So, this year for Lent I am doing a different type of fast. I am financially fasting. What does this mean? It means that I have come up with a debt payoff plan and that I am using a barebones budget to jumpstart my payoff goals.
I have been using Mint since 2009 to track my income vs expenses. I have almost all of my accounts loaded to their sight and it gives me a general sense of where I am at. One of my student loan companies isn’t compatible, but I just use a budget line for that bill.
I enjoy mint as is it keeps track of everything that I pay for electronically and holds me accountable for those charges. If I earn cash or spend cash I have to enter it in by hand…I’m lazy so this doesn’t always happen. So one of my goals is to make sure that I track my physical cash more closely so I truly stick to my budget 100%.
Mint keeps track of spending trends in various categories and lets me know if I have spent more than usual on something. I can also set a future budget for things like car insurance and know how much to set aside monthly to hit that goal.
Mint has goal building tools for paying off loans, credit cards, savings accounts etc. I have found this helpful in the past to learn which cards to put more towards to pay them down faster, but that hasn’t been the most encouraging way for me to tackle my debt.
I made my Tally account last week and my credit score has already jumped 38 points! They give you a line of credit at a lower interest rate than your credit cards and then you pay them monthly and they pay your credit card bills on time and in an order to save you money on interest over time. They say that their minimum monthly payment (you pay tally-they pay your bills) is about equal to or less than your usually monthly credit card minimum payments, and it’s only one payment to worry about vs 4 in my case. I will still be paying interest, but not as much as I would have without tally.
I downloaded a free debt payoff app to plug my student loans and car loan into to calculate the best way to pay them off the fastest. This app lets you choose to pay off by debt size or by interest. I had one payment left on my car when I plugged in the numbers so I chose the snowball method for this app. My student loan interest rates are all about the same. The app shows how much extra to put towards each loan now that my car is payed off and then tells me how long it will be before I’m loan debt free.
In order to pay off my debts in under 5 years, I will have to put most of my pay towards them. I have budgeted for rent, utilities, gas and groceries. I have left very little for anything that is not 100% necessary for the next few months.
Writing down every penny owed was NOT a fun process, but it was necessary to see where to place my priorities in order to climb out of the debt hole be being buried alive.
Once I get a good grasp on a bare bones budget, I can add more things in. I figured the 40 days of Lent would be the perfect time to practice this.
I will keep y’all posted on how this plan is working for me going forward.