Paying Down The Debt – June Progess

In the last month, I’ve managed to pay off a thousand dollar medical bill and lower my student debt balance by $850.

I can’t say that it’s because I just stopped buying extraneous things (though I have been trying to be careful of my food spending, which is my biggest downfall.)

Some of the money coming from selling some ill-advised, early expensive purchases. But a large chunk also came from working overtime and doing a one-time weekend gig.

I don’t know that I have anything profound to say, but I am super excited to see that student debt balance drop from being in the $16,000s to being in the $15,000s. And as long as I can continue to contribute, the interest shouldn’t creep it back up to $16K for another 22 days.  (In other words, I need to pay $70 over the next 22 days to keep it from crossing over again.)

Where have you made progress? What are you looking forward to focusing on in July?

 

The Little Book of Contentment

I was thinking the other day about how what you put in your feed matters. In particular, I was thinking about my RSS feed, but I think it works in a larger sense, too. 

You decide what your attention should be spent on, and you can decide not to let something have an hour or so of your day.

Today I chose to download (free!) and read (in bed, with a glass of wine!) Leo Babauta’s The Little Book of ContentmentI’ll say two things:

1.) I am not nearly zen enough for some of these habits, but I am willing to try.

2.) I will say that I don’t 100% believe that other people are never trying to thwart you, or are unaware of the damage that their actions cause. I know the point is that you are to look at your emotions and handle your reaction, and I agree with that. But sometimes people are manipulative dicks. And yeah, maybe they do have low self-esteem and need a hug. But really, who needs to do the introspection that day – the manipulator or the manipulated?

Okay, so there’s the part where I’m not zen enough. But it really is worth a read, and did made me think about an instance where I owe somebody that I preemptively cut from my life an apology email.

What did you guys think of it?

Minimalizing Emergencies

Sometimes, it’s hard to let go of the role of “older sibling.” When my sibling was laid off, I immediately asked my friends if they knew of anybody that worked in the same field. When someone says they want to go somewhere, I immediately kick into planning mode.

In short, I jump into helpful mode for the people I love – but then I do them a disservice but not giving them the chance to ask for the type of help that would be the most beneficial to them.

At the same time, sometimes people will try to hoist emergencies on you – whether they’re actually an emergency or not. Something that has been unimportant for weeks will suddenly show up as a “Drop everything this must be done now” – even when, truth be told, it’s still unimportant.

In the case of the former, I think the problem is oneself. I don’t have to fix everything. I don’t have to know all the answers. I don’t have to take on problems that aren’t mine or that I haven’t been asked to help with.

In the case of the latter, I think the problem is someone else’s feeling that their life is unorganized. In which case, I think the answer is to not let their emergency, turn into yours.

I had a teacher that loved the quote, “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

And she was right. It’s time for me to minimalize the “emergencies” of others by being honest with myself about what I have and don’t have time to do. And it’s time to step back from the oldest child role, and give myself and others more room for their own personal growth.

Sunk Costs

As I’ve moved from getting rid of things that I’ve sort of always wanted to get rid of and into the questions of “Do I need/use/really want/fit into this”, I need to constantly remind myself that the damage has been done. The money has been spent. This mostly-useless thing has already been made. Throwing it out/selling it/donating it isn’t going to make it any more of a waste of money.

And even though I know that the chances of me dropping four European sizes to get back into those still-tagged designer skinny jeans in the next few days/months/years/lifetimes is slim, it still feels like, “But I paid XX* and maybe with less stuff and more time and focus I could get back into them. And then I will hem them which is why I never wore them when I fit into them in the first place.”

In case you’re struggling with the same issue, these posts are super helpful in not letting yourself get sucked back into the sunk cost fallacy:

Minimalist Meditations – Who’s Counting? – Good overview.

Minimalism & Sunk Costs – Real world example.

The Sunk Cost Fallacy – Real world example with economic theory. (Also explains why Farmville was so addicting to others, and so annoying to me as a non-player.)


*Back before I had hips. I think I was 24 when I bought them. Surprise! When you hit 29, your ass, hips and thighs suddenly realize that you should not be allowed to drink soda and eat donuts without consequence**.

**Just you wait, thighs– I will get even with you. It’s called a treadmill, and you are not going to like it.

You Can’t See the Change Yet, But I Am Feeling Lighter

It’s been almost two weeks since I started seriously thinking about minimalism, and even though somebody visiting might not notice a difference in the amount of stuff, I’m already beginning to feel lighter.

Maybe this is the buzz of having a plan. Or a new goal to not only reduce my paper clutter, but to get rid of my filing cabinet entirely. Maybe it’s because last month I didn’t put anything towards my school loan and this month I’ve managed to put nearly $100 towards my debt. Maybe it’s because it’s Spring and the birds are out and the need for gloves has long gone. Maybe it’s because I finally threw out my last pair of toe-socks, which are only handy if you’re someone who wears socks with flip-flops (I am not!)

But regardless of the reason – I feel a little lighter!

 

For the curious… things I eliminated this weekend:

3 years of old paystubs (scanned)

A stack of year-old magazines, with only recipes and exercises pulled out for future scanning

Hole-y socks (For some reason, I’m always convinced that if I don’t save all the socks, I will one day be sock-less entirely.)

A few books that I know I will never read (I own hundreds.)

Baby Steps

I’m still powering through finals, a craft project (Hello, return of handmade cards and crafts for Mother’s Day!) and decluttering.

Honestly, I’m getting a little tired of eating all the extra things in my pantry. (This is even with cheating on two or three meals).

BUT, I did just send $50.00 towards my school loan. And if it means that next week I can send another twenty, then I guess I’ll push myself through another week of repetitive eating.

Small victories, friends. Small victories.

(Also – am I sitting here with the last of a jar of chocolate frosting? Heck yeah I am. Maybe that’s where all the warm and fuzzy feelings are really coming from…)