I’ve kept it no secret, both in life and on this blog, that I worked my butt off in 2013. I’ve dropped the term “60 hour work week” into conversation so many times that I’ve started to annoy myself. I am so, SO happy to share that as of December 13, 2013 the work-like-crazy phase of my life has come to an end. As of that day I entered the world of the 40-hour work week, the world of one job. It was a really good day.
I picked up the part time job in October 2011 with the intention of working really hard, paying off some debt and quitting by May 2012. Then life happened and 26 months later…..Honestly, up until March 2013 I didn’t mind that lifestyle one bit. I loved both my jobs and it never felt like too much. And then in March I hit a wall. I just couldn’t sustain those hours any longer. I felt like I wasn’t giving my relationship and my friendships the time, energy and love they deserved. I certainly wasn’t giving myself the time, energy and love that I deserved. I felt like I was doing everything at 60% because that’s the only energy I could muster. Hitting that wall really inspired me to pay off my debt. I knew I couldn’t afford those payments on my non-profit salary while still living a lifestyle that I was comfortable with (an awesome one). Many people have a “debt-free day”, I had a “quit the pub day”, and it has been in my calendar since last May.
After the steady stream of family in town and the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I am so excited to feel like I have free time again. Every Friday for the last 2+ years I would work 8 hours at one job and then head straight to the other for another 6-8 hour shift. But not last Friday. I went for a run. Then Kurt and I went out for sushi and to the rec center for a swim. It was AMAZING. And when I woke up on Saturday morning, I didn’t feel like I needed a few hours to myself to unwind. I know that me and this new schedule are going to get on just fine.
However with this wonderful change in my schedule, there is also a harder one in my budget. My part time job brought in about 20-30% of my income each month. I’d like to say that I put 100% of that into debt repayment, but that wouldn’t be the truth. Sometimes I did, but there were other months that I didn’t. A lot of months in fact, I used that extra income to supplement dinners out and weekends away. Now that the option to pick up an extra shift when money is tight isn’t there any more, I have to admit, I’m a little worried. I’ve been watching my spending closely over the last few months and it’s pretty clear where I need to cut back: restaurants, take out, and wine. I’d like to cut my spending in these areas in half. The plan of attack? Limit myself to 3 dinners out a month. Trade an evening glass of wine for a cup of tea. And just stop eating take out, if I buy groceries properly I won’t have to. I’d also love to get my grocery bill down, but that is a whole other topic of conversation.
While the adjustment to earning less money will probably be tough at times, the adjustment to a more open schedule is one that will come very easily. Often in life you have to make trade offs. This is one of those times and I am so certain it will be worth it.