No Spend September – My FI/RE date, finances, and debt

No Spend September. Why am I doing this? What do I hope to accomplish from it? How am I starting?

No Spend September - debt chains

Dreams of not having to work a 9-5 job, being able to enjoy each and every day and do things we find interesting. That seems more American dream-like to me rather than going to a job we don’t like, working 40+ hours a week to pay for your mortgage, that new leased car, latest cellphone, that trip overseas you put on a credit card. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I mean, I get to work from home, make great pay for a single guy in a very LCOL area, great benefits and perks and I like the people I work with even though I’ve never met them. However, that doesn’t mean I still shouldn’t strive to be able to do what I love and enjoy and to take some of that 40+ hours a week back for myself.

When I was in my early 20s, I had found this information and got excited to only work as long as I needed to and then be able to work part time and do things I enjoyed. Then I lost sight of it all and gave in to what so many others thought was normal. I racked up credit card debt, student loans when I was unmotivated and didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was told and believed early on that college is a necessity, you need to get that vehicle loan, credit cards can help build credit, and more that I believed. Now I’m not blaming anyone, my situation is my fault and not as bad or in as deep as others are. However, I’m still in the hole and slowly digging my way out more disciplined with a goal to be financially independent, semi-retire early and not have to work into my 60s until “normal retirement” age. I’ve found normal doesn’t work that well for me.

No Spend September

Why am I doing this?

Well, I’m pretty good at tracking and sticking to a budget. Not every month, but I don’t overspend yet still sometimes only have a couple hundred dollars left over. I go look at Mint to see what kind of transactions I’ve done and it’s dumb stuff. So I only want to spend my money on the necessities. My required bills, transportation to get from point A to point B and to continue paying down debt are all I want to spend my money on this month. I put my expenses, bills, etc in a table below and want to see how much I have left over on October 1st.

What do I hope to accomplish from it?

I want to see my debt decrease and my checking and savings account increase. I mentioned in my last post that I had paid off just over $3,000.00 in the last couple months on debt. I want to continue that trend so I’ll hang on to whatever money I have left over by October than apply it to debt to see those accounts decrease even more. The debt payments listed in the table below are just the minimum payments so what I have left over will be in addition to those. I’m utilizing Dave Ramsey’s Snowball method by paying off the cards with the smallest balances then take the minimum payment from the paid off card and putting it into the next one and just snowballing the payments one by one to get to 100% payoff and 0% credit utilization.

How am I starting?

I’ll be tracking all purchases as I go and then release a list at the end of the month. As of right now, I have $1,292.51 in my accounts I use for purchases. Any purchases will go into an Excel sheet and I’ll be subtracting them from my September checks so the money currently in my accounts will not count towards September “income” but I’ll include a total balance of my accounts at the end.

Setting a FI/RE date

For those who might not know, FI/RE is Financially Independent/Retired Early. It basically means that someone saved more than they spent, invested it in either stocks, mutual funds, or more tangible assets such as real estate. Those who are FI/RE may still work but not as much and it’s not out of necessity. They may get a payout from investments, have a few passive income streams setup, or collect rental income.

My FI/RE goal includes having rental properties, a small self-sufficient farm to provide my own food and energy, and stock/mutual fund investments. So my planned date is before I hit 45 so May 24th, 2034 or earlier. Real estate is my #1 priority after debt payoff so once I’m done with that, I’d like to find a fixer-upper or two for cheap and fix those up to rent out. Doing a No Spend September will be give an exact idea of how much each month I can put towards this and that will only increase as pay raises come in, bonuses, decreasing monthly bills, etc all go towards these goals.

Finances

As mentioned, I put my finances, monthly payments for debt, savings, income, retirement contributions, etc into a table to track better. If I stick to this all month then I should have just over $1,000.00 at the end of the month to put towards debt.

I currently make $55,200.00 a year salary so my checks come in on the 10th and 25th each month and gross$2300.01. After benefits, retirement contributions, savings, etc I have about $1339.00 from each check deposited to pay bills out of.I pay anything due between the 10th and 24th out of my paycheck on the 10th then anything from the 25th to the 9th out my 25th check. It makes things a lot easier to track and it’s fun to sit down and just pay all your bills, it’s hard to explain. Maybe a feeling of accomplishment or something, I don’t know anyone else who legitimately looks forward to paying bills as much as I do.

Required ExpensesAmount DueDue Date
Groceries$400.00Every Saturday
Bald Eagle Barns$200.0025th of the month
Gas$120.00As needed
Cellphone$80.0010th of the month
Auto Insurance$70.0010th of the month
Electric$50.0010th of the month
Internet$40.0010th of the month
Total Required Expenses$960.00
Entertainment Expenses
Misc.$50.00As needed
Netflix$10.911st of the month
OneDrive$1.991st of the month
Total Entertainment Expenses$63.00
Debt Payments
Credit Card #1$140.0010th of the month
Credit Card #2$105.0025th of the month
Credit Card #3$70.0025th of the month
Credit Card #4PAID OFF
Credit Card #5PAID OFF
Credit Card #6PAID OFF
Total Debt Payments$315.00
Savings Payments
Backup Checking$100.00$50 on the 10th and 25th
Emergency Fund$100.00$50 on the 10th and 25th
High Interest Savings$100.00$50 on the 10th and 25th
Total Savings Amount$300.00
Total Expenses$1638.00
Total Income (bring home after taxes, 401k, benefits, etc)$2700.00$1349.77 (Paid on the 10th and 25th)
Contributions to retirement$460.00 + $115.00 (Emp match)

 

I may do a post halfway through showing progress but if not then I’ll be back in a month. Thanks for stopping by and reading!
-Seth

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