How to Stop Spending Too Much Money NOW!

How to Stop Spending Too Much Money

Hello!

I’ve recently shared that I’ve been on my Debt Free Journey for a year now.  I plan to share exactly how much debt I’ve managed to eliminate within this year in a later post.  Now, however, I’m addressing what got me into debt and what exactly I’ve done to get out of debt. My first step was to stop spending too much money NOW.

By now you should know the key to getting out of debt is to earn more and spend less! While I definitely don’t consider myself an expert at earning more and spending less, I do think that the things I’ve done to stop spending too much are achievable and can be helpful to someone.  

What I did to stop spending too much money  

1. Track and Analyze my Spending

On a monthly basis, I review my bank statements.  I categorize my spending into gas, fast food, groceries, clothing, and bills and totaled my spending in those areas.  An additional category is miscellaneous which is where I payed close attention to see where exactly where I could cut cost.  I was able to realize just how much “little things” added up such as vending machine trips, candy and sodas from the gas station and random trips from the grocery store, Dollar General, and Target.  Afterwards, I would attempt to decrease spending in all areas by at least 10 percent.

2. Avoid triggers

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’re aware of how tempted I was by Target.  I would take random trips to Target, browse every isle, and spend hundreds of dollars on things I did not need, and some I did.  After maxing out my card, I did the same to my Mister’s card until we had TWO maxed out cards for one household.  Shortly after, I decided to begin my debt free journey.

To avoid behaviors that placed me back in debt, I removed my Target from my pocket book and had my mister place at the top of my closet in a pocket book without me looking.  Afterwards, I cut it up.  Now, to continue avoiding triggers, particularly emotional spending, I’ve unsubscribed from email list to avoid the temptation of online shopping, removed all my cards from my wallet, and shop with list in most cases.

How To Stop Spending Too Much Money-2

3.  Use cash

It took me a long time, like a really long time, to develop the habit of using cash instead of swiping my debt card. It also took me a long time to remove my debit card from my wallet and use cash only or the cash envelope system.  The cash envelope system is not working so well for me right now, swiping my cards had become so normal.  I plan on being more diligent and consistent in my efforts.

4. Develop a Budget

I developed a budget about three months into my debt free journey.  That budget did not work out so well after one attempt and I went back to my old system of paying bills, however I made sure to assign an increased amount towards my debt snowball payment.  I’ve since developed a zero based budget, which continues to be a work in progress.

All the above techniques have been helpful in preventing me from spending too much money and paying off debt in this first year of my debt free journey.  It does require lots of determination and discipline, which I didn’t have in the beginning.  Which why, it’s probably called a journey!

In addition to the techniques above, I’ve stopped spending money on these 4 things as well:

  1. Dunken donuts coffee
  2. Manicures and pedicures
  3. Fast food
  4. Pocket books and shoes

Here is a video explaining exactly how much debt I’m in and why I began my journey!

Please add any tips you have to help people from spending too much money below?  Is there anything that you stopped buying that you added back into your budget?

 

Debt Free Journey: Year 1

Debt free journey_ year 1
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If you are new here, WELCOME.  If you’ve been here before Welcome back and thank you for returning!

August 27, 2016 will make an entire year on my debt free journey and the birth of Goaldiggingtohappiness.com.  Here is my very first blog post!  I’ve spent the past couple of days thinking about what has changed in my life, how I’ve changed, and the good and bad of my journey thus far.  If your wondering how could being on such an empowering journey could have any negatives, sit tight, I plan on sharing.  I’ll also be sharing exactly where I am on my debt free journey and where I plan to be in the future.

Debt Payment Update

Amazon 290.9 PAID
Paypal 29.99% $1,136.65 $866.11 PAID
Bill Me Later 29.99% $1,157.99 $1,092.57 $589.80 $294.00 PAID
Citfinancial 13.64% $1,925.70 $1,948.98 $1,709.10 $1,685.24 $1,659.70 $1,388.95 $647.00 PAID July 31, 2016
Wells Fargo 26.49% $2,562.76 $2,506.96 $2,482.80 $2,455.50 $2,687.35 $2,965.16 $2,939.43 $2,592.72
Total $7,283.90 $6,369.62 $4,771.70 $4,434.74 4,347.05 $4,354.11 $3,586.43 $2,592.72

To see exactly where I started, click here.  I’m down to my very last credit card!  I hope to have this paid off by October 31, 2016 or before, I’m leaning more to the before.  Immediately following the month that I pay off Well Fargo, I plan on applying that month’s debt snowball towards my baby ER fund which is not/has not been funded as of yet.

Future Debt Payments

Once our baby ER fund is funded, we (the mister AND I) plan on tackling transportation debt.  We’d like to have our transportation debt paid by December 2017.  Those debts are as follows:

Motocycle loan:                           $4494.59

Tahoe:                                         $6292.72

Honda 2014:                                $16,649.14

Total                                              $27,436.45

Debt Freedom Journey Positives

1.  More money

This is obvious.  In the last 2 months I’ve been able to include sinking fund accounts into my budget and I’ve had money in between pay periods as opposed to before my journey where I’d go from paycheck to paycheck.

2.  Budget

I’ve been budgeting consistently and it has truly changed my outlook on money.  Developing the mindset of telling my money where to go as opposed to my money telling me, has relieved much of the stress about money that I previously had.  For me, organizing my money has lead to my success thus far.

3.  Organization

Once I began to see the affects of my budget and organizing my money, I began to desire the same organization in other aspects of my life.  Particularly, my home.  I’ve created some great spaces, purged some things, and plan to continue in other aspects like work and parenting.

4.  Confidence

My confidence in myself has increased tremendously as I’ve accomplished task that other’s have criticized and judged.  I now believe that anything is possible as long as I put my mind to it.

Debt Free Journey Negatives

I don’t have a huge list of negatives.  The main negatives are the sacrifices and the criticism.  I’ve had to sacrifice lots of things, mainly time.  Time away on the weekends as I work my part time, that I could be enjoying my family.  Another sacrifice, time related, is family vacations.  For the last two summers, my family hasn’t been on a vacation and that has sucked!

The criticism, bothered me a lot when I first started but I was able to deal with it once I realized how common it is.  I wrote a guest post about some of the criticism I received on My Debt Epiphany.  Most of that still holds true today.

I still have not determined exactly when I plan to be completely debt free because I continue to be on the fence about paying off my student loans while on the Human Service Loan Forgiveness Payment Plan.  I also continue to go back and forth about early retirement or working until retirement (I’ll talk more about that later).

Additional Income

I continue to seek out additional ways to earn passive income.  I’m currently considering an income property and I’ve also started a Youtube channel.  I’m just as inconsistent there as I am here.  I plan on improving that.  My youtube channel will focus more on my debt free journey AND my family life.  Finally, Goaldiggintohappiness.com has it’s own Instagram page, Please follow me!

Debt Free Journey Helpful Tips

How has your journey been? How much more debt do you have?

2016 Goal Review and Debt Update

2016 Goal Review

Hello!

First I’d like to apologize for the inconsistency here at GDTH.  Due to unfortunate circumstances at work, I’ve been extremely busy, like earning 75 hours a week busy, which has made it extremely hard to find time, energy, and motivation to write.  I understand that constancy is important for blog success and I’m working really hard to get back to a routine and am even considering outsourcing and guest post.  If you’d like to submit please let me know here.

June 30, 2016 marked the first half of the year as well as the end of the second quarter.  Since we are already half way through the year, I thought it would be a great time to evaluate my progress on my yearly goals and reevaluate any goals that are no longer relevant, may take longer than expected, or need revising.  Below are the goals I made at the end of the 2015 year for 2016 and the progress made thus far.

2016 Goals

  •  Fully finance our home improvement  FAIL (actually revised) This has been placed on the back burner.  This post explains more.  
  • Establish and build an emergency fund IN PROGRESS This is still in progress but will be completed by December 2016.  
  • Stop using all credit cards and be out of credit card debt by December 2016- SUCESS I’ve stopped using the cards and am on target to have the last two paid off by September 30!
  •  Earn or exceed $1,000 blogging income by December 2016  FAIL I completely lost focus with GDTH, which is so unfortunate because I probably could’ve been making more money from it by now and could’ve potentially met this goal.  Check out my previous Blog Income Reports below.  
  • Lose 10-15 pounds- FAIL
  • Generate or exceed $5,000 in side hustle money IN PROGRESS Thus far I’ve made about $3,000 and unless I lose my PT, I should exceed this amount!
  • Increase my income my 10% SUCESS I recently got a raise and the combination of the raise and my PT income should place me at the 10% increase I need to excel my debt pay off.  
  • Increase my financial knowledge IN PROGRESS Initially, my goal was to read a book a month.  I read one in January, none from February to April, and then 3 in May. Nothing since.  
  • Self improve ONGOING
  • Eliminate overpayment loan SUCESS This was paid in full in April!

 

December Side Hustle Income

November Side Hustle Income

We decided to revise our debt repayment plan.  I will be at the point in August that I can apply ALL my part time income to my debt which should successfully have my final credit cards eliminated by September 30, 2016 or before.  Beginning November 2016, the mister and I plan to both tackle all vehicle debt with the goal to have all paid by December 2017!  Afterwards that will leave my student loans, which I’m still on the fence about actively paying to eliminate while on the loan forgiveness program.

Since we’ve decided to work on eliminating the auto loan debt by December 2017, we’ve decided to DIY as much of the home addition as we can possibly do while saving for a contractor with goals to have it completely funded by December 2018.  However, those plans may change drastically.  My baby boy desperately needs his own room, and I can only imagine the peace we would get with the teens upstairs on their own level.

Debt Repayment Progress

Jan Feb March April May June July
AC 290.9 PAID
PP $1,136.65 $866.11 PAID
BML $1,157.99 $1,092.57 $589.80 $294.00 PAID
CF $1,925.70 $1,948.98 $1,709.10 $1,685.24 $1,659.70 $1,388.95 $900.00
WF $2,562.76 $2,506.96 $2,482.80 $2,455.50 $2,687.35 $2,965.16 $2,873.16
Total $7,283.90 $6,369.62 $4,771.70 $4,434.74 4,347.05 $4,354.11 $3,773.16

Here is the previous debt repayment update posted.

I’m super excited about being close to having my credit card debt eliminated and having that HUGE burden off my shoulders!

How have your 2016 goals been going thus far?

My Debt Total Update

My Debt Number-2
My Debt Total Update appeared first on Goal Digging to Happiness!

This past Saturday made three months exactly since I posted My Debt Number! Although I track my credit card balances monthly, I do not usually keep track of my other balances, since they are not my main focus at this time.  However, I think it’s good to track progress and reflect back to continue to motivate me on the journey so lets see if the number has changed much!

 My Balances:

October 30, 2015                                                                     January 30, 2016

  • $1,806.00-overpayment                                                        $ 1036
  • $7,874.46-consumer and credit card debt                           $6,795.79
  • $9,217.10- Auto loan #1                                                         $8231.76
  • $19,585.30- Auto loan # 2                                                     $1894.63
  • $55,688.64- under graduate school loans                            SAME
  • $59,498.00-graduate school loans                                        SAME
  • $135,341.05-mortgage                                                            $ 134,673.75

That brings my total debt number to                                    $267,818.57

I think that is pretty good progress in three months time!  I recently discussed my plan to aggressively pay debt here and here to meet my birthday goal of having my credit cards, car number one, and the over payment paid.  I’m determined to meet the goal but with time moving so fast, I’m becoming a little doubtful.

I’m not sure I made a realistic goal to have nearly $17,000 of debt eliminated.  I’m going to continue trying to meet the goal but will reevaluate at the six month mark which will be in April.

How do you set debt pay off goals?  How often, if any, do you change the goal?

 

 

 

 

 

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

tape edges-7
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

 

tape edges-5

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?

Life’s Lemons: How I’m making lemonade.

Life's Lemons

I recently posted my 2016 goals and the mini monthly goals to accomplish them. To refer back to them click here.  More specifically, my goal was to fully finance out-of-pocket our home  renovation of finishing the upstairs to add an additional bedroom and full bathroom to total but not exceed $10k.  The monthly mini goal(s) to work towards accomplishing this was to get the permit, purchase the floor boards, and have the mister to install the floor.

Long sigh….

Well, I thought I would jump start that goal on Wednesday January 31, 2015.  I contacted the city to inquire about a permit and am informed that I would need to get permission permit from environmental health to ensure that the renovation can be accommodated by the septic tank and well that we already have.  “Okay!” That seems simple was my initial thought and I proceed onto the health department.

Well… I arrive and complete the application.  As the man, Bill, overlooks that application frowning and shaking his head he concludes with depressing news.  The septic tank will not accommodate and additional room and bathroom because the current septic tank only accommodates three rooms and up to six people.   To fully assess our property there is a $300.00 fee (nonrefundable).  If any accommodations can be made the cost could range from $3k-$10k placing the total for the renovation at $13k-$20k.  There is no guarantee that they can come up with a solution, although they try very hard, and if not they do not refund the $300 assessment fee, nor do they grant the permission permit to get the building permit.

The key to happiness is contentment. I'm not content. Click To Tweet

The upstairs renovation was only a portion of the home renovations we had planned to make to our home over time.  We would like to extend our bedroom to add a sitting area and an updated bathroom to include a tub, update our kitchen, and add a detatched two door garage/man cave.  The total of all these renovations could range from $50k-$100k.

This brings me to the lemonade making process.  Do we:
  1. Continue with the out -of- pocket renovation
  2. take out a loan to cover the unfinished attic renovation
  3. sell our home and purchase what we really want and can afford within our means

Financially, option one makes the most cents (see what I did). However, we needed the room finished yesterday and could potentially take close to a year as we plan to accomplish many goals based on our pay periods.  The plus is that we have contractors that understand and are willing to work with us.

Option 2, could provide quicker results that option 1, however we would not apply for the loan until I have eliminated at least three of the five cards I have left.  Hubby would eliminate all of them by June which is when we are considering applying for the loan if that’s what we did.

Option 3, is only being introduced because of the time and money that would be required for options 1 or 2.  We wouldn’t be able to place our home on the market until October 2016.  This would allow us to aggressively eliminate debt, maximizing our affordability and ability to manage a possibly larger mortgage.

Our plan is to talk with a realtor and/or mortgage lender about our options.  In the meantime, you guys are so financially wise…what would you do? What other options would you consider?

November’s Debt Payment Progress

November Debt Paymnet update

We’re already well into November and Thanksgiving is approaching.  I’m putting my Christmas tree up this weekend (maybe) depending on how much stuff I can eliminate while I’m cleaning.

All the checks have cleared for all my credit card payments and I have my updated progress.  So lets dive right in to see exactly were I am.

Continue reading “November’s Debt Payment Progress”

It’s my birthday…tomorrow!

birthday

Over the years I’ve received some great gifts or blessings on or around my birthday! Lets recap

October 1999- I had my first born!  She was actually born September 30, three days before my birthday! My OG (oldest girl) turned 16 this past Wednesday!

My gifts over the most recent past years:

  • October 2010 –I got married.
  • October 2011- I purchased a house.
  • October 2012- I had my baby shower for baby Prince who came November 2.
  • October 2013- I purchased a brand new car.  I’m realizing this may not have been the best gift but I needed it and got a great interest rate.
  • October 2014- Nothing as fantastic as the previous years. And that probably goes for this year as well.  I’m cool with that.

Since beginning my journey towards financial freedom, I’ve become very low key!  The smallest things have began to matter much more.  My BG (baby girl) has been thinking of the perfect gift to make and I’m excited to receive and find it’s perfect place in my office!

My birthday 2016

Next year I would like to give myself  $18,000.  Actually I would like to get out of $17,966.42  worth of debt by next year.  The number is the total of my credit card balances as of last month, and my Tahoe truck.

My 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!

I imagine there will be times that sticking to the above plan will be very difficult.  For example, I imagine that most of all my extra income will go to Christmas shopping in December, luckily between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the option for overtime increases tremendously.

Also there are several significant birthdays from February to June that may result in extra spending and less debt payments.

I feel like this will be a challenge but I’m always up for a good one!

What would be the ideal birthday gift for you? What has been the best gift thus far and why?




 

My First Snowball payment

MySnowballPayment
I’ve made my first and last snowball payment on my Target credit.  Now I’m debt free!  Well technically, $500.00 free of debt.  I have officially paid off my Target card!!!! This is only a small accomplishment, however it’s accomplished.  What I’m more excited about is the fact that I now have $75.00 ($36.10 + the minimum payment on the next card) to roll over into my next snowball payment on another credit card payment! 

I posted my credit card balances here. At that time I only owed $36.10.  I worked this weekend and earned $100 in tips.  I immediately left work and scheduled the payment to be debited out of my account for today (because I had already cut the card).

Although it is only a small snowball payment (more like a snowflake payment) portion of my debt, the fact I have accomplished it makes my goal of becoming debt free more and more realistic!  I’m anxious to continue to see just how big my snowball payment increases to!

What did you accomplish this pass week or weekend? What is/was your first snowball amount?