Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Debt-free!....for now. Here's where I stand...

So here I am, just turned 26 and completely debt-free! (Well, ok, almost, but the last year has been a whirlwind moving to a new city, getting a new job, and marrying Love, who unlike little-debt-free me coming into the marriage, wasn't so lucky.) Even though I worked part-time, my parents covered college tuition/rent (UC Santa Barbara - undergrad, Boston University - grad school) during my formidable years...and come to think of it, my car insurance too. And my car (it was a birthday present - I miss the Miata!), and my groceries...

It seems college is where up-and-coming adults accrue the bulk of their initial debt, and realizing how lucky I was, you'd think I'd be some spoiled, I-spend-money-frivolously-and-think-the-world-should-be-handed-to
-me-on-a-silver-platter princess, but I'm really not. Actually, it's quite the opposite. I have an addiction and it begins with the letter "S." Before you conjure up any dirty thoughts, it has nothing to do with that but everything to do with saving, which to some people can be a dirty little word in itself. But I love it. I think people miss the point that if you shave off a few dollars here and there and leverage (my other favorite word) your savings, you end up with a lot in the long run. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't splurge once in a while, but buying that sleek new iPhone just because it'd be fabulous to have is not always the best decision.

Sure, I have my guilty pleasures (What girl doesn't? I love 7 for all Mankind jeans and have been dubbed Immelda Marcos on more than one occasion because of my extensive shoe collection), but I've taught myself to rein in how much I spend and what I spend my money on. Aside from the debt I accrued from marrying Love (and the subsequent debt from our wedding, a whole other post to come about that) and the burgeoning debt that will hit us after he graduates Georgetown Law, I feel free, clear and in the green. Currently, I have $6,000+ (not bad for a journalist) that I use to trade in the stock market (another of my addictions), a budding 401k account at work, more than enough cash in the bank and oh, about $250 in credit card debt. Our goal is to save up enough money in the next two years ($40,000, to be exact) to use as a down-payment on real estate when we move back to the Bay Area (San Francisco, to be exact). Then the real investing begins!!

From here on out, I'm excited to chronicle my musings on spending, saving and living, with the ultimate goal of stylishly retiring early!

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