I am going to be honest with you- I’m a girl who loves to be consumer debt free. I’m all about having a Roth IRA and putting money away for a rainy day, setting up spending parameters (even if a budget isn’t plausible) and being a free bird when it comes to your money… but sometimes even I slip up, BAD.
The last two months have been dedicated to sorting out my post-graduate school life and I am not sure if I put my head in the sand or just got totally distracted, but my credit card bill arrived and it was a total wake up call. While all of my expenses and reservations for 2013 travel seemed to come at once, I should have planned better, but didn’t. Couple that with a cross-country move that involved hotel stays, a rental car, shipping of my junk & pug care, I was in over my head.
I wanted to hit myself, but being without health insurance, that would only worsen the situation since doctors (especially when one has no coverage) cost money. I was about $1,500 in the hole- I kid you not. Granted, I’d knocked off $500 off my student loans and booked 2 amazing half marathons and purchased a few necessary personal items- but seriously, when you don’t have the money, $1500 over budget is disgustingly huge. Couple that with the fact that my income was non-existent since I wasn’t working before the transition from Chicago to California, and we had a major, major problem. The job hunt had taken longer than expected, and I felt zapped of energy applying for jobs and looking up info to make the trip. I was in a sad state.
I have two funds actually- one is an emergency fund, the other is a travel fund that I set up on a whim. Each week, I put away about $40. My emergency fund was set up about three or four years ago and put in an entirely different bank from the one I use for checking and savings- out of sight, out of mind.
The second account was set up about 6 months ago for a “vacation” that I had stipulated yet. Turns out, I’ll be needing that money for The Financial Blogger Conference and the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in January and I am so happy I put the cash aside already! In that account over six months, I’ve saved about $650 by putting away about $30 a week. At first, $30 seems like a lot, and trust me, as a broke former grad student, it can be- but when you learn to live with the discomfort (just like you do with half marathon training) and push your comfort zone, the rewards are bountiful. It adds up!
I withdrew the money from my emergency fund- completely clearing out my savings from that account (sucky) but I was able to pay off my credit cards and completely fund my move from Chicago to California (not-so-sucky) and live debt free. Now that my head is back in the game, I hope I’ll keep better track of both my spending and work on some side hustles. Truly, you never know what life is going to have you- it’s not always a catastrophe like a leaky roof or a broken bone that costs money, there’s an untold cost to being human and not paying attention!