If you have been following me for a while, then you know I am on a journey to financial freedom, and I have been doing a damn good job. I have paid off so much debt since 2015 and I am happy that I am now in the place that I want to be – closer to my goal of being completely debt free. On this journey I have made a few unwise decisions that ended up not being costly, but they could have, so let me get real real with y’all.
For past financial posts, click here.
Now, I have officially paid off one credit card, Texas Teachers (my alternative teacher certification program) and I am on a payment plan with another credit card that will be paid off real soon. In the midst of having no credit cards, I unwisely decided to get an Amazon credit card and a Capital One credit card, both with extremely high interest rates, I’m talking 24.99%. Yikes!
Now in getting the Amazon credit card, I figured it was a good idea because I shop on Amazon like nobody’s business. The downside is with a credit card, you tend to shop more because it’s not your money. With that being said, I became behind on payments and they lowered my credit limit. By the grace of the universe, I finally got my first unemployment check and with that, I paid off that Amazon card. Will I close it? Maybe, maybe not, but I will by using my own money from now on.
With the Capital One credit card, I got that because I didn’t know if I was going to have a job and I had received my last check from my last job. I got it in case of emergency. Luckily, I ended up getting the perfect job and didn’t have to use it, though I did have to to pay my health insurance, but upon receiving that unemployment check, I paid it off as soon as it hit my account.
Now I am back at a 0 balance with both cards. I actually will be closing the Amazon one and keeping the Capital One card for emergencies only. I am happy that I have become financial smarter when making decisions. The old me would’ve taken that unemployment check and when crazy with it. I also received a check from my bank for the hurricane, which was surprising, and that is just going to sit in the bank.
This last credit card that I have to pay off will be paid off by December. I want no debt other than student loans and the note for my new car, going into the new year. I vowed to myself that those would be my only debts for 2018, and look at me now, making it happen.
So tell me, what were your financial goals this year and have you achieved them? If so, how? If not, what is your plan moving forward?
I have been on a “kicking debt’s ass” journey for the past couple of years. I am so determined to be out of debt at 30 and so far, I am on the right road. In the past couple of years I have paid off a credit card ($2500), a personal loan ($3500), the IRS ($500), medical expenses ($200) and as of this month my teacher certification program ($400). Altogether that is $7,100 in two years. That may not seem like a lot to those who have paid off more, but for someone with similar debts as myself, that is a lot, especially considering my main sources of income.
If I still lived at home, I would be halfway through my loans and my car would be paid off, but life happens and circumstances arise. How did I pay off these debts, you may ask? Here are somethings I did and somethings that others I know have done:
- Cut my cable and got an Amazon Fire Stick. It is the best decision ever. I was late to the game, but better late than never right? I know many people who have taken this route and noticed how much money they were spending on cable.
- Meal prep and cook at home more. This is a huge thing to cut money and to cut weight, being that we are the fattest country in the world. Meal prep saves you from cooking during the week and from putting on those extra pound.
- Upwork is a freelance site that I use to ghostwrite, edit novels, papers, essays and so much more. There are all kinds of freelance jobs on there from virtual assistant to graphic designer. Find your niche and get to work.
- GrubHub, DoorDash, UberEats and Postmates are other ways many millennials are making money. They’re like Uber and Lyft, but for food. Someone orders food, you pick it up and deliver it.
- Kick your Starbucks habit. I would be afraid to see how much some of you spend on Starbucks in a year and I am sure y’all are too.
- Apply for odd jobs like dog walking, babysitting, personal assistant, in home cleaning jobs, etc.
- Buy clothes from thrift stores and secondhand shops. $300 purses and shoes are not necessary and will not add value to your life.
There are so many ways to save and make money to get out of debt, you just have to be willing to make sacrifices.
Other Financial Posts:
I posted the video above on YouTube earlier in the week. Minimalism is something that I have always been into but haven’t practiced until recently. Growing up and having almost everything that you want, you start to take things for granted. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon the vandwelling and tiny home movement that I realized that this was my destiny all along.
In the past few months I have given away and sold a lot of my things. I had stuff that I’ve kept since high school and that was almost 10 years ago. Since then, I accumulated so many more things and it was really impulse buying. I would go to the stores and because I had money, I would spend it. I knew that I wouldn’t use or wear the things I bought but I bought them anyway. Most of those things, I no longer own.
I always wonder if I had a better sense of finance at a younger age, would I be in the financial state I’m in today? If I had lived a minimalistic lifestyle and only bought the necessities, would I have a savings or be able to afford a vacation? I think about these things often.
Advertisements on television are targeting certain groups of people; minorities and millennials. These two groups typically have no sense of financial knowledge and tend to fall into the trap of sales or products made to seem like “necessities”. I have fallen into that trap numerous times, seeing as how I am a minority and a millennial. My parents had no financial knowledge growing up so there was nothing to pass down to me or my brother.
I had to learn on my own about budgeting, not buying things just because I can, and that having a lot of stuff just shows how much money you wasted. I have been on a serious purge lately, getting rid of things that I have not touched in years. I am a huge fan of getting rid of things now and not buying new things to replace the old ones. I know some people have the philosophy that they will only buy something if they get rid of something to replace the new item with. That is absurd.
I got into minimalism because I had a bunch of crap, to put it plainly. If y’all could see some of the stuff I got rid of and how long I’ve had it, you would be surprised. Check out the video on my latest purge below.
What I am learning about minimalism is that the less you buy, the more money you have to pay off debts, which is something that I am doing. Being debt free is a huge goal for me and I really want to do that so I can afford an RV or tiny home in the next few years. With that, being a minimalist is a must. Both of these types of homes are small places and you can’t have a lot of stuff.
I want to really get this message out to my people that we need to stop buying stuff just because we can. We need to be satisfied with what we have and stop accumulating useless things. I encourage everyone who reads this to pick a day that you are off and go around your house. Pull everything out that you own and sort it into different piles; things you need, things to give away, things to throw away and tings to sell. You can thank me later.
Financial Peace and Minimalism,
Afro Hippie Vegan