debt

August Debt Payoff Report

August was a great month because I paid off another Student Loan Group. Yes! Student Loan Group D bit the dust. When this loan was disbursed to me in college, it had a balance of $4,934.00 but due to interest that accrued while I was on the Income Based Repayment plan (that didn’t cover all the interest) an additional $1,151.24 was added or as the student loan people like to say, “capitalized”. So a balance of $4,934 became $6,085.24

Income Based Repayment Plan: This is where your monthly payments will be either 10 or 15 percent of your discretionary income (depending on when you received your first loans), but never more than you would have paid under the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan.

Capitalization: This occurs when the lender adds the interest to the principal balance of the loan. Then the capitalized interest becomes principal.

When I started targeting this loan in May of 2018, the balance was $5,901.05 ultimately it took about 3 months to pay if off.

Drum Roll Please

My payoff for the month of August wasn’t as large as other months but progress is still progress. I paid off an additional $425.00 this month which paid off Loan Group D and started the payoff process of Loan Group H which is starting with a balance of $5,889.34. The goal for paying off Loan Group D is December 31, 2018.

Just Say No

As with all months, there were somethings that I had to say no to but it was completely fine and life still went on. I don’t believe that you can yes to everything, everyone, every event and still achieve your financial goals. Therefore, the following things received a no from me:

  1. Recommended car repair of $700.00
  2. Taco Crawl event – $100 because of event cost and cost of babysitter
  3. On the Run Tour with Beyonce’ and Jay-Z – $100-$200

Debt Recap

Currently I only have student loans and a mortgage – 5 student loans to be exact and at one point I had 10. The snowball method is the current strategy for paying off my student loans.  I pay the minimum required payment on my student loans via monthly auto debit and then throw all remaining money on the student loan with the lowest balance. This plan will continue until I get down to the last two loan groups. When I get to the last two loans and will have one loan with a 2.125% percentage rate and one with a 6.3% percentage rate. I will pay off the 6.3% interest rate loan first and then the 2.125% interest rate loan, even though the balance will be lower on the 2.125% loan. Therefore, the last two loans will be paid off using the avalanche method. The avalanche method is where you pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. This will save me some money on interest.

How do I pay on a specific loan group?

When making monthly payments on my student loans, I pay the extra money by group and my servicer is Nelnet. Nelnet provides an option to pay by group. Of course, any accrued interest would be paid first and the remainder will go toward the loan’s principal. Sometimes I make large payments, usually around payday and other times I make small random snowflake payments. August payments looked like a month of snowflakes:

3rd 16.95

9th 200.22 – This paid off Loan Group D

15th 110.00

27th 82.83

28th $242.58 (Standard monthly payment – not included in payoff total)

29th 15.00

 

2018 Numbers and Progress YTD:

January – $2450.00 – Last Credit Card Payoff!

February – $900 .00– Paid off Student Loan Group G. YAY!

March -$126.00 – Cash flowed a beach house rental for April, purchased spring/summer items and cash flowed some other expenses that came up. Honestly, just did a lot of spending this month.

April -$899.00- I planned to pay $1000 but I didn’t fully submit the payment so it was added to May’s payoff amount.

May – $2000.00 – This payment put me under the $50,000 mark! It was great to see $49K….

June – $1175.12 – I set a goal to pay off $1350.00 and honestly, I am a little disappointed that I did not meet that goal. Even though, I was only off by $174.88, I was still off! But now I am super focused to meet my goal for July – which will include the payoff of a loan group so there will be strict budgeting for July and saying, “No” to more events and non-essential shopping. However, I am a real believer of making  short-term sacrifices now for long term successes in the future.

July – $1200 – I set a goal to pay off $1447.83 – Which would have paid off Group D and it was a stretch but I wanted to try. Group D will definitely get paid off in August.

August – $425.00 – Group D paid off and started on Group H and my total balance is under $47,000.

The numbers reflected show payments made above the minimum payment required.  The payoff amounts show actual debt reduction.

Sugar and Money for the Month of July

Sugar for the Month- Moments with my family and friends to include a family beach trip to Isle of Palms, brunch boat ride with friends and rewarding myself with the 2019 Erin Condren Deluxe Planner!

Money for the Month – Paid off $425

Now Let’s Imagine… What could I have done with $425 if it didn’t go toward debt…

Sugar – We would have went to see the On the Run Tour in Atlanta, GA and made a weekend trip out of it.

Money – Continue funding the imaginary Roth IRA that I would have opened in May. I could add $425 to it and I would only be $700 away from the 2018 contribution limit of $5500.00.

 

payoff

In Conclusion:

For the month of August, I paid off $425 from my student loans and I know the number could have been higher. However, every month won’t be a high payoff month in the sugar and money household because some months there will be more sweet living than paying off debt. I’m currently targeting Group H which now has a balance of $5,783.64. My current total balance on my student loans is now $46,771.17 – Under $47,000! I remember when my balance was $61,000.

A Question for you and Thanks…

Do you have any Student Loan Debt? If so, how much and do you have a plan in place to pay it off? Do you even plan to pay it off? Are you on a repayment plan?

Thank you so much for reading and all of your support!

Recommended books to get you started paying off debt and taking charge of your personal finances:

The Richest Man in Babylon

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Girl, Get Your Money Straight: A Sister’s Guide to Healing Your Bank Account and Funding Your Dreams in 7 Simple Steps

Rich Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together.Finally

My blog on creating a budget and setting a monthly goal:

How to Create a Budget in 6 Easy Steps

Budget

Creating a budget in 6 easy steps is the perfect way to know the ins and outs of your money. You will be able to see your income and expenses to know exactly where your money is going. A budget will keep you from wondering where your money went. A budget will also tell your money where to go. So, let’s dive in…

Step #1: Grab your desired tools to make your first budget. I recommend a pen, paper and a calculator – Or if you are fancy, feel free to create an excel spreadsheet and build in the necessary formulas or create a digital budget online with an app like Mint or EveryDollar.

However, I always recommend to manually write out your first budget because there is just something about putting pen to paper and making the necessary subtractions, additions, doodles, etc. This is how you really FEEL the numbers and the process.

Step #2: Start with A Goal! At the top of your sheet of paper/budget write out your goal for creating this budget.

Examples of Goals: Determine where every dollar of my income is going. Find any money leaks because I feel like I make enough money but still come up short before the end of the month. Determine how much I am actually spending on shopping, eating out, etc. Find an area I can cut back on so I can save more money, cash flow a vacation or pay more money toward my personal debt.

Now it is time for the numbers

written budget

Step #3 List out all of your Income (All sources: Paychecks, business income, side hustles, etc.)

If you have inconsistent income take the average of 3 months and use that as your income.

Example: In the last 3 months your income was: $2000 (month one), $1000 (month two) and $1500 (month three). To find the average you will add up all of the income and then divide by how many months there are. So, $4500 (sum of all numbers) / 3 (amount of numbers or months) = $1500. $1500 would be the average and therefore use that amount as your average monthly income to budget off of. If during the month you are budgeting for  your income is higher than your average then the additional income can be applied toward your goal or rolled into next month. This is great way to handle additional income since your income is inconsistent and you based your budget off of a lower number.

Step #4 List and add up all your monthly necessary expenses then subtract them from your income

Non-Discretionary expenses are the expenses that are absolutely due each month: Housing, Electricity, Water, Sewer, Trash, Insurance (life, car, medical, long term disability, etc. – if these aren’t deducted from your paycheck)

Other necessities to include:

Gas/fuel/ transportation costs

Childcare/Afterschool

Grocery/food

Pay your future self fund – because you need to save for your future self – so pay yourself just like you pay a bill

Debt Minimums: Credit Card(s)/Personal Loans/Car Loan/Student Loans/Medical debt, etc. (It would be great if this number was zero)

Stop here and see what you are left with…circle or highlight that amount

Take a moment and look at what amount of money you have left after covering your non-discretionary expenses because everything in the next step are expenses that are discretionary and are what you have control of. This is an area in your budget where you can possibly eliminate items or reduce amounts spent in this area.

Step #5 List and add up all of your discretionary expenses and then subtract them from the last number you calculated.

Discretionary expenses are flexible and sometimes optional. This is where you can find money to help you achieve your financial goals like growing your savings account, adding to retirement, putting more money toward debt, etc.

Entertainment categories like dining out

Gifts

Vacations

Personal care (hair care/styling, manicure, pedicure, waxing, grooming)

Clothes

Cable

Subscriptions and Memberships

Step #6 Clap for yourself because you have successfully created your very own budget.

Fingers crossed your budget ends in the “black” with a positive number meaning you have some money left over. If you end up in the “red” with a negative number then you have some more work to do. Time to think about… can you cut out an expense, cancel a subscription, reduce spending in a certain area, pick up overtime or pick up a side hustle to put you in the “black” because you don’t want to come up short.

“Tell Your Money Exactly Where to Go and You’ll Not Wonder Where It Went”

Conclusion:

Have a goal for your monthly budget then get to work by adding up your income and subtracting your expenses from your income.

Good News – you got a positive number so you have money left to attack your goal.

Bad News – you have a negative number so you will need to revisit your expenses and see where you can cut back because if you have a short fall, either something isn’t going to get paid or you may end up going into debt to make ends meet. Another awesome option is to make more money. Especially if you don’t want to cut back or you simply can’t cut back anymore so you will have to bring in more income to cover the gap.

And now the best part! Stick to the budget you created so you will know where your money is going and then start to smash your financial goals! I know the word budget has a negative connotation but it is truly the only way that you will know where all of your money is going.

Thank You and Please comment with your thoughts surrounding budgets. Do you create one? Why or Why not? Do you have any questions about making a budget?

 

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payoff

July 2018 Debt Payoff Report

At times July seemed to creep by and then BAM it was over! With July came the normal expenses but also a birthday and an anniversary gift but nothing too far fetched. I did say No to few things that if I wasn’t in debt, I would have definitely said Yes to. This month, I set a big goal – which was to pay off the remainder of Student Loan Group D! At the beginning of July the balance was $1447.83 and being the goal orientated person that I am, I set out to pay it off this month. I admit $1447.83 in a month would be a stretch but I was up to the challenge. A constant thought of mine is that each day, each payment, each month is just getting me closer to be Magical Land of Student Loan Debt Freedom!

Drumroll please…

It pains me to write this but I didn’t pay the targeted Student Loan Group off. The goal was big and ultimately proved to be a little too big. However, I did pay off $1200 of that balance and I am definitely proud of that. Which leaves me approximately $247.83 away from paying off Group D and I will pay that off on August 9, 2018 – first thing in the morning, as soon as the direct deposit hits my account!

Just Say No

There was only one big thing that I said No to this month and it was that one of my friends renewed her wedding vows in Jamaica and yes, I wanted to go but said No. Last year the planning started and initially I said Yes to the trip.  There was a payment plan available and an all inclusive trip to Jamaica with friends sounded awesome but I just knew that each of those payments could go towards my loans so ultimately we decided to not take the trip. I also said No to a few things that I wanted out of Target because I didn’t truly need any of those items so they stayed in the store. Honestly, I know I could have said No to more things in July (like eating out) which would have possibly allowed me to pay off Group D but no need to beat myself up about it now.

I have found that saying No is getting easier and easier when the event or item is taking away from my goals.  I also know that saying No is a short term sacrifice for the long term success that I am setting myself up for. Of course, I am not perfect. True friends and family understand why I am saying No. Since, I am weighed down with $47,000 in student loan debt and I want to get out of it as soon as possible, I have to say NO sometimes now so I can say YES to more things later.

Debt Recap

Currently I only have Student Loans (no car loan/no revolving credit card debt, but we do have a mortgage) – 6 loans to be exact and at one point I had 10. The snowball method is the current strategy for paying off my student loans.  I pay the minimum required payment on my student loans via monthly auto debit and then throw all remaining money on the student loan with the lowest balance. This plan will continue until I get down to the last two loan groups. Then I will have one loan with a 2.125% percentage rate and one with a 6.3% percentage rate.  At that point, I will pay off the 6.3% interest rate loan first and then the 2.125% interest rate loan, even though the balance will be lower on the 2.125% loan. Therefore, the last two loans will be paid off using the avalanche method. The avalanche method is where you pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. This will save me some money on interest.

How do I pay on a specific loan group?

When making monthly payments on my student loans, I pay the extra money by group and my servicer is Nelnet. Nelnet provides an option to pay by group. Of course, any accrued interest would be paid first and the remainder will go toward the loan’s principal. Sometimes I make large payments, usually around payday and other times I make small random snowflake payments. July payments looked like this:

5th $30.00

12th $500.00

16th $21.57

20th $15.40

27th $586.36

28th $279.27 (Standard monthly payment – not included in payoff total)

31st $46.67

 

2018 Numbers and Progress YTD:

January – $2450.00 – Last Credit Card Payoff!

February – $900 .00– Paid off Student Loan Group G. YAY!

March -$126.00 – Cash flowed a beach house rental for April, purchased spring/summer items and cash flowed some other expenses that came up. Honestly, just did a lot of spending this month.

April -$899.00- I planned to pay $1000 but I didn’t fully submit the payment so it was added to May’s payoff amount.

May – $2000.00 – This payment put me under the $50,000 mark! It was great to see $49K….

June – $1175.12 – I set a goal to pay off $1350.00 and honestly, I am a little disappointed that I did not meet that goal. Even though, I was only off by $174.88, I was still off! But now I am super focused to meet my goal for July – which will include the payoff of a loan group so there will be strict budgeting for July and saying, “No” to more events and non-essential shopping. However, I am a real believer of making  short-term sacrifices now for long term successes in the future.

July – $1200 – I set a goal to pay off $1447.83 – Which would have paid off Group D and it was a stretch but I wanted to try. Group D will definitely get paid off in August.

The numbers reflected show payments made above the minimum payment required to show actual debt reduction.

Sugar and Money for the Month of July

Sugar for the Month- Moments with my family. We purchased a membership to our local zoo so we started taking advantage of the membership immediately. We enjoyed watching, “Lion King” at the zoo’s amphitheater and also visited the zoo on a separate day to see all the animals. I went to a comedy show with my Mom and cousin AND my husband and I squeezed in 2 date nights! July was filled with great experiences.

Money for the Month – Paid off $1200 and even cashed in some coins to help with my debt payoff. I attempted to sell some children’s items to a local store but the offer was to low to accept.

Now Let’s Imagine… What could I have done with $1200 if it didn’t go toward debt…

Sugar – A Vacation! There is no doubt about it, we would have loved to take a vacation during the month of July.

Money – Continue funding the imaginary Roth IRA that I would have opened in May. I could add $1200 to it and I would only be $1125 away from the 2018 contribution limit of $5500.00.

In Conclusion:

For the month of July, I paid off $1200 from my student loans. I am currently targeting Group D which now has a balance of $247.83. My current total balance on my student loans is now $47,278.

As always the goal is to be as transparent as possible without disclosing our income. After all, it’s not how much money you make but how much you save, spend, give and invest.

A Question for you and Thanks!

Do you have Student Loan Debt? If so, how much and do you have a plan in place to pay it off?

Thank you so much for reading and all of your support!

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finances, fitness

Recently, I started back working out and eating better to get some weight off but to also have an overall healthier lifestyle. One day in spin class it came to me that my debt free journey and physical fitness journey are very alike. I didn’t always think they aligned so much but they do. I have listed 10 ways below:

10 Ways Finances and Fitness are Alike

 1. It’s going to take time.

You didn’t gain the 20 or 30 pounds overnight and you won’t wake up 20 or 30 pounds lighter after one salad and cardio session. Which is the same thing with paying off debt or building a saving account, you won’t reach your goal with one payment or deposit but all journeys start with taking the first step.

 2. You must decide.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Nothing happens until you decide” which I read in Oprah Winfrey’s book, “What I Know For Sure” (a really good book that I need to re-read) and that is very true with physical fitness and with finances. You have to decide that you want a change and you will do what it takes for that change to occur. 

3. You will have to say No – A lot!

Examples will be saying No to foods that are outside of your eating plan/diet. Saying No to things that are outside of your budget, unnecessary purchases, impulse buys, etc. You can’t continue to eat the same way that caused you to gain weight and just pray and hope that the weight falls off. Same with finances, you can’t keep spending more than you make or spending everything and not saving for a rainy day and expect to have a fat bank account or a thriving investment account. You will have to do the work for the weight to come off, debt to get paid off, savings account to grow, and that work will include saying No to some things.

4. Planning becomes very important.

You will start planning out your meals so you eat what you are supposed to eat- some people may call it eating based on your macro’s or maybe you are counting calories either way you will probably start packing your lunches and/or meal prepping. With your finances, planning can come in the form of creating your monthly budget and sticking to it. Scheduling time to review your budget and purchases. Some prefer the envelope method to control spending while others may prescribe to creating digital envelopes with multiple bank accounts. I love using my Erin Condren deluxe monthly planner for laying out my bill due dates and scheduled workouts.

 

planner, finances, debt, bills

5. Celebrate milestones.

Yes plan for celebrations when you reach a certain goal. Now don’t go overboard, but a small ice cream cone, slice of pizza or budgeting extra spending money for a Target run for something you’ve been eyeing could help you stay onboard. 

 6. Remember this is your personal journey.

Your journey is your journey and someone might be doing better than you but that’s okay. I can’t remember how many times I have been in a workout class and one of the other ladies is killing their workout, spinning faster than me, dancing harder and more on beat than me in Zumba or passing me while running laps. Guess what? It is going to happen but I don’t quit. It actually makes me go harder and realize that if she can do it, so can I. Same with paying off debt or seeing someone’s investment account numbers. They could be paying off debt faster than me, accumulating more wealth than me, etc but again that’s cool. Everyone’s journey is different but just stay focused on your journey and don’t you dare quit.

7. Don’t put it off any longer.

Plain and simple – the choices your present self make directly affects your future self. So make the needed changes now for Future You! You only have body and one life to get it right so start now. Think about “your retired self” and how you want to live.

8. Get an accountability partner.

It helps to have someone that you are accountable with. This person might workout with you at the gym or maybe you text them when you are thinking about making a bad food choice and they talk you out of it or suggest a healthier option. Same with your finances. Have someone that you can talk with about your finances because more times than not, your selected accountability partner will be happy that you asked because they need accountability also. They may have the same struggles you have or maybe they can solve a problem that you have. If you don’t want to talk to a friend then there are numerous Facebook groups that you can join for free for accountability or even Instagram because Instagram has a large community of people that talk finances, debt, weight loss, diet, etc.

 9. Write down your goals, create a plan and start!

Plain and simple write down your goals clearly and look at them often. Create your plan and then start. Two books that I recommend for creating a financial plan is, “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey and “Rich Bitch” by Nicole Lapin. However, remember my motto – Take what you need and leave what you don’t because I don’t believe that personal finance is one size fits all plan.

10. Don’t give up until you reach your goal.

I’ll say it again for the people in the back, DON’T GIVE UP UNTIL YOU REACH YOUR GOAL! If you give up then you will have to start over so you might take a break at times on the journey if you need to but DON’T GIVE UP!

BONUS: Follow the path of someone that has achieved what you are working to achieve.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel, they are numerous books on financial topics and also physical fitness/diet. There has to be a plan out there that will work for you or get you started on your journey. Just start researching online or head to the library or bookstore to read up on the appropriate topic to reach your desired goal.

 A few books that I like as it relates to finances:

Total Money Makeover

Rich Bitch

Girl, Get Your Money Straight

Richest Man in Babylon

Think and Grow Rich

One book that I like as it relates to physical health is:

The New Abs Diet

Only one because this is the one book that I followed in the past and helped me to lose 20 pounds in 6 weeks! So I always sing the praises of this book because it worked for me.

What do you think of a connection between personal finances and fitness?

Please subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already.

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debt

June 2018 Student Loan Payoff Details

Just like that another month has passed by and we are halfway through 2018. As each month passes, I can’t help but think that I am one month closer to having no student loan debt. I look forward to the magical land of ZERO balance. However, which each payment and each month there are hard decisions to be made. There were two big things that I said, “No” to. One was essentially a free trip to beach. We had a free place to stay but we would still have to cover gas, meals and any extras that might pop up. This was a hard decision to make because I love going to the beach, I mean L-O-V-E. The next “No” came when I declined a trip to Essence Festival in New Orleans and trust me, I wanted to go. However, when I considered the costs of my plane ticket, meals, concert tickets, transportation, etc – the decision was, “I will pass this year.”

Sometimes saying “No” is the easy part and the hard part really comes in the action. The action of making those extra payments. Because I don’t know of anyone that truly finds joy in paying off debt or I dare to say any bills – or is that just me. True it is a great feeling to make progress monthly towards becoming debt free and also knowing that your electricity, water and cell phone bill is paid but that doesn’t mean that you like paying bills. I would pick spending my income on experiences or investing over paying off debt any day but its good to know that the fun stuff will come soon.

If you are new to my debt payoff story – currently I only have Student Loans (not including mortgage) six loans to be exact and at one point I had ten. The strategy that I am using to pay off my student loans is the snowball method where I pay the minimum required payment  on all groups and then throw all remaining money on the student loan with the lowest balance. I plan to continue with the snowball method except for when I get down to the last two loan groups. Then I will have one loan with a 2.125% percentage rate and one with a 6.3% percentage rate.  In that case, I will pay off the 6.3%  interest rate loan first and then the 2.125% interest rate loan, even though the balance will be lower on the 2.125% loan. Therefore, the last two loans will be paid off using the avalanche method. The avalanche method is where you pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first. This will save money on interest.

2018 Numbers and Progress YTD:

January – $2450.00 – Credit Card Payoff!

February – $900 .00– Paid off Student Loan Group G. YAY!

March -$126.00 – Cash flowed a beach house rental for April, purchased spring/summer items and cash flowed some other expenses that came up. Honestly, just did a lot of spending this month.

April -$899.00- I planned to pay $1000 but I didn’t fully submit the payment so it was added to May’s payoff amount.

May – $2000.00 – This payment put me under the $50,000 mark! It was great to see $49K….

June – $1175.12 – I set a goal to pay off $1350.00 and honestly, I am a little disappointed that I did not meet that goal. Even though, I was only off by $174.88, I was still off! But now I am super focused to meet my goal for July – which will include the payoff of a loan group so there will be strict budgeting for July and saying, “No” to more events and non-essential shopping. However, I am a real believer of making short-term sacrifices now for long term successes in the future.

The numbers reflected show payments made above the minimum payment required to show actual debt reduction.

Sugar and Money for the Month of June

Sugar for the Month- a weekend trip to Atlanta for a women’s conference. The women’s conference was worth the ticket price and more (To save money, the ticket was purchased during an early bird special and the hotel stay was split with a friend) Personal development is definitely worth the cost.

My husband and I also took a weekend trip to Richmond, VA to celebrate a friend opening a store front for her boutique. Thankfully, we were able to stay with our friends for free and our main expenses was only food and gas. Celebrating with friends and a low cost weekend getaway is a win -win in my book.

Now Let’s Imagine… What could I have done with $1175.12 if it didn’t go toward debt…

Sugar – Two tickets to see the off Broadway theatre show “Hamilton” when it comes to Charlotte, NC in October, which would be right around the time of my birthday.

Money – Continue funding the imaginary Roth IRA that I would have opened in May. I could add $1175 to it and I would only be $2325 away from the 2018 contribution limit of $5500.00.

Next Steps with Debt Payoff:

Currently targeting Group D with a balance of $1,447.83 and my current overall balance on my student loans is now under $49,000. Hello $40’s and now I am gunning for the $30’s.

As always the goal is to be as transparent as possible but I won’t disclose our income. After all, it’s not how much money you make but how you spend what you make.

Feel free to share a sugar and/or money moment of the month below.

Let me know of any questions or comments and Thank you so much for reading and all of your support!

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