So, after my extremely depressing post of yesterday, I got to thinking last night. Whenever I get down in the dumps about my debt, I start to put pen/pencil to paper with my calculator and start doing some figuring of numbers. Yes, I literally mean, pencil to paper. Call me old school or old-fashioned, but it helps to relax me. I like seeing the numbers literally down in black and white in front of me. It’s like they’re more concrete that way, you know?
To make up for the depressingness of yesterday’s post, here’s a cute pet photo of Osito. She sleeps smack dab next to me every night until she wakes up in the middle of the night to empty her tiny bladder. (Hey, she’s 5 pounds soaking wet, so how large can it be??)
I’ve been listening to Dave Ramsey a lot lately on the bus or at work, for the inspiration I get when I hear people do the “Debt Free Scream!” (People literally scream at the top of their lungs in celebration as to the fact that they don’t have any debt left. Sometimes, it’s only the house that they still owe. Other times, they have EVEN paid off the house.) He usually suggests only having $1000 in an emergency fund. However, that amount wouldn’t even cover my rent for one month. (Remember, I live in Boston. And yes, even apartments in the suburbs easily go from $800 on up, and then you’re talking an expensive commute added on top.)
I marvel at what some of these people have done what they have done, usually getting rid of tons and tons of debt in a few short years. And they don’t always make huge salaries. (Of course, they may live in a cheaper area of the country but if their salary is lower, then it balances out.) I think to myself “here I am, living on less than half of my gross salary (I’ve figured it out), and working three jobs, having gotten rid of my car, and I still can’t beat the debt down nearly as fast as those people. Maybe I’m not as determined as they are?” But I know I am. Or, at least I think I am.
I think the only other way to cut expenses would be to get a roommate. But, I live in a studio and I have pets, so that’s not likely. And I LOVE my apartment. I really, really do. Plus, once you’ve been married or had nightmare roommate situations like I did in my last year of law school, well, you swear to yourself, “NEVER AGAIN unless I’m married again will I have a roommate.” It’s just what I need to do to stay sane.
So, back to my pencil and paper calculations. I’ve been trying to save about $980 per month into a few different savings accounts which have been given nicknames based on what I want to save money for, be it pet expenses, etc. I can definitely cut down that amount.
This is what I was thinking when I got up this morning: I can still keep saving for my tiny house fund through my job at the gym and any other freelance work I get. And I can put another $500 to my student loans on top of the $720 I am currently budgeting. That would mean I could put about $1220 on my LAL loan every month. With a balance around $17,401 and change right now, I think I might be able to get rid of it in about a year. Maybe a month or two more. (This would still allow me to put money into my emergency fund. To keep myself less anxious, I know I need to keep saving regularly into that account.)
I don’t know why I am so determined to get rid of SOMETHING by no later than June 2015. It’s either get rid of a debt, or have reached a certain savings goal by June 2015. I just keep picturing that month of June 2015, in the calendar in my brain. When I get rid of that loan, then my grand totals for student loan debt would equal just under $100K. Yep, 18 years out of law school, and I would FINALLY have under 6 figures left in debt. Pretty sad, huh? Actually, I’m not sure which is more pathetic. The fact that I would be 18 years out of law school and 11 years out of library science school and still have $99K in debt, or the fact that I would be celebrating the fact that it would finally be under $100K. But, I digress….
The point is…I do what I can to satisfy that anxiety I feel when I feel uncertain about my future, or want it to come along faster than it already is. And I really DON’T want to be that negative person who keeps bemoaning their student loan debt. I want to be that person who actually ACTS. So, I’m going to probably start saving less and paying down debt faster. Probably. God, why does handling financial matters have to be so emotional??
So these were my thoughts as of last night. And then, I talked to my friend Liz, who is really smart when it comes to saving. And she also knows me very well, and the thoughts that go through my head. She knows how I get when I get my mind fixated on something. I don’t always think rationally. She reminded me that sometimes I start to get so fixated on my debt, that I forget that putting money in savings is also saving for my future life. And that’s just as important. So, I’m going to take some time to think about some of her suggestions, like building more into my monthly budget for expenses like actually going out with friends once in a blue moon (rather than mentally subtracting those expenses from my grocery budget.) Or, setting aside a bank account into which I put money to later pay on a student loan in a big lump sum, etc.
Thanks for sticking with me, everyone, and for the words of encouragement that some of you left for me on facebook or in the comments.
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