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Do you ever feel like you are drowning in debt?
Maybe you aren’t worried about debt, maybe you would just like to track your financial expenses every month. Do you feel like you don’t have a set, organized way of tracking your expenses?
It seems like finances are just numbers that grow on numbers on numbers on numbers with no end! I know I have felt that way MANY times! I have felt as many of you have – without a clear, precise way to track what I’m earning, spending, and saving! Heck, it feels like most of the time it’s just spending, spending, spending without even being able to SAVE anything I’ve EARNED!
To be honest, I feel like I have always been pretty good with my money. I have tried desperately to stay organized and smart with my money since I was a kid. I saved much of my money and even quit sports to get a job, make and save money so that I could have money to pay for college.
My method of dealing with money is as follows:
When I make any sort of income, I always make sure that I give 10% of my gross income to my church as a charitable donation to help those in need, build church congregations, help missionaries serve in their called areas, or to whatever my money is needed for!
Once I give 10% to tithe, I make sure my credit card is paid off. I don’t ever let my credit card become a debt collector. Every pay check, I pay off my credit card balance to make sure I do not get charged interest because credit card interest is INSANE! I also NEVER EVER buy something on my credit card that I cannot afford with the money I have sitting in my bank accounts. I mainly buy groceries, gas, entertainment (dates with the hubs mostly), and other small things like that. And I usually use my credit card for purchases so that I can get the reward points and use those for Cash Back rewards.
*On a side note: Because I use my credit card to rack up reward points, I then let my reward points build and build all year until the end of the year when I take them out and use that money for Christmas! Last year, I was able to save enough reward points to get $200 Cash Back!
Once the credit card is paid off, I go through all my monthly expenses. Monthly expenses for my family consist of: rent, medical bills, health & car insurance, apartment utilities, phone bill, laundry, groceries, and entertainment to name a few.
I make sure I have all the money I need to cover these expenses before looking to tackle any debt I have. Besides medical bills from labor and delivery and my recent surgery, I only have student loan debt. So once my monthly expenses are covered, I look at how much money I have left over. I usually try to keep about $300 from every paycheck as a cushion for any needed expenses I may have miscalculated or not included or for any emergency that occurs.
Then, I throw whatever is left over at the debt with the highest interest. In my case, it’s my student loan debt. While I have medical bills that I need to pay, the hospital isn’t charging me any interest so my first item of business is to tackle my student debt due to the high interest rate. Getting rid of debt with the highest interest will help you save money in the long run!
And that’s how I normally keep track of my expenses! I love to see all my debt begin to slowly disappear! Because I have kept track of my money, I have been able to plan and save the money I need to pay off my student loan and almost have ALL of my loan paid off and it hasn’t even been a full year since I graduated college!
When I was in college, I took out subsidized student loans, which means that you don’t have to pay back the loan while in school AND it doesn’t build any interest until after 6 months after graduating.
I graduated in May 2018 and didn’t even start making a payment on my student loans until after the 6 month grace period had ended. My first payment was due in November 2018 and 5 months later, I have almost paid ALL of my student loan off!
(I’ll do a more in depth blog post about paying off debt another time!)
But not to worry! I have come up with an easy form to help you keep track of YOUR monthly expenses and how you can put some money towards your debt!