I find it interesting that, when I’ve OD’d on people, I don’t even want to listen to music with words.
Instead of going to work today, I had the awesome opportunity to take a class on business writing. A large part of the class was on editing, which is a recent obsession of mine. The instructor was excellent, taking time to discuss punctuation in detail and recommending several great books. It was a small class, about 10 of us, so participation was high. I was in my element. Writing and editing! Love it! But at the end of the day, I was done with people. The hour-long commute didn’t help. But I was so done with people that I scanned the radio stations until I found the local classical music station. And it helped!
I’m weird, we all know this, and here is more proof: driving along in my lovely car being surrounded by quality classical music has long been a dream of mine. When I was driving the Taurus, the idea of driving along in a new car with a good sound system listening to classical music was inspiration. Today, I fulfilled that dream. Thank you Volvo and WFMT. And thanks for getting rid of my headache.
There is nothing like a negative net worth to shatter any sense of self-worth.
Tonight, at FPU, we all turned in slips with the amount of our total debt. The idea was to determine how much debt we had as a small group, so we can work on paying it down. I assume that we would do the same at the end of the 13-week class to see how much progress we’ve made.
I just happened to sit next to the kid with the calculator. I KNOW my number was the highest. Unfortunately for me, the people in my group didn’t have to count their mortgages. That would have made things a little more even. They didn’t have to include their mortgages and I did have to include my student loans. Brutal. Just brutal.
So, like the masochist I am, I had to come home and really figure out my net worth. It was homework for next week too, but I had to do it right away. Ugh. I’m worth more dead than alive. Too bad life insurance policies don’t pay out if you off yourself!
Getting even more yucky…but I have a whole list of goals to achieve to keep me going. These are the things I want to accomplish once I’m out of debt, or at least well on my way.
Here is my public service announcement: avoid student loans at all costs. Take a gap year and work your butt off, get a job while you’re in school and work full time in the summers. Start applying for scholarships your freshman year of high school. Go to a community college for two years. Go to school in-state! Just don’t graduate with a mortgage worth of loans! You don’t have a house to show for it, just a very, very expensive piece of paper.
Baby steps are part of the Financial Peace University (FPU) program. Dave breaks everything down in small steps, and puts them in a specific order to help you stay on the path to financial freedom. The first step is a $1,000 emergency fund, so that an emergency doesn’t send you running right back into debt.
$1,000 seems like a lot from where I’m standing.
I sat down today to look at the hard numbers for the first time this year. It was discouraging. My friends, it’s getting yucky! But it’s a good thing. I have some things I can sell. Not a lot, because I did a lot of cleaning out when I moved, but a few things. Most of what I have are books, which, unfortunately, don’t have a great resale value. They won’t help much on the path to an emergency fund, but maybe they’ll help a little bit.
Even though it feels yucky, I feel good about this. I like knowing exactly what I’m doing. I’m weird and anal retentive, but I honestly enjoy sitting down and working on this stuff. My google calendar now has a standing Thursday night budget meeting scheduled. Looking around in my class, I feel fortunate that I’m doing this while I’m young and single. While having two incomes would be really useful, I have the ability to make unilateral, split-second decisions that married couples don’t. Sure, I need an accountability partner (got one. He’s very good at his job.) to run large purchases by, but mostly it’s up to me. It’s nice, and it’s scary.
We’re moving forward.
It’s official: I’ve decided to get my money under control. I’m doing Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at a local church. This time, I think I’ll have the support of people who actually want to do it! I think that will make a big difference.
I’m excited to make these changes, yet afraid I won’t be able to stick with it. I know it’s going to get hard, or as a confidant tells me: yucky. But it’s never going to get better until I take steps to make it better. So here it is: my first step.