How to Stop Spending Too Much Money NOW!

How to Stop Spending Too Much Money


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?


2016 Goal Review and Debt Update

2016 Goal Review


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?

Reasons I Really, Really Want to be Debt Free!

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FIND YOUR WHY?  WHY is the most important thing to determine when beginning any journey.  It is one of the main questions asked in any interview of anyone whom has overcome any obstacle.  Dave Ramsey ask “why” in various forms.   His and Her money always ask “what was it that made you to become debt free?”  Which translates into “why.” If you’ve read this post or this post, you may have gotten a sense of how my journey began and what pushed me to the point that I wanted to become debt free.  However, with over $200k in debt at the age of 30 something, I need more than just one reason to keep on,  what may be a long journey.  In fact, I’ve come to up with about seven main reasons why I want to get out of debt.

I want to be a better mom.

The frustration and burden of debt can leak over into my at home life with my family.  Being stressed and frustrated with the constant credit card bills and the amount of interest charged results in short patience and sometimes disabling head aches, in turn taking me away from my children.

Aside from the stress and head aches, I want my children to have the things I didn’t (cliche) but not the latest electronics and shoes, but experiences.  You see, I don’t really remember what I got for some Christmases or birthdays but I do remember summer vacations, going to my first concert and meeting the members of the boy band.  I want my children to have better experiences, which goes great with my love to travel!

I don’t want to work to live.

The Mister adores the weekend, as do I.  However he goes out on the weekend and splurges just about everything that is left after bills.  We had a conversation about that went something like:

Him:  I work hard during the week, and I deserve to enjoy the weekend and spend my money how I want.

Me:  And with that attitude, you’re setting yourself to always have to work and then live.


Yeah so I won that argument. My point however is that continuing to enjoy the weekend from a hard work week, sets us up to have to continue working.  And I don’t want to live that like.  I’ve mentioned before how I want work to be optional within four years and I think I’m on the right track .

I don’t like the “hands” in my paycheck

It’s ridiculous how much of my budget is consumed by lenders.  Of the $1500 -$2000 I may bring home bi-monthly about $2600-$3500 is to lenders.  LENDERS, not utilities or insurance (although insurance is pricey too) but Lenders like Wells Fargo and Honda Financial.  I absolutely hate it.  As I think of ho much money would be freed once I’m debt free, I get so excited which is why I’m unsure if retiring in the four years mentioned above is realistic.

My future is uncertain

My husband and I have been separated before.  The hardship I faced living on my income alone was difficult.  I hustled really, really hard and have been ever since.  Unfortunately, my absence from my children was even more difficult.  Although, I’m not hoping to be separated from him again, it’s a reality of my reality.  Meaning, since I know it has happened before, I’m not naïve that it could happen again.  If so, I’d like to be better financially prepared.

Debt is a stressful burden.

This is pretty self explanatory.  The burden of owing someone and being indebted to them and havoc that can result I decide to not pay or not pay timely is stressful enough to motivate me to eat beans and rice to make sure that any extra penny available is applied to lowering balances.

I HATE restrictions.

I absolutely hate restrictions of any kind.  I just want to do what I want to do. Right now, I’m restricted to my home iced in and I really wish I could fly to the tropical island and absorb some sun. 

Right now I want to see Beyoncé, and Adele, and some comedians but can not afford many of the tickets because of my debt journey and my determination to become debt free.  Even if I wasn’t on a journey, my budget would be restricted from purchasing tickets to ALL the events because of the minimum payments to ALL the LENDERS.

I no longer want to be a statistic.

I’ve had a child at 16, two more by 25, dropped out of college (but returned) and been a recipient of welfare.  Those are all unchangeable statics of my past.  However being a household of consumer debt, with $100k in student loan debt can and will be changed.  I refuse to be a statistic of consumer, student loan or what is also defined as “good debt” at all.

I’m certain as I continue on my journey, I’ll find more reasons that continue to motivate me to accomplishment.  As for now, these are the ones the are plastered in my brain, on journals, in calendars and hand written and folded up in my Bible.

What are your reasons?  How many do you have and how often do you remind yourself of them?

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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

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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?

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?

My First Snowball payment

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?

My Consumer Debt Number

$ 8303.48

I recently posted 3 Tips to Successfully become Debt Free and this month in August I am actually starting!

I wish being debt free was “just ahead.”  Unfortunately, the road to financial freedom is a long, but accomplishable road.  Below you’ll see what I owe just in credit card debt alone.  The goal to become financial free did not come about weeks ago when I decided I wanted to retire early.

I have wanted to get out of debt for some time now but found myself in situations that I relied on my credit cards, or new credit accounts to get me out of those situations.  However, I have been actively trying to get out of debt and took the first step by removing ALL but my Target card from my wallet.  I did this back in January 2015.  In January my credit card debt totaled $9850.45.


TOTAL                   $8303.48

If I just paid the minimum balance on all my credit cards, I’d still being paying about $327.00 a month which I think is ridiculous!

In six months I’ve only paid off $1546.97 in debt.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. Some balances have increased, as a resource, not because of impulsive spending and other’s have declined tremendously. 

I’m currently utilizing Dave Ramsey’s Snowball method to pay off debt  and I make double payments a month around my pay dates and apply any extra money towards a payment as well.

I’d like to say that this is all the debt I have.  However, sad to say I also have over $100k in school loans, 2 automobile payments, and a mortgage!  You can read more about my Total Debt Number here. 

To read my three month debt number update, click here.

However, I plan to have it ALL paid in full by the time I retire with money in the bank and I’m sharing that journey with you here!

What strategies or methods are you using to tackle debt? How did you decide which debt to tackle first?