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cash flow

Making progress πŸ’ͺ🏻

We have been so BUSY! With good stuff!!

Since I last posted…

*We have have paid $12k on my bonus sons student loan πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

*We are in the middle of cash flowing summer vacations

*We have now paid over $35k since we began this journey in November!

INSERT HUGE CELEBRATION HERE

For those of you considering changing your lifestyle, or trying to pay off debt… it CAN be done! It’s crazy how “simple” it is. I put that in quotes because it is HARD work and dedication like none other but the principals are simple.

On my Instagram page (moneyonmymind02) you can follow more up to date progress. I encourage you to follow financial pages (debt free hashtags, frugal, etc) as I have found this to be a huge source of encouragement. What’s crazy though are the {dare I say} cat fights I occasionally see in regards to Dave Ramsey’s plan versus the avalanche method. In DR’s plan you pay smallest to biggest whereas the avalanche goes by highest interest rate. I’ve watched people call DR fans “cult members” and I’ve seen others bash the avalanche method for not doing it right πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

I always chime in and say it is YOUR journey! We started with the snowball plan due to having small debts that we wanted done quickly. That made sense! But then we jumped over to the avalanche method to knock out a high interest credit card. Here’s the deal- follow whichever plan you want! Mix it up! If you are intentional in your finances and are slashing through debt– who cares what plan you are on?? I’ve seen people start with automobiles and leave small debts waiting. For them it made sense to knock those out first. Who am I to judge?

Start somewhere. We took some HUGE leaps and dumped a lot of monthly bills to get going fast. Not everyone can or wants to so that! (Lemme tell ya… I don’t miss cable but I do miss my cleaning lady! 😭😭) Do what works for YOU!

We’ve made some major progress. We are working towards pre-paying (I guess you’d say) our summer trips. So this month there’s no “snowball” so to speak but we still have a plan and that is the most important part.

Anyone knew to the journey? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

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On to the next one

Now that Citi and I broke up (best decision ever πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚) we have moved on to the next one… my bonus sons student loan.

My husband did a Parent Plus loan which is so stupid! The interest is so high and the options for refinancing are virtually zero. So– here goes!

The goal is to have this knocked out my November! It’s a super aggressive goal but we’ve done this type thing before.

The plan of action:

*Monthly payments are automatic on the 2nd for $111.

*Pay an additional $400 every Friday.

=$1711 paid each month.

But I know what you’re thinking… that won’t get it knocked out that quick.

So here comes the “fun” part. And actually it is kinda fun! It becomes like our focus and motivation! Every extra dime goes to this loan. I’m on call? Goes to the loan. Husband gets a bonus? Goes to the loan. Spend $50 bucks less on groceries? Goes to the loan… you get the picture.

With gazelles like intensity and a hatred for our debt we go forth! πŸ’ͺπŸ»πŸ‘

It becomes difficult to stay motivated. (Written about that too many times to count) I’d much rather be throwing that much money towards a trip to Europe buutttt— not yet. But one day! πŸ™ŒπŸΌβ€οΈ

How do you stay motivated? I’d love to hear from you! For more inspiration and updates follow my Instagram page @moneyonmymind02

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Knocking out debt πŸ’ͺ🏻

An up date from a precious post… we have now freed up over $1087 each month! πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌ

Lets see a recap…

And as of yesterday– Citi and I parted ways. πŸ’πŸ»β€β™€οΈ it feels so good to cross that bad boy off the list!

So here’s the deal..

We are doing some avalanche work right now. It’s basically the opposite of Dave Ramsey’s plan. And don’t get me wrong– I am such a fam of Dave Ramsey. I listen to his podcasts every day on my way to and from work JUST for the inspiration and tips. However– when we knocked out our small debts we knew there were 2 that we wanted done quickly due to interest rates:

A Credit card that had over 24% APR and my bonus sons’s student loan at 8.6% interest rate.

So here’s the deal… we chose to get off course for a bit. It goes against the snowball method but it serves a different purpose for us. The credit card had an average of $350 in interest each month. And the student loan, well, that interest rate is ridiculous but my husband did the Parent Plus loan so we don’t really have any options on it.

Maybe you’re trying to decide between the two. Maybe you have tried both. It’s OK! The bottom line is knocking that debt out, right? Some people can get super stuck/committed to one and lose sight of the purpose.

I hope your journey is going well! Hang in there. Stay motivated and if you feel like throwing in the towel(or the hat? I dunno phrases are not my thing) reach out first! Email, instagram… I’m here to help!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

CaraRoxanne

This has turned into all out adventure!

I started the journey to become debt free. It’s ended up being a crazy adventure!

Through this journey so far, I have watched my husband and I “jive” like never before. We are on the same page and are communicating so much better!! πŸŽ‰β€οΈ

Crazy things have happened to me though:

1. I don’t enjoy shopping anymore.

You read that correctly. Somehow this has become who I am. Even walking in a store with a plan can be exhausting. Example: I went into Old Navy 2 weeks ago to pick up a pair of jeans for my daughter. (In the budget… btw) I also had some “fun” money in my pocket leftover. I decided to stroll through the clearance items(fav pastime) and found myself disgusted. I know, right??? What has happened to me?? I looked at some cute stuff and just kept thinking how I didn’t want any of it. I LITERALLY had money to spare and didn’t spend it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

2. This financial lifestyle change is changed a lot more than our finances.

I am finding myself more content. I am enjoying putting together outfits from my already paid for wardrobe. I am content to drive past Starbucks and come home and make me some afternoon coffee. I’ve come to enjoy sitting outside on our paid-for outdoor living area in the afternoon with a hot tea. Somehow I’ve just learned contentment. And it happened when I least expected it. I assumed NOT being able to spend money would make me want it more!! I was wrong. ☺️

3. I don’t feel as attached to my “things” yet I appreciate them more at the same time.

I OFTEN walk around my house with 2 empty Kroger sacks. I find things to throw out. I don’t put a lot of thought into it I just throw stuff away. It seems less overwhelming than having a family meeting and asking everyone to spend hours going through stuff and throw things out. I look forward to doing this! Yet at the SAME time I am finding old things and appreciating them. I was looking for sandals the other day and ran across 2 old purses. I had forgotten about them. It was like Christmas morning! With pride I switched my purse out and was happy to carry it around!!

This journey quickly became an adventure. Perhaps I reached that magic number in the 30’s. I’ve always heard that there’s a point in your 30’s when you become YOU. I never understand that until now. This has been a WILD ride and I’m lovin’ it! ❀️

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Some days it’s just difficult…

I was chatting with a friend yesterday who also is on her debt free journey. I find so much comfort in moments when someone else is right along with me… trying to follow the steps, make smart financial moves, and get out of this mess!

We were discussing ways to stay motivated. She suggested following hashtags (like debt free, financial peace,etc) on Instagram. I totally jump don that bandwagon and spent some time finding encouraging people to follow.

Guys (and gals)… some days it’s just plain hard! It’s hard to stay motivated. It’s hard to take hundreds of dollars every Friday (our paydays) and chunk it at debt. Some days it’s difficult to “confirm” the payments!! I often pause and think of what I could do with that money. Whether it’s $150 or $750… I could undoubtedly find something “fun” to spend that money on. And instead I have to remind myself that I’ve already had “fun” with that money. And now I am PAYING for all that fun I had. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Sometimes I want to say forget it! Let’s go back to just paying the minimums on everything (I mean at least we were paying our bills, right?!?!) and book a flight to somewhere– anywhere!!

We have paid off over $13,000 since we began this journey just 5 months ago. It IS worth it. Sometimes I just need to vent and rediscover that motivation!

How do you keep yourself motivated? How do you push through the tough times? I’d love to hear!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Living my life backwards for far too long

It’s a fact. I have been living my life backwards

Buying when I couldn’t. Now I can and I won’t. Now I’m downsizing and doing without.

Now that I “don’t have to” and make a decent living I have to get rid of things I should have been doing without for years

Why did I think I deserved things when I couldn’t afford them? And why can I afford them and am totally willing to do without?

I am trying so hard to answer that question. And the only thing I can come up with is the old saying of “we always want what we can’t have.” When I really couldn’t (and shouldn’t) have purchased things- I did. And when I really long for financial freedom (and should be enjoying it due to hard work to get here) I can’t.

I was expressing this to my friend and my husband. Both laughed but it was the kinda laugh that hurt because it was that half-say laugh/half-way gasp for breath kinda laugh. My friend said “everyone goes through that. That wake up call of realizing what you did wrong.” My husband said “I’ve done that my whole life.” It wasn’t necessarily comforting to hear those words but it did solidify that I’m not the ONLY person who has been living life backwards.

NO MORE! I can’t go back but to go forward I have to relive some financial mistakes. I have had to come to terms with mistakes that will cost me years to fix. The funny part is that I’m okay with it. I mean- I’m not OK with being stupid and backwards for years, but I’m okay with facing it and owning it. I’m in control of this now. God is TRULY in control but you hear me, right? I’m in better control (and have a reign on) of spending and monitoring finances. For years I was terrified to login to my bank. I didn’t want to face what I would see. Isn’t that crazy?? Gahhh- that’s just so sad. {but true!}

Anyway– enough living backwards. Moving forward I feel like I have the tools PLUS the accountability from this blog. Let’s do this. Let’s live life FORWARD!

Thanks for reading

For now,

Cara Roxanne

To keep… or to toss?

That’s the REAL question.

My husband and I sat down at the kitchen bar and went over EVERY little thing we could think of that we spend money on. Having these kinds of real discussions regarding your finances is a vulnerable and wonderful time! It’s hard ya know? Finances are very personal and they weigh differently to men and women. What I value and want to see happen financially is not always what my husband wants. Finding that common ground is SO important!

Our list of random things we spend money on went like this:

Gym membership

Netflix

Hulu

Apple Music

Amazon Prime

Sam’s

Dish Network

bills

Let’s start with the gym. It is ONLY $22 bucks a month. And we have NOT been in 3 months. {FACE PALM}

We had the discussion of what to do with it. It’s very inexpensive but we are NOT using it… yet we both WANT to. It is hard for us to find the time between our busy schedules, my husband traveling a large portion of the time, having a child who isn’t old enough to be IN the gym, and let’s not forget having the TRUE motivation to go work out. We talked at length and decided to keep it until February. If we haven’t used it at least twice a week (on a GOOD average) then it’s gone. If we start using it like we desire to–then it stays.

Netflix. We can’t get rid of that! That was a pretty quick conversation. However, we DID make a change. Our bill is going up in January to $13.99 a month. I looked at the plans and we are currently on the 4 screens at a time/ability to download on 4 devices plan. We lowered it to the 2 screen plan for $10.99 a month. The ONLY time we ever need more than 2 devices is when we go on trips…which happens often. On an airplane we will each have our phones watching a downloaded tv show/movie from Netflix. That cannot happen on this new plan. However- Netflix is AWESOME in the fact that you can change your plan at any time and just pay the prorated difference. For now, this plan works. “But is is JUST 3.00 a month you saved.” You are correct. But that’s 3 dollars that WE get to keep. That’s a redbox movie and a 20 oz Dr Pepper to split. That’s a date night. And THAT is worth it.

Hulu. It’s going “Bye-Bye-BYE” as Justin Timberlake would say. {Well-now you know my age bracket!} For $7.99 a month we can get 99% of the same shows that are either on Dish or are on Netflix. My daughter will NOT be happy because she loves her some Cake Wars on Hulu… but I bet you anything we can find some of those episodes on Youtube. #THATISFREE

Apple Music. My husband doesn’t have an iPhone {which drives me crazy} so this one was up to me. I use my Apple Music every single day of the week! It is $14.99 a month and I DEFINITELY get my moneys worth… but I set that to cancel at my next payment date. I have used Pandora a lot this holiday season and though I cannot be AS selective with the music, it really is okay. I’m a big girl. I can do this. I think. I hope. I pray.

Amazon Prime. My number is up with them. They discovered [through their detective ways] that I am no longer a student. I purchased Prime last year as a student so it was half price. Starting in January it will go up to $99 a year. That’s not bad-right? But we don’t use the Prime Video often at all as most of the content can be found on Netflix or tv, and due to our cutting back on spending we really don’t have a lot to order this year. We got our moneys worth last year and ordered some large items, but I don’t see us doing that again this year so— buh bye!

Sam’s Club. I need to verify but I believe we have a membership through March. I jokingly {not so jokingly} told my husband that before our membership runs out we are going to stock up on some TP and paper towels! That is all I REALLY buy there! I mean if I am there I will be a gigantic bag of almonds because they are cheaper than Kroger, but overall, I don’t buy much there. I have found that for a family of 3, we can’t eat the yogurts before they expire, and I can’t eat all those bananas! I hate bananas… but I buy them because they are healthy. {yuck} So all in all, we might spend a LITTLE more on TP and other paper goods but not enough to cover the membership. I never buy gas there even though it’s a little cheaper because it is out of my way. So– there goes another savings of (I think) around $100!

Dish Network. Every month I pay for a TV service provider so that I can watch something I’ve either already seen or own the DVD of. {FACE PALM} It’s so true! We watch 20/20, Dateline, This is Us, Teen Mom [hey- this is a judgement free zone] and reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. We pay a significant amount for that and even though my husband recently got them to lower the bill by $40 bucks, we pay over $80 each month! So here is the plan- I called to find out when our contract is up. Valentines Day. I confirmed this… we will cancel on that day and 30 days later we can come back as “new customers” and receive the same equipment and channels for 1/3 of the price. Basically this means that in January we will be doing the Whole 30 plus fasting social media for 21 days with our church, and then turn right around and have no cable for 30 days. Sounds like a stellar start to the New Year, huh?!

It comes down to your priorities. Maybe you have those perfectly in line. Or maybe you need to reevaluate them. I know that for US, this year is about paying off as much debt as humanly possible. If that means not having Apple Music and Dish for 30 days (And who knows? Maybe we will end up 6 months and just get it back in time for football season?), then those are sacrifices we are willing to make in order to reach our GOAL!

What is your goal? Figure that out NOW! Maybe it is to pay off one credit card and move right along. Maybe you can’t sleep at night for fear that you won’t be able to pay your bills. Whatever your situation is, decide what your GOAL is. Once you have prayed/meditated over that goal and decided this for SURE what you want… NOTHING will stand in your way!

Thanks for reading.

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Going through the Big D…

And I don’t mean Dallas. Or Divorce.

DEBT!!!!!!

Debt will drown you, suffocate you, beat you up, ruin your marriage, wreck your life, and cause discontentment like you have NEVER known before.

Debt will KILL you…emotionally, physically and financially.

Okay so you think i’m being intense? I get that… maybe the WOW factor will work for me like it does for Dave Ramsey? Nah… i’m being extreme. But Debt… guys, it has GOT to go.

The day we looked at our debt.

debt

So I mentioned before that in a long car ride my husband and I had a true/intense conversation about debt. We were listening to Dave’s podcast and discussing topics he was covering that day. We decided that we were FINALLY on the same page and wanted to do something about our debt. Here’s the thing… like many people in the world, our debt doesn’t really effect us. Together we make a comfortable living and having a few credit cards, car payments, and student loan debt is not something that keeps us up at night. {All the praise to HIM for He has blessed us beyond what we deserve.}

That being said… we decided a year ago to become faithful tithers. We have been tithers before but somehow along the way we slacked. I’d forget to bring the checkbook, promise to double up next month, and just forget. Then I felt like I couldn’t pay off my debt to God so I kinda felt defeated and didn’t want to tithe anymore. We decided in our spiritual lives and walks with the Lord that we wanted to get back to tithing. So we made that a goal this year. It’s been wonderful! I can honestly say that I have not missed the money we are tithing on. When I stop and LOOK at my budget I recognize that a large chunk of our money goes to the church… but when it comes down to it, we aren’t missing it. And praise the Lord for that! He has allowed us extra income when we needed it and He has been faithful to us as we are attempting to be faithful to Him.

My point… while our debt doesn’t keep us from living life, through the process of tithing and wanting to be Godly with our money, I began getting convicted about our debt. This topic came up during the long car ride {i’m such a baby… it’s only 4 hours but WAHHHH! I hate that drive} we began talking seriously about working on our debt. So we started!

We wrote down ALL of our debt. House, cars, student loans, credit card, furniture card…anything we could think of! That was scary! To see the bottom line of how much we OWE people was scary. Sure, we can pay our monthly bills but I don’t want to OWE anyone anything! In reality, it is partially a way of life (Don’t scream at me DAVE RAMSEY!) We couldn’t have bought a home and paid cash for it. We couldn’t have paid cash for our vehicles. For us at least, having some debt was “normal.” But like Dave says… having debt IS normal… BE WEIRD! I want to be weird. Weirder than the day is LONG!

Back to it:

Write down all of your debts.

Write down the minimum payments

Start from the smallest to the largest ignoring interest rates

Go to town!

We were fortunate to get a nice Christmas ($$) present from my parents. They may or may not be happy to know that we used that to pay off small bills. I had a TJ MAXX card that carried a small balance (Why not– for every $100 I spend I get $10 gift cards!… gosh i’m dumb) I had a Victoria’s Secret card that carried a fairly small balance (But I get a free pair of panties every month when I spend $10) and so on… we were faithfully making payments each month to two medical related events and we paid those off as well. Oh and Verizon [don’t get me started on how we ALL pay full price for our phones and they screw up before they are paid off]. We paid off that as well.

We took that Christmas gift and paid off 5 creditors!!!!!! So now…

I take the minimum payments from each of those and pour those over into the next creditor. It looks like this:

VS- $27 monthly

TJ- $35

Doc 1- $50

Doc 2- $50

Cell phone: $42

So now I have $204 dollars “extra” each month to pay on the next creditor. That creditors minimum payment is $116. Now I pay them $320 a month which means I am more than doubling up each month. That is how the snowball is created. This month we will pay that creditor off and then take $320 to roll over in the next creditor which has a minimum payment of $111. Once we reach the point of working on this one we will have $431 to pay each month… that’s how you get it done!

I will say that ANYTHING extra we have received this month (husbands bonus from work, sold a few things on eBay) we have applied to our debt snowball. What’s so crazy is that with each thing we have paid off up snowball has grown but so has our momentum!! I guess that’s the point Dave Ramsey has been making for years. Sure-you could start paying off debt by looking at the highest interest rate but by attacking the big ones first, but it is the momentum that keeps us going! We are celebrating with each payment and enthusiastically checking the balances of our debt and our accounts to see if there is something left over for us to use toward debt.

If you are JUST beginning to even think about changing financial habits let me tell you that as corny and crazy as this all sounds– it’s kinda been fun! I am constantly looking for ways to shave off money in my grocery budget. I’m finding things to do around the house to avoid taking a quick trip somewhere. (I want there to be money left in my gas envelope so I can go to Starbucks!!) It’s kind of a game, and it’s a challenging one.

I am consistently reading financial blogs and making notes of things to try. Maybe that’s how my blog can be for you. Take what works for you and throw the rest away!

We still have our things that we will NOT give up. I’ll write about those later. But I say that to encourage you. If you are thinking that getting out of debt and living on a budget means you NEVER have any fun– I want you to know that you are WRONG! I want you to hear someone who is living it tell you that I still have fun! We went to the movies Friday night with some friends and had a blast. And we had popcorn and coke too πŸ™‚ I’m not giving up every single thing in life that I love in order to get out of debt. But I AM willing to make true sacrifices NOW so that I won’t have to LATER.

Thanks for reading.

For now,

Cara Roxanne

 

CA$H

Living on cash is not always easy.

I wish I could say that it was but sometimes it requires a lot of discipline.

I am SUPER forgetful.

I will make my grocery list, have my coupons organized, have my list organized by aisles and sections of the store… I will do my best to stay within my budget and I will straight up let the cashier ring it all up only to realize I left my cash at HOME! This WILL happen.

Living on cash for us means just that–we only spend cash. Now I will say that the scenario above has happened… and I swiped my debit card. {OH THE HORROR!!!!} I also came home, got the cash I MEANT to take with me and went straight to the bank and deposited it. That wasn’t a “Freebie”… I had to replace what I had just used.

We use cash for the following things:

Groceries

Gas

Fun

Extras

Clothes

Each pay period a set amount of money goes into each envelope.

“What happens if there is money left over?” You decide.

Our plan is to keep the extra money in the envelopes and not use it somewhere else. For example, I put $100 dollars aside each month for clothes. I don’t spend that each month. That will often pile up because we may not need anything. But when it is TIME to need something there is money to spend. I rarely have extra money in groceries left over.. and occasionally I have borrowed from the gas envelope to pay for a quick trip to Kroger. That’s okay! {for us anyway} The bottom line is that this is the cash we have and if we choose to spend the clothes envelope to go out to eat and to the money we CAN… but can’t buy clothes that month.

SPENDING CASH MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

cash

I don’t know why, but it does. I don’t think of myself as an over-spender by any means but even for me I spend less when I use cash. Even if I had a pre-paid debit card with money on it, I would spend more by swiping. {Can someone explain that to me??} Cash makes a HUGE difference for us.

We have income coming in each week. Fortunately we are on opposite pay days but it that happens to mean we get paid each Friday. So after I pay my bills each Friday I then go withdraw the set amount of cash designated for that week. And then it goes straight into the envelopes.

EXTRAS

Dave Ramsey will tell you to plan for emergencies by having $1000 saved up. DO THAT! Do it now–today–this week!! But the point of that is to recognize that things WILL happen. So our EXTRAS envelope helps with that. We have our $1000 in savings for the emergency fund but I also recognize that things happen we can’t/haven’t budgeted for. In my budget binder I have a sheet titled “Things to plan for that we can’t really plan for”. {I am so creative–riiiighttt?} My list has things on it like: oil changes, air conditioner vent things (legit how I have it listed), light bulbs, birthdays, essential oils, hang-outs.

I do NOT want an envelope for light bulbs. And I don’t want one for things like propane tank for the grill. So I summed it up and called it EXTRAS. Extra stuff WILL come up. You will have planned perfectly and bought your groceries, filled up your car, bought your kid a new coat, and then someone will call and invite you to dinner. Well you don’t wanna show up empty handed now do you?!?! #EXTRAS

The neighbor who is just too cute to turn down will ask you to buy popcorn for his school fundraiser. #EXTRAS

You will burn something in your oven and you MUST buy a candle. #EXTRAS { I mean- that’s never happened to ME but I’ve heard of that…}

Have you ever gotten to the end of month and realized that you don’t recall a fun night out or buying anything extravagant yet you have $18 dollars to your name? {My hand is raised… you just can’t see it} If you are TIRED of that happening then you MUST make a change!! Maybe you make really good money and so creating a budget and/or cutting back hasn’t crossed your mind? I get that! But what if you could have MORE?

hand

Maybe the cash plan isn’t for you. Just find what works. I PROMISE you that each little thing you do will have an impact on your financial health.

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

 

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