In 2018, thanks to watching Budget Girl’s Youtube videos, I began taking money and my budget more seriously. I realized that owning a home, becoming debt free, living comfortably, and being able to retire were important goals for me. Somehow everything clicked for me…. There was no way I could accomplish these things on my low salary, with high debt, and with only one single stream of income.
I set out with digital budgeting since it was simplest (and free!) for me at the time. My budget has been done in Google Sheets since then. Sheets is modeled from Microsoft Excel and fully accessible online.
For 2020, I want to track all of my spending to the penny and see exactly where my money goes. I also want to be completely debt-free before 2021. With discipline and side hustles, I can do it.
Today, I want to share the free spreadsheet I’ll be using for my 202 Budget. You can download this file and share it with your friends and family.
You know you’re a debt free blogger when zero-based budgeting leaves you with $32 in your Capital One 360 checking account. One part of my new normal is having very little money left as it gets closer to payday. I use paycheck budgeting to pay my minimums and expenses. Leftover cash gets rolled over into savings or used to pay more debt.
If my debt total of over $50,000 was not scary enough, today I have something new in store for you.
The enormity of my debt has become a major source of anxiety and shame since starting this blog and my Youtube channel. It’s one thing to pay a couple of small minimum monthly payments every month. It is another crazy feeling to see every single dollar highlighted in color. To add to my own shame, I’ve decided to share this journey with you because I desperately need the accountability.
Debt has become a normal part of life for most Americans. In fact, the average American over the age of 18 has about $22,000 in debt. That is insane. I’m tired of living paycheck to paycheck, tired of working multiple jobs that leave me exhausted and unfulfilled. I’m simply tired of living for my debt. Thankfully, I’m on a journey to a new normal that includes debt freedom.
To say I’m overwhelmed is an understatement. Where will the money come from? My resolve is to pay it all back. With hard work, I will become debt free. Here is my April 2019 budget including rent, minimum debt payments, and over $300 for my student loans.
Check back to see how I allocate the estimated $4,225 in minimum payments and expenses for this month.
Ever felt overwhelmed after looking at your budget or debt totals? How did you keep going?
Today begins #VEDA where I will Vlog and blog every day during the month of April. To get started, I want to share my entire debt breakdown with you. Check out my total debt with real numbers including credit cards, an overdraft line of credit, student loans, and an installment personal loan. Make sure you go subscribe (it’s FREE!). Please like, comment and watch my videos over on my Youtube channel Byte Size Budget! Here’s a link to my latest Youtube video.
So, you may be wondering how I could be damn near 35 years old with over $52,000 in consumer debt in NYC? Well, Internet friends, I’m here to break down my debt (and life) for you.
I am what I like to call a “senior millenial”. I was born in the 80s, grew up with the Internet, and was sold dreams of upward mobility that Baby Boomers promised would come along with my college degree. Unfortunately, I graduated just one year ahead of my generation’s Great Recession. I fumbled around for my first two years of college in jobs that paid just under $49,000 then $34,000 per year. From 2009 until 2014, I cobbled together the barest of income from retail jobs and temp gigs, earning no more than $15 per hour at any time. My “big break” came during Summer 2014. I began working two full-time jobs – an hourly temp gig during the day and while doing overnight call center work. Thankfully, my night job provided health insurance and a retirement plan!
The grace period on my graduate school student loans ended just as I was beginning the two job hustle. With those jobs, I knocked $10,415.38 off my original balance. I was extremely proud of my progress and could have kept up the hustle until the loans were paid off. In 2015, I was able to take a higher paying hourly position at one of the companies. Today, despite receiving glowing performance reviews, improving my skillset, taking on additional work and networking, I remain in my current industry earning an hourly wage that does not allow me to pay rent for a studio or one bedroom in the New York City area. I live with family and save as much as possible now.
I have not lost hope yet. This year, I will pay off my consumer and student loan debt. My plan is to get a higher paying job (and a side hustle!) Check back for my next couple posts where I share my total debt breakdown and income with you. Keep reading!
Have you experienced setbacks with paying off debt or earning income? How did you recover? Please comment below.