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Half of My Six Figure Student Loans are Paid Off!
At the beginning of the month I crossed the halfway mark of my journey paying off $130,000 of student loan debt. Milestones like this seem so monumental on the approach, but as soon as you reach them they have a way of shrinking to nothing in the shadow of the next one. Last year, when I passed the barrier from six figures to five figures owing, it was thrilling at first but rapidly became ‘so I still have $99,000 of debt.’ I feel similarly now after the initial excitement of the halfway mark has worn off.
Logically, I know that the second half of my journey will take less time than the first. I paid off $10,000 in 2016 but $30,000 in 2017 – three times the previous year!! I know it’s ‘all downhill from here.’ Still, that $65,000 balance feels overwhelming regardless of the motivational quotes I read. I’m not sure at what point my student loans will stop feeling overwhelming though. When I’m under $50,000 owing? When I’m under $30,000 owing? When I’m at $0 owing?
It’s not that a weight hasn’t been lifted – it has! $65,000 seems like a whole new world compared to $130,000. When I look at how far I’ve come, I’m thrilled, and I’m grateful to have the income to do this and to do it so quickly relative to the initial balance. I just don’t want to be the kind of person who makes a post at the end of this journey and says ‘look what I accomplished!’ without sharing the complicated, messy, in between feelings. I don’t want to be the kind of person who pastes on a smile and says ‘I’m fine.’ Most of the time, I am fine. But I also have moments where I feel powerful, hopeless, impatient, stoic, bored, or energized – occasionally all within the same hour.
I’m on track to pay off another $30,000 at least this year, which is an insane amount of money to many people (it is to me too!), but it still feels empty sometimes. I want to move on and focus on things that matter to me now, and my past is sitting on my shoulder reminding me to check the rear-view mirror. It would hold me back regardless of how much focus I placed on it, because it’s something that will always be on my mind until it’s gone.
So that’s where I’m at.
It feels like I’m still living paycheck to paycheck.
It feels like I should already be finished.
It feels like I’m starting over.
As I predicted, July was long. It just seemed to stretch on forever. As someone who gets paid in the middle and at the end of the month, I had 3 weekends between paydays and I have to assume that was part of it! I’m […]
The math you’ll see on debt repayment sites is usually straightforward. Starting balances, interest rates, months left until you’re debt free. The advice is similar. Make a detailed budget, stick to the budget. Real life is rarely so calculated. Debt Snowball or Debt Avalanche? A […]
A FUCK YES Budget means evaluating your priorities and allocating funds accordingly. By definition, a FUCK YES Budget is dynamic – it changes according to your highest priority or your “FUCK YES.”
The last budget I shared was based on a net income of $4,000, with the following allocation:
- FUCK YES – $2,000 / 50% (#1 priority)
- LIFESTYLE – $1,600 / 40% (the basics: rent, transportation, utilities, groceries)
- EXCESS – $400 / 10% (everything else)
[Related Post: THE FUCK YES BUDGET: IF IT’S NOT A FUCK YES, IT’S EXCESS]
Since then, I’ve received a couple of raises and my net income is now approximately $4,600 per month. The numbers may change when my income increases, but I’m following essentially the same thought process as I did to create the original budget.
- Re-evaluate your FUCK YES. Do I still want to pay off my student loans more than anything else? FUCK YES. When I’m debt free, this priority will be replaced – likely with an emergency fund first and then increasing retirement savings.
- debt freedom – paying off my student loan debt
- Outline your LIFESTYLE. Between rent, groceries, transportation, internet, cell phone, electricity, and insurance, my monthly spending was about $1,500 last year but is closer to $1,700 so far this year. My rent and utilities went up, and I’ve spent about 25% more on groceries.
- Establish an EXCESS fund. My EXCESS spending was more than I had originally planned last year (about $900/month), but most of it was from my tax refund or other additional funds – I still exceeded my FUCK YES goal and paid off $30,000 of student loan debt! This year I’ve already cut my EXCESS spending back to less than $500/month.
- Review your spending from the previous year and allocate it among FUCK YES, LIFESTYLE, and EXCESS. With a large tax refund from tuition credits and retroactive pay for my raise I made approximately $64,000 or $5,300/month last year.
- FUCK YES – $2,900 / 55%
- LIFESTYLE – $1,500 / 28%
- EXCESS – $900 / 17%
- Evaluate your spending and set a budget for the next month. Although last year’s spending was higher, I’m working from a baseline of $4,600 this year – any extra funds will be allocated on an individual basis! My LIFESTYLE category is mostly fixed, so I deduct that first out of the $4,600, leaving me $2,900. I know I want to keep paying over 50% on my student loans, so I’ll allocate $2,500 there, with $400 remaining for the EXCESS category. I’ll need to cut back my current spending by about $100/month to make that happen, but it’s manageable!
- FUCK YES – $2,500 / 54%
- LIFESTYLE – $1,700 / 37%
- EXCESS – $400 / 9%
Now that I’ve outlined the numbers, I want to be clear that circumstances and priorities may change month to month. If I want to take a vacation, I adjust other spending down that month to cover it. If I receive a tax refund or extra cash from selling something or a bonus at work, I might decide to add it all to my debt or I might decide to spend some of it.
Rigid budgets have never worked well for me. I prefer to spend $700 on EXCESS in one month and $50 the next. If I feel restricted, I overspend because I get into a mindset of scarcity and scramble to use that money before it disappears. Having general targets helps me keep my priorities in mind, but I’m not too hard on myself if I don’t hit them exactly. Achieving your financial goals is about progress, not perfection!
Have you ever tried to budget this way? Do you feel more motivated with flexible categories or with focusing on hitting a specific target every month?
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Prudes, slut shamers, and someone-please-think-of-the-childrens, it may be time to avert your eyes! Or, you know, stay and embrace the idea that consensual, safe, and yes even pleasurable sex should be open to everyone in this modern age.
What inspired me to talk about orgasms, you might ask? Well, in another move of what can only be deemed utter incompetence, the US and Canada have seen a resurgence of prominent elected officials who endorse abstinence-only sex education and other regressive platforms. Because who cares about research-based decision making right!?
Sex Education Is Thoroughly and Depressingly Inadequate
The Ontario government here in Canada just announced that they would revert to the 1998 sex education curriculum. Do they know what 1998 was like!? This is a curriculum that was developed before social media, before texting, before same sex marriage was legal. This is a curriculum that doesn’t teach consent or healthy relationships or online safety.
I wouldn’t wish the sex ed from decades past on anyone. Seriously. Think back to the sex education from your elementary and high school years and beyond.
Check out these medical diagrams of various reproductive organs.
Sex is risky because diseases and pregnancy.
Watch this demonstration of putting a condom on a banana.
Don’t. – Dad
But if you do, we’ll help you raise the baby. – Mom
I’ve never had an orgasm, but I’ve read descriptions of what it feels like in Cosmo.
Rumours, rumours, rumours.
None of us know what we’re doing.
Here are 2,648 articles about giving the most enthusiastic, sloppiest blowjob you can possibly muster.
All of your symptoms point to pregnancy, despite being a virgin. Help, Yahoo! CAN you get ‘pregnate‘ from a toilet seat!?
That looks painful. Are any of these women actually enjoying this?
Ingrown hair? Nah, probably herpes.
Ignorance Is Misery
There is absolutely no reason for humans to remain ignorant about sex when we have the epic capacity for self-awareness and learning, and with so much research at our fingertips. None.
Without a structured and robust curriculum, children will be left to navigate complex and often risky situations on their own. And no, most kids aren’t going to learn what they need to know from their parents. And no, your sophisticated digital parental locks aren’t going to prevent them from finding truly horrendous content in the darkest corners of the Internet.
Kids are less vulnerable to exploitation and sexual abuse when they learn about their bodies, touch, and relationships. They’re also more likely to disclose sexual abuse.
Teenagers are more likely to be aware of how to avoid unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections when they learn more.
I also just want the women in my life to have satisfying sex. Honestly, is that too much to ask!?
The Orgasm Gap
As a woman in my early 30s, it’s painfully obvious through my conversations with other women that we generally haven’t learned what we need to know to have fulfilling sexual lives.
Did you know that straight men orgasm approximately 95% of the time while straight women and bisexual women are left at 65-66%? Women who have sex with men are lagging behind by 20%!
Every single straight woman that I’ve talked with about sex, without exception, has told me some variation of this story:
I haven’t had an orgasm with this guy yet. I finally mustered the courage to tell him and he said, ‘Wow, I’ve never had a problem with anyone else. All of my previous partners came easily every time we had sex.’
If you’re a straight woman you’re probably screaming in your head right now, ‘No they didn’t!’ That’s not necessarily anyone’s fault. It’s just the result of what many of us have learned about women’s pleasure, which is Not Much. In fact, women tend to learn more about male anatomy than their own, and we certainly learn more about male pleasure.
The reality is that only 25% of women can consistently achieve orgasm without clitoral stimulation. Intercourse, often the main feature of pornography and what many straight men and women imagine when they think about sex, does not allow women to become aroused enough to orgasm.
I definitely didn’t learn about clitoral stimulation, or female pleasure at all really, in school. Nor did I learn about it at home, or from watching standard pornography, or from my gynaecologist. If men and women don’t learn about anatomy and female pleasure, it’s no wonder we have such a steep orgasm gap!
The stigmas and barriers we’ve created around sex are limiting us, and in many cases are causing real and lasting harm.
I feel that as a generation we’ve kind of let our girls down. We ended up with a super commodified culture that pretends toward sexual freedom, but it’s not really a sexual freedom. It’s a lie about what sex is like and what women want. – Peggy Orenstein, Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape
Resources For Self Education
Since mainstream media, pornography, and government are all failing us, I wanted to share a few resources to bolster our education. Share these with the women and girls in your life (as you see fit, in an age appropriate way!), and let’s work on closing that gap.
OMGYes is the definition of crushing taboos on women’s pleasure. You get to explore the latest science about what feels good and why, in a series featuring real women with real bodies. Researchers conducted in-depth interviews and large-scale studies with thousands of women. With the help of videos, demonstrations, and even a simulator using touchscreen technology for practice, you can explore the ways women experience the most pleasure and how you can incorporate these techniques into your own life.
Best of all? By supporting the project ($39 for their entire first season) you support further research, including studies with non-binary and trans women. Because we all know that public institutions aren’t exactly jumping to fund studies on women’s orgasms.
Anyone who cares about women’s pleasure is going to be obsessed with this site.
O.school is the sex ed we all should have had. Their live steams and moderated chats will help overcome shame, heal from trauma, and develop skills in the pursuit of sexual pleasure.
The world can be a very sex negative space, and O.school is doing their part to unravel those harmful beliefs. If you find value in their content, consider supporting them by making a payment during their live streams.
Unless you and your partner are open and unabashed about sharing sexual fantasies, it can be tough to get to a fulfilling place sexually.
Mojo Upgrade is an interactive sex questionnaire for couples. Each partner separately reviews a list of sexual fantasies and marks them as: no / we already do that / if my partner is interested / yes!!
The survey touches on everything from sensual massage to toys to several fetishes that I didn’t even know existed. After you’ve finished the survey, the site compares the answers. If you both reacted positively to an activity, it shows you; if not, it doesn’t. If your partner isn’t into some of your more adventurous choices, they never have to know. No risk of embarrassment or trying to play off your kinks as a joke.
My one tweak for the site would be more inclusion for trans and non-binary people.
It’s Time To Ditch The Taboos
Not talking about sex puts us at a disadvantage, just like not talking about money! All of the resources I’ve listed can be explored for less than $40. For a lifetime of increased sexual satisfaction, that’s a decent return on investment! Here’s to more openness, more pleasure, and yes, more orgasms! Let’s see if we can get straight and bisexual women that missing 20%, am I right?
Is there a resource you recommend for learning about sex? Is closing the orgasm gap a worthy goal? Are you as infuriated with the setbacks to sex education as I am? Share your thoughts, I’d love to hear them!