Gaining financial freedom

A couple of weeks ago I started a seasonal job at a garden centre a few blocks from where I live at. Rosie’s Garden and Hugh’s Landscape is a “small”, family owned business in the south area of Carmel, Indiana. It sits on 12 acres of land, and they packed all 12 acres with retail trees, shrubs, bulk items for landscaping, flowers, and all the accessories for decking your place out. Their house is on the very last bit of land, and it is no small house. It’s quite an enviable set up, really.

I chose to work here as my first job out of my master’s degree because it’s nearby — one 10 minute bike ride and I’m there, it’s a family owned LLC, and it’s seasonal. I can make a good bit of money to help pay off a substantial part of student loans while saving money for a car so I can get another job in my field of environmental sciences or geology which is further away. All in all, it’s a great transitional step away from university life to a life of working for someone else while also building Insanitek.

This fits perfectly with my goal of gaining financial freedom.

Click on the image for more info on this process.

The flow from psychotic and neurotic from debt overload to sweet, sweet relief.

Since going into the university, I’ve had a lot of financial struggles. However, I accepted responsibility for my life and continued plodding on through bad decisions into a new life that I’m building because I choose to. My first step along the way is to regain the financial freedom I had before going into massive debt to achieve the dream of obtaining a higher education, even though I’m not done with school yet, while creating a company and life all my own.

It’s not as hard as it seems, actually. Even though I’m $100K in debt from paying for my education through both undergraduate and master’s degrees. What it takes is incredible drive, a willpower of steel…. and a lot of good, solid, no-nonsense planning. To do this, I’ve enlisted the help of my bank’s Virtual Wallet programme (PNC) and doubled it up with LearnVest to create a unique set up that allows me to watch where every dollar goes, keep track of loans, and plan for everything down to the minute detail.

Oh, and lets not forget making my life easier!

One of the things I love about using this double set up is that I set up my budget in the free version of LearnVest, which connects safely to my bank accounts, all my loans, and other accounts, so I can watch what money is going where so I don’t go over budget in any one given area. For example, in LearnVest I set a budget up for rent, utilities, food, and other normal things. Then, I also set up a budget for “other” things, such as health supplies, office supplies, clothes, organising tools, etc — each with their separate folder and separate budget cap. I can watch as I approach the value I set for myself every month as a budget so I never go over.

I like doing this in LearnVest because their system learns your habits. Every transaction, unless it’s obvious what folder it goes into, goes in as unfoldered. You need to place it where it should go, then the next time that transaction goes through, the system automatically places it. This is great for me because I have a lot of random expenses, but I often meet my clients at Big Mike’s Cafe for lunch or dinner meetings. Now, all Big Mike’s expenses go straight to my “business meetings” folder to let me know how much of my budget I’ve so far during the month.

Now, with PNC my favourite feature by far is the automatic bill pay that I control. I’ve been screwed in the past by setting up automatic bill pay from a utility company; they continued to try to take money out of an account that was closed, and I got my credit history dinged. So, I adamantly refused to take advantage of that convenience ever again — at least not unless I had control, not them. With the advent of modern technology and techniques, I can do that. (I’m fairly certain every bank does this now, too.) So, I have a majority of my bills scheduled to be paid each month automatically. I tell them how much and where to send it. If the place isn’t already set up to receive electronic transfers, my bank prints off a checks and mails it to them to arrive on the date I arranged. Easy, and there are no fees from the bank, nor any late fees because my forgetful ass forgot something important again.

While I’m just starting, there is no stopping me.

My reality will probably be dancing stupidity to awesome music.

Obligatory cheesy hipster photo indicating relief and freedom.

Interestingly enough, now that I’ve started this, I feel pretty damned good. I set priorities in LearnVest a few weeks ago, and I’m already starting to see the progress bars fill up. The sense of accomplishment is amazing. In just two weeks I’ve managed to save a bit of money, start getting my student loans paid off (highest interest ones first), and feeling like soon be free of the oppression of debt. It’s just going to take a lot of dedication and work.


LearnVest referral link: LearnVest has a unique incentive for us users to talk about their program. They offer us a $5 Amazon gift card for every 5 users that signs up using the personalised link. Well, I like their free services anyway, and I wanted to share them with anyone seriously wanting to take control of their finances. If I can get something out of them for raving about what you can do with it, all the better.

If you decide to sign up for LearnVest, I would greatly appreciate it if you sign up using my link. Reason? Those Amazon gift cards are going to help me buy tools and supplies for the working poor of Insanitek’s clients. I’ll be paying it forward every step of the way.