A winding path to financial freedom

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It’s said that success isn’t a straight line and the same can be said for the state of my personal finances. Having been quite strict with budgeting and saving, over the past six months I’ve found myself falling asleep at the wheel. I became more relaxed about using a credit card and found myself dipping into my savings as I began living paycheck to paycheck. We always had more than enough to pay our bills and mortgage and my superannuation funds continue to grow, however I wasn’t actually saving anything in immediately accessible funds, which made me feel like I wasn’t making any progress.  

About a month ago, I decided to put a stop to the cycle of spending using my credit card and paying it off the next pay. I took out a 0%, nil fee balance transfer option with a new credit card provider to pay out the balance of my existing credit card and then closed the existing credit card.  Because I have a balance on the new card, I wouldn’t consider making any purchases on it because those purchases would incur interest. Therefore, I’m back to spending my own funds whilst directing a large proportion of my pay to the outstanding balance to pay it off as quickly as possible. I estimate that I have 1 month to go before it is paid off. Once it is paid off, I will cancel the card and celebrate being credit card free. I’m disappointed that I let myself get into this situation, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it and instead, move forward.

I think my work situation played a big part in snapping me out of my complacency.  I’ve been working long hours at work and feeling varying degrees of pressure and stress, which has me questioning my career path from time to time. Work life balance was not something I was ever really concerned with through my twenties, I dedicated myself to work and never thought twice about it. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m well and truly into my late twenties now (hurtling towards 30 at breakneck speed actually) or maybe it’s due to being confronted with the totally unglamorous reality of 12+ hour days and constant weekend work, but over the last year I’ve really found that the things outside of work give me the energy and fulfilment to be able to keep giving my best at work.  In other words, I’m finally seeing the value in this work life balance thing.

So it concerns me that at the age of 28, having worked for a decade, even if I wanted to stop working temporarily, based on my immediately available savings, it would only be two months before I’d need a regular income again. This is the very opposite of financial freedom and this is what is motivating me to get back on the financially prudent bandwagon.  I don’t necessarily want to leave my job or stop working, but I want the option. It would be so incredibly liberating to know that if I ever wanted to take 3,6 or 12 months off to start a business, go travelling or whatever else I wanted to do, that I could.  That I needn’t stay in a job or a career for the income, but rather, out of interest and passion. Also, I would like to look back over my years of hard work and see that I put the spoils to good use rather than wondering where they went. So here I go again, working on the basics, keeping lifestyle inflation in check, kicking credit cards to the curb and reminding myself what’s important.

That Career Girl

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