May 2021 – Money Diary #2: What the hell just happened?!

Oh, May. Where did you come from? Where did you go?

I thought April 2021 was great, but May 2021 was another incredible money month for me. I can’t believe some of the things I spent my money on. I had a few once-a-year expenses that made some categories higher than normal. But I also can’t believe I was blessed enough to receive an abundance of money again. That’s how God works. Just when you think you can’t, you can. I am just infinitely grateful for my life and all the abundance God continues to show me.

So…what is this abundance I am referring to? Well, remember how I received a $9,000 grant last month from the SBA? Remember how I said I didn’t know when I would make that much money that quickly again?! (If you don’t please refer to last month’s blog.) Imagine my shock when on May 12th, I received another an email from the SBA letting me know that I qualified for an additional $5,000 grant! I remember being in my car when I read that email — I was parked, don’t worry– and I clutched the steering wheel and sighed with so much gratitude. I applied the next day and within a week, the money was deposited into my account! I couldn’t believe my luck. God is so good. I keep getting the feeling that God is showing me that if I continue to be disciplined with my money, He will continue to provide the funds that will allow me to get out of debt fast. In addition to the $5,000 grant, I received income from my day job. My total income for the month of May was $9,224.35.

Let’s get into what I spent my money on!

STUDENT LOANS. This month I put $2,324.38 towards my student loans. After paying off all the high interest loans last month, I will be doing the snowball method for my remaining loans, since they are of varying low interest rates from 3.4-4.6%. This month I was able to knock out two loans that had a balance of a little over a thousand dollars each. It was so rewarding to be able to scratch off more loans from my list! My new total loan balance is $39,000 even. And yes, I wanted to get to an even number on purpose. LOL! It helps me stay motivated and keep track.

SAVINGS. I deposited $943.06 into savings over the course of May. This consists of $300 every paycheck and random save as you go deposits here and there.

ACTING/BUSINESS EXPENSES. In preparation for the new headshots I will be taking soon, this month, I got my dream haircut with a celebrity stylist! I spent $312.50 on my haircut, including tip. I also spent another $100 to reserve my next cut. This celebrity stylist has a six month waitlist! I know this sounds like a crazy amount of money for a haircut, but hear me out. If I want to be on the level of someone like America Ferrera or Salma Hayek one day, then I need to use a stylist of that caliber. Also, as someone with curly hair, I have probably had one or two good haircuts in my entire life. I think this haircut was one of the best I’ve had in a long time.

I also spent money on virtual theater tickets. As an actor, going to see theater and movies is a business expense. This enriches my life as an actor and helps to inform my work. I spent $32.99 on tickets this month. I also spent the usual $11.99 a month on Hulu. Total business expenses this month was $462.48.

CAR. My car insurance renewal was coming up this month. Instead of paying $250 every month for six months, thanks to the extra 5k I got, I decided to pay off the entire coverage in one fell swoop. This saved me $50 overall on monthly installment fees. The lump sum payment cost me $1,496.88. Though my car category was much higher this month, I know it’ll even out. With the extra $250 I’ll have every month, I’ll be able to comfortably make large payments on my student loans. Other than insurance, I paid $32.35 on parking, $17.47 on charging my EV, $283.15 on my monthly car note, and $7 to wash my car. My total car expenses equaled $1,836.75.

PHONE. This is another category that was higher than usual just for this one time… Back in January, I bought a new phone with a payment plan. Since I’m on a debt free journey, once again, I wanted to use that 5k towards wiping out this debt. I paid $1,126.63 to finish paying off my Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G! WOO! Disclaimer: In the future, this may not be a spending category for me again. Admittedly, my mom pays for our family plan still. I kind of justify it because (pre-pandemic) I was paying a similar amount to the phone bill on her Parent PLUS loans each month. I honestly hate that she had to take out loans for my education. I WILL pay off her loans one day, you’ll see! Ultimately, I do hope to take over the cell phone bill some day. But this won’t be until I’m debt free.

FOOD. Another crazy expensive category this month. Listen, I had family in town for a week! My food expenses included groceries and dining out for myself and sometimes one or two other people. The total I spent on food this month was $816.88. I knew I could afford it, so I just focused on treating myself and others to a good time. Life is too short.

RENT. Guess what? This category was unusually high, too! Back in April 2020, I had been laid off from my job, thanks to the pandemic, and could not pay my rent that month. I had no idea what the future would hold, so I put off paying back this debt in order to save liquid cash. Since I finally feel somewhat stable, I decided to pay it back. I paid my usual rent of $687.50, plus the owed rent. I spent $1,375 on rent this month.

UTILITIES. I spent $61.49 on utilities this month. Yay, a category that was lower than usual!

PERSONAL/FUN/SHOPPING. Ok, I lied last month. I bought skincare again! Listen, KORA Organics is my ultimate skincare obsession and also my weakness! They had a 20% off sale for Memorial Day and I took it as an opportunity to stock up. I spent $168.16 on KORA products. I spent $23.04 on pillows and snacks at Target for the family that was visiting me. I spent $21.90 on haircare at Sephora. My total shopping expenses equaled $213.10.

GIFTS. This month I celebrated two birthdays and Mother’s Day. I spent $350 on gifts.

In total, I spent $9,509.77 in May 2021. This is slightly more than my income, resulting in a negative cash flow. Don’t worry, my account never went negative! I still had money leftover from last month! Not ideal, but I felt very at ease with all my spending this month. I aggressively paid down debt and allowed myself to have a treat here and there. Here is a graph of my money breakdown:

LOOKING AHEAD. In June, I know my car, phone, food, and rent expenses will be lower. I plan on putting that extra money towards debt. Moving forward, my debt repayment strategy is to pay $1,000 on my student loans every paycheck. I make around $1,800 every 2 weeks, sometimes more. I’d be left with at least $800 to survive on for two weeks, which is still more money than I used to make at my last job. I used to make only $600 every two weeks! Basically, I’m used to being broke. Don’t even get me started. If all goes according to plan, my new student loan balance at the end of June will be $36,000. And if I can keep up that pace, my student loan balance will shrink down to at least $24,000 by the end of this year! Hopefully, I can get even lower than that if I throw any bonuses, overtime, or extra income at it. I’m reaching for the stars!

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