Still hitting it hard. I only have one credit card left to pay off, and I should be done by the end of the year. Then I will have nothing left but my car payment and my student loans. Yes, I still have a car payment. I went back and forth on that (and still do all the time), but it's a reliable vehicle, and I have a 24-mile one way commute. At least for a few more years. This job is good, and good to me, and it's only a few more years that I would have to be working somewhere anyway, so why not there?
Since transportation costs are currently not going to get any lower for me, and I've cut my expenses in every other area of my life, there's still housing costs that I can try and decrease. We were looking for a piece of land to live on, and rent out the house we're in now. Instead, now we're looking for a multi-family property to move into, and maybe have no mortgage payment at all. Yes, I finally learned about "house hacking". And it seems like a no-brainer move to me. Especially if we also hang on to this house and rent it out.
It's been a year now since I read Jacob's book, and it's been a hard one for me. Not because of the work it takes to get myself out of debt and retire early, I fully embrace that challenge. The hard part for me has been dealing with guilt and frustration with myself. That's mostly been because I keep kicking myself for not figuring this out sooner. I got through that part of it, though. Can't look backwards, only forwards. The other hard part for me has been: Now that I know that I will really be retired early, I want it now! I've been making myself unhappy this year, searching for a quick and easy way to retire this instant, and that's a fool's dream. I've been trying to find a way to quit my job, and I can't, and I stress myself out over it. It's only been in the last few weeks I've found a place to reconcile my present with my future. So what, work sucks. It won't be forever, because I have a plan. My bosses are continually trying to teach me new things about running a business, I think it's probably not a bad idea for me to stick around and absorb what they're telling me. If I have to be there anyway, I'm going to get everything I can out of it. Which includes a share of the profit when the company sells in a few years, so that's worth sticking around for, if nothing else. I can't change my surroundings just yet, but I can change my response to them.
So with this new positive outlook, I'm going to keep on the path. I'm keeping the job, and the car(payment), but I'm finding a new place to live that will pay mostly for itself. Keep my head down and do the work.
Speaking of work, I do have some new income to report, as well. The local community college decided I was the person to teach a new series of classes they are offering, so I am now officially adjunct faculty. My mother is so proud.
Granted, it's not much income, but they are paying me to do something I would have probably done for free, and it's still extra income I can throw at debt. I'm super excited about the opportunity.
Debt(Savings) / Expense Ratios:
Jun 2018 62% / 38%
Jul 2018 67% / 33%
Aug 2018 68% / 32%
Sep 2018 63% / 37% (to date)
I'm holding pretty steady, and I hope to keep it up. The second half of the year has gone much better than the first half. Even though I was making debt payments, I was still using my credit cards unwisely. I went home to visit my family, and put the whole thing on my credit card. Dumb. I was planning on going home in October, too, but I finally woke up and realized that I was deluding myself. I can't afford to travel and pay down my debt at the same time. So I cancelled my visit. I won't be going home again until I can pay for the trip up front, not afterwards with interest. Even with stupid mistakes like that, my debt is still diminishing. When I first started keeping a budget, my spreadsheet had 33 lines of expenses on it, and now it only has 16. I look for the little wins, what can I say?
I thought for this update I would add in a report of my actual monthly expenses for August, just to review and hold myself accountable.
Car $718.35 (this includes payment, insurance, gas, maintenance)
Credit card debt $2679.00
Entertainment $56.47 (this is about to increase, I'm bowling in TWO leagues this year)
Food $502.77 (For 2 people. $140 was eating out. I need to continue to work on this one, that's not so great. Especially since $99 of it covered only two meals. Turrible)
Housing & Utilities $597.16 ($450 rent, $65 cell and internet, $82 trash for two months)
Other $31.12 (baby shower gift)
Student Loan $296.46
I also have $100 taken out of each check for my 401(k). Not much, but it's something. I'm ignoring it anyway, since I never see that money.
Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with my quality of life. I'm not willing to cut any more, at any rate, other than not eating out so much. It's probably going to be at least a year before we move. We're trying to save up a large down payment, and I won't have any money to contribute towards that until my last credit card is done. Then I will just snowball that money into savings. We're going to have to put some money into this house before we can leave it, as well. Plus the market here seems to be slightly insane, it may be a while before I find a property that is a good deal. But I've got plenty on the to-do list in the meantime, a year will pass before I know it.
I do have one decision to make that I am still pondering. I'm not even paying enough towards my student loan to stop it from growing, and it's at $70k already. I'd like to start making a more significant payment towards it to stop that, but I don't know how much money I want to put towards it vs. saving up for a down payment to move and reduce my housing costs. Honestly, I'm not even sure how to calculate how much that would take? I took the difference between the balance on 8/15 and the balance today (9/21), and then divided it by the number of days ($209/37). That math says I should pay $170 extra a month to keep it from growing. Grossly simple, but does that math work? Or should I just keep making minimum payments till I get my housing sorted out?
Will she or won't she get it all together? Find out in the next installment...probably not coming soon.