Lisa Vs. The Loans http://www.lisavstheloans.com A SF Bay Area 20-something's battle against student and consumer debt Wed, 07 Jun 2017 17:00:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.5 Debt free by 30 progress – June 2017 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/06/debt-free-by-30-progress-june-2017/ Wed, 07 Jun 2017 17:00:39 +0000 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/?p=2234 Here is our debt free by 30 progress for June 2017! Debt free by 30 progress – June 2017 As of June 1, 2017, we are $49,716.72 in debt – a $675.14 decrease from May 2017. Not going to lie – we didn’t make as much progress as we wanted to this month. But alas, a decrease […]

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

Debt free by 30 progress – June 2017

debt free by 30 progress - june 2017

As of June 1, 2017, we are $49,716.72 in debt – a $675.14 decrease from May 2017.

Not going to lie – we didn’t make as much progress as we wanted to this month. But alas, a decrease is a decrease.

Debt free by 30 progress – June 2017 breakdown

Here is the breakdown of our debt for June 2017:

debt free by 30 progress - june 2017

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

  • Car loan – $6,522.79 (down from $6,871.30 last month)
  • Credit cards – $20,255.55 (down from $20,390.82 last month)
  • Student loans – $22,938.38 (down from $23,129.74 last month)

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

debt free by 30 progress - june 2017

Debt free by 30 progress – June 2017 updates and notes

  • This is our smallest decrease in debt yet. Granted this is only our second month doing these monthly updates, but still – seeing less than $1k of progress doesn’t feel any good.
    • Also, we made negative progress on Credit Cards #2 and #5. Rookie mistake – we paid these bills a day late. #facepalm
  • The plus side is we’re under $50k of debt officially! Even though we didn’t make as big of a dent as we should have this month, seeing the numbers go from $50k+ to $49k+ did feel the tiniest bit satisfying. Now to get to $48k… then $40k… then $20k… you get the picture 🙂 Baby steps, people!
  • On the side income front, nothing really happened this month. I listed some clothing items on eBay in May (see the vlog here) and was completely discouraged when nothing sold in May. But right when June 2nd hit (the day after I gathered all these numbers for an update), I got my first sale! And shortly after, my second! It was definitely a lesson in patience.
    • In addition to eBay sales, we are going to try our hand at selling with Amazon FBA. This will be our side income experiment of the month. We budgeted a couple hundred dollars this month to see what kind of return we can get with this. Will keep you guys posted!

In short – not the best month in my opinion. However, the rest of June still awaits and I’m hoping to do some real damage!

How did you do with your debt this month?

AMDG,
Lisa

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Combining our finances – why and how we do it http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/05/combining-our-finances-why-and-how/ http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/05/combining-our-finances-why-and-how/#comments Wed, 17 May 2017 17:00:42 +0000 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/?p=2212 One of the things Juan and I were adamant about in our marriage was combining our finances. Combining our finances – why and how we do it You would think that as kids of divorce (which we both are) where money problems were a huge factor in the split, we would want to keep our finances […]

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One of the things Juan and I were adamant about in our marriage was combining our finances.

Combining our finances – why and how we do it

combining our finances

You would think that as kids of divorce (which we both are) where money problems were a huge factor in the split, we would want to keep our finances separate to avoid the past mistakes of our parents.

After all – doesn’t combining our finances put us at risk? Money problems are always cited as one of the top sources of disagreements in couples. Combining our finances practically guarantees that our points of view about money would meet and might even cause tension.

Plus, it seems easier to keep our finances separate. We could easily split our bills 50-50, Juan would have no say in what I do with the rest of my money, and vice versa. Why wouldn’t we choose to keep our finances separate?

Combining our finances – why we do it

As I said before, Juan and I are both kids of divorce. Our parents split for many reasons, but there’s no denying that disagreements regarding money played a significant role.

You might think this would make us want to keep our finances separate. However, this is exactly why we both are adamant about combining our finances.

Here are a couple of reasons why we insist on combining our finances:

There are no secrets

As soon as we got married, we agreed to deposit all of our income into one bank account and have every bill come out of that same bank account.

Why? Because doing so ensures that there are no money secrets between us. This way, Juan knows exactly how much I make, I know how much he makes, and we both know how much we’re spending on everything.

When couples hide income or debts from each other, it’s just another obstacle that will strain the relationship. No matter how good you are at keeping secrets, dishonesty finds a way to destroy relationships no matter what.

It simplifies paying the bills

This is my favorite reason why we are combining our finances – efficiency!

It’s simple – when all of your bills come out of one account, they’re much easier to keep track of. For couples like us, who are in $50k+ debt with about 15 credit cards/loans to manage, anything to simplify our finances will help!

Think about it. No matter what, you will always have to keep track of how much your bills are and when they are coming out of your account. Now, if we weren’t combining our finances, we’d ALSO have to be keeping track of which bills are coming out of which account. Combining our finances eliminates that last layer of tracking.

So, how are we combining our finances?

Combining our finances – how we do it

1. Open a joint checking account (or use one of yours)

This is entirely up to you guys and what you each want in a bank account. For us, we used my existing checking account with Capital One 360 since there are no fees and we like how we can set up multiple savings accounts with ease. But again – this is entirely up to you guys! Do your research and talk with each other about what you’d both want in a bank account.

Once you’ve decided on your one joint checking account, don’t close your accounts just yet! You may still use your separate accounts if you choose to do #4 below.

2. Update all direct deposits to flow into this account

Now that you’ve set up your joint checking account, it’s time to update all your income to flow into your new account.

If you have an employer, there is usually a form you have to fill out and submit to your HR or benefits department. If you’re a freelancer, that means updating all your payment collection sites (like Paypal) to route to this new bank account.

3. Change all automatic bill payments to come out of this new account

Once you’ve got your income flowing into this account, it’s time to update all the outgoing transactions.

Now, this may take a while – I would suggest one of two things: either you 1) set aside time to do this all in one go and update your bills all at once, or 2) you take a more gradual approach and change your bills as each due date approaches.

4. (Optional) Keep your current separate accounts and use these as individual “allowance” accounts

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – in order for a budget to work, it has to fit your lifestyle.

That being said, it’s important that you and your spouse get some fun money each month. Doing so will make living on a budget more sustainable.

If you’re following the 50-30-20 budget, meaning you get 30% of your income to your wants, you can probably split it 10% to you, 10% to your spouse, and 10% as a joint allowance.

For us, Juan and I agree that we get to spend our allowance money on whatever we want – no questions asked. Our allowance each month is relatively small compared to our combined income, so these purchases aren’t usually a big deal to us.

Just a note – it might be a good idea to come up with a purchase threshold for you and your spouse. For instance, if there is a purchase that is greater than, let’s say, $500, then that purchase must be discussed between the two of you first before buying. This threshold, again, is entirely up to you – it can be as low as $50 or as high as $500. This depends on your situation but it all comes down to increasing communication between the two of you.

Combining our finances – final thoughts

I’d be lying if I omitted the role that our Catholic faith played into this decision. In the Bible, it states:

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body (Genesis 2:24)

We knew that agreeing to be married meant that we were to become one as a household. Combining our finances supports that decision. Ultimately, this is why we decided that combining our finances was the way to go.

What about you? Have you combined your finances? Why or why not?

AMDG,
Lisa

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Vlog – selling my clothes, farmers market haul, and deals to meals http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/05/vlog-selling-clothes-farmers-market-haul-deals-meals/ Thu, 11 May 2017 06:09:11 +0000 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/?p=2231 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 […]

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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

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Debt Free by 30 Progress – May 2017 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/05/debt-free-by-30-progress-may-2017/ http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/05/debt-free-by-30-progress-may-2017/#comments Wed, 03 May 2017 17:00:26 +0000 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/?p=2209 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 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 […]

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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

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Best budget for beginners – the 50-30-20 method http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/04/best-budget-for-beginners-the-50-30-20-method/ http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/04/best-budget-for-beginners-the-50-30-20-method/#comments Wed, 26 Apr 2017 17:00:36 +0000 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/?p=2199 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 […]

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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

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Our debt free by 30 plan – how we plan to get rid of our debt in less than two years http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/04/our-debt-free-by-30-plan/ http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/04/our-debt-free-by-30-plan/#comments Wed, 19 Apr 2017 17:00:34 +0000 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/?p=2192 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 […]

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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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The state of our debt – April 2017 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/04/the-state-of-our-debt-2017/ http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/04/the-state-of-our-debt-2017/#comments Wed, 12 Apr 2017 17:00:45 +0000 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/?p=2175 This post wasn’t easy to write. In fact, I’ve been dreading it for months. But in my recent declaration of becoming debt free by 30, I promised to document our journey to becoming debt free on this blog – including the ugly numbers. So, here we go… The state of our debt – April 2017 – $51,605.19 […]

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This post wasn’t easy to write.

In fact, I’ve been dreading it for months.

But in my recent declaration of becoming debt free by 30, I promised to document our journey to becoming debt free on this blog – including the ugly numbers.

So, here we go…

The state of our debt – April 2017 – $51,605.19

As of April 1, 2017, we are $51,605.19 in debt. And that ain’t no April Fools joke.

Alright, alright – let me have it! I can already hear the groans, the disappointment, the eye rolls all the way from here! I know, our debt is unbelievable to me, especially because I can read back to a previous post on this blog where I’m literally describing how close I am to debt-freedom. *sigh*

Life moves fast, y’all.

The state of our debt – April 2017 breakdown

Let’s get into what kind of debt we’re in. Here’s our breakdown:

State of our debt - April 2017

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

  • Credit cards – $21,055.37
  • Student loans – $23,316.26
  • Car loan – $7,233.56

The state of our debt – April 2017 updates and notes

  • Even though all of our non-mortgage debt fits into three categories, it is made up of fifteen different loans (see below).
  • We have decided to tackle our debt using the debt avalanche method. This means we’re paying the minimum payment on all of our debt and any overage is going to the debt with the highest interest rate. The order of the payoff of these 15 loans is as follows: State of our debt April 2017
  • I mentioned in my first post of debt free by 30 that we can only afford the minimum payments on our debt. Well, this month, we’re vowing on throwing an extra $200 to Credit Card #1. It’s not as big of a dent as I’d like, but it’s a start. Hopefully next month we can pay off Credit Card #2 completely.

*Deep breath* Alright. There it is – all of our debt in its ugly, all-consuming entirety. The first step is acceptance and knowing your numbers. Well, $51,605.19 is our number.

We’ve got a lot of work to do.

AMDG,
Lisa

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Debt free by 30 – our new goal http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/04/debt-free-by-30-new-goal/ Wed, 05 Apr 2017 17:00:00 +0000 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/?p=2176 Today is my 28th birthday and today I’m calling it – I will be debt free by 30! Debt free by 30 – our new goal I think Juan and I are finally ready to start fully attacking our debt. Debt free by 30 is our mantra for the next 2 years and I’m committing to blogging […]

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Today is my 28th birthday and today I’m calling it – I will be debt free by 30!

Debt free by 30 – our new goal

I think Juan and I are finally ready to start fully attacking our debt. Debt free by 30 is our mantra for the next 2 years and I’m committing to blogging all about it!

Debt free by 30 means getting rid of all of our non-mortgage debt by the time my 30th birthday rolls around. This also means staying out of debt once and for all!

I’ve been MIA on this blog mainly because we have been moving, travelling, and getting over sickness. But all throughout these past few months, Juan and I have been talking and talking about how we’re sick and tired of sending our hard-earned money to someone else. Well – now we’re sick and tired of talking about it! It’s time to finally do it!

Debt free by 30

Debt free by 30 – the why

Why is it so important for us to be debt free by 30? First of all, for me at least, our debt gives me anxiety. I worry about not being able to make the payments if one or both of us were to lose our jobs.

Secondly, there are so many things Juan and I would love to do (such as travel, invest more time in our hobbies, and saving more for our retirement), but instead of saving up for these things, we’re throwing money at our debt.

Overall, becoming debt free by 30 will allow us to say “yes” to more things we actually want to experience and “no” to things we are simply doing just to make our debt payments.

Debt free by 30 – the challenges

Debt free by 30 will be a huge challenge for us. First of all, we have a ton of debt! More on the actual numbers later. Secondly, we’ve got some other non-debt financial goals this year we want to crush.

Lastly, we only have enough room to pay the minimum on our non-mortgage debt. Paying the minimum on our debt will have us debt free in approximately 5 years – by then I’ll be 33 and although “debt free by 33” does roll off the tongue better, I still prefer to be debt free by 30. The sooner, the better!

Debt free by 30 – the how

Obviously, we won’t be debt free by 30 if we’re paying the minimum payments on our debt – that’s simply not going to cut it. So, first thing’s first – we’re going to commit to pay more than the minimum each month.

The second thing we are committing to is increasing our income. We are both your average 9-5ers with decent income for our location, but we need more if we want to truly be debt free by 30. So we’re going to commit to build a side hustle or two with the goal of the extra money going immediately to our debt.

Debt free by 30 – accountability

At work, we have these things called “BHAGs” which stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goals. That’s what becoming debt free by 30 is for us – it’s big, it’s hairy, and it’s incredibly audacious.

The only way we can conquer this BHAG is to continually track our progress these next couple of years. That’s where this blog will come in. I hope to update the blog with our debt progress monthly as well as any updates on our side income. I’m also hoping to post more vlog-style updates on the Lisa vs. the Loans Youtube channel.

Debt free by 30 – who’s with us?

I know we’re not alone. If you haven’t turned 30 yet and are sick and tired of your debt, feel free to join us! I want to hear all about your goals and would love it if we can all encourage each other in this effort.

Take the Debt Free by 30 pledge with me and don’t forget to follow me for updates on this BHAG of ours!

AMDG,
Lisa

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Our 2017 financial goals http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/01/2017-financial-goals/ http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/01/2017-financial-goals/#comments Sun, 22 Jan 2017 18:00:19 +0000 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/?p=2166 Our 2017 financial goals Here our 2017 financial goals! I hope it’s not too late to share these 🙂 Sure, it’s a few weeks past New Years Day, but cut me some slack! We’ve been super busy over here because – surprise – we’re moving! We’re just moving across the Bay so we can be much closer to […]

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Our 2017 financial goals

Here our 2017 financial goals! I hope it’s not too late to share these 🙂

Sure, it’s a few weeks past New Years Day, but cut me some slack! We’ve been super busy over here because – surprise – we’re moving!

We’re just moving across the Bay so we can be much closer to work. Our commute times will be so much shorter and hopefully that means more time to spend with each other and on our passion projects *cough* this blog *cough*.

Anywho, enough about that. Here are our 2017 financial goals!

We're only focusing on four financial goals in 2017!

1. Move closer to work

Well, technically – we’ve already accomplished this! In fact, on the day that this post goes live, we will be moving all of our stuff in a U-haul van with some friends.

It did take some moving around of our money to pull off. But after almost a year of living more than an hour away from work, we decided it was worth it to move closer to work. Rent ain’t cheap – but we are at peace knowing that we’re paying for the convenience of living close to work. We’ll have a lot more time on our hands, and I think that alone is worth the money we will spend.

2. Replenish our starter emergency fund

We had to dip into our emergency fund recently to cover some family things. I feel so vulnerable not necessarily having anything right now in our emergency fund. But hopefully this will get done in the next paycheck or so. We just want to get our emergency fund back to $1,000.

3. Decrease our debt by 20%

We are in a ton of debt. Seriously. It’s not good. More on those numbers in a future post.

We know it’s not possible to pay it all off in one year. Especially since we’re paying to move much closer to work. But we do want to keep debt repayment a high priority for us. So as soon as our first two financial goals are taken care of, all of our extra money will be thrown at our debt. I assigned 20% as our 2017 goal. Hopefully it’ll be more than that, though!

4. Save for travel

This year is full of travel plans! Next month, we’re going to Rome to celebrate our anniversary. In July, we have 4 weddings to attend (maybe 5). We’re going to Hawaii in November for another wedding. These travel plans are so exciting! But if we don’t plan ahead, these travel plans can really reverse all the progress on the other three financial goals we have.

So, we are going to be putting money aside each money just for travel. I know that this money would probably do better if we targeted it all to debt, but I want to make sure that we spend only cash for all of these trips. What good is debt repayment if we have to finance our trips?

So there you have it – our 2017 financial goals. I’m keeping it simple this year. Four financial goals is totally doable. The less we have to focus on, the more damage we can do to each of our financial goals.

What are your financial goals this year?

AMDG,
Lisa

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17 ways to improve your finances in 2017 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/01/17-ways-to-improve-your-finances-in-2017/ http://www.lisavstheloans.com/2017/01/17-ways-to-improve-your-finances-in-2017/#comments Sun, 08 Jan 2017 21:00:29 +0000 http://www.lisavstheloans.com/?p=2158 17 ways to improve your finances in 2017 The new year usually sparks many of you to want to improve your finances. Now, I’m not usually one for New Year’s Resolutions. But I’m all for focusing on your financial health. If the New Year sparks that fire within you to get your finances together – […]

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17 ways to improve your finances in 2017

The new year usually sparks many of you to want to improve your finances. Now, I’m not usually one for New Year’s Resolutions. But I’m all for focusing on your financial health. If the New Year sparks that fire within you to get your finances together – then I’m all for it!

Here are 17 ways to improve your finances in 2017. Choose a few of these to focus on in the New Year if you’re new to personal finance. I don’t want you to be overwhelmed. But I do want you to make some real change in your life.

improve your finances

Overall financial health

1. Dream a little

This may seem like fluff advice, but I really believe that dreaming/envisioning the ultimate financial state can really get you revved up to actually improve your finances! So take a moment to really imagine what it would be like to live with no more debt. To finally turn in that last payment for your mortgage, car loan, student loan, etc. Imagining this huge weight coming off of your shoulders can help you get started on actually tackling your debt!

2. Know your numbers

To improve your finances, you need to know where you are currently. Make it a point to know and be more mindful of your monthly income and expenses. Your entire personal finance journey is built with these building blocks! Here’s a video I put together on how to get this information if you don’t already have it.

3. Track your net worth

This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip of knowing your numbers. Knowing your numbers is one thing, but actually tracking your numbers each and every month is what helps you be more mindful of your situation. The key here is checking in on your finances every single month, whether it’s your net worth or your income/expenses. (I hope to do a post/video on what your net worth is soon).

4. Educate yourself about personal finance

I get it – the world of personal finance can be overwhelming. But running away from it is a surefire way to not get anywhere financially. Make it a point to read a book (I recommend The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey or I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi) or listen to a podcast (I recommend The Dave Ramsay Show or Stacking Benjamins) about personal finance once a month or so. Believe me – avoiding personal finance will not solve your personal finance problems!

5. Focus on one or two financial goals

When you focus on way too many goals at once, you tend to lose track, get overwhelmed, and fail at most of them. Choose one or two goals to focus on this year. Will you work on increasing your income or decreasing your expenses? Is this the year you get serious about your debt or start saving for emergencies? Pick a goal that will improve your finances and get started! I personally suggest following Dave Ramsey‘s step by step goals if you don’t know where to start.

6. Get in sync with your significant other

This is something Juan and I are still working through. Actually, I think this is something that will just become a constant conversation. As your goals change, your spouse’s may change as well. As you improve your finances, make sure your partner is still on the same page as you. Make an effort to check in with each other each month to make sure you’re working towards both of your goals.

Increase your income

7. Start a side hustle

Your main income is great, but having a side income can really help with your financial goals! Don’t know where to start? Think of things you already love to do – crocheting, working on cars, spending time with pets… chances are someone has already come up with a way to monetize it! Think of how you can monetize one of your hobbies so your side hustle can also be something you enjoy doing!

8. Work towards a promotion

Nine times out of ten, a promotion leads to an increase in income. Make sure you are an absolute stellar employee – make it into work on time, finish your tasks in a timely manner, and make sure all the work you do is done with integrity. Then, when a spot above you has opened up, make it known to your manager that you are interested. Work hard and your work will speak for itself!

9. Work towards and negotiate a raise

Sometimes a promotion just isn’t in the cards. That doesn’t mean you can skip asking for a raise. Make your case as to why you deserve a raise, do your research on the average salaries for job titles closest to yours, and have an honest conversation with your manager. Warning – this only works for great employees, not just any employee. Just because you want to improve your finances doesn’t mean you deserve a raise.

10. Sell some stuff

Got a ton of unused clothing, appliances, toys, etc. lying around? Donate the stuff that is already in poor condition and sell the stuff that is still in great quality! eBay is a great place to start, but there’s nothing wrong with a good ol’ fashioned garage sale. The extra cash will come in handy as you improve your finances.

Expense control

11. Give up just one thing

I’m not asking you to give up cable, coffee, soda, AND gift giving all at once (although – more power to you if you want to)! Start small – what’s one expense, big or small, you can go without for all of 2017? For me – I’m going to cut back hard on eating out. Speaking of eating out…

12. Eat out less

It’s no secret that eating out often can do a lot of damage to your waistline. But it also does a ton of damage to your wallet! I’m not saying you should eliminate eating out completely – just cut back! Juan and I are going to stick to eating out only twice a week (this is a huge step back from our normal 5-7 days a week)!

13. Find another commute option

For us 9-5ers, a commute can really make or break the budget. Take a look at what you spend now on your commute (gas, toll, train fare, etc.) and look up other options available to you. Keep in mind the cheapest option may not be the best in terms of time spent, so make sure you take into account all things – not just the price tag.

14. Cut out cable

*gasp* I know, how dare I say these words??? But let’s face it, y’all – cable is expensive! With Netflix and Hulu being at extremely affordable rates, the case for still having cable is starting to dwindle. For us, the hardest part will be finding ways to watch our Golden State Warriors and other sports broadcasting. But other than that, Netflix and Hulu usually does the trick for our TV fix.

Beef up your savings

15. Seriously, get an emergency fund

I don’t care if you’re in deep debt – get yourself a freaking emergency fund! If you don’t have on yet, building one this year will greatly improve your finances. You are not invincible and Murphy loves visiting those who aren’t prepared. Even if it’s just $1,000, it’s a great start and better than nothing.

16. Set up a personal escrow account

You know those annoying expenses that don’t happen every single month and surprise you whenever they do pop up? Setting up a personal escrow account will prepare you for all of those expenses. Pair it with automatic savings and you don’t even have to think about it!

17. Start saving for retirement

I don’t care how young you are – it’s never, ever too early to start saving for retirement! No one ever said, “Man, I really wished I waited longer until I started saving for retirement”. For starters, look and see if your employer offers a free match to your contributions into your company sponsored retirement plan. Basically – your employer will put money into your retirement plan for free as long as you’re also putting in money! Take advantage of that free money!

So there you have it – 17 things you can work on to improve your finances this year! You don’t have to do all of them – in fact, I suggest choosing just one or two of these things. Focus on a few goals at a time and you’ll be well on your way to financial peace.

What are your financial goals for 2017?

AMDG,
Lisa

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