In my 2019 Goals post I wrote a few days ago, I said that I wanted to get a grip on my finances in 2019. After watching Youtuber Aja Dang tackle her mountain of debt in 2018, I was really inspired to tackle my own debt. Since entering college in 2010, I haven’t really had much discipline in handling my money. In all honesty, growing up in poverty does really screw up your relationship with money and for the longest time, my goals and priorities when it came with my money was just to survive from day to day, not even paycheck to paycheck! I’ve racked up quite a handful of debts and I really wanted to take the time this year to really dig myself out.
In my reckless and perhaps stupid manner, I withdrew what little was left of my checking and savings and dumped it into one of my debts to bring it down and started off 2019 with not a penny to my name. Did it scare the living hell out of me? Absolutely, but like everything else that I did to prepare myself for 2019, I purged.
Oddly enough, doing so lit a fire under my butt to start working and building my finances back up and I came in with a few new rules for myself in the new year.
1. Break down all of my bills into smaller, manageable chunks. One of my biggest fears towards paying bills in the past few years is waiting until the last minute to make payments. I remember working to pay off every bill in a scramble, after one bill was paid, I had to scramble to pay the next. I had an epiphany while I was breaking down one of my projects into smaller to dos, WHY DON’T I JUST DO THAT WITH MY BILLS!?
Instead of freaking out over a $100 phone bill that’s due tomorrow, why don’t I break it down into 10 $10 payments I can throw money at throughout the course of the month? I can easily toss aside $10 without thinking every few days and have the whole bill paid off before the end of the month, and even if I didn’t, I’d only have to worry about maybe a leftover $20. Easy peasy.
Even with my credit card bills, which I’m only doing minimum payments for right now (I’ll get to why in a little bit) I split into tiny $5 payments I knock out every day.
2. Withdraw $20 a day to go directly into rent. Like the rule I have above, I’m breaking my rent down into smaller chunks rather than looking at the huge picture. My current rent is $500 (I landed a steal) so I really only need to do this 25 times a month which leaves me 5-6 days where I can miss a payment OR I can use the leftover money to put into debts or savings!
3. Have a GROUND ZERO amount in my checking account at all times. Look, this may come as a no brainer to many people, but like I said, I’m absolutely horrible with my money and have been for a very long time so I’m trying to learn more healthy habits ok? What a ground zero amount is basically the minimum amount I must have in my checking account at all times. If my ground zero is $100 and I have $101, then guess what? I have $1 to spend.
My goal is to have my ground zero be $500 by June.
4. Deposit 1/6 of my earnings into my savings account. My best friend actually recommended this to me. As a freelancer, I don’t have the luxury of having my company deduct money for taxes/401K for me. That responsibility falls squarely on my shoulders. Also, doing so is just a good habit to have. Out of sight, out of mind!
I’ve been really into bullet journaling for the past 3 years and this year I really decided to use my BUJO as a way to help me keep track of my finances. I have a weekly expenses log as well as a debt tracker to log my journey throughout the year.
My goal in January is to get my goals to become habits. ESPECIALLY 1-4 listed here. I started off with $0 in all of my accounts and I’m slowly rebuilding my life from the ground up. Yes, it is very embarrassing for me to admit to everyone just how bad my financial life has become but it’ll only serve to keep me accountable on this journey. It’s not going to be easy, its scary as hell, but I know that if I don’t put my foot down I will never dig myself out of this rut.
Here’s to 2019, the year I officially un-fuck my finances. LETS GO