Whoa, it’s been a week since my last post. Sorry for the delay y’all! I’ve really been focusing on using my free time for true self-care activities. That means things like extra sleep, exercise, and listening to Adele’s ‘Hello’ on repeat. Blogging and reading my (very long) list of other people’s blogs didn’t make the cut.
I’m here to rectify that though. I actually have been feeling a little bit of anxiety over not posting. Turns out I love this little blog and the PF blogosphere so much it actually bugs me more to tune out than to make time to tune in!
Being stressed out and working a lot this month has really highlighted a few things for me. And not just my true and abiding love for personal finance blogs.
First, let’s talk about the good stuff. I’ve worked really hard throughout 2015 to achieve all my financial goals: pay off my student loan debt, open and fund a retirement account, beef up my emergency fund, save money for travel next year. I have made major headway on all these goals.
I’ve been able to make that headway by saying ‘yes’ to every money making opportunity that’s come my way. Last year I made $15,284. If I was going to make any moves on my goals I needed to increase my income. By like, A LOT.
I’m happy to report that I did indeed increase my income. In fact, I think by the end of this year I’ll have more than doubled my earnings from last year! I did that by working my ass off. I worked seven days a week at five different jobs for the first five months of the year. I have picked up freelance gigs in everything from commercial PA to babysitter to writer to sales team member. I cater on average two events a week and more during our busy fall and winter season. I have taken every single chance to make extra money that has come my way.
As a result I was able to pay off all my student loans earlier than expected. I’m close to maxing out my IRA. I’ve added $1000 to my emergency fund in two months. I am in a much better place financially than I was last year and it feels great.
But I’m not in such a great headspace these days. My patience is almost non existence. I have found myself on the verge of tears over tiny little things. I find myself jealous of a lot of my close friends who work less and have more than I do. I am resentful of people I care about for already having what I want for myself.
I’m carrying around a lot of negative feelings and it doesn’t feel good. Generally I consider myself a very happy, outgoing person. This year I haven’t been that person. I’ve cut back on my social interactions in an attempt to save money (and was very successful). I have traded healthy eating for free catering leftovers for the vast majority of the year. I spend a ton of time in my house where I can eat and entertain myself for free.
I have secluded myself in a variety of ways and while it meant huge financial strides it has also meant a lot of sacrifice across a lot of boards. I’ve found lots of things I’m comfortable giving up but I have also found a lot of things I’m uncomfortable giving up. Then when I see other people enjoying those things I get angry and jealous. It’s not a good look.
I don’t regret what I’ve done and I plan on continuing to push myself for the rest of the year. But I am very over living this way. It’s not sustainable. It’s not enjoyable. It’s not the way I want to spend my time and energy. I’m in an unhealthy pattern and I need to get out of it. It’s gotten me what I wanted but it’s come at a price.
I’m over my lifestyle. That’s something I know. Looking into 2016 I am going to be able to cut back on my catering a lot and I am working on giving myself permission next year to spend money in ways I didn’t this year. I want next year to be more fulfilling. 2015 was my year of hard work, sacrifice and dedication. I want 2016 to be my year of more balanced living.
Right now I am going to keep my lifestyle and habits as they are. I am very close to achieving more than I originally thought possible this year and I’m still excited by that. I want to put myself in as good a position as I can be for 2016 and my future in general and right now that means continuing to bring in as much cash as I can.
I am over my lifestyle but right now I can’t afford to be. I think for the next two months I can push myself. It won’t be pretty at times and I’m sure I’ll have more moments of struggle. Ultimately though I think it will be very worth it. Through sacrificing now I’ll be putting myself into a position where in the future if I am over my lifestyle I will be able to afford a change. Restricting and pushing myself now means that later I will have more freedom and flexibility.
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.
16 Replies to “I am Over My Lifestyle…But I Can’t Afford to Be”
You can do this! It’s soooo amazing what you’ve accomplished. I would think of it as making a conscious choice to focus on relationships next year, rather than feeling negative about scaling back your financial goals.
That’s a great view to take. I know I’ll struggle with breaking out of my habits after a year of so much restriction but I also know I need to. I’ll keep your words in mind- they’re spot on!
Wow! You really worked hard. I am glad you were able to achieve so much.
Thank you! It’s been a rewarding year in many ways.
I’m totally rooting for you — I know these last few months are tough, but you have so much to be proud of, and I hope that helps sustain you in those moments when the tears are just below the surface. You’ll always be able to look back on this year and know how hard you worked, and how much you accomplished. And it will make your future lifestyle that much sweeter — you’ll never take for granted the things that so many people get used to and don’t appreciate.
Please don’t apologize if you need to take time away from your blog. It’s YOUR blog. Tend to it when doing so lifts you up, but don’t let it drag you down. Though I completely know what you mean about the PF blog world being so energizing and motivating! I’d much rather post every day than do my actual job! 😀
I wish my blog was my job. (Maybe someday?!) thanks as always for your kind words. I’m really looking forward to the end of the year but I am also really proud of myself. I think I kicked 2015’s butt and I’m proud of it! ????????
It’s like your an athlete coming to the close of the competitive season. You still have a little more competition left, so you have to push through with all you’ve got, but then you can relax a bit. You can’t let yourself get fat and out of shape (figuratively), but you can take a bit of time off to relax and create a new training plan.
That’s exactly how I think of it. I was an athlete in college and I keep telling myself it’s almost the end of the season and then you can ease up!
You’ve made huge progress in such a small amount of time. I wonder if those friends you see having things you want for yourself are in the same stable financial situation that you now are. 2016 will be amazing because of 2015’s hard work and sacrifice.
The thing that really kills me is that my friends are actually in an even more stable situation. They come from very wealthy families so money has never been a real issue. That’s something I’ve always been jealous of because money has always been an issue for me. But jealousy helps no one and doesn’t make me happy so I really need to let it go. Here’s to 2016!
You have done amazing work and should be very, very proud. But also: you MUST make more money in 2016. I made $25-30K throughout my 20s and early 30s and it was just not enough — and that was years ago. The one year I made $40K was mindblowing. I had enough to live on and enough to do stuff I wanted to do and enough to save [which I immediately blew on graduate school, but let’s ignore that.]
A person who works as hard and is as talented as you are should not be regarding $30K as your ceiling. I’m saying this because I really wish someone had said it to me when I was your age! Would you be interested in emailing with me about that? I might be able to tell you some stuff I wish I’d thought to try, back in the day (and also some stuff that legitimately worked for me in terms of finally making more money.) thesingledollar – at – gmail if you want.
Yes thank you! I will definitely email you. I have realized in the last month that 30k is enough to live on but not enough to do things I want to do and achieve my goals. And working several terrible paying jobs is not the way to get more money either. I’ll email you soon!
Best of luck in 2016! I think you definitely deserve more balance after the amazing headway you made this year.
Thanks for the well wishes! I’m really ready for a change of pace next year
[…] My ultimate goal is to reach FIRE and I’ve already got a picture of what that looks like. However in the short term I want to increase my income and change my daily lifestyle a bit. I can’t keep working several part time jobs and making 30K a year. It’s way too much time and effort for not enough money and it’s taking a toll on me. […]
[…] I’ve been dealing with bouts of dissatisfaction for the last month and a half. By no means am I waking up every day feeling unhappy or depressed and I want to acknowledge that I have lots of wonderful things in my life. But there is a lingering stress and sense of tiredness I can’t shake and I’ve been fighting off the green-eyed monster a lot. […]