The One Where I Disclose My Student Loan (and other) Debts ….

*** disclaimer if you are someone who is sick of hearing about my financial journey, don’t want to hear about white girl money problems or just don’t care about this stuff – this post isn’t for you

I am gonna be honest with you living within my means actually kind of sucks.

Truly it does.

I never really lived outside my means – but I certainly didn’t think about the financial ramifications of my adventures abroad or the financial cost of post secondary while I took out loans and didn’t work my way through school.

It wasn’t until my mid to late thirties that I actually looked at my financial situation and thought “oh fuck, I am in some serious trouble!”  but the panic – that was some time a few years later –  maybe 4 years ago-ish. I started to notice that while I was paying my bills it wasn’t actually doing me any good. No progress was happening. Some of them had such a high interest rate that my payments weren’t really doing any good. I was barely paying the interest. I wasn’t paying down the body of the loan at all. Not only that – in some instances it was like I was throwing money away. Thousands of dollars.

I honestly wondered how it was even legal. I also realized that the more of a mess your finances become – the harder it is to claw yourself out. I know that sounds like a no brainer – but I legit mean the part where you start to get penalties for late payments and the non sufficient funds charges – the non stop calling for collection agencies and all the other stuff that make you feel like you are drowning in a super bad situation.  No one will give you credit to consolidate and no one can help you. I remember a time when Dell used to call me 15 times a day. There was a time that Royal Bank charged me so many NSF charges and then added interest on that that I was negative $900 in my bank account and I didn’t have over draft.

I started to read a lot of financial books, listen to podcasts and realized that I needed to do something different.  Drastically different. I really needed to take a handle on my money situation and somehow figure out a game plan where I wasn’t going to live the rest of my life in a mediocre, stressed about money, never having any fun kind of way. I also realized that marrying rich was probably not going to be an option.

I got myself into this mess, I sure as shit need to get myself out.

The financial snow ball.

When I started flying and my income changed is when I really started to make strategic moves and financial decisions. For the first time in a long time I could see a financial plan coming together. Early on I sat down and made a full repayment plan for my debts. It was a 3 year plan but something that I could feasibly do and I felt confident in my success. I actually started to budget and pay my bills first. Telling your money where to go before it disappears was better for me than – doing what I wanted and then trying to pay bills with the rest.  I had to let my stocks vest an entire year, an entire year of putting 20% of my income in a fund (that got matched dollar for dollar) that I couldn’t touch no matter how hard it got. An entire year it took me to get used to living on less – all for financial wellness and debt repayment. I am not gonna lie it hasn’t been easy but I toughed it out  – I sacrificed my social life to live off of less.

Want to know feeling low ?? Feeling low is being almost 40, single, barely making minimum wage and trying to claw yourself out of 60K worth of debt. All while putting 20% of that income away.  Feeling low is seeing all your friends use their travel benefits while you eat ramen noodles complaining that you can’t lose weight. Feeling like none of the education you thought you needed is getting you were you need to go. Feeling completely and totally worthless because you work so hard and a treat of a Cancun overnight financially derails you because you cant afford to eat food on the road. Feel that – that is low.

The debt.

(This hurts but) here is an honest look at what I owe. I feel like to some it isn’t much, to me it is almost crippling the amount of stress that paying this causes me. After I pay off my bills there isn’t really that much left to feed myself, fuel my car and do everything else you need to do in a month. Social times, clothing, prescriptions and any incidentals come from the pool of $150-200 every two weeks.

I have rounded up some of these numbers just to make for easy math but here we go – the actually debt in point form in no particular order :

  • Back taxes owing to the government of Canada because I wasn’t getting taxed properly at my side hustle (in 2017) Owing $2500
  • Alberta Student Loans – I took this loan out in 2003-06. I have probably paid at least double what was originally. Currently owing $2500
  • Nova Scotia Student Loans – I took this loan out in 2012-15. In collection with the GOC, in good standing, am no longer being charged interest. They collect a set amount from my bank account every month. Owing $6500
  • Canada Student loans (Federal Loan) – HOT FUCKING MESS. This loan is in collections with the GOC.  It is a combination of amount owing from 03-06 and 12-15. They want me to pay $925/ month. We have made an agreement that I can pay $200 because of my current monthly income. I can barely afford that $200. I often miss this payment. I am now at a point that when I miss payments the cost is garnished wages. That $200 barely covers the interest that is accruing at $5.19/day. The only way to get it out of collections is to put $4000 on the loan. As of today owing $35000
  • Car Loan – I couldn’t afford to buy a car out right so I needed to get a car loan. It is 12% interest. It is what it is – this car saved my life. Owing $7500 (in case you are wondering I owe more than the car is worth so selling it currently is not at option even though I have thought about it – but also with all the trips to the airport I do need a car)
  • Credit cards. I have one. It is maxed. amount owing $2000

 

Financial Decisions that I made that have helped my snowball.

This summer I found a new insurance company. That saved me almost $1500/year on my car insurance. So instead of paying $108 every two weeks. I am paying $138 per month.

I pulled out some stocks in July to help me catch up when I got behind on my bills. Which actually helped me stay on track, make payments on time and not get to back logged on my bills.

I paid the first debt in my snowball off. I currently no longer owe money to the government for back taxes.

When my company rolled over the way we get paid to twice a month instead of every other Friday. I read the emails, I prepared and I changed all my monthly payments to line up with this new structure.

I got a second job so I get 4 paychecks a month.

I have recognized that I needed to restructure my snowball because if I can pay off something that frees up more money a month – I will actually have more money to pay off bills. So I restructured the order of my debt repayments. Learning the best way to tackle things and changing my plans to be more effective – just straight up financial badassery!

I started meal planning and prepping and actually paying attention to what I bring in my lunch bag so I have less food waste.

I took the summer off from drinking on the road – just to get my shit together and it was worth it. I am pretty sure Umbrella drinks in Puerto Vallarta are going to be extra delicious this winter with all my planning and financial success.

One of the biggest and best things I have learn this last year of financial badassery – that I can only focus on one big life goal at a time. If I try and take on to many things nothing gets done. So while I would love to be focusing all my energy on my fitness or on writing or podcasting or other things – my biggest goal and where all my attention goes is taking care of this mountain of debt and paying things off – one by one.

 

So, there you have it friends – an open and honest conversation about dealing with financial fuckery and some of the things I did to get myself on track. I know that I am not alone – so lets discuss some of your financial badassery …. go on, tell me something good!

xoxo,

C

 

 

 

The One Where I Talk About Debt Fatigue and What I Am Doing About It.

 

 

Debt fatigue occurs when a debtor becomes overwhelmed by the amount of debt incurred and the seeming futility of the debt repayment process, and it may result in a debtor giving up on making loan payments and beginning to overspend again.

This is for real and my life. DEBT FATIGUE. As of April 2019, I am feeling some serious debt fatigue. I have a few weeks of holidays right now. When I bid for these holidays, I actually had thought I was going to be in Asia for a few weeks. I am not in Asia – I am sitting on my friends couch hanging out with her cat listening to podcasts and writing this blog. I am not in Asia because I don’t have money to be in Asia. Since shit went down in my life in Montreal I have been very careful with my spending and hyper focused on paying off my debt. But the reality of focusing on paying off debt is that I have been feeling the debt fatigue for awhile.

The thing is I am not even sure if it is debt fatigue or if I am just not making enough money.

In the past I have made some really bad financial decisions. I bought into the student loan thing for a university degree then I bought into it again for a college diploma – and now I am working a full time job that I am not sure I even need post secondary for … I am now looking for a second job that is so far removed from either of those things just so that I can pay off students loans for a degree and a diploma that I am not using in the conventional sense.

About every 6 months debt fatigue happens to me. Everything goes to shit. I stop paying my bills, break free and do something financially stupid. Go on a trip or spend my entire payday on shit that I don’t need. Or just stop paying my bills. It gets so damn exhausting paying bills and putting everything towards my debt. I then feel guilty and spend like 6 months recovering from the financial mistakes that I made. The thing is sometimes it feels like I am not even making a dent in my overwhelming amount of student loans.

I have written about side hustles in the past. I have had 2 jobs many times in my life – I have no aversion to hard work, but I promised myself I wouldn’t work two jobs when I started flying. But after almost 2 years I think I am looking to restore a little bit of balance into my life. See I invest 20% of my payday, every payday into stocks. I am building a nest egg to pay off my loans – but that is leaving me with not so much money when its all said and done. – not so much for right now money. So, I end up flying more, then I am gone more and the cycle just keeps repeating itself. I need to be home a bit more and the only way I can do that is if I make money from another source. And here we are May 2019.

It is Wednesday night, May 1st and I am listening to Dave Ramsey and trying to refocus my priorities. I do realize that this might mean doing things that I don’t want to do. Manifesting debt reduction is happening. My plan is in place. I just need to keep pushing myself. It has come to my realization that I need to use my free time to make some more money – it doesn’t matter what it is just need to put cash in my bank account.

So what do I do about the debt fatigue??

• Stop, Breathe, Relax, Put my wallet and credit card away.
• Start applying for second jobs and ways that I can bring in extra income.
• Only drink free coffee on the airplane, drink free coffee in the hotel room, stop buying coffee out – goodbye Starbucks for a little while (yes, the latte affect)!
• Think about it, write about it, put my stress onto paper instead of on my waist line or my bank account.
• Look at the money growing in my stocks and see the nest egg I am building that is making it all worth it!!
• Remind myself how cool thrifting is and how wicked it is for the planet and how lucky I am that I have a uniform job, so I don’t need to invest in work suits and clothing that I would never wear in real life.
• Make a new budget that is more attainable.
• Talk money with my friends see what they are doing – how are they making ends meet?
• Realize I am not alone but also realize that everyone’s journey is different.
• Remind myself that future me will thank present me for getting a second job and getting my shit together!
• Breathe in some lavender and relax!
• Budget into my spending that this will probable happen again in 6 months time and plan for it, because making a financial plan to work through expected debt fatigue is probable the smartest thing I can do.

Have any tips for me on dealing with debt fatigue? I would love to hear them!

The No-Buy Rules.

It is getting real, Friends. I made a budget. It still has some generous vague spending areas but we all need to start somewhere. It is a work in progress.

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Note **  I foolishly thought I could discuss financial stuff with people. I have realized that some people are judgmental fucks and fail to appreciate others peoples success. I appreciate all of my friends and family and am incredibly excited for those that have seen heaps of financial success in their lives – I am even more proud of the people that started with less and ended up with more. Your success has blood, sweat and tears and is well deserved.  Go you! **

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I am super excited that I am following through on one of the many many many steps to personal financial success. In the spirit of trimming my expenses I have decided to make a NO-BUY official with rules and all. Mostly this serves as … accountability!

 The Rules:

Well the fact is there is really only one rule and it is don’t buy shit you don’t need but I feel like I need to write out all the pesky details so I have a point of reference.

  1. Shower Gels and Soap. I currently have 5 body washes open in my shower & 3 massive bars of soap under my sink. I think that should suffice for the better part of this year.
  2. Body Lotion. If you saw my post in Instagram on Sunday you know I got a stack of lotions to get through 8 or 9 if you count my purse and work desk.
  3. Makeup – unless I run out of a certain item then it can be replaced (ie; mascara & foundation or powder) ***just because I want to tighten up my budget does not mean I want to look like a haggard piece of shit all the time with gross skin and dirty hair. I will buy makeup when I run out.
  4. Tea or Coffee (since my part time job allows me a free lb of coffee or box of tea/week I am more than sorted here)
  5. Clothing. Unless by the grace of gawd I figure out this weight loss thing & need smaller clothes 🙂 Also unless it is something that I actually need.  Also shopping second hand for things that can be purchased second hand (Not related but have you watched “True Cost” – you should)
  6. Nail Polish. I love me some painted toe nails, all seasons, all the time.
  7. BOOKS (& magazines) – a) I should probably get a library card seeing as there is a EPL right across the street from my apartment & b) I have an entire library of books to read this year that are sitting on a shelf looking pretty in my home.
  8. eBooks from YouTubers – and I can also stop calling it research for my own eBook just stop buying things from YouTubers.

 

So there you have it, the first draft of the no-buy. This will likely change – if you have suggestions for this or things that you don’t buy anymore that I should consider for my list – leave me a note below!

xoxo,

C