My March Affirmation:
“I have a budget. I am disciplined and stay on budget. Money flows abundantly as I move towards being debt free, financially free, and work optional.”
Prior to December I was doing REALLY well with my budget, then my birthday came. (Yes I’m still talking about my birthday lol. 🤪) I usually fall off BIG TIME. This year I’ve had more vision, commitment and accountability around my spending. One of the biggest moves I could have made was sharing my budget AND my why with many people around me. It has been the clarity and drive towards financial freedom that has led me to commit to keeping a budget. One thing that has been helpful for me is tracking my spending and updating my budget 3 days a week. I put a note in my phone reminders so I can remember and I use a google sheet that I can access ANYWHERE to make the updates. Budgeting is still fairly new to me so I’m still finding my flow. I complete a google budget template for each month. I
make sure try my best to STICK 👏🏾 WITH 👏🏾 IT👏🏾! As of October 2020, I’ve worked to align my monthly budget with my annual budget I created using the Our Rich Journey F.I.R.E. workbook.
The categories in the workbook are easy for me to follow. They are broken down in a way that also makes it easy for me to see where I need to make adjustments. One thing I’ve noticed in the last few month is that I didn’t budget for the annual fees I pay for some of my few subscriptions that I KNOW I need like, Zoom, and Apple Music. I’ve also been way off with the cost of my children’s extracurricular activities. As a newbie to the nontraditional schooling world I’m noticing our NEED for additional activities. This is something I’m working through because I’m not sure if this is still in the NEED or WANT category. (What I do know is the time apart that we get from the activities has been helpful for all three of us. So we are rocking with it.) Although it doesn’t seem THAT expensive, it does require some planning and budget adjusting when the sign ups come. I am not going into debt for the activities BUT it does take away from some of the funds I’d like to invest. Or if I’m being COMPLETELY honest, it takes away from some of the funds I want to EAT. LOL I still eat up a lot of money on food. I just LOVE food and I don’t really enjoy preparing it.
In my sharing with others, it has given me some confidence and motivation. In the last month I’ve had a couple of friends ask me for some input. This is also part of the accountability I get by simply sharing or responding to friends that “I’d love to come to your event but it’s just not in my budget right now.” It has taken me A WHILE to get here. It’s even harder to say this for playdates because I feel like I’m taking a connection away from my children but I’m starting to work that muscle too. I come from a culture and family that doesn’t speak about money often so it can be challenging to know what’s ok for me to share or not. Most of the time I’m just like this has helped me learn so if I’m being asked I’m likely to share. So knowing I’ve got friends who are comfortable enough with me to ask about my money processes, is MOTIVATION for me.
I’ve also decided as part of my accountability, I’ll start sharing my student loan payoff progress with you each month. Hopefully this will motivate someone else to stick with a budget and see the light. In December 2021 I owed $110,000 in student loan debt of which $3000+ was interest. I HATE PAYING INTEREST. What this means is I couldn’t make a difference in my principle until that was done. So I shifted some funds and paid a lump sum of money now that I’ve educated myself about loans and money. I went back and forth with a decision. I was saving for a down payment on a home and wanted to gift myself a home for my birthday. After looking and still questioning my decision to buy a home in a market that felt exciting but still questionable for me I shifted my focus. I went up and down with this decision making process. Do I buy a home in an area I’m not excited about living in? Most of what I could afford to buy without being house poor (this was a new term for me, meaning I own a home and can’t do anything else) was not making me excited. I was being outbid and found myself lowering my expectations. I’ve done too much work on ME to be lowering my expectations in ANY area of my life. So I paused, got still and listened to my heart. I’m very happy with my decision (most days) and am happy to report that I now owe $88,000 as of 2/25/22 with a $0 interest balance. Thanks to the 0% interest on federal student loans, I’m able to take my principle down down down. I currently have two goals with these darn student loans.
- Have only $50,000 left to pay in 2023.
- Have less than $85,000 by the time the interest starts to accrue again. This will mean I will accrue less than $500 of interest a month.
- Ultimate goal: BE DEBT FREE by 40. (Unless I have a mortgage.)
I KNOW I can do this‼ With a budget it makes it easier for me to know what I need to say no to (although it’s still challenging). And sharing my plan makes it a little more understandable (although sometimes annoying I think) for my friends and family to accept. ALSO, including my children in the goal, plan, budgeting and updating, helps them process money and set priorities for themselves as we grow together. My budget is helping me attack this goal, ask for what I’m worth, adjust when need be, AND still have fun and access joy along the way.
Let’s go work optional at 45 Jillian. I can see you and I’m headed your way.
What’s your debt free journey? Share in the comments below. Send me some motivation and reach out if YOU need some motivation.