A little late on this update, but I wanted to report on my progress so far.
I started this is in April 2012, at the time it was less than 2 months after I started a new job. Also on the heels of being screwed by a company I only worked at for a mere 6 weeks, bounced my paycheck and filed for bankruptcy. Those days are fortunately far behind me. Some highlights for the year..
- went on 2 trips for the year, New York for a wedding, Las Vegas with friends to just have fun
- quit a job that was paying an okay wage for another in the same industry making over 50% more
- paid over $7500 on the balance of my student loan, roughly 1800 in additional interest
- I pulled the money from my Roth IRA and will not be contributing to it again for the foreseeable future. Was doing $20/wk, but the past month I honestly couldn’t afford it. Paid off all my credit cards this past week and was left with less than $50 to live on and 10 days till the next paycheck. I also did a dumb thing and invested it all in one stock. I don’t think I will ever be doing that again for the rest of my life. Already gotten burned twice.
I put together a new spreadsheet on my budget. Came to the conclusion of two things.
- I cannot afford to continue paying $1000/mo on my student loan with all my other financial obligations. Every month since starting this something has come up where I needed to use my credit cards and then did las minute scrambling to get it paid off. Instead I will go to a modest $700/mo. This will stress me out much less, allow me to build up some type of emergency fund and I can pay more as I see fit.
- My bf and I agreed that we eat out too freaking much. Gay men tend to have fancy / specific tastes in food and beverages, which means we spend a lot more money than the average person on dining out. Including the $40/wk I spend on eating at my employer’s cafeteria for December I spent $450 on food, not including any grocery shopping. That’s way, way more than I ever imagined myself paying. Before you ask, we stayed in for New Years and I didn’t buy anything. Our mutual goal is to eat-in 4 days a week and for me to start taking food in with me to work.
- Speaking of bf, been thinking about when to take things to the next level. I recently saw a movie called Bridegroom. Short version, two gay men from small towns move to California, meet each other through friends, fall madly in love. One’s family is open and accepting, the other is very anti-gay and has threatened his bf. They then get married, one is taking pictures on a roof, loses his footing and falls to his demise. Marriage wasn’t recognized in their state, the family of the deceased deny the partner the ability to attend the service / funeral, basically leaving no closure and illustrating the larger issue of why gay marriage should be allowed / recognized at the state level. That and explaining some of the challenges people face growing up gay, some of the most resistance coming from one’s own family. There were a lot of things I could relate to, the fear of retaliation in public bit in particular. Alas it got me thinking again when would be the right time to ask the question. I think of Oprah and Steadman as being happy together without getting married, then there are gay couples that are married, but not exclusive… All things not really the subject of my blog here.
Long story short, I have commitment issues I’m still working through along with the childhood baggage associated with divorce… Gay marriage is not recognized in the state of Texas and I have no idea if it ever will be based on the conservative nature of the state. I also want to do this one time and one time only. As much as I have these issues, I’ve never met anyone like him, who has opened his heart to me and tries so hard to make me happy even when I am the most cranky person you can imagine.
I started reading a book called Debt-Free Forever: Take Control of Your Money and You Life by Gail Vaz-Oxlade (famous for the Til Debt Due Us Part show on CNBC). Lots of good stuff inside. I’m only 7% done so don’t ask me too much about that. 😛 I still listen to Dave Ramsey’s podcast, but his whole evangelical Christian slant to things / discremenatory wording for FPU leaders on what constitutes marriage does rub me the wrong way. I was close to buying a ticket for his event in Dallas this spring but have since changed my mind. We also don’t plan on having / adopting children, so that part wouldn’t apply anyway.
Started doing scratchoffs again. Not an investment strategy, but a reminder life isn’t always about money and to have fun. First time around I spent $20 and got $40 back, 2nd time $10 and got $20 back. $20 is the max I will spend an that’s typically 1-2 times a month. When I win I cash out the card and stop playing.
I wish you all the best in 2014 and keep up the work of paying off debts and breaking free from the shackles.