Our Financial Picture

Creative Commons Photo by 401(k) 2012

I have begun a journey. It might not look like I’ve gone anywhere, but I say I’ve made giant leaps forward in the most important venue: my imagination.

You might have read yesterday’s post about identifying the destination, which was a really important first step for me. I’ve been many places in my career, working in publishing, teaching and currently, the not-for-profit sector, but I’ve never felt like it was quite “right”. I’ve read that is common among INFPs (a “fact” I find slightly meaningless but also slightly reassuring).

So, it’s a big deal for me to identify this goal: to be a freelancer so I can rock my gifts and deliver my awesome to the world. Also, I will hopefully have more flexibility in my days so that I can be here for the kids sometimes, and pop things in the crock pot from time to time. And possibly not wear pants.

So, what’s holding me back?

The main thing that is stopping me from diving into this exciting adventure is our finances. We do not have savings. We rely on my income. So the only way I will feel safe enough to start freelancing is when all our basic expenses are covered by my husband’s salary. And I mean extremely basic, like, we might have potatoes, but no new shoes, or birthday gifts.

The idea is, I’ll work for the gravy. So I’d better start out in the summer (no birthdays, and you don’t really need shoes).

Our cost of living is pretty low, due to previous debt elimination, and choosing to live in a fairly inexpensive city. But in order for my husband’s income to cover our expenses, we need to pay off two debts: his student loan, and our car loan. Each of those payments is $400 per month, which adds up to $800 per month spent paying off debt, a huge burden which amounts to more than half of his monthly wages.

The student loan is slated to be paid off some time next year, or possibly the next, but the car loan has three more years. Luckily that one is 0% interest, so we don’t lose anything by taking longer to pay it off.

I know we can do it.

We have a lot of skills for reducing spending, buckling down, making do, and using our resources wisely. I used to blog about frugality as a way to figure out how to stay home when my kids were really little. And we did it! It took hard work, sacrifices and some creative thinking, but I was able to be a stay-at-home mom for 6 years.

Here is a snapshot of our financial picture right now.

Monthly Hard Expenses (approximate figures)

Mortgage: $850
Insurance (car and house): $200
Phone & Internet: $100
Cell phones: $75
Natural Gas: $100
Car gas: $50
Electricity and Water: $150
Y membership for M: $30
Hot Water Heater: $20
Other monthly tech expenses (Netflix, Apple, etc.): $50

Subtotal: $1475

Student Loan: $400
Car Loan: $400

Subtotal: $2200

Food: $600

Grand Total Hard Monthly Expenses: $2800

Monthly Family Income

Husband’s salary: $775 x 2 = $1550
Canada Child Benefit: $480
My current salary: $1025 x 2 = $2050

Grand Total Family Income: $4080


So there you have it! In tomorrow’s post I’ll discuss the pros and cons of our current state of affairs, and look at some of my immediate plans for paying off our debt.


The First Step: Define the Destination

I want more of *this* in my world!

I want to be a Freelancer.

There, I’ve said it.

I want to start a business, work from home, carve my own pants-optional pathway.

What will this look like for me?

  • Paying off our student loan and car loan, while remaining debt-free other than our mortgage.
  • Rocking my skills, gifts and connections to deliver my awesome to the world.
  • Quitting my day job to Freelance full-time from home!

My kids are currently 9 and 7, very precious ages. My daughter seems to be right at the brink of teenage-hood (when she turned nine she said “Wow–I’m a ‘pre-tween’!”. I said “Actually, you’re what we call a ‘kid’!”). My son has so many stories, and projects, and so much energy! It really is a shame when 90% of the time we spend together involves me saying “Hurry up!”

I know that Freelancing is hard work, and sometimes involves working insane hours. But with the ability to set my own schedule (plus doing work I feel really passionate about) I hope to be able to be *there* for my kids a bit more than I am right now.

The other part is around building community, getting people together to do awesome things, bringing healing and growing joy, and growing food too! There is so much I want to sink my teeth into. I love my city so much: I want to be one of the people right at the forefront doing work that truly matters here.

So, now you know my big secret.

What comes next? Find out tomorrow . . .