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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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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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!

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! 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.

Sinking Funds: What are they and why you NEED them RIGHT NOW

Sinking funds is a term that can be a little confusing. Here is a complete guide to making sure you know what you are doing and help you really get your budget together!

Have you ever known that you have a big expense coming up, but decided to figure it out when you get there? Does Christmas “surprise” you ever year, even though it is ALWAYS on December 25th? Do your January credit card bills make you a little bit of a scrooge? I have been posting on Instagram about my sinking funds lately and a lot of people have questioned what I mean when I use that term. I think the name came from Dave Ramsey, but let’s face it, our grandparents and great grandparents really invented the wheel when it comes to no debt finances. Grandma knew what it meant to save her money for a rainy day. I started my debt free journey on January 1st, 2017 and I have not had to pull money out of my emergency fund once because I have my sinking funds. They are a little confusing, but hopefully this guide will help you get started. Here are the most commonly asked questions I get about my sinking funds: How does it work? A sinking fund is a type of savings for irregular or yearly expenses. For example, you pay $600 every 6 months for car insurance. Instead of ignoring it and waiting until the time comes up to pay for it, a sinking fund sets aside a portion of the payment every single month. In this case, it would be $100 a month. It may feel like you are putting away a lot every month, but I promise that it will save you tons in the long run! When you start getting the hang of looking at sinking funds as an expense, it becomes a lot easier to put money away every single month!

Building Your Debt Snowball, Then Killing It Quickly!

Imagine yourself looking at the money in your bank account. You have no monthly housing payment. No student loan payment. Your car is paid off. All you pay for monthly is your phone, utilities, food, and your “want” list. You must think that I am crazy. But this is my goal by 25. Debt paid off. House paid for without a mortgage. Money in the bank. Many people love the idea of being debt free, but once they start looking at their bills, they have no idea where to even start. Or, they are so overwhelmed with just the monthly payments that they can’t even imagine paying more on any of the debts. Whatever your case is, if you want to be debt free, you will find a way to do it! I am on a one person income and slowly but surely working my way to being debt free! If you are a Dave Ramsey follower, then you have heard of the Debt Snowball. Some people have heard of it other places as well. In my opinion, it is one of the best ways to keep the motivation to get debt free! The snowball isn’t directly Dave Ramsey’s, but it is the system that he uses in his Financial Peace University.

13 Things to Do to Avoid Fast Food

Fast food is the hardest part of almost every budget. It is usually where I go over every month. Most of that is due to poor planning. Here are 13 Things that I do that make it easier to say no to fast food!

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! Thank you! You can read more about it in my Disclosure Policy. I constantly struggle between not having enough time to cook and not having enough money to eat fast food every day. I refuse to eat out often, especially since I am trying to become a healthier me in the midst of My Debt Free Journey.  While trying to live a rice, beans, and ramen lifestyle, I am also trying to lose weight and get my butt back into shape. It hasn’t been easy, let me tell you. Throughout my journey, I have found myself working out more (because it is something free to do). When I workout, I don’t want to eat fast food all of the time because it doesn’t make me feel great. I fuel my body with better foods when I can. One of the best things I have done is cut down on fast food. The drive thru very rarely means anything healthy and it usually adds up fast. Every time I talk to someone who is struggling with their budget, it usually boils down to spending too much money eating out, when money should be going elsewhere. If you spend even $5 a day on miscellaneous food, you could unknowingly be spending over $1,800 a year on it. That isn’t including the actual times when you eat out for special occasions or with other people. According to Reference.com, Americans as a whole spend 384 million dollars a year on fast food alone. That seems absolutely outrageous!

7 Steps I Took to Pay off $7000 in 7 Months

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! Thank you! You can read more about it in my Disclosure Policy. If you have followed me at all, you have heard all about my debt free journey. Maybe reading about my story has made you curious. Maybe you stumbled upon my post about Why You Should NOT Start Your Debt Free Journey and it inspired you, or at least got you thinking. Maybe you have no clue what I am talking about when I say “My Debt Free Journey.”  Or you simply want to know how I have paid off $7,250 since the beginning of the year. It is crazy that this has been my life for 7 1/2 months because I feel like it was just yesterday that I started this journey. But some days it feels like I have been at this forever. I have poured my whole life into doing everything I possibly can to speed up the steps. I read some great inspiring stories about how people trade in their brand new car for a 10 year old car and they are able to pay off debt super easy.I am so happy for them, but that isn’t my story at all. All of my debt is student loans and I live in an apartment, so nothing big to sell here. There is no acquired money from relatives, just from working a lot.  I am not married, so I don’t have anyone else’s income to live off, just my own. This year has taught me a lot about myself. I have learned that I have a lot more determination than I originally thought. I can also go days without getting more than 5-6 hours of sleep. This year has been a long one, but I am taking it step by step. I am 22, not married, and no kids.

Why You Should NOT Start Your Debt Free Journey

I have read every big debt free journey blog out there. Maybe not every single one, but I have read a lot. I spend countless hours every week going through Pinterest finance pins to schedule on my Tailwind! I spend so much of my very little free time on other blogs reading their stories. Using their lives to encourage myself to keep going. I get up early (some mornings) and work on my blog. Days that I have a longer break in between the two jobs are spent looking through Pinterest. I get off after 12 hour days and focus on knocking out content for my own blog. They all tell you how great it feels to be debt free! They list a million reasons why you need to start your debt free journey right that moment. I talk about how absolutely great it is to be able to pay off $1,500 of debt in one month. Because it is, it feels amazing. They tell you that you just need to give up these 5 certain items and you will be debt free in no time. Heck. I’m a blogger. I do this. But we all know that isn’t how it works. I started my debt free journey in January and blogging about it at about the same time. I knew if I put my goals out there, there would be no reason for me not to complete them. But there are soo many things bloggers don’t talk about. What the bloggers don’t tell you is that while on your debt free journey, you will miss doing cool things with your friends and family sometimes. You will sit in the office with your “sad” lunch while you watch everyone else leaving together to go grab some great food. You may end up working through your lunch because you are the only one left in the office. Because you probably have two jobs now, you may eat more meals in your car or at your desk than you do at the dinner table. And most of those meals will probably be…

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6 Foods to Keep At Home To Save Money On Eating Out

I have been a little caught up in 70 hour work weeks and I haven’t been writing nearly as much. It seems like I haven’t been home other than to sleep and eat, and I have been eating out a ton! I am finally getting back into a routine and figuring out my life, but it is still a little crazy. After a few 70 hour work weeks, I know that I usually don’t want to cook after work. I have been there a million times and 9 times out of 10, I would end up going to get food or ordering pizza. I actually noticed a decent increase in eating out when I started working both jobs. When I noticed this, I started being more on purpose with my grocery shopping. I started preparing for nights where I didn’t want to cook and it saved me a TON on food costs in general.   Overall, I do try to eat healthy. When I actually prep and cook, my meals are a combination of meat, brown rice, and veggies almost 90% of the time. While most of these options aren’t the healthiest, it is still  better and way cheaper than anything I would end up getting from eating out. I attempt to make a habit of meal prepping every week. I do all of my cooking sometime on Sunday to make sure that I have food for the whole week instead of trying to figure it out and cook day by day. This does mean that I eat the same meal multiple days in a row, but I honestly don’t have a problem with that.

4 Ways to Save Money on 4th Of July

4th of July is one of my favorite holidays, but it can break the budget before it even starts. Here are 4 ways to save money on the 4th of July!

I absolutely love the 4th of July! In fact, I don’t know a lot of people who don’t like it. It summarizes everything that I love about America. Friends and family coming together to eat some great grilled food and drink some beer while lighting stuff on fire or blowing it up. What about that statement is there not to love? As a child, I have a ton of memories of blowing up McDonald’s toys or plastic army guys. It was a blast, but as a child I never worried about the amount of money I was setting on fire. Literally. As I get older, blowing up fireworks has become a lot less fun. I usually join in on the fun for a little while, but it isn’t necessarily as fun as it was as a child. Anyone else agree? This year, I decided not to spend money on fireworks, but instead enjoy the fireworks of others. As I continue through the 7th month of my Debt Free Journey, it just wasn’t in my budget this year. I have spent most of my weekend reading some great books and working on some writing. I plan to spend a few days by my apartment pool and enjoy the local flea market on the morning of the 4th.