Thursday, June 1, 2017

Money money money must be funny-An introspective and an ABBA song

Hello all!

Breaky and I work tirelessly, in general. Breaky has super weird hours, often very randomly and in the case of last night, for very long periods of time. I work a comparatively normal "9-5", which really is a 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, but who's counting. I have never not held a job since I could drive, my first job being a hostess at an Italian restaurant in a German tourist town, the irony of which is not lost.

As any and most every college student, I had a bunch of student loans, and during and immediately following college, my jobs were not huge money makers. Luckily for me (hindsight of course), my first job was at a bank. A bank call center to be specific. Lucky? Why you ask? Well, because they trained us really well with how banking and personal finance should and does work. I managed to save up and paid for a used car that was all my own (I had one before, but it was my Dad's and we ended up selling it to a friend for like, $300, because that was all it was worth) without having to take out a car loan.

Not to say times weren't tough. I bet you didn't know how versatile and cheap rice was, did you? I had roommates, which 3/4th of the time was financially advantageous and  1/4th the time hurt my bottom line (you know who you are).

When Breaky and I started getting serious, our combined income, plus the steadiness of it all since he was still with Frostburn Studios, led us to make the decision to buy a house, where we now reside. Small little one story, two bedroom, three bathrooms. We didn't buy it on a whim, we saved up, budgeted like crazy, sold some of my old furniture (at least that which did not get chucked out a window. Different story for a different time), and watched our budget for the next year very carefully.

Now, with Breaky working odd hours and random events when they come around, money is not consistent, but doesn't not exist. This makes budgeting and spending appropriately very difficult. His stream may get hundreds in donations and subs one month, but not even scrape together $5 the next. He may have 8 events in a week and then not have a thing for the next 3 weeks.

If you or your significant other held a contract or commission job, you can relate to how difficult it can be to plan out any kind of budget. I should have added the struggle of not being able to set a budget in my "You May Be an esports Significant Other" post. I'll add it to the next one!

Intiuit Mint has been our lifesaver. **disclaimer: This is what we use, and I am not getting anything for advertising this app. It works for us, but may not work for others. Use what you want, but you should be tracking your spending anyway**

Mint allows us to keep all of our accounts in one area, where we can track credit cards, car loans, my student loans, my retirement accounts, etc... It also tracks our transactions, allowing us to categorize those transactions. Such as "groceries" "doctor visits" etc...In addition, it allows us to label the different kind of income. For example, we have different budgets for Breaky's stream, a different one for events he casts for, and of course, my income.

Our budget in the beginning of the month is super thin. Mostly because we are not sure how much we have to work with. I can add more to the budget items if/when we need to, after confirmation of payment dates or an estimation/goal of how much the stream will bring in.

Another feature that has been great is the ability to "roll over" on our budget. This means that if Breaky has a great month, we can budget more than we know we will be spending in a category, and that amount will roll over in to next month, because we didn't spend it, it will be there in case of emergencies, or in case we wanted to save up for something special. Or both. Both is good.

Now, for anyone that is self employed knows you also have to be careful about taxes. Because of the categories of types of income, we are able to set aside what will be taken out, based on, but rounded up on, the income Breaky would get that he is not taxed on upon receipt. That being said, because it is an Intuit product, it automatically syncs with Turbo Tax, which our credit union, (WHO WE LOVE BTW) has a discount through. It cannot hurt to check with your banking institution upon tax season to see if they give any discounts for tax assistance software.

I take a little pride in how safe and maintained we have been since Breaky went freelance. We are happy to announce that we no longer have any credit card debt, leaving just my student loans, our mortgage and Breaky's truck loan. We still use our credit cards, but pay them off at the end of the month. But this is huge for us. A huge milestone.


As a result of planning, budgeting, lots of saving and a few minor domestic squabbles, we are going on vacation to Chicago, just Breaky and me. He has never been, so it should be tons of fun!

I will continue to update on the blog our daily adventures, and I'm sure Breaky will live stream parts of it.

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