Debt Repayment… a marathon or a sprint?

Admittedly, I have not been as committed to paying off my loans these past few months as I was when I first started this blog.

As it turns out, this loan repayment business is tough. If you are just now beginning your loan repayment journey, starting a debt-free blog or committing to attack your loans with warrior like intensity, you probably have some lofty initial goals.

Which, in all honesty, is good. I know I sure did. Back in January, I committed to putting my entire 2014 salary to loans and solely living off my side hustle money. I was putting money to my loans like it was going out of style. And then, life happened. Yup. It’s crazy how that works, but sure enough, something comes up. Friends get married, you need new tires, you start a long distance relationship,  you have medical bills…. and the list goes on.

Things happen, they do. But, all of this has got me thinking… to what end am I doing all of this? I’ve been working two jobs for two years now. Teaching Monday-Friday, commuting two hours a day to do it, living at my parents house to be able to put more money to loans, waiting tables almost every Friday and Saturday night and some Sundays. On the little time I do have off, I’m almost too exhausted to do much else, always having to say no to my friends to hang out, or give them “I can’t make it until 11” (at which point I’m pooped).

Typing this out, I realize these are serious first world problems. I have a roof over my head, clothes to wear, a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and heck, even a car, cell phone and laptop. But really, this working round the clock to pay off loans is tough, tough business.

I think it’s time that I finally concede to the fact that paying back student loans is a marathon, not a sprint. I can’t believe I am actually posting that, but yes, a marathon it is. I remember reading that on other blogs when I first start Debt Free Tejana and thinking, NO WAY! I want to clear my debt as quick as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I do, but not at the expense of going crazy trying to do it. So I don’t get my loans paid off by my 27th birthday, you know what will happen? Nothing. What’s wrong with paying them off four months later?

I don’t know. Blog world, what are your thoughts? Marathon, sprint or some combination of both? 



How to Throw a Kick-A Valentine’s Party

1. Make sure to have the proper decorations.

Like OMG, all your male friends will all be fawning over this.

Like  OMG, your male friends will all be fawning all over this.

2. Fill your iTunes with music to really set the mood.

The regular edition is really just not the same.

3. Make sure to have enough food and beverages for your guests.

Because of course you have time to carve small perfectly shaped hearts out of your apples.
Nothing says romantic party like squeeze me juice. These also double as a party game: have everyone tape the cards to their shirts and see what happens.

 4. Before guests arrive, make sure to dim the lights. 

pink and red roomIf your room does not have this much pink and red, go ahead and call the guests and cancel because your party will suck.

5. Offer Valentine’s Glamour Shots.

That rose smells just as awkward as this photo looks.

6. Dance your a** off and have fun!

90s decor meets Saint Valentine.

Certainly a crowd-pleaser.

Happy Valentine’s Queridos! 


Just take it in.

Dealing with Unexpected Expenses

Fridays are pretty long days. I’m at school from about 8:30-4:10, then drive straight to work a dinner theater shift at the restaurant and am there until about 10:30pm. This past Friday, I ended up spending some time with a very dear friend (and spent $11, whoops) who is moving to Louisiana next week, so I didn’t get home until about 1am. No complaints, just a long day.

I walk into my bedroom to find my mail on my bed with a little post it note from my Dad attached. I turned on my bedroom light and picked up the note which read “please pay this soon, it’s in my name”.

Oh boy.

I proceeded to open the envelope and it was a $75 charge for running a red light. Dang it red light camera! 

Life’s unexpected expenses like this one seem to always get us at the wrong time, too. Now that I am an adult and am working toward financial freedom, I need to have solid back up plans for little “oops” moments like this one and for serious emergencies. As of this year, here are the two ways that I currently deal with unexpected expenses.

Side Hustle Money

In the case of the red light ticket, it’s not that I don’t have the $75, but it is definitely an expense that puts a wrench in my financial plans. I would much prefer to put that $75 towards a loan or to my wedding travel savings account (for all those destination weddings this year). However, I don’t like straying off budget too much, so instead of taking this out of money I attribute to gas, groceries, crossfit, etc, it means that I need to make an extra $75 this  month to cover it. If we’re going to be really realistic here, this means that I’ll need to pick up two expo shifts (running food to tables, not actually waiting tables) at the restaurant  or get this tutoring gig really up and running and complete 4 hours of tutoring sessions. Or, I could just win the lottery and pay off the red light ticket and all my student loans (just kidding, who wastes money on that?).

Thankfully, it’s a small enough amount that even though it will be more work, I will be able to cover the expense. At this point in my life, if the emergency or the “oops” is reasonable enough, I’ll just work harder to make the money to cover it instead of spending money from any budget category to cover it. That way, I’m not “out” any money, just time.

The Emergency Fund

This past summer I had to get my brakes replaced and buy new tires within about two weeks of each other. Then a week later, the AC in my car went out. I was willing to endure the 100+ degree weather for a 45 minute commute to work, but it was not so easy. The AC broke in such a way that pieces of metal were actually getting into the engine and if left alone, it would do some serious damage to the car. When it was all said and done the tires, brakes and AC cost just over $2,000. In that particular month, I had already spent my salary on loan payments and there was no way I could have waited enough tables to come up with the  money in time, so I had to use about $500 from my checking and $1,500 from savings. Not fun.

How I felt when the dealership told me how much it would cost to fix my car.

Let me add in here that my emergency fund is by no means large. I am following Dave Ramsey’s “7 Baby Steps” and have not yet  made it to the “Save 3-6 months expenses”. After this month, my current savings will be $2,750. This would cover all my minimum loan payments for three months, but leave very little for gas, groceries and everything else. It’s a work in progress. If this is where you are at too, don’t fret too much, as long as you have a plan and are working towards that goal. I put $250 a month towards savings and at the end of the year, that will be an additional $2,750. It’s nothing fancy, but it works for me.

How do you cover life’s unexpected expenses?

How Saving $20 Cost Me $85.52

A few weeks ago, I ordered  a pair of New Balance Minimums (which I LOVE) off Amazon. Amazon offers this sweet deal in which you can sign up for a one month trial membership for free. Yes, zero dollars. Amazon Prime is awesome because not only does it offer TV shows and movies (much like Netflix), but it also offers free shipping.

So, in an effort to save $20 on shipping my new shoes, I signed up for the free trial membership. My new shoes came in and I revel in the fact that I got them at such a good price. All is good in the life of the Tejana. She’s saved some money and is now getting really good use of her new kicks.

Then… I log onto my bank account today and to my surprise, I find a charge from for a prime membership. I thought that my trial membership ended on the 19th, how ever could I have a charge on the 15th? This just didn’t make sense. So I log on to Amazon and realize that my free membership actually ended on 14th! Since I didn’t log in and cancel the trial membership it ended up charging me for the FULL YEAR! Oh my gracious- I can’t believe I got the dates switched up!

*Sigh* I’m so mad at myself!

To look at the bright side, at least it looks like the Instant Video feature has a nice selection of movies and TV shows (Downton Abbey anyone?). Which, will provide for some nice entertainment this year as I cut back on all non-essentials like movies and movie rentals. I’ll keep y’all posted this year as I use the membership (you better believe I will be trying to get the most bang for my buck after seeing that $85.52 gone) and I’ll let you know if I really think it is worth the price.

Moral of the story: BE CAREFUL WHEN SIGNING UP FOR FREE TRIAL MEMBERSHIPS ONLINE! Be sure to cancel before the deadline!

What are your biggest spending “accidents”?