How I Am Planning To Pay Off Almost $11.5k In 16 Months

July 22, 2019lifewithcattitude

January 2021. Why is this date important to me?

Because it’s when I will be officially debt-free.

If you read my vacation post as seen here, then you’ll know that while I was down there, I read a book that has completely changed my life. It’s called The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. You might have heard of him as “the money guy on the radio.”

Currently, I am approximately $11,500 in debt. That debt is both my car and my student loans. I bought my car (with my mom cosigning the loan) in June 2015 for about $11,700. We traded in my POS Ford Focus to bring down the total. For my student loans, I only took out for my last year of school because my parents had paid for my first four years. I began paying my student loans in November 2016, six months after graduation. I was working a crappy low-paying part time job and just barely had the money to make the minimums and put gas in my car to get to that stupid job. Since graduating, I have had different jobs with greatly fluctuating pays. I have had times where all I could make was the minimum or I was able to make larger payments to take out the interest. I felt like I was making payments for so long, I was just going to be making payments forever.

Then came a day in March of this year where I got a statement in the mail saying that I only had $3,000 left on my car. That was when it first clicked that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and that I was making my way towards it. I made a plan.

And then I lost my job and took an even lower paying one just for the sake of getting back to work. I felt like I lost my plan.

When my mom gave me the book, I had no idea just how much it would resonate with me. How much my perspective would shift. How determined I would become. So over the last month, in the midst of returning from vacation and moving into a new house, I have determined a plan to get myself out of debt by January 2021.

Snowballing My Debt

The first thing I did was pick my smallest debt, which is my car payment, and throw everything I could at it, or snowball it. When I was at Kaiser (the call center job, and the highest paying one to date), I was smart and began building a savings account. Even since leaving that job and taking lower paying jobs, I was able to keep the account padded, until now. In a moment of a cold sweat, I drained my savings account to put towards the $1500 I have left on my car. That took off essentially five months worth of payments, so that I only have about two more months. So my car will be paid off by the end of September! Then, the money for my car payments will go towards my student loans. I will make small weekly payments to build that account back up as I can.

Slashing My Food Budget

I’ll be the first to admit that I absolutely love Taco Bell. I also love nice home-cooked meals with fresh ingredients. However, both of those can sometimes cost a lot of money over time. I am finding ways to survive on as little of a grocery budget as I can. “Beans and rice,” as Dave Ramsey would say. Not that I plan to eat nothing but beans and rice for the next 16 months, but I certainly will be paying more attention to sales and couponing. That way I have more money to put towards my debt.

Stopping Makeup Shopping

Yes… the very reason I started this blog is being put on hold for the time being. Or at the very least, severely slashed. I plan to put away a few bucks every so often so I can reward myself for keeping on track. So for the time being, makeup reviews will be very limited. I’m even having to unfollow all of my favorite beauty brands on Instagram so I’m not tempted. But the prize of being debt free is more valuable to me than a new eyeshadow palette.

Cutting Back On Alcohol

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Less alcohol = more $$$!

Purging

I have started going through my house selling clothes I don’t wear anymore, gently used makeup, unused housewares, furniture, DVDS, literally anything I can sell to make some extra cash. That way I can have extra money to put towards my payments, as stated before.

Saying “No”

Look… I love going out to eat. Getting margaritas and Mexican food is literally one of my all-time favorite things to do. However, getting myself out of debt is becoming my new favorite thing. Luckily, it’s not forever. My friends are learning that I’m only saying no now so that I can say yes after the 16 months are over.

Keeping My Eye On The Prize

This is a lot like going on a diet. It’s not just “changing what you do.” It’s literally doing a deep psychological analysis of who you are to the core. I eat my feelings. Whenever I get upset, I eat. But in tackling my debt, I’m having to completely revamp how I approach adversity. I have to treat this as a temporary thing, which this is. If I look at it as restrictive (like most people do a diet), I’ll get discouraged and go right back to my old ways.

I have to constantly remind myself what it’s going to be like to not have these debt payments hanging over my head. To finally be able to afford to go on vacations with Travis and my family without coming back and panicking over how I’m going to catch up. To be able to save for a huge down payment on a house by the time I’m 30. To cash flow anything and everything I want to do. To have a chance to retire EARLY and not have to work until I die. To know that, other than a house, I will never be in debt again. It’s a really good feeling, and it’s what keeps me going.


If you’ve never heard of Dave Ramsey, I highly recommend his books {affiliate link}. They’re super easy to read; I read TMM in two days. If you attend church and you’ve seen anything for Financial Peace University, that’s him! That’s his other book from which he bases this seminar. He also has a podcast that you can listen to for free, “The Dave Ramsey Show.” It’s his radio show where people call in with questions asking for advice (think Frasier but a little less neurotic).

Speaking of buying less makeup, I have no idea what will happen to this blog. I’m certainly not going to let it die, but there will definitely fewer makeup reviews. Let me know in the comments if you want me to keep you up to date on how the payoff is going! Also, just let me know what YOU want to see! I know I’ve been radio silent for most of this year, but I promise I’m still here and I do read your feedback! I love you all!

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