Debt Free Journey Reports

September 2018 Debt Free Progress Report

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In September 2018, I put just under 50% of my income towards student loans! While I was doing a #NoSpendMonth, I was able to put extra money towards my student loans!

My Story!

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 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. But, 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 that 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. I call this my “God wink” moment because what I needed came into my life as soon as I needed it.

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 to read the rest of the post.

I officially started my debt free journey on January 1st, 2017. Originally, my goal was to pay off my debt in one year. Turns out, I don’t actually even make enough money for that to even be a possibility. Read about how I paid off $15,000 on my $38,000 (pre-tax) income last year. My goal is to be debt free by October 2018. I don’t really know how it is going to happen, but the how isn’t important right now!  My overall 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.

During 2017, I wrote a monthly update every month. During 2018, I lost sight of the monthly updates. But here is my mid-year review of how 2018 is helping me kill my goals. After finishing up September 2018, I am ready to keep going!

In September 2018, I paid off $1,245 on my last student loan account!

I started in 2017 with 8 accounts and $34,000, but here is what my debt snowball looks like now:

Debts  Starting Debt   Principle Paid To Date  Debt Left
Amazon Card  $                  10.99  $            10.99 PAID JAN 17
Mary Kay Card  $                275.00  $          275.00 PAID JAN 17
Credit Card  $                649.88  $          649.88 PAID JAN 17
Student #1  $             2,087.41  $       2,087.41 PAID APRIL 17
Jeep  $             2,500.00  $       2,500.00 PAID JULY 17
Student #2  $             3,550.00  $       3,550.00 PAID SEPT 17
Student #3  $             4,950.00  $       4,950.00 CONSOLIDATED
Student #4  $                450.00  $          450.00 CONSOLIDATED
Refinanced Student Loan  $           19,529.00  $     12,164.00  $   7,365

Reflection of September:

I attempted to do a No Spend Month during September 2018. It made me focus more on my spending, but I definitely wasn’t perfect. Money was spent. I went through a little bit of a rough patch during September with my motivation. Even with distractions, I still killed it on most of my goals, but it wasn’t easy.

During September, I became a lot more aware of how often I eat fast food. I was regularly spending the little bit of spending money that I had budgeted on McDonald’s at 1 A.M. on my way home from work. Or at 9:30 A.M. on my way back to work the next day. My work schedule is a struggle for me sometimes, but I am managing it the best I can. Moving forward, I will attempt to have easy to grab foods that make it easier than stopping at McDonalds on my way to and from work.

 

Looking Forward to October:

As I move forward into October, I am being more conscious of budgeting for food and spending. After September 2018, my goal is to create a realistic budget instead of focusing on throwing all of my money towards debt. I have budgeted $60 for fall festivities including the pumpkin patch. I have budgeted a little bit for moving costs (Surprise, I am moving and it’s a good thing!)

The restaurant that I work in is in a mall, so we are diving into our busy season! Throughout the next three months, I foresee there being a lot of overtime and a lot of money being made! I am truly hoping for some awesome blessings to come my way to help me be debt free by the end of December.

Right now, I will have to pay off $2,360 a month for the next three months to hit that goal! It isn’t unheard of, but it is going to be quite the challenge! Only time will really tell what will happen! I have some pretty big goals for the next few months, so I am excited to see what happens! After my first October payment, I am now under $7,000 and I am hoping to get under $6,000 by the end of the month!

Things that helped me in September 2018:

My grocery bill is super low!

I make a little money blogging!

I have been using my server budget system!

These 8 Financial apps that I am still using!

 

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