Debt Free Journey Reports

October 2018 Debt Free Journey Report

October held all kinds of surprises for me, but it was still overall a good month! Find out how I had $600 worth of unexpected expenses and still put over $1,115 towards my last student loan!

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). There were two or three that showed up that month. 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 even went on vacation using mostly my credit card. I had racked up a pretty decent amount of money on my credit cards and started picking up extra 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…

Read More Here..

Debt Free Journey Reports

September 2018 Debt Free Progress Report

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…

Read More Here..

Uncategorized

What is a No Spend Challenge?

Maybe you have heard all of these finance gurus talking about "No Spend Months," but you have NO clue what they mean. Here are a few starting points..

  I have been talking a ton about No Spend Challenges lately, but I have received a TON of questions about them! I have done a few No Spend Months during my debt free journey that have allowed me to get ahead on paying on my student loans. To me, a No Spend Month is like a diet “cleanse” or detox. When you do a body detox, you are attempting to feel better by cleaning out the toxins and excess weight that your body is holding onto. When I do a No Spend Month, I cut out any “fun spending” and look at the fun things to do for free instead. I am cutting out excess spending to see what is more important. During October 2017, I was able to put my whole full time paycheck towards debt and just live off of my waitressing money because I barely had any expenses. In January 2018, I was able to put over $2,500 towards my student loans right after I lost my full time temporary job. These challenges have played an essential role in my debt free journey at a few of the most challenging points since I started. Maybe you have heard people say things like “No Spend Month.” Or, this month I had “15 No Spend Days!” Well here is where it finally all gets explained if you are feeling in the dark! Here are a few of the frequently asked questions to help clear up any confusion! What is a No Spend Challenge? Like I said above, a no spend challenge is kind of like a detox. It is a period of time that you allow yourself to say no and cut out any excess spending. I cut out EVERYTHING. No Restaurants. No extra coffee stops. Not ordering pizza when you don’t feel like cooking. This challenge is designed to get you to think about where your money is going. This challenge does not include bills. When I say that I didn’t spend any money all month, guys. My bills are still getting paid. Money is still going…

Read More Here..

Budget Tips, Money

The Ultimate Guide to Emergency Funds

Pretty much everyone knows that they need an "emergency fund," but where do you even start? Here is the what, where, how much, and how to emergency savings!

When I first started paying off debt, I didn’t want an emergency fund. I wanted to jump straight into paying off debt instead! “Emergencies never happen to me, so why do I need one.”  That mindset is totally wrong, because as soon as you don’t have your emergency fund, you will need it. I am so thankful that I have maintained my savings throughout the journey because I know that I would have needed it. Having a little rainy day fund can be the most important part of getting started on changing your finances for the better. It can also give you a sense of security when your checking account is looking a little low from a large debt payment. In fact, having an emergency fund was one of the biggest things that I credit with allowing me to pay off $15,000 in 2017. At that point in my journey, I was only making about $35,000 a year, but still managed to knock out $15,000 in car payments and student loans.. Let’s start with the very basics. I will caution you with this, if you share finances with someone, this is a topic that both of you should figure out before making any long term financial decisions. What is an Emergency Fund? An emergency fund is really exactly what it sounds like. Extra savings put aside in case of an emergency. Before you start throwing excess money at your debt, it is a great idea to have money in savings to work as a buffer in case something were to happen. If you are following Dave Ramsey’s Plan, he recommends starting with a “baby emergency fund” and then moving into a “fully funded emergency fund” once you have paid off all of your debts. Whether you are following Mr. Ramsey or not, having a little money set aside, just in case is an important step no matter what you are planning to do after that! What is Included as an “Emergency?” This is totally up to you (and your partner if you share a budget with someone else.) Things that…

Read More Here..

Budget Tips, Food, No Spend Month Tips

How This Single, Millennial Spends Less than $200 a Month on Groceries!

Saving money on food can be one of the hardest things sometimes! I mean, you need it to survive, right? I have done good about keeping my grocery budget under $150 a month! Here are a few of my tips on how to keep your grocery budget low!

I recently posted a picture of my budget on Instagram and I have been talking about my No Spend Month Budget a lot lately. My grocery budget for the month is usually about $150-200 a month! A ton of people have asked me how it is possible. During my No Spend Months, I often cut it down to $100. I will start by saying that I do not fall into “organic” traps. I don’t have any special dietary needs and I haven’t cut any major food groups out of my diet. While I think there is a healthy balance of proteins, fats, and carbs, I also think that life is far too short to deny yourself of anything you want. Your body is also designed to run off of all three macros. That being said, I am not a nutritionist, so you don’t have to listen to what I am saying about food! People are asking, so I am sharing the raw truth of how I eat so cheap so I can pay off more debt. In 2017, I paid of more than $15,000 in 12 months and I have continued to pick up the momentum with every month so far in 2018. Here is how I keep my grocery budget under $200. I work in a restaurant I could write a whole post about how working in a restaurant has cut my grocery budget! This is probably my number one reason my budget is so incredibly low. I spend 40+ hours in the restaurant most weeks. At least one day a week, I am there from open to close, which usually means that I eat 2-3 “meals” at the restaurant. If you have ever worked in a restaurant, you know there is usually “dead”/extra or messed up food that is up for grabs. There are nights of eating wings that were tossed in the wrong sauce or extra fried chicken that was never used. I am definitely not saying it is the healthiest, but it works and it’s free. I always make sure that the food is extra before…

Read More Here..

Budget Tips, Making Money, Money

Financial Apps You Must Have When Trying To Pay Off Debt!

Do you ever feel like you have a million apps on your phone but you are still searching for the best one? I have been working hard at pay off all of my debt and in the mean time, I have been compiling a list of my favorite tools. There are so many financial tools out there to use that it can be hard to know which tools to use and which ones overlap to do the same things! I have spent a ton of time looking and trying different apps for my phone to get cover all of my needs. Here are a list of my favorite financial apps that have helped me on my debt free journey! Ibotta It is no secret that I love Ibotta. I have shared this multiple times on Instagram. Ibotta is a grocery rebate app. I am all about saving money on groceries. Instead of saving money up front like with coupons, it is a receipt scanning app. The app will pay you for scanning your receipt when you purchase certain items. I love Ibotta because there are a ton of different things on there. Alcohol, produce, meat, frozen foods, and household items can all be found with rebates. Checking it regularly can mean getting cash back on things that you are already getting! When you sign up for Ibotta, you will get a $10 welcome bonus when you redeem your first rebate! (Who can beat free $10!) Acorns Acorns one is pretty new to me, but I have been checking it out lately and I am totally in love so far! It is an investing app for dummies. I have set up my debit cards to round up the purchase so money goes into my investing account when I make a purchase. Acorns also allows you to set up recurring payments. It takes all of the guess work out of what to invest in, because you can just choose your risk level. The app does the rest for you! I have figured out that if I started investing $600 a month (which…

Read More Here..

Millennial Stuff, Money

Refinance Student Loans: Why I Did It and Is it Right For You?

The refinance on my student loans went through! Having student loan debt has probably been one of the most complicated things for me to figure out on my debt free journey. When I started my journey, I had about $7,500 in debt in my own name, but I also had student loans in my dad’s name. They were “parent plus” loans, which ultimately means that my dad was technically responsible for the payments on them. I had attempted to go through the original loan company to get myself added to the account, but they continually told me that because they were parent plus loans, it was not my account and I was not responsible for them. However, I knew when I took them out, that I was ultimately responsible for making the payments on them. When I started looking into my student loans more, I realized my interest rate was high. I was paying over 7% interest on $25,000+. It ended up calculating out to $8 a DAY in interest since 2014.  I don’t regret taking out my student loans, even though I don’t have my degree yet, but I didn’t want to continually pay on them over and over again in interest. I finally decided to refinance my student loans through SoFi, (Social Finance).  Why did I refinance my student loans? 1) They were in my dad’s name. Because I have been throwing all of my money at them, I have paid off about $3,000 in interest off in the last year. When it comes to taxes this year, it will all go to my dad’s name instead of my own. Ultimately, it is fine, but that tax break would have went right back towards my debts. 2) My credit score had gone up 120+ points since I had originally took out student loans. This helps because when I took out loans, I had almost no credit. I didn’t get approved for very much, but my dad did. Now that my credit went up, I can actually get approved for the amount that my education costs. 3) 7.4% interest…

Read More Here..

Budget Tips, Money, No Spend Month Tips

5 Things To Prepare for a No Spend Challenge

Preparing for a no spend challenge is extremely important.

I have been on my debt free journey for almost exactly a year now! One thing that has helped me tremendously with paying off $15,000 on a $30,000 income was No Spend Months! They may seem a little crazy, but you can accomplish anything in 30 days if you set your mind to it! No Spend Months are great for resetting your finances after a splurge or really just focusing in on what you already have. The last year of 2017 has been a bit of a cheat week for me because my roommate came home from her military training for Christmas break. I haven’t exactly stuck to my budget, but I also budgeted to splurge (All in cash). Does that mean I’m not breaking the budget? I am making January a no spend month for me, but you can definitely do it any month out of the year. I will probably have multiple throughout 2018 and beyond. Whether your goal is to not spend for one week, a month, or even a whole year, you have to be realistic about your goals. Everyone has to set their own rules for a no spend month. The best thing you can do for your goals is to prepare for obstacles that might come up throughout your no spend time. Here are 5 things to do to prepare for a No Spend Challenge: 1. Set your goal. When setting your goal, really think about why you want to do this challenge. Is it because you know you have been spending too much? Or maybe you have too much stuff in the house already and you are going to focus on getting rid of stuff and not bringing more in. Another great goal is to pay off the rest of a debt. If you are super close on one of your snowball accounts, maybe the whole point is to really focus on getting that student loan/credit card/car loan gone! When preparing for your no spend month, make a list of the things that you hope to get out of this month. I don’t recommend your…

Read More Here..

Debt Free Journey Reports

November Debt Free Journey Report

  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 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,…

Read More Here..

Making Money

Ebates: The BEST Way to Make and Save Money Online.

I have posted about Ebates on my social media a few times, but I finally wrote an in depth review of it!

I have recently stumbled upon Ebates and I think I am in love. I don’t really know what love feels like because I have been single for so long, but I am pretty sure this is it. Multiple bloggers have told me how great it is and how much money you can save when shopping online, but I never bought into it. I have I always pushed it off that I don’t shop online that much. Or I don’t really need to shop online and it will encourage me to shop online more. Well, let me tell you that I am pretty sure that I have missed out on THOUSANDS of dollars’ worth of discounts, sales and cash back in the time that I have been ignoring their plea for me to join Ebates. I saved a ton of money using Ebates with my Christmas shopping, but there are also a ton of other ways to save on Christmas as well! During my Debt Free Journey, I have looked for as many opportunities as I can to save and earn more money. I LOVE getting great deals when I shop online. The cheaper I can get it, the better! I don’t know how I have been missing out on this great deal for so long. I just got a $275 purchase for $210 and $22 cash back for it! Plus FREE overnight shipping. Find out how below? What is Ebates? Ebates is a website specifically designed to advertise coupon codes and discounts while you are shopping online. They also provide a cash back incentive for shopping through them. Coupon Codes When you go to an online store, you can see all of the active coupon codes for a store.Some may be 20% off or Free Shipping. It tells you exactly what and how much, plus the offer code. You can still use them on top of your store cash back! There are always tons of coupon deals that go unused because they aren’t well known. Ebates finds those coupon codes and shares them for that extra savings! Store Cash Back…

Read More Here..