Happy December, Staplers! This is my second post discussing my finances, so I can call it an “update.” In addition to being a Financial Update, it is also a breakdown of our Black Friday purchases. I also wanted to show off my sewing talents and gift closet additions, but that will have to be saved for another day because my photos are not coming out right.
Despite a $1,000 gain in our investments, our net worth is down $3,000 this month from last month. This is due to charging some big business-related expenses to our credit cards (which we pay off each month), to the tune of $2,100.
We I also spent money during Black Friday week, to the tune of $476 out of pocket (more on that below). $160 of that will be paid back in the form of Staples Rebates, and I’ll get $3.46 back because I ordered through ebates.
The reasons for the big business-related expenses are two-fold. First, my husband and I are starting a business. Although it’s an online business, we still have to pay server costs, upgrade some computer equipment, iron out some legal issues, and conduct market research. Second, as a back-up and more of a longer-term career plan, I am training to practice estate planning and elder law. It really marries my legal skill with my financial interests. It is a field, however, that requires specific training and experience. To that end, I have sunk a significant chunk of change into trainings already, and now I am paying for a professional membership that will hopefully give me more training and business contacts.
The good news about these self-employment expenses is that they balance out my freelance income so I can continue to collect unemployment as long as I am operating at a net loss. It sounds awful, but I really appreciate the value I’ve been able to get out of these trainings, which I probably wouldn’t pay for if there were no unemployment benefit as a result. We would still pay for the start-up’s costs even without the unemployment benefit, but it would be painful to say goodbye to that money.
Looking ahead to December, I hope to add some more freelancing hours in order to make up for our shortfall due to business expenses and to focus on market research for the start-up. My goal for my husband / business partner is to have a few prototypes available and make significant progress on version 1.0 by the end of the year. Also, my husband was offered a lucrative freelance contract, so I would like to list that as one of our December goals, but we won’t count on that opportunity until the ink is dry on the contract AND we receive the first check. He would have to quit his job to take the work, but the code he writes for that project would translate easily into the code he needs to write for the start-up and it would also give us a cash infusion that we could leverage to grow the start-up. So, although it would be awesome, we are not getting our hopes up too high about it because it has already been three months since he submitted the proposal.
Black Friday Purchases:
You know that I’m a Black Friday week shopper, because you saw my Pre-Black Friday haul. The above photo is my Black Friday haul from Walgreens and Rite Aid, which is missing a few items that I gave to family or we consumed on the drive home. This haul cost $18. Plus, I spent $80 at Rite Aid for two $50 Home Improvement gift cards. On Friday, I used those cards to get two 5-tier steel shelving units at Lowe’s. The shelves are usually $67.99, but they were marked down to $49.99. I have some big plans for those shelves, which you will see soon on Clever Girl Kathy’s organizing blog. I ordered a new computer monitor from Staples.com, for $110 ($100 off), and picked up the software and photo paper freebies with a $10 off coupon, which makes it a $10 moneymaker after rebate. In addition, I bought some pajamas for my son, who is currently wearing a size too small. For some reason, our clothing stash lacks any PJ’s in his size, although we have some for the next size up. Go figure. Anyway, it was time to buy him some PJ’s that fit.
Black Friday Week Tally:
- CVS: + $1 — Toothbrushes, laundry detergent, paper towels, snacks, baby wipes, Advil, cough drops. Photo here.
- Walgreens: + $12 — Mouthwash, TUMS, and anti-gas pills. Photo here.
- Rite Aid: – $82 — Cereal, tweezers, $100 in Home Improvement gift cards, and stocking stuffers: Hot Wheels cars, trail mix and peanuts, nail clippers, kids’ Band-Aids, and chocolate.
- Walgreens: – $18 — Cereal, toilet bowl cleaner, dishwashing detergent, 15 toothbrushes, toothpaste, 2 shampoos, 2 conditioners, Listerine pocket packs, nasal decongestants, hair elastics, jello, restless leg cream, chocolate, and 2 free Redbox rentals.
- Staples: – $100 — 23″ computer monitor, Quickbooks, Kaspersky anti-virus, 2 packages of photo paper.
- Lowes: – $2 — 2 shelving units, after gift cards.
- Kohl’s: – $41.50 — 6 sets of PJ’s, and 3 will be returned ($24 worth) because I found a better price later. (includes ebates cashback!)
- The Children’s Place: – $21 — 3 sets of PJ’s for my son, bought after the ones I bought at Kohl’s. (includes ebates cashback!)
- Storyland: – $63 — three tickets to an amusement park for a weekend getaway next summer with our son. I’m the first to admit that these are pricey tickets, but they were half off on Black Friday, and they are rarely discounted.
Looking ahead to December, my goal is to not eat the candy before they get into the stockings.
We did not put any money towards paying off a loan this month, and we racked up a big credit card load due to business expenses and stocking up on gifts for the year. I hope to be able to offset it all with freelancing income so we don’t have to touch our emergency fund. One of the most stressful parts of starting this business is putting our financial lives on hold with no idea when we can get back on track. We could try to solicit venture capital for this start-up phase, but we want to fund the entire business ourselves. Check in with me in a few months, to see how that’s working out for us! Ha!
Have you ever had to put your financial life on hold during the holidays? What strategies helped get you through the holidays without knowing when your income would be stable again?