The Envelope System

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Now I am going to be upfront with you. I don’t use the envelope system. I probably should in some areas of my expenses but so far I haven’t made myself do this yet. That being said I do bring it to you because A LOT and I mean A LOT OF A LOT OF A LOT of people find this is a very helpful tool to help them.

You have your envelopes labeled in categories and then when you get paid you go ahead and split the money between those envelopes. Then you ONLY use the money in the envelope it is labeled for.

So if you put $200 in grocery envelope this week and $25 in savings. But when you get to the store you end up spending $207 dollars you CAN NOT take the $7 from your savings you have to decide on something to put back until you are at or under your $200 available in your grocery envelope. If you get to the end of the month and you have $0 in Grocery because you played beer pong twice this week and only have tuna left in the cabinet till payday in three days… well you’re going to smell like fish for a few days.

One thing I do note is that even if I do switch to the envelope system my bills are paid online with auto pay. This is okay you don’t have to stop your auto pay and figure out how to pay with cash. But you do need to make sure you have a way to seperate your money into categories.

Also good thing to note just because you only want to spend $100 on your electric bill you still have to pay your full $200 electric bill. So make sure you are honest with your system and put all your bills and monthly expenses down correctly. If you want more money for your fun envelope you’re going to have to find ways to cut and save for it.

Each paycheck put your alloted money in the envelope if you have leftover money leave it in the envelope it just means you have a little extra that month you can spend. If you find extra in the same envelope every month relook at other places you are struggling and see if you need to change the amounts you’re putting in the envelopes or move the extra money into your savings account.

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Cold Hard Truth

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I am unaware if you have had this illusion in your head about how you were going to keep living your life and get out of debt. But I am here to burst that lovely dream bubble.

You can not get out of debt if you continue to live the life you lived getting into debt.

This is sadly the truth. You have to change and be willing to change and even bit your tongue and cry some. But you have to make changes.

If you use to go out every Friday night and got so drunk you forgot your name putting down $50-$150 worth of beers with friends.. you’re not going to be able to do that still. Remember our spending experiment? Our Budget homework? And our income evaluation? Those were not so you could just say oh yeah I do spend money those were so you could say Oh hey yeah, I need to stop doing that.

Jingle Jangle Change

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So you’re almost 1/2 way through the month. You’re doing great.

Here is a tip to help you find more money to put into your savings each month. Collect all your pocket change from the month. Put it in a jar. That’s all change you have leftover from your soda at the gas station, anything you found floating around your car when you cleaned it out, when you do the laundry, and even the lost change in your sofa.

Now at the end of each month you have a nice little jar of jingle jangle change that you can proudly take up to the bank and deposit it directly into your savings account. If you have the online bank account for your savings then deposit the money into your checking account at your physical bank and send it to your savings account AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME!! Don’t wait or you’ll forget.

Even on a low change month you probably will find at least $5 in change to put towards your savings that you would normally ignore.

** This blog is not responsible for weird looks your friends will give you while you dig in their couches for lost change.**

More income

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You hear it all the time. You need more income. You need a second job. You need to make money. You need a better paying job. You need a bigger check.

If you are anything like me you don’t really have time for a second job. You also don’t really have the skill set and experience behind your belt to get a better job than you already have. Moving up in the pay scale isn’t an option at your work. Or you have to put in so much work and dedication and time and brown nosing that you might as well have married your job.

I’m here to let you know that you can still find ways to get more income. You could sell stuff. Maybe you are crafty? Maybe you have a knack for finding things of value at yard sales. Maybe you should have your own yard sale. Or sell stuff on ebay.

Start a blog (money from blogs takes a lot of time and effort just an FYI).
Write an ebook (Again a lot of time effort and even some cost come from this)
Start doing youtube videos
Babysit on weekends.
If you are good at a certain subject offer tutoring classes.
Start up a side business you can work on a leasure pace. Maybe you like to bake? Start baking cakes for parties once a month?

Even just getting $25 a month gets you more income and helps you get freedom from debt faster.

Inspiration

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I saw this quote on Pinterest and thought that today we would take a break and just give some inspiration and motivation for all the hard work towards becoming Debt Free.

Some of you have done great. You’re getting your papers in order, your notebook is full of your debt and income information, you’re on track with spending tracking and you are pushing the doors of debt wide open into freedom with long strides.

Some of you however, are already dying dragging your feet and feeling over whelmed with what numbers go in what rows and what words mean what. You feel like you’ve been spun around the tire swing one too many times and you’re just waiting to see if you hurl or pass out first.

To both of you You’re doing amazing! It takes a lot of guts to even take the first step of announcing that you are going to get out of debt. Take each day as just that, one day. Don’t try to take on the world. As long as you continue to move forward in your debt free lifestyle you will accomplish your goal. And just so you know I’m proud of you.

Debt Night Life

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Day 10 and you’re already bummed out. You can’t go out with friends. You can’t go to clubs. To party’s. The band you’ve wanted to see in 15 years is doing a reunion tour and you can’t go get a ticket…why? Because you dedicated yourself to getting out of debt. And now you’re double guessing it because its no fun.

Yes I know how you feel. I always get bummed out when I have to say No we can’t do that or No we don’t have money for that. It feels like your soul dies a little every time and that little kid inside of you starts pitching a frantic tantrum because they are bored.

Go on hikes or walks around your neighborhood. Visit a local lake and enjoy nature. Get friends to come over to your house and have a pot luck, everyone bring one dish. Maybe you can give your parties themes and have them at a different friends house each weekend. Start having family or friend game night. Make date night staying at home watching old DVD’s. Dig a hole in the yard and have a fire and enjoy some music.

There are ways to enjoy and have fun without spending money you just have to be creative. Don’t let the thought of not being able to get drunk at a Kid Rock Concert divert you from your goal of being debt free.

Think of what you can do once you’re not in debt. You won’t have to say No anymore. You can say yes or you can say No I think I’ve got something else I want to do instead. The options are endless once you change your way of thinking and change the way you deal with money. Debt free is just step one.

Fame and Fortune

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We all want to live like the Jones. (What you to young to know who the Jones are?) We want fame and fortune. We want the shiny toys with the bigger and better things surrounding us. But lets face it. You wouldn’t be here if you could actually afford those things.

So you have your budget and spending list from a few days ago. Do they equal? Do you spend more than you make? Do you spend less than you make and get antsy with money so spend the rest of the leftover on random pairs of socks from the home shopping network?

One thing you want to make sure of is that you are living below your means. If you only make $500 a month you shouldn’t be looking at apartments that cost $650 a month to live in.

If you are in fact spending more money than you make you HAVE to find places to cut away. Maybe go without cable. Check prices on your car insurance, switching to another company could save you a good bit a year. Maybe look at selling that over sized mortgage to a more affordable one? Have a car payment? Sell it and get a car you don’t have to pay on. Eat sandwiches from brown paper bags for lunch instead of going out to McDonalds and Burger King every day.

**Just a little FYI McDonalds value meal is around $7. That is $35 a week. And $1,820 a year. Where as a loaf of bread, Turkey, Cheese cost about $7 for the week. Which is $364 a year saving you $1,456 dollars a year just by switching lunch items.**

Unleash the Debt Eater

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So do you have your 24 hour chart? Obviously you don’t have your week or monthly chart but you can do this with them once you’ve finished your spending monitoring.

Did you notice that you thought twice about buying something knowing that you’d have to write it down? Maybe you second guessed a purchase or two knowing that it would be staring at you in all its glory. Now I hope you didn’t cheat cause cheating will not get you ahead.

So look at your 24 hour purchases. Could any of them have been left at the store? Could you have found any of them cheaper somewhere else? Were any of them impulse buys that you didn’t really think about buying until you remembered you had to write it down.

Look over your spending list and find places you could have saved money. Instead of buying a double latte at Starbucks for $3.95 you could have made a cup at home for just pennies. Maybe instead of that $1.60 soda and $1.39 candy bar you could have brought a bottle of water and pack of crackers with you from home for less.

Try and find at least one place in your 24 hours of spending that you could have saved money.

-I bought 2 drinks at Dollar General today. Instead I could have easily went home and filled two bottles I already have with water and saved myself $3 for another day.

Spending Spree

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So lets do a little experiment. For the next 24 hours write down every cent, dollar, and card swipe you spend. Even the 25 cents to get a gumball. Write it down. See how much you spend in the next 24 hours.

Now do it for a week. And finally for a month.

Some banks actually have programs set up with their checking accounts that will track this for you. You can also buy programs like Quicken that can link to your accounts and you can track things this way.

The easiest way? A pen and a piece of paper. Or a spreadsheet on your computer.

After your first 24 hours you may not notice any trends. After a week you will start to notice some sneaking up. After a month you may be surprised at how much extra cash you are letting just walk out of your checking account.

Not a snowball fan

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Okay so maybe you’re not a snowball fan? Maybe the logistics of doing it by amount does not make sense to you. That’s okay. There is also another snowball effect way you can do it by APR. (APR is your Annual Percentage Rate) This is the amount of interest your card charges you.

So with this snowball you’re going to go backwards. Knock out cards with the highest APR and work down to the lowest APR. That way you’re not paying as much extra on your debt than you need to.

So again say we have 3 cards.

Card A – $100 (24% APR)

Card B – $100 (12% APR)

Card C – $100 (6% APR)

 

So as you can see you are paying $24 per $100 on Credit Card A. $12 on Credit Card B. And $6 on Credit Card C. So you would knock out A then B then C so you wouldn’t need to be paying so much extra debt.