Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Money Money Money

About a year ago I put my student loan debt business online. I decided that I wanted to do so again.  I wanted to take a look at how far I had come on my student loan debt since this time last year.  I wanted to add something to it though this year, my credit card debt.  Why?  Because it's outrageous & I need to change my ways.  So not only do I want to make a note of it on the blog so I can look back on this next year & hopefully be happy with how far I've come, I also want to basically publicly shame myself in hopes that it'll give me a bigger kick in the butt to work on it if other people know just how deep I'm in.

Student Loans

Just in case you don't feel like reading the whole run down on how I got myself into so much student debt, here's a quick where I was a year ago.  This time last year I had $72,657.91.  I had paid down $5,143.19 cents in a year, & $10,875.55 since I had first tracked my debt in July 2013.  At the time I was about to start my 4th year teaching in a Title I school district & was planning on teaching a least 5 years in a Title I district in order to get $5,000 of my federal loans.

As of today I have $65,861.43 still out in loans.  When I got my refund check back in February/March I paid off my smallest loans so now I only have 4 out instead of 5.  It may not have had a ton left on it when I did so, less than $800, it still felt so amazing to have one out of the way finally.  Over the past year I've paid of $6,796.48.  My next smallest loan is $5,311.81 so I know my next refund check won't pay it off, but I have every intention of using at least part of it to pay that down as well.  On my current 101 in 1001 list I have a goal of having my student loans at 60k or less by March 24, 2018.  Seeing where I'm at right now I know I'll have no problems in doing that.  On the flip side, I won't be doing 5 years of teaching so goodbye $5,000 off my federal loans.  I'm also planning on starting grad school this fall, & while it has a pretty low sticker price as far as grad school is concerned, I know for sure I won't be able to pay for it out of pocket, at least not the first term.  I also know, because I've already applied, that I don't qualify for financial aid.  I also can't apply for any scholarships through the school until this fall, because of missed deadlines, so even if I apply/qualify for those, they won't apply until spring term.  I am applying for outside scholarships, but there is a very good chance that I'll have to take out a small loan to cover at least the fall term.

Credit Cards

Onto the debt that makes me so sad because, while I know people have way higher credit card debt than I do, it's still high, unnecessary, & 100% my fault.  When I was in high school I got my first credit card because I was going to Europe so I got it as a back up form of money in case my debit card didn't work.  I didn't use it.  I used it randomly in high school but always paid it off in full.  It also had a $500 limit & the first time that I used it & wasn't able to pay it off in full, was the last time I used it.  I paid it off in 2 months & then stopped using my credit card.

I didn't use a credit card again until I was 23 & I only used it because I was moving down to Texas & needed to buy a bed.  I was then moved to a $1500 limit.  I was pretty good with it for the most part.  I didn't always pay it in full but $1500 never really hurt me.  I also had a Target credit card with a $500 limit because I had used it to buy a camera & save that 5%.  I never really used that though.  I would randomly put stuff on that one but I think within a year I had decided to pay it all off & never use it again.  I don't remember exactly when I did it, it's been a year or better, but I also paid off that $1500 limit bank credit card & haven't used it since.  

So what got me into trouble?  Wanting to get miles.  In January 2014 I decided to apply for a credit card that would give me miles.  That had a very attractive into offer.  If you spent x amount of money in x amount of months you would receive a shit ton of miles.  (Sorry this was 2.5 years ago I don't remember the specifics.)  Now, if I had thought it through more I would have been able to get all of those miles.  What I did was put all of my bills on the credit card each month & then paid it off.  Unfortunately, certain bills obviously didn't qualify (loans/rent)  So instead of doing the smart thing & putting everything I was buying (gas/groceries/going out) & paying that off, I kept using my debit card for the rest so I never got the miles.  When I first applied for the credit card back in 2014 I had a $2,500 limit.  Still a manageable, not so scary limit.

By May, while I was still under $1,000 on the card, I was no longer just using it for bills.  I wasn't even just using it for my normal going out.  I had used it to get my hair done, concerts, etc.  It was at that point I was no longer paying it in full.  By June I was at almost $2,000 & the following month they raised my limit $5,000. (I knew that wasn't going to be a good thing but I didn't stop using the card.)  Around May 2015 they raised my limit yet again to $8,000.  I told myself I wasn't going to let myself ever max that out.  7 months later in December 2015 they raised my limit to $11,000.  I once again said I will NOT max that out or let myself get close to that limit.  7 months later I still have *only* an $11,000 limit.  However, I'm almost at that limit.  My June statement had me at $10,713.52.

It was at the end of May/early June that I finally decided I needed to do something.  I have not used my credit card since June 4.  It may not be a huge step, but it is a step none the less.  My current balance is only slightly lower, $10,468.21, but it is going down.  With one month under my belt, I'm in the process of trying to make a 2nd month happen.  Without knowing exactly what my financial situation will be when I move back down to Texas in August, I can't guarantee that I won't use it at all, but IF I have to use it it will only be for things that will keep my bills paid/food in my mouth/roof over my head.

In Case That's Too Much To Read
In case you looked at that & said OMG thats too much to read... I'll just give you the sticker shock...

Student Loan Debt: $65,861.43
Credit Card Debt: $10,468.21
Total Debt (not including car): $76,329.64

How I'm Trying To Save/Be Responsible
I have had Swagbucks for quite awhile now.  When I first got it I was all about it & then it got pushed to the side & I would forget about it & maybe randomly take the daily poll but that'd be it.  Within the past year though I've started using it more again.  It stared where I would just use it to book my flights & hotels but over the past couple of months I've started taking the surveys religiously.  I used to use it to get Amazon gift cards however now, I save up my points & every time I have enough I get the $25 paypal credit.  If you don't already have it, you can click the link above & sign up through me.

I also VERY recently started using Ibotta.  I haven't earned a whole lot simply because I'm still at my parents' for the summer & therefore don't have to buy a lot.  I only have $12.50 so far, but considering I've only used it to buy eggs & tampons once each, that's not so bad.  If you click the link above & sign up through me you'll get $10 after you apply your first rebate.  Just like with Swagbucks you can redeem either gift cards or pay pal cash.

In addition to trying to earn money through Swagbucks & Ibotta, as well as using my credit card as little as possible, I signed up for a free account on Mint.com so that I can see where I'm spending money, eventually set up a budget once I'm back in Texas & know what my bills will be/what I'm earning, & also set up goals such as paying off debts or saving for whatever.


  1. money is the worst and adulting sucks.
    I had to stop using my credit card completely. No rewards were worth the debt I was getting myself into. I knew I was out of control when I would get under $100 in my checking account and still had shit to pay and I had to play money juggle and find funds from somewhere.

    Unless your mom is also using Ibotta, you could just claim her receipts. Also check out: SavingStar, Checkout 51, Shopmium, Walmart Savings Catcher (if you go there), and Cartwheel (for Target).

    1. I sent you some referrals. I forgot to mention Shopkick (which I also sent). It's kinda fun. You get points for walking into stores and scanning items. You don't have to buy anything (my fave). With those points you can get giftcards to stores like Target and Best Buy, etc.

  2. Public shaming always seems to work when it comes to paying off debt, particularly consumer debt. Hopefully it'll work for you too! It's hard but it's worth it, I enjoy being debt free, even though I just had student loans, it's good to be rid of them. Although John did just take on a mortgage so it's like starting all over :(

  3. Being in debt sucks! I know! Because we've got our fair share too! Looks like you're trying and you've got a plan! We've done Dave Ramsey's snowball method and we're currently almost done paying off Charlotte's medical bills because of it! Only 2 to go out of like 10?!

  4. debt sucks balls. when i got out of school, i worked MY ASS OFF and didn't do anything fun for a long time until i paid that shit off. i hate debt looming over me. the key is to keep paying off the principal! so keep dumping in as much as you can towards the principal.

  5. I hear ya about wanting to be out of debt. At least you've recognized your weaknesses and have a plan in place. It can be so satisfying to pay off a student loan in full! Hope you continue rocking your financial goals.

  6. SwagBucks is an high paying get-paid-to website.