Once again, Friday has rolled around, and I’m super excited. I look forward to weekends, when my time is actually mine, and I can spend it the way that I want. This weekend that means working in the yard, spending time with friends and family, and doing some last-minute preparations for my sister’s wedding. Next week’s work week will be delightfully short, with the wedding and Holiday combining into a long 5-day weekend. Weekends and Holidays are a constant reminder of why I need to stay on track, and what I’m working for: Freedom from the corporate world, from being tied to a desk 9-5 (actually, 7:30-5, but whatever).
I’m also feeling a little apprehensive lately about my finances. Overall my financial situation is slowly but steadily improving, and every month ends better than the last. And I’m continuing to make strides in paying down my car loan. But I’m having to play a bit of a “shell game” week to week, moving money from one pot to the next until it all balances back out. For example: I didn’t have the cash in my “Spending” account to cover my glasses and eye exam. So I “borrowed” from the money I’d set aside for the wedding, until my FSA reimbursement check came through. I was only able to set aside $500 for wedding related expenses; If my costs go over that, I’ll end up borrowing from next months extra car payment, and paying it back throughout the month out of spending money. At the end of the month, it will all wash, and everything will end up as it should have been. But it still feels a little unorthodox having to shuffle money around. And then I realize it’s (almost) September, and I don’t yet have a plan for the Holidays! I’m still thinking through how much I need to set aside, and where exactly that money will come from.
All of this is a reminder that I need to start working on a plan for the future. Part of my rush to pay off my car loan is the realization that, once I’m debt free, my living expenses are fairly minimal. Not having to make as much money opens up a world of opportunities for me. I have a lot of ideas, but so far, they’re just ideas. I need to start trying things out, see what actually works, and what doesn’t. Right now is the ideal time to fail, when I still have an income to support me. Figuring out what I’m going to do will also help me build a realistic timeline. Maybe I’ll decide to switch employers, in which case, I can take the plunge as soon as the car loan is paid off. But if I choose to go a less conventional route, I’ll need time to build up a cash cushion. After all, life costs money, and minimal expenses doesn’t mean no expenses!
In all of my thinking, and planning, and dreaming of the future, I’m trying not to forget to live in the present. After all, I don’t want to become so wrapped up in an unknown future that I forget to take advantage of today. And, as great as weekends are, I don’t want to waste the better (or larger) part of the week waiting for the weekends to roll around. Having a job you don’t enjoy doesn’t have to suck the life out of every minute of the day!
– Cindy W