Author Topic: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!  (Read 5752 times)

MrBuckBeard

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I've already posted and got some GREAT advice from you kind Mustachians.  And even before that, I had taken steps to right a sinking ship.  So while I don't need help with my budget, I'll lay it out just to keep it all fresh in mind:

Income:

$3100/month (Salaried.  Net after 401(k), insurance, taxes).

Expenses:

$650 Rent
$30 Phone (Yay Republic!!!)
$125 Utilities
$150 Personal Loan (1800 left, 0% interest)
$325 Student Loan ($60k, 30k @ 3%, 30k @ 6%)
$150-ish Food (groceries only, and keeping it pretty basic for now while learning how to cook)
$60 personal cash (date night, bar, etc.  This is down from the ~$800 I used to spend.  Winning!  Once I get the credit cards paid off, this will come back up A LITTLE).

Sold the car.  Got work to pay for a bus/train pass.  Cut cable down a lot (but not completely gone.  I have roommates, part of my agreement is to cover this bill, they cover others in return).  I've done a lot to accelerate my debt repayment.  Not listed above is my credit cards.  I used to owe $5000 on them.  Just tossed another $500 to the plastic payment, leaving me at $1500 or so. 

So really, I'm going in the correct direction.  I've cut my cost of living, exercised some restraint on spending, and dedicated the extra money to the credit cards.  Once I do that, I'll give myself a bit more spending money, but put the rest to the student loans (highest interest first).

Thing is, I don't know what to do with myself.  I find myself writing down the expenses I have on paper, doing the math, over and over and over again.  Even though the numbers never change.  I read this blog, I contribute to reddit's Personal Finance and Financial Independence subreddits.  It's becoming a compulsion.  There has to be something better I can do with this time.  Are there maybe some books I should read?  I'd rather pick up a paperback and learn about money than to spin my wheels thinking about my finances, when I already know them front and back.

Did any of you deal with this when you started out? 

2ndTimer

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2014, 02:11:23 PM »
Time to start studying yourself.  Cutting costs is a great time to find out what you love best (Hint:  It will be where you want to spend money) and start figuring out how to do it frugally.

TrulyStashin

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2014, 02:20:03 PM »

Did any of you deal with this when you started out?

Yes, absolutely.  IME, finding MMM was a thrilling epiphany.  In the spring of 2013, I made a "Mustachian-180", much like you've done.  It was so exciting to finally have an answer to my worries! 

But, as with any new idea, once the newness starts to fade and the long, slow, slog to debt-free life sets in, it can feel like walking through molasses.  In January.  That's normal, the key is to recognize it and keep going anyway.   

You might try refocusing your energy away from obsessing over $$ progress and start obsessing over progress in badassity skills, which will ultimately support your $$ improvement and build your sense of empowerment. 

Do an inventory of what DIY skills you have dialed in, which ones are mediocre, and which ones you don't have but want to have.  Make a list and then go after those skills, one by one.  Cooking is an easy one to start with.  There are tons of posts here and you can watch PBS' Create TV channel (or other cooking shows).  I highly recommend Jacques Pepin's "Fast Food My Way".   

Also, start a journal!

hybrid

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2014, 03:00:14 PM »
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

What she said. I've had the pleasure of watching TrulyStashin go through a whole host of changes and this is not a woman to be trifled with financially (or any other way)! My advice here is to get a Mustachian Buddy or two. I'm blessed, I have several in my life. Being able to talk about finances to someone and bounce ideas off of can be invigorating and inspirational.

I spent a few hours with Mustachian Buddy this weekend and he shared with me how much progress he made toward his goals over the last year. I came away from that truly impressed with his diligence and inspired to keep pushing on. I'm sure he appreciated a well earned fist bump or two. Frugality can be a bore at times with so many pleasant (but fleeting) distractions available and having a network really helps if you can create one.

Gone Fishing

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2014, 03:20:57 PM »
Start looking for a side hustle, a new job with a raise, and/or a cheaper place to live.  Another "win" will not only accelerate your plan, but it will help you stay motivated. 

Are you paying more than the minimums on every piece of your debt?  If so, stop.  Pick the loan with the highest rate and throw all extra cash at it while paying the minimum on the rest.  The only exception to this is if the 0% loan is set to expire in which case I would divide the remaining balance by the number of months left on the offer, minus one for a buffer, and pay that amount each month.

When I really went after our spending about 16 months ago, I noticed that 80% of the reductions had absolutely no impact on our lives, they were just expenses that had crept up over time and did not add much value.  After a month or two without the other 20%, I realized those were things I really enjoyed so I allowed them back into my budget. However, my friend, until your fire is put out, you need to continue on.  Keep up the good work! 



Fuzz

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2014, 10:41:58 PM »
Thing is, I don't know what to do with myself.  I find myself writing down the expenses I have on paper, doing the math, over and over and over again.  Even though the numbers never change.  I read this blog, I contribute to reddit's Personal Finance and Financial Independence subreddits.  It's becoming a compulsion.  There has to be something better I can do with this time.  Are there maybe some books I should read?  I'd rather pick up a paperback and learn about money than to spin my wheels thinking about my finances, when I already know them front and back.

Did any of you deal with this when you started out? 

I deal with this all the time. I check account balances several times a week. I update spreadsheets. The needle is moving, but slowly, slowly. I think if you find yourself dwelling on it, the best thing to do is something else completely. Exercise. The point of life isn't to ruminate on finances.

If you're looking to sustain the stoke, I think no more harvard debt's blog is a great read from start to finish.

lpep

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2014, 01:33:34 AM »
Oh I know the feeling. I keep a spreadsheet and update it nearly every day. You might also sign up for Personal Capital. This way you can have your daily moment of tracking things, realize the numbers aren't going to change for the day, and then move on with your life!

At least that's the theory :)

happy

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2014, 05:23:31 AM »
We humans are so impatient!
To be honest I probably spent my first 2 years MMMing, working and reworking figures, sums, concepts and ideas. I'd just think I had it all sorted and I'd read something else, have another aha moment and go off on another intense foray of reading and figuring. However I didn't have much background knowledge about finances, so I probably had a lot to learn ( more than the average starting out poster here I reckon).  "The stoke" as Fuzz put it has pretty well died off now, but I continue to make improvements.

One thing I hadn't expected is that the discipline of making a plan, methodically sticking to it week after week, knowing that it will work and not being discouraged or distracted, and not listening to those defeatist voices in my head…all of this has had an effect in other areas of my life. The most obvious is losing weight, but also noticing I'm better at keeping up with household tasks and making steady progress with decluttering etc.

Louisville

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2014, 06:17:03 AM »
The whole point of of getting your financial house in order is so that you can think about things other than money. It has been, and still is, a learning curve for me figuring out how to have fun without blowing money. Drinking out ($$$) and eating out ($$) have been replaced with biking, gardening, more exercise, etc.
Find something else to do.

Spondulix

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2014, 03:03:06 PM »
I think it becomes a habit to check because we feel like we need to do something, when in actuality we are doing a lot. It takes some getting used to the idea that our money can work for us passively - we don't have to work hard for money (or pay attention to it) for it to do its job! I'm sure there's a fear of complacency, but when saving becomes a lifestyle, it's not how it was before.

Monday is my finance day - that's when I check all my accounts, balances, and take notes of anything I don't know, or am thinking about changing. In a week, you can actually see progress, and Monday is the best time, IMO, because you still have a fresh mind.

I second the idea of a hobby that is Mustachian friendly. The best kind of hobby is one that makes you some extra cash (!!) but as others suggested, something like gardening or cooking will only help lower your costs. If you're into arts and crafts, make something you can sell on Craigslist or Etsy. I love to study finance and sites/books also, but I don't want to burn out on it. It's a balance...

MKinVA

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2014, 04:58:25 PM »
I think we all get obsessed with the numbers. I figure my pension several times a week enough though the numbers are the same. You'll get passed that. Exercise. What do you do? Pick up basketball, tennis at the free park courts, run around the high school track, fast walk around the neighborhood. All free. Teach yourself to cook. Borrow a cookbook from the library and start cooking. Go to the library, get a book or two and read. Actually don't go to the library, you can get a book from the library through Overdrive right onto your IPad or other reader. Free to anyone with a library card, in most metro areas. Now that it's getting dark earlier in the evening maybe someone (older person) in your neighborhood would like a dog walker. Five bucks every evening to walk their dog. That's over a hundred bucks a month just for taking a walk.

Goldielocks

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2014, 01:10:12 PM »
Learn how to sell on eBay, then offer your services to friends. I would gladly split the net money, or give away my clutter to someone like that, that I knew.

Badass skillset, too.

frugal_c

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2014, 03:19:08 PM »
Yeah, you need to distract yourself from this.   I am not sure if you have investments yet, but it can be brutal if you like to track your net-worth all the time when you hit a bear market.   You can have the experience where for 1-2 years (think about that, YEARS!) your net worth keeps going down.  Then a long period while it recovers, interspersed with temporary draw-downs.   It really, really, really, really sucks to be watching that too closely.  It will eat away at your resolve.  Best not to think about it too much and just enjoy your life.

Mortgage Free Mike

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2014, 04:50:30 PM »
Great job... Once you develop the good habits, you won't have to think about your spending choices so much. Perhaps working a side hustle of 5 to 10 hours a week might help?


mozar

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Re: It's working so well...but going so slow. Patience? My hair is on fire!
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2014, 05:38:30 PM »
I've made all the major decisions in my life for awhile, bought a house, got a better job, the 401k has been rolled over, learned to cook, almost everything is automated or will be starting in January...I'm now figuring out what kind of activities enjoy, and after a major break up I want to make friends again. So I've been joining groups on meetup.com as well as the mustachian get-togethers. It's been going well so far.