Tag Archives: south america

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.


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Spend and Debt Update – Week 4, Monday 25th March – Sunday 31st March

I can’t believe we are in April already…to get the new month off to a Debt Smashing start,  Im going to set a challenge for myself. From Monday 1st April through to Sunday 7th April SPEND NOTHING (aside from my set expenses which are outlined in my budget)

Can I do it? I’ll let you know on my next update 🙂

Oki doki….here is my update for WEEK 4:

Total Income 

  • $0.00 (This wasn’t my pay week)

Spending / Expenses:

(Amounts in italics are included in my regular monthly expense budget as listed in this previous post)

  • Monday: $0.00
  • Tuesday: $2.20 sushi roll
  • Wednesday: $4.30 coffee
  • Thursday: $4.50 coffee, $3.00 easter eggs
  • Friday: $0.00
  • Saturday: $10.25 coffee (for me and my mum)
  • Sunday: $20.00 tithe, $4.90 coffee

Total Expenses / spend: $49.15

Week 4 Summary

Income $0.00 +   $83.00 (bank balance at start of the week) – expenses $49.15 = $33.85 remaining in bank (of this $20.oo is still budgeted for tithe)

Week 4 debt status

Credit card #1 – $1,202.12

Credit card #2 – $4696.67

Personal loan – $7309.87

Total Debt : $13, 208.66

Initial Debt$14, 744.12

Debt reduced by week 4:  $1535.46  (No reduction since week 3 – remember, I make all my payments towards debt on my pay week)

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Week 1 – Debt Smashing Stats (Monday 3rd March to Sunday 10th March)

So, every week on Sunday I will post a summary of my income, expenses and current debt. I get paid fortnightly so I pay the majority of my expenses and debt repayment for the fortnight on my pay date. So next weeks update will look a little different to this one.

I had this info all nice and fabulous on a little excel spreadsheet but I can’t insert it into this post. Im a bit computer challenged on these types of things so if anyone can suggest how I can add an excel spreadsheet please let me know!

Week 1  – Monday 3rd March to Sunday 10th March aka The First Serious Week Of Debt Smashing

Total Income (this was my pay week so majority of my expenses come out fortnightly on my payday)

  • $1595.00 (fortnightly pay)

Spending / Expenses:

(Amounts in italics are included in my regular monthly expense budget as listed in this previous post)

  • Monday: $0.00
  • Tuesday: $0.00
  • Wednesday: Credit Card #1 debt payment $750.00 , Credit card #2 debt repayment $133.00, Board $140.00 (this amount includes food) , Phone $50.00, Travel $100.00 and Flights $195.00
  • Thursday: Coffee $4.50
  • Friday: Drinks $16.00
  • Saturday: Coffee $4.50
  • Sunday: $0.00

Total Expenses / spend: $1393.00

Week 1 Summary

Income $1595.00 less expenses $1393.00 = $202.00 in bank account

Week 1 debt status

Credit card #1 – $1627.12

Credit card #2 – $4826.67

Personal loan – $7397.57

Total Debt : $13, 851.36

Initial Debt: $14, 744.12

Debt reduced in week 1:  $922.76


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Coffee Vs Debt – There can only be one winner……

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee…..you delicious little vice, you.

Coffee: Who…. me?

Me: Yes you! – your welcoming, warm voice calls to me out of cafes every day. You are like a caffeinated Siren of the sea, I am the Sailor. I can’t resist your call.

I do love you coffee. But you are rather costly.

Coffee: Really? $4.50 for a hit of this goodness isn’t THAT much….

Me: But I’m seeing you on a regular basis. As in daily. It adds up. I think we need to take a little break…

Inspired by a fellow debt blogger’s recent post  Frugal in the morning , I thought I would share my little daily battle of trying not to buy coffee. Everyday.

It really does add up, any coffee lover turned debt fighting super hero (heroine) , has done the math. A daily cup at $4.50 x 7 x 52 = $1638.00 per year for my caffeine fix.

This week I set myself a little challenge of only purchasing 2 coffees. All week. UNHEARD of for me. I am just finishing my second one as I write this post. So that little conversation above, it did actually happen – just then 😉

Coffee is a treat and I love it. I am never going to completely deny myself, because no coffee does a miserable Elesha make. However, in the interest of my debt campaign, I am seriously going to try to stick to 2 a week.

That’s a weekly saving of $22.50 and a yearly saving of $1170.00

Coffee my faithful friend, we will meet again. Just not as often.

On a little coffee side note, during the month I traveled in Argentina, I can honestly say this cafe – Coffee Town-  served the  only decent coffee I had. And it was amazing. In San Telmo, Buenos Aries during vintage market trawling on a freezing cold day.

I could have kissed the barista I was so happy.


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How a Relationship Breakdown lead to a Debt Breakup

Personal finance management is never a hot topic on a first date.

Unless you are a pair of financial managers. In which case the conversation is possible – but still not hot.

So when the topic is finally raised – how much do you actually tell your partner about your personal financial position?

My last relationship was with a guy who was very financially sensible. While I, on the other hand, was deep in debt. The knowledge of this financial disparity made me feel:

A) Ashamed of my financial state of affairs

B) Afraid to be honest about how much debt I was actually in

C) Worried about how I would ever pay it off without effecting the lifestyle we both had together.

When the relationship ended quite abruptly –  nothing to do with money, everything to do with the fact he was a cheating %^&*- I was gutted.

But in my efforts to salvage any positive from the situation, I began to realise the relationship breakdown and my subsequent launch into singledom presented me with an opportunity.

An opportunity to make whatever changes necessary to maximise my debt repayments. I could move in and live with my parents. I could live a verrrrrryyy lean – bordering on boring! – social life for as long as it took to repay the debt. I could say no to holidays.These choices would affect no one but me.

Trying to do these things while with my ex would have effected our relationship. I am someone who likes to pay my way – and I would never expect a partner to pay for me to maintain a current lifestyle while I sorted out my debt.

The end of the relationship really freed me up to make these changes in my life. And I am taking advantage of that.

Relationship breakdowns are tough. We have all been there. Cried like you would never stop. Ate cake and icecream long after you should have stopped. And just generally felt like things wouldn’t get better.

But I really encourage you to;

A) step away from that  icecream and cake (it’s your 6th slice already!)


B) Take absolute hold of  new opportunities – financial or otherwise – that can (WILL!!!) come your way after a break up.

When one door closes,..another one eats more icecream and cake opens 🙂

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What it really costs

Each week I earn $797.50

That’s $159.50 per day

Which is $19.93 an hour

Making it $0.33 per minute

I owe $14,774.12

$14, 774.12 divided by $0.33 is:


44,770 minutes

746.16  hours

That’s how many hours of my life I need to work with every cent I earn, paying financial institutions.

Paying off my debt.

That’s what it really costs.


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Getting serious about making changes to smash debt

By getting serious, I don’t mean buying one less takeaway meal per week. Then keeping that money. And spending it on drinks at the weekend.


The way I figured it was; change fell into 2 categories:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Attitude changes.

The biggest lifestyle change I have made is moving back home with my parents. When I arrived back in Australia after my trip, like I said, I was BROKE. The immediate option was for me to stay with my parents for awhile until I figured out my next step. When I realised my next step HAD to be tackling my debt, becoming debt free by the end of 2013, I knew it made financial sense for me to stay with my folks For a year or until I had finally kicked debts ass.

Living with my folks meant being in a new state  where I don’t know anyone (I have never lived here) and an epic commute – yep 2 hours EACH WAY- to get to work. But in this case the end justifies the means – because the end will be me being fabulously debt free quicker. And the sooner Im not sending half of every pay check my financial institute buddies –  ANZ, CITI BANK and Commonwealth Bank – the better.

But wait – Im getting this little story out of order.

Before I could actually action and commit to my lifestyle change (not just think “hmmmm this is what I should do…maybe next year….” ) I needed an attitude change.

My attitude towards debt changed when I realised I was in deep enough that if it wasn’t addressed it would seriously hinder  my goal to travel.  I want to spend my 30’s travelling the world. And not within  the corporate world’s 4 weeks yearly allowance , I want to bounce around the globe for however long and roam however far I please. The huge attraction of travelling for me is the sense of freedom. Freedom from the daily grind, freedom to explore, freedom to have and live each day as your own. Unfortunately, dragging around a Big Pile Of Crappy Debt kinda rains on freedom’s parade.

I realized that Financial Freedom is a far nicer and more flexible travelling companion.

And once I made the connection that being debt free would positively impact my long term travel goals – my attitude changed. I am ready to grab hold of the debt and pay every cent off. I understand that it means taking a year out and prioritising it above everything else. Ive accepted I won’t be doing anything super duper fabulous and exciting in terms of travelling this year.

But you know what, just quietly, I think being debt free will be pretty freakin fabulous.

ps – Keeping my travel memories at the front of my mind (and below!) always an excellent motivation 🙂



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Let me introduce my DEBT…….


Here is a bit of background, and current stats on my debt. At this moment – 2nd March 2013 (3.07pm to be exact!) I owe:

Credit card #1 – $2377.12

Credit Card #2 – $5000.00

Personal loan –  $7397.00

Total debt: $14,774.12

I have visited A LOT of websites / blogs relating to debt and getting debt free and I have seen some people’s total amounts of debt which make mine seem small in comparison  However, to me this is a huge amount, especially as I pretty much have no physical assets at all to show for it. How I let this debt sneak up on me – I use the term ‘sneak up’ because it really has accumulated over the years – is something I am not proud of. For a long long time, I felt as long I was making the minimum repayments, I was getting by. But minimum payments aren’t enough if I want to end this debt relationship anytime soon. I look at the bottom of my #1 credit card statement and paying the minimum amount will take me 21 years and 5 months to repay – with interest of $3,019.40. Crazy.

I am not at all blaming anyone or any circumstances for the accumulation of this debt except my own poor credit management and refusal to get really serious about debt elimination until now.

Surprisingly, I am actually quite good at saving. And in a way, this may have contributed to the steady rise of debt. I always seemed to be saving for something – mainly travel – and to make this happen and ensure I put max into my savings account, I put minimum repayments on may cards / loan. I would also top up whatever funds I hadn’t been able to save with credit, and looking at it now, I think therein lies the issue. I am not a frivolous person, and certainly don’t seem to spend a lot of money on purchases ‘just because’.

Travel is an expensive hobby. After my most recent trip of almost 5 months in South America, I returned home almost broke – when the first pay after 7 months of not working went into my bank account, I had $20.00 left. Just in time!

Now I see that it is impossible to avoid this debt any longer. And it has got to a point where I will have to focus on this as my only financial priority for this year. So, by choice or not,  I’m finally in the right headspace to do this. And be excited about getting debt free.

Debt Free

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