Tag Archives: debt

Starting Over, Again

Starting Over, Again

Starting Over, Again

Yes, I’m starting over.

It’s been almost a year since my last post.

I’ve taken hiatuses from this blog before but this time, I thought this was the end. My last post was a net worth update and I was crushin’ it! My credit card debt was almost gone, my savings were going up and up, everything was all good in the hood.

Then life happened. And now, I’m starting over.

In the midst of wedding planning, family stuff, and just life in general, this blog became a very low priority. Unfortunately, my finances went down the priority ladder along with it.

I was too embarrassed to come back and write about money when my money situation has totally veered off the path I wanted it to take. I feel like I’ve taken several hundred steps backwards in my financial journey and I didn’t want to tell anyone about it.

After all, how can someone who writes about financial independence and her hate of credit card debt have any credibility on a personal finance blog when she still has growing debt? Who in the world would listen to a girl who just keeps making mistake after mistake after mistake with her finances?

Well, I’m hoping you are listening. I’ve decided that I’m not writing for those who are already well on their way to financial freedom. I’m not writing for those who have completely tackled their debt and are free from those shackles.

No, I’m writing for someone like me. Someone who is early on in their financial journey. Someone who is just getting a grasp of what it means to want financial freedom. Someone who keeps making mistake after mistake. I’m writing for those who need to hear that starting over is okay and giving up isn’t.

No one is perfect. A lot of the blogs out there will show you a perfect plan that they followed step by step and how they’re completely crushing it with their finances. They are well on their way to millions in the bank, but I’m still here sitting in debt.

And that’ s okay. I’m writing for those who are starting over. Those who had a plan – heck, maybe several plans – and still feel like they’re 1,000 steps behind. Those who don’t even have a plan, who have no idea where to start.

If you don’t want to read about an imperfect person’s journey to financial freedom – cringe-worthy mistakes, stumbles, falls, and all – then I suggest that this is the last post you read of mine.

But if you want comfort in the fact that hey, not everyone in this world has got it all figured out yet, that at least one other person is starting over, then this is the place to be.

I hope you’ll stick around. Heck – I hope I’ll stick around 🙂

AMDG,
Lisa

Debt is Not Forever

#DebtIsNotForever is a month long campaign that Jackie over at The Debt Myth has started. I'm cutting it real close with this one, but a lot of my fellow pf bloggers have joined in on this movement and I don't want to miss it!

Debt is Not Forever

When I think of my debt, I get overwhelmed. A lot of the time, I feel like I’m literally drowning in my debt.

My credit card debt still exists, even though I’ve paid it off “for good” several times already.

My student loans are slowing taking my money each month and they’re sticking around for much longer than I wanted them to.

My car loan is not so slowly draining my account each month and it has me locked in for another 3 years.

And please, don’t get me started on my mortgage.

Debt is Not Forever

Pay days are easily the most bittersweet days of the month for me. Sweet, because I’m so happy to see what I’ve earned. I work hard every day at my job and it’s nice to see the real rewards. Bitter, because the money doesn’t sit in my own bank account for too long before it gets sent away to my debts.

This cycle happens every 15th and last day of the month, and it’s a real rollercoaster of emotions for me. At the end of pay day, I’m mentally exhausted and exasperated. I literally feel like I’m drowning and I’m barely staying afloat.

But that’s the thing. I feel like I’m drowning, but the reality is – I’m staying afloat. The light at the end of the tunnel is so incredibly tiny at this point. But the great thing is that the end is there.

I may feel like I’m drowning now. But I know that there will be a day where I’ll be out of the water, lounging on a beach, sipping my Mai Tai, and basking in debt freedom.

I’ve stopped saving for my wedding. I’ve cut back considerably on eating out and entertainment expenses. Sacrifices have to be made in order for me to get out of debt for good. Whenever I feel like it’s too much to give up, I remind myself of how freaking good it will feel when that first pay day comes around and there’s no one left to pay but myself.

Whenever I feel like I’m drowning, I close my eyes and tell myself:

Let’s be realistic – the end of my debt is not near. But the end definitely exists. My debt is not forever!

And all of a sudden, I’m overcome with relief and motivation to keep on keepin’ on.

Debt is not forever, my friends.

How are you doing on your debt journey? What motivates you to keep on fighting?

AMDG,
Lisa

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

Links Lisa Likes – Carnival of Financial Planning

Hi everyone! Welcome to this week’s Carnival of Financial Planning!

Want to be featured in a future Carnival of Financial Planning? You can submit articles at Blogger Carnivals.

Let’s get on to this week’s links!

BUDGETING AND ECONOMICS

Mr.CBB @ Canadian Budget Binder writes Financial Decision Making Steps Some Take As A Last Resort – Financial decision-making based on situational circumstances sometimes force people to take steps in their lives that they’d rather not face.

Jerry @ Sooner Finance writes Why Does Getting a Loan Hurt Your Credit Score? – It’s pretty well-known that applying for and taking on a loan can hurt your credit at first, but why exactly?

Natalie @ Debt and The Girl writes A Secret Career Confession – Last week a friend of mine was looking for people that wanted to do a little acting for a video that was being produced for the company he works for.

Maria @ The Money Principle writes Three gifts for men to get your gift ideas factory going – Men are awkward customers. I can say this because I am a man and I empathise with anyone who has ever endured the frustrating quandary of what gifts for men to get for friends or loved ones.

Danielle @ TeacHer Finance writes Why Bargains Aren’t Always Such a Bargain – Here is some sage and simple advice; never purchase anything just because it is a bargain.

Alexa @ Defeat Our Debt writes How to Get Rid of Debt on Your Own – There is no easy way to get rid of debt. You have several options, each come with their own set of pros and cons. Here is how to get rid of debt on your own.

Larry @ KrantCents writes If You Were Boss – What would you do if you were boss? What if you were boss of the company you work for?

Aaron @ Aaron Hung writes Facts you really need to know about your 401(k) – If you have a 401(k) plan through your employer there are a number of things that you really need to know about it in order to take advantage of it as much as possible.

Marissa @ Thirty Six Months writes Unemployed Financial Management – Losing your job can be a very difficult and stressful time. It is, however, vital that you take the right steps to secure your finances as soon as you become unemployed.

Sam @ The New Business Blog writes 5 Top Apps for Entrepreneurs – If you are a busy entrepreneur you already have your hands full with a million different things that need to be done.

Lily @ Paying Debt Down writes Is Data Mining a fair way to set Insurance Rates? – With computer technology advancing by leaps and bounds, it is no surprise that insurance companies have started using sophisticated software to help them determine what rates to charge their customers.

Andrea @ So Over This writes Could You Live on Minimum Wage? – Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past the year it’s hard to miss the ongoing debate over minimum wage!

Amy @ Money Mishaps writes The biggest threat to Retirees’ nest-eggs? Their Mortgage – What is the biggest threat hanging over the head of many older Americans heading towards retirement?

Danielle @ Saving Without a Budget writes Lock Up Credit Card Safety with the coming Card Control App – One of the most vulnerable points that credit cards have is that, since they are always on, they can always be used by criminals who somehow get access to their data.

Oscar @ Money is the Root writes Borrowing Money? Avoid using these 2 Methods – While it is certainly true that everyone needs money, sometimes it is rather hard to find if you need extra money quickly.

Evan @ The Smaller Dollar writes Top 3 Tips for a Frugal Road Trip – A road trip is generally more frugal than a plane flight since plane tickets, parking, baggage fees, and rental cars generally dwarf just filling up with gas every several hundred miles but there are some key steps you can take to really make your next road trip a frugal one.

 

CAREER AND INCOME

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves writes How To Teach Your 5 year Old About Money. – We do a poor job of teaching our kids about money in this country. In order to get my kid started in the right direction I set up the following system.

Hank @ Money Q&A writes 3 Surefire Ways To Get Ahead At Work – Looking to get ahead at work and in your career? At work, think of yourself like a CIA agent. Gather intelligence wherever and whenever you can, and get inside the mind of your boss.

Mark Ross @ Money Saving Dude writes 8 Ways How To Make More Money In Your Free Time – The good thing when it comes to making money today is that you can do it in your free time, and you don’t even have to get a second job. Here are eight different ways you can do today that can help you make more money in your free time. Check them out now!

 

DEBT AND CREDIT

Don @ Money Reasons writes When Debt is a Good Thing – Borrowing rates are low, and in this article I’m going to demonstrate that sometimes debt is a good thing! I’m only half way through, and already I win!

TW @ Tightwad Travelers writes Liquidating Visa Gift Cards – Find out how to be a travel hacker with Visa Gift Cards

Mr. 4HWD @ The Four Hour Work Day writes The Fastest Way to Increase Wealth: Want Less – Personal finance often serve as great resources for those seeking to build wealth and improve their financial standing. The best bloggers offer practical advice and actionable tips while creating a welcoming community for anyone interested in money matters.

 

INVESTING AND SAVING

Don @ MoneySmartGuides writes 4 Ways To Save On Internet Costs – The internet is considered a need for many people. But, the internet can cost a pretty penny.

Dominique Brown @ YourFinancesSimplified writes Your Financial Relationships: Should We Have Separate Bank Accounts? – This post is part of our Your Financial Relationships series. This series is designed to help you discover the financial topics you should discuss with your significant other in order to have a financially healthy relationship.

Michelle @ The Shop My Closet Project writes You might not have a job problem but a life problem – This post was originally going to be called -A funny thing happened on the way to quitting my job.- For those of you who have read my blog for awhile (and thanks for being patient while I took a long needed break) you know that I have expressed for awhile a deep rooted dissatisfaction with my job. I had written about my disturbing longevity in my job, my loathing of my commute (it’s a long one), and my lack of a social life.

JP @ My Family Finances writes Where can I collect Avios? – Joining the Avios reward scheme may be the perfect way for you to treat yourself and your loved ones, without having to break the bank too much.

Tony @ We Only Do This Once writes The Inverted Pyramid Model – Managing finances is a skill that takes time and experience to master; the inverted pyramid model allows you to prioritize your finances.

PK @ Don’t Quit Your Day Job… writes A Dividend Reinvestment Calculator for Any Stock – This calculator has the nifty ability to calculate what 15,000 different stocks would have returned, if all dividends were reinvested. We also added a mode for you to calculate returns with dollar cost averaging!

Kurt Fischer @ Money Counselor writes Investor Sheep to Slaughter Again? – Many swore off stocks after the 2008 calamity that cancelled retirement for millions. Now Wall Street’s siren song is luring investors back into the market.

 

RISK MANAGEMENT AND INSURANCE

JP @ My Family Finances writes 5 Reasons That Your Employer Should Have Group Insurance Benefits – Everything from attaining a group insurance quote, to establishing insurance and deciding on good insurance policies is relatively easy and the benefits of group insurance far outweighs any of the perceived negatives.

 

REAL ESTATE AND PROPERTY

Crystal @ Married (with Debt) writes 5-Year Progress Check – I have made decent progress over the past several years in managing my finances better. How much better you might ask? Let’s take a look.

Lenny @ Best Money Saving Blog writes Financial Aid Tips for the Uninitiated – If you are the parent of a child in high school that is rapidly approaching college age, chances are that you have just been introduced to the numbers game that is financial aid.

 

RETIREMENT AND TAXATION

IMB @ Investing Money writes Is France Totally Bankrupt? – Is France a bankrupt country? Examining the pros and cons of the economy of France.

Erastus @ Sprout Wealth writes What Investments Should I Invest in My 401k? – Are you in the position of not knowing where to start with your 401k? Your 401k can be a great way to save money for retirement. I hope this post will help get you started investing in your 401k.

Happy Friday the 13th, y’all! Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

AMDG,
Lisa