Budget Life List

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Tight lips, strained eyes, and a sigh, is my reaction to realizing that I’m below average.

It all starts when I read something, typically financial, and realize the painful fact of a different kind of normal.

As a blogger I read plenty of financial information which is where this problem lies – realizing that I’m behind in terms of the average wage. There have been other aspects that I have stumbled across, but this is the most painfully obvious.

After all the fluster and bluster, I am not interested in any of that! I am going to look on the bright side, even if its awkward like a dust bunny the size of a cat.

Staying Low on Student Loans

I’m starting with an area that I am Proud (that’s right, capital P) of my below-average ranking. The first winner is student loan debt!

I made many choices in life, mostly good ones but some bad ones too. One that falls into the good category, and seems to build more momentum with time, is joining the military. Signing the contract for the GI Bill in boot camp was one of the best investments I ever made.  

Because of that, I’m below average in student loan debt. When I graduated in 2012, the average was debt was $29,400. My student loan debt was $0. It’s all fun and games until someone is deployed twice in 4 years.

Falling Below a Car Loan

The number two spot goes to a car loan.

In college, I financed a car loan. It was a less than ideal time, but after I wrapped my green machine around a light pole in a Petco parking lot, I had no choice.

For a few years, I zoomed around in a shiny, red Mazda until I slid into a ditch.

After experiencing the joy of being fished out of a trench, and to combat my new 45-minute commute during the blustery winters of South Dakota, Mr. BuLL and I bought a Subaru. We decided on a Legacy because she was a heftier version of the other sedans. In honor of the ditch I survived (as in sliding off the road and getting stuck) and the Subaru’s metallic sheen, I named her Winter Warrior.

Since 2014, Winter Warrior and I have been battling the ice roads together without the help of ditches.

Mr. BuLL and I paid her off a few years ago, after dancing with the .9% APR.

I plan on battling the icy winters of Montana with her for another 15 years. There are many reasons to avoid an upgrade but the best one is that Winter Warrior is paid in full.

Second Rate in Credit Card Debt

Of all the ways to be below average, this may be my favorite: no credit card debt. The interest rates for credit cards are criminal.

I live a Spartan lifestyle, at least compared to the Target home décor photos. This lifestyle reigns in my consumerism.

I mostly use credit cards, but I pay it off every month just like the postal service who deliver in rain or shine but paid on time. I have multiple credit cards to maximize reward cycles and will churn credit cards too.

To track my spending, I use a budget. It allows me to track my finances even if I don’t use a charge card.

Below Average Terms

After my below-average block party, I feel grateful. Some areas are not desirable like my wages.

Some areas are pleasant like having less debt, a lower mortgage interest rate, and using less than the average amount of toilet paper.

As I continue to scourer personal finance information, my wealth is turning into one area I’m doing slightly better than the average.

While I am making it rain gratitude, I hope to move forward and learn how to live below average a bit more gracefully.

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