So, confession time.
I only stopped using my credit card when I made my last blog post 3-days ago: Four simple ways to get out of debt (I hope) . This means I have a bit of a hefty credit card bill to pay off before making extra payments on my existing debt. 😳
I’ll get into the details in a sec, but first it’s probably best to set some parameters for how these accountability check-ins will work:
- I’ll check-in every two weeks around payday.
- I will not include:
- the mortgage payment and associated costs for my rental unit because every penny of rental income covers these costs.
- the amount I pay into retirement savings. Yes, I save for retirement, believe it or not. When the debt is gone, we can talk more about this.
- fixed expenses like insurance, rent and utilities (though you may like to know that I reduced my housing costs from $1250/month to $520/month last fall by moving out of my house: best decision I made! If you’ve ever thought of renting a room or getting a roommate, do it! Life is too short to waste money on being over-housed and being stressed about it).
- I will include:
- the amount I put into an emergency fund. I’m taking the Dave Ramsey approach to paying off my debt, so I need to build this up!
- how much I put toward debt over the past 2-weeks including detail of what I did to spend less and to earn more to make it possible.
- My plan to cut costs and grow income for the next 2 weeks.
Results: June 28, 2018
Here goes. My after tax income is approximately $1600 bi-weekly. I have no idea how many of you will think this is good or bad… for me, I think it’s okay and there is no good reason I’m in such shitty financial shape!
I had a balance in my checking account, so today I’m paying:
- $75 toward my emergency fund (gotta start somewhere).
- A $955.56 credit card bill that I didn’t calculate into my starting debt-load of $36,148.52.
- If you are wondering how I spent $950 over the past 2 weeks, this includes gas, groceries, concert tickets, parking, an interest payment and doesn’t include the $302 I spent in cash. Yep, I’m not great at staying on budget.
- $430 toward my student loan (it’s my 2nd to LAST payment 😀 ). It’s also the minimum payment and $20 goes to interest.
- Emergency fund: $200 (if you’ve been paying attention, this amount is lower than the $525 I told you it was last week. I dipped into it for garden beds. I seriously can’t be trusted).
- Debt: -$35,738.42
The plan for the next two weeks:
Since I am not permitted to use credit, I will be limited to the only cash remaining in my account. A whopping $330 for the next two weeks. This will need to cover gas, groceries and anything else I may want. I know that plenty of people live on this (and much less), so it is doable. I also know that to stop spending money cold-turkey is going to be difficult for me, especially where I’m taking a mini-vacation next weekend, but you are never as motivated for something as you are at the beginning. Challenge accepted!
How I’ll spend less:
Some basic things I plan to do include:
- sticking to my plan of no credit card use, retail or online shopping (I don’t need anything new);
- meal prepping (including vacation road-trip meals);
- keeping my vacation limited to already planned-for and paid-for activities;
- biking to work a few days/week so that I only need to fill the gas tank once in 2-weeks (this one’s a cheat because it also helps me get my exercise in);
- if I do take my car, arriving earlier so I can take advantage of free parking (a savings of $8/day);
- sticking to free activities like biking, swimming and hiking to keep me busy; and
- keep in mind how wickedly embarrassing it is to report overspending to you!
How I’ll earn more:
Side hustle is yet to be determined. I’m waffling on what to do because I want something that doesn’t take up too much of my time- I have a day job that does this already. And I am also worried about monetizing hobbies because I don’t want them to feel like ‘work’. I’ll take the next 2 weeks to keep researching (and looking for inspiration). In the meantime, I may sell a table set that’s been sitting in storage. I’ll need to resist the urge to add that money to my ‘operating’ budget though- the goal of earning more is not to spend it, but to pay down my debt faster.
Till next time!
Never spend your money before you have it. —Thomas Jefferson