Get out of debt/start saving.
Done, and done!-Come up with plan to manage submissions in a more efficient way--do not keep authors/agents waiting for more than 3 months
I'm a little ashamed to say that my debt was purely my own fault. I was lucky that I didn't start out with school loans--I went to UC Berkeley as a CA resident, and my parents paid the relatively low tuition fee. However, I was never good at managing my money and in college started using credit cards too freely. Trying to live on a bookseller salary for about a year and a half after college while moving across the country didn't help, either. And along the way, various other unforeseen emergencies and, uh, vacations (including going to Australia for a wedding) added to the debt, which reached $20,000 less than six years ago.
I went through a period of two+ years where I hunkered down, went on no vacations, and barely bought anything (I avoided going into stores at all to fend off temptation), slowly paying off the debt on my meager publishing salary while living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I cancelled some and put away other credit cards (at one point, at the advice of a friend, I literally froze my credit cards in a bag of water in the freezer!), and slowly chipped away at the balance.
About three years ago, my mother offered me an interest-free loan to cover the remaining debt, which I accepted. I learned to make purchases with cash or my debit card. My mantra was NO NEW DEBT. A few years ago I opened up an ING account to simultaneously save for certain expenses I didn't want to put off, like my computer and my trip to China.
And finally, on my trip home last week, I paid off the remaining balance of my debt to my mother. Here I am writing the check that ended it all:
It's hard for me to believe that I'm actually debt-free, and even have an emergency savings fund started. It's a whole new world for me! Who knows, maybe I can even start saving to buy property some day.
So, what's on my agenda for next year? I generally make goals in several categories: personal, professional, and health. I'll share two of my resolutions in each category:
-Post on this blog at least once a month (and not just an animoto video or a cross-post from the Blue Rose Girls)
-Clean my room at least once a week for a half hour (unless it’s already clean!)
-Read (including audio books) at least one adult book every three months, one published MG/YA book every month (I know this probably seems pitiful, but I always feel guilty when I'm not reading submissions)
-Get at least eight hours of sleep three times a week
-Exercise at least two times a week
What are some of your resolutions?