This past 2020 year started off great for me. I had just finished off having the best holidays, feeling so accomplished. I had every great plan ready to start the new year with saving money and paying off all my debt by the end of the year.
And then Covid hit….
Just like many of us with great goals and plans in mind they all came to an abrupt stop. With every plan set in motion to pay off a certain amount of debt each month was halted when my husband became ill, became a person who was then considered high risk, and could no longer continue working for a couple months. It also didn’t help financially when I also had to stop working to homeschool my daughter.
I’m not sure about you all, but our expenses continued as if nothing changed. So while our income drastically changed, our expenses were still there every month waiting to be paid. And even though there was news and updates that certain expenses were going to be waived, we never actually saw it happening. At least not for us.
So rent had to be paid, food, gas, internet, phone bill, child support, car insurance, two car payments, and credit card payments to pay off from prior custody court costs. Truth be told it was a bit overwhelming. Quite disheartening too. I even mourned knowing that our debt was not going to be paid off as I had previously planned. And you know how much I love to plan everything!
After dealing with the shutdowns and quarantine during the first months with no changes to my plans of getting the debt paid off, I realized I needed to relook at my “paying off my debt by end of the year” plan. Or else I’ll be stuck in my debt a lot longer than I wished.
Here’s a couple things I changed in order to handle my budget better and actually resulted in me paying off a lot of my debt by the end of last year… as I had originally wanted. And truthfully if it wasn’t for me wanting to have a wonderful jolly Christmas, we would’ve had more of our debt paid off! Though totally worth having those Christmas decorations, going to the Christmas events, and you can’t forget the gifts too!
To help others who may be in the same or similar boat as us and wish to save a little bit of money or pay off some debt, here are some tips from my budgeting plan:
1. Make cheap but delicious meals instead of eating out. We focused on what we wouldn’t mind eating over and over again and settled on Ramen with eggs and broccoli and others days it would be chicken Adobo.
2. Take advantage of the free breakfast and lunch from your kid’s schools if you have kids and if they offer it. Ours offered free lunches till end of this school year and we took the opportunity at least once a week.
3. Write out your meal plan for the week and the ingredients needed for each meal so that when you go grocery shopping you won’t be buying extra foods; which for some reason always ends up as snacks that are eaten the very first day you bring them home.
4. Make a grocery list before you head to the grocery store. And as you’ve probably heard; NEVER go grocery shopping on a hungry stomach or you’ll overspend on foods and buy more than you’ll eat and likely throw some of them away. (Confession; I’ve done this many times 😅)
5. Go through your expenses and check to see if they are need-based or want-based. Then make a plan to cut out some of those want-based expenses. For me I cut out coloring my hair and buying stationary. (I really love pretty pens and paper) For those who don’t believe stationary is expensive I’ve calculated how much I paid and it came out to $25 a month, welp! But I have kept one of my wants of buying a coffee at a coffee place at least once a week because it’s one of those things that I look forward to and keeps me wanting to work at my day job. 😄
6. And lastly, write out a monthly budget plan and stick to it. I get paid monthly so it’s easiest for me to write out a monthly budget plan while for others it may be a weekly or bi-weekly budget plan.
Of all that I listed above, I think #6 was the one that helped us the most with getting a lot of our debt paid off. And while there are many things that can help with getting debt paid off or putting away some money I think it’s important not to overthink it or else it can get overwhelming. Even if it means just sticking to one item on the list then do so to get that debt paid off.
So with the new year upon us I hope this bit of advice helps you out to getting some debt paid off or even save a bit of money. And with that I hope you have a wonderful New Year!