July 2014 Financial and Mid-Year Goal Updates

2014 is halfway over. What kind of progress have we made in 6 months? The goals I set for 2014 are:

  1. Earn as much in 2014 as my prior job’s annual salary. Uh-oh. Not even close — I’ve only made 33% of my 2013 income so far this year. Hopefully it will get better, but I will be going without two months of paychecks while I’m on maternity leave. So, I better get on it!
  2. Pay off two student loans ($24,000). So far, the loan in our crosshairs is only down by $2,000. We plan to make another payment in July.
  3. Contribute $11,000 to our 2013 Roth IRA’s. The window to accomplish this has passed, and we didn’t make a contribution.
  4. Grow our small business enough for its own revenue to sustain itself. We made a $5,000 sale on our small business, which is more than we spent on it. (although, the bill hasn’t been paid yet) That doesn’t come close to compensating Mr. Stapler for all the time he expended on it, but all of this product development has led to two possible side hustles (that together would pay more than his current salary) and the possibility for full-time employment at about the twice his current salary — two unintended but incredibly welcome side effects of his hard work!
  5. Grow this blog to justify the time I spend. Still working on this goal. So far this year I have earned just over $100 through your Amazon  and other affiliate purchases through this site. Thank you!

Now, on to better news. We may not have accomplished any of our goals [yet], but we did increase our net worth by $3,000 last month! Compare that to the beginning of the year, and it thrills me to see that we have increased our net worth by $8,000 in 6 months!* Not coincidentally, we have a $7,000 reduction in our student loans 🙂


July 2014 YTD Net WorthComparing our net worth from November, 2013, when I first bared my finances, makes me truly giddy. We clocked in at -$107,000 net worth that month. And now we’ve broken -$80k and are sporting a net worth of -$78,547. I don’t want to blow that out of proportion, though — some of it is due to adding more accounts to Mint. Nevertheless, I’m happy to have a higher net worth now despite being laid off from a decent job and earning less now.

* Observant Staplers may see that Mint shows a $17,000 increase, but that’s because we added a $10,000 retirement account to Mint that wasn’t tracked before.

Net Worth Status:

July 2014 Net Worth

Cash: -$760.98Nothing to fear here, because our credit card payments will be lower this month by almost the same amount. Plus, I just sent out invoices on July 1, so I will have a big influx of cash. Guess where it’s going? That’s right — we have $1,500 earmarked for a student loan. If we don’t have any financial surprises this month, we’ll be able to send in another $2,000 to $4,000 at the end of the month. WHA?!?!

Credit Cards: +$728.13. If I thought I was happy last month with a lower credit card bill, I’m even happier this month! This includes our spending while on vacation, which we thankfully kept to minimum, and my maternity clothes shopping spree in my pitiful search to find appropriate maternity clothes for court. Although I spent a good deal of money on that spree, 90% of that will be returned because the clothing didn’t work out.

Loans: +$578.73. Normal monthly payments.

Investments: +$2615.31I honestly haven’t been paying attention to the markets, but I know Mr. Stapler’s 3% salary contributions (and 3% match) are the only deposits we’re making on these accounts. And trust me: $2615.31 is NOT 6% of his monthly income!

Net Worth: +$3,161.19I’m continually amazed when a cash-strapped month actually leads to a higher net worth. It’s a testament to the power of consistently having the 401(k) contribution and match applied to investments that are tied to a growing market. It’s part of the “set it and forget” philosophy I talked about with my banking.

June Goals:

  • Make ends meet with my income:  SUCCESS! 
  • Make an extra payment on a student loan: FAIL! Not in June, but we should be able to make an extra payment in a few days.
  • Begin negotiations with another buyer: SUCCESS! Although it’s not for the product he has already developed, Mr. Stapler pitched two big consulting projects to potential buyers last week. Getting either of these projects would mean that he quits his full-time job to work on them. Not only would he earn about half his current salary in 3 months, but in the end he would have more code to help him develop more products for our small business. The key for getting this strategy to work is to negotiate contracts that allow him to either own the copyright to the code and license it to the organizations or share the copyright rights.

July Goals:

  • Make ends meet with my income: Here we go again! I implemented a new billing system for my clients, and sent out some long overdue (3 months!) invoices. I already have the money for them because the funds are kept in an escrow-type account. But I can’t withdraw the funds until after I send out invoices. I also got paid at the end of last week, earning the biggest paycheck I have so far for this freelancing gig. So, July is off to a great start. I just need to keep up the momentum.
  • Make an extra payment on a student loan: We may be able to make a $5,5000 payment on a student loan, if I can keep up my hours at work. But we’ll send in a $1,500 payment in a few days and another payment at the end of the month. I’m making two payments because want to get the cash out of my account and into the loan sooner rather than later 😉
  • Get 50% of my Christmas shopping done: No, I’m not kidding! I want to keep our expenses low but I know that, the closer we get to Christmas, the more tired I’ll be. In order to get thoughtful gifts for family and friends, it’s important to start early. One highlight of July Christmas shopping is the Target toy clearance sale, where I will probably be able to get half of my gifts. I’m also going to make ornaments again this year, so I have to decide on an ornament design and get materials soon. I’m thinking of making felt gingerbread men and women. The upside is that I can use the same felt. The downside is: Do you think anyone will notice that I’m using the same color felt again?

How was your month? What are you goals for this month? 

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