One of my personal goals for 2020 is to be completely debt free. Please keep in mind I am not including my student loans in this. I know for those of us who have student loans they can be a huge burden. I recommend tackling any other debt you have first and then addressing your student loans. Typically the interest rate on your student loans is significantly lower than any credit card(s) you have. If you address the credit card(s) or other loan debt first it will be easier to tackle student loans at a later date. Please note when I say later date I DO NOT mean do not pay on them now. If it is in your budget make sure you’re on some type of payment plan or pay the interest every month so you’re not shooting yourself in the foot.
I’ve always enjoyed writing out a budget but I’ve never stuck to them. The first time I saved more than 5k is while I was pregnant with my little one. Something about having a kid motivates you to get it together. Yes, at almost 30 I finally became somewhat financially savvy. I say somewhat because I have a long way to go as I’m sure many of us do. But I digress, lately I’ve been using the budget below to help me get it together.
This budget is simple and easy! Click on the link provided and you can fill in all your expenses and change it from month to month. What I like about this budget is that it easily shows you your income, expenses, and what you have left over. Don’t panic if your expenses are more than your income. Look at the budget again and cut some expenses. Be realistic! Eating out may not be in your budget, nor may entertainment, clothing, shoes, or beauty expenses. One thing Dave Ramsey always says that has stuck with me is, “You don’t need to see the inside of a restaurant unless you work there.” Those small purchases really add up so keep track of every dollar you spend. The draft budget I filled out includes some red boxes that help me customize the budget to my needs or remind me of certain things. Please do the same with yours.
One of the next things I did was start reading books and listening to podcasts. I would also recommend finding sites on Instagram or Facebook that encourage you to stay on course. Having a community that holds you accountable is extremely helpful. Leave a comment or send an email if you would like me to create a community where we check in on each other’s progress and hold each other accountable.
The internet can be a beautiful thing if used correctly. One person that has helped me out a lot is Dave Ramsey. I’m sure most of us have heard of him, but may have never paid any real attention to his methods. I encourage you to read some of his books. Here are a few of his books that may be helpful: Financial Peace Revisited, Smart Money Smart Kids, The Money Answer Book, Complete Guide to Money, The Total Money Makeover Workbook. Please also take advantage of his YouTube channel. He is giving out FREE advise and it just might help you!
Disclaimer: I feel like this has to be said I am in no way a financial advisor, I’m just sharing what I’m doing in hopes to help someone else. Please do your research and do what feels comfortable to you. Food, water, and shelter are things that you cannot live without make sure your basic needs are met and credit cards are not tools to live on! I hope some of my journey and some of what I’m sharing can help you or motivate you to take control of your finances in 2020.