It was January 2011 when I first received a record of earnings from the Social Security Administration. According to that letter I had already earned over $100,000 in my short time of working. One hundred thousand dollars!
Amazing, right?! Should have been amazing. I was a college student with minimal debt (less than $2,000) and living with my parents. I was paying cash for the few courses I was taking and I had purchased an inexpensive used car.
Unfortunately, I could only account for a small fraction of all that I had earned. Tens of thousands of dollars unaccounted for. I began to consider what I would do if I knew where that money was. If I had saved it instead of spending it. If I at least knew where it was.
It kind of broke my heart. What happened? How did I get here? How do I prevent it happening again?
Thus began my independent journey to learn more about personal finance, budgeting, habits, planning and all that concerns it. I devoured books, articles, and blogs on saving, philosophy and debt repayment. I knew shift in mindset was required. I needed to become more mindful and intentional. I needed to align my spending with my beliefs, goals, and priorities. I began using You Need A Budget Software and the change was immediate. I suddenly knew and understood exactly where every dollar was and why. I was on a ROLL!
Fast forward to Black Friday 2016.
I’ve spent the last five years finishing my first degree, preparing for a second, changing careers, moving out of my parents’ home, and pursuing the American dream in the most American way– debt financed freedom.
I’m exactly where I don’t want to be. (Never mind that “debt financed freedom” is the saddest oxymoron.)
It’s not all bad. I’m still interested in personal finance. I’ve earned more money and bought a newer car (because the previous one went to car heaven… or purgatory? No, heaven because she died with a full tank of gas.) I’ve learned a lot about myself and my interests.
Right around Thanksgiving I happened upon an article that referenced a spending freeze for a couple of days a week. It’s a great idea so I figured I’d give it a try for a year. Right at Christmas time. Perfect. But in a way it really is.
I have this quiet dream of being fiscally independent and able to live on 50% of my post-tax salary. I’m no where near that right now for a myriad reasons but that’s my goal. What about the other 50%? Well, of course, taxes will be a sum but I also want to give at least 25%. The rest would be for saving and investing. A year of dedicated tracking and planning could launch this dream.
Going forward I will post weekly. I’ll review what I’ve learned in the past five years as well as what I’m currently learning.
Join me as I transition from spender to giver.