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No Credit Needed Introduces Guest Author: Big Honkin

I’d like to introduce guest author, Big Honkin. Big Honkin and I are friends in the “real world” and I’ve asked him to contribute a series of articles to No Credit Needed. Big Honkin is at the same place I was about 3 years ago: He’s ready to get out of debt. Big Honkin has joined the No Credit Needed Network. Click here to see his current NCN Network chart. Without further ado, Big Honkin and the beginning of his story… (I’ll have a few comments at the end of the article.)

Big Honkin Debt Reduction: Big Honkin Decisions

Honkin (hawn’ – kin) adv. – an adverb used to describe the adjective big. The term “big honkin” may be replaced with “very big,” however, scholars maintain that the phrase “very big” does not convey the actual bigness of something that is
big honkin.

ex. I can’t eat anything else after that big honkin meal we just had.

So, I’m Big Honkin, and I want to reduce my debt. I’ve known NCN off line for a while now and as he got excited about his debt elimination, I began to get a vision for being able to do the same.

The problem? I had no idea where to start. As I logged onto No Credit Needed and listened to the No Credit Needed Podcast, I found that NCN was talking about things that are a few years down the road for me. I would seek for tips that he may have had to help me get started on the journey into debt free living, but he was already there, and now he’s talking about how much he is saving and where it’s all going. That’s all good and well for him, but what about me? What about Big Honkin?

The first issue I had in getting started was that it seemed that I was always behind on everything. Car payments, electric bill, water bill, phone bill, name it, and it was late…consistently late.

Up to this point in my life, I always though the answer was more money, or bigger paychecks. Then, I sat down and worked the numbers and realized that I was making enough in a month to pay my bills, buy some groceries, and have a substantial amount left over. What then?

Well, then comes the first step in my trip to a debt free lifestyle. Get caught up. How? Honestly, this requires a little biting of the bullet and just doing the work to get caught up. I had to look and see what I was spending, where I was spending and how much I really needed to be spending. What I found is that I had to cut out a few things for a little while. And you know what? I could do without the things I cut out in my life. What things?

1. Hobbies. I am a hobby obsessed geek. All of my friends know. My family knows. Everyone where I work knows. While hobbies are a great diversion, I fell into the trap that a lot of people fall into. I let my hobbies become too big. As I made the decision to quit spending for a while on my hobbies, I had money to put towards bills to help get caught up.

2. Entertainment. I love my movies and DVDs. I love my TV shows. All of these things cost money. Now, I think it’s important to have entertainment in your life. The problem is, I let entertainment be too much in my life. There are some TV shows during which I refuse to answer the phone. So what did I do? I decided to make a list of movies that I really wanted to see, which ones I would like to see, and which ones that if money were no issue I’d go see. Then, I decided to only see the movies that I really wanted to see, and only see them once. (I am a movie repeater, I will see a good movie three or four times…in the case of one of my favorites several years ago…17 times!)

I decided to put buying DVDs on the back-burner for a while and spend that 15 to 20 dollars on bills. I mean…that’s practically a water bill. As far as the TV goes, I asked I really need 500 channels? The answer is no. And you know what, I don’t miss any of the ones that are gone.

3. Going out to eat. I do this…A LOT!!!! To the tune of almost $100 a week on eating out at restaurants. So, I decided to brown bag it a bit to work. Be willing to shrug off laziness and cook supper in the evenings. (I’m a good cook, and I enjoy cooking.) The difference…amazing.

Overall, I had to make the decision to cut some things out. I found out that I can live without these things, and I also have a plan to phase some of the hobbies and stuff back into my life without breaking my bank again.

So, I’m caught up on my bills and working on taking the next step. Getting a budget into place. Any ideas?

As you can see, Big Honkin has already begun to make changes in his lifestyle. Comments, suggestions, and ideas are welcome! How did you get started? How did you manage that “first budget”? How did you “get ahead” so that you had money in the bank BEFORE the bills arrived?


16 thoughts on “No Credit Needed Introduces Guest Author: Big Honkin

  1. Welcome, Big Honkin! Love the name. And I love how you’ve already made big changes to your lifestyle. They might not seem big (i.e. you didn’t increase your salary by $100K or you didn’t sell a house) but they WILL add up!
    You are LUCKY to have such a great mentor as NCN! I know we all are too!!
    Again, welcome!

  2. First I would find any money that I have–ESPP, savings, investments and cash it out. Second I will just get organize. Next paycheck, buy what you need and nothing more then attack the debt and get current where neccessary.

    Once you are current it become easier after that.

    List you net income and then list all of your debts in order by priority. The most important and the least important. If you debts outweights your take home pay, start cutting expenses.

  3. I’d disagree with MoneyMonk on this one. Savings and investments are very important. There’s the compound interest aspect of investments (if they’re the right investments). Leave your investments alone and continue down the road of a frugal lifestyle (yep, you’re actually being frugal).

    I’m excited to see where your path leads. It’s not an easy road, but you have a great mentor, and a great PF community behind you!

    Good luck!

  4. I agree with Clever Dude–Unless you have $80K sitting in your savings account. Then I’d cash that out, leaving a modest emergency fund, and pay off debt with the rest. But I’d leave all other investments alone.

  5. What is the purpose of being in debt or behind in bills when you have money in stocks?

    Get on track or at least current and then play the stock market.

  6. Way to go! You’ve clearly gotten tired of the financial mess. That’s the first step.

    I use a simple, well, maybe not that simple, spreadsheet to run my budget and track my expenses against it. It’s a conglomeration of formatting and calculations from several others, with my own bits added in. If you’d like a copy, I have one annotated and ready to send out. Just shoot me an email. I’m happy to share what I have.

  7. Maybe you could try selling some stuff?

    And shop around for all your regular bills. I don’t know how it works in the States, but over here there is actually pretty good competition for things like insurance (car / house), electricity, natural gas, mobile phone, broadband, etc. Saving money on these is great because its repeated every month and there’s no need for any actual alteration in your lifestyle.

  8. I’m just in the same position you are! Check out Dave Ramsey’s stuff…he’s got a great money plan and awesome budget softwarre. 🙂

  9. Plonkee has a great point. I actually did this with the companies I use. I called my cable company and said “I’m thinking of switching to satellite TV, what would I need to do to disconnted my cable if I decide to do it?” and all of a sudden they were able to drop my internet/cable bill from $120 a month to $80 a month guaranteed for the next 18 months!

  10. Yay Big Honkin! You’ve taken the first step(s), and that is always the hardest.

    As far as budgets, that is exactly where I am now. I recommend starting off, take a month (or two) and keep track of EVERY penny. Every penny. Once you know how much you spend on things like groceries, gasoline, etc it is much easier to come up with a realistic budget that works for you. I tracked for three months and next month is my first official “follow the budget I spent three months constructing” month. I am hoping it goes well :).

    And throw every last extra unassigned penny at that debt. Hard. Beat down the debt!

    You can do it! Congratulations!!

  11. Thanks to everyone who has chimed in so far. Budgeteer, I would love to see an example of how you work your budget. I have a budget, but it’s just a matter of getting to a point where I actually plug things into it in the right way. As far as savings or investment cash outs go, believe me when I say I am new to the PF community and to the saving money thing. I’ve literally got nothing to show for 14 years worth of working. Thanks again everyone.

  12. That’s great that you’ve taken the first steps. Making a budget is difficult, but enlightening.

    At this point, if you’re intent on getting out of debt, I’d find all of the CD’s, DVD’s, and other entertainment that you don’t use in an average month and sell them. buys used DVDs, CD, and video games and pay through paypal. They don’t buy everything, but you might be surprised at what they’ll give you money for. I got almost $2 for a Monster Ballads CD! I hadn’t listened to it in years.

    Enjoy this time. It’s when your motivation is highest, and your budgetary honeymoon will take you farther than you think.

  13. Congratulations! You’ve already made some huge changes and you seem to be doing so well with them.

    I echo the other commenters who’ve suggested selling things. I’ve sold books, CDs and DVDs on Amazon, which can be something of a hassle in terms of packaging and mailing, but you get to set the price so depending on what you are selling you can make a pretty good amount.

    Have you set long term goals? Things like saving for retirement (and eventually coming up with a specific number), buying a house, a trip to Italy, whatever your dream may be. It feels good to know that you’re working not only toward being debt-free but toward making your dreams come true also. I look forward to reading the rest of your journey as it continues. Good luck!

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