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Dave Ramsey baby steps

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

What I have learned on this journey so far…

Hello there! Been a while. I hate not having the time to blog like I want. Such is life, I guess. I am hoping things at work will calm down soon and I can get back to my regular posting. #nopromises

Here’s the deal… we are 3 months on this lifestyle change to get control of our finances. (INSTEAD OF OUR FINANCES CONTROLLING US!) It’s been fun, exciting, boring (there I said it), depressing, and motivating… All at ONCE!

  1. 99.9999% of our spending occurs out of boredom. Bored? Let’s go out and eat. Bored? Let’s do some window shopping! Bored? Let’s go meet friends for coffee and a movie. So much of our spending is out of boredom. We have the spending aspect under control but boredom is real. I don’t have much time during the week to be bored…but oh those weekends! We have a budget for “fun” and that can get wiped out on a rainy weekend. {and since we have 4 of those in a row…} Filling our time without depleting our funds has been interesting. I have spent more time at the library, read several good books, cleaned out virtually every corner of my house, and have spent a LOT of time in the Word. Learning WHY you spend is helpful information to have, I might add. I can do other things to fill that time slot rather than spending… it just takes a LOT more creativity.
  2. I have watched our balances go down SIGNIFICANTLY! We’ve had some wins that helped keep us motivated. Trading my car allowed for a nice size check back from my warranty that was unused so immediately that ALL went towards our debt. It is so CRAZY to watch how an extra $100 here or $200 there seems insignificant when staring at large balances. But it ADDS UP! So if you are right here with me–don’t give up! Every single time you choose NOT to spend $6.00 on something, you have made a tiny dent in your debt. Keep on going!frugallife
  3. Banking on a wind-fall is NEVER a good thing. I had high hopes of a large tax return. It has happened the past few years so in my head I had already “spent” that money on debt. Imagine the pain in my gut when I had to write a check to the IRS. Some people will pre-spend a windfall they are expecting. NEVER DO THAT! I learned the hard way. Not being a full time student and working full time changed our taxes for sure. I am thankful [oh SO THANKFUL} that we are in a position to pay the IRS and keep it moving without needing to break out a credit card or dip into savings. *But that is why you start with the emergency fund, FYI* I was disappointing… not gonna lie. I saw us paying a huge chunk on debt and chipping away at 3-4 months of our debt payments at once. It didn’t happen, said a few choice words in my head, asked for forgiveness for it, and kept it moving. πŸ™‚ That’s all you can do!
  4. We are living on the basics. Our tv choices are basic. Our phone plans are basic. Our day to day choices have become basic… and I can’t tell you I miss a thing! I don’t miss my car. I don’t miss the amount of gas it took to fuel it. I don’t miss flipping channels for HOURS on end. I just don’t miss it! We made some HUGE sacrifices to save hundreds each month… and I don’t miss A THING! #honesttruth It’s crazy! It really is all in what you are used to. And once you get used to it- it’s what you are used to! If you are contemplating making some REAL changes just know that you can do it!
  5. I’ve learned that in 5 years we will have conquered a mountain of debt. A mountain of debt that we could maintain easily with our income… but we won’t be maintaining it for long! When I feel discouraged I pull out “5 year plan” from my financial notebook… and I smile. We ARE making progress! Every choice, every change, every time we say NO, we are impacting our future. We have BIG dreams! {Some of which I want to share oh so badly… but it’s too soon!} We have a goal for where we will be in the next decade of our lives and that picture is oh so pretty! No house payment, car payment or debt. My daughter asked last week “are y’all doing this so one day you can be like Grandmother and Papa?” YES, baby girl! One day very soon we will only have to pay electricity, water, and buy food. {okay so maybe there’s a few more than that} Paint a picture of what you want and go for it! It will NOT be easy and it won’t be an over night “Get rich quick” scheme that gets you there. Unfortunately it’s the hardest marathon I have ever run… and that’s not only because it’s the ONLY one i’ve ever run! It’s because it’s personal, it’s day to day choices, it’s drinking coffee at home instead of going to the coffee shop, and it’s trying to find something fun in your closet our of clothes you have had for years. It’s hard, painful, and sometimes lonely… but it’s WORTH IT!

That’s what I have learned along with many other nuggets of wisdom I will shed light on later

Thanks for reading.

For Now,

Cara Roxanne

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!

focus.png

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

 

 

$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! πŸ™‚ 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 thisΒ Β 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

*DRUM ROLL PLEASE*

So I have to share this because it LITERALLY just happened.

debt1

WE PAID OFF ASHLEYS!!!! Okay so we should have NEVER bought furniture on a credit card anyway but I am *used to be* such a sucker for 45 years no interest! We started working on this balance 6 weeks ago next Monday and were scheduled to have it paid off next Friday. BUT…

My husbands bonus was more than we expected so we KNOCKED. IT. OUT! Then we did the fist bump, high five and boogy down dancin’ in the kitchen!

Here’s the deal… it was FUN to do that but it did take a second to decide. I mean it’s JUST one week early and we COULD go buy some cool stuff… but after about 10 seconds we were both like “LETS DO IT!”

It is paid off. Gone. Goodbye. No more! And it feels GREAT! It’s like a little Christmas miracle!

HO HO HO!

Thanks for reading.

For Now,

Cara Roxanne

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