Some things don’t fit in spending diaries or need more elaboration. So just thought I’d give you guys the latest life news.
Taxes (Whee! No really!)
Well, probably the big news is that, between state and federal government tax refunds, I’m getting just under $2,500 back.
I’m considering lowering the amount I withhold, given how big the overpayment is. But I did get a small raise again this year, and there’s no guarantee that I’ll max out my SEP-IRA in 2020 (though it’s looking good). Plus I may have $800 to $1,000 less in business expenses this year (more on that later).
In other words, there’s really no way to be sure that I’ll owe so little for 2020. Meanwhile, my overall savings rate for 2019 (not including the tax refund I got) was still about 35% of pre-tax income. So the current amount I’m setting aside clearly isn’t hurting my ability to save.
My guess is that I’ll just keep withholding the same amount just to be safe.
At any rate, the refund will go into my Roth. Since I normally earmark $500 a month for the Roth (so I’ll max it out), I’ll hold that amount back in my business account and put it into the SEP-IRA. Woot!
Nobody parties like a personal finance nerd.
So I switched to Bumble.
I just needed a break from Tinder guys. I found one that’s decent and another one who has potential. But… The rest? Well, you guys have read all about it.
I had a hunch that most guys on Bumble would have the decency to hide their grossness a little bit longer. Like, just until an actual conversation had been underway for a bit. And that’s all I ask, really. Not for guys not to be gross — I’m a realist — but just to not hit me with it right away.
So far, so good, and I’ve gone on a couple of dates. My main complaint is that Bumble guys take for-ev-er to set up dates. You’ll agree to a day and then go back and forth (one to two texts a day) figuring out where you each are in the city to figure out a place, figure out a time and have them confirm it. Eesh.
The first Bumble date was decent. We met at a bar that had free video games, so we had a drink and played and chatted. He was fun to talk to, especially since he’s a knee-jerk liberal like myself.
He had put on 20 (or more) pounds since the pics were taken. Turns out, he hurt himself and hasn’t been able to work out. Which I totally get but… I’m also shallow? As we talked, I found him more attractive — a good brain will do that, I suppose — but I’m still not sure there was enough there. So I don’t know that I’d go on another date. He hasn’t asked yet, so this pondering may all be moot. If not I’ll decide when the time comes.
The second guy I met for ice cream. He’s pretty nice. Not as smart as the first guy, but then if this is casual dating then brains, while nice, aren’t a requirement. What is important is that I’m super attracted to him physically. (Sigh. Sometimes I embarrass myself. Then I get over it. With pretty men.)
He came over the following night and we watched a movie. He was fun, so I’d have definitely kept seeing him. Alas, he didn’t return any texts after the movie so… Guess I’m not as interesting as a I think I am.
Both of these guys were age-appropriate by the way, at 41 and 38 respectively. I’ll allow you a moment to pick your chins up off the floor.
But don’t count me as maturing yet. I’m still mainly matching with 20-and early 30-somethings. Unfortunately, they’re proving to be awfully flaky.
One date cancelled the day of (and unmatched me). I think I texted him too much (like two or three times when I wasn’t answering a text from him, sheesh) and/or too quickly (because I always have my phone on me). And apparently guys are stupidly easy to freak out. Whatever.
Instead I went out with my friends that night for drinks and we ended up at a bar playing ’80s music so we danced until the bar closed. Oh, and I got the number of a cute 26 year old. Because of course I did.
A second date that same weekend rescheduled our Saturday date because his daytime activities ran late. I had a friend who’d tweaked his back and was going stir crazy being alone in his house, so I went and hung out with him instead. So I still had fun but… A date would’ve been more fun.
Anyway, on Sunday three hours before the date the guy texted to verify that we were still on. Then bizarrely he just didn’t show, didn’t text, nothing. Ugh!
I did go on a date with the Friday bar guy and had fun. But he took a raincheck on coming over to watch a movie for a second date because he’d been out very late (and drinking a lot) with friends at a concert the night before. We’ll see if he follows up, I guess.
And I went on one date — set up in a single conversation, will wonders never cease? — a few days later with a 32 year old that went well. He’s about to move apartments, so I guess we’ll see if he follows up once he’s settled in.
But then over the weekend, I had one guy disappear right as we were setting up a time for a last-minute date that night. And one guy who — after I chatted with him for a most of a day, including a 90-minute late night phone conversation — didn’t answer two texts (one bitching about waking up early the next day, one about meeting up potentially since my plans had fallen through) that I sent the following day. Because heaven forfend a gal show a modicum of interest. Eesh.
I had a date with a 28-year-old Egyptian guy, which was fun, but I’m not entirely sure he’ll follow up for a second date. And I’m supposed to have a date the night before this post runs, so we’ll see how that goes.
FinCon is a question mark
So going back to the taxes thing, the reason I may have $800 to $1,000 fewer business expenses this year is that I’m considering not going to FinCon.
In the past I’ve extolled the virtues of the conference. It’s a good chance to meet fellow bloggers who you can build relationships with, network with potential affiliates/sponsors and of course learn blogging/promotion tricks in the sessions.
But the thing is… It just doesn’t really hold true for me anymore.
The first two or three years I went, I did meet a fair number of bloggers and made good friends.
But it soon became more about seeing my friends than meeting new people. Besides, now that the conference also focuses on vlogging and podcasting, it’s grown to an almost ridiculous size. It had more than 3,000 attendees last year. That’s just… too much.
Then there’s the fact that would-be affiliates just don’t seem to work out. You guys don’t really come here to buy or sign up for stuff. And that’s fine. But every time I’ve dipped my toe in the water of affiliates, I’ve gotten maybe two or three clicks and almost never any sign-ups. And again, that’s fine. I don’t want you guys buying/signing up for stuff you’re not actually going to enjoy.
But it does make the whole “you can make affiliate relationships at FinCon” thing moot.
And last year I went to maybe the most sessions I’d ever attended. But I found that most of them don’t really work for my blog.
See, there used to be talk about actual blogging. Now it’s all about making media connections, growing your blog and getting into search results/Google snippets.
I don’t do a bunch of how-to articles or break down basic personal finance concepts (“What is a Roth IRA?” “What is a reverse mortgage?” etc.). So I can’t really hope to get into Google snippets.
And I don’t really have much of a niche anymore, since I don’t grapple with my depression as much — and disability and personal finance is an even smaller niche than depression and finance — so it’s hard to sell myself to news sources and such as an expert on anything.
Meanwhile the growth strategies that everyone is suggesting have never really been pertinent for this blog either.
And hey, I long ago made my peace with the fact that this blog would be medium-sized. So that’s not a huge deal. But if the sessions aren’t speaking to me, it’s overwhelming and I’m not getting contacts to grow my site’s profit… Why am I going?
Well, because I love seeing my friends.
Except that this year I’m not even all that excited about that. At least, not $800 to $1,000 worth of excitement.
Maybe it’s because the conference is finally so large that it’s not in a hotel. It’ll be at a convention center. The closest hotel — which is still at least a couple of blocks away if not more — is $200 a night before taxes and fees. There are a couple of other hotels FinCon is booking blocks at, but they’re even further away (and therefore a bit cheaper, but I think the cheapest is still around $170).
My fatigue being variable, I like the option to quickly sneak up to the room during the conference for a brief lie-down. And/or to jet up to the room because I’ve inevitably forgotten something like business cards or my actual conference badge. So even if the hotel is only two blocks a way, that’s a lot harder to do. Especially since I’ll be walking in dress shoes.
So… meh. I’m just not that psyched at the prospect of this year’s conference.
I’m not going to make any decisions until the summer. First of all, I want to make sure it’s not a blip of depression-induced apathy. (I don’t feel depressed but sometimes symptoms crop up in weird ways.) But summer is usually when excitement starts really ramping up. So maybe I’ll have a change of heart by then. If not, I’m gonna sell my ticket. Given that I paid about half the normal rate, I shouldn’t have an issue getting my money back.
That’s about it for my life, folks.
I’ll keep you apprised of any good dating shenanigans, but alas for you guys (and happily for me) I may have fewer horror stories now that I’m avoiding Tinder. Sorry/not sorry?