We have been following Dave Ramsey for about a year and a half to budget and pay off debt. We made the decision right after we had our first baby to pay off all of our consumer debt to set up a better future for our family. We hope to be able to eventually buy a home that is a little bit bigger than our current home and take our family on a vacation. Being debt free will hopefully also allow us to adopt a child, which is a dream of ours, but unfortunately so expensive.
The first piece of beginning a debt-free journey is to create a budget and stick to it- which is the hardest part in my opinion. Even if you aren’t following a plan to become debt-free, following a budget is beneficial to be in control of your money and to know where your money is going.
1. List all of the income you expect for the entire month.
Add all of your income together to have an income total for the month. If you have an irregular monthly income, estimate how much you make per month and you should set up a budget using your lowest monthly income estimate. Have a plan for any extra income you may make within the month (ex: put any extra in savings, or apply extra to a loan.)
I recently read an article that stated that 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. 78%!
That means 78% of people couldn’t make ends meet for more than a few weeks if they lost their job. That’s eye opening to me. My husband and I have been following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps for a little over a year. If you are unfamiliar with Dave Ramsey, he teaches people how to create a budget, pay off debt and build wealth. This can be achieved by following his baby steps. Baby step 1 is to save $1000 for an emergency fund, which is so important to help prepare for unexpected expenses.
Dave talks about the law of Murphy: that is if something can go wrong, it will. It is not intended to be negative, but it is just a fact that is better to be prepared for. Cars need repair, appliances break, unexpected emergency room visits etc. One way we prepare for an unexpected expense is to have an emergency fund.
Hello! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Today I wanted to share a few tips to save money while going to college. College can be a huge expense, but with some planning, there are ways to save some money. I graduated a few years ago, but if I could go back and change a few things when I was in college, I would. Student loans are a burden I cannot wait to get rid of.
1. Start at a Community College. Getting prerequisites done at a community college can save thousands of dollars. Instead of spending $400 on a credit, a community college in my area is closer to $100.
2. Live at home for as long as possible. When I graduated high school I wanted to move into an apartment, but I decided to live at home instead to save money. It was hard when a lot of my friends were getting places of their own, but it was worth it to be able to pay my way through community college without going into debt. I know this isn’t always a possibility, but definitely consider it if it is.
3. If you need to move out, find reliable roommates to move in with. You will save money by splitting rent, utilities and internet.
4. Shop online for textbooks. Books are so expensive in the campus bookstore, even the used ones. A lot of times you can find used ones online for significantly cheaper. Before purchasing from the campus bookstore, check amazon.com and eBay.com.
5. Sell textbooks online. Check online before selling your book back to the campus bookstore. Bookscouter.com is a great website that checks the sell back prices on multiple websites to get you the most out of your books.
6. Rent Textbooks– Before purchasing a book, check to see if it will be less expensive to rent your textbook. Take into account the price of purchasing the book and reselling with just renting.
7. Meal plan– It is so easy to go out to eat when you are busy with classes and homework, but eating out is expensive. Either purchase a meal plan through the campus, or if you live off of campus meal plan before grocery shopping to keep grocery bills down.
8. Watch store ads for sales and use Ibotta and Checkout 51 on purchases you would normally make. These apps are easier and quicker to use than clipping coupons and cash back balances can add up quickly.
9. Pack food and drinks with you when you’re on campus.
10. If possible, carpool or take the bus to school. At my school, a parking pass was hundreds of dollars a year and it did not guarantee a parking spot. During the mid-afternoon it was almost impossible to find a spot close to where my classes were.
11. If you live on campus, walk or ride a bike. Not only are you saving on a parking pass, but you also save gas and insurance payments.
12. Search for and apply for as many scholarships as possible. Start looking in high school.
13. Speak with a counselor to know exactly what classes you need to take. They can map out your classes so you know your estimated graduation time. Also, taking unnecessary classes not only wastes money but it also wastes time.
14. If you must take out a student loan, only take out the amount you need. Every semester I was given more money in student loan that I needed to pay for classes and books. Instead of using that money on other things, apply it right back to the loan. I knew people who were spending their student loan money on cars and vacations-bad idea!
15. Use your student discount. Some stores and venues will give you a discount with a student ID, you just have to ask.
16. Take advantage of campus amenities like the gym or fitness classes or events like movie nights. These are often included in the price of tuition or at a low cost.
17. Work a part time job to pay for living expenses.
18. Avoid credit cards. Credit cards can be a slippery slope. It is so easy and mindless to just swipe a purchase and the interest is expensive. Instead, use cash or a debit card linked to your bank account.
I hope you find these tips helpful. What ways do you save money?