Credit: John Ackerly
I know I’ve been M.I.A for a while. My job is causing me all kinds of stress. It then takes me all weekend to build the strength to string two thoughts together, let alone write a partially coherent blog post. My new manager is still scary. Every time she requests a meeting with me I panic that I’m going to get reprimanded and put on the short list for a PIP (the pre-firing “performance improvement plan”).
I’ve slowed down my debt pay off. This has been hard for me to do because I’m getting so close to being in four digits of credit card debt instead of five. It will be such a boost to be under $10,000. Why am I slowing down my credit card
murder payoff? I need to move. My lease will be ending within the next couple of months and I want to find someplace much cheaper to live. I also want to be able to see what kitchen counters look like again (messy packrat roommate). Soooo, I will need to save 2X – 3X rent to move into a new place. I’m sure this housing hunt will earn another post. If you’ve ever competed for housing on Craigslist in a large city with a housing shortage, you’ll understand.
Craigslist roommate listings. You either get:
1. The overly specific poster with a long list of random requirements. It’s easier to join the cast of Big Brother, than get a room in their apartment. O.M.G.! “Must play french horn with us every Tuesday evening and speak Swahili to our three 10 year old triplet Bengal cats”. NEXT! Sigh…
2. The poster with weird habits that don’t match your weird habits. A lot of ads have this kind of “kicker” at the bottom of the ad. Everything sounds great until you get to the last paragraph. “Oh, by the way all 5 of the other roommates will have to go through your room to get to the kitchen. The last tenant didn’t mind”. (Really? Well, you should get him/her back.) I’ve started reading the last paragraph first to save time. Sigh… “NEXT!”
3. The poster who wants your money, but doesn’t want you.
These posters will do things like spend several sentences bragging about the gourmet grocery stores within walking distance. In the last paragraph they inform you that there are no kitchen privileges. WTH?! Am I supposed to feed myself by cooking out in the backyard on a hot rock? Oh, wait, I won’t have backyard privileges either… Sigh… NEXT!
You know what? I’ll confess. If I ever had a room to rent, I’d be likely to write one like #3… There, I’m guilty. But that shouldn’t be surprising considering that I REALLY want my own place.
Craigslist weirdness, big city weirdness, and hell, even my weirdness (We all have a bit. Yes you too – don’t deny it 😉 ) are making for good times… NOT! I’ve already told you about what happened to me last year and how I ended up in my current housing situation… In any event, my goal is to rent a cheap room for a year, kill off any remaining credit card debt and save some money before I even think about getting my own place.
Assuming I find a decent room, what will I do with said anticipated saved money (~$3k – 8k)? I haven’t decided yet. Should I keep it as an emergency fund? I’m not convinced that my job is secure. Should I put it in my high deductible HSA (health savings account)? My health issues will have to be addressed at some point. Should I use it to fund travel? Should I open a 401k with my employer and send it there? Should I just throw it at the $100k of student loan debt? I need to work through identifying and re-evaluating what my financial goals are.
Another year of renting a room means that next year I’ll be 40 and still homeless. Not literally of course, but for me, not having my own apartment feels like a form of homelessness. Is renting a room one step up from couch-surfing? Sometimes I wish I had a CTRL+ALT+DELETE reboot command for life. I wish life problems could be solved that easily… Short of having that, it IS within our ability to launch our own personal life ‘task manager’. I can’t start over, but I can decide what I prioritize and spend time / money on going forward. I can decide what activities/goals I shut down/drop from my life.
“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)