Thank you to everyone who entered the Organize Your Finances Contest. It’s going to be tougher to choose a winner than I thought. As I was reading the answers from the people who entered the contest there were four main issues that people were struggling with:
1. Eliminating credit card debt.
2. Sticking to a budget that allows them to save money without feeling as though they can’t have fun and enjoy life.
3. Cutting back on wants so that they have enough money for their needs.
4. Reducing/ eliminating student loan debt
I just want to let everyone know that you are not alone. In fact according to NerdWallet.com in 2014 the average US household credit card debt stands at $15,611 and the average student loan debt is $32,264. I believe the credit card debt is so high because people are using credit to buy the things they want, neglecting the things they need and aren’t sticking to a budget because they don’t want to feel as if they can’t enjoy life.
Trust me I know this plight all too well. Trying to balance student loans, bills, and savings can be tough. I also find myself stuck between I’m young and should be able to travel the world, shop and be free, and I’m getting older, so I need be saving and investing my money for my future. It’s all about balance. I know you don’t want to save every nickel and dime and live a boring life.
Most of the books I read about the people that retired early while working a 9-5 they didn’t spend a dime. They didn’t eat out. They didn’t go on trips and they sure enough didn’t go shopping. Every dollar they earned went into a savings or investment accounts. I’m not sure I can live that life. Actually I’m not bout that life. (Yes bout!) I enjoy a mani and pedi every once in a while, a vacation here and there, a little shopping, and also some cheat meals at nice restaurants. I think it’s possible to enjoy life and set yourself up for a prosperous future. It just takes patience and realizing that it won’t all happen in a week, or a year. Appreciate how far you’ve come. Yes you may have a long way to go, but no one has all the answers. We’re all trying to figure out this journey called life. So relax, take a deep breath, and live your life one day at a time.
An old co-worker told me that he had $100,000 worth of credit card debt. I asked him what he spent $100,000 on he said “Lavish vacations and fancy dinners.” People were probably looking at his social media accounts thinking -he’s the man! When he was really swimming in debt. Luckily, he said he was able to pay off his credit card in 3 years.
It’s so easy to swipe that credit card and feel like you have an endless amount of funds. Once I paid off my credit card balance I made sure that if I did use my credit card I pay the full balance off at the end of the month.
If you love to travel set up a savings account and have some money automatically put into it each pay period. If you have an emergency account and find yourself dipping inside of it to fund your shopping sprees set up an account that’s far away from you and have your employer put a certain percentage to be deposited into that bank account. Don’t even give yourself a debit card. You don’t want to have any access to this account. That way you won’t be tempted to spend. And since the money is being automatically taken out each pay period you won’t even notice.
When it comes to student loans, lately I’ve organized a document that’s allowed me to see all my debt with all of the interest. It’s helpful to see which debt had highest interest because now I can focus on eliminating the loans with the 6.8% interest rate first, and then knocking out the ones that have a lower interest.
I just learned a great tip from Tiffany The Budgetnista she recommends paying your student loans bi-weekly.
“Send half of your monthly loan payment every two weeks, rather than sending the full payment once a month. 26 half payments add up to 13 full payments per year instead of 12. Those extra payments decrease the life of your loan and the amount of interest you pay.” Read more here.
I should of done this a long time ago, but better late than never.
Figure out right now what money goal is important to you and then start working towards that goal. Also know that tons of other people out there are feeling the exact way you are. We are in this money journey together.
Within the next week I will be reaching out to the people who entered the contest and setting up Google hangouts with each of them. I want to get a better feel for what their financial goals are while also helping them create a realistic budget. It important to see exactly where your money is going. You may think you want to start investing, but if you have $4,000 of credit card debt, you should work on getting rid of this credit card debt. It’s great to think positive thoughts about your financial situations, but it’s also important to be realistic. If you keep telling yourself you want to be financially free, yet your actions don’t align with what you’re saying you will never reach that goal.
With all my love,