Yeah Soul Train knows what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about money.
Now I’m no Dave Ramsey, but I’ve picked up a few things along the way that help keep me from debt collector’s (mostly) and wage garnishments so I thought I’d share. In lieu of a long and dramatic back story I’m going to hit you up with the cliff notes list version of my mistakes/misfortunes.
- I thought my parents were going to pay for college.
- I worked a lot, and spent that money on things that were not school.
- I used my credit card with a much higher limit than I should have had to pay my school bill.
- Both my parents were laid off. Then they got jobs.
- Then I was laid off. Then I got a different, less lucrative job.
- A year later, I had surgery.
My surgery was in March, but just in case you didn’t know that stuff is expensive. So all in all, I mishandled my money and expected others to take care of it. Naively. In May, I started my current job which pays more than any other job I’ve had and it pays regularly. The same check every week. That’s incredibly convenient. So I’ve devised a plan to pay off my debts and pay my bills and have a semi-normal social life in the process.
The Big Plan
The first thing I do at the beginning of the month is whip up a calendar. All my bills have due dates. Do you see where I’m going with this? The first thing I do is plot those dates. Then I move them back to the corresponding payday. So if a bill is due Friday, I move it back to the payday just before (Tuesday). Then I do a little math. Paycheck – Bills = Money for other things. Money for other things breaks down into Debt Repayment, Fun Times, Lunch, and if I’m really lucky, Savings. Let’s be honest, Fun Times does not get a large budget.
I pay way more than the minimum payment for my credit card. 18 times more to be exact. I also pay a hefty sum weekly to my school so that one day they will let me back and I can be an academic. This doesn’t leave me with a lot left over to do wild 23-year-old things. Hence my frugal posts.
By paying my weekly bills as soon as I get paid, I’m not tempted to spend money on other non-necessities. I figured out that by following my bill paying regimen I can be debt free in 7 months. At least, that’s the plan. I am waiting to find out if my contract at the company I work for will be extended or not. They could even hire me. Whoa. My plan for now is to assume that nothing is going to change because I haven’t heard anything either way.
This might not be the best way to handle finances, or even a great way, but it’s what I found worked for me.
Do you have a strict budget? Do you wing it?