FREEBS! I have the most EXCITING project for all of us! We are going to hunker down and focus on our finances in November, to make way for the BEST year of Holidays we've ever had. In just a few short weeks of working hard we will have Christmas completely paid for, have a stress-free Holiday season, and we will be able to eat lots of Christmas goodies to celebrate!
Um…Jordan…that doesn't sound that fun.
No hear me out! Here's what we are going to do (and why you should be excited about it)…
My high school bestie, Jessica, contacted me recently. She wants to pay off $9,000 in credit card debt, and we set the goal to do it in 90 days. She's a single career woman who makes good money, but feels like she is drowning with her finances. She never has money left over, but feels like she never buys the things she wishes she could buy, works her tail off, and is just sick of not knowing what's going on! In preparation for the holidays she asked for my help. It got me thinking…
Why don't we ALL Focus on Finances for a few weeks, and completely pay off Christmas?!
My goal is to save $500 in the month of November. It will be a challenge since I only have 25 days now, but by working hard for a few short weeks, my entire Christmas will be paid for. Can you imagine?! I have an entire list of ways to make this happen below.
Jessica is committing to Focus on Finances pretty hard core for the next 3 moths, in order to pay off and I'm beyond impressed by it. So join me and Jess and let's FOCUS. (PS read Jessica's amazing story and plan of action below.)
So here's the plan:
For the rest of November the goal is to spend as LITTLE as possible, and be as TIGHT WITH YOUR BUDGET as possible to prepare your wallet for the Holidays. Simple enough.
Here are the rules/the simple ways we will make this happen:
Time to get hard core here, kiddos…
Ps: I know this is a lot but please read through all of this! I really believe we can do this!
- No, it doesn't matter that we didn't start on the 1st! Doesn't even matter that we are mid-week! there's never a perfect time so let's just GO FOR IT.
- Set a goal for the month. For me, I want to save $500 extra dollars this month. It will go straight to paying off our entire Christmas! Can you imagine?! What's your goal? Talk about it with your spouse, get your family on-board, then write it on your mirror, car window, dog, forehead, everywhere. As of today, I have 25 days to save $500. That's saving $20 per day. That's a hefty goal! But by skipping a $50 date night this weekend, doing a spending freeze next week (which will save me about $300-$350 in one week) it will add up quickly. I can do this and so can you!
- Starting TODAY we will all start using my envelope budgeting system as if our oxygen depended on it. Wether you use cash, debit, or credit cards, doesn't matter. Don't know what the envelope system is? Watch the (horrible, old, and embarrassing) video, read the post, and you'll be all set. It's super simple!
- Starting Monday we will do a 1-week spending freeze! Yes, you read that right. If you can't start on Monday, then choose a consecutive 7 days within the next 3 weeks and DO IT. But trust me, it's easier when you jump in with friends, so join your Freebs and let's do this (spontaneously) together! SEE HOW TO DO A SPENDING FREEZE HERE. Note it is an old post so the $100 contest has ended. But all the RULES of the spending freeze still apply…the only money you can spend for 7 consecutive days is on bills and utilities and emergencies. Not “I broke a nail” or “my son forgot his lunch and needs lunch money” emergencies, but “I broke my leg” or “I just popped all 4 tires” emergencies. But again, read the rules HERE. I'll do an updated post on this possibly tomorrow. PLAN AHEAD! Pay for things NOW, buy your groceries NOW, cancel or rearrange your plans NOW. Don't use time as an excuse, there's never a “good time” so let's just do it! chest bump.
- Cut out EVERY additional expense you do NOT need for the month including (but not limited to): eating out, shopping, conveniences, extras, etc. If you don't NEED it, don't buy it! This is only for a few weeks, folks. Think of the money you will save! Make a list of what you will cut out and make it happen. Remember, it's only for a short time!
- Get creative! Don't focus on what you're giving up, think of how to get everything you want in a creative way. Don't say, “oh I can't afford that” or “I can't do that”. Instead, get creative! Want to do a double date with friends? Invite them over and cook dinner together using groceries you already have instead paying $50+ at dinner. Or have a free movie night or game night at your place! Want to decorate a gorgeous table for Thanksgiving? Go to Pinterest and find amazing DIY centerpieces using things in nature and things you have lying around! Use what you have, and get creative.
- Obviously Thanksgiving is this month. So don't skimp on Thanksgiving dinner, that's a special Holiday for heaven's sake. But don't pay full-price for anything! Set a budget using your envelope system, and price-match! Watch sales! Find deals! This video shows you a free app that will save you tons. Or, see how I grocery shop and save 1/2 without clipping coupons.
- PLAN YOUR MEALS each week! If you saw my most recent YouTube video, you'll see that saving on groceries is NOT that hard! Cutting down on your grocery spending is one of the EASIEST and QUICKEST ways to save money…and no, it's not at the expense of eating well! It's the opposite, in fact – you will eat better when you plan your meals in advance and focus on buying healthy foods that create full meals for your family. See my quick grocery shopping tips HERE, proof that you can eat whole, gluten free, and organic for cheap HERE, and my meal planning techniques online or below:
NOW! Time for Jessica's side of the story, so you can get motivated too! Take it away Jess!
Hey everyone! I'm Jessica, and here's my story…
Long story short:
My goal for the next 90 days is to wipe out $9K in credit card debt. I'm determined to do it!!I have a grand total of roughly $105,000 of debt between my student loans ($83k) credit cards ($9k) and car loan ($8.5k). I also own a house ($35K), but I don't count that because I currently have a renter…so we will deal with that later :). While someday I want to be completely debt free,
I accumulated some major credit card debt while in college, and then post college due to continuing education and low income. They can be a blessing and a curse.
However! About two years ago, I got my nursing license and started making a livable wage. Fast forward to now, I'm bringing in about $88-$90k per year which is amazing! (This will be the first year at that income.)
You would think that going from an income of $20k to $90k would pay down some serious debt… nope. Just make things worse.
I'm a girl after Jordan's own heart.. I LOVE A DEAL!!! So TJMaxx and Nordstrom Rack and currently my enemy. Not to mention all the cute home decor and kitchen stuff… shoes… purses…ugh. It never ends!
My work happens to be right above TJMaxx, so everyday when i leave, i have to choose if i go up in the elevator to my car, or down to TJ to say a quick “hello”. Never a good idea! ha!
Fast forward and here I am in $9k credit card debt saying to myself…
“wait a min… how is this possible??? I make great money and live by myself!”
But it's true. Not sure how it happened, but it did.
So here's the deal, I WANT THAT DEBT GONE!
Frankly, I want it all gone, but I think the credit card debt bugs me most. It's time. I've tried several times, but now I'm truly willing to buckle down and give this a serious run for my money (no pun intended).
I have been using Jordan's envelope system for a while now. Every month I write my budget on the front, then stuff it with all the receipts after I blow right through that budget. Yikes.
I have been using a credit card to collect points on every purchase I make, but that makes it SO easy to go down the path of mindless spending because you aren't worried about the money coming directly out of an account.
So every paycheck (every 2 weeks), I pay “off” what I spent…cough yea right…but I actually usually only make $1k payments, but in reality spent more like $2k.
And here we are.
So, What do I want to change?
Mindless spending, and living outside my means. I want to shop, but within my budget. And, I want that credit card debt GONE ASAP!
Why, you ask? Because for one,
it's just not that fun to think about bills all the time.
Second, I currently have a side job which allows people to make income and get out of debt, and I feel a little irresponsible helping others get out of debt when I can't even do it myself.
Third, I WANT CONTROL OF MY MONEY! It makes me crazy when I have to pay $4-5k a month to “the man”.
And finally, I am single, and for my future family, I don't want to bring all of this “shopping baggage” with me to my relationship.
How do I plan to wipe out $9,000 in 90 days?
Easy. Just kidding, not easy at all. But determined, yes.
- Jordan's helped me calculate a strict budget of $75 for groceries, and $75 for “other”. PERIOD! End of story. …INCLUDING Christmas gifts! Better start shopping now and space it out, eh? And yes, I eat organic and all whole foods, so it will be challenging, but doable! I still plan to shop, eat out, and have fun…so long as it fits in my strict $150/week budget! I love the freedom of being able to still shop and have fun, within reason.
- So far in the first week of November, I have reduced my monthly bills by $125/mo. I refinanced my car, $75 dollar savings/month, shopped around for new car insurance (actually got better coverage for less money…try it!) which saved me $40 per month, and cancelled a second gym membership I had which was $10/mo.
Also, I have already paid off 1,100 on one card in the first week, by putting extra income and saved money toward the debt instead of shopping and other things.
- I plan to stay accountable by sharing with friends, Jordan, and everyone in the world now thanks to this blog :). I tried it on my own before, and it just doesn't work! I need people helping me stay on track.
- Visualization! I made a chart that I track how much I've paid down on debt. It's so motivating to see that red inch up each day!
- Stop shopping! Just don't even go into the store. I realize that's a weakness of mine. I have a BUSTING closet, I have all I need to last plenty more than 90 days.
- In fact, on the phone Jordan told me to flip my hangers backwards in my closet as she mentions in this tip. Any time I wear an outfit I flip the hanger the right way. It visually helps me solves the “I have nothing to wear” problem, because mentally I'm trying to wear everything I have. I have suddenly “doubled” my wardrobe, just by focusing and mixing/matching what I already have.
So there you have it!
It's not going to be easy, but in 1 week I've already accomplished a huge chunk of my goal. That's huge! I'm so motivated, and ready to change. I can't wait to look back and see what a dent I have made in 90 days!!
WOW! Anyone else inspired? I am!
So join me and Jess. Accept the challenge to Focus on Finances at least for November and let's see what we can accomplish!
My goal for November is $500, what's yours? Leave a comment below and share, and join in the challenge on IG and FB using the hashtag #FocusOnFinances
…and don't forget about the spending freeze next week! Muahahaaaaaa.