Budget Tips, Money

The Ultimate Guide To The Cash Envelope System

  Cash Envelopes are the best way to curve your spending because it has been proven that cash is mentally harder to spend than swiping your card!  This system is nothing new to the budgeting world. In fact, this is probably how your great-great grandma carried her budget! If it worked for her, it could definitely work for you! Cash Envelopes are exactly what they sound like. Envelopes or Clips to hold cash that is specifically allocated for a certain category. Things like eating out, groceries, and misc/personal spending are usually the most popular categories for your envelopes, but they can be so many more than that. Cash envelopes allow you to assign a certain amount of money to a category. Once the money in that envelope is gone, there is nothing left for you to spend! They take a few months to get the hang of, but soon you will be rocking and rolling your way to spending less! How to Set up Cash Envelopes? Gather all of your materials To get started you will need envelopes, a pen, a small notebook (small enough for a piece of paper to fit inside of the envelope), clips, and a place to put them! I also use sticky notes to label each clip. I use an old recipe box to keep all of my envelopes organized. The old, decorated milk jug is my coin jar where I put all of my loose change. It actually adds up pretty quick and it is a nice extra $50 every other month. I have seen people use all different kinds of envelopes as well. There are plastic envelopes (which will hold up a little bit longer), or paper envelopes with a ledger if it makes it easier for you to track. Or you can decorate your own. I started with basic office envelopes, but I have been thinking about upgrading! Make a list of budget categories that cash spending would help with These can be all different kinds of things based on your budget and your family. Because I am a waitress, I have…

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Millennial Stuff, Money

Refinance Student Loans: Why I Did It and Is it Right For You?

The refinance on my student loans went through! Having student loan debt has probably been one of the most complicated things for me to figure out on my debt free journey. When I started my journey, I had about $7,500 in debt in my own name, but I also had student loans in my dad’s name. They were “parent plus” loans, which ultimately means that my dad was technically responsible for the payments on them. However, I knew when I took them out, that I was ultimately responsible for making the payments on them. When I started looking into my student loans more, I realized my interest rate was high. I was paying 7% interest on $25,000+. It ended up calculating out to $8 a DAY in interest. (I took these loans out in 2014). I don’t regret taking out my student loans, even though I don’t have my degree yet. First, I started with ton of research online. Actually, almost 2 months worth of research and all of it brought me back to one company. So I finally decided to refinance my student loans through SoFi, (Social Finance).  Why did I refinance my student loans? 1) They were in my dad’s name. Because I have been throwing all of my money at them, I have paid off about $3,000 in interest off in the last year. When it comes to taxes this year, it will all go to my dad’s name instead of my own. Ultimately, it is fine, but that tax break would have went right back towards my debts. 2) My credit score had gone up 120+ points since I had originally took out student loans. This helps because when I took out loans, I had almost no credit. I didn’t get approved for very much, but my dad did. Now that my credit went up, I can actually get approved for the amount that my education costs. 3) 7.4% interest rates. Refinancing it brought it down to just under 6% interest, which is a pretty decent savings over “the next 7 years” that the loan is…

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Money, No Spend Month Tips

5 Ways to Avoid Derailing Your Progress From Your No Spend Month

Many of you have been following my No Spend Month Challenge. I have done three no spend months and plan for many more in the future! They are great for the budget and awesome for a financial detox! No spend months have helped me learn a ton about my friendships and my spending habits! If you have been participating in a no spend month, you may already be planning your first purchase as the month is coming to an end. I don’t want you to think of the end of a no spend month as permission to go crazy. When you give yourself permission to spend, I hope that you remain intentional about your spending. During my last no spend month, I was able to put $2,450 towards my student loans because I simply avoided purchasing anything. I only spend $84 on groceries for the month and $104 on fuel for my vehicle. Throughout the month, I did spend about $70 on eating out. That is far less than I normally spend. I didn’t spend any money on clothing, home decor, or entertainment. A no spend month requires a lot of discipline, will power, and motivation. It sets you up for a great detox of your budget and allows you to take a step back and see where else you could cut spending in your budget. After putting that much focus on not spending, it can be hard to transition into intentional spending again. It can be hard not to completely blow your whole month’s budget in the first few days of the month because you may feed deprived after a no spend month. Here are 5 things to help you avoid derailing your progress that you made during your no spend month. 1) Plan for one reward. Do it. When I talked about preparing for your no spend month, I suggested that you create a reward for the end of the month. It should be something that you can look forward to during the month. Maybe it is a small home purchase or a dinner out, but I suggested…

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Budget Tips, Money

15 Things I Did To Pay off $15,000 on a $30,000 Income

Have you ever felt like you were just a hamster, running on the same wheel every day but not really getting anywhere? You just wanna pay off everything or just run away? That is kind of how I felt in 2016. I had been paying minimums on my student loans. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t have any credit cards or car loans, but that changed by the end of the year. I was working what felt like a billion hours every week waitressing, but every night after my shift I was going to the bars with my coworkers because we “had a rough shift.” Even though I was working a ton, I had zero savings to show for it. I had pictures from a few travel adventures (which I definitely don’t regret), but nothing really extravagant to show for all of the hours that I was working. By mid- November, I had no money for the new car that I “needed” and barely enough money to go on the trip that I had planned for my birthday. On top of that, my other student loan account was due for $190 a month in January. Where was I supposed to get that money. Add in $3,000 of interest had accrued on my student loans since I had taken them out. $3,000!! What? I was over it. 2017 was going to be different. I picked up Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, which had sat on my bookshelf for quite sometime, and started taking notes. In 2017, I paid off over $15,000 including the Jeep that I “needed,” that birthday trip to Texas on a brand new credit card ($700), and a ton of student loans (including that $3,000 in interest). I want to be up front. This isn’t one of those “We sold our house and paid off all of our debt overnight” stories. I am happy for those people, but this is a “I worked my butt off and said no a lot” story. I spent a stupid amount of hours working during this year. There was ALWAYS…

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Millennial Stuff, Money, Relationships

My Single, Millennial Debt Free Journey: The Pro’s and Con’s of Being Young and Single while Becoming Debt Free

I am in my early 20’s, single with no kids and I have been working on my Debt Free Journey since January 1st, 2017. A lot of people have said, “Oh, well with no kids to feed, it would be easy.” This journey isn’t easy whether you are single, married, divorced. Becoming debt free is a hard journey no matter what. There are constant, daily struggles of a debt free journey. If you haven’t read my whole story, I started this journey just a few weeks after I got a loan for my Jeep right before my 22nd birthday.. I realized how deep in debt I really was because my student loans were all coming due. Then, I started to freak out. I had never ever had a vehicle loan because my I have always driven $1,500 or less vehicles. My Jeep is the most expensive vehicle I have owned at $3,000. Mentally, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do because I was 22 and already overwhelmed by my debt. Not really how I imagined spending my early 20’s, but I am so thankful that I have spent the last year getting rid of as much debt as I could in a year. My student loan companies had started calling to talk about payment plans and I started getting bills in the mail for them. At 22, I got my first credit card to “help build my credit” after I didn’t get approved for my Jeep loan. (Thanks Dad for cosigning my Jeep, but also unknowingly encouraging the start of this journey.) Having no one else to worry about when it comes to my budget has been great. There are HUGE perks to being single on this journey, but I have also found some things harder because I am single. Here are just a few of the pro’s of my young and single debt free journey: One of the best things about being single is no “budget committee meetings.” I am the committee. When I sit down to decide on my budget, what I decide is what it…

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Debt Free Journey Reports, Money

2017 Debt Free Journey Report

In 2017, I paid off over $15,000 in credit card payments, car payments, and student loans with just my income. I worked many hours and put about 50% of my income to my debts. Here is a summary of 2017 on my financial peace journey!

I didn’t do a specific December Debt Free Journey Report, but instead I am just summing up the whole year into one post. What an absolutely crazy year for 2017. I have been sharing my story and working extremely hard to meet my goals. In case you missed any of my other debt free reports or my story, you can find them under my Debt Free Journey Reports. At the beginning of 2017, I said that I wanted to be debt free by December 31st, 2017. Ha. Little did I know, I didn’t actually make enough money for that to happen. I would have had to live in my parent’s basement and not spend a single penny on anything, and then I would have still been off on my income. Needless to say, I didn’t make my goal of being completely debt free. But I did accomplish a lot. In fact, I am not dwelling on the fact that I didn’t make my goal. Instead, celebrating all that I did. In 2017, I.. Paid off $15,000 in debt Debt January 1, 2017 December 31, 2017 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 Jeep $2,500.00 PAID JULY 17 Student Loan #2 $3,550.00 PAID OCT 17 Student Loan #3 (PARENT PLUS) $11,634.62 $7,633 Student Loan #4 (PARENT PLUS) $13,218.78 $12,890 Completely Paid off my Jeep (2 1/2 years early). Paid off all of the student loans in my name Put a decent dent in the parent plus loans that are in my dad’s name. Paid off 40% of total beginning debt. Completed 2 No Spend Months. Maintained a “Pantry Challenge” or an “empty fridge challenge” mindset for eating the groceries I already have. Made 244 months of minimum payments. (Equals over 17 years of payments in 12 months) Got a new temporary job working full time for the Nebraska National Guard Moved into an apartment with my best friend. Worked a billion hours (exaggeration, but it felt that way)   Without accuring any interest,…

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Budget Tips, Money, No Spend Month Tips

5 Things To Prepare for a No Spend Challenge

Preparing for a no spend challenge is extremely important.

I have been on my debt free journey for almost exactly a year now! One thing that has helped me tremendously with paying off $15,000 on a $30,000 income was No Spend Months! They may seem a little crazy, but you can accomplish anything in 30 days if you set your mind to it! No Spend Months are great for resetting your finances after a splurge or really just focusing in on what you already have. The last year of 2017 has been a bit of a cheat week for me because my roommate came home from her military training for Christmas break. I haven’t exactly stuck to my budget, but I also budgeted to splurge (All in cash). Does that mean I’m not breaking the budget? I am making January a no spend month for me, but you can definitely do it any month out of the year. I will probably have multiple throughout 2018 and beyond. Whether your goal is to not spend for one week, a month, or even a whole year, you have to be realistic about your goals. Everyone has to set their own rules for a no spend month. The best thing you can do for your goals is to prepare for obstacles that might come up throughout your no spend time. Here are 5 things to do to prepare for a No Spend Challenge: 1. Set your goal. When setting your goal, really think about why you want to do this challenge. Is it because you know you have been spending too much? Or maybe you have too much stuff in the house already and you are going to focus on getting rid of stuff and not bringing more in. Another great goal is to pay off the rest of a debt. If you are super close on one of your snowball accounts, maybe the whole point is to really focus on getting that student loan/credit card/car loan gone! When preparing for your no spend month, make a list of the things that you hope to get out of this month. I don’t recommend your…

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Budget Tips, Holidays

Make it through Christmas without any extra debt!

Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year. "Joy to the World." "Happy Holidays" and all of that, but if you aren't careful with December's Christmas budget, than January's credit card statement can be oh so frightful! Here are a few ways to make sure that you don't break the bank for your Holiday cheer!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This is one way that bloggers make money, but it is at absolutely no extra cost to you if you choose to make a purchase based on my suggestions! If you would like to read more about how this works, check out my Disclosure Policy! Christmas is less than 2 months away and I don’t know about you, but I am beaming with excitement. I can’t wait for Hall-o-ween to be over with so I can start decorating my apartment! The holidays are always my favorite time of the year with the sugar cookies, the Christmas trees and lights, and actually being able to spend time with my family.I can already hear the Christmas music in my head.I know it will come up faster than we expect, because it always does. Just like every year, Christmas is on December 25th. Even though we know that, it seems like it just “sneaks up on us” before we even get to plan anything. This year, instead of waiting until December 24th to start figuring out how to pay for the holidays, think about checking out these tips to making sure that you don’t regret all of Christmas once your January credit card statement hits. This year, don’t let your budget be surprised by the Christmas holiday! 1) Set a budget before the holidays get here! Figure out exactly how much you think you are going to need. When I made my Christmas budget of $500, it includes dinners with friends, decorations for my apartment, presents for everyone on my list, and any holiday festivities that may happen. I very carefully figured out what I thought was necessary for all of the different categories, but that still seems like too much for a holiday budget. I tried to think about last year to figure out what I spent, but I truthfully have no clue. 2) Start buying or saving early Some people start buying things when they see them on sale. If you have the storage/hiding space, this is a great idea. Especially if you know…

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Debt Free Journey Reports, Money

October’s Debt Free Journey Report

October is so great for fall activities and some of the best foods on the planet. It was also a FANTASTIC month for my debt free journey. I did a NO Spend Month and made sure that I was only spending money on groceries, gas, and prebudgeted things. See here how I paid off $2000+ in one month on a SINGLE income.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This is one way that bloggers make money, but it is at absolutely no extra cost to you if you choose to make a purchase based on my suggestions! If you would like to read more about how this works, check out my Disclosure Policy! My Story 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. I gain different followers every month and I don’t want anyone to feel blind as they find my posts! 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.…

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Budget Tips, Money

14 Things that Waste Money, but I Refuse to Eliminate from my Budget

The biggest financial advice I have seen is what items that you should never pay for once you start your debt free journey. Maybe I just don't fit in, but I don't see eye to eye on all of the items that are a "waste" of money. I believe that if it brings ease or joy to your life, why eliminate it! Check out my list of 14 things that I waste my money on!

Lately, I have seen a ton of articles that focus on things you shouldn’t waste money on in your debt free journey. According to these, you should just go cold turkey on everything that is a “waste” of money. There are a ton of things that could be considered a waste of money to one person, but not another. I am all about ways that I can save money. This month, I am in the middle of my #SavvySagittariusNoSpend Challenge. When I am not spending money on anything, it makes it easier to see what I really do waste money on. This isn’t how I am doing my debt free journey at all. There are still quite a few things that I purchase that are on most of these lists. I am always looking for ways to save money, but there are a few things that I am just not willing to stop “wasting” money on. Because I won’t give them up, I have found a few ways to save some money on these things. Your debt free journey doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. Continue to enjoy the life you have, but do so responsibly.