the constant struggle: a personal financial analysis, part one

I am currently sitting in Starbucks, reading Mr. Money Mustache and feeling guilty of my avid and unabated consumerist habits. If you haven’t seen MMM before, go ahead and take a minute to explore – it will change how you look at your spending habits.

I’ve been reading MMM for about six months now, and while I intellectually agree with much of what he writes, I have found trouble implementing the practices myself. Logically, I understand that I am the source of this financial trouble, and that it is within my power to fix. However, it’s difficult to determine how much my financial circumstance is a result of my youth and the jobs I have held – to be improved by garnering better employment as I gain experience – versus admitting how much I am trying to justify my poor spending and financial habits.

I am working on an in-depth personal analysis of my finances, trying to look at everything how MMM might. This is going to be a bit uncomfortable, but so many good things require a bit of discomfort to achieve something better. This will be a three-part series, starting with my income.

Current Base Income

I am partly hesitant to believe the Mustachian lifestyle will help, because I have a hard time believing I could find any realistic success on my current income. However, looking objectively at the situation, I see that the Money Mustache family lives off $25k a year, which just so happens to be what I’ve earned each the last two years – and there are three of them, and only one of me.

Moreover, any savings is good savings. While I can’t put 50% of a $40k job away to achieve early retirement in the short period of time that MMM advertises, I am currently putting away 15-20% of my earnings each month. If I could eliminate my debt (see the next post), the savings would increase. Every dollar I save is a dollar closer to financial independence.

Supplemental Income

I am looking at ways to supplement my income. I recently opened an Etsy Store, and while I doubt it will have much success in the near future, I’m working on additional things to sell so that I can make some extra cash. I’m not sure how to make my store more visible, so any and all suggestions are welcome. Feel free to “like” my Etsy Store and items so that they become more visible in searches!

I also start teaching dance lessons next month in a local studio for $5 a person. With any luck, I will be teaching private lessons soon, which can be quite lucrative (about $40/hr). There is also talk of having a workshop dedicated to Leading, Following, and Connection, as a few people have commented on my ability to follow, regardless of never having learned more than the basics of dances such as Waltz or Rumba.

Solution: Looking to Improve Future Income

I am currently investing a very reasonable $180 in a course in GIS, a booming field in which I’m quite interested. This is not the last course I’ll need to invest in, but I am optimistic that the experience and networking opportunities provided will yield a high return on the investment in my personal education. I know that if I can improve my resume, I can get the GIS and Spatial Analysis job I want.

However, I’m worried the benefits of this course will not come soon enough. I hope to move to the Bay Area at the end of the summer, which will come with increased base cost of living, starting with rent prices (the most I’ve ever paid for rent is $500, including utilities). If I’m not working in GIS, it means I’ll probably be finding temporary employment. Instead of working two jobs and somewhere around 60 hours a week, I’ll need to make a minimum of $15 an hour, and preferably at least $19 so that paying off debt and increasing my savings is possible.

I’ve hesitantly signed up with a free temp placement agency in hopes of finding new jobs more easily possible, and I’m open to any recommendations from those who have had success (or terrible failure!) with temp agencies.

***

Next time, in an effort for personal financial openness and analysis (and eventual improvement): an examination of my personal debt.

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5 thoughts on “the constant struggle: a personal financial analysis, part one

  1. Hey! As an Etsy seller myself, I’d suggest getting your quote boards up as images on Pinterest, and maybe FB, too. (But especially Pinterest…motivational quotes tend to catch on fire there!) :) Hope it all picks up nicely for you!

  2. I am considering periodically posting my budgets (dollars included) to hold myself accountable now that I HAVE a full time big kid job. Good luck getting yourself employed!

  3. Pingback: the ugly side of the money mustache: a personal financial analysis, part II | move(me)nt

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