My first introduction to blogging to stay motivated while paying off debt!
Welcome to Mommy Finance! I’m Melanie and I’m blogging to stay motivated while paying off debt and figuring out how to pay for college for our 3 year old. This getting out of debt blog will be personal because I hope that you would be able to relate to what I’m going through.
How to get out of debt by blogging
On March 11, I became a year older and reached a milestone which puts me in the 30 club. Woot woot! Also, the ending of April will mark exactly one year of surviving on our own with a mortgage. These two major life events have caused me to stop for a minute and reflect back at my life and see what I wanted for my future.
This reflection has caused me to realize a few things:
- It’s so hard to save money. Seriously. It’s harder when there’s a mortgage and utility bills to pay every month. It was so much easier when living with family and have the costs divided among each person.
- I needed to manage my daily expenses better. Tracking my expenses using an excel sheet on my phone was hard, but after a year of doing that, it was was doing nothing for me.
- I needed to cut back on unnecessary expenses. Do I really need to spend $40 on a pair of Nike’s for my son who will only quickly outgrow it? He honestly prefers wearing his crocks over wearing sneakers.
- I need to find a way to either save more money or make more money, because I felt like we were just scraping by and living paycheck to paycheck.
- Can we handle a college tuition? Ummm, NOPE. Even though we save his gift money and contribute to his savings account, it honestly won’t be enough 15 years down the road. What if he wanted to go to a mainland school?
This realization had struck a nerve in me and I needed to make changes FAST. There’s no way we could survive if something were to happen to one of us. *Knocks on wood* so that nothing happens.
Can I get out of debt by blogging?
Google search became my best friend when I started researching different ways to save money. It provided me with tons of links to different sites with golden information. I have a list of few of my favorite financial blogs that I love to refer back to find the motivation to blog while in debt.
Make a list of monthly reoccurring expenses and current debt. This includes utility bills, cell phone bills, credit card bills and loans. EVERYTHING NEEDED TO BE NOTED. Once I got my list written down and saw what my total was, it gave me an idea of how much is being spent in specific categories and how much debt I have to pay off.
I personally don’t have a ton of debt other than a Macy’s and Citi credit card, oh and I can’t forget a mortgage but I’ll leave that out for now since it will forever be a gigantic thorn in my side. I’m pretty good at paying more than the minimum amount each month but the problem is that it’s super easy to rack up charges using my card and yet so much harder to pay off the balance quickly.
Find a better way to track daily expenses and budget.
I personally like to keep track of what I spend each day because I’d like to know how much money I have left. I have been tracking my expenses using a spreadsheet program in my Android phone and whatever money I have left over would be savings. After doing this process for a year, I realized it was a terrible way to save money. I’m just kicking myself for realizing it so late.
I tried to search for free spreadsheet templates that’s specifically used for budgeting but the few that I tried out wasn’t doing what I need it to do. So I tried to create my own from scratch but those damn formulas kept me stumped. I wasn’t sure how to formulate a few expenses that would add up my debt and yet give me a total of my expenses for each pay period. It drove me nuts so I gave up and resorted to tracking everything on paper. Then one day, I decided to browse the play store and see if there was some kind of app that would track my daily expenses. I mean, there’s an app for everything right?
And guess what? There were freaking apps for budgeting daily expenses! I’m kicking myself over it because I should have done it sooner instead of stressing myself out over spreadsheets…seriously.
I downloaded 2 apps that I thought were good, played around with the UI a bit and made my decision with one. It does exactly what I need it to do.
This is the app I downloaded and hopefully you’ll like it too. If you want to keep track of your daily expenses, bills and track how much money you have left, this app is for you. So far, I’m loving it!
I needed to learn how to cut back on unnecessary spending.
This step was a little hard to be disciplined in because there will always be something to buy that you will need.
Once I reach for something that I start to second guess on, I start asking myself, Do I really need this or is this something that I want?
If my answer becomes a Want, I don’t buy it because it’s something that I don’t need. Sometimes, talking to yourself helps, just be sure to do it when no one is around you. You don’t want any weird stares, trust me. I spoke to myself with questions and some random lady answered them while I was at a Target. Embarrassing!
I needed to find a way to save more money or make more money.
I couldn’t ask my boss for a raise. I’m technically still a newbie with my current employer (about 1.5 years) and it wasn’t the time to ask for a raise.
I’d like to call Mommy Finance my getting out of debt blog. Having a blog can give you the possibilities of making money, but my blog is still brand spanking new so I’m still concentrating on building my content.
So, how can I at least save more money?
First things first, pay off a debt. Instead of trying to save money, I used it to pay off my Macy’s credit card bill. I had about $515 left on my balance. With that out of the way, I had my Citi credit card balance left. That balance is pretty low so I don’t have to worry about it too much. I basically use it for gas and Costco shopping but I pay the balance right away using my debit card. If I don’t, I’d be racking up in 15% interest rate every month. I definitely don’t want that. Zero balance is the way for me!
Whatever set amount I had been using to pay my Macy’s balance is now being used to pay towards whatever balance I have left for my Citi credit card, which means I have a bit more money left to put towards savings.
Next, I automated my savings.
Instead of paying off everything that needed to be paid and then saving whatever bit of money I have left over, I decided to automate it and pay myself first.
The motto is, if I don’t see it, I won’t miss it.
I had automated a specific amount from my paycheck to deposit into my savings account. This makes it so much easier to save money. If I run out of money, I can use my credit card as back up.
How do we pay for college?
I recently had a discussion with my co-worker about college tuition (she’s currently expecting) and another co-worker chimed in. Right now, the cost of going to a University in California along the coastline will cost about $60,000 for tuition AND living expenses. She would know since she had to attend a college seminar with her daughter at her school.
My reaction was…
If I did the math correctly, if I saved up $300 a month for the next 15 years for a mainland college, I will have enough to cover one year.
Actually, the cost of tuition and living expenses may go up in the next 15 years. I may not even be able to afford his college expenses.
Blogging to stay motivated while paying off debt is my goal
My goal is to one day retire, but with inflation I don’t think I can even afford to retire. So, I resorted to Google for advice on college funds and found http://www.savingforcollege.com. This site is awesome and is loaded with so much useful information.
After some reading I now need to make a decision between a Roth IRA or the 529 Plan. There’s still some comparisons that I need to do, but I better hurry because 15 years may not be enough time to save 4 years worth of tuition and living expenses.
Whew, this post is a long read, I hope you’re still here with me. I had to overload this post with info because it is where I’m currently at for the moment. It’s bit of a slow progress but I had to start somewhere. It’s all about taking baby steps.
What did you think of my first post about blogging to stay motivated while paying off debt? I’m using this to hold myself accountable. Could you relate to what I’m currently going through? What financial advice would you like to share with me?
Sound off in the comments section below!
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