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If you have been following my story at all, you probably know my story. If not 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 (almost 23!) 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. Even though I had never needed a credit card, I was determined that I needed them then. I had racked up a pretty decent amount of money on my credit cards and started picking up waitressing shifts to get it cleared. While I have never paid interest on my credit cards, I have definitely gotten close.
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. But I also know that someday, I will be able to travel and just stop to enjoy life because I won’t owe any money towards my house, car, college, or credit cards. Knowing that “This too shall pass” has been the motivation to keep me going this year.
“Sometimes, you have to live 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 original goal was to have everything paid off by my 23rd birthday on December of 2017. I know that isn’t going to happen, but I am hoping to get under $20,000 by the end of the month. My goal debt free date is October 1st, 2018.
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.
Even if I didn’t make my original goal, Debt Free At 23 has such a great ring to it.
In November, I paid off a total of $1,555.
I could have done way better, but I am still very happy with this number. My problem. I absolutely love giving gifts for Christmas. It is one of my love languages (giving, but not receiving). I have gone a little overboard on gifts and Christmas fun. I know that next year I will need to up my Christmas savings a bit, because I didn’t estimate how much I would spend.
Even though it could have been better, I am always excited for the progress that is being made. $1,555 is definitely something to be proud of. I did the math the other day. After taxes, I have made about $28,000. It is actually a lot less than I thought I had made.
Since I have paid off over $13,200, that means that this year 46% of my income has gone to my debt.
I started with 8 accounts and $34,000, but 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||PAID||OCT 17|
|Student Loan #3||$11,634.62||$1,423||$9,400|
|Student Loan #4||$13,218.78||$132||$12,847|
At the end of October my total was $23,670. Today, it is $22,247.
I am really quickly learning how much the interest SUCKS. I cannot believe how much interest I am building every single day. Did you know that most student loans accumulate interest DAILY. Most other types of debt are compounded monthly, but student loans are Every. Single. Day.
That means that on a Wednesday, you are already paying interest on the interest that accumulated on Tuesday. There is really nothing you can do about it, but making small, regular payments definitely helps keep the interest down.
Also, I have found myself in the credit card habit again. If I don’t have the cash in my bank account at that moment, I will just whip out my credit card with the “Oh, I can still pay it off in a few days” mentality. I know it is causing me to spend more. My goal is to clear them with my next paycheck and stop using them all together until I can get a little bit of control.
November Goal Recap:
Pay off $1,500 in student loans
Even if I struggled, I did it. $1555 was put towards my student loans this month. I didn’t get over my goal that much, but it was still over, so I am happy. I knew that it would be a crazy month, so I set my goal a little lower. December is my month to go for the gold and kill it on my debt payments.
Get all Christmas lists complete and half of my shopping done!
I have just a few small items and then I will be completely done shopping for Christmas. There is only one person who I am unsure if we are exchanging gifts, but otherwise the shopping is complete! I am excited to be done with it because I spent way more money than I originally wanted. I still have a little bit of money left in my holiday spending category left for Christmas activities for the rest of the holiday season, but I am looking for free activities.
9 blog posts. (Trying again.)
Still working on it, but with the new year, I am dedicated to be more consistent about blogging. I am working on creating a ton of content in the next few months for my readers! (If you have any ideas, please let me know what you are looking for!) It feels like every month is busier than the last. Only time will tell.
Make $250 Blogging/ Selling Stuff (Making it lower to see what I can do!)
Well. At least I am persistent. I have really been focused on my fitness more than my cleaning. My goal is to keep working on both of them as consistently as I can. Even if I don’t make what I set my goal to, it forces me to work towards the goal. I am hoping that eventually I will start hitting my income goals instead of just my debt pay off goals. Income is one thing that I hope to continue building through my debt free journey so when it comes time to build a house, I will be able to save faster!
Refinance my parent plus loans into my name!
I am waiting for a time where my dad and I can do this together and it just hasn’t gotten done. Aiming for early in December to get this done so it is all in my name (and helping my credit score so I can buy a beautiful house.) It will also be beneficial because the interest will go to me on my taxes and I don’t have to worry about it being in my parent’s name anymore!
Biggest lesson learned in November!
November was hard for me, but it could have been worse. There were a lot of things that I purchased that could have gone towards student loans, but instead they fed my addiction to consumerism. At the very end of October, I got a new phone, so I am in the process of paying two half bills so I can be done with the old contract. I am also in the process of switching internet companies (for a savings of $15 a month and faster speeds), but I will be paying two months’ worth of bills in December due to canceling.
I did take quite a bit of time off work in November to allow me to enjoy a little time with my family. After the holidays are over, I plan on jumping into a No Spend Month with a ton of extra hours at work! January will be the month to completely kill it.
Goals For December!
Pay off $2,247 on Student Loans
Clear Credit Cards
Write 9 Blog posts
Workout: 1 Mile every day or Spin Class
Enjoy my 23rd Birthday/ Christmas
Sell 10 Items I Own
Make $150 from extra jobs/ Mystery Shopping/ surveys/Mary Kay
Refinance Student Loans
How was your November? What goals do you have for December?
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If you haven’t been following my journey, here are my other monthly reports: