For the third installment in my little article about me and my life and my terrible twenties (they aren’t that bad, I promise), I’d like to open up about my finances a little.
This has been a huge struggle for me over the past four months. I have less income and more bills and am adjusting to living within my new means. I’m desperately trying to pay off debt, but I feel like I rake up more and more every single month. I’m in this vicious cycle of paying credit card bills and then spending on those same credit cards again. I don’t even want to know what my credit score looks like. I have a pretty large amount (not really, it’s a car payment, but it’s big to me) of student loan bills, a car payment, several credit cards an old hospital bill and then the usual suspects: rent, phone, health insurance, car insurance, etc.
I make a set income every month from my job. It’s a good income. Without all of my extra bills outside of my usual suspects, I would have a good amount of spending money every month. Actually, darn close to half my income would be for food, leisure, gas, clothes. I can’t save money with my finances as they are right now. I mean I can barely stay above water.
It’s time for a change. I’m going on a spending freeze. I found inspiration, like so many, from my fellow Denver blogger Anna and her blog And Then We Saved. Anna had a little less debt to begin with than I do and had parents to help her match her loan, which I don’t. So I’m not expecting to be debt free in the next year. Maybe in the next 3-5 years I can try and have those loans all paid off. I do know that I want to have all of my credit card debt paid off by July. Right now, that looks something like $3,617.34. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s pretty suffocating to me. I have around $28,000 in student loans, $1,300 in a hospital bill and $6,000 left on my auto loan. When you add it up, well, it’s a lot.
The biggest thing I can cut down on in my budget is eating out and buying things (usually clothing things). I’m giving myself a very strict budget for what I can spend every month and plan on sticking to it. If you’re my friend, I’m relying on you to hold me accountable. Please understand when I can’t go out for drinks – I don’t need the temptation. After the next few months are over, I’ll be back and ready to have fun!
My goal is not only to get out of credit card debt, I want to start saving money. I’d like to have a small sum for emergencies with my car or my dog etc. I want to do things like get dental insurance and renter’s insurance on my home. I can’t do these things right now.
So here’s the plan without getting too much into numbers. I’m already blessed enough to have a pretty inexpensive rent and my car is only two years from being paid off. I’m going to make a little list every single month of all the things I want to purchase and then slowly treat myself within my budget instead of being impulsive. I want to make presents for my friends. I’m going to eat leftovers and shop smart. I’m going to get creative with the clothes I have and only buy things I really want or need. I’m going to take time with my decisions and I’m going to spend NO money on my credit cards. I’m going to write out ALL of my expenses. I’m going to live with split ends. I’m going to ride my bike when it gets warmer. I’m going to get rid of this weight for myself and for those who are close to me!
Wish me luck!