May Review

All right, it’s June! It has officially been over a year since I started my current job and moved back to Norway. I still feel a bit clueless at what I am doing, but I think the pieces are finally starting to fall into place. Fingers crossed.

This month saw a massive spike in our “misc” spending as we wasted invested over $600 on our relationship. That was a few weeks before we decided to just throw caution to the wind and just go ahead and get married next month. It’ll be a crazy ride, and our net worth won’t see much of an increase, but it’ll be worth it for sure.

Sidehustles

As far as sidehustles go, I am super thrilled that my fledgling Etsy shop has generated $15 net profit this month! That means it more than covered my wordpress hosting, bringing me ever closer to a net-positive blogging hobby.

The next milestone will for it to cover the Tailwind subscription I got, because as far as social media goes, I found that Pinterest and Tailwind are ones that I enjoy and find amusing – even if it is not providing crazy traffic or anything like that.

I did go for the monthly Tailwind subscription first, which is not a good deal. You get less scheduled pins, and the annual subscription costs less overall (plus unlimited pins). When life calms down after the wedding, I will most likely upgrade to the annual plan, but I wanted to check it out first and make sure I will use it.

I also decided to rebrand my Etsy shop from Better Life Printables to Frugasaurus Vault, I think it will be easier to just keep everything the same across platforms. I am more or less resolved to merge my two instagram accounts into one as well, I find that I cannot keep up with both of them, and would rather engage with everyone from one of them.

If you enjoy more realistic approaches to blogging and sidehustles instead of the “get rich quick” schemes, Kate just published a post about how much she spent (not earned!) on her blog in the first two months.

Expenses

This month was pretty heavy on the expenses. As I mentioned, Mr. E. and I decided to spend $600 on a relationship investment, and it is already paying dividends.

Outside of that, I still had to cover my share of the rent (6 000 NOK, $750) and Svalbard rent + travel, pretty much slashing my savings rate from around 50% to more like 20%. But this is money that I will get reimbursed from work.

All in all, I have spent more than 20 000 NOK ($2 500) out of pocket for this Svalbard trip and an upcoming conference at the end of June. It really makes you wonder how other people with a lower savings rate manage this kind of spike in expenses (this pay-first-reimburse-later system is not the case for all staff, only contract-based staff and other temp. staff).

After filling my mortgage savings account, I am enjoying the “luxury” or padding the minimum on my student loan. From the 1 400 NOK ($170) minimum to 2 000 NOK ($250). It is only a modest padding, but it makes me happy about the repayment progress, without losing out on gains by investing in index funds.

One of the best line items in the budget this month was food at only 1 600 NOK (less than $200). Most of this was due to leaving Svalbard at the end of the month, and doing my best to eat what I had left in my cupboard. They were weeks heavy in oats and rice, but they were worth it.

The Wedding

Without going too much into detail, we have booked the venue and have sourced used gold rings from our local coin and gold resale shop. Finding used gold was a priority to us both, as gold mining (and mining in general) is a highly polluting and landscape destroying industry.

In this instance, I believe buying used is better even than Fairtrade sourced gold, which is not readily available in Norway.

Since our wedding rings were used, we had to take them to a goldsmith to have the old engraving removed and then re-engraved, which is where they are sitting right now. Mr. E’s ring also had to be resized.

I will share more details of the entire process in a dedicated post, but for now, suffice to say that I am thrilled beyond words to first get our rings used and then support our local, skilled craftswomen by giving them our trade. It feels right, and it is spending according to our values.

Over To You

Are you happy with your spending this May? Did you spend more or less than anticipated, or perhaps you were right on budget? Let us know!

11 Comments on “May Review

  1. That’s a really good idea to get used wedding rings – I never really thought about that option and it’s a good reminder about the destruction wrought by gold mining. Whenever my partner and I finally decide to get married (it’s been a 7 year engagement!) we’ll look into that.

    • Yeah, it is so easy to do! We almost went that way ourselves, our first trip to the used gold shop left us frustrated, and with only a month to spare we considered going the conventional route. But a break, a rare iced tea/food in a café and a google search later, and we were determined to find a way to make it work.

  2. Thanks for the mention – I was inspired by your “how to make a million dollars on Etsy” tweet! I think any investment in your relationship is a good one; and way to go on minimizing spending on rings. Our rings were cheap because we were broke when we got married (and smart enough not to go in debt over rings) – but we almost NEVER wear them. My husband was an aircraft mechanic before he quit to stay home with kiddos, so wearing a ring = losing a finger.. and my (little) diamond still stuck out enough to annoy me. So I would have been incredibly annoyed had we spent a ton of $$ to get rings that we still never wore!

    • Haha, that tweet got more popular than I had anticipated!

      I have the same issue with my engagement ring. Mr. E. knew me well enough that I would appreciate one of his heirloom rings a lot more than a new one, so he went with that. But it also has a (tiny) stone! Very incompatible with work in the lab and the potential hazard of splitting my gloves (plus it was just frequently in the way), so on to a chain and around my neck it went instead.

      To be honest, we were surprised when we realised diamond wedding rings were a thing. And lots of diamonds at that! Everyone in both our families who are married wear simple, unadorned gold bands for their wedding rings, and that is what we wanted/looked for as well.

  3. I have a non temp job in academia and I still have to pay out of pocket for travel and then wait for reimbursements. It’s much better where I work now but my previous institution I had to wait at lest 3 to 6 months. We were on a single income (mine). It was so stressful. I always refer to it as extending credit for free to the University. It’s exhausting and draining. I’m glad that you can manage it. What is your mortgage savings account? This if for a downpayment?

    • Yeah, I was disappointed when I learned that our university operates like this. It is not just the interest-free line of credit to my employer, but also the fact that some people might have to decline an opportunity because they are unable to float the expenses they should not even incur personally.

      My mortgage savings account (AKA BSU) is a Norwegian incentive to encourage young adults to save for their house downpayment. You get a good interest savings account (3.2% in my bank) plus tax returns on 20% of your savings, up to 25 000 NOK (almost £2500). Essentially you get 5000 NOK back “free” on your tax which can be funneled straight back into your BSU every year if you save the maximum, up to a maximum of 34 years of age or 300k NOK saved. You can only use it for a house downpayment or paying down a mortgage, or else you’d have to return the tax benefit.

      • Right – I think the UK has something like this (LISA) which you can use only for a downpayment or for retirement. Problem is that I’m still now sure we will buy here and I’m def not sure if we will retire here. Its good to hear that other people are using these incentives.

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