Month: October 2014

A lesson in the value of money.

Two years ago, my mom and seester gave me a “living locket” for my birthday. The locket is clear glass on both sides and you fill it with little charms. The locket is so me, I can’t even handle it. The 7 charms so accurately represent me and what I care about, I wear it all the time.

After a short period of wearing the necklace, the glass cracked. It hangs just perfectly at “smash into my desk every time I sit down” height and it kept getting banged up. I was careful, but it slowly got worse and worse.

Last week, part of the glass broke away. This left a hole big enough for one or all of my charms to fall out. Jewelry Emergency. I taped up the glass to secure the charms, put the necklace safely in my purse and pouted for the rest of the day.

Last weekend, I went to a pumpkin festival with my seester’s family. I wasn’t planning on spending anything. I’d already spent $7 at McDonald’s for breakfast and a coffee the night before and I was feeling like a bad person.

When we got to the festival, there was a stand for the company that makes these lockets. I talked to the sales lady about my broken locket. She offered to sell me a brand new replacement locket at her cost. She also showed me an add-on clasp that shortens the chain so I *hopefully* won’t smash the locket next time I sit at my desk. She even offered me a deal on the clasp because she wanted to clear the inventory.

Here was a woman offering solutions to all of my jewelry problems at a reasonable price.  Guess what I did?

I walked away.

When I got back to the group, no one was surprised that I didn’t buy it. My seester’s husband kept razzing me about my inability to buy anything. His words were “I spent more money than that at the gas station on the way here!” I guess savers don’t like advice from spenders just like spenders don’t like advice from savers. Noted.

So there I was hemming and hawing about spending $18 for a new locket and a $3 pearl clasp. I even texted Hubs about it.  His response: “Go for it. You love it and wear it all the time.”

It took me a moment to realize that this wasn’t about spending money willy nilly on something I don’t care about.  It was $21 to put one of my favorite necklaces back in the jewelry rotation. It was $21 to show off what I love and care about and $21 to remind me how well my mom and seester know me. I had 2 years of enjoyment out of the original gift. Hopefully, $21 will give me another 2 years.

It was about this point in my thinking that my brother-in-law told me to “just buy the d@mn locket.”

So I did 🙂

I offered $20 for the locket and the clasp. She accepted. Done deal.

A lesson in the value of money and I got to practice my haggling skillz.  That’s an afternoon well spent.

I’m ignoring my debt.

You read that right. For at least the next three months, I’ll be ignoring my debt.

No more running the numbers.

No more calculations.

No more logging in to my account just to look at the balance.

None of it.

I may even pretend I don’t have any student loan debt.

Why?

I’ve lost sight of the big picture.

I had a post scheduled for today that outlined my new accelerated goal for paying off my loans by September 2015. My 29th birthday. How fun. To do that, I’d need to pay on average $2200/month for the next year. I got so hopeful.

Then life happened. I found out my paychecks will be lower next year due to a shift in payroll and Hubs and I will owe on our taxes next spring.

Then I lost my mind.

I spent the next few days obsessing over the numbers. I couldn’t think of anything else. Even though I know I need to cut my expenses and increase my income to get where I want to be, I was paralyzed by my numbers to do anything about it. I couldn’t even put a stupid ad online offering my tutoring services.

Yes, I want to pay off my debt quickly. Minimizing the interest by paying them off extra super quick is pretty cool too. But I’m not learning what I need to learn from this experience.

I’ve developed an obsession and what I’m doing isn’t healthy. I think telling Hubs about this blog gave me permission to think about my debt constantly, talk about it constantly and run the numbers constantly. So I did.

My goal for this blog is to “learn to deal with money like an adult.” I’m not doing that.

To put a stop to this madness, I’m putting myself on a Debt Detox.

Don’t worry. I’ll still be around and post monthly updates. Twitter has become my favorite, so you’ll likely see me there. Who knows, I may even be more inspired to write if I’m not obsessing about numbers.

One thing is for sure– I’m looking forward to doing and thinking about other things.

2014 Goals– September Update

Did you remember to wake up when September ends? I hope you did. My birthday is at the end of September and I consider it a national holiday… if only in my world! Celebrate people!

Okay… back to business.

Back in April, I wrote up my goals for what I’d like to achieve in 2014. Being 75% of the way through the year, it was high time I check in on how things are coming along. I better be getting close to the finish line!

Here is how I am doing at the end of September!

Money Goals

1. Say Goodnight to $19,000 of my Student Loans. PASS!

Here’s a break down of what I’ve thrown at my student loans thus far.

Dec 2013- $525.86 (My first payment!)

Q1- $7282.36

Q2- $7564.82

Q3- $6332.87

Total: $21,705.91 

I was a bit surprised to see that my Q3 payments were lower than Q1 or Q2. But when I looked at the events of the last 3 months, I’m not surprised. The only extra money in the last 3 months was my renter’s refund. I used that to make up for cash-flowing the trip. So essentially, there was no extra money.

In addition to no extra money, I had smaller paychecks due to my HSA. My HSA is growing nicely, but I don’t have access to those dollars. Come back my dollars!

My debt is down to $25,485. Thats a total of $19,845 paid off!

First Goal: Achieved! I made it!

My first stretch goal was $23,000. To reach that, I’ll need to pay off an additional $3155 or $1052/month.  No sweat.

I set a second stretch goal of $25,000. This would result in a January 1, 2015 balance of less than or equal to $20,330. That’s $5155 over the next quarter or $1719/month. My monthly average is running higher than this, so if all goes as planned, I’ll make it.

So for a bit of a challenge…

I set a third stretch goal of only bringing 1 loan with me into 2015.  To do this, I’ll need to pay off ~$25,400. I want this. I want this real bad. Come to mama. (Did this just get weird?)

First Stretch Goal: $23,000

SECOND Stretch Goal: $25,000

THIRD Stretch Goal: 1 Loan Left!

2. Quarter Max my Roth IRA ($1375).  PASS!

I added another $585 to my Roth IRA this quarter. I’ve contributed $975 so far this year. Adding an additional $400 over the next 3 months shouldn’t be a problem.

3. Build a $2000 Emergency Fund. EVEN

As I mentioned last quarter, I shifted my focus for my savings. I’ve got $1000 in my emergency fund and $1000 saved for my car. Happy news is that I haven’t had to use any of it!

Health Goals

1. Work out at least 12x per monthEVEN

Nope. I didn’t log the necessary gym trips over the last three months, but I have been really active. Hubs estimates that we walked at least 100 miles in the UK. I’ve been really good about going to yoga each week and that is making me and my body happy and healthy.

2. Complete my First 5k! PASS! 

I had my final 5k of the year in the last week of September. The weather was perfect, the course was gorgeous, the leaves were in full glory and I set a new personal record! Win, win, win, win!

3. Eat Clean-er. PASS

I’ve been much better about my eating over the last 3 months. Not the best, but certainly better. I’ve impressed myself with how I’ve been able to think ahead with what I eat– not only in the planning department, but also in the “how did this make me feel the last time I ate it?” category. Most food makes me sick, so I’ve been good about sticking to the safe foods.

Random Goals

1. Take a pre-paid Road Trip. FAIL!

No road trip, but the UK was amazing. Check out my budget! I am a budgeting master!

2. Learn more about Canada. EVEN

I still lack a formal Canadian education, but I’ve kept my ears and eyes open to what’s going on. Vancouver keeps inching its way up the travel list so I’m sure the Canada/Vancouver books will be making it into my home eventually.

3. Read 10 books. PASS!

NINE! I’m at NINE! That means I have 3 whole months to read 1 more book.

I went on a bit of a Jodi Picoult binge this quarter. I read Salem Falls, House Rules and the Storyteller. Of the three, the Storyteller was my favorite. I highly recommend it.

I tried to read Julie and Julia, but I gave up on it after I was half way through.

After my trip and an awesome visit to Platform 9 3/4 I decided to read the Harry Potter series. I read the first book around when it came out, but I never finished any of the other ones.  I’m a little more than a third of the way through the first book. I’m enjoying it much more than I remember!

_______________________

Having goals and checking up on them has been fun! I’ve really enjoyed reflecting on what I thought I’d do and seeing how life is changing. I’ve never been a goal setter or a goal follow-upper. I like this new change in me. It’s very adult.  🙂

Here’s to Q4!

Does re-reading HP1 count as a book? Are you on track with your goals?