What are your hopes and dreams?
This question always generates an eye-roll from Ari because I ask him and myself it all the time. With all the life goals I have — road trip across the US, pay off student loans, make a movie, move into a Brooklyn apartment with Ari, fully fund my “Freedom To Choose” account, become a CFP, buy a home in the suburbs — it’s been hard to pinpoint where I want to be next month, year or five years.
All these goals require cash but can I save for all of them at the same time? Sureeee, except it will definitely be a while before I reach them. Instead, I need to focus on those that are of most importance. Because let’s be real, my road trip across the US will be more enjoyable if I have a safety net and ZERO debt.
Now that we have entered the last quarter of 2018 I really want to give myself specific timelines for completing my top three goals.
HIGH PRIORITY: A fully funded “FREEDOM TO CHOOSE” account
After a wave of layoffs and turnover at my company, I decided to divert from my original plan of paying off my student loans in 2018 to funding an emergency account. I didn’t want to be stuck in the situation of needing to take a job that wasn’t right for me simply because I had to pay the bills. I decided I would feel comfortable with 10k in this account since my expenses are low and I don’t have a rent payment. Of course, this might change soon, considering I want to move out, but for now, 10k does the job.
There’s $7,533.32 in my fund as of today and I contribute 60% of each paycheck toward it, so with approximately $900 from each going into this account, I will reach 10k by November 15th!*
$7,533.32 – $10,000 = $2466.68
$2466.68 / $900 = 2.74 paychecks
*This is contingent on not going over my Iceland budget, which I haven’t even made! -_-
MEDIUM PRIORITY: Pay off my student loans!
I am inching closer to my debt-free life with only $9,513.28 in student loans left!!! Like with my FTC fund, I will be directing 60% of my income towards this goal, which begins after November 15th’s paycheck. Using the $900 approximate per pay period, it will 11 paychecks to complete this goal, not taking into account the monthly payments I make ($170.15).
$9,513.28 / 900 = 10.57 paychecks
If nothing unforeseeable occurs I will be done with my student loans in April 2019! One month short of the four year graduation anniversary.
NEXT IN LINE PRIORITY: Apartment / Move Out Fund
In case you didn’t know, I’ve been living in my parent’s basement since May 2015 and will I no longer pay “rent”, my contribution to the household is in paying for bills, like, our internet and water bill.
But, I’ve been in a relationship for as long as I’ve been home and we both agree that the next step is moving in together. Unfortunately, NYC rent is out of control and in order to move out, we need a separate savings account, to include security deposit, first and last month’s rent. Ideally, my half of the rent will not surpass $950, meaning I’ll need at least $2,850 for my moving out expenses.
How will I get there?
To be honest, I don’t really have a comprehensive budget. I save a percentage of my income and then allow myself to spend the rest on whatever I want. Though the past couple of months I have been going a bit over so I’ll need to readjust. But here’s a list of some things I’ll be doing to make sure I don’t tap into savings:
- Packing my lunch – I already do this to some extent but with travel being incorporated in my new position, I will need to figure out easy recipes for working weekends. And really not get lazy on this.
- No travel plans – After Iceland, I’m done for vacation till after my student loans are paid off. I still have a small $120/month going into an OOO savings account, but I will not be using it during the FTC fund saving or pay off student loans period.
- Eating out less – I love eating out, even if it’s just around the corner for some french fries but this dangerous habit has me spending over $300 a month! Cutting back on this will help me stay in control of my spending for sure.
- Biking until snow is on the ground – Instead of taking the subway I will continue to bike to work until I can longer do so because of the snow. Initially, the biking was only supposed to be for the summer, but it’s been lovely not giving the MTA $121 every month.
My focus remains in finding ways to minimize my spending because picking up a side-hustle or freelance work is not sustainable or manageable with all my other commitments. If you’ve been able to manage the workload, how did you do it? And was it worth it in order to reach your goals sooner?