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Fighting for FI

I read a lot of personal finance blogs. Like…. a LOT. I have about 40 of them bookmarked in my faves list and i cycle through them. Daily. I love reading everyone’s philosophy on personal finance. But more importantly, I keep looking for the “secret”. The magic thing I need to do to achieve financial wellness. Freedom.

But here’s the rub.

If I read ONE MORE ARTICLE about maxing out your 401K (keep in mind that is $18,500/yr) to be a millionaire by the time your 65 and how I should have simply started saving $1,000/yr when I got my first allowance at 8 yrs old, I am going to seriously VOMIT all over my keyboard.

Folks.

No shit.

Who are these people that can seriously set aside $18,500 EVERY YEAR??? That’s almost DOUBLE what I pay for my mortgage every year. If I could save $18,500 every year for retirement, I certainly am not reading your blog about clipping coupons and downloading apps to save 15 cents wherever I can.

Also, hey, just spend less than you make and save the rest!

OMG> No kidding!

But what about the rest of us? The ones who don’t have a gap? That’s what I call it. The money left over at the end of the month when you tally up everything you made and everything you’ve spent.

I don’t have a gap. I track my money. Every penny. I have an entire workbook devoted to my finances. And someday I’ll share it with you.

For now, I’m just figuring out how to survive. Here are a few things I have going for me:

  • $10,000 emergency fund in a 1.85% money market account. I don’t touch this. Ever. I can’t.
  • I have one credit card with a $1,935 balance at 0%. If I continue to pay $100/month it will be paid off by end of promo period. I keep telling myself that’s $100 that will become part of the gap. Right now it pisses me off that I have a balance/payment at all. I abhor debt.
  • I use a credit card for EVERYTHING. All of my utilities are set up to auto-pay on that card. I buy all my groceries, gas and everything else on that card. I get 1.5% rewards cash and it’s an easy way to track spending.
  • I do not use cash. Ever.
  • I always pay off my credit card in full. Sometimes I make payments every week to keep the balance small. I can’t afford to pay interest.
  • I recently invested $1,000 in lending club. It’s an experiment. But every month I will take the money I receive (principal + interest) and put that money towards extra principal payment on my car.
  • I have a few thousand dollars in an online investment brokerage. This adds about $14/month in dividends. It’s not huge, but it’s a start. Right now this broker is transferring everything to another online broker. Dividends are not being reinvested. Instead, I’m pulling them out and putting them towards the principal on my car.
  • I need to pay off my car loan ASAP. This will help create a gap. Only $11,700 left to go.

Although I am a single mom, I won’t allow that to be my story. There’s no room for pity. Just action. I want to be successful regardless of my relationship status.

Because I don’t have someone else to bring in a second income, it scares the crap out of me. I don’t have room for error. There is no safety net. I need to create several passive (or active) income streams so that I have breathing room. And someday, financial independence. To have enough passive income that I don’t have to worry about the economy or my job. To give me choices.

 

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Choose the path less traveled by…

Hard to believe it’s been a year since my last post! So much has happened in that time. Good stuff.

I’ve recently come to realize that so many of the posts on here have been of me bitching and whining. Hindsight is 20/20 and now I can see I was looking at the situation all wrong. In every situation you have choices. Sometimes our fears and¬†insecurities prevent us from seeing any other door than the one we just came through.

I started a new job this past September. It’s far from a glamorous job, and well below my earning potential. BUT, it is 1 mile from my house, and it’s basically a brand new company. Three guys with their own similar companies merged into one company to save costs and price their goods more competitively.

I don’t hate my job. It’s just that i’ve become bored. I work in the office as the receptionist/accounting/human resources/purchasing/sales assistant person. Yup. It’s me and the owners, and because it is a small company I wear many hats. Since late December I’ve only been working 24-30 hours a week. Oh, and I should mention that I took a pretty significant pay cut from my previous job. To the tune of $5/hour less. Um, and i have to pay significantly more for our health insurance. Ya, $137/week. That’s right. A week. With the combined formula of less pay per hour, less hours, and more insurance contribution, I bring home less than $300/week. I have not made this little money since high school.

For someone who was barely making ends meet, bring home more than $200/week less is a traumatizing thought.

But i’ve come to realize that i have 2 choices that i can clearly see.

1) Find a new job.

2) Grow this company.

It’s a scary thought, but I have the skill-set to grow and expand the company i’m currently with. And it’s probably easier than finding a new job in this depressed economy.

So, here’s to spreading my wings.