I’ve been having a lot of trouble with the treat-yo’self mentality as of late. It’s become common practice to reward ourselves for things by spending money. Rough start to the morning? Starbucks drive-thru. Long day? Meet your friends at a bar and splurge on a cocktail because you deserve it. Just generally feeling blue? Swing by your favorite thrift store juuust to take a look around (and walk out with a couple tops you didn’t need and a $45 receipt in your hand).
This is the way I’ve lived for years. I’m not special – this is how a lot of people live. But I’ve realized recently that doing this is the exact opposite of treating myself because at the end of the month, I look at my bank statement and think, “Dammit.” I scan through my charges and typically find it difficult to remember how that $11 cocktail tasted and look to see the shirts I bought still in my laundry basket, not actually having been worn yet. How is that treating myself?
As I look to the future with some exciting goals on the horizon, I vow to get myself out of credit card debt, make bigger dents in my student loan debt, and treat myself in a much better way: saving. This will serve as a bit of accountability, so thanks for humoring me. Here we go.
Chase Credit Card: $1,385.84
Capital One credit card: $911.92
Student Loans: $22,863.49
Roth IRA: $1,472.60
Savings: $50 (lol)
Immediate financial goal is this: pay off those ridiculous credit card balances. The shame I carry with those balances is very real. I’ve cut up the Capital One credit card and am keeping the Chase card because it’s a Southwest rewards card and the benefits have proven very useful. However, the Chase card is sealed in a jar in my bedroom and is only to be used after I pay off the balance and for future purchases that I immediately pay off. No more buying things I can’t afford, no more living outside of my means, because let me tell you, the stress that comes with doing that feels nothing like treating myself.
Long-term financial goals: pay off student loans, give the annual maximum to my Roth, and put 20% of all money I make into savings. The student loan situation is a little vague because honestly, that doesn’t stress me out like other debt does. But I don’t want to be paying it down for the next 20 years, so funneling as much to that balance as possible is key. After I pay off the credit cards, I’ll make a clear loan pay-off plan and get to work. But for now, I need to focus on my immediate goal to set myself up for success to achieve all other goals.
All this fits neatly under the umbrella of financial freedom, something I honestly have never truly felt. I look forward to the feeling.