I’ve said many times that my goal this year is to pay off my highest interest student loan, which has a balance of a little over $6,000 at this point. I didn’t make any plan as to how much I would pay at a time, so that I would just pay it off as quickly as possible.
The problem is that I haven’t put any extra money (besides my monthly payments, which are $100 above the minimum) toward that loan at all so far this year. There are two reasons for this: Read the rest of this entry
Today is April 4th. On April 1st, I decided to start a 2 week spending freeze. I am not going to spend any money until April 15th.
Of course, that previous sentence is completely ridiculous. I’m going to spend money in this next two weeks. But I’m cutting all miscellaneous spending. That means that money will be spent on the following items only:
- Necessary groceries
January’s almost over, and most New Year’s Resolutions have been forgotten. I didn’t really have any specific “New Year’s” resolutions, but I did find myself finding a lot of great things I wanted to accomplish this year, right around the last week of last year. I found an awesome yoga challenge. I found a really cool reading challenge. I made too many grand plans to have time for.
But my main goal this year is to pay off my highest interest student loan. That is a tangible goal that is really easy to track. I’d like to pay it off earlier in the year rather than later, but in order to meet my goal, that loan just needs to be at a zero balance by December 31, 2015. Read the rest of this entry
This year is already shaping up to be great- I have a lot of fun plans with friends, and some solid plans for paying off my student loans. I’m finally going to see my best friend after over two years of living in far-away states. So far I’ve approached this year organized, motivated, and optimistic.
My main focus in my planning has been paying off my debt without making my life focus “money”. I’m going to lessen miscellaneous expenses, but not at the cost of not spending time with the people I love. I’ll just seek to do so in budget-friendly ways. Read the rest of this entry
This last year, I really put a focus on saving money for my student loans. My goal was to pay $5000 on top of my minimum payments. This $5000 was to go to my loan with the highest interest rate.
As a strategy to get me in the habit of saving, I decided to do the 52 week challenge. It went pretty well- I made it until june before saving got difficult. Then, it got really hard to do as a weekly thing. The 52 week thing also wasn’t going to get me anywhere close to my goal of $5,000, so I decided to speed things up. I started putting any extra money from my paycheck toward my savings, but still kept track of the weeks. So when I got paid, I’d look at what week I was at, say, 35. Then I’d see how many weeks I could afford to pay. If I had $150 extra. I’d pay weeks 35-38 for a total of $146. This helped me finish the challenge early, and save some extra money.
As it turns out, I saved about $4000. Not quite my goal, but still pretty great. My goal this year is to pay off that high-interest loan, which has about $6000 left. My strategy is going to be different, based on what I learned this year.
At the beginning of the year, since I was only saving a couple dollars each week, I had a lot of extra spending money, which I spent, since I’d reached my weekly saving goal. But that wasn’t helping me reach my end goal. So this year, instead of having weekly goals, I’m going to make it a race to pay off that loan. The sooner I can do it, the better. This “sprint” method is motivating me to plan ways to get extra income now, rather than waiting til june to get strategic.
As far as how to get extra money, I have three main assets right now:
- my writing
- my editing skills
- my craft-savvy
I tried this year to hire myself out as a freelance editor. I got a couple of jobs, and flaked spectacularly on them. I am still going to try to wrap those up and salvage the situations, but basically it boils down to me not prioritizing my freelance work, meaning (rightfully) unhappy clients.
As I finish up these long-overdue jobs, I’m also going to be submitting my writing to websites that pay for articles. Since most of these are direct-submit or sites you pitch too, I’m more confident I can just get the articles written, and not worry about putting things off and making people unhappy for waiting on me.
I won a pretty cool looking planner in a contest recently, so once that gets here, I plan on jotting down all the sites I’ve bookmarked that I want to submit to. I’ll set out a day to send pitches to all the sites that want them. Then I’ll set out a day to write each article, as well as a day to edit each piece. With this plan laid out, I’m less likely to just let the sites sit as an un-utilized resource.
This year, I’ve finally allowed my crafty side to shine. I’ve done a few great projects (which I’ll be posting pictures of soon), and I recently organized my craft room so that I have a work-space. I have a lot of work I want to do on it- adding shelves, and a bottle-rack for all the bottles I’ve accumulated (most of which will become lamps.)
Most of what I’ve made so far has been as gifts for friends. I’m thinking that I need to make some items that are worthy of sale and start up an Etsy store. I still need to look into how I want to do shipping- and how taxes work, but I definitely think I can get something going. I think I’m going to aim to get 10 items done and ready for sale before I open up a shop. A big item will be the bottle lamps, but I’ve also got some cool ideas for mirrors and other decor.
Anyway, that’s a little bit on how my savings goal went this last year, and my plans for 2015. Thanks for reading, and let me know what savings strategies have worked for you, and also if you have any experience with freelancing productivity tips, or how taxes and Etsy work.