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Money Monday | Short Update

Car repair is important.  I do appreciate my car taking me to my job.


Honestly, an emergency fund is for that kind of thing.  Like the flat tire my husband got.  It gives relief when things go wrong.  Now, I’m going to re-fill my emergency fund with money I would have paid toward my loans, but still.  I’m not going to stop kicking my student loans’ butts.


Maybe I’m being silly, but the world seems like it’d be a lot freer of a place if debt wasn’t weighing me down.  Like, a job loss wouldn’t be so terrifying if I didn’t have that weighing over my head.  I could breathe and move on.


It’s a dream that makes me happy.  I know, however, that debt can hit you very suddenly out of nowhere.  In particular, medical debt.  You don’t choose medical debt, it chooses you.  There’s only so much you can plan, outside of a nice emergency fund of who knows how much money.  You could get hit by a car and your insurance might only cover part of it, you could suddenly get cancer, you could suddenly develop a mental illness (just so you know, schizophrenia frequently makes its first appearance in your 20’s in lots of cases, random bit of information) and need lots of treatment and meds…forever.  And if that happens when you’re just starting to dig yourself out of debt?  That’s rough (honestly, it’s rough in general, this is just insult to injury).  Or right when you’ve gotten out of debt only to be buried again?  For something out of your control?


Anxiety can be a very bad thing, but I can’t say that it has ever kept me from being prepared.  Well, there was this one time I was afraid to look at my bank account for a few months…but I got over that.  Now I just plan and plan and plan and plan.  I like planning.  I like knowing what to do when something unexpected happens.  I do kind of hate the part where I don’t actually have the supplies yet to pull off the plan, but I’m getting there.



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Money Monday | The Why

So I’m in the middle of slogging it through paying off my student loans.  It feels Sisyphean.  Like, I even know my potential payoff date (which is in November!).  But that day seems forever away and almost impossible.  I feel like I’m throwing my money as quickly as I’m making it at this danged loan.  This is the hard part of the financial independence journey, right?  This is the part where I look back in ten years, beaming with pride that I made it through?


It’s hard.  Mr. Smudged and I both have aging cars.  Cars that are now throwing lights.  Cars that need some expensive love.  Expensive love that could throw a wrench in my plans for getting these stupid loans to go away.  I have an emergency fund, but I’ll need to refill it if I use it all up.  And that would have to come from my student loan (over)payments.  Depending on the cost to fix, it could push me back two or three months.


When I was a kid, I would get scared every time we went for a ride in the car for longer than ten minutes.  What if I had to go to the bathroom?  Genuine terror would fill my heart.  It was silly.  It was ridiculous.  But that same dread fills me up now, what is two months?  Hardly anything!  My heart was set on November.


I’m trying to remind myself why I want to be financially independent.  Like it will make me feel better, instead of reminding me that my goals could be facing a setback.


I have a dream of all the things I want to do if I can only retire early.


I want to learn art and make art and spend so much time looking at art.


I want to learn other things, like how to play guitar or how to fix a car.


I want to (assuming we have kids) spend so much time with potential future children.


I want to wake up without my alarm clock and ease into my day as slowly as I please.


I want to have the time and energy to cooking a dinner exactly the way I want it.


I want to hang out with friends and still have energy because I didn’t use all of my energy talking to co-workers (who are fine, but it’s just so exhausting).


I want to seriously commit to making my own clothes.


I want to learn how to knit.


I want to spend so much less time in my car.


I want to make plans, see that it has snowed, and delay them because I have power over my time and don’t have to risk my life in cold weather.


I want to volunteer and help people and be able to be there at a moment’s notice, not trapped at work.


I want to spend so much time with my husband.


I want to teach potential future children to be compassionate, independent, and to know themselves.




And then there’s the don’ts:


I don’t want to hear an alarm clock ever again.


I don’t want to feel stressed about taking a day off because I am the pin that holds everything together.


I don’t want to have to report my time and activity to anyone.  (Seriously so glad to be done with high school where I had to ask to go to the bathroom).


I don’t want to waste my time feeling miserable doing a job that doesn’t appeal to me.  I know your job doesn’t have to fulfill you, but it shouldn’t make you miserable either.


I don’t want to have a heart attack at work like my father.


I don’t want work to make me into a grumpy, irritable person.


I don’t want to waste my youth doing things I don’t care about.


I don’t want to feel controlled by the whims of the world and the problems it throws at people who can’t handle it fiscally.



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Money Monday | Broken Chain

I didn’t blog yesterday.  I blame the holiday.  I broke the chain, and realized that I don’t have anything set up as punishment to keep myself from breaking the chain.


So I’m going to reach into the past (and present a little), and blog about something that should totally count as punishment on Money Monday.  Mostly because it’s valuable and I HATE it.




Nothing strikes fear into my people-pleasing, hyper-obedient heart like negotiating.  I know that sometimes it’s silently expected.   I still hate it.  Also, it saves a lot of money.  And I hate it.  I want everything to be black and white and easy, but that’s not what life is.


We got a ticket a few weekends back.  We accidentally almost went through the wrong toll lane.  In our defense, I don’t think we could see that we were not in the “Cash” lane because of a large truck.  I wasn’t driving or paying attention though.  We BARELY managed to get into the correct lane.  But we did.  We also got a ticket.  Which hurts to the depths of my heart.  Getting in trouble AND having to pay money for something stupid?  AG. O. NY.


I went to pay it online because that’s what you do when you hate talking on the phone (especially with your tail between your legs).  The website recommended NEGOTIATING.  Like straight up, said that we could apply for a first-time going through without a pass thing.  So I did.  My heart was beating SO hard in my heart.  And I did it.


And then I waited.


And then the phone rang.  They couldn’t just email me.  They had to call me.  And I trust giving out certain information on the phone not at all unless I have like double researched the phone number.  So I BARGAINED with the nice customer service rep.  She brought the ticket down significantly AND was willing to email me instead of have me pay over the phone.


Please don’t laugh.  It’s a big step for me.




PS: Let’s see if post-dating makes it look like I actually published this on Monday!

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Money Monday | Yard Sale

I really tried to be productive on Saturday.  Saturday is normally my day of rest.  But there was a community yard sale.  So I tried to sell my things.


I am a terrible salesperson.


Admittedly, this was my first rodeo and I was unprepared.


The yard sale was from 8-12.  It was cold.  Not many people stopped by.  Fewer bought things.


But!  I drew the whole time (which was hard considering how cold I was).



I am happy that I practiced.  I kind of wish it was a little more structured, buy I played with some lighting, so I’m satisfied with that.


I only made $10.  4 hours for $10.  That’s $2.50 an hour.  I don’t think it was worth it.


However, I had lots of time to think.  I realized a few things.

  1. I struggle with selling things.
  2. I am afraid people will judge my goods.
  3. Pricing is REALLY hard.
  4. It is super nice to have things priced in advance.

I sometimes will do commissions.  Not a lot, only upon request.  But I always feel super guilty setting a price in the moment.  I made a chart of what I think I should charge for different commissions (charcoal vs. paint, big vs. little) and I think it will give me the confidence to deal with that part of the conversation when it comes up again.


Look at me, saying when, not if.  🙂



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Money Monday

Today is a list of struggles.  But a list of struggles is just a to do list for things I can accomplish.

  1. Actually find a cheaper cell phone plan (why do you always have to call to cancel?  Why is it so hard to transfer a number?)
  2. Pay off the danged student loans.
  3. Finding a balance between living life and enjoying friends and saving money.
  4. Finding new ways to earn money while decreasing laborious, tedious hours.
  5. Finding work I genuinely love.
  6. Finding what freedom looks like to me.
  7. Learning to live without worry.





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Money Monday

A continuation on my checkbook.

When payday happens, I don’t mess around.  I don’t leave the house and buy all of the things.

I sit down, with my checkbook.  I write down what came in.  I subtract out all of the bills that will occur until I get paid next.  I subtract out a tithe for my church.

I would like to say that I put a bunch into savings too, but paying off my student loan is a much bigger deal to me right now.  And I count that under bills.

Then I’m left to live off the remainder.  I don’t really budget, outside of this.  Well, my husband and I both get an allowance to spend judgement free (he buys figures and guitar stuff, I get my hair done).  But after it’s all subtracted, we either have money, or we don’t.  The amount covers gas, groceries, eating out, gifts, whatever random stuff is going to come up.

Which is nice because I’m a little lazier than I’d like and don’t want to put every expense into a spreadsheet.  Maybe I should.  Maybe we’re oozing money out everywhere.  But I have to say I put 10% (plus a little matching!) into retirement, I have an emergency savings fund, and 24% against student loans (and let’s not even think about taxes).

The point is, I save and pay my bills before anything else.  It’s a step.


Money Monday

First Money Monday

People often find it strange that I went to school for art and accounting.  As if someone who likes math can’t be an artist or vice versa.  I don’t necessarily excel at either, but I made good grades and really appreciated both.  Finances are very important to all people.  Oil paint costs money, scanners cost money, Photoshop costs SO much money.  Art is a very expensive hobby sometimes.  I also struggle with anxiety at times, so being prepared has been my best defense against worrying about money.

There was a time when I was afraid to look at my bank account or my loans.  I was too scared to deal with it.  Which only got worse as time went on, obviously.  It’s like filling a bath tub with water and instead of turning the water off when it gets to high, leaving the room and closing the door behind you.  So I looked.  And I planned.  And I figured it out. I still get anxious.  Even my little emergency fund doesn’t totally keep that at bay, but I feel a lot better.

I currently have about $8,500 left on what was originally a $15,000 loan plus a good amount of interest.  My plans, all things remaining the same, will have it paid off in November.  Sometimes it’s a little painful paying out $1,200 a month (WAY above the minimum…I have a friend whose minimum is $1,100, which sounds terrifying).  The thought of having no debt so soon alleviates a lot, but things pop up.  Emergency lights in vehicles informing you to take it in to fix things you don’t understand.  A dog with what seems like a tumor growing in her armpit.  I’m in a better boat than a lot of people, I realize.  I have a decent job, no serious debt outside of student loans, an emergency fund.

So I employee methods to keep my spirits up.  I get a little too excited about payday because I get to whack a chunk out of my debt.  I check to watch the numbers go down.  I play with spreadsheets to predict the exact date of final pay off if I pay $100 extra more here and there.  I keep a piece of paper that I slowly color in to visually depict the debt going away.  I plan what I’ll do with all that extra money when the debt is over (invest! so exciting!).  I think about how much easier (certain) problems will be to take care of when I don’t have to worry about my loans.  One less bill to never ever pay again.  One less thing to think about.  I like that.  I like that a lot.  I am really risk-averse.  I am very cautious.  But I definitely sleep better at night knowing I have a plan (I also have a sleep mask, which helps considerably too).

Kill with color

Still kind of horrified when people talk to me in the check out line though.

Can’t win them all.