Vlog – selling my clothes, farmers market haul, and deals to meals

Hi all!

Check out my very first vlog on my Youtube channel: Lisa vs. the Loans!

Selling my clothes, farmers market haul, and deals to meals

The other weekend, I sorted through my clothes to figure out which ones to sell – you know, since I’m on that #debtfreeby30 kick. I’ve included one of my main tips on figuring out which clothes to sell.

How to figure out which clothes to sell

Basically – one day, you hang everything in your closet reverse (you’ll see in the video what I mean).

Then, each time you use a clothing item and hang it back in the closet, you hang it the normal way. After a few months, you’ll start to notice which items in your closet aren’t actually being used.

I did this when Juan and I moved out in January. It’s been an easy way to keep track of which items of clothing I normally reach for.

The vlog also follows us as we check out the farmers market that’s right downstairs from us as well as our first time trying out Deals to Meals!

Make sure you check it out and like/subscribe so you don’t miss out on any future vlogs on Lisa vs. the Loans.

Where do you normally sell your excess clothes? 

AMDG,
Lisa

Debt Free by 30 Progress – May 2017

Here is our debt free by 30 progress for May 2017!

Some bloggers have income reports, I have my debt report 🙂

Debt free by 30 progress – May 2017

debt free by 30 progress may 2017

As of May 1, 2017, we are $50,391.86 in debt – a $1,213.33 decrease from April 2017!

We’ve made a small dent in our debt free by 30 progress in this first month. It’s not exactly where we need to be, but it’s a great start I think.

Debt free by 30 progress – May 2017 breakdown

Here is our breakdown of our debt for May:

debt free by 30 progress may 2017

Per the chart above, our debt breakdown as of May 1, 2017 is as follows:

  • Car loan – $6,871.30 (down from $7,233.56 last month)
  • Credit cards – $20,390.82 (down from $21,055.37 last month)
  • Student loans – $23,129.74 (down from $23,316.26 last month)

 

Here’s a breakdown of our debts on an account level:

debt free by 30 progress may 2017

Debt free by 30 progress – May 2017 updates and notes

  • Juan received his yearly bonus last month, so we put that to good use (see next bullet point)!
  • We’ve completely eliminated Credit Card #1 last month! This is great because last month I predicted that we could only throw an extra $200 to our avalanche. Instead, we made it work and we’ve paid off the $500+ balance on CC#1! Woo hoo – bye Felicia 27.99%!
  • As far as side income goes, we haven’t really started quite yet. However, this month we are planning on selling a bunch of our clothes and other items around the house online. Probably on eBay, but if you’ve got a suggestion on where we could sell that you find is better than eBay  – let me know in the comments!

All in all – so far, so good. Paying off Credit Card #1 entirely was a great motivation boost! Also, I know exactly what we need to work on (cough SIDE INCOME cough).

Let’s do this!

AMDG,
Lisa

Best budget for beginners – the 50-30-20 method

Whenever I think of the best budget for beginners, I always think of the 50-30-20 budget.

Maybe I’m biased because it was my first budget when I graduated from college. But in all honesty, I think this method is a great one to start with no matter how old you are or what situation you’re in.

best budget for beginners

Best budget for beginners – the 50-30-20 method

I made a video on my Youtube channel about the 50-30-20 budget where I go over what it is, what I like about it, and even what I don’t like about it.

You can find out why I think the 50-30-20 method is the best budget for beginners below:

What is the 50-30-20 method?

The 50-30-20 budget suggests that you spend your money as follows:

  • 50% to your needs

    • Your needs are basically your expenses that you have to pay in order for your basic needs to be met.
    • For example:
      • Rent/mortgage payment
      • Minimum payments on your debt
      • Groceries
      • Electricity/utilities/water bills
  • 30% to your wants

    • This is exactly what it sounds like – you get 30% to spend on whatever you want!
    • For example:
      • Hobbies
      • Entertainment/going out
      • Eating out
  • 20% to savings

    • Your savings range from short-term to long-term. Basically, this amount is going towards taking care of the future you.
    • For example:
      • Emergency savings
      • Retirement contributions
      • Big purchases: car, house, etc.

Why is the 50-30-20 method the best budget for beginners?

So, why do I think the 50-30-20 method is the best budget for beginners?

  • It’s simple

    • When you’re putting together your very first budget, you want it to be simple. Anything complicated will just overwhelm you and make you want to give up on a budget entirely.
    • You only have to categorize your expenses into 3 categories: wants, needs, or savings. Again – this simplifies tracking your spending, which can be a daunting task in and of itself.
  • You have room for your ‘wants’

    • For some reason, the personal finance space gets a bad rap for telling others that you shouldn’t be spending on wants at all. This simply isn’t true – allowing yourself to spend on wants can keep you sane while you’re on a budget, making it a more sustainable change.
    • When beginners immediately cut out all fun spending, it can be helpful at first. However, in the long run, doing so can lead to resentment which might lead to uncontrollable spending later on. Allowing yourself to have room for wants in your budget allows you to put a cap on how much you can spend each month while still making progress on other parts of your finances.
  • The guidelines can serve as markers of your financial health

    • When categorizing your expenses into the three categories (needs, wants, savings), you can instantly see whether you’re doing well with your finances or not.
    • For instance, if your needs constantly fall at or below the 50% mark, you know you’re on the right track. However, if your needs are considerably above the 50% mark, you know you need to zone in on that category and make some changes.

Why is the 50-30-20 method not for everybody?

  • It may be too general

    • Yes, I mentioned its simplicity as a plus. But it might actually be too simple for some.
    • There are just some expenses that might not fit into a need, want, or savings category. Instead, you may want to get more specific with your spending categories.
  • Your goals don’t align with the 50-30-20 split

    • The 50-30-20 method is a great beginner’s budget, particularly to keep your finances in balance. However, if your finances aren’t balanced to begin with, the 50-30-20 split might not be ideal for the moment.
    • For example, 30% allocated to your wants might be way too much, especially if you’re deep in debt. Instead, you might want to lower your wants budget temporarily so you can throw extra money at your debt.

Even though it’s not a perfect method, I still think that the 50-30-20 budget is the best budget for beginners.

Have you ever done the 50-30-20 method before or are you doing it right now? What do you think of it?

AMDG,
Lisa

Our debt free by 30 plan – how we plan to get rid of our debt in less than two years

This post is our debt free by 30 plan!

In case you missed it, I recently declared we would be rid of debt by the time I’m 30.

Obviously the first question we asked ourselves was – how are we going to pull it off? It’s a huge stretch goal for us, but we’re motivated more than ever!

However, huge goals like this don’t just happen by accident. We had to come up with our debt free by 30 plan.

Our debt free by 30 plan

Our debt free by 30 plan

When it comes down to it, the only way we can be debt free by 30 is to pay more than the minimum payment toward our debt each and every month. Basically – we need to find more money.

In order to do this, we have to tackle the problem from two sides. Meaning the plan is to – 1) lower our expenses, and 2) increase our income.

Lower expenses

Lowering our expenses is the easier part of our debt free by 30 plan (in my opinion). Currently, we plan on tackling this side of the coin by:

  • Cutting gym membership costs in half

    • A month or so ago, I was a member at the Crunch gym that was closest to my office. Although the gym was relatively nice, I knew that I simply couldn’t keep paying that monthly cost while in debt.
    • The plan – I found a gym near our apartment for half of what I was paying for Crunch. I love it because it’s close to where I live and it has everything I need (basically, all I needed was a squat rack). Plus, it’s family-owned! #supportsmallbusinesses
  • Slicing our allowance money considerably

    • Juan and I combine our finances, but we do give each other an individual allowance every month that we get to use on whatever we want – no questions. While I do think that having an individual allowance is incredibly helpful when budgeting for two, it really isn’t helping us out of our current problem, which is our debt.
    • The plan – The both of us are spenders, through and through. So the plan is to slice our allowance money by more than half. We decided not to completely eliminate this from our budget because I’m a firm believer in allowing yourself some “fun money” in your budget, even if it’s a measly amount.
  • Spending less on eating out

    • Going out to eat is one of our biggest budget busters. We love trying new food and exploring our area for new restaurants and happy hours. Unfortunately, this habit directly affects how much we can pay toward our debt.
    • The plan – we are planning on going out to eat only once per week. This is a huge decrease from when we would go out almost 3-5 times a week. I’ve already started taking homemade lunches to work and on the days when I forget to do so, I simply make myself a PB&J sandwich which is free at my office.

Increase income

As helpful as lowering expenses can be, there can only be so much you can do to cut your expenses. That’s why part of our debt free by 30 plan is going to focus a lot of energy on increasing our income. Although this isn’t as easy as cutting costs, earning more has unlimited potential.

  • Building our online presence

    • With this new #debtfreeby30 challenge, I’ve consequently triggered a revival of this blog. I’ve also started a YouTube channel under Lisa vs. the Loans in hopes that I can teach about personal finance in my own unique way. My husband has also started his own YouTube channel, JustUrAvgNerd (it spells out JUAN, get it? ;)), which currently has tutorials on making custom Funko Pops.
    • The plan – for transparency’s sake: building our online presence opens up money-making opportunities to us – income from potential sponsors, affiliate links, and advertising are some ways we could make money online. We know this requires a ton of work – building an audience is especially difficult and can be time-consuming – but it is something that we’re truly interested in.
      • For the record – I’m not looking for just any company to sponsor me or for me to be an affiliate of. I’m only looking for opportunities that align with who I am and what this blog stands for.
  • Buying and selling

    • I’ve been reading a lot about how everyday people buy items on clearance from local stores, sell on eBay or even Amazon at market value, and make a considerable amount of money doing so. It almost seems too good to be true, but we won’t know until we actually try it out.
    • The plan – to start this venture, we’re going to start selling some clothes/books/other unwanted things around our apartment first. Then the money we make on those items will be split between debt paydown and being set aside for purchasing items at local stores to eventually sell online.

 

We have a ton of other ideas on increasing our income, but these are the two we are going to be focusing on in these first few months.

So there it is – the plan that will (hopefully) lead us to become debt free by 30! It’s ambitious, it requires a ton of work, but as I said – we are highly motivated!

I’m sure we will be revisiting this plan every other month or so, just to see if these things are actually bringing us closer to our goal to be debt free by 30.

What did your plan look like when you were getting out of debt? How did you lower your expenses and/or increase your income?

AMDG,
Lisa
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