I mean, let’s be real here: the last year has been brutal. I like to kind of pretend like we’re doing okay, kind of pretend like “Easter in the backyard was the best Easter ever” and “outside Thanksgiving in masks was the best Thanksgiving ever” and “existential threats are the best threats ever” and all that nonsense, but it’s all…nonsense. The last year has been brutal.
I keep thinking I’m going to hang up the blog and then I think, maybe I’ll do it. And because I’m all or nothing, I think “I’m going to do it EVERY DAY!” and then I realize I can’t and think I’ll hang it up. Anyway, here’s a sporadic neither here nor not here.
I redid my paycheck a few weeks ago, and just got my newly recalculated check: $325 every two weeks, although I also set up a direct deposit for a Roth IRA, so that really ends up being $225 every two weeks. I’m inordinately proud of this and yet, my kids (99% of the people I interact with) don’t seem to care.
I recalculated my paycheck to take out fewer taxes and more 403(b) – total of $19,500 per year. Roth IRA at about $2400 per year, but maybe I can increase that. Maybe not.
Here’s the point, though: I’ve done some things. Some things I’m proud of. And I’ve done some other things that still need work. In short, a list:
Things I’m proud of:
1) I’m on track to max out my 403(b). WHAT? That seems…impossible. I’m also waiting for the moment when I have to take it all back and recalculate again and hang my head in defeat. But I’ve been earning about $50K a year with my side hustle for several years now, so my extra income seems stable. That leaves my personal income at about $110K, maxing out my 403(b) brings it down to about $90K. This should not be crazy.
(It’s worth noting that my husband also has increased his earnings of late, but I have been trying to calculate my own expenses + my kids’ expenses against my own income. Maybe I’ll go into that later. Maybe you can read between some lines here).
2) I’m up to $850 per month for 529s. I have this dream that my kids will get free education by me remaining employed at my current job in 20 years, thus qualifying for free tuition, but let’s be honest, higher education is not stable and my job (professor) is not guaranteed even for another year, much less two decades. So I’m also trying to build up the 529s. This is probably idiotic, I should probably be “putting my oxygen mask on first” or whatever. But here’s the very real truth: I care far more about giving my kids a good start than I do about being super rich or super early retired. Maybe they won’t need a 529 – in that case, I’ll take the hit and give them a shit-ton of money to have a down payment on a house. Or maybe they will need it and they won’t start out their lives saddled with more debt than they can manage.
3) I did not buy a camper and a new truck to haul that camper and instead invested about $500 in glamping equipment and it was 100% the right choice and I might go off the grid and live full-time in a tent. I mean, I won’t. But I could. And I have Big Plans to hit the road with my kids and maybe my dogs if they prove themselves to be not too bad of assholes when we do a trial run in a month.
4) My oldest got a job as a glorified babysitter and I’ve already opened a Roth IRA with $120 that she hasn’t yet earned (she’s earned $15, but she’s on the schedule for more), and this can make me weepy. I want so badly to set my kids up for a life where they have things slightly easier. This is also probably the wrong way of going about it but I’m just…filling the IRA with the money she earns. I expect her to make about $500 this year. I’m just going to put that money in her account and not make her do it. According to the powers that be, if she invests some money now, she’ll be a gazillionaire in 50 years. I’m probably supposed to teach her about it at the same time, but mostly, I just want to set her up for success. This feels good.
Things I’m less proud of:
1) I literally just spent (oh God do I have to say this) (oh God I don’t want to be honest) (the shame, the shaaaaame) like $600 on Harry Potter bedding for my kids from Pottery Barn Teen. I didn’t even know there was a Pottery Barn Teen and I didn’t know that Pottery Barn made bedding and my kids are not even teens. But it’s been a brutal year and Harry Potter has been a joyful thing and. And I hit submit. Hmm, JL Collins would not be happy with me.
2) It’s 8:44 and I haven’t forced my kids to turn off screens yet. Some days over the past year, I’ve been really great about being a full-time parent and a full-time homeschooler and a full-time worker and a full-time second-job-worker and a full-time housekeeper and a full-time screamer-into-the-void but tonight is not one of those nights. UGH. Not proud.
3) I’ve been trying to sell stuff on Facebook marketplace and I guess I’m proud of this but also, shame. Nothing I post sells. And it’s because we are hard on our things. If I spin this in one way, it’s “we use everything we have and really live our lives” but it’s more like “we can’t take care of things.” Nothing that I’d like to get rid of even qualifies as “used – fair.” Oops.
Anyway, I guess this is an update. Oh! It’s the start of the month. Maybe if I find one single solitairy minute, I’ll do a net worth update. No promises, though, because life these days is not easy.