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Planning for the Fast

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Analysis

In preparation for my spending freeze I’ve been working on my budget. Right now I spend nearly as much on debt each month as I do on rent and food. That’s upsetting. I could be saving so much more! Travelling! With all that I’m spending on debt repayment I could take two big trips a year. Alas. Here’s a forecast of spending for 2017– as I progress I’ll update it accordingly. At this rate of repayment (all things being equal) I’ll be completely debt-free in 4 and a half years. It sounds like a whole and literal FOREVER but… it’s either this or I remain in debt forever. It’s that simple. And being in ever-increasing debt forever is substantially more stressful than limiting my travel and spending for a moment.

Method

I have some allowances in my spending– free space where I can get really creative. For instance any physical cash that comes into my life is allowed to be used however I like with no restrictions. That means I can have a blast with birthday money! (If that were a thing people in my community actually did, lol). But every system should have checks and balances. Cash is a free for all but any deposits that are made electronically must be applied to debt.

While I am in debt I kind of think any kind of “savings” is artificial. That said I also know that “cash is king”. I will maintain $1,000 as the cash floor. What this basically amounts to is my checking account is never allowed to dip below $1,000. It’s a buffer for life. It is the whole extent of my savings strategy. I have multiple insurances (Each with their own deductible, bleh) and this $1,000 floor can be used if I can’t redirect from another category in case of an emergency.

Madness

Speaking of emergencies– I need to define emergency.

Not emergencies: 99% of things that can be planned for

  • Running out of a particular makeup product
  • Forgetting to bring a meal to work or eat before going out or to work
  • Fantastic travel deal (#HeartEyeEmoji)
  • Impulsive road trips

Emergencies: things that one cannot plan for that require immediate action

  • Car breaks down– but maybe not. I live three miles from work and if I were feeling especially frugal I think I could walk. Also, I might be able get a ride from one or more of my wonderful coworkers.
  • Medical emergency– e.g. hospitalization
  • Funeral of anyone on a pre-determined list

I think that’s it. The non emergency list could be longer. I have many, many buy triggers. I just spent $60 on a gorgeous highlighter set. (*whispers* I don’t wear highlighter.) But I really like the personality who is selling it. It all happened so fast.

Anyway, that’s where I am right now. Just beginning and planning. Officially I’m in the pre-fast period. I’ll enact my plan in January and go from there. I’m nervous about the moment to moment part of it but super excited to dig into it and see what happens. I can do anything for a year, right?