It’s October! My favorite month, ever.
I love fall so much. I love pumpkin everything, crisp weather and the change in seasons.
It’s also my birthday month. In a little over 2 weeks I turn the big 3-0. WOW.
I am happier than ever though. I remember just six months ago thinking to myself that I was itching for a huge change by my 30th birthday. Well, I got what I wanted.
I quit my job and have been getting more opportunities since FinCon, which was so worth it. How did I do it? I followed up with every single person I got a business card from. Sometimes it’s just a matter of telling people that you are looking and are open to new opportunities.
September was quite busy work wise, but I also had some fun adventures thrown in there. I went camping for 48 hours and completely disconnected from technology and I also went to New Orleans for FinCon and managed to work only 2 hours while there (though I was working furiously the days prior, working many late nights).
I am so happy to report that even with taking 7 days off in September, my income increased 10% from August.
My income breakdown is as follows:
7% Virtual Assisting
3% Sales (sold some books)
27% Event work (includes brand ambassador work and my part-time job at a Jewish congregation)
2% Side Hustle Coaching
As you can see, my income doesn’t come from one place. I like it that way. It will be interesting to see how this shifts in the next few months as brand ambassador work slows down – but as I mentioned, I have some new opportunities, which will hopefully put me in a better place. The goal is to steadily increase my income every month.
Now on to the debt…
But first, a confession. At the risk of getting verbal stones thrown at me, I have to let you know I committed a cardinal personal finance sin.
I withdrew $1,700 from my already pathetic retirement account to pay off one of my loans. Yep, I borrowed from my future to pay for my present. What prompted this?
I wrote this article on Joe’s site and asked the readers what I should do regarding balancing my retirement and student loans. Joe has a great group of readers, but because Joe’s site is about retirement I thought people would pat me on the back and say “great job on being more balanced and putting more to retirement!” Nope. The overwhelming response was to pay off my crazy high interest debt.
Before you think I did anything too rash, I sat on it for a while. I looked at the numbers.
Do you know how much my retirement has made this year?
Interest Paid Year to Date: $9.93
My student loan payments cost me hundreds of dollars in interest per month, which results in thousands per year of interest. The math looked at me right in the face. I couldn’t deny that my money would do more going to debt.
I understand I’m looking at a 10% penalty for this, but what’s done is done and I still think it will work out financially. If you want to read some great information on Roth IRAs, check out this post at Finance Girl.
This debt journey has its ups and downs and moments where things change — moments where I make big decisions that seem both right and wrong. Although I was previously craving more balance, I realize that for now I really want to focus on my emergency fund and debt. I have changed my retirement contributions to $20 per month, mostly so I can keep the habit. I think automation is great for creating positive habits to achieve financial success.
So there you have it. My confession. But look at what a nice number I put to debt:
$2,341.51 to debt.
Undergrad loan – $6,317.52
Grad loan – $29,429.73
My graduate loan is now under $30k! I want to scream from the rooftops about it. For some reason, psychologically, being in the twenties seems much more manageable. It feels like I’m making progress. This is a far cry from when I graduated in May 2011 and I had a balance of $58k on my graduate loans.
Here’s to hoping that I continue to grow my work and can continue to put more to debt, without getting out money from other places.
I am motivated and inspired!
Also, someone anonymously gifted me a Starbucks eCard. Literally, I got an email that said, “Anonymous has given you a Starbucks card!”
I thought it was a scam at first, but I looked at it cautiously. There was even a note. It said, “Melanie, Just because you are awesome and wanted you to have a special day!” By golly, that was one of the sweetest things someone could do. It did make my day! To anonymous, thank you!
Kayla had a great idea of paying it forward! So if you comment on this post, I’ll randomly choose someone this Friday and give out a $5 Starbucks gift card too. Go get your pumpkin spice latte on.
How is October going so far?
Update: Thanks to some friends who are smarter than me, apparently I won’t have to pay a penalty as I withdrew from my Roth IRA. I swear I read a lot of info on the matter when I made my decision, but the language wasn’t very clear, thus my confusion. Either way, I’m not a financial expert as you know — just someone sharing my journey out of debt.