July 2018 Debt Payoff Report

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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10 Ways Finances and Fitness are Alike

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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June Student Loan Payoff Details

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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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How to Cash Flow a Major Purchase

Cash flow, money, cash

Everyone’s idea of a major purchase is different based on their income, cash flow, spending habits, etc. Major purchases can be $100, $500, $1000, $5000 and the amounts keep going up. Before making any major purchase, I always advise to sleep on it and give it at least one day. So, walk out of the store, maybe take a picture of it to refer back to or close out the internet browser. Because you will be surprised that sometimes by walking away, you realize that you don’t really want/need the item and you almost made an expensive impulse purchase.

Below I will walk through 5 steps to cash flowing a major purchase instead of creating debt to purchase it.

1st: Can you cash flow this purchase outside of your allocated emergency saving fund with your regular income? If so, easy peasy – make your purchase with cash/debit card. Don’t use a credit card because of the easy monthly payments or 0% financing.

2nd: Determine the purchase amount and set a goal (timeframe) to make the purchase. For example, you want to purchase a $1200 item in the next 12 months.

3rd: Start saving for your major purchase. Save in a bank account separate from your main bank account. Out of sight, out of mind. Bonus points if you can specifically label the account. Example: 2019 Vacation, Dream Wedding, House Downpayment, New Cell Phone, etc. Then set up automatic deposits to the established account and also add any monetary gifts from your birthday, Christmas, etc. to help you reach your goal faster.

4th: Be patient, time will pass and soon you will reach your goal without going into debt or making monthly payments on it. Patience is a must, otherwise being impatient could cause you to go into debt to have it right now.

5th. Finally- Once the allocated time has passed, proudly make your purchase (if you still want it 😊) and another bonus (5b) – attempt to negotiate the price. Everything is negotiable and if you are told, “No” I am sure it isn’t the first time you were told No and it won’t be the last. Also, what if they do lower the price and you spend lower than the amount you saved! Jackpot!

Feel free to stop right here unless you want to hear how I recently did this.

Recently, I made a major purchase:

Apple, MacBookPro, Openbox

Recently, I purchased an Open Box MacBook Pro for $1217.09 (out the door), which I’ve been planning to purchase for at least a year. The money was saved using a specific bank account via Capital One 360 labeled, “New Mac Computer”. Once I reached my savings goal of $1600 to cash flow my purchase, it was time to make the purchase. However, I still charged my computer on a credit card! GASP! Stay tuned to see why 😊

Thankfully the need for a new computer wasn’t immediate because my current Dell computer still worked. Granted it was slow at times and always updating but it still worked so that allowed me some time to save the money. (I found that when I’m not pressured or have an immediate need for an item I make wiser financial decisions.)

Being patient and taking time to decide on my purchase was a plus so I could decide which Apple computer I wanted. I was stuck between the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air.

Since, I budgeted to spend $1500 on the computer, I saved $1600 to cover the cost and taxes with a plan to purchase within a year. Example: $1600 saved over 12 months is $133.33 a month/$61.54 every 2 weeks/$30.77 every week. To make the plan automatic and easy, I set up an automatic draft of $40 every week to this account. I also deposited any gifts to this account (birthday, Christmas, etc) Note: You could also save cash in a cash envelope but I am not a big advocate for keeping large sums of cash in my home but that’s totally up to you.

Tick. Tock. Those months started to pass by and my new computer account started to grow. I waited until Best Buy had a sale and went in the store to purchase it. Then, I noticed that they an Open Box MacBook Pro in Excellent Certified Condition (Which took another $65 off the sale price) and I also asked to see if they could do any better on the open box price and the manager surprisingly took an additional 5% off! So bonus points for negotiating a lower price! The total with taxes came up to $1267.09 and I had a $50 gift card so I ended up paying $1217.09.

So, Why did I purchase my computer with a credit card?

Prior to making my purchase, I did some research and realized that if I purchased my computer with my Citi Card, Citi would extend the 1 year standard warranty to 3 years. So that is why I purchased the computer with my credit card but paid the card off a few days later after I transferred the money from my Capital One 360 to my Main Bank Account. However, I don’t encourage using credit cards unless you know you can and will pay the balance off in full when the statement arrives or even before it arrives.

Biggest Lesson:

Be patient because the time will pass, you’ll meet your goal and you’ll proudly make your purchase knowing that you are cash flowing it without creating additional debt or having a balance looming over your head.

Let me know of any comments or questions.

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May 2018 Debt Payoff and YTD Totals

debt, money, payoff debt

Paying off debt isn’t fun but it is fun to see the balances decrease, especially when the balance FINALLY reaches ZERO.

With this post, I am playing catch up and then going forward these posts will be current and come on the first of the Month to show the prior month’s debt payoff progress. 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.

When 2018 started, I had one credit card that had an expiring special interest rate so I paid it off in January. Then starting in February and going forward, the only debt (*besides mortgage) that I have are student loans. I have 6 student loan groups to be exact.

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 group 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 the last two loan groups when 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, eventhough 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.

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

Which brings us to this Month. May, where I paid off $2000.00, this was a stretch but was able to be done since I received 3 paychecks this month and really watched my discretionary spending in the areas of eating out and shopping. I’m pretty happy that I was able to make additional payments totaling $2000.00 and can’t wait for the balance to be updated on Nelnet’s website.

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

Sugar and Money for the Month of May

Sugar for the Month- a beach trip for Memorial Day Weekend which we only had to cover our roundtrip gas and $80 in food. Thankfully, a family member invited us so we had a free place to stay and most meals covered. Defintely sweet living in my book.

Money for the Month- Paid off a total of $2000 on Group D Student Loan. Also met Dennis Kimbro at the Black Expo In Columbia, SC where I was able to hear him speak, snap a picture and get my book signed. Lastly, I finished reading, “Richest Man in Babylon”.

Now Let’s Imagine… What could I have done with $2000 if it didn’t go toward debt…

Sugar – I can purchase a single “The Runway VIP Experience” ticket to Beyonce’s concert in Columbia, SC for $1995.00 (not including taxes and fees) Which would include:

One premium reserved ticket in sections along the Runway,* access to an intimate backstage tour-go behind the scenes and ask select members of the JAY-Z AND BEYONCÉ OTR II crew what it takes to put this elaborate production together (tour led by your VIP Concierge), one VIP parking space per order, exclusive access to the pre-show VIP Lounge, limited edition JAY-Z AND BEYONCÉ OTR II VIP gift item, & more!*

Money – Start funding a Roth IRA with a deposit of $2000 toward the 2018 contribution limit of $5500.00.

Next Steps with Debt Payoff:

Currently targeting Group D with a balance of $2,700.00 and my current overall balance on my student loans is now under $50,000. So, Bye Bye $50’s, Hello $40’s!

Let me know of any questions or comments about my first debt payoff report! Thank you so much for reading and all of your support!

 

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