First to $100k wins! WE HAVE A WINNER!

A few years ago, I started a race with Hubs. It was a race to 100k.

The rule was the first to 100k in individual solo accounts, wins. He had been saving a while and had a bit of a head start, but I was eager. I had just finished paying off my student loans and I was hungry for retirement savings.

At first, I didn’t tell him about it. I was the underdog and it was my race, so I took whatever head start I could get!

I got to saving, then I told him, then we both got to saving.

Then I realized I was the biggest jerk in the world and canceled the race. Turns out its not a wise move to prioritize vacations over retirement saving. Lesson learned.

We maxed out all retirement accounts, saved for a house, saved for a vacation and moved on. With everything on auto-pilot, it was easy to think about other things. I still tracked our accounts on my handy spreadsheet every month, but then we bought a house and canceled our internet. With so many house projects and no ability to stare at my Vanguard account, I focused on other things.

I completely forgot about the race.

It wasn’t until one sleepy Saturday morning that I remembered. I was laying in bed, wishing I was still asleep, when Hubs called me into his office.

“Look.”

He pointed to the screen. Bright screen. Groggy eyes. What am I looking at?

He had his 401k account up on the screen. It read — $100,243.

Six Figures.

He did it!

He was so proud. I was so proud of him. He won the race!

It wasn’t until later that I remembered the real rules of the game. I opened my spreadsheet and realized he had won the official race a few months earlier, but this felt so much better than two accounts together. This was 6 figures in one account! It was an extra digit!

Later that day, while we were driving around running errands, the car got quiet. “I didn’t think I would get to 100k. I’m so proud of myself. I wish I could tell someone. …. This isn’t the kind of thing you tell people.”

Lucky for him, I happen to write about money on the internet. This is his celebratory post.

Happy 100k Hubs! Proud of you!

Here’s to 200k and beyond! You’ll be there before you know it!

🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

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The Backpack Saga: A resourceful tale.

I’m not resourceful, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

I operate under the mindset to acquire the smallest number of things, by spending the least amount of money without harming the environment too much. Maybe that’s resourcefulness. I prefer to call myself a lazy environmentalist.  Why buy something, when I can find a way not to?

I was faced with a prime dilemma recently, challenging my lazy environmentalist ways. My lunch leaked in my backpack. EEK! My teriyaki meal prepped rice leaked out of the container, leaking sauce all over the rest of my lunch (ew). It leaked just right that it leaked out of my lunch box, on to my library book, bullet journal and all over the bottom of my back pack. Ew. Sticky Ew.

My coworker saw me dealing with my sticky mess. Her suggestion: Throw it out and start over.

What???????????????

No.

She suggested I throw out all my lunch containers (The ones in my lunch box and at home) and start over. Throw away my backpack and buy a new one. She didn’t see my now sticky bullet journal, but she probably would have suggested I throw that away and start over as well. All because of a teriyaki spill.

Never did it cross my mind to throw it all away.

I went to the lunch room and cleaned out my lunch box and all the stickiness. I let it dry in the back of my cube. Good as new.

When I came home, I threw it in the washer and soaked it in soapy water. Simple enough. I forgot about it and let it soak overnight. When I came down in the morning, the water was disgusting. Life Pro-Tip: Maybe wash your backpack more than once every 15 years.

I didn’t want to add any other clothes to the wash, so I ran it on its own. MISTAKE. I forgot to put it in a garment bag or a pillow case. It took a beating. When the wash finished, my bag was sparkling clean, but had 2 rips – a matching one on each side.

Perhaps at this point, I should have throw it out. But that didn’t cross my mind.

So my backpack had rips in it. Its a backpack. I know how to sew. I might even have some fancy contrasting thread I can use to add a little pizzazz to my wonderful backpack. I’m thinking purple Xs on my pink and black pack. Prettttty.

While I waited to let the pack dry and then procrastinated, I still had no plans of getting a new bag. I used my laptop bag for a week and it was okay. The one sided strain was what finally got me to get to stitching. Turns out, I had pink thread that was nearly a perfect match to my pack. I stitched it up while I browsed YouTube on a slow Sunday morning.

Is this resourcefulness? It probably is. I prefer to think of it as part of avoiding this crazy consumerist culture we live in. It’s more important for me to avoid that and the cycle than anything else. What if I did throw everything away after a teriyaki spill? How soon after that would I be throwing it all away again? If I throw everything away at the first sign of trouble, I will be throwing everything away constantly.

I don’t have the emotional energy to always be shopping.

Cleaning up after the accident took a few minutes at work, 30 seconds to throw it in the wash to soak and later turn on the machine. The YouTube video I watched while stitching was 45 minutes and I had video to spare. In total, spending an hour bringing my pack back to life sounds way better than shopping for a new backpack and abandoning this one.

I’m sure the environment thanks me. Laziness for the win.

An Epiphany! How I plan to be debt free by Halloween

Truth time: Since I paid off my student loans, I’ve felt like a bit of a debt destruction fraud.

I slayed my student loans, yes, but I’ve had a car loan for the last 2.5 years.  I’ve justified the loan for two reasons. 1) I didn’t have the cash flow or the savings to buy the car when I needed to make the decision. Taking out a loan was my safe option living where I live, working where I work. 2) I was okay with the concept because the interest rate is incredibly low. 1%. I could easily justify putting my money elsewhere when my savings account was earning what my loan was charging me.

I’ve accepted that decision and I’m okay with it.

Today, I face a different decision. Hubs has leased his car for the last 3 years. He likes the car and we plan to keep it. If we follow the same path as last time, we’d take out a loan for the balance, the interest rate is still good and we’d ride that for the next 3 years.

But what if we did something different?

Since I got my car, I’ve been setting aside, $50/month to cover car expenses. My car is still relatively new, and we haven’t had to use this money. The account grows every month.

On top of that, we have an emergency fund. We’ve never had to use the money in this account. We’ve had it for years and the money sits there. We save a large portion of our take home pay and in that time, we’ve never had to touch this money. We’ve been able to cash flow any expenses that come. *Knock on wood*

What if we used this money to pay cash for Hubs’ car?

Between the two accounts as the accounts sit today, I’m $1500 short of being able to pay cash to cover the cost of the car and the estimated taxes and fees. I have 2 months to save and next month is a 3 paycheck month. That seems incredibly doable.

Then his car would be paid for, and my loan would be done in October.

Here is where things get extra exciting. My last scheduled payment is October. With just a little bit of effort, my favorite birthday milestone is only 3 weeks earlier. Debt free by my 31st birthday? HECK YES! (minus the mortgage of course!)

SWEET! Right?

The biggest down side of this plan is that it would leave us cash poor in the short term. Potentially, “I don’t even want to look at my bank account” cash poor. I’m a little nervous about the cash levels, but we still have a good buffer in our checking. I wouldn’t have my emergency fund and my car fund would be $0. But if we do this, we’ll have an extra $200 to save immediately plus an additional $400 in October. I can use that surplus to fill up the Emergency Fund back to a safer level. In addition, I’ll continue to put aside $50/month for car expenses.

This feels like the best thing to do right now.  I haven’t felt this excited about a financial plan in a long time.

Debt free is to be the way to be. Right?

Am I missing anything? Please poke holes in my plan.