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!
Debt payoff numbers update: I would love to say that my debt is down to $51,954 because that’s where it was three weeks ago just after I made my most recent payment. However, the truth is that interest has accrued since then and it’s back up to $52,060 (Aaaaaaaah, interest!! That’s nearly $100 in just three weeks!!! Okay, take a deep breath. Okay.) Anyway, I did put $1,100 towards my debt in May, which is slightly above my self-imposed minimum monthly payment of $1,000. So that’s good.
Debt payoff mini-goal update: As I mentioned last month, my mini-goal is to get my student loan balance under $50,000 by the end of June. You may be thinking “There’s no way she’s going to make that,” but what I haven’t mentioned to you yet is that I decided to sell back a bunch of unused vacation days to my employer, and I should get that check at the end of June. I don’t know exactly how much the check will be for, but I’m crossing my fingers that it will help get me under $50,000. We’ll see.
Debt payoff emotions update: If I’m going to be really honest, this week I’m feeling fairly discouraged by the amount that I owe. I think a lot of it has to do with my age. I feel like having student debt and minimal retirement savings is for people in their early/mid 20s, not people in their mid-30s like me. I’m trying not to beat myself up too much though.
Extra income update: I made $500 from freelance writing and won $33 playing, ahem, a card game, for a total of $533.
Emergency fund update: It’s up to $1,000 (from $516 last month), which makes me feel a little more at peace. But I’d still like to get it up to at least $2,000. Gradually.
Retirement fund update: Once again I hit my retirement goal for the month: $500, split between my Roth IRA and my 403(b).
Extraneous purchase of the month: I got my hair cut. At a nice salon. Yep. And I paid $45 plus tip. I’m well aware of all the personal finance articles out there that suggest that paying to get your hair cut is keeping you from reaching your financial goals, but the fact is that no matter what anyone says, I am simply not going to cut my own hair, nor am I going to let a friend do it. Period. (Fortunately I tend to forget to get my hair cut for long periods of time, so this was my first salon visit since, I want to say, July 2015.)
Huge win of the month: I was totally oblivious to my most recent payday! Here’s what happened: for some reason I had thought we always got paid on the 15th and last day of every month, but it turns out that we get paid on the 15th and 30th, which means that if the 30th falls on a Monday holiday, we get paid on the Friday before, which means that in May we got paid on the 27th. I happened to look at my checking account balance on the 28th, just to see how much I had left after a Venmo payment to a friend, and noticed that, oh hey, someone had deposited a whole chunk of cash in there! Payday had slipped by without my even noticing!
I absolutely love that I was totally oblivious to a payday direct deposit. I wrote a few weeks ago that I tend to be hyper-focused on payday, to the point that I’m almost wishing away the days in between. It is true that many people in the world spend a lot of time focusing on payday for very understandable reasons: minimum-wage workers, for example, may be truly relying on that next paycheck to make rent and buy groceries. However, due in large part to luck and privilege, that does not happen to be my situation. I do not have to be always thinking about my next paycheck, and so my goal is to try to focus less on the future date when that paycheck will arrive and more on whatever is happening in the present moment. And somehow, finding out that I had been oblivious to one payday (even though, okay, it was mostly just because I didn’t understand how payment dates worked) felt really good. The takeaway here is that payday is going to arrive when it arrives, whether I’m thinking about it or not.
Blog update: I’ve been thinking lately that I’m not entirely sure what kind of blog this is or what kind of blog I want it to be. I’m not planning to make any drastic changes at the moment, but I do feel that figuring out the blog’s purpose is important. As I’ve said before, this blog is not really designed to make money. It is also not meant to offer advice about personal finance (or about anything else, really).
So then, what is its purpose? Is it mostly just for me to document my financial progress and keep myself accountable? (And if so, why not just write monthly update posts and leave it at that?) Is it mostly a way to connect with people? (And if so, why not simply read other people’s blogs and comment on them? Why have a blog of my own?) Is it mostly for me to have the chance to write about my random musings? (And if so, why am I sticking to a personal finance theme when I have random musings about lots of topics?) Does it have some other purpose that I haven’t uncovered yet? (And if so, what is that purpose?) I don’t know the answer to any of these questions yet, but I’m pondering them on an ongoing basis.
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Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the header photo, yes that is a random turkey strolling down the sidewalk! They can occasionally be seen wandering around various parts of Boston. I took this photo down the street from my apartment.
I don’t have a specific comment prompt today, but comments of course are always welcome. 🙂