Okay, not bankruptcy. But the time has come where I finally took a look at my collective debt and started to feel really overwhelmed by the number. Student loans are evil. Credit card debit is evil. And they’ve been hanging over my head like a gloomy gray cloud since 2011.
More and more, I’m seeing posts on Facebook of friends who’ve paid off their student loans and I keep thinking to myself, why don’t you do that? But it’s easier said than done. Someone living in New York making roughly $40k a year is not going to be able to pay off as much as someone living in Wisconsin making the same amount of money. The cost of living is simply too wide a gap.
But you can still make a dent in that terrifying number, and I’m committed to working a lot harder to make that happen. I’m trying to be realistic with what I know I can do, and the cuts I can make, which I think is important when it comes to these kinds of things. You still need to be able to put a roof over your head, buy food, and other essentials. And I believe in treating yourself a little bit, otherwise you’re miserable and that doesn’t benefit anyone. So…
Goal: Pay off one Stafford loan ($4,975.12)
by June 1st, 2017
Here are a few of the steps I’m taking to cut costs:
- No more trips for coffee. Drink the free stuff at work, or make it at home.
- Unsubscribe from all store mailing lists. Less temptation to buy things I don’t need.
- Cancel my Planet Fitness membership. I have enough options that this isn’t necessary, and is an extra $120 a year that is being spent on something I don’t use.
- Sell big ticket items I don’t actually use or need. So far I’ve gotten rid of my Apple Watch and my desk and threw all that money back on my loan.
- Utilize my skills to find some side hustle. I spent five years working in publishing and think I’m a pretty good editor. There are always people looking for someone to edit something for them!
- Minimal dining out. I already do most of my own cooking, so this shouldn’t be that hard!
- Selling back all of my unwanted clothes and accessories. While it never amounts to that much, it’s still something!
- Being more strategic about spending money when dining out. Drink water, not alcohol. Get a cheaper item on the menu. Don’t get an appetizer. Take home leftovers so I get my money’s worth.
- Make my own cleaning products (thanks, Pinterest).
- No more professional dye jobs for a while. Box mix, baby. It’s back.
- No more getting my nails done. Either I paint them at home, or they don’t get painted at all.
- I’m strongly considering getting another seasonal job this year to help bring in some extra cash.
Another big thing I’m working on is better utilizing my credit cards while still paying them off. I currently have the Capital One Venture Card, which accumulates points you can use toward travel. Over the next few years, I plan to hoard all of those points so that eventually I can use them to completely pay for a trip. I need to be better about paying off each item as soon as I buy it, but it’s something I’m working on.
So there you have it! That’s the plan for now. If you have any other ideas for cutting costs, let me know!