Money Matters: My 2018 Money Wins

Hey Fam! So, last week we discussed the wreck that was my journey to financial independence in 2018. Tragic as it was, it wasn’t the end of the story AMEN?!

Because I am trying to get rid of the habit of beating myself up for my “not-so-great” choices, I am making this post to celebrate my WONDERFUL choices to counteract the negativity lol.

Let’s dig in.

I paid off a consumer loan! Though it was one I should have never gotten to begin with…..I STILL PAID IT OFF. Hello! Cortney for the win. It was nothing major really. I got a little baby of a tax refund last year so I used that check to jumpstart the payoff process. After that, I saved like my life depended on it and got rid of the rest. It was one of those companies where they call you every so often reminding you how great of a “customer” you were. They’ve called several time. I ignore gracefully. I remember getting the loan because I had over-extended myself and given a friend money I didn’t have (see my 2018 money failures post). I needed the cash to get by for myself immediately so I “did what I had to do”. This definitely wasn’t my proudest moment. Nevertheless, I paid off a loan in five months that was supposed to take a two years. Win.

I did not get a holiday loan with my credit union. LISTEN……some of you may not view this as a win, but you have no idea! My credit union is the absolute best. I’ve banked with them since I was 17. They’re so good, in fact, that they offer their members the option to take out a $1,000 Christmas loan just in time for Black Friday. If you read my 2018 money failures post, you’ll know I had zero dollars for Christmas. I started getting those emails and I almost caved. I was a little touched for sure. BUT THEN! I began thinking about the fact that getting that loan means payments for money I didn’t originally have to begin with. Getting that loan meant that I would be giving away $120 a month plus interest when I could be using that money to pay off my car at that same credit union. Plus, if I don’t have an extra $120 in my bank account every month now, I definitely won’t have it next year paying on that loan! So, I put on my big girl clothes and deleted the emails. This is a victory for me because there was a time not so long ago where I got Christmas loans for two separate credit unions. Win. And win again.

I paid off two credit cards. If I could get a card at every department store counter, I would – and I almost did. In 2017, I paid off three of those cards. In 2018, I paid off two more – Best Buy & Amazon. With everything within me, I wanted to keep that Amazon Chase card. I love Amazon. I also loved the rewards. But I know my habits lol. Having that card made it way too easy to buy things I didn’t really need. Best Buy was easy. I was buying a laptop for school with cash in hand. I got to the counter and they set me up for a card that I got approved for. I used the cash for something dumb and had to pay on that laptop for a year. Quite frankly, one of the most dumbest financial decisions of 2017. I’m so glad that I was able to also pay that card off early before the interest kicked in (you know, Best Buy did the first 12 months with no interest deal). Win, win!

I increased my credit score by 18 points. My credit score has fluctuated over the years kind of like my weight – up, down, up, up, down, up, down. This year, there was a steady climb that I’m grateful for! Having a great credit score isn’t the most important thing when it comes to money, but it sure doesn’t hurt. I can attribute this to the steady payments each month to all my debts, I paid a few things off, and my Capital One credit card limit increased for no apparent reason giving a wider gap to my credit usage percentage. Win.

Last, but definitely not least, I funded and ended the year with my baby emergency fund still in tact. I’ve spent a long time trying to get that baby emergency fund set up. It was a constant song and dance of money coming in, money going out, money not coming back in. Fortunately, this was the one thing I tried to discipline myself with in 2018. My baby emergency fund was fully funded by May. Right after that, I had a number of emergencies – car repair after car repair, and then Hurricane Michael. That hurricane was a beast and my area wasn’t even the area most tragically affected by it. But we were definitely affected. There was a constant need for cash and I was so grateful that I had access to that money. After all that, I was DETERMINED to keep that fund FUNDED. Now, I have a plan to increase it. It’s only $1,000. I can spend that on one car repair. Literally. I remember a car repair totaling $800 once. I’m not completely certain how much I’m going to pump it up to, but it will be pumped. My baby emergency fund is saved in another one of my savings accounts masked as a sinking fund with Capital One. Out of sight, out of mind. Win.

Whew.

Now that I’ve typed that all out, I don’t feel AS bad about my money failures now! lol

With that being said, I’m excited about what 2019 is going to bring. I’m expecting a profitable side hustle, to pay off my last credit card – Capital One, to pay off my car, and to not miss ANY payments on my Nelnet student loan account. Just yesterday, I MAILED A CHECK to pay off a medical bill. Yep. I’m that kind of petty with debt lol. I literally could have paid it online and been done. But with that creditor, it was such a hassle to communicate!!!! So that needed to feel my love.

All my Love,

Cortney

*This post features referral links.

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