Having determined to make a large loan payment this month, and now having to be very careful again about spending my funds, it seems easy enough to slip into the old routine of minute financial decisions and budgeting that was once absolutely necessary. It has a strangely comfortable familiarity.
For a while after graduating I've been enjoying not having to worry about my budget so much. My loan payments were based on prior income, which was well below poverty level. In the year since I've had a vague paranoid feeling that I really should be saving, but have basically made the decision to enjoy relative financial freedom for a time.
Partly I've made some purchases that were postponed while poor, getting an eye exam, fixing the scary brakes on my car, getting new tires for my car, attempting to solve a problem with my car that it became clear was a transmission problem (this I haven't fixed, as it's $2400 that would completely deplete my savings). I even went on a one day vacation to see Stephin Merrit perform - that was thoroughly enjoyable. My car has really been my major and most noisome expense. I think with slight anger and some chagrin about how any purchase a loan is necessary for has cost distortion from the loan - not only in terms of interest, but in terms of the actual market value of the thing relative to the market value of dollars, cost of living, and earned income. I've never been fond of the idea of using credit. I've occasionally been eating out without much concern, and shopping for groceries and household goods without a prior established budget -- consequently I've been burning through discretionary income at a rate I haven't since living at home. It's been nice to pretend I'm middle class for a while, and I occasionally think of the advantage people have who never went to college or who were able to secure a more financially rewarding job afterward. As I said, I'm already paid more than the median wage for my current profession as a cake decorator... I never really intended for this position to be my sole source of income, but am unsure how to move forward other than a vague idea about teaching art and working as an artist. There are less natural steps that may be more financially rewarding, but I've had terrible corporate jobs before that I despised, so I would consider taking steps toward that type of job only as a short term means to an end, or in desperation. I've considered getting an advanced degree to teach at a highschool or college level (however, adjunct professor wages are fucking terrible, often less than working minimum wage full time), or to work at a museum or other institution, that seems more amenable to me, however right now it feels fairly distant - I haven't worked out the details at all and have relatively little confidence in going after any further education without a very solid plan for work afterward. I basically feel I should become more involved in the art community in my local area, and then perhaps in a larger neighboring city such as Portland, and try to work with relatively big-business west coast art dealers.
I'm considering trying to find a way to purchase a main property for living, and purchase a second property or share of a second property that can eventually be used to pay for the seemingly inevitable tax debt I'll have when I retire... however, if it was a rental property perhaps I could use it to fund my retirement savings instead. Of course, many properties have their pitfalls and it wouldn't be wise to simply buy whatever I could afford whenever I could actually afford it. For now, It's renting... but damn, I really do want to start paying into a home loan soon, at least it's better than merely paying rent. Damn, I hate loans so much. For now, I think I'll just try to save a lot and wait for the next bubble to bust. I saw a nice looking quadplex sell for $250K in 2009... really wish I or someone I knew could've bought that thing (provided of course there weren't serious underlying issues with the property that would make it a terrible investment).
My boyfriend is sweet and not dumb, but whenever I talk about anything that is serious and potentially disturbing he either seems to broodingly go off into his own headspace, or hug me. Hugs, while sometimes quite lovely, are often unproductive when there is important shit to discuss... :P All my college friends have moved or are worse off (I wouldn't want them to feel like I'm callously complaining to someone in a worse situation, really it's more that I want to think my way around problems and perhaps out of them, my brain works better when it's connected to language), and my coworkers I like have opposite schedules from me and this kind of discussion would feel unnatural anyway... so I am basically without someone to discuss this sort of thing with. I suppose if my dad lived nearby I would talk to him about things like this.