Posted by Sheryl on September 19, 2012
This is a guest post from Sheryl in Ontario, who is 40 years old with a grown daughter, and is trying to rebuild her retirement dream just 20 years too late for early retirement.
I’ve always freely admitted I’m just starting this journey to FI (I’m too old for RE, unless I do it ERE style, lol). Over the past 18 months, I’ve really felt like I’ve made progress. I track all my finances, cut out the extras, clipped coupons, and found comfort in my frugality. I’ve also admitted I have some debt other than my mortgage, and have been directing any unspent money to reducing it.
The last few months, for all my efforts in changing cell plans, cutting cable, and limiting entertainment severely, I’ve started to go backwards again. Some of it has been my own doing, stress and extra hours at work (with no extra pay), coupled with still grieving for my father (I just don’t feel like I’ve had the time to) has resulted in more convenience and restaurant foods as well as some impulse purchases. But other things like my car insurance going up substantially, car repairs, appliance repairs, I don’t feel like I’ve had any control over. I paid for these things with my credit cards or line of credit, now I have to pay off these debts.
I had contemplated stopping writing, thinking that who wants to read what I have say about the journey to FI, when my road seems so long and blocked up? Then I realized this blog is about the journey. And where mine seems to be different from most who hang out here, it’s still a journey.
To try to get myself back on track, I’m re-reading YMOYL, as well as reading ERE and Tim’s book, Free at 45 for the first time. I know part of my problem is the added stress at work, I’ve been trying to keep up doing the work of 2 positions for the last 3 months (had staff problems at work that now seem to be fixed).
I’d like to ask the readers for their opinions on what I can do better. To protect some of my privacy, I’m not disclosing my mortgage and property tax amounts or net income, but I am saying how much my other bills are, and how much is left over for food and other living expenses. All amounts are monthly. I live in the Toronto area, to give you an idea of cost of living for food etc.
Condo Fees – $685
Car & Condo Ins – $480
Private Loan Payment – $520
Cell Phone – $ 35
Land Line – $ 33 ( I mainly have this for the lobby buzz up in the building, I’m considering getting rid of it as I rarely use it, but would then need to pay for a dry loop)
Netflix – $8
Gaming Account – $15
Line of Credit Interest $ 50
I have $ 300 per month to pay for food, gas, savings, credit card payments etc. Sometimes I make it, sometimes I have to put it on my debt. The private loan amount decreases every month, but the credit card or line of credit sometimes increases. Most months, my overall debt reduces (except for the last few months, string of unfortunate events).
I’m willing to do something to earn extra money, but it can’t conflict with my full time job (I work from 8am to 5pm, Mon – Fri), but I am stuck as to what I can do. I don’t want to work for minimum wage if I can avoid it, but don’t know what kind of salable skills I have.
Any advice any of you are willing to share is appreciated, and I thank you in advance for your considerations.