This blog is a bit different from others. It’s a different focus or scope of topic. Some may love this topic and some may dread this topic because they have to be real with themselves. Yep. I’m talking MONEY. Cream, Chedda, Dollar dollas bills, y’all! Yes! There comes a point in every one’s life where they have to get real with their finances. I mean, if you won’t who will?
Let’s just get down to business. Where do we start? The beginning. I challange EVERYONE to get a copy of their credit report. If everything looks right, get a piece of paper and a calculator and write down your debt. I know what you must be thinking, ” Krystol, I owe a lot of money!” It’s okay. Breathe. Trust me, when I did this and realized I only had student loans a few medical bills from previous years, I wanted to through the entire calculator away. Being 211,000 in debt is no picnic. If your numbers are less than mine, consider yourself lucky. Now, once you’ve written your debt, put it to the side.
Yes, the B word is a must whether you are trying to get out of debt or even trying to save some extra cash. You would be surprised of how much money you will have left over if you just buy your wants and not your needs. Before you write out all of your bills, look at the month’s previous expenses. Where are you spending too much? What can you cut back on? Take the time and think about it. Talk it over with your spouse or significant other if you have one. Once you have all of the bills laid out. Ask yourself, what do I really need? Once you know the TOTAL of all of your bills that you need, that is YOUR number, You know you have to have that amonut every month. I’ll use my own number as an example.
My number is : $1,096.99
That number is how much my bills total to be every month. It was $1,300.00. Let me explain what I did.
After I totaled all of my bills, I decided to cut back a lot. I was spending $206 every two weeks on eating out! Yikes! When I saw that number, I was like oh no! Forget that. Now, I only spend $50 every other week if that. Now, I order out less and cook more. So, here is my break down budget using MY real numbers.
$Rent – $750.00
$ Cable ( Used to be $94 a month)
$Internet only – $60.00 ( saving $35 because I turned cable off)
$ Netflix _ $7.99
$ Electric $40-$60 tops now that it isn’t the summer
$Cell Phone – $20 (saved $60 by having ONLY unlimited talk and text. I use wifi for data at home and at work)
$Car Insurance $124 ( I paid cash for my car so no car payment)
$Renters Inc $15
$Food – $80 ( My food budget used to be $100 every two weeks. Now, it’s $40 every other week)
$Gas – $20 a month ( I live very close to my job and grocery stores)
This is it. I’m not paying student loans right now because they are in deferment.
I know this next topic is hard for everyone! I get it. I sucked at savings, until I got serious and really wanted to learn about money. Savings can be fun and a great challange. Many people save in different ways by:
- Saving 10% of your paycheck into a savings account ( I do this automaticaly. As soon I get paid money goes straight to that account. Can’t afford to save 10% of your paycheck? No, problem. Start with $25-50 and LEAVE IT ALONE!! Trust me it ADDS up.
- Piggy Bank- Some people keep money at home in a piggy bank. This is a great concept for adults,too.
- Money Challenges – There are SO many different money challenges out there like the 26 week challege. After 26 weeks you will have $1,378 saved. The 52 week challange is the same as well where you put a certain amount in savings every week. I’m currently doing the 26 week challenge and putting a certain amount of money in every pay. For example, 1 week is $3, second week is $7 and so on and so forth. Singles challenge, is a good one too. I’m currently doing this as well. How this works is that you save ALL of your single $1 for a period of time. For example, I’m saving mine for 6 months. I started two days ago and already have $35 in singles saved. Not bad, right?
- High Yield Savings Account. Some people put money in a savings accont that has a high interest rate. This means you will earn a little more money just by keeping money in your account. For example, I have a high yield savings account with the interest rate of 1.85% APY, the more money I add in, I get a little extra on top of that! Not bad, right?
- Saving Your Change. This is another way to save money. My grandfather was the KING of this challange. He’d have money in his fishing buckets, jars and in pennt wrappers. When he passed away we found them and he had $500 in pennies and , $300 in quarters. I can remember taking it to the bank with my grandmother. Who knew how much saving your change could really add up. I’m currently doing this as well with a big old popcorn container, lol.
- Left Over Money. Okay, so you know how I told you my number is $1,096.99? Without overtime, my income is $2,099 a month (this is after my 401k 6% with employee match of 6% as well, and an employee stock plan where I buy shares at a discounted rate through my job as well. If your employer matches your 401K, PLEASE take advantage, that is FREE money. If you can’t afford to do the 100% matchm at least start with 3%. With overtime, I make ($2,500). So, subtract my monthly income from my total of bills for the month and you get $1,002.01. What do you think I do with that left over money? You’re right SAVE IT! I have $208 a month going to my high yield savings account and the $794.01 in my other savings account. But, in total I’m able to save $1000 a month. Imagine what I’m have in 6 months or 1 year?!! Now, if I need things like my hair done, money in my pocket, or other items like cleaning and hygeine products, I will use my credit card for that and it’s usually $100 in total between both of my credit cards. This way I’m keeping my card utilization down AND building my score. I don’t use what I can’t afford to pay in cash. Plus, I buy those things in bulk where they will last a few months at a time. For clothes I have a charge card at my favorite store and again, I only spend $50 and can get great deals.
- Adjustments. There will be time where you will have to adjust your budget or make it work for you. For me, I am single with no children so I only have to worry about me at the moment.
Living Below Your Means
The thing is not over spending and saving where you can. Some people are not as anal as I am with my savings plan, but I have a goal to reach. My financial goals are to have my Emergency fund fully stocked and money for a rainy day because you never know what may happen. One could loose their job, get laid off or anything. There are so many people who are trying to ” keep up with the Jonese’s” and they don’t even know them. You are buying materiaistic things that loose value as soon as you take it off the lot or even leave the store. Is it worth it? Not to me. I want to make sure that I can take care of myself just in case. My goal is to live as a minimalist and only have what I need. I can splurge and treat myself sometimes, but of course that will be in the budget. I hope this post will help you with your own finance journey.