We’re selling our house in Colorado this summer and honestly I’m sad about it. We LOVED living there.
Today I went through all of our pictures to reminisce about our life there (which was amazing!)
Here are my top Colorado summer bucket list items in case any of you make it out there!
Visit The Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs
Make sure you take the tour of the Olympic Training Center where resident athletes live and train full-time. The tour is sometimes led by athletes themselves and takes you through most of the campus. Plus, the video that kicks off the tour is super inspirational.
Feed the Giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Be sure to visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs while you are there! We took our 5-year-old nephew and he had an absolute blast (and so did we!)
Watch a Colorado Sunset
This picture was taken in Castle Pines, Colorado which is about a half hour South of Denver. The sunset over the mountain range was breathtaking.
I’ve lived in Massachusetts, Colorado, California, and Washington and can say that Colorado sunsets are the best hands down.
Watch a Colorado Sunrise
Colorado has some of the most amazing sunrises too! I took this picture on my way to the gym early one morning in Castle Pines. These type of sunrises were a regular occurrence.
Go to Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is a few hours west of Denver and it is absolutely breathtaking. This photo was taken at Bear Lake which is a popular easy trail for hikers at all levels (it’s completely flat and circles the lake). If you want more of a challenge you can check out the other trails in the Park.
Visit the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park (Warning – it’s haunted!)
While you are visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, you have to stop at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. Stephen King wrote The Shining based on this hotel. Spooky! I also recommend getting the Redrum Ale by Estes Park Brewery while you’re in there. So good.
Attend the Larkspur Renaissance Festival
The Renaissance festival is a fun summer activity in Larkspur which is located halfway between Colorado Springs and Denver along I-25. We went and had a blast checking out all of the attractions. It ‘s a great day trip.
While you’re in Larkspur, check out the Spruce Mountain Trail which is a great hike with beautiful views of the front range. You can take dogs on this trail and it’s rated moderate.
Go to a Concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater
You need to do this. I repeat you need to do this. Red Rocks is a natural rock amphitheater in Morrison, CO (about 45 minutes west of Denver) which is gorgeous and always a fun time.
Hike Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs, CO
Hanging Lake is a very difficult hike for the average person. Imagine your heart pumping for 45 minutes type of an incline…but the view at the top is SO WORTH IT!
Hike the Mohawk Lake Trail in Breckenridge
Breckenridge is our absolute favorite town in the entire country. We loved skiing here every Winter and vacationing here every summer.
The Mohawk Lake Trail is a particularly gorgeous hike and is dog-friendly. It gets super popular on holiday weekends so try to get started super early or go during a weekday. I would rate this hike moderate. You can always cheat and drive halfway up to the top if you’re worried about the distance.
Drink a Beer at Denver Beer Co
Denver Beer Co is one of those cool indoor/outdoor breweries with great beer, board games, and fun atmosphere. It can get packed in the summer but it’s worth it for some of that delicious beer. My favorite beer was the S’Mores Beer although I really can’t pick just one.
Kayak in Lake Dillon
Lake Dillon is in Dillon, CO and is gorgeous. We went on a kayak tour and had a blast exploring the lake and taking in thesurrounding mountain views. Lake Dillon is about one hour West of Denver and is just north of Breckenridge.
Visit Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
This park is GORGEOUS. Please go. The flat walking trails are perfect for visitors of all ages. It gets really hot here in the summer so bring lots of water for you, your family and your pups if you bring them!
I took these pictures at sunrise which made the rocks look even more beautiful and vibrant. I saw plenty of deer that morning and loved it.
Hike the Colorado Springs Incline (if you dare)
How does hiking a mile of stairs up a mountain sound to you?
Olympian Apolo Anton Ohno did the entire climb in 17 minutes. The fastest I have done the incline is in 45 minutes. Do not attempt the incline if you are not in shape. It’s so worth it though! The slow winding hike down the back of the incline is the reward for the 60 minutes of heart pumping action up the stairs. PS – beware of the false summit about 3/4 of the way through. I cried a bit the first time I hiked the incline because I thought I was done at the false summit but there was more!
Take a Picture in front of the Maroon Bells in Aspen
Aspen is three hours and thirty minutes from Denver but absolutely worth the long drive. You can camp at the Maroon Bells or just take the famous picture.
TIPS FOR VISITING COLORADO IN THE SUMMER
1. Skip the hotel – Here’s a $40 Credit for Airbnb
I recommend staying in an Airbnb versus a hotel when visiting Colorado. You’ll get a more local experience and see what life is like for people who actually live there. Use this link to get a $40 credit off your first stay.
2. Rent a car
Colorado doesn’t have great public transportation. If you’re just staying around the Denver area you can pass with using public transportation and Uber but then you’ll miss out on all the beautiful places to see in the rest of the state. I recommend renting a car and possibly an S.U.V. depending where you want to hike.
3. Wear sunscreen! & Drink water
They don’t call Denver the mile-high city for nothing. This means that in Colorado you’ll have more sun exposure to the sun and need more water than you are used to. To avoid altitude sickness, drink a bunch of water during the day and take it easy on the activity and the drinking the first couple of nights you are in town. I recommend bringing a water bottle with you at all times while you acclimate.
I Love Colorado in the Summer!
Man, seeing all of these beautiful places in Colorado (and thinking about the dozens more that I left out) makes me not want to sell our house. We miss Colorado!
What are your favorite places to visit in Colorado in the summer?
Around this time last year I was up to nearly $3,000 in revenue. Let’s see if I can do that again.
Etsy Digital Downloads – $234.59 in revenue
I am so excited to see my Etsy shop take off!! I shared that we launched an Etsy mastermind as part of the podcast and that I was hoping for a revenue bump this month. It came!
Before – 62 Sales
I took this picture on March 24th. Not quite April 1st but close.
After – 148 Sales!
I took this picture today (May 4th). This is a little more than the month of April but it makes the point. I’m making money!
Income is up~ $173 in profit.
I think I can double my profit this next month. Here’s why:
I just bumped up the price of my top selling product from $1.99 to $2.99. I can probably increase the price even more since I’m priced low in my category but I’m trying to take it slow and not mess up a good thing.
I stopped pumping so much money into promoted listings mid-month last month and it had ZERO effect on my orders. My orders actually increased naturally because I put up new listings and Etsy rewards new listings BIG TIME.
By the way – promoted listings just means that Etsy shows my listings up at the top in the ‘ads’ section in search. Check out these graphs.
Look at how my spend on promoted listings drops mid-month in the picture above.
Now look at the graph below showing a revenue increase and order increase around the same time.
I am now sure that putting up new listings is *MORE* impactful than promoted listing spend. No reason for me to spend money on promoted listings when I don’t have to!
My new strategy:
I kept my daily spend at $4 max but then I took the bid for each listing off of automatic and set it at 5 cents. This meant I was winning less bids and spending less money each day. I am not close to hitting the $4 max anymore at all.
It is possible that I will use promoted listings to scale sometime in the future but I’m not heavily focused on them right now. my focus now is getting up more products.
Blogging – $1950 in revenue this month!
I really should be doubling down on blogging since it’s my main revenue driver but I’m very captivated by Etsy right now. I do think that I can grow my Etsy business to match blogging but it doesn’t hurt to have two strong income streams.
Even though this income amount looks really good on paper, I want to tell anyone interested in getting into blogging these things:
Getting paid through blogging is typically delayed by 90 days and kind of spotty. It’s not a consistent paycheck that deposits straight into your bank account.
Income depends on traffic, conversions, and program terms and keeping all those things afloat is not easy. Getting those things in the first place is not easy either.
That being said, blogging is very rewarding and once you do the work and set it up, the machine kind of runs on its own with only minor maintenance.
I know I have to update this chart to show principal pay down in the “income” category among other updates but I can’t bring myself to do it.
Mostly because I’ve tried to sell this house before two years ago and wasn’t able to. The principal pay down doesn’t seem guaranteed unless I capture that money in the sale. I know that is somewhat ridiculous but this house will be off my books soon and then I can invest that money into Airbnb rentals. I am SUPER excited about this new project and think it’s a better use of the money.
I still am not taking chances this time on having the house sit on the market. I am researching little ways to update the house to make it sell more quickly. It’s only a 20 year old house (which is a baby house where I grew up) and has a wide open floor plan, kitchen with granite countertops, lots of natural lighting.
Brass everywhere. All brass everything.
What the house does have though is BRASS. Like, everywhere. Brass on the fireplace, brass in the bathrooms, brass on the doorknobs, brass on the light fixtures. I want that brass gone when we put the house on the market this time.
I’ve been researching how to cover the brass with a nickel spray paint and it seems to look pretty good. I also want to cover the peach tiled fireplace with this Annie Sloan chalk paint I keep reading about on blogs. Apparently you don’t need to use primer if you use this paint and you can paint directly on tile. At least that is what this blogger says. My fireplace looks somewhat like hers so I’m hoping this is possible.
If you have personally tried out this paint or any of these updates, please let me know in the comments. This is my first semi-renovation so I have no idea what I’m doing.
My podcast co-host and I just wrapped up an intensive six week mastermind. We built Etsy businesses from scratch and met weekly over Skype with group members to discuss progress and swap strategies.
One thing that came up in the discussion was how to motivate ourselves to do work even when we’re tired. We all lead busy lives and this mastermind was something extra for all of us on top of everything else.
Someone in the mastermind mentioned that they feel most motivated when they remember that the products in their shop can help others and are connected to a bigger purpose.
This was much more noble than my admittedly selfish reason for wanting to build out an Etsy shop (hint: $$).
My Etsy shop is for bachelorette parties. It’s hard for me to really connect that to a greater cause helping the world.
I’m also starting to get more interested in environmental causes and I feel bad that I’m adding just another piece of paper into the world. I guess printables are better than physical products though in that they avoid the packaging and invoice slips.
I’ve both been asked and have asked the question “what motivates you?” When I’ve asked the question at work, one person said seriously that they were motivated by snacks.
I think I am very food-motivated as well.
Last summer I motivated myself to lift really heavy every Tuesday at the gym so that I could go to taco Tuesday at a local bar right after and get discounted tacos and a house margarita.
I think the alcohol I consumed cancelled the benefits of the workout but I never missed a Tuesday. Actually I know it did because there are tons of studies out there that show that alcohol consumption post workout limits recovery. And just now when I was looking for a study to link to, I found this other article that says it’s known that alcohol causes 15% of all breast cancers. Taco Tuesday motivation completely gone now.
In the article I linked above from Psychology Today, the author recommends breaking up your day into tasks, keeping a journal of daily accomplishments, and celebrating the small wins every.single.day.
I find this interesting because I’m already doing that somewhat. I’ve filled out my Panda Planner daily since my husband bought it for me a year ago this May. The Panda Planner is a daily planner where I write down my three items I’m grateful for, the three items I’m excited about, an affirmation, my daily schedule, and tasks. I then fill out the “big wins” and one item of improvement at the end of every day.
I do notice that I get more done when I use the planner and I feel better and more calm that day. My sister, husband, and other readers who have used the planner on my recommendation have given similar feedback as well.
Perhaps this works.
How can the “small wins” motivation practice apply to financial goals?
In the financial independence / FIRE community (if you don’t know what FIRE is – start here), people are always talking about getting to the final result or that magical savings number that allows them to hit financial independence.
I first heard about the milestones of FI on the Choose FI podcast when they interviewed Joel from FI180 and I like the idea of it. The concept is that you save as much as you can and celebrate all the major moments along the way.
Personally, I know that celebrating the first $100,000 saved was a big milestone for me.
I didn’t necessarily do anything different but I enjoyed seeing the number change on my Personal Capital net worth tracker.
Perhaps I should do something of a bit more significance.
Many people are motivated by quotes (shocking? NO)
Pinterest and Instagram are flooded with motivational sayings and quotes. It’s funny that people like to collect quotes in the digital world too.
I’ll include some of my favs (half-serious) for Pinterest below.
People self-select themselves into this group (meaning if you are someone who likes quotes, you are already someone who would be motivated by them)
Reinforcing things in language works
People are aspirational by biological nature. It’s primal to want to follow other people.
I would have to agree.
Personally I love quotes. I like to butcher quotes but I still get the same effect. I am also the type of person who tries to push myself to be better and is not happy with contentment (also a huge fault of mine).
I’m very inspired by the #bossbabe style of quotes right now which you’ll see below. I also shared other quotes (and shout out to female bloggers I admire) in a previous post on girl boss quotes.
It’s inspiring to be a woman in 2018 who was raised with the Spice girls and now is living in the age of RBG, Queen B and all of the other strong female idols.
This #bossbabe quote movement is interesting to me.
Okay, admittedly, I was on a roll making images with Picmonkey for this post. I’m trying to improve my skills for my Etsy shop since the quality of the images in the listing is so important. I do think these quotes came out pretty cool, no?
What doesn’t motivate people?
This study showed that professors who warned students of failure before the test lowered their motivation.
Money doesn’t seem to be a 100% guaranteed motivating factor. There is a weak correlation between money and job satisfaction says this HBR study.
Another says that $83,000 per year is the new happiness benchmark for salary where anything over that adds minimal additional benefit.
I would have to agree with the latter that there is a point up to which more money equals more happiness because basic needs and discretionary spending needs are met. Everything over a certain point is gravy? That doesn’t seem to line up with the race for more money that we see in this culture right now (and I see in myself). So I don’t know about that last one.
Overall, I think what keeps me motivated is goal attainment. I like always working towards something or more likely 10 different things at the same time.
What keeps you motivated? Share any tips to help others in the comments.
There is no debate that a really high income can speed up the path to FIRE.
I just read this article from California Sunday about a bunch of twenty-somethings who plan to retire in their late twenties with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank…due to the combination of high tech salaries & financial discipline.
It’s no surprise that many of the popular financial independence bloggers currently or used to work in tech, especially given that the average tech starting salary is over six figures in some areas.
Not all FIRE bloggers work in tech as I’ve tried to capture in this FIRE diversity list, but many of them do. Including me : )
I personally switched into tech specifically for the income potential. My income shot up from $33,000 in 2012 to $100,000 in 2014 to well beyond six-figures currently.
While learning things in a group setting with paced materials makes it easier to learn most things, you don’t need a structured program to learn coding. You can learn for free online with blogs, websites and youtube.
You can also learn with books on Amazon or at your local library.
I made just over $1,500 this month from my side hustles so things are looking up from February’s income report, where I shared I made $1,300. If you want to know my blog traffic and other metrics, check out that previous income report. I want to focus on new and different things this week.
Let’s start with Etsy – $39 (and growing!)
My Etsy shop is back!! This time with all new digital download products.
I used to make $200 per month selling temporary tattoos on Etsy last year. I decided to put the shop on vacation mode sometime in the Fall versus try to grow it, since I wanted to focus on the podcast instead.
Well, 2 weeks ago I turned ‘vacation mode’ off to celebrate the launch of my new digital download product line!
I worked on these products as part of my Etsy Mastermind, which I’m hosting with my wonderful podcast co-host Gwen of Fiery Millennials.
The first few weeks of the mastermind were about getting our products created, listings up and our shops ready to sell.
Most people in the group were starting from scratch, but we all got our shops up and running and they look great.
Now, it’s time to grow our businesses!
This Etsy revenue is 2 weeks out from listing launch and with promoted ads turned on.
I launched my listings and turned on the promoted ads two weeks prior to writing this post. I have 12 sales and 1,000+ views on the listings so far, which is really good for just launching.
I need to rethink my Etsy promoted ads strategy though.
Since my products are $1.99 digital downloads, I’m not making as much money per order as I did when I was selling packs of tattoos. For example, I used to make $15-$20 per order versus the $1.99 average order cost now.
You pay a cost per click with Etsy Promoted Ads. The high average order on the tattoos made a 25 cent cost per click worth it (because when someone did purchase on the click, the high order amount made up for all the clicks and then some).
Right now, I’m not making up for the cost of the clicks because my product is only $1.99. I’m excited to learn how to turn this thing profitable with promoted ads and other strategies.
I want to increase my sales and reviews.
I have a theory that customers trust shops with more sales and reviews. Everyone in the podcast is buying and reviewing each other’s products to provide that social proof. It also helps to have someone test out our shop and the download process so we can catch anything that goes wrong up front.
$10 of the profit that you see above is from people I know personally. That means that I am actually in the hole $34 and not $24 as listed.
I don’t care that I’m in the hole though, because 1) I need reviews and sales for social proof and 2) I’m learning and $34 is a drop in the hat compared to what I plan to make with this business.
Social promotion is next
I also made a Pinterest account and created an email list with ConvertKit for the shop. I just launched it but I heard Etsy and Pinterest are best friends and I look forward to driving traffic to my shop from Pinterest.
We’re not accepting any more people into the mastermind unfortunately, but if you want to learn more about it and the podcast, click here.
Rental Income – $30
Abandoned Cubicle pointed out to me in the last update that I’m missing the principal pay down, tax benefits, and other items that should be noted under income. That is very true and I haven’t exactly calculated what those are worth to me.
I know the principal that I pay each month, but part of me doesn’t want to count it because there is still a very good chance that I could sell the house and have to pay a large commission. For some reason, the money doesn’t really feel like mine, but I know that is probably ridiculous.
How do you all determine the rental “income” amount?
I’m still thinking about renting the house. As I mentioned last month, I got an online quote for refinancingthrough LendingTree and was SHOCKED by how low the rate was.
For some reason I thought that rental property rates would be over 4% but I was quoted under 4% (actually around 3.5%).
That makes my husband and I want to rent the house out for another year versus selling it in June.
Blogging Income – $1,502
All of my blogging income these days gets reinvested into other side hustles.
My co-host and I split that amount and we have made a percentage of it back, but still it cost us thousands each to do something we love to do.
If I didn’t monetize this site, I wouldn’t be able to do something that I’m passionate about (the podcast).
I also think that we’re sharing the stories of underrepresented groups in the financial independence community and providing value to people.
I have read folks getting a little judge-y around the blogosphere lately regarding monetization and that is too bad.
I would ask them if there is a passion project that helps people that they want to do but don’t have the funding for it, and see if that changes their mind.
As for line items above, the only noteworthy thing is that I stopped Pinterest and Facebook advertising. I took Bobby’s Facebook ads course and now have the skills to implement them even better, but my focus is on my Etsy shop and the mastermind now.
If you want to learn how to get started with blogging, start here.
If you are already a blogger and want to promote products, start by signing up to be a publisher with FlexOffers.
March was Women’s History Month and in honor of that, we offered some sponsorship spots to women content creators on FIRE Drill Podcast.
It was pretty amazing to be supported by three amazing women. I’ll feature them below and recommend you check out their sites and show them some love. I also recommend you read to the end of this post where I share some um, interesting feedback we’ve received on FIRE drill.
But first – other content related to Women’s History Month:
Olivia is a 25 year old woman who lives in New York City, is a spreadsheet and programming nerd, and saves a whopping 70 percent of her income. She believes everyone should be able to retire early so she created a FREE 20,000+ word financial independence 2 week email course that comes with a super in-depth spreadsheet. My favorite post of hers is about the Me Too Movement.
The Military Dollar writes about military-specific topics such as the Thrift Savings Plan, GI Bill, and military pay. She also covers all things Financial Independence/Retire Early and traveling on the cheap. She was featured on Fire Drill podcast episode 37 as well.
Angela at Tread Lightly Retire Early also created two Facebook groups for women interested in personal finance (because she’s awesome). I’m in both groups and we have good discussions about many things – both related to women in personal finance and some just finance.
This is a bit random but do any other women personal finance content creators notice that they get different feedback than the guys? I scan relevant Facebook groups every so often to collect feedback on Fire Drill and we’ve been told we’re “annoying” and “gigglers” quite a bit.
We’ve received a lot of positive press too in Facebook groups – thank you all for recommending and sharing FIRE Drill! This is just one common thread that I noticed a few times and figured I’d include in this post. Also thanks again to Military Dollar who had our back in one of the posts I found! XOXO
Here are a few examples:
And another one:
I’ll leave it at these two ..but there were one or two more Facebook comments I found with the same type of comments.
I’m 29-years-old with a successful career and own multiple profitable small businesses yet I’m annoying like a little girl and hearing me talk about personal finance is annoying.
Anyone else find that interesting?
I removed the names and pictures from the above Facebook posts but I want to say that it was both women and men who said we were annoying and had annoying giggles.
Are women’s voices judged more harshly than men?
I’ve written about the subject of policing women’s voices briefly before: Why Woo Girls are More Popular. I also notice that there is another dual-female-hosted personal finance podcast that has received similar feedback to us.
It has led me to think that maybe people find female voices more annoying than male voices.
Here are two articles I found on this subject that are enlightening:
For the Record – I DON’T believe that women are less interested in money than men
While also creeping Facebook groups, I found one thread where two women commented that I said (on the podcast) that women are less interested in managing money than men. My bad.
I definitely don’t believe that women are less interested in managing money than men. In fact, it drives me nuts that women are thought to be “less interested” in both personal finance and technology. I believe it’s total b.s. and it holds women back in both spaces.
I have both a personal finance podcast and blog, and I work in tech so I definitely don’t believe women are less interested and I am extremely passionate about the topic.
My apologies if anything I said on the podcast came across that way. I definitely don’t remember saying that (or atleast it came out wrong or was edited differently than I meant).
I cared more about getting this feedback than being told my giggle was annoying, hence including it here! Sorry, everyone!
And I support stay at home moms !
Someone else also let me know that they interpreted something I said on the podcast to be throwing shade at stay at home moms with me saying the phrase that I don’t want to be “just a stay at home mom.” I remember saying that but it was not what I meant! Sorry!
The context was that we were talking about FIRE bloggers and podcasters saying that they are financially independent when they have income from a spouse who is still working. In that case, many people think that they are not “retired” but a stay at home parent instead.
This is quite a controversial topic in the financial independence blogging space right now, so I was addressing that – not trying to reduce the work of a stay at home mom.
I truthfully didn’t put as much time into the blog as I did my other ventures (especially the podcast – we recorded two months in advance in February and now have episodes recorded through end of April!)
I did have consistent traffic to Millennial Boss in February (nearly 50,000 page views which is great!)
Truthfully this blog isn’t passive income (as evident from this month’s income report which shows that a bit of blog neglect leads to lower income for the month). I did make $1,300 though with little effort on the blog, which is pretty good.
I’m inspired by Tim Ferriss’s book 4-Hour Work Week which is why I publish these reports and why I experiment with online income in the first place. It’s a fantastic book written over 10 years ago but the strategies are still super relevant today.
If you want to learn how to get started with blogging, start here.
If you are already a blogger and want to promote products, start by signing up to be a publisher with FlexOffers.
Display revenue was consistent again this month (due to the high page views).
I was pumped to see that I recommended Sucurito someone, which is what I use to prevent my site from getting hacked (proactive scanning and monitoring). It also offers cleanup and protection if your site does get hacked, which happened to me one year ago and it was the best money I ever spent (on the blog of course).
What I would have done if I had more time.
I think many bloggers who have been around 2-3 years reach a point where they know more than they have time to execute (especially the ones that work full-time).
I have a backlog of things that I know would have immediate impact on my blogging income but unfortunately I don’t have the time right now to do them.
I’m focused on my day job, which I am LOVING right now, and the podcast/mastermind.
I still want to be helpful in this income report though, so including this section:
Here is what I would do if I had an extra 3 hours:
I would go through my top 5 posts that drive Google traffic and update the posts to be more relevant
I would see how many minutes people spend on the posts and make improvements, and then measure again after 30 days. Beyond time on page, I would also optimize for affiliate income.
I have a post such as my moissanite engagement ring story, which gets tons of traffic from Google but earns little affiliate income (down from a few months ago when I was earning a small amount of income). I think I should update the links and maybe link to the exact stone I bought. That would provide value to readers (who often ask me in the comments which one I bought and who would feel more comfortable skipping the diamond if they had an exact recommendation, and it would help me since I would get a small advertising free).
I would also update my wedding DIY Fifty Flowers review post for a better Pinterest image and update the headings for better organic SEO traffic. I would see what people are searching related to the topic in Google via auto-complete and make those the H2 headings. I would also change the title since I used Fifty Flowers and LOVED them. They were super cheap and beautiful.
Last, I would see what posts rank on the first page of Google for these topics and see what makes them so relevant and helpful to readers. Maybe I am missing something important or don’t cover enough.
If you are a blogger, check out this podcast episode:
Erik from the Mastermind Within has a new podcast and he interviewed me about my Pinterest strategies! I get thousands of visitors per month to Millennial Boss from Pinterest and shared all of the details with Erik.
I talk about specifically how I improved mine in detail in this episode. If you are struggling with Pinterest, it might help you.
I haven’t posted a Feature Friday debt payoff story in awhile so I was PUMPED when Jen of Frugal Millennial emailed me to feature her inspiring story. Enjoy!
Jen of Frugal Millennial
What was the total amount of debt, type of debt, and how fast did you pay it off?
My husband and I finished school with a combined total of $117,000 of student loans ($75,000 for me and $42,000 for him). We also took out a $10,000 car loan. Our plan was to pay everything off within 3 years. So far, we’ve paid off the car and $77,000 of student loans. We hope to have the rest paid off by the end of 2018.
How did you acquire the debt in the first place? Do you regret doing so?
I have a master’s degree from an expensive business school, and my husband attended a private for-profit school for his first year of college (he later transferred to a public school). My husband doesn’t regret the debt, but I do. If I could do it all over again, I would live at home while pursuing a two year degree, work full-time to gain some experience, and go back for my bachelor’s once I had enough money saved to pay cash for it. I would not get a master’s degree. I received an excellent graduate education, but it wasn’t worth the amount of debt I took on.
Describe the moment you decided that enough was enough, you needed to pay off your debt.
My husband and I were living in my parents’ basement because we weren’t making enough money to get by. My student loan payments were nearly 50% of my income. I changed jobs (which came with a large pay increase), and we tried to figure out how we would buy a home. When we ran the numbers, we realized that we still weren’t making enough money (in proportion to our debt load). Even if I managed to find another new job that paid even more, it still wouldn’t be enough. We were drowning in debt and we decided we needed to pay off the debt ASAP.
How did you end up paying off the debt? Describe the choices you had to make during this time. Did you have a good quality of life?
Because our debt load is so high compared to our incomes, we took an extreme approach. We rent a room from my parents, I drive an 18 year old car, my husband drove a cheap smart car for a while, we both earn extra income on the side, and we drastically cut our expenses. We eliminated all unnecessary spending and found free things to do for fun. Some of these things have been a challenge, but it will be worth it when our debt is 100% paid off.
Did you have a plan for paying off your debt that didn’t work. Why did it fail?
Initially, we each made extra payments toward our own student loans (we kept our bank accounts and debt payments separate). This didn’t work very well because my husband is a spender and he has a very hard time budgeting. We eventually decided to have me manage the money so that we can pay off our debt more quickly. Once we made that change, we started paying off debt much faster.
Can you describe a time where your friends, family or significant other challenged your plan to pay off your debt? How did you deal with it?
Debt is so normalized in our culture that the idea of living without it seems crazy to most people. I try to tune out others’ opinions and remind myself that if I listened to their advice, I’d end up as broke as they are. I have some friends who are very frugal, so talking to them and having that support system is helpful. Also, talking to other personal finance bloggers has been great as well. It’s nice to know that there are some people who do get it even when it seems like everyone thinks we’re crazy.
Describe the moment that you made your last payment on your debt. When was it? What did it feel like?
We still have about $40,000 in student loans left to go, but I know it will be an amazing feeling when we make our last payment! Every time we pay off another loan and see our monthly payment go down, it feels great.
What will happen when you are debt free?
After our student loans are paid off, we plan to save a larger emergency fund, buy an affordable townhouse, save up cash for a replacement car, and start aggressively saving for retirement.
What resources (books, blogs, videos, podcasts) inspired you as you were paying off your debt?
A friend lent me a copy of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey and it completely changed my perspective. I was raised to believe that debt is normal, and the idea of living without it seemed crazy at first. I also started reading personal finance blogs like Millennial Money Man. Reading about how he paid off his student loans so quickly was very inspiring!
Please tell us a little about yourself in a few sentences.
I’m Jen. My husband and I are currently working on paying off $127,000 of debt by the end of 2018, and I’m passionate about helping other young people make smart financial choices. I share my story on Frugal Millennial.