...and forgetting to realize what I do have.
I have a lot of financial goals for myself. If you are a regular reader you will know that lately I have been thinking about trying to buy a house in the next few years, and am trying to save up money while paying down debt to do this. I also want to build up my emergency fund to at least $2,000. And I'm really concerned about my retirement savings, too; I'd like to have at least $75,000 strictly in retirement money by the time I'm 30 (in 7.5 years) to get a good head start.
So I'm getting stressed out from all these Tickle reversals (the rounds of denials seem to be over; I'm down at least $1000 by now) and getting depressed about how much money I won't be getting because of this stupid thing. Right now it looks like I'll be able to pay off my small credit card, but since I put a lot of charges on it in the last several days ($225 guinea pig bill, $125 in wedding weekend costs, etc) there isn't going to be enough left over to get my emergency fund up to $2,000 like I thought there would be. It'll basically just cover paying off the card. And I'm frustrated because I thought that I would be making some quick progress on this fund that I've been plugging away at these last few months.
As far as the house downpayment goes, this is a big setback because the sooner I get that emergency fund saved, the sooner I can divert the money to the house fund and to paying down the big credit card. So I probably won't be able to start on the house fund for another three months at least. At this point I'm considering stopping my Roth IRA contributions and putting that into the house fund instead, since I'll know if we're moving before April 2007, and if we don't buy a house I can just write a big check and redistribute. But what if something happens and I end up using some of the IRA money, which wouldn't have happened if it were safely away from me?
Yeah, so I think about all these things and I get more and more stressed out, because I've set all these goals for myself, and I always want to do things NOW NOW NOW, so I want to start putting money towards all these goals right now, and I had really hoped I could finish off the emergency fund and the small credit card with this money so I could get on to bigger things..
But I really need to stop and take a freaking breath. I get way too caught up in thinking how things are good, but they could be better.
I am already pretty well ahead of where most people my age are. (I know that we are in general terrible savers and this isn't a good comparison, but I am ahead.) I've at least got my $875 in the emergency fund, and I'm sending more money to it every month. I've got $8700 in my retirement fund right now, and if I really wanted to, I could pull out the $1,000 I have in the Roth to use for a downpayment if it's that important to me in the future.
But even more importantly, all of this saving is really pretty optional in my budget. And we still have lots of nice things even with all the saving and debt repayment - despite sending at least $500 a month to debt and savings, I can buy pretty much whatever the hell I want to, and a $225 guinea pig vet bill doesn't force me to raid my emergency stash, or heaven forbid, simply not treat my guinea pig.
I have a nice apartment, which could be bigger, but also could be a lot smaller. My guinea pig seems fine and isn't in any pain, the cat is fine, Boyfriend is fine, I am fine, we have plenty of food in the fridge and at least a month's worth of meat in the freezer. I even have clean clothes. The apartment could be cleaner but we don't have any ants or roaches or mice or anything like that. Things could be better, but I need to remember sometimes that things could also be a lot worse, and that I am lucky to have everything that I have - and the luxury of worrying about those extras that I don't, instead of worrying about how I'm going to get what I need to live.