8 Things I Learned From NOT Spending Money

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.  During the Month of April, I spent almost no money. I feel like I did great on my no spend month compared to what I expected. I didn’t pay off as much as I hoped I would have, but it was still super exciting to push myself to get creative. The whole debt free journey has taught me a lot about what is important to me and what I can live without. I think the thing it has taught me the most is that no great journey is ever as easy as “just the numbers.” I can make my spreadsheet with my budget look fantastic, but it is all about when that paycheck comes in and how I handle it. 8 Things I have Learned by Not Spending Money 1) I don’t eat out nearly as much as I thought During my no spend month, it wasn’t actually that hard to not eat out, but now that I am out of it, I have eaten out more in May than I would have all month if I would have just done it in moderation during April. It seems to go in spurts. Some weeks I am on top of planning and others I am not as good about it. Right now I am trying to get back off my binge from eating out because I have probably eaten out six times since the beginning of May! Eeek. I need to get back into the swing of things. My biggest struggle was probably planning breakfast. When I am on the go, I have very little time for breakfast in the morning, but it is a meal that I will not skip. I found myself giving in to breakfast on the way to work a few times during the month. Lack of planning really…

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April Debt Free Journey Report

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! 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. 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…

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Why I Don’t Regret My $29K In Student Loan Debt

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. Many of you have followed along on my debt free journey this far. I am hustling my butt of every day to pay off my student loans. I have about $29,000 in student loan debt left to pay and no degree as of right now. All of my general education credits are complete. I just need to decide what degree to pursue and commit to it. The main problem with that is that I have zero idea what I want to pursue as a degree. That’s a story for another day. I have paid off about $4,000 in debt since January 1st and I am still going strong along my journey. The Dave Ramsey book changed my life and outlook on money. I refuse to get into anymore debt, because of The Total Money Makeover. A lot of people have asked me if I regret taking out student loans or if I wish I would have done it differently. My student loans are the reason that I have debt. They are the reason that I am on this debt free journey. I don’t regret my student loans one bit.

Week Three: NO Spend Month

The farther that I get into the month, the more I find myself slipping up or at least considering it. Week Three was way harder than I expected it to be. I clocked out with 66.85 hours this week. It was a STRUGGLE because I was so tired by Sunday. Sunday’s are usually my organization days, but I had a lot on my to do list. I still needed to drive back to my parents. Meal prep, go to the gym, and get some stuff done for work. Good News for the week: My dad fixed my brakes on my Jeep, so all is great! I am finding it harder and harder to stay motivated to keep up with my writing. I would rather be writing than working a billion hours, but I am also working some extra hours to pay off my debts. I can’t wait to get into a routine where everything actually works out, but I am slowly working on it! This week I learned a lot about staying organized and prioritizing when it does come to my free time. I also learned that after 13 hours at work, I have very little will power when it comes to food. SPENT DURING WEEK FOUR: Super Saver Groceries   $  31.15 Sam’s Club Gas:       $ 25.00 Additional Gas: $10.00 Total: 66.15 Spent this week 16.15 Over Budget Paid Off: Student Loan #1: $104 Jeep: $77.88 Total Debt Paid Off This Month: $1,088

Week Two: No Spend Month

  The holiday and work made week two a little hectic, but I am finally sitting down to get caught up! Have you ever had something totally unexpected happen and it was completely out of your control? Well Sunday while I was at drill, I get a call from my roommate asking me if I paid the water bill. Yes. I did. She tells me that the water isn’t working in our entire apartment. I ask her to check with the neighbor and sure enough the entire complex is without water. I get home that night. The weather is warm for this time of year and we have nothing cold to drink in the apartment. I met with someone at Target to sell an item from one of the Facebook For Sale pages. As soon as I got that money, I went into Target to get a gallon of water (which I am usually against buying water, but it had to happen). As I was walking to check out, I saw cake mixes for $1 and frosting for $1.50. I gave in and got the supplies for two cakes. Brittney and I spend our water-less evening making cakes. While I still count it as part of my grocery budget, it definitely wasn’t the kind of spending I had planned. It was so worth it though. It gave us something to do instead of complain about the lack of water in our apartment and we spent most of the evening laughing in the kitchen. I managed to make it through the drill weekend without spending money on lunch or any other food cravings. That being said, I have a long list of restaurants that I can’t wait to eat. One major lesson I have learned from the No Spend Month is that you don’t have to give into your food cravings. The other night, I desperately wanted Taco Johns. I didn’t give in. Instead I went home and used some chicken to make chicken tacos and I happened to have tater tots in the freezers. What could have cost $8-12 for…

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Week One: No Spend Month

My first week of my #NoSpendMonth was GREAT! Read about how I spent less than $50 on everything I needed this week!

Week One of my No Spend Challenge was not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I had a few ups and downs as I expected, but I really think I excelled all week! Thank goodness for my Instagram #debtfreecommunity. HUGE shout out to The Budget Awakens and Frugal Desperado for doing this challenge with me! All three of these have been amazing sources for me when I wondered if this challenge was really worth it! Buying supplies for my no spend challenge The few days before, I spent $21.43 at Super Saver getting chicken, fruit, veggies, and other stuff to make for my meals this week. Then I spend $25 at Sam’s Club getting enough toilet paper to last through the apocalypse and coffee creamer for the rest of the year. They were both killer good deals and I won’t worry about needing them for a while so I am not constantly using my small budget this month to buy items. (Update: I bought the toilet paper in March and I still have a ton left in August. My coffee creamer lasted until July.) I put $25 worth of gas into my Jeep! Gas is probably going to be the hardest part of this month because it doesn’t really matter if I go over budget, I have to go to work. That being said, I have been trying to monitor how often I am driving places and if I can make multiple trips into one instead of driving all over town! Most of my driving is to and from work and the gym. I had to buy more pre-workout and ended up spending $90 at Max Muscle (They still gave me a killer deal) for some pre-workout. BCAA’s are good for sore muscles and recovery. Since I have been insanely sore after my last few workouts, I decided to give it a try. I had a little bit of money in my supplement fund. While it was an impulse, it was worth it to get me through week one. Week One of my No Spend Challenge! I think I…

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The Number One Grocery Shopping Secret to NEVER Going Over Budget Again!

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 love to eat.  I will be super honest about it too. 90% of my day is spend eating or planning out the next time I am going to eat. When I am on a good workout routine, I eat every 2-3 hours. This means that groceries seem to be a never ending expense and it gets old! I honestly feel like I go to the grocery store 2-3 times a week, but I know it isn’t that often. I can’t believe how often I have to go back to the store to get one thing or another. It is so easy to drop $100 at the grocery store and walk away feeling like you barely have meals for the next week! Also, you probably forgot the one main thing that you went to buy from the grocery store. Does this sound familiar? One thing that helps is that I attempt to only go to the store once a week. Even though I try to make it in the fewest trips possible, it can get so expensive if I am not paying attention to what I am putting into my cart. I try to always go with a list so I know what I am going into get. Along with anyone trying to save money, I have read over so many “Save XX amount on groceries” articles. So many that I can hardly remember most of them. I slowly started saving money, but it wasn’t until I started waitressing that I actually realized the best way to save money. Groceries is always a struggle because it is an essential purchase. We can’t just stop eating, but it is expensive. Whenever someone is looking for budgeting advice, they are usually asking for ways to cut grocery costs. It is one of the easiest…

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37 Free Things To Do Instead of Spending Money

I have officially started my No Spend Month and free things have officially become my best friend! It is already a little harder than I expected, but I know it will be great!  It definitely requires more organization and planning than I am used to! Especially working two jobs some days, I diligently pack the night before to make sure I have the things that I need for the entire day. I know that I am working most of the month, so I will not have a whole lot of time to be bored, but if you are completing a No Spend Month (Or even just a weekend!) there are a ton of great things to do with your time. During a No Spend Time, you don’t have to sit and be miserable! I encourage you to do things that you don’t get to do very often and make the most of you time! Don’t sit around thinking about the things you could be doing if you were spending money! The more you find to do that is fun, the less you will think about spending money!

March Debt Progress Report

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! 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. 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…

Read More

The Perfect Budgeting System For A Server Income

Disclaimer: This post does 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 have been a server for almost two years now. It is such great money. It is also super convenient to walk out with money immediately after my shift. While the job itself is not my favorite, I continue for the flexible income. The problem I quickly saw was that I wasn’t actually getting a paycheck. I was just walking out with my paycheck every night that I worked. The first month, I was so carefree because I had cash in hand. The other servers and I love to go out for drinks after work, which quickly became my second problem. On a good night, I find myself tipping the bartender $10-15 on a $5 drink.  It quickly became a little excessive. Even if I wasn’t over tipping, I was spending $10-20 of the $100 that I just earned working. I looked all over the internet to find anything that had ideas for how to budget as a server. Turns out that there isn’t as much as I thought there would be. Apparently not many people are writing about budgeting as a server. Probably because not many of them have an effective system. When you have the opportunity to make that good of money in one weekend, budgeting isn’t necessarily a must. Then I turned back to Dave Ramsey. Of course, the envelope system. Here are 9 Steps to Budgeting as a Server (or any irregular income jobs) It took me a little while to get into a routine, but once I did, it was a lot faster process. Don’t get discouraged if it takes you an hour the first time you sit down to try to do this. Keep going because I promise that having a ton of extra money is so worth it! Soon, it will be an automatic process!