Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hole-digging update

 You might remember me complaining about digging myself out of debt not too long ago.

I am not positively sure, but I do believe I have now paid off the cost of my move out here to The Hot Place. Actually, that includes that major car repair and Christmas presents/travel and household expenses too, but it means that my credit card debt is now lower than it was when I first planned moving out here. That doesn't mean it is back up to zero, however. Not by a long shot.

This makes me happy, but, me being me, also makes me very antsy. Lookit how small and doable that payment is! Clearly I can go hog wild and buy all sorts of fanciness and stuff! Ooh, let me look at my replacement list and my wishlist and my Amazon wishlists and catalogs and stuff! Ooh ooh ooh!

You can see that this is a very dangerous moment to be in.

Now, I have been pretty good about still living like a grad student, for the most part, and buying one nice thing for the apartment every month (which is not how I lived as a grad student). So now I am trying to figure out what one thing I could get this month that would make me happy and that I should get before all the other things. This is tough! I want everything on my list, but not so much that I want it now. I am terribly indecisive. Plus, I am already starting to think about not decorating any further because what if I want to move?

That thinking is probably why my previous apartments all had bare walls.

Well, one thing I would like to do is actually redecorate my bedroom, with actual working new furniture and decorations. But that would really involve me saving up for a bedroom set; I don't want to splurge on something that big right now.

But do I want to start saving up for that project now? Maybe I want to start saving up for a new car now --- or maybe even a down payment on a house?

I have been thinking about the whole house thing recently, especially because there are houses in the area where the payments would be so much less than my current rent. Like half, actually. But then I realized that with a big pile of credit card and student loan debt and zero money saved for a down payment, I'm really not in any place to get a house any time soon. Grump. And I just read an article that they have tightened up on loans, which is probably good, but would make me getting anything even harder.

Ok, so start hardcore saving for a 5-year or so plan for a house? Hmm. I'm not sure I want that. Do I want to be here permanently? Is it possible to sell a house around here? I'm not all that excited by what houses even look like around here ---- old 50s and 60s tract homes, or brand new mcMansion type stuff. So I went and looked up houses in GradSchoolLand and cried a little at how beautiful and historic they were and how there was never going to be any way I could afford a multi-million-dollar cottage even with tons of saving for the rest of my life. Sigh. So now what?

I'm not sure there is anything on my wishlist in the hundred dollar splurge range. Hmm. Maybe I should go in a different direction and get me a basic old bike, like a cruiser. Would that be in the hundred dollar range? Hmm. Looking around I think I could get something used off craigslist for a bit more than that.

I dunno. I don't do plans very well. Any advice?


Anonymous said...

Woo! Go you getting that debt down!

In terms of the future...

What are the interest rates on your debt? What's your retirement money situation? How's your current car situation?

If you want to send details anonymously, we can give you a full advice run-down on Grumpy Rumblings. We've been doing a bunch of those lately (and currently have some in the queue).

(Don't go hog-wild. Wait!)

Belle said...

Think used vs new bedroom stuff. Start browsing the vintage shops around you; there are some amazing pieces out there, and if you get the right stuff, it's not only cheaper than new, it's actually built better. And see if you can find/get one piece at a time - a pieced set vs a 'suite.' That not only makes it more affordable, but the pieces mean more to you. And again, the quality will be better.

Flavia said...

Any advice N&M give you is better than my advice! But I'll just note that with the federal first-time homebuyers program, you only need to put 3.5% down and (if you pay the asking price or higher) you can negotiate for the sellers to put up to 6% of the total price toward closing costs. Where we bought, that meant the sellers paid virtually all of our closing costs. So we got into our house for something like $5000-6000, total, including inspection, lawyers fees, etc.

For us this made sense, since our monthly mortgage/insurance/tax bill was no more than renting and we could see far enough into our financial future--with union jobs, contractually scheduled raises, the immediate end of a car payment, etc.--to know we'd be able to keep paying down debt, build up our savings, and cover even a couple of big repairs (e.g., new furnace) if they popped up suddenly.

Some people hate the hassle of owning rather than renting. But I haven't regretted it for one second (even now that it looks like we'll have to sell earlier than planned).