In the beginning of the year I shared three financial resolutions that I was going to tackle for the new year. Now that we are more than half way through the year, I want to share my progress along with tips that have helped me save money, pay down debt and stop using plastic.
Goal No. 1 – Save more money
I had to cut down my entertainment budget this year from $40 to
$20 per month so I could put away more money and pay off debt. If you follow us on Bargain Babe’s Facebook page, you know I still catch a movie now and then, but I mostly take advantage of free entertainment near me. My eating out budget has drastically dropped now that I’m no longer in school and I’m able to work and cook at home. I was spending about $150 a month on food during my jam-packed senior year. Now that’s down to about $35 a month. I’m saving 25% of my earnings each month by having my bank automatically transfer the money when I deposit my check. I also keep track of my budget on the Mint iPhone app. If I go over my budget, Mint notifies me.
Goal No. 2 – Stop using plastic
I used to charge my morning coffee on my credit card and ended up paying the price — big time! I called the credit card company in the beginning of the year to lower my APR, but eventually walked away after I got the run around and my credit limit was lowered. I didn’t want to close the account because I’m trying to build my credit. I read in one of Suze Orman’s books that closing a credit card does not affect your credit unless it’s the one with the longest history. My retail credit card that recently saved me more than 50% off on back to school shopping is the one with the longest history. So I paid my final credit card balance and gave it the boot! I’ve been using my debit card ever since without a problem. If I don’t have money then I don’t make purchases!
Goal No. 3 – Paying off debt
All my college expenses where paid out of pocket so my main goal this year was to continue paying off the debt without defaulting. Till now, I’ve also managed to reserve 10% of my income to pay off my debt by having it automatically deducted from my paychecks. Meeting my budget has been hard at times, but I’ve found that sitting down every week to plan where I can cut down expenses really helps. I haven’t seen a Mint notification letting me know that I’m over my budget in a while.