I was never really concerned about where my money went or how I spend it. I had a budget in my head and if that budget had been spent, then whatever money was left just had to last me until the month end. I would run out of money, but I didn’t worry because I had my credit card – with a limit of R80 000.
Life looked good from the outside. But when I reached R60 000 on my credit card (at 16.1% interest) and was paying around R3000 back each month, something had to change. And it did. But not for the better. With my credit card almost maxed, I started to use payday loans. I would borrow R1000 a week before payday and when the salary came, they would take their money.
Finally, in November 2013, I decided that I wanted be debt free. So I started trying to track my money but doing that with Excel was just tiring, boring and I wasn’t winning with budgeting. I kept looking for something that would be easier and fun to budget with. In February 2014, I found out about 22seven. I can’t remember how, but I am glad I did. At that time they were not free, but they had 30 day free trial. So I started the trial and immediately I could see where my money was going. I also quickly realised that 22seven could help me reach my goal of being debt free.
I started fine tuning and I think I was logging in literally every day. I really enjoyed the android app. 22seven also showed what my net worth was and I must say I wasn’t happy with that – it was approaching negative R250 000 and the bond wasn’t even there. Every time I logged in I would tell myself that I wanted to see my net worth being R0.
But on a day to day level, 22seven made it so easy for to analyse how I was spending my money. I was spending on average just over R1000 on entertainment, R700 on airtime/data bundles, R1000 on eating out. And I was paying a lot on fees for withdrawing money from the ATM, which I couldn’t track before 22seven.
Once I could see how and where I was spending my money, I knew what I needed to do. I started cutting back on those categories – I downgraded from a Platinum to Gold cheque account to reduce my bank fees, and I spent much less on airtime.
Then I redirected the money I was saving to repaying my debt. I started to increase my car installment, and seeing those bars in the graph going up did something to me. I was motivated to keep paying more so I could get out of debt sooner.
Today, I’m consumer debt free, meaning I only owe the house bond. I’ve paid off my car and I owe nothing on my credit card. Now I’ve actually got money to save, and I’m investing more and more each month.
Would l be debt free if I didn’t use 22seven? Probably not. For me 22seven made my journey to a debt free life enjoyable and quicker.
Photo by: P T, artificially flavored Freedom* via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.