Sunday, July 21, 2013

Money; or, freedom quantified

It seems a little silly, but I have had an epiphany about money. Mainly, that if I had a lot of it, my life would be better. I know, I know, what kind of epiphany is this? Is it really just a fancified version of common sense? Well, yes, but really, isn't that what epiphanies are? Common sense all gussied up? At its core, my epiphany is that I need money, but more than that, it is that I *have* money, I just keep spending it all. So, the plan, as it were, is to save my money. All of it. Seriously, like ALL of it. When I have enough then I can afford the freedom I crave. The freedom that I buy in tiny amounts each year. So, the plan is essentially, to buy my freedom.

In order to save money, you have to make money. I have a job. That is the good news. The bad news is that I am part-time and really don't make all that much money. Well, at least not for the amount of work that I do. But, again, there is good news in that I love what I do. So, that is more than many people can say. I don't make a lot of money, but I am not destitute either. I am not sure I want to talk about exact numbers here, as that doesn't seem wise. But, I am above the poverty line. So, that is good. So, I do have money coming in. I could also be doing other things to make more money (tutoring, freelance writing, editing, get another part-time job).

The second part of saving is managing how much money goes out. I don't have too many bills. I have some accrued debts. Credit cards and student loans. The credit cards need to be paid off ASAP, but the, student loans just need to be managed.  Something that I haven't really been doing. I have been sort of taking the ostrich approach and pretending like they don't really exist. Doing just enough to keep out of trouble. The reality is that I will never pay them, but still, it hurts my credit rating to ignore them. The credit card bills can be paid off in a couple of months as long as I don't charge more. That is the key right? Don't spend. Okay. So, that will be new, but I can do it. I need to buy a car, so that will add a payment, and thanks to Obamacare I need to find some sort of health insurance. What I don't have to pay right now is rent, electricity etc. Anyway, boring discussion of the minutiae of my spending aside, once all of this is managed, I figure I will have about 1000 dollars left over (most months). A little more or less in others.

To save this money will take discipline. I have already decided that the number one sacrifice in spending will be my precious vacations. I travel about four times a year. The trips range from visits to see friends, to short car trips, baseball vacations, in locations near and far, from Vegas, to NY, Europe, and more. This is the biggest budget buster, so it will have to stop. At least for now. I realize that the reason I travel so much (besides my natural wanderlust) is that I don't like my life much. I don't have my own place, so I have to share with other people. People I don't like all that much all the time. Today, my brother and his kids came over for breakfast. He comes over when he doesn't have the money or the patience or the desire to feed them. So, they were here for two hours. In that time, I cooked breakfast for 7 people, entertained a 10 year old, and a three year old, watered the garden, took care of the dogs and cats, and more. Within 20 minutes of their visit I was fantasizing about getting away.

But here is the thing. The Payoff. If I can save at least 1000 a month for three years I will have nearly 40 thousand dollars. If I can save more I could have 60 or even 80 grand. With that kind of nest egg, I can do what I want. For a very long time. This is the big picture. I hate my life. But because I don't have any money I am stuck here. So, in trying to take little escapes (travel, shopping, gambling) and other expensive coping strategies I am guaranteeing being stuck. So, small sacrifices now will payoff big later. At least that is the plan, for now. I may find myself deciding after one year, to take the money and run. But, at least if I haven't spent it already, then I can.

1 comment:

  1. Best of luck! It is hard to save.

    Unlike you, I will basically be in debt forever, thanks primarily to lawyer and court fees that I had to spend in order to keep my daughter with me when I moved.