Homeowner

Buying a House at 24 Years Old!

I bought at house at 24 years old! I budgeted, planned, and saved to be a homeowner! Here are a few of the questions that I get asked all of the time about my house!

House buying for many millennials can seem like a “maybe someday” task. At 22, I set a goal to be in my home buy 25. And I bought a house at 24! It seems so crazy that just like that, I am a homeowner.  I have received a ton of questions about my mortgage in relation to my finance goals so I thought I would just break down all of the house questions I have been getting in one single post! I got pre-approved for my mortgage in October of 2018. Veteran’s United had a ton of resources available to make me feel confident in my choices. I originally got pre-approved for $150,000. It was long before I was really ready, but it gave me time to look. I still had a few months left on paying off my debt, but I wanted to get a feel for the areas of my town.I had made a checklist of all of the things that I wanted in a house. After living in more than 7 rental places, I had a good idea of things I did and didn’t want in a house. In February 2019, I paid off my last student loan. So after that, I really started looking online at houses. I met with the realtor that Veteran’s United had assigned me and started going to look in person. In person, I looked at 3 houses total. I was so ready to be a homeowner! Originally when I looked at the house online, I didn’t even want to go look at the house. I just wasn’t interested. It wasn’t really the neighborhood I wanted. It only had one bathroom. The house was a little over my first budget. It needed a lot more cosmetic love than I wanted to put into it (based on the pictures.) My realtor said it would be good to look at a few in person to get a feel for what I wanted. I looked at the house and I feel in love. My check list included a 2 stall garage, 3 bedroom, a yard that…

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Budget Tips, Food

Marker Board Meal Planning Guide

Groceries is the number one easiest category to go over budget on! Here is how I use a marker board for my meal planning to save me hundreds of dollars on groceries every month!

Meal planning and meal prepping can be extremely stressful if you have no idea where to start. If you are constantly finding yourself getting last minute take out because you don’t know what else to do at 6pm. If you constantly find yourself going to the grocery store and mindlessly wondering through the store, then coming home with things that you already have at home. Or you grocery shop with the greatest of intentions, but end up throwing out a ton of food after a week or two because it never got consumed. It is time to start meal planning. Meal planning gets a little bit of a bad name because people think of all of the fitness gurus out there that tell you that you should only eat chicken and veggies for every single meal. Meal planning and meal prepping does NOT have to be like this. It can be absolutely delicious. Meal planning simply means that you have a written plan for the food you are going to purchase. I have found that my marker board method of meal planning works great because it puts everything in the same spot. It gives you a full list of what you are working with. Marker board meal planning allows you to highlight foods that need to be used up. The marker board itself can be used every week and it can stick to your fridge for easy access. I love being able to have everything written out in front of me so I can make a plan! Things You Will Need to Get Started: Marker board for inventory  Different colored dry erase markers (These are the ones I have!) Patience and Time Steps to Meal Planning: 1) Create a complete list inventory of items in the kitchen My very first step of meal planning is to go through my pantry, fridge, and freezer to make a complete list of EVERY single item.  I use my marker board to make this list in a way that is very simple for me to use. When I list things out, I try to…

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Making Money

10 Ways I Have Made Extra Money

Making some extra money on the side is a great way to help hit your goals faster! While paying off debt, I did everything. Here is 10 ways I have made extra money.

  Extra money can be a great way to pay off debt, save money or give yourself a little extra spending cash! Depending on your financial goals, the extra money can go multiple different directions for you. If you have figured out your income and expenses and feeling hopeless, there are tons of ways to make a little extra money. When I first started paying off my debts, it was a slow roll. At first, I didn’t think I made very much money. Honestly, as a waitress/bartender I didn’t know how much I was making. Because I always had money, I never tracked how much I had. When I first got serious about paying off my debts is when I got serious about tracking my income. Then, I got serious about making more money. Once I realized that I had a decent amount of money, I realized that I could make more. I watched people online making money from a ton of different ways. I started looking into a ton of different things. Ultimately, when I am looking at different side hustles, I try to decide if the time invested is worth the money paid for the activity. Here are a few ways that I have personally made extra money. 1) Poshmark ($150)  Poshmark is a clothing reselling app and website. You can list your used clothes on the website and make money from them. It is a little like Ebay for clothing. It does take a little bit of time, but it can be great! If you want to sign up for Poshmark, you can use my “ELYLYONS” referral code and get an extra $5 if you make a purchase. Once you spend the time listing things, it can be a little bit of passive income after that. If you spend an hour listing everything, you might make money from that a few weeks down the road because sales can happen anytime. I have spent just a few hours listing things and make money over and over again from those hours. The more active you are on the app,…

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Budget Tips, Money

5 Bank Accounts I Use to Keep My Money Organized

Having separate bank accounts at different banks may seem complicated, but it is one of the best ways to keep your money organized and where it needs to be!

I remember the very first bank account that I set up. It was right after the County Fair. I was 10. If you aren’t a farm kid, the county fair doesn’t mean much to you, but I was a 4-H kid. I got a “premium” check for entering projects into the fair. Ten year old me was so excited. I had just started my paper route as well so that meant more money for me. I had two of my very first paychecks to take to the bank. My mom took me to the bank to open my very first savings account. I was beaming with pride because I was 10 and I had my very own money to put into savings. This is probably where my love of savings started. I remember going down to the bank with my money in my hand. The teller took us back into a cubical where my mom wrote down a bunch of information. Then we sat in the cubical for what seemed like forever before they took the money to put into my account! We finally walked out of the bank and I had a savings account. I still have that bank account, but I have quite a few more now than I did then. Now almost all of the banking is online and almost every bank has a phone app!  It takes 10-15 minutes to open a bank account online if you have all of your information handy! Opening a bank account has become drastically easier since I was 10. Everyone has different accounts that work for them, but these are the 5-7 that I recommend to keeping your money better organized. There are pluses and minuses to different banks. Remember to keep each bank account information accessible, but safe. When you start organizing your money and give each account a specific purpose, you might even find that your money stays in that savings account longer! There are no maximums of the number of bank accounts you can have, but there might be a max number you can have at a…

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Money, Relationships

The defining event that made paying off my debt so much more important

I was about halfway through paying off my debt when this event reminded me why taking care of my finances was so important.

  I have put a lot of thought into this post. I have actually been trying to write this post for one year now. It has been sitting in my drafts waiting for me. For one year, I couldn’t find the words to describe how important paying off my debt had become to me. How important it became to my family and my future. I don’t want to step on any family members toes with this blog post or shed the wrong light on my journey, but this has been on my mind for one year. I have written and rewritten this post so many times trying to word everything just right, but I have found that there are no right words for it. One year ago today, my grandpa lost his battle with Leukemia. March 23rd, 2018. He had been fighting it for over two years and was stubborn throughout the whole journey. He had so many ups and downs along the journey, as comes with cancer. My grandpa fought as hard as he could. He had beat so many odds since his diagnosis. But cancer ultimately just sucks.   My grandpa chose to love me as one of his own grandchildren. When I was really young, my dad and his family adopted me. My dad and his family have taken my mom and me in as one of them and I am forever blessed. I was young enough that I never really knew a difference. But family is more about who is there during the hard times than any blood. Growing up, my grandma and grandpa lived down the block from us. I remember them being a huge part of my childhood. Occasionally, I would go there after school to hang out with them until my parents got off work. My grandpa was the custodian at a local church and my grandma was the secretary. Sometimes, I would get to go clean the church and do office work with them.  I remember my grandma always fixing a snack for my grandpa and I while we hung out at…

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Budget Tips, Money

13 Tips to Stay Motivated on a Budget

I have heard so many people say that they have created a budget, but after it's done, they don't know how to stay motivated to stick to it! Here are 13 tips to staying motivated on a budget!

  “I Just Don’t Want To….” has been my motto a few different times while paying off my debt. I am going to call it the seasons changing as well as life just happening. Let me tell you, being in your early 20’s on this journey has been TOUGH..  When you spend 2 years paying off debt, you are likely to have highs and lows. Life happens and it is easy to get side tracked by all of the things going on in other people’s lives when you are trying to stick to a budget. Budgeting gets harder and harder when you aren’t able to keep up with normal life events, let alone extra things. I recently asked my Instagram “what do you need help with when it comes to budgeting?” I would say one of my top answers was “motivation”. That hit me pretty hard since that seems to be one of the things that I have been struggling with the most lately. Let me make this clear first, if you are miserable on your budget, CHANGE IT. Budgeting is not meant to make you miserable. If you find yourself not motivated to stay on budget, it might not be you. It might be your budget. Budgeting is NOT meant to punish you. If done correctly, you should be budgeting so you can say YES to things you want to and no to the things that aren’t necessary. BUDGETING DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO HAVE FUN!! So if you are consistently finding that you are breaking the budget, it’s time to evaluate what is wrong with your budget. But, if you are just in a valley and having a hard time sticking with it. You might just need a little tool to stay motivated. “How do you stay motivated to stay on budget?” 1. Weekly/Pay Period Budgeting I don’t know how many people I have seen that post their budget at the beginning of the month, but by day four, they have completely blown it. “Maybe next month,” they say.  You do not have the willpower…

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Budget Tips, Millennial Stuff

Budgeting Doesn’t Mean NO Fun Allowed

So many times when I start talking about budget, I can see people roll their eyes in the back of their heads. I get the response, "But I want to have fun!" Budgeting doesn't have to mean that you don't get to have fun. It means that you get to plan for fun and for your future. Find out the four things that budgeting can mean for you!

  I have been budgeting for the last two years consistently. Budgeting isn’t something that I would say is a ton of fun unless you are a huge nerd. (Like me.) I am slightly obsessive about my budget. But I know that not everyone has the desire to track everything that closely. I asked what people’s first thought was when it came to a budget. So many people said that to them, a budget mean restrictions, only buying what you need, cutting out fun, or simply STRESS.  When I talk to people about having a budget, the usual response I get is “I know I need to be better with my money, but I just like having fun too much.” or “I prefer to just have fun and see what happens.” I don’t care how much money you make (or don’t make), if you don’t have a written budget of some kind, you are NEVER going to hit your financial goals unless someone else manages your money for you. If you associate a budget with having zero fun this post might just be for you. I still remember when I first started budgeting consistently. In 2017, I was living with 2 other girls and we ALWAYS had Sunday girl’s nights. I never once stopped budgeting for them while we were living together. Instead, I just started putting money aside for it so I knew that the money was there. We started doing more budget friendly items, but didn’t stop having girl’s night until we moved. In the past two years, I have budgeted and worked my way out of debt and into working 3 days a week. I am getting ready to buy a house with less stress, but I have had a ton of fun memories along the way! A budget DOESN’T mean that you can’t have fun. Here is what it does instead.   1. Tells you that you have enough money to cover your bills When you are first setting up your budget, you might be a little overwhelmed at all of the things that you pay…

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Millennial Stuff, Money

Books that You MUST Read to Change Your Finances Today!

Reading has always been a HUGE part of my life. During my debt free journey, it is one thing that has kept me motivated and taught me a lot that I didn't know about finances. Here are a list of just a few of my favorite books!

Reading books has always been a huge part of my life. I am such a huge reader and I have been since I was super little. Reading to me came at a young age and it has stuck with me throughout my entire life because I was good at it, and to me it was fun. While the genre of my books have changed tremendously, I still curl up in bed or bring a book with me to the bathtub as I take a bubble bath at the end of the day! It has always been my belief that reading will teach you far more than most classes ever will. I have learned more about finances from reading a few books. Sure, college classes will teach you some very specific things, but how specific do you really need to know. I have learned a ton in just the last year of intentionally reading almost every single day. One of my favorite things in the world is when I get to suggest books to people, and they tell me they LOVED it. This isn’t an extensive list of all of my favorite books, but instead, it is a guide of a few of my favorites that have helped direct me on the path that I have been on with my finances. This list covers the books that I read during my debt free journey and ones that I hope to read as I continue. I actually put off writing this post for a while because there are always going to be more books that I want to add to any list of books. While I don’t feel like this will ever be complete, I hope that it helps you get a start on your own reading list! Here are a few of my favorite money books.   Total Money Makeover (By Dave Ramsey) This is a no brainer. Pretty much every one who is working on paying down their debts will tell you that they have at least skimmed through this one. This book completely saved my 20’s. It has changed…

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Baby Step Three, Budget Tips

5 Things I am Adding Back Into The Budget in Baby Step Three

When I started my debt free journey, I cut a lot of things out of my budget. Now that I am done with baby step two, I am adding a few things into my budget! Check out these 5 things that I will spend money on again!

  When I first started budgeting, I was clueless as to where my money was going. I was spending money on pretty much anything and everything that I wanted, when I wanted to spend it. Restaurants, pedicures, clothes, makeup, food, and so many other things stole my money before I even had the chance to think about where it was going. Originally, I thought “I am paying in cash, so it could be worse. I could be putting it all on a credit card.” I was unknowingly throwing $1,500 out the door every month! But when I realized that I had no money going towards savings or any of my goals, I knew it was time to get a budget down on paper. I started budgeting and putting money towards my goals. This was when I started my debt free journey.  During baby step two, I cut out a lot of things from my budget. It was key to me paying off $15,000 in the first 12 months of my debt free journey. Cutting things from my budget was one of the big ways that I was able to pay off debt. A while back, I wrote a blog post on the things that I do still “waste” money on. A lot of those things are the things that people usually add back into the budget during baby step three. Things I am adding Back into the Budget in Baby Step Three: Coffee Shops I am excited to add coffee back into the budget. While I didn’t totally cut it out of the budget, I only gave myself coffee money a few times over my debt free journey. If I did get coffee, I used discounts, rewards programs, or gift cards. I used Ibotta to get free cash back on my grocery purchases and cashed them out for coffee gift cards! In the last two years, I have probably spent less than $50 of my own money on coffees. Now, during baby step three, I plan to add $25 a month back into my budget for coffee stops. I love…

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Budget Tips

How I Went On a 2 Day Vacation for $130

Sometimes a mini vacation is exactly what you need to feel refreshed and ready to work again! A weekend getaway is the PERFECT way to do this, but it doesn't have to be expensive! Here are a few tips for how I did it for $130

  As I wrote most of this blog post, I was sitting in a cabin in the middle of no where. I wrote most of this the week before I was debt free, while I was on vacation. Crazy, it sounds, but I did actually take vacation the week leading up to me being debt free. It. Was. Wonderful. Work offered me paid time off, which is quite unheard of as a bartender in the U.S., but since I got it, I thought I would take advantage of it.  Getting that paycheck is also actually one of the things that was going to help me hit my debt free sooner because I took my paid time off for days that I usually have off anyway (one tiny perk of working in a restaurant that is open 364 days of the year) After the holiday season at a restaurant in a mall, I knew that I needed to get away. I needed to escape from reality a little bit, so that is exactly what I did. A friend and I rented a cabin at a state park just 30 minutes away from my home. We packed up groceries, books, wine, and blankets and headed to the cabin. We spent 2 days sitting by a fireplace with our phones off, reading, writing, snacking, and napping. To the old traveler in me, this is exactly the opposite of a vacation that I used to take. Before starting this journey, in 2016, I took a 5 day vacation and traveled into six states and two national parks. In five days, I saw multiple people and slept somewhere different ever night. I LOVED this type of vacation, but it was an extremely expensive five days. I knew that I couldn’t do that after being on a pretty strict budget for the last two years. My vacation breakdown: Cabins for 2 nights: $175 Aldi Food we brought with: $50 Food we went to get: $15 Gas to get there: $20 Park permit: $30. (I didn’t include this into my total cost because it is something we…

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