It’s that time again! Here are the numbers for September:
Debt payoff numbers update: I put $1,400 towards my loans in September. My balance is now down to $47,646. Full disclosure: I would have been able to put more towards my loans this month, but I wanted to get 100% up to date on credit card payments first. I was not actually “behind” on payments, but during the last cycle I had waited to pay my credit card bills until right before they were due, i.e., I paid them as late as it was possible to pay them without actually being technically late. I’m not explaining this well, but hopefully if you have a credit card you know what I mean. Basically, my goal is to always get my credit card balances down to $0 every time I get a paycheck, rather than letting balances sit there until the moment they are due, which could be more than a month later.
Debt payoff emotions update: I’ve been thinking lately about how much anxiety I used to have about my loans back before I started making payments, and how different I feel now that I’ve paid off about 16% of the balance. I haven’t woken up in the middle of the night freaking out about my loans in many months, and for me that is HUGE.
Job update: I am working two jobs this fall (which is partly why I haven’t been posting much lately). I work at Job #1 for about 45-48 hours/week, mostly during normal business hours, and Job #2 takes up Monday-Thursday evenings. It’s working out ok so far, but I don’t think I could sustain this long-term. Luckily, Job #2 ends around mid-December.
Extra income update: Well, I got paid for both Job #1 and Job #2 in September, and I got a small bonus from Job #1. So to summarize, I made more this month than I’ve ever made during any other month of my entire life.
Emergency fund update: This is now at $1,200 (up from $1,100). My goal is to get this up to at least $2,000.
Retirement fund update: I put $616 towards retirement this month, exceeding my goal of $500/month. As I’ve discussed before, it’s psychologically important to me to save for retirement while I’m paying off my loans. I don’t share my net worth here on the blog—partly because it’s negative and partly because I just don’t want to—but I definitely track it for myself. I have a vague idea that I’d like to have a net worth of $100K by the time I’m 40, a goal that I pretty much stole from C. at The Single Dollar. I don’t know if it’s actually possible, but it’s something to shoot for at least. (Thanks, C.!)
Travel fund update: Currently at $521 (up from $451 last month).
* * *
Ok, now that I’ve gotten all of those positive updates out of the way, I’d like to share all of the personal finance rules that I’m currently breaking:
1. I did not track my spending in September. This wasn’t really a conscious decision. It was more that once I started my second job, my free time mostly evaporated, and manually entering my purchases into a spreadsheet at the end of every day somehow fell from #5 to #392 on my daily to-do list.
My thoughts about this are complicated. On the one hand, I’ve been finding it freeing not to have to complete this task at the end of every day because honestly it does take some time. On the other hand, manually tracking my spending usually (I think) encourages me to spend less, so it’s possible I spent more in September than usual. On the other hand, maybe I’m okay with that: I wrote a post recently pondering whether there might be negative personal consequences to being super controlling about finances and goals, and I stand by that post. (Feel free to unsubscribe from my blog at any time, haha.)
That all being said, I think I’m going to try going back to tracking my spending for the month of October. Then at the end of the month I’ll reevaluate again.
2. I’ve been getting slightly addicted to ride-sharing apps. I found out that: a) my employer is willing to reimburse me for occasional Uber/Lyft rides to work appointments, and b) if you use the “pool” version of these apps, rides can be super cheap. I still mostly get around by bus, train, and walking, but I’m now of the opinion that ride-sharing is a decent back-up option if I get stuck somewhere, am running late, or am just super tired or fed up with the weather. To me, paying around $6 in order to save an hour of my day and avoid having to stand in the cold rain is well worth it. Even if I’m not headed to a work appointment and therefore can’t be reimbursed.
3. I never ever pack my dinner. On days when I work both jobs back-to-back, I am gone from my apartment from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm. I do pack a lunch and snacks, but packing dinner in addition to this (and carrying it around in my already-heavy backpack all day, by the way) is just not something I am currently willing to do. Some days I stop and get a salad at Sweetgreen on the way to Job #2, and other days I just buy a package of Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. Both are good options, I feel. 🙂
So really, this is not just a list of rules that I’ve been breaking. It’s a list of rules that I’ve unapologetically been breaking. I have no plans to stop using Lyft or to start packing my dinners on two-job days, and the jury is still out on whether I’ll keep tracking my spending long-term. Basically these are all trade-offs between saving money and preserving my time and sanity. These days, time and sanity are pretty important to me. And if they cost a little money, I’m okay with that.
That’s it for now—happy October!