Tag Archives: Debt Free

Busy Falling in Love & Moving to Texas: Part Deux

It’s been a whirlwind romance. It’s been a whirlwind several years. I won’t re-cap in great detail—you can read back through the posts if you’re very curious—but I will say that the last few years (and more recent months) have been filled with self-reflection, radical acceptance, and courage.

As I have been preparing to drive halfway across the country with two cats and my best friend—for a boy I’ve fallen head over heels in love with—I’ve done a lot of reflecting on how I have come to be in this position. I fully intend to document the adventure that will begin this Saturday November 16th as Babette and I head south, but for now I’d like to highlight just a few of the life lessons that I have learned within the last 5 years.

(In no particular order of importance)

  1. There is no good reason to have a credit card. I’m sorry but there isn’t. There is REALLY no reason to EVER have a joint credit card. Save your money. Pay cash. If you can’t, you probably shouldn’t buy it.
  2. According to society, it is a risk factor for a single woman to own more than one cat. It could be argued that there is a risk in owning any cats as a single woman, but clearly there is some degree of exponential (read convex) growth in terms of the number of cats owned and likelihood of entering cat ladydom.
  3. There are clear blue jobs and clear pink jobs. Sometimes there can be purple jobs, but only if partners are equally skilled, competent, and have agreed that both working at the same purple job will complete it faster. When women and men start mixing up jobs, things get confusing and people get their egos bruised. Best to clarify from the start which jobs are what color.
  4. The risks associated with alcohol consumption more frequently outweigh the benefits. Also, alcohol should never be included on a person’s “self-care plan.”
  5. Having a “5-year plan” is silly. There is no way to predict what turn of events will or will not take place. Please see previous post Series of Unfortunate Events. Best bet is to take all steps possible to be prepared for what might happen i.e. used gained wisdom from self-reflection, radical acceptance, and courage to be content with life and find purpose in daily living. Happiness will be the side-effect. The only plan one should make is to be debt free.
  6. Moving frequently encourages minimal possessions. Minimal possessions decreases risks of entering a life of hoarding….Does frequent moving and minimal possessions therefore increase the risks of becoming a nomad? Is that bad? That seems like a bell curve of some sorts…
  7. You can’t mail liquor boxes (unless fully wrapped covering all labeling) despite their amazing qualities as a sturdy shipping box.
  8. The cheapest way to move to another state is via the United States Postal Service and Wal-Mart. Boxes are about 69 cents each at Wal-Mart and if it doesn’t rattle, it ships media rate…. Just be sure to get delivery confirmation. Those pods, trucks, and everything else costs several thousands of dollars.
  9. It is important to step out of your comfort zone from time to time. Go on random dates, go on blind dates even, interview for jobs so that you can practice presenting yourself in a professional manner, say yes to the invitation to go out even though you would rather just veg at home.
  10. Be hopeful. Be thankful. Be open. Be wise. Be silly.

One random evening…

Ahead of Schedule

Slowly yet surely my debt is dwindling away. It feels so good to see the numbers drop at the end of the month and know that very soon I will be free. As of today, I have successfully paid off my credit card and my hospital bill from my appendectomy. The payments that were allotted to those debts are now being applied to my car loan. With only $3,600.49 to go, I will have this paid off at the very latest, by November 1st (which is a whole month and 19 days ahead of schedule!!) I continue to direct all of my mileage reimbursement checks into my savings account and it has been steadily growing.
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All in all, I am making progress towards my next big adventure!
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A Fine Summer Day

Today was a wonderful day. It started with coffee and breakfast on the back deck in the sun. I called my friend and was easily able to convince her to spend the day in the sun on Sauvie Island. I packed the cooler with ice, grabbed the sun screen, and hopped into my swimsuit. We made a couple necessary stops  (sandwiches and beer of course) and were on our way. Sun shinning and the windows down.

Nothing beats sitting by the water with a friend. Look at this view.

Except when CRAY CRAY Seagulls try to eat your snacks!!!

To make our trip complete, we stopped at Kruger Farms to pick up some fruits a veggies. I also picked up some of these wonderful teal green berry containers (pre-berry) to re-purpose into jewelry containers.

Ah. So nice. And to finish off this wonderful day, I paid off my entire credit card!!! I’m getting closer to becoming debt free 😀

A Journey Towards Being Debt Free: Part Deux

Part Two: Small sacrifices for long-term benefits

Here and there I’ve written about my thoughts on the future and what I’m “supposed” to do next in my life. Back in the post Bills aka Looming Cloud of Annoyance, I wrote about how I feel like my debt is holding me back from pursuing some of the adventure that I feel I’m missing in my life. A conversation (a few actually) with a friend helped me to put things into perspective in terms of small sacrifices for long-term benefits. I have totaled all of my debt, eliminated all superfluous bills, and have allotted my allowance per month to cover everything else. The debt that is going to be addressed is a hospital bill (good ol’ appendicitis), my undergrad and graduate loans, a credit card I had to live on for several months while in school, and a car loan. These are the big ones and they equal $77,345.10 as of 5/30/12. Yes, that is a lot of debt, but it was virtual money well spent. I drive a safe car that hasn’t exploded on the freeway (yes that happened once), I am still alive and my blood is not septic, I was able to eat and pay bills while in school when my lame ex chose not to, and I have a graduate degree in a field I am passionate about.

The monthly bills that I have to keep around for now include car insurance (required at the highest amount until I outright own my car) $80, cell phone bill (I’m grandfathered in for the unlimited data plan and $40 dollars of my bill is reimbursed by my work) $85, and then $300 in cash to be spent on the other items. This will include gas, hygiene products, coffee, dining out, drinks, clothes etc. I’ve allotted $35 for gas just for good measure and to round up my total monthly bills to $500. I am more realistically spending around $75 dollars on gas a month (at $4.15 a gallonL), but I am reimbursed the IRS rate for all of my mileage driven for work so I actually make money (probably around $300-$350 or so a month) on this reimbursement. So I’m going to still pay for gas out of that $300, and that separate reimbursement check is going into my savings account (which is currently at $1,060).

Okay. So I’ve done all of this on a spread sheet as well, but I’m not totally ready for full self-disclosure about my salary. If you wanted to, you could figure it out but probably don’t care enough to get back into algebra.

So take my monthly income after taxes, subtract $500 on monthly bills. The remainder/surplus income will be applied towards paying off my debt at an increased rate every month. Then total debt divided by my surplus income available every month equals how many months it will take me to pay it off.

Oh yeah, that extra $300 reimbursement check I get a month x 36.38 months + current savings of $1.060 = $11,974.17

This is all depending on the stability of my income, my sanity, and of course my desire to be debt free. My brother and his wife really want me to move out to Manhattan and to be honest, I do too. So I’m setting a date to re-evaluate the plan that will coincide with the elimination of my car payment, hospital bill, and credit card. The countdown is on the right of this page.

I’m posting all of this to be accountable to the universe. Feel free to ask me how it’s going, what I’m going without, or what art work is for sale to help speed up the process.

Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough. You can have anything in life if you will sacrifice everything else for it. James M. Barrie

A Journey Towards Being Debt Free: Part One

Part One: Cleaning out the clutter and creating a cozy lair

Sometimes the art of creating cozy can be quite a labor intensive process. I have moved back in with my parents this past weekend to start a planned journey towards becoming debt free. (That will be the part-two of this post.)

In order to move back in, there was a lot of work that needed to be done in terms of preparing the house for all of my belongings and well, for me. For the past several weekends, I have been working in the basement of my parent’s house that was built in 1908, uncovering, sorting, organizing, clearing, cleaning, reminiscing, giving away, and recycling 30 years of stuff. By no means are my parents hoarders, at least no more than anyone else who has lived in one place for several decades. It’s just that a house requires upkeep and maintenance, and if you don’t put more effort into maintenance that you do into consuming, the “very important stuff that you need” inevitably wins. And so you continue to store camping gear, sleeping bags with broken zippers, past school work and transcripts, old decorations and frames, furniture that was handed down by the older generation, outdated electronics, and the list goes on and on and onandonandon, for years without really thinking about it.

Then you get this.

And all of a sudden, one realizes that it is impossible to go down the basement stairs without tripping on a bag of sailing gear or some other piece of stuff that lives in the stairwell because, well, it’s simply too traumatic and dangerous to take it down any further.

And so the clearing began. The “camping corning” was the hairiest of all the beasts. Beneath the camping gear, were boxes of baby clothes and school work that also needed to be sorted into “yes this is worth keeping” and “I’m not sure how this made it down here” piles. My mom was a trooper and was there every step of the way, recognizing the therapeutic value that all of the magazines and other miscellaneous items had provided in their time, but also being able to purge and move forward through the cobwebs to eliminate the superfluous stuff that had taken over.

The recycling bin was filled to the brim for several weeks. Piles of things under a sign labeled “Free” suddenly disappeared off the lawn, and soon the stuff was all gone.

Sigh of relief.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I moved. I set up a little cozy living space in the “camping corner” and I’m quite pleased. Who knew there was even a window there! It’s not much, but I don’t need much. I have all of my art supplies out and accessible, and a space to relax after work.

I’m on my way to becoming debt free and this is a small sacrifice to get there!