Money Makeover Series: From ‘Ready to Launch’ to ‘Budget Take-Off’
The Money Makeover Series has been going strong for over a month, and it’s time to check in with our participants. First up: our Ready to Launch participant, Mimosa. Mimosa’s goals from the beginning of the series have revolved around taking her finances, her career, and her life to the next level. As a young professional fighting student debt, she’s ready to jump off the diving board of post-collegiate life into full fledged adulthood. Read on to find out how she’s doing!
Mimosa has long desired to pay off her student loan debt and move out on her own. Unfortunately, achieving both of these goals at the same time is difficult on the salary of a brand new young professional who is also living in an expensive city. After doing some serious evaluation, this is the plan we came up with:
- Continue her fast-track plan to pay off student loans early
- Make adjustments to her budget so she can save money each month and reach her yearly savings goal
One month in and Mimosa is already knocking her goals out of the ballpark! Here’s how:
- Accelerated student loan debt payoff with the help of a spending plan:
Mimosa has been paying nearly triple the minimum amount on minimum payments for her student loan debt each month. This was hard to do when she lived without a budget. Now that we created a spending plan (which included a temporary shopping freeze and decreased food/entertainment budget) she can continue making these large payments and actually save money each month.
- Putting that tax return to good use:
Mimosa also received a sizable tax return this year and, instead of spending it willy nilly, created a plan for every dollar of the return. It started with a trip to Europe that she’d already planned before taking part in the series. In order to maintain the spirit of the series, she and I created a vacation budget to make sure she’d have some money left over on her taxes for other expenses. She then used the remainder of her tax refund to pay down even more of her student loans and top out her savings account.
That means that one month is Mimosa was able to go on a great vacation, max out her yearly savings goal, and shave off nearly four months of her total student loan debt payoff plan!
Mimosa’s Next Steps
Mimosa has done so well on her plan that we were able to make her second goal of moving out on her own a reality, when it wasn’t a possibility even a month ago. She’s now using the monthly savings that would have gone to her yearly savings goals for a new fund that will allow her to sublease an apartment next summer. While she doesn’t want to move out full time before paying off her student debt, this sublease will give her an opportunity to enjoy a summer of freedom without getting in the way of her debt payoff.
Keeping the Momentum Rolling
The beauty of reaching financial milestones is that this excitement tends to motivate people to fast track their goals even more, and Mimosa is no exception to this! I asked her what she thought about exploring ways to earn extra money from home so she can pay her debt off even faster – and she agreed to take part in a brainstorming session about it. That’s pretty amazing considering she’s working full time, taking graduate classes in the evening, and maintaining an active social life. But she knows that working on a side income doesn’t have to be a drag. If we brainstorm about finding ways to earn extra money doing things she actually likes, then it becomes a win/win situation.
And that’s just what striving for goals can do for you – each milestone you hit will encourage and motivate you to keep going and you may even find yourself looking for new ways to hit your next milestones faster. In other words, all you have to do is get started, and you’ll achieve your financial dreams faster than you may have ever imagined!