Well, today is a very big day- I’m officially 100% debt free, AND I’ve even managed to save up my 2015 goal before October, something I never thought would be possible. I mean, I’ll be honest… until this year I’ve been absolutely terrible when it comes to financial planning and budgeting. I’ve always overspent and under-saved, and the idea of living without constant credit card debt just seemed impossible ever since I first signed up for a visa in my early teens.
A few key factors helped me turn my financial situation around over the past year, some of which were conscious choices, and some of which were just good luck/timing. For starters, I was hired at a 9-5 salary job for the first time, which offered a new layer of security that I’d never experienced before. Having the promise of a steady paycheque made budgeting a lot more fun and approachable, but I was still way in over my head with debt and credit card interest rates. That’s when I got together with my new best financial friend, Mogo.
I mentioned a bit about Mogo in my last post, but I wanted to get a bit deeper into the details this time around. Mogo’s main goal is to take down credit card debt with their unique take on finance, and it really does work. To get a jump on my debt, I took out a MogoLiquid Loan, and received approval and funding within a week. With the money they provided I paid off my Visa debt instantly, and got to work paying back Mogo at a much lower interest rate.I went from borrowing on a credit card that could be dangerous and take me forever to pay back to a loan with scheduled payments that would get me out of debt in a few years. They sent me a monthly snapshot showing my progress, which essentially turned the whole experience into much less stressful game of sorts. The snapshots also showed me how many payments I was from levelling up to a lower rate (After 12 good payments, Mogo lowers your rate!) In the end I was feeling so motivated about getting out of debt that I made extra payments to my loan (penalty free) and ended up paying it all out!
With my credit card debt instantly demolished, Mogo helped me alter my habits to improve my credit score (which I can now conveniently check free of charge on my Mogo dashboard) and get my financial situation under control. First they sent me a *macaron print* MogoCard, which is basically a credit card that you pre-load so you’re only actually spending money you have. I started to put my spending money allowance on the MogoCard when I went out, and in case I wasn’t sure how much I had left in my budget I could text Mogo to instantly get a balance update.
And what became of my old credit card?
Mogo didn’t make me cut up my credit card or melt it in lava, but instead they taught me how to use it more strategically if I did want to keep the account open. Their Financial Fitness Coach Chantel told me to set up my account to automatically pay my internet and music subscription bills with my credit card, and then automatically pay the same amount off of the credit card every month with my bank account, so I’d be covering what I was spending almost immediately and earning good credit points at the same time. Brilliant, right?
With Mogo’s help my debt quickly became something more manageable, and eventually something I was able to erase from my life- hopefully once and for all! In the spirit of keeping my bank account in the green, I implemented some money saving tips into my life that were long overdue (some of which I’ve shared on Instagram over the past few weeks). Here are my top tips:
Sweat for Less // Instead of spending a bunch of your income on a yoga pass you’ll only use twice, take advantage of all the free workouts around the city. There are a whole bunch of run clubs, NTC classes, yoga classes, and so much more here in Toronto, and with a bit of research you can easily stay fit for free.
On the Mend // I have a really bad habit of damaging my clothing or shoes and leaving them unwearable in the closet for ages and ages. This season I took all of my favourite neglected pieces and had them cleaned and mended so they were just like new. I cropped dresses that had shrunk too short into cute tops, and finally had the zipper on my ankle boots replaced. It was like buying a whole new wardrobe, but for half the price!
You Earn What You Eat // Just like everyone else in Toronto, I spend way too much money on food. I buy more groceries than I need to, and I eat out all of the time, which means I’m never actually using the groceries when it comes down to it. Though I still eat out a lot, I’ve started to be more conscious about what I spend on where, and I’ve almost completely phased out buying perishables for the time being because I’m just too busy to cook right now and I want to minimize wastage.
Make the Splurge Worth the Spend // Sometimes you have to spend and there’s just no way around it, but make sure those special moments are worth it. Buying a black silk shirt dress that you can wear both to work and out later that night for years to come? Okay fine. Buying three pairs of sneakers that will essentially wilt off of your feet in the rain from H+M? Put the shoes down and walk away!
Did I leave anything out? let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to get all the details to you.
This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To inquire about sponsored posts, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org