This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Payoff, but all my opinions are my own.
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I’m very thankful to have the husband that I have. I’m proud to say, that from very early in our relationship, he’s taught me a thing or two about finance and savings. He’s a bit of a stickler when it comes to putting away a certain amount of money each month and making sure that we have something to fall back on in those “just in case” situations. While it’s not always fun and we’re typically not one to splurge as much as others might, the comfort in knowing we have money to fall back on and extra money to afford the bigger items when we need them is extremely comforting.
Debt is also something Cory’s warned me against from early in our relationship. When we started dating I opened my very first credit card. Prior to that, I was scared to death of them. I refused to ever open a credit card and didn’t want anything to do with them. However, after a little convincing on Cory’s part, I opened a credit card because you really can’t do much in life without some credit to your name. I’ve been pretty careful with my credit card for the most part, but there have been times when I’ve let my balance get a little too close to the limit.
But with these tips I’m about to share with you, I’ve slowly but surely paid off my credit cards and student loan debt and at the age of 25, I have very, very little debt to my name. Even with a college education to boot. (Do you hear the hallelujah chorus? Or is that just me?)
1. Write Out Your Budget: We all have bills and monthly expenses. It’s just a fact of life and part of being an adult. (And to think we wanted to grow up so bad when we were little. What were we thinking?) I write down each of our bills every month and how much they’ll cost us. I then write out the total and compare that to the amount of money we have coming in from my job, my blog, and Cory’s job. The excess gets divided out into our “other” expenses and I make a budget for my grocery shopping and Target trips and for anything else such as gas or swimming lessons. After “other expenses” is covered, the excess gets divided out again into what we will save and what we will use towards paying off our debt.
2. Write Down Your Goals: Having goals is important in any aspect of your life, but they can be especially effective when it comes to saving and paying off debt. I have a goal set on my savings account right now to reach a certain amount by February 28th and I’m proud to say that my current projections show that I will be achieving that goal. That feels so good! In addition to savings goals, it’s also important to make a monetary goal of how much money you plan to pay towards your current debts. At the end of the month, compare your goals to the actual amount saved and spent towards debt and see what worked for you and how you can improve next month.
3. Don’t Forget to Save: Having money in a savings account is extremely important. As I mentioned before, it’s one of our priorities each month to make sure that we’re setting aside as much money as we can for our savings and our future. However, sometimes a savings account can give you a false sense of security. Sure, you have $10,000 in your savings account growing at 1% each month, but you also have $10,000 in debt with a 19% interest rate. It’s kind of a double-edged sword. Do you save or do you pay off your debt? A little bit of both is definitely the way to go in my book!
4. Make a Debt Plan: Paying off debt is scary, but it doesn’t have to be as scary as it seems. One way to help get your fear of the debt you’ve accumulated under control is to write out a plan. Start by determining how much debt you have. Then look at your budget and see how you can save more money to pay off more debt each month. Looking at your budget you can also budget in how much debt you’ll be paying off. For example, pay more than the minimum payments and factor in a little more money for your car loan or your student loan each month.
5. Utilize Payoff.com: If you feel like you’re just running in place and not getting anywhere when it comes to paying off your debt, Payoff.com may be a great option for you. Payoff.com is all about empowering people to pay off their debt and start living finically healthier lives. I’m all for that! Going through the application process (see photos below) is an easy three-step process in which you can get approved for a loan to pay off all of your debt at once. Simply going through the application process will NOT effect your credit score– you don’t even give them your social security number initially– so don’t worry your pretty little head. Using Payoff will not only help you pay off your debts, it’ll help you to become more financially savvy and you’ll be that much closer to achieving your dreams of buying a home, paying cash for a car, or taking that dream vacation!
Since I currently have all of my credit cards under control, I’ve decided that my next goal is to get my vehicle paid off. We don’t have that much left to pay off, so I’ve been paying a little bit more each month and this summer I plan to pay off the remaining balance of the loan. Cory and I talked about this recently on a road trip and it made me so happy to talk about the health of our finances with one another. I even joke with him sometimes and say, “I love it when you talk financial to me, baby!”
And to tell you the truth, I’m actually really excited about paying off that car loan! The way I see it, that’s an extra almost $250 to put in my savings every month! Isn’t it fun to get older? The simplest things excite me now!
You can download + print the Budget & Savings Worksheet HERE.
Like for example, this printable Monthly Budget, Savings, & Debt Worksheet. It’s what I’ve been using each month to help me keep tabs on our budget, where our money’s going with “other expenses” and whether or not I’m meeting my savings and debt goals each month. I’m a very visual person, so seeing this all laid out before me is extremely effective and having to write out all of our expenses each month makes me think twice about spending extra. I don’t want to get carpal tunnel from all that writing 😉 You can print your own free copy by following the link above + start taking control of your monthly spending, saving, and debt! You got this!
You can also check out more Payoff tips on the Payoff Facebook page.
What are your tips for budgeting, savings, and paying off your debt?