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 Post subject: I think I might be doing okay
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:35 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:32 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Berlin
I've been pondering how I'm in a much better place financially than a year ago, so I thought I'd call it a success story.

In October 2008 I moved to a new country and I wasn't keeping track of my money so it ran out. I had a job but it took a little while before I started getting paid monthly at the same time each month. There were unexpected costs and everything seemed more expensive than where I'd come from, and I guess I was just careless and spent too much.

So I ended up on my own in a foreign country where I couldn't speak the language and had no friends, with a completely empty apartment (apart from a mattress and a plastic crate - it didn't have lights or a fridge) that I'd signed a lease on - and absolutely no money, with two weeks to go until payday. My bank was surprisingly generous and gave me an overdraft, so I did manage to scrape by for the two weeks - I didn't spend all of the overdraft and cut back to only spending the bare minimum, eating rice and lentils. At this stage I discovered the Get Rich Slowly blog.

When I finally got paid, I made a budget and cut back on everything I could think of - no beer, no chocolate, no eating out, no buying drinks from the machine at work, no books, no pens, etc. It was hard and I was miserable. I was missing fairly basic furnishings in my apartment for a long time - I had no kitchen shelves for four months so I cooked over the sink, no drawers in the bedroom and just generally nowhere to put stuff so it was all in boxes or in piles on the floor. I didn't get a bed but just a mattress, which backfired when it went moldy so I had to throw it out! I didn't get a bathroom light for about six months. Just tiny things - it's hard to remember looking back at on it now.

(I had my own flat instead of sharing so my boyfriend could join me in it when he arrived a five months later, which he did and it made it so much easier.)

The worst thing was that I was so stressed out worrying about what would happen if I had an unexpected expense and I didn't have the money for it. Some days I'd get upset and cry in public over the tiniest things because my anxiety levels were always so high. I kept slipping on my budget a little and using my overdraft again every month. After about five months of living as cheaply as I (thought I) could I had a baby emergency fund and I was able to relax a bit. Now I have saved about 4 months worth of expenses, my apartment is furnished, I feel a lot more optimistic about life and I finish the month with a positive balance in my main account nowadays!

On the other hand, my contract here is for two years so it'll be over soon and it'll be time to leave! I've settled into my new home, but I've decided to change careers so I can go back to my old one. Now my future is completely uncertain and I don't think I can save enough in the time remaining to feel okay about that. I realize now I should have started saving a lot earlier in my life - I'm 30 now and other people my age have houses and kids! But I really don't think I'm going to live in an apartment without lights and only a plastic crate and a mattress for a whole month and a half ever ever again! I really hope so anyway.

I guess it's nothing next to what some people have to put up with and it wasn't so bad, but it was really stressful for me. I think I did everything wrong when I first arrived!


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 Post subject: Re: I think I might be doing okay
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:58 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:36 pm
Posts: 8
Wow, pretty intense story. But good for you! That is quite an accomplishment to have a 3-4 month emergency fund now after such a difficult time. So where are you originally from? If/when you move again, where will you go and what will you do different?

I wish you the best on your journey! I have two children, and a part of me is envious that you were able to have that experience, even the bad parts...so I guess it's true that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.


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 Post subject: Re: I think I might be doing okay
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:23 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:49 am
Posts: 157
Location: Australia
What's disturbing is that THIS is a success story :)


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 Post subject: Re: I think I might be doing okay
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:41 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 4:32 pm
Posts: 20
Location: Berlin
owletsandtalons wrote:
Wow, pretty intense story. But good for you! That is quite an accomplishment to have a 3-4 month emergency fund now after such a difficult time. So where are you originally from? If/when you move again, where will you go and what will you do different?

I wish you the best on your journey! I have two children, and a part of me is envious that you were able to have that experience, even the bad parts...so I guess it's true that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.


I'm originally Australian. I'm surprised you are even a tiny bit envious of me! You seem to be doing very well in your budget and life.

I think I realized through this experience that I'm nowhere near as resourceful as I wish I was.

For example, when I moved here I found out furniture, even second-hand, is very expensive (and I've never learned how to drive so it seemed harder to get it secondhand). So I waited and saved up for it because I didn't know what else to do.

Recently I met a woman who travels a lot more. When she arrived here and found out furniture was expensive, she collected off-cuts of timber from the hardware store that they were throwing away (for free!) and made some of her own. I could have saved a lot of hassle if I'd thought outside the box a little more (and been a bit more confident with a hammer).

Vile Merchant wrote:
What's disturbing is that THIS is a success story :)


Yeah, you're right. Most days, I don't feel like that much of a success. But I've seen people celebrating getting out of credit card debt and stuff like that. I'm not in debt and I have some savings. I thought maybe I should view it in a more positive light.


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 Post subject: Re: I think I might be doing okay
PostPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:52 pm 

Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:35 pm
Posts: 451
Location: USA
It is a success story, and you know why? Instead of doing the easy thing, which would be for example get a credit card and go into into debt to furnish your apartment and all the little things that make life easier, sucked it up and lived on little. Maybe it wasn't funnist (if that's a word) thing to do, but you did it, and like climbing a mountain, should you need to, you can do it again.


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 Post subject: Re: I think I might be doing okay
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:23 pm
Posts: 26
Location: Michigan
Definitely a success story. It sounds like financially and emotionally, it was a challenging time but you recognized what you needed to do and made it work!

Don't worry about where other people your age are. You've got your own journey! I've found that the second I start comparing myself to other people, where they are at, and what they have that's when I start making bad decisions because I'm no longer making decisions based on my situation.

_________________
"I figure you have the same chance of winning the lottery whether you play or not."
Fran Lebowitz

Don't be passive about your finances: http://thefinancialreader.com


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 Post subject: Re: I think I might be doing okay
PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:42 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:49 pm
Posts: 33
very inspiring story Blaubaer! great job!

_________________
The ReCreation King!


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 Post subject: Re: I think I might be doing okay
PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:23 am 

Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:36 am
Posts: 15
I think its a successful story. Keep it up.


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 Post subject: Re: I think I might be doing okay
PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 10:53 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:30 am
Posts: 154
Well, this is a successful story and also an inspiring one. It is great to note how you managed to save money for your emergency fund/savings. You should feel proud of yourself. Most people would have ended up in more debt than savings had they fell in your situation.

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Jerry
Forum Moderator, MortgageFit Community


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 Post subject: Re: I think I might be doing okay
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:08 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:25 am
Posts: 761
'Regrets, I've had few... but I did it my way" Yeah you should have stated sooner. So should I but, I caught up and Im doing great...So will you. Don't spend too much time looking back or you will miss what is in front of you.

You know the formula now just stick to it...


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