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Home > Kind of Mixed Up in How I Feel About Finances

Kind of Mixed Up in How I Feel About Finances

August 3rd, 2015 at 08:41 pm

It is a weird feeling to have paid almost all of the bills for the month of August out of the July 31st paycheck. I only have 2 payments left to make, one mid-month that is reoccurring and then the monthly payoff of DH's travel credit card towards the end of the month. I will also be putting an additional $225 in the JMF, but that's not a bill, that's savings.

I seem not to blog too much when things are going smoothly and this is the sort of thing that feels very smooth indeed. Saving up for things does not seem to have the same urgency that paying stuff off has. We are not striving to pay off a mortgage anymore. We are not striving to pay off huge amounts of credit card or medical debt. We are not striving to pay off a car loan. It's almost a bit of a let down feeling.

Maybe it is because we spent so much of the last 15 years paying down debt. Maybe it is feeling like there is a lack of focus since the consumer debt is gone. I mean, I don't want it back, at all. But it was almost like there was always an over-riding uber purpose to our financial life. This is totally a first world problem, I know.

I know that when I don't blog, there is much more of a tendency to fritter money away. I'm not sure quite where that balance is yet. I wish I could get more excited about savings. It just seems like it is going to take a long time to get where we are going and most of what we save is now so automatic. I pay savings like I pay any other bill.

Maybe it is because there are no big ups and downs anymore. I mean, I do stress when unexpected stuff comes up, but we are able to handle it now, and without touching the Emergency Fund.

Am I even making sense? Has anyone else gone through this sort of loose ends thing after they've paid off their consumer debt? Maybe it is just me. Maybe I am so wired now to pay off debt, I really just don't know what to do now. On paper I feel like we are doing all the right things, but in my head, it still feels like we should be working against something massive, something with urgency. I have to wonder if I will ever get used to not having that anymore.

I should just count my blessings. The last two weeks have shown me that life can change at the drop of a hat and at least we don't have out of state hospital costs and funeral costs to be paying.

We will be having some medical expenses coming up, though, that I will have to work through, 2 more pairs of glasses, in-grown toenail surgery, some dental work, all for the kids. All of that will probably be about $1000 out of pocket. We've maxed our HSA for the year already. But we won't have spent enough to do more than take the standard deduction. Honestly, I think we ought to be able to deduct as much medical as we pay out, but I very much doubt that will ever happen. Oh, well. At least at this point in time, we can afford it.

24 Responses to “Kind of Mixed Up in How I Feel About Finances”

  1. VS_ozgirl Says:

    How are your retirement goals? You're now in a good financial position and can probably put the focus you had in repaying debt to wealth creation.

  2. BudgetBrilliance Says:

    Wow! 2,490 entries. I'm staggered. Hats off to you. I've only just started posting blogs but it has already been wonderful in helping me maintain a higher level of financial accountability. So I agree with what you were saying about the correlation between blogging and saving. Great to see how you are going organic too. It's certainly one of my future aims too!

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Yep, I total get what you are saying...paying off debt has a bit of a different feel than savings. I don't know that I have adjusted entirely either! No mortgage now that we are renting.

  4. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Th debt pay-down adrenaline is gone! Wink
    May I ask you a kitchen frugality question?....Do you have a go-to place for really good prices on canning lids in bulk?

  5. snafu Says:

    Like VS, I hope you'll give some attention to your wealth bldg operations.

  6. Greenleaf Says:

    I'm still very much in the debt-repayment stage, but one thing that motivates me to keep saving for retirement as well is thinking, "If my circumstances changed and I could never add another dollar to retirement savings after this year, what would there be in the account at age 65?" Of course you do still have time to keep saving for retirement, but thinking of it that way helps me feel a little more urgency and also appreciate a little more of the security that stashing cash in retirement accounts while you are still relatively young can bring.

  7. CB in the City Says:

    I think it's exciting to put money into savings, because you're shoring up against any surprises in the future. And what a wonderful feeling when that surprise comes and you have the cash to cover it!

  8. frugaltexan75 Says:

    I do get what you are saying. It's been a long time since I've had major debt, but a few years ago when I had the car loan, I remember how hard it was for me to spend money on anything else because I wanted that loan GONE! Now that it is just saving humongous amounts of money for big far off goals .... it does seem to get more difficult to stay focused.

  9. ceejay74 Says:

    It was weird for me for a little while -- I had a couple sleepless nights, actually. But fairly quickly, I realized I had two big motivators. One was to save up money for renovations on the house; that's a very exciting thing that will both personalize this house to us and hopefully raise the home value a bit. Are you still looking for a new home? Saving up for it might be an exciting thing.

    The other is retirement. Are you guys on autopilot because you're well on your way to the right number? I think my family is significantly behind on ours, so that's really motivated me to get going on that. I even developed a goal -- rather arbitrary, but should help me focus and not fritter away TOO much of our money.

    I always did net worth updates monthly even when I was focused mainly on paying down debt, and now they're one of my barometers of success. Maybe you could create net worth challenges.

  10. LuckyRobin Says:

    VS_Oz--retirement is fine. It's on autopilot.

  11. LuckyRobin Says:

    Joan, yes! That's it exactly. There is no adrenaline with saving money like there is in paying off debt. As for the canning lids, we have local store that is cheaper than everyone else, but that's it. No online source or anything. I am starting to invest in Tattler reusable lids, though. I did the math and they will pay for themselves after 3 uses.

  12. LuckyRobin Says:

    Snafu and Greenleaf--Retirement is on autopilot. It's taken out before we ever even see the paycheck. Not much more I can do there.

  13. LuckyRobin Says:

    Laura, yes, I just feel very scattered and unfocused. Maybe if I could find some of that focus again I'd get some of the urgency back to save.

  14. LuckyRobin Says:

    CJ--Yeah, my savings is basically for a down payment on a farm now, but it is a ways off so doesn't really feel like progress is being made, even though it is.

    Retirement is on auto-pilot, so I don't think about it much other than to check the quarterly statements.

    I always know where I am with net worth, always have done, so it doesn't really feel like a big thing to me to use for anything. *sighs* I just really want to get excited again and just seem to feeling meh instead. I am sure it will cycle around again, but it is just taking its own sweet time.

  15. LuckyRobin Says:

    BudgetBrilliance, well it has been 9 years of posting so the high number is due to that.

  16. snafu Says:

    I suspect you are already the 'Millionaire Next Door.' You can work towards increasing the value of your holdings targeting 7% or reaching for 9%.

  17. LuckyRobin Says:

    Snafu, no not a millionaire, not really close to that. But we should be by retirement age if all goes as it should.

  18. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    The Tattler lids-- I bought some last year and pressure canned a pint of blue tinted water. The blue was so I could see if the lid allowed siphoning, because I read a lot of reviewers who said they had lots of sealing failures. I set aside the jar so I could check it periodically for seal failure, but so far it is just fine. You must be happy with yours so far?

  19. LuckyRobin Says:

    Joan, yes, I am happy with the ones I have used so far. I have only done 12 jars, 6 wide mouth and 6 regular, but the seals are holding really well.

  20. tabs Says:

    Haha yes, I'm about the same way. Things are going well sooo there's not much I can blog about really.

  21. LuckyRobin Says:

    Tabs--It's hard, isn't it? But I really don't want to let the habit of blogging go by the wayside. Especially since I like to write every day, whether it be here, my other blog, or just in a journal. It helps to have more motivation.

  22. crazyliblady Says:

    Yes, it does make sense. I had that issue in 2004 when we paid off the last of our chapter 13 bankruptcy. Because I no longer had that same focus to pay off debt, we got into a bit of trouble again, but not so bad as the first time. I have finally learned to 1) pay ourselves first through savings and retirement, 2) pay any debts off as quickly as possible, 3) to have a slush fund, and 4) to not panic when the unexpected happens. Have you rethought what your goals should be? Could that include putting more into retirement, buying an additional or replacement vehicle, contributing to charity, or to your childrens' college fund?

  23. LuckyRobin Says:

    My main goal right now is just to save for the farm down payment. I do plan to start saving money for a farm truck next year. Since we are 2.5 years out from buying a farm, that'll give us two years to save for a truck. We just need something that we can haul hay and animals in, nothing fancy, so an old truck in good condition will do. We will probably up retirement savings next year as well and we will start adding to the Emergency Fund again as well. We have 3 months expenses and I'd like to have six. But really, I just want to sock the money away for the farm.

  24. bennyhoff Says:

    I *know* I felt this way (check my 2/20/2014 entry to see my ruminations on the subject). Hmmmm.... what have I done? Well keep savings on autopilot, and concentrate on other financial / life priorities coming up. In my case it has been working with my mother to get her finances straightened out so if (almost certainly *when*) I need to deal with her estate / money things will go as smooth as possible.

    Things like reviewing her will, getting her to put all her financial papers in one place and letting me know where to find them, knowing what lawyer office has her paperwork, getting her deceased 2nd husband's name off of all her accounts and titles (I don't need the aggravation 15 years from now with that!), adjusting her retirement accounts to minimize taxes going forward and reduce any future tax bill for me, and so on. Knowing that things will be mostly settled, and doing now while she still has her full wits, will be a big relief going forward.

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