mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I don't know what they want from me, it's like the less money I come upon the more problems I see...

For the past couple years, I haven't really had to worry about money much.

This isn't to say I was rich, or rolling around naked in a pool of hundred dollar bills Scrooge McDuck style. But I was pretty much able to buy what I wanted and still save quite a bit.

That was due to two factors. The first was that I wasn't spending much on housing - I was basically renting a room. It was in the 'hood, but it was close to work (which meant I was spending little on gas) and cheap. The second is that I was working a ton of overtime - pretty much every Saturday for the past almost 3 years. That made up something like 20% of my income some years.

Now, neither of those is true anymore. I just bought a house, and with utilities my housing cost has pretty much tripled, plus my commute has gotten longer. And now my overtime has come to an end - they've restructured things, and I am no longer going to be working on Saturdays. So my expenses have gone up, my income has gone down, and I'm once again looking at my credit card statement and having to make sure that I actually have enough in my checking account to pay it off.

I had made a budget, and I was pretty much break-even - I should be able to make enough without overtime to just cover my expenses. But then my car started acting up - the steering wheel shakes like crazy, one of the headlights is broken, and it makes a godwawful noise every time I brake, plus the airbag light keeps going on and off. I've wanted to get a new car for a while, and I think it's finally time. With incentives and hoping I can get a decent amount for my trade, I think it's a decent financial move - it makes more sense towards putting money into a new car, with a warranty promising at least a few years of expense-free operation, than to dump more money into a car that is a money pit. I know some people might say "but you've put a bunch of money into your car already", but I view that as a sunk cost. It's money that's lost, and many of the things I've replaced (gauge cluster, trans controller) are the kind of things that should NEVER need to be replaced. They aren't wear items, it's not like putting a new transmission in an older car, and the fact that so many electrical things have failed suggests to me that my car has deeper problems, problems that will never be fixed.

So I'm probably going to be having a car loan soon too. Which means that I am going to have to dip into my savings, which at this rate will be gone in the next couple years. I'm hoping to make up for the shortfall in overtime with profits from eBay, (although I haven't had much luck finding inventory lately except for the ski boots, which I have no idea if will actually make me anything), and hamfest sales, and I will hopefully get at least some overtime from the occasional sick person, start of school, or massive system failure.

I'm wondering if this whole buying a house thing was such a good idea. I think in the long term it is - in 10 years, my income will be higher, even if I don't change positions, and my mortgage will be the same. The hardest part is being where I am now, where my income is at the lowest point that it will be throughout my home ownership (assuming I don't get fired...) - plus the expenses of all the stuff one discovers they need when they buy a house, like furniture and paint and poster frames and pictures (since I've decided that I've reached the point in my life where free posters from beer companies featuring scantily clad women are no longer appropriate decoration)

Of course, if I'm wrong, I may be looking for a cardboard box. I hear refrigerator boxes are the roomiest...


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