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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Budget Tips, Money

The Ultimate Guide To The Cash Envelope System

  Cash Envelopes are the best way to curve your spending because it has been proven that cash is mentally harder to spend than swiping your card!  This system is nothing new to the budgeting world. In fact, this is probably how your great-great grandma carried her budget! If it worked for her, it could definitely work for you! Cash Envelopes are exactly what they sound like. Envelopes or Clips to hold cash that is specifically allocated for a certain category. Things like eating out, groceries, and misc/personal spending are usually the most popular categories for your envelopes, but they can be so many more than that. Cash envelopes allow you to assign a certain amount of money to a category. Once the money in that envelope is gone, there is nothing left for you to spend! They take a few months to get the hang of, but soon you will be rocking and rolling your way to spending less! How to Set up Cash Envelopes? Gather all of your materials To get started you will need envelopes, a pen, a small notebook (small enough for a piece of paper to fit inside of the envelope), clips, and a place to put them! I also use sticky notes to label each clip. I use an old recipe box to keep all of my envelopes organized. The old, decorated milk jug is my coin jar where I put all of my loose change. It actually adds up pretty quick and it is a nice extra $50 every other month. I have seen people use all different kinds of envelopes as well. There are plastic envelopes (which will hold up a little bit longer), or paper envelopes with a ledger if it makes it easier for you to track. Or you can decorate your own. I started with basic office envelopes, but I have been thinking about upgrading! Make a list of budget categories that cash spending would help with These can be all different kinds of things based on your budget and your family. Because I am a waitress, I have…

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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…

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Millennial Stuff, Money, Relationships

My Single, Millennial Debt Free Journey: The Pro’s and Con’s of Being Young and Single while Becoming Debt Free

I am in my early 20’s, single with no kids and I have been working on my Debt Free Journey since January 1st, 2017. A lot of people have said, “Oh, well with no kids to feed, it would be easy.” This journey isn’t easy whether you are single, married, divorced. Becoming debt free is a hard journey no matter what. There are constant, daily struggles of a debt free journey. If you haven’t read my whole story, I started this journey just a few weeks after I got a loan for my Jeep right before my 22nd birthday.. I realized how deep in debt I really was because my student loans were all coming due. Then, I started to freak out. I had never ever had a vehicle loan because my I have always driven $1,500 or less vehicles. My Jeep is the most expensive vehicle I have owned at $3,000. Mentally, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do because I was 22 and already overwhelmed by my debt. Not really how I imagined spending my early 20’s, but I am so thankful that I have spent the last year getting rid of as much debt as I could in a year. My student loan companies had started calling to talk about payment plans and I started getting bills in the mail for them. At 22, I got my first credit card to “help build my credit” after I didn’t get approved for my Jeep loan. (Thanks Dad for cosigning my Jeep, but also unknowingly encouraging the start of this journey.) Having no one else to worry about when it comes to my budget has been great. There are HUGE perks to being single on this journey, but I have also found some things harder because I am single. Here are just a few of the pro’s of my young and single debt free journey: One of the best things about being single is no “budget committee meetings.” I am the committee. When I sit down to decide on my budget, what I decide is what it…

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