March 2017 Debt Update

March 2017 Debt UpdateHello, everyone. There is only one week left in March. I hope everyone had a good month. I sure did. In today’s post,  I will be going over my March 2017 debt update. Keep reading to see how I did.

 

My debt went from $65,071.15 to $64, 207.46. It decreased by $863.69. That’s pretty damn good. That is the largest drop that I’ve ever had. I’m getting close to that $1000 drop per month. I can’t wait


The Numbers

Loans 2 – Down  from $5740 to $5525

Navient – Down from $23,943 to $23,842.10

Nelnet – Down from $34,8484.18 to $34,840.36

I case you missed it, I paid off the last of my credit card debt! I’ve had some sort of credit card debt since 2006. It feels good to not owe anyone right now. With the credit card debt gone, my new focus is Loan 2. I was able to pay an extra $200 on it this month. That was great. The debt snowball will allow me to pay this debt off within a few months. I’m still looking for other side hustles and opportunities to make more money.

Previous Debt Updates

January 2015 (The Beginning)

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

How is your debt repayment coming along?March 2017 Debt Update

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6 Things To Do This Spring

 

6 Things To Do This SpringSpring is finally here, even though it may not feel like it in some places. Eventually, the weather will get warmer, and flowers will start blooming. Spring is a good time to take a moment and re-evaluate your year so far. Below are six things that you can do to make sure this spring starts off well.

Clean your house/apt

What better way to start spring than to have a spring cleaning day at your home/apartment. I usually take a day and do a thorough cleaning of my apartment. I go through almost everything that I own separating what I need and what I don’t. Eliminating things that I don’t need is a great way to eliminate clutter and make more space.

Sell some items

After I finish my spring cleaning, I usually have some things that I don’t need or use anymore. I know that I can sell some of those items on eBay. You may be in the same situation. If you are truly interested in getting started and learning how eBay works you are welcome to send me an e-mail or a tweet. Who doesn’t like to make money off their old items?

Donate some things

For the items that I don’t sell, I donate them. Thankfully, there are numerous stores such as Value Village, Goodwill or the Salvation Army that gladly accepts your old stuff.  If you don’t have any of those places near you, you might be able to find a donation box or a donation bin in your local grocery stores parking lot. You can donate items such as clothes, books, and electronics.

Plan your summer trips

If you plan on traveling this summer, it’s time to start planning now. If you’re flying, you want to book your flights weeks in advance so that you can receive the best deal.  Also, hotel rooms may be cheaper as well. Websites such as Kayak and Priceline are good to start with.

Go over your goals

Take a look at your 2017 goals. How have you met your goals for the first three months? Did you complete as many of them as you thought you would? If not push them back to a later date this year. Think of it as a work in progress, not a failure. Life happens, and things don’t always go as planned.  This is when you must have faith and keep moving forward. Take a deep breath and re-evaluate Schedule them for later this year or next year if you have to.

Stick to your budget

The warmer weather of spring could mean that you want to be out more. If you’re not careful, that could potentially mean more spending that could ruin your budget. This is the perfect time for you to go over that budget and make sure that you have enough money to hang out when you want to. Just because it’s spring doesn’t mean that you have to go crazy with your spending. Start planning what you want to do and stick to that budget.

Are you excited about the warmer weather? What are some things that you are planning to do this spring?

 

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Networking During Your Job Search

 

Networking During Your Job SearchOne of the most powerful tools that you can use when looking for a job is networking. Networking is interacting with other people to exchange information. One of the primary purposes for that is to identify job leads. The more people that know you are looking for a job, the better your chances are to find out about opportunities. I’ve been able to get at least two jobs directly due to networking.

When you are networking with people, you have to make sure that you have a quick elevator speech about yourself. Your elevator speech should include your name, your job, your current situation and opportunities that you are looking for. Networking during your job search is critical when you are looking for a new gig.

Here are a few people that you can network with:

Friends & Family

Don’t be afraid to let your friends & family know that you are looking for a job. Pride will allow you to continue to be jobless. That’s not what you want. Tell them your situation. They may be able to get you an interview or even get you hired places. When I was unemployed three years ago, I let people know that I was looking for a new gig. A couple of friends were able to get me interviews with their perspective companies.

Former co-workers

If you still keep in contact with some of your old co-workers, contact them. Their current job may be hiring.

Barber or Hairdresser

Good barbers or hairdressers have a lot of clients. Their customers may come from all walks of life. They can reach out to them and see if they know anyone that’s hiring.

Church members

Church members are good people to network with as well. Some of them may have their own businesses, while others may be managers or supervisors.

Career Counselors at school

If you are still in college, you can contact your career counselors. They should be able to have several leads for you depending on what your major is. That’s their job. Check with them a couple of times per year to see what opportunities that they may know of.

Above were people you can network with. It doesn’t stop there. You can also network at different places. Below are a few of them:

Your job

The first place that you can network at is your job. If your company is big and has several departments, you should take the time to meet people in those departments. They may be able to let you know about opportunities as they arise.

Church

A lot of influential and successful people attend worship. Besides worship service, other events happen in the Church such as Bible study and committee meetings.

Internet

Believe it or not, you can network on the internet. Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn has allowed this happen. On both of these sites, you can make groups. I’m in a couple of groups that helps people look for employment opportunities. If you have a certain degree or if you’re in a fraternity or sorority, you should find a few groups out there for you.

Social Events

Before people have one too many, mingle with the guests at these events. Have some business cards ready to pass out. Make sure that you get a few from the attendees as well.

Volunteer activities

The final place to network with someone is during volunteer activities. You never know who you could meet out there.  Be ready to introduce yourself and talk with people if need be.

After you make your contacts keep them informed about your job search status. Make sure you answer e-mails and phone calls in a timely manner. Be ready to help others when they are looking for a job. Also, send thank you notes to show you appreciate their time and efforts.

These are just a few tips to help you with your networking during your job search.

Do you have any other helpful tips? Have you every networked to get a new job?

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Month in Review: February 2017

Month in Review: February 2017What’s good everyone? I hope all is well with you. February was another good month for me. I was able to create more content for the site. I also made the most money that I’ve ever made side hustling during February.

I had a good boost in my affiliate income. I’m working on trying to make that happen more often. I’ll probably do an income report to show you how much I was able to make in detail.

Top Posts of the Month

10 Ways to Make Money Online

February 2017 Debt Update

100 Things to Sell on eBay

13 Tools That You Need as a Blogger




I was also able to eliminate over $700 worth of debt last month. As of right now, that’s a record for me. I know that I will shatter that record sometime later this year. Currently, freelance writing is my highest earning side hustle. It is really helping me get this debt lower. A year and a half ago, I wasn’t even freelancing. I was blogging, though. The blog has helped me get to where I am now. I can only imagine where I will be at in a year from now.

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, make sure that you check out my step by step guide on creating a website with Bluehost. Use my link to get your hosting for as little as $3.45 per month (this low price is only available through my link). It usually costs $7.99 per month. You also get a free domain when you sign up through my link.

How was your month of February? Do you have any big plans for March?

This post contains affiliate links. Feel free to view my disclosure here.
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2 Years Into My Debt Repayment

2 Years Into My Debt RepaymentTwo years ago, January 2015 to be exact, I restarted my debt repayment. I was beginning month number 3 at my current job. This was my first full-time position since I quit my old job in June of 2013. I was glad to be making enough money to start back putting extra towards debt finally.

2015

I will be the first person to tell you that it was not the easiest thing to do at first. After only paying a little bit of money here and there for the last few years on some of the bills, it was a drastic change paying more money on them. It took a few months for me to get used to it. A few of those months, I didn’t put as much as I could have on certain loans. One was in deferment, and I didn’t start paying over $50 on it until the middle of 2016.

I was also still using my revolving credit (credit union loan) from time to time. When I logged into my credit union’s online dashboard, I the loan was there as well as my checking and savings accounts.  I could easily transfer money from the loan to either of those accounts if I needed to. Unfortunately, I did that a few times in 2015.

Extra Money

My full-time job didn’t pay as much as I’d liked, so I knew that I had to find a side hustle. For the majority of 2015, the only side hustle that I was doing was eBay. Even though I was making over $200 for most months, it wasn’t enough to make a real dent in my debt. I was nervous, but I started freelancing in November of 2015. That helped me close out 2015 with a bang.




I started January with seven debts. By December, I had paid two of them off. I began 2015 with $72,703. 05 worth of debt. By December, I was down to $69,919.18. That was a decrease of $2783.87. I was all right with that being that 2015 was the first year of the debt repayment. I could have paid more, but I used some of my money to set up an emergency fund.  I also had to pay several car expenses.  I was fine how 2015 turned out.

2016

I started 2016 with a freelance client. That was extra money that I didn’t have at the beginning of 2015. I liked having it. I was able to put more money on my debt. As always, something happened, though. I ended up having to get new tires a couple of months into the year. The good thing was that I used some money from my emergency fund. The bad thing was that I had to slow down on extra payments and put the money back in my emergency fund.

I also found a few more clients as well. I started $2016 with $69,919.18 in debt. I ended 2016 with $66,495.50. That was a decrease of $3423.68. I thought it would have been a little higher, but a lot of the payments that went towards one of my student loans only went towards the interest. The good thing was that I was able to pay off my Wells Fargo student loan and my Bank of America credit card. Those were two milestones for me right there. I only have four debts to go.

Have I gotten frustrated along the way?

Not really. I got myself in this predicament, and I will get myself out of it. There is nothing to be mad about. You live life, and you learn. I won’t make these mistakes again.

Right now I have momentum going in 2017. I had my largest debt decrease ever in February. I plan to keep that up. Also, I’ve made the decision to look for a higher paying job. My current job is cool, but earning more money is the best way to get rid of this debt. It will speed my debt repayment process up a lot. I’ve recently gotten into investing (shout out to Eric from The Black Market Exchange). I want to be able to put more money into that. The date that I want to have my debt paid is still October 17th, 2018. I’m not changing it. I just have to work harder and take these side hustles to another. It will be done.

If you’re paying off debt, how is your repayment coming along?

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Side Hustle Series: Should You Start Freelancing?

Side Hustle Series: Should You Start Freelancing? What’s going on everyone? This post is the fourth installment of my side hustle series. Freelancing is something that a lot of people do. It’s a way to earn extra money or possibly start a new career. In today’s post, I interviewed Taylor who is a freelancer and the mastermind behind Tay Talks Money.  Let get this discussion started!

What is Tay Talks Money about?

Tay Talks Money is about living more while spending less. We talk about money in the context of how we can make it stretch to feel good and to do the things in life that we want. Thinking about money can be stressful and talking about money can be downright awkward. My mission is to spice up money talk with quirky pop-culture references and relate all topics to real life struggles.

How long has Tay Talks Money been around?

I’ve been blogging on and off since about 2011 or 2012ish as a hobby. I started getting serious about blogging in 2013 and launched Tay Talks Money in 2015.




Is this full-time or part-time for you? If it’s full-time, how long has it been that way?

I freelance full-time writing marketing material for various companies and contribute to online publications as well. My blog is a tool to promote my freelance business, but it doesn’t provide my full-time income… yet. I would consider income made directly from my blog as side hustle income.

Where do you see Tay Talks Money in 5 years?

Within five years, I want to devote 100% of my time to running Tay Talks Money. I want to grow Tay Talks Money’s readership, hire contributors, add additional products to my shop and pitch a book to be published in print.

What is one piece of advice for someone wanting to get into blogging?

Do you.”

Yes, this advice needs to bold and italicized. It’s that deep. Someone gave me this quite simple piece of advice a few months ago, and I now remind myself of it constantly. Clearly, I’ve been blogging for a while, but I never felt confident being my true self until very recently. I tried to “fit in” and cover certain topics, create certain products, and earn money a certain way. Following the advice to go with my gut and always “do me” has put my site on the path now where it’s making more progress than ever. Ultimately, there’s no clear-cut career path in blogging.   So, my advice is always do you, boo, boo.

Connect with Taylor at these places:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

 Side Hustle Series posts

Side Hustle Series: What Type of Camera Should You Buy?

Side Hustle Series: Selling Men’s Apparel

Side Hustle Series: Have You Considered Blogging?

 

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Why You Should Start A Blog

Why You Should Start A BlogHappy Friday everyone. Can you believe that it’s March already? It seems like it was just yesterday when I was chilling in Cuba. That was three months ago. It’s crazy how fast time is going.

Yesterday marked four years since I launched The Butler Journal. Four years ago, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I just knew that I wanted to discuss my debt journey and show people that they could travel and not go broke. Four years later things are going much better. My blog has grown a lot in four years.

Today, I want to go over why you should start a blog. If you’re on the fence about starting one, today’s post is just what the doctor ordered.

Teach People

The first reason why you should start a blog is that you can teach people things. If you know a lot about a subject or topic, your blog could be a platform to educate them. As I’ve gotten better with my finances, I’ve used TBJ to let people know how I did things, such as increasing my credit score by 168 points in 8 months. Your audience is out there. You just have to make sure you write good shit and educate them.

Motivate People

If you have a compelling story or life, you can use your blog to motivate people. One of the reasons I started blogging was because I read blogs where people struggled with how debt affected their life, and they made a way out of it. Making Sense of Cents, Young Adult Money, and The Shop My Closet Project are three blogs that I started reading in late 2012/early 2013. All three of those sites continue to help motivate me today.

When I started blogging, I didn’t know if my story was motivating or not. Some people tell me it is, but I’m still not sure. While things have gotten better for me, I’m still in a lot of debt. I can say that I’ve found my stride and have finally been able to start making more payments on it.




Hold Yourself Accountable

Believe it or not, a blog can help to hold you accountable. I set several goals over the years. I post a couple of them on my website at the beginning of each year. Every few months, I go back and review them. This gives me the motivation to complete it. I’ve even had readers ask me about them sometimes.

Help You Grow

A blog can help you grow as a person. I wasn’t a writer before I started blogging. I still don’t consider myself to be a writer, but my skills have gotten much better. Here is a link to my first post. Look at it. It was short as hell. Honestly, it sucks. After you write a lot, something starts to happen. You get better with it. Besides writing better, a blog will help you grow by expanding your computer knowledge. I didn’t know anything about WordPress, designing images or how to effectively advertise via social media. Thanks to blogging, I now know how all of these things.

Help Your Business

If you have a business, a blog can help it. For example, if you have a product-based business, you can write reviews about the products on your site. You can then promote those posts on different social media websites. It could get you some new customers.

It Can Change Your Life

My blog has changed my life. You may think I’m joking when I say this, but I’m not. When I started this site, I was working at a low paying job that I was beginning to hate, and I was struggling with money. My only semi-consistent side hustle at the time was selling mixtapes, but that market was dying. Now, I have several side hustles that are growing every month. I’m also making a dent in my debt. The blog has given me the opportunity to meet and become friends with a lot of great people who just happen to be bloggers. Without a blog, none of this would have happened.

If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, make sure that you check out my step by step guide on creating a website with Bluehost. Use my link to get your hosting for as little as $3.45 per month (this low price is only available through my link). It usually costs $7.99 per month. You also get a free domain when you sign up through my link.

Below are five of my favorite posts from the last four years.

How I Raised My Credit Score By 168 Points

10 Jeezy Lyrics to Keep You Motivated

How I Traveled As a College Student

How I Made Over $11,000 Side Hustling in 2016

How I Got Here and How I’m Fixing It

As a thank you to all of my readers, I’m having a giveaway for the rest of this month. I am giving away two prizes. The first place winner will receive $75. The second place winner will receive $25. The money will be deposited into their PayPal accounts. Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I want to say thank you to everyone who has read, shared or commented on TBJ. I hope you continue to enjoy it. I’m just getting started!

This post contains affiliate links. Feel free to view my disclosure here.
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