What I spent and earned: October 9th – “Hit ‘Em Up”

That subtitle is for you Blissful… 😉

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $0.00 – Yay!
Variable Budget Remaining: $251.49

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $182.00*
Earned To Date: $605.19*
Goal Remaining: ($1,894.81)

Yea…today’s gig was an early one and I had to be on-site and perky at 6:00AM. This gig was actually on University B’s campus in the business school. Because University B is a medium-sized, private university, I took the gig with the assumption that I wouldn’t know anyone at the event and this turned out to be the case. Wearing a mask helped…

I have continued to wear a mask at all of my indoor gigs, which have been all of my recent gigs but one. Initially, internally, I argued that this was to limit my exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses this flu season, however, as I shared in an earlier post, I know that it is more than that…I know that I am a bit ashamed of my continued service work and fear running into someone I know. I don’t fully understand this fear as I generally don’t entertain the opinions of strangers with respect to what I need to do to support myself (yea, the irony isn’t lost on me). However, if I am truly honest, I really fear running into one person in particular…

I live in a large southern city, and the likelihood is extremely low that Gentleman Avery and I would run into one another at an event I am working…but there is always a chance. When we last spoke, really talked, I was still working at Organization C and University B, pulling in decent, almost “career, education-appropriate” money, and I felt confident about my financial position in a way I never had previously. I finally had something to offer a partner, at least in the nearish future. Gentleman Avery almost felt like an economic peer and had there been some impetus to bare our financial souls to one another, I could have done it. I could have done it.

However, a couple of months later and I no longer feel that way. And if I am truly honest (sorry for all these Red Shoe Diariesque confessions), I think that is the real reason I wanted some space from him. Space to find out if I could get into medical school/graduate school. Space to make a decision about further school on my own. Space not to feel ashamed about a career choice and an economic space that feels…regressive.

There is part of me that is hoping that this space, this lack of contact, will encourage him to move on…to finally let me go. He must be exhausted by us. I am exhausted by us. But there is another part of me that is hoping he’s still there. When I’ll have more answers…and feel like I have something to offer, again.

*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 7th and 8th – A tale of two days…

A tale of two days…

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $58.78
Variable Budget Remaining: $251.49

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $144.48*
Earned To Date: $423.19*
Goal Remaining: ($2,076.81)

Friday was all business and Saturday was all fun. As I shared in a previous post, on Friday, I finally broke down and purchased a new black dress shirt on my way to my evening gig. While this felt like a bit of a “failure” as it was the first time I had to go up in clothing size in years, I felt much more comfortable at work and, ultimately, it was the right choice. In the long term, I am more likely to pick up gigs if I am not psychologically hesitant to put on my uniform because it doesn’t fit.

On Saturday I went to a “free festival” with a friend and made a newbie “free event” mistake: the event is free, but food and activities at the event will cost ya. The event had a lot of local vendors and restaurants and despite lamenting the need to slim down, I allowed myself to snack (or buy) a smoothie, two bags of small-bag popcorn, and lemonade wine (I know, I know, but it was so deliciously southern…I can’t even hate). On the way home, I picked up some eggs. Overall, I had a wonderful time with my friends and housemate (who I dragged along with me) and it’s probably a good thing that I have friends who pull me out of the house for shenanigans on occasion.

A couple of months ago, I would have thought nothing about spending $40.00 at a festival, however, recording it today…hurt.

*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 6th – Dressing the part…

Sneaking this one in just under the wire…

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $0.00 – Yay!
Variable Budget Remaining: $310.27

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $133.45*
Earned To Date: $278.71*
Goal Remaining: ($2,221.29)

I just made it home from a gig so this one isn’t getting posted in the most timely manner but it’s getting posted, so there. October 6th was a good day in terms of my variable budget as I earned money but didn’t spend money on anything. The gift and the curse of working the wedding banquet circuit is that there is always free food; great for my budget, less great for my waistline. I felt really uncomfortable in my “blacks” (black slacks, black button down, black socks, and black slip-proof shoes) today and it was a not-so-comfortable reminder of the weight I put on towards the end of the summer, and early fall as I eschewed the gym and other activities in favor of studying for the MCAT. If I am nakedly honest, I continue to struggle a bit with eating in response to strong emotions, and there was a lot happening towards the end of the summer…

On my way to my gig today (October 7th), I broke down and bought another black dress shirt from a thrift shop. I should have done this much sooner but for whatever reason, I felt like I “deserved” to be uncomfortable for gaining the weight. And that perhaps being uncomfortable was necessary to help me lose weight… I don’t know if that is true, or what it means, but I bought a new shirt today.


*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 5th – Where I needed to be…

A super quick post before I head to my Qwick gig as I’m breathing freely and back at it…

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: ($36.37)
Variable Budget Remaining: $310.27

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $0.00*
Earned To Date: $145.26*
Goal Remaining: ($2,354.74)

Yesterday, my mother’s Yorkie of eight years died. While he had been with her for eight years, he was 13 and had been slowly deteriorating over the past year to the point that he could no longer walk, eat, or evacuate waste on his own; he was also on a heavy steroid regimen for pain. My mother was incredibly heartbroken so I took a trip to see her. My parents live almost 70 miles from me so I needed to fill up my tank, and that was all the spending that I did for the day. I had hoped to pick up a shift in the evening but I ended up spending time exactly where I needed to be.

Today, I was able to schedule a gig for tomorrow and I am getting dressed as I write this as I head off to a gig this evening. It’s my hope that I MIGHT be able to persuade my friend to go to the festival when it opens late Saturday morning and pick up a gig in the evening. In any instance, there will be income to report starting tomorrow. (Also, if you left a comment on an earlier post, I will read and respond to them when I get home tonight. I just wanted to try and get this one up today so that I stayed on track in terms of posting this month).


*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 3rd and 4th – Feeling kinda blah…

Sorry, ya’ll, I am definitely getting October 3rd up a day late but I finally started feeling a bit better yesterday so I slept as much as I could. Being sick is always a miserable affair and it can be very costly if you are an hourly employee. Once I realized I was sick my goal was to get better as soon as possible so I could start picking up shifts again and I feel like some of my indulgent spending reflects this…

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $127.52
Variable Budget Remaining: $346.64

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $0.00*
Earned To Date: $145.26*
Goal Remaining: ($2,354.74)

Yea, so this was a spendy couple of days with no money coming in. That wasn’t terribly surprising since I was sick but right now I am not regretting it as I can fully breathe through my nose and I am feeling much, much better; if a shift pops up on the Qwick app later this afternoon/evening, I am planning to take it.

The significant grocery spending included pantry staples like sesame oil and enough kimchi to last me all of October. Between the food I have in my freezer, pantry, and fridge, I should not need to buy groceries, except for maybe eggs, for the next two weeks. The oil change was just general car maintenance that is essential for the long term care of my car. The most frivolous spending was that I bought my breakfast and lunch on campus on Tuesday because I just didn’t feel like making it the night before. For now, I’m going to count the fact that I dragged myself to class and lab as a win. If I can really go the next two weeks without buying groceries, I’ll have made up for it.

Right now I currently have a Qwick shift scheduled for Thursday and Sunday. This is pretty great because shifts on those days are harder to come by so having something scheduled this early in the week is really helpful. I haven’t picked up a Friday or Saturday shift yet but I am not concerned as there are always shifts on those days. I did have to pass up a great Saturday shift because it would have been an all-day shift and I had already made plans with a friend. I really, really, really wanted to accept that shift but I haven’t seen this friend in two months between her travel for work and my MCAT study. We are planning to attend a free outdoor event in the city and I think it will be fun. In the future, I will try to make plans for Sundays as opposed to Saturdays as there tend to be fewer lucrative opportunities on Sundays.

Overall, I am feeling kinda blah. Some moments I feel happy and grateful for the freedom to make the choices I have recently made, other moments I feel sad and behind, and other moments I feel a bit anxious about how “up in the air” my life feels at the moment. And I miss Gentleman Avery. But I have been sick for the past few days and my monthly cycle is here, so I am going to refrain from making any significant choices while under the influence of an influx of hormones.


*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

What I spent and earned: October 2, 2022 – Becoming a mouthbreather…

Ugh. October 2nd was mostly spent in bed struggling to breathe through my nose because I have a cold. The ability to breathe through your nose is one of the most underappreciated aspects of daily life. (C is also suffering from a cold…get better C!) Unfortunately, getting sick is something that often happens when you perform service work (evening when you wear a mask!). I’m just grateful it isn’t COVID-19 (the common cold, a rhinovirus, is much more abundant and heartier than COVID-19, and unlike COVID-19, it is great at sticking to surfaces) and that I have the ability to rest. As one would expect, being sick meant money only went out…

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $25.84
Variable Budget Remaining: $474.16

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $0.00*
Earned To Date: $145.26*
Goal Remaining: ($2,354.74)

*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

When I woke up this morning, I was actually able to breathe through one of my nostrils and am feeling a bit better than yesterday. For a second, I thought I might be able to take some medicine to treat the symptoms of being sick and sign-up for a short Qwick shift. However, after mulling it over a bit more, I figured it probably wasn’t the best idea to alarm others by being sick or potentially making them sick, and allowing myself to continue resting will likely help me get better as soon as possible. Ugh.

What I spent and earned: October 1, 2022 – A hard reset…

Okay, so in my October 2022 – Life Update, I mentioned that I was struggling to readjust to my significantly reduced monthly income. UNDERSTATEMENT! Except for March, I don’t think there has been a month this year where I stayed under my variable expenses budget. And for the most part, this didn’t really matter. Between part-time work with University B and full-time work at Organization C, there was always another check coming, and my income was usually above $6,000.00 per month. However, my departure from Organization C means that I no longer have a full-time income, which means my new part-time role at University B and my side gigs have gone from being discretionary income to my only income. This change makes it really important that I stick to my modest variable expenses budget each month as there will be no large check at the end of the month to bail out my overspending.

To help me get back on track, I have decided to blog about what I spent and earned each day in October.

Variable Expenses Budget: $500.00
Spent Today: $0.00
Variable Budget Remaining: $500.00

October Income Goal: $2,500.00
Earned Today: $145.26*
Earned To Date: $145.26*
Goal Remaining: ($2,354.74)

*Income is reported as cash on hand. Some gigs are 1099 gigs (taxes not withheld) and some gigs are W-2 gigs (taxes withheld) and it would be tough to distinguish between the two in a neat way. Instead, I will report cash in hand, and money set aside for taxes and expenses related to gig work will have a budget line item each month.

I think both my income goal and my variable budget are very modest. Gigs are less plentiful in the fall and winter months than they are in the summer so I will really need to hustle to hit my income goal. Staying on top of my variable budget will also be tough and I may need to tell more of my friends about departing my role with Organization C so that they are more open to cheap or free fun.

While I have been using credit cards and paying them off each month, to earn a significant amount of cash back throughout the year, I am now wondering whether it makes more sense to go back to using just my debit card or cash. I like the additional protections afforded by credit cards so, for now, I am going to keep using them. It is my hope that publishing my earnings and spending each day will keep me accountable and motivated. I have worked really hard over the past four years to change my financial circumstances and it is my hope that I can demonstrate the lessons learned during this period in which my income is reduced. It’s way easier to be frugal when money isn’t an issue. Now that it is, we’ll see how much I have really changed.

Blogiversary: Year 3

It seems like the American experiment in democracy is crumbling, inflation is wild, and I don’t think I can vote myself out of being systemically stripped of rights but financially, I’m in a decent place. A better place than I have been in a long, long time. In fact, after my August 1st payment, I will have less debt than I did when I left college 14 years ago…

Last year, I decided that my anniversary posts would be a permutation between a mid-year check-in and an end-of-year evaluation of my blogging goals. For the most part, I’ve decided to stick with that plan but first, to the numbers…

Student Loan Debt Journey

Blog Start – July 4, 2019: -$133,259.74

1st Blogiversary – July 4, 2020: -$119,119.98

2nd Blogiversary – July 4, 2021: -$101,626.31

3rd Blogiversary – July 4, 2022: -$67,017.92

Well…damn. So a bit of a spolier for the August 1st student loan balance update but kinda worth it for the reflection. The me that started this blog on July 4, 2019, could only have dreamed that in three years I would be where I am with my student loan debt. While I knew what it would take to get it done I had no real plan and was only guided by faith in myself to work hard. Obviously, it took a lot more than just working but…I’m here. $66,241.82 less indebted. Even though some of though five thousand of that was auto debt that I paid off (and then added to), it’s still debt I paid. In three years I have paid off a NET $66,241.82 in debt. I know I am supposed to look at that number with a twinge of guilt and a wish that I had been able to put it towards something else but at the moment I’m just grateful.

Next up, a mid-year check-in on my 2022 REVISED Financial Goals:

1) Earn the $2,000.00 match from Organization C.In Progress. At the beginning of the year, I made the correct election and this is happening. This would generally not be a financial goal but I ended up having to address it after being so disappointed by the employer match.

2) Save $1,000.00 as a non-emergency fund sinking fund.Completed. I was able to complete this using income I earned while working at an academic camp part-time for two weeks in June. The sinking fund actually has several thousand dollars in it at the moment that is waiting to be allocated towards something. I keep going back and forth about what that something is. Hopefully, I’ll make up my mind soon.

3) Make it below $60,000.00 in student loan debt.Likely. The betting odds on this one in Vegas would be pretty high. While this goal seemed outrageous at the beginning of the year when I didn’t know what was going to happen with University B, months later, it seems all but inevitable. August will be the last month where I will have any residual income from University B. However, even if I only make payments of $2,000.00 for the remainder of the year (which is the payment I can comfortably make using only my full-time income) then I should still make it below $60,000.00 in student loan debt in early December. It feels weird to be so matter-of-fact about this…

Finally, my Third Year Blog Goals:

1) Blog at least twice a month.
– Passed! While the summer has marked an appreciable slow down in posts, for a while there, I was blogging quite a bit a month.

2) Vlog at least once a month. – Fail! I could have achieved this. I have the content and the tools. I just keep going back and forth about how much of myself I want to put out on the interwebs. Because once it’s out there, you can’t take it back.

I’m going to skip making blogging goals for the upcoming year. I plan to focus on using my blog as a journal to work through more of my personal life. It feels like I always wait to come here until after I have “figured it out,” but I think blogging about things, especially the bigger things, could be beneficial.

FINALLY, a HUGE THANK YOU to anyone who takes time to read my blog, and especially those of you who comment. I sound like a broken record at this point but I am endlessly grateful for your support throughout this journey. Thank you.

All my debt in the world…

Last month I shared that I decided to refinance my auto loan with PenFed. While I still love PenFed, the process for refinancing my auto loan was a bit cumbersome and seemed to take forever. However, US Bank, my previous auto loan holder, finally processed the payoff payment…

And, on the PenFed side of things…

…all my debt in the world is now located in one place. While I like the simplicity this adds to my life (one less place to log in each month) a part of me now feels “itchy” about seeing that relatively low auto loan balance in the same portal as my much larger student loan*. Perhaps I should not change my financial goal from “less than $60K in student loan debt” to “less than $50K student loan debt” this year and should instead keep the under $60k goal and add paying off my auto loan? While my auto loan is only at 2.39% compared to my student loan’s 3.50% interest rate, it would eliminate a $300.00 payment each month. In addition to further reducing my fixed expenses, it would also lower my debt-to-income ratio… Thoughts?



*I used Paint3D to delete my account numbers and student loan balance from this photo. I feel like my student loan balance, and how much I have been able to pay off, is the only thing that keeps my blog interesting from month to month.

The true “costs” of cheap rent… (PART II)

*sighs*

It’s important to be honest about the challenges of shared living since it is often one of the first things that people mention when discussing strategies for significant debt repayment.

For the most part, my housemates are pretty great. And as I mentioned in another post, I have become extremely close to one of them and I will be sad when she moves out next month. For clarity’s sake, I will refer to her as Mahira moving forward. Mahira is in her early thirties, a psychologist, and a pretty chill housemate. She’s tidy, respectful of space, and very considerate of others. My other housemate, let’s call him Patrick, is a bit different. He is older (late fifties/early sixties), very rigid, and not as considerate. While we don’t have a great deal in common, my interactions with Patrick are generally pretty pleasant and brief.

However, one thing that annoys me to no end is how messy dirty Patrick is. He has every appliance known to man in our small shared kitchen and there is a thin layer of grease and crumbs all over each appliance and the area around them. You would think given his proclivity to be less tidy dirty that he would be a rather chill housemate. He’s not. Unlike Mahira and I who both work remotely and away from the home, Patrick is an Uber driver (who isn’t currently driving) and spends all of his time at the house. That isn’t a problem. You have every right to spend as much time as you want in a place where you pay rent. However, what is a problem is how “sensitive” he is to food smells. He is constantly complaining when Mahira or I cook anything that might be “aromatic.” We have an exhaust in our kitchen that goes straight out the window and whenever I cook, I make an effort to use it. However, today, Patrick stops me on my way downstairs and out the door to question if I am actually using the exhaust and to complain that food smells are still getting into his room. At first, I said, “Yes, sorry.” Then I said, “Actually, I’m not sorry for cooking in a place where I pay rent.” He continued to talk about how upset he was about the smells getting into his room and complained that he might need to buy a window fan for his room. My response was, “Whatever works for you.”

He seemed upset by this. As I finally made my way out the door, I thought, “Should I apologize?” A half-hour later and I’ve decided it’s not gonna happen. First, if Patrick is so incredibly sensitive to food smells, shared living might not be for him (NOTE: he also cooks “aromatic” things and the scents still make their way to my room…I just don’t complain about it because I accept that it is a part of shared living). Second, I think I would feel more obligated to go out of my way to ensure food smells don’t make it up to his room IF he were a similarly considerate person. However, despite multiple requests that he clean the kitchen counter/stove after using it, or remove food debris from the sink after making food, or not put his moldy-year-old kitchen sponge (seriously, it’s the same sponge since I moved in and he puts it sopping wet on the sink divider…there is a thin film on it and it looks shiny…ick) in the sink, then I might feel obligated to “do more.” Also, despite having a rigid schedule of when he feels he should have exclusive access to the kitchen, he constantly enters the kitchen at times that have been allocated to others just to “do my dishes real quick.” I realize I am entirely chaffed by his whining given he is not a considerate person.

Rant over. Again, I realize that there are far worse housemate situations out there and that I could be dealing with theft or violence but it’s still annoying/uncomfortable and it’s still not something you have to deal with if you live alone.

All of this led to me fantasizing about living on my own and doing a cursory search on University B’s off-campus housing website and Zillow. The prices were significantly more than I currently pay, or am willing to pay, and for a moment I was genuinely depressed. Then I decided that I just needed a number/goal. I needed a number/goal at which I could justify/be comfortable living on my own. I’ve decided that my number/goal is less than $50,000.00 in student loan debt remaining…and I want to get there this year.