One Grand Snowflake

Potential Snowflake: $2,666!!!

For the month of June, I set my snowflake goal at $400. I’m pretty close: I’ve got about $325 so far, thanks to budget extras, our garage sale, some survey checks, and my spare change ($30!). I’m going to try to save $75 out of my budget for the rest of the month to get to my total. For the whole summer, I want to end up $1,000 ahead so that I can pay off my debt by September 1 rather than October 1. I was starting to sweat where the extra $600 in snowflakes would come from. I’ve sold almost everything that I want to sell. In fact, the final odds and ends from my old apartment will go to Goodwill. Surveys average about $30 a month for me. I do have a $12 rebate to send in, but no major potential snowflakes besides savings from my budget. I know that they all add up, but it’s nice having something semi-big to pad the month out.

Now, one grand snowflake has appeared on the horizon! I’m so excited. A friend of mine at work is writing curriculum for a grant and thought I might like to help; she mentioned that it would pay around $4,000. Of course, I said yes! I’ll probably spend two weeks or so on it, about 60 to 80 hours of work. It’s flexible, so I can set my own hours and the end date is July 28, so I’ll plan to finish early, around the middle of July, so that it’s not stressing me out during the wedding. As I talked to the people involved, I kept telling myself I might not get as much money as the others, and it would be well worth it even if I just got $2,000.

I got the proposal last night, and we each get paid $5,000. Hooray! I’ll sign the contract tomorrow or Thursday, so I’ll wait until then to do the seriously huge happy dance. For today, I’ll just do a tiny happy dance.

Of course, the old me would have quickly started thinking about all the ways to spend that money and probably would have rushed out with the credit cards before even signing the contract. In fact, two years ago, I charged a laptop in September figuring I’d pay for it with my overload payment in May, not even knowing how much that payment would be after taxes! So, the new me is waiting to see if they run the money through payroll and withhold taxes, or if I’ll need to set some aside. However, I still can’t resist a little calculation:

Let’s say 1/3 goes to taxes, so I’ll end up with $3,333. I’m instituting a new 80/20 rule when it comes to windfalls. So, I’ll put 80% to my debt, and I get to spend 20%. I get $667 for fun! Yay!

That means $2,666 goes to the credit cards! Happy dance continues! That will certainly cover the last $600 in snowflakes that I need.  Depending on how quickly we get checks, I could even have the credit cards paid off by August 1, two months ahead of my new deadline.

Taking time to calculate how much of that money I can actually spend is really important. My brain hears $5,000 and starts thinking flat-screen TV, amazing fall wardrobe, or down payment on a car. Now, I’ve convinced my brain to think $650. It’s still a fun amount of money to blow, but the scale changes. Now it could be beautiful new outfit, not wardrobe, or a honeymoon contribution, not a TV, or fixing my car’s AC, not a new car. The other important thing is to wait until I actually see the money before spending it.  Hey, I can just keep chugging along like normal, no worse for the wear if this doesn’t pan out.  Still, in the back of my mind, it is nice to visualize that upcoming $0 balance on my credit cards.  The day when I can truly save windfalls rather than mail them off to my debt is fast approaching.  One final happy dance!

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