Monthly Update: September 2010

*Drum Roll*  And now, a warm welcome back to the one, the only, the always entertaining Amateur Financier!

*Rolls of Applause*

Yes, I have returned.  My hiatus has concluded, and I thank all my loyal readers for sticking with me while I tried to deal with real life.  I’ve spent most of August handling not one, not two, but three different visits from members of Sondra’s and my extended families, which left me with little opportunity to get online without being incredibly anti-social.  (Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem with being anti-social, but when my mother is visiting…well, I try to not act like a hermit.)  If that weren’t enough, I’ve also had to get a new apartment, furnish it, and make it semi-livable in case Sondra comes out to visit.  All of this is on top of studying for the start of graduate school…

On that note, I suppose I should talk about graduate school for a little bit.  So far, it’s not too bad; not that dissimilar from my undergraduate college, really.  The biggest change is that rather than helping in the undergraduate labs, now I’m running one of them all by myself.  I’m also in charge of two recitation courses, where the students get more practice in the material and the chance to ask questions in a smaller class setting.

It’s a bit different from what I’m used to; my undergraduate college didn’t have a graduate program, so unlike most of the other grad students, who are Youngstown State (the school where I’m going, by the way) graduates, who had to deal with all of this from the other side of the table, I’m feeling my way through, without really knowing how a grad student should act.  On the plus side, I did serve as a lab assistant and run some study sessions as an undergrad, so I’m not flying completely blind; so far, I seem to be doing alright.  (Although, you might want to check back when I’m dealing with grading lab reports and recitation quizzes, studying for tests of my own, and doing research to help finish my thesis; it could get busy quickly when everything starts to pick up…)

For the time being, though, I think that grad school should offer me more time to work on my blog than I’ve had lately.  Don’t get me wrong, there is quite a lot of work that needs be done (my backpack is sitting at my feet as I write this, filled to the brim with books that need to be read, notes that need to be reviewed, and problems that should be worked out), but with my apartment finally furnished, my cleaning needs at a minimum in such a small space, and few distractions (No TV, no attention hungry dog, and (most sadly) no Sondra makes for a dull, but easy to finish work and studying environment), I should be able to get three to five articles finished each week.  Even if I can’t, my goal is to not have to go on another hiatus for the foreseeable future; I did miss my blog (and my readers) while I was on my hiatus.

Anyway, with all of that out of the way, let’s take a look at my finances, as per our normal first of the month procedure.  A warning for the faint of heart: furnishing an apartment is not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination, so my finances have been roughed up quite a bit this past month.  On that note, onto the numbers:

Net Worth September 2010ANet Worth September 2010B
So, ouch.  The decline in my investments is unfortunate (also, if I hear one more person talk about a ‘double dip’ recession, I will have to cause someone some serious physical harm), but the big problem is really the credit card debt.  I was a bit too free with my cards when it came to spending to furnishing my apartment, I’m afraid, and now I’ve got a rather sizable credit card debt.  My Alexa ranking is not doing much better; it was sliding before my hiatus, but really got nailed when I left for most of the month.

On the plus side, being a grad student means a regular (if not spectacular) income, which, when combined with my (normally) frugal style of living on my own, should allow me to pay down my debt with little problem.  (Plus, call me an eternal optimist, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to start earning a little more money with my blog (and other alternative income streams) now that I have more time and more experience.)  It will just take a little time, a little effort, and a willingness to keep my spending under control.  Really, the same things that it’s always taken.  Here’s hoping I can do it well!

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