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budget cuts

Keeping that laser focus.

It’s so hard to stay focused, isn’t it?

There are a million and one distractions in our lives. I get so easily distracted so I HAVE to write things down. My planner is always with me, I am constantly writing notes or putting notes in my phone. It’s just so easy to get off focus.

The financial journey is the same. We HAVE to remember why in the heck we are doing this!!! Right? {Please don’t tell me it is JUST me.} I just finished an episode of “Divorce” on HBO. I totally love SJP but she will ALWAYS be Carrie Bradshaw to me. (SEEE!I just got distracted!) Anyway- the point is that while watching the show I am fascinated by the fashion and the homes. The show is set in New York but clearly not right in Manhattan like “Sex and the City” was. But still!! The homes are so open with huge windows and the kitchens are amazing. And Carrie (okay that’s not her name on the show but that is what I will call her #carriebradshawfan) shows up to an event at her daughters school in these AMAZING shoes! I didn’t let myself google them [totally curious as to what brand they are] because THAT is how it starts. I see something in the media-whatever the format may be- and I instantly feel this DESIRE to have it.

How do we stay focused when it is just so dang easy to lose focus?

  1. I keep my goals written and where I can see them.
  2. I go over them ALL the time! And I mean ALLLLL the time!

Short term goal:

  • Pay off the credit card!!!

We allowed ourselves to get sucked in to swiping there for a while. I have mentioned that before Dave Ramsey would NOT be happy with us for keeping a credit card. At this point it is JUST for my husbands work rental cars/hotels/etc (for which he is reimbursed) but there was a time when it was easier to swipe that card. The balance is much higher than I would ever want and the INTEREST! It’s crazy! For a couple with good credit I don’t understand how it is THIS high. No, it is not our “smallest” balance. We skipped ahead again. And Dave says no to that, and so does his daughter Rachel. {Just finished her book. It was so good! And I took it back to the library so if you’re local- go get it!!} But for us– we looked at the monthly interest and decided if we used our gazelle like intensity to pay this off FAST we would be money ahead in the long run. Based on what I have read the reason for using smallest to largest is to get those “wins” or victories along the way. And we have gotten a LOT of those! I don’t need a win to stay motivated– i’m MOTIVATED! So for us, we wanted to knock that out because the NEXT debt becomes our vehicles.

Point is– I check the balance on that card constantly! I click on payments JUST to be reminded of how much we have been paying and how far we have come. When I get distracted and want to swing by a boutique on the way home I click on that icon and look at how far we have come. CHECK YOUR GOALS!

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Long term goal: (5 *hopefully* years out)

NO DEBT except our home! And even in that 5 years I HOPE to see a LOT of progress on our home. But if my hand to paper calculations add up we will have 2 vehicles, student loans, and a large credit card paid off. The snowball will keep growing EACH month! I cannot lose sight of that.

Looooong term goal: (10 years and beyond)

Owe nobody NOTHIN’! The ultimate plan is that my 44th birthday will be celebrated by 15 days in Europe. We will be celebrating owing NOTHING!! I want my bills to be:

insurance, water bill, electricity, cell phone, internet, Netflix. That’s it! {And who knows? Maybe I will feel like I can splurge for cable by then!}

I understand that is somewhat of a stretch. Things happen. At some point a car will break down or we will need a new roof. Or God forbid something worse that would drain our finances. But living with REAL goals {and doable with hard work and motivation} keeps us going. I am a traveler. If I could travel to a new place each month I would. In fact, last year I nearly did. ALL I want to do is hop on a plane and go somewhere new and exciting. (Or visit the coolest places I have already been.) But I am {almost…and literally ALMOST} as excited to only have one trip planned this year. Ya know why? Because that means I am that many thousands of dollars ahead on reaching my GOALS!

Keeping that laser focus is hard. But it is MUCH easier when you know what the heck this all for! With every time we pass up going out to eat (which happened Friday night), with every NO we have to say to an outing, and with every extra dime going towards debt we are reminded of the purpose.

How do you keep focused on your financial goals? I’d love to hear!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

 

 

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$603.25

That doesn’t seem like that big of a number… does it?

debt

To me, it seems like a really REALLY big number. The weekend of November 9th (I’ve written about that here) is the weekend that my husband and I decided to get serious about our finances. We both make a decent living and have grown accustom to having some debt. That is JUST how we lived. We never felt the need to do anything different because it felt like it was “working.” When I challenged my husband (and y’all-I kinda begged) to hop on board and let’s do this “get out of debt thing” he was all in. And I was too. But I truly had NO idea what this was going to mean.

I decided the first thing to do was start on the budget. That was ridiculous. I hate doing a budget. Like I always KNEW what I needed to pay and what was due but I was NOT faithful to put pen to paper and do it on a monthly basis. While doing the budget I did some digging. I looked into bank and credit card statements and HOLY MOLY! What we were doing was NOT working at ALL!

*Let me say to check your credit card/debit card balances NOW. I found where a hotel had charged us twice and we hadn’t even caught it**

We needed to get it together! We were two grown and educated human beings who were making stupid mistakes on a daily basis. (SHAME SHAME!) I began to dissect bills that I normally didn’t even open. I knew Entergy would text me and remind me my bill was due in the next few days and what that happened-i’d pay it. Once I started going through months of statements I realized that we had some areas we could cut back in!

Through phone calls, chatting with customer representatives, and going into places saying NO MORE, I have managed to lower our monthly expenses by $603.25!!!!

Cutting the cable cord, begging Verizon for a better deal, paying off our cell phones (they get ya on the phone thing, don’t they?), canceling Amazon Prime, getting rid of the Country Club and saying goodbye to our house cleaners has freed up $603.25 EACH month!

And the BEST part is– I don’t have $603.25 left over to go blow! I have $603.25 to pay on debt!!!! I cannot BELIEVE I just said that was the best part! 🙂 We are able to kick this Debt Snowball program into HIGH gear.

The grand total debt pay off since that road trip conversation took place in November= $6392.25.

Thank you Jesus! Slowly but surely we are on the way to financial freedom. It has NOT been easy but it is getting easier. It didn’t take long on this  social media fast to get used to NOT clicking on Facebook or Instagram. And it hasn’t taken long on this financial freedom journey to say NO to things that I know I don’t need. You CAN DO IT!

Thanks for reading!

For Now,

Cara Roxanne

Because Dave told me so…

I have told more people this lately… it’s becoming insane.

Throughout this process I can honestly say that my husband and I have gotten closer. We have written goals for our future and a plan on how to get there {or at least we agree on how to NOT get there!} We also have come to share our love/hate for Dave Ramsey. I hate it when people are ALWAYS right.

We sat down last week and looked very intently at all of our bills. Things that I have NEVER paid attention to are now topics of everyday conversation. Such as: How much is Netflix and when does it come out of the account? We had no clue! How sad is that! I wasn’t quite sure what we paid for Amazon, Sam’s, Hulu and so many others it’s embarrassing.

I looked through each bill and went back through our online banking to SEE what all we pay for and when. (terrible… I know!) We knew there had to be some wiggle room in there somewhere. After looking through EVERY bill we have–here is what I learned and did.

  1. Verizon. I called them. Let’s talk. “Ya see Dave Ramsey told me to call you.” What changes can be made to lower this bill! I saved us $36 dollars each month by this phone call. I now have my bill drafted {and don’t worry–I wrote down the draft date so I won’t forget!} which saves $10 a month and I took the iPad off of a data plan. We use the unlimited plan so when we need the iPad we can hotspot our phone and save that money!
  2. Entergy. I mean we HAVE to have electricity but what can we do differently? We are on levelized billing and after taking a good look at every bill from this past month I learned that we are over paying by $60 bucks a year! Not anymore we aren’t. Maybe for you this is a great plan to be on… but not for us! I’ll take that extra money any day of the week!!
  3. Dish. Guess what? If we cancel on February 14th (which is our anniversary/contract date) we can come back in 30 days as a “new customer.” So on that date we will no longer have dish! Will we come back after 30 days? Probably. But do we have to? NOPE! Because we are not slaves to Dish anymore! (HALLELUJAH!) In the mean time I looked at some blogs/pinterest posts to see what Roku has to offer. We have one but we really only use it for Netflix. I found a FREE app called Pluto tv. It basically works like dish/cable in the fact that you have tv channels to chose from within this app. There is a news channel and a People tv channel which has some great shows on it. We WILL survive that 30 days with no Dish and possibly survive longer. Roku has some fantastic apps you just have to know what you’re looking for. IF we can stay away from Dish for any amount of time we will be saving TONS of money. Average savings: $88.20 per month.

money

A few phone calls and only a FEW times of having to say “Dave Ramsey asked me to call…” I have saved $125 dollars a month. And I LITERALLY did all of this in less than an hour. Worth every second.

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Debt Free Progress!

Drum roll please!

We have paid off $6372 of our debt in the past 7 weeks!!!!

I’m so encouraged and motivated!!! It REALLY is happening, y’all! We have taken anything extra we had, cut back on our “fun” money while still enjoying life, and have used our gazelle like intensity to pay off our debt.

Dave Ramsey says to get MAD at your debt. That’s where we are. MAD. ANGRY! We have made some stupid decisions that took minutes to do and will now spend YEARS undoing them… but we are doing it. Step by step. Pay check by paycheck. Dime by dime.

By cutting back, sticking to our budget, and planning AHEAD we have managed to make a huge dent in our debt. BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER!

debt free

Stay tuned! Thanks for reading 🙂

For now,

Cara Roxanne

 

 

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