How Budgeting Helps Me Reduce My Debt

Savvy Girl Money

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Getting OUT of $24,261 in DEBT!

I started this whole budgeting thing to help me achieve my financial goal of paying off my student loans within 24 months. I started my journey with $24,261 in student-loan debt. I knew my income at the time wasn’t going to make this an easy goal. So, I had to figure out a plan to ensure I could reach my goal and still live. I made a promise to myself to continue living life—the “budget-friendly” way.

I knew I needed a budget to plan out each month’s expenses. I was using an app called Mint, which I absolutely love, but had a hard time being consistent. I would go strong one month, then completely ignore the app for two months. I knew I had to make a change in order to accomplish my goal.

I created a Savvy Girl Money budgeting sheet for each month to assist me with my budgeting process. Having this sheet available to me each month was important because it allowed me to write down my monthly numbers and see them in plain sight. It’s difficult to see what funds are coming in and out when you’re trying to calculate it all in your head. In my mind, this monthly budget sheet made my budget real. Writing my numbers down and hanging it somewhere around my house or office, kept me on track. To this day, I still use these budgeting sheets to manage my monthly expenses.

My September budget using the budgeting sheet

To go along with my Savvy Girl Money monthly budgeting sheet, I chose to go back and use the Mint app. I use this app for tracking purposes. It’s nice because it provides me an estimate of my credit score. I setup my Mint budget to match my exact physical budget I write out each month. Then, each time I swipe my credit card, debit card, or spend cash, I categorize my transactions into one of my budget categories. This way, at any time of the month, I can evaluate each category and see where I have room to spend and where I’ve almost reached my budgeted amount. I check my Mint app at the end of the month and find out exactly how much I’ve spent in seconds.

By using my Savvy Girl Money monthly budget sheet and the Mint app, I have found a less time consuming way to stay on top of my budget and pay down my $24,000 worth of student loan debt.

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