March – A glance at savings and debt

I’m a bit late on my March update – it’s April already – Easter is almost here! I’m eating a hot cross bun as I type this update 😉

Anyhoos, below is the summary from March on savings and debt:

Debt

Credit card 1 – $0.00  (previous month – same)

Credit card 2 – $0.00 (previous month – same)

Personal loan: $ 3790.04 (previous month $5677.56)

Savings

$400.00 (previous month $285.00)

Buffer funds

$300.00 (previous month $150.00)

My ‘buffer’ fund is like my small emergency fund – and I anticipate this to be wiped out, potentially along with some savings, this week due to a trip to the dentist ;( oh well, I’m hoping to lessen the blow on my savings by using the buffer fund, which, after all, is the whole point!

Ciao!

Old habits die hard. But they do die.

Changing habitual spending patterns has probably been the biggest battle I’ve faced on my debt free journey.

Those habitual spendings are often quite small, unassuming amounts. What I have also learnt is those small amounts can cause even the best budget to become derailed. It’s the purchases you make without thinking / on auto pilot due to habit that you need to watch out for.

So, these were my top habitual spends:

COFFEE – Yep, those who have followed along for some time on the Debt Breakup will know my never ending struggle to not buy coffee every day. Up until recently I have still struggled, although I haven’t purchased a coffee every day for a long time. I’d have 3 during the week. Lately though, I’ve only purchased 1 during the week and 2 on the weekend. This also has to do with a lack of coffee shops that ACTUALLY MAKE GOOD COFFEE in the city. To be honest, I got sick of buying shit coffee for $4.20 a cup                                                   

Old weekly coffee habit approx: $30.00 per week

Current coffee purchases approx:$12.00 per week

Magazines – Celebrity gossip and general fitness / health. Firstly, buying a celebrity gossip mag is like taking a $5 note and setting it on fire. Absolute waste. And I’ve gained nothing from reading it…except the knowlege Kim Kardashian has had a 3rd butt augmentation and Lady GaGa is now spewing green foam from her mouth during live performances. At least with the fitness and health mags, I gained some knowledge. I REALLY struggle not to buy magazines in airport lounges, and with all the interstate trips I did last year I spent almost as much on magazines as flights!

Old weekly magazine habit approx: $10.00 per week

Current magazine purchases: $0.00 per week. I read stuff online and I also received a yearly subscription to a health magazine Prevention for a gift at Christmas so I get a mag every month 🙂 my gym also gives out free magazines.

Friday lunches: I’ve always been pretty good at taking my own lunch to work because it is straight up just a huge cost saving. But I would still treat myself to lunch on Friday. I do think it’s a nice treat for a Friday, but I’ve tried to minimise the cost a bit. Rather than purchasing a full meal – from $11 – $15, I’ll buy a side of hot chips or a sushi roll to have with the lunch I bought from home, so this will only set me back about $3.

Old Friday lunch habit approx $11.00 per week

Current Friday lunch habit: $3.00 per week

So by working on breaking the cycle of habitual spending on the above 3 things, I have saved myself over $40 per week which is pretty awesome. It has taken awhile though…but I no longer wrestle with the decision to buy these things like I used to when I first started cutting back. I see them for what they are – a waste of $$ with the potential to delay my debt free date!

What items do you habitually spend money on?

Week 53 – I’ve paid off over $10,000!!!

Happy Saturday blogger and reader friends!

Ta DA! I reached a milestone this week. My debt repayments now total over $10,000 🙂

The vice grip of debt is loosening it’s grip around my paypacket……….soon, it will be mine…all mine..

.*cackles in a strange Wizard of Oz witch type way*

ha.

Anyways, here are my stats for this fortnight:

Starting debt at March 2013: $14,774.12 

Debt repayment on 19th March 2014: $650.00

Current Debt: $4382.56

Debt paid: $10,391.56!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Buffer fund: $250.00 (increased by $50)

Savings: $350.00 (increased by $90)

This is the countdown I have stuck to my fridge 🙂

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Liebster Award!

Big thanks to Sarah at Life In the Orchard who nominated me for a Liebster Award 🙂

Thanks so much Sarah!

liebster-award

There are some great blogs out there tackling debt and sharing their journey’s, and the Liebster Award is a great platform to recognize them, so I’d like to nominate:

Healthful Saver

Indebted2debt 

making my way to zero 

Guys, your questions to answer at the bottom of this post 🙂

And now for the ‘rules’…

1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog. 2. Show off your award on your blog (in a post, widget, etc. like I did). 3. Answer 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you. 4. Create 10 questions of your own. (Don’t worry, you can use mine if you want). 5. Nominate 5-10 of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination. 6. And of course, tell them about it and provide a link back to your website so that they can know more about the award!

Here are my questions from Sarah at Life in the Orchard:

  • What is your favorite thing about yourself? I am quite happy to be alone, in fact, it is the source of my energy…quality alone time with me J The older I get, the more people I meet, the more I realise this is quite a rare gift. To simply enjoy your own company.
  • What is your greatest accomplishment? I find it hard to say what my greatest accomplishment is…a life has so many facets, and I don’t think I have 1 accomplishment to cover them all. A few recent things I am proud of though – completing (just!) a 50km ultra marathon and the progress I have made in paying off the debt I have to date. When I am debt free, I could certainly say that will be the biggest financial accomplishment in my life!
  • If you could do anything for a living and money wasn’t an issue, what would you do? Own a vintage / retro furniture and homewares store or a travel writer.
  • What in life is holding you back from living your dreams? Debt / lack of savings at the moment. But I’m well down the path of changing this – so by the end of 2014, LOOK OUT! My life of long stints of wandering the globe (that’s my dream 😉 shall begin!
  • If you could take the vacation of a lifetime where would you go and why? Italy…and eat…and eat…and eat…
  • Where is the best place you have traveled? Colombia
  • What inspires you to blog? My getting debt free journey – and hopefully inspiring others with the same goal!
  • When you first started your blog what was the purpose of creating it? I started my blog after reading other debt free / personal finance blogs and decided I wanted to track my journey too.
  • How has blogging enhanced your life? I would say blogging has certainly helped keep me accountable on my mission to pay off $14,750 worth of debt. I find the blogging world of personal finance super inspiring…..you can be very honest on an ‘anonymous’ blog on the subject of money. A subject most people find awkward / embarrassing to talk about with friends – especially if they are in debt.
  • If you won a million bucks what would you do with it? Buy a modest home / invest some and spend the rest travelling. Imagine how much amazing food I could eat in Italy with that kind of cash 😉

Questions for the blogs I nominated are:

  1. What is your favorite thing about yourself?
  2. What is your greatest accomplishment?
  3. If you could do anything for a living and money wasn’t an issue, what would you do?
  4. What in life is holding you back from living your dreams?
  5. If you could take the vacation of a lifetime where would you go and why?
  6. Where is the best place you have traveled?
  7. What inspires you to blog?
  8. When you first started your blog what was the purpose of creating it?
  9. How has blogging enhanced your life?
  10. If you won a million bucks what would you do with it?

Have fun guys!

Ciao 🙂

Week 52 – No more spend updates.

The Debt Breakup was 1 year old on 4th March and I made my first expense / debt update on 10th March 2013!

I’m excited to say THE END IS IN SIGHT! I can almost see those triple zeros across all my debts:

$0.00

I’ve recorded my weekly expenses / spending every day for the last 12 months and posted my weekly spending summaries each week. I don’t feel this exercise is particularly beneficial for me anymore. I know now where my money goes and I know it’s the ‘little’ things that eat a hole in my pocket if I let them. I am super aware of my spending and what I spend my money on now, which really is the point of spending records.

I have my budget rolling, I have my allocated spending money (ok, sure I don’t always stick in it, but I’m aware of that) and I have the amount I plan to allocate to debt every fortnight, $650.00. So from here on in, in what I like to think of as the final leg of this seemingly epic financial journey (awakening!) I will just post my debt  / buffer fund / savings stats each fortnight.

There is no point doing the weekly posts on these as I am paid fortnightly so there won’t be any change in these on the 2nd week. I’ll also continue posting my monthly summary update.

Here are my current stats:

Starting debt at March 2013: $14,774.12 

Debt repayment on 5th March 2014: $650.00

Current Debt: $5,027.56

Debt paid: $9,746.56

Buffer fund: $200.00

Savings: $240.00

Ciao!!

Image

 

February – A glance and savings and debt

Here is the summary for February on savings and debt:

Debt

Credit card 1 – $0.00  (previous month – same)

Credit card 2 – $0.00 (previous month – same)

Personal loan: $5677.56 (previous month $5925.05)

Savings

$285.00 (previous month $140.54)

Buffer funds

$150.00 (previous month $0.00)

Later alligators!

 

 

My fortnightly budget for 2014 – UPDATED

  • Rent: $295.00 – I split the rent with my boyfriend
  • Travel: $45.00 – Bus fare to and from work. Most days I am lucky enough to get a ride to work with my boyfriend so it is mostly just the journey home I pay for.
  • Phone: $15.00 – I have a prepaid phone and $30 recharge voucher lasts me the month – for calls and texts, mostly the data runs out before 30 days.
  • Internet: $15.00 – On an internet plan for $30.00 per month (not prepaid)
  • Electricity: $20.00 
  • Gym: $23.90 
  • Groceries: $250.00 – Grocery costs I also split with my boyfriend and have been tracking the expenses on our grocery spending. Although it does sometimes vary, $250 is a good amount to put aside each fortnight.
  • Tithe / donation: $20.00
  • Loan repayment: $650.00 – this is my final debt. My debt free goal date is 25 June 2014.
  • Buffer fund: $50.00 
  • Spending: $230.00 – Most weeks will leave me with $115.00 as spending / entertainment money.

I have a debt free date! June 25th 2014

Uggh. This week was a total blow out. The weekend saw me use almost all my piggy bank savings plus charge my credit card – although this was more out of convenience and I put the cash back on it the next day. But that cash came from my savings account.

At the moment, I’m feeling fairly annoyed with myself but the thing I am most excited about this week is the debt smashing mission is ramping back up again. When I posted my fortnightly budget in January, I said things would start changing around March – until then I would be making fairly minimal payments towards my final debt – personal loan. I had a few trips to accommodate (weddings and such) in the early part of the year.

But March is the kickoff for channeling as much cash as possible to my debt.

I want to be debt free on 25th June 2014

At the start of the year I said I would actually be channeling a lot more cash into savings and pull back on the aggressiveness of debt repayment. This reason for this? I want to travel again at the end of this year to Central America, and I wanted to see cash in the bank. I can’t wait any longer to travel and I felt like I wanted to see that bank balance increasing to give me the comfort that I would have that cash at the end of the year to go. It was really a mental thing.

My plan has totally changed though. By paying off my personal loan first – with an end date of June, I will be saving approx $1200 in interest and repayments from now until March next year. March is when I plan to return from my trip Central America. If I was to still to have a balance owing on my loan when I left, although small, I would be making repayments while I was away and also paying interest. I would also still have a loan hanging over my head. I don’t want that. My goal is debt free travel.

SO! As of the 5th of March, I will be making a repayments of $650 a fortnight towards my personal loan. My loan currently stands at $5,677.56. This is my final debt!

Interest charges are approx $73.00 per month at the current balance – obviously this will reduce as I pay off more –  and fee for servicing my loan is $10.00 per month, this will remain the same.

I have set my debt free date at 25th June 2014. That is 9 fortnightly pays from 5th March – with each pay $650 that totals $5,850.00.

Current loan $5677.56 + interest repayments for 4 months (estimate) $220.00  + loan servicing fee for 4 months $40.00 = $5,937.56 total.

So I will kick in extra on that final payment to clear the balance. You can see my revised fortnightly budget here.

The light at the end of the tunnel is really starting to shine 🙂 – and it looks a lot like debt freedom!

This is the little count down I’ve posted on the fridge to keep debt repayments at the front my my mind! Image

Week 45 – Spend and Debt update…and oh, my trip to New Zealand!

So..I am a bit over my spending allocation this week..

Spending funds allocated for Week 45 – $110.00 – This amount is for Wednesday (just been) through to Wednesday (coming)

Actual funds spent for Week 45 – $150.95. 

$40.95 over budget and still 2 days to go until I ‘pay’ myself again 😦

Also, it has been a ‘short’ week as I was in New Zealand and using my allocated NZ spending money until Wednesday eve.

Monday: New Zealand

Tuesday: New Zealand

Wednesday: New Zealand

Thursday: $15.00 groceries, $4.00 tank top (this was an emergency purchase as the one I wore to work ripped at work!), $3.95 health / beauty purchase, $4.00 card, $15 gift, $5.00 health /beauty purchase

Friday: $3.60 coffee, $5.60 takeaway lunch, $10.00 drinks

Saturday: $8.80 coffee (for myself and bf), $6.00 canvas – to make a cool artwork from a tea towel I purchased in NZ – my only souvenir! , $9.00 storage box, $12.00 scales

Sunday: $20.00 tithe to church, $29.00 breakfast – took mum out as she had paid for me the fortnight before.

Additional payments this week – not part of my usual fortnightly expenses but had been allocated to the budget for this fortnight:

$185.00 for accommodation for a friends wedding – interstate – in March

$76.00 for the wedding gift

Wins and fails for week 45

  • My ‘no spend’ days were non existent this week – fail! – and I went well over spending budget!
  • Wins: Both the accommodation and wedding gift came in slightly under the budget I had allocated, $200 for accom and $100 for gift. Also, we received our first electricity bill and it was $177, so $88.50 each. I’d actually put aside $190.00.

Starting debt at March 2013: $14,774.12 (ok, something weird is going on with my ‘Week’ numbers for my updates – I started the debt breakup in March 2013 but I am only up to week 45 on my updates? I think I may have messed up my tally mid last year when ceased posting as work was crazy hectic and I was on the verge of a mental breakdown! Anyways, my next update will be at 1 year pretty much and will start my tally again Year 2 – week 1 etc.)

Current Debt: $5,775.05

Debt paid: $8,999.07 (so close to $9,000.00 in repayments!)

Week 45 report reporting on my expenses that come from my allocated ‘spending allowance’ per week. All other regular and fixed expenses are outlined in my budget here and automatically debited etc. Grocery spend – although variable, is outlined in my fortnightly budget too.

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Get real – stop buying stuff you can’t afford

So here’s a cold hard little debt busting fact:

When you are up to your eyeballs in debt, you can’t afford expensive hobbies. You can’t afford go out to eat at 5 star restaurants every week. You can’t afford to shout rounds of cocktails to your friends at Friday night drinks. You can’t afford that expensive faceceam – even if it on special.

Before I got serious about debt repayment, I played a little (and financially dangerous) game of spending tug of war when it came to the things I really couldn’t afford.

I told myself these things:

  • I deserve it.
  • I’ve had a tough week.
  • It’s on special.
  • The world might end if I don’t get it.
  • It’s not a lot of money.
  • Whats the point in going out for just one drink?
  • It will make me happy.

The last reason is possibly the worst of them all. I was happy in the moment I purchased whatever it was. Then I felt anxious, guilty and hopeless about my ever mounting debt and my seemingly inability to stop spending money.

Truth is, most of my blow out expenditure was on nights out – booze and food. Drinking + making intelligent financial decisions do not go hand it hand. For me, anyway.

I don’t even know how many ‘mornings after’ I woke up to an empty wallet and a vague feeling of handing over my credit card to the bar to buy drinks time and time again.

This sort of spending – silly, wasteful spending – had to stop. Even the seemingly not so silly spending did!

Even spending $15.00 (that’s not much right??) over your budget each week adds up to $780.00 a year! Thats $780 towards debt freedom or savings!

If you are in debt, you have given up the freedom to spend money left right and centre. Quit the vague promise to yourself to ‘put more money towards my debt this year’.

Be clear in your commitment. Draw up goals. Plan. Budget.

And stop buying stuff you can’t afford.

 

 

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