(with apologies to Bob Dylan)
In my last blog post, I mentioned two unique opportunities that are coming / may come my way. The first is the Opportunity – basically a grant (though it’s not called that) for $10k (pre-tax) that will require what I judge to be the equivalent of a year-long research project for a Master’s degree. It involves action research, writing, and creating professional development modules. They liked my proposal, apparently, and I was selected.
The other opportunity that MAY come my way is an opportunity to accept an Awesome Job. This job is so awesome that it’s the kind of job I might aspire to after five years in the field (and the field is one I’ve only been in part-time since February). I haven’t heard anything in the last week, so I’m beginning to feel deflated. Honestly, even if I got an interview I’d be pretty psyched.
Either way, I’m in a good position. This is a happy place to be!
I’m moving forward mentally as though I’m staying in my current job with this Opportunity, and that means I’ll be getting a check for $1k (again, pre-tax) at the end of July. Woot!
When I asked H what he thought we should do with it, we narrowed it down to a couple choices.
- Use it to pay down debt (our Citibank card, which is where we rolled our high-interest Sallie Mae student loan; I’m calling it “Balance 2,” since I like to remind myself that we paid off the first huge balance of consumer debt on that card last month!)
- Save it for something like a new mattress/box springs set (we’ve been jonesin’ for something better than what we’ve got, but it seems technically unnecessary)
- Save it in a true Emergency Fund
H said he thought we should put it in an Emergency Fund, so that’s the current plan.
Then we planned that any extra money we get (selling at consignment stores, my side hustle income, cash back on our credit cards, etc.) would be snowflaked to the Citibank card (Balance 2).
However, I started thinking about the additional income the Opportunity would bring: two more paychecks of $4500 (who knows what that will actually come out to after taxes, though? I’m estimating that we’ll see 2/3rds of it), one in January and one in May or June. The possibilities seemed endless:
- Pay off Citibank card faster
- Max out my IRA
- Save for new mattress & box springs
- Save to re-carpet or install hardwood in part of our house to increase its value and awesomeness
- Have a kick-ass emergency fund
And that’s where I stopped. I thought, “Ohhhh, man! We could go someplace amazing that we’d never have been able to afford otherwise… maybe we would only use one paycheck for that, and then save the other!”
When I got home, I told H, “What do you think about Hawaii?” (We have a friend who lives there – could totally stay for free!) He said, “Well, that sounds cool, but… next summer is the conference in France.”
Um, what? Okay, I had known about it, but I think the last time I thought about it was about two years ago, which is when H’s last international conference was (and that was in Scotland! – he went with his parents and I stayed home because I had a work commitment – grrrrr). Anyway, it made me really glad we had that conversation, because now I know what we need to save for!
In June 2015, we’ll be going to France!
I’d like to take L, but it’s more financially sound to leave her with my parents, if they’re willing. Plus, she’ll only be 6 and it’s unlikely she’ll remember much even if she does go. But there ain’t no way I’m staying behind if I can help it this time around!
We did a cursory look around to see what kind of cost we might be looking at, and I’m estimating (on the high side) about $5000. H says $4000 is the highest he thinks it will be, and that it could be lower with reimbursements from his work. I prefer to estimate on the high side – I mean, wouldn’t you rather have more than less?
In any case, that looks to be over $400 we need to set aside per month for the next 12 months. Eep!
Well, I re-examined our budget and our debt (especially the Citibank card that’s interest-free until August 2015) and confirmed that as long as we continue with our regularly-scheduled (and already budgeted-for) $525 a month on that balance, we’re going to be able to pay that off in plenty of time before the interest comes due.
That means that instead of channeling my side hustle money into Debt Eradication, it will instead be channeled towards the travel fund. As soon as the travel fund hits $5000, then any extra (including whatever is left over from the Opportunity checks) will be used for:
- 80% Debt Eradication
- 10% General Savings (if we decide we want/need that)
- 10% Roth IRA
But priority number one is getting the Travel Fund funded (that is, after we establish our Emergency Fund with my first Opportunity check at the end of July). At that point, we may revisit our debt repayment plans or savings plans, etc.
But I do like having a plan, even if we end up throwing it out the window. Wheeeeee!
P.S. Funnily enough, as I was planning this post, I saw that Krystal Yee over at Give Me Back My Five Bucks is also planning a trip! Anyone else thinking ahead with travel plans and saving?