How Parents Can Afford College without Debt

how-parents-can-afford-college-without-debt

I’ve started accepting guest post every first and third Wednesday of the month!  Today’s featured blogger is  Amy Nickson.  You may have seen her work on several other blogs!

How parent can fund your child’s education without incurring debt?

The sad reality is that many parents put their dreams on hold to save money for their child’s college education.

Most parents think that sending their children to college is more important than saving for their retirement days. Some feel that one should put saving for retirement before anything else, as their retirement fund is essential for them when they lack the ability to work on their own. However, when parents incur debt in the latter half of their life, they may not get enough support to get rid of that debt.

If you have a child, you need to fund college cost and you also need to save for your future. But the million dollar question is; how can you successfully manage your child’s education cost while giving debt a miss?

How to Fund Your Child’s Education without Debt.

  1. Determine your expenses

To create a budget, you must determine an amount you need to spend for your child’s education. But, at first, you need to choose a college you would like to send your child.

Thus, you’ll understand the total amount you need to spend on tuition cost, boarding, textbooks, supplies, and extracurricular, activities etc.

  1. Formulate a budget

Formulating a budget is important, but it can be a bit tricky for parents who are funding their child’s education. You have to consider other accounts like IRA (k), 529 savings account, and emergency fund while creating the budget. Try to deduct all expenses from your total income to understand how much money left for other expenses. Make sure you exclude all unnecessary expenses; otherwise you won’t be able to follow your budget.

  1. Be an early bird

Start saving for your kid’s education as early as possible. The price of commodities, the education fees, and the tuition costs are rising fast. So, if you want to prepare yourself for paying your kid’s college fees, then you have to start saving money just after the birth of the child. Thus, you can have enough money in your bank account to fund your kid’s education.

  1. Analyze the EFC

You need to analyze the exact Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that you’re supposed to make towards your child’s college education costs. This is often determined by the Federal Government based on all the information you provided in the Free Application for the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You have to provide information about your income, net worth, assets and child’s education costs. All such information can deduce the amount that you can contribute towards your child’s education. The lower EFC you can show, the better grant your kid will receive.

  1. Let your child get involved

You must involve your kids in this matter. If your income is low to cover the cost of a private college, then talk to your child regarding the matter. Don’t borrow money beyond your affordability; otherwise, you’ll suffer during retirement. Ask your child to join a part-time job. If the child chooses a college beyond his means, then he has to take responsibility for its funding.

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  1. Take advantage of 401 (K) offered by your employer

If your company offers a 401(k) savings plan, then take advantage of it. Thus you can grow money tax-free. You can get more advantage of free money if your employer offers a dollar-for-dollar percentage match.

For example,

Suppose you’re earning $1,000 per week and your company is offering a 5% dollar-for- dollar match.

If you’re contributing 60% of your weekly gross income into your 401(k), then your company needs to deposit an additional 60% into your account, which means you’re saving nearly $3000 free money into your retirement account in a year.

  1. Review your life insurance policy

Some people pay more than what they need on their life insurance policies. Thus, a large part of the monthly income goes towards the life insurance premiums. If you’re one of them, then review your life insurance policy instead of wasting money on an unnecessary coverage. You can save money toward your retirement fund or child’s college fund.

  1. Try to automate your savings

Once you automate your savings, a portion of your paycheck will save in your accounts automatically every month. Thus, you’ll be able to save money even on a tight budget.

  1. Open a 529 savings plan

529 savings plan allows you to save tax-free money for your child’s higher education. Ask your family members to contribute to 527 accounts instead of wasting money on expensive gifts.

  1. Seek professional help

Sometimes you may get confused about your priorities in life. Being a parent, you always want to pay for your child’s higher education. But you shouldn’t ignore your financial future. If you’re not getting answers yourself, then you can talk to a financial advisor for help. An advisor can tell you how to save for your child besides your retirement account.

Final words

Remember, stealing money from the retirement account is a big No-no. Taking money out of your savings dedicated for future is a big mistake. Remember, retirement savings is a necessity. Your child’s education cost will be managed with your help or without your help. Don’t feel ashamed if you’re unable to fund your child’s education. There are many options for your child but fewer options for you when you’re unable to work even.

Finally, federal financial aid provided by the schools are the right options for struggling parents who want to protect their child from the vicious cycle of student loan debt. Browse online to find out more information. If you still want to take out student loan debt, then talk to a financial advisor to know the best option suitable for your financial situation.

 amy-nickson Amy Nickson is a web enthusiast. She is associated with ovlg.com where she shares her expertise through her crisp and well ­researched articles based on money management, money saving ideas, debt and so on.

Avoid Financial Regret

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Today’s post is a guest post from Michael.  Micheal blogs at Super Millennial.

Regret..it’s an awful feeling to have in your life.  I’m not quite 30.  I’m lucky to not have much regret, however this Business Insider article got me thinking of how much financial regret some people will have in their life. The article mentions five financial experts and the money regrets they look back on in their life.

Business Insider Financial Regrets to Avoid

  • Failure to do research to make an educated decision
  • Not listening to your gut if it doesn’t feel right
  • Not investing sooner
  • Living beyond your means & getting into debt
  • Ignoring a collection item

These are all very legitimate regrets and sure a lot of people are currently suffering from, or currently leading a life that will lead to these regrets. Let’s take a look at these five financial regrets and the necessary steps to take to make sure you never feel this type of financial regret in your future.

Failure to do Research

The article references a CPA who didn’t do his research when he bought their first house. Buying a home is most likely you’re biggest purchase ever and need to do your research. Before you even begin looking online at houses, do RESEARCH the following information:

· Use a mortgage calculator to find out what you can afford & the monthly payment amount (make sure to include taxes, insurance & HOA fees)
· Will you have any savings or will all your money be in your home?
· Evaluate if the house needs repairs, if so do you have the additional money?
· Is your credit score high enough to secure a low APR loan?
· How does it compare to other houses in the neighborhood?
· Would you be okay living there 5-10 years?

There are 100 additional questions to ask before buying a house but the same applies to buying or leasing a car. Make sure to do your research! These high-ticket items will be around in your life for a long time so make sure you really want it and can afford them.

Not Listening To Your Gut

The article references someone feeling pressured when meeting with financial advisors and the bad feeling they got during the encounter. Listening to your gut in most situations is usually the best solution; whether you’re unsure about taking a new job, feeling pressured by a salesman for a “limited time offer”, or hiring a financial advisor. In most situations you should at least sleep on big decisions for a night. If your gut still doesn’t like it the next day, don’t do it.

When it comes to financial advisors I think if you’re net worth is under $100,000 then you can manage your own finances. Paying someone to do it may be convenient but if you don’t learn now you may never. Most people who acquired wealth have had a solid understanding of their finances. That includes how much money they save, how much they spend, and where they invest. Here are some other ways to stay on top of your finances:
· Invest Enough in your 401K to match your employer match
· Open a Roth IRA to maximize retirement savings

Avoid Financial Regret 2

Not Investing Sooner

I’ve always been a saver but didn’t begin investing until I was 25. As the article mentions Jeff Rose, fellow blogger of Good Financial Cents said “if only I had started a Roth IRA at 18.” But let’s get real, from 18-22 the last thing on your mind is learning about low cost index funds and tax sheltered accounts.

Unfortunately after that age people then get busy with work, additional education, having a family, and keep up the same excuses. “I don’t understand investing, I don’t have the money right now, or I’m not going to retire for like 40 years.” While one or all of those may be true it’s important to take the time to learn about personal finance or investing earlier, rather than later. Not only will investing earlier compound your potential gains but it will create a habit for your brain to always invest a portion of your income and set up your older self for success. As mentioned previously start investing in your 401K and open a Roth IRA to ensure you can start benefiting from compound interest over time.

Living Beyond Your Means

How often do we all see this? People that make the same or less than you do but always seem to be living the life on Instagram…anyone can do it, but typically they’re just racking up high interest credit card debt trying to impress everyone.

Just STOP, do you need to buy bottle service every weekend? Or buy a car with a $500/month payment? Probably not. It’s important to understand how much you make, create a budget, and stick to it every month. Don’t rack up debt trying to impress everyone; you’ll create a vicious cycle that will be tough to climb out of when you realize how much interest you owe on your credit cards. Here are some other ways to stay on top of your spending:

· Track Your Spending with Mint or Personal Capital
· Track Your Net Worth (Download my net worth tracker here)

Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses…they’re broke!

Ignoring A Bill

Finally the last example is ignoring a bill that eventually ends up in collection. If you get a bill, pay it off, no matter how small, get the receipt and store it away. Even one item can have a serious impact towards getting a loan or even negatively affecting your credit. Bottom line…pay the bills! To ensure you don’t miss any bills I also recommend setting up automatic bill pay for your cell phone,
Hopefully everyone can avoid financial regret by sticking to a few simple, easy financial rules. Always do your research for big purchases, listen to your gut (it’s rarely wrong), start investing, don’t overspend trying to impress people and always pay your bills on time.

What has been your biggest financial regret?  

MichaelMichael L. is the creator of Super Millennial. He teaches millennials how to evaluate their financial situation, simplify money management & learn how to automate your investments to reach their financial goals. Subscribe for his personal finance “Keys To Success” and blog updates here. For additional updates, follow me on Twitter!

August Side Hustle Income

 

August Side Hustle Income

Hello! I’ve decided to return to sharing Side Hustle Income reports as a means to motivate others on their Financial Freedom Journey!

New Visitors!

I do Side Hustle Income reports to show exactly how much money is earned from side hustling.  I continue to work a full time job and that income is not reported.  Side Hustle Income reports, originally Online Income Reports,  began in 2015.  These reports stopped when Goal Digging to Happiness stopped producing income.  However, I’ve decided to return to reporting my Side Hustle Income.

Side Hustle, or “side hustling” is a common term within the personal finance community.  A side hustle is considered to be any task or tasks that earn additional money to be applied towards debt payments.  Side hustles include blogging, a part time job, Youtuber, amazon seller, anything that brings in additional income!

In 2015, I earned about $4000 in side hustle income, with only starting in March 2015!  I was able to pay off 3 credit cards and

August Side Hustle Income Breakdown

Side Hustle as a Therapist:                     1050.00

Google Adsense:                                        102.37

GDTH:                                                             0

Selling Items:                                                  0

Natural Hair Care Specialist:                           0

Total:                                                          1152. 37

The categories listed above are ALL my side hustles.  Earlier this year, I earned extra money doing hair in a shop however that stopped.  My schedule become more and more hectic at my full time job and I was unable to be consistent with appointments.  Shortly afterwards, I decided to do therapy on the side, which has been my most lucrative hustle yet.  There is potential to work less hours and make more money at my part time job but the benefits of my full time job are needed at this time.

Debt Payment Progress

I’m currently on my LAST credit card with hope to have it paid by the end of October or before!  $600.00 of my side hustle money was applied to my debt snowball payment this past pay period and over $1000 in all for the month of August!  This brings my consumer debt number  to $1966.58.  

August 2016 Side Hustle Income Report

Updates

I started a Goal Digging to Happiness youtube channel!  There I also provide some insight of my debt freedom journey as well provide a personal look into my life with 5 children.

With only one credit card left, I’ve been able to make other investments. My insights on work independence has changed drastically after a recent incident at work.  Since then, I’ve been more interested in having the option of work flexibility, although it is not my goal at this time.

After October, the mister and I will be FINALLY joining finances.  Joining finances will increase our debt snowball payments and speed up the debt free date!

September Goals

Financial

  • Pay $1000 towards WFCC
  • Build Emergency Fund

Goal Digging to happiness

  • Complete course and implement techniques
  • 1 blog post weekly

Health

  • have one meatless meal/week

Happiness

  • Do a crafting, DIY with family
  • plant my fall garden
  • go on a date
  • Enjoy all the pumpkin spice I can!

What do you think? Do you think I should be applying more to my debt snowball?  How do you determine your debt snowball payment?

3 Incredible Ways I’ve Made Money from Home!

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This article may contain affiliate links.

In a world where money talks, my personal finances are always under scrutiny. Things cost a lot of cash these days, and I need to be able to afford it. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen short often which resulted in me being in serious debt.  In attempts to get out of debt, make more money or both, I researched reading other blogs, watching Youtube videos, and reading to find ways to make money at home and even attempted these three below.

Freelance Writing

If like me, you love writing, then it pays to become a freelance writer. It’s great when you have a passion, and it’s even better when you can make money from it. Only after about three months I was able to make a small profit from freelance writing using GDTH as my platform.  There are also lots of other sites where you can create an account and look for freelance work, however I’ve heard good and bad things about those sites.  This will let you show off your writing skills and increase your chances of getting work. The great thing about freelance writing is that it can be part-time or full-time. Depending on your current schedule, you can either make this your proper job, or just something on the side. At this time, it’s more like no time for me because I haven’t earned a dime in about three months.  

February Side Hustle Report

Online Trading

When you hear the word trading, you tend to think of the stock exchange and businessmen running around frantically. And, yes, that is what happens in the trading world on a daily basis. But, it’s something that has become more convenient and available to the general public too. These days, you can trade from home using online brokers and apps. There are lots of broker reviews where websites give their explanation on how everything works. So, to save time, I’ll only give you the basics. You find an online broker, deposit some money, and start trading. There are loads of things you can trade; stocks, forex, even things like gas and corn. The aim is simple, you buy low and sell high. If you know some tricks of the trade, then you can make a lot of money. So much so that people are trading from home as their full-time job! Unfortunately, this isn’t me.  I’ve attempted it one time and made a $0.05 profit and never looked back. I’m not sure I completely understand the concept, or like the others, you have to have time to get up to the big cash.  

YouTube

Finally, I tried Youtube.  I’ve told you before that I have a channel and about 80 subscribers.  If you’re looking for a fun way to make money from home, then turn your attention to YouTube. This video sharing site has become a top way for people to make money. There is a variety of content creators whose full-time job is making videos for YouTube. Because of the ad revenue system, you can make a hell of a lot of money on this site. The hardest part is getting started and gaining a subscriber base. Once you’ve got lots of subscribers, you can monetize your videos. The more people that watch them, the more money you get. It’s an excellent idea if you’re comfortable behind the camera, have interesting ideas, and can remain consistent!

Of the three listed above, I enjoyed Youtube the most and about once a year I receive an adsense pay out.  If I had more time and less responsibility, I could definitely see myself doing it.  Who knows I may even start back up sooner rather than later!

What things other than blogging have you attempted to keep “your money up”?

Life Is A B!*CH!

www.goaldiggingtohappiness.com-3

Hello!

Are there any GDTH followers still visiting to see what is going on with me.  Well I’ve just been flying high, enjoying life much less in debt!   I’ve felt free as a bird just flying enjoying life.  I’ve been to the beach, I’ve visited NY, I’ve enjoyed eating at a restaurant recently, I’ve purchased some spring clothing at great discounts and I’ve had at least two Saturdays a month to declutter my home and spring clean.  Lifes been great!  UNTIL NOW!!!

Before last week I was a bird flying through life dodging debri, planes, or whatever else makes birds fall out of the sky.  But today, I was smack dab knocked clear out of the sky!  Let’s discuss why.

 TEENAGERS

Two Wednesdays ago, I treated my lovely school aged children to Zaxby’s for great report cards (so proud of those children and their smarts).  While eating, I turn to my 16 yo and we have this conversation…

Me:  “Are you going to the prom?”

Her:  “No, I think it’s pointless to spend all that money on a dress to wear for a few hours, when it’s my senior year that really matters.”

Me:  “True.  Are you sure because I need to know.”

Her:  “Yup”

Me: “Okay.”  I then begin to mentally distribute my pay check and decide to pay $400.00 on a credit card to have it paid by April 30, 2016!  So guess what happens on the following Saturday?  She decides she’s going to PROM!  Guess when prom is?  IT was last saturday.  We had a week to get ready!

 

Luckily my village of support I have, stepped in and helped out tremendously and BG should be well on her way to enjoying her junior prom.

  THE LAW

So I received a speeding ticket back in October 2015.  I’ve continued it twice already and had planned on making the final payment to the attorney so that he could go ahead and get it over with by June.  I appear in court yesterday 4/21/2016 and my name is NOT called.  Knowing that it is too good to be true I go to the clerk and I’m informed that my actual court date was 4/20/2016!  I now have what is called a “failed to call.”  As a result, I have to dish out an ADDITIONAL $100.00 to have my attorney place my name back on the calendar, totaling $475.00 just for speeding.

I plan on taking that receipt and placing it near my dash board as a reminder of the cost of speeding and it’s affect on my debt free journey!

 INJURIES

This past weekend, baby girl was out playing basketball with the neighborhood kids and came home with an injured middle finger.  Now, we have insurance but the fee’s added up fairly quick.  See below:

copay               $30.00

x-rays              $45.00

meds                 $15.00

specialist           $60.00

TOTAL               $150.00

As if the above incurred expenses are not enough, my big boy’s birthday was 4/22.  He’s turned 10!  He forfeited a party in exchange for a phone.  Since I knew his birthday was coming, I was prepared but these other expenses have limited the celebrations we will have!

The lesson I’ve learned from all of this, this week is to always be prepared even for the unpreparable.  In other words, having a savings that I can borrow from would be very helpful.  Even better than that, having the funds available so that I won’t touch the savings would be great and is something that is possible once my debt is GONE.

Although I’m well aware the ish happens, I’ve been so focused on eliminating debt, that I think I placed everything second, and now it’s pushing it’s way to the number one spot.  It bothers me because I have such a small balance left that I hate to have to take it into another month.

BTW.  Big Girls Prom 2016 turned out wonderful!

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Has anything similar ever happened to you?  How did you handle the burden?

P.S.  I’m the guest blogger at My Debt Epiphany!  Check me out!

All sorts of Updates!

ALL sorts of UPDATES

It’s been nearly a month since I last posted anything.  Life happened and GDTH took the biggest hit.  Please don’t take it personal, although I’d understand if you did.  It wasn’t just GDTH, I stopped being active on just about ALL social media, and I got kicked out of an accountability group for poor attendance.  Let me explain.

Work, work, work, work!

You guys all know (or should) that I’m a Social worker in Child Protective Services and around this year, once it gets warm and summer break is getting near, the amount of reports received nearly doubles and we are ALWAYS on the go and working later. As a result, less time in the evenings and little down time at work to write anything.

New Pet

My husband purchased another pit bull, Willow, and she has been keeping me as busy as a real baby.  Trying to get her trained so that she can stay in the house has been time consuming and challenging and I’m about ready to give up and send her outside.  Any tips on that?

SIDE HUSTLING

Aside from the increased work responsibilities, I’ve taken on another side hustle.  I provide Clinical Social Work services (therapy) in the evenings and weekends.  I’m able to make what I would make in a month in cosmetology in one Saturday if I worked 8 hours.  The increase in money with less hours has me much more confident that I can meet my debt elimination goals sooner.

DEBT

I’ve been on my debt free journey for nearly 8 month now, with my primary focus being my credit card debt.  I’ve been really focused on eliminating credit card so that I can move onto to eliminating my car debt sooner rather than later, since selling either of the cars is not an option at this time.  My husband says I have “tunnel vision” to get out of debt, and I’d like to agree.

Since starting my journey, I’ve eliminated 5 of 8 credit cards alone and plan to eliminate one more once I receive my income tax refund, leaving me with two major credit cards which I plan to have paid of by the end of summer and a store credit balance that has been paid by half.  So, on average I’ve been able to eliminate a credit card a month!  I think that is great!

Card December Jan 2016 Feb 2016 Mar 2016 April 2016
AM $660.08 $209.90 PAID PAID
PP $1136.65 $1073.98 $993.46 PAID
BML $1157.99 $1134.29 $1092.57 $898.00
WF $2562.76 $2537.01 $2506.96 $1709.10
CF $1925.70 $1972.61

 

$1948.98 $2482.80

TOTAL  $7443.18      $6,878.79    $6,541.97        $4971.70

I’ve been able to pay nearly $1000 on additional credit card payments and I get even more excited when I think about being able to save that money once all the cards have been paid.

MOTIVATION

Finally, motivation continues to diminish to continue with GDTH.  Actually I’m not sure if I’ve lost motivation or if I’m bored with my own content.  I actually spent what little time I did have searching on Pinterest about motivation, writing prompts, and reading other post but I got nothing.  However, I do notice that when the warm weather arrives, my work ethic changes decreases.  For some reason I begin to feel like all I’m supposed to do it travel, workout, and eat what I want.  As a result anything work related gets the least effort possible.  Any tips for that?  Any one relating?

 

For those that have continued to visit GDTH I appreciate you! I promise this won’t happen (without notice again).  Also shout out to Jaime who even sent me a FB message!

ALL helpful information is welcomed!

Why I Quit!

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I’ve quit lots of things in the past.  I quit college twice.  I quit exercising regularly last summer, and I can tell now.  I quit drinking mountain dew every Monday and then I quit quitting mountain dew every Wednesday.  I’ve quit blogging twice as well.  Did you know I have a youtube channel?  I’ve quit that too.  My point is that I’ve quit a lot of things.

Although I’m pretty successful (by my own definition, of course), I have quit all those things above, and more, and therefor I am a quitter!  Umm, I’m not terribly depressed about the things I’ve quit and honestly  I can appreciate the lessons learned from quitting as well as where I am now because of it.   More specifically, I can better understand why I’ve quit and how to prevent it in the future.

  1. You’re in over your head.

Not in a bad way, or maybe.  More like you’ve decided to do something before even having a plan, or any information, or facts or anything.  For example,  those two other blogs I’ve had, I read other blogs, desired their lifestyle of what I thought was just writing about my feelings and taking some pictures.  So I started.  I failed.  I was misinformed and in over my head so I quit.

2.  No Instant results or gratification.

Often times when there are no instant results or gratification, motivation is lost.  After a continuous lack of motivation the result is usually quitting. I worked out regularly to lose weight but when the weight wasn’t coming off fast enough I quit.  With blogging, I read these high dollar income reports that I desire, NOW and I want to quit because it is not happening.  This was the reason, in my opinion, behind quitting college twice as well.  The end result seemed so far away and more difficult than I imagined.  Which leads me to the next reason below.

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3.  It’s too hard.

Most times when we have a “big idea” or embark on a new journey, we (or I) get so excited about the results and often never think about how hard it will be or how much work it will require.  Usually once that first set back is experienced that knocks us off our feet, we quit.  On the other hand, however, sometimes it’s the reality of how difficult it could be that prevents us from even starting at all.  In either situation the end result can still be considered quitting.

4.  Not fully committed.

There are many reasons that can affect your level of commitment to a new project or journey.  Family, life, work responsibilities are just a few.  When I initially began GDTH, my work responsibility and home responsibilities were different.  At that time I was able to blog at least three times per week, however since then things have drastically changed.  We have a new pet, I’ve switched supervisors at work, and the mister works longer hours which as all affected my level of commitment to GDTH. My decreased level of committment is affecting my earning potential and the growth of GDTH which has resulted in me considering quitting GDTH.

5.  Overwhelmed by the work or time

Feeling overwhelmed at some point is unavoidable.  The pressure that comes from being overwhelmed all the time, for me, is suffocating and usually the point that I want to quit or do quit.  In 2012, I nearly quit my last semester of graduate school because of how overwhelmed I was by ongoing revision recommendations of a 20 plus page paper that was required to pass the class.  In my case, pressure really does burst my pipes.

6.  No definition of success or lack of measurements.

It’s important to determine what “being successful” looks like to you and measure your outcomes throughout.  Within the blogging world, particularly, I feel like bloggers quit because they feel unsuccessful based on comparisons to other bloggers.  This was also the reason I quit blogging twice before and sometimes consider it now.

Any or all of the above reasons may have been why you have quit, which I think is perfectly fine especially if you’ve learned from it.  Just about all the above reasons have been my reasons for quitting something at one point or another.  In every quitting situation, I discovered something about myself which has prevented me from quitting now and helped me make better decisions.

What have you quit and why?

How to Successfully Get out of Debt.

How to

Debt is one of the easiest things to get into but very difficult to get out of.  If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.  According to Nerdwallet.com “the average household has $129, 579 in debt, $15, 533 in credit card debt.”   If you are one of the households included in the above statistic, then please continue to read.

The first thing to do to successfully get out of debt is to completely change your mindset.  Debt should be seen as something that is unnecessary, restricting, and burdening.  In turn, money should be seen as a tool important for building continued wealth.  The power and emotions that have been assigned to money need to be removed and replaced with positive thoughts and a commitment to getting out of debt.

If you are unsure if your debt is a problem in your home there are several signs that may be an indication of a debt and/or overspending  problem.  Some signs include:

  • Living paycheck to paycheck
  • Not opening or avoiding to open credit card statements or bill payment notices
  • Carrying balances but continuing to make big purchases
  • Only paying or being able to pay the minimum balance
  • If you and your significant other argue or fight over money
  • Relying on credit cards for emergencies
  • Relying on Credit cards to make monthly essential payments such as utilities
  • Making or continuing to make big purchases but only making the minimum payment
  • Hiding purchases from significant other
  • Low Credit Score and the inability to develop credit or better credit

If one or more of the items listed above are a challenge in your household then you should be or planning to be getting out of debt.  There is no magical formula for getting out of debt.  In order to get out of debt you have to spend less and make more.

How to-3

 

Spending less

To spend less, its suggested that you track your spending.  This should be simple, especially if you, like me, make all purchases with your debt card.  If that is not the case, and you still believe in making cash purchases then be sure to write down every purchase made. Next at the end of the month or between pay periods you should analyze your spending habits to see where spending can be cut.  Some places where spending can be cut include:

  • Beauty or upkeep:  Reducing the amount of times you go to the salon or barber shop, reducing the amount of beauty supplies shampoo, cologne, perfume, or make up
  • Subscriptions: Cable, Hulu and Netflix (do you really need both), newspapers, monthly application subscriptions, magazine
  • Eating out: reducing the number of times you eat out from 5 to three could potentially save $10 or more per week.
  • Coffee trips/ runs
  • Clothing/shopping
  • Groceries
  • Insurance
  • Entertainment

If you are serious about getting out of debt you could reduce the budget for non essential items to zero to make a drastic monthly reduction on your credit card balances or other debts.  I have several previous post on how I’ve cut my expenses.

Earning More

Once you’ve committed to spending less and have found money in your budget, that money with increased income should provide an accelerated debt repayment plan.  If you are struggling with how or where to begin to search for an increased income some ideas are below:

  • Your current employer:  If there is a special skill that you have or a skill that your coworkers are weak(er) in than you then you could optimize that into a money producing opportunity.  For example, I have a coworker that works in IT.  He charges $50/hr for removing virus and restoring computers.  I myself, charge $10/note that I write for coworkers to stay current (or get caught up) on documentation which is very important in Social work.  Another option is to ask for a rise but doing both could drastically increase your income!
  • Online:  There is an abundance of opportunities for making money online.  Blogging, making a Youtube channel, becoming a virtual assistant, or hosting a website are a few online opportunities for increasing your income.  There are also companies that allow part time work from home. Selling items online could also be an option via Ebay, Amazon, Craigslist, or Facebook groups
  • Newpapers or job boards:  Obviously newspapers or job boards provides listing of part time work that you may be willing to work.
  • Friends or family:  Offering to assist friend or family with small “odds and ends” jobs could potentially earn you additional income and could blossom into an ongoing side hustle.

Check out how much I’ve made from a variety of side hustles.

Once you’ve discovered how to cut spending and possibly make more money then there is nothing more to do but to make a plan, put it into action, and stick to it.  You should set realistic expectations for yourself by determining how much debt you would like to have paid and by what date.  You should determine what you are not willing to sacrifice but will limit.  Additionally, you should stop or avoid using your credit cards and avoid getting into any new debt.  Check out my very own progress since taking these very same steps here.

If you need an accountability partner, feel free to contact me!

Did I miss anything?

Why I WON’T Freelance Full-time

Why I Freelance Full-time.

Every now and again, I get personal questions emailed to me from the valued readers of GDTH.  Usually, I’ll email the response back, as I did this time.  However, this time resulted in some back in forth commentary.  The valued reader, seemed agitated that I was not working more on my blog to eventually become a full time freelancer. The original question was:

“Instead of working as hard with two jobs and your blog, why not put more effort into the blog to freelance full-time?”

The valued reader went on to justify asking her question by mentioning the income I’ve been able to make in just 6 months of blogging and complimenting on my writing as well explaining how much she enjoys the blog.  Thanks again, BTW!

After briefly thinking about the question, I came to the simple answer, I don’t want to.  Below you’ll see why:

The Hustle

In my opinion (please keep this in mind these are MY opinions) freelancing is an even harder hustle.  The hustle of finding clients and meeting their needs is more hustle than I care for, right now.  That kind of hustle required to ensure I make the money needed is not what I’m willing to depend on at this time.

As of right now, I have one full time job, two part time jobs, and GDTH.  Some people would infect say that I hustle and may even go further to say I hustle HARD.  I agree that I hustle hard because my struggle is REAL BUT it will not always be this way.  As of right now, I could stop my side hustles whenever I wanted and still be able to survive.  I’d just be making minimum payments and would be in debt much much longer than desired.

The Unpredictable

As mentioned on other post, I’m in several Facebook groups full of freelancers.  Some freelancing full time, and other trying to get to the point of freelancing full time.  There have been several occasions where they have vented about losing “big time” clients and asking for referrals to supplement or maintain their income.  I don’t want to be in a similar situation.  At this point stability is more important than the flexibility that comes with working for myself.

The reader compared the above situation to becoming unemployed.  While I understand her argument and even agree,  I don’t feel that child protective services will never be needed or that people will stop having mental health issues, therefor I’m not as concerned that my job will ever phase out.  I could be wrong and if so, I’d consider full time freelancing then.

Name the pros and/or cons of freelancing full time? GO! Click To Tweet

The Instability

At my current job if I feel sick, I take a sick day.  If I have want a vacation, I vacate.  My money never changes.  My pay is the same whether I work all the days of the pay period or not.  If I work 4 hours one day or 8 hours, my pay is the same.  I like that!  What I don’t like is that if I decide that I’m sick one day, I may not get paid, and worse the double work that may be required if I miss a day.  I like being able to take “sick days” or “vacation days” and never worrying about losing money or my job.

Spontaneous Motivation

As an employee, I know what to do, I get it done, and I do it well, not so true to writing.   Inspiration or motivation to write comes and goes.  This month I thinks it’s just gone.  Sometimes, I just don’t want to write or I have nothing to write about.  I lose motivation to blog or complete a freelance article.  Sometimes, writing a freelance article feels like work and I don’t like that at all.  My spontaneous motivation to write definitely keeps me from the desire to freelance full time.

 

I’m fully aware that my doubts from above can be fully avoided and/or may not even be valid.  I’ve read blogs where bloggers have nothing bad to say about freelancing full time.  I’ve also seen the astounding monthly income that has come from freelancing which can become very motivating!  However for me, I like the comfort of knowing.  Knowing that I have work and will probably ALWAYS have work, knowing that I’m insured, knowing how much my paycheck will be and when it’s coming.  I like knowing what is always going to be expected of me and that someone other than me is contributing to my retirement.  I like that my job is super flexible, the $65.00 health insurance for my children and I and free clinic for employees so that I don’t have to schedule a doctors appointment and “lose time”.  All this works for me.

Does that mean that I won’t ever freelance, of course not!  I like freelancing.  However, if I ever got to the point that I had to choose between freelancing and my job, I’d think long and hard about the direction I would go in.

As for right now, Goal Digging to Happiness’ sole purpose is to share my journey towards financial freedom.  I hope that my journey inspires others to work themselves out of debt.  The social worker in me want to help, encourage, and motivate other.  The income potential is just an added (but appreciated) bonus.

In the future, I envision myself helping other’s develop budgets, analyzing spending habits and trends to create statistical data that could be interpreted to better understand where your money is going and why. I’d like to offer consultations and become an accountability partner to those who want to become debt free. Freelancing maybe somewhere in that mix as well.  Maybe even full time…maybe!

If you’d like to ask a personal question, shoot me an email.  Please indicate if you mind if I “shot you out” or not!

What is/was your sole purpose for your blog?  Has it changed since blogging and realizing the income potential?  Would you freelance full time?  Why or why not?

Friday Funday and Give Away Winners!

Friday Funday

Hello Valued Readers!

It’s Friday! For many it may be payday and it’s the weekend before Valentines day! What more could you ask for?

Well, I could ask for all my debt to be eliminated, 3 Beyonce tickets (have you seen those prices?), and some NY style pizza but I’ll settle for a paycheck and all my bills paid.

Have you guys heard the song Save Dat Money?  My daughter, the baby who never saves a dime, loves this song and it resinates (except Verse 2) so much with me and probably a lot of the readers on a personal finance journey.  Attached is the video and here are the words. The concept of video is shoot and “epic video without spending any money, in turn, saving money.”  The song addresses all aspects of financial wisdom that us, PF bloggers discuss often, from saving money, hefty 401k investments, and frugal living!  I apologize for the language, I could not locate the clean version.

 

Give away winners!

Friday FundayGive Away Winners

I recently hosted a giveaway to celebrate my 6 month blogging journey.  I hope you participated, if not there will be another opportunity coming.  The Winners are:

Jamie Donovan

Abby Freeman

Micheal LaRue

Dominque LaRue

Congratulations! Thanks for participating and being a part of Goal Digging to Happiness!  Have a great weekend!

What will you be doing for the Valentines day weekend? If on a financial journey, how is it different from what you’ve been doing? What do you think about the song?