Fun fact: Towards Zero is actually the title of one of my favorite Agatha Christie books. But it also works as the title of this October updates post.
So here they are: the numbers for October! Including one number that I haven’t ever shared before (Oooooh, the suspense!).
Debt payoff numbers update: I put $2,000 towards my student loans in October. This is a personal record – wahoo! My student debt is now down to $45,876, which means that I’ve gotten rid of roughly 20% of my initial balance of $56,753. The reason I was able to put so much toward my loans this past month was definitely because of my second job. I’ll be getting second job paychecks in November and December as well, so those should also be big payoff months.
Debt payoff emotions update: I’m feeling a vague sense of accomplishment, I guess. That’s about it. The positive feelings I have about paying off a portion of my loans are nowhere near as strong as the negative feelings I used to experience about having loans. Negativity bias is weird.
Extra income update: Well, in a sense my second job paycheck counts as extra income. But I also participated in one research study in October, sold some stuff, was given a couple of gift cards which I used for things I would have bought anyway (namely groceries), and got a $250 cash-back bonus on a new credit card. I’m going to just go ahead and call all of that random stuff “extra income”. My extra income for October, not counting my paycheck from my second job, totaled $465.50.
Cash savings update: Right now my cash savings is at $1,375, up from $1,200 last month. Until today, I had been calling this pot of money my “emergency fund”, but the word “emergency” is pretty ambiguous, and I recently realized that I wasn’t actually sure what I meant by it. One the one hand, a lot of the possible emergencies faced by other adult Americans don’t apply to me, since I don’t have a house, car, pet, or kids. On the other hand, there are lots of potential situations–some emergencies, some non-emergencies–that I want to be prepared for. So from now on, I’m just going call this money “cash savings”. My cash savings is available to use for anything large and important that I can’t pay for out of my regular paychecks. Some possibilities include:
- Buying a new computer if my computer dies
- Unexpected medical expenses
- Moving expenses (I may want to move in the next 1-2 years)
- Backup cash if I lose my job. I’m actually not too worried about this because I’m fortunate to work in an extremely high-demand field where there are always jobs available. Even if I were to get laid off from my current job—which is unlikely—I would probably not be unemployed for an extended period of time. But still, it’s good to be prepared.
Retirement update: I contributed $716 to retirement in October: $216 into my 403(b) and $500 into my Roth IRA. I would really love to put $500 into my Roth IRA every month (well, 11 months out of the year, to max out the $5,500 yearly contribution). It probably won’t be possible to keep contributing that much per month after my second job ends, but we’ll see. Right now, putting money into my Roth IRA feels just as productive as putting money towards my loans because…
Net Worth Update (first time ever!): I’ve actually become pretty interested lately in tracking my net worth. In fact, I’m probably a little more interested in tracking my net worth right now than I am in tracking my loan balance specifically. And so I’ve decided that I’m going to share this number here on the blog, at least for now while it’s still negative. As of the end of October, my current net worth (Retirement savings + cash – debt) is -$34,607. For comparison purposes, the lowest my net worth has ever been, at least since I started tracking it in January, was -$47,411. I’d really like to get to Net Worth Zero by the end of 2017. I think it’s possible.
Travel update: My travel fund is at $319. This is down from last month because I rather impulsively decided to ditch my Digit account and just put my Digit money towards my loans. The remaining $319 consists entirely of rewards points from my Capital One Venture card. Interestingly, I’ve actually purchased two domestic plane tickets this fall–one to visit friends in Minneapolis and one to visit my mom in Florida–but didn’t use my travel points for either one. I think I want to save these points for some big (possibly international) trip someday.
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Some thoughts about jobs:
I’ve now had two jobs for two months. The first is my regular full-time job, and the second is a short-term, pretty stressful job that will end in mid-December. This is the first time in my life that I’ve worked two jobs at the same time, and I’ve been learning a lot from it. Some of the pros of having these particular two jobs are:
- I’m making more money (obviously).
- Both jobs challenge me, but in different ways, which is a really positive thing. I’m learning and getting better at both of them, and I’m improving skills that I wouldn’t necessarily have the chance to work on otherwise.
- Both jobs give me an opportunity to have a positive impact on the people I work with.
Some of the cons of having these particular two jobs are:
- I don’t get nearly enough sleep. A cliché complaint, but true.
- I’m literally counting down the days until Job #2 is over. I don’t like being in a counting-down mindset because it means I have less gratitude for and appreciation of the Right Now.
- I’m not quite as focused on my health or fitness as I usually am. I pack the exact same thing for lunch every single day (a hummus, cheese, and kale sandwich on multigrain bread) because it’s easy and filling and I don’t have time to think about creative/healthy cooking. I go to a yoga class once a week at most because that’s all I have time for. I definitely walk a lot during the day, so that’s good, but I still feel a little less healthy and less fit than usual.
- My social life/relationships are suffering. I simply have not been devoting as much time to relationships with friends and family as I would normally want to. I’ve stopped going to my book club, which is something I usually LOVE. I haven’t been initiating hangouts with friends. I’ve declined hangouts initiated by others because I had too much work to do or was too tired. I’ve been reeeeeeally slow at responding to friends’ emails. All of this makes me sad.
Overall, I’m feeling like taking on a second job has been a positive experience, and I’m glad I did it, but I’m not necessarily sure I would do it again if the opportunity arose. I like making more money and being challenged, but I’m not willing to compromise my health, relationships, and quality of life on a long-term basis.
That’s it for now, I think. Happy November! Also, happy upcoming end of the U.S. election season! I’m feeling pretty terrified, personally, but at least we’ll have an answer either way in a few days. #ImWithHer