Category Archives: Life

Debt Free!

Last month, I made one last big payment on my car loan and one last big payment on my student loan. Which means… I’m debt-free!!

Paying off all my loans was my biggest goal after I graduated college (besides finding a job, obviously). Not quite knowing what our combined income would look like, I had a hope that Andrew and I could pay off our loans in about a year and a half. We beat that goal by almost a full year!

Andrew thankfully didn’t have any school loans so that was a big relief, but he still had a small loan for his car, so we started there. We paid off his car fairly quickly and by the end of last summer we started working on my student loans.

I graduated with under $10,000 in loans, which I was pretty proud of. I had several scholarships that helped with my tuition, but I also went to a state school which is cheaper. Additionally, I always made sure to at least pay the interest that was accruing each month so that my loans weren’t growing, but usually I paid more. I tried to pay between $50 or $100 each month, but if I had an extra pay check or received some money as a gift (or from tax returns) I would use that towards my loans as well.

I think we were able to pay off all our loans so quickly because we’ve always been mindful of our money. I wouldn’t consider us well-off by any means; we both currently have entry level jobs, but we have both worked as hard as we could right from the beginning. Andrew worked 50-hour weeks as a manager during college – in addition to his double degree – and I always worked part-time in addition to my schooling. My junior year, I even worked two jobs in addition to school full-time (which was absolutely miserable and I entirely do not recommend). I worked less than that my senior year because I learned my lesson, and also just made a bit more at my internship.

That’s not to say that all of our work didn’t come with a price. Andrew and I made a lot of sacrifices to work as much as we did. I wouldn’t say either of us had a typical college experience; I wasn’t as involved as I could have been and instead of going out on the weekends, I was working. I know that to some people, what we did wouldn’t be worth it, and that’s okay. Not everyone’s situations are the same and not everyone’s goals are the same. My goal has always been to pay off my loans as fast as I can so that we could be financially sound, and that comes with sacrifices.

All that being said, it feels good to look back and see how far we’ve worked and to see it now, literally, pay off. Right now we are just saving that extra money we’re not spending on loans for future big purchases, like a house or a new car for Andrew, and tucking more away into our 401k.

I know that being debt free will be a temporary state for us once we get tied down into a mortgage, but I’m definitely savoring it while it lasts!

Hey there, 2017

Happy 2017!

I hope everyone had a fun and safe new year! Andrew and I got together with an old group of friends and hung out together to celebrate. We hadn’t seem some of them in a couple years, so it was really fun to catch up and see everyone again.

We played a lot of Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros, and even a bit of Quidditch from the GameCube, which I totally killed at (Ravenclaw FTW!). Me and my girlfriends talked about our favorite books that we read this year and had suggestions for each other – I know, things got real crazy. ;)

We hadn’t even planned on staying up til midnight because Andrew had to work yesterday and also has to work today, but we just ended up staying and I’m glad that we did.

This year was the first year that I didn’t call my mom at midnight. She is a new year’s baby, so my family usually does a big celebration for both her birthday and the new year, but they kept things pretty low key this year and she told me not to call her at midnight because she would be sleeping. XD

I know that everyone makes resolutions at the start of the new year, and I used to really really hate them, so much so as I wouldn’t make goals. I’m still a big believer that if you want change, you should do it immediately and not wait for something silly like the new year to happen.

That being said, my heart has changed a little bit. I think the new year is a good time to stop, reflect, and give yourself some guidelines for the year. But I also believe that if the goal isn’t working or if circumstances change, throw that sucker out.

Review of Goals from 2016

Be more consistent in my blogging
I left this goal a bit open-ended as I didn’t want to set specific parameters that I had to meet, which I know is opposite of how you’re supposed to make goals, but in my head I was hoping to blog roughly once a week with exceptions here and there. I published 57 posts in 2016 so I feel like I really did well with this goal! I had a lot more posts in the first half of the year than the second half, but I’m pretty happy with how I did. Plus I had a lot of big life changes and I’m still learning how to work full-time and manage this blog. It’s been a lot of learning, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it!

Read 52 books
This goal with a close one this year! I really struggled towards the end of the year when I started working full-time. I could squeeze reading in between classes or listen to them when I was at my internship earlier in the year, but it’s hard for me to listen to audiobooks at my new job when I’m constantly learning new things and needing to focus.

That being said, I completed my goal with a couple of days to spare! If you want, you can look at all the books I’ve read this year, or read about my favorites!

Be bold
Another open-ended goal, but a necessary one. I’m very introverted and quiet, and as a result, I feel that I sometimes won’t speak for myself or pass up opportunities because I’m scared of what people might think or the outcome of it. But I realized that that’s not really a way to live life, so in 2016 my goal was just to be more bold. To push myself out of my comfort zone when it’s easier to just stay quiet. To just speak.

And I did. Not in a big and brash kind of way, but in the little things here and there. I went out of my way to meet new people. In job interviews, I wasn’t timid; I boldly proclaimed my accomplishments, achievements, and future goals. I applied for jobs that I wasn’t sure I would be qualified for, but I thought why miss out on an opportunity because I’m scared?

In groups with new people or people that I don’t know very well, I worked on being talkative and speaking up to get to know people. Andrew and I have been together almost seven years, so in that time I inadvertently started using him as a crutch. That boy is a natural talker, and half-the time we can’t get him to shut up (I kid)! So I would rely on him to get conversations going and to do all the talking, but no longer.

I initiated conversations last year. I asked questions. I went out of my way to talk to people. It was so refreshing to let that fear go of what people might think of me when I open my mouth. It may be small to a lot of people, but that is so big for me. I worked on this so much this year that I’m now much more comfortable doing it and I’m not so anxious in social settings.

For example, last night at our little party with our old friends we hadn’t seen in a while, I was so comfortable and laid back with them because I wasn’t so nervous just to talk. I didn’t know some of them very well and there were some new people I hadn’t met before, but I was so much more comfortable just talking with them and asking about their life. A year or so ago, I wouldn’t have talked much at all, but this year I wasn’t even the quietest person in the room.

I’m by no means an outspoken extrovert now, but I’ve come a long way and I’m really proud of that.

Goals for 2017

Read 52 books
I know, a no-brainer since I’ve been making this goal since 2013, but a goal all the same. I don’t read as much as I want to with working full-time and maintaining a blog and other everyday duties, so this is to encourage me to read more. Even if I don’t hit this goal of 52 books, I will still be proud of how much I did manage to read. Follow my progress on Goodreads!

(Just a fun fact: my mother-in-law’s goal is to read 100 books this year. Like, what even? How do I even compete with that??)

Get organized and get rid of the clutter
I am naturally a very clean and organized person. I don’t like messes, and I actually find enjoyment taking a big pile of stuff and organizing it all out. But I’ve realized that you can organize and sort out in all these neat piles and put all this stuff in these creative storage devices all I want, but it’s messy and unorganized a day later because I have too much stuff!

My desire to get rid of some stuff is partly inspired by a book I read called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Simmered down, she basically says that if a belonging doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it. Why surround yourself with stuff that doesn’t make you happy and just stresses you out?

That really resonated with me, and while I think some of her methods might be a bit extreme for me (like no, I’m not going to get rid of the four paper towel rolls I have because I bought them in bulk because I don’t need them right now), I took away a lot from the book. I have a lot of things that I’ve held onto and kept for a long time that I don’t use, don’t make me happy, and have no real reason to keep.

I know this aligns quite a bit with the minimalism lifestyle that a lot of people have (hi Georgie!), but I don’t think I’ll go quite so far with it. There are some things that do bring my joy even if I don’t necessarily have a practical use for it. Like I realize that I really don’t need all 150+ books that I own (I don’t even know if that number is even remotely correct), so I’m going to keep almost all of them. But I will take a step back and say, okay which of these books did I buy, read, and didn’t even like? And maybe I’ll get rid of 20 or so.

So call this what you will: a bit of minimalism, a bit of KonMari, and a bit of I just want my house to have less stuff.

Be debt-free
We are so close to being debt-free! Andrew and I have saved up quite a bit towards the end of last year and I’m planning on paying off my student loans this month and my car next month!! I am so excited to not have those two loans hanging over our heads and to put more of our money into actual savings for future things (like a house!).

So this goal is a bit of a mix between paying off all my loans and then staying debt-free. We are considering buying Andrew a new car later this year, so this goal may go out the window if we go that route, but it would give us a good foundation that if we do decide to buy a new car, we will have a good down payment and our loan will be pretty small.

Make our home feel more like home
I love open-ended goals, so here is mine for the year. We have been in our house for seven months now, and I still haven’t even come close to finish decorating. I have decorated the living room and kitchen some, but our bedrooms have no decorations whatsoever.

I don’t consider myself a very good decorator because I am so indecisive. I know when I like a finished product, but I really struggle with figuring out how to get there. My goal is to suck it up and somehow get there this year. We’re busy, and I’m very frugal with my money, but I want our house to feel like our home. I want to walk in our bedroom and to feel relaxed and not have those big empty walls looming before me.

Andrew may not care as much, but I want to have a house that looks nice for him and that he can relax in as well. I have so many framed pictures just sitting against walls in various rooms because I’ve been too lazy to hang them.

So this year I’m rolling up my sleeves, scrolling through Pinterest for some inspiration, and getting to work. My house doesn’t need to be perfect, but with some homey touches, it will feel like ours.

(I’ve started a bit on this already, actually! Yesterday I did a little DIY project so my mirror wouldn’t just be sitting against the wall. I really liked the outcome and it only took an hour or two!)

Welcoming 2017

I have so much to be grateful and thankful for, and I’m so excited for what this year will bring. Goals and all that I side, I know that I have everything that I will need in my family, friends, and husband. :heart:

Wishing all the best for you and yours in 2017. xx