[-$56,835] Feeling Like a Rat … and a Cat

Image Credit: Steve Cutts’ short film ‘Happiness’ (Youtube)

The Rat Race

Hey Peeps,

Another $1720 minimum monthly student loan payment, another seemingly minuscule movement in my balance.

I’m still busy at work and thankfully looking forward to the 3-day weekend for a bit of rest. Although my employer is benefiting from the new corporate tax cuts and pulling in record profits, it has done nothing to raise pay for people in my division beyond the standard cost of living adjustment. If there was any doubt about the impossibility of getting a raise, it’s gone now. Getting a raise, a REAL raise, was never a possibility and never will be one.

Other people have moved on from my employer and are earning more now. I’ll need to think about my long term earning potential. Ahhh. Trapped in the rat race and searching for more cheese. At the same time, I’m hesitant to make any risky moves now with so much debt and uncertainty hanging over my head. Afterall, there IS value in stability. 

Up, Down, and Around and Around

Sooo, how about all of that stock market volatility over the past couple of weeks? I wasn’t stressed about it at all, as I invest for the long-term, but I did wish I had money I could spare to buy more stocks during the 3-day flash sale. In any event, I confess that I have been avoiding looking at my investment balances because I didn’t want to see the drop in my numbers. Sad, right? I’ll get the courage soon. It’s all temporary.

Market volatility spurred some articles raising the possibility of another recession, maybe even as soon as within the next 12 months, at the earliest.  Could the next recession be as bad or worse than the Great Recession? Possibly. I have no idea. But I do recall some sage advice about the last one. Get out of debt and save cash like there’s no tomorrow.  The fact that American household debt is increasing substantially, does not bode will for our ability to weather another really bad economic downturn.

My reaction when caught rolling around in all teh moniez.

Feeling Like a Fat Cat… For Now

I got my bonus, federal tax and state tax refund, all around the same time. I haven’t done anything with it yet, because I’ve been too busy with work to think straight. I’m going to pay off my credit card debt and keep the rest in my Opportunity fund, at least until I get back from my trip.

When I return, I plan to use more of the money to pay off all expenses from the trip that will be on my card. Whatever is left may likely be used to fund my yearly Opportunity and Health Maintenance funds (for 2018), just as I have done in years past.

Have you received or will you receive a tax refund and/or bonus at work this year?  What are you going to do with it?


“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW Archives)


  1. Dolores Gonzalez · February 17

    We did get a refund. My husband and I split it in half, he put his half in his own spending account and I’m using my half to FINALLY get a dishwasher that I’ve been needing for years. We have to get our countertop replaced in order to do it, so that’s $700 to be spent before I can even get a dishwasher. Darn old house.

    I also didn’t pay any attention to when the stock markets went down. I was really unaware which is a shame because I have always wanted to buy up some while there’s a “sale” but when it happened I dind’t even notice it. I suppose that would be attempting to time the market which is a no no anyway.


  2. steveark · February 17

    Well hey, I never had a job that got President’s Day off in my entire pre-FIRE career so at least you have that!


  3. zeejaythorne · February 19

    No bonus, but I think I’ll receive a tax refund. I will definitely receive life insurance. The CC debt will be destroyed! I’m still toying with how to divvy up the rest.

    It stinks to know that your employer will never compensate you more, but it is useful information. If your linkedin is set to allow recruiters to contact you, you are in a better knowledge situation at least. No need to be loyal to folks who don’t care about you.


    • Double Debt Single Woman · 19 Days Ago

      Yeah. Unfortunately it’s the new norm at many companies. Lesson learned. Negotiate hard at next job offer.

      Congrats on destroying your credit card debt. Glad to see that you’re making progress on completing the Estate work and not stuck waiting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • zeejaythorne · 18 Days Ago

        I have not received it yet, but I will destroy the CC debt as soon as it comes in!

        Sadly, still waiting. Life insurance has not arrived yet. Can’t complete the estate work until stuff arrives from overseas. Que sera, sera!


  4. Maria · 27 Days Ago

    Even though it does sucks that your rent will be going up and so you can’t use your bonus the way you had planned, it sounds like you’ll still be able to do quite a bit with your bonus and tax returns! Hopefully your vacation won’t be super duper costly. But still costly enough for you to enjoy yourself! 😀


  5. C@thesingledollar · 25 Days Ago

    I know it feels slower than steadier right now. But still, $1700 isn’t nothing in terms of a reduction! You’re still doing great (and your net worth is still going up substantially due to retirement contributions plus debt reduction.)


  6. msfibidie · 16 Days Ago

    I just discovered your blog today on Rockstar Finance. I was looking for other 40-somethings getting a late start on retirement savings (like me!) and your journey *really* resonates. Thank you for sharing it with the world – it’s inspiring to see how far you’ve come! Congrats!


  7. mrsmotherdirt · 11 Days Ago

    I just found your blog. I am also knocking down my student loan, albeit not as fast as you. I wanted to give you a cyber high-5. This is inspiring.


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