I don’t know about you, but I am sick of being in debt. Sick of feeling like I don’t have enough to do anything. Sick of feeling like I’ll never have enough. Sick of feeling like I’m the only one. I know I’m not. There is no way I am! But how does everyone else do it? How do they on vacations? Afford rent or mortgage? Save for a down payment on a house? How do they pay their student loans? Have a car? A dog?
I used to feel ashamed of my debt. Like I was the only one with debt. I felt like less of a person; like a failure. I felt alone.
A few posts I’ve written (this and this come to mind) have touched on my debt and the responses I got were overwhelming. I saw I wasn’t alone. And I saw you appreciated that I shared; that I voiced what you were feeling. So in that spirit, I’m going to continue sharing because those of you who know me know I love nothing more than talking about taboo topics. I love helping others by talking openly about things considered taboo, not for polite society (or society at all), not to be discussed outside of family, or not to be discussed at all! I do it in the hopes that it helps someone else feel comfortable discussing it too.
But I’m not all talk. I do have an action plan. Ready?
1) Focus on the future.
This might seem obvious, but I’m more of an in the moment/plan only one week ahead kind of person. Yes, I am a planner and list maker and working on my control issues when it comes to details but I am not this way when it comes to big important things in life. I’m also not terribly goal oriented. Combine that with not being motivated by money and you can see how I got here. I’m working on being more future focused in multiple areas of my life and so far it seems to be working. Currently my financial goals are:
1) pay off my last and final credit card debt
2) save money to pay my Mom back for the Bruno Mars concert we are going to this summer. She purchased the tickets and hotel room for us and I’d like to pay her back by concert time.
3) once I pay my mom off, continue saving that same amount each month for my December fund (Christmas and car related expenses)
4) Save money for my next car down payment
December is a big month for me financially. I should be close to paying off the credit card, it’s the holiday season so that means spending on others (and myself, lets be honest), and it is when my 2 year lease on my car is up. I will need a down payment for my next car and money to pay for the miles I go over according to my lease agreement. Preparing for this now will mean less spending now, but more security in the future. I’m using SmartyPig to help me with the savings. I like it because it isn’t tied to my checking account or at the same bank so I don’t see the money and I’m not tempted to spend it. I also like that you set up individual goals and you can see how far you’ve come in reaching them. Finally, 1% APY can’t be beat. It’s a social site in that you can share your goals with others so if you’d like to see how I am doing search for firstname.lastname@example.org and send me an invite. I’d love to see your goals and cheer you on as well!
2) Cut unnecessary memberships.
Come on, we all have them and absolutely DO NOT need them. I actually don’t have a lot, but I do have Julep, which I love, but I don’t need it. So bye bye Julep. I’m also considering dropping my gym membership. That’s $89 a month (yes, I know it’s ridiculously expensive but I really love it there!). If I stop it in April that’s $712 by December. Huge. Some of that $89 will go towards yoga class though so I’m not completely free of fitness related memberships. Just switching it up for something cheaper. I also have Netflix and quite honestly, I’m not ready to give it up. As I’m writing myself I’m kicking myself in the ass that I should cancel it. That’s an additional $7.99 towards a savings goal and every little bit counts, yes? Should I say bye bye to Frank Underwood?
3) Continue budgeting.
I really try hard to only spend the cash I get out every 2 weeks and while it works well for me, sometimes I do turn to my debit card for surprise expenses. When I go out to eat and I didn’t budget for it I am working on choosing a cheaper option from the menu. Compromise. I’m also keeping a little sticky note on my debit card that tells me how much “extra” money I have for incidentals and as I use the card I subtract the money on the sticky note. It’s a visual reminder.
That’s enough jibbar jabber for now. I’m curious about your goals and what you think of mine. Are these posts helpful? Would you like me to update you monthly on how I am doing? Updating the blog on my goals definitely keeps me accountable and helps me track where I’m at and where I’d like to go. Before I end this, two books that have really inspired me to take a closer look at who and where I want to be in the future and how my money is shaping that is Money: A Love Story and Paris Letters. Has anyone read these? I’m in the middle of both and loving them.