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I’M DEBT FREE! Goodbye from The Debt Breakup

Folks, this week I made my FINAL debt repayment! On Wednesday I transferred the final $460.00 to my personal loan.

For those of you familiar with the Dave Ramsay show, here’s my blog version of a debt free scream:

 

I’M DEBT FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

All balances are at $0.00 – I no longer owe banking institutions anything. My next pay check will be mine, ALL MINE. So, for one final time, lets review my debt stats:

 Starting debt – March 2014

Credit card #1 – $2377.12

Credit Card #2 – $5000.00

Personal loan –  $7397.00

Total debt: $14,774.12

June 2014

Credit card #1 – $0.00

Credit card #2 – $0.00

Personal loan: $0.00

Total debt repaid: $14,774.12 (BOOM!!!)

My journey to Debt Freedom has taken approximately 15 months. I only wish I’d started earlier. If you are reading this blog because you are thinking about getting out of debt, don’t delay – start RIGHT NOW.

A huge THANK YOU to all my fellow debt bloggers for encouraging me along the way. There are so many fantastic PF blogs out there. The days I felt discouraged or ready to give up, I’d just spend time reading over other debt smashing blogs for inspiration!

So this is goodbye and good luck from The Debt Breakup. My next financial journey will be saving for a backpacking adventure through Central America at the end of 2014. I’ve got a steep savings goal to meet by the end of December!

You can follow my progress at www.4000sundays.com – my blog about travel, minimalism and making the most of every day!

Remember – Debt free is SET free. Never give up the war on debt!

Over and out 😉

Elesha – The Debt Breakup

 

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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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A slow shopping spree

I SO miss buying clothes. Debt smashing is rewarding and all, but damn, sometimes I just want to bust out and buy a new wardrobe.

Right before I left for my South American backpacking adventure I spent quite a lot of cash on the items I needed for the trip – backpack, locks, headlamp etc. I also spent quite a bit on clothes.

When you have a small amount of clothes on high rotation for months and months, you want to start the trip with clothes you aren’t already sick of wearing. I am pretty much sick of my entire wardrobe at the moment. Unnecessary clothing purchases were the first thing to go when I got serious about paying off debt and saving.

In preparation for my trip to Central America, I have decided to approach my clothing purchases in a different way. I have prepared a list of the items I want to take and plan to purchase these throughout the year and pop them in a box to stay all nice and new for my trip!

Sure, I could put the money aside instead but I think this approach will give me the little shopping hit I need occasionally, and it’s just a bit of a different way to prepare 🙂

Here is my list:

  • 3 x pair of shorts
  • 3 x t-shirts
  • 3 x singlets
  • 2 x casual summer dresses
  • 2 x hoodies
  • 2 x leggings
  • 1 x pair of jeans
  • 1 x pair of hiking pants
  • 1 x rain jacket
  • 1 x cardigan
  • 1 x jacket

I will be taking other things (underwear etc!) but these are the things I’d like to have new 🙂

Speaking of holidays, I’m off to New Zealand tonight! Just for a week 🙂  but I can’t wait! I won’t be posting my normal weekly spend report on Sunday but I’ll check in after my trip and let you know how I went on my holiday spending – holiday budget vs actual spend.

Ciao!

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Week 43 – Spend and Debt update

Week 43 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.

Spending funds allocated for Week 43 – $35.55 – yep, super duper small allowance this week! I am heading to New Zealand next week (YAY!) so really wanted to channel as much cash as possible into my spending for NZ!

Actual funds spent for Week 42 – $24.85. Under budget! Yay!

Monday: No spend.

Tuesday: No spend

Wednesday: No spend

Thursday: $7.45 lunch takeaway

Friday: $4.95 coffee, $5.95 lunch, $1.00 movie rental

Saturday: $2.00 movie rental

Sunday: $3.50 coffee

I passed my 2 spend free days per week challenge, actually had 3 days!!

Starting debt at March 2013: $14,774.12

Current Debt: $5,850.05

Debt paid: $8,924.07 divided by 43 weeks = $207. 53  debt repayment per week on average

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Budget makeover : 2011 vs 2014

This week I found an old notebook with some previous budgeting records. I have always tracked my money on the fixed expense side of things, and it was quite interesting to see this old record from August 2011:

Circumstances in 2011 – I was single and living alone in an apartment I absolutely loved, right on the beach – the cost of rent not allowing me to save a lot. I am big on fitness and health and I recall at this time in my life I was doing several paid classes (not included in a gym membership) of boxing per week plus personal training. I was also trying to save for my South American backpacking adventure. My phone, laptop and whitegoods were all on rental contracts – which, in my mind, are debt.

Fortnightly budget 2011

My wage was $1677.00 per fortnight (actually $50 more per fortnight than I earn now)

  • $44.00 laptop rental ($84 per month)
  • $185.00 payment to credit cards
  • $600.00 rental payment ($1200 per month)
  • $50.00 phone (I was on a contract that went came to between $90 – $100 per month)
  • $12.50 internet (pre paid, $25.00 per month)
  • $75.00 personal loan – I was only making minimum repayments ($130.00 per month, at that stage my loan was smaller)
  • $32.00 boxing classes ($64.00 per month)
  • $40.00 personal training ($80.00 per month)
  • $25.00 whitegood rental ($50.00 per month)
  • $100.00 travel ($200.00 per month)

So that left me with $513.50 which is $256.7 per week for groceries, spending money and savings. I know I spent around $100 – $120 on groceries per week when I lived alone. So that would be about 136.00 for savings and spending. No wonder I found it difficult to save money during this time, although I constantly did feel like I was saving, but not large amounts.

I didn’t include electricity, or any buffer.

Circumstances for 2014

I live with my boyfriend, closer to my workplace (less travel) and split costs of rent, groceries and electricity. We have a small older apartment, which has been very very hot during the summer (no aircon) but I can see already from the summary below that our decision to rent a modest place has really impacted savings.

Fortnightly budget 2014

My wage is $1620.00 per fortnight

  • Rent: $295.00 ($590.00 per month – $610.00 less than 2011)
  • Travel: $45.00 ($90 per month – $110.00 less than 2011)
  • Phone: $15.00 prepaid  ($30 per month – $60.00 less than 2011 and no contract)
  • Internet: $15.00 – On an internet plan for $30.00 per month – $5.00 more than 2011)
  • Electricity: $20.00 – I had no inclusion of electricity in 2011 budget.
  • Gym: $47.80 ($96.20 less than fitness costs 2011)
  • Groceries: $250.00 ($5.00 more than 2011 per week – however, I’ve actually got this as an allowance in my budget now)
  • Tithe / donation: $20.00 (didn’t have giving allocation in 2011 budget)
  • Loan repayment: $160.00 – ($190.00 more than 2011. My minimum is higher at $173.00 but I am making addition payment of $73.50 per fortnight towards the loan)
  • Buffer: $50.00 (didn’t have a buffer allocation in 2011 budget)
  • Spending: $230.00 – Most weeks will leave me with $115.00 as spending / entertainment money.
  • Savings: $490.00 from March 2014 – my 2011 savings were variable based on what I had left over, however I have built the amount of $490.00 into my budget for 2014. The start of this year has been variable due to NZ trip and 2 interstate trips.

So 2 main things have changed.

I have rid myself of most contracts and 2 credit cards and I include everything in my budget now, rather than just seeing what I have left to pay the variable amounts (spending, savings and groceries)

So it was interesting – and encouraging – to come across an old budget and see I have made progress. Slow progress, but I’ll take it as a win!

 

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Be consistent in the little things

It is important to keep your eye on the prize. The BIG picture – the reason you set the goals you have to reach the outcome you want. My BIG picture is to Travel The World Debt Free.

But it is SUPER, DUPER important to remain consistent in the LITTLE things. The day to day activities and actions that you need to do to reach that BIG goal.

To me, consistency in taking positive actions and steps– in all areas, finance, health, relationships, career – is KEY.

Consistency forms habits. And good habits in personal finance are priceless.

What LITTLE things am I doing every day / week to make the BIG thing (Debt Freedom!) a reality?

  • I record all my expenses. Every day. I log them into the notes section of my phone, then I put them into a spreadsheet at the end of the day.
  • I try (SO HARD 😉 not to buy takeaway coffees every day! Everyone has a little spend vice…the ‘small’ amount that adds up and burns a hole in your pocket! Mine is coffee.
  • I listen to personal finance podcasts or read PF content via blogs / books / internet almost every day. This helps keep my goal at the forefront of my mind – I get hints and tips and feel inspired!
  • I say No to the items I really don’t need right now. Consistently saying no, delaying gratification and not letting frivious purchases sidetrack you actually becomes very rewarding. And, the more you do it, the easier it becomes!
  • I review my budget weekly. A weekly review can curb any major blowouts and keep you on track.
  • I donate to my piggy bank. This is a fairly recent habit I’ve developed, but already I can see over time with consistent donations this little piggy will be laughing all the way to the bank!

What little things are you doing consistently to reach your big goal?

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January 2014 – At a glance debt and savings stats

During 2014, I will be posting a monthly ‘at a glance’ update on my Debt and Savings balances.

At the end of January, things were looking like this:

Debt

Credit card 1 – $0.00

Credit card 2 – $0.00

Personal loan: $5925.05

Savings

$140.54

Things are going to be fairly quiet and unexciting around the savings corner until March!

Later alligators 🙂

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Debt Breakup goals for February

February is almost here! January has just flown by!

So, time for some goals for the coming month. Keeping it simple and not huge amounts:

  • Pay $320.00 off personal loan  – current outstanding balance: $5925.05
  • Add $150.00 to savings account – current savings $140.00
  • 2 spend free days per week – aiming for Tuesday and Thursday each week to keep consistent
  • Contribute at least $30 to my ‘piggy bank’

You can see my savings account is very low – so anyone out there who is new to The Debt Breakup, it’s a good time to follow the blog – my savings are just starting! I hope yours are too 🙂

Let’s make some kickass progress together!

Have a great Tuesday 🙂

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Week 29 – Expense and Debt Update

A bit late with my weekly update, but here are the stats for Week 29.

While nothing much as changed on the debt front, I did stick to my goal of only buying 1 coffee and shopping at ALDI for my weekly shop. I also managed to not spend money on alcohol…but my boyfriend very kindly spotted me some beers last night 😉

Spend summary

Monday: $3.00 water, $15.00 on travel card

Tuesday: $0.00

Wednesday: $150.00 on travel card, $140 board

Thursday: $40.50 gifts

Friday: $23.00 gym

Saturday: $70.00 dentist, $4.50 coffee, $30 phone recharge card, $35.00 donation

Sunday: $27.30 dinner

Total spend: $538.30

Debt update

Credit card #1 – $0.00

Credit card #2 – $0.00

Personal loan: $6708.64

Total debt remaining: $6708.64

Total starting debt: $14,744.12

Debt reduced by Week 29: $8,035.48

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Wearing the same clothes. Over and over and OVER again.

I am so freakin bored with my wardrobe.

Clothes are pretty much the first on the hit list of things to go when the budget gets serious. I have had 2 skirts, 5 tops and 2 dresses on high rotation for the last 10 months as my work wardrobe.

Most items are black / dark and simple. Coming into the new season (summer) fashion, all these delightful light, bright and fabulous numbers are calling to me from shop windows.

Must.Not.Buy

Yes, yes, I know – first world problems. But, this blog is about my journey to debt freedom, and that includes leaving no whinge or frustration unsaid.

So, now I have that off my chest, the plan from 14th Oct – 14th Nov is to eliminate the items that burn a hole in my pocket.

After tracking my expenses for months, I can identify where a large portion of my $$ goes:

  • Coffee – yep, no surprises there!
  • Alcohol – seriously, in Australia drinking in bars / restaurants is SO expensive
  • Groceries – now I am not going to eliminate groceries altogether obviously! But I need to be smarter about where I purchase groceries and what I buy

So, my approach is this. Purchase only 1 coffee a week. Purchase NO alcohol. Shop at ALDI rather than Coles for my weekly work lunch groceries. I rarely ever buy my lunch at work, instead I do a shop every Monday morning for what I need for the week. But sometimes that shop can still cost me quite a bit. I tend to buy ‘brand name’ groceries and I do love the organic health food aisle 😉 But over the next month I just need to make simple purchases, not sacrificing healthy eating, but just getting down to necessity only.

So this was the 1st week and I have kept on track so far.

If I am going to blow this debt out of the water by the end of the year, it is crunch time. I have felt on a really tight leash lately and it has been doing my head in a bit, but I’m pulling out all stops to go into 2014 debt  free.

‘Perseverance is is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did’  – Newt Gingrich

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