Money

Week One: No Spend Month

My first week of my #NoSpendMonth was GREAT! Read about how I spent less than $50 on everything I needed this week!

Week One of my No Spend Challenge was not nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I had a few ups and downs as I expected, but I really think I excelled all week! Thank goodness for my Instagram #debtfreecommunity. HUGE shout out to The Budget Awakens and Frugal Desperado for doing this challenge with me! All three of these have been amazing sources for me when I wondered if this challenge was really worth it! Buying supplies for my no spend challenge The few days before, I spent $21.43 at Super Saver getting chicken, fruit, veggies, and other stuff to make for my meals this week. Then I spend $25 at Sam’s Club getting enough toilet paper to last through the apocalypse and coffee creamer for the rest of the year. They were both killer good deals and I won’t worry about needing them for a while so I am not constantly using my small budget this month to buy items. (Update: I bought the toilet paper in March and I still have a ton left in August. My coffee creamer lasted until July.) I put $25 worth of gas into my Jeep! Gas is probably going to be the hardest part of this month because it doesn’t really matter if I go over budget, I have to go to work. That being said, I have been trying to monitor how often I am driving places and if I can make multiple trips into one instead of driving all over town! Most of my driving is to and from work and the gym. I had to buy more pre-workout and ended up spending $90 at Max Muscle (They still gave me a killer deal) for some pre-workout. BCAA’s are good for sore muscles and recovery. Since I have been insanely sore after my last few workouts, I decided to give it a try. I had a little bit of money in my supplement fund. While it was an impulse, it was worth it to get me through week one. Week One of my No Spend Challenge! I think I…

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Food, Money

The Number One Grocery Shopping Secret to NEVER Going Over Budget Again!

Are you constantly going to the grocery store, dropping a ton of money, and wondering where it went! This is the grocery shopping secret that will save you tons of money on your budget!

  I love to eat.  I will be super honest about it too. 90% of my day is spend eating or planning out the next time I am going to eat. When I am on a good workout routine, I eat every 2-3 hours. This means that groceries seem to be a never ending expense and it gets old! I honestly feel like I go to the grocery store 2-3 times a week, but I know it isn’t that often. I can’t believe how often I have to go back to the store to get one thing or another. It is so easy to drop $100 at the grocery store and walk away feeling like you barely have meals for the next week! Also, you probably forgot the one main thing that you went to buy from the grocery store. Does this sound familiar? One thing that helps is that I attempt to only go to the store once a week. Even though I try to make it in the fewest trips possible, it can get so expensive if I am not paying attention to what I am putting into my cart. I try to always go with a list so I know what I am going into get. Along with anyone trying to save money, I have read over so many “Save XX amount on groceries” articles. So many that I can hardly remember most of them. I slowly started saving money, but it wasn’t until I started waitressing that I actually realized the best way to save money. Groceries is always a struggle because it is an essential purchase. We can’t just stop eating, but it is expensive. Whenever someone is looking for budgeting advice, they are usually asking for ways to cut grocery costs. It is one of the easiest things to spend money on, but it is also one of the easiest places to cut from as well. Here is my #1 tip to saving big on grocery shopping! STOP taking your debit/credit card into the store You are probably thinking that I am absolutely crazy…

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Money

37 Free Things To Do Instead of Spending Money

Free family friendly things to do are sometimes hard to find. During my No Spend Challenge, I am attempting to come up with multiple things that make not spending money easier. Do you have a favorite that isn't on this list?

    I have officially started my No Spend Month and free things have become my best friend! It is already a little harder than I expected, but I know it will be great!  It definitely requires more organization and planning than I am used to! Especially working two jobs some days, I diligently pack the night before to make sure I have the things that I need for the entire day. I know that I am working most of the month, so I will not have a whole lot of time to be bored, but if you are completing a No Spend Month (Or even just a weekend!) there are a ton of great things to do with your time. During a No Spend Time, you don’t have to sit and be miserable! I encourage you to do things that you don’t get to do very often and make the most of you time! Don’t sit around thinking about the things you could be doing if you were spending money! The more you find to do that is fun, the less you will think about spending money!

Money, No Spend Month Tips

5 Rules To Make the Most of My No Spend Month!

Have you ever looked at your spending and questioned why you even needed certain things? Why do I spend so much money on food/ clothing/supplements/contacts or really just anything in general? I have started looking at my budget and questioning whether I really need to spend money on some things. I don’t honestly buy clothing very often, but usually when I do it’s pretty costly. Other bloggers plan for a no spend month to reset their budget and get back on track. So much reading has gone into the planning for this month, but I am excited.  I am currently planning a No Spend Month for April. April 2018 will actually be my 4th No Spend Month! I have had great success with them so far and I hope to keep chugging along! It is exactly what it sounds like. I won’t be spending any money during April. My budget for April is going to be strictly bills, a little for some groceries and gas.  I am not planning to put any money in any of my “extra” funds. During the month of April, I am working full time for the military as well as at Applebee’s 4 days a week. I am extremely excited about the money that will be coming in during the month of April so I decided that I wasn’t going to spend money on anything I didn’t need to. Having the military income will be such a nice addition, which makes it the perfect month to lock down and not spend any money. Usually, having this much extra income, I would be excited to be able to buy a few extra things that I have been wanting to get, but instead, I am going to really focus on sending every extra penny towards my debt payments! As always, I have audacious goals. My goal is to pay off a total of $3,000 in debt during the month of April. This is about 2 times what I have been paying off on a good month so far. I have been averaging about $1,200-2000 on good month…

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Money

6 Reasons I Still Waste Money On My Gym Membership

Gym memberships are the biggest fought over piece of financial advice. I have done a ton of reading from other financial blogs and almost EVERY single one of them says to get rid of your gym membership. If you landed here, I am sure that you have also read a ton of financial advice that says that is the first thing you should cancel. I talked about my debt free journey, but my gym is not something I will cut to get there! Overall, it is probably one of the things that people do waste money on, but if you use your gym membership, DO NOT cancel it! As much as I complain about it, the gym is like my second home sometimes. Getting there is the hardest part of working out, but once I am there, I can easily lose track of time . Even if I am not great at it, I try my hardest to maintain my health. I want to stay healthy for many years to come. It even topped the list for my 14 things that I Waste Money On. 1) Exercise is the #1 Under Used Stress Reliever After a really long day at work, I have found myself in the gym. Lifting or running can be a great distraction and a huge stress reliever. Working out also releases chemicals in the brain that cause a person to de-stress. I am not going to sugar coat it, I am almost always stressing about something. Whether it be boys, my future job, my military career and where it is going, or a roommate situation, there is almost always something to stress about. When I am waiting for a boy to call, I go to the gym instead of sitting around. I have started lifting in the past few months and I actually really enjoy it. In high school, I used to run as a stress reliever. I would just lace up my shoes and take off with my Ipod. . That may be because when I was in high school, every little stress meant the…

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Budget Tips, Money

How to find your Missing $5000 in your budget

As a "20 Something," most people aren't worried about a budget. I have learned if there is no budget, I usually don't know where my money goes. Here is a step by step of how to create a budget to save money.

In 2016, I spent 3-4 full weeks traveling to a ton of different places. I wandered through Wyoming, Idaho, Utah and Colorado. I flew to Florida to see my sister before she moved. There were Christmas lights in Texas that I just HAD to see for my birthday! It was probably some of the best experiences of my life and I would not trade it for the world. After I own my home, I hope to travel like this again, but I would never have been able to take a full month off work to travel like that if I wouldn’t have had a plan. “A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.” When I work two jobs and pick up extra shifts and my second job, it really isn’t to pay rent or the electric bill. When I turn down people for dining out and getting drinks because I am “broke,” I don’t mean that I don’t have money.   I mean that I haven’t put any money aside in my budget for drinks and dining out right now. I limit what I spend going out because I am have other priorities for where my money is going. Without my budget, I would have never been able to travel that much while still paying all of my bills. Now I am planning to pay off all of my debt. Check out my updated debt numbers!

Debt Free Journey Reports

February Debt Free Progress Report

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 else, so someday you can LIVE like no one else.” – Dave Ramsey

Debt Free Journey Reports

January Debt Free Progress Report

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.…

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Money

How I Plan to Pay Off $34,000 In Debt In 12 Months

I always told myself that I was financially smart. There has always been some form of a budget. I have some savings. The only debt I had was student loans. I didn’t even get a credit card until the week before my 22nd birthday and I was irrationally proud of that. Fast forward six months and I feel like I am drowning. Not that I am not making enough money, but that I realized how much debt I actually have. $34,000 in student loans, credit cards, and a car payments. 90% of it being student loans. I told myself I would never ever be like the rest of America, just running on credit. But here I am. I didn’t need my Jeep as bad as I just really wanted it. It is probably one of the nicest vehicles that I have ever owned, but I could have waited. Instead, I got a loan for it. With the loan, came a credit card to help build my credit so my dad didn’t have to cosign a loan if I needed a loan again. Blah. I did the math and just paying the minimum payments, I would be paying off my student loans for almost 22 years and that’s without the interest that would accumulate. A month and a half later, after the Christmas shopping has been completed, I am feeling a little like every other American at this time. The post Christmas- “I am broke” blues. While “broke” may not be exactly the word that most people would use to describe a 22 year old that has a solid Army paycheck coming in two days, it’s definitely how I feel.

Blogging

Why Travel Blogging is Not For Me: And What It Took To Realize That

Many of my followers and Facebook friends have watched me move from one blog to another. Some saw me while I was a struggling high school writer that had no direction in life (as if I have any now). Most of my Facebook friends saw me as a travel blogger.  I LOVED travel blogging,  exploring new places, and the continuous adventure. It was always exciting to plan my next trip. Traveling by myself took me out of my shell and forced me to be someone different than what I was used to being. It took me through the ups and downs of traveling. From smiling and laughing at all of the new, beautiful places I had discovered. Then to crying in a smoky hotel room because I was alone in the middle of nowhere and my mom was going into surgery at noon the next day and I was 2,000 miles from home. Solo traveling was probably one of the greatest experiences I will ever have and I hope to do it again in the future.  Traveling is something that I want to continue to do constantly. It forced me to grow tremendously as a person. If I have kids, they will be well traveled from a young age. I truly believe there are things you learn from traveling that cannot be learned any other way. I still love traveling. What I didn’t love were the costs and sacrifices that comes with travel. I am not only talking financial costs. Money is a big part of the reason why I am putting on a new hat. Financially, I need to get a lot figured out before I do more traveling. I carelessly spent well over $3000 on travel expenses this year when I have $34k in debt that needs to be paid off.  I am currently taking Dave Ramsey’s class AGAIN. But bigger than the money, the ultimate reason is something mentioned above. My mom found out she had kidney stones and was going into surgery the next day. Meanwhile, I was in the middle of nowhere, Utah (literally).  While…

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