financial health <=> mental health

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notpollyanna
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby notpollyanna » Mon May 02, 2011 5:30 pm

I'm at about $77k on the student loan debt. I haven't made a lot of extra payments so far this year. I used half my tax refund for extra payments (replaced my 24 year old bed with the other half). But now that my insurance deductible has been met, I'll have a lot more left over at the end of the month to throw at my loans.

I'm still looking for a new job. I've had a couple interviews, but no offers.

I'm planning to throw myself into productivity bookbinding/embroidery-wise. Finishing some projects, then making things to sell. Since I usually go to bed pretty much right away after work (combination of not wanting to deal with life and the side effects of my medications), I'm going to start having some caffeine after work to make this possible and jump start it.

I feel rather stuck. My situation is still do-able, but it just feels like I'm going to be stuck with my parents forever.

fantasma
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby fantasma » Mon May 02, 2011 6:33 pm

You are not stuck, the student loan balance is going down. Make yoursel get a move on it and get started on the business.

Good luck, work hard!
Be what you want to attract.

saro
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby saro » Mon May 02, 2011 10:59 pm

You really aren't stuck. Your balance is going way down.

I was in a very similar position to you, I had approx $200K in debt, no job, ill and living with my parents. My parents were cool and supportive but it was a bad, bad place to be mentally. I was patient, continued to look for jobs (it's hard) and also tried to think strategically about how to best pay off my loans quickly. I found a job that paid me $10 an hour; after about 8 months, took a job in another city that paid $80k annually; and then after a year, found a job in another country that pays double that.

Now I am 6 months away from paying off my last student loan. It's possible.

It seems like you've got a handle on your finances. Continue to keep track of your money, think about selling your art on etsy.com, continue to look for part-time jobs and other opportunities. And pat yourself on the back. Just b/c your issues are mental, do not make them any less serious than a physical injury. You are doing a good job, give yourself a high five! :)

notpollyanna
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby notpollyanna » Wed May 04, 2011 6:55 pm

Thanks for the encouragement!

Finished another application for a library assistant position at a local university that I am kind of "targeting". I really really want to work for them. Another application for a same-level position at the same place in the works. Two library staffing agency applications on deck. I have a friend who is good at job applications reading my cover letters and resumes before I send them. (He will get a prize for his generosity!)

I've also got 4 of 5 unofficial college transcripts in my possession, with the last one on its way. I sometimes use the search term "gpa -intern" to find jobs that request a minimum gpa. I figure they are willing to pay a premium when they ask for that, and my gpa is boast-worthy, so it can't hurt. But they want proof in the form of unofficial transcripts and federal jobs require them when you are basing your qualification for a position on education. Having my transcripts can only help.

I'm feeling a bit more optimistic tonight, having caffeinated myself, found some relatively exciting job openings, and written some cover letters.

michgc
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby michgc » Thu May 05, 2011 6:25 am

I don't know if you are still on here, but as far as starting your own business, why do you feel like you need to have everything set up perfectly? Why not make do some embroidery and sell them on etsy? That is the perfect starting place with very little start-up costs. You can build yourself up that way until you have a good following and then worry about being formal about a business.
Michele
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Buy Used, Invest the Difference

notpollyanna
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby notpollyanna » Sat May 07, 2011 8:59 am

I'm a wee bit of a perfectionist. I keep telling myself that I don't have to have everything perfect before I start selling things, but then when I go to do things, I forget and start obsessively researching for, say, the perfect paper to use inside the books I make. Someday, I mat get this non-perfection thing down (perfectly? :wink: )

saro
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby saro » Sat May 07, 2011 9:47 pm

I have this tendency too. This tendency also makes me lean toward depression, so I hope you don't mind my advice. It comes from the heart since I have similar issues! :)

Why don't you use this journal as a way of keeping yourself accountable and to be less of a perfectionist?

You want to sell your stuff? Make a list of to-do tasks, put the tasks up on this board and track whether you're doing it or not. We'll cheer you on.

therealstory
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby therealstory » Wed May 25, 2011 8:43 pm

My wife has been dealing with mental illness for the past 6 years. My heart aches for you and yet I'm full of hope. Life has had lot's of ups and downs but the fact that you have a couple of well focused plans, I think that positions you to do great. Keep up the great work and I love the idea of thinking outside the box on income opportunities. It's something I'm challenged with too.

Mike

notpollyanna
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby notpollyanna » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:20 pm

Okay. It's been quite a while. I had a reader story and question on the blog (http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2011/06/05/reader-story-and-question-financial-health-vs-mental-health/) in June.

Mostly, things haven't really changed. I've been applying to a lot of better full-time jobs, but I haven't had success yet. I was interviewed and turned down for a job in July. I'm currently waiting to hear back after an interview last week for two jobs (super similar, so they are filling both through the same interview process). These are jobs I would actually really want; jobs in libraries. The jobs I've even been offered interviews for are jobs in libraries, even though I am applying more widely.

I've been looking for part-time jobs and applying for them, too, but this is more difficult than I thought it would be. I still think that it would be easier to get a part-time job application-wise, but I have a hard time finding job openings that would work with my schedule. (I work regular full-time hours, but I also have about 8 healthcare type appointments in the evenings after work every month.) I applied to Leapforce and never heard back. I've signed up with a few freelance websites, like Elance, but I haven't done anything with those. There are a few reasons for this: I am fine at doing work at work, but after work, optional work usually gets passed over in favor of sleep; I create way too many projects for myself (I have such a hard time changing this, even just thinking how to reduce my projects to a "bare minimum" seems to be way more projects than most people have. I don't even understand how people aren't doing things. This baffles me.). I do still want to sell things I've made, but I've put that on the backburner for now because it will be a lot of upfront work before it starts actually making me money. It makes me nervous to do that upfront work and fail, possibly for some crazy reasons (I'm not really sure). At the very least, I would be spending some money upfront, even though I already have most of the supplies I would use to make things.

Right now my loans are down to ~$71,000. That is ~$35,000 of principal paid in just under 3 years, including a $5,000 inheritance. It is really really good progress. Yes, I see that and I know that. But it still doesn't help me move out yet. I have ~$5,500 remaining on the loan I've been focusing my snowball on. I figure that with my average monthly payments and 2011 tax refund, I should be able to finish that off in ~5 months. That would reduce my monthly payments to ~$510/month, but that still doesn't leave me with enough money for a rent payment on my current income.

In September of 2010, I made a little paper chart to graph my total debt. I drew a line to represent my expected debt reduction according to what my minimum payments were in September 2010, which was already ahead of schedule compared to what it would have been when my grace period ended. Since September 2010, I am $10,000 ahead of schedule. Again, super great. But not enough.

I'm still miserable at home, but I've been spending less time home and awake lately, which makes it a little more bearable. Major reason: my first boyfriend(!).

saro
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby saro » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:56 pm

That's awesome progress! Good for you!

I know it seems like a slog now but from where I am standing, you are plugging away and making significant progress. If I may ask a personal question, how much are you actually sleeping? Maybe you need the sleep? I have the same tendency you do and I fall off and on the GTD (getting things done) wagon. When I do GTD, it really helps me realize how much stuff I put on my plate.

notpollyanna
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby notpollyanna » Thu Nov 17, 2011 7:16 am

Thanks Saro!

I do create too many projects for myself that require more time than I have, but I do actually sleep a lot too. I get up at 6am on workdays. I consider going to bed at 9pm a reasonably "normal" bedtime, if a little conservative. When I actually do things after work, I do go to bed around 9pm. But I often get home, assess my level of misery, and go to bed earlier, sometimes as early as 6pm (maybe once every two weeks). I often go to bed between 7pm and 8pm. And on Saturdays I usually spend most of the day sleeping, to "catch up". I do sleep a lot, which is partly from depression and partly from the medications I take to control my depression, all of which have sedative side-effects.

P.S. Saro, your username always makes me think of this radio program I heard (AVM 32 here: http://www.atomsmotion.com/amvshows.htm). Associating you with that story makes me think of you extra fondly.

peachy
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby peachy » Thu Nov 17, 2011 8:15 am

How exciting to have a boyfriend! I'm happy for you.

I still think you put so much undue pressure on yourself to be perfect. You're doing great, so when you get a chance, stop and think about all the awesome things you've accomplished and then take a nap. :) Keep on keepin' on!

notpollyanna
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby notpollyanna » Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:35 am

I do definitely put too much pressure on myself to be perfect, but here, money-wise that is, most of the pressure I exert on myself is less about perfection and more about making a desperate escape from my parents' house.

Thanks for the observation, though. When I feel a bit more confident that I can work on selling my handicrafts, I will need to come back here and reread what people have said about not waiting for it to be perfect. Otherwise I will still put it off indefinitely, even after I have escaped my parents.

Ellie
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby Ellie » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:39 am

Hi Not-Polly,

I just joined these Forums and read your thread. I think you should give yourself a huge pat on the back for coping with a very challenging life situation. Juggling finances and mental health issues is very, very hard and that you have held down a job, are keeping your medical appointments, and confronting the financial issues responsibly is extremely impressive.

Your artistic skills sound wonderful. It sounds like your art projects might be one area of your life where stress disappears for a while. This is so important! By the way, I have a thought about your embroidery business. I have a lot of plain black clothes and am planning to embroider beautiful decorations on them to make them look fun and interesting. I see so many women in my city wearing so much black...I wonder if there were an internet business that would add embroidered decorations to people's clothing, perhaps that would appeal to a lot of customers. Just a thought!

I like the suggestions other people have made. The slow path takes a lot of patience.

notpollyanna
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Re: financial health <=> mental health

Postby notpollyanna » Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:51 pm

Okay, an update.

In 2011, my average monthly income was $1,888.26. That includes things like tax returns and gift money, though, which I don't include as part of the income I can base a budget on. My average regular income per 4 weeks, which is what I base budgets on, was $1,404.50.

My average monthly spending:
$83.29 - gasoline
$403.64 - healthcare (sans premiums, which come directly out of my paycheck)
$17.04 - cat expenses
$24.02 - food (for specific recipes and gift food for others, my parents do groceries)
$149.38 - everything else (clothing, gifts, craft supplies [cheaper gifts!], postage, car repair and registration, cell phone, public transportation, college transcripts, and one round of bowling)
$1,322.17 - student loan payments (this includes the rest of my tax refund, my two "extra" paychecks for the year, all gift money, and payment for a few miscellaneous jobs)

My student loan debt total is now $66,301.40. That means I've paid ~$40,000 in three (miserable) years on a salary of ~$26,000. It is impressive, sure, but minimum payments of ~$585/month mean I still can't afford rent.

I did get a tiny raise that went into effect the beginning of this year, so my average 4 week income is $1,500. My avalanche targeted loan is currently ~$1,700, so my tax return will demolish that, reducing my minimum payments to ~$455/month. I have also been stable enough to reduce frequency of therapy and dietitian appointments and am weaning off my most expensive medication, which should reduce my healthcare expenses to ~$200/month. But I still can't afford rent.

Here is the math I do obsessively in my head to figure out how I can move out:
~$650 - rent
~$100 - utilities
~$150 - groceries
~$455 - loan payment
~$200 - healthcare
~$100 - gasoline
~$20 - kitty
= ~$1,675/month, with no room for any extras, including car registration and my minimal cell phone

I'm stilly applying for new full time jobs and the few part-time jobs that, according to the ads, don't assuredly conflict with my current work schedule. I've got a couple work-for-friends gigs scheduled and I have been ramping up production to lunch an online craft shop. I still want to jump out a window every time I think about this (which is my trope for totally giving up, not suicide).

I still love you guys, too.


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