I’ve decided that 2019 is the year I get rid of this student loan debt once and for all. I’ve been watching the lessons of Financial Peace University as a refresher and knew I needed to make some big changes if I wanted to get this done. Dave Ramsey talks about families wanting to get out of debt need to 1) reduce their spending and/or 2) increase their income. In any case, the only way to win with money is to have a plan.

So what does this look like for me? My plan has three big components. First, I trick myself into thinking I make less money than I do. Let’s say you make $4000 each month. Instead of basing your monthly budget on that number, create a budget that has you earning $3800 (or even less if you can swing it). Then when my paycheck is actually deposited, I take out the excess and put it right toward my debt. I found this to be more successful than when I would budget $200 each month for savings because it was too easy to spend that money on something else.

One added perk of pretending you make less money is that you actually could afford to make less money someday. I think a lot of the time, as people look for their next job, they automatically assume they should make more money. While sometimes that may be necessary as household expenses increase, being able to accept a job that pays less opens you up to more job possibilities.

The second part of my master plan is tracking my spending. Mind blown, right? Yeah, I know it’s nothing earth shattering, but I am the type of person that has to track my spending or it can get out of control. This was key to me being focused in 2009 as well. 2019’s method is new and improved. I use the paid version of an app called Every Dollar that is put out by Dave Ramsey’s people. There are a ton of expense tracking apps out there and I’ve tried a bunch of them, but this one works the best for me by far.

Every Dollar is available in both a free and paid version. I use the paid version because it imports all of my transactions directly from my bank and credit card accounts. One of my problems in the past is getting lazy with tracking my spending. This app doesn’t allow me to do that. Transactions come into the app and I simply drag and drop them into the budget category. Easy peasy.

The last part of my plan is to make more money. I don’t work in the type of industry that allows me to pick up extra shifts or work overtime, so I needed some kind of side job. Fortunately, there are lots of different ways for people to make money these days! When I moved about a year ago, I started using a service called Shipt to deliver my groceries. While I know some people may think having someone else get groceries for you is silly and maybe even lazy, it has saved me time, money, and stress (anyone else hate taking their kid to the store?).

Back in November, I started to think that Shipt might be a way for me to earn some extra money. I applied, was accepted, and started shopping in December. There’s nothing magical about Shipt as a side job, but for me it’s a great fit. I work when I want to, which is helpful with everything else I have going on. I can grab a handful of orders on a weekend or even grab a quick one on the way home from work.

So, there you have it: my plan for winning with money in 2019. I hope to keep you posted as I go. In the mean time, if any of you are considering working applying for Shipt or have questions about it, drop a comment below and I can give you a referral.