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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11 thoughts on “Getting Rid of My Debt, Part 16 (Been Thinking)”
I do the exact same thing, pencil to paper when the stress mounts. I think I’ve recalculated how to pay off our mortgage one hundred times and we still have ~3 years left on it if we can continue our large payments.
Have you considered you are spreading your money to thin? Meaning you have your money going in a hundred different directions and so it takes longer to achieve a single goal.
I’m similar and prefer a larger than $1000 emergency fund. Have you considered keeping a 3-months of expenses emergency fund and not saving for any “wants”. Of course you need to budget “fun” into your monthly budget but stop saving for the house or saving for a lump sum. That money in your savings is only accruing less than 1%, while I’m sure you are paying a much higher interest rate.
I know $100,000 seems crushing at times and perhaps you want to buy a house before it’s all gone but creating a little more breathing room by paying off a few debts (even if it’s a couple small ones) might make you feel better. 🙂
Thank you so much for taking the time to write a comment on my post. I really appreciate it.
I’m so glad to hear someone else is like me with calculating and recalculating over and over how to pay off a debt like a mortgage or other large loan. You make me feel more normal! My friend also suggested the same thing – that maybe I was spreading myself too thin, especially in regards to my budget for each month. I don’t budget much “fun” into my monthly budget at all, which is definitely a problem.
Yes, the rate on my savings account is less than 1% (pathetic). I’ve been trying to pay off as much as possible on the LAL loan right now because it’s low for the time being (2.67%). However, it’s a private loan, so it can go up as high as 9%. The reason I want to buy a motorhome or tiny home is so that I can reduce my living expenses even further, since my rent alone is $1,050.. Right now, I don’t have any small debts – no credit cards, no car, it’s just these three big loans (fortunately or unfortunately.)
I do appreciate all of your thoughts, though, thank you so much. I’m going to check out your site now!
Thank you for checking out my site and leaving a comment! 🙂
Sounds like you have thought everything through. Those variable interest rates are definitely a pain! Definitely don’t forget to have some fun, working 3 jobs must get tiring without fun! Best wishes! 😀
Yes, like you, I keep thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it!! 🙂 I definitely still try to make time for fun, even if it’s just relaxing and looking at the reservoir behind my house, or taking my little dog for a walk and laughing at her antics. (She’s blind and 13, but cute as a button.)
You are an inspiration with how much debt you have gotten out of and so quickly. Consider me a new reader!
Hang in there. You will get through. I must say I was a bit concerned for you when I read your past blog about training for marathon. I do not know all the details, but I have to admit with everything your trying to do, then add on training for a marathon I wonder if your adding to much to your plate? Only you know the answer to that. I just dont want to see you get overwelmed with habing to much to do or being over extended mentally or physically. Set goals and simplify your life hun. You can tackle this finances gorilla. I am working on mine too. Much love, Troy
Troy, thank you for saying all of that and for reading. Wow. You went back to my old blog too, huh? Yes, I went through a divorce, and was diagnosed with depression. Still taking medication for it today but on a maintenance basis.
I know, it is a lot. I think the freelance work will end sometime this summer. And the running – it’s my way of feeling like myself again. I figure if I start to have injuries or feel like my body can’t do it, I will switch down to a half, or just not do one altogether. I’ve changed since I ran the first one – I now don’t keep at something just because I am stubborn and set a goal, at least where my body is concerned.
Troy, I’m totally going to check out your blog now! Thank you so much for caring. I really do appreciate it.
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