Hello my fellow Mustacians!
I've been waiting for the perfect time to pop up and introduce myself for a short while now. Don't let the alias fool you! Despite appearances, really don't have delusions of grandeur relating to some form of aristocracy or some longing to live a Downton Abbeyesque existance... (ok, perhaps I would actually love to live the "Downton" life... but that's a conversation for later!)
I'm a recent adopter (but not yet a total convert) to Mustachianism. I'm 27, living alone in the beautiful Emerald city. Through certain life circumstances, I attended college a tad late and, via the same circumstances, ended up shouldering the entire cost of my education myself. After the dust had settled, I had a student loan bill totaling $55,000.00 tacked on the back of my degree... Fifty grand! I wasn't shocked by this though as I knew what I was getting into. Far from the relaxed college experience of sleeping in, red solo cup-laden dorm parties and afternoons spent lounging on the freshly-cut grass of The Quad, my college experience entailed 16+ credit hours each term, a job of some sort, an internship of some sort, volunteering of some sort and maybe, just maybe if I was lucky, a chance for a little downtime here and there. I went to school for Advertising and Graphic Design...
I can already hear the muttering from you all...! "Advertising?! You mean you have a career solely supported by persuading maxed out consumers into giving up yet more of their unused credit card balances? That is terribly un-Mustachian!" Well... That too is a story for another time. Long-story short, I was so ravenous, so completely focused on doing the best work that I could that when I did graduate in 2009 a full 2-terms early, my career exploded. I went from making $21,000 at my college job to $52,000 at the one that immediately followed. Then, after a layoff, a move across country with only my savings as a backup and a year and a half of job ambiguity and contract work, began working for a large, Seattle-based internet company with a starting salary of $95,000. Success! My ship has come in! Time to crack open the bubbly and take a nice deep drag on that cigar! ... right?
Not exactly. You see, I did mention that I was only a fairly recent convert to Mustachianism. And the trigger-point that tipped me towards the side of the 'stache? Parking receipts. I was sitting in traffic. Not ordinary traffic either; we're talking 'Seattle' traffic. The kind of traffic that just doesn't move for what feels like decades because at some intersection far beyond the horizon line, a bridge might be up. Or someone failed to merge correctly and are now blocking two lanes of traffic instead of neatly staying single file. I digress! So I'm sitting in traffic. Its the end of the week, I'm tired, It's cold and rainy out and my car is filthy. Well, not filthy, just littered with tons of little paper parking receipts. Each one had $15.65 on it... So I'm sitting in traffic, not moving, idling away the tank of premium gas. Then it hit me. How much did I spend on parking last year total..? I certainly drove to work a lot.. When I got home I started doing the maths...
$3800+ on parking alone.
I kept looking at the number and just wanted to vomit. But I didn't stop there. I added up the interest paid on my student loans.
$3741.31 just on student loan interest.
But it didn't stop there. Let's not forget the cash spent eating out at lunch everyday. Or too many take-out dinners, or the gym membership that I never used because it was too far out of my way, or the gas I burned going absolutely nowhere, or the loan interest on my credit card debts, or the cable TV I was never able to watch because I'm stuck in friggen traffic, or any of the other countless things that I was literally throwing my money at for absolutely no good reason! I felt sick, like I had been punched in the face by some stupid clown who laughed annoyingly and scampered off joyously with thousands of dollars of my hard-earned money, only the clown was me... it was ME! I was in shock for days, and after that, I decided to make a permanent change.
Enter the Badassity: I may be a new, converting Mustachian, but these are some of the things that I've done to make that shift happen.
- Started biking the 2-miles to work (yes, I spent all that money parking my car in a pay lot that was only 2 miles away from my apartment. Story on that insanity later.)
- Put my entire first-year hiring bonus ($7,000) towards credit card debt. (So long 19.99% and 17.99% interest rates!)
- Cutback on my eating out by learning how to cook -food- food.
- Balanced transferred some other $2,200 from a card with 17.99% interest to one with 5%.
- Up-ed debt payments from just a bit more than the minimum to about $2500 a month.
- Put the car to sleep, except on weekends. (Total drive-time has fallen waaaay down).
Dropping about $10,000 on my debts immediately after I received my first paycheck from my new job was an amazingly cathartic experience. I had broken out of what was "normal", since "normal" was living my life as wastefully as I had been. As I saw those high-interest balances incinerated by the sheer scale of the initial blast of money I unleashed upon them, something had changed within me. Now, all I see are areas for improvement and I'm looking forward to the journey ahead.
I can't wait to share more of my experiences, from the very big events such as quitting commuting by car cold-turkey, to the very small ones, like repairing my flip flops with an old bike inner-tube. Being amongst people who are encouraging of the process as I strip the idiocy from my life to become my alter ego, Lord Cashmoney is exciting, and I can't wait to see what I continue to learn from such an awesome group of people as this.
Damn it's good to be here! :)
~ Lord Cashmoney