This month is our first big month of paying off debt, and I’m really excited. I sat down and really looked at our budget, compared our income to our debt and looked at our credit scores. We have roughly $17,000 in debt, make well under $50,000 a year, my credit score is shot and Ian’s is just now getting established. Since one day I’d like to be debt free, and one of my long-term goals is to be completely debt-free including a mortgage… the best time to start is right now.

New this month

One of the big things I’m doing to help boost my payments is I’ve started doing shopping rebates in a pretty huge way. I’m using a few different companies:

I’ve been using Checkout51 for a while, but the returns aren’t nearly as good as the ones with Ibotta. I used Checkout51 a handful of times and have $5.25 in my account, but I’ve used Ibotta 2 times this month so far and have $16. I actually posted on the fan page about it because I was so excited. I haven’t had anything to use SavingStar with yet, but I’ve started using Receipt Hog for all of our purchases, so we’ll see how that goes. If I was only going to do one I would focus on Ibotta because it’s been the most lucrative so far. At the end of the year I’m going to cash them out and make a debt payment for the programs that use PayPal, but the programs that only offer gift cards for shopping places I’ll cash in my rewards for Amazon gift cards and use that to supplement my budget for my baby stockpile before baby comes in February- yay!.

Planning for the Future & Credit Score Rehab

I also signed up for UPromise, to help save for Autumn and new baby’s future college expenses and such. It automatically pulls from my debit card purchases and adds money to their accounts evenly, so that’s pretty cool. It’s hands-free which is awesome, but I’m not focusing on it at this stage. Once we’re out of debt we’ll handle that, but for now, we’l see what accumulates now that we have our debit cards linked.

For my credit score… I’m ashamed to admit my credit score is 398. I didn’t even know they went that low! But hey, that’s what happens when you have past due bills and they go to collections. I can’t change what happened in the past, just move forward. I was just checking in every year when I did my taxes, but now I’m using Credit Karma to monitor my credit and Ian’s. I don’t have a number goal in the credit score department, my plan of attack is to get the collections debts off first, then stay on time with my monthly payments and that will hopefully do wonders for my score. Once I’ve hit that point I’ll worry about the rest.

Digit Savings

This month I signed up for Digit automatic savings, and while it’s new, I’m pretty happy with it so far. Today is the 8th and I have $13.48. The funny thing is, I really didn’t notice the digit withdraws, even though I thought watched my balance pretty closely. august-digit2

I guess it just goes to show you how much wiggle room you really have in your budget when you don’t notice things like this:

august-digitAfter looking it up today, I ended up turning my notifications off so I would not be tempted to spend the money if I saw a big balance accumulating. I figure that sometime next month I’ll check it so I can update you all and when I do that I’ll withdraw it and make a payment on one of the smaller debts we owe. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about! Getting closer to debt-free and payment free, one little thing at a time!

I’m really excited about starting to really make this effort to make my long-term financial goals a reality. I also wanted to thank you – because having a wonderful group of readers here holding me accountable helps me stay on track! If you’re doing any fun things this month or have something you want to brag about with working towards meeting your financial goals, I would love to hear it!