Saturday, September 22, 2012

How I do love checking off a checklist!

So my longtime readers may know that I am not a particularly girly girl. Normally this just manifests itself in having to buy new makeup every time I go back on the job market because that's the only time I wear any. But, since I am the bride (or, as Fiance's hometown newspaper put it, the bride-elect) most of the wedding planning falls to me. This is not to say that Fiance is not able to help out, but somehow despite my lack of girliness I have absorbed more wedding knowledge than I actually was conscious of possessing. So Fiance has specific tasks, but I am generally responsible for picking up the ends and pieces - which is fine by me since I like to organize things.

We set a date for next June, and we have got contracts down for our ceremony location, reception location (which is also the caterer), cake, photographer, photo booth, and musicians. The wedding is being held in Fiance's hometown which is not far from my own, so we did reserve some hotel rooms but not a ton since not that many people will need one. And we are meeting with a florist next week. All in all I feel like I have checked off all the important boxes on the checklist.

So why do I feel like there MUST be a million things that I haven't done and need to do? To be honest, I am now really unsure what it is that women who are planning their wedding are DOING, since so many of them seem to regard it as a part time job that they must work at for a whole year before the wedding. I mean, we aren't having a huge blowout, but we're inviting a lot more than just immediate family, and we're having a bridal party and all that. But so far, this just hasn't taken as much time as I thought it would and so of course I think I am missing something.

Part of it may be that there are a great many details I just don't care that much about. For example, the dress - I like dresses, I own a lot of them, but I am unwilling to pay four figures for this thing and I am unwilling to try on 298347597 of them just because that seems to be what people do. I'm going to try on a few, see if I like them - if I don't, I try on a few more, and pick the one I like the best, and if I do, I buy it on the spot. This is how I approach cars, and I have spent a lot more money on those than on dresses!

But I feel pretty good about the progress I have made on getting things done. In my mind, even if all we do from this point forward is send out invitations, we've got places reserved, there'll be food, photos, and music, and places for people to stay. I figure I have covered my bases well enough.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

One down!

I am very happy to report that as of Tuesday I will have completely paid off one of my longstanding credit cards. I had three credit cards that had large balances, and when I was unemployed four years ago, I got all three onto payment plans. The payment plans were a good thing because they had low fixed interest rates, but they also had high payments because I had to pay them off in five years. My plan for this year was to put all the extra money I could towards the one I could pay off the fastest, in order to get rid of the large monthly payment, and I'll make my last automated payment on Tuesday. (Of course, now I have to call them to cancel the rest.. ) That, combined with our (still trying to) refinancing the house, means I'll have an extra couple HUNDRED each month that I didn't have before. In general, I had planned to spend this year putting all available extra money towards debt payoff, and then next year put all extra money into savings for the wedding, and this will enable me to actually make good headway on both. So while I could have paid off higher-interest items, or used the "snowball" method and paid off the smallest, I think paying off one with a bigger monthly payment will ultimately help my cash flow a lot. And that comes even more in handy since I acquired two additional monthly payments this year in order to pay off my gallbladder removal surgery and my braces. (Ah, the indignities of adulthood.) But I still feel pretty yay about the whole thing, and it's kind of fun to do the math and think about which card I want to attack next.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Knocking out this wedding stuff like a boss.

As Fiance aptly put it the other day, we'd be the most boring episode of Bridezillas ever. There's not much about the wedding that I really want to be done a specific way, and those things I pretty much already have covered. (Mall-style photo booth, here we come!) But while neither of us have strong feelings about most of the items on the wedding list, we do have to actually make decisions about what to do. I'm trying to keep costs low since we are mostly paying for things ourselves, and there's only a few things that we care enough about to spend a lot on (food, pictures, and, um... food).

I am a world champion level list maker, so the last few weeks, we've been going down the list and making decisions. I know that traditionally brides agonize over what kind of flowers to get for months, but we decided on blue delphinium, blue irises, and white alstromeria and that is DONE. BOOM. Fiance even has a cousin who is a florist so we're going to see if she can just order us the flowers for the reception in bulk and we'll put the centerpieces together ourselves.

Last weekend we did the save the dates - I guess magnets are all the rage now, so we got magnets, and now we have to get going on collecting addresses. That is the really painful and annoying part - between the two of us, we're in Facebook or email contact with the majority of our list, but you still need to send out invites. So I will be emailing and Facebooking people to ask for their real addresses, and hoping they are all the same by the time we send out the real invitations. I'm just happy to have it crossed off my list.

Next up? Probably getting a dress, visiting our locations to get some pictures for decorating planning, doing trial hair, and reserving tuxes. Hopefully we can get a lot done in a single weekend - we're planning to go up for a couple of business days so we can meet up with a bunch of vendors in our "destination wedding" city, as my mother likes to put it. (It's in a dying former factory town that is losing population like there's a contest it wants to win.)

The Knot has a helpful if depressing list of all the things you need to do, so we're in the 9-to-12 months away block. I'm trying to take the approach that you're supposed to use on term papers: get started now and lay groundwork and the rest will be easier as you just fill in the blanks. Let's see if that actually works and keeps me from tearing my hair out (and then having to pay for expensive hair extensions.)

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We all have dreams... mine include discontinued auto lines.

As you may have noticed, I'm a planner. Or perhaps you would more accurately call it being a daydreamer with a spreadsheet. Before we moved to the city we live in now, I'd compiled a large Excel list of apartments in the area, with prices, distances to the place I'd be working, so on and so forth. And when I was a little kid, I used to cut out catalog pictures and glue them onto blank pieces of paper in order to make my own catalog of things I liked. You could say that I get almost as much enjoyment about thinking about the things I'll purchase (or the places I'll live) as I do actually purchasing them. And frequently when I want to get myself to do something, I think of something I want and then decide that I can have it when I meet my goal.

So I have decided that when I pay off all my credit card debt, I can buy a new car.

(Not new-new, of course, as I am neither wealthy, nor stupid, nor wealthy enough to be stupid. My sights are set on a car a couple years old, probably a retired Enterprise rental car 'cause they come with a lot of options.)

Of course, this plan didn't seem quite so brilliant on review, since I'm celebrating getting out of debt by getting into more debt. But on the whole, I'll actually have a lot more disposable income after my debt is paid off, and my current car is sliding down the drain pretty quickly. I'm hoping it actually lives until my debt gets paid off!

This is actually a pretty motivating idea for me. I've literally never owned a car that cost more than $4,000, because I've never had much on hand and never cared much about it. But it's really getting old fixing the problems that older, poorly maintained cars create - no one I know has ever had to replace the speedometer, the circuit board that runs your turn signals, or the temperature control panel in the dashboard. None of these were things I could have foreseen, and all of the cars I've purchased were checked out by mechanics before I purchased them, but you just don't see these kinds of problems in normal cars. It's getting old having to fix something every time I take it in for an oil change. So it's very motivating to think about owning a car that won't have random crap breaking all the time.
Right now I have my eye on the Pontiac G6.. here's hoping there's still some good 2009's and 2010's (I think that's when they stopped making them) when I pay off my debt!

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

So excited about refinancing! Is this what adulthood feels like?

So a while back I was doing some research on refinancing because I'd got a bee in my bonnet about trying to reduce our monthly expenses to save for the wedding. When we originally bought the house, we got an FHA loan because we didn't have much to put down, and those come with slightly higher interest rates than the average-bear mortgage. But since rates have gone down since then, and we've paid down the balance of the mortgage, and (I hope) our property has appreciated somewhat now that we have made some improvements, I was hoping that we were up to 10% equity and would have some flexibility in our mortgage options. I even looked into doing a HARP refinance but I'm not sure if we would qualify.

However, sometimes junk mail can be useful. Fiance got a card in the mail from some mortgage company, as he often does as the proud holder of an FHA mortgage, but this one said something about an "FHA streamline refinance". I had not heard of this rare item before, so I Googled, and it turns out that this is a real thing. An FHA streamline refinance basically allows you to do a quick refinance without having to get the house appraised or even provide new proof of income. And some dude from Quicken Loans told me that we could probably get a 4.5% or even 4.25% refinance without paying closing costs - since our current rate is 6.25%, that is pretty darn sweet. That'd lower our mortgage payment by about $150 a month. Not bad at all.

And on top of THAT, I did some shopping for home insurance and found a company that'll insure us for about $400 a year less than our current insurance (which is even nicer, because our current insurance is both going up $300 a year and also dropping coverage on our 100 year old slate roof, since so many of our neighbors evidently have been cashing in on their hail coverage recently.) So between the two, that's about $200 a month right off the top without costing us any money or significant hassle. I'm quite pleased with myself.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Progress! Or, as most of us know it, two steps forward and one step back.

Although I have been very pleased at the rate I'm able to pay down my debt, it really bugs me that between all of these payments I'm making and how much I'm saving for the wedding and etc etc, I'm not saving a whole lot in my emergency fund. I have about $900 in there, and I don't want to deplete it, so when I had to repair the car (for about $1300) and pay my taxes and car insurance and some medical bills and all that.. guess where it went. On a card! I really didn't want to get back into this cycle, and usually I can weather smaller expenses by picking up more work and earning my way out of them within a short time, but dang, I just couldn't earn my way out of a $3800 pile. So back on the card it went.

Luckily, since my credit is no longer the pile of poo that it used to be, I have an Amex (a green card, of course, but an Amex nonetheless) onto which I put the purchases, and then a paid-off Discover card that I could transfer them onto at 0% for a year. So between that and my other 0% card that I transferred some of the Discover balance onto, I'll be out of those in a year if I can pay $500 a month towards it.

But lately it seems as if I have no money to spend - and since I have been terrible about updating my personal Quickbooks (since I always have the business's file open instead) I haven't really been looking at how much money I have after paying bills each paycheck. Turns out: sometimes it is $8. Between paying all the utilities, the debt payments, paying Fiance my part of the mortgage, and putting aside $150 a month for the wedding, I end up with pretty much nothing left. This isn't a regular occurrence and is mostly due to the fact that the majority of my bills' due dates are in the beginning of the month, so I usually avoid it by shifting utility payments around on my bill-paying calendar, but sometimes it just can't be avoided. That's when I really feel like I have to step it up on doing extra work because that's literally the only money I have to spend unless I want to dip into savings. So obviously not a lot of extra money after THAT to put into savings. Most of the money that's been going into my savings account has been directly transferred from Paypal, usually from mystery shopping money, but none of my actual paycheck is going into my emergency savings.

So even though I have all these 0% deals, I can't help but think that my actual life would be easier if I put that $500 a month towards one of my fixed-payment cards - cause then I'd eliminate a fairly large payment and not be on the "did a check come today?" hamster wheel.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

What do you do with a drunken sailor.. I mean, $1000

So I have quite a happy decision to make. The new business is doing quite well for itself, and at the end of March, if everything goes well, I'm going to be able to pull out $1,000 without any problems. That's JUST in profit and that's less than my 2/3 of the share. (Because I am a perpetual worrier on these fronts, I don't like to empty the bank account.) Now I have to decide what to do with it, which is a nice change of mental exercise from the usual gymnastics of "can I pay all these bills with my paycheck and still have a couple bucks left to, I dunno, buy lunch".

The two options I am considering are whether to put money into my IRA or to pay down my Discover. Dollars-wise, the IRA is the better choice, because I am in the 25% tax bracket and thus will get 25% back on whatever amount I put in the IRA. (To be precise, because I will have to pay several hundred dollars to the IRS currently, I will just pay less in taxes, but won't actually get money back.) If I put $1,000 in my IRA, I'll get a $250 reduction on my taxes.

I balance-transferred half of the Discover balance to a 0% card, so I only have about $1,900 left of it. Putting $1,000 towards that would mean I could pay off the Discover card a lot faster. But, its interest rate is a little under 15%, so I'd only save $150, and that calculation only holds true if I didn't pay it off within the year. On the other hand, if I paid off the Discover, that would eliminate a monthly payment from my budget, freeing up money for other things. Plus it would allow me to do a 0% balance transfer back onto the Discover when I pay for the car repairs and my federal taxes without worrying about how much of each month's payment is going to the 0% portion.

I don't want to be blase and say "oh, $125, who cares, I have thousands more in debt!" because that is precisely the attitude that got me INTO thousands in debt. But I'm kind of leaning towards using the money to pay down the Discover because I need some simplicity in my financial life. And I already have a lot in retirement savings. (Not that we couldn't all use more, but I'm not catastrophically underfunded with $37,843 at age 28, and I do contribute 5% to my 401k.) If I paid off the Discover, I would have no more debt at anything above 6%, and could then start knocking down the temporary-0% loans without also having to make payments on the Discover. Hmm.

Well, I had intended this to be a "help me decide!" post, but I think I just convinced myself. :) If I put everything I can towards the Discover and eliminate the payment, I might not save as much money as if I put it in my IRA, but I would definitely make my life easier. And I'll feel pretty happy about not having ANY debt at a variable rate anymore.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Holy cow!

Ok, that's a slightly toned down version of what I actually said to Fiance, but I was super excited! So, I get a lot of credit card offer junk mail, just like most people, because I make a good income and my credit score is quite good. The problem is that because of my debt, I don't get approved for these "preapproved" cards. Every now and then when I'm feeling more positive about my debt, I try to apply for one, and then I get said because I get turned down. Since I have one card left that's at a regular APR, I could really use a nice 0% balance transfer.

Yesterday, I got some other good news - I have a plastic business credit card that I use for my business which has only a $250 limit. Yeah, I wasn't terribly excited about the limit, but I was happy that I was able to get approved for ANYTHING. But yesterday I got a thin letter in the mail from the card issuer - and while usually the thin letter means "We're cutting your limit" or "We've cancelled your card" or "We're jacking up your minimum payments" (thanks a bunch, Chase!) this particular thin letter said, "We're raising your limit to $1,000." Awesome! I was really quite excited about this, because a card with a $250 limit is not much fun when the business charges over $800 a month, and so I had to pay it off over and over, sometimes twice a week, to keep from going over. So this was very good news.

Feeling more positive about my credit after getting this news, I viewed my latest junk mail in a new light. And it had a 0% balance transfer for a year offer. Seduced once more by the "preapproved" note, I applied once more. And lo and behold I actually was approved! I put in a balance transfer for the Discover - I was only approved for $2,000, but hey, I'll take it. I really didn't believe I'd gotten it until I'd actually gotten all the way through and created an account on the website and seen the credit limit.

I'm pretty psyched. I have a bunch of other expenses hanging over my head right now ($1,500 to repair the car, at least $1,800 in medical bills) so I was feeling pretty low about my financial situation, and this was just the good news I needed. It's not really that this is going to help all that much in the grand scheme of things, although I will certainly be glad to save on some interest charges, but more that it's a sign that my credit is getting better and I might be able to rejoin the land of the normally-financed at some point soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tips on Finding Affordable Life insurance over 50

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Generally, the
life insurance over 50 coverage plan is an insurance policy that is intended to benefit the senior citizens. It is specially planned to provide financial security to those individuals who have reached their retiring years, but are not to have been freed off their financial obligations. Aging comes with a number of health issues, thus considerably increasing your risk level. As a result of this situation, senior members are incapable of qualifying for life insurance coverage; that is where the senior insurance policy comes into play. For this type of insurance coverage, senior individuals up to 85 years of age are eligible to apply for the coverage.

While other financial security measures like pension plans, contingency funds and personal savings are good, it is prudent to seek a financial plan that offers cash returns. With the life insurance over 50 policy coverage, the insured is at liberty to leave the disbursement to selected beneficiaries in case of any misfortune. The policy holder can also choose to allocate the compensation to cover the funeral expenses in the event of death or cover any debts or pending bills. The senior insurance policy is therefore crucial for providing financial relief for people in their fifty’s and over.

It is known for a fact that life coverage for younger individuals’ costs cheaper since the risk factors that affect the premium costs are lower. However, it is possible to get senior life coverage at affordable prices if you perform a thorough comparison shopping. Here are some of the tips that will assist you get affordable insurance coverage;

• Make sure that you meet the entire basic qualification requirements for a senior insurance coverage policy. The main minimum qualification is being between the ages of 50 to about 85 depending on the terms of the insurance company.

• Ensure that you verify the exact date the insurance policy commences. If you are not certain about the dates, it is always advisable to contact the insurance agent to clear the issue. Policies bought online usually commence immediately you are done filling in the registration formalities and made a down payment. On the other hand, policies purchased via conventional methods like in person or via phone, the usually confirms the exact date the policy will commence.

• Take notice of the duration of your coverage, generally senior insurance policies provide coverage as long as the premium payment is current. If at all your premium payments lapse, you are not entitled to any reimbursement from the insurance company. The prudent cause of action to ensure that you are always covered is to opt for a premium cap, meaning that you are required to premium just until your coverage amount is met.

• Choose a policy option that allows you to pay premiums on the basis of the actual extent of the coverage provided. This is not only affordable but also allows you to pay for your life coverage comfortably since this plan offers manageable monthly premium rates.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Multiple savings goals

So of course right as I want to start saving up for the wedding, there are a lot of other expenses that I have to save for at the same time. It's frustrating because I do do a lot of extra side work, what with the mystery shopping, the business, the extra job, the writing (which unfortunately I haven't had much time to do lately), and I do bring in extra money, but since so much of my regular salary goes to paying down debt, I rely on that side work to bulk up my savings. And then I get frustrated because it's annoying to have to parcel out a nice chunk and put $50 here and $50 here. But if I don't, I feel like I am shortchanging my other goals. Ack.

Current savings goals:

Wedding - Obvious. Right now Fiance and I have to save up enough to put deposits down on stuff, which is probably going to be about $2k, if not more, but then we have a year to save up the rest of it, which is nice.

Medical bills - I do have much better health insurance now, but I also did just have my gallbladder taken out. (About which I am very happy, because owning one was a serious downer.) So I am definitely going to hit my out of pocket maximum for the year, which is $2,000, and I have a couple hundred in medical bills from last year to pay off too. I'm hoping to work out some kind of payment plan so I don't have to put it on a credit card and pay interest.

Car insurance - I maaaay not have mentioned this before, but I was in a very, very minor fender bender a couple months ago. Like at one mile per hour when the person in front of me stopped short. So I'm a little worried how much my car insurance is going to go up. Hopefully not very much. But you never know, and I have zero saved for it right now. It comes due in April so I need to get cracking on that.

Fixing the car - Somehow, I managed to purchase a car in which neither the heat nor the A/C worked properly. A while back, some part in the car broke in such a manner that the A/C was on permanently. As it was November, this was not fun. So, I took it into the shop, and it seems that the switchy-thingy (I'm sure it has a real name) was broken in the "on" position. To fix this, they broke it into the "off" position, so now it can only produce heat. I decided that I could live with this until spring, when I'll get it fixed - to the tune of about $1300. Owch.

General "oh no" fund - I like to have at least $1,000 in the "oh no" fund. Right now it's only at $800, and that's probably going to go into the car, which is also making an unhappy grindy noise in addition to the no-A/C thing.

So, in conclusion, I have now made myself fidgety about the amount of money I have to save up. Yay!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Big news!

Actually, two big pieces of news!

First: Boyfriend got an upgrade and is now Fiance! He proposed at our favorite restaurant and I of course accepted. I had to tell my mom before I put it on Facebook, but now that everyone's informed I felt I needed to share it here. We're planning on keeping the wedding very simple, mostly because I am the least girly girl on the planet and could not care less what color the napkins are, and won't be able to muster up caring, but also because neither of us sees spending a ton of money on a wedding as a worthwhile endeavor.

So I don't anticipate that I will be gushing about wedding crap here much, and I am actively avoiding the bridal-industrial complex and Brides Magazine and all of that. I registered for an account on The Knot and it told me I had 189 things on my to-do list and I don't wanna go back. We're hoping to get the major parts nailed down within a month or two for June 2013 (officiant, ceremony location, reception location, caterer) and then promptly forget about it for six months.

Second: I paid off my Amex Blue card! I feel like I should not be as excited about this as I am, given that I paid off the CareCredit and Amex Gold cards previously, but this feels like a milestone more than those did. For one thing, this has really made budgeting a lot easier. Before I paid it off, I was paying $100 per paycheck, and with the new job, the paychecks were a little smaller (since I took a pay cut and started contributing to a 401k again.) So now not having to pay that $100 per paycheck means I don't have paychecks where less than $200 is left for actual spending, and I can up my payments to the other cards without running out of money after a week.

Paying it off also means I have more ability to save money for the wedding. Boyfriend (sorry, Fiance) and I are each contributing $150 per paycheck to the wedding account, and I already had $500 in it because I kind of knew this was coming. So we should be able to take care of our deposits pretty soon, especially since I am still working two jobs and running the business, and then we can just save up for all of the million expenses we can't anticipate now. But not fancy napkins.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Guest Post: Mitigating That Student Loan Burden

This is a guest post written by Sam Peters, who frequently blogs about topics relating to money and personal finance.

Those of you following my battle against debt have probably realized that a substantial portion of that debt – around $13,000 worth at the end of last year – is tied up in student loan obligations. Student loans reflect a different sort of debt when it comes to prevention or mitigation. Consider it this way: someone with thousands of dollars of debt sitting on their Visa likely made some imprudent spending decisions in the past. But a person trying to pay off their Discover graduate student loans, for example, was probably fully aware of their impending burden when they took out the loans in the first place. They knew they were going to be in debt, they saw the writing on the wall, but they decided that it was worth it to get an education.

Considering the importance of a college degree these days, I believe that there is certainly nothing wrong with that approach. I have student loan debt, to be sure, but education I received has contributed to a job that helps me pay off that debt. In the long run I come out even, if not (hopefully) on top.

So I don’t regret deciding to take out loans and financing a college education. But what I do regret is that I didn’t take concerted steps to reduce the cost, the number of loans I needed to take out, and consequently the debt with which I graduated. If I could go back in time, I would tell my pre-college self to try harder to bring down my college costs. Specifically, these are the tips I would recommend:

Boost Financial Aid

Increasing the amount of financial aid you receive is naturally often a losing battle. Still, there are countless tricks that I may no effort to try back in the day. These tricks include investing assets in retirement accounts, taking yourself as a dependent, and including family liabilities if you have siblings in school at the same time.

Follow A Loan Forgiveness Program

Many schools, scholarships, and financial aid programs provide stipulations whereby a graduate can earn forgive on loan interest if they pursue certain public sector careers for a given amount of time. While such work doesn’t exactly interest me, it would have been nice if I had kept those options open. I could have paid off my debt and moved on to a different job by now.

Save on Textbooks

A surprisingly significant portion of my student loan debt comes not from textbook costs. I’ve always appreciated that textbooks are expensive, but I never realized how quickly that all added up. If I was redoing college, then, I would make a point to shop for textbook deals on, share books with friends, or simply forgo a non-required class that has a heavy reading load.

There are many other tips for reducing your student loan debt, but there are the three main ones I would probably give my pre-college self. Too bad time travel isn’t possible. But fortunately, someday my student debts will be gone and – hopefully – the benefits of my degree will continue to live on.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Don't Give Up Yet! Why Sticking to Resolutions Can Save You Money

This is a guest post written by Sam Peters, who frequently blogs about topics relating to money and personal finance.

The holidays are rarely nice to any of our budgets. I personally dread the holidays only because I feel like I won't be able to pay down as much of my debt as I would like due to gift buying, holiday cooking, and additional travel expenses. Then once New Year's has passed, I find myself scrambling to set a budget to determine how quickly I can get my finances back on track.
However, living on ramen isn't the only way to get yourself back on the right financial foot come the new year. By simply sticking to those New Year's resolutions, you can save yourself a substantial amount of cash both short term and long term. A few of the most money saving new year's resolutions that you should think twice about before giving up on include:

Dropping Weight and Getting in Shape

If you are looking to save yourself a substantial bit of money both short term and long term, losing weight is the way to do it. You will immediately notice a difference in your monthly budget as you will save on eating out in both restaurants and drive-thrus - common places to be avoided by dieting individuals - and you will also save yourself money over the long haul as you will prevent yourself from having to pay higher insurance premiums and high medical bills from health conditions associated with being overweight.

Giving Up Addictions

While you may not consider yourself an addict, if you just “have to have” that cup of coffee each and every morning from your favorite coffee shop, there is a good chance that you are a coffee addict. Whether you are addicted to caffeine, cigarettes, or just frequent that after work happy hour, by giving up these vices, you can save up to $200 a month. All three of the aforementioned also negatively impact your health, especially smoking, and by giving them up now you can avoid high medical bills often associated with the health conditions that arise from abusing any of them.

Living on Less

Choosing to live on less in the New Year obviously has its financial perks, but like losing weight or giving up any vices, living on less is often very difficult because it requires a complete lifestyle change. The reason why most of us get ourselves into high debt is because we overindulge and neglect our budgets for years, and going from living in a nice roomy apartment with a great view of the Chicago skyline to a cramped studio with most of our possessions either sold or tucked away in area Chicago self storage facilities isn't always an easy transition. However, if you stick to living without the excess – including those shopping sprees you feel as though you deserve sometimes – you can quickly reduce your debt.

Getting out of debt isn't always easy, but you don't always have to take extreme measures to make it happen. Sometimes, following a simple tradition can help you get there while also making you feel better about yourself both physically and mentally.