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)
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
Student Loan: $400
Car Loan: $400
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.