No Spend Challenge 2017

It’s time once again to try another No Spend Challenge. As we come to the end of the year, my wife and I are looking at how we have done with our finances for 2016. We have had our ups and our downs, we have worked hard at times, and slacked off at times. Who here can say they haven’t done the same?

As we get prepare for 2017, we have decided that it’s time to do another No Spend Challenge to start the year off right. We know how much it changed our lives last year and we are excited for even bigger changes now!

no spend challenge

No Spend Challenge 2016

Some of you may remember that we did a No Spend Challenge for January of 2016 as well. If you weren’t around, here’s a link to that information: http://diyjahn.com/no-spend-challenge/

Otherwise, here’s a quick recap of how it went (to read the longer version, click HERE).

Over the course of the month of January, my wife and I spent a total of $68.32. By removing money for groceries, cancelling some programs such as Advocare and Hulu, and searching for lower cost for car insurance, we saved over $500 for the month of January!

To top it off, we ended up putting a total of $2,918.58 toward our debt in January alone!

No Spend Challenge 2017

So, now it is time to try again – to jump-start our year of savings by completing a second No Spend Challenge. We know that we have plenty of food in our freezer and pantry to get us by – so why do we keep going to the store to get more? We know we have enough of everything, but we continue to spend. Not this month! This month, we will focus on not spending, saving, and getting money into our emergency fund!

Rules:

Please note that you can follow as many or as few of these rules as you would like – you can also make some of your own!)

  • No spending money on groceries, fast food, restaurants, clothes, books, fun money, etc. Basically, we are trying to get down the bare bones to help us break the habits of spending. We are going to eat what’s in the cupboards and freezer, we are going to live off what we have, and w e are going to have fun for FREE without spending money! (Please note that if we do run out of food that we can prepare in a healthy manner, we will be buying food, but we don’t expect that to happen. We also aren’t willing to go without toilet paper or feminine products, so that will be something we may need to purchase.)
  • Bills will still be paid on time. We will not cut out our bills for the month, but we will instead utilize this month to work toward paying all of our bills early and putting our extra money into our savings account.
  • Any healthcare and medical costs will be paid as needed – these are a necessity and not an optional cost. If you need medicine, medical care, or the like, make sure you don’t cut these out. Just ensure that when you go to pick up your meds, you don’t end up buying more things you don’t need (a soda, Subway, a new toy, etc.)

Join us for the No Spend Challenge 2017!

The hardest thing about budgeting, frugal living, and saving money is doing it alone. That’s why we have created a challenge group for this very purpose! Filled with exclusive tips and tricks to survive frugal living during your No Spend Challenge as well as a community to back you up, we know that you can succeed!

Follow this link to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nospendmonth

Follow our rules or make your own! We know that not everyone is in the same situation that we are in. Stick with as much or as little of the challenge as you are able in your situation. Don’t be afraid to sign up and come along for the ride!

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you. I will update the blog weekly with posts and update the group even more often than that! Click HERE to join the group!

Help us to Create a Community

Finally, please feel free to share this with any friends or family members who you think could benefit from this. Guide them to us! We would love to be in contact with them, and you.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!

Thanks for reading!

May Debt Repayment Update

May Debt Repayment Update

May is over a third of the way done (already?) and so I may be a little late for our May Debt Repayment Update, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! We got some great amounts of debt paid off, earned a bit of extra cash, and are well on our way to knocking out the Big9! Read on to hear about it!

May 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 2015 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!



May Debt Repayment Update

Last month, during our April Debt Repayment Update, we told you how we paid off a WHOPPING $6,073.9. How? Well, you can go back and check that out if you’re interested. Now, the month of April may not have led to quite as high of a debt repayment, but it definitely got us some extra money to put toward debt.

Let’s see where we are for May!

Where are we at with our debt for April?

As you know, we are working on reaching our big, scary goal of paying off $50,000 in 2016. Well, I can honestly say that for a while, I wasn’t sure how possible it was going to be – I didn’t have a lot of faith in myself. To be honest, I’ve been pretty discouraged in general, lately.

However, as of this update we have officially reached the halfway mark for our debt repayment goal – over a month early! Can you believe it?

So, let’s look at the numbers for the May Debt Repayment Update:

  • $40 – this is a minimum payment to a smaller student debt which brought that debt down to $2,352.82.
  • $467.92 – this is a minimum payment for my wife’s federal debt which brought that debt down to 67,747.11.
  • $139.04 – this is a minimum payment for our car which brought that debt down to $4,641.33.
  • $2,910.61 – this is an extra payment we put toward our high interest loan (affectionately titled Big9). We brought Big9 down to $15,299.36!

In total, we paid off $3,557.57 in debt in April- which is pretty great considering we also took a family trip up to Minneapolis to visit my parents. We went to Ikea and the Mall of America and barely spent anything! We shared a hotel room for $100 (for the whole weekend), so our biggest expense was food. Not so bad!

What does this bring us to in total for debt repayment? We have officially paid off a total of $25,898.92 in 2016 AND $36,239.78 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 April:

  • $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.
  • $321.62 – This is my blogging income for the month. This isn’t too bad for it being so close to summer! Though, I do expect that this will dramatically decrease as the summer gets closer and as we get busier, but I hope to boost it back up in late August / early September!

Total Income for March: $3,721.62

What is in our accounts?

 

Remember in the past how we were talking about our “New Family Fund” and how we wanted to make sure we had money to start a family when we were ready? Well, that was all well and good, but we recently discovered that our flex-spending account can help us with a lot of the needs in this area and while we know that having a family is expensive, we also realize that compound interest is expensive….

On that note, we have decided to drain our “New Family Fund” for the time being and put all of our money toward paying down debt first and foremost. It’s been a hard decision because we want to start a family while we are younger, but our debt is a mess that we simply won’t be getting out of any time soon and we certainly can’t bring a baby into that…

While we don’t like the decision, it’s necessary as we work to pay off some of these higher interest debts. Perhaps we’ll go back to paying into that when our Big9 and car loan are both paid off, but for now, we are going to keep our emergency fund at $1,000 and stick with that.

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

  • $1,000 – Emergency fund. Our goal is to keep this right where it’s at. This is split up into two accounts. One is easy to access through our bank and has about $300 in it, the other is through CapitalOne360. They gave us a free bonus for starting and the interest rate is higher than any others around us! Plus, no fees. 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 for our May Debt Repayment Update: $1,000

May Debt Repayment Update

Looking Ahead

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

Well, at this point I simply hope to make it through the summer. Our summer is crazy with me working as a Program Director at a summer camp and my wife helping with catering when she can. I work 14-18 hour days and struggle to find time to sleep, so hopefully it won’t be too insane.

On the plus side, at least we won’t have to spend much money on food as we’ll be eating here at camp most times! That should mean a little extra cash can head right into our debt repayment. We also don’t have any time to travel, so gas money should go down too. Yay for extra funds!

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: $25,898.92

Left to reach Goal: $24,101.08

We are over halfway there and it’s only been four full months! It’s crazy how well this challenge has been going and I can’t WAIT to see how close we get to reaching our goal. It’s going to be hard, but I know that we can do it! We will need to side hustle like crazy, sell stuff, and work our butts off to make this happen… but at the end of 2016, I know that it will all be worth it. We’ll be $50,000 less in debt and well on our way to debt freedom. Here goes nothing!

Thanks for reading our May 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.

Earn Big Bucks by Searching w/ Swagbucks – MMO Series

Earn Big Bucks by Searching w/ Swagbucks

I like big bucks and I cannot lie, you other brotha… Okay, okay, I’ll stop. Anyway, I found us yet another resource to earn some quick money online. Isn’t that what we are all looking for? This site is called Swagbucks. Now, before you write it off thinking “I’ve heard you can’t make anything with that,” hear me out. It’s worthwhile, I promise.

 

Here’s today’s post for our Make Money Online Series.

Swagbucks - Make Money Online Series - www.diyjahn.com

If this is your first time viewing our Make Money Online Series, please read this section.
-if not, feel free to skip ahead!-

The Make Money Online Series is a compilation of blog posts and guest posts discussing how it is possible to make extra cash online. When I first started my journey to pay off my debt fast and become debt free, I searched every possible nook and cranny to find options to earn extra money – in fact, I’m still looking! I scavenged the internet searching for options and signing up for everything that I possibly could.

Of course, this led to a bunch of spam and horrible programs that lie and do not actually help to make money online at all. SO, I’ve developed this series to help debunk those programs so that those of you who are in need of some extra cash, whether it’s because you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck, want to pay off your debt fast, or want to find a way to support your family as a stay at home mom, won’t struggle to find tried and true methods to earn money online.

We’ll cover topics ranging from freelancing to blogging to direct sales to micro jobs, etc. and posts will be made every other day – so keep checking back for more or sign up for our weekly newsletter! For a compilation of all topics that have already been posted, click here (HERE).

If you have a topic that you would like us to cover, or a topic you would like to guest post on, let us know in the comments below! Thank you!

Earn Big Bucks by Searching w/ Swagbucks

Swagbucks initially caught my eye a few months ago when I was searching for some legitimate side hustles to earn some extra cash. Of course, around that time, I was signing up for every big “get rich quick” scheme in the books and was filling my emails full of spam quicker than I could put a lid on it.

When I signed up for Swagbucks, I got their email along with ten or twenty other spam companies. I pressed the “check all” box and did a bulk delete.

Done.

Email Cleared.

A couple of weeks ago I came across it again on one of my favorite bloggers sites and thought “maybe this is worth a shot.”

So, here’s where we have come since then.

how to save money on groceries

How to Earn Big Swagbucks

The first question I always hear about Swagbucks is “why does it have to take so long to earn money?” Followed by a groan of “it’s not worth the time…” And while I agree on some level, I also realize that free money is free money and I’m more than willing to snatch that up – even if other people aren’t.

Now, if you think about Swagbucks as a survey company where you can go and take a bunch of surveys and get paid, it’s not worth your time. Let me reiterate that: taking surveys on Swagbucks is a humongous waste of time.

Thankfully, though, that’s not the only way you can get a few bucks here and there.

The other thing to remember is that Swagbucks is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It takes patience. They’re paying you so that they can survey you for market research. They aren’t paying you to get you out of debt (though that’s probably why you’re doing it). They could care less about your hourly wage because they know you’ll do it anyway.

That’s why you need to be prepared to be patient in your earnings with Swagbucks. If you do it right, it can be worth all the time in the world.

1.) Sign Up for an Account:

Use this link to sign up and join my team! If for some reason that doesn’t work as a clickable link, use the following and paste it into your browser: http://www.swagbucks.com/p/register?rb=17826248

Now, this is an affiliate link which means that I get a little bit of a bonus when you sign up. This doesn’t change anything on your end, but it helps me to reach my debt free goals and to pay for this blog which you are reading. You also should get a bonus for signing up, so that’s a plus!

2.) Take the Welcome Survey and Set Up Your Profile

Spend a few minutes setting up your profile, going through the tutorial, and taking the Welcome Survey. This should get you a few points right off the bat and help you to get closer to a cash out!

3.) Download the Browser Extension and App

I use Google Chrome, so I won’t speak for other browsers, but as for the Chrome version, the browser extension is an awesome addition. I also set Swagbucks as my primary search engine which means that I get points when I search for stuff that I normally would have searched Google for. Can we say win-win?

Now, there’s also an App you can download and that can help if you use your phone for a lot of your internet usage or searching. The more points, the more money!

4.) Make Some Big Bucks!

Finally, it’s time to make some BIG BUCKS and it’s definitely possible, though be sure you’re patient. I know a friend who makes $50 a day on Swagbucks with some of these simple tips, but make sure you set your goals lower to start and work up to that.

Remember, surveys aren’t worth your time. But what is? Well, first of all, make sure that you’re using Swagbucks for all of your searches. You’ll rack up a decent amount from simple searches in your every day life that don’t add any time to your day (that you wouldn’t normally spend).

My favorite tip, though, is to have videos playing in the background of your working environment or on your phone. You see, with Swagbucks, you can get paid to watch videos. Though, they are kind of boring… Anyway, you don’t actually have to pay attention to get paid (how brilliant is that?)

So, turn them on and then go about your day – checking every once in a while to ensure they’re still playing. You’ll rack up a ton of points and soon be cashing out with some big bucks!

Thank you for sticking around for our Make Money Online Series post.

If you have topics you would like to contribute or would like us to cover on how making extra cash is possible during our Make Money Online Series, please let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for reading!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through 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.

Start a Side Hustle TODAY to be Debt Free Later

Start a Side Hustle TODAY to be Debt Free Later

“Are you feeling stuck under the weight of mountains of debt? So was I.” Until I made the decision to start a side hustle. Believe me, this choice changed my life, and it can change yours, too. My blogging career has only begun, but it has already helped me exponentially on my journey to become debt free. Blogging isn’t the only side hustle you can get though – I have a ton of ideas that will help you use skills you already have to make some extra money.

Start a Side Hustle - www.diyjahn.com

 

I’m going to share with you all about how you can start a side hustle and begin earning some extra cash to get you out of debt – or to simply save some money. Before we start, though, I want to tell you about someone I met. I had the opportunity to get in touch with an incredible blogger named Tessa, who writes over at Bella Creative.

Tessa asked if I wanted to share my message about the decision to start a side hustle with a larger audience and as we know, I’m all about helping others to get out of debt. I jumped on the idea and was able to get a blog post ready to be posted to her site. The blog post is (SURPRISE) called: Start a Side Hustle Today to be Debt Free Later

But I couldn’t very well leave you all out of the loop. So, today I’m sharing my guest post with you so that you can have the opportunity to learn from it as well! I hope that it benefits you in your journey and I would love, love, LOVE it if you would be willing to visit Bella Creative and share the love by commenting.

You can find the post by clicking HERE or by using this link: http://www.bellacreative.co/blog/start-a-side-hustle-to-be-debt-free

Don’t forget! If you want to learn some awesome new ways that YOU can make money online, visit our Make Money Online series by clicking HERE. Side hustles don’t have to be impossible to find, I’ve centralized them to make your life easier! I’ve also checked to make sure they’re all legitimate so that YOU don’t have to.

Thanks for reading, guys!!

Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Days 1-6

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Days 1-6

It’s time for our first 30DMDC Update: Days 1-6. This past week has been insane. Not only has the weather shifted from beautiful, warm spring days to shivering, cold, rainy, hail-filled days, but our house has shifted from managed clutter to uncontrolled chaos.

Why?

Because we are working our way through the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. What is the old saying…? Something like… “it has to get worse before it can get better.” That has never been more true for us. In completing the daily tasks, our living room has become a war zone for our things.

We have a giant pile that we are donating, tossing, or otherwise getting rid of, a pile for things that we need to keep, but that need a new home, and a stack of boxes with things we are keeping, but that we are unable to put away since the storage area is in the process of being overhauled.

In any case, we are super excited to have this challenge to get this clutter out of our house once and for all. And we know that it is bound to get better as this month goes on. So, without further ado, let’s see what we did for each of the challenge days in our Update: Days 1-6!

30DMDC Update: Days 1-6

For those who are new to this challenge, read this first!

For everyone else, feel free to skip ahead!

If your family is anything like mine, you’ve felt the frustrations of a cluttered home. My wife and I moved into our small house about two years ago from college dorms and apartments. We settled in, we decorated, we stored, we received gifts, we stored, we went shopping, we stored, etc. etc. etc. Now, after two years of living in our cluttered and chaotic home, we are realizing the importance of simplicity in life. We are striving toward debt-free living, but a healthy life is more than finances alone. That’s why we have decided to complete our first ever 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge – and we want you to join us!

The 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge was created by Erin on A Welder’s Wife and she has graciously allowed me to share the challenge with you all. I would love to have you all join for as much or as little of the challenge as you are willing! Don’t worry, you can start whenever you feel ready!


30DMDC Update: Days 1-6

Day 1: 5 Items

Day 1 was exciting for my wife and I. We were so ready to get a move on for our 30DMDC that we threw away way more than the recommended / required 5 items.

First of all, I need to admit something to you all. When we started this challenge we still had all of our Christmas decorations up. Yes, you read that right. In April, we still had our decorations up. Yikes.

So, we decided to start the challenge by taking down Christmas and going through ALL of our decorations in the process (for every holiday) and deciding what we needed to keep and what we didn’t. We ended up getting rid of a TON of items and are super excited about it.

Then we moved on to the actual challenge topic of 5 items. We picked 5 items that we knew needed a new home:

  • 2 Umbrellas – we had four umbrellas in our house and there are only two of us. Needless to say, it was time to get rid of two of these.
  • A Whiteboard – this one was hard for me to get rid of because my parents left me notes on it for a long time. They were all still there and hadn’t been erased, but because it was so full, we couldn’t use it. Instead, we were simply storing it because we didn’t want to get rid of the notes. So, we decided to compromise by taking a few pictures of the notes and then letting it go. Camp will use it and enjoy it, we’re sure!
  • A Lunchbag – it was time to get rid of this lunchbag. It was taking up space and we never used it..
  • A Movie Stand – this used to be used to hold our CDs near our stereo system, but we rarely use the stereo and we rarely listen to CDs anymore – it’s all MP3 or record (funny how the world works, isn’t it?). Time for this guy to stop taking up space!

Day 2: Countertops

Our counters were insane. We have two kitchen counters (one is wrap-around bar into the dining room) and a living room counter (our old cabinets were repurposed into a new entertainment center. They were both FILLED with stuff and we couldn’t believe how big of a difference cleaning them off made.

Now, in each of our updates I’ll be sharing pictures of our progress. So, here are some pictures for our Update: Days 1-6. I don’t have a before picture of our kitchen counter, but here is the one of our living room counter.

IMG_20160403_003057

Here’s the after of the living room counter:

IMG_20160403_003143

Here’s the after of our kitchen counter:

IMG_20160403_003300

Day 3: Meditate for 15 Minutes

I’ll be honest with you guys, I’m not so good at the meditating thing. My wife and I tried multiple times throughout the day and just couldn’t get it down. I feel like we failed miserably at this day of the challenge, but we definitely tried. On the other hand, we did watch part of the sunrise of the lake…so…

IMG_20160403_221057

Day 4: Junk Drawer

Today was a hard one for us. Why? Because we don’t necessarily have a junk drawer, per say, but we DO have a TON of places where we keep a lot of junk. We decided to focus on two of these places and tackle those – it took longer than expected. The first was the cabinet under the living room counter. We kept all hosts of electronics, tangles of cords, tools, duct tape, amps, movies, etc. down there. So, we took some time to sort through it all and threw away a TON. Here’s a before photo of just one section of the area (it has three sections, the center one is as larger as the other two combined).

IMG_20160403_003518

As you can see, it’s very much a junk area, filled to the brim with stuff we definitely don’t always need. So, we got rid of a ton and cleaned it out. Here are some after pictures:

IMG_20160403_003608

The center cabinet:

IMG_20160404_152610

The far cabinet:

IMG_20160404_152423

After that, we took to tackling a china hutch that we had sitting in the living room. It was filled with diabetic supplies, pet stuff, mailing stationary and stamps, batteries, you name it. I guess this could have been our “junk cabinet” if you didn’t know that the one under the living room counter existed – haha!

We decided that instead of simply going through the cabinet, getting rid of what we don’t need, and reorganizing it, we would find a way to empty it out completely and use the space under the living room counter for this stuff as well. Now that the china hutch is empty, we can put it in storage until we have a good home for it. It’s hard to fit in our tiny house, but once we buy a larger home, we know that we will want it.

IMG_20160404_152256

Here’s what our junk pile (stuff we are donating or tossing) looked like after this day’s task! Pretty crazy for only halfway through our update: days 1-6, right?

IMG_20160404_152122

Day 5: Clothing

Wow! Who would have thought this day would be so difficult? My wife and I went through our clothing not long ago, so we thought that this day would be easy. Boy, were we mistaken. We had so many things to get rid of / donate by the end… And, since our dresser was falling apart, we decided to get rid of it completely. You’ll notice it missing in the before and after pictures.

We got rid of enough items that we can now fit all of our clothing into only two closets – leaving our bedroom free with tons of space – hooray! We repurposed an old garbage picking find for a t-shirt cabinet and added some boxes that were empty for socks and unmentionables. It feels so much more spacious and clean now!

Dresser before:

IMG_20160405_233229

Dresser after:

IMG_20160405_234046

Bedroom Closet 1 Before:

IMG_20160405_233434

Bedroom Closet 1 After:

IMG_20160405_233910

Bedroom Closet 2 Before:

IMG_20160405_233523

Bedroom Closet 2 After:

IMG_20160405_234011

Hallway Closet Before:

IMG_20160405_233611

Hallway Closet After:

IMG_20160405_234142

Day 6: Digital Cleanse

Well, this day came as a surprise to me. I didn’t think that it would be possible – especially since my wife was out of town for the day and I knew I would want to be talking to her. However, since I was at work for 15 hours straight yesterday, there wasn’t much time for anything digital. So, it wasn’t too bad. I will admit though: I used my phone a little bit. I texted my wife a few times and I also used it for GPS to get us to a few locations.

Update: Days 1-6 – Week in Review

Favorite / Least Favorite

I think my favorite day during this first week was the countertops (day 2). This one really made me think about what we actually need out as opposed to what we simply set on the counter because we don’t want to find something else to do with that item.

My least favorite day was probably the meditation day. It’s not that I have anything against being alone with my thoughts, but I really struggle with the process of not thinking of anything – of simply breathing. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me, but it really is. I guess that’s definitely something that I’ll be working on in the future.

Number of Items Removed

Honestly, with the giant pile of stuff that we have removed from our lives, I haven’t had a chance to count any of it. My goal is to have it counted by next week’s update. Until then, you can look at this picture of the mountain that is sitting in our living room and guestimate what that number may be:

IMG_20160405_234224

One Thing I Learned

I’ve learned so much already in this short week of the challenge, so it’s hard to choose only one thing. I would have to say that the most important thing I learned this week is that you don’t need to keep things for “just in case.”

This is such a hard lesson for me because I was raised to believe that it’s better to have things than to need them later – not that that’s a bad lesson, it’s just very, very different than what this challenge is teaching me.

When I look at things, it’s hard for me to accept that even though there’s a possibility I may need it in the future, it’s not necessarily worth storing for the time being because it only adds to the clutter. Now, there are cases where that is different – things that you inherent from your parents or things that you want to pass down to your children, those are worth keeping.

That being said, we had two griddles – a large one and a small one. The large one would be awesome for making grilled cheese, pancakes, etc. for a large number of people. We were saving this “just in case” we needed it when we have kids. We aren’t even in the process of trying for kids yet so this item was being kept for an unknown time in the future that is at LEAST years away. How crazy is that?

Hard lesson, but good lesson.

Update: Days 1-6

So, that’s it for the Update: Days 1-6. Coming up next week we have a ton of great things to do to get our house clean and rid ourselves of the clutter! I think right now, I’m most looking forward to the pantry day. My wife and I don’t do a lot in regard to shoes and accessories so those days will be good, but won’t produce the giant results that we are so excited about!

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge - www.diyjahn.com

I hope that you’ll join us for the challenge or take it on your own, but regardless of how you do it be sure to share your results with us here, sign up for the e-newsletter at the top of this email, and join our awesome Facebook groups: Frugal Living Community and/or LGBT Frugal Living Community.

What does your Update: Days 1-6 look like? What was your favorite / least favorite day of this week? How many items have you gotten rid of so far?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money 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.

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.

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!

Financially Savvy Saturdays #134

Financially Savvy Saturdays #134

Welcome to Financially Savvy Saturdays, a link up created just for personal finance bloggers! We love anything to do with personal finance here, so if you wrote it – we want to read it! Whether you’ve written anything from what does forex trading mean to budgeting tips for the perpetually broke, you’re invited to link-up.

If it relates to personal finance, we want to read it!

Financially Savvy Saturdays Blog Hop with Disease Called Debt and Broke Girl Rich

DIY Jahn

This weekend, we’re excited to welcome Cassie as our visiting co-host from DIY Jahn, an awesome site full of frugal living tips to get (or keep) your budget in the black!

Tweet about it. You can use #finsavsat when tweeting about the party!

Concerns about SEO? Recently many bloggers have decided to stop participating in events such as blog carnivals. If you’re worried about how participating in this link-up could effect your SEO, we’d encourage you to check out this article.

Interested in co-hosting? We’d love to hear from you! Being a Financially Savvy Saturday’s co-host could help you increase your blog traffic and engagement! Plus, it’s fun AND easy. Want to find out more? Get in touch with us via brokeGIRLrich(at)gmail(dot)com or info(at)diseasecalleddebt(dot)com with any questions. Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can sign up on this Google doc.

If you’ve co-hosted before and enjoyed it, please consider doing it again!

Feature of the Week

As this week’s visiting co-host, Cassie has selected the feature of the week from last week’s blog hop to be this week’s feature – Why I Made a $2 Debt Payment by Erin at Stay at Home Yogi.

Click here to read her post!
Click here to read her post!

If you submit a post, you could be featured in next week’s link up!

We do have a few rules for participation. Those who don’t follow the rules will have their link taken down and won’t have the chance to be featured.

1. Your post must be written in the past seven days, related to personal finance and not be solely a giveaway.

2. Be sure to include a link to one of your hosts by copying and pasting the html in one of the boxes below into your linked up post. You have the option of the button or a text link.

3. Follow your hosts. You can follow brokeGIRLrich on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, OR by subscribing to her RSS feed and Disease Called Debt on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, OR by subscribing to her RSS feed. Also, you can follow DIY Jahn on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook.

4. Comment on at least one post before and after you that have joined the party.

5. HAVE FUN!

Please copy and paste this button into the post you link up:

Disease Called Debt

OR copy and paste this code for a text link:

 <em>*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on <a href="http://brokegirlrich.com/financially-savvy-saturdays-134/" rel="nofollow">brokeGIRLrich</a>, <a href="http://diseasecalleddebt.com/financially-savvy-saturdays-134/" rel="nofollow"> Disease Called Debt</a> and <a href="http://diyjahn.com/?p=1168" rel="nofollow">DIY Jahn</a>*</em>


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.