The Strugglebus is Real, Folks. (and that’s ok!)

As much as I hate to admit it, the 17-year-old in me has adopted a new favorite hashtag: #strugglebus. I’m both incredibly disappointed in myself and kind of giddy about it. Its close cousin, #wambulance, was a long-time favorite of mine as well. So, I suppose that’s happening now!

Onto more real matters… When discussing our struggles, a very close and dear friend of mine had let me into his situation as well. He is crippled by student loan debt, works full-time as a store manager at a convenience store, and has two roommates (hopefully he’ll be moving in with only one in August – keeping my fingers crossed!). He, too, can’t seem to make any template work. We spend many hours discussing our budgets and best practices only to cave when we want greasy Chinese food or a friend has a birthday. It’s part of the struggle: breaking those habits and finding alternatives.

Recently, I brought up the idea of consolidating his loans so he only has a single payment to worry about and manage. He went to his credit union to talk to them about his options only to find out that without a very good co-signer there was no way they would help him. Much like me, he doesn’t have a co-signer which means he’s S.O.L.

Frustrating? You betchya! But, this is what folks like us face every day.

Sometimes, it really feels like we just can’t catch a god damn break. No one will take a chance on helping us because they see our past and the mistakes we’ve made. It’s often overlooked that in asking for this kind of help, we’re not looking to dig ourselves into a deeper hole. Trust me, it’s hard enough to breathe as it is this deep down! We’re asking for help because we know we’re fighting our last fight until we give up and crawl back to mommy and/or daddy with our tails between our legs.

And we refuse. So we keep fighting. When I apologized to my friend for his misfortune in debt consolidation, he just smiled and said he’d have to find another way instead of getting lost in the bottomless pit of, “Oh my god, I can’t do this.”

So, folks, the takeaway? Keep fighting the good fight. It’s better than the alternative by a long-shot. Be honest, be courageous, and know you’ll see the end. If you think you can’t do it, guess what? You already are. Still not convinced? I offer this reminder:

You’re a ghost driving a meat-coated skeleton made from stardust. What do you have to be scared of?

 

Mid-Month Update!

It’s been a couple days now and I think it’s time for a mid-month update!

Exciting (and not so exciting) things have been popping up all over the place and I’ve been a busy-bee while trying to stay within my budget. On one end, no, I haven’t managed to stay within my budget due to pop-up expenses. On the other end, I did start my Fiverr account and have gotten some good, honest work out of it. In fact, I’ve made enough so far to pay off one monthly bill! That’s HUGE! So, I guess this means I can call myself a freelancer now, too. I’m also learning where my weak points are when it comes to spending (impulse buys for things like video games…).

Fiverr, pop-up expenses, and applying to grad school.. All within 15 days! There may also be plans to start a Twitch.tv account and broadcast my gaming skills (or lack thereof) and I forgot to mention another exciting life event happening this month: I will be leaving for Germany on July 25th and coming back August 8th! Expect a lot of reflective posts during that time period and, of course, photos.

If there’s one thing July has taught me so far, it’s that I can’t sit still for long and I’m not comfortable being immobile. But, this opens opportunity for me to reflect on how much I really do value being still and if I can implement stillness into my life while gaining momentum. Worth thinking about, at the very least.

Aside from celebrating all the good that’s been happening lately, below is my mid-month budget update. As you can see, things are getting a little hectic, but hopefully we’ll see at the end of the month a budget that comes out in the black! Please note, July is a 3 pay-period month. In this way, I almost feel like I’m cheating my budget, but because of travel, I’m so thankful I get paid three times this month!

Projected Actual Notes
Income 1 939 1163.54 Sold lightning outfit, sold books, mom owed me $50
Income 2 908 989.19 With overtime. 80.19 difference
Fiverr 0 20
Total 1847 2152.73
Gas (Fuel) 80 46.81
Groceries 80 115.24
Home Supplies 35 44.82 Included travel items
Laundry 10 10
Pet Supplies 35 64.95
Therapy 100 75
Renter’s Insurance 25 23.24 Paid 6-27
Rent 795 818 Transferred 6-27 & 7-11
Student Loans 50 50 Paid 6-30
Bank of America 49 49 Paid 6-27
Bill Me Later 35 35 Paid 6-27
American Eagle 48 48 Paid 7-11
Util: Gas 70 49.88 Scheduled 7-14
Util: Internet 50 49.9 Paid 7-11
Util: Electric 50 11.78 Scheduled 7-14
Capital One 25 75 Paid 6-27
Auto Insurance 80 79.52 Paid 7-11
Fun 40 40 CASH from previous check mailed from mom – not taken out of check
POP-UP Expense: License Plate Stickers 102 0
POP-UP Expense: College Transcripts 10 10
POP-UP Expense: Ebay Fees 8.7 8.7
POP-UP Expense: Kickstarter 5 5
POP-UP Expense: WildStar 15 14.99 Impulse buy
POP-UP Expense: Parking 1.5 1.5
POP-UP Expense: Demo’s Birthday 10.91 10.91
POP-UP Expense: Lunch at work 5.75 5.75
POP-UP Expense: Grad School Application 75 75
POP-UP Expense: Earbuds with mic 22.92 22.92
Total 1913.78 1840.91
Difference -66.78 311.82
**$300.00 ontop of whatever is leftover goes towards germany

Rookie Mistake #1: FORGOTTEN DEBT

A bit into my private life: I do have a boyfriend. When I moved into my current place, I had mix of odd furniture that didn’t include a bed or mattress! I also had only $2000 from my tax return and income to pay first month’s rent and deposit ($795 + $795 = $1590). This left me with $410 to rent a uhaul, go to Ikea, and buy a bed and mattress at the very minimum (although, I did have an air mattress I could have used while saving up).

My boyfriend stepped in and demanded I be able to get myself enough furniture to make myself a nice home that I feel comfortable in. I ended up with a new loveseat, end table, coffee table, living room lamp, storage/book shelf, dresser, bed frame, mattress, two rugs, and another side-table lamp with a couple kitchen mats for the floor. My boyfriend lent just over $1800 to make sure I was comfortable. A coworker-turned-friend gave me her old La-Z-boy recliner for free and another coworker-turned-friend supplied me with a patio set for free as well!

However, as one of my values is making mistakes and one of the blog ground rules is being honest… I have to tell you all that I forgot to include this debt in my initial totals of consumer debt. To date, this debt has been paid down to now owing $524. This bumps my current consumer debt to roughly $9,630 total.

I suppose it’s good I rounded up to paying off $10,000 worth of debt.

LESSONS LEARNED
Estimate high when it comes to debt, estimate low when it comes to income.

Don’t be ashamed or become frustrated when you find debt you forgot about. Roll with it, baby. Part of this journey is to become adaptable. Forgive yourself and take action to adjust.