January came and went so quickly that I didn’t write my monthly summary. Big whoops, so here it is.
For those of you who are new, the entire reason why this blog exists is to chronicle my way out of debt and into freedom on a beach in Bora Bora. The second part is a lie, but if I win the lottery, you’ll know where to find me. This blog has been running for five long years and I’ve been doing this every single month since we started. Okay, there was one month where I was going to change to doing this every other month so I didn’t do the monthly check in. That was last February.
My goal is not just to get out of debt; I also share exactly how I am building alternative income streams by making money online and any lessons that I’ve learned along the way. Think of me as your getting out of debt crash test dummy. I know that you’re waiting for the number so let’s look at that and then get on to everything that happened in January.
In the month of January I reduced my debt by $2,179.96. That’s a healthy number and I’m pretty happy with it! Remember, my goal is to slash $25,000 off the debt this year. In order to reach that number I have to reduce the debt by at least $2,083.33 each month. I was almost $100 over that goal amount in January, but I did even better than that.
In order to get out of debt I’ve reduced my spending drastically; going so far as not buying Christmas gifts anymore. I broke that rule on New Year’s Day by making one HUGE purchase. I live in New York City and this year has been absolutely crazy with snow storms. I hate snow. Okay, I like snow in theory, like on post cards and on television and stuff. In real life? I hate snow. Can not stand it. The thing that I hate more than snow itself is shoveling snow.
I’ve shoveled snow pretty much most of my life. This year I decided that I had had enough. So, I went out and spent over $500 on a snow blower/thrower/back preserver. It might just be the best thing that I have ever purchased in my life. By the end of January I had used the snow blower four times. It seems like every week there is a new snow storm and I’m sick of it. I plan on running that snow blower until the wheels fall off.
Where was I going with this? Oh yes, so the debt repayment would have been higher had I not spent that $500 on the snow blower. Was it worth it? Heck yes and I would do it again in a heart beat. Why didn’t you just take that money from your emergency fund, you ask? Well, as much as I dislike snow and shoveling, it’s not an emergency.
Now you’re thinking, oh, Sandy must have gotten a sexy raise. That’s gotta be where the moolah is coming from, right? Nope. Not at all. I’m still a consultant in a short assignment. What’s different is that I am putting as much money as I can to my debt automatically…that and I am now a DINK (dual income, no kids) and our family decreased by one. Don’t worry, everyone is still alive.
I’ve been the sole breadwinner for my family for years. It’s been a careful balancing acting between providing what was needed while reducing my debt. I’ve never complained about it because I know that I am a part of the sandwich generation – those of us who must take care of our parents and kids at the same time.
But, you don’t have any kids, you say. You’re right! I made the conscious decision to delay having kids as long as possible because I don’t believing in having kids if you can’t afford them. It’s not responsible. Anyway with the other half working full-time now, we’re making arrangements for care to be provided to others for whom we are responsible and I can push a bit more money towards the debt. That and the fact that my 401(k) contributions no longer exist.
I’m still making money online. You want to know how much, don’t you? Go on and check it out.
Boo! For the first time in…wait, how long has it been? Listen, I’m too lazy to check, but it’s been a long time since netted less I made less than $1,000 online. Honestly though, you should have expected this. Last month I told you that I was shifting how this blog earns money and that I was expecting the amount to pretty much tank. It’s honestly a nice surprise that I made that much.
There were lots of things going on in January. I’m busy a woman! I mean, I have a full-time job, run an online store, write for this blog, turn down writing for other blogs, appear on podcasts when I’m lucky enough to be invited, and then I launched a whole new website.
Did I forget to mention that? I partnered together with a bunch of personal finance writers to create The Color of Money online magazine. The idea for this site hit me one night in November after reading a bunch of statistics on just how far behind African Americans were financially. I believe in paying things forward, so this is it. During Black History Month (February for those who don’t know), I’ll be promoting the site all over the place which means that I won’t have as much time to spend on this blog.
Go over and take a look at it. Go on. Go. It’s pretty slick huh? It’s already been mentioned by Equifax and I hope that others find it because there’s a lot of information there and even more to come. Suffice to say, I’ve spent a TON of time building that site and getting everyone together. I’m proud of it.
I have a bunch or articles sitting in my head that I haven’t had a chance to get onto the blog. I hope to be able to get those articles published this month because I suspect you’ll love them.
That’s pretty much it for me for January. February is a short month and I’ll be busy with the other site. Either way, expect my debt repayment to be around the same if not higher. You should also expect the blog income to be lower, but that’s changing soon.
I’ll be firing my property manager while trying to make sure that I don’t burn bridges, so that should be interesting. There are some aspects to business that’s never pleasant, but sometimes necessary. This is one of those times. Details on how I came to that decision is upcoming.
Finally, my blogging buddy J. Money asked some personal finance bloggers to share their net worth. I don’t think that I’ve ever done that on this site. Sharing your debt is like stripping down to your bathing suit. It’s humbling if you don’t have a perfect body or perfect finances. Sharing both your debt and your net worth is like taking that bathing suit off and walking around, oh, the entire globe for everyone to see.
You know what I said to sharing my net worth? Why the heck not? I am still running the numbers and it looks like in the five years since I’ve been running this blog my net worth has gone for -$120K to…you’ll just have to wait and see.
How did you do with your debt repayment in January? Have you bumped into something that helped?
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