Today we have a guest post from Kara. She’s here to tell you how she’s managing to pay off her debt despite a very low income.
I make almost no money. I made $22,253 this year and will make around $23,000 next year. I have 4 part-time jobs that add up to this sad little number. But I have made it my mission to pay off my student loan balance of $13,291 in the next 14 months.
My story is a simple one: I hate sending money to my debt each month. It’s absolutely maddening to watch chunks of your paycheck disappear into the black hole of debt. Especially since it’s student loan debt. College was supposed to make me money, not suck me dry!
Since I make so little money, each expense stands out. In the last few months I have made drastic life changes and thus I’ve also made major headway on my loans. I am committed to maintaining my dedication throughout 2015. But how much impact can I really make when I make so little money?
It comes down to one thing: knowing when to say ‘no’ and when to say ‘yes’. I say no a LOT of different things.
When my friends go to $16 brunch Sunday morning, I sleep in.
When my family draws names for Secret Santa gifts (you must spend a minimum of $75 on your person!), I opt out.
Any birthday or Christmas money I get doesn’t go to a new dress or a dinner out – it goes to my loans.
Nothing saves you money like simply not spending. And I have turned not spending into an art.
Luckily, free is all around us. I eat left overs from the catering company I work for and don’t spend money on groceries or eating out anymore.
I run and hike outdoors and don’t pay for a gym.
I don’t buy clothes anymore but host clothing swaps with friends.
I attend free events around my city – live music at parks, bars, and event venues are often free during certain hours.
Businesses also frequently host promotional events with free food, drinks and entertainment and you better believe I hit them up.
I can’t remember the last time I went to the mall, and I put myself on a 6 month Target ban.
I walk instead of driving.
I gave up buying drinks at bars or coffee shops, and I haven’t seen a movie in theaters in months.
I also don’t use cash because it’s too easy to spend.
‘No’ has become my mantra.
But I say ‘yes’ to making extra payments on my loans each month. I say ‘yes’ to being debt free!
I have re-allocated the money I used to spend on drinks, clothes, and going out to my loans. In the last three months I have paid off $3,746. I have a $2,000 emergency fund and $900 in regular savings.
I say ‘yes’ to my side hustles and ‘yes’ to being a healthy financial adult. For me, the ‘no’s in my life are not big deals. I can (and am) living happily without my old expenses.
Being debt free is a dream I have been chasing down since I graduated. Finally reaching that goal will taste better than a $16 Sunday brunch ever could!
Kara Perez is a social media worker and writer in Austin, Texas. She writes about women in media and her journey to being debt free at karaelizabethperez.wordpress.