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Happy New Year!!

WOW. I’ve written a debt update EVERY month in 2018 and it just flew by!

Overall, 2018 was a pretty good year. It was actually probably my best year, but 2019 is going to be better!

A few highlights from 2018:

-I got a new, well-paying job working in a field related to my degrees
-I took 2 small weekend trips, one to Tennessee and one to Florida. Nothing extravagant but I’m still super grateful for both.
-I gained about 6,000 YouTube subscribers!
-I reached over 100K page views in one month on this blog! Super exciting!
-I paid off over $7400 in debt (not much but it’s a start!)

December was not the best month for my finances at all. However, entering 2019 is super refreshing and I really know the changes I need to make. These changes may slow my debt pay-off a little bit, but I’m expecting this journey to take another 3 years.

ANYTHING could happen in 3 years. What if my income increases significantly?

If anything, these changes may set me back a few months, but what does it matter??

I’ve realized that putting so much pressure on paying this off super aggressively is unnecessary. It may take longer, it may take 2 years less. No one knows and it really doesn’t matter. Realizing that has been such a relief. I am making progress and that is all that matters.

I’ve decided I want to prioritize SAVING right now.

Tax Savings

Any money I save for taxes, CANNOT be touched. The income I earn from my full-time job is not taxed. I have to set money aside to pay taxes at the end of the year. Over this past year, I used a little bit of it to pay off a large vet bill for my dog (about $900). I will not allow myself to touch it at all this year. I put my tax savings into my Marcus by Goldman Sachs online savings account. This account has a 2.05% interest rate so I will gain a little bit of money allowing it to sit there.

Emergency Savings

I ended up having to use my $1000 emergency fund. I had to get a THIRD root canal on the SAME tooth. I was able to use $300 from an old HSA account I had, but that left about $1000 remaining. That is what emergency funds are for though. However, in January I will need to replenish this, so I don’t think I’ll be able to pay off extra debt.

Sinking Funds

In 2019 I have decided to create a few sinking funds in the Qapital app. Use my link for a free $5 🙂

-Gifts: $100 per month (birthdays and Christmas)
-Pets: $50 per month (annual visits)
-Car/Maintenance: $30 per month (oil changes, house work, etc.)
-Business Investments: Any income I make from my online businesses goes here (I want to buy a camera, get a logo designed, and buy business cards)

These sinking funds will allow me to be more prepared for everything throughout the year and I’m actually quite excited about it.

Anyway, let’s talk about December’s finances:

DEBT PAYMENT/INCOME SPREADSHEET

*This spreadsheet does not include payments for my insurance (life, health, vision, dental)*

CURRENT FICO SCORE: 713

THE GOOD NEWS

My credit score went up 2 points

Keep going credit score!! 🙂

I paid off a whole credit card

I paid off my Capital One credit card! I’ve never made such a large payment before.

I paid the largest amount of debt off in one month

The most I paid off previously was about $1470 back in October 2018. In December I paid off over $1600 and that’s a big win for me!

I got accepted into Mediavine

For anyone not familiar with blogging/Mediavine, I will explain. Mediavine is an advertising company. I currently use Google adsense to display ads on my blog. Those ads help generate income for me, because I literally have been blogging basically for free for 4 years. Mediavine will display more/more effective ads on my blog and I should see my income increase because of that.

THE BAD NEWS

I miscalculated how much I need to pay in taxes

Like I mentioned, my job doesn’t take taxes from my check…I have to do it myself at the end of the year. However, this whole time I’ve only been thinking about FEDERAL taxes, not State. So I was expecting to pay about $5,000 in taxes, but once I actually went to pay it I realized I need to pay state taxes as well. That was another $2,200. I had the money for it, but that led to my next bad news…

I didn’t pay off all my credit card debt

So because I miscalculated my taxes, I was unable to pay off all my credit card debt. I still gave about $1700 to pay off and I don’t think I’ll be able to pay it off until the end of February. It’s ok though I’m not stressing.

I spent SO much money

Well, I didn’t prepare for Christmas, I bought quite a few things for myself, and I spent A LOT on food. I couldn’t believe some of the numbers (which you’ll see below), but like I said, I know what I need to do now going forward. I can do this.

SPENDING

Savings: I’m not including this in my “spending” total because it’s not actually spending. I didn’t transfer any money to my savings because I had to pay my taxes. Any money saved was with Acorns or Bank of America doing it automatically. I also invested $100 in the stock market which is not shown in this table at all.

Rent/Utilities: I live with my sister (and her boyfriend) so $600 goes toward the mortgage, electricity, internet, etc. $100 goes toward the money I owe her!

Food: Holy guacamole I spent $500 on food. Not good. For at least the next 2 months I am on a meal plan, and I calculated what I will be spending each month and this SHOULD stay under $300.

Gas: I drive 22 miles to and from work Monday-Friday so I have to get gas every weekend. $118-$130 is expected for gas each month. With a few extra days off this month I spent WAY less on gas! Plus gas prices are quite low right now and I love it.

Health: This includes my multivitamins and my gym membership. I also got a massage, which I get just about every month because it’s important for my muscle recovery/health.

Car: My minimum payment for my 2015 Toyota Camry.

Credit Card Debt: Self-explanatory. I do still use my Bank of America credit card and Capital One Card for the rewards. I now pay off both right after using them.

Student Loan Debt: I pay $288.37 every month.

Insurance: This includes vision, dental, and life insurance. I have health insurance through work on top of my salary which is really nice.

Business: This includes paying for hosting/my domain for this blog and G Suite (by Google), which is now $14.12 and $5 each month. I also pay for a Tailwind membership ($15). I upgraded my Mailerlite account for e-mail services (about $170 for the year) and I paid someone $49 to speed up my blog and I should be getting a new blog theme as well.

Other: This category basically includes unnecessary spending. I wanted to break this down to exactly what I spent my money on.
Google Play – $9.99
Gymshark (workout clothes): $240
Donation: $20
Dog Treats: $4
New microphones: $47.96
Gifts: almost $600

Excluding my debt I spent a total of $2,720.98. A LOT.

Let’s review my December goals

  • Pay off ALL credit card debt FAIL (I paid off one, $1709 to go)
  • Invest another $100 in the stock market CHECK
  • Make at least $500 in extra income FAIL (I made $228 in extra income)
  • Spend less than $300 on food FAIL ($500 on food…oops)

January goals

  • Get my emergency savings back up to $1000
  • Invest another $100 in the stock market
  • Make at least $400 in extra income
  • Spend less than $300 on food
  • No buying clothing or other unnecessary things

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