Skip to main content

Posts

Happy Churniversary, Part 1: Earning

As part of my ongoing quest to optimize my finances, I took up credit card churning almost exactly one year ago today. Let's start from the very beginning (a very good place to start!) What is churning? In order to attract new customers, banks often offer lucrative sign-up bonuses to those who open up credit card accounts and then meet a minimum spending threshold on the new account within a few months of signing up. Depending on the card, these bonuses usually take the form of cash, airline miles, hotel points, or proprietary transferable points. If you are responsible with your spending and well-organized, it is possible to take advantage of these sign up offers to earn lots of rewards for funneling your ordinary expenses through a different credit card every few months. This practice is known as churning, because of the comparatively rapid pace that the churner acquires new cards over time. To many, it may sound like a hassle, but the rewards can be extremely valuable and shou…

Monthly Financial Snapshot: February 2017

You can also track my all-time progress on the aptly-named Current Progress page.

Obviously, a significant amount of progress this month, mostly due to my company's annual bonus getting paid out. Thanks to it, I was able to max out my Roth IRA for the year, as well as pay off the larger than average credit card bills from starting my business last month, all without having to touch my emergency fund. Those expenses also allowed me to earn my final batch of rewards from credit card sign-ups, some of which I will put to good use on my upcoming trip.

Business income is starting to trickle in. I received my first payment of $259 this month from items that I have sold, with more soon on the way. I haven't yet made enough to cover my startup costs, but I project that I will become profitable fairly soon. Looking forward to growing the business over the next few months, especially once I get back to a regular work schedule.


Feb-17CommentsRent$768.75$750 for rent + $18.75 in fees for Pla…

Monthly Financial Snapshot: January 2017

You can also track my all-time progress on the aptly-named Current Progress page.


Jan-17CommentsRent$765.00$750 for rent + $15 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit cardInternet$60.92Internet is kind of expensive out here in the booniesCell Phone$132.88Higher this month because I paid $100 upfront as part of acquiring inventory (a free phone) that I later sold.Natural Gas$31.26About 50% more than my normal bill, due to it being winter.Electricity$0.00Timing of payment cycles means this month's bill will be paid next month.Water$46.84My actual water usage is only about $5, but my town tacks on so many fees that the bill comes to $40+ every month! :(Groceries$158.99About average groceries for this month.Car Insurance$0.00I pay every 6 months in April and October.Gasoline$43.46Higher this month due to travelCar Expenses$0.00Nothing to see here, move alongHealth Insurance$13.34Heavily subsidized, high-deductible plan through my work. Includes health and dental.Other

End of Year Report 2016

For whatever reason, Blogger isn't letting me make posts longer than a certain length in their post interface, so I will do my best to summarize the numbers while still keeping the post readable.
Anyway, without further ado, here is my progress for 2016.
Income
On the income side of things, I think I did pretty well this year. Income came entirely from my day job, so not a lot of surprises here. However, this was the first full year in which I could participate in my company's employee stock purchase plan, so that provided a decent boost to my regular salary.
Total Net Income (after taxes): $74,706.01Monthly Net Income: $6,225.50
Note that this income does not include any returns from my investment portfolio, as I don't count that as income for my spending purposes.
Investment returns
Dividends: $1,142.40 (This does not include dividends in my 401k as they are not disclosed to me. As such, they will show up as capital gains since I can more easily calculate that.)Capital gains + …

Monthly Financial Snapshot: December 2016

You can also track my all-time progress on the aptly-named Current Progress page.
Dec-16CommentsRent$765.00$750 for rent + $15 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit cardInternet$60.92Internet is kind of expensive out here in the booniesCell Phone$32.88$30 + taxes/fees for 5 GB of 4G data through T-MobileNatural Gas$19.15Slightly higher than average gas bill, but still pretty lowElectricity$27.13Slightly lower bill than averageWater$40.80My actual water usage is only about $5, but my town tacks on so many fees that the bill comes to $40+ every month! :(Groceries$119.14Below-average grocery bill due to travellingCar Insurance$0.00I pay every 6 months in April and October.Gasoline$71.14Higher this month due to travelCar Expenses$14.38Swapped my winter tires because it's cold nowHealth Insurance$19.30Heavily subsidized, high-deductible plan through my work. Includes health, dental, and vision.Other$0.00Nothing to see here, move alongNecessary$1,169.84Little lower than average,…