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Countdown to Freedom

Countdown to Freedom

As now I can count the months down almost with the fingers on one hand it is time to reflect on what has past and look at what is in my future. With July approaching and a bottle of port waiting to celebrate sealed in it’s display box. It has been 10 full months since I had a good friend sit me down, be it with some resistance, and make me look seriously at my financial situation. Honestly I cannot thank them enough. Thinking back I remember how I had realised where I was leading myself and that I had to do something about it. But the plan I had was to stress out every pay, look at my bills expenses and set that aside. Pay bills and then whatever remained I split out a small amount for the fortnight and the rest went to the credit card. This has inherent problems and a trip I had planned to go to Tasmania which threw a massive spanner in the works.

Firstly the stress of going through this process every two weeks was one thing. Then running out of my money during that fortnight and reverting back to using the credit card for the rest. This was literally “I take 2 steps forward,
I take 2 steps back” to quote Paula Abdul Opposites Attract. That is bad enough but then when you have flights on a credit card, you need to leave just over $1000 free on the credit card for car rental and then have to worry about food, fuel and entry fees galore. And with just over $200 remaining on the credit card after landing and getting the car… Oh and only the pay that I just received to get me through.

So what I am talking about is my trip to Tasmania back in January/February 2017. And to begin with everything went fine, other than seeing my money slowly running out. But then by the 4th or 5th day out of 11 was when I had my breaking point. So I drove into Coles Bay, went through town and came to the Freycinet National Park where I was welcomed with signs letting me know it was going to be $26+ dollars to stay the day and enter the park. This is where I realised that with $90 a tank of fuel, running out of food and money and I just could not go on. I left, I drove out of town, I was done, I was leaving. But something inside me knew that wouldn’t work either. I pulled up at the visitor information signs and parking just outside of Coles Bay, almost in tears contemplating my situation. I tried to get money from a friend but they didn’t answer their phone. Finally thinking rationally I realised that work could probably pay my next pay early and thus my problems were solved.

And to add to that, this day that this occurred was actually my absolute favourite day. Climbing to the top of Mt Amos was an outstanding achievement for me and was symbolic of my situation. Despite all the challenges on the way up and everything threatening to give me a quick and not so fun way down. I prevailed and reached the summit and what a reward that view was. Follow this up by finding backpackers who had 2 flat tyres (the second was the spare), so being the nice guy I am I drove 1 of them and a tyre to the next town and back. They then took me to a town north, gave me lunch and spent the afternoon at the beach. How can you top a day like that? The moral of that story? Even when things look like they are hopeless and you may as well just give up and go crawl in a hole and wait out the remaining days. You can make the most of it and with a cool head making a simple plan you can then return to a positive outlook and find such a wonderful string of events to follow.

So skip through another month and I got sat down and looked through every single bit of my finance. Changing insurance, credit card and getting another banking account and what a difference that makes. Using a budget as complex as a large organisation but as simple as Total Yearly Income – Total Yearly Expenses (Bills and Savings) / Pay Period = Pay Period Allowance. Then move that money each pay to the Allowance and just spend from that. Stick to it like gum to a shoe. Any little thing that comes up or is different you must calculate for it. Leave extra. But week to week? At first it is a struggle but honestly, this far in and I’m used to it. Not that I like it. And now I am trying to find ways to make more of the money I don’t have. But now I feel comfortable with each week, still struggling at times but overall it just feels normal now.

Freedom! So in the months to come there are things that will want my money and I am now actually trying to save some as well, on top of my budget. But all I can say is that I cannot wait until July comes round, crack open my Grandfather Tawny Port (thanks to the friend who supplied this) and do my next budget. Then I’ll be able to plan buying things again, but in a very controlled manner this time.

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