Thursday, August 12, 2010

Alive & Kicking

I've had a few queries about where I'm at and how I'm doing. Thank you!

I'm pleased to announce that this year is the polar opposite of last year! I've been working a LOT, and I went to Mexico for a couple weeks earlier this year -- my first proper vacation in about four years. That vacation was supremely satisfying, even though I didn't have any projects lined up for when I returned (though, one fell into my lap within days of coming back).

For the first time ever, I've declined projects this year -- declined because I was already too busy on another project(s)! I also had the first time of being booked for a project in advance (because I was already working full-time on another project) -- and let me tell you, that felt AMAZING!

In short, all is very, very well on the work front for me.

But what about finances? Well, last year was rough -- I worked about 3.5-4 months in all of 2009, when converted to a 40/hr work week. Yeah...kinda sucky, right? And also consider that one of my former clients stiffed me $700 (that was the point in which I made almost all new clients sign a contract, but that's another story).

The most important thing for me, is that I survived last year financially. My cash savings allowed me to live frugally and not have to take a soul-sucking job for $13/hr (and believe me, that would've killed me). As I mentioned previously, I embraced a frugality previously unknown to me (and one that I never want to repeat).

For obvious reasons, I had to scale wayyyy back on paying down my debt, and as you can imagine, I did rack up some credit card debt last year. Those charges were mostly for ongoing monthly or non-frivolous expenses (i.e. cell phone, dentist), so that my cash on hand would last longer. It wasn't a strategy I wanted to embrace, but it made sense and it worked for me.

Now that I'm working much more regularly, I'm once again paying down my debt fairly aggressively. A point of pride from earlier this year: I finished paying off my student loan from college!

And because I've been working pretty steadily since October of last year, my cash savings is super healthy. Even with back-to-back projects at the end of last year/beginning of this year, I wasn't confident about what this year would bring, so I hoarded cash. Now, what is in my savings can be viewed two ways: enough cash to cover ~10 months living expenses (as of last month) or enough to pay off my debt, with a bit left over.

Now, we know what happened the last time I considered paying off my debt in full, so I'm not going to take that route. What I AM doing, is splitting all extra money between my savings and my debt.

So, to all the people who have asked after me: a hearty thank you! I know I hadn't been part of the PF blogging community as long or as deeply as others, so it feels good to know that at least a couple of you missed me. :)

I'll try to write a bit more regularly, and also write about how I survived last year, and the effect of my updated business model on my business.

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