My name is Laura, and this is my blog, Dollars and Dreams. I am on a journey toward my own personal vision of financial success, and I hope that sharing my experiences can help others, and maybe allow us all to learn from each other. Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, I want to start with a little background.
Who I am:
I'm a 32-year-old living in Seattle, Washington. I was born and raised in New York state, and lived there for my entire life until just over a year ago. In August of 2007, I packed three bags, got onto a plane, and came to Seattle. I did not have a job lined up. I did not know a soul here. I found a room for rent on Craigslist and came here with my first month's rent and the last two paychecks from my old non-profit job in New York. Now I live in a beautiful city that I absolutely love, and within two months of being here I managed to achieve a personal goal: I got my first real editorial job. In New York, I worked mostly as an administrative professional, and it bored me to tears. But the parts of my jobs that I loved best always had to do with writing and editing. I felt trapped in office work because I'd been doing it for seven years, and when I came here I promised myself I would try something different and go after what I really wanted. If you think that sounds scary, it is.
What I want for myself:
My goals are many. I want to retire early, travel the world, and write about it. I want to work as a disaster relief worker for the American Red Cross, write award-winning bestsellers, and get back into theater, among other dreams. To do all that, I need to do a better job with my finances. Currently I have almost $40,000 in student loan debt. I have a few hundred dollars on my credit cards right now, but I pay them off every month. I have an emergency savings fund (my first!) that I started when I got my job here. While my parents taught me some lessons about saving as a child, I never saved much money as a working adult. The money would come in, and I would spend it right out again. It has been a struggle to change that, but right now my emergency fund is at $1,400, which for me is huge. Financially, I want to be able to afford to finish my college education (yep, I'm one of those poor souls who has student debt and no degree to show for it), travel a few times a year without getting into debt, buy a house in the next few years, be able to help my family financially, and work toward the eventual goal of being fully self-employed as a writer and editor (with a few other interesting side ventures and hobbies).
Why I'm writing this blog: Over the past year, I realized my financial situation couldn't go on the way it was. While not in really dire straits debt-wise, I still wasn't making any provision for my future. I had lots of dreams, but wasn't taking steps toward making any of them possible. While prowling around online, I discovered personal finance blogs. I read, sometimes for hours, following chains of links from one to the next. I realized there were other people out there in situations similar to mine. Like me, they had dreams, and weren't quite sure how to get from point A to point B. But they were trying, and they were inviting others to take that journey with them. I love helping people, and sometimes I can do things for others that I can't do for myself. Maybe reading my story as I find my way along this new path will help you. I'm pretty certain that knowing you are out there listening will help me.
Paying off debt? Celebrate in the middle
8 months ago