April 2012 Debt Update: Too $hort
Another slip-up month. I was going to cheat and not post until next month, but I realized I have to be honest with myself (since the updates are mid-month now, I skipped March and went right to April). I have to post regularly scheduled updates. Between the big East Coast trip and taking care of a few annual expenses, I fell behind by quite a bit this month. My goals for the month were under $32,000 in debt and $500 in savings. Well, I missed the debt mark and have just over $400 in savings. The cool thing has been transferring little amounts of money to my savings. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything and I don’t want to make any withdrawals from savings again, which I haven’t done since January.
I have been working a lot, which is why I haven’t been writing as much, but I’m happy to be working. However, it’s still painfully obvious to me that I do not have enough income. I am not ungrateful for what I have, but I see a dizzying stretch of sameness if I do not push myself to the next income level. I’ve cut expenses as far as I can: I track my spending, I don’t drink or smoke and I spend most of my extra time feverishly working on something that could be big. But right now I’m just tired. I’ve been at this for a year and I still feel like I can’t get ahead. The worst part is that while my overall debt level has gone down, my credit card balances have stayed high, and the high balance card just stays in the same thousand-dollar range.
I could have said no to my friend and not been a bridesmaid in her wedding. That would have saved me around $1,000. But then I would have spent the rest of my life seeing my friends’ pictures and remembering that I wasn’t a part of that wedding. Just another snapshot in the alumni magazine of someone else’s joy. But I shared in that joy and this is one couple who I am not worried about making it. Their relationship and friendship has been a source of strength for our little circle and I love them and I wouldn’t have missed that wedding unless I’d gotten shot, and even then, I would have tried to make it if the bullet hadn’t hit any vital organs. I only have a handful of friends that would ask me to be bridesmaids in their weddings, and this was the first of those. And let’s be honest, the other three have all told me they’re either not having a wedding or are going to ask me to be present with them when they go to a Justice of the Peace (and maybe a Denny’s afterwards). So was this a once-in-a-lifetime event? Probably!
So right now, right in this moment, I’m a little tired of all the hustling and tracking and planning and managing. But if I let myself relax and just do them anyways, they don’t seem so stressful. So my goal for May is to get under $32,200 in debt and work on increasing my income. I’ll report next month on specific things I did to increase my income and how it turned out. I’m not going to set any savings goal for the month because I am comfortable with my savings rate. With my income just barely meeting my expenses, I have been committed to saving whatever I can and will continue with that until I break this threshold. That’s what I have been seeing this as: I’m hovering at a certain income level and I need to break this threshold to get to the next level where I envision that small cushion between income and expenses as the most comfortable, microsuede-upholstered chaise lounge ever. I’ve been here for nearly six months (at this income level) and I’ve been telling myself to keep going and not get discouraged. I have to believe that and believe in myself. I have the skills, the enthusiasm and the ability to make more money. It’s going to happen. But if I get down on myself, I won’t be able to figure out how. A wise rapper named Too $hort once said:
I know you tired of being broke just hanging out
You gotta lot a dreams but you can’t get out
The first thing you need to do is set yourself some goals
Think positive, everything else is old
and work hard, never stop hustlin’
I will be gettin’ it! On with the bad news:
Smallest Debt (February/March 2012): $4,169
Smallest Debt (April 2012): $4,343
Next month will be better.
Total Debt Update:
April 2012: $32,872
% Change from February/March: 1.0% Increase (Bad Girl!)
I’m not beyond reproach, but I don’t pretend to be that way.