Friday, September 30, 2016

Paycheck to Paycheck #2

Financial Snapchat (Debt)
September: $13,515.88
July: $13,619.91
August: $13,670.40

It’s mind boggling that I ever got to this point. I watched Suze Orman’s shows and TV specials. I read financial books and magazines. Before I moved to Portland, I made sure I had a year’s worth of emergency savings, which was a good thing because it took me 7 months to find a job!

I think just having credit cards opens yourself up to debt even if you pay off your balance every month like I did. It was tempting to be able to spend all that money (that didn’t really exist) with so much ease. “Emergencies” became extravagances. Mindless spending joined emotional spending as my unwanted companions!

Paycheck to Paycheck: September

I’m glad to report my debt total decreased from $13,670.40 to $13,515.88 which is encouraging. I had 19 No Spending Days (NSD). I even challenged myself to go one whole week without spending!

I definitely “splurged” more this month because I kept wanting to celebrate moments (like Fall) or to reward myself (like for getting through Mondays). I need to watch that especially when I’m on vacation next month.

I also feel I need to not be too hard on myself if I slip up occasionally because one of my other core principles is: “I will be as good to myself as I am to others.” One of the reasons I decided to share my financial situation in the first place was so we could hopefully learn (myself included) that our true worth is not defined by our bank accounts.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Paycheck to Paycheck #1

At the start of August, I owed $13619.91 between my three credit cards which was definitely the highest amount I've ever accrued but because I forgot to send an extra payment that month, I am now at my record debt total of $13670.40!

Where I Stand

As I've mentioned before, I do not have student loans or medical bills. This has just been living extravagantly of eating out or partaking in moments (vacations, entertainment and even donating) that I could have lived without.

Plus, I've shared how I sometimes use money to impress people (like I can afford everything) or to get people to like me- a silly financial hang-up, I know.

It took a lot of work and time of going through my financial statements to get a snapshot of where I stood with my money but I knew if I wanted to tackle this problem, it was a necessary step to take.

A couple of my core goals are:
"I will live the most authentic and best life possible that is honest and respectful of myself and others."

"I will be financially secure and independent."

Paycheck to Paycheck- August: Trial Run

I wanted to see how much I could save without depriving myself of too much- there were lots of Ramen noodles and PB & J sandwiches for sure- although I knew some sacrifices had to be made.

I must have saved hundreds of dollars just by not eating out. I'm not kidding. Even inexpensive meals add up especially if you eat out twice a day- maybe three- practically every day. In addition, I saved about another $100 from not going to coffee shops (mostly Starbucks) as often as I used to- which was usually everyday.

Why did I eat out so much? Emotional eating is probably the main culprit. Most of the time, I would be so tired or I'd just be bored or angry which caused me to eat out.

It helped that I left my credit cards and cash at home to avoid impulse spending. Having gift cards for Starbucks and Fred Meyers also helped.

Of course, I experienced the inevitable setbacks that often happens when you're trying to get your life in order. Luckily, these proved to be only minor detours off the main course.

I was a bit bummed and discouraged when my total actually increased despite all the things I was doing to get it down. But after a walk to calm myself down, I decided to focus on the positives and seek out solutions. It's kind of like a game for me right now.

I'm glad I had 16 No Spending Days (NSD). I still did fun stuff and hung out with friends.

I had toyed with the idea of setting a goal of getting my debt under $13000 by the end of 2016 but with my current situation I know I would just set myself up for failure. Instead of giving an arbitrary number, I think I should see how my finances go in September. I'm thinking having my debt under $13500 by the end of the year would be realistic.

Why Paycheck to Paycheck

I know I tend to overshare sometimes but I think it helps others to know they aren't alone in certain problems or situations they may have. Debt is sadly too common nowadays. And hopefully we can learn from another.