January Debt Free Progress Report

How this single, 22 year old paid off $1,500 in debt in ONE month and how she plans to keep it up this year!
I just posted my goals about getting debt free a little over a week ago, but I have been working on this all month! I have big goals of paying off all of my debt by the end of the year and I definitely got a good start this month!

Now, I have to be clear that I did this without selling anything so far. I didn’t trade in my vehicle for a cheaper vehicle. The same items are still in my home and I still live in the same place.

I did pick up a ton of extra hours at work and I was a lot more diligent with my grocery shopping and eating out. The military also put me to work for a little while this month, which ended up as a pretty nice paycheck. I was also very meticulous with my budgeting throughout the entire month.

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 $14 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 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 goal is to have everything paid off by my 23rd birthday on December of 2017. I am a little uneasy about the goal, but I am going to work at it until I am debt free. I am trying not to look at the numbers and just keep looking at the goal ahead because the numbers will probably stress me out too much.

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.

But Debt Free At 23 has such a great ring to it.

Here is the breakdown of what I paid off:

Debt Original Paid This Month Left To Pay
Amazon Card $10.99 $10.99
Mary Kay Card $275.00 $275.00
Bank Credit Card $675.88 $675.88
Student Loan #1 $2,087.41 $232.41 $1855.00
Jeep $2,500.00 $80.00 $2441.00
Student Loan #2 $3,550.00 $42.47 $3507.53
Student Loan #3 $11,634.62 $87.00 $11,547.62
Student Loan #4 $13,218.78 $93.00 $13,125.78


That totals out my month at $1,470.75

 

Three things I gave up this month:

Bars.

I actually didn’t give this up all the way, but I think I only went out for drinks with friends 2-3 times all month!  When I did go out, I went to smaller bars instead of going to the hottest ones downtown. Drinks are usually cheaper away from the crowds. I also limited myself to two drinks when I did go out. Limiting myself meant that not only did I save money on drinks, but I also saved money by not having to get a cab/uber home.

While I wouldn’t saw that I am a regular downtown by any means, I frequently go out for drinks with my coworkers after a long night at work. The more money I make in an evening, the more likely I used to be to going out afterwards. It feels really good to actually be able to go home and keep my money.

My Monthly Pedicure

This sounds super high maintenance, but it really isn’t. Every month, as soon as I got paid from drill, I would go get a pedicure. As a waitress, I usually enjoy a great foot massage after a long drill weekend. Instead of using my drill check for that, I used it for my entire credit card. While I probably won’t skip it every month, I could probably go every other from now on!

This actually seems really crazy to me because I spent 9 days straight in uniform and my feet were feeling it by the end of that week. Instead I took a few hot bubble baths. Even lacking the foot massage, it was worth saving the money!

Books

Sometimes you have to spend a little money upfront to save a little money in the long run. I used two Amazon Gift Cards that I had from Christmas and bought myself a Kindle. I also opted for Kindle Unlimited so I can save big bucks on books. My goal this year is to read more, but I am never going to accomplish that if I don’t want to spend money on books.

I am the type of person that avoids Barnes and Noble because I could so easily spend hundreds on books. I am an avid reader, but unfortunately, books don’t really have a high resale value. Most books end up on the Goodwill quarter shelf or lost in a box in the basement forever.

 

My Goals for February:

Income:

I am on orders for a few more days for the military.

I have already started off the very first week of February by working almost every single day. For the rest of the week, I work two shifts every day.

My goal is to make $30 from my blog in some way, shape, or form.

I have a pile of stuff to sell and would like to get at least $125 from all of it. Right now I am working on cleaning out the storage room and office, next is my closet and dresser.

I am hoping to get my taxes filed by the end of the month. My tax money is already been planned out for a class that I want to take to help me build my business and debt.

 

Expenses:

I will strategically meal prep for my busy weeks so I don’t end up eating out.

When I do eat out, I will look for deals such as happy hour or daily specials.

I am going to cancel some of the things that pay for, but I don’t use.

I have lowered the amount for some of the funds that I don’t necessarily need to spend money on every month (Clothing, Hair/Nails)

 

While I have paid off $1,500 this month, my goal for next month is much more ambitious. My goal is to pay off$2500 in debt this month. This means I will have one student loan COMPLETELY GONE and a portion of my Jeep paid off!

I am extremely excited that I paid off that much with just a mindset change. I can’t wait to see what is going to get paid off when I start changing things around! This is going to be a long journey this year, but it will be worth it in the long run.

What are you doing to make 2017 the BEST YEAR EVER? 

 

 

If you haven’t been following my journey, here are my other monthly reports:

July’s Debt Free Journey Report

June’s Debt Free Journey Report

May’s Debt Free Journey Report

April’s Debt Free Journey Report

March’s Debt Free Journey Report

February’s Debt Free Journey Report

January’s Debt Free Journey Report

2 thoughts on “January Debt Free Progress Report

  1. By just reading how you paid off some of your debts and the goals that you set for being completely debt free. The things you’ve given up to cut back on extra spending has given me an idea of how I will tackle my credit payments. Thank you, this is a great post.

    1. Thanks! I have cut back on a lot of expenses! It will only get better as I have less debts to pay off! When I only have one debt payment every month, it will be gone in no time!

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