Over the last month I have looked at my checking account and wondered what to do with all this free money that is just piling up. I received my first check in July and I’m not sure if I need any of the money until the end of the month and since I am now have 26 paychecks this year, I will be receiving 3 of these beautiful creations known as a paycheck in July. I’m not saying this to gloat, I’m saying this because I paid off my student loan last month and have some free money, more to come on that this coming Monday. All of the money that was going to my student loan debt is just sitting there, it feels like my employer is just giving me free money.
The great thing about paying off debt with everything you have is that when you are done, you get “everything you have” back each time you get paid. If before you were taking your overtime and allocating towards your credit card debt, the next month you get paid every single dollar is now your money, it does not need to go to the monthly payment or the additional principal, it can just sit in your bank account and pile up. This week when I looked at my bank account I almost didn’t know what to do, so I did the following:
- Check to see if I missed something. Did I get paid twice? Accidentally not pay my mortgage? Write a check to a stranger?
- Look ahead. I looked to see if I had bills that were due in the coming weeks? Mortgage, cell phone, groceries, personal loan
- Smile really big. Sure a couple things need to be replenished and a new plan in place for savings, but this month it’s just me and a big smile
Looking at my accounts I still have my Digit account linked up so a few dollars are set aside as Digit works it’s magic, but for the most part that’s it. Just to keep things a little more clear on my end, I did a large transfer from my checking to my savings, this way psychologically it looks like I have no money in my account and less of a chance to go spend my money on Milwaukee Bucks season tickets or a new Trek bike. Towards the end of last month when I was trying to figure out if I should save more money in my 401K or IRA, etc I decided to take the exact amount of my student loan, $199.85 and apply it towards my Traditional IRA that I have set up from a previous rollover. I figured I should save some money while I figure things out. I’m still thinking what to do with all of my free money, but for now I’m just going to watch it pile up and make some decisions by the end of the month or next month, I have time and patience.
Taking a Break
Now I totally understand this is not “free money”, but after busting my A$$ for the last 2 years to pay off my student loan debt, it certainly feels like it. If you have every paid off a large amount of money over time, you eventually need a break, some time to breathe and that’s exactly what I plan to do this month. I’m not giving up on my budget by any means or spending more freely although I could, but what I want to do is get off the debt train and decide what vehicle I want to try next, investing, saving, giving, their are so many possibilities. It becomes an odd feeling that I’m not sure how to handle at this stage after my debt was paid off, I almost have to remind myself that I don’t have to take the extra $153.46 and make a principal payment to EdFinancial, it’s OK to not log in or pull up my excel spreadsheet to see the payments and how much I need to make next month.
I’m not swimming in money, but I’m swimming with a smile while I take a break and figure things out at my own pace. The money certainly isn’t free money but it does feel like my money more than it ever has before and for that I am happy.