Friday, February 17, 2017

Baby Boomers in Debt

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a woman who invested a majority of her money in the housing market, suffered the results of the 2008 market crash, and now has moved and reduced her expenses to live a decent retirement.

This certainly isn’t the only story of baby boomers trying to sort out a comfortable retirement. The article cites that in 2012 about 43% of people age 65 and older are in debt. I personally know one of those people.

I am very close with my grandma. She has lived next door to me my whole life. She has been at every barbeque, class recital, and even came to my senior thesis presentation. Now, I live with her to keep an eye on her.

Her home as been in our family since it was built. Our family, Herman and Wilhelmina came from Germany and bought a large parcel of land. They built a cabin on the land and then sold other pieces off to other good Germans. The family continued to build on the cabin and turned it into a two-story home that now is about 100 years old.

This house is more than just a place to live. It is our family and our history. My grandma inherited the home from her “Pa” when she was in her early 20s. She’s always had a mortgage. They needed to take out a loan to build the second story, and since then it’s always stuck around. It’s been there through refinancing and new roofs.

Now, my sentimental grandma is 72 with a $60,000 mortgage. She has a tough time with money in general, so it’s not surprising - just sad considering the home has been in our family for so long.

It’s my mission to help her in any way I can. I’ve already started to pay the water bills for her and helped her buy a new dryer last month. My game plan and motivation for paying off my own debt is to then take on the house and get it finished up. I hope my granny is around for a long time, but getting it paid off early for her would be a big relief.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Seeing the Progress

I’ve officially paid off over $20,000 since I started tracking my Debt Avalanche. I honestly didn't know I would be able to achieve that this quickly. I knew I would have to be in for the long haul to see the results. I still have about three years or so left to go, but I’m chomping at the bit to make it even quicker.

Last night, I was part of an intervention. Bad part was that I was the one under fire. I am one of those people who makes a New Year’s Resolution and at January 30 has already given up. The thing is - my resolution often deals with being healthier.

About this time last year, I was going at my diet and workout regimens pretty consistently. All as part of a “do you” attitude after a breakup. I think I even made it through the middle of February. The frustrating thing is that I only lost about 5 lbs. I did all of that work and got only a little to show for it - so yeah I gave up.

Now here I am a year later. The same weight if not heavier. With my money goals, I see the results right away. I see that if I save $5 more it get’s me 0.73% closer to my summer vacation savings goal. If I cut five calories or workout five extra minutes - I don’t see it. It’s just tough for me to keep going when the progress is minimal.

But I know it takes time. Any of those programs to lose X amount of weight quickly - they’re unhealthy and often a hoax. My problem is, How do I get far enough into it to see some of those results to keep me going?

The sad thing is, I’m going to bribe myself with money. (That’s right, I’m paying myself to workout.) $5 for going to the gym, $2 for taking my dog for a walk, and $10 towards my eating out budget if I go to the gym three times a week. I’ll then get to put this money earned into my savings. I don’t plan to put anything else besides my tax returns into those accounts. I’ve decided to set about $150 towards this initiative, which is about how much I was saving previously. If I’m lazy and don’t go - then the leftover cash goes to a non-profit.

Maybe this will work. I’ve tried a lot of other methods. It’s supposedly the same type of goal as debt payoff, but somehow weight is so much more emotional than my spreadsheets. Know anything to help you keep at healthy habits?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Hail Mary

Being a Bears fan is tough. Really, I've become a "whoever is playing against the Packers" fan. I'm sick and tired of hearing about Aaron Rogers' Hail Mary throws at the end of the game. Really isn't it just a last ditch effort? Shouldn't you be already winning the game and not letting it get down to the wire?

college football comeback mary arizona cal

I'm a planner. I have a lot of things pre-planned and all thought out. For example, for my trip in July - I'm already keeping my eye on hotel rates. I can't hold it back. I'm not going to wait until the last minute and pray that I'm not going to end up blowing my whole travel budget because of poor planning.

Really - Aaron Rogers is just a really lucky and skilled guy. I am not that fortunate, so I'll keep planning ahead.

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Wrap-Up

We did it. We got through a year full of changes. I met some goals, made some new ones, and am setting up for the next year. I’ve already spent way too much time on my 2017 spreadsheets.

The Greatest Hits:
I made my goal of paying off $10,000 in debt this year. Actually - I crushed it by reaching $12,415.05 paid off this year.

I also hit my goal of moving up at my current job. I now am a recruiter and absolutely love what I do. There are really no limits in this field, so it’s just the beginning.

I was able to start using the “envelope system” and stuck better to my budget. It also helped me save enough cash to cover all of my Christmas presents. No more debt for this girl.

I now have a net worth over -$50,000! I’m ending 2016 at -$47,828.78.

2017 Goals:

Pay off $14,000 in debt. - I want to stretch myself to beat last year. I think I can do this with some extra hustling and also some expected increases.

Save $700 for a vacation. - I have only once been on a vacation with my friends. I usually do family trips, which are great and obviously less expensive for me, but I want to go and explore with one of my best friends. I would like to have at least that much to make it fun and less stressful.

Save $800 in my auto account. - I have about $400 already in this account, but it needs to be restocked. It’s set up for any car maintenance, but I’m hoping to transition it to a new car fund as well.

Monday, October 17, 2016

I Love My Envelopes

I wrote to you guys about my first attempt at the Envelope System and I am offically in love. I've found how I can curb my spending and feel great about it!

My envelopes now consist of these categories: Food, Bar, Groceries, Fun, Miscellaneous, and Gas. All pretty typical, but they are all where I can get a little out of hand.

The Gas category isn't the most flexible, but I am now able to get gift cards easier that will give my dad's school and myself some cash back. I also put all of the coinage into my piggy bank.

Overall, taking the money out in cash helps me refrain from online shopping and using my debit card. I have to seriously think, "Do I want to pay for this?" Sometimes, the answer is Yes! I bought some new Nike shoes last month and I am so happy I did. My old pairs were at least 8 years old. What's awesome now is that I don't feel bad about going out to eat or buying some much needed shoes. I feel like I can make more choices, because I have that money right in front of me.

And what's also awesome is that I've had cash left over every month. I don't plan to change my ammounts any time soon. I usually come close, or have to really cut back to keep myself in those areas - but a few dollars here and there adds up.

It has added up to about $200 saved in three months. I've kept this stashed away to pay for Christmas presents. I know I said I may do something fun with it, but to me giving great gifts and shopping for my family are things I enjoy.

I suggest everyone try something new with their budget. The experiment might just work!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October Net Worth

Hi Everyone! I know I haven't written in a while. I've stayed focused on my finanical and personal goals, so not sure why I didn't get to posting about it. Overall, I've stopped posting so much on social media. Maybe it has something to do with that as well. (Also could have to do with my WiFi not being great and my laptop missing a few keys.)

Since August, I've continued to pay off my debt. I've offically passed my $10,000 paid off in 2016 goal! That's super exciting and I know I'll up the goal for next year. I'm thinking I may focus in other areas as the years ends. Not entirely sure what that will look like.

I'm at a Net Worth of -$50,979.50 and that's about +2,000 since my last Net Worth post. I'm still on an upward trend, so it's all going the right direction. Actually, I can honestly say that I have been in the positive trend every month except maybe one. (I started to add in my retirement fund as well, so that might have saved me.)

I'm proud of what I've done and continued to do. I'm working hard at my job in my new role. I'll be getting another increase in my next paycheck. I'm not sure how much that will be. I have some ideas on what I'd like to do with it, but we will see how much this first increase will get me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

$15,000 Down and $57,0000 To Go

Yesterday, I hit another important milestone. I've officially paid off $15,000 in debt. I'm over 25% completed with my Parent Plus loans.

This is a really important thing. I've been working on my debt and tracking it for just over a year. If I can keep up with this pace, I should be able to hit my goal of being debt free sooner rather than later. The goal on my desk says debt free by 2025, but I would love to get it finished earlier.

My head keeps reeling about prioritizing my debt vs starting to save for a new car. I've put on about 30,000 miles on my car in a year since I commute so much for my job. I love where I work, but I'll have to start thinking about my auto loan and saving for a new car.

All in all, I'm super proud of another positive mark on my charts. I keep following #debtfree related Instagram and Pinterest accounts to stay motivated. Check out some and let me know if any you think I should follow!