financial lockdown

one thing that has always driven me crazy is listening to people in my generation talk about how broke they are-while they are simultaneously terrible with their money. it infuriates me to watch people spend wildly and then complain about how they can 'never afford anything.' not to mention, wildly jealous when those in similar financial situations to myself do things like go to europe for 2 weeks, or buy $40,000 plus cars, etc etc and i can't do those things because i'm trying not to be wildly irresponsible with my money.

interestingly enough, i have become one of these people myself. pot-meet kettle. 
i love shopping. not just buying new things, but the whole shopping event its self. i have managed to keep my head above water, but don't feel financially healthy. interestingly enough, i would put money on (but seriously no gambling) the fact that i am in a much better financial situation that a lot of people my age. kids, we gotta get a grip. and i mean fast.

the other day, reading 5280, i saw an article about anna jones of and then she saved. she managed to pay off over $23,000 dollars in debt in 15 months. and it was like someone slapped me across the face-i could do this too. maybe not 23k, but, if i was diligent and smart, i could pay down some serious debt in the next year.
it would be a commitment, but hell, it's like anything else. evaluate the problem, make a goal, and devise a plan. check. check. check. sure, it's easy on paper...to pinpoint your 'problem areas' and then say what you'll do to fix them.

the ugly truth...
my debt in total: $34,114.73. sounds hefty-and it is. but, it's also under control, and i'd like to get a handle on paying it down before it isn't-under control-anymore. of that $34ish-k only $812.57 of that is credit cards, $14,059.09 is my student loan and then the honker $19,243.07 is what i have left on my new car (which i love and don't regret for one second).

the pitfalls...
1. i am points/miles hungry and i use that to justify overspending ("well i will be closer to a free flight if i just buy this wildly overpriced sweater that i'm not even sure i love")
2. clothes
3. booze-okay, not just booze-but entertaining myself with food and drink is more accurate. specifically brunch.
4. no limits. if i see it, and want it, i buy it. half of the time i don't even look at the price tag. not okay.
5. daily deal coupons. ya know, the craze taking over! they suck me in every time. to the point that for a while i was getting more than 1 massage weekly because they were all going to expire. totally overdone.
so these are my problem areas. my achilles heels, if you will.

the goals....
1. pay off the credit card.
2. student loans come next. i have to get that bad boy down as much as i can. despite doing everything right with my loans and going through the govt, being modest, etc that mba worked that sucker up to over $17k-and being naive i just assumed i had a good interest rate. and i do, but it's not great. 6.55%...which basically means that although i have been paying this damn thing for almost two years i have barely made a dent. damn it.
3. pay down gwendi-my vw. i can, however, be conservative on these payments because i got a bangin' interest rate when i bought her. 2.95%...thank you mom for burning the whole 'good credit score' thing into my head.
4. up my savings a bit. i have an okay amount of money-like an emergency fund. but i'd feel a lot better about said emergency with another couple thousand in the bank.

the plan of attack...
stick to the need, and avoid the want. sounds easy. problem is, i am a 'justifier' from way back so i'm going to need a few more guidelines.

the needs...
general health (shampoo/toothpaste/meds/etc)

the cuts...
air conditioning
dining out
mfd membership
brunch :(

photos from weheartit
i'm going to take it from anna and say $200.00/monthly for anything that doesn't qualify as a need.
maybe posting these will help keep me accountable. and happy to share about my progress-assuming that i make some. i will update about my penny pinching and how fun paying down my debt is becoming (see how positive i'm trying to be). may 1-may day (fitting) will be my start date.

here goes nothin.'
xoxo ashleycolean

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