As I sit here writing this post, I do so without the benefit of a hot shower at the end of the day. And “Why is that?”, you might ask. Because the hot water heater in the house share I am renting is no longer working. Ugh.
Housing, rent, or the ability to put a roof over one’s head is generally the most significant, regular, financial obligation one has each month. Generally, if you are in debt, the first question anyone asks is, “How much is your mortgage?” or “How much is your rent?” This is why, if you are someone who has significant debt, one of the first things you may try to do is reduce your mortgage/rent. However, this, like all things, has costs. Costs that must be carefully, and continually, balanced against other interests. In my previous apartment, the cost of cheap rent was occasional pests and a neglectful landlord who believed that the cost of cheap rent was living with these significant discomforts. My current place is much nicer but my absent landlord means the cost of cheap rent is significantly more responsibility than what would normally be expected of tenants. So tomorrow, instead of spending my first weekend off from work, in more than three weeks, on my back, lazing and not doing much, I will instead be trying to find a plumber to address the fact that the house does not have hot water. A the moment, this cost seems significant.
The reality is, I don’t know that I have a choice. Clearer: I don’t have a choice. Maintaining cheap rent is very much key to me getting rid of my student loan debt before I am 40. At one time, I think I thought I wouldn’t have a choice until I was entirely out of debt. However, as I prepare for life after debt, I think this calculation, what I’m willing to “pay/sacrifice” for cheap rent, is something I am going to have to decide sooner than I would like…
Update: The hot water heater began working again. The power to the house occasionally goes out and this seems to be something that is triggered by the HVAC system. I can hear it struggling to turn on and then the power will go out for a moment. When the power comes back on, the HVAC system starts right back up. I think this power outage resulted in our “smart” water heater getting a reset. In the future, if this, unfortunately, happens again, turning the electric breaker off and then back on may be a solution. It feels like I have dedicated far too much time to figuring this out but…cheap rent.
Lunar Do-Over Day 4: February 4th
1. How much did I spend today? – $41.41 – The free ride is officially over now that I am back home. I am making an effort to eat out of my freezer and pantry, so most of the money I spent today was on fresh foods. I also bought a chopper to help make meal prep a bit faster and dry shampoo and conditioner that were on clearance to make a few of my hairstyles last longer.
|Groceries||Taiwanese cabbage ($1.29/lb, 7.79lbs)||$ (10.35)|
|Groceries||Broccoli crowns, strawberries (2), mandarins (5lbs), turnip greens, and dry shampoo and conditioner||$ (21.94)|
February Variable (food, gas, misc.) Budget Initial Balance: $463.77
February Variable (food, gas, misc.) Budget Remaining Balance: $379.20
2. What financial information have I learned to help me when I’m debt-free? – See the true costs of cheap rent above.
3. How have I lived abundantly? – I am slowly learning to stop treating my pleasure as “frivolous.” I love fresh flowers (and plants) but while I have been in debt, when I have wanted to buy fresh flowers, I have refrained because I couldn’t justify it. Flowers are not functional and the fact that they literally die within a week of purchase would seem to make them an incredibly self-indulgent purchase. But they make me happy. So happy.
Every time I walk past this Dollar Tree vase and a bouquet of flowers, it makes me so happy. On my way to my bathroom or looking up from work. Happy. Now, before you think I have jumped off the deep end…
Yes…I find my pleasure in the reduced bin. But I find it.