Welcome to the blog!
Today I’m going to be explaining how I paid off over $1,000 of debt in January, invested, and saved in the beginning of 2020 without changing my lifestyle. I’m going to explain my particular situation, yours may be different. I am also going to share what I plan to do in Q1 to put me in a better situation financially.
Know how much you owe
I keep a running tab of my debt and you should too if you have debt. I have unsecured debt (credit card and loans). I also have a car that is financed, I had a phone payment (monthly installment plan), two small secured credit cards, and a school payment plan.
If you’ve read any of my financial independence posts then you know I had a significant amount of credit card debt that’s managed by an debt consolidation company for a small fee $51 a month. Since beginning the program I have paid over $10,000 of my credit card debt out of $30,000 worth of debt. I’m happy with the progress that I’m making and can’t wait to pay it all off!
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How I made payments in January
I receive tuition reimbursement from my employer which is great! I also receive refunds from my school. Although the school refund money is tied to what I have to pay back (student loan), I can use it wisely. I use the funds to help me pay off debt and it can help me restructure my loans. I have private and public student loans. In the past I haven’t been able to consolidate my my private loans with my public ones. I can use the student loan refunds to pay off the private ones and it will end up being part of my public student loan. This might sound radical but I’d rather pay one student loan creditor.
What did I pay?
In January, I paid the remaining balance on my iphone (almost $600), my school balance (from a previous school – $375), the balances on my two credit cards ($487 and $126), I also paid for other items that was important to me like tithes/charity, sorority dues, car maintenance, and started my sinking funds. In addition to that, I saved a huge chunk in my high interest savings account and invested some into Vanguard ETFs.
Have a goal in mind
My goal is to free up money in my budget. Within the next two years I will be debt free with the exception of student loans. This frees up the majority of my take home pay. That money can go to my student loans, allow me to save, and invest a lot more than I am already doing. It makes me super excited because …. the amount that I am spending on my credit card debt consolidation is more than what I pay in rent! Granted we split the rent, but still. It’s my most expensive bill at $739 a month.
Do you want to save up to purchase something? I recently bought my first designer/luxury bag. I’ve been wanting it for years! I was super excited and decided to go to the actual store instead of ordering online. I bought my Louis Vuitton Neverfull (check out what’s in my bag) and it’s exciting to see goals being achieved. I’ve crossed off about 5 goals so far this year and it’s kept me motivated.
My next steps
I plan on reviving more money this year and that can go to savings, investing, and more debt. The company that consolidated my credit cards uses the snowball method on my accounts so the amount remains at $739. As I pay more accounts off, the payments transfer to other accounts to pay them off faster. I still pay interest on them but not nearly as much as I used to.
Are you reviving any extra money this year? Do you have debt and a debt pay off plan? Leave a comment below, I’d love to chat about it!
What you can do
If you’re in debt, you can do the same. Start by making a list of your debts, the payment amounts, due dates, and interest rates. I keep track of mine in my Erin Condren Life Planner and Budget Book. (Right now you can get 50% off all 2020 planners! or you can sign up and get $10 off! Notice how your debt makes you feel.
Open a high interest savings account. I bank with Ally for my main savings. I also have a Chime checking account and get paid two days earlier, I love Chime! There aren’t an overdraft fees or monthly maintenance fees. Chime even rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and puts in your savings account. It’s an easy and effortless way to save money if you feel your budget is too tight!
Speaking of budgets, do you have one? Create one ASAP so you can see where your money is going and if you can make some changes to free up money, save more, and invest more. I use this Budget Book by Erin Condren and love it! Also, try calling your creditors to see if you can change your payment dates or negotiate your interest rates. If not try switching companies altogether or consolidate your debt.
I hope these tips help you! You can do it!