Today, I made a payment on one of my balance transfer cards that brought the balance down from four figures to three. (Or, at least, it will bring the balance down once it’s done being processed. Details!) I’m lucky that I’ve never had to overcome a substantial amount of debt, and I’m certainly not done yet with paying off what I owe. But I’m proud of myself for figuring it out — and, truly, seeing a figure drop off of the amount I owe, even just on that one card, feels really good.
I have a goal to pay off all of my debt within the next year-and-change, accompanied by a larger goal to not let myself accrue any more of it. That’s not so much as a goal as it is an attempt to be more mindful in my everyday; there’s no dollar amount attached, just the idea that I don’t want to have the burden of debt looming above me, even if it’s not “that much” in the grand scheme.
I have many money goals, like earning more in general, building up my emergency fund, and saving for a very budget-friendly trip Peter and I are taking to Germany (something I’ll be sure to write about soon!). But I find that, when thinking long-term, I’m not sure money goals and dollar amounts are the motivators that will work for me. I want security in the sense that, if something unthinkable happens, I’ll be able to take care of myself. Or, if something “fun” and unexpected comes along, I want to be able to do it or jump at the opportunity without having to think twice about whether or not I can afford to. That’s why I loved J. Money‘s last pick this week, “Growth Without Goals.” Instead of listing a specific number he wanted to grow his assets to, the author talks about aspirational living in the sense of living each day a little better than the last. That means spending time where it matters, and not spending money where it doesn’t. I love this outlook, and it’s definitely something I’m going to keep referring back to.
Here are the rest of this week’s personal finance picks to help get you through until the weekend finally arrives. Enjoy!
1. 12 Hidden Money Lessons in Hip Hop – Rockstar Finance
“As someone who comes from a low-income background myself, I can tell you that not having any money makes you want ALL THE MONEY…Money can become kind of an obsession. You want it, you get it, you talk about how you got it, and how you can get more.”
2. The Cost of Being in a Same-Sex Relationship – Freedom From Money
“Even though I write about money almost every single day, I still haven’t been able to quantify the price of being different. But what I do know is that it’s a price that is paid every single day, sometimes with money, but more often than not, it is paid through small acts of bravery and moments of fear.”
3. A Dividend A Day Keeps The Unwanted Job Away! – Mr. Free At 33
“Money’s ability to essentially reproduce is my favorite thing about it. But what makes the whole process even more amazing is that money gets better at this as it grows. It becomes stronger the more it replicates.”
4. The Best Way to Get Out of Debt, Per Harvard – Funancials
“They essentially found that focus, momentum and the power of small wins trumps the power of mathematics. But, having this knowledge isn’t enough. After all, what good is information without action? That’s why I put together a list of seven steps to help you become debt free.”
5. My “Comfy Couch” Account– Mixed Up Money
“I think emergency savings accounts are boring. I avoid calling my emergency account anything similar. Instead, it’s labelled ‘Money to protect your other money. Oh, and also your reckless behavior.'”
6. How an Instagram Hashtag Inspired Me to Save $1,800 – The Penny Hoarder
“At the end of those 90 days, I was a different person – and my bank account was unrecognizable… Before my capsule wardrobe challenge, I had been struggling for months to scrape together an emergency fund – I just didn’t think I had room in my budget.”
7. Growth Without Goals – Investor Field Guide
“There is always that stupid interview question: where do you see yourself or your company in five years. Instead, we should ask, what things do you think are important to do every day?”
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