3.0 Managing the Money
In This Section You Will...
- learn how to use the template to track your accounts
- use the tool to plan out bill payments
- use the tool to figure out what debt you should pay first
After a month or so of tracking my spending, I focused on aggressively paying down debt and adding to savings. In order to do this, I needed to go deeper into detail by tracking my account balances instead of waiting for my bank and lenders to clear pending transactions. Knowing what was in my accounts and what would be in my accounts allowed me to give the maximum amount of money possible to debt and savings.
First, I made sure I had enough to cover my bills, necessities, and minimum payments on debts. Then I put enough in my employer retirement plan to get the full company match. Finally, I contributed enough to my health savings account to cover anticipated medical expenses through the end of the year.
You'll need to make sacrifices; which ones you make are up to you
While I aggressively paid myself and my debts, I cut my monthly fun spending to about $40 total (it just kind of happened that way). I stayed home a lot, but I also tried to do free stuff like visiting public parks in the city. I picked up a library card and found some books. I worked out at home instead of a gym and focused on other forms of self improvement, not just money.
I only paid for one streaming service at $5 per month by finessing my way to a student discount. I still spent too much money on restaurants and unhealthy snacks because I wasn't disciplined about preparing meals. I wasn't perfect, but everything that was left went to either savings or debt.