I’ve given the why and the what, now it’s time for (most) of the how.
Beyond my dedicated debt pay down money, which is approximately $1050 total/ $800 for the first 4 debts, I have very few expenses since my fiancé takes care of all the utilities and such. Here is a list of each fixed monthly expense:
Health insurance: $227
Car insurance: $103.31
Cell Phone: $72.43
My budget for everything else (food, gas and entertainment): respectively $225, $125 and $50, for a total of $400
If I could shave off those few cents off the monthly budget, I would have a nice even $800 budget. On dance class free months, I make approximately $1920.00 after taxes. When I am teaching, I make an extra $100-400 a month dependent upon how many classes I have that month. If there are a lot of holidays in a month, I don’t have as many classes. I’ll be missing the first week coming up because of a work trip, so I won’t make much for September, but should bring home a few hundred extra a month after that. That means I should have an extra $120-$500 a month that isn’t dedicated to anything through May.
Basically, that adds another $1500 to the debt pay down goal. That puts approximately $3900 towards paying down that $7715.48. That leaves me another $3815.48 to kill. Hmmmm…
I have 3 months to close that gap. Where the heck am I going to come up with over $3800?!?
Well, if I teach 5 private dance lessons a week at $50 an hour, that’s an extra $3000 from now to Christmas. I would have to teach out of my home though, so that will add to the challenge.
I also have an ace in the hole that should kill the debt quickly, but because of the nature of it and the uncertainty that I’ll actually get it, I am not going to count on it at this point. I can’t discuss it much either, but if it happens, I’ll let you all know. It would be a HUGE bonus if it does happen.
Of course, I need to look at cutting back.
Some expenses aren’t going anywhere. The cell phone won’t go any lower- I’m on the cheapest plan I can be on with my smartphone.
Car insurance I might be able to cut- I’ve been hit twice in less than a year, so I don’t want to reduce coverage and of course filing claims makes your insurance go up. The only way it’ll go down is if I can find an insurer that’ll give me the same coverage at a lower rate, but I imagine it would only be a few dollars.
Health insurance has the biggest potential savings. I get a better rate with my new employer, but I’m not sure when it’ll kick in. I was a contractor for several months, so they may consider my probation time served. At the very least, it’ll kick in by November and I’ll be saving between $50-60 a month on it.
I’ll also be able to cut my gas budget. I don’t have an exact idea of how much yet, but I have been able to drive my car to and from work 5 times and the store three times only using a quarter of a tank of gas. Once I start teaching regularly, my usage won’t be that low, but I’m still seeing a potential savings of over $25 a month.
Food costs can be cut if I’m a smart consumer and only purchase stuff that’s on sale, buy produce that’s in season (therefore cheaper), stop buying junk food and use coupons. I also share food costs with my fiancé, so that helps. I could save another $25 or more a month here.
Entertainment…well, the simple answer is to not go out and completely save that money. And that’s actually not a hard task for me. My friends and I are all more the types to have parties at our houses, not go to clubs and bars and waste money there. So, played smart, this is a potential $50 a month savings.
If I’m able to apply all of those budget cuts immediately, I could save over $150 a month, or $450 from here to Christmas. Add to that finding additional income in the form of private dance instruction, I only would have to find another $350 somewhere. I honestly don’t know where- I don’t own a second car, I don’t have expensive toys and clothes lying around, so that’s a no go. I could take on another job, but I have to have some time to myself and with my fiancé.
Looks like a little creativity will need to be in order.