I’ve been experiencing an uptick of anxiety the last few weeks. In the grand scheme of things it’s no big deal — really! That I’m noticing it at all is an indication of how chill I’ve been for a while now 🙂 I know where it’s coming from: first, my job situation for next year will be up in the air a while longer (I’ll have a job, just not sure which one yet); and second, I’ve gotten involved in a civic controversy which is taking up a TON of time, contributing to my being behind in work, socializing (except with the people I’m working with on the controversy), and things like calling my parents on the regular. I have been on local TV a few times though!
Anyway, tonight I went to double check my bank balances and credit cards, as I do regularly, and realized that I hadn’t charged anything to my credit card in days. Its balance is sitting at $15.64, the amount of a stray takeout order from last Thursday. I’ve spent money on groceries and coffee in the interim, but that was all in cash. It’s kind of a cool feeling to owe (basically) nothing.
It really helps the anxiety too. I know in general that I’m ok, despite these stressors, but I especially am relieved by the thought that I don’t have any obligations I have to meet.
Good thing too since all of a sudden I’m spending travel money like it’s going out of style. My 36-hour trip to my uncle’s funeral cost about $450 (plane tickets, gas/tolls, hotel room) and I was just asked to become a godmother again (yay!) but that means a few hundred for a trip to New York for the baptism in April. I really ought to take up travel hacking! More to the point, I have to stop robbing my travel fund for other purposes. I’ve been under-contributing there for months and it needs to stop. So what if it does build up for a while and get huge? That hasn’t been a problem so far (I’ve always spent it on some kind of trip, whether planned or last-minute) and even if it did get really big, I could just go to France or something. That settles it: I’m going back to a $250/month travel contribution. I want that fund big enough to cover emergency trips so that I’m not having to draw on my freelance income to cover travel (as I did this month for my uncle’s funeral, and will have to again in March to pay for the baptism plane tickets.) And this time I am going to remember this lesson and not decide in June to ratchet back my monthly contribution to this fund.
I think maybe I thought that debt freedom meant I would get ahead on everything and have big sinking funds all over the place? But that hasn’t really happened. I’m still scrambling every month to cash-flow unexpected expenses as well as meet my aggressive savings targets. I guess that’s why I still feel some anxiety about my finances even as objectively I’m in infinitely better shape than I was when I started this blog. Looking forward to the day when I’m completely at peace. Whenever that is 🙂