Tag Archives: budget

Getting Control of Debt

getting control of debt

When I look back on my spending habits in my early 20’s…I cringe. I was living above my means — going out to eat and putting the meal on a credit card (what?!) — and I didn’t know the first thing about making a budget.

Suffice it say I came out of that season of life with a nice lil chunk of consumer debt. …and then proceeded to ignore said debt for several more years, paying the minimum, treading financial water, and hoping for that magical day when my balance would say ZERO.

But, dear reader, my debts didn’t *magically* disappear. (Surprise, surprise-right?) Eventually, I got my butt into gear and started making moves. Getting debt-free was a lot of work, I won’t lie. But it was also one of the most rewarding feelings when everything was all said and done.

I’m here to tell you, managing debt doesn’t have to interrupt your life in a bad way. If you know that you are on top of paying the people that you owe money to, then you can recognize that there is light at the end of the tunnel…and keep going. But you HAVE TO GET STARTED! 

[RELATED: I have a whole series on BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET if you’re looking to downsize your spending habits while getting out of debt!]

Most people forget that their credit rating can play a big part in their future, so when they dive head first into credit cards and don’t think clearly about them, that’s when the trouble begins. It can lead to bad credit which can really impact financial decisions down the line. However, with the help of unsecured credit cards for bad credit, you could find yourself getting out of debt while rebuilding your credit worthiness at the same time. So, how can you get out of a hole of debt and start climbing the wall to financial freedom? Below, you’ll find some of my favorite tips for managing debt:

Keep To Your Payments. Every month, you need to get your bills paid on time. It sounds like a given: without paying the electricity, you’re going to lose power. But late payments can make it extremely hard for you to pay off debt, considering you usually will have to pay a late fee with each payment you miss. Set up a system for reminders (with due dates and amounts) on your phone or Google calendar. 

Always Pay Something. Regardless of how much you owe and to whom, you need to always pay at least the minimum amount on your debts. Paying something means you are willing to clear the debt and even the smallest of payment can help to shrink debt. Speaking to creditors is essential. If you can’t make the right repayment, call them up and make a plan. 

Prioritize Your Debts. If you have more than one debt, rank them in order of importance. Paying off your loans and credit cards is important, but paying those with the highest interest first is usually the best option. From there, rank them in order of how much you have left.

Pay The Current First. There are two types of debts: those you are currently managing (and are in good standing with), and those from the past . It’s always better to keep paying the debts that keep you in good standing, so that you can build up a trust rating with your creditors. Old creditors will continue collections attempts on accounts, but try to concentrate on making payments where you can and with the most urgent debts first.

Emergency Savings Count. When you’re on a budget, it’s hard to imagine having savings. However, an emergency savings account is going to make a huge difference to the little expenses that come up without warning. Work toward a very small fund to fall back on when you need it the most and go from there. Even having a small envelope of cash tucked in your drawer to help with stretching to the next pay day when you have more month than money can make a difference to you when you’re paying off debt.

Budget, Budget, Budget. Above everything else, you need to learn to budget. Make a list of all your regular expenses each month and how much you earn. Then look at how much you can spend on debt based on what’s left. Paying debts while keeping up with bills doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go without, you just have to be much more strategic.

Look For Help. The internet is a goldmine when it comes to handy resources to help you get out of debt, cut your spending, and learn to budget. Take an afternoon and just surf around the internet gathering information. Find helpful blogs and YouTube channels that you can follow for inspiration and information while you’re on this journey. Additionally, there may be some free community resources in your area but you’ll never know unless you look! Local nonprofits, libraries, and universities are a great place to start.

But I want to hear from you! How do you feel about debt management? What’s your go-to financial tip? 

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mid-week round-up

What’s up, buttercups? How was your Easter weekend? We enjoyed a lovely (lazy) day at home complete with Easter baskets (I even made one for Wink!) and a ham for dinner. But after our recent trip to Louisiana, where I enjoyed ALL the food, and devouring my fair share of Easter candy, I think it might be time to hop back on the Whole 30 train. I’m thinking of starting another round on Monday! Have you ever done one? Hope you enjoy the rest of your week, and here are some links from around the web…

How to succeed in ANY job? Learn these skills.

Related: 4 Career Building Tips for the Newly Hired

Put this in my Amazon wish list immediately after reading this, haha!

I’ve been binge watching The Budgeteers on YouTube. (And now I want to buy their shirt!)

Misty Copeland on trolls, therapy, and the fouettés that went viral.

In L.A.’s first suburb, a feeling of unease in the age of Trump.

What happens when your city becomes bachelorette central?

How an Instagram post led to an N.F.L. cheerleader’s discrimination case.
“Cheerleaders are told not to dine in the same restaurant as players, or speak to them in any detail. If a Saints cheerleader enters a restaurant and a player is already there, she must leave. If a cheerleader is in a restaurant and a player arrives afterward, she must leave. There are nearly 2,000 players in the N.F.L., and many of them use pseudonyms on social media. Cheerleaders must find a way to block each one, while players have no limits on who can follow them.
The team says its rules are designed to protect cheerleaders from players preying on them. But it puts the onus on the women to fend off the men.”

There’s something funny about Tiffany Haddish.

Life after reality TV.

What happens when you live on 51% of your income.

Related: Ballin’ on a Budget — Ditch the Friends Who Are Always “Makin’ It Rain”

Alcohol delivery service: Because wine is better from your sofa.

The surprising reason that there are so many Thai restaurants in America.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Chicken Pad Thai Salad and Everything You’ll Need for a Wine Tasting Evening.

mid-week round-up

hedgehog

What are you up to this week? Last night, Chet and I were on a walk and got caught in a wild rainstorm. Those dark clouds can go from 0 to 100 down here in South Florida. Geeze Louise. Hoping for better weather this weekend so we can go on a Pokemon capturing adventure on FIU’s campus! Oh, I’ve also started a Finding Delight newsletter. (The first one went out last Friday!) They’re so much fun to create. I’d love if you’d SUBSCRIBE. You’ll receive an email on Fridays with links, videos, quotes, and MORE! Until then, enjoy the rest of your week, and here are a few fun internet goodies to tide you over…

How to build an entire makeup collection for under $100.

Team USA suits up for competition.

An appreciation of Michelle Obama’s DNC address.

American soccer’s gender wage gap is bananas.

An incredible tale of glamour, sex, betrayal, death and prison in the dizzying world of high fashion.

Dance mashup of the last thirty years of Disney.

The Strand Bookstore has included a literary matching quiz in its job application form since the 1970s. How would you do?

Why Van Gogh’s “mad genius” is a myth.

Loving the new Ghostbusters? Here are 11 other things in need of an all-lady reboot.

Hotline Bling poster.

Ten outstanding books to read this summer and beyond.

A must-read for young women!!! #ballonabudget

mid-week round-up

back alley

What are you up to this week? Our wedding invitations are starting to show up in folk’s mailboxes and I’ve been giddily checking our online RSVP’s with WAY too much frequency. We also booked our tickets to Lexington last night. I’m really excited that I’ll be in Kentucky so soon! I opted to fly in earlier then Chet (he has to teach a summer class) so I can take care of all the last minute planning…as well as drink daily Ale-8’s and buy copious amounts of my favorite treats from Good Foods Co-op. Hope you’re all doing well and have some fun plans for this week. In the mean time, here are a dozen links for you to peruse…

Surviving for a week on gifted gift cards.

I’m learning that swivel seats are a must for luxurious van dwelling. (I have weird interests.)

How freaking cute are these watermelon coasters?

Students learn about Julia Child’s impact on American culture.

Comedian replies to email scammers and here’s what happens.

Thoughts on heels.

A notorious prison escape artist discovers a new (legal) way to lift life sentences.

Don’t judge a house by its exterior.

A great dinner to cook up when you’re feeling lazy.

Dreamy family camping trip.

I heart Amy Poehler.

Ikea tips and must-buys.

mid-week round-up

sky in between

What are you up to this week? I arrived back in Miami on Monday evening after a few days at Western Kentucky University with the Forensics Team. They are preparing for two upcoming national tournaments and I was so excited to be a small part of their preparations. Such a talented, intelligent and  passionate team! Lucky for me, the first national tournament is coming up this weekend in Gainesville, FL. So, Chet and I are headed up this Friday. He’s never been to a national tournament on the college level so I’m excited for his experience. Especially because collegiate speech and debate was (and forever will be) such a big part of my life. Can’t wait! Until then, let’s check out some links…

The making of Meryl’s first Oscar.

8 different households were given $100 to spend on groceries. Here’s what they bought.

90-year-old woman foregoes cancer treatment to take the trip of a lifetime.

Why are women still getting Toxic Shock Syndrome?

One of America’s first female celebrities.

All 50 states re-imagined as food puns.

The criminalization of black girls in schools.

A simple formula to make the most of your next grocery trip.

A week in Boston on a $14,000 salary.

In defense of budget-friendly wedding dresses.

Photographer documents a Chinatown family.

Sombreros over the South.

“Good and Cheap”–How to eat on a shoestring budget.

goodandcheap

Working with and around food, farmers and vendors, I have an ever-growing interest in food security, food access and the general public’s ability to make healthy and sustainable meals to nourish themselves. I’m also a gal who works full-time, is on a budget myself and wants to eat smart. Which is why, when I found out about a new (free!) cookbook marketed towards those trying to cook healthy, delicious meals on a shoestring budget I knew I had to check it out. Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4 a Day aims to help the 40 million families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP) but it’s a wealth of information for any individual trying to do more with less. Families enrolled in SNAP receive, on average, $133 per person, per month for food. Which, according to a recent article in National Geographic, “To eat well on that tiny amount, you have to be canny and creative. Most of all, though, you have to know how to cook—not showily, Food Network style, but thriftily, from dried beans and root vegetables and the bony bits of meat. It’s the sort of thing that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers knew, but that most of us never had to learn.”

Creator of this new cookbook masterpiece, Leanne Brown, moved from Canada to New York City to study food policy. She volunteered with food access programs to understand the very real struggles of food insecurity and devise a solution–a collection of recipes, ideas and methods that would help mold $4 a day into a nourishing, sustainable way of eating.

I LOVE her cookbook for several reasons. Most notably, her focus on produce. With a couple of bucks in hand to spend on food, it’s easy to look at your choices in the supermarket and settle on a few packaged boxes. Those seem to be the cheapest options. This just isn’t the case. Fruits and vegetables, in season, actually give you far more bang for your buck. Combine this produce with eggs, whole grains, beans and an assortment of spices and you’re well on your way to a multitude of meals. Many of Brown’s recipes are vegetarian which I also think is refreshing. Too often, resources geared towards individuals on food stamps or a strict budget offer plans that try to squeeze meat into most meals. Purchasing that much meat just isn’t feasible for many and trying to work it in can drain your funds quickly, forcing you to make sacrifices with other ingredients–canned instead of fresh, processed instead of whole-grain. The recipes in Good and Cheap are adaptable. Add in the meat when you can spend more, when you can’t–they’ll still be delicious and contain plenty of protein. And it’s this idea, that Brown is teaching you the tricks to cooking from scratch (literally and figuratively), which is another great thing about this resource. Instead of giving individuals who are financially struggling a sermon about how they should be using their limited resources, she writes whole sections of “ideas” and “methods” not hard and fast RULES. Her tone is gentle and encouraging not condescending and preachy.

Not to mention, Brown addresses several of my own go-to tricks I’ve learned during summers spent scrappily trying to squeak by on a 9 month contract or weeks when unexpected expenses left the piggy bank a little bare– 1) Oatmeal and yogurt for breakfast–they’re basically just vehicles for other odds and ends you have in your kitchen, ie. they’ll taste like anything you put in them. Plus, super cheap to buy a whole bunch of ‘em. 2) Need protein? Add an egg. 3) PUT SHIT ON TOAST–BAM! Now it’s a meal. 4) Just drink water. 5) Seasonal produce can be your best friend. Even better? Grow your own. 6) Spend a few bucks each time you shop to build up your pantry. Think spices, olive oil, bulk dry goods.

If you haven’t yet, go check out this fantastic resource. Brown is doing amazing work and her cookbook is a far cry from the government issued pamphlets usually doled out to those receiving food assistance. Her produce-driven plan for eating sustainably makes shopping local seem affordable and attainable for those on a budget. Offering the added benefit of a supported local economy and more farmers staying on the farm. All in all, Brown’s book gets a HUGE thumbs up from this girl!

Oh, and check back tomorrow! I’ll be sharing my own experiences with some of the recipes from Good and Cheap along with… a SURPRISE!