Now I remember what it feels like to have income

posted by Jeff | Sunday, December 13, 2009, 8:25 PM | comments: 0

After seven months of being self-employed and trying to scrape by on ad revenue, it's so weird (in a good way) to see money in my bank account. I don't feel like I need to scrutinize every little purchase of groceries, gas or whatever.

There are a lot of upsides I didn't have before as well. No state and local income tax is a pretty serious boost. The sales tax is higher, around 9.5% around here (about 2 to 2.5% higher than where I used to live), but not on food. So even if you spent every dime you made on taxable stuff, the lack of state/local income tax still more than makes up for it. Utilities are way lower, even if housing is way higher. Working for Microsoft, I keep finding one thing after another that is cheaper or discounted or whatever. I get a substantial discount from AT&T on phone service, for example.

I don't spend a ton of money on lunch either, even though I eat at work every day. I rarely spend more than four or five bucks a day, and never more than six. It averages to about $25 a week. The beverages being free seriously helps. I'm actually better off for it too, because generally it's fairly healthy food. Everything they have is easy on the body compared to the crap I'd get eating out at previous gigs.

I'm spending less on gas, and hopefully when I don't have weird hours for training stuff and other special events, almost nothing on gas when I take the Connector in.

All of this positive cash flow is certainly a good thing, but I'm also still dealing with the debt dating back to our wedding and honeymoon, plus stuff accumulated since then. And even if I can be cash rich in the short term, I'll be writing a check to the loss on one or both of our houses eventually. Additionally, I need to be pretty aggressive about the 401k, and I'd like to find a little for charity, since Microsoft matches dollar for dollar. So given all of that, I'm not exactly building a fortune or living the plush life.

I'm really motivated to get that other Web project rolling, and it's getting there finally. I get more motivated in the winter, when traffic on the existing sites generally blows. We'll see if that can't boost us up a little. It would really help out me and Walt if Cedar Point would build another enormous roller coaster!

Overall, it's nice to not be on edge over money for the first time in a few years. Here's hoping that continues.

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