Sunday, March 9, 2008

Pardon the interruption

I have been a wayward blogger of late. Please forgive me.

Like much of the country, I became obsessed with the presidential primary races. So when I came home from work, I hopped on the web to read the latest news and developments. This left little time for diary entries on my debt reduction plan.

But with the Democratic battle turning into a war of attrition and the Republican nomination settled, my spare time can now turn back to tracking my financial progress.

And I do have good news to share.

I paid off my credit card! Woo hoo! I have been mentally doing back flips for two weeks now, and I see no signs of this waning.

The amount of pride I feel in accomplishing this -- in seven months -- cannot be under estimated. It reflects mucho sacrifice. I have not had a hair cut in five months. My living room TV remains broken. The CD drive on my computer stands unrepaired. Many social outings have been spurned so I could babysit to earn extra cash. An untold number of beans have been eaten.

I am allowing myself at least one treat to celebrate. I will finally see my hairdresser on Thursday. I will ask her, though, to give me another cut that can endure five months until my next appointment. For I still have much to accomplish.

The week I completely paid off my credit card, the chairman of my company announced another round of layoffs. I have been spared, this time. But who nows how long the reprieve will last. My industry is convulsing, and nothing can be taken for granted.

So I have revised my goals. I originally strove to be debt free by the end of the year. This must now be put on pause while I build up my financial safety cushion. I intend to amass $10,000 in my emergency fund by Oct. 1. The amount is roughly equivalent to six months of living expenses. 

I will continue to make minimum payments on my student loan. After I accumulate the necessary savings, I will return to throwing every spare penny towards this debt. I should have both my student and family loans reduced to zero by Summer 2009.

It hurts to postpone my freedom from debt by another six months. Delayed gratification must apply to this endeavor, too?!

My larger goal, though, is financial stability. Starting next year, my employer will offer severance pay equivalent to one week of pay (instead of two) for every year worked at the company. For me, that means a month's salary should I be axed. That would not sustain me and my two little dogs for very long.

I still love what I do, and I am far from ready to find another vocation. As a result, I must change my ways accordingly to reduce the risk of working in this industry. 


No Debt Plan said...

I think I can help you out on the CD drive for your computer. Can you shoot me an email? nodebtplan at gmail dot com

Came across your post from the Carnival of Debt Reduction :)

kentuckyliz said...

Congratulations on becoming CC debt free!

I'm in a similar situation. I started piling up cash to make sure my medical bills would be paid (cancer treatment)--turns out my insurance is really good and that's not a worry any more.

But then the new gov is handing down budget cuts and I work for state supported higher ed. I've btdt in this kind of environment before--was laid off for budget cuts and unemployed and underemployed for 14 months before finding my next professional job! (Retrenchment year in higher ed.)

So I'm scared of what might happen and I'm piling up a big ol' hot steaming pile o' cash.

My student loan can wait. I'll maintain it, but right now liquid savings is far more important. A paid off student loan can't pay the bills if the worst happens.

Good luck to you! Keep on keepin' on!!!

ldub said...

i'm really impressed that you've been able to revise your goals as needed and keep working. that's awesome, and a sign of a realistic and useful financial plan, i think.

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