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I’m Tired of being single…

Okay, now that’s off my chest! Im down to $55K student loan debt from over $94K. I am preparing my house to sell. So I am overwhelmed with freaking repairs and new appliances and windows that stick. Im cleaning my garage which is a torture of its own. And every time I turn around I’m spending money. Continue reading “I’m Tired of being single…”

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Side Hustle

What will I do to earn about $600 per month. I have about 20 hours per week to sacrifice. So that’s about 80 hours. The best thing is I could work for minimum wage here in Alabama and make…

Ok so sorry but I published the above unfinished post. I could blame the dogs trampling my phone. Or maybe on one of my many sleepless nights I rolled over it while tossing and turning. But yep it was posted.

So with the possibility of only making minimum wage for my time, knowing my time is a finite resource, I decided against a part time job.

This post was started when I removed a boarder from my home. I was afraid that the income from them would be greatly missed. So this post was nothing but panic. But with a few adjustments to my budget, all of my fears were squashed. This has truly been the most peaceful living I’ve experienced in my adulthood. I was blessed with 2 pay increases since that day that helped significantly. And I very quickly realized what things were important.

Putting my mental health before my student loan debt was worth it. My student loans payments are getting made. I have no emergency fund thanks to several emergencies. I still have a home and all of it’s expenses. Still have my 2009 Camry that I pray makes it into 2020. So it is what it is…hard, sometimes lonely, but empowering.

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Crazy-ish!!!

I just read there are people fleeing the country to “escape” their student loan debt. Read their stories here.

Young people, there is no silver bullet! Fleeing the country is equivalent to placing loans in deferment. Interest is still accruing and that overwhelming loan balance is getting larger and overwhelming-er.

Figure out what you can do to make payments! Reduce your living expenses. If you are able to live with your parents or a friend / relative then live with them. If you have time to work a second job work a second job. Sell your stuff. Do odd jobs…anything legal that pays. But don’t let your balance grow!

I do understand that everyone’s chosen major didn’t lead to a well-paying career. There’s a lesson in that one statement alone. College is not the place to pursue your passion or interest IF it doesn’t lead to employment. It is the place to secure skills for gainful employment. Don’t go to a University for basket weaving. Watch YouTube videos to learn about basket weaving and practice basket weaving in your free time. Go to college and learn how to educate. Then once your debt is paid maybe you can sell handmade baskets on Etsy and teach basket weaving online. You get my point.

Everyone’s life presents different challenges and obstacles. But take this from someone who knows, ignoring your debt only makes it worse. Make your minimum payments at the very least. There’s also an income based repayment option with most student loan lenders. Don’t let this debt follow you into to your thirties and forties. And if you find yourself in my shoes with debt in your 40s from decisions you made at 18, don’t let it follow you into retirement. It only gets harder to pay.

My highest balance: > $94000 (after years of deferment)

Current balance: < $62200

Age: 44

Year when I committed to getting out of debt: 2012 (yep you read that right, 15 years after graduating)

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Roommate Free! What does that really mean for my money?

There is a crap ton of emotional baggage that goes with asking one of your good friends to move out of your home after an extended period. However, I decided it was time. In previous posts I talked about the frustrations I felt with the living arrangement. And I knew it was no longer beneficial for me. Truly it didn’t benefit them either. So now what does that mean to my money. Well, for starters I have no “get ahead money”. I didn’t need money to maintain my lifestyle but I wanted money to improve my lifestyle. I didn’t want fancy purses and shoes, I wanted freedom from student loan debt. In the past 6 years I have made some slow but steady progress. My student loan debt is down from $93000 to $71600. I increased my monthly payment on February from $561 to $1080! My credit card debt is down from $4400 to $2900. It was used for a new toilet, decorations and furniture (a fact I’m not proud of). My car is paid off! At the end of 2017, my credit score had gone up a 160 points. then plummeted when I got a new “loan” (see my sad attempt at explaining myself below)!

I am finally tackling some home improvement projects! Two weeks ago I got rid of my 15 year old cheap carpet and torn linoleum! But that came with a $10000 price tag. I financed my floors. The whole time I went through the approval process for my floors I thought I was getting an installment loan. Then BAM! I got a maxed out credit card in the mail. Seems the amount I was approved for was the exact amount I needed to do my floors. And I got a stinking credit card. I should have asked questions and read the fine print. But I let the excitment of my new floors get the best of me. This made my credit usage 42% of my available credit. Little boys and girls with good scores are usually under 20%. I bought a new AC/Heating unit almost two years ago with a personal loan. It costed $5000 and I made my last payment before my first floor payment was due! I’m painting my house interior at the rate of one room a month. I’m starting in my boarders’ rooms. Hopefully fresh paint and no carpet will get rid of the smell. It is not terrible but unpleasant. I paid a family friend $125 to do two rooms. And those are the first and last two rooms he will ever paint for me. You get what you pay for! As we speak I’m getting an oil change and tune up ($300). My car has 206,000 miles! I’m trying to take care of her so she will take care of me 1 more year.

I have one more major thing to do this year. I will fence in my backyard for $1600. Hopefully everything in my house will hang on for a few more months so i can catch my breath.

So as thankful as I am to have my entire home to myself, I am overwhelmed with the mounting financial responsibilities. I have worked all the overtime I can and won’t stop any time soon. God has given me more than I can ask for and taken care of me when there wasn’t enough. I will keep my faith and focus on Him. I have a grateful heart and a mind to work as hard as I can over the next couple of years to get and keep everything moving forward.

Status Report:

Amex- $2900

Floors- $9875

Student Loan- $71600

PS- In the couple days between writing and publishing this post. My hot water tank started leaking!

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Good Deeds

We have all heard the saying that no good deed goes unpunished. But the only punished good deed is the one that you perform and place your own high value upon. For some people you’re good deed is simply status quo or what life owes them or what they deserve from you as their friend or family member. We allow ourselves to be disappointed when we decide that the deed we performed should be appreciated, reciprocated, or at the very least respected.

When you do something for someone that is above or beyond your reasonable service, let it be from your heart with no expectations. If they are truly appreciative you will know. And if they are entitled or narcissistic you will know. Either way you’re good deed was the currency paid to learn a valuable lesson about that individual.

Have hard limits of what you do regardless of the reaction you receive to avoid being the fool. If you find yourself playing the role of a fool, never be the same fool twice. You will condition an ingrate to think you owe them something and they will have a high unrealistic expectation of you and your quality of friendship or family relation. My boss refers to this as feeding a wild animal. If you have ever gone on a hike or spent time in nature there usually was one simple instruction: “Don’t feed the wild animals!”. Because if you feed a wild animal and you stop, the animal will become angry and attack you for more food. You are not a friend you are a resource. Animals aren’t known to have great reasoning skills.

Remember: When flying, the airline’s safety briefing tell you:

“In the event of a loss of cabin pressure you are to secure YOUR oxygen mask before assisting others (including your children).”

YOU are the most important thing for YOU to save.

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Really single…

So as I sit at the bar of my favorite restaurant I realize the gravity of my singleness. I am not newly single. I have been out of a relationship for over 3 yrs. However, for 2 years and about 9 months I’ve been scrambling to find a new love. I have been on about 6 blind dates and twice as many online app dates. Everyone has a single guy they think would be perfect for me or a brother/ uncle newly divorced. What I realized from all these hookups is that most single guys are single for a reason. And all the blind dates in the world won’t change their status. If I happen to really like them they disappear in the ether. If we have a great date I literally never see or hear from them again. So finally I gave up. At first I thought if I gave up it meant I had acknowledged there is no one out there for me. I would be an old maid with a house full of cats. But it has been liberating. I have discovered I love my own company. I know me a lot better and look forward to what else I will learn about me. I have new strengths I never knew existed. For example, I sit tonight in a restaurant alone. I see joyful couples of all ages and I don’t feel any jealousy. I am enjoying every bite of my dinner and every sip of my dirty martini. I dressed like I wanted (comfy). I made eye contact and spoke kindly to all that greeted me. No shying away or acting like I was waiting for someone. I sent a few text messages out of boredom but I stayed in the moment. I even waited till I returned home to complete this post. For the first time in months I was alone and not worried about being lonely.

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Tuff Love…

Cuts both ways.  What do I mean?  When you have to cut off a loved one to make them stronger, you actually may be the blade that gets sharpened.  Recently I told a loved one that I was limiting my help and within the next 6-12 months ending it entirely.  I finally realized I slipped from helping into enabling.  There were warning signs that I ignored for years.  I thought I was just a great little friend that occasionally ran short on patience.  But I was being nagged by my intuition to do the right (albeit less popular) thing.   I was worried about being liked by this person as if we weren’t friends before I extended them a helping hand.  I also enjoyed feeling needed.  I had no significance (or so I thought).  So when this person started spinning their web I thought they needed me.  Then to further rationalize my behavior I told myself that in some monetary way I would benefit from this “agreement”.  And even though I spelled out my terms, all they heard was they were getting a break from adulting.  I wanted to believe they would adult and turn their lives around with this one last boost from me.  I was proven wrong in my logic and embarrassed for believing in them.  And more embarrassed still that I felt I was the missing link to them getting their life together.  I needed some extra money and they needed a “temporary” dwelling so I thought it would be an even exchange.  I asked for money because I needed it and I thought I was creating an environment that would build a disciplined well budgeted adult.  This is half the expense of an apartment so there is no reason this wouldn’t work smoothly for both of us.   Unfortunately, it has been a bumpy ride.  It has been a final realization that I was enabling.  The payments have been late and incomplete.  And all the reasons have been filled with poor planning and emotion. I have understood every empty  promise to “catch up” on payments.  I have given breaks and discounts but nothing prevents the inevitable.  In spite of attempts to stand my ground, I have felt the ground slip from under my feet.  Enough is enough.  She will have to figure the world out without her backup plan. 

So now that I have realized my wrong.  I want to identify the 4 warning signs of  enabling.

  1. Help has limits and enabling doesn’t. That person will grow to depend on you to relieve them of responsibility. If you have always helped them pay their rent when they are in a tight spot, they will never try to improve their ability to pay.  After a while they will stop asking and start expecting.  Then the requests will get more ridiculous!  It will go from “Can you loan me $50?” to “Can you cover my car payment this month?”
  2. Everyone else that helped them has walked away.  Enablers usually walk alone.  But make no mistake you won’t feel alone.  The enablee will keep you company because they don’t want to lose their good thing.  They may even make you feel like you’re all they have in the world.  Which creates #3.
  3. Enablers feel obligated.  Enablers walk around with the weight of someone else’s world on their shoulders.  You will find yourself in deep thought about how someone else can get out of their hole.  But understand you are the only one concerned.  The enablee has one plan and it’s you!  
  4. Enablers are always in some state of frustration with the enablee but never stops helping.  Because “one day they are going to get their act together”.  But the jokes on the enabler.  The enablee has saddled up and plans to ride them for all eternity.  

So what do you do when you have been paying half of your sister’s rent for over a year and you finally realize you need to stop?   

  1. Prove to yourself she can do better.  Did you always pay her rent? What did she do then?  Why can’t she do it now.  Offer her some alternatives to just taking your money and ask the tough questions to get her in a different frame of mind.  Empower her with your words not your money. What’s important here is not leaving any room for guilt.
  2. Even if you think she will fall, remove the safety net.  Try it one month. (I withdrew my help for about 4 months and was shocked at how resourceful they became.)  And if they find another sucker don’t feel sorry for them.  Run while you can!  If you lose a little love so what.  If they’re family, they will always be around.  If it’s a fake friend, you’re better off without them.  But each month will get easier.  And if they begin adulting they may appreciate your decision. However, SOME PEOPLE ARE TOXIC.  If things get ugly walk away.  Life is too short to subscribe to their issues. 
  3. Invest your resources or give to a worthier cause.  Eliminate the opportunity to fall back in the trap.  In my case I have donated cheap and sometimes free room and board.  So once I have my two bedrooms back I’m creating a den and an office with furniture I already own.

    So heres a quick status report.  I will have a roommate for 6 more months, I’m still on target to pay my car off by August 6th.  I am even more overwhelmed with needed home repairs and much desired improvements.  I have zero confidence in myself to do this work on my own so looks like i will live with everything as is for a while.  I also rescued a wonderful little doggie but he comes with a few new bills.  So recalculating the budget to accommodate him.  No audio books for a while.  (I told yall I’m my own biggest obstacle to debt freedom.)  He was in bad shape when he wandered into my yard.  No microchip and no tags.  He was hurt and hungry.  After getting him healthy, I couldn’t let him go.  And he has added so much joy!  I regret nothing.

    Meet Joseph. The best pics are of him sleeping.