Five things I plan on doing when my student loans are paid off

In light of starting to pay off my student loans a year ago last month, I’ve reflected on the things I could’ve spent the money on.  That’s not a healthy way of thinking and I’ve attempted to block it when the thought crosses my mind.  To combat it I’ve been thinking of the things I’ve accomplished both monetary and life progresses and successes.  It did get me excited about how different my life will be in five years or less when they’re gone for good.

 

1. Throw a party

l do plan on throwing a party once my student loans are gone.  I have no idea what it’ll look like, but I’m throwing confetti and giving myself a pat on the back.

 

Lady of Catan shirt (source: CatanShop)

2. Clothes shopping trip

I’ve often had to forego clothing purchases that I’d like because of money (either in debt or as a poor college student).  One of the things I’ll do once my debts are paid off is go on a good shopping trip to a mall I really like and give myself a $500 window.  It may not seem like much to some, but to someone who gets nervous spending more than $50 on clothes a month, it’ll be something else.

 

Leeds Castle, Kent, UK view from  Hot Air Balloon by Samantha Lacy, via Flickr, one of the most beautiful castles ever (Leeds Castle, source: Flickr)

3. Travel

One of my biggest goals in life is to travel.  It means traveling out of town, out of state and out of the country.  While I’ve done some traveling so far, I haven’t been out of the country yet, which is depressing to think.  Once my student loans are paid off, I plan on traveling to the UK for two weeks to celebrate.

 

4. Replacements

I have a couple things that are looking a little worse for wear or I’d like to replace.  Due to being focused on student loans, I’m holding off on those things until my debts are paid off.  I feel that, being frugal, I hold onto some things longer than I should.  I finally talked myself into recycling an old pair of jeans, that I loved before they got holes in them.  There’s no point in having two pairs of ‘painting and outdoor work’ jeans, especially when one has holes and rips!

 

Never underestimate your ability to make someone else's life better. Even if you never know it.

5. Donate, donate!

Over the years I’ve done a lot of volunteer work and donated money to various organizations, even leading a few programs with other board members.  I’ve had to step back in the last two years because of time and in some ways, money.  Once my student loans are paid off, I look forward to using my time not spent on part-time freelancing and ‘extra’ money towards donating my time and energy.

 

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Sadly I’m still another four years out before I can celebrate my student loans being gone at my current rate.  I’m due for a raise in a few months, but I’m hoping for a promotion or something similar before then.  Having always been under the banner of ‘poor college student’ or ‘in debt college graduate’ it’ll be strange, but exciting!

 

What do you plan on doing when your debts are gone (if you have them)?  If yours are paid off, what did you do to celebrate?

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2014 goals: July Update

Quote of the Week (B&W) $5- 36 full page quotes to use in your classroom. Teach your students about friendship, courage, being unique, and not giving up. Lead discussions about the quotes or have your students reflect on the meaning and write. So many ways to use these quotes!

August break! Nine days of not working, plus a couple days of staff days lay ahead of me for the first two weeks of August.  My school is year round and we have a week off in between now and the staff days leading up to the 2014-2015 school year.  In the past we had two weeks, but due to snow, we only got one week off, tis a shame.

Since I’ll be heading out on break without internet, I wanted to do a quick update on my 2014 goals for July.

Earn $1500 in extra income  ($1463/1500)

Writing amounted to only $51.50 this month because my company is now processing checks between 20-30 days instead of what used to be 15 days (or less).  On a positive note, I’m getting more business and can expect a big check next month!  My sales were good this month though, netting me $119 and next month I already have at least one big sale scheduled!

Pay off $10,000 in student loan debt   ($5196.03/$10,000)

 

Over halfway there, but its August, meaning I need to get myself in gear.  Luckily, I realized a mistake I was making with my WellsFargo loan…I’ve only been paying my payments due in the future, not the actual principal.  Oy.  I’ll be writing checks with the words “towards principal” for the next seven months since that’s how far ahead I am.  Geez…I feel dumb.

Read 100 Books (41/100)

I need to read more, even though I did read 8 books this month, I’m still pretty behind.

Beat 10 video games (7/10)

I FINALLY beat Super Mario World and I gave the secret levels a start already.  I’m still making my way through FFIV: The After Years and found out I’m still a good ways away from being done.  Maybe in August I’ll beat it.

Complete 20 crafts (9/20)

Thanks to my mom and I’s craft day, I finished two this month.

Donate or volunteer for 10 causes (6/10)

I made two donations to the African American Cultural Festival this month plus my tithe to my church.

Get rid of 365 things (261/365)

I only got rid of 28 things, but next month should be better since I have a couple sales lined up and a trip to goodwill in order.

 

Have a great weekend and week ahead everyone!  I’ll have a new post once I come back from vacation!

Mid-Year Goal Reflections

We’re over halfway through 2014, yikes!  It doesn’t seem that out there for me as I’m already working on IEP’s, school curriculum and documents that are for the year 2014-2015.  I’ve even had my school calendar for 2014-2015 for a month.  The 2014-2015 school year is starting in a little over a month (I teach summer school, but my school is year round, so its a little different).  As I look at my goals, I find myself reflecting on not only how far I’ve come, but how far I have to go on some goals.  I even finished one goal already, hurray!  By the end of the month I may have another goal completed too.  Let’s review:

Dreams + Determination = Success :) #quotes #inspiration

Goal: Earn $1500 in extra income (sales and writing)

I’m a little over $100 away from finishing this goal and I anticipate possibly finishing it this month!

 Goal: Pay off $10,000 of student loans

I’m just under $5,000 and with only 6 months to go, I’ll be bumping up the payments.  I want to pay more, but I only make so much.  I did get a raise last month though!

Crafts, Video Games and Reading

I’m progressing at a good rate on all 3 and I know that by August I’ll be around 3/4 of the way through all 3.

Decluttering

I’m doing pretty well with this goal and I’m around 100 items away from completing it.  Once I have a couple more sales, take books to the used bookstore and sell some old clothes, this goal will be done!

Volunteering

I’m embarrassed by this one because I’m only halfway through.  I did specify charities and while I do help out with a lot of odds and ends, I’m not really expanding as much as I’d like to with this one.  There’s so much I can do, I’m not utilizing it…

Wardrobe goal

I have a vacation week coming up the first week of August and I plan on taking one day to go to the city and get a new wardrobe and thereby get rid of a lot of worn out things in my closet.  Heaven knows I need to.

Recycling/Traveling/Bear Bank

They’re all works in progress, though the traveling one does need more progress!

Recipes

I’ve been busy in my kitchen throughout the year and I’m excited to try even more things in the future.  Over halfway done with this one!

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In July I plan on working more on all my goals and hopefully checking another goal off my list!  I think I might actually meet some by the end of the summer, meaning I can focus more on my harder/more intensive goals.  The debt repayment one is the one I want to focus on the most, but its probably the hardest goal (due to restraint of funds).  Where there’s a will, there’s a way though!

June Goal Recap

Yes (John Green)

June felt like a month that went at a moderate pace.  For once, I didn’t feel like it breezed by faster than some months this year.  I was glad for that since it meant I was able to balance my life at a slower pace.  June itself was a good month and I had a week off from work, meaning I spent a week and a half traveling around to visit family and friends.  I look forward to those 6-7 weeks throughout the year when I can do that.  It’s hard being far away from family, especially since they’re getting older and from friends who mean a lot to me.  I have plenty here, but I definitely get nostalgic to move closer to family sometimes…ok a lot.

Goal wise, June was a pretty good month.  I think the only goal I was dissatisfied with was my extra earnings, but it happens.  More on those below!

 

Extra earnings ($1247.13)

$144-sales

$53.62 -Writing

Total: $197.62

My freelance check has been taking two weeks to get to me, so that hurt my extra earnings for the month.  Sales were great in the beginning of the month, and then basically stopped.  I had three people in a row cancel their orders, which stunk.

 

Reading Goal (34/100)

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortsenon

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell

Horrible Histories: The Awesome Egyptians by Terry Deary

Paper towns by John Green

Tales to Inspire by Bathroom Reader Institute

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

Boy Next Door by Betty Cavanna

I was a readaholic this month (when I had time) and I’m already well on my way to reading a lot more in July.  I actually took one weekend to just read mostly and it was wonderful.

 

Beat 10 Video Games (6/10)

Bible Adventures (NES)

Final Fantasy IV & FFIV: Interlude (PSP)

I played a lot of video games this month and beat two.  I’m currently making my way through Final Fantasy IV: The After Years and have no doubt I’ll have it beaten by the end of next week.  After that, it’s time to reload either Shadow of the Colossus or Persona 4!

 

Complete 20 crafts (7/20)

The only one I finished this month was a Dalek piece for my Doctor Who bathroom. I started on Rose in the beginning of the month, but haven’t worked on it in two weeks. My goal in July is to get her finished and the tenth Doctor. Oh and I need to start on gift crafts in July.

 

Volunteering (5/10 opportunities)

I slacked off on this one with the exception of donating to service dogs of Virginia.

 

Pay off $10,000 of student loan debt ($4650.81/$10,000)

I was VERY happy to pay off over $2,000 worth of student loans this month. I only wish I could do this every month, but I don’t forsee this happening again until I get my next tax refund. I’m halfway through the year though and not halfway through, so I’ll need to up the payments…somehow.

 

Get rid of 365 items (233/365)

I only got rid of 27 things in June, but since I’m already ahead for the year, I’m not too bothered by this fact. I anticipate I’ll get rid of a lot more in July, mostly due to giving away things to friends and (hopefully) more sales.

 

Clothing goal (replace and add)

This is a weird goal because I don’t have a formal way of tracking it. I’ve been more adamant this year about recycling or donating clothes that I no longer need, but also getting better quality clothes and making my overall wardrobe better. By the end of the year I hope to have a couple more things in my wardrobe and get rid of the things I really don’t want.

 

Recycling

I took my recycling twice this month and it felt so good to do it! I’ve learned a lot more this year about what things can be recycled and how, which has affected what I buy and even how I buy things.

 

Traveling

I went to visit a close friend in Maryland in June, which was awesome. I also discovered why people complain about the beltway and why I’d not want to live there just because of the traffic! That being said, I DO want to move closer to the Northern Virginia area someday, only I’ll stick with the outskirts like Manassas.

 

Try out 40 new recipes (22/40)

I didn’t do a ton of new recipe experimenting this month (due to being out of town), but I did make some new Japanese recipes, one of which is a definite keeper, Miso soup. I’ve had it many times and it is a personal favorite, so I’m glad to have found one that tastes just as good as the ones I get in Japanese restaurants. The other three things I made didn’t get recipe cards made for them.

 

Filling bear bank to the top

I put money in it every week in June. I’m worried about it not getting to the top at this rate, but I do put what little spare coins I get in. I’m planning on investing in coin wrappers in July to prepare and I already have plans for when it’s full and ready to be banked!

 

Get out there more

I did a good job of this and found myself out and about more often. I went to Doctor Who: Rise of the Cybermen with two friends, went out exploring Rockville Maryland, went to places with friends and met my first online friend. We’ve been friends for 7 years and met this weekend. It was a lot of fun and we clicked super well!

35 Reasons to get out of debt as fast as I can

Maybe if i pray hard enough God will make my student loans disappear....

After paying over $2,000 towards student loans this past month (take that!) I’ve reflected on how far I still have to go to get them gone.  I’m sorry to say how much I think about it, but then I think ‘just a little more work and I’ll be less in debt’ and it propels me forward.  I have a good balance, but I know I won’t be free until its gone…in five years.  I’ve officially set a timeframe of five years for myself.  I’ll be 31/32 at that time, so here’s hoping for the best.

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Whenever I start to doubt why I put so much energy into getting them gone, I think of different things.  There are numerous reasons anyone can give for wanting to be out of debt.  I’ve given a lot of thought to ‘why now, why not just slack a little and live versus putting so much energy into them’.  Well, the interest rates are a good reason for that!  I have several friends taking the slower pace, but I have a little more than the average graduate and I want the peace of mind and financial freedom.

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1-To have the freedom of knowing I’m no longer in debt.

2-To not feel guilty or fret over eating out, going to a movie or a tour that costs more than $5 (or even $5!)

3-To be able to buy the people I love proper gifts or even have the time to make said gifts

4-To buy little things, like a poster frame, that I currently can’t give a good enough reason to buy (ok other than the fact of decorating and having said posters)

5-To have less stress overall

Hobbit house!

6-To be able to walk into the grocery store and buy what you want without sticking to as strict a budget.  You know a $200 grocery bill versus a strict $120 one.

7-To travel to far off places. One of my biggest dreams is to see the world, but it requires money (usually).

8-To buy the books I really want to read as opposed to wishful thinking with rarer books.

9-To buy a 3DS, PS3 and eventually a PS4.

10-To finish my Doctor Who themed bathroom.

11-To support small businesses as opposed to bigger ones (voting with my dollar)

12-To buy more geeky things, in general (a geek can never have too much!)

13-To create a proper garden (gardening does have an upkeep and start up cost)

14-Donate more to causes that I support and give more time to said causes

15-To be able to freely give to someone in need

wow! Lowes sells these for about $20. love the idea of transforming one of these into a teacher tool box. Super organized!

16-To afford better stuff to organize my house

17-To save for retirement (because currently its looking grim)

18-To go to conventions like comic con

19-To buy spontaneous gifts for those I love

20-To be healthier (money means taking the fitness classes I’ve always wanted to!)

21- To not ‘cheap out’ on some things

22- To cover the tab for a friend who needs it without worrying

That's what missionary work is all about! PreparetoServe.com

23- To pay for volunteer experiences and missionary work (did you know you have to pay for some, I don’t have $2,500 to volunteer abroad!)

24- To invest in better quality clothing

25-To save up for a house/afford a better place

26- To have more freetime (because the money I’m putting towards extra earnings would be gone!)

27- Interest rates on student loans are a nightmare.  The quicker they’re gone, the less those awful companies get!

28-I’m tired of talking about my student loans and how they hold me back

29- To be more liberal with spendings, donations etc.

30- To run in 5K’s that I want to run in, to support a good cause, but cost $30+ a person

Will MOOCs Disrupt Higher Education or Level the Playing Field? [#Infographic]

31- To further my education beyond my Bachelors of Art degree (without student loans at that!)

32- To better myself because of less stress and because I can live freely

33- To help others stop worrying about my student loans along with me

34- To experience more of the world around me (isn’t it sad how much money can control this?)

35-  To feel truly free and not feel as though I can’t make any big changes or move without risking financial suicide

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Some of these may have sounded similar, but they’re different in my mind and all equal the same.  I want them gone and I’m ready to work hard to do just that!  Five years or less, here I come!

 

 

 

 

Take that student loan (a semi-mid June update)

With a little assurance... It's much easier to step outside your comfort zone & do what needs to be done... To SUCEED. <3 xoxo

My goal this month, after coming into a little money & having a HUGE boost in sales (which has tampered off) was to pay more on my student loans.  It’s only the middle of the month, but I’ve paid off $2,000 already!  I plan on making another payment on two loans (not as substantial, but something), which will bring them down even more.  It’s a pity I couldn’t do this every month, because they’d be gone in less than three years, which would be wonderful.  At my current rate (and based on my 5 year action plan), they’ll be paid off in the next five years.  Things could easily change.  I periodically go through a period where I think of moving closer to family and friends back home.  I adore my job and everything about it, I just get homesick sometimes or (maybe I am being called to go back?)

The Winter King (Warlord Chronicles Series #1)

In terms of my other goals for the year, I’m doing ok this month.  I really need to catch up on reading and despite the fact I do a good amount of reading most of the time, I’ll get some weeks where I can barely squeeze any time in.  Thank goodness I’m free this weekend as I plan on doing a lot of reading.  I just finished “The Winter King” by Bernard Cornwell and I plan on reading some more from the Cryptozoology book I’ve had ongoing since the beginning of the year.  Saturday I’ll be treating myself to a horrible histories book I grabbed last week.  I adore them, but they can be hard to come across in used book stores (ordering online means importing them since some are out of print).

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My biggest thing for the rest of the month is just tackling my summer bucket list and having more sales.  I have a couple things posted, but history has taught me the bulk of my sales come at the end of the month.  I’d love to get rid of some more things and make an extra $50+ in online sales, but online sales can be hit or miss.  I haven’t posted my summer bucket list, but its basically a collection of things to do this summer in relation to my 2014 goals, traveling and events I want to go to.  I’ve already scratched off quite a few too.

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There are still ten days left in June and it should be a great rest of the month!  Hopefully I can tackle some more debt payments and goals in that time!

 

May 2014 Goal Update

Very Hungry Caterpillar art project for butterfly garden

We’re already in the month of June!  How is that possible?  May was a good month and I got a new car!  I’m so glad I made the decision to get a new car.  No complaints about the month of May and I bet June will be just as good!  I’m doing this update a little bit differently to make it easier to read.

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Earn $1500 in extra income (year)

April earnings: $238.30

Total: $930.11

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Read 100 books in a year

I read 7 books in may for a total of 28 books read for the year.  According to goodreads, I’m 11 books behind though!

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Beat 10 video games

I beat two video games in May, “The Early Years: The Three Kings” and “Dragon Warrior 2”.  This brings the total number of games that I’ve beaten up to four.

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Complete 20 crafts

I only finished one craft, a twilight sparkle magnet, last month.  It brings the total number I’ve done up to six.  In June, I hope to increase that number as I do projects for my bathroom!

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 Volunteer or donate to 10 causes

This past month I didn’t do any volunteer work or donate beyond putting money in the offering plate 😦

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Pay off $10,000 on debt principal

($2743.90 /$10,000) I paid over $500 towards my principal and hope to pay off more in the coming month.

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Cavity fixed

Check!  My cavity was filled and I’m done with this goal for the year!

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Get rid of 365 things

In May I got rid of 32 things (through sales and donations) bringing the total number of things I’ve gotten rid of this year to 208.

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Clothing goal

I didn’t buy a single article of clothing in May.  That’s got to be a first for me!

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Recycling

I only got around to taking my recycling once this month because I was so busy. It would’ve been two, but I went yesterday and they were closed because the guy never showed up.

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Traveling

Well, I did go to a restaurant about thirty minutes away with a friend and drove to visit family and friends back home one weekend.  My car was on its last legs most of the month, prompting me to get my new car, which is why I stayed in town.  June is going to be my big travel month though.

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Make 40 new recipes

I did some baking and cooking this month and made 6 new recipes.  This included blueberry buttermilk scones and a new type of chocolate chip cookie.  Two recipes didn’t work out so well, but I’ve made 18 of my 40 for the year so far!

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Filling my bear bank

I contributed money every week this month and its definitely getting even heavier.  I didn’t think that was even possible since the thing weighs over 40lbs now.

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Get out there more

I was more of an extrovert this month and made a new friend or two in the process.  I still should go out and do more, but sometimes its nice to just be an introvert 😉