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
The first 3 months of this year have flown by. As far as my savings plan goes, it is going… tumultuously. I haven’t really earned any income on the side. I am doing well at saving money from my regular income though.
By now, I would have like to have made a nice large payment to my student loans, but car troubles and needing to get my wisdom teeth out have kept me from taking that money out of my savings. I’d rather feel secure that I can pay for unexpected expenses than save a couple bucks on interest. If I have to replace my truck, I want to do it without financing, so I want to keep some extra money set aside just in case.
I still plan on paying off my highest interest loan this year, I just might end up making the payment all at the end of the year, when I will also hopefully have more in my savings. I’m thinking I really want to move from keeping a $1000 emergency fund to a 2-3 month income emergency fund.
Mainly, I need to get to work on earning extra income. It all boils down to actually working in my free time, something I struggle with. I don’t want to mess with y work-life balance, so I’m trying to make side money by doing things I enjoy- but you can’t make money watching Gilmore Girls reruns and eating frosting out of the tub. Dang.
Anyway, that’s how my first 3 months have gone financially- not terrible, but I have a lot of work to do this year.
I didn’t make New Year’s Resolutions this year. I’m tired of making goals and then ignoring their existence. New Year’s Resolutions have come to be a pointless activity that almost encourages you to make goals and then break them.
There are a couple of things I’ve decided to dedicate myself to though, and the decision did happen to line up quite nicely with the start of 2014.
Due to the projects I’ve been working on at work, I’ve read a lot about getting out of debt. I’ve read a lot of stories about people who had massive amounts of debt, but managed to get out of it well ahead of schedule. Their strategies are simple, a combination of living frugally to save money, and increasing their income.
While these stories that I’ve found, like Man vs. Debt and Frugal Confessions helped inspire me to really focus on paying off my student loans, they only have so much actionable advice I can follow. This is partially because everyone’s financial situation is different and partially because of the assumptions that a lot of “get out of debt” articles and sites make. Assumptions like:
1. You’re in debt because you have bad spending habits.
2. You have a million things you could cut back on.
3. You have things to sell
My next few posts will be dedicated to outlining my game plan to pay off my student loans as soon as possible. I was going to put it all in this post, but I wrote a lot and it was scattered and teetering on 2000 words before I was even close to done. So I’ve broken it up into the following sections which should be easier to digest:
1. My Debt – All of my debt is student loans, but I could have decreased it by having better financial foresight in college. I’ll go into that a bit.
2. My Savings Plan – A huge part of paying off debt (or even just saving money) is utilizing the funds you already have. I am a huge fan of cutting back on extra costs, but a lot of the advice to do so is either vague or not applicable to me because I don’t have a lot of extras. This post will outline my savings plans for this year.
3. Increasing My Income – I can only do so much with the money I currently make. So this post will focus on my ideas for increasing my income. This will be interesting, because so far in this category, I have a lot of ideas, but no solid plan.
So that will be the beginning of my “get out of debt” story. I’m not going to fully dedicate this blog to this subject, but I will be posting updates along the way, as well as money-saving and earning ideas I come across. And knowing how my life influences my writing, I’m sure a character in at least one story or sketch I post will be struggling with debt.