Adventures in Debt Reduction ~ February 2016 Recap

Well, Spring is definitely on its way here in the Pacific NW. Love seeing how everything starts budding and blooming…almost overnight!

I just wanted to do an update of where my brain is on this whole get-rid-of debt,  change-my-way-of-living process. It’s a process! Believe me! 
(Oh, one thing I’ve learned from my reading this month is that I need to say right up front if any of the links in this article are affiliate links. They are. At least some of them. 🙂 )

I will try to keep these updates to just once a month, and stick with vintage the rest of the time. But I’m also trying to keep it real with you all. I know many of you are also dealers or resellers or work at home moms. So you can relate with the struggles. 

I think my motivation is finally where it needs to be. We HAVE to do this. We have to get some money saved. We have to get some debt paid off. Okay. All of it paid off. We can’t just keep talking about it and then not changing anything. We have goals to reach and we won’t get there if we don’t do something now.

We are pretty comfortable right now. And that’s dangerous. When I have enough money coming in to cover my bills easily, then I stop thinking about them. I just pay them. If we get extra money, I breathe a bit easier but I don’t do anything specific with that money and you guessed it…it disappears. I have no PLAN. That has to change. 

So here are the (few) things I’ve done so far this month to tackle this problem. 
Oh wait, one more thing. I just want to say…We actually live very simply already. Most blogs about debt reduction will tell you to drop cable, sell a car, downsize, brown bag your lunch…Done. Done. And done. We were there a long time ago. 
So the changes to budgeting for me will be smaller. A few dollars here and there. The main idea is to know where those dollars will be going. And to increase our income. More about that later.

  • I’ve been reading. Believe me, click on a few debt reduction/grocery/meal planning/budgeting pins on Pinterest…and pretty soon, that’s all you’ll see. I’ve been reading and printing free organizing pages and imagining life if I followed some of these ideas. I’d be….why I’d be…Organized!! I wouldn’t recognize myself. 
  • I restarted my Swagbucks account. I have no idea why I had logged out and stopped earning Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a site where you can perform various tasks like watching videos, answering surveys, printing coupons, searching the web and things like these. When you complete the tasks you earn Swagbucks which can be redeemed for gift cards.
    In the past, I used them to earn Starbucks cards (of course!!!) but this time I redeemed them for Amazon cards. As soon as I have 500 SB, I get a $5 Amazon card which I can just load to my Amazon account. Most of the time, I just use the Swagbucks search engine to do my research and I earn random SB. There are a few other tasks I do each day to earn a few more, but I really don’t spend a lot of time on it. I earned about $15 this month. Like I said, a few bucks here or there. 
  • Along the same lines, I’m trying to remember to use Ebates.com when I shop online. I don’t do a whole lot of that right now, but the boys needed some clothes so I got a few dollars back when I ordered them some from The Children’s Place clearance section.
  • And lastly, on the few dollars here and there topic, I’ve tried to get better with my coupons and apps like ibotta and Checkout 51. I used to get annoyed with scanning my receipts, but the apps have improved and it really doesn’t take that long. Those few dollars start to look really good.
  • For the organizing aspect, I’ve listed my debts and figured out which one(s) we will attack first. I even managed to do a balance transfer and knock out one of our higher interest cards. 

What’s coming up for March?
I really have a long way to go. 

  • I need to actually sit down and make a budget!  I need to know how much $$ we REALLY need every month so I know what money is ‘extra’. Then that money can go toward savings and debt.
  • Continue to work on reducing our grocery expenses…this includes meal planning.
  • Outline a concrete plan for increasing our income, including listing and selling more, buying less inventory and supporting Hubby with his business so he can be more efficient/get more hours.
  • Open up another savings account or two for specific savings goals. 
  • Switch blog over to WordPress. (not specifically debt related but it would be nice to make a few extra dollars while I hang out with y’all) 

Phew. Obviously, I could go on and on about this. But I won’t. 🙂
This is all weighing heavy on my mind so thank you for letting me unload. It helps me see it all in print and helps keep me accountable.
I really believe that Online ReSelling (especially vintage!!) is a great side hustle (or in my case, main hustle) to get us the extra money we need to meet our goals.

One last thought. Despite all this ‘money talk’ I really do not believe money is everything. I believe in balance. There are other aspects to my life that are waayyy more important. My family and my spiritual life being the main ones.  But when money issues start to interfere with those other more important things..it’s time to change things….within reason. I will not work 24/7 at the expense of attending our worship services or spending time with my boys.
There has to be balance. That’s just me. If it takes me an extra year to pay off that debt…so be it. 

Okay, let me have it! Have you paid off debt? Are you struggling with it now? Do you have favorite websites, apps, or blogs that help you stay on track? I’d love to hear about it below.

9 thoughts on “Adventures in Debt Reduction ~ February 2016 Recap”

  1. As I am a casual employee and work is rather thin on the ground right now I have been doing a lot of meal planning where I plan on left overs of some food items and then make them into something completely new a few days later. I am doing a segment on my blog called "Plan overs" and I find it really helps me keep the food budget down because I use basic things like roast potatoes, mashed potatoes or rice etc to make new and interesting meals later on. It doesn't take any more time to pre-cook some food items for a future meal. I try to watch my food budget, I thrift all my clothes and refashion lots of them and keep myself on a thrifting budget. I find this helps a great deal. We have all our bills paid off except for the mortgage and we are chipping away at that with extra payments every few months. I know how hard it is to get out of debt and how hard it is to have it hanging over your head. All the best luck with getting out of debt. Cheers, Michele

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience! I like the "plan over" idea. Yesterday i made a bunch of chili mac…more beans, less meat…and have that slated for leftovers on Wed when we have a busy night. I have 2 little boys who (for now) eat like birds so it should be easy..lol
    Congrats on your own no-debt success!

  3. We are big followers of Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. His baby steps are great to get you focused. If you haven't read any of his books I'd go to the library and get the total money makeover book and read that. It's a great motivator. Also if you can listen to his radio program and it's a big motivator. Hearing people do their debt-free scream is great. Good luck, Donna

  4. yes! awhile back I took that book out from the library. I've read lots of blogs of people who follow those principles. I did kind of do my debt list and payoff plan based on the snowball…so we'll see how it goes! thanks!!

  5. we, just this last month, made our final debt consolidation payment. March 2016 is actually the cleanest slate we have ever had! I want to make sure to not get too comfortable being comfortable and to remind ourselves that were were able to make it 4 years on that much less …

  6. I think that would be tricky! Not getting too comfortable I mean. I could see myself doing that…saying "ok…glad that's over!!"..lol.
    And btw, CONGRATS! That's a great accomplisment!

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