Finances,  Life

The Necessity of Facing Reality

Now that I’ve had time to breathe, it is time to face my current reality. I need to know what I’m facing in order to move forward.

Facing our current reality is a necessity. Burying your head in the sand won’t help one bit. You must know exactly where you stand, regardless of how shaky the ground so that you know what you are dealing with. That is the first step in overcoming any challenge you may face.

I’ve sorted my reality into a list of advantages and challenges. I’m leading with advantages first since good news always helps to soften the blow of the bad.

Advantages

  • I currently have a public job that brings in a bit less than $600 these days due to a cut in hours. Worst case scenario, I can live on that year-round once Katie moves out, though it will be rather tight during the winter months due to increased utility expenses.
  • I have my writing business, which is my passion. It brings in anywhere from $50-$120 a month, depending upon sales and runs a couple of months behind of my actual earnings. For instance, the royalties I receive in November will be from sales in September.
  • I have a checking account with roughly $1,000 in it; $500 is my pillow, and the rest covers my bills for the upcoming month.
  • I have over $1,700 invested in the stock market at the time of writing. My investments aren’t currently valued at that due to the slide in stock values, but it still brings in a bit of money each quarter.
  • I have a small investment in silver that can be sold if needed.
  • I have marketable skills in computer repair and sewing that can be utilized to earn extra money if needed.
  • I have no debt that I need to worry about paying off.
  • I have the amazing ability to live on very little money when necessary.

Challenges

  • I am facing the emotional upheaval of my daughter moving away. This may affect my reasoning if I’m not careful.
  • My expenses will double when the kid moves out. More than double from my current budget, since expenses are much higher here in the winter.
  • I have no idea what to do with my life as I move forward.
  • I possess neither vehicle nor drivers license, so employment options are limited if I need to seriously increase my income.
  • My cash padding is reduced due to my stock market investments, so I am running a bit leaner than I like as I head into the coldest months of winter. That makes me nervous.
  • I’ve realized that I have an unhealthy relationship with money and things that I need to deal with. I tend to focus on money (since my spending is under my control) when other facets of my life seem out of control.
  • I have realized that dental issues have been causing the exhaustion I’ve experienced this past year. If I don’t attend to this issue the infection could kill me in time. Since I have no intentions of leaving this world for some time to come, this is something urgent that I need to address.
  • I have very little saved up for retirement.

Evaluation

Overall, looking over this list I’m not doing too bad. It seems scary but the challenges are far from insurmountable. I’ve faced much worse in the past. History indicates that I will sail through this winter just fine. It might be tight, but it is workable. To be safe I won’t invest any more money into the stock market unless I know that I can definitely spare the funds. I will hold on to that money just in case I need it to pay bills this winter.

In the meantime, I need to keep a close eye on my spending. I need to reduce the amount I spend to adjust to the fact that I will have less free money in the future. It isn’t a pleasant reality to face but I have to deal with it. Fortunately, I have a few avenues available to make extra spending money if needed. I can take in sewing work by doing repairs and alterations. I can repair computers. I can even work on MTurk in my spare time.

I am already taking steps to correct my dental issues. As a result, I’m already noticing an increase in my energy levels. All I have to do is continue my current action plan and this issue will be eliminated. I will have to save up for a pair of dentures but I’ll figure that out as I go along.

I’ve realized that I do have an unhealthy relationship with money; understanding that you have a problem is half the battle won. I’ve altered my focus a bit to compensate. That said, that unhealthy focus will actually benefit me in the upcoming months since I may have to get creative to stretch my limited funds. I’ve got lots of experience with saving money as a result of my previous obsession with keeping expenses low.

I’ve formed a basic game plan to help deal with the emotional fallout of Katie leaving. I invested in a nice journal to provide a safe, pleasurable place to work through my emotions. I’ve altered my focus to the person I want to become instead of making financial goals at the present time. Once Katie moves out I’ll keep busy by sorting and rearranging my home to accommodate. I’ll be able to sleep in the bedroom and I’ll have more room overall once she’s gone. That is an advantage I want to keep my attention on. I will handle things better if I have something to look forward to.

I’ve got a nice stack of books in my “read” pile. These will keep me occupied and provide ideas and inspiration for the cost of free since I already own them. This will not only be cheap entertainment, it is educational as well.

I will eventually need to work out a definite goal but that is not an urgent need. I’ve waited twenty years to begin saving for retirement; a few months is not going to change things much. In fact, it might even benefit me. I may come up with ways to increase my income that don’t rely on working full-time.

Hmm. Thinking about it, that is actually a reasonable and safe goal to shoot for. Take this time to regroup, research, and brainstorm in order to increase my online income to the point where I can not only invest in my future but to supplement the income from my part-time job. I do like my job so I would like to remain working there; if I can arrange things to do so, while improving my standard of living, I would be much happier than I would be if I had to trade 40 or more hours of my life each week to earning a paycheck.

That is definitely something to keep in mind moving forward. I would like to work less, not more.

do want to improve my standard of living. I’ve thought about it, and I would like to invest in certain items like a small washer and dryer at some point in the future. I would also like to invest in a few items purely for decorative purposes over time. I’ve realized that I enjoy a bit of bling in my life so it is time I embraced that aspect of my personality. Minimalism be damned; I’ve settled into this home, I’ve no plans to move in the immediate future, so I see no point in deprivation so long as I can afford the occasional treat.

In Summary

By facing the reality of my current situation, I’ve realized that things aren’t as bad as they first appeared. I know where I currently stand. I know what I’m facing in the immediate future. I’ve got a workable plan for the short-term and a hazy long-term goal. It’s a start, which is all I need.

Have you ever sat down and thoughtfully analyzed your situation and the challenges you are facing? Please share your stories in the comments below.