Catering to Debt

29 Jul

I am really not stoked that after working an 8 hour day at the university, I have to go pour wine at an event in the Pearl (fancy schmancy Portland hood) until 8 pm. 12 hour day. 12 hours of work on a beautiful, sunny, Friday! Ugh.

Yes, I am thankful I have the gig and yes I will walk out with $50 cash, but then I have to confront the challenge of not spending all that cash on $50 in wine. Or whiskey. Or whatever will remind me it’s the weekend and time to have fun. This is one of my biggest problems, admittedly. I love fun. And I work hard so then I convince myself I deserve to spend some money on fun. When really, I should squirrel it away in savings or something.

But what fun is that?! Savings. Such a foreign idea to me.

Me and my friend Gretchen at a Friday evening catering event…I actually don’t look like I hate life so I will look at this and force positive thoughts. I will also be sure to squirrel away at LEAST half of my $50. That is all I can promise…Baby Steps.

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Starting Fresh

29 Jul

The Change Jar

It’s time to cash in the change jar.

28 Jul

Two days ago, as I walked into my $14.33 per hour Executive Assistant job, I saw a pile of books on the floor marked: FREE. I didn’t pay them much attention since a quick review of the titles showed me one of the Social Workers here at our university health clinic had left them. I didn’t feel the need to read up on how to deal with depression or tips for self-coaching my way through life. However, on my third pass down the hallway to fetch a cup of coffee, an electric green binding caught my eye: debt-free by 30.

Pft. Sounds nice, I thought, and kept walking. I made it the full 10 feet back into my office before running back to snatch up the book. It’d be foolish to not at least take a peek at what the two authors wanted to tell me, considering 7 years of college (4 undergrad, 3 graduate) had left me $70,000+ in debt and at 27 years old, I am still borrowing money from my mother to make ends meet.

This is where it gets tricky for me because, I suspect like most people, I hate dealing with money. Or numbers. Or anything even remotely related to financial matters. My mom oftentimes helps me out with this stuff because I deplore it so much were I left to my own devices I would surely slide into financial free fall.

When I accepted this horribly low paying job in order to get back to the city I love, Portland, OR (for more history read About Me), we made a pretty solid weekly budget for myself and put every last student loan and interest rate on a spreadsheet. These projects are never a pleasant experience, especially for her since my naturally sunny persona immediately sinks into extreme grumpiness and impatience whenever we begin our talks. I would rather ignore it, but am finally realizing that really isn’t an effective approach.

All I want at this point in life is to be a financially independent adult. I want to be able to pay my bills every month and still have money to buy delicious groceries and maybe a new nail polish and drinks with friends a few times a week. I want to be able to go on dates with my boyfriend to the movies and afford small gifts for my loved ones on their birthdays.

I am so, so tired of living paycheck to paycheck, or worse, seeing my bank account dip into the red. I hate that one night at the bar can disrupt my financial state for months, and let me tell you, I am pathetically prone to these mistakes. And most of all, I am terribly sad that the feelings of accomplishment that came from obtaining advanced degrees now feel like mistakes that I regret on an almost daily basis.

I know things need to change. I know I need to stop ignoring the fine print and instead jump in and see where I can gain some control. So many of my friends and family are in a similar situation, as are countless people in our world, which is why I decided to document my plight to dig out of it. If I can do it, maybe that will offer hope for others. Maybe we can learn from one another. At the very least, we can see we’re not alone.

So, debt-free by 30. Think I can do it? I’ve got 2 years, 3 months, and 3 days. I’m guessing my only hope is to tie it in with my real passion, writing, hence this blog. Please, please let this take the edge off such a miserable endeavor.

Plus, don’t tell me you’re not interested in reading about how my lack of funds has driven me to what will make up the next post of this blog:

Slangin’ Justin Bieber perfume at local malls for extra cash.

Kill me now. It doesn’t ever get any less embarrassing to write, but for my sake, I am going to try and find the humor in it. So, see you for that next installment. I guarantee it will make you feel at least a tiny bit better about your own situation.

Love, Lou