One year later

way too accurate... (via pinterest)

A year ago I put a decision into action, that action being paying off my student loans.  Although I graduated in 2011, I wasn’t in a place where I could pay off my student loans and do well with it (plus I was contemplating going for my masters, glad I didn’t).  I enrolled as a part-time student and worked three part-time jobs.  A year after graduation, I was able to quit all three and began working as a full time teacher.  The following Spring, I was finally settled (in my current apartment) and in a good place, so I finished off my classes, let go of the idea of pursuing my masters and prepared to start paying my student loans off.  This was last November (2013).

One Year Later

Fast forward to a year later and I just finished my last student loan payment for the year.  Sometimes it has been very draining, but I went in knowing that the first year would be the hardest.  Some of it was trial and error, but I’ve found what works best for me in terms of when to pay and how often.  Paying extra every month and making extra payments here and there have made a big difference.  When I total what I started off with, I’m happy to say that I’ve paid off  over $9000.  It may not seem like much to some, but considering I’m a teacher and bought a new car paid in full this year, I think that’s pretty good.  Two loans were paid off this year and I plan on paying off another small one in the next few months.  It’s going down!

YUS

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Spending changes

I’ve always been frugal and my student loan debt is the only mistake I can really fault myself on.  I’ve done an excellent job tracking everything (I have the really organized binders and records to prove it) and I’ve been mindful of ways I can save money.  In the coming year, I plan on searching for a better car insurance company (well, cheaper than my current one and one who doesn’t LIE) and finding more small ways to save.

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Extra money

I’ve also done a pretty good job of finding ways to earn extra money (side hustling).  Websites like bubblews, perktv, swagbucks and mypoints have helped me get things without spending money out of pocket or gone directly to my student loans.  I’ve also had a stellar online selling year, though this month things have capped off.  I was bringing in $100-300 a month, which isn’t too bad.  I’ll get an automatic raise in six months and maybe other promotions to increase my salary.

Inspirational Pillow.

November 2015

Where do I hope to be in a year as far as finances go?

  • Find more side hustles (I have a goal to earn $2000 extra next year, I met that this year!)
  • Pay off $10,000 or more on my student loans
  • Get a raise, promotion or a better paying position
  • Build up by savings
  • Contribute more to retirement

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I’ll have my goal update for November up by the end of the week.  I haven’t done too bad this month, but I need to book it on some goals to finish everything!

The Quest to Beat Every Final Fantasy game

 

monty python holy grail coconuts | ... from Monty Python “Quest for the Holy Grail” | J.B. Farrell (Via pinterest)

In 2001, I got my hands on the game I’d been dying to play ever since I saw its image in Gamepro the spring before.  That game was Kingdom Hearts and it was the reason I bought a PS2.  Preiovusly, my only dabble into RPG games had been the Pokémon games, though I did end up getting into Dragon Quest come the spring of 2002.  As I played through the first couple minutes of Kingdom Hearts, I ran into Tidus, Selphie and Wakka.  I knew that they were part of the Final Fantasy game series, but that was all I knew.  Luckily two of my best friends were really into Final Fantasy and they were able to explain a few things.  That Christmas, I bought Final Fantasy X and it changed my perspective of what a video game could really be.

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Since then, I’ve fallen in love with the series and gotten quite a few Final Fantasy games, not just the main games either.  However, while I own at least one platform for all but FF13, I still haven’t beaten them all.  It’s a shame to say since I love the games so much.  So, I’m challenging myself to beat every Final Fantasy game in the main series EXCEPT for the MMORPGs.  I’m not counting those since I’m not an MMORPG fan and don’t have ready access to them.  Below is the progress I’ve made on each game;

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Final Fantasy I

Beaten.  I beat it several years ago, probably back in 2005.  It was the first classic Final Fantasy I played (pre-FFVII) and I loved it.  It also has my favorite song in any video game, Chaos Temple.

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Final Fantasy II

Beaten.  I beat the PSP version about two years ago and completed the extra story soon after.  FFII is sometimes not very high on most peoples list of their favorite Final Fantasy games, but for me, it’d be higher than some like FF3.  I like the leveling up system as its unique and adds a bit more than the traditional ‘level 30, level 80 etc.’

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Final Fantasy III

Beaten.  I beat it this past Christmas and honestly, it’s my least favorite of all the Final Fantasy games I’ve played.  I found the game to be boring and the story was boring itself.  It’s one game that I know I’ll probably never go back and play again.

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Final Fantasy IV

I actually just bought the PSP version (complete collection) this week.  I’m only in the first 2-3 hours of the game and from what I hear, completing everything and after years can take a good 60-70 hours.  I’m really into the game and predict I’ll beat it within two weeks of playing here and there at my current pace.  When I played it previously, I got to the second to last dungeon before putting it down and never picking it up again.

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Final Fantasy V 

I have it on Playstation, but I haven’t gotten terribly far in it.  I think I got up to the point where you’re exploring an old library.  I’m debating trying to track down the advance game, but if not, I’ll probably just restart my playstation game or buy it for my ipad.

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Final Fantasy VI 

Like with Final Fantasy V, I started it as part of the Playstation Anthology collection.  I got around halfway through, then set it down and never went back.

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Final Fantasy VII 

Beaten once and I loved every second of it.  At some point I plan on going back and playing it through again…perhaps when I get a PS3 and can download it via the Playstation network?

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Final Fantasy VIII

Beaten quite a few times as I loved the game to bits when I first got it.  Don’t get me wrong of course, I still love it!  It can get a bad rap from some, but I loved the story, characters and music, just not the junction system.

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Final Fantasy IX

Beaten.  I had trouble getting into it, not that it was bad, it just didn’t come off as a storng game (to me).  I’d also argue it was a pretty easy game to play and beat, I don’t think I ever died playing it.

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Final Fantasy X

Beaten.  I’ve beaten Final Fantasy X all the way through around ten times and once with nearly everything completed.  It’s been my favorite Final Fantasy so far.

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Final Fantasy X-2

Beaten.  I’ve beaten it around three times and as much as some dislike it, I did actually like it.  The characters and story were a little weak, in my opinion, but the job system and most of the gameplay was a lot of fun.

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Final Fantasy XII

I own it, but haven’t played it yet.

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Final Fantasy XIII

I don’t own it, but I have played it.  Eventually I’ll buy it (need a PS3 first) and hopefully the game gets a bit better than the first hour I played of it.

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Final Fantasy IV The Complete Collection - Sony PSP - http://battlefield4ps4.com/final-fantasy-iv-the-complete-collection-sony-psp/

I’m planning on going in order and as I mentioned above, I’m currently playing through Final Fantasy IV.  I’ve gotten a good start and even though its been a few years since I’ve played it, I remember a lot more than I thought I would (like Rydia falling off the ship).  It’s also just as good as I remember and I sense it’ll be beaten in a relatively short amount of time, especially since I’m on summer break.  After that, I’ll tackle FFV and go up the line.  Maybe by the time I get to FF13 I’ll actually own a Ps3 (since I’ll probably break up the chain at some point with a game from another series to keep things fresh/tackle my backlog).

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July Goal Update

Sunflower

We’re already in the month of August (as strange as it seems) which means vacation time, gardening time, its almost time for the annual yard crawl, school starts back and the weather is warm cool.  I’ve started my budget for the month as well as continued my progress on my yearly goals.  I’ve done a write up of my July goals and updated my 2013 goal list on its little page.  I haven’t done horribly, but I need to catch up on reading and gaming if I hope to get them done.  I did finish my movie goal for the year this month though and I’m very close to finishing a few others.  Not a bad month through and through!

Goal!

1-Earn $500 online

$201-Sales

$25 Target GC/Swagbucks

$25 Mypoints giftcard-Panera

$25 Bubblews

June Total: $233

Year Total: $482

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2-Health/Beauty

Nothing big to report though I do need to get my hair restyled

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3-By 80 new wardrobe pieces

5 new clothes

Total for the year: 41

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4-Watch 70 new movies

Pokemon White and Black: Victini and Zekrom

Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life

Pokemon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior

Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea

Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai

Pokemon: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice

Do Not Disturb

Maid in Manhatten

Little Black Book

Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Wolfman

The Wild Thornberrys

Antz

Rugrats Go Wild

For Love or Money

DONE!!!!

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5-Get everything out of my parents house

Didn’t get anything done on this one

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6-Read 100 books in a year

The Little Take a trip

The Forgotten Children

Mystery in the Night Woods

The Starlight Crystal

Ragweed

Aldo Peanut Butter

Gone with the Wind

Always Looking Up

Total for July: 8

Total for the year: 33

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7-Volunteer or donate to 25 different causes

-Donated to Autism fundraiser

Total for the year: 5

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8-Keep Budget all year

Every month but June.  My computer crashed and I lost the entire budget.  So…it’s the one blackmark.

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9-Try 30 new recipes

Maple Blueberry Granola Bars

Total for the year: 20

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10-Make at least 20 crafts

Tetris Blocks

Total for the year: 7

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11-Townhouse Goals

N/A

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12-Beat 15 Video Games

Pokemon White 2

Kirby Avalanche

Total for the year: 5

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13-Student Loans

-Paid an extra on all loans this month

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14-Live, don’t stress

Good except that week where my laptop and car broke the same day.  It happened a year and a half ago that way too.

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Since I’ve finished my goal of watching 75 new movies, I will be updating it from here on out with a red strike through it.  You can continue to see what movies I watch over on listal.  I’ll be back soon with a new post.  Maybe its time for an education post?

Do-it-yourself jar opener

Jars can be a pain to open sometimes.  Luckily when I was growing up, my mom had a plastic jar opener that made opening jars not a struggle.  I haven’t looked for one myself, but its something I’ve always thought would be nice to have.

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The other day I found an old shelf liner while I was trying to open a stubborn jar and thought it might be worth a shot.

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I put it on top of the jar and presto-it came off with ease.  It was really easy to cut it into a circle using a large jar as a reference.

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I cut it until it was just right and I still have a bit of shelf liner to make more in the future if need me.  It’s one of those great life hacks you just discover by chance!

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The Land before time photo: The Land Before Time TheLandBeforeTime.jpg

On an unrelated note, I’ve completed one of my 2013 goals in its entirety!  As of today I have officially watched 70 new movies that I haven’t seen before.  The lucky #70 was The Land Before Time: Time of the Great Flyers.  I’ve been a fan of the series for a long time and with only one more movie to see before I’ve seen them all, a sense of bittersweet comes.  There hasn’t been a new movie in 6 years and the office as closed leaving the series in uncertainity.  I hope they release even one more new one if only to wrap things up and allow fans to see our heroes become adults!

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You can see the complete list of movies I’ve seen here.  I plan on continuing to watch movies of course-but I’ve met a goal!