"Love My Way, It's a New Road"

Let’s Do the Numbers

I have been running through my budget numbers trying to figure out how much money I need each month for the basics and how much I’ll be able to apply to paying down my debt.

Ever the optimist, I am hopeful that I can sell some stuff, take a loan from my whole life insurance policy and with the remains of Maggie & Co, pay about 75% of my debt in one big whoosh over the next 6 months.  I want to do my taxes before I get aggressive with my lump sum payments.  Lord knows I don’t want to be in trouble with the Tax Man again!  This 75% debt reduction is possible, but I have to be smart.

Right now I have $1500/month going towards debt and paying my son a small stipend.  I tell myself this is all temporary and by the end of 2021 I will have that money going straight back to my bottom line.  The majority should be back in my pocket by the end of 2020 with the stipend ending in 2021 as my son finishes school.

The other area I am looking at is lowering expenses.  My cell phone, cable bill, car insurance all have some fat.  I just got a quote that would reduce my car payment 50% from my previous insurance company.  Thank you, Progressive!  I’ll tackle that after my move.

I am not going to rely on side hustle income from the Hunter and a colleague who wants me to do some content writing for him.  That will be just found money.  I am also not holding my breath for the Hunter to come through on paying me back on his Promissory Note ($500/month for 24 months).  It hasn’t been signed and I haven’t heard mention of it every since.

If I can get all of my money sorted out, debt paid off, Maggie & Co expenses cut off, I will be hunky dory.  I just have to keep my eye on the ball and stay focused ….forever.  I was going to write “until” but this needs to be a lifelong habit.  I can never let expenses creep up on me like this ever.  I have to control my money and not let it control me.

Once I have the debt paid off, it is time to focus on paying off my car and then savings.  Saving for retirement, maxing out my 401k, paying back my life insurance loan to keep that healthy and have some savings allocated for things like car repairs, new car, traveL (yes, I have to have some fun), set up a clothing allowance, a fun allowance, more savings.  You get the picture.  I will stretch that $1500 every which way possible, plus it will grow to $2000 once my car is paid off.

For all you youngun’s, listen to old Maggie over here.  Define “youngun” – anyone under 40.  Feel good now?  Anyway, start saving now.  I started my 401K in my late 20’s/early 30’s.  I should have done more, but I did enough to get the match and later slowly inched it up.  Best thing I ever did financially.  Is it enough?  No, but it’s a heck of a lot more than most people have in their 401k.

Worse thing:  credit cards.  Those damn things are the bane of my existence.  So easy to say, “oh, I’ll pay it off in a couple of months.”  Well, if that is so, then I should just save up the money and pay cash.  Just say no to debt and use the cash envelope system for optional spending.

I used retail therapy during my marriage to soothe my psyche.  Bad habit.  I understand why.  I know why for about 8 years I spent over $12,000/year so my daughter could have a horse and go to horse shows.  I know why I would throw money at any problem or situation at hand.  But it was never the right answer.  Money doesn’t buy happiness.  It only masks the problems.  I understand that now.

I also understand that the lack of money causes unbelievable stress.   I read the posts by folks on various FB pages (like Dave Ramsey, YNAB, etc.) and they have so little and are trying so hard.  They are working several jobs, frugal to an unbelievable degree and working so incredibly hard to fix their financial life.  My hat goes off to them.  I admire their tenacity and am inspired by it.

For now, I keep working my spreadsheets, making my plans and remembering that I have to take care of me first.  I also have to remember that spending is optional.

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Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

Comments on: "Let’s Do the Numbers" (7)

  1. I never even thought about saving for retirement until I was in my 40s. My husband was in the military and his retirement income and benefits would have been sufficient for both of us, plus I was mainly a stay at home mom. But, shit happens — and the marriage didn’t last, so suddenly having some sort of retirement income was essential. My brother, who is a financial adviser, is now MY financial adviser and he tells me that if the market performs at the average long-term rate and if social security benefits stick around, AND if I work until I’m about 68-70, I should have enough to last me until I’m 85 or so – after that it gets very dicey. But it will be a very frugal existence – a place to live, transportation, medical insurance, enough for bills and food, and maybe an extra $100 or so per month for “fun”. That’s one reason I’m not in a hurry to divorce my husband even though we’ve been separated for five years. As long as we stay married, I get my medical insurance for free through his retirement benefits (and when I’m 65 and go on Medicare, it switches to a free Medicare supplement plan). As soon as we divorce, I lose that and would have to pay for my own insurance and/or Medicare supplement — which is a hefty part of projected living expenses when I retire. I’m lucky that the ex is OK with this arrangement — at least for now, but I can’t assume he is going to keep being OK with it. So I’m working really hard at saving any extra money, paying off the credit card bill in full every month, and I’m doing all of the traveling I can now — when I have the funds to pay for it, as opposed to waiting until I’m retired at 68-70 with little money coming in and perhaps much worse health. I’m focusing on doing all the living I can now, because at 85 or so, I may have to take a long, long hike in the wilderness on a very cold winter’s day, leaving my coat, hat and gloves in the car (if you know what I mean).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m in the same place after 10 months no work. I haven’t even started cracking the debt load yet. It’s frightening how quickly it adds up.

    You are An ace at coming up with plans and executing against them. You got this.

    And all your advice for the kids – yep to all of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I follow along on various FB groups, I have learned so much. Plus my new job is full of people who no “keeping up with the Jones” mentality. That is a huge awakening for me. No designer bags or clothes, mostly black slacks every day. I’m a tropical bird with bright patterns and dresses. LOL. Makes it easier to be frugal.

      Liked by 1 person

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