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paying off 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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This is how we date night

Date nights are crucial! πŸ’

Going on this debt free journey has forced to examine (and re-examine a billion times) our budget. Looking for ways to squeeze money out and pour into debt. BUT- we refused to be so intentional with our money that we forgot to be intentional with each other.

MoviePass.com is the way to go! (No-they aren’t paying me nor do I get any benefit from writing this). Download the app, sign up and wait for your card. Check your area for which theaters accept it. I live in small town Arkansas and there are 13 theaters within 45 miles that accept it. So don’t worry about that!!

You sign up at 9.95 a month per person. $19.90 for two people. You get a card in the mail that looks like a debit card. When you are inside the theater you check in, pick your movie and then walk up and order your ticket. The money is automatically on your card! We’ve gone to evening shows and matinees are the money is SPOT on!

Every year around November we purchase the refillable popcorn bucket. Our date nights now are $11.72. That’s a regular size drink (refillable at our theater) and the refill of popcorn.

We are movie lovers! It’s our go to date but it’s so costly we haven’t gone much lately. Now- we are BACK! If you go to one movie a month you have paid for it! But if you can go multiple times?? Whoa baby! What a deal and a fun date!

Comment with any questions. Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

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

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

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

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 πŸ™‚

For now,

Cara Roxanne

 

 

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