The Year of Less Debt

At the beginning of the year, I declared 2015: The Year of Less. Throughout the year, I'll be sharing what exactly that entails and how I'm executing the idea and mantra of less in my day to day life.

Year of Less: Debt

I had to start the series with this one. After all, this is a pf blog!

When I decided that this year would be The Year of Less, my debt immediately came to mind.

As you may or may not know, I started this blog as I just climbed out of credit card debt for the first time. I’ve since fallen in and out of credit card debt and it’s frustrating to say the least.

Not to mention all the other debt I have. Credit card debt… student loans… car loan… mortgage… oh my!

Year of Less Debt

Current Debt Breakdown

As of the end of 2014, here is what my debt looks like:

Debt Breakdown

All in all, my debt amounts to $308,598.

Holy. Guacamole.

Game Plan

I don’t really have a set number that I want my total debt to be at by the end of the year. The Year of Less means less focus on end goals and more focus on habits and ongoing changes that need to be made. With that being said, this is what I hope The Year of Less will bring to my debt.

Credit card debt: eliminate completely

That’s right. I’m sick of focusing on my credit card debt and I’m sure you all are tired of hearing about it. 2015 is the year where I get rid of my credit card debt for good. I’ve even stopped saving for my wedding so I can focus on annihilating my CC debt!

Student loans: slightly overpay every month

My original goal when I first started this blog was to pay off all of my student loans by December 2015Oh, I was so naive. Now, being at the start of 2015, I know that this goal just isn’t realistic. Not only am I still battling high-interest credit card debt, I’ve got a wedding to pay for! So, the game plan for this particular debt is to pay the minimum payment each month PLUS I’ve rounded up to the nearest $100 increment. That’s it.

I know, it’s a little disappointing that this debt won’t get paid off according to my original goal. But I’m not too worried. I don’t have any private loans, so the interest on these bad boys is pretty low. Letting go of the original accelerated payoff goal means less stress, too.

Car loan: minimum monthly payment

Although my monthly car payment isn’t exactly small, the interest on it is. I don’t mind paying the minimum on this for this year. I do plan on accelerating the pay off sometime after the wedding, but for this year, minimum is the way to go.

Mortgage: minimum monthly payment with occasional overpayments

My real estate agent did a wonderful job in locking us in at an incredible rate, so I’m not exactly in a rush to pay off this debt. So for the most part, the minimum monthly payment will do.

As far as the occasional overpayments go – my mom, brother, auntie, and I all split the mortgage and house bills. Every month, I pay the minimum on the mortgage as well as make sure all of our bills are paid on time. Since the house bills are on different cycles and are slightly different each month and quarter, there are some months where we have an overage of funds. When we have extra in the pool, I throw it straight to principal.

Less debt = more freedom

When you focus on less, you make room for more. So what does less debt mean for me? Less debt means more freedom. More specifically for 2015 – less debt means more freedom to put my money toward my wedding savings.

In the long run, I want to be completely debt free. Who doesn’t? When that glorious day comes, I’ll be more free not only from credit card companies, but also my student loan servicers and mortgage company. When I no longer have monthly payments to others, I am free to finally pay myself more and even give more to others.

That’s the end goal of all of this. That’s why I want to focus on less debt in 2015 and in all years to come after that.

What are you doing in terms of your own debt? What does less debt mean to you?

AMDG,
Lisa

Newest Obsession: Mason Jar Salads

A year or so ago, I tried bringing salads to work in an effort to be healthier. Eventually, I gave up and just started buying the salads everyday. Yea, not frugal at all.

Mostly, I gave up bringing my own salad because after a few times, I realized (and hated) how soggy the greens would get by the time lunch rolled around. I would use a regular Ziploc plastic container, stuff my greens and other veggies in along with some protein of some sort and sprinkle a bit of salad dressing on top. By the time lunch time approached, all of the veggies would be soggy and deflated and overall just not enjoyable.

Then Pinterest came to the rescue.

Up until recently, I have had a love-hate relationship with the mason jar. Hate – because in my opinion, I think they’re kind of over used. Love – because damn it they’re so convenient and portable and OKAY I GET WHY THEY’RE OVER USED.

I had bought a 12-pack of mason jars a few months ago. I used only 8 of them for gifts to my bridesmaids when I asked them to be a part of our wedding party. The other 4 have just been sitting around.

Then when I saw several pins and blog posts about making a mason jar salad, I was intrigued. I read up on the techniques and decided to try it on my own.

The verdict?

mason jar salads

I am obsessed.

How to pack a mason jar salad

  1. Pour in a couple of tablespoons of your favorite dressing at the bottom
  2. Layer in the heavy veggies like broccoli, baby carrots, tomatoes, etc.
  3. Add your choice of protein. My go-to is grilled chicken breast. I use the ridiculously easy Nerd Fitness method.
  4. Seal and enjoy when ready!

Why pack your salad in a mason jar?

First of all, the mason jar is incredibly portable. Since the seal is pretty tight, I just throw it into my backpack and I’m good to go! Regular Tupperware just isn’t that easy to transport, in my opinion.

Secondly, if you layer your salad correctly, the shape of the mason jar helps prevent soggy salad syndrome. The layer of “heavy veggies” doesn’t get soggy or ruined when put right on top of the dressing and, coupled with the layer of protein, keeps the greens at the top nice and crispy.

Then when it’s time to eat, all you have to do is shake your mason jar salad and the dressing coats all of the ingredients perfectly. You can enjoy your mason jar salad in the jar itself, or you can pour onto a plate and enjoy it that way.

Bonus: Preparing mason jar salads in bulk is ridiculously easy! Not to mention frugal when you bring a mason jar salad to work every day. Perfect for busy bodies like me!

Have you tried the mason jar salad? What are you favorite ingredients?

AMDG,
Lisa

 

Links Lisa Likes – You Know it’s Busy at Work When…

You know it’s busy at work when…

You don’t even have enough energy to get into your pajamas after a long day.

TMI ALERT! You realize you’ve gone halfway through the day without getting up to use the bathroom.

You realize it’s already 4 pm and you haven’t eaten lunch yet.

Your right eye hasn’t stopped twitching since Wednesday.

You wake up in the morning and you realize you were dreaming (nightmaring?) about how busy work is!

Yea… you can say it’s been one of those weeks. And for the record – my eye is still twitching.

Previously on LvtL

December 2014 Net Worth Update
I ended 2014 with a nice, solid increase in net worth!

2014 Personal Recap
I can honestly say that last year was one of the best years of my life! Here’s what went down.

Giveaway: $100 Amazon Gift Card
Don’t forget to enter!

2015: The Year of Less
This year, I’m focusing on less. Here’s why.

This Week’s LLL

22 Things You Can Do To Be A Better Friend This Year (That Cost Nothing) – [The Financial Diet]
I just love this list.

Being Content With My Closet – [A Beautiful Mess]
A simple way to make sure all your items are being used.

How to Create More Free Time – [Long Term Mindset]
TV time + mindless work (aka folding laundry) = fun productivity!

My New Year’s Resolution: LIVE MORE – [Budgets are Sexy]
More specifically, be more present.

What A Year Without Clothes Did For Me – [Frugalwoods]
I love hearing about others’ experiences with a clothes shopping ban!

How do you deal when it gets busy at work?

AMDG,
Lisa

2015: The Year of Less

Instead of starting the year off with a list goals, this year I’m choosing to do something different.

Last year, I shared my list of 11 goals with everyone here on the blog to help keep me accountable.

At the end of the year, I shared that I accomplished 8 out of those 11 goals.

8 out of 11 isn’t bad at all! But I noticed something throughout the year as I tried to accomplish these goals. I noticed that I felt overwhelmed. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to accomplish all of these goals. Most importantly, I noticed that my 3 fails, though disappointing, didn’t stop me from having one of the best years of my life.

So this year, instead of creating yet another list of goals/resolutions I may or may not achieve, I want to focus on an overall theme.

This year – 2015 – is the Year of Less

Year of Less

In 2014, I wanted to accomplish a lot. I wanted to fully fund my emergency, stay out of credit card debt, grow my blog, get a new job, get healthy, and travel. I focused a lot on what I wanted to accomplish.

As the year went on, I realized I didn’t necessarily want these things at all. You can call it a lack of motivation. But I think I really just didn’t feel the need to accomplish all of those goals.

Let’s not forget that there were goals that I actually achieved. The difference between the goals that got accomplished and the ones that didn’t was that I knew why I wanted to achieve those goals.

Why did I want a new job? At the time, I felt like I had outgrown my previous job and I felt that every single day.

Why did I want to put an emergency fund in place? Simple – I literally couldn’t sleep well without one.

Why did I want to save for travel? I believe in taking breaks every now and then, and I wanted to be prepared.

Basically, I listened to what my current life situation was telling me. I listened to how uncomfortable and uneasy I was with certain aspects of my life and that alone has motivated me to achieve certain goals.

As 2015 approached, I knew I had to deal with my goals differently. I didn’t want a huge list of goals and changes that I wasn’t fully 100% connected to.

Instead, I wanted to focus on my current feelings about my life and the changes I really feel need to happen.

As I reflected on this, the idea of The Year of Less started forming itself.

Why less?

I’ve written before about my mini-hoarding ways and I’ve noticed recently that a lot of the stuff I have actually stresses me out. Not only does this pertain to material things, but even my time is just kind of crowded with things that aren’t really a priority.

So this year, I want to focus on less – less stuff, less dependence on things or activities I don’t really care for, less worry, etc.

I’ll be digging into specific changes that I’ll be focusing on in future posts.

What will your 2015 be focused on?

AMDG,
Lisa

Giveaway: $100 Amazon Gift Card

Hello lovelies!

I know that a lot of you may have set some financial New Years Resolutions for 2015. Personally, mine is to get out of credit card debt once and for all!

Well, I’m teaming up with a few of my pf friends to help you out! I know a lot of you probably use Amazon in one way or another. How does a $100 Amazon gift card sound? With $100 to use at Amazon, you can save $100 of your own money to put toward your New Years Resolution- whether it be to save more or get rid of more debt!

So, here it is! The $100 Amazon Gift card giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What would you do with a $100 Amazon gift card?

AMDG,
Lisa
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