Use a Financial Planner to Keep Track of Your Spending.
There are plenty of budget tracking tools available online for free. Utilize them to categorize expenses and set goals. Understanding your financial landscape is the first step towards freedom. Set up automatic alerts for when you start to approach your budgets each month so you can stay committed to your goals. One important tool that we used repeatedly was the “Net Worth Over Time” selector through Mint. Seeing this every day motivated us to continue pushing forward to hit our goals.
Are you ready to finally take control of your finances? Let my budgeting spreadsheets help!
The Power of Dual Income
This one is mostly geared toward married couples who have a dual income. Having a dual income is great, but you have to be smart about it. A pitfall many individuals fall into is as their income increases so do their expenses. Write down all your monthly expenses and add them up, so you know what your minimum monthly payments will be. Then you can figure out what your total income will be each month after subtracting your minimum monthly payments.
Once you have that number, look at how much you’ll have left each month to put towards debt obligations or savings. It is also not only smart but very crucial, to have an emergency fund. Make sure you have enough money in your savings so that if one of you were to lose your job suddenly or an emergency were to happen, you would be able to survive on the other’s salary for at least six months minimum.
If you’re on your own and don’t have a dual income, you can still be smart about your money. Before we were married, we still made sure we each had an emergency fund of at least three month’s worth of our salaries in savings accounts. We were both paying more than the minimum on our loans each month, then putting whatever we had left after groceries and rent straight into our savings accounts.
Write Down Your Goals and REACH THEM
Ours are hanging on our bathroom mirror. It doesn’t matter where you choose to put them, as long as they are in a place where you can look at them every single day. Writing your goals down and posting them somewhere you can see them every day is going to help you stay focused on them and not just forget about them.
You always hear about the “new year, new me” fad that wears off in about a month or so. The gym is packed in January with all the new year resolutions people make. By February, sadly, half those people stop going. If you actually want to hit a goal and are serious about it, DO something about it. As the cliche saying goes, “don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk.” If you say you are going to do something, DO IT. Tell your goals to a close friend, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or mentor to keep you accountable. You don’t need to tell your goals to the whole world, but it is nice to have someone who knows what you are working towards that can keep you accountable and ask you what you are currently doing to reach your goal.
Our goal after getting married in June of 2016 was to pay off our student loans by our one year wedding anniversary. We came up with our monthly minimum that we were going to pay off each month to reach our goal of being debt free within one year of being married. We both agreed that we were not going to pay anything less than that minimum number we came up with. Well, on May 25th, 2017 we were able to hit the “make payment” button that one last time and finally be free of the shackles that are student loans. We could not be happier to meet that goal.
Related Post: Giving Up On Your Goal Because Of One Setback?
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"...And the borrower is servant to the lender." Proverbs 22:7 •WE DID IT!!! Our goal when we got married was to have our student loans paid off within a year of being married. So thankful and EXCITED we were able to meet this goal. 😆 @josheberly
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- How We Paid Off Over 60K in Student Loans in Just Two Years - October 2, 2017