Dear Readers…

Hello readers & followers! It has been quite some time since I wrote on this blog and I was ready to actually delete this blog. Luckily, someone made a recent comment that brought me back to those goose bump feelings I would get when I touched someone. I will be writing again, but may be changing the formatting on this blog.

Ok, quick updates on my life!

I am still debt free! Woo Hoo

I recently purchased a 2013 Mini Cooper (dream car) in cash – it was hard to see the savings diminish, but my 2005 Mazda3 had over 210,000 miles and it was time to say farewell. I could not mentally stand the thought of having debt/car payments again, so I bit the bullet and drained the savings. I am in rebuild mode again. On a pay it forward mentality note, I gave my Mazda3 to my cousin in Sacramento who loves it as she was taking the bus to class each day. I now keep up with her Snapchats and her in the car – typically at a fast food joint. 🙂

I am now focused on saving more money for a down payment! I still want to focus on one new country vacation each year and one new state each year, so I need to be able to add that to the budget for sanity purposes, but I do want to focus on that 20%.

One of my personal friends recently became a Real Estate agent and introduced me to a lender who is evaluating my finances. I do not feel very confident about the liquid cash I have, but we will have to see how our discussion goes on Tuesday.

Now that I have a focus, I will be mainly blogging on ways to save for that down payment! Here are some budget friendly action items I have recently done.

  1. I stopped buying coffee! I used to walk into the office daily with coffee the last few months, but I now make it at home daily. Back to the grind!
  2. I have been brown bagging it. Due to my crazy work schedule and commute, I had to outsource my shopping and stick to a realistic plan. This may help you city dwellers:
    • I use Instacart (www.instacart.com) for my grocery shopping. I accepted the fact that I would arrive home around 7pm and was way too tired to shop and then cook. I easily stopped by the local Vietnamese restaurant nearby way too many times dropping $20+ a night! I now create a shopping list, walk to my car at work, hit “submit” and by the time I am home 45 minutes-1 hour later, groceries are delivered to my door. I signed up for the annual fee to avoid delivery fees each usage, so I then just pay for the tip. However, the money I save from eating out is well worth it. Not only to mention, my sanity and time is saved!
    • Learn what works for you: I purchased an indoor grill because I hated the way my chicken breasts came out, so I invested in items that will help me eat what I shopped for. I also found a Griddle pan at Ross that I love that has helped me make breakfasts more enjoyable. Also, frozen rice is a life saver, but is more pricey, so I am looking into a rice cooker.
  3. Back to saying NO! I have said no to quite a few things. If it does not bring me joy, I just can’t do it. Also, I am looking for NEW adventures, so if I have tried that restaurant, if I have already done that event before, chances are, I will say no to you (with a smile)

Ok, that is all folks – Keep you posted on my down payment goals. I am also looking into investing strategies, so I’ll share that as well.

Cheers!

Frugal Idea #42: Yoga To The People

Happy Sunday! As some of you might have read recently, I paid off my student loan and I am now 100% debt free (Link: Frugal Idea #41: Countdown – 3,2,1, “I’m debt FREEEEE!”.) It has been surreal and loving it. I am now focusing on my budget towards a down payment, a vacation, savings, a car (I have 187k miles on my current car and I need to save now in order to pay in full and all in cash for the next car), & a laptop (so I can keep blogging!). Everydollar.com has been wonderful. For July, I was under budget! Woo Hoo! (Link: Frugal Idea #40: EveryDollar.com.) 

To maintain a debt free lifestyle, I need to continue living below my means. This includes taking advantage of local and free events/services. A huge inspiration for me this year to clear my mind, maintain a healthy body, and channel focus has been to practice Yoga. It started with a bit of bravery to try out a class for the first time and a few stumbles on the poses.  I instantly fell in love with Yoga.

Taking classes can definitely add up in costs. I was introduced to a donation based class available in San Francisco’s Mission District! The organization is called Yoga To The People and there are locations in New York, Seattle, Berkeley, and of course, San Francisco. You can donate what you can afford and participate in a one hour Yoga class. This is a great service! Does anyone want to attend with me?

Visit Yoga To The People’s website at http://yogatothepeople.com

As mentioned on their site: Yoga is meant to help strengthen and stretch your arms and legs, not cost you one!

Yoga To The People

Frugal Idea #41: Countdown – 3,2,1, “I’m debt FREEEEE!”

Hi All! I have some exciting news to announce. I just made my LAST payment towards my student loan and now I am 100% debt free! My heart was racing as I hit the “submit” button. I was near tears achieving this huge accomplishment. 10 years ago, I graduated college with about $59k in debt. How did I get myself into that mess? I was financially irresponsible, lived off of credit cards, and was eager to please everyone out there. At 24, I graduated college with a $21k student loan, had about $10k in credit card debt (that grew to $20k of course), and purchased a brand new car at about $16k. The shame I had really affected my work, my relationships, and my self esteem. I was secretly angry inside and really wanted to blame anyone except myself. Who would have guessed that walking into a thrift store and picking up a used book titled, “The Courage to be Rich” by Suze Orman would be the start of my personal journey towards financial freedom.

Here are some of the changes I made in my life to pay off this huge debt. Along the journey towards financial freedom, I was still able to vacation, go to nice dinners, and buy gifts for those I care about, but I saved for it instead. It took small baby steps to get to where I wanted to be, but of course, the first step was always the hardest. I write this to inspire others in their own journey to financial freedom. Whatever you want to achieve, you can do it! 

How I paid off $59k!

1) Give yourself a raise. Work hard for the promotion or find a company that  will value you. I decided to study sales and gave myself a raise. I never thought I would work in sales with a commission structure, but I loved and still love being in control of what I can make. There is no cap on earnings. Any successful bonus I earned in sales went towards debt. I also lived below my means. I never banked on the commission. Through hard work, I was able to receive multiple promotions and helped increase salary.

2) I stopped shopping for new clothes (for a while). When I was ready to buy new clothes again, I had a budget and patience. Everything was calculated.

3) I stopped eating out too much. I had a period of time that I only allowed myself to eat out when it was a special occasion – birthdays, etc. I said no to dinners I knew that would have a complicated situation when it came time to pay and the group was too large. For some reason, I always lost money that way. I ordered water!

4) I stopped drinking too much. I would spend $100 a night drinking out. That really had to stop.

5) I started taking the bus and trains more. Once I paid off my car, I really wanted this car to last. I currently am at 187k miles and loving it!

6) I took care of my car. I was on time for oil changes and maintenance.

7) I used coupons

8) Since I loved eating out, I watched Youtube videos on how to cook my favorite dishes and made it at home with less ingredients.

9) I never cut my budget for groceries. I eat and snack a lot, so I need to have food available. I also like eating a variety of items. When I limited my groceries, I found myself being unhappy and eating out any way. Best to buy what you want, when you want it. Yes, buy that nicer cut of steak when you want it. I guarantee it is cheaper to cook at home than to eat out!

10) Downgrade. Example, order a small coffee vs. your medium or large.

11) Say no to activities you really don’t want to do!

12) Write down everything you owe and get angry! Get angry at the credit card companies who have high interest rates. Pay the card with the highest interest rate first!

13) Do side jobs and sell your items. I’ve sold clothes, ran errands, and did taste tests. Anything to earn extra money. I did not spend it. I put it towards debt.

14) Be honest with family. I no longer wanted to buy gifts for adults in the family. Just the kids.

15) Study. I watched YouTube videos, listened to Podcasts, read every article and book I could about personal finance.

16) Manifest. Believe, believe, believe. Surround yourself with like minded people.

17) Avoid high spenders! Never let anyone distract you from your goals!

18) Take control. When I noticed the debt started dwindling, the car was paid off, and my emergency savings started to increase, I took notice of the new offers I obtained with transferring balances or taking out personal loans at 0%. I also became more savvy with investments and even switched to a HSA account. Know where your money is going to.

19) Gratitude. Be thankful for your life and what you own. There are those with less. When you appreciate what you have, you no longer have the need to search elsewhere.

20) Own it. I am frugal and I am proud of it. Being Frugal has taken me to new places in my life and I am forever thankful.

I hope this helps you out! As Dave Ramsey says: “Debt is dumb, cash is king, and the paid off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice.” Exactly how I feel!

… and for those who are curious about my current goals: To become a millionaire, save for a down payment for a home in San Francisco, and increase my net worth. Happy saving!

With Love and gratitude,

Frugal Nev

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