I’ve been writing Payment Day posts for a year now. I thought that the January 2016 one would be my last, but alas, it is not. My original plan was to pull together a giant payment, and if I couldn’t get the entire amount needed to pay off the loan, then I’d take the rest out of my savings. Instead of taking money out of my savings account to pay off my loan for good, I’m leaving savings in savings (inspired by this post from Cait at Blonde on a Budget.) It means I have to delay paying off the debt for another month or two, but it also means I still have a decent emergency fund.
Over the last month, I’ve hustled. I’ve watched every dime – even the ones I blew on the vet and self-care (see below.) Somehow, I managed to build a $3,000 monster payment. That’s not as impressive as other months, but it’s what I could do this time.
Primary (Full-time) Gig – $1,413
I managed to save $1,413 from my paychecks over the last month. In December, I received an “extra” paycheck, per se, and I banked it. The rest I squeezed out of the last check, after spending more than usual on self-care.
Primary (Part-time) Teaching Gig – $720
This was my last check from this school, and I already miss it. I gave it up to focus on the full-time job and other endeavors, but I’m already missing the people, the campus, and the ease of teaching a course I designed. I thought that releasing it would create space for a new opportunity, but it hasn’t revealed itself yet. I’m trying to be patient, but it’s hard in the face of a $700 deficit every month.
Temporary Office Job – $664
Early on in this journey, when I was listing the tools at my disposal, I noted that I had a great contact at a temporary agency in town who was always able to find me work – even when I offered strange and scattered scheduling. I emailed my contact with my December availability, and she and her team were able to find me a $12/HR gig during the week of Christmas and the week of New Year’s. Incredible. I answered phones for two weeks, met some great people, and added almost $700 to my monster payment.
Digit – $103
I wasn’t going to use my Digit balance, because I wanted to see what would happen if I left it alone for several months, but in the process of changing my bank, I had to clear out my Digit account and start over with my new bank. In a testament to how awesome Digit is, I have to tell you that my new bank wasn’t on their list, but I tweeted a little sad message about how I was bummed that my bank change meant no more Digit. They asked me for the name of my bank, and it was added…within a couple of hours! How cool is that?
Coaching Client – $100
A few years ago, I spent some time building a little coaching business for creative types, and then I let it go. It turns out that I didn’t want a coaching business as much as I wanted to be in contact with other creative types. I did spend some money for coaching and business training, and although I sunk some costs, I can’t say I regret it. I learned a lot about myself from that adventure. When a previous client recently referred a friend to me, I was immediately interested. I’m not gunning to build a business from it, but I am eager to go on a journey with this client. It’s an unexpected side gig, and I don’t know what it means big picture, but I’m okay with that. I’m just grateful for the experience.
One thing about my ability to pull together monster payments is this: my expenses are ridiculously low. I was just thinking about them the other day, and I thought, “My budget is stupid.” Here’s a quick look:
- Rent (Includes Utilities) – $475
- Car Insurance – $50
- Life Insurance – $16
- Hulu & Netflix – $16
- Gasoline – $80
- Groceries – $180
- Entertainment – $100
- Total – $817
That is ridiculous. It’s also not an entirely true snapshot of what I spend. I took TWO trips to the veterinarian this month when my dogs had various ailments. I spent $80 at one visit – just on medication. I also got my hair cut for $65 this month, and I bought new shoes for $35 and new clothes for $200. If that seems wild, it is. But, it’s part of “The Great Unfrump of 2016.” It’s helping, but it didn’t immediately change me from frumpy to not-so-frumpy. I still managed, in one day, to get a coffee stain on my favorite white cardigan, soft cheese all over my favorite black pants, and a run in the fleece-lined tights I wore under those pants because it is so freaking cold outside. The tights are much thicker than pantyhose, so my feet don’t fit in my dress shoes when I wear them, which means I wore my casual ankle boots with my dress slacks and hoped no one would notice or care. I suppose no one cares if you don’t, which is part of the frump I’m trying to “un” from.
ANYWAY, my expenses are low. I would have been able to make a much larger payment if I hadn’t spent some money on personal care. That’s how it goes.
In the end, I managed to make a significant payment, and the end of this debt is that much closer. I entered January with a balance of $4,703, and now I have a balance of $1,716.
Let’s look at that number again:
Wow. Yay! Woo-hoo! Cowabunga. Bazinga. Holy moly. Yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah yeah.
That much closer to zero!