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.