I Moved Out

In my last post, I was trying my best to endure my living situation. It was not to be, however. Two weeks after my last post, I moved out.

Yeah, it all happened pretty quickly. I was prepared to try to ride out the winter there even though I was miserable. Two events triggered my decision to leave; one linked to each roommate. That was it. I was done. I packed up my stuff and got the hell out.

Thanks to all of you who commented on my last post. Ms. Afro Penny and Maria asked me to think about whether enduring my living situation was worth it, and to prioritize my mental health. I did reflect on those words.

I’m now lounging in my own small 1-BR apartment. I considered a renting a studio, but after living in a small bedroom for the last 7 years of my life, that option felt suffocating. I LOVE my new place. The apartment isn’t super swanky or anything, but I think it’s cute. More importantly, it’s clean, quiet, bug-free, and safe.

It is not cheap, but moving to any place was going to be more expensive than what I was paying while living with multiple roommates. I moved to a new town where rent is a bit less expensive, and I got 2 months free rent because the rental market is no longer competitive because of COVID.

This will set me back financially. My savings rate will lower by quite a bit due to the higher rent, and I have been spending money like water over the past couple of months to furnish the place. For me, it’s worth it.

My mental health has boosted. I feel so much better. I love having my own space and having total control over it. I have space to improve my mental and physical health.

Time Flies

I’ve not blogged for a long while. Frankly, with COVID and the elections going full swing for the past couple of months, plus my soul-sucking job, I have not felt energized to post. I haven’t checked on my retirement savings, because it hasn’t been a priority for me. I got an email from “debtor” who reminded me to get back on the keyboard. Thanks for the nudge. 😉

Michelle, congrats on reaching your retirement saving goals for the year. Afro Penny, thanks for keeping it real and sharing the ups and downs of working multiple jobs to pay off debt. It’s a smart move to build up an emergency fund before anything else. You’ll be back to chopping at that debt in no time. My Early Retirement Journey, boy do I understand the stress of a soul-sucking job. I hope the communication channels you’ve set up, help you to work through your grief and challenges. Losing a family member is always so hard. I lost a relative to COVID not long ago. It’s a hard road, but one you can walk.

Happy Holidays

Now that the elections are over (except for Senate seats in GA), I can start to free up some mental space. I’m hoping things slow down at work over the holidays. But it will be my luck to get someone over my team who has something to prove and wants to make us work at full speed, while other groups get to kick back a little. Sigh.

I hope you’re all able to make the best of a not ideal holiday season this year.

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DDSW Archives

The Hidden Costs of Cheap Rent: More Housing Problems

hidden costs of cheap rent

The Hidden Costs of Cheap Rent – That is the title of a book I wish I’d read a few years ago when I gave up my studio apartment and started renting rooms to save money. If such a book does exist, someone send me a copy. Or better yet, I’m probably ready to write that book myself now.

Unfortunately, it’s not at all uncommon for bad landlords to luck up on some cheap property and use that below market cheap rent as a way to control and manipulate the people who rent from them. They go on power trips and hold their ability to kick their tenants out over their heads if the tenants dare to make requests or say ‘no’ to anything.

As you may recall from this post, I talked about how my landlord had been acting even more oddly than Read More

Where is my CTRL+ALT+DELETE button? Craigslist season opens again.

ctrl_alt_del_life_by_j0hnnyr0tt0n-d5vm4um
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…

The Most Insane Roommate Ad

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!”

The Most

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!

The Most Insane Roommate Ads Ever Posted On Craigslist   Cry For Help   Happy Place

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.

Ha!

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.

Decisions, decisions…

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