I was going through some old notes when I found a list I’d made back in April of 2012. It seemed worth sharing, so here it is:
Financial Goals & Responsibilities, Hopes & Dreams
1. Pay off student loans
2. Pay off car
3. Have own car insurance
4. Have health insurance
A 3 day vacation with Scott somewhere nice-ish
Trip for Kate by the time she graduates
What struck me about this list was that I’ve managed to accomplish all of it, and that’s a good thing to remember.
I wrote this list a year before I paid off my student loans. I wrote this list just as I was starting to get into roller derby. I wrote it long before I adopted Hillary, whose butt is by my hands as I write this. I didn’t exactly accomplish all these things on their original timeline, but I did each one.
This week I crossed off #2. I sent in my final check to my grandmother for my car, 610 dollars. It feels good to have taken care of this, and even better to think of the $500 each month that can go straight to savings now. I’ve had that car since 2011 and even though I only started seriously paying it off recently, I still can’t believe how long it’s taken me and how much relief I feel to have that debt gone (even though there was 0 outside pressure associated with it).
#3 came quickly after moving to San Diego, though apparently not as quickly as I remember. I think I was on my parents’ car insurance until the time came to get California plates, and then my insurance was in my name. This is not something that gives me wild satisfation, like paying off a loan does. It’s a little bit of a pain actually because it reminds me that I still drive way more than I would like to, but it also reminds me that I’m responsible about it.
Health insurance took a long time to get. I was on my parents’ health insurance for awhile and worried about getting sick because it was a pain to use in California. I had health insurance when I worked at the law firm, so I must have just gotten it around the time I wrote this. It was good to have, but I didn’t like using it then either. It’s actually only recently that I’ve started to feel okay about using my health insurance. Girl Scouts offers a good policy and I like my doctor and my dentist, so I make appointments (well, I make dental appointments, but I would make doctor’s appointments if I thought I needed to).
#5. Rent/food/etc. It’s a responsibility. An ongoing one. I always had enough to make rent (it was the worst when I worked part-time for G.S., but I still made it). It’s only recently that rent’s become an easy thing. After I started working for Girl Scouts the second time, I just set an automatic transfer for my part of the rent payment. No more thinking about it. Now the money gets transferred on the first of every month and nobody has to remind me and I don’t have to think about which check I’m going to use. I’m going to use the money that’s in the account already. I feel like this makes it sound like I was always on the edge when I was paying rent before and I wasn’t; I just acted like I was.
Those were the responsibilities. The unnumbered part of the list were the hopes and dreams.
Roller skates–still one of the best purchases I ever made. I haven’t been skating much recently, i.e. in the last six months. I haven’t been going to practice and I haven’t been skating. I’d like to say I miss it, but I think I’d have to go back in order to realize if I miss it. So I’m planning to go back to practice and I’m hoping that once I’m there I’ll miss it. But I don’t know. I still love my skates though.
A cat–she’s been on the list for a long time. And she’s so so great.
A three day vacation with Scott somewhere nice-ish. We took a three day vacation for my 24th birthday in 2012 to Joshua Tree and we stayed in an adorable air-stream trailer. Mission accomplished. For awhile we only traveled to weddings, then we went to Glasgow and almost stayed forever (real talk: I almost stayed forever, Scott was ready to come home). What I’ve learned in the ensuing years is that three day vacations are important for me, not so much for him. I remember wanting this vacation, being so excited to be on the road after work even when we were stuck in traffic. I needed the break. And I needed the break this weekend when I took a couple extra days off. It wasn’t for us. It was for me. It feels good to know that.
A bike. I used Scott’s bike for awhile and then it was stolen and now I have my own bike! It’s great. I love my bike.
Food Processor/Blender. I have both now. Part of me thinks I only need one, and then I think that’s silly. They are very different. I wouldn’t say that I have a nice food processor or blender, but they also didn’t cost $400 so I don’t really care. They get the job done.
Trip for Kate by the time she graduates. I didn’t get this done by the time she graduated, but this year I took her and my grandmother to Washington, D.C. It was important to me to do that with my grandmother, while she’s still with us and still mobile enough to travel, and it was also important to me that my sister come with us. It seemed unfair for her to miss out on that time with our last grandparent, who loves us both so well, just because she was still paying off loans and getting settled. So I took her too, and it was entirely the right idea.
My current list of goals & responsibilities, hopes & dreams is just as long if not longer than this one, so sometimes it seems as though I’m not making any progress. I’d like to be saving for a down payment on a house (why? it just seems like the next grown up thing to do). I’d like to be putting more toward retirement, like double or triple what I’m doing now (#dreambig). I’d like an emergency fund and a next-car fund, and a second bookshelf and some better knives. It’s easy to forget with all those other dreams out there that there was a time when I just wanted to pay off my student loans and get a food processor.
We’ve come, if not a long way, at least a long time, from those days.