Aw, February. When the weather gets colder and groundhogs make their brief appearance on the national stage. Hopefully, that fuzzy little fellow Punxsutawney Phil will predict a quick end to winter; I’ve had enough of the cold and the snow. It hasn’t been too bad so far; compared to some of the more vicious winters I’ve lived through, this winter has been pretty mild. Still, as the one who usually ends up shoveling the sidewalk and driveway, I’d prefer not having to deal with the winter weather at all.
Speaking of things I’d prefer not to deal with, it’s been a rough month financially. I realize that I say that nearly every month, which is to be expected, I suppose, when I’m in a rough place financially and haven’t quite turned my blog into a source of incredible levels of income. (Soon, though, soon I will be making thousands of dollars each month via this blog, that much I assure you.) On that happy note, let’s check out where the Net Worth stands at the start of February:
Alright, there’s quite a bit going on here, so let’s get through it. Starting with the investments, on the negative side of things, Sondra and I have had to cash out more of the Roth IRA in order to make it through the month. We’ve also gone from stocks to a short-term bond fund, to prevent running out of my pseudo-emergency fund in case the stock market declines. (Call me paranoid, but with the stock market getting near previous highs, I don’t think there’s going to be much more increasing any time soon, and might even plummet soon.) On the plus side, we cashed out $1300, and the rise in the stock market meant we lost less than $1000. Plus, the Lending Club account is up by $2; not too much of an increase, but it’s a rise of about 1.5% in one month, which not half bad.
Looking at savings, there’s been quite a decrease in the total available; again, a pretty rough month, and there’s only so much that can be done to keep your bank account full when you have a baby, a wife and a mother-in-law who largely depend on you for things like groceries and diapers. Looking on the bright side, though, there’s a lot of good news to report for the debts. Every single one has decreased, if only by a tiny bit. That increased the net worth appropriately, which is always a good thing.
The Medical Expenses debt (or debts, really, since it represents the total of about a dozen medical bills) has gone down substantially, by over $26,000, and represents the biggest (really, the only) reason that my net worth change is positive for the month. It’s worth a closer examination. We didn’t get a sudden influx of money and put it all toward my medical bills. Instead, I contacted all of the hospitals, doctors, and ambulance companies that provided me with service, told them my situation (unable to work, wife to provide for, baby (at the time) on the way, not much income, etc.) and some were willing to decrease my debt, or drop it all together. The two hospitals I stayed at, in particular, decreased the amount I owed them from roughly $20,000 to the Meadville Medical Center and $11,000 to St. Elizabeth’s in Youngstown down to approximately $3000 and $2500, respectively, a total drop of $25,500 just from those two organizations. Add in a few more dropped debts (the ambulance company, LifeFleet, forgave my debt entirely, although that was back in December as an early Christmas present) and the payments we did make, and in less than a month, the medical debt went down by more than $26,000 dollars. Not a bad way to improve our financial situation.
Speaking of not bad ways to improve our finances, let’s see where my goals, including generating an alternate income, stand for this month:
Not a very impressive month for alternate income; not only didn’t I meet my $3000 goal, but I didn’t even get two figures. I only got the $1 because my Google Adsense ads are up now on this very site. Still, not too horrible, given that I only got them up three days ago. The credit card pay down is decent, if far from spectacular (again, not surprising given our financial state), and my wife and I did make a charitable donation, although less than I would hope given my wife’s level of income. (I am planning to donate $50 per month, at least until I have a decent job and can get up to my charitable goal without going deeper into debt.)
Not a fantastic month, but not horrible either, particularly with that decrease in my medical debt. Here’s hoping February is just as good, if not much, much better!