April Debt Repayment Update

April Debt Repayment Update

March is almost over and it’s time once again to update you on our finances, but don’t worry – it’s been a good month! Not only did we take a much-needed vacation, but we also paid off a good chunk of debt due to our tax refund coming in. Hooray! We are even closer to fulfilling our goal of debt freedom. Without further ado – here’s our April debt repayment update!

April Debt Repayment Update- www.diyjahn.com

For those who know our journey, feel free to skip ahead. For those who are new, here’s a little introduction.

So, here’s what’s going on. We plan to give these updates on a monthly basis (at the beginning of each month). You can see past months updates by clicking on our “Frugal Living” tab – or by clicking HERE.

I’m sure you’re wondering how we got to where we are. Well, we began our journey around the middle of September when my wife and I got married and decided to calculate our combined debt. That being said, we had been making payments for almost a year by this point, so we must have been much higher beforehand. Regardless, when we began religiously calculating our numbers in September, we came to the conclusion that we have $196,021.8 in debt: which is terrifying.

If you want to read more about how we racked up so much debt, you can read about it in our post here (click here).

TIt was time to pay it off and be debt free. Unfortunately, that sort of decision doesn’t come easy – and the results surely don’t come fast. We are working our way to debt freedom and hope to achieve our goals by January 1, 2019. Stay tuned as we update our progress, how we are getting there, and more by visiting regularly or signing up for our e-newsletter – here!



April Debt Repayment Update

At the end of last month, during our March Debt Repayment Update, we had officially paid down a total of $26,608.31 since October – woohoo! Not only that, but we had paid off $3,348.87 in February ALONE. Now, we get to update you on even more money that we have thrown at this debt of ours. We have a long way to go, but we are beginning to think our goals are possible.

Let’s see where we are for April!

 

 

April Debt Repayment Update

Where are we at with our debt for March?

This month turned out to be a great month for our debt repayment which was kind of unexpected. Why? Well, we decided to take a road trip on a whim to the East Coast. A good pal of mine from work wanted to visit his girlfriend out there (in college in Virginia) and my wife and I thought it would be a great way to see a new place for cheap.

As you may remember, I made a few goals for my birthday this past year – 20 Something Goals Before 25. One of my goals was to take a vacation somewhere new. Well, when we realized that we wanted to put everything toward debt and make our big scary goal of paying off $50,000 in 2016, we decided that a vacation may be out of the question. Well, low-and-behold we had this amazing opportunity arise – we surely weren’t going to pass it up!

So, we may have put a little bit less toward debt than we otherwise would have, but we are happy that we went and we don’t regret it for a second. My lovely wife got to see mountains for the first time ever, we drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we climbed to the top of Humpback Rock on Humpback Mountain, we saw the sights in Washington D.C., we hung out with my amazing uncle, and we even went to a Movie Tavern that was spectacular! All-in-all, it was a great trip.

I’m sure you’re wondering, though, how this worked for us financially for our April debt repayment update. It was simple really – and inexpensive.

  • We took a week of PTO (so no pay loss) and hunkered down in the car.
  • We bought sandwiches for the car rides (18 hours each way) and didn’t stop for food. The groceries cost about $30 for two days worth of food for us both, plus snacks.
  • The gas was split between us and my friend so that it cost about $85 each (including tolls) for the full ride to Virginia and an extra $40 for our tourist-y riding around after.
  • We ate out a few times (totaling less than $200 for the both of us) and spent our nights at my uncles house (about 4 hours North of where my friend’s girlfriend lives).
  • Oh, and we allowed ourselves to purchase two records totally about $60 (a treat for paying off so much debt).

So, for the entire vacation to the East Coast and a ton of tourist-ing (not a word, but I like it), we paid around $400 total for two people. Pretty incredible, right? Not to mention, I had earned an extra $190 from blogging that was put toward the trip and we had our normal $150 budget for the two weeks. Basically, we were over budget by about $60 – the cost of the records.

Was the vacation worth the $60? Definitely. Would I choose this again? Every time.

Anyway, let’s look at the numbers for the April Debt Repayment Update:

  • $40 – this is a minimum payment to a smaller student debt which brought that debt down to $2,392.82.
  • $467.92 – this is a minimum payment for my wife’s federal debt which brought that debt down to 68,215.03.
  • $139.04 – this is a minimum payment for our car which brought that debt down to $4,780.37.
  • $5,426.94 – this is an extra payment we put toward our high interest loan (affectionately titled Big9). We brought Big9 down to $17,725.33! Most of this was from our tax refund, but about $1,000 was extra on top of that. A great month for the Big9!

In total, we paid off $6,073.90 in debt in March – WOW! We didn’t even realize we could get that much extra toward our debt in one month with our incomes, but we sure are happy to have done it!

What does this bring us to in total for debt repayment? We have officially paid off a total of $32,682.21 since October. Woohoo!

Where does your income come from?

I decided to add this segment in November after reading a few income reports from other bloggers. I don’t want this to sound like bragging, but rather to help you to see that it is possible to pay back your debt on a low income (we’re doing it). You can also see that it’s possible to make money on the side (we’re doing that, too). I hope that this helps you on your journey to debt freedom.

Here’s our income breakdown for the month of March:

  • $1,600 – roughly, this is my take home pay. My pay also includes our housing and utilities (since we don’t pay for those), but this is the actual cash-in-pocket amount after taxes. We use my income for all bills, minimum payments, and necessities (groceries, gas, etc.).
  • $1,800 – roughly, this is my wife’s take home pay after taxes and insurance costs.  We use her income as entirely supplemental – meaning that unless something happens, all of her income goes as extra payments toward debt.
  • $215.16 – This is my blogging income for the month. Not bad for only a few months in! I hope that this continues to boost as I prepare to release my first course and some ebooks – we’ll see! Look forward to some new information coming your way.

Total Income for March: $3,615.16

What is in our accounts?

We are slowly building our savings account. And by slowly, I mean VERY, VERY slowly. Most of our money goes straight toward debt because that’s what our main priority is. That being said, we know that emergencies happen so we have an emergency fund that we never touch unless necessary.

We also have a “New Family Fund” as some of you may know, that we were putting $100 toward each month. As a lesbian couple, we know that having children is going to be very expensive and difficult. However, we also know that we want this to be a part of our life. On that note, we have decided to post-pone contributing to this account for a couple of reasons.

First of all, $100 a month is $1,200 a year that could be going toward paying off our debts quicker. It sounds small, but it adds up. Second, we found out that my wife’s flex-spending card can help us to pay for some of the needs in this area, so we don’t need to use as much out-of-pocket.

Anyway, here are what the accounts look like for our April Debt Repayment Update:

  • $1,000 – Emergency fund. Our goal is to keep this right where it’s at. Unfortunately, we did have to take some from this this month when our car broke down which is why we couldn’t contribute as much toward debt repayment. We did pay it back quickly, though, and it is now sitting happily at the $1,000 mark again.
  • $687.22 – New Family Fund. Each month we were putting an extra $100 toward this month and it was going well. We did put $100 toward it this month as well as the $25 bonus we got for starting an online account through CapitalOne360. Why not get free money? If you use this link, we both get a little bonus for opening an account: https://r.capitalone360.com/yd7NFLaMQu How great is that?

Total Assets: $1,687.22

April Debt Repayment Update

Looking Ahead

Where do we hope to be, looking forward, after the April Debt Repayment Update?

First: We will be completing a 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge starting April 1 (FRIDAY!) and we would love to have you join us. We are super excited to get rid of the clutter and move forward with our debt-free goals. We’ll be selling, donating, and recycling as much as we can and moving ourselves to a minimalist / zero-waste lifestyle. Anyway, if you are interested at all, check out THIS POST for more information and ideas: Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals (CLICK HERE).

Second: Last month I said I would be releasing products this month, but with summer around the corner and the trip we went on, it simply didn’t happen. I’m hoping to release some products starting at the end of April and we’ll see what happens! Keep an eye out for them! If you are willing – please share this with your friends! We are working as hard as we possibly can to pay off our debt and every share helps!

Third: I will be looking to find some more clients for my Virtual Assistant Business – if you are looking for help with your blog, managing social media, figuring out a budget for yourself or your business, need some graphics or printables made, or need some content writing done, let me know! I’m happy to work with you to make it happen.

Goal Update

As you all know, we set a huge, big, scary goal of paying off $50,000 in debt in 2016. YIKES! I know it sounds crazy, but we think we can do it. So, we’ll be updating you on that goal each month during our debt repayment updates so that you can watch the progress.

Click HERE to read more about the goal: Financial Goals for 2016

GOAL: $50,000

Total Paid off in 2016: $22,341.35

Left to reach Goal: $27,658.65

We are almost halfway to our goal and it’s only been three full months! We are super excited to see what this year holds and know that we can reach our goals. However, we had some big lump sums during these first three months, so we will need to hustle like crazy the next nine months to reach this goal. We can do it (I hope..)!

Thanks for reading our April Debt Repayment Update!

If you have any comments, let us know! We love to hear.

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals

Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals

Last week I took a trip out to the East Coast. First of all, I want to note that it was amazing. I had a great experience. My wife got to see mountains for the first time in her life, we drove on the ever-famous Blue Ridge Parkway, climbed to the top of the Humpback Rocks on Humpback Mountain, visited our first Movie Tavern with my amazing uncle, and even stopped at Washington D.C. to see the sights! Not only that, but I also had a guest post go live on another blogger’s site – Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals.

Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals- www.diyjahn.com (2)

You may remember the post earlier last week on DIY Jahn titled: Using Minimalism to Grow Your Money. Well, the writer of that amazing guest post was Uzy from Coming Om. And, another fun fact, that is the blog that I posted on as well! We decided it would be a great idea to exchange guest posts so that we both could share our knowledge with the other blogger’s audience. I knew that you all would love Uzy’s post on minimalism, and Uzy knew that his reader’s would gain some insight from my post on mindfulness.

Now, I couldn’t very well keep my post from you all, could I? So, I wanted to share it with you today. You see, I wasn’t so sure about mindfulness when I first began my journey, but it has helped me to achieve so many financial goals and to set new ones that I know are right for my family. Using mindfulness to set financial goals has helped me to gain clarity, to save money, to pay off debt, and ultimately, to find hope once again.

Don’t forget to join our 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge as we enter April! We’ll be starting it up quick. Click HERE to read the rules and join our mailing list today!

Anyway, I would love it if you would bop over to Coming Om and read my post. You can find it by clicking HERE or by using the links below! Thanks for reading and supporting DIY Jahn.

Using Mindfulness to set financial goals- www.diyjahn.com (1)

Using Minimalism to Set Financial Goals

Using Mindfulness To Set Financial Goals


Using Mindfulness To Set Financial Goals

How We Paid Off Almost $10,000 in 10 Weeks

How We Paid Off Almost $10,000 in 10 Weeks

Yes, you read that right. My wife and I paid off almost $10,000 in only 10 weeks and we have kept going from there. You know what’s even neater, though? You can do it, too. It’s not as hard as it may sound!

10 weeks- www.diyjahn.com

A few weeks ago, I got the amazing opportunity to guest post for one of my favorite blogs. Making Sense of Cents is a blog owned by Michelle. She’s an inspiration to me – she paid off her $40,000 in student debt and now lives debt free, writes her blog, and loves her life.

It’s not only that, though, that inspires me. She uses her blog to encourage other people to get out of debt, teaching them how, and giving them the steps they need. Basically – her blog does a lot of the same stuff that I hope to do with my blog (though we do have some differences).

Anyway, a few weeks ago I got the opportunity to post on her blog about my wife and I’s success with paying off almost $10,000 of debt in just 10 short weeks. And in this blog post, I give away all my secrets as to how I did it.

Do you want to read? I hope you do! You all are the reason I keep going – the support from you readers helps remind me that this IS possible – we can do it. Thank you for always supporting me along the way and I hope that you enjoy this post.

Click HERE to read the post on Making Sense of Cents

OR use this link: http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2016/03/how-we-paid-off-almost-10000-in-10-weeks.html

I hope you enjoy the blog posts, but even more so, I hope you learn something that you can use to help you create your own debt free story. We are in this together, after all!

Fundraising Events: Where Does the Money Come From?

FUNDRAISING EVENTS

WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM?

Today I have a guest poster named Kristin here to tell us how to create fundraising events on a budget! As people who are looking to live frugally, why wouldn’t we carry that over into our work space and school space as well? Fundraising events can have a great impact on these amazing programs, but can be costly if you don’t know how to do them right. Let’s see what Kristin has to teach us!

Fundraising events are important to so many causes, from charities, to sports teams, to schools, and to various other effective programs. But the fact is that pretty much every one of these events is done on an extremely small budget. As fundraisers grow, it becomes easier to spend a little more money to make a bit more, but that typically does not happen until an event is well-established with a committed audience and tons of support – and it can take years to get to this point.

How can you maximize money raised at your fundraising event? I’m here today to outline all the ways you can look to bring in much-needed dollars at your event. Read on to find out where the money comes from!

Fundraising Events- www.diyjahn.com

Sponsorship

If you’ve ever planned a fundraising event before, you’ve probably thought about sponsorship. But were you able to bring any in? There are a few things you can do to increase the probability of landing sponsorship deals.

  1. Consider Your Audience – Think hard about who your event audience is. Now consider what companies would want to be put in front of this audience, and make a list of those to contact. If you’ve matched the potential sponsor with the event well, these companies should be relatively easy to sell event a small sponsorship to.
  1. Think About Your Benefits – Think about what can your event provide to potential sponsors. Is it social media promotion? A chance to present in front of an audience? A visual presence at the event? And can you throw in any extras such as event tickets, or giveaway items? Ask all of these questions and figure out which opportunities will matter the most to your potential sponsors.
  1. Make a Sponsorship Package – Now that you’ve thought about what all your benefits are, draw up an official and professional sponsorship package that shows your options. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but the advantages of sponsoring your event need to be clear. Pair this document with a cover letter on company/event/charity letterhead introducing yourself, and this will increase the perception of professionalism when it comes to your event.

Getting a sponsorship can be one of the most lucrative methods to maximize funds raised, so some time should definitely be spent on preparing, pursuing, and following up on any proposals submitted. Not to mention, once a company has signed on to do it once, there is a high possibility they’ll be a sponsor for years to come.

Discounts

Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts while you are booking venues or vendors for your event. The worst thing any company can say is no, and even if they won’t give you a straight-up discount, you may realize that the company you are speaking to is a potential event sponsor. Either way, discounts end up being money back into the cause’s bank account, and usually can amp up the experience of an event, since a vendor is willing to provide a bit extra if they really buy into what you are doing. If you explain why your cause is important, local companies are often open to supporting in any way they can.

Tickets

Ticket sales are perhaps one of the most obvious methods to make money at your event. Typically I try to budget so that the ticket sales alone will cover the costs of the event, meaning that the rest of these methods would end up as pure fundraising profit. It is also sometimes possible to build a mandatory donation right into your ticket price – check on guidelines in your area to figure out whether this might work for you.

Raffles

Raffles are a fun way to both add to the program and experience of an event while raising extra money for your cause. Unfortunately, raffles are not allowed to happen everywhere, and even if they are, they usually require proper licensing. Look into gambling laws in your area before deciding to run any raffles.

There are many different types of raffle that you can consider for your event. A 50/50 is often an easy one to run because no prize is needed – half of the money raised goes back to the cause and half goes to the person with the winning ticket. If you are able to get a large prize donated or purchased that people are excited, you can run a very successful raffle by leveraging that item alone and selling tickets to win it.

Merchandise Sales

This won’t work for every event, but if you have some cool merchandise that your guests may be interested in, this could be a way to raise a bit of extra money. For example, a car & music festival I have worked with over the past several years sells t-shirts and hats. They create a new t-shirt design each year, and it is exciting for the attendees to see the unveiling of the new design and to be able to collect the new version year after year.

Another example of this idea is selling something that might be useful at the event. I am currently working on a concert, which takes place next month, and the charity involved in the event has ordered some branded glow-sticks to sell on-site. They can price these a little higher than you may expect, because they’ll let everyone know that the proceeds are going back to support their valuable research.

Merchandise sales can also be a good opportunity to get your branding in front of people, so that is just an added bonus with this revenue stream.

Activities

Is there a possibility to hold a special activity at your event, for a fee or donation? If guests have the chance to participate in something exciting, they often won’t hesitate to open their wallets to do so. I recommend finding an activity that fits in with your event theme and would be fun to do, such as a game or competition. You could even provide a (preferably donated) prize for extra incentive to participate!

Auction Items

Holding a live or silent auction is a way to leverage items purchased or donated to raise money for your cause. This is similar to asking companies for discounts – perhaps instead they would be interested in donating something to your event that you can sell to the highest bidder. The best way to maximize your fundraising dollars through this income stream is to have as many items as possible donated. Even if you are selling items for more than you paid for them, you are actually taking a ton of money out of the room that might have been spent in other ways, including on cash appeals, which you can read about below.

Cash Appeals

Cash appeals are one of the most important income streams for fundraising events, but it is actually often ignored. When raising money for a cause, you should provide an option for guests to just give a donation. This can be done just with donation forms carefully placed on tables, or by asking people to raise their hands to donate.

Regardless of how you choose to do this, it’s necessary to put together the story of your cause in front of the audience to prime them. This can be done with a video, a demonstration, a guest speaker, a slide show, or in any other way you can possibly present your tale. Make sure the information you are providing is real, and that it highlights exactly why your cause is important. This strategy will get your audience ready to give, and might make them want to give even more than they would have otherwise.

Maximizing fundraising dollars at an event is all about creatively planning ways to engage your audience and to make them buy in to the cause you are raising money for. And when it comes to events, sometimes it’s worth just trying things to see whether the donations pour in or trickle. Planning an annual fundraising event means that you can learn about your audience from year to year and find out which revenue streams are most important for your project.

kristin-glass-events-kristin-glass

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

If you need some help planning your fundraising event and maximizing the money raised, contact me today. I offer event planning packages to fit your needs, from event consultation, to strategy sessions, all the way up to full coordination. In every one of these packages, I work to make your event a wild success. I’d love to chat with you!

Website: www.KristinGlassEvents.com

E-Mail: info@kristinglassevents.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KristinGlassEvents

Twitter: @KristinGEvents

Instagram: @KristinGEvents

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/KristinGEvents

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Budget Savings, Increase your Spending Power

Budget Savings, Increase Your Spending Power

Today we’re talking about how to budget savings and thereby, increase your spending power. Household financial responsibilities are widespread, prompting spending in various categories. From home ownership to feeding families, modern expenses add-up quickly, without signs of slowing. For some high earners, demanding financial circumstances are easily managed, without creating undue stress. For most people, however, personal money management is a continued effort to balance household cash flow, without sacrificing the comforts of a good life.

With so many financial obligations on your plate, consistently making ends meet presents an ongoing challenge. Fortunately, the wide array of spending obligations before you yields opportunities for savings – when you know where to look. By carving out budget savings, you’ll increase your spending power in other areas, so it pays to periodically evaluate where your money goes.

As you establish or revise your household budget, use the following tips to highlight savings. You may be surprised by the promising, money-saving possibilities found, by placing your finances under review.

Budget Savings- www.diyjahn.com

Domestic Expenses Yield Room for Savings

It takes a substantial flow of cash to meet monthly household expenses. Rent payments, mortgages, insurance coverage, and utility costs add-up quickly – regardless of where you live. Home ownership has advantages, but the cost of maintenance and upkeep can strain budgets. As a tenant, you may be able to sidestep some of the costs of living, but food, energy bills, and other household obligations still tally significant sums. There is good news for consumers, however, because each spending category offers savings potential, which may be easier to tap than you think.

Energy is a major expense. Utility payments represent spending most people could do without. The services are needed, mind you, but the bills themselves can be hard to reconcile. After all, there is no tangible reward for money spent toward gas and electric bills. Heat and power increase comfort and facilitate our favorite modern appliances, but it is hard to put your hands on the direct benefits, as you can with many other purchases. At the same time, many users simply pay their utility bills, without looking for ways to reduce what they owe. This is an expensive oversight, in many cases, leaving money on the table, which could be applied to other expenses.

When household cash flow is at odds with your cost of living, reducing your utility bills could help provide relief. And there are several ways to get started saving money. Evaluate your household habits to get started on the path toward lower energy, beginning with these common concerns:

Heating and Cooling Expenses – In many regions, heating and cooling costs represent the lion’s share of utility spending. As a result, this is a good place to start saving money. Replace your thermostat with an efficient, programmable model, in order to dial-in energy use to your daily needs. Use it to program your furnace to send heat only when you are at home, and then lower your thermostat setting by a degree or two, across the board, for additional savings.

Conserve Electricity by Managing Devices – Modern energy users live in a plugged-in world. From laptops to music players, nearly every aspect of daily life calls for an electronic device. Each gadget has its own power functions, which typically include conveniences enabling them to power-up quickly. Unfortunately, these stand-by modes draw energy, which ultimately adds to your utility costs. To use less energy, unplug devices from the wall or use power-save setting to reduce electric bills.

Household debt adds interest charges. There are plenty of reasons to responsibly manage debt, not the least of which is controlling the amount of money spent paying-off interest. Various loans, credit cards, home mortgages, and other obligations each come with a price, which can strain your household budget. In order to make the most of your financial resources, repayment obligations should be managed and prioritized, using the best available resources to meet your financial needs.

As credit demands arise, compare and contrast various forms of financing, ensuring your funding doesn’t include unnecessary interest charges. Short-term costs, which will be paid back quickly, are well-served using credit cards, payday loans and other accessible, temporary forms of financing. You will pay a premium for these types of funding, but quickly clearing them from your debt load won’t leave lasting impacts. Long-term financial needs, on the other hand, are better addressed using less expensive options, like equity financing and personal loans. You’ll need lead-time to secure these resources, however, and good credit references, so your immediate financial needs may not wait for approval.

Interest payments and utility costs are two substantial budget entries, furnishing room for savings. And while household spending spirals into many other areas, controlling debt payments and energy use are among the most powerful money saving strategies available to modern consumers. If you are committed to increasing your spending power, start with a close look at these major expenses.

Where can you budget savings and increase your spending power?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

7 Tips to Build an Emergency Fund Fast

7 Tips to Build an Emergency Fund Fast

Unexpected expenses can, unfortunately, wreak havoc on our financial lives. Everything seems to finally fall into place and then all of a sudden, the car breaks down, the kids get sick, or you get laid off of work. No matter what the case, having an emergency fund in place can help you to stay on your feet during a financial crisis. In this post, I’m going to give you 7 tips to get $1,000 in your emergency fund FAST.

Emergency Fund - www.diyjahn.com (1)

Last week, my wife was driving home from work. Every once in a while, she has to work out of town, and this just so happened to be one of those days. She got about halfway home when a dashboard light flashed. Ah, crap!

She continued driving and the car began to shake, the engine power lowered, and soon she was only able to inch the car along at around 20 mph on the highway. Definitely not a fun place to be stuck going so slow!

Thankfully, she made it safely to the mechanic and we had it looked at. Unfortunately, this meant an unexpected expense of around $450!

If this were a few years ago, or even a few months ago, this would have led us to a fully-fledged PANIC. Where would we get the money? How would we pay for this repair? What would we do?

No doubt we would need to borrow money to cover the expense – whether that means arranging to make payments through the shop, taking out a loan of some sort, or putting it on credit. Regardless, the end result was simple: more debt.

But this didn’t happen a few months ago, it happened last week. So, instead of taking out more debt to pay for the repair, we simply pulled out the cash and paid for it on the spot.

You may be thinking: Well, that’s great for them, but I live on a low income and can’t afford to just pay for things like this.

Don’t worry, we thought that, too. Until we made the decision to not allow ourselves to accumulate more debt. We made the decision to create an Emergency Fund and it has made all the difference in the world. No more panicking when unexpected expenses arise, no more living paycheck to paycheck, and no more “waiting” to pay off debt while simultaneously accumulating more debt.

So, here’s why you should start an emergency fund (CLICK HERE), but the real question is: How can you afford to build one when you are starting out by living paycheck to paycheck?

How to stay out of debt

7 Tips to Build an Emergency Fund Fast

While you’re working to stay on top of bills and make sure your family is fed, it’s important to start considering the unexpected expenses that may come up. Here are 7 tips to help you reach $1,000 in your emergency fund FAST!

Tip #1: Collect Your Loose Change

The first thing my wife and I did when we started budgeting was to work toward building our emergency fund. In order to do that, we realized that we really needed to use a cash budgeting system. It’s not that we didn’t trust ourselves not to stick to our budget… but… well, I guess we didn’t really trust ourselves to stick to our budget.

Anyway, we started using a cash budgeting system and fell in love. If you want to know how it works, you can visit our post Why We Love Cash Budgeting (& Why You Should, Too) CLICK HERE

Point is, we started to use cash to buy EVERYTHING. Then we created a new rule – we would use cash for everything, but we weren’t allowed to spend coins. You won’t believe how much money we saved up by not spending coins!

Soon, our jar was full and we had an extra $100 to add to our emergency fund.

Emergency Fund Start: $0
Emergency Fund Addition: $100
Full Emergency Fund: $100

Tip #2: Stay Home on the Weekends

One thing our friends love to do is to go out on the weekends. I don’t necessarily mean that they enjoy drinking (though some certainly do), but they like to go out and eat, go to the movies, or walk around the stores shopping.

All of that is fine and dandy, until you need to save money, of course. When my wife and I started skipping the weekend ventures, we realized that we were saving a lot of money. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t enjoy our friends’ company, of course, only that we got to enjoy their company in a frugal way.

Maybe we had some wine and cheese and played games, maybe we had a Redbox movie marathon instead of going to the theater, or maybe we found a new recipe to try instead of going out. In all cases, we always saved money and still enjoyed the company of our friends, who we loved dearly. Try staying home one weekend per month, and you’ll save an average of $30.

Emergency Fund Start: $100
Emergency Fund Addition: $30
Full Emergency Fund: $130

Tip #3: Start Writing a Blog

As you know (because you’re reading this now), I started a blog when I began my journey to become debt free. I didn’t start DIY Jahn to make money, though. Actually, this blog was started initially to track my journey and to keep myself accountable. On off-days, I would write about Adulting, a book that I love.

Soon after starting the blog, though, I realized that my passion was talking about finances and how to live a frugal life. I found myself excited to write on these topics, inspired by the stories around me, and enthralled in the response my readers were giving (thank you so much for that, by the way!).

An added perk of this lovely blog, though, is that I do earn a little extra for writing it. It’s not a lot, but I earn some and that’s what matters. Right now, I am on month six and last month I made a total of $222. On average, I’ve earned about $120 per month.

If you’re interested in starting a blog and earning money from it, check out our posts: How to Make Money Blogging (CLICK HERE) AND How to Monetize Your Blog and Quit Your Day Job! (CLICK HERE) Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to let me know!

Emergency Fund Start: $130
Emergency Fund Addition: $120
Full Emergency Fund: $250

Tip #4: Try a No Spend Challenge

In January, my wife and I made the commitment to complete a No Spend Challenge. What did this mean? Well, we were only allowed to spend money on regular bills, gas, and medical expenses. We ate the food in our freezer / fridge / pantry and made do with what we had.

Over the course of the month, we saved over $2,000 – you can read about our experience and all the tips and tricks we used by visiting our page: The No Spend Challenge (CLICK HERE)

We know that if we did the challenge again, we could save at least another $1,500. We had tons of readers join us for the challenge and work with us to save money for their own purposes. The average reader saved a total of $400 (many had rules that differed from our own). All-in-all, stopping spending for one month is definitely worth $400. What would you do for $400?

Emergency Fund Start: $250
Emergency Fund Addition: $400
Full Emergency Fund: $650

Tip #5: Find Some Extra Work

Whether you find work by looking online, find a job at a fast food joint, or simply go to help a neighbor out, working some extra hours can certainly help you to bring in the dough.

My wife and I work for a caterer during our spare time (whenever she needs the help) and we get $100 a piece for our four hour commitment. It’s an easy job, but she needs the extra help and we need the extra money – it’s a win-win.

I work online and earn some extra money by using apps like Ibotta, Ebates, or Epantry. If you’re interested in any of these (or other awesome online opportunities that have been legitimately checked by DIY Jahn) check out our page: Make Money Online Series (CLICK HERE)

Other ideas include: babysitting or pet sitting, helping a neighbor to move, giving someone a ride when needed, fixing items, building and selling furniture, baking bread and goodies to sell around holidays, etc.

Overall, if you put some effort into it, making an extra $200 is a fairly reasonable expectation for someone doing some extra work around their neighborhood, online, or in town!

Emergency Fund Start: $650
Emergency Fund Addition: $200
Full Emergency Fund: $850

Tip #6: Live a Healthier Life

Many times people will tell me that they simply “cannot be healthy because it’s too expensive” and while I agree that some health foods (especially organic) can be a little pricey, I disagree that being healthy is an expensive lifestyle change.

First of all, you need to view your health as preventative care. If you do not take care of yourself now, it will cost you an exponential amount of money in doctor and dentist bills later in life. Can’t stop drinking soda because you can’t afford tea? Wait until that root canal comes up or you need dentures. It’s a lot more than the $.50 you’ll spend now.

Second, being healthy is more than eating organic food. Being healthy means moving more, staying hydrated, and cooking from scratch. All of these ideas can actually SAVE you money (rather than cost you money).

Drink a 12-pack of soda a week? $16 / month
Driving to work instead of walking, biking, or taking the bus? $40 in gas / month
Eating store-bought bread and pasta instead of homemade? $30

The point is, there are many ways in which you can save money by being healthy. If you want some more ideas, read our post: Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle that will Save You MONEY! (CLICK HERE)

Emergency Fund Start: $850
Emergency Fund Addition: $86
Full Emergency Fund: $936

Tip #7: Sell Your Clutter

Finally, let’s not forget about decluttering our houses. Not only will decluttering your house give you piece of mind, but it will also help you to build that emergency fund up and get to your $1,000 goal.

Starting April 1st, my wife and I will be completing a 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. Basically, we’ll be doing a small task each day to help us to declutter our mind and our home. At the end of the challenge, we hope to have a significant amount of items to be donated or sold and less “clutter” filling our home.

Want to join our challenge? Visit our post to find out more information: Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals (CLICK HERE)

After selling a few items of clothing, a piece of furniture, and a couple of kids’ toys we could earn at the very least $75.

Emergency Fund Start: $936
Emergency Fund Addition: $75
Full Emergency Fund: $1,011

Emergency Fund - www.diyjahn.com

7 Tips to Build an Emergency Fund Fast

There it is! We have reached our $1,000 goal and now can begin putting our extra funds from these awesome money-making and money-saving ideas toward our debt or other savings goals. It’s as simple as that.

Now it’s time to go out and do – start building that emergency fund before the unexpected expenses start rolling in. Because we all know that they will.

Do you have any tips to reach your savings goals?

Leave your response in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Our Financial Goals for 2016

Our Financial Goals for 2016

We began paying off our debt just a few short months ago, but we have already come so far. As you may know, our big goal is to pay off our almost $200,000 in debt as soon as we possibly can. That being said, we haven’t taken much time to sort through our financial goals in writing. Not just the big scary goal, but the little goals that will get us there.

I was scanning a fellow bloggers site and found their list of financial goals for the year. The blog is titled: Debt, Who?? And is filled with inspiring stories of their attempts to pay back their debt (of around $140,000). You can find their 2015 Financial Goals by clicking HERE and read about how they did in 2015 by clicking HERE.

I really appreciated their format, their ideas, and their overall concept. So, I’ve decided to create my own list of 2016 financial goals. Yes, I do realize that it’s a little late (we’re already well into 2016), but regardless, here are the goals we hope to accomplish for this year!

Financial Goals 2016 - www.diyjahn.com

Our Financial Goals for 2016

You guys have read about why we need to pay off our debt quickly before 2017 rolls around the corner, you’ve also read about how we racked up a ton of debt, but we haven’t told you many specifics about what our goals are for 2016. In this post, I’m going to break it down for you all in a similar format to that of Debt, Who?? (linked above).

Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goals

We all have them. The daunting goals that hang over our heads – always close enough to see, never close enough to touch. For many of us, this is what debt freedom is… a ‘pipe dream’ if you will.

I have had many friends ask me about my debt repayment. When I say that I’m putting off getting a house, having children, etc. they all think I’m insane. I’ve heard it time and time again, “You’re never going to get out of debt.” “No one ever ACTUALLY gets out of debt.” “You’re going to miss out on your life trying to get out of debt.”

Of course, these are the same people who are in debt up to their eyeballs and complain about not being able to afford the luxuries of other couples who make the same income… or even afford to fix their cars when they break down.

I get it. I do.

When you’re in the throws of debt, it’s easy to get discouraged and truly believe that debt freedom is impossible. Here’s the thing though: it isn’t. Debt freedom is possible, but it takes hard work, determination, and letting go of some expectations for your lifestyle. Dave Ramsey puts it best: “If you will live like no one else now, you can live like no one else later.”

So, if you want to know why I want to be out of debt it’s simple: I want to live like no one else. That’s my big, scary, overall financial goal: to become debt free and never rack up the debt again, ever.

Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goal: To become completely debt free.

The Timeline

Okay, here’s the other part that I hate to think about. I’ve been paying off my debt like a madman, but I have never set a date for when I hope to become debt free. Sure, I wish it could be tomorrow, but we all know that’s unrealistic.

What does it look like then? I am going to set another big, scary goal of paying off all of our debt by 2019 – that’s three years. Now, I know that our debt is GIANT and that that goal is a little out of our league, but what can it hurt to try? Barring that all of our job and living situations don’t go downhill really fast, and that we stay healthy and happy for the next three years, I hope to have our debt SMASHED by 2019.

Let’s recap:

  • Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goals #1: To become completely debt free.
  • Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goals #2: To do it by 2019.

2016 Financial Goals

Now, that goal won’t happen without some other, smaller goals to get us there. That’s where this section comes into play. Here are our financial goals for 2016.

  • Overall Financial Goal for 2016: Pay off over $50,000 in debt.

Financial “Debt” Goals for 2016:

  • Complete a No Spend Challenge
  • Continue Paying Minimum Payments on car, smaller school loan, & wife’s federal loan (Total: $7,763.52)
  • Pay off our credit card debt (Total: $6,112.04)
  • Pay off the Big9 (new nickname for our high interest loan) (Total: $24,282.64 – not including interest – assume $2,200 interest)
  • Pay off the small student loans (Total: $5,428.86 – not including interest – assume $350 interest)
  • Pay off our car loan (Total: $3,389.97 – after minimum payments for the year – not including interest – assume $311 interest)

Sub-Total Goal: $49,838.03

  • Start putting extra toward my Federal loan (Total: $161.97)

Total Goal: $50,000

Financial “Mini” Goals for 2016:

  • Do not buy any boxed pasta or store-bought bread
  • Stick with our budget of $300 per month for food, gas, hygiene / cleaning, puppy supplies, fun money, etc.
  • De-clutter our home and sell items on FB
  • Work up to an extra $500 per month on the blog
  • Grow and can some of our own food
  • Find side hustles to earn more extra money (such as catering, dog-sitting, on-call crisis line (wife), etc.)
  • Put all extra money possible toward debt repayment
  • Stop stocking so much food in our home (only buy what we need)

2016 Financial Goals- www.diyjahn.com

Our Financial Goals for 2016

There you have it – our financial goals for 2016! The big and scary ones and the small, but mighty ones. All are equally important in helping us to reach our goals. And if we accomplish these goals? Well, we will enter 2017 with only Federal student debt (which will total less than $140,000)! Woohoo!

What are your financial goals for 2016?

Share them in the comments below!


Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Getting Geared Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

Getting Geared Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

Paying off debt quickly is probably the most difficult thing there is to do. Yet it’s also one of the most important. Why? Well, that’s what I want to show you guys today. You see, in 2017 all of our student debt will officially be out of deferment. Once I have graduated from my Masters program, we’ll have a six month “grace period” before minimum payments on our loans begin.

YIKES! As you may know, my wife and I have a LOT of debt. A lot. Which is kind of an understatement. Starting at almost $200,000, we were in way over our heads (you can see how we racked up all this debt by clicking HERE). So, the thought of them ALL coming out of deferment can be pretty overwhelming.

Now, my wife and I are working to pay these off as quickly as possible, but many people have asked what it will look like for us in 2017 when our loans are no longer in deferment. It’s an interesting question for us because it’s something we’ve thought about a lot, but it’s also a GREAT question for you all because it gives me a chance to talk about how important it is to pay more than the minimum payment.

If you didn’t already believe in the importance of an extra ten bucks, you will after today!

2017 - www.diyjahn.com

Gearing Up for 2017… Already?

We started preparing for 2017 back in October of 2015. We were just coming off of the high of our wedding day, loving our lives, living the dream of our honeymoon. We had settled back into our home and were starting up our every day lives again. All was well.

That’s when we did some calculations and made the realization: we have more debt than we ever expected. 

We both knew that we had a decent sum of debt. We both had a rough estimate of our own debt. We had talked about debt and finances. We knew we had a lot. Basically, what I’m saying is: this shouldn’t have been a surprise. The problem was that we never truly did the calculations until this moment. It was just a figure floating in the sky, but once we saw it in black and white, it became more real.

When we saw the figure, we began truly planning for 2017, knowing that my debts would be out of deferment and that we simply could not manage all of the payments. We began planning and working toward the day when the minimum payments would be due.

And that’s what brought us to today.

2017: Paying Only the Minimum Payments

Let’s start from the beginning of 2016 for this estimation. Let’s say that we began January 1, with out hefty load of $185,696.02 in debt.

At this point, we were making minimum payments of

  • $66 – Credit Card 1 ($3,500)
  • $130 – Credit Card 2 ($3,700)
  • $40 – School Loan ($2,500)
  • $468 – Federal Loan ($68,000)
  • $139 – Car Loan ($5,100)

Which comes to a total of: $843 per month for minimum payments.

At this rate, it would take us 260 months (or a little over 21 years) to pay off the debt that’s OUT of deferment – remember, this is not including the debt currently deferred.

Even if we use the snowball method and only put extra toward debt once a debt is paid off, it would take us a total of 145 months to pay off (over 12 years).

In either scenario, we will continue making these minimum payments for a long, long time. Here’s what the minimum payment schedule looks like (if we add do the debt snowball method without upping the total monthly payment of $843).

  1. Car – 41 months
  2. Credit Card 2 – 49 months
  3. Credit Card 1 – 56 months
  4. School Loan – 58 months
  5. Federal Loan – 145 months

This means that when our other debts enter repayment, we will need to continue making both sets of minimum payments. So, the big question is, what will our minimum payments look like?

  • $500 – Federal Loan 2 ($80,000)
  • $300 – Private Loan ($32,000)
  • $40 – School Loan 2 ($3,000)

Not to mention the fact that interest has not been calculated for these two up until that point. Basically, our minimum monthly rate will sky-rocket to a whopping total of $1,683 per MONTH.

It also is important to note that both Federal loans are on a graduated plan. After a few years, the minimum payments will rise.

From the looks of it, we won’t be able to afford our minimum payments once they are all due. Thus comes scenario number 2:

2017: Paying MORE than the Minimum Payments

This is what we are currently doing and you’ll soon see why. As we noted before, our current minimum payments come to $843 (as of January 1, 2016). Now, let’s assume that we can put some extra toward our debt each month.

Let’s first look at how this changes our timeline (and then I’ll tell you some awesome stuff):

  • Only minimum payments = 207 months to debt freedom (including debt that is currently in deferment)
  • Add $10 = 193 months to debt freedom (that’s over an entire year gone!)
  • Add $50 = 184 months to debt freedom (almost another year!)
  • Add $100 = 175 months to debt freedom (this saves us over $67,000 in interest!)
  • Add $300 = 147 months to debt freedom (over 50 months of payments saved!)
  • Add $500 = 128 months to debt freedom

And so on and so forth. Basically, the higher the addition to the minimum payment, the quicker we will pay back our debts and the less interest we will accrue!

So, what about that awesome thing I was tell you about?

Well, we’ve already started putting extra toward our debt. In fact, we put a total of $1,700 extra or MORE toward our debt each month. Every windfall goes to debt, every extra payment goes to debt, bonuses, etc. All toward debt and it’s PAYING OFF.

So far we have paid off our credit card debt entirely! Not only that, we have brought our private loan down to $24,000 (from $32,000) just since January 1!

I know what you are thinking: why are we paying on the private loan that is in deferment instead of the federal loan, car loans, or school loan that isn’t? That’s a simple answer, my friend. The private loan has a super high interest rate of 9%. We want to kick that sucker out of here before we ever make a minimum payment on it.

That’s the plan.

We will pay off the private loan before it goes out of deferment. What else? We also plan to pay off the two school loans before then too. And, if we really work at it, maybe even the car loan. That’s the goal.

So, what would our minimum payments look like in 2017 if we reached our goal?

  • $500 – Federal Loan 2 ($80,000)
  • $468 – Federal Loan ($68,000)

Which comes to a total of $968 per month. Not too bad, right? Sure, its a little higher than what we pay now, but if you figure the difference between this and the over sixteen hundred we would have been paying, it’s pretty great.

Not to mention our debt payoff date which changes drastically. Before I share it with you, I need to note that my wife’s place of work is awesome and if she sticks with them for another year (which she will) she will have $50,000 of her loans forgiven. If she stays another year after that, they’ll forgive another $20,000. And so on. I will be taking this into account in this debt payoff simulation.

Here are our new payoff dates:

  • Only minimum payments: 118 months
  • Extra $200: 92 months
  • Extra $1,200: 45 months

Wow! By paying on our debt with everything we have, we could be debt free in just under 5 years, but if we stick with the minimum payments for the entirety of our loans, we’ll have them for almost 20 years. That’s a HUGE difference (and one that I certainly don’t want to test).

2017- www.diyjahn.com

Gearing Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

So, is it worth it to pay more than the minimum payment on our debts? Is it better to just keep our payments low and have them forever? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

For us, we want to experience what debt freedom will be like and that means putting our all toward paying off our debts for good.

Can we do it? We don’t know, but it is certainly worth a try, isn’t it?

How are you preparing today for a better 2017?

Leave your response in the comments below!

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD!

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD!

One of the greatest struggles faced when paying off debt is the incurring interest. It seems like each month you put 89% of your payment toward interest and barely make a dent in the principle of the debt! Unfortunately, for those of us stuck making minimum payments, it can seem like a neverending cycle. Don’t worry – it’s not. We can teach you how to get out of credit card debt and stay out for GOOD.

Last month my wife and I made our final payment toward our credit card debt and I can tell you one thing: we will never rack that debt up again. After months and months of paying the minimum payment, we realized it would take over 5 YEARS to pay them off at that rate (and our credit card debt wasn’t even as high as most peoples’). We knew something had to give. We had to make a change.

And we did.

How did we do it? Well, that’s exactly what I’m about to tell you.

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD - www.diyjahn.com

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD

When my wife and I first began our journey to debt freedom, we had no idea what all it would entail. Sure, we knew that it would take some hard work and a lot of time, but we didn’t realize all that went into it. You see, when you’re saddled with debt and stuck under the influences of a generation who truly believes they “deserve” to live better, it’s hard to know what truly qualifies as necessity and what doesn’t.

We spent plenty of time frustrated that we couldn’t buy fast food, order a pizza, get name-brand dish soap, or even buy produce all the time. When friends came to visit, it was a struggle to make them food that we ate every day instead of working to impress them with food we couldn’t afford. When we went out of town for work or visiting family, it was undeniably difficult to keep ourselves from purchasing sodas at the gas station or something to contribute to a family meal.

Why is it so hard for us, as a generation, to live within our means? 

Society has taught us that if you attend college, get a good degree, and land a good job you will be well off. And while I agree to a certain extent, there’s also a limit that the world often omits: debt has taken over.

I will be the first to admit that I completely understand that I took out the student debt, I used a credit card, I did this to myself. I got myself into this mess and it is my responsibility as a citizen to pay back my debts and work within our society. I will not whine that I cannot afford to live the life of my dreams because I am doing well: I have a good job, I have a home that, whatever quality, provides my wife and I with shelter, I have food on my table every day, and I have a puppy who I can love on and adore. I am doing well.

The thing to note is: if you spend your money unwisely, if you are flippant with your purchases, if you do not save and take care of your money, you will never find the end to the debt that is confronting you. It’s as simple as that. You must make a plan to take down the debt regardless of your income.

Just because you make a middle-class income does not mean you should live a middle-class life. 

I see so many people within my generation who are buying houses, starting families, buying the newest electronics, spending money on extras, etc. It’s awesome that they feel they are in that place and can afford those things. In fact, I’m happy to see that they are succeeding. The frustration exists when those same people complain about their debt payments (credit card or student) while ordering a pizza every Friday and going drinking on Saturday.

If you are in debt, it doesn’t matter how much money you make: it isn’t yours.

So, if you are anything like the majority of us – in debt up to your ears – you’re probably looking for some tips to get rid of it. I’m guessing you came to this site to find a fast and easy solution to your debt repayment so that you can truly start living the life you have dreamed about since you were a child. Learning how to get out of credit card debt is the first step and I’m not going to say that the whole process will be easy, but I can give you three easy tips that will most definitely help.

Here goes:

Make More than the Minimum Payments

I’m sure you have heard this a thousand times, but I’m going to say it again. The number one most important thing you can learn about how to get out of credit card debt is to make more than the minimum payment. Why? Because all the extra you put toward your debt gets to go straight to the principle.

When you make minimum payments, you payment is broken up in this order: All Outstanding Fees (late fees, etc.), All Outstanding Interest, Principle. Your principle comes last and I’m guessing that your interest payments are outrageous. Some people can barely cover interest with their minimum payment. If only $5 is going to your principle out of your $100 payment, it will take years for you to finally become debt free.

If you have time, check out a snowball debt calculator such as the one listed on Financial Mentor (click HERE). Add in your debts and whatever your minimum payment is. At the bottom of the checklist, add $5 and see how quickly your payments drop. Now try $10. A few dollars a month extra can make a HUGE difference on your debt repayment.

Talk to Your Debt Providers / Lenders

Whether it’s a credit card company or a bank, talk to them and discuss your options. Usually, providers will be willing to offer you suggestions as to how you can pay down your debt quickly. Sometimes, these even include lowering your interest rate, offering you a payoff amount, or simply working with you to make your payoff more manageable.

The thing to remember is that even though the companies may be frustrating, they are run by real people. They have the same innate human-ness that you do and are compassionate, empathetic creatures. Now, remember that I’m no professional and that not all people will be willing to help, but isn’t it worth a try?

This is especially true in situations that may make it difficult to pay more than the minimum payment, but in any case, it’s truly worth it to discuss your goals with your provider.

Create a Budget that You Can Stick To

Finally, don’t forget that one of the most important things you can do when learning how to get out of credit card debt is to create a budget.

Why?

There’s a few reasons. For one, if you have a budget that you can stick to based upon the income that you bring in, you’ll be less likely to take out more debt. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, but when you are trying to pay off debt never take out more debt. You’ll never escape debt’s grasp if you do. So, stick to your budget!

Second, though, and just as important, is that if you have a budget you can stick to, you’ll be able to easily find places to cut back on expenses. When you cut back on unnecessary expenses, you can put extra money toward your debt! You’ll quickly reach debt freedom, which is the ultimate goal, right?

Need help setting up a budget? Don’t worry! I wrote a whole post about how easy it can be if you follow a couple of simple steps. Check it out by clicking HERE.

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt- www.diyjahn.com

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD

Are you ready to learn how to get out of credit card debt for good? Are you ready to implement these three easy steps to bring you to debt freedom? It’s time! Don’t let debt hold you back any longer.

Here are the three easy steps we talked about:

  • Make More than the Minimum Payments
  • Talk to Your Debt Providers / Lenders
  • Create a Budget You Can Stick To

What is your #1 tip for getting out of debt?

Leave your response in the comments below!


Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.


Cheap Cell Phone Plan to Save You $3,000

Cheap Cell Phone Plan to Save You Big Bucks

You may remember a few weeks ago a post I did about lowering your cell phone bill. The blog post had great advice on how to confront your company and lower your monthly payment. It also suggested changing your provider to someone with a cheap cell phone plan, but I didn’t go into a ton of detail. Today, I wanted to share a little with you about the plan that let’s you get service for only $5 / month.

That’s right, $5 per month and that’s for a smartphone! How? Well, let me tell you!

Cheap Cell Phone Plan - www.diyjahn.com

Cheap Cell Phone Plan to Save You TONS

I’m the type of person that likes name-brand things. When I go to the grocery store and see the different prices, I face a conundrum. Part of me, a big part, knows that I should by the Hy-Vee brand butter because it’s $2 cheaper and it probably tastes the same.

But then there’s the other part of me that thinks “I work hard for this money. I worked hard to get where I am. I deserve this.” Okay, so maybe I don’t think that so much with butter, but there are many places that I do feel that way. Like when I’m buying ice cream, shampoo, or soda. I recently noted that I only like Campbell’s when it comes to cream of mushroom soup.

Basically, what I’m saying is, I’m kind of snobby when it comes to certain items. I really like to buy name-brand. Whether it’s the worry that people will judge me, the feeling that I am not working hard enough for what I earn, or just the fact that sometimes name-brand is simply “better” I’m not sure, but I definitely prefer it in many cases.

So, when it came to my cell phone, I was very hesitant to switch from the big name brands to a smaller, lesser-known brand like Republic Wireless. Even with their cheap cell phone plan and added value stated as: No contract Moto X from Republic Wireless. Plans starting as low as $5/month*

I use Sprint and I have ever since I was 15 years old and my brother paid for my cell phone plan. Then again, it’s hard to dispute the realities of both accounts. Sprint has served me well, I’ll admit it, but it’s expensive as all get out. Each month we pay between $215-230 for our two phones.

What would we pay for these on Republic Wireless? Well, with plans starting at $5 you can imagine how cheap it would be.

Sometimes name-brand items aren’t quite as good as they may seem.

Cheap Cell Phone Plan Coverage

When you’re going with a cheaper plan, one of the biggest things to think about is whether the coverage will be good in your area. The nice thing about Republic Wireless is that they utilize WiFi whenever possible (which saves you big bucks) and they offer coverage based on well-known networks (such as the Sprint network).

If you’re concerned though, a great place to start is to check out their coverage map which you can find at their website: Check your cell coverage, for when you don’t have WiFi.*

Cheap Cell Phone Plan Contracts & Cost Analysis

Another great aspect of Republic Wireless is the fact that you don’t have to sign a contract – which means that if you’re unhappy with your plan, unhappy with your coverage, or simply want a change, you can finagle these at any time.

With the bigger carriers, signing a contract means two years of coverage or a huge fee for backing out early which begs the question: if you are already utilizing a name-brand cell phone company, is it worth the fee to switch to this cheap cell phone plan?

Well, let’s look at it this way. With a big name-brand company, paying $230 per month for two phones you end up paying $5,520 over the course of a two-year contract.

Let’s say that you decide to switch the Republic Wireless at 6 months into that contract and stick with them for the next 18 months. You choose a plan that costs $30 per month for two phones (because you want some extra data).

Over the course of two years split between the two providers, your total cost comes to $1,920 (6×230=1,380 & 18×30=540).

Ultimately, this switch saves you $3,600. Even if your contract causes you to pay a fee of five or six hundred dollars, you will still be better off saving over $3,000. How crazy is that?

Let’s say you’re at 18 months into your name-brand contract and you aren’t sure if it’s worth switching this late or if you should wait. Again, the whole contract costs $5,520 for the name brand, but for the switch the total cost comes to $4,320 (18×230=$4,140 & 6×30=180) which means your savings comes to $1200.

Once again, even if you wait to switch until 6 months before your contract ends you will save over a THOUSAND DOLLARS. If your contract fee is around five or six hundred dollars, you will still save six or seven hundred dollars over the course of 6 months.

Isn’t that INSANE?

Cheap Cell Phone Plan Data Buybacks

Okay, so maybe they aren’t name-brand, but they’re starting to sound pretty great right? Do you want to know something even greater?

If you don’t use all of your data, Republic Wireless will buy it all back. That’s right, they’ll PAY you for the data that you don’t use. Have you ever heard of any company doing that? Ever?

So, let’s say you’re with a big name-brand company and you pay $30 for 2 GB of data and you only use one. What happens? Nothing. You pay again the next month.

Now, let’s say you’re with Republic Wireless and you pay $30 for 2 GB of data and you only use one. What happens? You get $15 back. Why? Because you didn’t use that service or, as they say, credit given where credit is due. Why should you pay for a service you don’t use?

Cheap Cell Phone Plan Community

Finally, I think it’s important to note the community aspect of Republic Wireless. Instead of outsourcing their contact phones to giant call centers, when you need help, you can utilize their community board where other users are there to help you. If you can’t find your answers there, you can send an email which will be responded to as quickly as possible.

It’s pretty hard to say no, with all the value added that R.W. provides, isn’t it?

Cheap Cell Phone Plan- www.diyjahn.com

Cheap Cell Phone Plan to Save You $3,000

So, let’s take a little overview of this post because it’s quite long, I’ll admit.

  • Name-brand stuff is super expensive, but not always better.
  • Republic Wireless offers plans starting at just $5 / month.
  • Great coverage is important, and included.
  • Our cost analysis shows that you could save over $3,000 by switching today.
  • Republic Wireless will buy back any unused data.
  • Community features means your questions get answered by people who care.

Why wouldn’t you switch and start saving today? That’s the real question.

How much do you currently pay for your cell phone?

Leave your responses in the comments below!


*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that when you click on these links, I earn a small commission for your purchase. It doesn’t cost you anything extra and all of my opinions are still (and always will be) 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.