I wanted my New Year to have a positive start, and in that regard i am happy to report i started it by paying off a single credit card. This home department store card started at $2700 for a new fridge plus a few hundred for minor household repair items..so approximately $3000 as of last December. It is by no means my only credit card debt. I also have a card that was opened for a mattress purchase several years ago ( about $4000) that is now down to $915 which i intend to pay off this year. Additionally, i retain a revolving credit card through my credit union with a balance of just over $3000.
I took screen shot of my bank account today and (covering any identifying #’s) i wanted to share this little bit going forward in the new year:
Beginning with that first line…i use my checking for almost 100% of my daily/monthly transactions. It is a rare event that i hold cash in my hands. The balance shown is after paying my mortgage, the credit card mentioned, and electric bill for this month. There are still a few smaller purchases to come out of that balance before my next pay check as well as car fuel for work. I was fortunate to have received our “stimulus” money just in time to indulge in the bill paying privilege. Last time i had a few days of planning to ‘treat myself’ before a huge unexpected car repair costing more than said stimulus. So this time i will count paying bills as my ‘treat’…
Second line: i was also able to add $100 to my savings. This savings account has been anywhere from $300 up to $4000 at any given time. I have never had to wipe it out completely and continue to keep as much in it as possible for emergencies ( and there have been a few large ones!). If i hadn’t been diligent, most of those emergencies would have become crisis’. But ultimately my goal is to have 3 months worth of regular bill costs saved up.I have never attained that goal but have come close. I keep trying!
Third line: This is my car payment. It’s much higher than what i would like but at the time i was in a bad situation and in order to get out of it had to go upside down in my new loan. My car is still valued at less than what i owe and the only viable way out of it without a major hassle is to just pay it off outside of any major disaster. Fortunately it is a good car and should have a few years left. Prior to this i had never been upside down, and it has been very frustrating!! Anyway- the original loan balance was well over $32,000 back in 2016, so i feel grateful to be where i am at. I haven’t paid this months payment yet- it is due in 10 days .
Fourth line: This is the revolving credit card. Up until November i had it paid down from about $4000 from moving costs and such to about $1000. Then i bought my current laptop plus 4 new tires, along with car inspection costs. Additionally i made my first payment on vacation for this June . Payments are broken down into 4 so about $2500 will be added over the next few months.Additionally a few smaller monthly bills come out of this account that are not able to be paid conveniently otherwise. They are on an auto pay.I just made a large payment on the first so am unsure why it says my next payment is due January 7th…i’ll keep an eye on that.
SO…what does all of this mean?
To me, it means that once again i will have to buckle down. My priority after housing costs, utilities, food and car payment will be two fold: paying as much as possible toward the credit card and still contributing to savings each week. This does not take into account other expenses such as car fuel, medical bills, and other misc. expenses.After my vacation is paid for( and for which i can use PTO time for that week off for the first time in over a decade) i will begin to invest more in home repairs and upgrades.
Side note– There’s not much any would be scammer can do without additional info. here and i do not encourage anyone to put forth much more than this online ( for example: sharing your personal income totals or heaven forbid where you bank ,etc.)I share this small bit of information so as to help others in their quest for not only financial survival , but attaining financial goals in spite of , well..almost any excuse they may have. I realize there are some legitimate exceptions but for most i know it is simply a matter of self discipline and planning as well as getting back on track after unexpected events.
Now if you made it this far ( i know, #’s are boring! )..let’s put it into perspective. Without giving out specific information , someone may look at this and think “wow…she must make a nice income for a single person” and some would even add “especially for a woman”. Let me assure you this is NOT the case. I make less than half of what the average RN makes in this country. I choose this- because my working environment is much more pleasant than most. There is always a trade off.
Never the less, in short explanation- i am a planner.And not only do i plan, i follow up on that plan. Some of the income i derive from having two rent-paying roommates. I also sell my art as much as i can and i trade services or goods for services or goods as i can. I borrow when i can rather than buy, and i do without for long periods of time when i have my goals set. This means( read with emphasis)— i don’t get that new cell phone, that new ( car or tech) gadget, that new outfit or purse, i do not eat out or get “beauty” treatments. Only recently have i started self care with chiropractic sessions and monthly deep massages because it is covered under my HSA. I don’t deprive myself with rigidity but i also limit my indulgences. I rarely travel for pleasure and when i do it is very low cost. My motto in financial regards has been “Eye on the Prize” for almost 2 decades now. I have made mistakes on occasion and i am not perfect but over all i am not unhappy. On a monthly basis , some income rolls into the next month . I still live pay check to pay check like most in a sense that missing one week without pay would affect my life , if i had to go a month without i would surely be in trouble.
But here is the good news, as i see it. I own my own home( for the 4th time , in fact).My credit score is excellent. I eat well . I am able to enjoy creative endeavors, and buy small gifts for my friends and family on occasion. I am able to give to charity in various ways regularly. And i am not drowning in oceans of debt to such a point where i cannot see the light. I work with what i have and put effort into investing in my future.I have no lofty ideals of being “debt- free” or owning stock and huge properties. I will likely never be wealthy.I understand on a deep level that awful things can still happen at any moment. But i do endeavor to be averagely comfortable. And this, my friends is a mind set and requires commitment.
On occasion, i touch upon finances here and i hope it in some way helps or inspires others to do better. But mostly it helps me to return to posts later down the road to gage my progress or lack there of.
May you all have a fortuitous new year!