Accountability: April 2016


I am thirty one years old and I am the Stage Manager/Lighting Director for Clifford the Big, Red Dog! I make $700 a week and receive a $30/day per diem.

Saving & Spending


Clifford’s almost over! Means it’s time to figure out how to vacation on a budget.

I have made my financial life infinitely more complicated this month. So figuring out my net worth is really a joy.

I opened 4 different credit cards this month.

What madness has prompted this, you ask? I’m trying to travel hack as much of my Hawaiian vacation as possible. The Chase Sapphire card has $625 of bonus rewards that I’m planning to use on the hotels. The Bank of America cards (I accidentally opened two) have $100 statement credit that I’m hoping to use to cut down the cost of a crazy expensive tour we plan to book. If each card has a $100 credit, then I’m hoping to use the other one to reduce the cost of the GoOahu card. With the last card, I’m hoping to knock $100 off our interisland flight & hotel package.

Altogether, close to $1,000 of savings, which should get me back into the target zone for this vacation’s budget and maybe even a little under it.

And it looks like my credit took a whopping 2 point hit to open 4 cards and a few bank accounts.

However, I’ve had to get pretty creative on how I’m going to meet these spends. I’ve learned about an exciting way to money launder churn rewards cards where you can open a bank account and use your credit card to make the first deposit.

Since I have several medium term goals I’m saving for, I essentially just transferred the balances to a few different banks rather than keeping them nice and neat with Barclays. I have to keep several of those bank accounts for at least six months and they have to hold a balance of at least $1,000 – so this method is definitely not for everyone.

But my new down payment account is over at PNC Bank, which let me make a $2,000 credit card “purchase.” I’m kind of excited about this account, because if I just leave it there for 6 months, I get a $200 sign up bonus. Way better than my current 1% interest rate.

My new car savings accounts are now split between Santander Checking and Savings and First Niagara.

You can also expect a blog post about how difficult these accounts are to close, come October/November.

I then used the money I had sitting in my savings accounts with Barclay’s for those designated things to pay off my credit card. This left me with $1,000 left to hit my spend amount for the Chase Sapphire. I got a ticket this month, which took care of a quarter of that, paid my health care premium for another $200ish dollars and then I renewed all of my website hosting and domain name stuff that was going to expire in October anyway for another $300. This left me with a little under $200 to hit the spend, which I did with my regular spending habits over about 2 weeks.

I’m working on the other three cards now, but they’re less pressing, since the Hawaii costs can go right on them since the Bank of America and Barclays rewards are statement credit.

I also splurged a little on some stage management expenses for a team building experience – we just had the 2016 Moonshine Challenge over here! I supply a bottle of moonshine and a super ghetto homemade crown and my cast try to come up with the best cocktails they can make out of moonshine. It was ridiculously fun.

So that’s all the financial craziness over here. Mostly it’s been a pretty unimpressive month for spending. Our work schedule has really picked up this month, so there’s been a lot less spending on anything other than food – although I was feeling the frugal burnout several times this month (and, of course, ranted blogged about it repeatedly).

We did manage to hit a few more free weird roadside attractions though!

Casey, Illinois

Casey, Illinois – the little town of big things. Seriously though, it’s got the most World’s Largest items in one spot in the world!

My spending breakdown this month:

  • Gym – $10.70
  • Food – $458.21
  • Stage Management Expenses – $64.80
  • Healthcare – $205
  • Gifts – $98.11
  • Speeding Ticket – $264
  • Blog – $296.20
  • Miscellaneous – $24.66

Total Spending in March – $1,410.98


My income this month was made up of Clifford paychecks, brokeGIRLrich, and UserTesting.

  • Stage Managing – $3,094.95
  • brokeGIRLrich – $132.47
  • UserTesting – $20

Income This Month: $3,247.42

Nothing like deciding to take an expensive summer vacation trip to suddenly dry up all your extra streams of income. Ugh.

Net Worth: April 2016

Net Worth: April 2016

Although there’s also nothing like compound interest and running my net worth numbers while the market is up either. Highest net worth yet!

Most Popular Post of the Month: 114 Side Hustles: Ways to Make More Money

My Favorite Post to Write This Month: THINX: For Bleeding on a Budget (mostly because I was so excited to get a pair to try)

Elsewhere on the Web: The Financial Case for Trade School Over College U.S. News & World Report

Spend a Little Now to Save a Lot Later U.S. News & World Report

How to Budget When You Never Know When You’ll Get Paid Next Money Under 30

There’s No Business Like Show Business: How to Make (Good) Money Working in Theater Money Under 30

Entirely Unrelated to Personal Finance

I’m not totally caught up on Game of Thrones because the BFF and I have been watching it together and there are still two episodes of last season left that we didn’t get through before I went on tour. However, she has finally won me over to the dark side and I think the show is pretty great.

When the premier happened, there was 800 bazillion quizzes on my Facebook feed about what kind of puppy you’d own in King’s Landing and how many Night’s Watch men should you marry and every other kind of nonsense, but one was actually pretty cool – Spotify’s Game of Thrones character match. You should give it a whirl if you’re a fan of GoT.

Spotify Game of Thrones

This was nice since I usually get Arya Stark for things and she’s completely insane.

Additionally, I took the Tieks out for another spin. They hurt less each time, but still make my toes go numb. They also make this really endearing farting sound whenever walk, so that’s cool too.


  1. Contribute $1,000 to my Emergency Savings Account– Nailed it. But then maybe un-nailed it, since I used about $300 from that fund to pay for all the brokeGIRLrich hosting fees way ahead of schedule. So I’m still counting it as done, but I’m hopeful I can top up the fund with an extra $300 by the end of the year.
  2. Max out my Roth IRA– Done. DONE. Does a little dance, done, done, done.
  3. Contribute $3,000 to my Down Payment Fund– Still at $2,650 to go.
  4. Contribute $2,000 to my New Car Fund– Still at $950 to go.
  5. Have a $1,000 Best Friend’s Wedding Fund– Done. Tapped it again this month for bridal shower expenses that came in at $65.
  6. Buy $1,000 of stock– Nothing on this front yet.
  7. Develop 2 new resume skills– Nothing here yet, although I’m considering taking an online OSHA course while I’m home in August.
  8. Track all the time I spent on my computer outside of work for 1 week and then go without a computer for a week and see how I use that time– I will not be attempting this goal until I find myself in one of those weird periods of unemployment/massive underemployment again. I’m sure there’ll be one at some point this year.
  9. Go on a vacation with a friend– Hawaii is a go for July.
  10. Look for a big show to stage manage– starting The Marriage of Figaro next month.
  11. Run a 5k– Looks like I may run a 5K through a winery with two of my cousins in August. Time to brush off the old Couch to 5k app.

How’d your month go?

17 thoughts on “Accountability: April 2016

  1. I love how candid you are (I got a chuckle out of your “money laundering” strike through). I enjoy reading your goals. I dropped HBO about 6 months ago so I am now behind on GoT. I have been having issues with my right leg so the wife is racking up the miles and I barely made it through 3 miles today – and now will have to rest it for a few more days. We have a ton of vineyards where I am, but I have yet to run a vineyard 5k. Hoping to do so by Fall. Good luck with your goals!
    Bill @ The Money Professors recently posted…3 Reasons Your Blog is Not Getting TrafficMy Profile

  2. Mel! Thanks for the giggles! You sure have a lot of plates spinning. You’re like one of those hoarding shows that make people want to clean out their homes, except with you, you make me want to open several credit cards and bank accounts and keep it all straight somehow! I am impressed! :)
    kay ~ the barefoot minimalist recently posted…I Just Had A Baby! :)My Profile

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