Tag Archives: spring break on a budget

Sam’s March Debt Progress Report

I will be moving across the country in July, and have put my debt snowball plans on hold to save up for the big move. I will be paying about $600/month toward my student loan for the next four months. If I have money left over from our move, it will get dumped onto my student loan.

The graph below summarizes my short term debt progress during the month of March.

The blue columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of March 1, 2014.

The pink columns represent my debt totals for individual loans as of March 31, 2014.

Looking at the debt progress in this format really emphasizes how debt payments can affect your progress. You can see that the debt I made minimum payments on only decreased by a relatively small amount. You can also see that paying more than the minimum has a HUGE impact on your debt decrease (not shown on the chart below).

March Monthly Debt 1Since I am only paying minimum payments on my student loan, the total debt amount decreases very little.


March Total DebtPaying more than the minimum (overall) has made a significant impact toward decreasing my debt.

March Applied Toward Interest

Most of my minimum payment (77% of it!) went toward interest in March.

March Income Applied Toward Debt

Roadblocks: Going to TWO trips in March really messed up my debt snowball and savings plans. I spent about $1,700 total on trips in March. Some of the money was saved up, and some was taken from my typical monthly debt snowball money. I’m excited to get back on track and start saving like crazy!

March Dollar Hollaaas: Unfortunately, none this month!

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5 tips for Spring Break on a Budget

If you’re lucky enough to be an adult and still have a spring break, chances are you want to spend it doing something fun. Spending money on trips can be harder when you’re throwing all of your extra money toward decreasing your debt. The good news is, it can be done with a little bit of planning, spending smart, and switching up your short term plan.

1. Use public/mass transportation, if possible. Kate and I took advantage of Chicago’s “L” train to get to and from the airport and to get between sight-seeing activities throughout the city. Also, train or bus tickets between cities can save you hundreds! An Amtrak ticket from Chicago to KC was $56.00!

Kate and I on the train in Chicago!

Kate and I on the train in Chicago!

2. Lunch (or Brunch) instead of dinner. Lunch is not only better for your wallet, but your health. Portions are a little smaller and the price can be half as much as dinner at the same restaurant. This will make a HUGE difference in the amount of money you’ll be able to spend throughout your entire trip.

Delicious deep dish Chicago pizza...for lunch!

Delicious deep dish Chicago pizza…for lunch!

3. Prioritize your sight-seeing events. If there are several activities that cost money that you’re interested in participating in during your visit, prioritize them from most important to least important. Decide on an amount to spend on sight-seeing activities and start crossing some off the bottom of your list.

Sears (Willis) Tower

Sears (Willis) Tower

4. Split costs. If you’re going with one or more people, talk about splitting costs for food, hotel, and activities. For example, if you all decide to spend $300.00 each: one person can pay for food, one for events, and one for the hotel or transportation.

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5. Plan ahead. Financially planning for a trip ahead of time relieves some stress while you’re on your trip knowing that you actually have the money that you’re spending while continuing to meet your long term financial goals. Planning ahead GIVES you the money as well as LIMITS the amount you spend so you don’t go overboard. It allows you to enjoy while stopping you from splurging on unnecessary meals, events, and taxis.

 Happy Spring Break!

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