Monday, May 16, 2011

Hold on to Your Butts…

Going off the rails!

There’s a storm a-brewing and it’s headed right for me. Many debt distractions are making their way to throw me off the rails of this crazy train. Although I am doing incredibly well with my debt repayment I am going to be encountering some may-jah changes to my regular schedule. The key over the next few weeks will be to focus, focus, and focus. What in the world is all this excitement John? What, oh what, could be your kryptonite? How is it possible that the latest and greatest debt detonator could ever face such perils that he will be taken so far off course from his debt repayments? Now that you’re on the edge of your seats with excitement, I encourage you to sit back, relax, and read along as to what variables are going to attack my spending. Oh boy, it looks like I may need to redo my budget again.

Do you remember a little while ago, back in March when I told y’all that I got a permanent job? The great news about all this is that I have benefits coming my way starting at the end of June. I’m talking about the whole shebang; dental, optical, rectal, you name it, I got it. Where the challenge begins is that now I have to pay things like death insurance, medical insurance, union dues, pension, and all that wonderful stuff that I’ll probably be stuck with paying until I’m 65. Yes, you heard it here first kids, I don’t think my generation is going to get that “freedom 55” ticket that our parents are getting. With added (but wonderfully exciting) expenses such as these, my gross pay is going down. Only by about $100 mind you, and since I got a raise anyway, the effects of this should all be minor.

If it’s so minor John, why even mention it? I’m getting to that part you guys, geez Louise! Because I worked for 7 years through various contracts with my current employer, I am now able to purchase back all that time that I put in. In other words, I can buy back all that pensionable time in order for me to get out of the workforce sooner, much much sooner. I have calculated how much time I can purchase and it works out to be about 723 working days or the equivalent of 3 years! These years come with a price tag of about $4,000-5,000 (or so I estimate) in order for me to purchase them back. Now I’m no fool, I am all over buying this time back, and it’s cheaper to do so now rather than when you’re making more money in the future. The added bonus is that I can retire 3 years earlier when I’m approaching retirement. Now with buybacks, you can opt to have this amount slowly paid for through deductions from your paychecks, and that’s what I’m going to do. The pickle that I’m in is that my gross pay is going to go down while I’m doing this, and those of you who have been reading along in the blog know that I am not one to run away from paying off debt anymore. I think the best approach will be to find out what the interest rate is on this repayment and then squeeze it in accordingly to my debt repayment process.

My kick-a$$ new helmet!!
There’s so much more to this storm of spending other than this new buyback option. Like a fool, I assumed that I was getting about $600 back in income tax from the Government. However, like Mom always said, when you assume, you make and A$$ out of U and ME (get it? – yes I know it’s a lame joke). Anyway, with this assumption in mind, I’ve been a little more liberal in my spending – not crazy, but a little bit of my alter ego, Spendy Spenderson came out. The things I did buy were justifiable though. Finally, after years of bike riding, I caved and bought myself a helmet (on sale!). My luck has certainly been pushed on this, so I think it was a smart move. My helmet is pretty freaking bad-a$$ too, if you saw it you’d agree. It has little skulls on it which totally means that I am hardcore. While getting my helmet though, I decided to get some new handlebar tape, and that set me back another 25 bones. Add to that my 3-year anniversary with my partner and the $120 meal I bought for us which I thought my refund would cover as well. Needless to say, my Government windfall never came through. In fact I owe them $79.40. All the more reason I should be putting my money into a tax-free savings account. So that little curve ball is nothing to sneeze at, but either way, it did throw off my game a little bit, however I think my “crazy” purchases were totally worth it.

Big change is coming its way for my schedule. I’m not going to lie, having a boring and routine schedule has really made it easy for me to stay on track with my spending. Every day I get to come home and prepare myself a fresh home cooked meal. I recommend this to everyone – not just for your budget, but for your health. Did you know that I can almost see my abs through my former beer belly? Talk about exciting; now I’ll even have a washboard to do my laundry for cheap! The curveball is that I’m going back to school. Yes, I’m going back to school yet again. It’s not university or college though, it’s French language training. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I’ll be spending 3 hours after work learning how to parler en Français. This is an incredible gift from my employer to spruce up my language competency; however it does throw off my schedule. After work, I usually enjoy an hour and a half of hot yoga and then I come home for dinner around 7:30. Now, I’m going to be doing French until 7:00, yoga until 9:00 and dinner around 9:30. I don’t think this is really sustainable, so I’m going to see if I can bring dinner to my French classes. I really hate making lunches in advance. I find that nothing ever tastes the same when it’s been sitting in a bag for 24 hours until the next time you eat it. I gets all soggy and tastes like plastic wrap, and then there’s that mess of lugging along those dirty containers – ew. I guess this will challenge me to go the distance on how I spend my food budget and we’ll see if I can resist the temptation to buy takeout.

Worst Place to go when you're in debt!!
Alright, now here comes the doozie - Vegas. Yes, in a mere 3 weeks I will be living it large and in charge in Las Vegas. I think that at this point, if I were on one of Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s shows she would slap me across the back of my head.  Why the H-E-double hockey sticks are I going to Vegas when I’m trying to pay down $38,000 worth of debt? Well, it’s for my brother’s stag party and I am in his wedding party, so I do feel obligated to go and I do have a bit of a game plan. Have you been watching my savings account climb ever higher? Have you also noticed that I have now paid of $5,000 on my credit card?! I’m so excited about that I could pee myself. I have made an executive decision to reward myself by taking $1,000 from my savings for spending to Vegas to cover me for the 3 days that I’m there. I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable for me to live on $1,000 for 3 days in Vegas. The real question is how much of the rest of my savings I can hold onto to pay for my trip to his Wedding in August!

So as you can clearly see, there is a storm a-brewing which will push my limits to crazy new levels. Will I survive the storm? Will I burn out from French and cave in to take out? Can any man only live on $1,000 for 3 days in Vegas? Stay tuned until next time kids on the next episode of John’s Fight for Financial Freedom!


  1. John, when you're doing yoga until 9:00pm, you could take a page out of Gigi's rule book and have her teach you her wonderful meals that she cooks to last her days at a time. As her roomie, I can tell you that she's got the whole "I bring three meals a day with me wherever I go!" attitude down pat.

    Also, please take her tupperware from her. She needs help.

  2. $296.71 until you're under $30k!!! Woohoo! I'm so proud of you, that is actually amazing!

  3. Thank you both for the sweet comments! Andy, I am so effing excited to get my debt under control! I will be hitting the Gi'gster up for those recipes for sure!