How I Manage My Finances & Successfully Cut Back to Assist in Minimizing My Educational Debt Accumulation?
Firstly, let me state that I am in no shape or form a financial literacy expert. I am just an ordinary everyday minority millennial interested in making sound decisions that affect my livelihood and future financially. I consider myself to be somewhat on the frugal side although it may not appear to be so, but I am very conscious about my finances and how I spend them.
As I have jumped into my latter 20’s I have become a bit more interested in investments, ownership, and forging a means of generational wealth development. I began researching a while back ways to save and also even joined random money challenges to save over a spurt of time and then apply my savings to whatever I wanted to at that moment. Money challenges are cool in my opinion. I commit to them for sport when I have the opportunity but honestly it never really makes a difference for me because I’m always actively saving my money.
Check out The Fly Financial for some of her tips and money challenges if you are interested. I have participated in a money challenge of hers previously. In my opinion, it is straight-forward and great for beginner savers. She began a challenge on November 5th and there’s still time to commit and save $500 in 30 days.
So with this thought process, I still missed the larger picture which for me is essentially minimizing my overall debt which includes my student loan and automobile loan debt. I began researching Dave Ramsey’s Seven Baby Steps and decided this would be the way I would target attacking my debt. I’ll discuss the first two steps as they are the most fitting for me at the moment. With this comes a plethora of sacrifices and what I classify as “sacrificial growth”. I’m pretty okay with balancing and managing my finances and not overly spending just because I have it but there is also a requirement to pretty much stop and only make the necessary spendings. This means no fine dining, those latest Yeezy’s, those curtains in CB2 you’ve been eyeing, or for me wine and champagne (my guilty pleasures).
The initial step included saving 1,000 in emergency savings. That for me honestly isn’t a big deal as I already do this. I currently possess 3 checking accounts and 2 saving accounts. I separated my emergency savings into two and placed them in both of the accounts. The goal is to build on this savings later along the line two and three times over. Then in the future, future (LOL) begin a college savings for your children.
The second step is snow-balling your debt and paying it off. So when it comes to snow-balling debt, you want to ensure you stick by prioritization with your different credit accounts and attack one at a time while paying the minimum payments on the others. Once you pay off the lowest debt amount, you move on and apply this concept to the next while also applying what you were paying to the previous account to the new account as you have freed up your money.
For this I decided to create a monthly budget analysis and debt tracker. I initially started with roughly $90,000 in overall debt and I have paid almost $6,000 of it off without even really being conscious. This tracker allows you to 1) Monitor Income Including Surplus meaning this tracks your paychecks and income for the month and then also accounts for the surplus of money you had the month previously. 2) Mandatory Spending Expenses meaning these are your priority spending categories (bills) as we like to call them. You can include groceries, gas, and others as you find it necessary. It is difficult for me to allot spending money for groceries and gas, but I think I’ll be doing the envelope cash method for this items in the near future and lastly 3) Debt Breakdown meaning you track your debt, prioritize your debt, monitor extra payments, and watch your debt progress elimination.
Please download to yourself or copy the sheet. Do not update in this shared sheet. I will continue to delete information as others will see it. Thank you in advance.
Now let’s have a chat about educational debt accumulation and pay-off.
I whole-heartedly wish I was better educated and understood the ramifications of student loans prior to attending undergraduate school. I accumulated the bulk of my debt at my undergraduate institution which is also a private white organization (PWI). As a student, I paid roughly 1,000/credit and took maybe 140 + credits in total. Despite my academics and campus-wide extracurricular activities, my scholarships put a minor dent in my overall accumulation of funds.
Now as a ripe and tender 27 year old, I feel weighed down by this debt and quite honestly burdened. I’ve even subjected my parents to additional debt by their support of financing my education. This is why I feel like I owe it not only to myself but to my family to make wise and responsbile financial decisions. I’ve already dropped keeping up with the Jones’ as I could honestly care less about rocking the latest or vacationing every other weekend off of the expense of credit. Don’t get me misunderstood though, I think it’s imperative that people devote time to enjoying themselves and also purchasing themselves occasional goodies but the key word is “resourcefulness”. If I have intentions on traveling out of the country, trust it’s at the expense of a price-friendly flight or stay and if I purchasing myself anything it’s at the expense of a promotional sale or markdown.
I hope my thoughts offer whoever is reading this the opportunity to reevaluate their finances if applicable and consider making sound financial decisions. I’m not perfect, I have lapses but I think the key is first identifying a need for change and gradually working towards it.
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