Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Paid in Full, almost

Since moving, I've been racking up various charges, getting reimbursments in various ways, and going to one of several bank accounts. I finally sat down tonight, figured out where the money was, and put it where the money wasn't. I typically use 3 credit cards: 1 for daily use, 1 for online use or where they don't take card 1, and one for carrying a balance at 0% (because why not?).

But I biffed the minimum payment on the balance carry card and that prompted me to action. I didn't want to add to it, and I was getting alarmed at the size of the other cards I'd been, frankly, ignoring with impunity thanks to N.etBank autopay. I finally got the relocation money though, and it was enough to pay off the first two cards and have some left over. And believe it or not, I had been saving money, so I payed off a hunk from the last card too. Enough to make it less scary, and probably will help get financing if I need to finance kitchen cabinets.

I'm always really scared before paying off loans, for some reason. So far I think I'm 100% for feeling a LOT better afterward, so I don't know why I do this. Partly, I want to have cash reserves, but at some point, it's better to not have the monthly payment. Now if only those stock options pay out, I'll get back in the black on my liquid assets.

Blogger Shasta just posted something about personal savings rates being the lowest since the Great Depression. I think this is a pretty telling financial indicator - mostly that the middle class is living hand to mouth these days, and we can't afford our lives, not that people don't want to save money. In my case, I bought my first home at age 34, it's one of the 10 cheapest in the county, and still my monthly costs are over twice what I paid in rent last year. It made sense to buy out here though, and I wanted to get into the market, and that can always be a time of slim pickings.

But it scares me that after paying down $40K in student loans and bringing $25K to the closing from my non-retirement savings, I'm pretty much wiped out. I earn almost twice what the average FAMILY OF FOUR live on, and after funding the minimum 401K for the company match, housing (cheapest in county), transportation (reliable Mazda3 is new, but economical -drove prev used car for 6 yrs), food and minimal health care (allergy meds and monthly accupunture), my disposable monthly income is about $100. And that just ain't right. Especially since it costs at least that to get my hair done well enough to show my face in LA. And I can't complain about the salary, but I can complain about the cost of EVERYTHING. And how CA taxes the bejesus out of income and sales tax and cars and everything. Oy vey, maria!

But I'll still give happiness a shot.

  1. Sinus Rinse is helping me manage my sinus infection without losing 5 days out of my life. I'm not at top speed, but I can mostly breathe. Enough to pay off the credit cards. Whew! Time for benadryl, now.
  2. Did the canadians find a cure for cancer? Wouldn't that be the bees knees? More genius, and such an elegant mechanism.
  3. I got this kick ass new bench for my patio. I haven't managed to part with it enough to move it from the living room to outside, though.


Wade said...

Ya know, I could have written this same post myself. I've finally paid off most of my debt, with only my car and mortgage left (which I call "necessary debt"), but I still have less disposable income than I like to have. I feel your anxiety.

Janet W. said...

From what everyone says about student loan debt, it seems as if that's the greatest gift we've been able -- touch wood -- to give our kids ... graduating debt free. How scary to be starting out burdened with huge debts! ARRRRRGH! But sounds like you're doin' great there :)

Shasta MacNasty said...

I can't get over that with your great salary, minus all the expense, you are left with $100. I'm mortified, not at you, but the society we life in where the middle class is being priced out of existence.