Tag Archives: getting out of debt

Brittany’s December Debt Progress Report

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The graph below summarizes my short term debt progress across all of my individual loans. The blue column represents my debt totals for individual loans as of December 1, 2014, and the green columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of December 31, 2014. Looking at the debt progress in this format really emphasizes how paying more than the minimum has a significant impact on your debt decrease. My Great Lakes Student Loan 3 is my current focal loan, and I decided to pay a predetermined amount above my minimum requirements before halting my extra payments until after all of my final wedding expenses are completed. My car loan has an interest rate of less than 3%, so even though I only paid its minimum, it decreased by 2.7%. I paid just under eight times the minimum requirement for my Great Lakes Student Loan 3 and in result its total decreased by nearly 6%!! I am only making minimum monthly payments on Great Lakes Student Loan 2, and therefore its total only decreased by .04%. Pretty defeating.

indiv.debts

The bar graph below represents my overall long term and short term debt progress. The grey bar represents my original total debt amount, the blue bar is my total debt one month ago, and the green bar shows how much debt I have today. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you are making progress when you look at your BIG number on a month-to-month basis, but looking back to the beginning can remind you how far you have come.

total progress

Having ONE target loan will increase the rate at which you can pay off your debt and decrease the amount of money you will pay towards interest to help you become debt free sooner!

Because I was paying above the minimum monthly requirement on my focal loan, the percentage being paid towards interest was smaller—11% of my total payment went towards interest—than percentage being paid towards interest on my other loans—an average of 40%! You want to pay as much as possible toward the principal because that is what helps speed up the process of eliminating debt. The chart below gives you a visual representation of these numbers.

interest

It might seem like cash flowing money right now is rough, but if you make minimum monthly payments until all of your debt is gone, you will end up paying MUCH MORE than your original loan amounts in the long run.

Tell your Income Where to Go

The pie chart below summarizes where I delegated my earned income during the month of December. About 43% of my earned income went towards debt—that includes my minimum monthly payments and extra cash flow. Just below 33% went towards my living expenses (food, rent, etc.), and 24% of my earned income was put into long-term savings this month to sit there until after my wedding so that I can sleep at night. I may have an over-planning problem…

brit.piechart.12-14

December Roadblocks: Because I’ve been over planning ahead for the past few months, I didn’t get hit with any major expenses. I had previously purchased airfare for the Christmas traveling, and while back in the Midwest, I was fortunate to stay with family and share their food and homes (and many other perks that my parents/future in laws provided—like family gym membership benefits, dinners out, and a pedicure—I am spoiled).  As the wedding gets closer and becomes more tangible (aka I actually start making the payments I’ve been saving for) it has been easier for me to stash my extra cash into my savings account without grumbling about it.

December Dollar Holllllaaaas: I was able to milk the Christmas money I received into grocery and spending money for the rest of December (and spoiler alert, since I am writing this post in mid-January) and at least half of January. That’s a few hundred bucks that goes into my savings account!

For more information on how to gain control of your finances check out our info on Getting Started by clicking the link in the menu bar at the top of the page. How do you stay motivated and track your debt progress? Do you have any tips that help you stay motivated when you aren’t able to put as much as you’d like towards debt because you have other looming expenses?

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 Brittany

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich and Autoimmune-Protocolling Around the World*

Frugal Friday

Brittany’s October Debt Progress Report

This week you can also find Brittany’s October Debt Progress Report along with some other amazing financial posts at the Financially Savvy Saturday Link Up! Click the button below to get there.

brokeGIRLrich

The graph below summarizes my short term debt progress across all of my individual loans. The blue column represents my debt totals for individual loans as of October 1, 2014, and the green columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of October 31, 2014. Looking at the debt progress in this format really emphasizes how paying more than the minimum has a HUGE impact on your debt decrease. My Great Lakes Student Loan 3 is my current focal loan, and I paid as much as I could above the minimum requirement in October. Because of that, it’s total decreased by just over 9% this month, whereas in prior months it was moving down at a rate slower than 1% decrease per month. You can also see that its total is decreasing at a rate much faster than the two loans that I am making minimum payments on. What was once my largest and most mentally defeating debt actually no longer holds the title of “largest debt”. Can I get an Amen?!?!

ind. progress

The bar graph below represents the long term and short term progress I have made on my overall debt. The grey bar represents my original total debt amount, the blue bar is my total debt one month ago, and the green bar shows how much debt I have today. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you are making progress when you look at your BIG number on a month-to-month basis, but looking back to the beginning can remind you how far you have come.

total debt progress

Having ONE target loan will increase the rate at which you can pay off your debt and decrease the amount of money you will pay towards interest to help you become debt free sooner!

Because I was paying above the minimum monthly requirement on my focal loan, the percentage being paid towards interest was small—only 7% of my total payment went towards interest. In contrast, 21% of the total amount I put towards the loans I am making minimum payments on went towards interest!! You want to pay as much as possible toward the principal because that is what helps speed up the process of eliminating debt. The chart below gives you a visual representation of these numbers.

percent toward interest

It might seem like cash flowing money right now is rough, but if you make minimum monthly payments until all of your debt is gone, you will end up paying MUCH MORE than your original loan amounts in the long run.

Tell your Income Where to Go

The pie chart below summarizes where I delegated my earned income during the month of October. About 55% of my earned income went towards debt—that includes my minimum monthly payments and extra cash flow. Just below 32% went towards my living expenses (food, rent, etc.), and 13% of my earned income was put into long-term savings this month to prepare for holiday season travels and any surprise wedding expenses I haven’t considered in my budget. As much as including wiggle room in my budget pains me, I am continuing to do it. L Deep breaths…and I’ll be thanking myself in about three months.

pie chart

October Roadblocks: October was the first month since this summer that my credit card bill wasn’t (in my own opinion) HUGE at the end of the month, and no other surprise expenses snuck up on me. I’m still saving up for my wedding/holiday buffer—which even though it feels like it’s hindering my progress on paying off debt, is not a roadblock. Saving AHEAD of time is smart, not debilitating. I’ve got a life to live here, right?!?!

October Dollar Hollaaass: No additional income on my end throughout the month of October; however I have been doing a lot of research in freelance writing and am looking to take a (baby) step in that direction come November.

For more information on how to gain control of your finances check out our info on Getting Started by clicking the link in the menu bar at the top of the page. How do you stay motivated and track your debt progress?

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♥ Brittany

Brittany’s August Debt Progress Report

The graph below summarizes my short term debt progress across all of my individual loans. The blue column represents my debt totals for individual loans as of August 1, 2014, and the green columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of August 31, 2014. Looking at the debt progress in this format really emphasizes how paying more than the minimum has a HUGE impact on your debt decrease. My ACS Student Loan was my focal loan, and I completely paid it off by the end of August because I paid as much as I could above the minimum requirement. In contrast, loans I am currently paying only minimums on decreased by an average of just 1.4%.

Next month there will only be three loans to report on!!!

Next month there will only be three loans to report on!!!

The bar graph below represents the long term and short term progress I have made on my overall debt. The grey bar represents my original total debt amount, the blue bar is my total debt one month ago, and the green bar shows how much debt I have today. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like you are making progress when you look at your BIG number on a month-to-month basis, but looking back to the beginning can remind you how far you have come!

total debt progress

Having ONE TARGET LOAN will increase the rate at which you can pay off your debt and decrease the amount of money you will pay towards interest to help you become debt free sooner!

Because I was paying above the minimum monthly requirement on my focal loan, the percentage being paid towards interest was very small—only 3% of my total payment went towards accrued interest. In contrast, 38% of the total amount I put towards the loans I am making minimum payments on went towards interest!! You want to pay as much as possible toward the principal because that is what helps speed up the process of eliminating debt. The chart below gives you a visual representation of these numbers.

It might seem like cash flowing money right now is rough, but if you make minimum monthly payments until all of your debt is gone, you will end up paying MUCH MORE than your original loan amounts in the long run

It might seem like cash flowing money right now is rough, but if you make minimum monthly payments until all of your debt is gone, you will end up paying MUCH MORE than your original loan amounts in the long run

Tell your Income Where to Go

The pie chart below summarizes where I delegated my earned income during the month of August. Just over 51% of my earned income went toward debt—that includes my minimum monthly payments and extra cash flow. Just below 49% went toward my living expenses (food, rent, etc.), and no money was put into long-term savings this month.

pie chart

Roadblocks: I did some “back to school” aka “back to work” shopping that was a specialty category separate from my allotted spending money for the month, but I kept that expense fairly low (probably lower than the amount I used to allow myself for clothes alone each month…yikes). I also had a credit card bill that was higher than normal because I used it to purchase a couple of plane tickets to head back to the Midwest for a wedding midmonth. We actually had two weddings we wanted to go to in August, but budget and work schedules only allowed for us to attend one :(

August Dollar Hollaaas: No significant increases in income this month, and I am aware that it will probably be that way for the rest of the year…so I am mentally prepared!

Looking Ahead

Up until this point, I have been choosing my focal loan based on its size. In order to reach my short term goals of paying off individual debts quickly (thus reinforcing my efforts with something to celebrate a couple times a year), I have made the smallest loan my focal loan and thrown all extra cash at it at the end of each pay period. Starting in September, I am going to tackle my debt a little differently.

Because my car loan has a very low interest rate, 97% of my minimum monthly payment is going towards principal. In contrast, my Great Lakes Student Loan 3 has remained stagnate for a year, and this is because less than 20% of my minimum monthly payments have been going toward interest. When that happens on such a large loan, it becomes nearly impossible to stay afloat— and more importantly, impossible to get ahead. That is why I have decided to start tackling my largest debt now.

The most crucial piece of keeping momentum to paying off your debts is to find ways to stay motivated. I know that watching the most stubborn loan I have FINALLY start to decrease will be more motivating than anything else, including paying off my car.  Even better, my car debt will continue to decrease at a steady rate as I make only minimum payments—so I will have visible progress across two loans.

Announcement

For more information on how to gain control of your finances check out our “Getting Started” page by clicking the link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

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 Brittany

How to Stay Sane and Maintain Friendships while Living on a Budget

Sometimes when you are fighting tooth and nail to get out of debt or save a large amount of money for a future expense, such as a down payment on a house or college tuition, your intensity takes you across a fine line, and your healthy determination becomes an unhealthy obsession. If—okay, okay, WHEN—this happens you have to take a step back and remove your blinders because money is just money, and being a miser not worth losing out on relationships and monumental occasions with your friends and family.

We all know that being financially fit is an important part of survival in today’s world, but there are other parts of life that are just simply MORE important. When you feel yourself over-stressing about monetary situations that are minor blips on the radar of life, fearing that your friends have forgotten you exist due to your new hobby of hermit-ing (pretty sure that’s a word I just made up), or shaming yourself for the lack of love you’ve been sharing with others, it’s useful to have strategies to get yourself back on track to living a life you love—and keeping your relationships with your peeps alive and well.

Just because you are “on a budget” does not mean you are destined to eat Ramen alone every night. There are some ways that you can make sure you keep a level head about money matters, maintain positive relationships with your friends and family, and continue to share love with your peeps no matter what kind of budget you are following.

word art

1. Brainstorm a list of your current life priorities, and put them in order. When you see that money isn’t at the top of the list, you can motivate yourself to quit acting like it is.

priority

Money can buy you things, but consciously examining your life priorities reminds you it’s not the only path to a full life. Don’t let yourself forget that!

2. After you master the art of saying “no” every once in awhile, make sure you balance that out by saying “yes” every once in awhile too. When you first start picking and choosing which activities or items to spend money on, it can be difficult to walk away without forking over dough. After a little time has passed and you begin to notice progress with your finances, it gets easier to say “no”, and you might find yourself having trouble saying “yes”. Make sure you stay involved in activities and relationships at the top of your priority list because these are the best parts of life.

photo credit: www.capescoaching.wordpress.com

photo credit: www.capescoaching.wordpress.com

3. Talk to people. The gift of gab…never. stops. giving.

talking on the phone

photo credit: www.elephantjournal.com

4. Share what you can. If your budget doesn’t allow you to dole out the big bucks to frequently treat your friends or family to the finer things in life, make a valiant effort to make the best of what you have and give what you can. Invite them over for home cooked dinner or lend them your favorite shade of nail polish. Stumble upon a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for an item you only need one of? Shop with your friend, and share the wealth. Get a promo code via email that you aren’t going to be able to use? Go ahead and forward that to a near and dear who will. When it comes to sharing, think outside of the box and give what you can. Others will appreciate it, and you will enjoy it.

cupcakes

If someone gives you half a dozen cupcakes, give four or five to your friends.

5. Plan activities that aren’t expensive. Who says your only social interactions have to revolve around buying food, drinks, or clothes? Nobody—that’s who! Take the reins, and set up wallet-friendly fun like brunch at your place, going for a walk or hike, cheering on your alma mater in a sporting event, or chatting while your dogs go wild at the dog park.

taking reins

Hiking the Bell Trail in Sedona, AZ was free and exhilarating.

6. Cut yourself a little slack. Whenever I feel like I’m not doing as well as I wish I was—with money, relationships, just being a good human in general—I remind myself that my (perceived) “failure” probably isn’t a very big deal in the whole scope of my life or anyone else’s for that matter. And please know that “I remind myself,” is actually code for, “usually after about five rounds of beating myself up over something insignificant..I remind myself”. Everyone is their own worst critic. If you feel like you messed up or aren’t meeting the standards you have set for yourself, you have to let it go and find a way to move forward. If you can’t do that, you just get stuck.

When you start to feel defeated about money or life, try to see yourself from your dog's point of view.

When you start to feel defeated about money or life, and all else fails–try to see yourself from your dog’s point of view.

 For more information about how to start making progress on getting out of debt or gaining control of your finances, check out our Getting Started tab at the top of our page.

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 Brittany

 

 

 

 

Brittany’s May Debt Progress Report

The graph below summarizes my short term debt progress across all of my individual loans. The blue column represents my debt totals for individual loans as of May 1, 2014, and the green columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of May 31, 2014. Looking at the debt progress in this format really emphasizes how paying more than the minimum has a HUGE impact on your debt decrease. My ACS Student Loan is my current focal loan, and in the month of May its total decreased by over 30% whereas loans I am paying minimums on only decreased by an average of 1%.

individual debts

The bar graph below represents the long term and short term progress I have made on my overall debt. The grey bar represents my original total debt amount, the blue bar is my total debt one month ago, and the green bar shows how much debt I have today!

total debt progress

Having ONE target loan will increase the rate at which you can pay off your debt and decrease the amount of money you will pay towards interest to help you become debt free sooner!

Because I am paying above the minimum monthly requirement on my focal loan, the percentage being paid towards interest is very small—only 2.1% of my total payment went towards accrued interest. In contrast, 36% of the total amount I put towards the loans I am making minimum payments on went towards interest!! You want to pay as much as possible toward the principle because that is what helps speed up the process of eliminating debt. The chart below gives you a visual representation of these numbers.

It might seem like cash flowing money right now is rough, but if you make minimum monthly payments until all of your debt is gone, you will end up paying MUCH MORE than your original loan amounts in the long run.

It might seem like cash flowing money right now is rough, but if you make minimum monthly payments until all of your debt is gone, you will end up paying MUCH MORE than your original loan amounts in the long run.

Tell your Income Where to Go

The pie chart below summarizes where I delegated my earned income during the month of May. Fifty-five percent of my earned income went towards debt—that includes my minimum monthly payments and extra cash flow. Thirty-eight percent went towards my living expenses (food, rent, etc.), and only 7% went into my long term savings.

pie chart

Roadblocks: I did not face any significant roadblocks during May. I know that with summer comes an increased amount of traveling and opportunities to spend money, so I made sure to take advantage of one more month during which I knew I could afford to put over 50% of my income towards debt. Now, the pain of decreased summer contributions can be numbed with the knowledge that I paid a little extra ahead of time.

May Dollar Holllaaaaas:  I didn’t experience any significant increases in income during the month of May, but I did make enough to account for two weeks worth of spending money by dog sitting this cute little lady. :)

dog vacay

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 Brittany

Brittany’s April Debt Progress Report

The graph below summarizes my short term debt progress across all of my individual loans. The blue column represents my debt totals for individual loans as of April 1, 2014, and the green columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of April 30, 2014. Look at the debt progress in this format really emphasizes how paying more than the minimum has a HUGE impact on your debt decrease. My ACS Student Loan is my current focal loan, and in the month of April it decreased by nearly 25% whereas loans I am paying minimums on only decreased by an average of 1%. One of my Great Lakes student loans actually increased!

monthly progress

The bar graph below represents the long term and short term progress I have made on my overall debt. The grey bar represents my original total debt amount, the blue bar is my total debt one month ago, and the green bar shows how much debt I have today!

total debt progress

 

Having ONE target loan will increase the rate at which you can pay off your debt and decrease the amount of money you will pay towards interest to help you become debt free sooner!

Because I am paying above the minimum monthly requirement on my focal loan, the percentage being paid towards interest is very small—only 1.5% of my total payment went towards accrued interest. In contrast, 45% of the total amount I put towards the loans I am making minimum payments on went towards interest!! The chart below gives you a visual representation of these numbers.

It might seem like cash flowing money right now is rough, but if you make minimum monthly payments until all of your debt is gone, you will end up paying MUCH MORE than your original loan amounts in the long run.

It might seem like cash flowing money right now is rough, but if you make minimum monthly payments until all of your debt is gone, you will end up paying MUCH MORE than your original loan amounts in the long run.

Tell your Income Where to Go

The pie chart below summarizes where I delegated my earned income during the month of April. Forty-one percent of my earned income went towards debt—that includes my minimum monthly payments and extra cash flow. Just over 35% went towards my living expenses (food, rent, etc.), and 23% went into my savings account because I am doing some long-term savings for a wedding early next year. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and went full steam ahead to come within less than $100 of completing my long-term savings for my wedding budget J Now I can increase my monthly cash flow towards debt by about 15% each month!

pie chart

Roadblocks: I didn’t face any significant roadblocks during April.

April Dollar Holllaaaas: During the month of April I received my tax refunds for both states I worked in during 2013, and I put each of those checks straight into my long-term savings. They weren’t as big of a chunk as my federal return, but they helped me get within less than $100 of my total savings goal for my wedding. Next month my percentage of income put towards savings will drastically decrease and my debt payments will increase.

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 Brittany