Purchases I Don’t Regret

There are definitely stupid purchases that I’ve made in my life, but there’s also a lot of purchases that I have been happy that I have made.

  • my home – so my kids can scream and jump and run as much as they want to
  • my Madewell boots – because I wear them all the time in the winter time, and the quality is so good – I’ll be keeping these for the next 20 years!
  • my Lands End red coats – this is a workhorse coat, and I love the red! It’s bright so you’re less likely to notice the wear on it.
  • my education – because nobody can take that away from me. Now I wish I hadn’t taken out all those student loans, but live and learn.
  • my mattress – because it’s so comfortable & it doesn’t squeak – the brand I got wasn’t Casper, but the company that I bought it from is similar to Casper and delivered it to my doorstep!

Daily Expenditures:

$39 (kids’ school pictures)

$92.13 (ink cartridges for business)

$36.72 (Costco)

Stopping Principal Payments

After listening to the ChooseFI podcast Episode 5, I decided to stop paying the $151 extra a month to my house. I had originally put that extra amount to try and decrease the length of my loan. When I had originally spoken to my mortgage company, they had said that the extra $151 is like making biweekly payments which will shorten my loan term. They would have had to charge me extra just to make biweekly payments so this extra $151 would still let me achieve my goal without being charged.

My interest rate on my house is 4%, and again since I am in debt repayment, it just makes sense that I stop the principal payment, and put that $151 towards debt. Once I am debt free, I would probably put the money towards investment with the hopes of earning more than 4%, and just slowly pay my house. At least, that would be the plan for now.

Yesterday’s expenditure:

~$50 (gas)

Lowering My 401k Contribution Rate

I’m working on paying down my debt so I had to think seriously about lowering my 401k contribution rate. Previously, I was contributing 20% which was putting a strain on me financially. As much as it’s hard to lower that amount, I decided to do it anyways. I lowered it to 5%, and I’ll have to double check what my company’s match policy is, but I believe that still qualifies me for the employer match.

That 15% difference will be going towards debt pay down. I’ll do a post soon of where I am on my debt situation, and possibly create some side bars so that I can see the progress each month.

Daily Expenditures:

$107.76 (Utility bills – this is the first bill that I’m using a credit card to earn points. I previously paid with a check by mail so that was $.49 cents each time. My utility company doesn’t charge me to use a credit card so I’m earning points on my utilities which feels good.)

$35 (doctor copay – again, I paid with a credit card. I’ll be trying to use my credit card more for bills)

Straight Talk

I’m on Day 5 of my Straight Talk plan, and no complaints so far! I was out of town and didn’t have any issues with service in a small town. The whole process of transferring my number over was simple as well. I was able to do everything online which is my preferred method of getting things done anyways. Since I kept my phone, I still have my iPhone 7 so that was perfect.

These are the steps that I took to switch to Straight Talk and transfer my number to the Straight Talk plan:

  1. I texted BYOP to 611-611 to verify if my phone would be compatible for the transfer.
  2. Get the activation and service plan from Walmart. It cost me $45 before tax which included 10GB of data for the month.
  3. In order to transfer my number over, I had to be still in service with my previous provider (Verizon). Since my plan with Verizon was slated to stop on November 1st, I bought the activation and service plan on the 30th and initiated the transfer the same day. This gave me a couple of days to ensure that the transfer was done in time for when I was out of service. I had a work phone as well so I knew I would be fine if all went south.
  4. The activation card had 3 different types of SIM Card (Verizon, Tmobile and maybe AT&T – I can’t recall the third one). Since my previous provider was Verizon, I used the Verizon SIM Card that came with the activation card. I had to play around with this a couple of times, and even had to YouTube on how to pop out my SIM Card. It was very easy once I had some guidance – and you can use a paperclip so no special SIM Card tool needed. This was the only tricky part of the process since I took it out and put it back in multiple times switching it with my old and new SIM Card since I wasn’t exactly sure how it was supposed to work. I eventually kept my old SIM Card in.
  5. I created an account on Straight Talk online and then started the number transfer where I had to give them some account information so they can access the transfer.
  6. That night, I wasn’t able to switch over since it was late. I don’t know if it’s a manual process done by a person. However, the next morning, I got a text saying that the account information was incorrect so I had to update the account information on the Straight Talk website. Once I did that and was successful, I put my new SIM Card into my phone, and it was working.
  7. A couple of hours later, someone from Straight Talk called me to verify that everything was working.
  8. Overall, the process was simple and now I’ve cut my cost almost $50!

Daily Expenditure:

$22.32 (Grocery store – includes items for my lunch this week)

Eating In

Eating out has always been a favorite hobby of mine. Is it even considered a hobby? Probably not. But I enjoyed trying new restaurants and eating a good meal prepared by someone else other than myself.

Unfortunately, it’s costly not to mention that it’s probably not always the healthiest.

When I was at Costco last night, I decided to pick up some pork belly and some pork chops. I split these up into two per small baggy that I froze so that they are more portion controlled.

I’ll be alternating vegetarian weeks with weeks making pork belly with a vegetable. They are really simple meals, and something that I learned from my mom. She used to always put a small amount of fatty meat in with a vegetable such as green beans or eggplants or cabbage. The fat in the pork belly cooked off and gave some good flavor to the vegetables. I simply add some salt and eat it with rice.

It’s nothing difficult or mind blowing, but it’s a cheap meal and easy to make and prepare. It’ll really save me on my groceries and on eating. Since it’s easy to prep, I’ll be taking more of it for my lunches as well.

Yesterday’s Daily Expenditures:

$65.15 (Costco)

Today’s Daily Expenditures:

$59.73 (new Straight Talk phone and plan activation)

Student Loan Debt

In the ChooseFI podcast, the two hosts usually ask their guests what they would tell their younger self. There’s a lot of things I would tell my younger self, but one of them would definitely be to not get student loans. I could have made it work, but I was already living beyond my means as a student. I was already married, and I didn’t understand the concept of living beyond my means.

Each time that I got a better paying internship, I would spend more. And I made some really good money as an intern.

I would have looked more into scholarships and grants, and applied for them diligently.

I truly believe that having student loan debt put me behind in life because so much of my pay was going towards that. I am pleased to say that I am down to $16k in student loans. It is still a lot of money, but being on this FI journey, I feel like for the first time in my life, I am facing the music and owning up to what I’m doing, and trying to take efforts to pay things off faster than this way of living where I was just paying the minimum.

I’m prioritizing my credit card debt ahead of my student loan debt for now, but it is constantly on my mind of what I can do to lower it. I’ve considered refinancing it, but it is already at pretty low rates so I may wait a couple more weeks before trying SoFi. I keep getting their pamphlets in the mail, and have been on their sites a couple of times but never finishing the process. The rates they bring up never seems to be that much better either.

Daily Expenditures:

$59.64 (gas)

The Work

Everyday that my debt is not being paid seems like a waste of time so I keep having to remind myself that the Work of FI is being done everyday.

It’s in me trying to find ways to cut costs.

It’s in me trying to not spend money on food.

It’s in me trying to fix things around the house or do things by me instead of paying someone else to do it. For example, two weekends ago I mowed the law instead of paying someone else to do it. My kids got some air, and I felt really proud of myself. Also, this past weekend, I blew the leaves and the kids loved helping me.

It’s in me learning more by listening to podcasts and reading.

It’s in me talking to people and learning from them.

The Work is being done everyday, and just because I’m not throwing money at my debt doesn’t mean I’m not making progress.

Daily Expenditures:

$20 (childcare)