How I Save Over $800 Doing One Thing!

how-i-save-over-800-a-yearI’ve been on my Debt Free Journey for over a year now.  It’s ongoing (hence the name journey).  I’m always looking for ways to trim excess spending from my budget to increase my debt snowball payments and get out of debt much sooner.  Additionally, I reflect often and run some numbers to track my progress, successes, and failures.  So you can imagine my surprise when I realized I was saving over $800/year by doing ONE thing!

How I save over $800 Doing This 1 Thing!

I Cut Subscriptions!

That’s Right!  I cut subscriptions.  Five subscriptions to be exact.  Often, subscriptions are broken down into smaller payments to market as “affordable.”  Companies advertise “just $9.99” or “for only 10 bucks” to grab your attention and make it seem affordable!  Well I eliminated those subscriptions which put a little more than $800 back into my pockets.  That $800 does not include the $1000/year I save from cutting cable! Let me share exactly what I stopped subscribing to.

Newspaper  $12.80/month

The newspaper was the first subscription to go after cable.  I was only receiving the Sunday paper (for the coupons) and had absolutely no use for the remainder of the paper.  As a result, papers stacked up.  In addition to unused papers, the customer service was awful and sometimes I wouldn’t receive the paper.  As a result…I cut it.

Teen Magazine $22.00/ year or $1.83/month

My girls deny subscribing to the magazine and I don’t quite remember signing up myself.  However the magazines came and I accepted UNTIL my account was automatically debited $22.00 for an annual subscription.  I contacted customer service and complained and stopped the subscription (and got my money back).  Teen Magazine also gave me a year free.  After that year, it was over.  My girls don’t miss it because very similar content is found other places for free!

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Just Fab Shoes $39.95 + Shipping/monthly

“For just $40.00/month” I could get the latest shoe fashions delivered to my door and be considered a VIP member, accumulate points, and receive free items…is what hooked me in.  “Cancel anytime” they said.  “Skip at no additional charge anytime” was something else.  $39.95 would turn into $120 as the shoes piled up in my virtual cart to earn “free shipping.”  I attempted to cancel 4 times as I was charged the $41 something fee, because I forgot to “skip” my month and discovered that “skip any time” really meant “anytime by the 5th of each month” OR PAY THIS MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION FEE!  Finally I was able to survive the temptations offered to keep me as a “VIP valued member” and gain an additional $40.00/month!

Amazon Prime $99.00/year $8.25/month

Canceling this subscription may have been the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make.  The only other retailer I love more than Amazon is Target!  But I pulled up my big girl panties and made the executive decision to cut the cord after evaluating why I loved the membership so much.  Amazon Prime membership was convenient because I had an Amazon Credit Card.  However when I paid Amazon off, I no longer had the urge to conveniently browse Amazon for “knick knacks” and “whatnots”  Since I was no longer “busy shopping” I no longer needed the convenience of 1 day shipping (which appealed to me the most).  That was it!

Microsoft Office $10.51/month

Social work sometimes can equate to work at home.  Before, at my previous job, completing documentation at home meant I needed compatible software to what was used at work.  This resulted in me paying to rent Microsoft Office for $9.99/month, equaling $10.51/ month with tax.  About 6 month into my journey and about a year renting the software, I noticed I had already paid for Microsoft Office, had I purchased it out right.  Google Docs has become a much more affordable option, is user friendly, and I love the fact that the documents can be easily accessed by logging into my account!

If you’ve done the math that is a total of $74.39/month and $892.68/year!  $892.68 from these cancelled subscriptions plus my $1000/year saved from canceling cable is nearly $2000!  Unfortunately, I was not immediately able to see the benefits in my debt snowball payments.  These expenses actually brought me down to “my means” which is as equally important!

So actually this was a couple of things but fell under one category!  As much as I would love for this post to reflect my Debt Free Expertise, I am still flawed.  I’m recently paying for the Careful Scents Freelance Subscription which is $39.00.  However I see that as an investment which will hopefully have a return pretty soon!

Would you consider cutting subscriptions?  Have you already done so?  Do you miss any of them?

5 Money Habits to Avoid in a Mate!

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Choosing a mate these days has become so effortless.  This “microwave society” that provides just about everything instantly is partial to blame.  With online dating sites and social media DM’s, it hard to know exactly who the person you’re talking to really is.  Whether you’ve met your mate in person, or via the internet there are 5 money habits in a mate that need to be avoided or addressed as soon as possible.

5 Money Habits to Avoid in Mates

1. Impulse Buyers

Impulse buyers usually make big purchases randomly, unexpectedly, and usually without any logical explanation.  Such purchases may include new cars, boats, RV’s or more.  Impulse buyers may also make reasonable purchases, such as clothes, but spend excessively.  Impulse buyers may also partake in random trips that can be costly without planning and may even invite you along.

It’s difficult to know if impulse buyers are spending cash or credit on such big purchases.  Either way, if spending cash, the cash will not be around long and if paying credit…run!  Just kidding!

2. Big spenders or Ballers

Very similar to impulse buyers, mates that are big spenders spend excessive amounts of money the majority of the time.  Specific behaviors, in addition to those listed above, include VIP services at the clubs, excessive  dining out at expensive restaurants with crowds of people, and/or shopping trips with lots of purchases and/or purchases for friends or family.

Again, it may be difficult to know if the “baller” is spending cash or credit.   If you’re the mate to the big spender and receiving the benefits then it may not appear as a “warning sign” but it can be.

3.Lenders/Enablers

Lenders or enablers are a bit different, but still people should raise concerns.  Lenders/ enablers may be financially responsible, have good credit, and savings.  They may pay bills on time and make mature financial decisions.  However, they may continue to lend money or enable family members or friends financially.  Continuously lending huge amounts of money or supporting someone’s life style can become a finical strain.

Dating a lender/or enabler, I feel is the most difficult.  As the mate you are placed in a compromising situation.  You may be aware that your mate is being taken advantage but how do you tell him or her to stop taking care of or lending money to his mother, sister, niece, or adult child?

4. Avoiders

Avoiders will usually avoid their financial responsibility.  Specifically, avoiding debt collector phone calls and avoiding opening bill statements.  This group may also avoid paying certain bills to either make impulse purchases, spend big time, or lend money.  Additionally, avoiders may also be avoiding financial responsibility because they can not afford it, even though employed.

Avoiders may be the easiest to confront about their habits and convince to a make financially responsible decisions.

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5. Debt Believers

Like the name, debt believers, believe that debt should exist, it’s okay to have debt, and everyone has it or should have it.  Do not believe this.  Usually the “debt believers” will contain all the qualities above because they see nothing wrong their habits.  Debt believers may also be living way beyond their means and also think that it is okay.

 

What Now?

You may have noticed one or all of the signs above and wondering what to do now?  If you have noticed any of these 5 warning signs in your mate then it may be time to make a serious decision about the future and how it may be effected by these traits.  If you feel that the mate is worth continuing to be with or you are already married then a serious conversation may be necessary.  Below are some techniques to facilitate that conversation.

How To:  Financial Conversation

The below tips should be kept in mind when having the financial conversation.  It’s important to keep an open mind to try and understand your mates relationship with money, as well as being able to offer advice.  Additionally,  avoid jumping to conclusions when it comes to this conversation.  There are several books, youtube videos, and blog post that address talking about money with your mate.

  • Open body language
  • “I feel” or “I think” statements as opposed to blaming or defensive “you” statements
  • being respectful
  • Listening carefully and reiterating what you heard to ensure clear understanding.
Have you ever dated anyone in the above categories? How did that go?

 

Mommy and Money Issues: Series 1

Mommy and Money Issues: Series 1 appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness!
Mommy and Money Issues: Series 1 appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness!

Right now valued readers of GDTH, I’m struggling internally. Here is why.  My Big Girl (BG) just got a job!  I still tear up when I think about the fact that she can work now.  Literally, she was hired on January 8, 2016.  She worked Wednesday 1/13, Saturday 1/16, Sunday 1/17, and was supposed to return Tuesday 1/19.  On Tuesday 1/19 she contacted the supervisor and quit.

BG let me know the night before.  We had a long talk text about her decision.  She says that she thought it would interfere with her semester because she is taking 3 core classes necessary to graduate. She also said the environment made her anxious, her supervisor’s were unsupportive and sat in the back of the store on their phones, and her crew members and/or store was disgusting, too disgusting for her to bare.

I encouraged her to finish the pay period and then talk with them about her concerns with school, she did not want to.  I then attempted to convince her to at least finish the schedule and suggested that maybe she could better tolerate her personal issues with her working environment once she got her first pay check, again NO!  I finally said that if she was certain that it was not a good fit and she was determined to quit then call first thing in the morning and explain why she would not be returning.  She did and she states that she was thanked for calling and letting them know.

Now I’m struggling with how I handled the situation.  I attempt to prepare my children for the real world and I’m not sure that I did this in this situation.  In the adult world, is it that easy to quit a job or should it be?  Should I have given her the “in the real world” talk?  Should I make this a teachable moment?  Or should I support her decisions and continue to encourage her keep looking for suitable employment?

The other reason I struggle is because I blog, study, and breath personal finance.  I feel like I should be living the example and demonstrating what I want my children to learn about responsibility and money management.  Therefor, because I would never walk away from my employment (unless I already had something else) nor quit something because of how uncomfortable it was, I’m uncomfortable with not encouraging or maybe demanding her to do the same.

Additionally, I’m a firm believer in when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.  I’m living proof.  In high school, I had a child, maintained the honor roll, was in the National Honor Society, and worked!  I took 5 classes for three semesters to graduate in 2008, with three children, and a job.  I entered grad school with three little children and a full time job.  One semester I had to complete an internship at night so I literally worked from 7:30 to 5:30 pm and then went to an intern at a mental health facility from 6:00 pm to 12:00 am for an entire semester.  I now work a full time, 2 side hustles, and blog.  My ish is tough, so I’ve gotten tougher.  But is that unrealistic for her.

I often struggle with traits of my own that my children lack.  I internalize it, and feel that I’m insufficient.  I get hard on myself to feel better about what I think are their inadequacies.  This may very well be one of those moments.  Maybe I’m more upset that I didn’t have the opportunity to teach her more about money management.  I don’t know.

I am very proud of her.  She was determined to get a job and she got one!  She is standing for what she thinks is of more value which is her education, and I agree.  Finally, she still does want to work, and is diligently putting in applications for weekend employment, so no disappointment there.

So valued GDTH readers, what do you think?  What would you have done?  Would you have handled the situation differently?

 

How to Accelerate the Debt repayment process Pt 2: Cutting the Spending

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How to Accelerate The Debt Repayment Process: Part II appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness.

Tuesday I blogged about my Accelerated Debt Repayment Process. Since then I’ve been analyzing my spending habits and my budget’s highs and lows, adding and subtracting to come up with a FAIL proof plan to ensure success on my accelerated debt payment process.

We all know that, or should know by now, or will know by the end of this post that the key to eliminating debt is to spend less and earn more.  In order  to determine where I could spend less, I combed through my spending from the previous three months.  I categorized each purchase, specifically of the miscellaneous category .  In the miscellaneous category, I discovered three monthly subscription fees that I immediately cancelled.  

  • Newspaper subscription #1    $11.99
  • Newspaper subscription #2    $8.99
  • Microsoft subscription             $ 10.66

Total                                                $31.64

Next, I discovered that I pay about $36.00 of insufficient fund fees that usually spike around the mid month paycheck.  I discovered this is the result of more than half of my monthly payments coming out of this check.  My resolution was to 1.) add overdraft protection by linking my checking account to my savings and 2.) switch two bills to the end of the month pay period.  This should eliminate the NSF completely.

Additionally, I’m incorporating two No Spend weekends.  I did this back in October and was pretty successful.  I usually do well planning , which reduces the chances of unplanned grocery store trips and/or fast food purchases. If anything is purchased on the weekend it is usually gas.  However because I am dedicated (for right now) I’m planning lots of ‘Netflix and chill’ weekends!

Finally, I’m ditching eating out from the budget completely adding another $50.00 per pay period as excess.  I’ve decided to adapt to vegan eating habits (but do not want to be labeled a vegan).  Since Wilson, NC has not joined the vegan bandwagon, my fast food options are limited to foods that are still not considered healthy (i.e.  Bojangles Cheese biscuits or KFC potato wedges) that I’m not eating either!

With success, I should have an additional $167.64 of excess to apply towards credit card debt payments.  If my calculations are correct, I should be able to eliminate each card in two months or less.  However, I’m still not sure if I will have had the truck  paid off by my target date.  We’ll just have to see!

Now that Christmas is over or a New Year is here, have you reevaluated your budget?  Did you make changes? Add or subtract catagories?

How to Accelerate the Debt Repayment Process

 

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In my 2016 Ready, 2015 outcomes post I discussed my goal to fully fund a home renovation and immediately jumped on the mini goals to accomplish  for January.  However, after receiving some depressing news before even getting started, we’ve decided to alter the focus until we can get professional help in running numbers and making the best financial move for the family.

Even though that plan has been halted at the moment, the goal to become financially free will be a benefit despite the direction we choose to take and continues to remain a major priority for 2016.

In October 2015, I posted my goal to be less $17,000 of debt.  You can read more about that here.  The $17,000 of debt I planned to have paid off included ALL of my credit card debt and one car loan.  I posted my my most recent progress here. I try to stay on target but somethings have gotten in way.  Some not so minor setbacks included, paying car taxes, getting new tires, getting a speeding ticket, and Christmas.  The silver lining of paying all those expenses which totaled over $1500 in the span of 2 months allowed me to come to the realization that I paid $1500 extra dollars in 2 months.  In other words, I could accelerate my debt payment process if I really needed to and/or could be better on track towards meeting my goals.  

I’ve been listening to a bunch of different podcast between Dave Ramsey, His and Her Money, Smart Passive Income, and Problogger.  After listening to several “I’ve paid off $$$ amount of debt” stories on His and Her Money, a couple of “debt shouts” on Dave Ramsey, I’ve decided to accelerate my debt payments as much as I can.

In October 2015 this was my original plan:
  1. Continue with my side hustle and bring in at least $350.00 a month.
  2. Establish at least 2 freelance clients to generate an additional $200.00/month.
  3. Complete over time at least 7 hours which should produce $220.00
  4. Apply my income tax refund to at least two credit card balances.
  5. Continue with the snowball method to pay of my credit cards.
  6. Develop a budget and stick to it!

January 2016 Accelerated Repayment plan

  1. Comb my budget and find extra money
  2. Earn at $400.00 in side hustle income/month
  3. Work overtime at least once/month and apply to debt payments
  4. Work to continue increase my freelance income and apply to debt payments
  5. Purge my home, attempt to sale items monthly and apply to debt payments.

Having credit card debt and brining it into 2016 has, for some reason, began to weigh heavily and be a more unbearable burden enough to drastically make me want to change spending habits to get out of debt much faster!  As a result be prepared to see significantly lower balances month to month so that I am able to reach my goal on or before October 2016!

Have your goals changed already?  Have you already discovered that a goal is not going to get achieved in 2016?  How are you adjusting?

December Online Income Report

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I’ve been blogging since late July 2015.  I started GDTH to chronicle my journey to financial freedom and be held accountable.  You can read more about that here.  Although my focus for GDTH is to document my journey towards financial freedom, being made aware of the possibilities and opportunities to make an extra income from blogging sparked an interest!

The income I make online is not at all comparable to the income of top, long term blogging gurus such as Michelle @ MakingSenseofCents or Carrie @ CarefulCents, or even Chonce @ MyDebtEpiphany but it’s a start. I share my income to encourage other bloggers, new and old, to work hard if making an income online is the goal.  My goal is to keep my blog, the information I share, and my experiences  authentic and relatable to others on a journey towards financial freedom or even entreprenuership.

I made $55.00 online for December!

The breakdown is below:

  • freelance writing $30.00
  • product review        $25.00

I’m not sure if the income and/or income reports will continue.  The freelance opportunity I had ended in December and the online review will probably post until after January, therefor will probably not affect or increase my opportunities.

December Side Hustle Income:

I earned $762.55 in side hustle income for December 2015. The break down is below.

  • Doing hair side hustle $480.90
  • Milage reimbursement $127.19
  • Shopping reimbursement apps $84.46
  • Selling items online $15.00
  • Online income:          $55.00

Most all income went towards Christmas.  I was able to apply an extra $25.00 to my AM card.  However if I have another lucrative month in January, the money will be divided amongst extra credit card payments, savings, and out-of-pocket renovations.

ongoing goals:

The thought of continuing to make online income is exciting!  I’d love to continue to grow GDTH, increase traffic, and continue to build my writing portfolio.  My ongoing goals are below.

Pitch

Of course this ongoing.  Pitching to find freelancing opportunities is very necessary to continue to earn online income.  I’ve already pitched to one client and have not heard anything back as of yet.  My plan is to pitch at least once per week until I hear something back and find the perfect fit.   My problem is I continue to struggle with rejection, not hearing anything at all, or provide feedback.

Invest

I’m still not at the point of justifying spending money or paying for assistance or resources to gain income to get out of debt.  I still struggle with the irony of some PF bloggers that tell you to “save money after you pay for my service to earn money.”  However, I do understand the concept of time being money.  As a result, I plan on spending more time blogging and writing more helpful and informative post that have helped me in my journey.

Network

I’m a major introvert which affects my eagerness to socialize even on the internet.  I’ve majorly reduced my social media time after reading an article about being a slave to the phone. I even deleted my FB app on my phone on December 27, 2015 and have not been on FB since nor have I had the desire to.  However, social media is essential in growing an online business and therefore returning would be beneficial.  I’m working on developing time frames or limits for social media interaction and how to optimize my time while on there.

Other GDTH goals include:

  • adding a subscribe widget
  • developing a news letter
  • coordinating a link up or collaboration

Do these income reports help or motivate you?  What are you ongoing blog goals?

 

2016 Ready! 2015 Outcome

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Hello!

I hope you guys enjoyed your Christmas and got everything that you hoped for.  My Christmas was great and I’m so excited that it is over and 2016 and a day away.  I’ve got plenty of catching up to do so lets jump right to it.

My vacation began Sunday December 20, 2015.  I was fully prepared with post topics and rough drafts for my vacation but then my computer got a virus.  To fix the virus was $50.00/hour which was not at all in my budget since Christmas completely drained me….like completely.  I just got my computer back but was on a social media fast this last week of the year to gain clarity and direction for my 2016 goals.

I recently came to the conclusion that my blog is less social media since I earn an income from it (or attempt to) and logged back on today.  I even commented on some blogs.  I was surprised to see that even on my nearly two week hiatus, I still managed to get nearly 20 page views/ day and a couple of comments.

2016

In 2016, I’ve decided (for now) on main goals and then decided to break those goals down into mini goals to make achieving them more successful. these goals include:

  • Fully finance our home improvement
  • Establish and build an emergency fund
  • Stop using all credit cards and be out of credit card debt by December 2016
  • Earn or exceed $1,000 blogging income by December 2016
  • Lose 10-15 pounds
  • Generate or exceed $5,000 in side hustle money
  • Increase my income my 10%
  • Increase my financial knowledge
  • Self improve
  • Eliminate overpayment loan

January 2016 goals

  • Purchase materials for the Mister to lay the floors
  • Get a builders permit
  • Pay half of my AM credit card balance
  • Earn or exceed at least $400.00 side hustle income
  • Work out at least once/week
  • Blog at least twice/ week and begin building my email subscibers
  • Save $50.00

I discussed some of my 2016 plans in this post.  I’ve already removed that CF credit card from my wallet, opened the Christmas fund and scheduled my first draft, and plan on opening that savings account on or before Mid January for my car fund. I also purchased this Purpose Driven Planner from Amazon and immediately begin tracking my goals!

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2015 Outcome

December 2015 debt progress

Card August September October November December
Target $36.10 PAID
HHG $457.02 $280.90 PAID PAID
AM $703.92 $699.27 $693.89 $639.12 $660.08
PP $1232.14 $1215.20 $1197.02 $1144.35 $1136.65
BML $827.70 $1093.39 $1097.26 $1076.36 $1157.99
WF $2716.12 $2679.26 $2714.26 $2588.49 $2562.76
CF $1811.83 $1802.87 $1901.30 $1867.19 $1925.70
CP $579.36 $561.89 $296.08 $194.45 PAID

TOTAL           $8364.19    $8051.88     $7899.81    $7509.68    $7,443.18

I began 2015 with $9,850.45 in credit card debt and I’m ending with $7,443.18, a difference of $2,407.27 and four less credit cards, with the majority of my progress beginning in July with my journey to financial freedom.  Check out previous debt payment progress below.

I’m also ending 2015 with a total debt number of $171,792.33.  Check out my total debt number here, from when I began my journey to financial freedom.  $171,792.33 does not include my student loan debt since I have not intentions of aggressively paying them off because I’m on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Side Hustle Income

I do hair as a side hustle.  I usually work about 2-4 hours on Friday and about 5 hours on Saturday during the winter months.  In the summer months, while the children are out of school, I work Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  In 2015 I generated $3,980.05 in side hustle income.

 December 2015

I earned $707.55 in side hustle income for December 2015. The break down is below.  

  • Doing hair side hustle                                $480.90
  • Milage reimbursement                              $127.19
  • Shopping reimbursement apps              $84.46
  • Selling items online                                    $15.00

December 2015 was my first month tracking all my additional income in order to set realistic goals for 2016.  I’m sure I’ll be able to make more money selling items (mostly my children’s clothes) online now that Christmas is gone.  Also the shopping reimbursement apps is the amount earned the entire year but cashed out in December for Christmas.  I did online (freelance and a review) work but have not received payment for them due to me just being able to turn them in.

As for NYE plans, I’m looking forward to dinner and a movie with my love. By dinner and a movie, I mean our favorite take out and a Red box/ Netflix movie and off to bed looking forward to a prosperous 2016!

In one word, how would you sum up 2015?  What are your 2016 goals? What are your NYE plans?

2015 Money Mistakes

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This post should be titled 2015 Money Tragedies. I’ve made and continue to make serious money mistakes.  I’ve probably made more detrimental money tragedies in previous years, but I’m focusing on 2015 since that is when I committed to my financial freedom journey.

I began my financial journey in late July early August of 2015.  Since beginning my journey I’ve developed an ongoing changing budget, cut some expenses, and paid off four of my nine credit cards using the snowball method.  In some opinions, I’ve been very successful in a short time, however financial freedom is a journey, not a destination and I have much farther to go.  To gain a better understanding of where I am financially check out my debt totals  here.

Some of the money mistakes below are obvious mistakes even before committing to a financial freedom, gaining more knowledge, and making changes.  However, old habits die hard, and making adjustments that have “gotten me by” have been difficult to change, stop or both.

2015 Money Mistakes

Continue to use/ depend on credit cards

One of my biggest mistakes (in my opinion) is continuing to use and depend on my credit cards while trying to pay them off.  What usually happens is I stop using the one credit card that I’m applying extra payments to and trying to pay off, unfortunately I continue to use one or all of the others.  As a result, at the time that I begin applying additional payments to pay them off, I have a larger balance to pay and more interest.

I know this habit continues to slow my success.  I thought developing a budget and sticking to it would help, but again “old habits die hard” and in situations where I’m facing a financial deficit because we ran out of Ziploc bags or one or all of the children have to contribute to a holiday party, I find myself whipping out my credit card.

In 2016, I will be removing all my cards (paid and unpaid) from my wallet.  This should definitely prevent  my habit of relying on them once at the store.  I will also be more diligent in following my budget. Successfully doing so, should allow for some money to be available between pay days to prevent me from having to depend on the cards.

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 Saving

If you’ve read my November Budget Review,  you will see where I budgeted to save only $25.00 and was unsuccessful.  You will also see where I had unexpected car expenses that resulted in a partial car payment being made, a balance carried over into December even after having my December 2015 car payment applied to the end of my loan or being skipped (also not good).

In 2016,  I plan on paying myself first.  I will still only be saving $25.00 per pay period totaling $50.00 a month and more if allowed.  Additionally, I will be setting up two additional accounts.  The first account will be a Christmas fund to offset the money spent during this time of the year and the financial arrangements I make to accommodate that spending.  The other account, as discussed in November’s Budget Review will be an account to set aside money for car expenses, unexpected and expected like car taxes, fees, oil changes and tire rotations.  These two accounts will also have the money automatically applied to them so that they receive the money first, before any ongoing bills come out.

Overspending

In 2013 I was making about $80k per year, brining home about $5k/month.  Since then, my income has reduced drastically, however I think my family (myself included) still lives off that budget.  At the time my hubby stayed home with the baby and I worked two jobs.  Now we both work one full time job and hustle on the side and although we probably make more than the $80k together, we continue to drown in the financial mistakes of 2012 to 2013.

Also what happens is  I write down all my anticipated bills and financial obligations and total them up.  Usually that number comes below my paycheck.  I then become fixated on the excess number and ball out of control.  Although lately, I’ve been applying the entire or most of the amount on my credit cards.  I then forget a bill or have an unexpected expense and no money for it.  OR, I have no money until next payday which results on me again depending on credit to get my through.

In 2016, I plan on being diligent with my budget.  Specifically, I will first pay myself (or savings), then my bills.  Once all bills have cleared, I will transfer the excess, if any, to another account (but not my savings).  Either at the end of the month or once more money is deposited, I will then decide where to spend or apply the excess.  This seems realistically unrealistic to even myself because of how simple it sounds, but I’m going to at least attempt it and hope that I’m successful.

Different Financial Goals

My hubby and I have similar long term financial goals but do not have the same plan to accomplishing them.  In the long run, my hubby and I would both like to eliminate consumer debt, pay off our home early, purchase some rental property, retire early and travel.  My plan to accomplish those goals is to make wiser financial plans, save money, avoid additional debt, and relying on credit.  His plan is to hit the lottery!

Our plans are completely different.  In most cases the how doesn’t matter and what is important is that we get the same outcome right?  WRONG.  The Mister seems to have less confidence or patience that the long terms goals can be accomplished and would rather focus on them when he or we have large amounts of money.  He does pay his balances and  save, but he is less focused on the long term goals because of the length of time needed to  accomplish them. As a result, we pull against each other, try it our own ways and in most cases lose money or take longer time to accomplish the goal.

In 2016, I’d like to work more as a team to accomplish goals faster.  I would like to start by having that very serious conversation about what needs to be accomplished in my opinion and his.  Then I’d like to get his opinions on how to accomplish it and see if we can come to a compromise while working together.  

This may be more difficult because I’m so used to taking the lead and working separately on task (at home and work).

Other money mistakes that I have made include:
  • paying my credit cards just to use them
  • applying for credit to get the things I want
  • deferring my student loans from 2008 until 2015
  • not checking my credit score or monitoring my credit

What money mistake(s) have you made and what did you learn from it or do differently?

 

November Goal Review and December Goals Too!

November Goal Review

So December is here and I’m actually excited.  December for me is a great month.  I love the Christmas holiday, the week long vacation I take with the children, and the end to a year!

I’m excited to begin thinking of 2016 goals and developing a plan of action to have them completed.

November was a not so great month for me.  I faced a few challenges that completely got me unmotivated, hence the week break that I took from blogging altogether.  I didn’t post anything nor did I read or comment on anything.  You can read more about that here.

I do goal reviews to document my progress, evaluate my success, assess my weaknesses, and plan for improvements if needed.  Ideally, my goals would evolve from month to month.  For me, having a goal or many goals is necessary for me to avoid becoming complacent in life and making sure that things (whether big or small) get done. So without further delay, lets look at how successful (or unsuccessful) I was.

1. Stick to my budget.

FAIL.  I  posted  my prospective, trial budget mid October which you can read more about here. Although I thought my budget was an accurate reflection of my spending habits, it was not, and I really need to do some revisions to better prepare myself for success as opposed to failure in the future.  I’ll go into more detail next week when I do my budget review.  Just note, the numbers are very depressing.

2. Plan my meals and eat healthier.

SUCCESS.  About the second week in November I decided to give up meat.  I went a total of 13 days before I ate meat which was turkey on Thanksgiving and the day after.  I am back to not eating meat, reducing sugar, and eliminating (or at least reducing) fried foods.  These food decisions have basically left me with healthy options only.  

3. Invest in myself.

SUCCESS then FAIL.  I started off really great but then life became hectic, I got stressed and lost my motivation.  As a result, I did not follow through with my planned GDTH investment. I had planned on getting a blog analysis to see changes should be made to improve GDTH and increase traffic and I was going to pay for advertisement via Fivrr.  As for myself, I gave up all those bad eating habits above which I think was a great self investment!

4. Check my credit report.

SUCCESS. I checked my credit report, and got my credit score.  I even signed up with Credit Karma and did some credit simulations to determine what will have the greatest effect on increasing my credit score over the next 6 months to a year.

November Goal Review

 

Goals For December

In December I would like for my goals to prepare me for 2016, despite feeling like I’ll be too consumed with Christmas shopping.  I’ve already attempted to have better control over Christmas shopping to a) avoid unnecessary spending and debt and b) avoid the last minute shopping and the crowds that come along.

Since December already has a lot going on as it is, I have to prepare for a long vacation at work as well complete shopping, I tried to focus on whats most important and more closely related to 2016 goals.  December’s goals include:

FINANCIAL

1. Stick to my Christmas shopping list and budget.

In order to stick to the list, I guess I need to develop one.  I’ve kept mental notes and a list and crossed some of those off in my head, but I know I would be more successful if I kept a list to refer to.  Sticking to my Christmas budget will not be difficult, because there is no additional money or credit to pull from.  Every cent is already accounted for this month.  The credit cards, that do have a balance have already been cut up, except one, so that I do not continue to use, and the ones that are paid off have been cut up as well to avoid reusing.

2.  Improve my household budget.

As previously stated, I did not do well on my November budget.  However, I anticipated that I would not because it was my first month.  I kind of gave myself a pass (or an excuse to be less disciplined)  I would like to do much better this month and be much more conscience of my spending.

3.  Open a Christmas account for Christmas 2016

I’d like to already have some money (if not all) set aside for Christmas 2016 to avoid making arrangements to cover the expense.  I would like to open a Holiday account with my credit union and begin having money automatically debited beginning in January 2016.

HEALTH

  1. Take my vitamins daily

Since I am not eating meat, I’d like to make sure I take my vitamins daily.  I’d also like to improve my hair and skin and would like to have a vitamin to help with that.

2.  Reach my FITBIT STEP Goal

I have a fitbit and my daily step goal is 10,000 steps.  I rarely reach the goal but would like to reach the goal at least once weekly.  If you have a fitbit, send me your email so that I can request you!

MENTAL

1.  Be content

This may be easier said then done.  With the business of the holiday season, I’d like to avoid the added stress and focus on being content.  I’d like to be satisfied with what I accomplish instead of focusing on how much more I should’ve or could’ve done.  I’m not planning on being lazy or giving myself an excuse to do so.  I still plan on being productive at home and work, but I’d like to reduce or eliminate the extra anxiety of “what else can I do” or “I need to do this, this, and this.”  I plan to focus more on my motto of “I’ve done all I can do, and that’s all I can do” and be content with that.

So much for “taking it easy.”  It was difficult to eliminate any of the above goals.  I had much more than that.  I just hope I’m not setting myself up for failure come January 2016.

What are your goals for December?  Do you center around the holidays or not?

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9 Things to do when you want to quit your journey towards Financial Freedom.

8

I know it’s a long title.  I couldn’t think of anything clever to shorten it.

I’ve been on my journey towards financial freedom since July, when I started Goal Digging to Happiness.  My very first post was on July 27, 2015 explaining why I started Goal Digging to Happiness.  It’s only going on 4 months, but I’ve made progress that I’m semi proud of.  Although, I’ve managed to pay off two credit cards and track my payment progress each month, I sometimes become discouraged and often want to quit Goal Digging to Happiness and my journey to financial freedom.

The holidays are fastly approaching, and I’m used to purchasing nice expensive gifts as well as getting what I want when I want it.  I also struggle with the thought of “well I’ve paid two cards, I’m fine with that” and “debt isn’t that bad.”  Despite my nag to give up, I keep going.  To keep going I’ve done one or more or all of the things below at one point or another.

Continue reading “9 Things to do when you want to quit your journey towards Financial Freedom.”