It has been almost two weeks since my last post. What the heck is going on? I blame my blogging break on what I often do best…..burying my head in the sand when I start to get behind. I am a person that often constantly avoids stressful situations and ignores situations when I get behind. Some examples of this would be:
- Not blogging for 2 weeks when I am behind on commenting
- Charging $10,000 in credit cards (now paid off!!) when I know I can’t afford it
- Only paying the minimum on my student loans while they were at 7.12% interest
They say that the best way to make change is to stop making excuses and face the person that you want to be. I want to become someone whom I am proud of. A great employee, a great student, a great money manager, and a great girlfriend. I currently feel that I am only half-assed at each of these. This is my come-to-Jesus moment (haven’t I had about 15 already) and I am declaring that 2014 is my year to:
- Pay at least $10,000 on student loans
- Maintain a $0.00 credit card balance and use card to accrue points
- Always have enough money in checking account for life’s situations
- Finish second Bachelor’s degree
- Once school finished put full attention into work and become the best employee possible
- Invest more/save more/be more
- Spend more time with my family
This morning I feel anxious. I am new to the PF blogging community and new to having a huge hunger for paying off my high interest student loan debt. I want to get it paid off. I want to yell “I’m debt free” to my Mother and have her pat me on the back. This seems to be the hardest challenge so far with the debt payoff process. I am completely fine cancelling cable, changing my cell phone plan, and watching what I spend on groceries. The hard part is waiting until the next payday, the next payday, and the payday after that. I want the the money now. I want to immediately watch the balance go down. One of the biggest pieces of information that I have learned over the past two months is that no matter how many times I log in-my loan balance will not go down unless I am making a payment.
I have thought a lot over the past few days as to why I am feeling so anxious about paying off my debt? I feel antsy, I feel excited, and I feel like I will finally be able to live the life that we all deserve when it is over. Although I am so happy and proud to read the archives of fellow bloggers that have quickly paid off debt-I think it has left me feeling unrealistic about the length of time that it takes. Their struggles were over years and I am able to recapture that in just a few clicks on their blog. So my hope in the end is that in not too much time someone will quickly be able to click on my debt payoff journey and find relief and inspiration.
As a new gal to the whole frugal living scene I am constantly looking for ways to cut costs. Grocery shopping and take out food was a huge source of wasted funds each and every day. I have been really good about bringing my lunch and cooking at home but have not been on a budget while at the stores. This week I set the goal of cutting my grocery costs to $25.00 for the week and quickly sought out ways to decrease my spending. One of which was to make hummus instead of purchasing a small tub for $3.99. I am happy to say that I made a delicious container of hummus that was a fraction of the price of the store brand tubs.
Frugal Gal Hummus
1 15oz can garbanzo beans – liquid drained and put to the side
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and slowly blend in reserved can liquid until desired consistency is achieved.
I left out the tahini to cut costs and calories. Seriously guys….this is so easy and so good!
I cannot believe that it is Friday already. Wishing you all a fabulously cheap weekend! My weekend will be spent doing homework, working out, and attending an annual home tour in a historic neighborhood in the town I live in. This tour is one of my favorite parts of living where I do.
Not only is today a Friday…but it is a PAYDAY FRIDAY as well. I made an extra loan payment of $258.57 which brings my total balance to $22,730.81. I am also trying something new starting today. I opened a new checking account with a local bank that was offering $125.00 as an incentive. I have set up a direct deposit of $250.00 per paycheck and hope to use that money towards extra loan payments. I have begun using a new method and money strategy which seems to be working out well. Up until January I would eagerly transfer money towards my debts on the day we were paid. I would pay too much money and would wind up with no cash and live on credit for at least two months out of the year. This method was not effective for debt repayment and instead seemed to only increase my card balances. I now make only the minimum payments on payday and at the end of the two weeks I put the money that I have left towards my student loan. I realize that this could get sticky if I was a big spender but so far I have been able to keep to my budget and feel more comfortable with that extra cushion.
I dropped my car off for service this morning and my fingers are crossed that nothing needs to be repaired aside from general maintenance.
Wishing you all a fantastic weekend!
I have a confession. There is something that I haven’t told you and I feel completely guilty. My crime……I have cable. I know….I know. What a waste of money. One of my favorite bloggers Kali at Common Sense Millennial posted a fantastic note to cable subscribers http://commonsensemillennial.com/an-open-letter-to-millennial-cable-subscribers/ She likened having a cable subscription to putting $70-$100 dollars a month in a trash can and lighting it on fire. For many months I felt justified in my cable subscription. I had negotiated a
deal rip off and only committed to paying $55.00 a month plus any service fees.
Starting the first of 2014 I came clean with myself and new that there had to be changes and sacrifices. I knew that in order to make progress I needed to not have unnecessary and wasteful avenues to blow my money. So now instead of staying up until 11:00pm trying to figure out if Kristin really did hook up with Jax and if Stassi will ever become friends with Schena, I will now be counting my extra $55.00. Here’s the real kicker of the deal. I typically spend Friday-Sunday at my boyfriends and one evening a week with my Mother…and they both have satellite TV. So now instead of figuring out which house the couple is going to buy I will be working on homework, sleeping, and perhaps even reading. I will save the tv watching for when I am with friends and family.
In an effort to cut down my spending to the
nothing bare minimum I have been looking for other avenues to trip my spending. Earlier in the week I was able to secure a yearly savings of $262.00 for my cellular service. I am beyond excited about this total but it just isn’t enough. I called my internet provided this morning to see if they would price match their competitor offering a $19.95 deal per month with a one year contract. They were not able to match the deal but they did drop my service charge by $5.00 per month….just from me taking the time to make a quick phone call. My new monthly internet fee is $21.99 compared to the $26.99 that I was paying previously. This is a total of $60.00 a year. I realize that $60.00 might not see like a lot of money, but it totally is. You wouldn’t just pick up $60.00 and throw it away would you?
Getting out of debt is a process and won’t happen in a day. With small triumphs such as this one I am becoming closer and closer to my goal of shouting “I’M DEBT FREE” at the top of my lungs. Never in my adult life have I had the opportunity to say that phrase. I am so looking forward to it!
Did that catch your attention? I have anticipated savings of $252.00 for 2014. Was it hard to find the savings? NO. Do I have to make a huge sacrifice to save this money? NO. I was able to find the savings through accessing the website for my cell phone carrier, make a phone call, and calculate total savings. All-in-all about 10 minutes.
I consider myself to be someone that is somewhat frugal when it comes to spending. I never have the latest or newest technology and keep my usage low. After reading some great blogs this weekend I discovered that Verizon has a new plan that includes unlimited talk & text, and 1 GB of data for $60.00. My current plan is 450 minutes, unlimited text messaging, and 2 GB of data for $89.99. At the time when I signed up for the service this was the least expensive plan that Verizon offered.
I am a tad concerned about the amount of data that I use but now I know that I need to be careful and it is worth the savings. I have Wi-Fi that I utilize at work, home, my Mom’s, and boyfriend’s so it is uncommon that I am out and about and need to use data. The only are of concern that I have is exercising without Pandora but I can make adjustments to save the $20.99 per month.
The lesson learned from this is that it never hurts to keep checking with your service providers to see if they offer any new plans. Verizon did not have this plan last month and now they do. Hopefully I will be able to report back soon with additional found savings.
Well…one day early and I have my January totals. I am anticipating not spending money tonight. At the end of tracking one month of spending I have the results that I was anticipating. I am spending way too much money on food, random expenses, and when I do an occasional shopping trip I spend too much money. After tracking my spending for one month I am happy with the process and know this is a practice that I would like to continue.
I am currently not the most savvy of bloggers and there is a lot to learn. I made a fancy pie chart but am unable to paste it in my blog. Here is a run down of the spending that I hope to adjust for February
- Food $396.32 This is MUCH more than I anticipated. For February I hope to cut this expense by $100.00
- Savings $696.00- This is a fantastic total and I am quite happy. Moving forward I am only budgeting $600.00 towards savings and hope to use the extra $96.00 on a student loan payment.
- IRA $125.00-I KNOW that saving for the future is important but so is paying off my debt. This total has been adjusted to $50.00
- Clothing $221.00-I went to a huge department sale and spent over $100.00 in one trip. My clothing budget for February is $0.00
- Fun $120.00 I went to a charity event and bought tickets to a function. The Feb budget is $50.00
Along with the progress that I made in January I also received some bad financial news. I will be needing a dental procedure that will cost approx $3,000 within the next year (not from lack of taking care of myself-for genetic reasons). I knew this day would happen at some point but I got the news that it would be soon. Of course I am not financially prepared for it. I started a HSA and am now contributing $125.00 per paycheck to.
The total amount that I hope to cut from my spending next month is $562.00. If I add that to my January loan payments of $297.10 that brings my February payment to $859.10. I have never made a payment that large on anything and would be beyond thrilled. Valentine’s Day and a family member’s birthday are in February. I have budgeted $100.00 for the expenses.
What are some pieces of advice that you learned along the way while early on in the debt repayment process?
Site found via Google Image: American.com
I’ll admit it. I’ve been stupid and it has costs me money. Up until three years ago I always did my own taxes. I never was too interested in paying an interest free loan to the government so I would break about even. Three years ago something changed. Instead of spending the two hours watching bad tv and doing taxes I turned to an expensive little program called Turbo Tax. I made this change because I was lazy. I had sold some granted stock option in the company I had worked for and was too lazy to perform an internet search to figure out how to do it myself. The following year was no different. Instead of looking at how Turbo Tax completed my taxes the previous year and completing on my own-I logged into the system, imported my documents, and just sat back. Using the software to complete and file my taxes must have cost at least $80.00 a year for state and federal. The exact amount I have no clue because I was so checked out of my finances.
This year I vow to be different. It is the little charges that add up and being lazy costs more money. I am quickly learning in this debt repayment journey that the quickest way is not always the smartest or best way. Sure, takeout food tastes delicious and is easy-but it also costs quite a bit more. This is the year that I am going to change….and it all begins with completing my taxes with an old fashioned pencil and paper.
What are some ways that you have found the quickest way to cost more money?
Photo credit: revolvingdebt.net
I have been extremely fortunate to be blessed with such a fantastic Mother. Growing up we never had a lot of money but my Mother always did whatever she could to put her children first. When I graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in the Fall of 2005 it was a different economic time. It was perfectly normal for a gal to graduate with a degree in Public Administration and no clue how she was going to put that degree into use. Here is where Mom came into play. I lived with my Mom for about two years after graduation and was able to pay my loans off rather quickly in addition to my $200 rent payment to the bank of Mom. I was also able to save a nice chunk of money that I wish I still had today.
Fast forward to the Fall of 2010 when I graduated with $22,000 in Graduate School loans with an interest rate of 7.12% and a Master’s degree in Liberal Studies. When I decided to go back to school I was newly out of an almost ten-year relationship and thought that I should go back because “school is fun”. I gave no thought to how I was going to pay for school and the actual cost of a degree that was just for play to keep myself distracted from my current heartbreak situation. I gave NO thought to how I was going to pay this loan back and to be quite honest have done nothing but make minimum payments for the past three years.
Today marks a first in my life. This is the FIRST time that I have made an extra loan payment towards my graduate school debt. Although the payment was only for $90.00, I feel extremely proud and confident that I can do this.
Here’s to the first of many payments. I cannot WAIT to knock this monkey off my back.