For 2014, I’m setting one goal for myself to focus on and accomplish: start working on getting out of debt. I’ve been mentioning this goal of mine every so often on my blog for the past month. Now that it’s 2014, I’m ready to finally talk about this more in depth.
In December, I wrote a guest post on Girl Meets Debt that goes into detail on how I got into debt in the first place, when I realized I need to get out of debt, and my relationship with money. If you want, you can click on the link and read that first. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
In the guest post, I wrote a little bit about how I plan to get out of debt; however, I want to elaborate more on my plan in this post for my own reference and accountability. Plus I have some good resources I’d like to share with any readers who are also looking to get serious about paying off their debt, too.
First of all, here’s a breakdown of my total debt as it stands today:
- Visa Balance: $1,984.30 (Credit Limit: $2,000)
- Mastercard: $2,541.56 (Credit Limit: $2,500)
- Student Loans: $11,160.08 (Starting Balance: $14,000)
- Auto Loan: $11,738.11 (Starting Balance: $13,780.65)
Grand Total: $27,424.05
My goal is to seriously start working on paying off all of my debt starting today and have all or most of it paid off by the time I turn 30 in May 2015. I’d love to have all of my debt paid off by that age because it’s the age when Chris and I want to consider starting a family. Ideally, we will have no debt by the time we have our first kid, so in order to make that happen, I need to start paying off my debt like yesterday! Here’s how I’m going to do it:
- Get a job. Then get a side hustle. Now that the holidays are over, I’m hoping that the pace of my job search will pick up and I’ll have at least one job by the end of the month. As for the side hustle, I know it sounds like a lot to work two jobs; however, I’ve been reading a lot lately how twenty-somethings are so broke and desperate to pay off their debts (myself included), getting a side hustle is becoming more and more common. And why not work two jobs? I’m not in school anymore, so I definitely have a lot of time on my hands to work a lot. Yeah, working a lot means I’m not going to have a lot of time for my friends and family soon, but I’m not going to work two jobs forever– just until my debt is paid off.
- Throw $1,000-$1,500 at my debt every month. If I want to reach my goal of getting $27,424 paid off in a year and a half, I’m going to have to throw AT LEAST $1000 at my debt each month. Ideally, I’ll be paying $1,500 minimum each month. It really all depends on how much I’ll be working and making at my two jobs.
- Use Dave Ramsey’s Snowball Effect: pay off the the smallest debt first, then work my way up. This is a great way to gain momentum and make progress the fastest. For example, it will take the least amount of time to pay off my Visa card first. Once that’s paid off, I’ll already have a small victory. This will encourage me to keep going and move onto the next biggest debt, which is my Mastercard. That card should also be paid off in no time; once it’s paid off, I’ll be down $4,500 already and two of my debts will be completely paid off. Boom!
- Save 10% of my paycheck. Even though paying off my debt will be my number one priority for the next year and a half, I still want to work on building a $10,000 emergency fund. This will take awhile since I won’t be putting much into my savings at first, but once my debt is paid off, I’ll be able to increase the percentage to 20% of every paycheck, or maybe even more!
- Budget, budget, budget. This is why I’ve always been so bad with managing my money: because I never knew how to create and stick to a budget. I’m already pretty good about recording what I spend; now I just need to get in the habit of setting a spending limit for myself and, you know, not going over that limit.
- Save money in any way possible. I’m going to become quite the penny pincher this next year. I’ve gotten in a good habit of eating at home most of the time and only going to Starbucks once a week. (I used to buy lattes everyday. So expensive!) Now I’m working on using coupons and paying attention to sales if I really need to buy something. I’ve even created a change jar so I can literally save my pennies.
So, that’s how I’m going to get started on this ambitious resolution of mine. While I don’t plan to turn into a personal finance blogger, I will be posting updates on my debt repayment progress every month, so stay tuned for those if you’re interested. Finally, here are links to some of my favorite personal finance blogs and inspirations:
- Broke Millennial
- Girl Meets Debt
- Red Debted Stepchild
- Ashley wrote an e-book on how she paid off her debt in a little over a year by working two jobs while going to grad school and buying almost nothing during that time. Such an inspiration. She’s also a great writer, so check out her book!
What’s your goal for 2014? Do you have any personal finance advice to share?