Good morning or good evening, from wherever you are reading this! I hope this week has been going swell for you. I will discuss how my entire budget was redone this week because of unforeseen events. On average, I write three blogs a week, from literature to lifestyle. If you would please consider liking my Facebook page, you would be staying up to date with any Facebook live videos I do, as well as photography albums. As always, I thank you for visiting my blog today. Let’s begin!
Note: all the links in this blog are not affiliated with me, and are great resources to use to gain financial footing.
Resources & Saving Money
The books I have gained this information from, are from two books:
The Richest Man In Babylon, George S. Clason
Acorns: let’s say you pay for a latte that’s $4.14. The rest of the $0.86 cents will be invested into Acorns, every five dollars. Right now, I have had $20 saved with Acorns, and I don’t even realize that the money is there. Invite link to join Acorns, is right here!
I also am an avid reader of The Penny Hoarder blog, for fresh ideas on saving money, recipes, and deals going on in my area. Last year, I was given a Penny Hoarder tote bag free! Which is what I use to keep all my financial information in the same place (header photo).
Arcadia Power: Linking your electricity with Arcadia Power lets you save money on your electricity bill, as well as using renewable energy! My electricity bill, on average, is $35 per month instead of $75. Check out this link to see if you qualify for using Arcadia Power!
While I won’t go into detail about how much I make, or how much I owe, I will talk about changing negative money habits to positive money behaviors.
In 2014, I applied for more credit cards then I could afford. Some of them are now in collections, on top of student loans and the atrocious medical bills. Four months ago, I moved out on my own, and with two jobs, making basic bills can be a struggle. After reading through several money advice books, I have only just begun to take control of my money spending habits and debt payments.
At one point, I had to pay back my bank because of overdraft fees, and went without a bank account for over two years. This past fall, I was able to open up a checking account (with a different bank) and my credit score has gone up forty points since the beginning of 2017. Just last week, I put $500 into savings.
And then life happened. I was involved in a car accident, and while I am waiting for insurances to work their way out, money is going to be have to be spent even more carefully over the next few months. The money in savings will stay there, so I don’t have to pay a monthly savings bank fee. My bills however, are still going to be due.
Most habits are emotional spending habits. Similar to emotional eating, you can readjust what works and doesn’t work. For example, in 2014 I use to go out to eat three to four times a week. Making my weekly out to eat bill over fifty bucks a week. Imagine that cost at the end of the year? It was a lot. Over the past four years, I have started embracing more home cooked meals and meals made from home, to take to work. Now my out-to-eat bill is around eighty dollars a month, or twenty dollars a week (one meal per week). This category still needs improvement, which requires a lot of discipline to meal plan ahead of time, so I am spending as much money on out-to-eat.
In August, I wrote a blog article about meal planning. When you go visit that blog, I added a link to a downloadable meal planning sheet. I use it every week, to plan meals to work around my work and personal life schedule. Check out this article here!
I used to have a membership with a small business discount program for Oklahoma City. For the past couple of years, it was useful for discounts at my favorite tea shop. Now since I live farther away, I no longer eat there. Instead, I am going to other restaurants (plus side if they have a rewards program). I also have a Barnes & Noble membership, and a gym membership that is used quite frequently. I also shop at Target for certain items, and the debit Target Red Card is useful for more savings.
However, if there is a membership program that you don’t use as much as you use to, reevaluate if you need the program. For example, the keep it local discount program isn’t useful for me right now. Maybe in a couple of years, but for now, its not worth it. Just this week, I canceled my Netflix account because I wasn’t using it enough to pay $10.99 per month. I do. however, get Hulu for free because of my Sprint Unlimited plan. That’s all the entertainment I really need.
I have an entire tote bag, dedicated to my finance information. Within it, is a teal blue binder of paid debt collections and medical bills since 2012; two folders with important checking and savings information; two receipt holders (one for important receipts and coupons); and a 2018 debt folder. The debt folder is where I keep all my statements of loans, debt payments, etc. With only being three months into the year, I have already paid off $560 towards debt payments.
Living paycheck to paycheck is stressful, and not fun. The 50/30/20 budget system, asks that 50% of each paycheck is for bills, 30% for needs, and 20% for wants/savings. If this requires you to make adjustments within the wants section, then you must do what you need to- to not only survive, but to thrive.
Below, are links to the budget worksheets I use, thanks to Pinterest:
Just as I was writing this, a debt collector called. Because I am building my financial future, I have had to explaining several times that while I am not able to do payments now, I know that I owe them money. This is a nice way of saying no, but also giving any address updates needed. Below, are a list of steps to start your progress towards a positive, financial future:
1. Save a tenth of what you earn. Each paycheck, put 10% of your paycheck towards your savings account.
2. Change your money behaviors. Less shopping, more home cooked meals, etc. Take small steps to change your behaviors.
3. Build your emergency fund, of $1,000. Continue to save where you can, as that is a way to begin investing in your future.
4. Debt Snowball: Start paying off debt collectors. Either by paying the smallest amounts first, or going for the one with the highest amount of interest first. For me, I prefer paying off the smallest statement first, so I can build momentum.
5. Build savings, with three to six months worth of bills. For me, I am also making sure I can pay rent a month in advance, so I don’t have to worry about it when the first comes.
6. Continue to adjust your budget, bills, and constantly making small improvements.
I wish you the best of luck on your financial progress! If you have any tips for the blogging community, feel free to share in the comments below. There’s always a way to earn more money, as well as saving more money. Thank you so much for reading this lengthily article, and feel free to follow me here on WordPress!