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The final month of 2018 is HERE!!! WHAT?!?!?

I did quite well in November (spending wise) and I think 2019 is going to be SO good regarding my finances.

It’s so nice to watch these numbers drop every month and I can’t wait to see a bunch of zeros under my balances!

I do have a question for you all…I plan on paying off ALL my credit card debt in December. After that, do you think it’s better to pay off my car loan first? Or start tackling my student loans?

All numbers are in the chart below for your reference.

I’m kind of leaning toward paying off my car first. And I’m pretty sure I could completely pay it off in 2019 so please let me know what you think!

DEBT PAYMENT/INCOME SPREADSHEET

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

CURRENT FICO SCORE: 711

THE GOOD NEWS

My credit score went up 16 points

Wow! A big jump for my credit score and I finally hit 700 again!! I was able to raise my credit score from 593 to 711 in a year! My credit score dropped last year because of someone else (their car is under my name, they were missing payments, very dramatic, etc.). I took them to court and got the issue resolved to where it can never hurt my score again.

So of course, the payments being made on time + decreasing my credit card debt significantly were the main factors here.

I stayed under my food budget

Surprisingly, for the first time like ever…I was under budget for my food! I set a budget of $300 this month since there was Thanksgiving, but I only spent $212.95!

One big factor was that I was gifted a $50 gift card and used that for my groceries as well. So even if I did spend an extra $50 of my own money it only would have been $262 which still isn’t too bad!

My ad money increased/is increasing

My blog has been doing really well and I broke several of my personal records:

-I reached over 6K page views in 1 day in November
-I had well over 100K page views for the whole month!!
-I made the most money from adsense in one month ever (I only have ONE ad on each blog post btw!)

I’m not saying any of this to brag. I’ve been blogging for years and have been creating/writing for pennies all this time. To finally see growth and results is super exciting, motivating, and it’s something I’m proud of!

I finally invested in a few stocks

Another goal of mine was to start investing in the stock market. I opened a Robinhood account as well as an Ameritrade account. So far I have only purchased about $150 worth of stocks, plus I have received a couple of free stocks from signing up and referrals for Robinhood.

So use my Robinhood link for a free stock!

I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing, but the best way to learn is by actually doing it. I still want to learn a lot more about stocks/investing but I was just excited to start! Each month I plan on investing $100-$150 until I get out of debt and can invest more.

I opened a “high-yield” savings account

I opened a savings account with Marcus by Goldman Sachs earning an interest rate of 2.05%. Since my income isn’t taxed (I just pay my taxes at the end of the year), I figured the best thing to do with the money I save for that is to have it gain interest somehow. With this account I can make an extra few bucks every month!

THE BAD NEWS

I didn’t pay off as much debt as I wanted to

I paid off about $1,061 after interest took it’s usual hit. I used my credit cards for a few things so of course that didn’t help the situation much. At least it was over $1000!

It’s kind of cool to see my total debt drop by at least $1000 each month. Even if I stay at this rate I’ll pay off everything within 6 years which honestly isn’t terrible. I’m still aiming for 3 years or less though 🙂

I had to pay off the rest of my car lease fees

Last month I mentioned I had to pay $320 for the wear and tear of my lease. I still had the remaining $350 disposition fee. I tried really hard to get out of this (called them, went to the dealership, etc.) but it was so frustrating and I just paid it because I didn’t want it to go to collections.

Like I said before…never lease a car!!!

I locked my keys in the car

I locked my keys in my car 2 days into the month. I’ve never locked my keys in my car and if I would have had some patience I probably could have done it myself. Instead I called a locksmith. I was at work and he told me he would get there in about 15 minutes. So after a bit I made my way to the front entrance (it was cold out) and waited for 30+ minutes. My job is highly secured so he had to have his car inspected and get a visitor badge to be allowed on campus…this took an extra 10-15 minutes.

He unlocked my car in maybe 15 seconds and told me it would cost $135. I offered him $100 (lol). I kept haggling and we settled on $120. Once I was in my car I started crying because that’s $120 I can’t put toward my debt, but I quickly snapped out of it and realized that’s not the right mindset to have.

Sure I lost $120, but I was safe, maybe I would have gotten in an accident if I left on time, and I had the money for it so it’s OK.

SPENDING

Savings: I’m not including this in my “spending” total because it’s not actually spending. My income is not taxed, therefore I transfer $1550 from each paycheck every month into my savings. For months I was using the app Qapital which I think is great. In July I started using the app Acorns. Acorns invests your money in stock for you which I think is so cool.  If you use my link to sign up you’ll actually get $5 invested for free!

*This month I just kept the $1550 in my checkings account since I’ll be paying my taxes at the end of the month. All the money saved was Acorns or investing.

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: Yay for finally being under budget for food!!

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 paid $100 for someone to create a 8-week custom meal plan and workout for me!

Car: My minimum payment for my 2015 Toyota Camry plus $350 for the disposition fee of my lease that I turned in back in June.

Credit Card Debt: Self-explanatory. I do still use my Bank of America credit card and Capital One Card for the rewards. I pay off my BOA card right after I use it. My total credit card debt will be $0 after this month 🙂

Student Loan Debt: I pay $288.37 every month. Once I pay off my credit cards I will throw extra to my student loans!

Insurance: This includes vision, dental, and life insurance. I have health insurance through work on top of my salary which is really nice. I spent an extra $92.32 because I switched to a new (more expensive) dental insurance which will work better for me.

Business: This literally includes just paying for hosting/my domain for this blog and G Suite (by Google), which is $7.99 and $5 each month. I am also now paying for a monthly membership to Tailwind ($15).

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
Alphalete (workout clothes) – $78.60
GymShark (workout clothes) – $83.40
Locksmith – $120.00

Excluding my debt I spent a total of $1,686.16. I think that’s my lowest spending month in awhile! 🙂

Let’s review my November goals

  • Spend no more than $300 on food (I can do this) – CHECK
  • Don’t spend ANY money on myself – FAIL (Black Friday shopping got me)
  • Make at least $500 in extra income – FAIL (I made about $282 which is better than nothing)
  • Pay off at least $1400 of my debt – FAIL (Only a little over $1000)
  • Actually buy a stock share(s) – CHECK (I bought ~$150 worth)

My December Goals

  • Pay off ALL credit card debt
  • Invest another $100 in the stock market
  • Make at least $500 in extra income
  • Spend less than $300 on food

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