Hey guys, welcome back to GoDownsize where we talk simplifying our lives and with that also money. Today we have Sarah with us and she has an amazing getting out of debt story. She did it a single woman, very low income and in only three years, so check out her story! Hello! My name is Sarah Wilson, I’m also known as BudgetGirl here on YouTube About four years ago I had
33,000 dollars in student loan debt, no job – – and was feeling pretty
hopeless and down in the dumps I was working as a newspaper reporter for
about $26,000 a year and I got laid off And at the time I hadn’t been making any
payments on my student loans I had them deferred And interest was just growing
and growing and growing so I decided that when I got a new job I would
finally take care of my money situation and I did I moved to Louisiana and found
a job working as a newspaper reporter for $26,000 a year which isn’t much it’s
actually about half the American average income So 25 years old making $26,000 a year and with $33,000 in debt terrible ratios but I decided to work hard budget myself down to the penny and
dig my way out of debt three years and two months later I’m debt free I now get
to live where I want do what I want and I’m not shackled by any debt from my
past it took a lot of work I delivered pizzas in the middle of the night
I cleaned apartments walked dogs did secret shopping
I lived on next to nothing but every single bit of it was worth it because
now I get to live a much better life I also catalogued it every
single two step of the way I picked up a camera and started broadcasting to
YouTube what was the amount of my debt in the title of every single video for
all three and a half years so people could follow me along and see exactly
how much I owed how much progress I was making and hold me accountable to what I
said I was going to do I wanted to do YouTube because I was a little afraid
that my friends and family were really gonna get sick of hearing me talk about
money if I was going to really commit to it I was gonna want to share it with
people and when I was looking on YouTube there was a financial community there it
was small and it was also mostly families with multiple incomes – higher
incomes than I was working with! There were no single people at the time and
there were no low income people trying to catalog their way out of debt I
figured if I wanted motivation like that I might have to be the motivation so I
started vlogging 2, 3 up to 5 times a week I shared my best tips and tricks on
how to save at the grocery store on how to find cheap clothing options on how to
keep bills down on how to make extra money I even showed my budget every
single month so everyone could look and see exactly how much I was making and
exactly where every single one of those dollars was going.
a lot of people actually said I was too transparent but a lot of people also
said that seeing the way I spent my money and how I allocated it inspired
them who made much higher incomes to actually get their finances under control. Deciding to budget was easy actually
implementing a budget was a little harder There are a lot of different ways to do it out there and none of them are wrong
you just have to figure out which way works best for you for me having an
Excel type sheet I actually use a Google Drive Excel spreadsheet and typing all
of my information into it every month work the best It was easily editable and
I didn’t have to stick to any categories that some program had decided my money
should go by but if those don’t work for you programs like Every Dollar, Mint, or
You Need A Budget might be excellent The very best part about budgeting is
getting to choose where my money is going to go once I’ve given that dollar
a job I don’t want to let it down essentially by deciding that I’m going
to tell every single dollar where it’s going to go at the beginning of the
month all I have to do then is follow through with it and I’ll meet my money
goals towards the beginning my budget was pretty crazy I actually did kind of
a spending analysis and I looked through all of my bills and I saw how much I was
spending on food groceries personal etc and I was completely flabbergasted I
think I was spending about five hundred dollars a month on just junk as in junk
food junk for my apartment which I didn’t need but it was on sale so I
thought I wanted and just wasting money on things that I didn’t need or even
really want so my first budget had a lot of high categories what I remember the
most is that I had a three hundred dollar personal budget and I was busting
it every single month towards the end of my debt
journey I was giving myself $40 a month for personal budget which included you
know hair care clothing any anything outside of groceries gas or food that I
wanted had to come out of that category so as you move along budgeting it
certainly gets easier for you to minimize your spending in areas but you
can’t do it all at once don’t try to go from spending $500 a month in
restaurants to spending no money a month on restaurants because that’s going to
be a very very hard adjustment my budget now I would say is just a little more
loose I’m still allocating within 40 percent of my total income to savings
because I’m currently saving for a fully funded emergency fund but I also give
myself about $200 a month for personal spending and about a hundred and ten for
restaurant and I’ve also increased my grocery budget just a little bit so I
can eat a little bit better but that is the benefit of being debt-free and still
meeting all my money in savings goals is that I can splurge on myself a little
and I honestly think that it was worth it to sacrifice for a couple of years so
that I could do this now one of the hardest things for me to cut out or save
money on in my budget was shopping and eating out and I was able to completely
cut that out by pretty much deciding that I wanted to be out of debt more
than I wanted some random thing on the clearance aisle at Target. On the
restaurant eating out I pretty much figured out that I wasn’t planning for
my meals I’d wake up in the morning and not think about what I was gonna have
for lunch and then suddenly be surprised that I was hungry around noon and had
nothing to eat and essentially my only options at that point were either to
continue being hungry or to run out and spend at least five dollars on fast food
so instead I started meal planning and prepping and I would make my lunches for
the week on a Sunday night and then I’d bring those into work with me
occasionally I’d let myself go out to eat maybe on Friday I’d splurge but
every single day that I already had a meal ready and waiting for me was a good day because I wasn’t wasting money because I didn’t plan well enough. Some of my best frugal tips include:
meal planning so you don’t eat out every day Making an actual budget and
allowing that budget to have just a little bit of fun money in it or
personal money so this you don’t feel stifled by it and three shopping for
clothing only when you absolutely need it and then when you do shopping in the
off season I bought and still continue to buy most of my wardrobe during Black
Friday sales and at end of the season clearances so that’s when clothes are
heavily heavily discounted and I don’t particularly care if I’m not gonna wear
them for six months if I get a sweater for three dollars like I did not that
long ago during summer and now it’s winter I can pull it out now and it
feels like a whole new piece I’d love for people to know that no one’s gonna
come in and fix your money situation for you that was something that was really
hard for me to kind of come to grips with myself when I was unemployed and
didn’t have any money coming in and all this debt weighing on me I kind of kept
expecting for some windfall to happen or for someone to come in and save me not
that that had happened before in my past but I was just expecting it to – a lot of
people think that maybe the government will forgive student loans or that
creditors will just write off their debt or maybe the even they’ll declare
bankruptcy and suddenly they won’t have any money worries anymore and none of
those things are really gonna happen even if you declare bankruptcy you’re
still gonna have a lot of money troubles and because you’ve gotten to that
situation in the first place and if you haven’t changed any of your habits
you’re probably gonna end up there again no one’s gonna come in and fix your
financial life for you, you have to take responsibility for it and you have to
make your own financial future through this journey I have gained
financial independence I also know that I can move mountains if I need to now
paying off $33,000 on a twenty six thousand up to thirty five thousand
dollar salary in just three years was no small feat I promise you it
required a lot of sacrifice but through that I learned that I’m very strong and
I can do whatever I put my mind to this was by far the hardest thing I have ever
done and it was 100% worth it if I paid off my loans according to the government
plan that they had set out for minimum payments I’d be paying off my loan when
I was 40 and I would have paid over twenty thousand dollars in interest
because I took just three years to pay it all off I get to spend the next
eleven years doing what I want investing my money growing it so that I can be
wealthy and live and give like no one else sometime in the future and now
versus just always paying this old bill from my past that was haunting me it’s a
much better way to live I feel so much lighter and I feel much more powerful
now than I did when I was in debt maybe make a list of things that you want out
of life maybe you want to take a big trip one day or maybe you want to retire
a millionaire or maybe you just want to get out of debt either way there are
some very finite action steps that you can take to make that happen figure out
how much it’s gonna cost divide that out by how much time you have or how much
time you want to take and then make it happen put that into your budget and
make that a priority because if you don’t tell your money where to go it’s
gonna run off on you that’s what it used to do to me back before I had a plan now
I can spend time my friends my puppy and really kind of
live a life that I choose if you would like to see my full journey out of debt
and now into a rich future you can check me out on youtube.com/budgetgirl, I’m
also on Instagram Facebook snapchat and Twitter at GoBudgetGirl where I share
frugal daily living tips It was nice to meet all of you. Goodbye! Guys I love Sarah didn’t you love that story it’s so encouraging to hear from someone who actually paid off a lot of debt in very short time if you
like the video and these kind of videos that Sarah just did go check out her
channel I’ll leave her icon right here so you can go and check that out
show her some love over there and maybe let her know that you came from GoDownsize! If you liked the video please subscribe share with your friends and
we’ll see you next time bye