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If you have been following my story at all, you probably know that I tell my story at the beginning of every monthly report for those who just stumbled upon my blog. If you have read my story, feel free to skip ahead to my monthly report. I tell this story so I am not just some stranger, but instead someone who just might inspire each and every reader to follow the same journey!
My name is Elyse. I am 22, single with no kids and I am proudly on my way to being completely debt freeeee. I never really thought of myself as someone who was in debt. With no credit cards and no car payment, I was not the average American. All I had was a few student loans. It wasn’t until a few weeks before my 22nd birthday that I got a loan for a Jeep and my very first credit card. I should say credit card(S). For the month of December, I thought it was so cool that I finally had a credit card. I was excited over it actually. I was learning about all the different rewards I could cash in and it was fantastic.
Towards the end of the month, I was cleaning off a bookshelf, getting ready to move (again), and found The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. This $15 book completely changed my life path at the time. Dave describes being debt free as such a rewarding and achievable thing. In his book, he says it will take work and it will be hard, but it will be worth it. He has been right. There have been days were I have completely questioned my sanity. I sometimes wonder why I don’t just make minimum payments forever like everyone else.
“Sometimes, you have to like like NO ONE else, so someday you can LIVE like no one else.” – Dave Ramsey
If you haven’t read the book, I recommend you go buy it RIGHT NOW. It will be $15 that changes your life completely. I will wait, just be sure to come back!
I officially started my debt free journey on January 1st, 2017. While progress seems slow right now, my goal is to have everything paid off by my 23rd birthday on December of 2017. I am uneasy about the goal, but I am going to work at it until I am debt free. I am trying not to look at the numbers and just keep looking at the goal ahead because the numbers will probably stress me out too much.
My goal is to get completely debt free, buy a house in cash, and continue to save for an even better house! I am extremely excited about the opportunities to come with my journey ahead.
But Debt Free At 23 has such a great ring to it.
In August, I paid off $1,160 in debt!
In July, I reported that I wasn’t expecting a paycheck from my new job until after September 1st. It turns out that I did the math wrong and I actually got paid on the 31st of August from my new job! How FANTASTIC is that. When I found out that I didn’t have to set aside all of the money for September’s bills, it allowed me to start making some progress on my debts! I FINALLY got my biggest loan under $13,000. My total is under the $27,000 mark and I am slowly throwing money at the last student loan in my name. I am personally $2,320 away from being debt free (from the loans that are in my name). My biggest two are in my parent’s names, but I am looking to fix that also! I also managed to get over the $8,000 mark of money put towards debt! That means I am 20% done!
Here is what my debt snowball looks like now:
|Debt||Original||Paid This Month||Left To Pay|
|Amazon Card||$10.99||PAID||JAN 17|
|Mary Kay Card||$275.00||PAID||JAN 17|
|Bank Credit Card||$675.88||PAID||JAN 17|
|Student Loan #1||$2,087.41||PAID||APRIL 17|
|Student Loan #2||$3,550.00||$65||$2,325|
|Student Loan #3||$11,634.62||$80||$11,465|
|Student Loan #4||$13,218.78||$90||$12,991|
August was a million times better than I expected! My total left to pay is $26,781!
During August, I stopped working in the kitchen so much and I started serving a lot more at Applebee’s. This means WAY more income, but later nights. There have been a few rough nights at work and a few mornings that took a ton of effort to get out of my bed. I started a new job this month, which meant steady, predictable and increased paychecks. The hours are a little longer, but it is definitely worth it! Overall, my income for the month has been looking pretty great!
I am excited that I have been able to cover all of my expenses. There are a few things that I have been slowly putting money away for because I have a few big purchases that I want to make. I’m aiming to get out of my cellphone contract and get a better plan with a paid for phone! I have gone over on data the last three months and it is completely killing my budget. I also have a few things that I pay for monthly, but could pay for annually! My goal is to knock out some of these monthly payments so I don’t have to constantly have them coming out of my bank account!
August Goal Recap:
Get Student Loan #2 below $3,000.
Done. This happened within the first week of the month. After I figured out my pay days for my new job, I could confidently throw money at this one! I also got the biggest one just under that mark! I am so excited that things are coming together! This debt started at $3,244, so I wasn’t that far off! I made this goal small because I was unsure of the income situation for the month. I totally exceeded my own expectations this month!
Make $500 on my blog/selling stuff. Read how here!
I didn’t quite make this one yet, but I did make $235 from selling stuff! Just under half with pretty minimal effort was good for me. I am still working away at making my blog a business. If you have thought about starting a blog, Siteground currently has their hosting programs for 70% off for labor day weekend! NOW, is the time to start! If you don’t know how to get started, here is a link to a quick tutorial.
Keep my eating out spending under control.
I actually think that I did pretty good with this one this month. I bought a (discounted) gift card for Applebee’s, so when I work, I just put the money on there instead of pulling it out of my tip money that I make that night. It makes it easier for me to keep track of how much I am eating at Applebee’s. There were a few nights that the managers offered me free food to stay later, so of course I jumped on the opportunity to make more money and get free food in return!
Create a course for my readers to take! (If you have something that I have touched on, but want to learn step by step how to do it, I am always looking for ideas)
I have actually made a decent dent in working on the course that will launch on Sept 15! I have written a lot of the content. There are some technical things that I am still attempting to figure out, but it is a work in progress. The course is a step by step guide to creating a budget that works for you!
FITNESS. The better shape I am in, the easier my military career will be.
This didn’t necessarily go as planned. I have taken a spin class a few times this month and worked out a few times, but not nearly what I had hoped for. I am pretty sure I say this at the end of every month, but this time I am super serious. Someone I am in the military with is putting together a workout plan for me and I am going to work on killing it. My September goals are tough.
Sell everything I own. (Not exactly, but close.)
I don’t know why this is so hard for me. I have huge baskets of stuff to sell. Either I am not available to meet someone or no one wants my stuff. I am going to keep trying no matter what. My goal is to lest 10-15 items that I have in my baskets every week this month. I am hoping that by the end of the month, I will be able to clear out some of my baskets that are taking up far too much room!
Track every dollar that comes in
I actually did so good with this! I am usually TERRIBLE at tracking the tips that I have coming in because it goes in an envelope before I actually think about how much I am spending. The surprise of it all adding up was kind of cool. I actually can’t believe how much money I am currently making a month. Of course, I include the rollover money that I made last month that goes into savings to pay the bills at the beginning of the month. With the rollover, I made over $3,000 this month as a single person! I would count that for a huge win!
Biggest lesson learned in August
I learned a lot about my waitressing skills. There used to be nights that I would complain about being at work. The more I complained, the worse my tips were. Instead, I focused on being excited about each and every table that sits down. Which lead to more money waitressing than I have in a long time. I try my best to provide excellent service all of the time and it has really showed lately. When I got excited about every single table, my income completely skyrocketed!
Side note/Mini rant: If you don’t tip your server for good service, then you are creating a struggle for them. I personally tip out my host and bartenders, which means if you don’t leave a tip, your server just paid for you to eat there. Personally, for good to great service, 20%+ is usually the norm. I know it varies between restaurants and areas of the world, but even if you aren’t sure, ask your server if they have to tip anyone out. Find out how much of their wages actually goes to someone else.
Goals For September!
- Set aside the cash for spending at the beginning of the month instead of adding in money each time I get paid (Groceries, gas, restaurants.)
- Pay off $1,325 in debt (So my smallest debt is under $1000!
- 20 No spend Days
- Find 1-2 categories to cut spending even farther or eliminate completely.
- Launch my budgeting course on September 15th.
- Make $500 on Blog/ Selling my stuff. (I will continue to make this goal until I make it!)
- Post 9 blog posts throughout the month!
- Run a total of 50 miles. Do a total of 1500 push ups and 2000 sit-ups throughout the month! Do spin class 4 times this month!
- Get Below 160 pounds by the end of the month (11 pounds to lose!)
How was your August? What goals do you have for September?
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