Debt Free Journey - Update $102,085 Paid in 26 Months- November 2020-My Financial Hill
Debt, Debt Journey

Debt Payoff Journey – Paid $102,085 in 26 Months – November 2020

This is the 26th month into our debt free journey. We’ve paid $102,085 so far with $25,144 remaining. It still boggles my mind that we’ve managed to pay off over $100,000 in just 2 years, crazy!

Debt Free Journey - Paid $102,085 in 26 months - My Financial Hill

Also can’t believe that it’s November already, what a year 2020 has been.

Really hope everyone reading this is staying safe out there.

The holidays this year definitely won’t be the same but as long as everyone is careful, that’s the most important part.

Holidays

With all the COVID cases out there, I’m sure many families are not going all out this year. If that’s you then make the most out of it by saving money. We all know how expensive it can get hosting Thanksgiving dinners and parties.

Hopefully by this time next year, things will settle down and resort to going back to normal once again.

If you like to plan holiday dinners and parties then definitely start saving money now so you can do it big next year. You don’t have to save much each month.

For example, create a fund for your ‘Holiday party / dinner’. You can set aside $50 a month starting this month and by next year you’ll have $600 left to spend to host something very nice during the holidays. That way, you’ll be financially prepared for holiday events next year.

Student Loans

This month I’ve paid $1,000 towards my student loan bringing the balance down to $17,000. I plan on continuing to apply payments to bring the balance down to $10,000 then I’ll hold off until there’s additional news on what the Biden administration plans to do for federally held student loans.

If you hold federal student loans, currently there should be a pause on your payments. The government may also prolong this pause for a while, it’s just a waiting game for now.

If you don’t have any savings, now is a good time to stack up some savings while you can.

Technically, you don’t have to make any payments towards student loans. With the extra money you may have, you can either use it towards paying down other debt or savings. Keep in mind that it’s important to save some money for student loan payments if the pause doesn’t end up getting extended.

For now, there’s high hopes that $10,000 of student loan debt will be wiped out for everyone. But we’ll have to wait and see.

Free Thanksgiving Dinner From Ibotta

Did you know Ibotta is giving away a free Thanksgiving dinner from Walmart?

This offer lasts until November 25th 2020.

What you can do is:

  • Get the Ibotta app
  • Redeem the free offers pictured above
  • Scan your receipt
  • Get full cash back for those items

I use Ibotta when I shop for groceries on the regular. It’s super easy to get cash back for food items. First I would add grocery items to my list on Ibotta, purchase the items, scan my receipt, and get cash back right away.

If you do a lot of grocery shopping, Ibotta’s going to save you a lot of money over time.



Sign up to Ibotta using code YDIGCFJ and get your $20 welcome bonus



Takeaway

The holidays sure aren’t the same this year. Hopefully you all still had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving with your closest loved ones.

Start preparing to save some money each month for next year’s holidays. Even if it’s $20 a month, that’s still something that can add up for you to spend towards holiday dinner’s and parties in 2021.

Let’s all keep an eye out on what’s going to happen with student loan payment pause and debt elimination, time will only tell. Hope we can all get $10,000 or more knocked off our federal student loans, how great is that going to be?!

Lastly, keep your cash back at the grocery store going with Ibotta. You can eventually make enough back for a free week’s worth of groceries or more.

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Debt Free Journey - Update $101,059 Paid in 25 Months- October 2020-My Financial Hill
Debt, Debt Journey

Debt Payoff Journey – Paid $101,059 in 25 Months – October 2020

It’s now month 25 into our debt free journey and still can’t believe we’ve paid off $101,059 so far. Here’s a chart to get a good look at our progress so far.

101059 Debt Paid So Far My Financial Hill

Just goes to show you that paying off debt happens over time.

Little by little, day by day, any small progress will get you closer to your goal.

At the end of each month, if you get any money left over from budgeting or found money from saving, throw it at debt. That’s how you can make progress towards knocking out debt.

If you’re looking to get a kick start for your own debt journey start off by grabbing a debt thermometer and enroll in the free 5-day Debt Free Bootcamp below.

Have Fun During Your Debt Payoff Journey

Covid-19 has really put a damper on travel this year.

Safety is a real concern and there’s no way we wanted to travel outside the country while this pandemic was going around.

Before this year is up we still wanted to do some fun things while staying safe.

Last month, we went to Six Flags and were pleasantly surprised how they kept up with social distancing allowing people to have fun safely.

This month we decided to go back for a nice little weekend getaway again.

If you’re starting your own debt free journey, make sure that you’re still setting some room for fun. It’s important to do that because you don’t want to sacrifice the things you love to do while getting out of debt.

Becoming debt free doesn’t have to be a miserable process full of giving up on the things you love to do.

Squeeze in some fun here and there without having to break the bank doing so.

Let’s find some ways for you to have fun and pay off debt at the same time.

Use Travel Reward Cards

Did you know that credit cards will reward you with bonus points that can cover your travel and trips?

There’s a lot of credit cards out there that are currently offering mega points for using their cards.

This is how my husband and I travel for free during out debt free journey.

This doesn’t mean going out and applying for tons of travel cards, you’ve got to figure out how to best get the most out of these cards without going further into debt.

We’ve learned the hard way when it came to credit cards. Before our debt free journey, we had 8 credit cards with over $33,000 on them.

We knocked it all out and now use 1 single travel rewards credit card at a time, paying off the balance in full each month.

What I’m suggesting is, use only 1 single travel rewards card and use it for all your monthly expenses. Pay off the balance in full every month. This will help your credit score and allow you to get those promotional bonus points.

At the same time, if you have other credit cards, pay minimum payments on the rest and work your way towards knocking them out of your life as you move forward in your own debt journey.

This method has helped us tremendously with finally learning to use credit cards properly and reaping all the benefits credit cards has to offer.

Use Rakuten & Orbitz

Before you book any trip, always check Rakuten first to see if there’s any cash back offers before booking.

Rakuten is one of my fav sites when it comes to getting cash back online.

It works very simply like this:

  • Join Rakuten
  • Find your online retailer (Macy’s, Amazon, Walmart, Orbitz, Travelocity, thousands more)
  • See if there’s any cashback deals
  • Click on the store link where it sends you directly to the online retailer
  • Or simply download the Rakuten Chrome Extension which will easily show you right away how much money you can get back when shopping online
  • On the backend, Rakuten will get you money back for your purchase
  • Once you reach $5, get your money via PayPal or a check mailed to you
Rakuten Screen Shot - My Financial Hill

So far I’ve made $51.46 + another $50 on my other Rakuten account that gives me a total of $101.46. Over $100 in cash back from shopping online, money that would’ve been lost if I didn’t use Rakuten.

It’s definitely worth checking out so you don’t miss out on any cash back from shopping online.

Sign up is free and my special link here will get you $40 for free when you spend $40 (It’s like getting $40 for free!) Rakuten won’t disappoint, check them out.

This is a limited promotion Rakuten is offering, get it before they take it way!

Orbitz

Orbitz is one of my go-to travel sites. They always seem to have the best prices when it comes to travel + hotels.

Another thing I like about Orbitz is that they give cash back in the form of something called Orbucks.

Say for instance you booked a hotel through Orbitz at $100, you’ll earn 4% back which gives you $4. With the Orbucks, you can apply it towards your next booking with Orbitz.

Don’t knock these cash back offers guys, it may not seem like a lot but over time they definitely add up. Next thing you know, you can have enough to pay for your next trip.

For this recent trip to Six Flags, I received $6.23 cash back from Rakuten and $5.34 from Orbitz, which gives me a total of $11.57.

I love getting money back don’t you? Try Rakuten and Orbitz out before you book your next travel.

Earn Free Money Playing Games

Did you know you could actually get paid to play games on your phone / ipad?

That’s how I earn a bit of side money whenever I get some free time at night watching TV.

Swagbucks is where you want to go to get paid to play games on your phone or ipad. Swagbucks also rewards you for surveys, polls, questionnaires, trying apps, watching videos, shopping online, submitting receipts, and more.

However, I mostly use Swagbucks to pay me to play video games which is so easy and awesome.

How to get paid playing games with Swagbucks:

  • Sign up for Swagbucks
  • Find a game listed you would like to try
  • Get the downloadable link to the game via your e-mail
  • Make sure to fulfill the Swagbucks rules to redeem your points (example: reach level 15)
  • Play the game and get rewarded with Swagbucks

It’s super simple and legit guys!

So far I’ve received 14,010 SB points which is $140.10 mainly from playing games on my phone.

Swagbucks My Financial Hill

During your spare time, earn some side money playing games, trying apps, filling out surveys and more on Swagbucks.

Sign up for free with Swagbucks and get your $10 welcome bonus to start make some side money.

Should You Still Make Payments Towards Student Loans?

So, I currently have only 2 remaining debts. 1 is my student loan and the other is a personal loan from family.

At the moment federal student loan payments should be suspended for everyone and there’s no interest accruing, which is awesome for now.

This is totally up to you whether or not you would like to continue making payments.

I am still making payments towards my student loans for 2 reasons.

First reason is that any payments made during this time goes STRAIGHT to principle. This basically means that your money goes a lot further to knock out this debt.

If there was interest involved, any payment you make will get split going towards interest and principle which ultimately slightly weakens how far your money goes towards knocking out this debt.

Second reason I’m still making payments is that my current balance is slightly over $17K. I’m aiming to get it down to at least $10K.

As you all may have heard, there’s a lot of talk about student loan forgiveness. I’ve been following closely on this issue and it’s looking like President-elect Biden may want to forgive $10,000 all across the board for everyone who holds federal loans.

If you have federal student loans $10K and under, it may not be a bad idea to hold off on making payments until this process goes through.

Since student loan payments are on hold, this may also be a good time to build your savings if you need to.

Nothing is written in stone yet so we’ll have to wait a few months before we see any promise upheld. Just make sure to save some money to cover student loan payments if they don’t extend the pause on payments or if loan forgiveness doesn’t ever go through.

Takeaway

So remember guys, it’s important to set some time to have fun in your life even though you’re in the process of paying off debt. Also, keep in mind that you can find ways to travel for free and get the most bang out of your buck by using the right travel rewards, Rakuten, and Orbitz.

Let’s also hope that $10,000 worth of federal student loans will be wiped out, fingers crossed!

See you all next month!

By the way.. If you haven’t started your own debt free journey, start today! Try out my free 5-day Debt Free Bootcamp that’ll give you some awesome tips to help you take control of your money and get debt free!

​Read More
Debt Free Journey - Update $100,479 Paid in 24 Months- September 2020-My Financial Hill
Debt, Debt Journey

Debt Payoff Journey – Paid $100,479 in 24 Months – September 2020

It’s been 24 months since we got serious about paying off our $127,229 worth of debt. We officially broke the 6 figure mark by paying off $100,479 so far!

Woot woot! *Hands in the air*

Debt payoff progress for september paid off 100,479 in 24 months - My Financial Hill

This month we decided to make a large lump sum payment towards my student loan, $10,000 to be exact.

You may be wondering where in the world did we get this money?

It was mainly from our emergency fund.

If you’re ready to start on your own debt free journey and start knocking out some debt easily then grab the free debt thermometer and enroll in the 5-day Debt Free Bootcamp.

Knowing when to take money out the emergency fund

Prior to Covid, we were paying around $1,600 diligently towards out debt. That all came to a screeching halt once the pandemic rolled around.

To be on the safe side, we were saving a lot of the money plus there was no real urgency to pay off the student loan and personal loan from family due to 0% interest.

You may also be wondering why in the world would I pay down debt when there’s 0% interest?

When a debt item has 0% interest, that means 100% of your payment goes towards knocking out the principal instead of any of it going towards interest.

Basically, your money goes a lot further when you’re paying something off with 0% interest.

Now, being more than 6 months down the road since Covid we felt it was alright to let go of a portion of the emergency fund.

Sometimes having too much in the fund doesn’t do any good for ya.

Everyone’s situation will be different.

Generally, try to stick with an emergency fund of 3-6 months and keep it in a high yield savings account. Anything more than that, you’re probably better off paying down debt or investing.

Read More: 5 Tips to Build Your Emergency Fund Fast

Put your money in a High Yield APR Savings Account from Nationwide / Axos Bank. They’re offering 1.05% of interest which is the highest around. Sign up here at Nationwide / Axos Bank to lock in that rate.

Enjoy life while paying off debt

I’m ALL for reaching your goals without being miserable.

Getting out of debt doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Forget everything you’ve heard about people who don’t go on vacations or enjoy their life while getting out of debt.

That’s not the way I want to live my life and I’m sure that’s not how you want to live either.

Why? Cause you only get 1 life, so you should enjoy it!

Yeah, you’re probably thinking we may have enjoyed ours a little too much, winding up in over $120,000 of debt. Oops!

Anyway, we’re fixing it now, that’s all that matters.

So, we’ve figured out how to travel for free.

Once we paid off our credit cards, our credit scores naturally shot up!

Mine’s at 836 now.

That meant we were able to get awesome travel reward cards.

Read More: 15 Tips to Get Your Credit Score to 800’s

If you want to travel for free, apply for reward cards once your credit is good (generally 700 and up), check what your credit score is for free at Credit Karma.

Important Tip: Instead of using multiple cards, use only 1 for all your bills, that way you won’t rack up too much debt. Also, apply for 1 reward card at a time so you don’t spread yourself thin with all these cards.

This month we went on a small trip to Six Flags, and stayed at a Marriott for 2 nights (free with our Capital One Venture Card).

We love the Capital One Venture Card, we nearly racked up 160,056 worth of points which is simply equal to $1,606.

Travel rewards credit with capital one venture card - My Financial Hill

How did we get so many points?

My husband applied for one when they offered a promotion of 70,000 points then after we redeemed all those points, I signed up for one and received 50,000 bonus points. The rest of the points came from regular purchases.

One thing to keep in mind when getting these reward cards is that they will offer huge bonus points but only if you spend a certain amount.

For instance, with Capital One Venture, they offer 50,000 if you spend $3,000 within 3 months or 100,000 points if you spend $20,000 in 12 months.

It’s easy to meet that spending requirement if you put all your bills and expenses on 1 single card. That’s what we do.

Check to see if you qualify for the Capital One Venture Card to get free travel.

We went from having 8 credit cards with over $30,000 in credit card debt and now we use only 1 for all expenses and pay it off in full each month.

That’s the key to improving your credit and to have credit cards work for you instead of against you.

Getting out of debt, especially high interest credit card debt, is one of the most important things my husband and I did. It freed up so much of our money, our credit scores improved, and we received up to 520,000 = $5,200 worth of rewards bonus points.

Turn things around, make the credit card companies earn your business, get out of debt while traveling and having fun too.

Read More:

How to Get Out of Debt with these 5 Tips

Las Vegas Trip on a Budget with Free Flights

How to Get a Free Cruise

How to Spend only $200 on a 5 Night Cruise to Mexico

Use Rakuten to Book Travel

Prior to any booking of a trip, I always check out Rakuten to see if there’s any cash back offers.

Rakuten cash back for booking hotel through orbitz - My Financial Hill

Luckily, they were offering 3.5% cash back for our Marriott stay. I should expect to see around $6 back from going through Rakuten on to Orbitz.

Another bonus is when you book with Orbitz, you’ll get something called Orbucks which is their own cash back program. We’re getting back $5.34 for our stay at Marriott.

So in total, we got the Marriott stay for $196.37 for free with the Capital One Venture Card, also we’re getting back $6 from Rakuten and $5.34 from Orbitz.

It may not be much but it’s still something, we’ll have $11 more bucks to claim instead of losing out on free money.

Sign up is free and my special link here will get you a $10 welcome bonus + $30 cash back when you spend $30 (It’s like getting $30 for free!) Rakuten won’t disappoint, check them out.

Still using cash back apps

I don’t know about you but I looove getting free money.

I’m still using cash back apps to make every hard earned dollar work for me. What’s even better is I don’t have to put in too much effort to get some extra cash back.

Last month I told you guys that I’m using Ibotta, Fetchrewards, Receiptpal, Rakuten, and Honey. This month I’ve used Groupon and Getupside in addition to those other cashback tools.

Find the best deals on services with Groupon

I use Groupon to get the best deals for local businesses. This month I found a great deal for an oil change on Groupon.

There’s a lot of oil change places around me but a lot of them charge over $30 just for my small car. So instead of settling for the $30, I went on Groupon and found an oil change place less than 5 minutes away and paid only $21 with taxes and everything.

cash savings with oil change using Groupon - My Financial Hill

Groupon is so easy to use. First you can go on their website and type in whatever service you’re looking for.

They have any local business you can think of from oil changes, beauty, spa, tickets to events, laser hair removal, and so much more. When you find the perfect deal, you’ll purchase it through Groupon and print out your voucher. Then you can bring the voucher to the store/shop and have them scan it, get your service done, and you’re out. Easy Peasy.

If you can find the service you’re looking to get for much cheaper on Groupon, why not take advantage of the savings?

Sign up for free here and start to save that money $$

Get money back at the pump with Getupside

Getupside is another app I started using. It gives you cash back when you get gas or get food.

You can get up to .15 cents back for each gallon or up to 15% off food.

Let’s say you pumped about 16 gallons worth of gas, you can get back $2.40 cash back with .15 cents back per gallon. All you have to do is choose the gas station you’re planning to pump at and scan your receipt. It’s super easy to use.

Getting cash back with Getupside for gas - My financial Hill

Once you reach $10 then you can get a free gift card. There’s nothing better then getting money back for something you’d normally be buying anyway.

Get your .15 cents off per gallon and up to 15% off food with this link for Getupside

Making some money by playing games on Swagbucks

When I wind down for the night, I watch TV for a couple of hours in the evening with the hubby. I’ll take my phone out and start playing some games through Swagbucks. They offer good amount of points just for playing games.

Recently I earned 500 swagbucks = $5 just for playing one of their games. Currently, I’m in the process of playing 2 of their other games.

Getting points with Swagbucks for playing games - My Financial Hill

Now, I’ve reached over 2134 swagbucks which is equal to $21.34. I could probably cash that in to get a full tank of gas but I want to wait till it builds a lot more. But hey, that ain’t bad for doing something solely while I’m bumming around watching TV.

Sign up for Swagbucks to start earning some cash / gift cards and get your $10 welcome bonus

Automate your savings with Honey

Remember when I told you that I always look for cash back opportunities when I shop online via Rakuten or Swagbucks? Well, what do you do when those sites don’t offer any cash back?

For instance, this month I bought an adjustable bed frame on Amazon. I checked Rakuten and Swagbucks to see if there were any cash back offers for the bed frame. Unfortunately, this month they didn’t have any deals. I decided to buy the bed frame anyway. As I was checking out, my Honey chrome extension kicked on and found a coupon code for me for $20 off. I was happy about that!

The best part was, I didn’t have to do any searching to get the deal on the bed frame from Amazon, it was all automatic. I highly recommend signing up for Honey to get automated coupons applied for your online purchases. Honey also gets you something called Honey Gold which is a cash back bonus program.

You could earn as much as 1%-20% cash back when you shop online or 300 – 300000 Honey Gold back.

All you need to do is download the Honey chrome extension for free and it does all the savings for you automatically, you don’t need to go fishing around for deals online.

Sign up for free here and get the cheapest prices for all your online purchases instantly and hassle free

Earn cash simply by uploading receipts

If you’ve been following my other debt free journey reports, I mentioned that I earn points which convert to cash or gift cards simply by uploading receipts.

Receiptpal

This month, I earned enough points on Receiptpal to earn a $5 gift card, which is awesome. Why was it awesome you ask? Cause it was free money! That’s enough to get myself a free $5 Amazon gift card. All I did was scan some receipts, that’s all.

Getting free gift cards with Receiptpal - My Financial Hill

Try it out, instead of throwing your receipts in the trash, save them and scan it for points. Those points will get you free Amazon gift cards.

I literally uploaded any receipt I get, from store receipts, restaurant receipts, gas receipts, oil change receipts, and more.

Sign up for free here and start getting money back for your receipts

Fetch Rewards

With the same receipts I used for Receiptpal, it can also be used for Fetch Rewards. Double whammy!

The only thing is, for Fetch Rewards you’ll probably get a lot more points for grocery receipts. You’ll also get tons of points for buying products with the brands listed on their app.

For instance, when I upload a grocery receipt I can earn anywhere from 75 points up to 200 depending on what items and brands I purchased. For gas and other store receipts, I can earn anywhere from 5 to 25 points. Overall, it all adds up.

Earning points by scanning receipts with Fetch Rewards - My Financial Hill

Once you reach over 5,000 points, you can get free yearly magazine subscriptions or gift cards.

Use the code 7JKFH when you sign up to Fetch Rewards and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points)
You can also refer others and earn 2,000 points ($2) yourself and your friend/family will earn 2,000 points ($2) as well.

Ibotta

So far, I built up $67 using Ibotta which is a cash back app that gives you money for uploading your grocery or store receipts. I also don’t really have a huge grocery shopping list since it’s just me, hubby, and 2 doggies.

If you’re shopping for an entire family, imagine all the cash back money you can get.

Sign up for free at Ibotta and use the code YDIGCFJ to get your $20 welcome bonus

Basically, I could redeem the $67 for cash via PayPal or get giftcards which is great! It’s enough to get a week’s worth of free groceries!

Earning cash back with Ibotta - My Financial Hill

All you pretty much have to do is go into Ibotta, pick the store you plan to shop at, and start adding grocery items to your list. Once you’re done shopping, upload your receipt and you’ll get cash back for all the items on your list. Some items may require you to scan the product bar code which is not a big deal.

Savings Hack: Use Ibotta to get cash back on your other online shopping like Ulta, Amazon, Groupon, Macy’s, JCPenny, and so many more other stores. For Groupon, you’ll get 10% cash back going through Ibotta.

Saving money by cutting the cable without missing out

If you missed my last few posts, I talked about how I decided to cut the cable and went with Philo.

Philo is a streaming service where I pay $20 a month but we’re able to stream live cable network channels.

We mainly watch shows on TLC, MTV, AMC, Discovery, and a few others. It turns out Philo had all the channels we watch on there. By cutting our cable we saved over $92 on our cable bill, that’s $1,114 a year.

So far, it’s been awesome plus the savings is even better.

If you have a streaming device like a  RokuAmazon Fire Stick, or Apple TV then you can definitely try Philo out for 7 days free before committing to cutting your cable.

It’s definitely worth considering, you could be saving A LOT of money.

Sign up for free here at Philo and try it free for 7 days. (That’s what I did before cancelling the cable)

The only downside I can think of with Philo is that you won’t get your local channels but that’s where Locast comes in. It’s a non-profit service where you can stream your local channels for free as long as you have internet.

Locast offers their service in most major cities, if they don’t have your city listed then the next alternative would be to get an antenna to receive local channels for free.

Takeaway for September 2020

Man, where’s all the time going? This month flew by! We paid off over 6 figures worth of debt so far, $100,479 to be exact. *Whew

Tip 1

So this month we were able to knock out $10,000 towards my student loan. That money came out of our emergency fund. If you also have a savings fund in place, see if you have enough in there. Remember, you don’t want to keep anything more than 6 months in a savings fund especially if you have debt or want to invest.

Tip 2

If you’re trying to get out of debt, don’t deprive yourself of having fun. All you need to do is plan it well. If you have good credit, apply for cards like Capital One Venture to get those major bonus points. Use the points to get free travel on flights, hotels, cruises, vacations, statement credit, and more.

Also, use credit wisely. Stick with 1 credit card and use only 1 for all your expenses. Maybe 2 at most but it’s better that you don’t spread yourself thin. Using 1 card and paying off the balance in full will help your credit significantly plus you’ll qualify for bonus points fast.

This month we were able to get a $197 hotel stay completely free with the Capital One Venture Card.

If you don’t qualify for bonus points then create a small saving fund for your next trip. For instance, I have a category in my budget for things like “Vacation”, “Fun Money”, “Trip to Wherever”, etc. We save money each month for those categories and the next thing you know it has enough in there for a trip.

Tip 3

When booking a trip, use Rakuten first to get cash back on your trip.

For instance, we went on Rakuten to get the cash back offer for Orbitz. From Rakuten, they send you directly to Orbitz’s site where you can book your trip as usual. You’ll get cash back on your trip from Rakuten. Also, if you use Orbitz to book the travel, you’ll get something called Orbucks which is their cash back program. You’ll get double cash back opportunities for using Rakuten and Orbitz.

Tip 4

Use cash back apps and sites when you shop online. Always check Rakuten, Groupon, and Ibotta before you make a purchase online. It can mean the difference between just plainly wasting money or getting $$$ back for what you normally would do.

Tip 5

Scan your receipts for cash back, gift cards, and magazine subscriptions with apps like Receiptpal, Fetch Rewards, Ibotta, and Getupside.

Tip 6

Earn some money to get yourself some free cash or gift cards with Swagbucks. I use it mainly to play games but there’s a lot of ways to earn points on there. They have polls, questionnaires, surveys, games, watch videos, try out apps, and so much more ways to earn points. Doing this on your free time can get you some side money.

Tip 7

Cut the cable guys! If you have internet and a streaming device then you can be saving yourself over $1,000 a year just by switching from cable to Philo. You’ll get most of your cable channels. Go on Philo’s website to see if they have the network channels that you love. You can also try it out for free 7-days to see if it’s right for you or not. So far, it’s been awesome for us. It doesn’t even feel like anything’s changed, just more money in our pockets at the end of the month.

Overall, getting out of debt doesn’t have to be hard. Celebrate the small wins and still go enjoy life. Even if you earn $5 cash back or save over $90 by switching cable, it all adds up at the end of the year. Can’t wait to share what more I can find in savings with you all next month, tune in!

Read More:

Debt Free Journey – $90,479 Paid Off in 23 Months – August 2020

Debt Free Journey – $89,979 Paid Off in 22 Months – July 2020

Debt Free Journey – $89,479 Paid Off in 21 Months – June 2020

Guys, don’t let another day go by getting further in debt. Today’s the day to get started with your own debt free journey.

​Read More
Debt Free Journey - Update $90,479 Paid in 23 Months- August 2020-My Financial Hill
Debt, Debt Journey

Debt Free Journey – Update $90,479 Paid in 23 Months- August 2020

It’s been 23 months now into our debt free journey. So far, we’ve paid off $90,479 with $36,750 left to go.

We’ve been paying off $500 each month towards the last two debts. One of them is the student loan which has a balance of $28,500 and the family loan for $8,250. Paying $500 is a lot less than what we used to pay before the pandemic hit. We were attacking the debt with about $1660 each month but now we want to build the emergency fund up a bit until things settle down.

Hopefully by next month, we’ll be able to make a large payment of possibly $10,000 to knock some of that student debt, stay tuned.

Debt Free Journey - Update $90,479 Paid in 23 Months- August 2020

The only debt we have left to tackle is our student loans and family debt.

September of 2018:

8 Credit Cards
1 Car Loan
2 Medical Loans
2 Student Loans
1 Personal Loan and 1 Personal Loan from family
Total $127,229

August 2020:

1 Student Loan $28,500
1 Personal Loan from family $8,250
Total $36,750

Want to get started on your own debt free journey? Grab this free debt thermometer to see how much you owe and get started with the free 5-day Debt Free Bootcamp to get you on your way to becoming debt free.

Emergency Fund

If you’re able to do so, it’s a great idea to build up your emergency fund if you don’t have one. In certain situations, it may be more important to have cash available in case anyone loses a job or gets injured rather than paying off debt.

Not saying you should avoid paying off debt overall but set aside some money each month to your savings account until you build one that you feel comfortable with.

Once you get your emergency fund up to an amount that you’re okay with, then focus 100% on attacking your debt.

If you don’t have an emergency fund or need some ideas on saving up for one, head to this post below.

Read More: 5 Tips to Build Your Emergency Fund Fast

If you’re here for the first time, there are some real easy steps for you to get out of debt while still enjoying life.

Becoming debt free doesn’t have to mean that you’ll need to sacrifice. There’s ways around that. You can still enjoy life by going on trips, vacations, getting the things you want but just making some tweaks to get you the results you want without losing out on what you love.

That’s something I’ve come to learn about this process and it’s the only way that’s helped my hubby and I keep going.

If you want to get started on your own debt free journey, check out some tips that can help you get there below.

Read More:

How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips

Start a Budget

Use the Snowball Method to pay off debt

Find 95 Ways to Save

Make Extra Money

Travel for free

Cutting The Cord Update

In the previous July debt free update, I mentioned that we may cut the cable.

Well.. we did!

We tried out Philo, and it’s friggin awesome.

BEFORE PHILO

Debt Free Journey - Update $90,479 Paid in 23 Months- August 2020 Before Philo

AFTER PHILO

Debt Free Journey - Update $90,479 Paid in 23 Months- August 2020 After Philo

Let’s do the math here, $152.49-$60.32 = $92.17. Wait.. $92.17?!

We saved over $90 by cutting the cable, how amazing is that? That’s savings of $1,106 a year.

Wish we did this sooner.

But of course we have to factor in the actual cost of Philo $20 so realistically we’re saving $72.17 or $866 a year (which is still awesome).

If you missed last month’s progress post, I mentioned this Philo service as an alternative to cable.

As long as you have internet, you can stream your favorite cable channels live, plus it comes with unlimited DVR, and fast forwarding options through commercials.

Here’s a little breakdown of Philo below.

Philo

  • They have so many mainstream networks like A&E, AMC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, History, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TLC, Travel Channel, VH1, and WE TV.
  • Unlimited DVR (held for 30 days)
  • Able to fast forward through commercials
  • Free 7-day trial
  • Only $20 a month

We’ve been using Philo for a few weeks now and it’s been awesome. The only downside to cutting cable is that we have to use something called Locast to watch local channels (for free).

This method using Philo and Locast is great for those who don’t watch local channels too much but tend to watch network channels more often.

If you’re wondering about Locast check out the breakdown below.

Sign up for free here at Philo and try it free for 7 days. (That’s what I did before cancelling the cable)

Locast

Locast is a non profit service that provides you with your local streaming channels for free!

You sign up at Locast.org and you get live streaming of your favorite local channels. You can stream on your phone, computer, or on your TV.

For your TV, you’ll need a streaming device like  RokuAmazon Fire Stick, or Apple TV.

The downside to Locast is every time you switch channels, you will see a short Locast commercial but it can be removed by paying Locast a small $5 a month donation.


Overall, cutting cable and switching to Philo and Locast has been awesome.

Finding Savings

Using cash back and points apps has been great and it’s very satisfying to see that your money can go a bit further.

If you read last month’s debt journey post, I mentioned apps like Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, Swagbucks, Rakuten, and Honey.

I’m going to add Receiptpal to that list.

I’ll go over some reasons why I use those apps and programs and you can find super easy ways to get some side cash monthly too.

Ibotta

Ibotta is mainly a cash back app that gives you real money back when you go grocery shopping by scanning your receipt.

It’s actually better than using coupons in my opinion because when you use coupons, it comes off the bill. Ibotta, on the other hand, gets you cash back when you buy certain products.

Once you reach $20, you can redeem it for cash back via Paypal or giftcards.

Also, besides only groceries, Ibotta also gets you cash back for in-store or online retailers like eBay, Kohls, ULTA, JCPenny, and 300 more.

To use Ibotta, you’ll look for the grocery store you plan to do your shopping. Look through the items that the store has and add the items to your list. Once you’re done with your shopping and get your receipt, upload it to Ibotta and it’ll match your offers. You may also need to scan barcodes for certain products just to verify the purchase.

Tip: When you add the item to your list, make sure to read the description of the item. For instance, today I see an offer for Philadelphia cream cheese giving $.50 X 5 back and there’s a note saying it’s for 7.5 oz or larger. Make sure you’re getting the right items to get the cash back offers.

Overall, it’s an awesome app to use and I get great money back from it. I love to use it since I don’t have the patience to coupon. If you’re a couponer then you’ll get even more savings with this app since it also allows you to use Manufacturer’s coupons too.

Sign up for free at Ibotta and use the code YDIGCFJ to get your $20 welcome bonus

Currently, I have $57 cash back from Ibotta which is pretty sweet if you ask me, and no clipping coupons required.

Debt Free Journey - Update $90,479 Paid in 23 Months- August 2020 Ibotta Cash Back

Fetch Rewards

Another app I’ve been using is Fetch Rewards. I basically get points for scanning receipts from grocery shopping, gas, and food.

Once I reach a certain amount of points, I’ll get gift cards or free magazine subscriptions.

Use the code 7JKFH when you sign up to Fetch Rewards and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points)
You can also refer others and earn 2,000 points ($2) yourself and your friend/family will earn 2,000 points ($2) as well.

Receiptpal

Another app I’ve been using diligently is Receiptpal.

Do you ever throw away your receipts? Think twice before doing that. You could be getting cash back for them.

With Receiptpal, you can scan your receipts and get points. Once you earn enough points, you can redeem them for gift cards.

Why not turn your junk into money?

You can scan in almost any kind of receipts:

  • Gas receipt
  • Restaurant/fast food receipts
  • Shopping receipts from any store
  • Service receipts
Debt Free Journey - Update $90,479 Paid in 23 Months- August 2020 Receiptpal points earned

For every receipt you submit, you’ll get a punch for your card. If you scan 4 receipts, you’ll get 100 points. Once you fill up 5 cards, you will get multiple entries into their sweepstakes for $250. Also, Receiptpal will give you random chances to get entries for their sweeps.

Points System:

Level 1 – 2,200 points = $5 Amazon gift card

Level 2 – 4,000 points = $10 Amazon gift card or 9,250 for a $25 Amazon gift card

Level 3 – 17,250 points = $50 Amazon gift card or 32,250 for a $100 Amazon gift card

Sign up for free here and start getting money back for your receipts

Swagbucks

I’ve been spending more time on Swagbucks and it’s been pretty awesome. I’ve gotten paid 500 swagbucks points which is equal to $5 for playing a game during my spare time in the evening.

If you ever have some free time check out Swagbucks to earn points which can be redeemed for cash via Paypal or gift cards.

Some ways to earn points are:

  • Take surveys/poll
  • Play games
  • Watch videos
  • Shop online
  • Complete daily goals
  • Enter competitions for points

Sign up for free here at Swagbucks and earn a $10 welcome bonus

Rakuten

I still use Rakuten when I’m doing any online shopping to get cash back on my purchases. It’s free money back, why not take it?

Rakuten partnered up with over 2,500 stores to get you cash back.

It’s super simple to use. Before buying anything online, go on Rakuten to see if they have your retailer on the list.

Then check to see if there’s any cash back offers. If there is, all you do is click on the retailer’s button where it will take you directly to the store you planned to shop at.

The only difference is, Rakuten will get you cash back for your purchase.

Sign up today with my special link here and get your $10 welcome bonus + $30 cash back when you spend $30 (It’s like getting $30 for free!) Rakuten won’t disappoint, check them out.

Debt Free Journey - Update $90,479 Paid in 23 Months- August 2020 Rakuten cash back

Honey

Have you heard about Honey? I just recently started using it and it’s awesome.

I downloaded the Chrome extension and when I go to purchase something online, it’ll scour through tons of coupon codes to help find the best price for the item.

It’s good for lazy couponers like me.

It’s a site that finds you all coupons available for stores. It has a chrome extension so when you go to a site and purchase something, Honey will automatically notify you if there’s a better price

Another good feature about Honey is if there’s no coupon code to be applied, it can also get you points for shopping at stores.

Once you get enough points, you can redeem it for gift cards from places like Walmart, Amazon, eBay, Sephora, Nordstrom, and more.

Sign up for free here and get the cheapest prices for all your online purchases the easy way.

Takeaway

23 months down and we’ve paid off $90,479 worth of debt. Pretty amazing stuff.

Does it feel like we’ve sacrificed a great deal, nope.

Getting out of debt doesn’t have to be hard. You may have heard people having to sell literally everything, eating rice and beans, never going on vacation, or getting nice things for themselves just to get themselves out of debt. We’re here to show you that you don’t have to go to those extremes.

All you need is a good budgeting system to help you handle money the right way to squeeze the most out of your hard earned cash, look for savings in the right places, and still enjoy life without having to go into debt to do it.

I’m currently in the process of getting a workable system in place for others to follow step by step on how I do my monthly budget. I can say that having a proper budgeting system in place can make all the difference in the world.

I’ll share it with you all very soon!

PS Stay tuned, we’re going to pay $10,000 next month towards the student loan!

Today’s the day for you to finally take back control over your money. It’s time to become debt free and embark on your own journey. I’ll show you the steps you need to get there, get started by grabbing the free debt thermometer.

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Debt Free Journey _ July 2020-My Financial Hill
Debt, Debt Journey

Debt Free Journey Update July 2020

It’s been 22 months in now to our debt free journey. So far, we’ve paid off $89,979 with $37,250 left to go.

The only debt we have left to tackle is our student loans and family debt.

September of 2018:

8 Credit Cards
1 Car Loan
2 Medical Loans
2 Student Loans
1 Personal Loan and 1 Personal Loan from family
Total $127,229

July 2020:

1 Student Loan
1 Personal Loan from family
Total $37,250

We’re still playing it safe due to COVID-19 and just paid $500 towards student loans this month.

It’s actually a great time now to pay off student loans because of no interest accrual. Who knows how long that’ll last.

Also, did you know that any payment made to student loans now go straight to principle?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get some loan forgiveness? How awesome would that be? We can only wish!

So this month, we’re still saving away just like the last few months now.

It’s important to have a good savings of 3-6 months on the side just in case.

I’ll admit it’s no small feat to pay off $89,979 in under 2 years. Just to be sure you didn’t miss it, if you want to get started on paying off debt then check out my posts below.

Related: How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips

Cutting The Cord

Cutting the cord? I don’t mean having a baby.

I mean cutting the cable cord.

Do you have cable and internet? I bet you probably pay way over $100 a month. We pay about $150 for cable and internet, that’s $1,800 a year. Talk about highway robbery!

So I’ve been trying to come up with other ways to save on bills. Cable was something that I just couldn’t get rid of. I love my reality TV, Don’t judge!

I did some research to see if there were any other cable alternatives. I found a couple! One is called Locast and the other is called Philo.

So, what’s the dilemma with cutting cable? Besides your favorite shows, you’ll be losing local channels too right?

There’s alternatives to that and it’s where Locast comes in.

Locast

Locast is a non profit service that provides you with your local streaming channels for free!

You sign up at Locast.org and you get live streaming of your favorite local channels. You can stream on your phone, computer, or on your TV.

For your TV, you’ll need a streaming device like  RokuAmazon Fire Stick, or Apple TV.

The downside to Locast is every time you switch channels, you will see a short Locast commercial but it can be removed by paying Locast a small $5 a month donation.

Philo

One of the major reasons I couldn’t cut cable was cause of my favorite shows on certain networks like MTV, TLC, AMC, Discovery, HGTV, and others.

Then I found Philo. They have so many mainstream networks like A&E, AMC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, Hallmark, HGTV, History, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TLC, Travel Channel, VH1, and WE TV.

Philo costs $20 a month which beats the price of cable by a landslide.

Plus Philo offers unlimited recordings of your favorite shows.

The downside to Philo is the unlimited recordings has a cutoff period of 30 days, but I think that’s enough time to watch every favorite show.

As of right now, we’re testing it out to see how it goes. Once we officially cut the cable cord, I’ll let you all know how it went.

Looking For Savings

This month I’m still using savings / cash back / and coupon sites that’s easy to use. Remember when I told you I hated clipping coupons? These sites and apps are perfect for those that don’t like couponing but can still get major savings.

Ibotta

Ibotta partnered up with over 300 stores including all your main grocery stores and others. They most likely have the grocery store you go to on their list.

Once you find your grocery store, you upload your shopping receipt and you’ll get cash back.

Currently, I have $30.90 cash back from Ibotta just for grocery shopping. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me, and no clipping coupons required.

It’s an awesome app to use.

Sign up for free at Ibotta and use the code YDIGCFJ to get your $20 welcome bonus

Fetch Rewards

Another app I’ve been using is Fetch Rewards. I basically get points for scanning receipts from grocery shopping, gas, and food.

Once I reach a certain amount of points, I’ll get gift cards or free magazine subscriptions.

Use the code 7JKFH when you sign up to Fetch Rewards and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points)
You can also refer others and earn 2,000 points ($2) yourself and your friend/family will earn 2,000 points ($2) as well.

Swagbucks

Swagbucks is a site where you could take surveys/poll, play games, watch videos, shop online, complete daily goals, and enter competitions for points. These points convert to cash back via PayPal or gift cards.

I’ve been using Swagbucks to get cash back when I shop online.

Sign up for free here at Swagbucks and earn a $10 welcome bonus

Rakuten

I still use Rakuten when I’m doing any online shopping to get cash back on my purchases. It’s free money back, why not take it?

Sign up today with Rakuten to get $10 in a welcome bonus and be on your way to start earning cash back for online purchases. Don’t miss out on FREE MONEY!

Honey

Have you all heard about Honey? I just recently started using it and it’s awesome.

I downloaded the Chrome extension and when I go to purchase something online, it’ll scour through tons of coupon codes to help find the best price for the item.

It’s good for lazy couponers like me.

It’s a site that finds you all coupons available for stores. It has a chrome extension so when you go to a site and purchase something, Honey will notify you if there’s a better price

Sign up for free here and get the cheapest prices for all your online purchases the easy way.

Takeaway

This month has been all about looking for savings any way I can, the easy way.

22 months down and we’ve paid off $89,979 worth of debt. Pretty amazing stuff.

With the right tools and strategies in place, anyone can pay off debt.

Related: How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips

Hope you are all staying safe out there!

Are you ready to start your own debt free journey? Get started by grabbing this free Debt Thermometer and join us in the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp to pay off $500 worth of debt in your first month.

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Debt Free Journey _ June 2020-My Financial Hill
Debt, Debt Journey

Debt Free Journey Update June 2020

I wanted to update you guys and let you all know that I did a deep audit into my finances from when I started the debt paying process till now.

I decided to go through my bank statements and start logging in all my debt starting from September 2018 till this month. I found that we actually have a total debt of $127,229 and not $116,000.

A debt snowball app totally messed up my numbers so I decided to do something about it and start tracking everything myself.

Currently, we’ve paid off $89,479 in 21 months and have $37,750 remaining.

As you can see in the chart above, our debt payoff progress really slowed down since March 2020 due to COVID-19.

September of 2018:

8 Credit Cards
1 Car Loan
2 Medical Loans
2 Student Loans
1 Personal Loan and 1 Personal Loan from family
Total $127,229

June 2020:

1 Student Loan
1 Personal Loan from family
Total $37,750

We’re playing it safe these days and paying only $500 a month towards debt.

We do have an emergency fund but we want to be extra safe just in case the worst case scenario were to happen like both of us losing our jobs.

If you’re also paying off debt or thinking about starting, make sure to save for an emergency fund. Always have a 3-6 month emergency fund in place.

In 21 months, we got rid of $89,479 worth of debt. Do you want to start on your own journey to get debt free? Check out these tips that can help you get started like we did.

Related: How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips

Looking For Savings

Have I ever mentioned that I really don’t like couponing? I don’t have the patience to sit there and go through circulars looking for deals or clip coupons to save for later.

Don’t get me wrong, I do know how important coupons can be though. It can save you hundreds over time!

Instead of couponing, I use digital apps that give cash back.

I use programs like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards.

If you haven’t tried it yet, you need to get it.

It’s so easy to use.

Ibotta

Ibotta partnered up with over 300 stores including all your main grocery stores and others. They most likely have the grocery store you go to on their list.

Once you find your grocery store, you upload your shopping receipt and you’ll get cash back.

In June, I got $21.75 cash back from Ibotta. Pretty kool huh? No need to be clipping coupons! Whew!

It’s an awesome app to use.

Sign up for free at Ibotta and use the code YDIGCFJ to get your $20 welcome bonus

Fetch Rewards

Another app I’ve been using is Fetch Rewards. I basically get points for scanning receipts from grocery shopping, gas, and food.

Once I reach a certain amount of points, I’ll get gift cards or free magazine subscriptions.

Use the code 7JKFH when you sign up to Fetch Rewards and you’ll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points)
You can also refer others and earn 2,000 points ($2) yourself and your friend/family will earn 2,000 points ($2) as well.

Swagbucks

Swagbucks is a site where you could take surveys/poll, play games, watch videos, shop online, complete daily goals, and enter competitions for points. These points convert to cash back via PayPal or gift cards.

I’ve been using Swagbucks to get cash back when I shop online.

Sign up for free here at Swagbucks and earn a $10 welcome bonus

Rakuten

I still use Rakuten when I’m doing any online shopping to get cash back on my purchases. It’s free money back, why not take it?

Sign up today with Rakuten to get $10 in a welcome bonus and be on your way to start earning cash back for online purchases. Don’t miss out on FREE MONEY!

Honey

Have you all heard about Honey? I just recently started using it and it’s awesome.

I downloaded the Chrome extension and when I go to purchase something online, it’ll scour through tons of coupon codes to help find the best price for the item.

It’s good for lazy couponers like me.

It’s a site that finds you all coupons available for stores. It has a chrome extension so when you go to a site and purchase something, Honey will notify you if there’s a better price

This month has been all about looking for savings any way I can, the easy way.

Takeaway

Another month during COVID-19 is really affecting our lives. I want to pay more towards debt but it’s definitely a time to be saving a lot more. You just never know what tomorrow brings.

I’ve been using a lot of cash back / coupon apps and sites to get even more savings throughout the month. If you all can find time to coupon then great, go for it! If you don’t have the patience to coupon like me, then definitely try those apps and sites out.

Every dollar saved is a dollar earned. Don’t dismiss any savings you can get.

We’ve paid off $89,479 in 21 months and have $37,750 remaining. Still can’t believe we paid that much off. Just goes to show, anything is possible.

Are you ready to start your own debt free journey? Get started by grabbing this free Debt Thermometer and join us in the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp to pay off $500 worth of debt in your first month.

​Read More
Debt Free Journey Update May 2020 77,750 My Financial Hill
Debt, Debt Journey

Debt Free Journey Update May 2020

It’s been 20 months into our debt free journey so far. We started off with $116,000 worth of debt. So far we’ve paid $77,750 off with $38,250 remaining. It’s amazing that we’ve paid off 2/3rd of our total debt so far in 20 months.

I have to admit that when we first jotted down all our debt in September, seeing the total number made us feel hopeless. I thought we would carry the debt for the rest of our lives.

My husband and I realized that taking small steps and using the right tools, it is possible to get out of debt.

If you’re reading this post for the first time, check out all the debt we had below.

September of 2018:

8 Credit Cards
1 Car Loan
2 Medical Loans
2 Student Loans
1 Personal Loan and 1 Personal Loan from family
Total $116,000

May 2020:

1 Student Loan
1 Personal Loan from family
Total $38,250

In 20 months, we got rid of $77,750 worth of debt. So what were the actionable steps we took to get this far?

  • We started budgeting using the zero based budget system.

Related: How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips

May Debt Free Journey $77,750

Since COVID-19 started, my husband and I decided to slow down our debt paying progress at least until things get somewhat back to normal. From paying our usual “rollover money” of $1,600 towards debt, this month we paid $411.

We are paying $411 to my student loans while it’s in forbearance. Why? All payment made goes straight towards principal! This is actually a perfect time to be paying off student loans since any payment will not be split up towards interest and principal. I wish we could pay more of the student loan off but for now we will take things a little slower due to Covid.

We need to be conservative since my husband had a pay cut from his company and I can’t work extra temp jobs as I was planning to before COVID-19 hit.

Now, we are primarily saving mostly because you just can’t predict the future.

We still follow all the steps mentioned above to keep our debt payoff progress going. The most important part of the debt paying process is budgeting.

1 | Budget

I use the Zero Based Budget which has been extremely successful in helping us manage our money. If you want to use an app that tracks your spending automatically then use Personal Capital which is also a free app.

Debt-Free-Journey-Zero-Based-Budget-MyFinancialHill

Related:

How To Budget Your Money For Beginners

Snowball Method

2 | Emergency Fund During COVID-19

This is one thing I’d strongly recommend especially if you are undertaking your own debt free journey. Please save a good 2-6 month fund before throwing every single penny at debt. Erin and Steve also agrees, read about their debt free journey.

Not saying to hold off on paying debt completely, but make sure you also save for an emergency fund at the same time. Once you reach your ideal and safe emergency fund amount, then throw every extra penny at debt.

3 | Look For Savings

Ibotta

During my last shopping trip to Walmart, I got $8.75 cash back by using Ibotta. I use Ibotta because it’s so easy to use. I actually tried to coupon a while ago but it was too time consuming and I just couldn’t keep up with it.

What I like about Ibotta is choosing items I’m going to buy, upload my receipt, and get real cash back.

Debt Free Journey Update May 2020-Ibotta-My Financial Hill

All you do is click on the “+” icon for the item that you plan to buy. It gets added to your list. Once you get your receipt, submit it to Ibotta, and the program will automatically match your list with the items on the receipt. Once you reach $20, redeem it for cash or gift cards.

Ibotta-money-back-walmart-app-my-financial-hill

Ibotta is an easy alternative for those who don’t want to go looking for coupons everywhere and also to get real cash back!

$8.75 cash back for one grocery shopping trip is not too shabby. Can’t complain about having more money in my pockets.

It’s these small savings that ultimately save you hundreds in the long run. It’s about making small decisions that add up over time.

Sign up for free at Ibotta and use the code YDIGCFJ to get your $20 welcome bonus

4 | Save on Food Costs

Do you know how much you spend on food costs each month?

This is where we were able to save hundreds in a month. We only buy convenience food on the weekends. Meal prepping during the weekday has saved us so much money.

If you need some ideas on recipes to cook, check these out:

Air Fryer Recipes Healthy and Low Carb for Dinner

10 Easy Breakfast Ideas

20 Easy Keto Low Carb Recipes for Dinner

I’ve read an article of someone who only spends $50 a month on outside food. All I can say is wow. It’s definitely possible with effort. We won’t go to that extreme because I think you have to find a happy medium between sacrifice and what you want.

That’s the key to staying motivated on any debt free journey. Things can’t be too difficult where you’re unable to follow through with the plan. Give yourself some freedom in your budget to enjoy things here and there. That can be going out to eat, fun money fund, vacation fund, clothing fund, and more.

To find more saving ideas, check out 95 Best Money Saving Tips to Start Now

5 | Make extra money if you can

With COVID-19 lingering around, it’s probably best to try to make extra side money safely.

  • Put money into a high yield savings account to earn money passively
  • Sell your clothes/furniture/toys/electronics on Ebay, Mercari, Letgo, or Nextdoor
  • Take online surveys for money Get your $10 sign up bonus today with Swagbucks
  • Be a freelancer on Fiverr and sell your skills including being a graphic designer, virtual assistant, photo editing, writing/editing/proofreading content, marketing, programming, SEO optimization, programming, transcription, other social media services
  • Make money losing weight on HealthyWage and other apps like Dietbet and Stickk. People make hundreds to thousands of dollars by challenging themselves to lose weight which creates a financial incentive.

Check out other ways to make extra money every month

RELATED:EASY WAYS TO MAKE EXTRA MONEY EVERY MONTH

6 | Second guess your purchases

Before you buy anything from a $5 to $1,000 item, ask yourself if you really need it. We stopped spending money frivolously just by purchasing things we actually really need rather than want.

Give yourself a budget for things you want.

For instance, we have a spot on our budget for categories like “fun”, “vacation”, “gifts for eachother”, etc.

If you really want those $100 shoes or $600 bag, plan and save up for it.

7 | Travel For Free

During our debt free journey, it was important for us to still have fun and travel. You don’t have to cancel all vacations and trips so that you can be debt free.

Find that happy medium to attain your goals without sacrificing your happiness.

Because of Covid-19, we probably won’t be traveling internationally this year just to be on the safe side.

When we do travel, we have 188,610 travel points to use up! That’s equal to $1,886 worth of points. Find out how we travel for free below.

Debt Free Journey – May 2020 Update

We’re trying to save more money during this time because of Covid-19. We were able to pay $411 towards my student loan which brings our total payoff amount to $77,750 with a balance of $38,250.

I try to find savings where I can like using the Ibotta app when I grocery shop. It’s the little things but it can eventually add up to big bucks at the end of the year. Why not keep more money in your pockets.

Also, if your student loan is currently in forbearance, any payment made may go directly towards principal. Please confirm this information with your student loan provider. I definitely want to pay off as much of my last student loan as possible while the account is under forbearance to undertake this opportunity.

Are you ready to start your own debt free journey? Get started by grabbing this free Debt Thermometer and join us in the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp to pay off $500 worth of debt in your first month.

​Read More
Debt, Debt Journey

Debt Free Journey Update April 2020

It’s been 19 months into our debt free journey and we are in still in limbo right now due to this COVID-19 mess. As of April, we have paid off $77,339 worth of debt which is still amazing in itself. Our debt pay off progress remains the same since last month.

When we first started our debt free journey, we had $116,000 worth of debt. We’ve decided to hold off this month on paying anything towards our last two debts: Student Loan & Personal Loan from family.

September of 2018 we had all this debt:

8 Credit Cards
1 Car Loan
2 Medical Loans
2 Student Loans
1 Personal Loan and 1 Personal Loan from family
Total $116,000

April 2020 we have:

1 Student Loan
1 Personal Loan from family
Total $38,661

In 19 months, we’ve come a long way by paying off $77,339 worth of debt so far. With the right strategies in place, getting closer to becoming debt free is actually not as difficult as I’d thought. Find out the 5 tips we used to help knock out the first $50,000 in 10 months below.

Related: How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips

Tips To Get Out Of Debt

If you also want to be on your way to achieve a debt free life, you must create a plan that will help reach your goal. The most important aspect of getting your finances in order is creating a monthly budget. It helps to outline where you’re spending your money or if there are any areas in your life you need to save for.

1 | Create a monthly budget

Creating a budget will help you take control of your finances and draw out your map to financial success. I use the Zero Based Budget which has been extremely successful in helping us manage our money. If you want to use an app that tracks your spending automatically then use Personal Capital which is also a free app.

Debt-Free-Journey-Zero-Based-Budget-MyFinancialHill

Related: How To Budget Your Money For Beginners

2 | Saving During COVID-19

The reason we decided to stop paying down our debt this month is because of COVID-19. This whole situation has hit everyone hard and it’s affecting the economy. These are uncertain times right now, companies are laying people off or even cutting people’s pay. We’ve agreed that it was best to hold off throwing every cent we could come up with at debt until things settle down.

It’s probably best right now to save whatever money you may have coming your way instead of spending it unnecessarily. If you are also paying off debt, it may be best to be conservative with your spending right now.

3 | Look For Savings

RX

A Pharmacist from Walgreens told me about GoodRX. Look up any medication on GoodRX, find a coupon, print it, and bring it in to a pharmacy to get a discount.

A normal medication which was costing over $90 was about $13 with the printed coupon, it’s amazing.

Car Insurance

Our car insurance company automatically refunded back a few dollars most likely due to COVID-19. Did you get any refund check? If not, it doesn’t hurt to call them up and explain your situation if you’re car has not been driven for months now.

School Loan Forbearance

Take advantage of the school loan forbearance being offered due to COVID-19. Most Federal school loans will be in forbearance until the end of September, and they will also not apply any interest.

Amazon Discount

Those that have Amazon Prime knows how fast the Prime delivery usually is. Now with COVID-19, the shipping times have significantly decreased. You can speak with customer service and they may give you some form of credit if you have a legitimate issue. It may be a few bucks, but hey it’s something.

4 | Save on Food Costs

Prior to starting our debt free journey, we used to go to restaurants all weekend and barely cooked much at home. Once we started budgeting, we realized we were spending almost $800-$1,000 a month on food. That included groceries, take out food, and restaurants. You’d be surprised when you track all your transactions and find out how much you’re actually spending.

Ever since we started being mindful of how much we were spending on food, we’ve been trying to find savings in the food category of our budget. 90% of the time we are eating more at home which helps us save tremendously from spending money at restaurants. Plus eating at home is probably a whole lot healthier than buying processed food from fast food places.

If you need some ideas on recipes to cook, check these out:

Air Fryer Recipes Healthy and Low Carb for Dinner

10 Easy Breakfast Ideas

20 Easy Keto Low Carb Recipes for Dinner

Digital Coupons

I have to admit that I’m not an avid coupon collector or anything, it’s just too time consuming. To make things easier I use Ibotta where I can upload my receipt to get cash back on food, pretty simple to use.

Sign up for free at Ibotta and use the code YDIGCFJ to get your $20 welcome bonus

We have been making more of an effort to cook at home. If ordering delivery on occasion, using Rakuten is good for getting cash back on food delivery services like GrubHub or Postmates.

Sign up today with Rakuten to get $10 in a welcome bonus and be on your way to start earning cash back for online purchases. Don’t miss out on FREE MONEY!

To find more saving ideas, check out 95 Best Money Saving Tips to Start Now

5 | Make extra money if you can

With COVID-19 lingering around, it’s probably best to try to make extra side money safely.

  • Put money into a high yield savings account to earn money passively
  • Sell your clothes/furniture/toys/electronics on Ebay, Mercari, Letgo, or Nextdoor
  • Take online surveys for money Get your $10 sign up bonus today with Swagbucks
  • Be a freelancer on Fiverr and sell your skills including being a graphic designer, virtual assistant, photo editing, writing/editing/proofreading content, marketing, programming, SEO optimization, programming, transcription, other social media services
  • Make money losing weight on HealthyWage and other apps like Dietbet and Stickk. People make hundreds to thousands of dollars by challenging themselves to lose weight which creates a financial incentive.

Check out other ways to make extra money every month

RELATED:EASY WAYS TO MAKE EXTRA MONEY EVERY MONTH

6 | Second guess your purchases

Before you buy anything from a $5 to $1,000 item, ask yourself if you really need it. We stopped spending money frivolously just by purchasing things we actually really need rather than want.

7 | Travel For Free

Now that most states are lifting their stay-at-home order, you may be itching to travel or take a trip somewhere. If you must travel, do so cautiously. On the financial aspect of traveling, did you know that you can get free flights, cruises, and excursions?

While we started our debt free journey, we use credit card points to pay for our trips. Learn how below. Ever since COVID-19 hit, we are taking precautions and not deciding to travel for the time being.

So far, we have accumulated over 500,000 credit card points which is an equivalent to around $5,000. We used those points to pay for our Carnival Cruise, Flight for Las Vegas, and so much more. Also, when we search for flights we use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights possible. If you’d like to learn about how we accumulate credit card points to cover our trips (before COVID-19), check out the posts below.

Debt Free Journey – April 2020 Update

Not much has changed since last month. Since we are holding off on paying any debt towards our last two loans, our progress remains the same. So far, we now have a total debt remaining balance of $38,661. We paid off $77,339 so far in 19 months out of $116,000 total debt.

I’m hoping the COVID-19 situation goes away soon so life can go back to normal. There is no interest accumulating for our last two debt items so it’s okay if we take our time to pay those back. COVID-19 is a slight hiccup on our debt free journey but I’ve always looked at this process as a marathon, not a sprint.

Are you ready to start your own debt free journey? Get started by grabbing this free Debt Thermometer and join us in the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp to pay off $500 worth of debt in your first month.

​Read More
Debt, Debt Journey

January 2020 $69,522 Debt Payoff Journey

It’s been 16 months so far into this $116,000 debt journey. We are more than half way done as of January 2020 as we paid $69,522 so far! There are a lot of factors that got my husband and I to this point. One day, we decided that enough was enough and set our goals to be debt free one day. This whole process is actually not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I had this preconceived notion that we were going to be sacrificing a great deal, it actually doesn’t feel like we have. There are plenty of factors that we’ve implemented to help us get to this point and will continue to use to reach our goal. I hope these tips can also help anyone else that wants to get out of debt too.

September of 2018 we had all this debt:

8 Credit Cards
1 Car Loan
2 Medical Loans
2 Student Loans
1 Personal Loan and 1 Personal Loan from family
Total $116,000

January 2020 we have:

1 Student Loan
1 Personal Loan from family
Total $46,478

We have a combined total income of about $120,000-$130,000 a year. Basically, we had almost a year’s salary worth of debt. How crazy is that? One day we decided to follow a plan to help get us out of debt because what we were doing definitely wasn’t working. Find out how we paid off $50,000 in the first 10 months of this journey.

Related: How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips

Tips To Get Out Of Debt

If you implement a few strategies, you can also be on your way to be debt free. It’s all about finding the right tools and tips to help save you money and manage it properly.

1 | Write down your list of debt

Create a list of your debt from the smallest balance on top of the list to the largest balance on the bottom of the list. It will give you an idea of what you’re working with. Don’t be discouraged when you see all the debt you have. You can get through this! If we muddled more than half way through $116,000 then you sure can too!

2 | Create a monthly budget

It which will help you take control of your finances and draw out your map to financial success. I use the Zero Based Budget which has been extremely successful in helping us manage our money. If you want to use an app that tracks your spending automatically then use Personal Capital which is also a free app.

Zero Based Budget MyFinancialHill

Related: How To Budget Your Money For Beginners

3 | Save for an Emergency Fund

Unless you’re a psychic, you will never know what tomorrow will bring. You don’t want to be stuck in a position where you spent all your extra money paying off debt while not having anything saved up during an emergency like a job loss, medical emergency, and more. It’s so important to save a good 2-6 month portion for emergencies before throwing every extra money you have at debt. You can still pay debt while saving for your emergency fund but make sure you don’t forget this category in your budget.

4 | Use the Snowball Method to pay off debt

Snowball Method to Pay Debt - How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips - MyFinancialHill

5 | Make extra money if you can

  • Put money into a high yield savings account to earn money passively
  • Work extra shifts or over time
  • Drive for UBER  or Lyft
  • Be a babysitter or caretaker on Care / Petsit on Rover
  • Sell your clothes/furniture/toys/electronics on Ebay, Mercari, Letgo, or Nextdoor
  • Take online surveys for money Get your $10 sign up bonus today with Swagbucks
  • Be a freelancer on Fiverr and sell your skills including being a graphic designer, virtual assistant, photo editing, writing/editing/proofreading content, marketing, programming, SEO optimization, programming, transcription, other social media services
  • Make money losing weight on HealthyWage and other apps like Dietbet and Stickk. People make hundreds to thousands of dollars by challenging themselves to lose weight which creates a financial incentive.
  • Rent out a room by charging a fee on Airbnb. That can easily bring in extra hundreds of dollars each month.

Check out other ways to make extra money every month

RELATED:EASY WAYS TO MAKE EXTRA MONEY EVERY MONTH

6 | Second guess your purchases

Before you buy anything from a $5 to $1,000 item, ask yourself if you really need it. We stopped spending money frivolously just by purchasing things we actually really need rather than want.

7 | Stop comparing your lives to others

Truth of the matter is you don’t have to spend tons of money on cars, travel, clothes, etc. to keep up with the Jones’. It’s your life and not theirs. Other people probably are up to their necks in debt trying to live lavishly so there is no point in trying to keep up with others. It’s best to focus on your financial goal and be content with what you have.

8 | Personal loans can help tremendously

As a matter of fact, we took one out years ago to move out of an expensive city. We used a portion of that loan to put away in our emergency fund, applied for a down payment on our home, and applied it for our debt. In a matter of 10 months, we also paid off that personal loan off too. Check to see if you qualify for one at Lending Club to help you consolidate debt.

9 | Find Savings

Food costs was huge expense for us. We spent almost $800-$1,000 a month on food. That included groceries and take out food. You’d be surprised when you track all your transactions and find out how much you’re actually spending. To cut costs on groceries I used Ibotta to get cash back when grocery shopping.

Cooking more at home will help prevent the need to buy take out food. Making large batches of food is easy with the Instant Pot like soups, stews, tender meat, and so much more. Using the Instant Pot will help you save time and money plus you can freeze any left overs.

I used Rakuten  to get cash back when booking travel, hotels, car rentals, online shopping and more.

If I was looking for spa treatment, oil change, restaurants, or activities, I went on Groupon to get the cheapest deals. At Groupon, get an extra 20% Off Local Plus An Extra 10% Off Travel. Use Code SAVE

Cut your cellphone bill in half by switching to Cricket Wireless, they even have free smartphones available. We pay $80 flat with all taxes included for 2 phones and unlimited data.

Get cheaper quotes by switching your insurance companies for the car, home, apartment, etc.

Do some DIY repair work for your home/condo/apartment by doing some research online and getting parts at Home Depot, or Lowes.

10 | Travel For Free

We didn’t want to sacrifice our travel while on this journey to pay off debt. We made it work by using travel card points to cover our travel expenses. By implementing the budgeting and snowball method, we quickly paid off all our consumer debt which in turn raised our credit scores. We qualified for travel cards that offer an equivalent of $500-$700 or more worth of points. We used those points to pay for our Carnival Cruise, Flight for Las Vegas, and so much more. Also, when we search for flights we use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights possible.

January 2020 Debt Payoff Progress

At the end of this month, we paid a total of $1,553 which consists of our snowball debt rollover amount. So far, we now have a total debt remaining balance of $46,478. We paid off $69,522 so far in 16 months out of $116,000 total debt. Slowly but surely, we’re chipping away!

It’s been a long year of 2019. 2020 is the start of a new year. I have a goal to achieve which is to be debt free by the end of this year! Making extra money, finding ways to save, sticking to a budget, while still having fun will get us there. I hope these tips will help you as well to get you started on your debt paying journey.

Are you ready to start your own debt free journey? Get started by grabbing this free Debt Thermometer and join us in the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp to pay off $500 worth of debt in your first month.

​Read More
February 2020 $72,060 Debt Payoff Journey - MyFinancialHill
Debt, Debt Journey

February 2020 $72,060 Debt Payoff Journey

It’s been 17 months so far into this $116,000 debt journey. We are more than half way done as of February 2020 as we paid $72,060 so far! There are a lot of factors that got my husband and I to this point. One day, we decided that enough was enough and set our goals to be debt free one day. This whole process is actually not as hard as I thought it was going to be. I had this preconceived notion that we were going to be sacrificing a great deal, it actually doesn’t feel like we have. There are plenty of factors that we’ve implemented to help us get to this point and will continue to use to reach our goal. I hope these tips can also help anyone else that wants to get out of debt too.

September of 2018 we had all this debt:

8 Credit Cards
1 Car Loan
2 Medical Loans
2 Student Loans
1 Personal Loan and 1 Personal Loan from family
Total $116,000

February 2020 we have:

1 Student Loan
1 Personal Loan from family
Total $43,940

We have a combined total income of about $120,000-$130,000 a year. Basically, we had almost a year’s salary worth of debt. How crazy is that? One day we decided to follow a plan to help get us out of debt because what we were doing definitely wasn’t working. Find out how we paid off $50,000 in the first 10 months of this journey.

Related: How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips

Tips To Get Out Of Debt

If you implement a few strategies, you can also be on your way to be debt free. It’s all about finding the right tools and tips to help save you money and manage it properly.

1 | Write down your list of debt

Create a list of your debt from the smallest balance on top of the list to the largest balance on the bottom of the list. It will give you an idea of what you’re working with. Don’t be discouraged when you see all the debt you have. You can get through this! If we muddled more than half way through $116,000 then you sure can too!

2 | Create a monthly budget

It which will help you take control of your finances and draw out your map to financial success. I use the Zero Based Budget which has been extremely successful in helping us manage our money. If you want to use an app that tracks your spending automatically then use Personal Capital which is also a free app.

Zero Based Budget MyFinancialHill

Related: How To Budget Your Money For Beginners

3 | Save for an Emergency Fund

Unless you’re a psychic, you will never know what tomorrow will bring. You don’t want to be stuck in a position where you spent all your extra money paying off debt while not having anything saved up during an emergency like a job loss, medical emergency, and more. It’s so important to save a good 2-6 month portion for emergencies before throwing every extra money you have at debt. You can still pay debt while saving for your emergency fund but make sure you don’t forget this category in your budget.

4 | Use the Snowball Method to pay off debt

Snowball Method to Pay Debt - How To Get Out Of Debt With These 5 Tips - MyFinancialHill

5 | Make extra money if you can

  • Put money into a high yield savings account to earn money passively
  • Work extra shifts or over time
  • Drive for UBER  or Lyft
  • Be a babysitter or caretaker on Care / Petsit on Rover
  • Sell your clothes/furniture/toys/electronics on Ebay, Mercari, Letgo, or Nextdoor
  • Take online surveys for money Get your $10 sign up bonus today with Swagbucks
  • Be a freelancer on Fiverr and sell your skills including being a graphic designer, virtual assistant, photo editing, writing/editing/proofreading content, marketing, programming, SEO optimization, programming, transcription, other social media services
  • Make money losing weight on HealthyWage and other apps like Dietbet and Stickk. People make hundreds to thousands of dollars by challenging themselves to lose weight which creates a financial incentive.
  • Rent out a room by charging a fee on Airbnb. That can easily bring in extra hundreds of dollars each month.

Check out other ways to make extra money every month

RELATED:EASY WAYS TO MAKE EXTRA MONEY EVERY MONTH

6 | Second guess your purchases

Before you buy anything from a $5 to $1,000 item, ask yourself if you really need it. We stopped spending money frivolously just by purchasing things we actually really need rather than want.

7 | Stop comparing your lives to others

Truth of the matter is you don’t have to spend tons of money on cars, travel, clothes, etc. to keep up with the Jones’. It’s your life and not theirs. Other people probably are up to their necks in debt trying to live lavishly so there is no point in trying to keep up with others. It’s best to focus on your financial goal and be content with what you have.

8 | Personal loans can help tremendously

As a matter of fact, we took one out years ago to move out of an expensive city. We used a portion of that loan to put away in our emergency fund, applied for a down payment on our home, and applied it for our debt. In a matter of 10 months, we also paid off that personal loan off too. Check to see if you qualify for one at Credible to help you consolidate debt.

9 | Find Savings

Food costs was huge expense for us. We spent almost $800-$1,000 a month on food. That included groceries and take out food. You’d be surprised when you track all your transactions and find out how much you’re actually spending. To cut costs on groceries I used Ibotta to get cash back when grocery shopping.

Ibotta

Sign up for free and use the code YDIGCFJ get your $20 welcome bonus.

Cooking more at home will help prevent the need to buy take out food. Making large batches of food is easy with the Instant Pot like soups, stews, tender meat, and so much more. Using the Instant Pot will help you save time and money plus you can freeze any left overs.

I used Rakuten  to get cash back when booking travel, hotels, car rentals, online shopping and more.

Sign up today with Rakuten to get $10 in a welcome bonus and be on your way to start earning cash back for online purchases. Don’t miss out on FREE MONEY!

If I was looking for spa treatment, oil change, restaurants, or activities, I went on Groupon to get the cheapest deals.

Sign up for free here at Groupon to start getting your MEGA savings.

Cut your cellphone bill in half by switching to Cricket Wireless, they even have free smartphones available. We pay $80 flat with all taxes included for 2 phones and unlimited data.

Get cheaper quotes by switching your insurance companies for the car, home, apartment, etc.

Do some DIY repair work for your home/condo/apartment by doing some research online and getting parts at Home Depot, or Lowes.

Read More: 95 Best Money Saving Tips to Start Now

10 | Travel For Free

We didn’t want to sacrifice our travel while on this journey to pay off debt. We made it work by using travel card points to cover our travel expenses. By implementing the budgeting and snowball method, we quickly paid off all our consumer debt which in turn raised our credit scores. We qualified for travel cards that offer an equivalent of $500-$700 or more worth of points. We used those points to pay for our Carnival Cruise, Flight for Las Vegas, and so much more. Also, when we search for flights we use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights possible.

End of Month

At the end of this month, I found $867 in overage from budgeting. What gave us that overage was an increase of income from me working extra temporary jobs on my days off and from my husband getting a bonus. We then took that extra amount and combined it with our monthly debt snowball amount of $1669 to throw it at my student loan. We paid a total of $2,536 towards the student debt. We now have a total debt remaining balance of $43,940. We paid off $72,760 so far in 17 months. Slowly but surely, we’re chipping away!

Paying off debt doesn’t have to be the hardest thing in the world. Actually, I don’t think my life has changed all that dramatically. Once we got the ball rolling on paying off our debt our credit scores rose to the 800’s and now we qualify for awesome travel cards which we use to take trips and vacations. We don’t spend money unnecessarily and always try to find savings where we can and make extra money when we can. Some of these tips will help you keep some money in your pockets and pay off debt easily too.

Are you ready to start your own debt free journey? Get started by grabbing this free Debt Thermometer and join us in the free 5-Day Debt Free Bootcamp to pay off $500 worth of debt in your first month.


​Read More