It’s been an intensive financial day where I’ve forced myself to sit down and consider financial goals for 2011 and even reviewed my debt repayment strategy finally coming up with something that I’m excited about after feeling sort of in a rut with the whole process. I’m switching strategies from snowball to avalanche, am increasing my monthly payment, and am delaying all saving to after debt repayment is complete. This brings down my projected interest to be paid from over $2,000 to $996 and brings me to freedom from debt in less than two years. Before, I was trying to mix saving and debt repayment plus I was going about things the snowball way. While psychologically it was satisfying to pay credit card after credit card, I’ve reached the point where now it’s going to be stretches of several months, even a year, between them. Besides, knowing that my two cards with the humiliating rates were the last to go was just driving me crazy. So I switched it up.
This financial review is brought on by several stress-related triggers. I went on my trip and, although I could have done better of keeping tabs while I was there and staying in budget, I actually managed to not destroy it either which was shocking and satisfying at the same time. When I came back from my trip, there was a letter from Target. I get electronic statements so letters from creditors are never good things. This one is a bad thing disguised as a good thing. The kind people of Target have decided to do their holiday good and increase my credit limit from $200 to a whopping $1,000. I paid the last of my Target card balance on July 12 of this year and, like a good debt eliminator haven’t touched the bloody thing. And then about a month ago, they started advertising the 5% rewards program on the credit card and I considered it. And when the letter came in, I considered it again. I go to Target often. Why not do the thing where I don’t carry a balance and pay it off every month?
Because I’m scared—especially now that I have $1,000 to screw up royally with plus the holidays to tempt me, that’s why. Note to self: Target is not stupid. Target likes to make money. Target’s APR on your generous $1,000 credit line is 25.24%. The Target card is in my freezer. It’s staying there. And I’m actually considering upping the ante and defrosting the cards to not only add a couple that somehow eluded the initial freezing, but also to write their ridiculous APR’s on them in giant offensive black sharpie marker. That way, should I actually lose my mind and defrost the cards with the intention of using them—I’ll have to deal with the scary numbers. By the way, I’m yet to actually defrost the things to use them. The freezer method = effective. Trust me. Try it. And hey, try the APR in sharpie trick too. Might work.
Of course, these things aren’t the only stress triggers. I’ve been so frustrated lately and feeling so trapped and yet lost at the same time. I feel aimless and yet condemned to not really advance. But a part of me knows this just isn’t true. Right now, my brain has decided that it’s true for the moment, but it won’t stay that way. In many ways, I’m still searching. Ask me what my dream job is and I just don’t have a clue. Things fascinate me and then fade away. Right now, I’m captivated by the idea of research and I’ve been wondering what it’d be like to be a research psychologist because I’m endlessly fascinated with our kind and why we do and don’t. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that I don’t quite understand my own motivations for things about half the time so maybe if I understand what other people’s motivations are, I’ll get a grip on my own. Until then, I’m just sticking with goal-making and achieving. Below is my updated goal list with some revisions and additions.
MutantSupermodel Goals as of November 15, 2010:
1. Create a Christmas budget by November 12 and stick to it.
2. Complete requested crocheted baby cape by January 25, 2011.
3. Schedule donations pick-up for December 1st and have de-cluttering done to benefit.
4. Commit to another reading project for 2011 and have details worked out by December 15, 2010.
5. Send Christmas cards Friday, December 17, 2010.
6. Complete MutantEldest’s Mario Bros. blanket by March 25, 2010.
7. Continue tracking spending in Excel for an entire year (July 31, 2011).
8. Go to Disney for Martin Luther King Day 2011 and in December 2011.
9. Go to San Francisco in 2012.
10. Re-commit to doing laundry every other day for the next six months (March 25, 2011).
11. Continue planning Girls’ Night for next six months (April 2011).
12. Lose 12 pounds in 12 months (September 25, 2011).
13. Pay off credit cards by December 2011.
14. Pay off last of debt by September 2012.
15. Buy new car in 2013 with cash.
16. Have $1,000 emergency fund in place by May 2011.
17. Have $25,000 crisis fund in place by 2015.
18. Own a vintage car.
19. Retire on the water.
20. Get a Master’s Degree, perhaps a Doctorate.