Budget Tips, Money

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!

Debt Free Journey Reports

August’s 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! 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. 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…

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Budget Tips, Money

How To Use The Debt Snowball to Get Out of Debt Quick!

  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, investments/savings, 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. The other day I read a Dave Ramsey quote on Instagram about the “Debt Snowball” that said “It isn’t about the math, it is about the momentum.” If it were about the math, you wouldn’t be paying 25% on credit cards to get the 2% cash back points.  This is such a good thing to keep in mind when starting out. Don’t get caught up in the fear of paying a little more interest of some of your bigger debts when you could completely pay off some of your smaller ones. The whole purpose of the snowball is to clear smaller debts to give you more money towards your bigger ones, like a snowball rolling downhill. There are definitely other methods to paying off debt, so do your research and do what is best for you.…

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Blogging

How To Set Your Goals And Achieve Them too!

Have you ever set a goal and a few days into working on it, you completely forget about it. Here is my number one way of setting goals and achieving them too!!

Have you ever tried setting weight loss goals in the middle of September? It is almost impossible to stick to for some reason. All of the holidays are coming up. The great fluffy clothing is lurking around the corner so you don’t have to worry about wearing shorts or a swim suit any time soon. The “I have plenty of time before summer” excuse. But before you know it, without fail, summer comes and goes again the next year and you are still uncomfortable with your body. Maybe that isn’t you at all, but you can definitely relate that without a real reason why, it is hard to accomplish anything. Without setting yourself up for success, you don’t see a lot of progress on whatever you are working on.  Setting goals is the number one way to make sure that you are actually making progress in life instead of just floating along.  Maybe it was because you weren’t that committed. Or it could be that you made them and then didn’t look at them again until way after the goal date. Whatever it was, here are a few pointers to making sure you can meet you next set of goals! 

Blogging

How I Gain Over 1000 Instagram Followers a Month With Little Effort!

Do you love Instagram, but struggle to get followers, especially ones that actually talk back? Here are a few tips to get the most out of your Insta!

Most bloggers say that most of their traffic comes from Pinterest, but I would say that a majority of my traffic comes from Instagram. I have connected with people who are in the same boat as I am. It is fun to be able to personally follow someone else’s daily journey. Recently I have gotten a ton of followers that have told me that they absolutely love my Instagram. People have told me that I inspire them with the things that I post.. I have also had a steady gain of followers. My number followers on Instagram is not outrageously high, but I’ve only been active for about 4 months and its almost at 3000 followers! (Update: At one year, I am sitting at over 12,000 followers!) How I gain over 1000 Followers a Month on Instagram

Food, Money

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!

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! Here are 13 Tips to Start Avoiding Fast Food Like the Plague. Make the choice not to eat it Being intentional about anything can help you reach any goal whether it is physical, financial, or mental. Deciding that you just aren’t going to eat fast food is a huge start to avoiding fast food. Instead of planning to eat out a few nights a week, making a plan to eat at home is the best first start to not eating out so much. Once I decided to be healthier, I found that it was much easier to not want to eat some of that crap. Especially when I started looking up…

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Budget Tips, Money

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

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. Here are my 7 steps to start paying off your debt: 1) Read Total Money Makeover You can start your journey without this step. I actually tried it a few times before without actually reading the book. But let me tell you, once I read the entire book in just a few days, I was hooked. I couldn’t get…

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Blogging, Making Money

What I’ve Learned From Blogging

I am coming up on starting this blog just about 8 months ago now for this blog, but it was about a year ago that I started really working on a travel blog! My goal was to build a travel blog and roam the world, but I quickly found out that I am more of a homebody. I love traveling, but I also love my home. There are a ton of travel bloggers out there, but it didn’t work out for me. I even wrote an explanation why it didn’t work for me. My goal is still to do a ton of traveling, but I love having a home. I love this blog because finances are so much more my personality. I have been a budget-er since I started working. My goal is to actually make this blog by business. I find myself doing at least one or two things for it every single day. In fact, I used to spend the entire day in front of my computer working on getting stuff done. I spent a good part of my vacation getting back into the swing of these after coming back from 2 1/2 weeks of military training. I have not been very consistent, but I am now making a continual effort to do better from here on out!

Debt Free Journey Reports

July’s Debt Free Journey Report

I spent July trying to scrape by with debt payments, but I would say that it seemed to workout okay for me this month! Here is how I paid off $1000 in debt this month!

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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Blogging

How To Make Money Blogging

I have struggled with making money from my blog, but I am slowly figuring it out! I absolutely love blogging and it is so much fun to watch it grow. Check out these tips for make a little side money from your blog!

I have been blogging for a while now and I am slowly figuring out the keys to making a little money on my blog! I am not an expert, but as I am sharing as I learn. Making money was my goal in the beginning of this blog. I am working on paying off all of my debts. Any extra money that I make from this blog goes straight to my debts that I am paying off. I know that this seems like such a crazy idea, but it actually works, if you do. You can actually make money even with pretty low viewers. While I am writing this, I only have about 40-50 viewers a day on my blog and I am still making some money! CRAZY! I actually got up to 210 in one day this week! That was cool for me, but I am on the road to hopefully getting to the point where that is more of a constant. As I build my blog and help people build theirs, so many people have asked me how you can possibly make money on a blog. Let me tell you, it can be easy, but it is also super complicated until you get the hang of it. I recommend taking one course on blogging, but don’t get too caught up in the details. If you love it and you keep writing, eventually the income will follow. Do what you love. Teach what you love Here is my of how to make money from a blog: Being consistent. I didn’t actually start making money until I dedicated at least 20-30 minutes a day to my blog. I have spent a lot of months pretty scattered. Posts would publish whenever I got the chance or whenever I was truly inspired by something, not regularly. Some months I didn’t post at all other than my Debt Free Journey Reports. I let those months go to waste because I wasn’t being on purpose with my business. I wasn’t actually working on it, so I wasn’t making money. The more consistent you are,…

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