regardless, my financial situation is still better than it was during my credit card debt days. one thing i realized that i truly learned to do was to live within my means, something i had maybe never known how to do prior to making a budget. during the last year or so of paying off debt, i really didn't even have to consult my budget because i had just changed my lifestyle and purchasing habits so completely that i knew instinctively how to stay within it. now that i no longer have to pay off debt, i find that i have extra money at the end of each month, and i have also started saving a significant chunk of my monthly pay for retirement which is kind of mind boggling to even think about.
here is what i am doing with my money (all amounts are per month):
- $3001.36 net salary
- $1500 LRAP (approx)
expenses (most of these are approximate):
- $1500 student loans
- $550 rent
- $467 roth 401k
- $320 medical/health/physical therapy/medication related expenses
- $200 new laptop (i put it on a 0% credit card and will have it paid off before the interest kicks in which will be november)
- $150 utilities
- $100 vacation aka "so i don't kill myself because my life is so depressing" fund
- $85 cell phone
- $75 parking (i hate this expense because if it were not for my damn broken leg i would be walking to work)
- $61 auto insurance
- $55 cable
- $30 hair
- $22 renter's insurance
- $900ish: groceries/eating out/entertainment/car issues/personal care items/clothing/shoes/gifts/savings/donations/random emergencies/whatever
i should probably be more exact with tracking this stuff just so i know but for some reason about 6 months ago, mint no longer works with my credit union and i am too lazy to sit and type everything into the spreadsheet anymore.
i would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone with large hospital or medical bills to 1) pay attention to what you are being charged and 2) negotiate with them on your bills. i got an $800 bill from the city of cincinnati for my ambulance ride. at the time of my accident, ambulance rides were covered 100% by my insurance provider. yet they billed me anyway. if i were not so poor, i would have probably just paid it and not even thought about it. but it turned out they were billing me illegally, even though they had already been paid by my insurance. pay attention to your bills and compare them to your insurance benefits!
then, when i got my bill from the hospital, i did not want to just pay it in a lump sum. i tried to get them to lower it but they would not. however, they agreed to put me on a $30 monthly payment plan with no interest. i might have been able to get the bill down if i had really argued a lot, or waited until it went into collections, but honestly my deductible turned out to be so much lower than i thought it would be ($1000!!!) that it wasn't worth my time and energy at that point.
and finally i would like to conclude with a rant. i am fucking sick of people complaining to me about their money problems. and by "people" i mean "people who earn and/or own so much more than i do." my W-2 says that i made $44,468.80 last year, which is about $2000 less than i was supposed to because of the time i missed work due to my broken leg. after taxes i brought home $33,837.01 in 2011. i do not own a house or any property. i live with a roommate in a neighborhood that scares a lot of people (dumb people, but still). my car is a 2003 hyundai accent that is scratched up and has transmission issues. i walk to work (usually).
i have not been outside of the united states since august 2008, when i went to mexico on a free frequent flyer miles ticket and stayed in a hotel room paid for by my friend myra's job. as for non-international vacations, the only trips i have been on in years have either been paid for by my job and/or with free or reduced cost flights and/or with friends who have generously contributed to my lodging or meal costs. i recently went through pictures from my law school graduation (may 2006) and realized that i am still mostly wearing the same clothes i was wearing 6 years ago. my hobbies are meditation (free), running (free other than races/clothes, and totally free when you have a broken leg), and cooking (occasionally expensive but usually cheap).
until i started saving this month, i did not have any money being saved for retirement, and my non-retirement savings in total is less than $3000. i do not own a flat screen tv or a stereo system or a bike or a dslr camera or a vespa or a video game system or a musical instrument or a wine/beer/liquor collection or a bunch of expensive shoes/purses/jewelry/watches or any of the other fun, costly entertainment items that it seems that everyone else i know owns. i make coffee at home. i don't get my hair dyed or my nails done or my body massaged. my outdated, discount priced "smart"phone only works about 60% of the time. i've never eaten in a four star restaurant.
i am not saying any of this to get sympathy or congratulations or whatever. i realize that i am doing a lot better in terms of my lifestyle and finances than a vast majority of people in the world. i am just saying it to describe my situation and to say that i am goddamn sick of hearing people who have way more than i do bitch about how they do not have enough. i was just talking to a friend (a single mother of two who makes only a little bit more than i do) about this and it is on my mind.
if you just came back from a fabulous vacation or you just bought an awesome new car or you just spent too much money at the mall but it's really not that bad because everything was on sale or you own a wonderful house in a great neighborhood that you just love but you can't believe the property taxes or you make more money than i do but of course it's really still not enough, please do not complain to me about your financial problems. it just makes me hate you (although the degree of hate does depend on how annoying you are in other respects). that is all.