The "Get Out Of Your Car!" Fund

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

About Being Gazelle Intense

About being Gazelle Intense.

It does get tiring after a while. I've been taking breaks during the summers, but this last break has lasted for months. That's because the job was so tiring, I couldn't really sit and focus on finances.

However, I made a tough decision. I took a hiatus from my evening teaching job to rest my body and write a book. The book is about getting out of debt for educators. I fear letting go of that definite paycheck to pursue something that I might not finish (given my history of completing projects).

However, I can go back in the fall without having to re-apply for my job, and the benefits (if I finish) far outweigh the risks.

So, this weekend, which was a 5-day weekend due to a snowstorm, I worked on several pages of the book (13 rough pages so far). I also made my February budget in Everydollar and see that I have about $55 left to spend. Paying rent makes it harder (and more realistic in terms of the common person) to pay down debt quickly.

So, how will I get intense again?

I charted the chapters to the book and have them hanging on the wall giant-sized so I can see them daily.

I charted one of my debts and have it hanging on the wall with Post-it notes. Everytime I pay off $1K in debt, I will remove one of the sticky notes and watch it get smaller. If I have to live in my car one more winter (the next winter, not this one). Then, that should do it for the debts other than my student loan. If I can get this book to take off, everything could be paid off sooner.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Gas Pumps and Private Rooms

Jan 5, 2016

Looking at Carfax and KBB, it looksl ike I paid what a dealer would charge for this car or slightly more.

It's a low mileage car and very clean so I think I got a good deal. Right now, I've put $120 into car fix-ups (windshield washer fluid, a fuse, an inspsection, floor mats). That's awesome.

Some things I've noticed about people who have money and those who don't.

When I went to the bank to get $5000 for the car, the cashier asked if I wanted to count it in a private room. I've never been asked that before. I felt rich.

When Iwent to fill my new car up for the first time, Iused my debit card at the pump. My rbtoehr started pumping for me. Eventually, he looked worried and asked me, "How much did you put in here?" He didn't realize, as a cash-only person, that when you use your card you can stop the machine at any time. You don't pre-purchase at a certain price. I told him to fill it up - just let it go until it stops on its own. That was interesting to me (confusing at first) for him to ask that question.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Resolutions - Here I Come!

I have 6 goal areas, but when I counted the individual goals under each one, they amount to 53 Goals. I won't list them all here, especially since this blog is focused on my financial journey. Here are a few of my goals/resolutions for 2016.

MENTAL - I will be smarter, more creative, and more organized.

I will pass a Chinese language test. 
I will read 52 books.
I will listen to 52 TED talks
Iwill watch 20 movies.
I will reflfect on my day at the end of each day. 
I will clean my school desk weekly. 
I will clean my car weekly.
I will back up files electronically monthly.

FINANCIAL - I will pay down debt, increase my income, begin investing, and save more money.

I will invest in the stock market this year. 
I will begin saving monthly to a retirement fund.
I will pay off my line of credit debt this year.
I will earn $35K on the side by writing a book and selling online.

CAREER - I will brand myself as a teacher, improve my teaching ability, and help students re-enter the general education class.

I will videotape myself teaching weekly. 
I will apply for a teacher travel grant.

PHYSICAL - I will weigh 130 lbs.

I will eat a vegetarian diet
I  will drink 2 cups of water a day
I will fast from sugar 3 days a week
I  will take a swim class. 
I will not eat after 9pm

SPIRITUAL - I will think about God more in my daily experiences and especially in emotional moments and decision-making.

I will write 52 prayers this year.
I will memorize 52 Bible verses.
I will participate in one campaign, petition, or vigil this year to show support for a social justice issue.
I will keep the Sabbath holy by having vespsers on Friday evening.

RELATIONSHIPS - I will do more events with friends, celebrate the people in my life, use people's names, and look for a significant other.

I will create and manage a social calendar so Iwon't forget social commitments with others. 
I will invite friends to travel with me. 
I will learn and use people's names frequently and at every opportunity.

Review of 2015 goals and October financial goals

I think it's appropriate to go back and review the goals Iset for myself exactly one year ago as well as the finanacial goals Iset back in October. 

In 2015, I managed to keep a teaching job in the midst of turmoil at y school and a changeover of leadership. I completed my car fund. I helped my parents to paint their house and get the kitchen gutted and remodeled. Their house is now insured and has a new roof and windows. 
I sold my condo in a short sale. I was homeless and living in my car, a condo without electificty, or with relatives during summer break from January through July. While the school under new leadership has really been stressful, my students have all managed to progress in their reading, some of them by 1-1.5 years in just 4 months. My finances have improved, and so has my teaching. 

I didnt' keep ANY of my resolutions for 2015. 1. drink a bottle of water a day 2. pray/meditate 15 minutes a day 3. read a book each month 4. publish an article 5. use less paper in my life 6. contact friends and acquaintances the first week of each month 7. save for retirement

I am not discouraged. I acheived so much I feel like maybe  just set the wrong goals. 

In October, my financial goals were to

1. give more, especially to help other people know about the God who has given me such guidance and comfort and protection through my life.

2. to be better organized in my personal life so that I'm not wasting money.

I tithed in December and I revisited my budget and cut out some waste (storage, gym membership). I also reorganized my living space so I can be more productive. So, I consider myself to have achieved those two goals. 

Later this weekend, I'll share my new goals for 2016. They are numerous. Some of them are the same as last year's. Some of them Ihave begun working on. I'm really excited to see what 2016 will become. 

New Year Car


It is 2016 and this will be an amazing year.

3 days ago I bought a used car at an auction. I paid $5000 for it using my SINKING FUND! In fact, I have several thousand dollars left in the sinking fund because I bought a used car BELOW BUDGET! It was so clean and the mileage was so low (less than 92,000 for a 2006 Mitsubishi Galant), that Ithink it was a rental car. I've been wanting to purchase a rental car for a few years, but they were just above my budget limmit of $10,000.

After purchasing it, I noticed it jerks when I shift gears. Many of the electrical components didn't work (interior lights, radio, clock, key remote, and more). The power locks only worked when the car was running (big hassle). There was no spare tire.

I prayed before the auction and left there with peace. However, I was struggling to keep that peace as I pondered the problems that I discovered later. I wondered how much it would cost to bring the car up to par.

Well, today my uncle checked the fluids for me. All of them were clear and full except windshiled washer fluid ($3).

Then, a store clerk at O'Reilly's Auto Store came to look at my fuses to help figure out which I needed to get the electricals working (assuming, hopefully, that it wasn't a more serious problem like the car had been immersed in water and the electrical system was half-fried). Well, the store clerk pushed in some of the fuses and suddenly the radio, clock, car charger, power locks, and interior lights all came on. ($0). The key remote light also came on, but now it has to be reprogrammed.

The store clerk also tested to see why the "check engine" light is on. He detected a problem with the transmission sensor.

Then I took the car to Sears where they checked the battery for free ($0) and told me it was in very good condition. I bought floor pads on clearance for $12.

Finally, I bought WD-40 to get the auction's paint off the windows of the car. ($5).

I spent a total of $20 improving the condition of the car today. All necessary functions are there.

I'm down South for Christmas break, but when Iget back North, I'll have my own mechanic or a Mitsubishi mechanic check out the transmission. I hope that it's not an expensive problem to fix. However, even if it is, I probably won't complain too much. It's running and I saved money buying it below my budget. I'll also get the key remote reprogrammed.

Paying cash and buying below budget gives me peace when Ithink about getting repairs done. I am even thinking about getting the car repainted into a dual-tone. That's also something I've been wanting for a long time.

Though I hope I don't feel the need to live in my car again in the future to pay down debt or save big money, this mid-size car is larger than my compact Honda. I may have to lie down in the back seat just to get a feel for what that's like.