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getting out of debt

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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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

Biggest wastes of my money in 2017

I shouldn’t do this to myself… but in the 12 hours I spent in the car over the past week I had a lot of free time. I came up with several purchases I made that I totally regret. Care to join in? These are NO specific order.

1. Cable

I literally watch (or rather listen from a distance) about 20 minutes worth of GMA while I’m getting ready in the mornings. I hear just enough to know the latest stunt our president has pulled and catch the high temp for the day. In the evenings we watch Netflix OR reruns of “Everybody loves Raymond” or “Friends.” How ridiculous is that?? We have our shows for sure… but they ALL show up on Hulu the next day!! It’s crazy. I figured up we spent over $1500 this year on Dish Network.

2. Oil changes at the same dealership.

Thankfully I didn’t make this mistake ALL year. {this may not be the case in all states/all dealerships} My first oil change was free but they told my husband I needed a tire rotation as well. Let’s just say that rotation MORE than made up for the price of that “free” oil change. I purchased the extended warranty so I knew that keeping up with the maintenance was crucial but I also did my research and discovered as long as I can prove that I had the work done in a timely manner then it did not have to be from the dealership where I purchased. So- you see a local shop advertising oil changes for $20– go for it!! You get a coupon in the mail for $10 tire rotation- take them up on it. Just KEEP THE PAPERWORK!!!

3. Pedicures

This one is hard to admit. But I did spend a LOT of money on my toes this year. I love doing a mom/daughter date at the nail salon. And on a rare occasion I am okay with this. But I didn’t do it rarely this year– I did it OFTEN! When I began adding it up I felt sick at my stomach. I have sensed purchased a nice pumus stone to buff my own feet and have spent time looking up which essential oils can be applied to help with hard/cracked heels and toes. I can’t say I will not splurge on a pedicure in 2018 but I CAN guarantee it will not be often.

4. Monat

I had several friends selling Monat and I dove in. Why not? For some there were dramatic results. But for me, well, I have pretty good hair. I use good conditioner purchased at a discount and I allow my hair a break from heat (drying, curling, straightening) so my hair not what you call “damaged.” I spent over $180 dollars this year on the products and I cannot tell a difference. Not knocking the products at all! Just saying that for ME it was a waste. I will say this… when I realized I was not getting the results I expected {and I can’t even tell you WHAT I expected} I stopped using it daily and now use it once a week. It will last longer this way AND I feel like I’m still getting use out of it.

5. Cheap essential oils

Yes they WERE cheap, but I basically paid for things to smell good. I had a hard time spending the money (initially) for nice oils {like plant therapy, Do Terra, etc} but in turn I wasted nearly $100 this year on brands that were not true essential oils. Don’t get me wrong- it was HARD to pay for nice oils but at least I knew what I was getting!! To put it simply- if you are using a diffuser/oils to make your house smell like peppermint and that’s it– save your money and buy cheap! If you are wanting healing properties and wanted to ingest/ put on your skin, buy true oils from a trusted company! And if Young Living or DoTerra is out of your price range look up Plant Therapy. They are a trusted company who has super reasonable prices. [no one is paying me to say this!!! This is my opinion only]

And I’ll say this… I’m not throwing away my cheap oils. They can still be used to make the house smell yummy. Just this morning I used the type of candle that holds a tea light and has a place for oil/wax on top. I poured some of my cinnamon bark on the top and lit that candle. I just won’t be using those oils to add to my bath or rub on my skin. I’m working hard and not being wasteful!!

6. Organization and the tools to achieve it

I spent so much time, energy and money attempting to become organized in 2017. The problem with that is this… I didn’t need to get organized– I needed LESS stuff! All the labels, bins, tubs, calendars and compartments were (mainly) a WASTE. It didn’t hit me until the end of the year that I was never going to organize ALL THIS STUFF! I just simply needed less. Once I began my overhaul my life become easier and {surprise surprise} instantly more organized. It doesn’t take time and energy to organize less because well, there is an automatic organization that comes with less. Giving away, donating and trashing– all of which cost nothing has gotten me more organized in NO time!

Donate what will help you out with taxes! We had some furniture that we were done with. That was worth donating and getting the tax deductible form.

The mismatched socks were tossed. The worn out rags were tossed. Served no purpose-tossed!!!! That was easy!

The clothes that were in good shape were given to a friend who welcomes hand-me-downs or mailed to my sister.

The bottom line is that I quit focusing on getting organized and started working towards having LESS.

7. Subscriptions

I no longer get any magazines! Well, I say that. My mom got me a Southern Living subscription for Christmas but that was a gift. But I no longer pay for magazines or any other subscription such as Ipsy or FabFitFun. Here’s the deal… magazine articles are 99% online. I would get a magazine in the mail and then hop on Facebook and see half of the articles (the big ones) were free online. Unfortunately over half of what I got in my FabFitFun was nothing I wanted. I gave some away and the rest was stashed in my closet. It either wasn’t my color or wasn’t even my style. Sure it felt like a “bargain” in that the price was $60 per month and the value was substantially more BUT it’s not a bargain if you don’t need it!! I’ve made the best of it (re-gifted, saved for later) but that bad boy is cancelled. As far as Ipsy goes, it’s just $10 a month but a large portion of the products I didn’t care for. What I did like I have saved and even have a set of makeup places in my overnight bag just waiting on trips. But all in all it was a waste of $120 this year.

2017 was a year of growth for me. A lot happened and big changes took place. And while graduating with my Masters was a huge accomplishment, the change I’m most proud of his year is my attitude towards stuff and having a clearer view of what I want for my life. And that my friends is priceless

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

Starts with a B

And it ends with… UDGET.

fiancnes

The dreaded Budget. Sigh. No one likes that word.

For me, it’s something that I KNOW helps me keep my focus and makes the WORLD of difference… but it still sucks. {Can I get an AMEN}

Creating a budget is the FIRST step to getting control over your finances.

And EVERYONE will do it a little differently.

We decided years ago that I will be in the one who pays the bills, balances the checkbook, etc. My husband is not much for the tiny details. He’s more like “i’ll keep a mental list of what I’ve paid and round up/down and there ya go.” I don’t work that way. Early on there were some careless mistakes [which I have made PLENTY myself] that cost us an overdraft fee, or a late fee due to not having a written plan.

Paper versus online

I like the written word. I’ve been told about some amazing online budgeting tools that will help keep everything in order, but at the end of the day I want my notebook paper in my binder telling me what bills are due. That’s just how I like it. *To each their own.*

Write down your income {NET}

Write down every bill you have and the date it is due

Write down how it is paid {mail a check, pay online, auto-drafted}

Then from there is when you go to town.

How much is left? Do you spend what’s left? Saved what is left? Cash out what is left?

Up to YOU!

Just because we do cash doesn’t mean that you should. We tried several things and even discussed having a pre-paid card for each of us so that we were using the same principal but not actually carrying cash. We opted for cash only but you do what is best for YOU!

This is a long process. It took us a few years of sticking to our budget to really be in a place where we wanted to go further and do more. I’d give anything to have started this process years ago so that’s probably the one piece of advice I would offer up. If you are wanting to make a difference in your financial life and do MORE than just work to pay bills… don’t wait to get started. Start TODAY! In some capacity, with one tiny little step… start NOW!

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) πŸ™‚

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

 

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