A Story About Paying Off Debt and the Obstacles Along the Way

, ,

Winning, March 2019 Edition


I usually feel jubilant when writing our sort-of monthly posts for the Winning series. It's an opportunity for us to stop and reflect on what's going well in our financial journey. So far, we’ve celebrated paying off debts, saving money, and watching our net worth increase - all notable money wins, all worth cheering for.

But I want to be totally honest with you: this month, I don’t feel like much of a winner. I feel... kinda like a loser. A very confused 40-year-old loser who can’t get her life together and who's financially behind. Someone who's suddenly comparing herself to others and coming up short.

On a rational level, I know that I’m being ten thousand times harder on myself than I would be on anyone else. On an emotional level, though, I’m struggling to keep my head above water. (It's not pretty, I know. Also, you don't have to tell me I'm not a loser. I just feel loser-y.)

My new therapist (I'm doing something good for myself!) says I get to define my narrative in whatever way I choose. The problem is that said narrative is currently being held captive by the brain troll that lives in the deep, dark recesses of my mind. The brain troll has been keeping a careful record of all of my failures and shortcomings and has now constructed a long, sad story that he'd like to etch into stone. I'm trying to wrest that narrative away from him, but he's got a strong grip.

It’s quite the mental kerfuffle.

Nevertheless, here we are at the end of the month, and it's time to write about some wins. And there are wins. There are always some wins. In the spirit of creating my own narrative, here they are:

1. I’ve put $1600 into retirement in the last two months. Thanks, employer match!


Half of that money has come from an employer match, arguably one of the best things this company has to offer. Even better, the match vests immediately. If I leave, it’s still mine. I don’t have to give it back. Yasssssss. And that's just me. Fortysomething has also been socking away retirement money. We're late to the retirement savings party, but... we're here now!


via GIPHY

2. Our March budget is on point. 


Because we’re hoarding as much cash as possible right now, we haven’t been buying any unnecessary items or going out to eat. We’ve actually reined in our grocery bill a little bit (if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that our grocery bill is our Achilles' heel). This is the most on track we’ve been in a while. Icing on the cake: we'll be able to throw $200 into savings (!), which is especially gratifying given all of the extra expenses that came up this month.


via GIPHY

3. The emergency/FU fund is growing!


We currently have about $5000 in our emergency fund, and it will grow to over $7000 when our tax refund arrives. If the need arises, that's enough to see us through for several months. Two years ago, we didn't even have a savings account, so that's some pretty substantial progress. Our goal is to grow the emergency fund to a little more than $10K this year.

4. I haven't quit my job. Yet.


This is quite a feat considering that I've been thisclose to pulling the plug about 10 times in the last three weeks. I'm trying hard to make it work because a) I have no motivation to look for another job right now and b) I like getting paid. Also, c) I'll know when it's time to walk away. That moment hasn't come yet. Blah blah persistence blah.

In an effort to make it work, I'm trying different strategies to see which ones are most helpful for my productivity. I've learned that I feel less overwhelmed when I work in short blocks of time and when I start earlier in the day (despite the fact that I'm not a morning person). I've also learned that putting in more effort doesn't always yield better results, so maybe half-assing it is the key?

Or... maybe the key is not sleeping much?


via GIPHY

I really don't know. I'm taking it a day at a time, and I could change my mind tomorrow. But for now, here I am. And you know, I really have to give myself some credit: I've proven to myself that I can persist through difficult job situations.

Take that, brain troll.

What about you? What are some of your recent wins, financial and/or otherwise?

Share:

10 comments:

  1. We finally had a nearly free (if you ignore grocery costs because we packed our lunch, and gas for transportation) day of fun this weekend, and I didn't have to work all day! Things at work have been in the crapper for me too for months and I appreciate every single day that I don't have to work extra.

    Also our stupid rental property's HOA FINALLY caved and agreed to do their dang jobs and remove fines that they just lazily charged without premise. FINALLY.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay for a fun weekend! Yay for HOA getting it together! BOOOOOO for work stress. I'm sorry you're going through that, too. It's been like that for a while... Do you think it will let up soon?

      Delete
  2. Well I spent a lot of money on the business in March and for the next 3 months to come but it serves an important purpose at least. Personal spending has been kept to a minimum mainly because the DH is on tour until the end of May and I am too busy working lol.

    I get the mental ruminations but it's great that you have a therapist who will actually keep you in check and focused. Not enough of those IMO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm truly excited to see where your business will take you. It sounds like you've made some big strides there. <3

      Delete
  3. I spent too much this month (but it was a 3-paycheck month and tax refund arrived). But I fully-funded my IRA for 2019, so that's a big win.
    Currently contemplating refinancing my mortgage to lock in a lower rate and maybe even cash out some of my equity. Mr. 1500 Days maybe convinced me in that FireDrill episode...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOOHOOOOOOO! Congratulations on funding your IRA! Nice work. And I'll be curious to see what you decide re: your mortgage. :-)

      Delete
  4. Congrats on your wins! That's more than I've been able to put into retirement in the last two months, though I'm doing pretty well by my standards. Like you, I'm late to the retirement savings game (also at 40 -- are we the same person? You have to tell me if we're the same person.) but I'm doing my best to make it a priority now. I still have 25 to 30 years for compound interest, so it could be worse.

    My win was putting a crap-ton of money against the mortgage payment last month. And also getting a free oil change, which was just a nice pick-me-up. Even if I kind of pissed off the guy at the dealership by not buying into any of the extra services. No thanks, just give me the free oil change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We may, in fact, be the same person. :-) Congratulations on putting extra towards the mortgage! It's going to feel great to have that paid off. And a free oil change? Yes please!

      Delete
  5. I’d call those serious wins! Sometimes it is hard to be in the online PF/FIRE community because it’s so easy to feel like you’re not doing well enough compared to what you read there. But then, remember that most Americans can’t come up with $400 for an emergency.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not going to lie: it really is tough sometimes, because compared to other people in the PF community, we're behind. Sometimes I need a reality check! LOL.

      Delete