the week. So we’ll see how it goes. Again, I’m addicted to it. I can leave for a month or two, then I come back and binge, but one of these times I’ll break the addiction. I just can’t be responsible with it. It wastes way too much of my time and energy. I hate how it makes me feel and I know it’s so bad for everyone’s mental health & overall well-being, so it makes me feel horrible when I support it by posting or even viewing.

My friend Eric did make a fantastic point though. He said people will continue to scroll on social media whether I’m on it or not. At least I’m putting out content that is educational and helps others. As for my personal problem of not being able to get off of Instagram or TikTok once I’m on, I’m thinking I’ll just have 2 days a week I’ll post. Then the rest of the days I’m not allowed to even open the apps because I need to focus on growing my business in other ways, on those days.

Anyway…

This month, my uncle and his friend visited from Germany and it was SO much fun. It was so nice to see him and his friend again, after almost 3 years of not seeing them because of Covid.

Here we are at a local scenic lookout 🥹

Unfortunately 2 days later, Brandon got the stomach flu super bad so we both didn’t want to leave our house to possibly infect others. So I missed out on the last 36 hours they were in town and also didn’t go to a local River clean up I had signed up for, for Earth Day.

The following week, was when I went to my local University to harass students in the library 😉 (surveyed them) and tried to let them know I want to help them financially. (I was hella awkward sometimes, it’s very hard walking up to strangers and telling them about your business. I want to get out of my comfort zone though, and boy did I.) Then we went to go see The Minimalists in person, a Minnesota Wild game, and stayed with some of my family!

My new books 🙂

Before The Minimalist’s show, I bought 5 new books. I inherited my book addiction from my mother. Luckily, we always swap books, but mainly I just steal from her bookshelf.

My mom, Brandon, and I at The Minimalists

The Minimalists were fantastic, and the event was more about loving people and relationships than it was about decluttering stuff. It was fantastic and helped me realize a few things. First of all, I am a hoarder, a small one, but a hoarder of sentimental items. Second, once you renounce something, you’re automatically tethering yourself to that thing or idea. This made me realize I did this with social media. Rather than saying I don’t go on social media, I am saying, and reframing it in my mind, as: I am prioritizing other things over spending time on it. And finally, I realized Brandon and I have a stronger bond than a lot of couples. The fact that we are on the same page when it comes to our morals and values, including when it comes to minimalism, is something a lot of people don’t have. People at the event mentioned how they had to “drag their partner here” or The Minimalists often asked, “Who dragged who here to this event?”. When a woman asking a question said her and her husband came together and discovered them at the same time, The Minimalists were surprised and said that that is something special that not a lot of couples have. Brandon and I looked at each other and fist bumped.

At the Wild game

The Wild game was amazing! Brandon and I had never been to an NHL game before! And the Wild scored in the first 58 seconds, then a fight broke out. The energy was great and I loved how much they played music. It was also nice that it only took 2.5 hours. Oh, and The Wild won. We definitely want to go to more sporting events now. We also had dinner with Brandon’s brother who we hadn’t seen in almost 6 months, before the game.

It was a rollercoaster of a month, but honestly still a fantastic month overall. I spent SO much time around family! A lot of which I hadn’t seen in months or years. My social battery is beyond dead though after this month. I need to sit alone in my house for like 9 months to recharge lol. I still need to go see The Secrets of Dumbledore though!!

On to our finances for April 2022!

Most of you know, at least if you invest in stocks, that the stock market did not do great in April. So obviously our investments went way down. Every time this happens, I say it’s okay. The market constantly goes up and down for all sorts of reasons and it’s okay if some months our investment accounts dip. We aren’t planning on pulling out of them anytime soon haha, so we aren’t concerned about drops in the market right now.

Our Partial Financial Independence Goals:

  • DEBT FREE (Fun fact: The Minimalists said this is the NEW American dream, and I couldn’t agree more.)
  • Brandon works part time at his job.
  • I am self-employed. I can choose how much or how little I want to work & when.
  • We need $2,000+/month in income, whether that comes from investments, Brandon’s part time job, my blog, my workbook, etc. it doesn’t matter.

Our Current Numbers as of April 30th, 2022:

  • Roth IRAs (Betterment -SRI Sustainable): $27,919 and $25,286
  • My small Traditional IRA (From an old 401(k) rollover -Betterment): $1,654
  • Tesla: $862
  • AYRO (Free Crypto from signing up with Robinhood): $1.00
  • Bitcoin: $1,056
  • Total Invested: $56,778
  • Savings: $5,106
  • Debt: -$118,968 (Mortgage only) -On track to be paid off by end of 2034.
  • Just Brandon is working full time.

I will start to have more income again in May, since I will be employed again. Our plan with that money is pay off the 2 medical bills from my migraine & Brandon’s stomach flu situation. This will be very easy to do and we could’ve pulled out of savings, but just decided to wait because there is no interest accruing on these bills.

Then once the medical bills are paid off, we really need to fix our fence in the backyard. If we don’t soon it may cause more damage by the strain it’s putting on the other parts of our fence. Again, being a property owner is far more complex and expensive than people realize.

Then we want to build up our savings account again, we are thinking we want to hit $20,000 in savings again.

Our Roth IRA contributions are maxed out for 2022 already and I don’t want to invest any more of our money in Crypto or Tesla, I’m fine with the amount I put in. So after we reach our savings goal, we would like to put all of the extra money on the mortgage OR we may have an HSA by then and we would like to max out the HSA contributions first.

Our financial plan overall:

  • Pay off the medical bills
  • Fix the fence
  • Build up savings account again
  • Max out HSA contributions (if we have one)
  • Put all of our extra income, after our needs are covered, on the Mortgage.
  • By the time we reach these goals, it will probably be 2023, so then we can choose if we want to max out our Roth IRA contributions for 2023.

When we had our financial situation analyzed by Millennial Revolution, they said us paying off our mortgage will get us to FIRE faster, rather than investing in our retirement accounts. I just hate the idea of missing out on those annual contributions though. So we’ll see where we are at once it’s 2023. I know it’s smarter for us to put money on the mortgage instead, so we’ll probably do that. We also have until April of 2024 to do any 2023 contributions, so we can always delay any 2023 contributions until then.

Okay, I think that’s all for this month! There was WAY more to write about this month than usual! As always, thank you for reading! I’m looking forward to continuing to help others!

-Meghan

  • My Financial Planning Guide!
  • ThriftBooks -I LOVE them as a company & order all of my books from them now! They ship super fast, great service, books always show up as described, super cheap, & good for the planet because they’re second-hand, but you get to choose the quality!
  • BetterHelp -A week of Therapy for FREE!
  • Betterment -Invest your first $5,000 for FREE!
  • Back Market -My referral code: 6888f588d6f85083 -$10 off your order! Refurbished Tech! My sister & I both got “new” phones from there. They’re awesome, great quality, so much cheaper than buying new (by up to 70%), came super fast, was super easy to buy, AND we saved 123 pounds of carbon emissions, each!
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • My business email: themoneyparent@gmail.com

College Students and Money

Photo by Emily Ranquist on Pexels.com

I went around my local University campus today and surveyed college students about personal finance. (Tuesday, April 26th, 2022)

Here are the questions I asked:

  • What year are you graduating?
  • What education have you received about how to manage your money?
  • Do you feel ready to manage making $40,000+ a year after graduation and have a plan for what you will do with your money?
  • If you do not feel prepared, do you want more help/education about personal finance?
  • What’s one question about personal finance/money management you would like to have answered?

Here are their responses:

  • I am graduating between 2022-2025.
  • Most of them received no education about personal finance, or a class once in high school mainly about budgeting, the others may have learned a bit from a relative.
  • Most of them said no, they do not feel ready to manage a larger salary and don’t have a plan for how they will handle their new income.
  • All said yeah, they would like more education on personal finance.
  • Their answers varied on the last question, but here were their answers: Everything mortgage related, Taxes, How to not over spend, Investing in retirement, Credit cards, Interest rates, Roth IRAs, How to invest and what to invest in, how much you need to retire, and student loan repayment.

I found the results fascinating and worrisome, but I expected these answers.

People aren’t taught what to do with their money, so they default to what their family or peers do, which isn’t always what is best for you and your goals. Everyone is different. You need a plan to control your money, or it will control you.

I will provide answers to these questions and continue to connect with college students. If you are one of the students who spoke with me, thank you for your time! And do not hesitate to share my workbook and website with others. I would love to hear any other questions you or your friends may have too.

I will be writing a post on how I bought a house at 20 years old and what I learned from the process and working at the bank. I can also make a post about credit cards. The rest of the questions they asked, they are answered either on my Financial Advice tab or through my guidebook where the answers are tailored to you as an individual.

As always, thank you for reading! I’m looking forward to continuing to help others!

-Meghan

  • My Financial Planning Workbook!
  • ThriftBooks -I LOVE them as a company & order all of my books from them now! They ship super fast, great service, books always show up as described, super cheap, & good for the planet because they’re second-hand, but you get to choose the quality!
  • BetterHelp -A week of Therapy for FREE!
  • Betterment -Invest your first $5,000 for FREE!
  • Back Market -My referral code: 6888f588d6f85083 -$10 off your order! Refurbished Tech! My sister & I both got “new” phones from there. They’re awesome, great quality, so much cheaper than buying new (by up to 70%), came super fast, was super easy to buy, AND we saved 123 pounds of carbon emissions, each!
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • (I don’t post on the socials anymore, I prefer writing and connecting with local people)
  • My business email: themoneyparent@gmail.com