{Financial Goals} Tackle Your Credit Card Debt Today

Slow-and-steady-moneyHave you ever heard the phrase, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”? Well I’m starting to think that is true. Like many of you, I always have financial goals… some I have shared on this blog and others I have not. As we start this brand new year, I have to ask myself, were my goals of last year actual goals or just wishes for the future? I started reflecting on this the other day while looking at older posts about financial goals. Sure, I can list some of my goals but without a plan, how can I help you as readers follow my financial journey? Isn’t that the point of all of this? I also started wondering how much is too much to share? The answers to these questions will unfold throughout 2013, but for today, getting a plan together is the priority.

The Problem: In my pre-She Makes Cents life, I worked every month and in a short amount of time, I paid off my credit card. Then the bottom fell out and I was using my credit card to simply…live (very honest moment). Long story short, my balance of about $5300 (rounding up) is nowhere near, where it should be. Why, you may ask? Because I was caught up. I started swiping to get the “cash back” deals that I told myself I would pay it off at the end of the month and didn’t. I wasn’t using my envelopes as I should have and I might not have fully realized the my new financial situation.

The Solution: In reading some of my older posts, I remembered a period where I locked my credit card up in a safe deposit box.  Initially, I just wanted to see how long I could go without credit card spending.   I wasn’t swiping, I wasn’t living beyond my means, and the balance was slowly decreasing over time. I am a very goal oriented person, so I know adding the component of an end goal date, one of the tips featured in the post How to Make and Achieve Your Goals, will help.  Thinking back, why did I ever take the card back out?

The Plan: If you are in a similar situation, this is how I plan on making this wish into a goal and a goal into a “been there done that”. While I would like to have this paid off in a year, I know I may need cushion. My end goal date for credit card payoff is August of 2014. That means, with my interest rate, I will need to be making a payment of $294.36 per month to be credit card free by next August (check out the credit card payoff calculator at the bottom of my sidebar to figure out yours).  Instead of paying the minimum, which is NEVER a good look, I will pay the fixed rate listed above or more.  Also, whenever there are cash back deals through my bank, I will use the “rewards” to pay down my credit card. In my research, I have heard the advice to pick up the phone and call your credit card company for a reduced interest rate but depending the company, they may label you as a “high risk” customer and close your account, so do your research first. 

How Are Your Eliminating Your Credit Card Debt?

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{Eat on the Cheap} Healthy Eating on a Budget

I got this question in from a reader who connected with me through my about.me!

Hello there! I am curious, I am wanting to start using the envelope method but I’m wondering how to go about spending the amount given for me in the grocery amount when on a diet. Diets are super hard to stick to especially when you are on low budget. Any advice?

MyKudos to you for making two great decisions eating clean and trying not to go into debt doing so. The envelope system, by Dave Ramsey, is such a wonder tool that has helped me reshape how I think about money. Truthfully, it may take a few visits to the grocery store for you to figure out exactly how much goes into your grocery envelope. My latest goal that I have implemented into my own life is to set realistic goals. Once you figure out how much is realistic to spend for your budget, lifestyle, and family size, then you are really to maintain a consistent amount every check.

My second recommendation would be to plan your meals on a weekly basis and make a grocery list based on the meals you plan to cook. There are a number of sources that provide recipes to help you eat cleaner by planning your meals in advanced. Choose My Plate is a government website that helps you plan motivational menus on a 2000 calorie diet, provides tips to help you save, and suggests foods that are great for your diet. Here is an example of a sample menu for the week. Another great source is Pinterest, which is filled with thousands of recipes from people across the web who share similar tastes and goals as you. Now that you have an idea of what you want to prepare for the week, then it is time to make the all important grocery list. I really like this grocery list from MomAgendga and I recommend never stepping into a grocery store without a completed list.

Other tips to consider:

  • Never shop on an empty stomach…it often causes people to over shop and over spend.
  • Wear your most fabulous heels to the grocery store: Look good, feel good, right? Well, yes… but wearing your most fabulous heels (which often ends up being the ones that hurt the most) will force you to stay on track so you can get exactly what you need and get out of there so you can get home to more comfy shoes or…no shoes at all. It may sound crazy, but I keep my heels on after work ONLY on days when I have to run errands where I may be tempted to spend!
  • Get a shopping/accountability buddy: My good friend, Kema and I used to make our grocery lists and go shopping together. It made the experience fun, we used that time to catch up, and we helped each other stay on target and budget.

For other tips, check out these 10 tips from Choose My Plate on Eating on a Better Budget

What is your favorite budget shopping tip?

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{Update} Confession of my New Year Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions???  That’s so January… Save more money. Eat right. Exercise more. I remember having to try at my goals again after an epic fail the first time around. I think the problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that people set either too many goals or a couple of unrealistic goals. This is why after a couple of days, resolutions seem impossible. Throughout the year, I promised to share my game plan to accomplish some of my goals and resolutions for the year- so here you go!

Check out some of my favs!

Start Putting Money Away for Emergencies

She Makes Cents

January 24, 2012: Since I’m being honest, I might as well go all in. Currently, my emergency fund looks like the sad little piggy pictured above. That’s right, even She Makes Cents, has to get her own finances together sometimes. I almost depleted my fund when… an emergency came up. I am so glad that I got myself into the habit of saving for the unexpected because life would have been so much harder without one.

April 4, 2012:  I have started my emergency fund again and I must say it feels good.  I really hope it will be a long time before I have to tap into it since there isn’t much in there and two, no one likes emergencies.

Cook More, Eat Out Less

January 24, 2012:The Mr. and I love trying new restaurant spots; consequently, we have gotten in the habit of going to restaurants multiple times a week. Sometimes, I even eat out multiple times a day. While examining our finances, we both concluded that we can’t save if we are constantly spending on dinners out every night, plus tips for the servers, plus parking. Do you see how quickly it can add up? Not only are we spending too much, but it is counteracting to my bangin’ body goal.

April 4, 2012: Well….we still eat out, but we are now more conscious of it.  Using the envelope system has really helped with this one.  I set aside a certain amount of money per check for non-grocery food expenses.  For example, I stopped at Smoothie King this morning for a Pineapple Surf and used my “restaurant fund” to essentially…fund it.  The envelope system, regarding eating out, has also forced me to really think about my motivation.  Am I really hungry?  Am I going to be social?  Now, I need to work on the “cook more” portion of this resolution.


Bangin’ Body 2012

January 24, 2012:I think this one is a little self-explanatory. I will just let these swimsuits be my inspiration. I say show it while you got it…so I have to get mine tight. Get it right, get it tight 2012!!!

April 4 2012:  I am pleased to announce that I am actually starting to see a difference in my tummy. I started jogging, stretching, and taking the dog out for longer walks.  I am also trying to eat a little better, so once swimsuit season officially begins, I hope to have accomplished my goal of losing 2 to 3 inches.  As of yesterday, I’m already down an inch.

She Makes Cents get abs

She Makes Cents


Reduce Impulse Shopping


See the World

She Makes Cents svae money
April 4 2012: So my Dad and I are getting our passports updated this week.  This is very necessary since I will be celebrating the Mr.’s 30th birthday in Germany among other places. 

Overall, I’d say that I’m not too far off of my goals for 2012.  While I could be doing better in some areas, I could also be doing A LOT worse.  In fact, as I accomplish my goals, I will start replacing them with new goals.

Let’s Connect!

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