One of the interesting (and/or awkward?) things about blogging is that it does a pretty good job of capturing ups and downs from week to week. And when I wrote last week’s post, I happened to be feeling fairly “down” about the current state of my finances. To review, here is my situation:
- I owe about $51,600 in student loan debt.
- I am 35.
- I don’t have a ton saved for retirement and am not in a career with a crazy high earning potential.
There’s not a lot I can do to drastically change the reality of these facts right now. I can’t go back to my 20s and make different decisions. I can’t apply for jobs in engineering or hedge fund management and expect to be taken seriously (also, what is hedge fund management?). And while I have bought two—count ‘em, two!—Powerball tickets in the past 12 months, I’m disappointed to report that neither one turned out to be a big winner. I suppose I could rob a bank and/or flee the country, but somehow those don’t strike me as realistic options.
The facts, in other words, are pretty much the facts. At this moment in time I owe a certain amount in student loans. I have a certain amount saved for retirement. I am a certain age. And so on.
But here’s the thing:
The facts aren’t the whole story.
Apologies that I only posted a few times in May. I spent a lot of evenings and weekends working on research deadlines this past month and so had somewhat less time for other activities like blogging. In other words, you could say that I was scheduled up.
Anyway…It’s time for a May update! Super exciting!
If you read my post No Car No Car No Car No Car from a few weeks ago, you may recall that I, well, have no car. You might also remember that my full-time job involves frequent within-town travel, which means that I rely heavily on public transportation to get from place to place throughout my day.
Our public transportation system in Boston is called the “T”, and it consists of both buses and subways. For various reasons, however, I tend to spend more time on the bus than on the subway while traveling around for work. Honestly I think I probably spend more time on the bus than pretty much anyone except bus drivers.
My high school had kind of an unusual schedule—or at least I think it was unusual, but maybe you can tell me. There was no such thing as a lunch period or study hall. Instead, each class only met four days per week instead of five: for example, maybe your French class didn’t meet on Tuesdays, your Geometry class didn’t meet on Thursdays, your Biology and P.E. classes didn’t meet on Fridays, and so on. This meant that you usually had one or two free periods—or “X periods”, as they were called—built into your schedule each day, and during these periods you were allowed to do whatever you wanted. You could eat lunch, work on your homework, wander the halls, check your email at the email station (I went to high school in the late 90s, guys), or simply walk out through the front doors of the school and go off-campus.
Happy May, everyone! Here’s my monthly update for April, followed by a new mini-goal for debt payoff:
Well, I had a seriously exciting experience this past Friday morning. Here’s a rundown of what happened, minute by minute:
I know I’m supposed to have goals.
So many updates! Where to begin?
Well, let’s start with the debt, since that’s the reason I started this blog in the first place:
So now that I have a job, I finally have money coming in again. Which is great. I get paid twice a month: once in the middle of the month and once at the end. And now that I know how much my take-home pay is, I have fewer crazy merry-go-rounds spinning through my brain than I did a few weeks ago.
The monthly saving/spending/debt repayment plan that I devised, based on my salary and semi-monthly paycheck amounts, looks like this:
Last weekend I decided it was finally time to go shopping for a pair of walking shoes. I’d been alternating between rain boots and regular boots for the past five months, but now the weather is getting a bit warmer, and there are days when wearing boots feels weird and constrictive. And my go-to walking shoes—a pair of Converse that I’d been wearing for six years straight—were literally falling apart. While I don’t have to dress up for work, I do need to look presentable, and that probably means no falling-apart shoes.