Personal finance reflections for March and April

There is so much stuff happening around my world of personal finance. I don’t know where to start because there are too many to list. I am currently:

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“You’re a travel deals wizard, Julie” (Personal finance journey)

Disclaimer: I am not a financial adviser. This blog post is strictly for entertainment purposes.

When one of our couple friends was getting married, they were trying to put together plans for a honeymoon in Europe. My husband said something like, “You should ask Julie. I don’t know how she comes across these flight deals. One time, she booked a roundtrip flight from LAX to Rome for $250 per person.”

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The Problem with some fin-fluencers (Personal finance journey)

Disclaimer: I am not a financial adviser. This blog post is strictly for entertainment purposes.

I enjoy reading finance tips on Instagram because their advice is easy to digest because it comes in a form of a photo or a short video. Plus it keeps me motivated…but the thing that annoys me about some financial influencers (aka fin-fluencers) is that they try to make personal finance fun, easy, fast, and sexy. I like to think I am the antidote to the fin-fluencer because I am here to tell you personal finance requires diligence, patience, confrontation, and math

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You don’t buy anything! — A Personal finance journey

Disclaimer: I am not a financial adviser. This blog post is strictly for entertainment purposes.

Why I want to write more personal finance?

  • Because I like to talk about money, and I think writing about it on my blog is a safe place where I am not fighting with people on how I handle my money like why am I not buying a bigger fridge or why did I not invite all these people to their wedding or…
  • Because people think I don’t like to spend money, but the truth is, I do spend money and I spend a lot of it.
  • Because it makes me motivated to get me closer to my goals, and…
  • It’s long overdue

Anyways, I don’t have any structure in mind for this series — will it be a monthly reflection on my money moves? Or will it center around a money-related topic(s)? I’m not sure but let’s give it ago! The frequency is TBD.

“You don’t buy anything!”

I titled it “You don’t buy anything!” because I get this complaint a lot, as does my husband. I know it’s not true because I do spend money. Here’s my spending diary for today: I bought breakfast this morning. I just booked a hotel for a trip to Seattle next month (this was after researching and comparing for days). After work, I am going to go grocery shopping. And later today, I am going to meet up with friends for dinner (first free night from the baby in a while!). You see, I do spend money. Maybe it’s not how they would spend money… I get questions about why we don’t buy a bigger fridge or a bigger TV. I don’t get sucked into buying something because it’s on sale or there is a coupon.

Personal finance wins for the month:

  • Paid off Koda’s vet bill — My pomeranian had to see a cardiologist and I did not prepare how much that was going to cost. My pet insurance did not give me a break! I did not want to touch any savings accounts so I decided to pay vet bill through a short-term loan provider called Scratch Pay. It took me three months to pay it off.
  • Increased my savings rate an additional 1% on all accounts. I got a raise along with retro-pay from a few months back. It can be tempting to spend all of the extra money, but I used it to pay off Koda’s vet bill and left the rest alone. I am in no hurry to spend my entire windfall.
  • Reviewed my assets and I am now 66% towards my goal. It went up by 6.5% from the past month. I’ll write more about this later because this was a result of many years of financial rehab.  Also, this is my own money, not a shared thing with my husband.
  • Set up a savings account for charities and donations. I put a little bit of savings aside for charities and donations.
  • Booked a hotel for next month’s Seattle trip where I get points on my card, points on the hotel loyalty program, also my credit card offered 15% cashback if I booked that hotel. But I have to say, I was looking at hotels in Seattle for several weeks. I usually don’t go for hotels or other merchants because of a cashback offer. In fact, I was about to go with a hotel that was going to offer one night free if we booked their hotel for two nights which I thought was perfect because we were going to be in Seattle for three nights. But then when I looked at the breakdown, there were all these surprise fees but I did see the third free night. Before I finalized the booking, I decided to review my other options again. Surprisingly the hotel I just booked turned out to be cheaper than my first choice, I just happen to get earn cashback. I changed my mind in the last minute!

Self-Care is hard

So far my 25 minutes per day of writing has been going well. I’ve been writing during my lunch breaks. Since we are about done for the term at work, I don’t find myself working through my lunch breaks playing catch-up.

Created another savings account

I started creating a savings account for charities and donations. I decided to do an auto-save where I set aside some money to help contribute to causes. This past week I bought some toys for my friend’s homeless project. She’s been doing this for years where she makes gift baskets of comfort items and hygiene products for the homeless. I would like contribute to other causes more often. Ideally I would like volunteer my time, but I think for now contributing through donations is within my bandwidth. Having some money set aside for charities and donations won’t catch me off-guard when a relative is asking me buy something from their kid’s fundraising catalog for marching band because I’ll always have something to give.

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