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The Money Edit is for women who are passionate about personal finance and financial independence.

This is a place to change your mind about spending, saving and living your best life.

Julie's start line: getting into the nitty gritty

Julie's start line: getting into the nitty gritty

In the last post about Julie, we let everyone know that she'll be leaving to travel the world by July 2019. She's been dreaming of this for years and now it's going to happen.

Let's talk about being stuck for a moment...

Does anyone else find that the longer you've wanted to do something, have something or reach a goal, the more elusive it becomes? It's ok. You're probably stuck. Sometimes you need a little outside influence to kick your butt into action. A different perspective will help you yield different results.

Figure out where you're starting from

After committing to your big goal, the very next step is figuring out exactly where you stand today. It's important to be very kind to yourself during this step. Let go of the guilt, the "I shouldn't haves", "why didn't I", etc. That's in the past and it doesn't matter now. All that matters is that you are going to get where you want to be, starting today! There's absolutely no reason to feel anything less than empowered when you know where you're starting from.

Julie's start line

Figuring out where you stand only works if you are radically transparent. Being honest with yourself and coming to the table with all of the information is incredibly important.

Let's take a look at where Julie is starting from today:

Total Debt: $12,700 ($4200 credit card balance + $8500 car loan)

Monthly income (any consistent money coming in!)

  • $3,560 - monthly pay
  • $775 - sublet 2nd bedroom in apartment

Total $4,335

"Fixed" monthly expenses (a.k.a. bills that you have to pay)

  • $1225 - rent
  • $386 - Car Loan
  • $376 - Gym Pass
  • $110 - Phone bill
  • $11 - Netflix
  • $86 - Internet

Total $2,194

Some simple math will tell you that Julie has $2141 to play with!

But that's not all. When you look at your fixed monthly expenses, you need to think about what makes sense and what needs to change. Right away I suggested:

  • Find out your interest rate and how much longer you have on any outstanding loans. Is it possible to get a lower rate and how quickly will they let you pay it off?
  • Find a cheaper, local internet provider (For everyone in Victoria, I use JUCE and love it. A quick google search will let you know how to access cheaper internet in your area.)
  • In the age of online workouts and free yoga, how can you get your gym cost down?
  • Set up a free bank account (I love tangerine but if you're not in Canada, search google for local options) and get a high interest savings account ASAP!

If Julie reduced her gym pass to $75 and internet to $50, she would save an extra $400!

Think about it: where are you giving away money? How can you stop doing that today?

Next step: find your free money

Where you're leaving money on the table? Do you have any outstanding expense claims? What about unclaimed medical insurance coverage? When I asked Julie about this here's what she came up with:

  • She can charge her company $50/month for her cell phone plan. Their fiscal year started in February so she can submit an expense claim for the past 6 months. This will get her $300.
  • She has about $1500 in expenses to submit
  • She can claim $600 on her insurance's Health Spending Account, that allows people to charge healthy living expenses
  • What awesome stuff do you have that you're not using? Sell it!

Once Julie submits her claims, she'll have $2,400 of free money to pay back debt. That was easy!

As of today, here are Julie's numbers

Total debt: $12,700

Total monthly income to play with: $2541

Julie's assignment for the last 2 weeks of July

Well Julie, we're all here cheering you on and the rubber is about to hit the road!

What are you saving for? Which tips are you going to put into action today?

Yes, you can bank for free (and why you should take advantage of it)

Yes, you can bank for free (and why you should take advantage of it)

Julie goes to India, July 2019: A reader case study, written in real time

Julie goes to India, July 2019: A reader case study, written in real time