SPENCER MAIL: Jillian Kay in San Jose, CA

Our Spencer Mail for March is a charming little letter from Jillian Kay in San Jose, California.
spencer mail 2011
spencer mail 2011

Jillian brings up a good question, “does Spencer have an alter ego that would represent a savings plan?”

Well Jillian, I have to admit that this is a question we haven’t completely thought through. Honestly, it’s difficult to see past this big rhino right now. I feel like all of my extra energy is being used to fight off sociological pressures to spend money every day.  We’re hoping to do some international travel in February 2012, which will no doubt wipe out our disposable income for the first few months of the year since we’ll be purchasing with cash. One of my first big purchases in 2012 will be to upgrade my little VW Golf to a pre-owned Mini Cooper. Vain, I know, to be thinking about a car, but it’s a goal that’s helping me put down items I don’t need when in the store shopping for food or supplies. It’s amazing how motivating it is to have both a problem to solve (our $70k debt) and a goal beyond that. When I was envisioning this project, the first shape I thought to fill was a mini, but then realized that would be too superficial to be inspiring. We like our anthropomorphic rhino!

More to your point, I should say that we do plan to buy a house sometime in the next few years, and hope to cashflow that purchase once we have slain the beast! We’ll be renting for awhile for flexibility and lack of responsibility. Once we have freed up what is currently tied up paying our student loans, we’ll be using that big monthly chunk of cash to fund retirement plans, save money for a house, and share with friends in need.


Hrmmm, we will have to have a talk about that Mini Cooper. I already have a rough idea of what we should do after we pay off Spencer from a practical standpoint. First off is to have a emergency fund to help carry us through about 6 months of expenses. We had that last year when I had an on and off contract job. It allowed us a lot of freedom in the choices we made and allowed a path to where we are now. Currently, we have a minimal emergency fund so we can focus all our energy into Spencer and get rid of him as soon as possible. Once we do that, we will want to save up for a down payment on a house. We are not sure about a timetable for buying a house but that will take some time to save up for. Then, after that, start putting money into retirement and give the rest away.

Thank you for your question, Jillian in San Jose! You’ve given us something to think about – it would certainly be interesting to work toward filling some sort of alternative beast that represents our future goals. And we’d LOVE to see you when you come to Portland for a visit.

READERS: If you have a story to share, or a challenge question for us, we’d love to hear from you! We’re accepting good old fashion letters and postcards about our project, and will do our best to answer your question, rise to your challenge, or share your story. You can reach us here:

Ali & Rachel H
PO Box 11506
Portland, OR 97211

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