Naked With Cash is the year-long series on Consumerism Commentary where seven readers’ households share their financial progress on a monthly basis. I’ve partnered with financial planners who will offer some guidance along the way. Read this introduction to learn more about the series.
JW is thirty-one years old and a father of one with another one on the way within a month. He works in retail and is underemployed, and his wife and son are on state medical plans, and their income is supplemented by SNAP (food stamps). Read his bio for more information about his family’s situation.
His goal is to be able to provide for his family while still tithing 10% of his income to his church. JW is on Team Neal, with Certified Financial Planner Neal Frankle. In today’s report, JW discusses his progress throughout the month of April.
Following JW’s own analysis of April’s progress, Neal Frankle will provide his feedback, and budgeting expert Jacob Wade from iHeartBudgets will also provide some insight.
JW’s comments and analysis
Piano. My wife returned to teaching piano this month. She took a few months in conjunction with having the baby. She has 15 students. Normal rate is $15 for a half-hour lesson with options for 45 minute lessons and discounts for multiple students from the same family. This month brought in $675, and she spent $62 on books and supplies. This amount includes lessons from the last week of March.
Concert. I went to see Prince perform this month. The show was amazing. The sound was crisp and clear. It was in an intimate venue, with room for fewer than 1,000 people in the audience. It was evident just how much that man understands music as a whole — not just one genre. He is not just a singer or a songwriter, guitarist or bassist. He is as much a student as a master of music, with knowledge and skill up there with Sting, Eric Clapton, Beethoven.
Yes — I just compared Prince to Beethoven.
It was all about the music too. There was no merchandise and no cameras, including cell phone cameras. Prince called someone out in the crowd that was taking a photo with their cell phone. It felt like a garage jam session with some friends. This may have been the best show I’ve ever been to.
The total cost for the show including food, gas, tickets, and parking was $326. The budget for this month was $50, and I spent $51. The ticket was purchased before this month began.
Job search. I have not heard back about any of the positions I’ve applied for. I am likely no longer under consideration for any of them, even though none have been filled. Two additional stores posted the same position. One of these two has already interviewed me. The other store called on the 30th to schedule an interview. We’ve been playing phone tag while trying to set up this interview.
Feedback from Neal Frankle
It’s wonderful that you wife has returned to teaching. I’m sure she’s happy helping others improve their musical skills. Thanks also for breaking down how she charges. I’m sure it’s a great fit for her so she can be home with the baby too. One question: have you budgeted for this extra income? Is all of this money needed to pay for current spending or can it be applied to pay down your debt?
I have one additional question. If your wife could be out of the home and wasn’t required to be home, how much do you think she could earn? Just curious.
I’m also a bit confused about the Prince concert. Are you saying that you budgeted the $326 for the show? If so, fantastic. It’s very cool to budget for something and then enjoy the benefits. I’d like to understand this more please.
Feedback from Jacob Wade
JW, I’m glad your net worth is on the rise, but being underemployed and dropping $326 on a concert seems a bit counterintuitive to me. Basically, your wife went back to work and half her money went to your concert. I know it sounds a bit harsh, but the word “no” should be at the top of your list until you get employment squared away. I’m sorry to hear the jobs you applied for didn’t work out, but there’s always tomorrow!