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debt snowball

Eating crow

In case you aren’t aware, I’m deathly afraid of birds. All birds. And no, I’ve never had some traumatic experience I just hate them. Disgusting creatures who I fear might want to eat my face if given the chance.

Anyway. That’s a post for another day

Last week I chatted with a friend over text. It was one of those ongoing all day fun kinda conversations. We covered pretty much every topic including finances/jobs/etc. I said the words “I’ve cut out everything I can but I am NOT getting rid of my car.” And there may have been a “Dave Ramsey can just deal with it” comment in there somewhere… but I can’t recall.

Well— two days after that conversation I was using some charts I created to try and determine some type of timeline on when we are going to be DEBT free and doing the scream on Dave Ramsey’s show! (And yes I FULLY intend to do that) I knew it would be a long road until we reach the end but I’ve been proud of us so far. I was looking at other ways to cut/slash and SAVE so we can make this snowball even bigger! I began to get this weird feeling in my stomach… was it– conviction?? I began to look at my car.

My beautiful, luxurious {sounds hysterical right? But they even say it in the commercial!} SUV and feel sick. It had to go. BUT I DON’T WANT IT TO GO AWAY!!!! It’s my dream car if that’s even such a thing. It rides good, drives good, has more bells and whistles than I know what to do with… {so many buttons that I always call 911 when I’m trying to turn the interior lights on. Finally I figured out how to feel the difference between the light and SOS button… and the cops are glad!} but it has to go.

Once I decided my car had to go I was ready to see it gone. Due to the price of my car and the fact it was so new I knew I would be somewhat upside down. I’ve had it less than a year so it was inevitable. I began looking online for a more reasonable car and test drive a few. I crunched some numbers and knew that for it work (and serve the purpose of going down in debt/payment) it had to be a significant change. I didn’t want to go through all the headache of changing vehicles to save $50 bucks. I saved a LOT of money by making phone calls to companies but this was going to take time and I hate spending hours at a dealership.

Anyway- called a friend in the business and explained my end goal and gave him my list of requirements(which surprisingly was VERY little)

I wrote the first half of the post from the dealership. And now, I’m home with my new Nissan Altima down below me in the garage. I told my husband “I like it. It has 2 bells and 1 whistle!” Gotta laugh at myself.

I’m growing. I’m finding comfort in simplicity and am completely satisfied/content/ and even joyful with my new purchase. My insurance lady just emailed me and I saved a good bit on my insurance. Apparently it’s cheaper to insure less bells and 1 whistle ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s to saving more money! Thanks for reading. It keeps me accountable and provides encouragement!

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

$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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 thisย ย 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

Cheap pants make me happy

I have done SO well!!! Especially back at work in a place where there are a million things to buy, I am consantly hearing of “markdowns” and “things going on sale”. I have done AMAZINGLY well… considering.

Here is a list of what I have bought: (and to refresh, I made a disclaimer that my not buying anything rule would change if I went back to work…which I did)

2 pairs of shoes for work

2 pairs of pants for work

Crock pot

THAT IS IT!!! Now here’s the deal i’m mad about (which my husband says I need to get over) is that I didn’t put crockpot down on my list. And I SHOULD have because I have known mine was super small and that I needed a new one for SO long now. But once I went back to work I began using my crockpot a lot more. And it didn’t take long to realize that it wasn’t big enough. Like for example, if we had a roast in the crockpot, I had to cut the roast in half to get it to fit. Half a roast was usually plenty, but sometimes it wasn’t. So anyway, I spent $19.97 on a new crockpot that is much bigger. DANGIT!

pants

Let me tell you the story about my pants (this should almost be a separate post)…I had gone into Old Navy to buy some pants for work. I KNEW I would need to new pants if I took this job. Anyway, I tried on several pairs and narrowed it down and tried to picture what tops I would wear, etc (frugal) and finally decided on 2 pairs. One was on sale for $24.97 (which made me wanna croak because that is STUPID high for pants in my opinion) and the other was on sale for $19.97. He rang up the first pair and then the 2nd pair. My total was $27 bucks. I told him that wasn’t right. He double checked. Happened again. My 2nd pair was ringing up for .97 CENTS! {freak out-woohoo}. He called a manager because I wouldn’t let it go. I felt like I was stealing because there was NO way those pants were less than $1.00. She came and rung up them up and recognized a special letter at the end of the UPC. They were {the word has left me} essentially TRIAL PANTS. In a huge shipment that makes its way to Old Navy, a few items in there are a little different. IF they sell and do well then the store will get more like them, and if not, no harm no foul, and the person that buys them pays like next to nothing for them. She said these pants had a tiny difference in them than the other 300 I could have tried on.

HOLY COW! Thank you Lord!!! I was so stinkin’ happy. I got my pants, and literally did NOT break the bank. Frugal stories make me smile.

But, every Monday I now go to work. I used to use that as a cleaning/blogging/homework day. And now I can ACTUALLY say I am not too happy about having to wear pants. But I am happy they were so cheap.

Anyway, that is how it’s going. I’m working hard, trying to be smart with money, and saving all my earnings for vacation. Woot! How are YOU? What kind of progress are you making? Let me hear from you!

For now,

Roxy

Debt Snowball for Dummies

Dave Ramsey is the “Debt Snowball” master and inventor. For many, it makes complete sense, and for others-well, they argue that he has it backwards. All I can say is this… it works. Clearly you can find all sorts of info at DaveRamsey.com but I can break it down for ya ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. list your debts from smallest debt to largest debt (ignore the percentage rates)
  2. Tackle the small ones first. Start smallest and work your way up
  3. Do whatever you possibly can to pay down the small ones FAST. That’s the purpose of the Dave Ramsey way… you get those “small victories” along the way since you are tackling the small debts first.

So basically, that’s the Debt Snowball. Pay off small debts first and work your way to the big ones. Doing in this way does give you some momentum. There is something super fun about seeing that small $342 credit card paid off QUICK! And makes you WANT to continue working diligently. If you started with the $10,000 debt, it would take a while to see progress and the fear is that you would eventually give up.

cut up

So… to pay off the small ones…

  1. If you don’t need it, sell it.
  2. Clean out your closets and sell what you can!
  3. Look in your garage– never know what you might find that you can sell
  4. Sell items on ebay if they are bigger and nicer
  5. Follow the other steps (like cutting down on bills and groceries) and use the difference to pay off your debt
  6. Get a part-time job, offer to rake yards, offer to babysit…
  7. And cut up your CARDS!!!!!!!

WHATEVER IT TAKES! Get those small debts paid off! You CAN do it! I believe in you!!

Message me with any questions!

For Now,

Roxy

The grocery store dilemma…

This dilemma literally eats us “trying to save money and live on less” kind of people. We don’t know what to do. We struggle with what is the BEST way to grocery shop.

The average family spends $149-$289 per week on groceries, according to US Weekly. Read their full article here. (and no, they did not pay me to post this link…but they could!! and should) ๐Ÿ™‚

How much do YOU spend?

I’ve tried it all kinds of ways. I literally did my homework. I have tried:

-couponing

-shopping only once a week

-trying to buy 1 month at a time

-trying the bi-weekly route

Ultimately YOU must decide what works best for you and your family. But, for the sake of this post, let me tell you what I have learned through my research.

I spend LESS money when I go in with a list that will cover 1 month worth of groceries. Here’s how I do it…

First, go through Pinterest or recipe books or wherever you go to find recipes. Come up with 10-12 meals from there.

Second, I decide which of those meals are “two-fers”. I know when I make Crockpot Lasagna (okay so I have only made it once) that it will cover us for at least 2 meals. But you also must decide which meals will only cover you for 1 day. Then you put those numbers out to the side. In my case, I write down the meals then add the numbers and typically that nearly doubles my list. Not always, but it can.

Third, shop at your house first! Write down what each recipe calls for and then look in your pantry/freezer FIRST. Scratch off the items you already have.

Fourth, make a list of things you need outside of those recipes. Oatmeal, peanut butter, etc.

Fifth, make a list of things you cannot buy to last a month. For us that is salad, carrots (we eat those like crazy yet my vision is no better), and bananas. I have to go to the store once a week to buy those. Nobody wants to eat a 3 week old banana… probably not even a monkey.

This is how WE do it. May not work for you, but it’s worth a shot!

Another thing– I mentioned before that I couponed for a while. And that is TRUE and I loved it. However, I never couponed well on food. Even with the coupon, the off-brand tended to be cheaper. So when I say I couponed I meant for things like deo, detergent, soap, etc. If it works for you, then do it! If you are a name-brand spaghetti noodle buyer, then by all means, get some coupons!! But if you tend to buy the off brand any way, you are better off to save that time.

grocerystore

Some people assume that if you try to grocery shop on a budget that you must be eating crap. Nope! Not true at all. This months menu (which goes from the 18-18th) includes the following:

Crockpot Lasagna, Homemade Chicken Enchiladas, Vegetable Stir Fry, Grilled Chicken Salads, Grilled Burgers, Crockpot Pork Chops, Porkloin, Roast…. to name a few. If you do it right and PLAN AHEAD you can have amazing meals that are healthy and good for your family without spending a ton of money!

Next to our car payments and mortgage, the grocery bill used to be one of the most outrageous bills we had. Yet I was spending a small fortune at the store yet finding myself with nothing to cook or going out to eat! Planning is crucial. It’s like I told you in one of my first financial posts, if you don’t have a plan–you WILL fail! If you just say “man I wish we could save money” yet do nothing about it, it will NOT happen.

What are your tips? How do you save money? I’d love to hear from you!

For Now,

Roxy

 

Void where prohibited

As I have said before, when I was BIG into reading financial savings blogs, frugality books/blogs, and so on, I would get so frustrated when I would click on one that looked so inspirational only to find out that NONE of it applied to me.

Some would suggest “get rid of your cable all together”– ok, that’s not gonna happen {for me}

Others would say “How to spend less than $25 dollars a week on groceries”- ok, we are NOT gonna eat THAT….

I say that to say– these may not apply to you. BUT, they may apply to some ONE and that’s the purpose.

On your journey towards financial freedom, cutting spending, saving more, or whatever your goal is, you HAVE to start somewhere. {You already know this} Here are some things WE have done that worked for US. Maybe one will inspire you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. I chatted online with DISH. I told them I was considering leaving them unless they could lower my bill. Guess what? They lowered my bill for $30 bucks for 6 months! As Charlie Sheen would say “WINNING”. After that 6 months, I got BACK on chat and got 3 more months PLUS free HBO for a month. Worth a shot!
  2. Start clipping coupons! I did this for one year and my stock pile lasted us 3 years. Not lying. I never bought detergent, toothpaste or deo for 3 WHOLE YEARS! It was so nice. I’m at a point where I don’t have time for that… school and family keeps me too busy for that BUT it helped us out when we needed it most!
  3. Know what items sell for! I took a spiral notebook and half a day and went to Kroger, Walmart, and Harps and wrote down (before I left the house) the items that I buy EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. I wanted to know if there truly was a big difference–not counting on the coupons or weekly specials, just plain and simple what items cost. This helped me with my grocery budget!
  4. I wasn’t afraid to ask. {This can be embarrassing if you don’t do it right} I called restaurants before we went to them and asked about specials. I looked online and social media to see if I could find coupons or freebies. I would ask the butcher at Kroger if he had any meat he was about to mark down. {I can’t tell you how many times this saved me TONS}. I called Entergy and asked if we were better off to do levelized billing or NOT. Bottom line– I wasn’t afraid to ask for a discount, for what days they have special pricing, for specials. I don’t have an amount written down but I assure you this saved us tons of money!
  5. I decided what I could do without. I should blog about this separately, but I have TERRIBLE feet. I mean the worst. Picture the worst–now double it! That’s my feet. In the summer I LOVE to get my toes done up pretty. But it gets expensive. I decided I could buy the tools and do it for myself in between pedicures. I don’t HAVE to have a pedicure every 3 weeks… I mean I WANT to, but I can’t if my goal is to be financially free of debt.
  6. Plan ahead. You know every evening your family wants food… and how every December a major holiday rolls around? Plan ahead. Plan your meals. Shop in your own pantry. Buy gift cards throughout the year so that when Christmas rolls around you either have gifts to give OR you have gift cards to go buy them with. Mothers day is EVERY single May. That’s not gonna change. Start thinking about that in January. PLAN. UGH. HEAD. {See what I did there?}
  7. Probably should have been #1 on the list, BUT… make a budget. I will go into MUCH MORE DETAIL tomorrow {I’ve been in class all night and my brain is fried} but you HAVE to do this or you will never create any traction.ย void

 

There are SO many more I would love to share with you! And I can’t WAIT to share with you. For now, this is a good start. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope…

Feel free to email me with questions. roxyrambles02@gmail.com

For now,

Roxy

Books that changed my life

IMG_2896

Well, clearly I am too cheap (and can’t buy anything anyway currently…read more about that HERE) to purchase these, but I did check them out at my local library. “Interrupted” comes first and then read “7”.

We live in a society (and culture) that puts an emphasis on things. And don’t get me wrong! Things are good. I love things. Things are my favorite. {It’s kinda true}
But I am wanting to be different in the way I live. For the past few years, my husband and I have practiced more of a minimalistic lifestyle. Not to the point of recycling toilet paper, but we ARE trying to not buy “STUFF” as much. It’s been nice. We have had more of a focus on each other, on activities and trips and less on buying things just for the sake of buying things. “Interrupted” totally follows that mindset and uses scripture to back it up. Such a good book.

“7” is a bit more extreme. Of course Jen Hatmaker makes it hilarious and fun to read, but the whole eating 7 foods for one month thing didn’t appeal to me. But one chapter in particular spoke to me. It was the chapter on getting rid of 7 things per day for a month. That’s a lot of things to give away. OR so it seemed…

I enjoy getting rid of stuff. As much as I like to buy stuff it’s almost more fun to get rid of it. I love it when I get rid of stuff. So I figured what the heck? In 20 minutes I had a box for our local Habitat for Humanity store that had 39 things in it. So basically i’m like half-way through with week one!

Maybe you could give it a try? Like I have always said, so many blogs and books on financial peace and living within your means are so extreme, but it’s what YOU take away from it that matters. Take it away and make it your own. I took the “giving away 7 things” challenge upon myself for the heck of it. And let’s face it- I just did our taxes and our donations to charities (even donations of tangible things) helped tremendously this past year! Whether you are doing it to gain a new focus or perspective in your life OR doing it to get a tax right off, i’d suggest giving it a try. (Send me your success stories at roxyrambles02@gmail.com)

On top of not being able to buy anything (except for these things) until July 1st, I am also getting rid of things and it feels GREAT! I am truly loving it.

For now,

Roxy

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