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Money Diary #004 - March in Review

Looking back at March, I remember a general vibe of awesome-ness. My personal wins included: family time, volunteering, a great performance review at work, and successfully using my Plastiq tuition hack. Last but not least, I spent under $8 for 12 filling meals in Manhattan, via the Ritual app (more deets below. It's like I hit the lottery!) Are the money voyeurs out there early anticipating this every month? Who knows, but here we go.

Here's where I landed in March (numbers rounded for simplicity): 

Top highlights for this month by bucket:
1. Grad School Savings & Payments
     - $5,280, Tuition payment 3 of 3. So ends my installments for tuition for now.

     - $120, Plastiq's 2.5% fee for payment via credit card.

Although it appears way over budget this month, I am ecstatic that my grad school accepted the check that Plastiq cut and mailed to them last month. No news is good news, and I didn't hear a peep from the bursar's office. Now that I know for sure the system works, I will keep riding this hack until I graduate. In late Feb, I opened another new credit card (Barclays Arrival Plus) with a $700 signup bonus when you spend $5K in the first 3 months, which actually adds up to $800 with the base rewards points on the card.

Unfortunately, this card doesn't have a 0% introductory interest so I’ll put $3-4K of tuition on the card, ~$1K of general spend, and meet the rest of the sign up requirement with my upcoming vacation/travel. That way, once I get the $800 in points, I'll apply it as a statement for a mostly free vacation! Double whammy.

If you are interested in Plastiqsign up using my referral code 1128917 to get the 2.5% fee waived on $500.

2. Home

Nothing special happened, just mortgage and HOA. Seriously, a winning month although my home insurance payment is coming up in April.

3. Necessities
     - $7.80, Ritual app. I've been obsessed with this app for awhile now, and in March the app had a crazy “dollarfest” promotion. The $1 promo ran all day (subject to the restaurant's quota), and with a few referral credits, I got me 12 meals for under $8. What an amazing time to be alive. 😂 Click my referral link to get $10 to use on your first Ritual takeout. I like to keep on top of these foodie apps because of gems like this, and I'll keep sharing with you my finds!
     - $93, Trader Joe's. Standard monthly grocery trip. Read more about what I bought in this post.

4. Fun & Frustration
     - $180, Family. I treated my family out to dinner and also got my parents a pair of tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show. They loved the flowers and my mom told me she went a little overboard on the free wine at the event haha. She brought me back some herb seeds and I can't wait to plant and grow them now that it's getting sunnier and summer-y!
     - $125, Pandora. Pandora was having a “$40 off $150” sale so I settled on a blingy safety chain and equally stunning charm (orig. $75 and $80 each). Was it a splurge? Yes! Worth it? Big yes. I could've waited for a bigger holiday sale, but the savings might've been marginal. I was thinking of buying a chain right away (one of the three charms fell off my Pandora bracelet, never to be found 😢) and the security it's given me now is priceless. Plus, I love the new charm that replaced my missing one.
     - $50, Charity donations. I have some automatic donations every few months. I was able to volunteer time and donate money this month and it makes me happy to do both.

After reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, I realized that much of his general premise on wealth, which was radical thinking in 2000, has trickled down to becoming common sense (don't rely on a job for income, build your assets before buying/increasing liabilities, make passive income, don't rely on a job). His framework for wealth is cash flow from assets, real estate in particular. I didn't feel a paradigm shift in my thinking-- but definitely more confidence in how to move forward and thinking outside the box.

How did you do in March? Any highlights? Let me know in the comments!


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Here's where I landed in February (numbers rounded for simplicity):

Highlights by Bucket:
1. Grad School Savings & Payments
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