Financial Burdens.

Previously, I have wanted to take control of my finances and debt. I made promises to myself time and time again, but never got anywhere. I would bulk up my savings, just to have to empty it out a few weeks later…

This time will be different. I have a plan.

I started by looking at different personal finance blogs to truly assess what the best steps were for me to take. I try not to have a lot of debt, but with going back to school, my loans have jumped a little and my credit card keeps getting maxed out. It’s embarrassing to admit that I struggle sometimes, but I also am not struggling…I just need to be better with how I manage my money.

I started off this year by moving into a less expensive apartment in a neighborhood that is closer to work, school, and friends. I also cut back on a lot of my expenses and spending, just so I can focus on getting out of debt.

So….the plan:

  •  Since my income from “freelancing” has zero taxes taken out, I have estimated that I will need to save a bit less than $1000 in taxes if I work 15 hours a week for 15 weeks. I opened up a new savings account today as a place to hold that money and for an emergency account. I will put a few freelance paychecks and some of my tax refund directly to this account until I reach 1500-1800$.
    • Once that goal is met, all of the extra money from freelancing will go towards my credit card until it is paid off, then into my regular savings.
  •  I have an IRA from an old company I worked with. I realized I need to decide if I want to let the money I have in the account continue to invest, or if I need to move it to another account. I’m not sure what to do just yet.
  •  Next, when I get my refund back this week, I shall be splitting it up between my new savings account, my credit card, and sending money to my dentist.
  •  I need to analyze my student debt. I already paid off 2 smaller loans before entering graduate school, so now I want to see if I can get my now smallest loan (1700$) paid off while I am in graduate school.
    • I have 2 other loans out (a medium guy at 9000$ and the big guy [that makes me cringe & has WC and PPU loans combined into it]).
    • If I keep getting refunds from PPU every semester or get a graduate assistantship (with stipend!), I can save that money and put it towards my loans.
    • The key to tackling these loans is looking at the interest rates of each, how long the company propose it will take me to pay off the debt, and then seeing if I can afford start paying anything off now…
  • I also plan on cancelling all of my store credit cards except Amazon (since I use Student to order my textbooks). As well as removing my credit card info from online stores that I utilize (like Twice and Stitch Fix). My credit card normally stays at home, so this will lessen my online shopping (I browse when I’m not at home) because I hate using my debit card for anything online.
  •  I plan on actually using my Mint account to help me through this…
  •  One thing I will not sacrifice are my experiences with Tim and my friends. Those are worth the money I spend.

My short-term financial goals are to get my credit card paid off as soon as possible, make better payments to my dentist, and get my smallest student loan paid off sooner.

Have you had any goals or experiences like mine? What were you able to accomplish? Do you have any advice for a noob like me?

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2 thoughts on “Financial Burdens.

  1. I have definitely been there and think you have some good priorities in this plan. You are totally right on the interest rate front, and working on the accounts with the higher interest rates first. A strategy we have used while I am in school is to at least pay the accruing interest on loans, while they are in deferment, but credit card rates are usually higher so it makes the most sense to focus on them upfront. We also use cash reward credit cards as automatic payments for regular bills – cell phone, internet, renter’s insurance etc, in addition to groceries and other budgeted categories to minimize the number of bills every month (they wear on me….). I would be a little concerned about closing accounts entirely, as it may not reflect the best in your credit – it would reduce your total available credit which can affect your debt to credit ratio (especially if there are balances on other accounts) and may reduce the average age of your accounts, especially if they are some of your older accounts. I’m not sure who they’re through or if you would need to have your credit checked in the near future, but a friend did this and really limited her options at one time. Good luck! These are really sensible goals and you can totally, totally do it 🙂

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    • Thanks for the advice, Jenn! Maybe it would be smart to keep the store cards open, but not in my wallet, so the open credit helps. And thanks for the support 🙂

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