Dear Readers…

Hello readers & followers! It has been quite some time since I wrote on this blog and I was ready to actually delete this blog. Luckily, someone made a recent comment that brought me back to those goose bump feelings I would get when I touched someone. I will be writing again, but may be changing the formatting on this blog.

Ok, quick updates on my life!

I am still debt free! Woo Hoo

I recently purchased a 2013 Mini Cooper (dream car) in cash – it was hard to see the savings diminish, but my 2005 Mazda3 had over 210,000 miles and it was time to say farewell. I could not mentally stand the thought of having debt/car payments again, so I bit the bullet and drained the savings. I am in rebuild mode again. On a pay it forward mentality note, I gave my Mazda3 to my cousin in Sacramento who loves it as she was taking the bus to class each day. I now keep up with her Snapchats and her in the car – typically at a fast food joint. 🙂

I am now focused on saving more money for a down payment! I still want to focus on one new country vacation each year and one new state each year, so I need to be able to add that to the budget for sanity purposes, but I do want to focus on that 20%.

One of my personal friends recently became a Real Estate agent and introduced me to a lender who is evaluating my finances. I do not feel very confident about the liquid cash I have, but we will have to see how our discussion goes on Tuesday.

Now that I have a focus, I will be mainly blogging on ways to save for that down payment! Here are some budget friendly action items I have recently done.

  1. I stopped buying coffee! I used to walk into the office daily with coffee the last few months, but I now make it at home daily. Back to the grind!
  2. I have been brown bagging it. Due to my crazy work schedule and commute, I had to outsource my shopping and stick to a realistic plan. This may help you city dwellers:
    • I use Instacart ( for my grocery shopping. I accepted the fact that I would arrive home around 7pm and was way too tired to shop and then cook. I easily stopped by the local Vietnamese restaurant nearby way too many times dropping $20+ a night! I now create a shopping list, walk to my car at work, hit “submit” and by the time I am home 45 minutes-1 hour later, groceries are delivered to my door. I signed up for the annual fee to avoid delivery fees each usage, so I then just pay for the tip. However, the money I save from eating out is well worth it. Not only to mention, my sanity and time is saved!
    • Learn what works for you: I purchased an indoor grill because I hated the way my chicken breasts came out, so I invested in items that will help me eat what I shopped for. I also found a Griddle pan at Ross that I love that has helped me make breakfasts more enjoyable. Also, frozen rice is a life saver, but is more pricey, so I am looking into a rice cooker.
  3. Back to saying NO! I have said no to quite a few things. If it does not bring me joy, I just can’t do it. Also, I am looking for NEW adventures, so if I have tried that restaurant, if I have already done that event before, chances are, I will say no to you (with a smile)

Ok, that is all folks – Keep you posted on my down payment goals. I am also looking into investing strategies, so I’ll share that as well.



Frugal Idea #49: Yummly

I was recently invited to dinner at my friends’ spot. They are recently married and they are both passionate of their crock pot. So far, I have only discovered their homemade turkey chili. However, I am anxiously waiting to try the salsa verde chicken! It was really great to see a couple take time to make home made meals versus eating out for dinner.

After numerous days of eating out during the work day lunch, I realized I needed to stay focused on home made meals and watching that budget. I could not believe I was paying up to $20 for lunch. Ridiculous! As much as I enjoy eating out with the staff and co-workers, eating out will not assist with my financial goals. Having a crazy work schedule and commute, I needed to make quick and easy meals that are easy to pack. Here is how I have quickly adjusted my eating habits to save money:

  1. Invest in Tupperware you enjoy using – I used to buy random Tupperware from Safeway that did not last long (Glad or generic versions). They stained from red pasta sauce, they lost their shape, and sometimes leaked. I decided to invest in quality Tupperware such as glassware. I bought enough sizes to store leftovers, small items like a half used onion, or snacks. I love it!
  2. Organize your Tupperware – One thing that drove me crazy was having Tupperware, but never being able to find the lid that fits. I finally, pulled all Tupperware out of the pantry and threw away any plastic Tupperware that was missing a lid. I decided to buy one of those multi sized packages that comes with 20 Tupperware pieces. If you are more organized, you will be more likely to use the Tupperware and cooking will be a breeze. I now store the lids all together and stack the bottom pieces for easy grabbing and packing.
  3. Get some help – Sometimes I just don’t have time to think about what to cook! I also get sick of cooking the same old meal. I decided to run a Google search on best mobile cooking apps. I decided to download Yummly! It is pretty amazing. You list your favorite cuisines, list any allergies or foods you don’t enjoy (I listed Banana Leaves and sticky rice… just not my cup of tea!), and the app will send you a feed of endless recipes. You can also filter the feed based on the type of ingredients you want to use and how you want to cook it. Tonight, I chose Slow Cooking/Crock Pot and Chicken Breasts. The other great thing is that, you can have all of the ingredients sent to a grocery list for easy shopping! I really look forward to dinner, thanks Yummly!

I hope this helps you out with meal planning and enjoying your time in the kitchen! Let me know what you make.


Frugal Idea #48:What To Ask Yourself Before Making A Pricey Purchase


I started blogging about my personal financial situation almost two years ago (time sure does fly!). I was sick of being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and always comparing myself to others in regards to how much I should be making or how much money I should have in the bank account. I took my readers on my journey to paying off all of my consumer debt, paying off my student loans, and finding ways to live more consciously in regards to how I spend my money.

Since this journey started, I have been touched by so many people. Whether it was a co-worker who informed me that she subscribed, a new Twitter follower, and/or a new like on Facebook, I am truly grateful. I took my passion to the next level and attended my first FinCon in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2015 where I was able to meet so many like-minded individuals and was inspired by their passion. Each post I write, I only hope it touches one other person so that he or she may experience what I felt: a sense of control and a sense of peace. It is quite amazing how much your life changes once your stress levels are in control.

With that being said, I have expanded my network and want to expand yours as well. I have a guest writer for Frugal Idea #48. Her name is Stacy Miller. She wrote me an email and tweeted me that she read my blog and wanted to contribute to it. How can I say no? This can be a journey for all of us. Let us all help each other to live the life of financial freedom we all have envisioned.

Alright, Stacy….take it from here!

About Stacey Miller:

“Stacy B Miller has been working as a content developer and editor at Oak View Law Group for the last 4 years. Besides writing financial articles, she loves to cook and explore the whole world with her family.”

What To Ask Yourself Before Making A Pricey Purchase

Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like”. – Will Rogers

Nothing blows your savings faster than a large purchase. Now, the definition of a large purchase varies from a person to person. But usually, a car or a house are considered large purchases within your lifetime. They can be a great addition to your life, or perhaps a bad decision and the worst addition to your life leading to regrets. Words such as “regret car purchase” pop up in the Google or Yahoo search engine results every day. So, it is better you conduct the large purchase the right way.

But how can you possibly stay away from a financial disaster when purchasing something that costs 5 figures or more? Well, congratulate yourself! You have come to the right place. I have created a list of questions you need to ask yourself before making a large purchase. Hopefully, the answers to these questions will help to avoid a financial catastrophe.

  1. Am I stressed or depressed?

You are likely to make a big purchase when your emotions go haywire. Sorrow, depression, divorce, death can make you too emotional. When you are extremely sad, you might start feeling that a large purchase is what you need in order to reduce your emotional pain. But, you are wrong. You will regret your purchase later. So, stay away from online shopping portals and shopping malls when you are stressed or depressed.

  1. Do I want to have it even after several weeks?

Ask yourself if you want to buy and use the product in the future too. Try waiting for 7 days before making a large purchase. Give yourself some time to think. This is called the cooling-off period. If you are still obsessed with the product, then take the follow steps:

Extend the cooling-off period

Wait for discounts

If the discount appears, grab the opportunity and buy the product. This would help to protect your savings.

  1. How am I doing financially? Can I afford to buy this item?

Some bad financial habits can make you bankrupt. Again, some bad habits can leave you with a good financial health. Check your financial health and find out if you can afford to buy the item. If you want to buy a home, ask yourself if you can make a down payment and mortgage payments every month. Ask yourself how secure your job is right now. How would you make mortgage payments if your income drops? Do you have a Plan B to avoid a foreclosure or bankruptcy? Do you have a sizable savings account in your bank account? Can you save your home and take care of basic living expenses even in the worst financial scenario?

  1. Have I checked out the reviews?

Have you checked out the online reviews of the product? Do you know if the product is worth the money? What are the most common complaints about the product? What are the recurrent issues people are facing? Remember, you are going to spend a lot of money for the product. This is a large purchase. So, you should buy a product that has the best features. Check out the durability of the product and the resale price as well..

  1. Do I fancy the item or truly need it?

Ask yourself these questions.

Do I need this item?

Can I survive without it?

Is it just a luxury purchase?

If you have money and can afford a luxury purchase, grab the deal without hesitation. But if you do not have money, then just forget about it. Of course, it will take a lot of willpower. Just remind yourself, you would lose the chance of buying several other things in life just because of one large purchase. If you truly need the item, then decide why and when you need it.


Ask yourself the aforementioned questions before making a big purchase. The goal is to know if you truly need the item. Even if you do need the item, ask yourself about the ways to obtain it at a lower price. Answer the questions honestly because you cannot lie to yourself. Besides, you would risk your financial health in the long run. I’m sure you would never want that to happen in the future.


Frugal Idea #47: Car Shopping

Too Many People Buy Things They Don’t Need, With Money They Don’t Have, Trying To Impress People They Don’t Like.”

I currently have a 2005 Mazda3 and it is time to say farewell. The shocks need some fixing, there are minor dents, and I know my heart is ready to move on. The car has a lot of meaning for me. It was my first large purchase as an adult (I was 25 years old) and really was the start of a lot of changes in my life. It was my first time securing my own car insurance and was very proud at the time of learning I can earn a discount with my Golden1 Credit Union membership. It was at that time I also was learning to adjust my monthly rent expenses as I was moving into a one bedroom apartment. I remember thinking… as long as I can afford the monthly car payments, I will be ok! Over the years, I picked up expenses related to an engine change, oil changes, tire changes, headlight changes, registration costs, a window break in, and let us not forget the car wash expenses. I had purchased the car brand new because I wanted the new car smell and I wanted to feel good! I should have known that the purchase price was a false number. There are many expenses tied to your purchase and the secret killer is of course, the interest. As I have learned over the years, it is the overall cost we should ask if we can afford and not the monthly payments we can afford.

Now that I am in the market for a new car, I am making this a very calculated move. I paid off the car almost two years ago and it has been amazing to channel the $280 monthly payments towards my credit card debts and student loans. Thinking about adding a monthly payment now that I am 100% debt free just does not seem like the direction I want to take. A few months ago, I made up my mind that I wanted to pay this car in full. I was advised by a friend that now that I am debt free, I am guaranteed a low interest rate on a car loan! Not the advice I am looking for. I did not want to go back to that lifestyle of owing anyone anything. I am going to stick to my following rules:

1) Buy within my means. I have saved a substantial amount for the purchase. I still want to have a minimum of 3 months of living expenses, so I have to execute at the right time and make the right purchase. There are a lot of people who say I “earned” the right to buy a luxury car, but I know myself. Would I buy it for me because I really want it or to impress others? I could care less what people think of what I choose to drive, so I will only buy if I can pay it in full. Tip: Know how much you can spend. If you can buy a car within that amount, great! If you need to finance a loan, take as little out as needed. Can you wait an extra month of savings? Patience is everything

2) Purchase in full. It took months of planning, but I knew the day would come that I would have to purchase a new car, so I used my Every Dollar App ( to budget money every month towards a new car. I cut back on spending and announced during the holidays that I needed a new car because my car was on its last legs. People understood. Messaging was clear. Tip: Figure out how much you want to save and divide that by how many months out you need to save. I knew I wanted to save at least $2000 about a year ago, so I saved at least $200 per month towards the car. I gave up on that massage or dinner out that was too expensive.

3) Buy used. I definitely want to buy a used car. Since moving towards a minimal and simple lifestyle, I just need a reliable car that can get me to work and to life events I choose to go to. What is more important for me is early retirement, traveling, and saving for my down payment. Tip: Write and review your dream list all the time. It will keep your priorities in order. If you value a down payment towards a home more, keep the amount you want to spend on the car low. That can go towards the down payment (your priority)

4) Research. It is important to ask around for advice. I typically have been asking friends who love cars and made purchases themselves. At the end of the day, it will be my decision what I choose to do. Since I value time over money (time is so limited!), I do not want to take a long time to do this. Make a decision on what kind of car you want and go for it. Tip: Research the following – Kelly Blue Book pricing, what folks pay with their luxury cars when it comes to maintenance and gas, your local dealerships (do they offer certified pre-owned), the inventory available, your commitment to driving a distance for a purchase for a deal, cost of your trade in or sell of your own vehicle, and how the car will affect your insurance.

I am by no means a car expert! In fact, I am probably at the bottom of the pack when it comes to advice. However, I have improved my life drastically with my money and minimalism. Any tips you can provide to readers, please share! Just remember, do not spend more than you have to. As the quote says: ““Too Many People Buy Things They Don’t Need, With Money They Don’t Have, Trying To Impress People They Don’t Like.”



Frugal Idea #46: Moving on Forward

Happy New Year! Confession. I lost my passion to write lately. It is January 1, 2016 and I am back on. Three situations has happened that inspired me to write again:

  1. A friend of mine bought his new car in cash
  2. My cousin who is still in High School told me she reads my blog
  3. Someone reminded me that my blog helps them stay focused

How can I stop? For those who I inspired this past year, I am continuing to write for you.

Let’s catch up…

As you may have read, I paid off my student loan mid 2015 and I have been able to aggressively save money. It feels quite amazing to start this year without any interest rates to pay. I also have been able to save over a year of rent! It is quite powerful to know that if I happen to lose a source of income, I have some time to change the situation.

My car is going through some maintenance issues, so I have mentally prepared myself to start searching for a new car. My goal is to pay the car in full and still have at least three months of emergency funds in the bank. I will then aggressively build back up. Since I increased my retirement contributions to 15%, I am excited to see my nest egg grow.

For 2016, I want to keep my life simple. I still value time over money, so I am still finding ways to eliminate “stuff”, relationships, and/or events, that add no value to my life. I did goal myself to increase my net worth by 20% by the end of the year which will help my personal goal of finally having a down payment.

Unfortunately, I did not meet my fitness goals in 2015, but I checked out Crunch Fitness today! Now that my finances are in much better shape, it is time to make sure my mind and body are fit as well.

I hope you join my 2016 journey with me! I will be more committed to writing more. I hope I add more value to your lives so that your net worth increases and you are financially fit. Cheers and let us move forward!



Frugal Idea #45: Minimal & Frugal Souvenirs

When I started my journey towards minimalism and a life of frugal living, I wanted to remove all items in my apartment that were officially categorized as “clutter”. Clutter to me meant items that took space in my life, but currently did not add value today nor did it add value in the past year. De-Cluttering the apartment was a fun project and when someone visited and stated, “Wow, you are a minimalist”, I couldn’t help but smile. It was working!

As I opened every drawer and every cabinet to determine what had to go, I stumbled across a challenge: gifts from others. For example, I kept every shot glass someone has given me. I probably had over 25 shot glasses. Now that I live in a small studio space in San Francisco, I can’t even imagine throwing a party that required 25 people to take a shot at the same time. It was time to let go of a few. I started with my own purchases when I traveled. I had the memories of the vacation and I no longer gave the shot glass the power over my memorable adventures. I then said farewell to shot glasses that were faded and/or chipped. I then accidently broke one (annoying, but a blessing)! I decided to keep the rest and wanted to make sure I made use of the them whenever I had friends over.

I used to put so much pressure on myself to buy the perfect gifts when I went on vacation. I felt guilty if I bought a gift for one person, but not another.  It got to the point that I was buying group gifts just so that everyone was included. I then realized that although my gesture was well received, I was guilty of potentially adding clutter to someone else’s life! My thoughts were confirmed as my Uncle from The Philippines bought me items of clothes that were too small, not to my liking, and items that I had no use for. I decided that moving forward, I needed to buy items that were not only going to be thoughtful, but would add value, not clutter to someone’s life. Since the item would be used, I no longer felt my money was wasted.

Recently, I went to Charlotte for FinCon15 where I had a life changing experience meeting fellow personal finance bloggers and the clarifying moment that I do want to take this blog and my writing to the next level. Visit my thank you Vlog:

I did have a few folks help me out as I was away such as an apartment and cat sitter. Knowing that he enjoyed food and BBQ, I thought why not purchase items that he would enjoy? I was on the hunt for North Carolina BBQ and Hot Sauces! Luckily, I was able to find them! Not only were the items affordable, but I love supporting local businesses. Once he is done using the items, it’s a simple toss of the product and I hope he is left with a loving memory of delicious food.

Publix Pic 1 Publix Pic 2 Publix Pic 3

What frugal ideas do you have for souvenirs?

I would love your support!

Frugal Idea #44: 16 Ways to save money going to Disneyland

Everyone knows how much I love San Francisco. However, sometimes you just need to get away! I was invited to a trip to Disneyland and I did it. I said YES to the ears! I have some friends who absolutely love Disneyland. I am talking about annual passes, Mickey Mouse themed clothing, and Facebook pictures of their selfies in front of that infamous Ferris Wheel. The last time I went to Disneyland, I do remember spending a significant amount of money, but never budgeted. The tickets were about $100, food was overpriced, and of course, we needed to pay for our hotel accommodation. It is a great place to experience the rides, meet new people, share memories with loved ones, and explore the numerous park cuisine. However, one must expect to spend quite a bit of money and possibly even go into debt for their trip. In fact, I know there are many families out there who budget for their one and only trip of the year to Disneyland. To assist everyone (including myself), I reached out to my network of Disneyland cross-eyed lovers who are (in my opinion) experts on the subject and asked one simple question: How do you save money going to Disneyland? Here are the responses!

  1. Annual passports: This is highly recommended if you plan on making a trip to Disneyland 2-3 times a year. There are three kinds: Premium, Deluxe, Southern, and Southern Select. For the Premium passport, there are no blackout dates. So, if you go every day, with the current rate, you are actually paying about $2.13 per visit! There are payment options such as monthly payment plans (you can have it automatically charged to your card of choice). Additional perks include access to California Adventure, 15% of select dining, and 20% off of merchandise. Tip: You can visit the website to review the blackout days for other plans to help you choose the best plan for you and your family!
  2. AAA Memberships: You can get discounts at Disneyland just for being a member!
  3. Military Benefits: If you qualify, you can buy up to 6 tickets at a discounted rate. My friend was able to buy 3-day park hopper tickets for $120 per ticket. You have 12 months to use your 3-day pass. Tip: During your first visit, your Military contact must be present.
  4. Brown bag it: Disneyland allows park-goers to bring your own food and water inside. Food and water can definitely add up (Water can go up to $5 per bottle and like most of us, we will travel during nice weather. Don’t forget how much walking you will do as well) Tip: Bring your own plastic water bottle to refill at water fountains. If you do purchase food, ask for a cup of ice and pour into your plastic water bottle! Tip #2: If you absolutely buy food, ask to split with a friend. (You will also save on calories as some portions are huge!)
  5. Fast Passes: If you are at Disneyland for just a day (keep in mind if you have children that you may not stay thru the night), you have to maximize your time! Can you imagine being stuck in lines and missing out on experiencing a ride due to the time if takes to wait? Here are the top rides suggested where a Fast Pass is HIGHLY recommended: Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, & Thunder Mountain. Tip: Peter Pan’s Flight and Dumbo are very long lines. For California Adventure, Radiator Springs and Racers in Car Land are the longest lines.
  6. Hotel/Motel Stays: Try to book (in advance) a room at one of the local hotels or motels outside of the gates vs. inside the park. It is within walking distance (good exercise!) AND you can avoid paying parking lot fees. Tip: You can also walk back to your room to rest then eat at a restaurant outside the park.
  7. Time is Money: Don’t spend time purchasing a ticket at the entrance booths. Research and purchase online prior to visiting!
  8. Sharing is Caring: Experience Disneyland with friends and/or family and share the memories! As a group, all can agree to share costs to hotel and even split meals. If everyone you care about goes with you, less souvenirs to buy!
  9. Visit During Off Peak Times: Try going off-season or weekday. Weekends and holidays are typically busier and more expensive.
  10. Give Gifts: If you are going with children, try going to Target or a Dollar Store to buy Disney toys prior to your trip. Wrap them up and give to your children as gifts when they see all of the enticing toys and gifts available at the park stores. This should help with impulse purchases that are marked up greatly. If you do want your child to pick their own toys/gifts during the trip, teach him/her that she can purchase one toy per day and give a budget. My friend allows her child a budget for toys of $20 per day.
  11. Coffee Pick Me Ups: If you keep the coffee cup your purchased, you can obtain free refills.
  12. Free Buttons: Visit City Hall/Visitors Center as you can obtain free buttons. These can be excellent souvenirs to give!
  13. Plan ahead: You know you are going to Disneyland. Why not save and budget for the trip months ahead? Be realistic about your expenditures – clothes, Mickey Ears, food, etc.
  14. Think twice: When you have a $30 shirt in your hand, think twice. Will you wear this more than once? Will you love this once you return home?
  15. Sunscreen and Toiletries: Do not forget to bring your own items. Jot down your list of must haves: wet wipes, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, etc. You don’t want to buy these items Disneyland!
  16. Last Tip: As my friend texted me: “Don’t Go!” I laughed out loud when I read this. Then I realized that this has a lot of truth. If you are in a lot of debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and if the trip will bring you temporary happiness and then a reality check of additional debt you have accrued, you might want to say NO to the ears. Save up so you can enjoy the trip worry free!

I hope these tips help. I am going to Disneyland’s Halloween party. I will be dressed as Peter Pan. Searching for my green tights…

Special shout out to the contributors: B.N., J.V., R.A., L.A., S.L., G.K.

Thank you for your support!

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Frugal Idea #43: 15%

It has been about two months since I was able to make my last student loan payment which has allowed me to become 100% debt free. Now that the worry of debt is no longer on my shoulders, I have been able to put energy towards other aspects of my life such as my full-time job, focusing on cleaning the apartment to become even more minimal, and future endeavors. Despite striving towards a minimal lifestyle, there are some household items I really do want to upgrade. For example, I can not stand looking at my toilet seat cover! It was a beautiful dark gray when originally purchased, but I see the colors fading away. Now, it is a mediocre gray. I also want a new mattress and new laptop. Luckily, I have a new-found discipline that allows me to tell myself to be patient and wait until I can save for the total cost. I also need to buy a new car soon (190k miles, baby!). After all of the internal debate of what to buy next, I am training myself to always think long term. My long term financial goal is simple: retire early.

Well, what is retiring early? I had a lot of questions to ask:

  • What is considered early retirement?
  • How much do I need to retire?
  • Am I on track to early retirement?
  • What are my retirement savings plan options to build a nest egg?

As you can see, I have a lot to figure out. I currently am saving 10% of my income into a retirement account, but lately, I have been reading and hearing about saving 15% of your income if you really want to achieve freedom at an older age.

I am now ready to make that percentage increase! I actually am not worried about it as I utilize my Every Dollar Budgeting tool almost daily now, I have been more conscious of how every dollar is spent. I also visited this website to see if I am on track: RIQ. RIQ is your Retirement IQ. Depending on your contribution amount and rate of return, you can determine how much you might make by a certain age. I have always wanted to become a millionaire and it looks like it will be possible! Well, in 25-30 more years. Then there is that lingering question, will $1 million even be enough 25-30 years from now?

If you have any tips on steps towards retirement, let’s chat!

Frugal Idea #42: Yoga To The People

Happy Sunday! As some of you might have read recently, I paid off my student loan and I am now 100% debt free (Link: Frugal Idea #41: Countdown – 3,2,1, “I’m debt FREEEEE!”.) It has been surreal and loving it. I am now focusing on my budget towards a down payment, a vacation, savings, a car (I have 187k miles on my current car and I need to save now in order to pay in full and all in cash for the next car), & a laptop (so I can keep blogging!). has been wonderful. For July, I was under budget! Woo Hoo! (Link: Frugal Idea #40: 

To maintain a debt free lifestyle, I need to continue living below my means. This includes taking advantage of local and free events/services. A huge inspiration for me this year to clear my mind, maintain a healthy body, and channel focus has been to practice Yoga. It started with a bit of bravery to try out a class for the first time and a few stumbles on the poses.  I instantly fell in love with Yoga.

Taking classes can definitely add up in costs. I was introduced to a donation based class available in San Francisco’s Mission District! The organization is called Yoga To The People and there are locations in New York, Seattle, Berkeley, and of course, San Francisco. You can donate what you can afford and participate in a one hour Yoga class. This is a great service! Does anyone want to attend with me?

Visit Yoga To The People’s website at

As mentioned on their site: Yoga is meant to help strengthen and stretch your arms and legs, not cost you one!

Yoga To The People

Frugal Idea #41: Countdown – 3,2,1, “I’m debt FREEEEE!”

Hi All! I have some exciting news to announce. I just made my LAST payment towards my student loan and now I am 100% debt free! My heart was racing as I hit the “submit” button. I was near tears achieving this huge accomplishment. 10 years ago, I graduated college with about $59k in debt. How did I get myself into that mess? I was financially irresponsible, lived off of credit cards, and was eager to please everyone out there. At 24, I graduated college with a $21k student loan, had about $10k in credit card debt (that grew to $20k of course), and purchased a brand new car at about $16k. The shame I had really affected my work, my relationships, and my self esteem. I was secretly angry inside and really wanted to blame anyone except myself. Who would have guessed that walking into a thrift store and picking up a used book titled, “The Courage to be Rich” by Suze Orman would be the start of my personal journey towards financial freedom.

Here are some of the changes I made in my life to pay off this huge debt. Along the journey towards financial freedom, I was still able to vacation, go to nice dinners, and buy gifts for those I care about, but I saved for it instead. It took small baby steps to get to where I wanted to be, but of course, the first step was always the hardest. I write this to inspire others in their own journey to financial freedom. Whatever you want to achieve, you can do it! 

How I paid off $59k!

1) Give yourself a raise. Work hard for the promotion or find a company that  will value you. I decided to study sales and gave myself a raise. I never thought I would work in sales with a commission structure, but I loved and still love being in control of what I can make. There is no cap on earnings. Any successful bonus I earned in sales went towards debt. I also lived below my means. I never banked on the commission. Through hard work, I was able to receive multiple promotions and helped increase salary.

2) I stopped shopping for new clothes (for a while). When I was ready to buy new clothes again, I had a budget and patience. Everything was calculated.

3) I stopped eating out too much. I had a period of time that I only allowed myself to eat out when it was a special occasion – birthdays, etc. I said no to dinners I knew that would have a complicated situation when it came time to pay and the group was too large. For some reason, I always lost money that way. I ordered water!

4) I stopped drinking too much. I would spend $100 a night drinking out. That really had to stop.

5) I started taking the bus and trains more. Once I paid off my car, I really wanted this car to last. I currently am at 187k miles and loving it!

6) I took care of my car. I was on time for oil changes and maintenance.

7) I used coupons

8) Since I loved eating out, I watched Youtube videos on how to cook my favorite dishes and made it at home with less ingredients.

9) I never cut my budget for groceries. I eat and snack a lot, so I need to have food available. I also like eating a variety of items. When I limited my groceries, I found myself being unhappy and eating out any way. Best to buy what you want, when you want it. Yes, buy that nicer cut of steak when you want it. I guarantee it is cheaper to cook at home than to eat out!

10) Downgrade. Example, order a small coffee vs. your medium or large.

11) Say no to activities you really don’t want to do!

12) Write down everything you owe and get angry! Get angry at the credit card companies who have high interest rates. Pay the card with the highest interest rate first!

13) Do side jobs and sell your items. I’ve sold clothes, ran errands, and did taste tests. Anything to earn extra money. I did not spend it. I put it towards debt.

14) Be honest with family. I no longer wanted to buy gifts for adults in the family. Just the kids.

15) Study. I watched YouTube videos, listened to Podcasts, read every article and book I could about personal finance.

16) Manifest. Believe, believe, believe. Surround yourself with like minded people.

17) Avoid high spenders! Never let anyone distract you from your goals!

18) Take control. When I noticed the debt started dwindling, the car was paid off, and my emergency savings started to increase, I took notice of the new offers I obtained with transferring balances or taking out personal loans at 0%. I also became more savvy with investments and even switched to a HSA account. Know where your money is going to.

19) Gratitude. Be thankful for your life and what you own. There are those with less. When you appreciate what you have, you no longer have the need to search elsewhere.

20) Own it. I am frugal and I am proud of it. Being Frugal has taken me to new places in my life and I am forever thankful.

I hope this helps you out! As Dave Ramsey says: “Debt is dumb, cash is king, and the paid off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice.” Exactly how I feel!

… and for those who are curious about my current goals: To become a millionaire, save for a down payment for a home in San Francisco, and increase my net worth. Happy saving!

With Love and gratitude,

Frugal Nev

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