On Wednesday I talked about how I’ve had to re-configure my financial plans for the rest of 2015. I’ve set a rather lofty savings goal for myself of $5,400 for the remainder of the year. It’ll be divided into my IRA account, my long term travel savings and my emergency fund.
Since I’m a planner I’ve been looking ahead to 2016. I will be in the same multiple job situation that I’m in right now- catering, non profit, freelance writing and seasonal coaching. I don’t expect my income to increase and I will not be seeking a new job.
I’ve thought long and hard about looking for a full time job. I’ve never had any luck in that arena, having worked multiple part time jobs and internships since I graduated college in 2011. It’s been a long and hard road to walk too. Constantly applying for and not getting jobs is really rough on you.
Last fall I landed my non profit job, which was and still is part time. My hours and responsibilities have grown substantially since then and I have gotten a ton of experience at this job. I also really like my boss and have flexible hours. While the pay is pretty tiny and thus I need to work my side gigs, I’ve decided that I would rather get another year of experience with this organization than start to look for another job.
If all goes according to plan and I leave Austin in August of next year I will have two years of job experience with this non profit and almost three years with the catering company. I’ve gotten several promotions and raises in the catering company, which is work I can leverage as event planning. Rather than have less than a year at another job under my belt when I leave town I’ll have a solid resume to be able to lean on.
By keeping a flexible and part-time schedule I can also work to increase my freelance writing work. That’s something I’m really interested in growing over the course of the next year. Getting to work from home and work part-time is a huge asset in that.
So that covers the job front. I’m not thrilled about having to continue working this way but I do think it is the best decision. As a result my income will not increase going into next year.
What are my plans and what is my timeline for 2016? And how exactly am I going to afford my grand plans?
My plans are pretty simple right now: max out my IRA, travel for 6 weeks and move out of Austin. I’m not sure yet where I want to move and I’m not sure I’ll travel for the whole 6 weeks. Five might be more realistic. Since I will be unemployed or only partially employed while traveling and moving (I’m hoping to bring in some money through writing) I want to make sure I earn as much as possible while I’m in Austin.
Unfortunately that means continuing to work like a crazy person for the next year. Catering always slows down in the Texas summer heat so I’ve enjoyed weekends off for the last two months. I know that will be the case next summer too. To compensate though, it means I have to have fall and spring seasons where I work 7 days a week multiple weeks in a row. It’s a give and take situation. There is an element to it that I like though- however much I earn is up to me. The more I work the more I earn. The more I work the bigger a cushion I can give myself.
2016 Financial Plans
Moving Fund: $5,000
International Travel: $3,800
I am looking to save $14,300 in eight months next year. This is even loftier than my goal for the rest of 2015. I would like to point out that this will include Christmas, birthday and tax refund money. That usually adds up to about $1,500. I also plan on coaching again next spring, which means for March-May of next spring my income will be significantly higher than for the other 5 months. This April I worked four jobs and was able to pay off $4,100 of my debt. If I was able to save the same amount in April next year that would be almost my entire IRA goal achieved in one month alone.
I have to say, knowing that I am trying to save $19,700 over the course of the next year is intimidating. It makes me tired just thinking about all the hours I will have to put in to achieve that goal. It’s ambitious and it’s already stressing me out. I’ve resumed my old debt habit of calculating how much money I can make each month to try and get to these goals fastest.
I’m also trying hard to remember that by setting these goals now, a full year from when I want to have this accomplished, I’m giving myself plenty of time and opportunity to reach this goal. I can focus on living frugally right now. I can try and grab an extra shift right now, to ease things for myself later. I can save my Christmas money. One more year of really frugal living is not such a long time.
When I was in debt I kicked my own ass for months on end because I wanted to be debt free so badly. It fueled me through long catering shifts, through coaching three different teams, through working 12 hour days. I had something that I wanted really fucking bad and I was willing to do whatever it takes to get there.
I’m trusting that that same determination will kick in again. I really want to leave Austin. I am dying to spend some time out of the country. I am anxious to start really contributing to my retirement funds. I crave financial security. Wanting all these things will hopefully fuel me throughout the next 12 months. Every time I pick up a shift or I eat a meal of leftovers I’ll know that I’m one step closer to a goal of mine. I’ll know that I’m one step closer to forming the life I really want to be living. That kind of payoff is worth all the stress and overtime of working long hours at multiple jobs.
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.