UPDATED POST: I originally published this post about a year ago but since I’m flaky and always changing my mind about which blog I want to use, I figured I should update some of them and get them back out there! I chose to do this one first because I think good personal finance is the key to living a relatively worry-free existence! So here we go!
About a year ago, I developed a plan to become debt free. this is that plan.
- I’m atheist, so I don’t have to give 10% of my income to a church.
- I’m not married, so I don’t have to worry about saving for another person.
- I’m childless, so I don’t have to save for their college.
- I’m naturally a minimalist, so I can put even more of my money to work for me!
All I have to really plan for are emergencies, my lifestyle, my retirement and death… selfish living at it’s finest 😉
when you see this plan, you’ll think “well duh, sarah. that’s just common sense.”
but is it? is it really common sense?
i’m unfortunately a member of all 3 of those clubs. i’ve spend a majority of my life rationalizing purchases i didn’t have the money for because “i can swing those payments”… but now i’m all tapped out and struggling to pay everything! and if i continue that thought process, it won’t matter how much money i make, i’ll still be in the same boat because “i can totally make those payments.”
i’m basically wasting my life at work in order to pay payments. i don’t even like work.
and even if it is common sense… common sense is learned and i was never privy to any financial education during my formative years and anytime i asked, it was brushed aside, probably because the people i asked didn’t know either.
personal finance isn’t really covered in any of the lifestyle-design/self-sufficiency type blogs i’ve been reading for 7ish years either…
so really, this knowledge i’ve been digging up is revolutionary to me! and it’s from this information that i’ve created my plan. here’s what i’m doing:
the quick n’ dirty guide to freedom finances
- learn contentment
- learn to focus & presence & patience & stillness
- learn to treat debt as an emergency
- learn a new relationship to money
- learn to use compound interest to my advantage
- learn to trust the process
- dump debt
- save money
- start a business – entrepreneurship is the future!
- save $1k in an emergency fund – ACHIEVED!
- pay off debt using the debt-snowball method – this is the step i’m working right now.
- build 3-6 months of expenses in a liquid emergency fund.
- save 15-75% of income in sustainable & global investments (i’ll do a post on the tools i plan on using soon)
- save up 25-50 times my annual expenses – this is my retirement number
- quit living to work and live on 4% of my retirement number – take jobs or start businesses for fun/learning/some kind of benefit/fun-money
- i’ve been using a binder with financial trackers to keep me organized and help me stay on track. i use a yearly bill payment tracker, a debt snowball tracker, a bi-weekly budget sheet and a financial password tracker to keep tabs on my accounts.
- reduce life-overhead – as a minimalist, i already don’t buy a whole lot of stuff
- i’ve been considering getting professional training for… pretty much my whole life but my “emerging adulthood” is coming to an end and it’s time to get serious so i can make some serious cash for about 7 years so i can retire like a boss!
- side hustle – life and freedom finance coaching (they say the best way to learn something is to teach it), hypnosis… maybe i’ll start dog walking or ubering for extra cash.
my progress so far
so far i’ve paid off 2 small bills and 2 credit cards. i’ve even cut up all of my credit cards!!! i’m a “surplus-cash-only” kinda girl from now on!
i have one credit card left, my car and student loans… all of which total $20k, which is pretty good considering that most 33 year olds in this country have $100k+ in debt.
my debt snowball started with the minimum payment on my smallest bill +$25 (unless i can spare a little more). it’s going to take a while but i’m so excited to be debt free!
are you working on becoming debt free? what philosophy/plan are you using? what kind of progress have you made? let it fly in the comments!