6 Ways To Get Rid of Debt

2019-01-28 03.30.34 1.jpgI was a sucker to consumerism. I believed that if I owned expensive clothing, handbags, and shoes, it would reassure my happiness and self-worth. I cared about how others viewed me; it mattered so much that the moment I was old enough to apply for a credit card, I did. Having a credit card meant that I could buy whatever I wanted, no matter the cost.

My first credit card had a $1200 limit that I maxed within six months. Of course, my original plan was to use the card wisely, but every time I saw something I liked, I’d couldn’t help myself, and would buy it.

I knew when I had maxed out my first card; it wouldn’t be a good idea to apply for another. In less than a year, I maxed out two credit cards. I knew I had a shopping problem; I was eighteen years old and naive. I did not think of the consequences and told myself that I was going to pay it off eventually.

By the time I was twenty-five, I had maxed out seven credit cards and about $20,000 in debt– I was deeply enslaved. In 2016, I was paying nearly $1000 a month on credit card payments. As time went by, I had hoped that the balance would lower, but it didn’t.

See the thing about credit cards is,  you must pay each month to keep your credit card accounts in good standing. A minimum payment is calculated based on your credit card balance, which is usually two to three percent. The minimum amount on a credit card is small compared to your overall balance. It’s also recalculated each month. This means that the average credit card balance can take over a decade to repay with minimum payments alone — and you’ll pay hundreds in credit card interest during that time.

After years of non-stop payments, I was drowning further and further in debt. Something had to give, especially since I had taken a significant pay cut for changing careers. While I was able to afford to make payments with a teacher salary, it was not possible with my current salary. So I did the smart thing and searched for ways to get out of debt.

How did I get out of debt? Below I list six-ways:

1. National Debt Reliefnational debt relief

National Debt Relief is an organization dedicated to helping individuals and families get rid of debt. They help re-establish financial stability as quickly as possible. They specialize in debt settlement and negotiates settlements for thousands of creditors and collections accounts with the least possible cost, as an alternative to bankruptcy.

2. Stop spending unnecessarily and stick to a budget.

One of the biggest reasons people are in debt is due to spending their money on things they can’t afford, hence why they’re in debt. As hard as it may and will be, you have to stop spending. Stop wanting to buy things you know can’t afford; instead, create a budget plan and stick to it.

3. Make a list of all your essential foods and personal items.

By creating a list of your essential foods and personal items, you know how much you’ll spend, gives you a fixed number to put aside every month, and help you stick to your budget.

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4. Setting aside $20 everytime you get paid

Let’s say you get paid bi-weekly; If you save $40 a month, you will save over $480 by the next year–the more you save, the better. But, even by keeping aside a small number of your earnings, you could spend it any way you’d like because it is your money, not credit.

5. Use your imagination or do something recreational.

Paying off debt means that you will have to sacrifice doing what you love to do most– spending your money. It is essential that you find other things to do to distract you. The best way is by doing things that use your imagination, or that is recreational, such as reading, writing, painting/water coloring, cooking, exercising, biking riding, hiking, and so much more.

6. Read the books: Living Well Spending Less and 31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero

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Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup is an inspiring book full of step-by-step instructions and spiritual wisdom. She is authentic and honest as she shares her journey from spending a lot to discover life is better when it’s simple and with fewer things. She is like a teacher educating you how to manage your spending. Ruth is transparent about her own mistakes and leads you to reevaluate your priorities.

Ruth’s 31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero. It is a book that challenges you not to spend by decluttering your living space, gathering innovative ideas by using items you already have on hand, and learning simple tricks and tips for selling your stuff, slashing your bills, and even saving on food. It is a book that can genuinely change the way you live, making it simple and less overwhelming.

CONCLUSION

Getting rid of your debt is something that you should commit to as soon as possible. Once you are out of debt, you will be free and no longer a slave to creditors. It will be a fantastic accomplishment.

FAQ

How long did it take you to get rid of your debt?

About two years– I am still paying it off. I am 85% debt free. 

How do you budget?

 I use the Living well Planner which provides a budget plan section for every month. I calculate my monthly expenses and subtract that with the amount I make each month.

I am creating a PDF attachment that will include a budget plan!

Do you get to save more than $20 a month? 

Absolutely, every month is different, ranges from $120 – $215. 

What is the pay-cut difference between your teacher salary and your current job?

It was, $11,000, now its $7,000. 

OTHER ARTICLES TO READ

How Do Credit Cards Work? 7 Things You Need to Know

THE TRUTH ABOUT PAYING OFF DEBT

How to Live a Rich Modern Life Without Debt

 

6 Reasons to Shop at Trader Joe’s

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I started shopping at Trader Joe’s (TJ’S) a year ago. I’ve had avoided buying there before because of how crowded it is. But now, its become my go-to grocery store. The first time I went to TJ’s was for work to buy snacks for a meeting. I filled my shopping cart and only spent $28– way under the budget of $40. I looked at the receipt and noticed how low-priced the items were. And that is what makes TJ’s such awesome grocery store and the reason why it’s always crowded–their reasonable prices of great products.

Trader Joe’s was founded in 1958, originally a convenience store called, Pronto Markets. Over the years they’ve expanded, and there are now almost 500 stores nationwide! They describe themselves as “your neighborhood grocery store.” But how are they’re able to have low-priced items? There are two reasons. First, all their products are bought directly from vendors in volume. Second, unlike other grocers who charge suppliers for putting an item on the shelf, TJ’s doesn’t, which results to their low prices.

I love shopping at Trader Joe’s so much that I live next to a grocery store in Astoria, Queens and still choose to buy at TJ’s in Chelsea during lunch. To then, travel home with two heavy grocery bags on the train, during rush hour! However, I am not the only one– others do it too. If you are not a Trader Joe’s shopper, but looking for an organic or healthy grocery store, I recommend TJ’s! I share below six other reasons to convince you to shop there and why it’s worth it.

1. Great Customer Service!

Since I started shopping at TJ’s I’ve had the best experience. Their employees are always happy and smiling– willing to help, and know where everything is. The cashiers are genuine and often speak to you as they scan and bag your things. Also, their return policy is fantastic!

2. Do not be intimidated by their long lines.

Like I’d mentioned, one of the reasons I never stepped foot in TJ’s was because of the long lines– but, I promise you will never stand in line for more than 10 minutes. The lines move quickly because they make sure to have twenty or so registers open.

3. Spending under $120 (bi-weekly)

Being that I am in debt, spending $140-$160 or more bi-weekly at a regular grocery store, to now spending under $120, is incredible and a relief. If you are frugal as I am and buy only what is necessary, you’ll save and purchase healthy and quality products at TJ’s.

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4. Healthy Macro-friendly food

If you count macros or generally healthy, Trader Joe’s is the best to shop for such food and items. Please click here to direct you to my TJ’s shopping list, which includes the cost for each item, and macro-nutrients.

Click here to read, Health Coach and Blogger, Brittany Mullins’, list of 50 Healthy Trader Joe’s Items that I read in May. She took pictures of all items, which is helpful when trying to find them in store. And if you subscribe to her blog, she’ll email you her Trader Joe’s 7 Day Meal Plan!

5. Environmentally friendly and one-of-a-kind products

A typical grocery store carries 50,000 products, whereas Trader Joe’s stock 4,000 products. At first, I thought I’d mind that TJ’s doesn’t have a variety of brands to select from; but I am okay with it. In fact, I love shopping there because I don’t have to spend time choosing a good enough and affordable brand item. Most of TJ’s products are under its own private label, environmentally friendly, and of great quality. They’re known to phase out any vendor whose item(s) doesn’t do well–

“If an item doesn’t pull its weight in our stores, it goes away to gangway for something else.”

6. It’s a cool, unique, and happy place to shop!

It is great shopping at Trader Joe’s because it is easy to navigate their products even at their most crowded hour. All of their stores are large and open spaced– walls with cedar planks and donned crew in cool Hawaiian shirts.”  TJ’s sell unique-quality products, such as gourmet food, organic food, vegetarian food, frozen food, imported food, domestic and imported wine and beer, personal hygiene products, household cleaners, vitamins, pet food, plants, flowersand so much more! 

CONCLUSION

Trader Joe’s has many locations across the U.S. and still growing. If you do not live near one, make an effort, travel, and begin shopping there! Shopping at Trader Joe’s is worth it and will save you money on great-quality products!

FAQ

How many times a month do you shop at TJ’s?

I honestly go twice a week but during their least crowded hour. 

RECOMMENDED BLOG POSTS:

50 Healthy Trader Joe’s Items + A Trader Joe’s Meal Plan 

Trader Joe’s Macro-Friendly Shopping List

The grocery checklist below is the same one I use on my weekly Trader Joe’s haul. The list is not in order because I’ve added and deleted items over time. On the right column, I list the macronutrients (Fat, Carbohydrates, and Protein), and cost for each item.

What are Macronutrients? Macronutrients (macros for short) are what makes up the calorie content of food. The three categories of macros are fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Getting the right amount of protein, fat, and carbs will determine whether you are building or losing muscle and whether you are putting on or losing fat. We all have different fitness goals, so it is essential to track your macros according to what your goals are. For more information on how to calculate and count macros, please click here.

TJ's Macros list

Are Subscription Boxes Worth It?

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What are subscription boxes?

They are boxes that contain an assortment of products – typically with a common theme, such as beauty boxes, pet boxes, or food boxes.  Your subscription automatically delivers to you periodically for the length of your subscription. The majority of the services keep each month’s specific box items a surprise and allows you to set subscriber preferences to personalize your box.

Did I do the right thing subscribing to subscription boxes?

Yes! I signed up for very reasonably priced subscriptions, and so far I love it. I have no regrets because it is exciting to receive packages and to try something new every month! Plus, if you need or want to cancel for a while it is easy, just go to your account settings and click cancel my subscription. Some may ask for a reason, but they are just doing that for customer service purposes.

Below are six subscriptions services I recommend:

Stitchfix 

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Stitch Fix is an online styling service that delivers a truly personalized shopping experience, for you and your family. Fill out your Style Profile and a Personal Stylist will handpick pieces to fit your tastes, needs, and budget—and mail them right to your door. Each box has a curated choice of clothing, shoes, and accessories for you to try on at home. Merely keep the items you love and send back the rest in a prepaid USPS envelope. Shipping and returns are always free—even for exchanges!

Athena

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Athena club is all about convenience– known to make your period simpler with high-quality feminine products.  When subscribing, you can select the product, assortment, quantity, and frequency; then wait for it to get delivered to you every month. Prices vary, depending on the number of tampons in your order.

Splendies

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Splendies is a company selling comfortable and affordable underwear, costing just $13.99 a month for three pieces. You begin by choosing your size and style– whether panties, thongs, or a mix of both. The undies are cute and of good quality.

Sephora Play Box

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For $10 each month Sephora curates a selection of new and best-selling products from makeup, hair care, skincare, and fragrance. When subscribing you have to answer a ten-minute survey questionnaire that helps determine what you will receive. Sephora Play is ideal for anyone who cannot afford some of their expensive products, like me. LOL. Or anyone who likes trying new products and makeup.

Walmart Beauty Box

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At just $5, you’ll receive a beauty box, four times a year with an assortment of new beauty products. Every seasonal box varies, you may sometimes receive a box with just foil packet samples, and there is the season you will get full sized items. It is a hit or miss, but for $20 a year, why not try it?

Earfleek

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EarFleek is an online subscription service that sends you a fun and trendy pair of earrings every month for $3.49. You select one of four personality subscription options, and a stylist makes sure to send you something you will love that reflects your personality. Also, they have a feature that allows you to swipe through their trendy styles, letting them know what you like and dislike.

FAQ

Would Subscription Boxes work for everyone? 

No. It all depends on the person. If you are a person unwilling to try new things and does not like surprises, Subscription Boxes may not be for you.