Mid-month update: January 2018

We’re halfway through the first month of the year, and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling so refreshed and ready for the rest of 2018!

Just kidding. I’m exhausted.

As I jokingly said yesterday, I’ve got two jobs and a blog, so if you ask what’s new with me, the answer these days is pretty much going to be “not much.” Despite the exhaustion from two jobs, I can throw all the internal tantrums I want about wanting to go to sleep early instead of writing, but here I am with a tab open to WordPress because having a blog is a thing, too.

What I can do instead is cop out on a fully-formed blog post. I’ve got nothing, y’all. So here’s a mid-month update instead!

State of the side hustle

Y’all, I worked 15 hours last weekend. Six of them were out in the cold on Sunday at a farmers’ market, and that drained me for the rest of the day. The other nine were from an unexpected double shift on Saturday because we were slammed and I wasn’t going to leave just because my shift was technically over when we were four deep at the bar (plus, you know, the opportunity for extra money).

Thank goodness it was a three-day weekend so I could catch up a bit on life things before starting the work week for my primary job. I’m still exhausted and would love to pass out an hour before my usual bedtime like I did on Sunday, but alas, my legion of readers demands a regular blogging schedule so I have to write, which is why you’re getting this amalgamation of scattered thoughts instead of a real post. 😉

We’ve moved to a new system where instead of getting paychecks at the beginning of every month for the previous month’s hours, we’re now getting paid weekly via PayPal. So between the January paycheck for December’s hours, the 15 hours I put in last weekend, and the fact that we now get paid weekly, January’s income is going to be amazing. Can I recreate December’s success? We’ll see!

I’m scheduled to work just about every weekend now through the end of April, minus one weekend I’ll be at home and my birthday weekend, so the exhaustion will probably continue. But luckily I don’t foresee any more 15 hour weekends in my future during that time!

State of the debt payoff

Speaking of January’s income, I am so close to paying off the credit card that has the bulk of my debt. The intro zero percent interest rate ends at some point in March, but I’m not going to flirt with having to look that up or risk getting penalized with all the accrued interest: I’m paying off that sucker in the next few weeks!

I’d be down to a few hundred dollars on the balance instead of the $2k I’m sitting at right now, but I’ve got a $1,650 “pay off credit card” savings goal in Qapital, which is where the bulk of my debt payoff money is coming from. And sadly it’s going to take a few more weeks to save up the $200 I have left to complete that savings goal.

I’m so close and so tired of waiting! I could pull my money out now and send it over to the card, and then send the additional $200 when it hits the app, but the gold star-seeker in me wants to complete that savings goal. I get a fun celebratory screen when I reach a goal, and I don’t know how pulling money out early affects how the app calculates your progress towards the goal.

So, it’ll be a few weeks for that card and then I have another $400 on a credit card with zero interest through this year. I’ll knock that out pretty easily with all my side hustle money, and then I’ll finally be able to use the second income to get ahead!

At least that’s what I’m planning on, unless I have to make some pricey repairs, which brings me to the…

State of the car

Indeterminate. I had to get to work two weekends ago and it was 20 degrees out. For half a second I didn’t think my car was going to start (yes, I keep my gas tank mostly full so that’s not a concern). My check engine light came on, which I initially attributed to the fact that it was fucking cold out and not fit for human or machine. That check engine light sadly persisted through a midweek (and 40 degree) trip to Costco (where I topped off my gas tank and learned the cold brought me down to a measly 29 mpg. I have never seen it below 31 or 32 mpg, even in the height of the summer while sitting in traffic on I-95, and normal is more like 38 mpg, eek).

And it persisted through a quick trip to Auto Zone on Saturday before I went to work so they could do a free scan to figure out what’s up. The error code that scan threw back was something about insufficient fuel supply.

I’m hoping it’s just an oxygen sensor, and that it’s an easy fix my dad and I can do when I go home the first weekend of February. Calling a mechanic for more info on the error code is on my to-do list today, especially because if it’s something that needs to get fixed before I drive down to NC in a few weeks, I really need to know that.

And if it is something that requires a mechanic, well, it’s likely time for a tune-up anyway: my poor car has 151,000 miles on it, and it’s been idling a bit higher than normal lately as well. So maybe my paychecks from my second job might immediately be repurposed for the car emergency fund instead of getting invested. Sigh. But that’s the risk I run as a car owner!

State of the January goals


So far I’ve made it four times a week, not five. But it’s cold and the joints I destroyed in the course of fourteen years of dancing hurt, so pushing myself to go five times a week for the sake of a challenge that literally has no bearing on anything makes zero sense. Maybe I’ll go five or even six times in the next two weeks to catch up, but I’m not going to kill myself over it.

Even after six freezing hours of work, I was still planning on going to class on Sunday evening. Until my roommate told me she was planning on going to something called spa yoga and asked if I wanted to come. I hate yoga but spa sounded like something I’d be willing to do, so I went. Here’s how the class went:

Barre yesterday after the spa yoga class felt absolutely amazing. Partially because I got a nice stretch in during the yoga class so I wasn’t nearly as stiff as I would’ve been otherwise. But it was also a nice change to move big and get my heart rate up. Three years ago I never would’ve believed I’d ever be saying this, but huzzah for exercise!

January cure

Two weekends ago I mopped my floors. That was excellent timing for that assignment since I was going to do it anyway to get up the disgusting salt my roommate and I tracked in (we have a liberal hand with the sidewalk salt here in DC. Not that that stopped me from needing to walk in the street to get to work one day last week because all the brick sidewalks were an ice rink. More snow, less ice, please!). It’s still horrendously cold out and the sidewalks will continue to be salted, so that was only a first pass at the floors, or at least the area by our door.

In between working a shit ton and collapsing on the couch last weekend, I also went through all the food in the cabinet that serves as the pantry. I found some things I forgot about and need to use immediately, and way too many things that expired way too long ago. I don’t take expiration dates as the gospel truth, but when the dates are 2016 and even 2015, things get tossed.

Throwing food away sucks and I did a lot of it after the pantry cleanout. I’ll be going through things in there more often to avoid having that happen again.



Uber Frugal Month

I’ve fallen behind in the emails, but other than groceries and gas, I think I’ve spent money on a pair of tennis shoes at Costco and a lunch out with Military Dollar and Guy on FIRE and that’s it. So I’d say the uber frugal month has so far been a success, strict adherence to the guidelines notwithstanding.

No, wait, I’ll have a transaction from Amazon come through today because my copy of Cait’s book is on its way! I’ll be dropping everything to read that when I get it. Sorry, intimidating stack of library books currently sitting on my shelf!

State of the human

Tired and it’s time to stop writing. This life update post somehow ended up at 1,500 words (whoops, I ramble too much), so enough about me. How are your Januaries shaping up?

18 Replies to “Mid-month update: January 2018”

  1. Congrats on getting near the credit card payoff! That’s gonna feel so great when it’s finally done and paid off. Just remember, even though it may not feel like it since you aren’t keeping the money, the debt payoff still increases your net worth! ?

    Also, props to you on the 4 workouts per week.. you seem way busier than me and I’m struggling with getting in like twice in a week ?

    1. Thank you! And yeah, that’s the one silver lining to not being able to keep that money—at least my assets/liabilities ratio keeps getting smaller and my net worth keeps getting closer to being equal to my assets!

      Hah, but between all of my things AND working out so often, I don’t have much of a social life. So if you’ve got that, I’d say you might come out ahead here 😉

  2. Working outside when it was super cold out? Girl, you deserve a medal for that.

    The true test for our money goals is February. That’s when we’ll start using cash for food and when my husband says he’ll cut cable finally. For now, we’re just getting mentally psyched!

    I’m almost tempted to just buy Cait’s book instead of waiting for the library. It’s only $10…

    Also, yay to almost killing that CC debt! I can’t wait to see what you end up doing with your money after.

    1. Using cash for food would be terrifying! But also probably a good thing for me to try out—I find myself going into the grocery store for things that are $3 here and $6 there, and all of that starts to add up, even though my grocery spending isn’t something I’m worried about at the moment.

      You should! It’s only $10 as you say 😉 I still don’t think the DC library has any copies, so I’m glad I bought mine.

  3. Yeah I’m with Luxe, working a Farmer’s Market in that cold must’ve been tough. It’s one thing to go climbing in the cold like I was doing – at least I’m building up tons of body heat and burning calories. That kept me warm. Standing around in 15 degrees is brutal!

    Get your party plans ready for the credit-card payoff. You told me what your second job was so you have no excuse to not have a nice bottle ready 🙂

    1. It took me all day to be able to feel my toes again. I’m glad I made friends with the vendor who had a lot of heaters in their tent to keep their veggies from freezing!

      Hahaha and I suppose you wouldn’t mind if I decided to do a bottle giveaway in celebration of being debt-free, huh? ?

  4. You make me tired young padawan. As a slightly early retired guy with much financial independence I just work a couple of days a week and only set my alarm on days my wife and I run in the early morning. But that drive and focus you have is remarkable and you’ll be free much sooner than I was because of that. It was a very good post, kind of took me back to my early days when work was out of control busy and getting enough sleep was an actual problem. You are a good animal and doing the right things and it will be fun following your journey.

    1. Oh gosh, that life sounds amazing! I am definitely hoping that working so hard now gets me to where you are sooner than normal retirement age.

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  5. Hey, Erin. New to your blog. Liked the update. And I liked the cold references. I went to college in Buffalo many moons ago, so I know all about the icy walkways, the blistering cold winds, and the cars that surrender to Old Man Winter and refuse to start. Not fun. And not something I ever want to experience again. But thanks for piquing my memory. If it weren’t for long underwear, an electric blanket, and Yukon Jacks, I never would have survived my five Buffalo winters. Cheers.

    1. Hi, Mr. Groovy. Thanks for reading!

      One day I will live somewhere where I don’t have to deal with the cold. The hilarious thing is DC is the farthest north I was willing to move for college—I know I’m a cold wimp! My heated mattress pad is pretty much the only thing that gets me through the winter sometimes. At least my bed is cozy!

  6. So jealous of your in person face time! Maybe I’ll get to join in if we make it out east this year. All your exercise posts make me jealous of how often you get to go. It’s definitely way harder with a kid than even two full time jobs (trust me, I know), but I should still be able to find time 2-3 days a week instead of my average of maybe 1.2…

    1. I’m so excited to hopefully see you in May!

      It’s so hard. I sign up for a class every day that I can but end up cancelling fairly often because I’m too tired, or I need a rest day, or the weather is disgusting and I don’t want to walk the 15 minutes there, or I just plain don’t want to go. I can’t imagine how hard it would be if I had a kid and my limited free time wasn’t really my own!

  7. Well hey, good job on getting that debt under control. That’s something a lot of people will probably never do. And regarding your check engine light – I’m pretty sure once it comes on, it doesn’t go off until you reset it somehow. So there might not necessarily be a big problem with your engine or anything. My check engine light came on too recently on one of these super freezing cold days, but I reset it and it hasn’t come back on since, so it must have just been because it was so cold like you said.

    1. Unfortunately a trip to the mechanic confirmed there was something wrong, but it was a relatively minor/easily fixable something.

      Thanks for reading!

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