Month 7 Update

Hard to believe I’ve been chipping at this debt and blogging about it for 7 months already. I’ve had numerous hurdles along the way and if the past is any indicator there will be plenty more to come. Lots of events that I’m processing.  First up it’s Halloween, a time I typically have spent celebrating with friends doing something outside the house and exciting. In NY it’s also known as a day you hope your car / house doesn’t get vandalized by some kid with nothing else better to do.

Speaking of NY, the worst hurricane in years hit just a few days ago. Parents and friends still don’t have power last I checked. Trees down left and right, supplied dwindling. Estimated $20b in damage across the eastern seaboard, not to mention the lives lost. I also found out someone I trained with at my company briefly passed away not even a month after we met. He was a nice guy with a good sense of humor. On the surface he looked very confident, dressed to impress, full of energy.

Cash: 518
Credit Card Debt: 0
Student Loan: 42,521.04  @ 4.25%

Started putting aside money each week for the loan. My income isn’t high enough to support the basics and still have any kind of emergency fund. I still feel poor, even doing the minimum I still have almost no money left after the end of each 2 week period. Haven’t made any large ticket items other than the stupidity that ensued on my NY trip. I honestly feel one mis-step away from financial ruin yet doing what I can to keep it all together.

Job Update

Not going to dwell on this, but an explanation would suffice… After multiple interviews, I didn’t get the job on account of a technicality that I am voluntarily not going into too much detail about as it could have a material impact on future events.

In this new position, I could’ve increased my income significantly, but after bending over backwards, letting this process go on for 5 weeks and going through more interviews than I ever have at any company before it just didn’t work out. Left with a slightly sour taste in my mouth because they didn’t tell me about this issue when I started the process, but everything will work out in the end.

At the beginning of this process I promised myself I wouldn’t get emotionally involved. This is the 2nd time I was *almost* hired somewhere in the last year earning a much higher salary. After 3 interviews, knowing two managers who worked there and having all the interviewers tell me they liked me I still had no offer. I didn’t make the cut for the round of people being hired and a different recruiter e-mailed me almost a full 2 months after my interview to see if I was still interested. So I took the job at the company that went under 6 weeks later.

What I’ve realized is it isn’t just about the immediate earnings, but the long term. I still want to do something I have intense passion for, has decent earnings potential and wouldn’t mind doing for hours on end. Does such a role exist? I’m still figuring out an answer to this question.

My own stupidity (continued)

Adding to the events that occurred last week, I had to pay for $220 for a locksmith.  The keys I gave to 2 friends without checking them did not work. Without being able to get into our house and be fed, it’s likely our cats would not be able to survive. Needless to say, this caused a huge argument about my general responsibility. I learned a lot about the consequences of my actions in general out of simply not thinking a process through to completion or giving a little bit of extra contribution either of my time or money.

 

So altogether the trip cost about:

75 to reschedule flight

25 luggage charge

$80 for cab

$11.50 for train from airport to train station

$220 (150 for locksmith, 65 for convenience charge and associated fees)

Total: 411.50

I renewed a hosting package for one of my domains for 2 years to the tune of $120. Got my cell phone bill with activation for $144, not to mention the usual set of bills. So October has been another rough month.

Still not happy about having to pay these extra expenses (almost a week’s worth of pay), but I’m dealing with it.  Hopefully this experience makes my relationship stronger and helps me make fewer money mistakes in the long run.

On the flip side… I got about $140 from my folks, immediately deposited directly to my bank account. Two others leaving my company within 2 weeks of each other. One just left and the other is leaving soon. My old manager is leaving for a move to a location in a different country soon too. I should know within the next week whether anything will come of the job I did about quite a few interviews for.  November is going to be a pivotal role for my finances. Need to start putting money aside for my student loan payments and right now I have 0.00 in my account after credit card payoff. Another monthly update coming up soon…

Decisions

It’s quite easy over the course of one’s life to become complacent, to expect everything to stay the same, day-in, day-out. Most of us work the usual 8 hr shift, come home, go out to dinner, watch a show and before we know it, time to go to bed and repeat the cycle all over again. 

Starting here and now, October 12, 2012 I am making a commitment to do something different. To challenge myself each day just a little more and learn to experience life more. Each week I am:

  • Do one activity outside the home with my partner that captures the uniqueness of the area we reside. The Dallas Fort Worth area really has a lot to offer and I think we’re only experiencing 1/10th of it. The plus side is that it will keep the relationship more interesting as there have been stale moments.

  • More actively planning. The procrastination takes my stress from 3/10 to a 9/10 for no reason. 15 minutes can save me an hours worth of aggrivation.

  • Remembering to sleep. Jekyll and Hyde. Without sleep my natural desire to do good in the world is nonexistent and basic tasks become huge projects as a result.

Keeping the list short now as part of the K.I.S.S. approach to problem resolution.

My Own Stupidity…

Did something really stupid yesterday. I misestimated the amount of time it would take me to leave work, come home, finish packing, feed the cars, scoop the cat litter by a whole 2 minutes. Got to the American Airlines checkin gate and was told I couldn’t check in because I was past the 40 minutes minimum needed. 

At the front desk I was told there were no later flights to LaGuardia and would have to pay $75 to change my flight over to Newark and pay a $25 fee for my carry-on she waived. I took an AirTran from Newark International Airport to Newark Penn Station. I thought that was the same as NY Penn Station, just on the Amtrack / NJ side of the terminal. I was mistaken. I was on the other side of the Hudson. Looked at my map and had a twilight zone omg-type moment. So on top of the $75 to change my flight, I paid the cab driver ($65 plus tip, which I gladly paid since Newark at night makes Manhattan look like a cakewalk) $80 to take me to the hotel on W 26th Street. 

As of now, I’ve decided not to pay for a car rental. That would’ve run me over $200 once taxes were accounted for. I don’t value driving around town that much. Worse case my parents let me drive their vehicle, or I hitch rides from some friends. This is going to be a several hundred dollar trip, not a thousand… 🙂

Still no update on the job front. Been going through so many hoops, it’s been a bit draining but I still am keeping my eye on the prize. How many interviews must I partake in before I receive an offer? Already five down and it looks like another 2 or 3 to go. This threw off my whole rhythm and caused me to be late. 

My credit cards are still manageable even with recent purchases. Have money in the bank, but I’m avoiding paying interest by only by two days… I’m using my Citibank Thank You card for points / buyer protection but paying it off each month. The 1% offered by my Credit Union when I make over 10 point of sale purchases is really peanuts since my balance will be low. I could do both but even if I had 10k in the bank that’s only 100/yr. Seriously not worth it.

Too Close To Call…

Either it’s going to happen or it’s not going to happen. Should find out about the position I’ve interviewed for sometime over the next 24 hours or by Monday if a completely unexpected event occurs.

Gave it a lot of thought and…. I’m declining Income Based Repayment for 2013. It saved my ass in 2011 and 2012, but I honestly don’t consider it a need for the new year. If things pan out the way I’m hoping, $6000 year at the minimum will be completely doable. That’s $125 a week. Even on my current salary without shuffling extra money toward paying the principle I can manage that. If there was no IBR I would’ve settled in a job I probably hated and payed poorly to avoid defaulting on my loans. Or sell my car valued around 12k right now to cover costs. Both of which would only be a temporary solution to the problem.

I am sick of student loans and Sallie Mae in general. Other than a mortgage, I never ever want to ever have any debt that is more than my annual income.

Back In High School…

Taking a moment to reflect. Graduated high school in 2001, at the time my earnings were around a whopping $6.00 an hour. Today I make more than double that, for work I would consider less repetitive and more analytical in nature. For me, there has been value in a college degree. Truth remains on how much value, but still a noticeable difference over many of my counterparts who do not know a specific trade.

I’m no saint, but it’s interesting to see where people have ended up over the years. Some dropped out of college, others are just finishing up their Associates degree 9 years later than I. Today I came across a news story about a girl some of my peers were trying to set me up with. She was arrested on charges of petty larceny. The second time it’s happened in the last year. I never really trusted the girl at the time, so my intuition turned out to be right.

My views on money were much different in high school than today. I realize the value of a dollar, but I also know that I don’t want to be a slave to money. It’s one thing to work hard and another to be obsessed to the point where nothing else matters. Friendships, relationships, health. I idolized the men on Wall Street for being so talented at what they did, essentially building an empire from nothing. Life’s experiences have shown me there’s much more than having all those expensive material items.  I don’t have to lie to people to make a buck, can go home with a clear conscience each night and don’t work 100-110 hours a week like some of the people at Goldman. A friend’s sister works there, pulls a 6 figure income but is it really worth it? Literally no life outside of work, maybe one free day a week to do anything remotely sociable.

In 2001 I really needed to work on my self esteem. Had a vision in my mind that going to college would open doors and allow me to comfortably live on my own two feet. I thought I could somehow make it work with a girl if I tried hard enough. Suze Orman always talks about speaking in your truth and I always felt like doing that was a lie. It’s great I’m in a relationship with a man I can be completely open with about my money and my life. I know a lot of couples hide things or act out of fear and it really takes a toll on them after a while

Life is too short for that crap. If you have 40k in debt, don’t hold it all inside. It eats you up after a while to hold onto that burden on your shoulders. 10 years ago I was not mature enough to make many of the decisions I am consciously making now. Intellectually I could understand the reasons for doing things, but I lacked the experience that comes with age and the willpower to make some of the harder decisions. I don’t live in a bubble, but I also am not seeking constant approval from people I don’t even care about in the first place (keep up with the Joneses). In fact if anything I’m put off by those who behave as though they are superior just because they spend more money on trips, cars, dinners, etc.