Oct Progress & Nov Goals

Welcome, November!

The weather here in North Carolina is finally starting to get on board with fall, although it’s currently 73 degress… still trying to make sweater weather work. Halloween has come and gone which means it’s the beginning of the holiday thrill!! This is my favorite time of year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years/my birthday! Lots of family time, holiday parties, and full schedules are coming, but there’s still plenty of time to make progress on your goals before 2018! So, here we go Powersheets!!

October Progress

Monthly Goals

  • Contentment — Contentment in my life is still going strong. I feel like I’m breaking the chains that materialism had on me. I used to feel the need to buy (impulsive purchases were the worst). By focusing on this and setting goals with Eric, I’ve put a gap between me and the need to spend. Although there are things I want, I am content with what I have.
  • Wise finances — This goes hand in hand contentment. We were mostly wise in our spending, much better than months in the past. We’re focusing on the big picture goal and using that as a guide instead of going with the immediate gratification. Win!
  • Let go! Surrender — I am not the best at surrendering. In fact, I really prefer being in control. But I did make progress each day letting go of the things I cannot control and giving it to God. It’s slowly sinking in that it’s not all up to me.
  • Blog growth opportunity — I’m really excited about this one! I absolutely love blogging and connecting with you through my words here on this platform. I had fallen off a bit, unsure of the direction, but over the last month I’ve gained clarity and knowledge about WordPress. I’m thrilled to see how this blog and community evolves!
  • Cultivate community — I’ve been working on creating community both in person and online. This blog serves as a form of commuity and I’ve relaunched my Facebook “like page” to cultivate community in that space as well. I connected with friends by getting together in person, phone calls, texts, etc and made new friends. Community is so important to me and I want to surround myself with amazing people.
  • Prepare for small group — So excited for this! It’s interesting that these monthly goals really compliment each other well. To further cultivate community, my husband and I alongside another married couple will be launching a new small group in January! It’s something I’ve never done before, but I’m so grateful for the opportunity to co-lead. We’ve gotten details ironed out and met with our area pastor for some fellowship and training. It’s going to be awesome!!

Weekly Goals

  • Connect with Eric — This is challenging with our busy schedules, but we did our best. Often times it meant late night chats after work or Netflix episodes (we’re finally getting into Stranger Things!) when we should be sleeping, but we’re making it work.
  • Drink only water (at least 100oz/day) — I didn’t drink only water like the first half of the goal stated, but I did focus on my water consumption and met my 100oz goal most days.
  • Morning routine — Still a challenge for me, so it’s getting moved to the “daily goal” section for November. My morning varies day to day depending on which community I’m working in and what I have going on after work. I think it would help me if I better determined what this morning routine should look like, so I’ll put that together today. All in all, I was happy if I did my devotional and took a walk with Stella and Eric. Working on getting rid of the phone habit first thing.
  • Enthusiasm & growth at work — I’m learning more and more each day! I’m settled into my two communities, so now I’m focused on learning more about them and how I can better serve our customers in their home search.

Daily Goals

  • Worship & Praise — Achieved 30/31 days
  • Active body — Achieved 27/31 days
  • Meditate — Achieved 28/31 days
  • Nurture plants — Achieved 23/31 days

I feel good about these daily goals. None of them were perfectly completed, but that’s totally okay because the point isn’t to be perfect. The point is to make progress and I definitely believe I did. Instead of getting too caught up in the details, I’m focusing on overall wellness and joy. Worship & praise and being active may look a bit different every day, but I think the flexibility is what’s keeping me going instead of being too rigid and shutting down. Sometimes our goals don’t get accomplished in the way we expected.

October had the potential to be really hectic, and I guess in some ways it was, but it was also so good! I’m loving the fall weather and true change in season. Fall reminds us that it’s important to let go of what’s old to make space for what’s to come. We can trust in the goodness ahead!

November Goals

Monthly Goals

  • Surrender — Let go!
  • Gratitude
  • Small group prep
  • Pay off credit cards
  • $1,000 in savings — Emergency Fund
  • Post Licensing classes (2)
  • 2,000 likes on blog’s Like Page

Weekly Goals

  • Love Eric well
  • Encourage someone
  • Increase knowledge + confidence at work
  • Blog post

Daily Goals

  • Active body
  • Morning routine
  • Prayer
  • Meditate
  • Plant care

I’m so ready to FLOURISH in November and make progress on these goals! I’m moving closer and closer to the big goals I have and that’s so exciting. Remember, little by little progress adds up. If you keep taking one step after another you will get where you want to be as long as you don’t stop. You got this!!!

What are you working towards accomplishing in November!?

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How to Set Up Your Budget

Budgeting isn’t sexy or fun, but it is oh so necessary… Unless you want to continue wondering where all your hard earned money went! Because you’re here, I know you’re the kind of person that wants to flourish in every area of your life — finances are a major component that flows into every other area!

Ask anyone who has gotten out of debt and built wealth what the biggest key to their success is and they will tell you the same thing: budget. Creating and sticking to a budget gives you the control to tell your money where you want it to go instead of it going where it wants (which is usually out of your wallet).

I am not a budget expert, but I have incorporated a budget into my life that I’ve stuck with for the last 3 or so years. It has changed and evolved of course, but I’ve remained friends with my trusty budget and it’s literally paid off throughout life’s changes.

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A glimpse at our monthly budget without the dollar amounts

Now lets get your budget created! To start, grab a piece of paper and a pen — we’re going to set up the outline to your budget by answering 6 questions. Are you ready!?

  1. Are you creating this budget for yourself or your family? Another way to ask is, are you married or single? Either way, the overall idea will be the same, but depending on your situation, the individual elements will be different. For example, if you’re married and your spouse has a car payment, that item needs to be on your family budget, but your boyfriend’s car payment wouldn’t be on your budget — make sense? This answer will also come into play with #6.
  2. What income do you bring in? Our income varies each month because Eric works as a server and mine can vary with commission. We have a base line amount and track what we’re actually bringing in each week. This is important because your income must outweigh your budget with any excess going towards your goals. Your income to budget ratio may tell you that you need to pick up a side job. Knowledge is power!
  3. What are your bills? What are their amounts and due dates? If this is your first time putting everything down on paper it may be hard to think about, but just start writing down every payment you can think of. This includes things like utilities, rent/mortgage, student loan payment, phone plan, insurance, gas, groceries — any payment you need to make each month. I make note if the bill is set up with auto draft (by using an asterik*), if it’s a varied or fixed amount (pinkish purple box), and I list them in order of their due date. You may prefer to list in order of priority. Either way will work.
  4. What debt do you owe? This is scary to do, but it’s important to know what you’re up against. Calcuate all of your debt. Student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc. Once you shed the light on your debt monster, you’ll be better prepared to attack it! This amount will shrink each month and you’ll be able to watch your progress.
  5. What are you spending? Sometimes we find ourselves wondering: where the heck did all that money go?? Track your spending. Tracking will allow you to identify where you can cut back and where each dollar is actually going. A lot of your money may be going towards bills, but if you’re not making progress on your financial goals, the excess is likely going everywhere else. Another benefit of tracking is that it’ll hold you more accountable to your budget — do you really want to spend that extra money on shoes or a meal out when it could be better used towards debt??
  6. What are your financial goals? I’ve mentioned goals throughout the previous questions, so they must be important. Set your goals! Do you want to be debt free by a certain date? Do you want to have a certain amount of money saved up? Do you want to pay off your house or car? I’m sure you have dreams, but until you write down your goals, they will continue to stay just that- dreams. I want to see those dreams become reality for you! 

This is the blueprint, but actually creating the foundation is up to you! It doesn’t matter how you create and manage your budget as long as you are consistant in sticking to it. A spreadsheet in GoogleDocs (as seen above) is what works for us, but we have friends that prefer using an app such as Every Dollar, Mint, You Need a Budget, and Good Budget. They all have the same purpose, so try something out to see what works. It may take some time to work out the kinks, but stick with it. It’ll take about 3 months for you to really nail down your budget and get comfortable, so if it’s not clicking right away, don’t worry!

Also, don’t be afraid to adjust as necessary based on your progress towards your goals. Things may come up where you have to tighten the budget or you meet goals and can relax a bit. Push yourself, but not so intensly that you give up. Consistency is key here!! Check in with your budget often and roll with it. I know you can do it!

Budgeting is the #1 way to financial freedom. It’s a plan that’ll take you from where you are now to where you want to be. Freedom, peace, ease, joy, relaxation — these can be your truth when you’re financially healthy. You have everything you need to be successful! Are you ready for it!?

Share: Do you have a budget? If not, when will you set aside time to answer these questions and create one? You’re on your way to financial freedom!

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Monthly Favorites | October

One of my favorite ways to discover new things that make my life easier and more enjoyable is through personal referrals. We cut cable over a year ago, so I’m exposed to a lot less commercials. It’s wonderful, but I also feel out of the loop when it comes to what’s “new.” So I thought this would be a fun series to do each month as I’m finding and using things I love. This is not sponsored (although wouldn’t that be nice??), just sharing my opinion in hopes that it helps you! 

With that being said, each month I’ll share a handful of my favorite things — these may be podcasts, apps, beauty products, books, music, food, restaurants — the opportunities are endless. In the spirit of supporting one another, I’d love to read your favorites in the comments below. Enjoy this month’s favorites!

App: Simple Habit

I’ve been trying to get into a routine of meditation for a while now and was having a hard time finding something I can stick with. I enjoy guided meditations since I’m still very new to mindfulness and need the guidance. I wanted something that wasn’t going to be too long, but also feel effective in the time spent.

Simple Habit fits the search. Most of the meditations are about 5 minutes — the perfect amount of time because I always can find an extra 5 minutes in my day. There are different focuses such as meditation to boost energy, sleep better, ease anxiety and even ones to learn how to meditate. Learning the basics has been especially helpful for me so I can feel more confident during my practice.

When developing a new habit, the most important thing is consistency. The app tracks your current day strek, total sessions, and total minutes of meditation. Being able to see my progress and get “awards” for hitting certain day streaks motivates me to keep going. The app is free, but you can purchase a membership to unlock unlimited access to all the meditations. I’ve been happy with the free one so far, but have been thinking about investing in the unlimited.

App: MinimaList

I am a huge list person. I love making to do lists mostly because if I don’t, I’ll forget everything. There is way too much going on inside my head for me to remember most of the time. Instead of worrying about it and constantly trying to recall things I need to remember, I make a list. I don’t usually have paper and pen on me, but I always have my phone!

I discovered this app a while ago and I’m especially loving it in this busy season of life. There’s not extra frills and fluff that would get in your way, just a quick and easy place to jot down anything you need to. Plus it gives you the satisfaction of crossing items out when they’re complete! I have it set as a widget on my iPhone’s side screen, so it’s super accessible.

Items big or small I’m able to get out of my head and down to somewhere that I’ll actually remember. I reference this list a lot to make sure I don’t miss anything. It’s helped me stay more organized and on top of things — if I have free time I look at my list to see what I can accomplish and nothing gets forgotten. Win win!

App: Ibotta

I’m really into apps this month apparently, but when used wisely, they make life so much better! Ibotta is an app I use to get money back on my shopping trips. I actually signed up for an account 4 years ago, but for whatever reason I didn’t get into it back then. I’m kicking myself now for all the cash rebates I’ve missed out on since then!

It’s really easy to use! You can find different cash rebates available on products at your favorite stores. Make your shopping list and then just add the items you want to “my offers” and shop! Of course every item you’re needing won’t have a rebate, but I’m sure many of your needed grocery items are included. Once you’re done shopping, redeem your receipt. You’ll just need to take a picture of your receipt and then verify the offers by scanning the barcodes of the items. Don’t worry, it sounds complicated, but the app walks you through it!

I used it yesterday and got $4 in rebates at Harris Teeter. Doesn’t sound like much, but I go grocery shopping at least once weekly and that all adds up! You can even use it while you’re shopping online. You’re going to be shopping, might as well get rewarded for it! If you’d like to try Ibotta you can sign up through the link here. That is a referral link for me and $10 welcome gift for you 🙂

Fitbit: Charge 2 HR

It’s safe to say I’m obsessed with my Fitbit. Health and wellness are really important to me and what you track improves. I got an Apple Watch for Christmas last year and while it was cool and looked nice, it didn’t offer the fitness tracking features I wanted. My Fitbit offers everything I wanted at a more afforable price.

I mainly use it for tracking my steps and activity, but it does so much more than that. Every hour it buzzes to remind me to move if I haven’t gotten at least 250 steps in that hour which I love because some days I’m so busy or focused that I don’t realize how little I’ve moved. It also celebrates with confetti when I’ve hit my daily step goal (11,000 steps!) I love the encouragement! Through the Fitbit app I’m able to participate in challenges with other Fitbit friends so that adds a little healthy competition. Sleeping has been a struggle for me whether I’m just going to bed too late or waking up too many times in the night. My sleep is monitored and I’m able to track progress and get a better idea of what happened when I wake up exhausted or well rested.

I definitely move a lot more and do a better job with my wellness in general by using my Fitbit regularly. My movement, sleep, water consumption, and stress levels have improved. It’s nice to have a device that’ll keep track of it for me and hold me accountable.

Podcast: The Dave Ramsey Show

I’ve heard of Dave Ramsey and I’m familiar with his Financial Peace University program, but I’ve recently become an avid listener of his podcast. He takes calls from listeners that have financial based questions and he answers them without sugar coating anything. His personality can be a bit abrasive to some, but he definitely knows what he’s talking about and isn’t afraid to give the tough love to people that need it.

My mind is being transformed by his principles and I’m starting to see money and our future in a totally different way. It’s a bit overwhelming to take it all in, but it’s given me hope that we can build a healthy and abundant financial life. Money is one of the biggest strains on marriage and I want to avoid that stress as much as we possibly can. Eric and I are learning to work together towards a common goal and use will power when it comes to spending. We’re a team and although we’re not yet where we want to be, it’s an amazing feeling to look ahead and know we can get there! We also ordered his book Total Money Makeover, so it’s lots of Dave in our house.

If you’re needing money guidance (lets be real, we all do) give this show a listen. You can listen on the podcast app on your phone and it’s also on some radio stations (people local to Raleigh, it’s usually on 106.1 around 6pm). Be educated and encouraged in your finances!

 

Well that’s all for October! I hope this is beneficial for you — so much fun for me to put together and I look foward to sharing next month. What favorites do you have!? Leave a comment — I’d love to check it out ❤ 

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Book Review | Love That Lasts

I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’m so excited to share this with you because this book is seriously good! I came across the Bethke’s (the husband/wife author duo of Love That Lasts) initially through Jeff’s spoken word videos that were blowing up on YouTube. Many spoken word videos, books, and other videos later, I’m still following and learning from the Bethke’s.

Love That Lasts is full of heart, light, honesty, and truth. It’s about “how we discovered God’s better way for love, dating, marriage, and sex” and it certainly delivers. Every single one of us has been through a situation (or many) and/or picked up different beliefs along the way that aren’t aligned with truth. We’ve been broken and hurt by the world and that can lead to disfunctional ways of going about relationships. This book highlights the struggles we face as imperfect men and women, but it doesn’t stop there — it gives hope.

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This isn’t a marriage book or a dating book or even a singles book — it’s a relationship book. To have healthy relationships (with ourself and with our partner), we have to identify and reconstruct the damaging beliefs and patterns. No matter where you are in terms of dating or marriage, you will get valuable insight from this book. It speaks to every life stage — take what you need and store away the extra for what’s to come.

I’m planning on rereading this book since I got through it so quickly the first time! It’s filled with personal stories, encouragement, and God’s truth — I had a hard time putting it down. I appreciate how vulnerable Jeff and Alyssa were with their stories and I love how they tooks turns writing each chapter. I was able to relate to both authors throughout the book and it was interesting to hear both sides of the relationship story.

Love That Lasts challenged me and pointed out old wounds and past hurts that maybe I had been avoiding. I was able to work through this book and apply their wisdom to help make my marriage more fruitful and bring peace to my past.

There was one part in particular that jumped out at me. Growing up with Disney and fairytale, we develop this belief that each girl has her Prince Charming. The idea of soulmates and “the one” become a heavy burden. What if I can’t find my “one”?? Jeff hit the nail on the head with this topic. He lifted that burden and helped me see the real picture of being and finding “the one” in marriage.

 

I’d love to see a movie where at the altar the two people say, “I could marry someone else, I don’t believe in the concept of ‘the one,’ but I do believe in choosing one person to love and serve for the rest of my life, and I choose you.”

– Jeff Bethke, Love That Lasts

It may not be romantic, but doesn’t that seem a lot more life giving!? When we take the weight off of finding the one, we can focus on finding a great person that we will love and serve well who will strive to do the same in exchange. That’s a better expectation of marriage. I look forward to reading through this book again and uncovering other truth bombs. The right things will hit you when you need them, so lets see how much growth

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Do you have a relationship you’d like to improve? Do you have old beliefs about relationships or marriage that you’d like to work through? Do you want raw and honest instead of sugar coated when it comes to love, dating, marriage, and sex?

Pick up this book and learn through it. If somehow I’ve led you wrong, Jeff said he’ll personally refund your money. What do you have to lose?

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** This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from the publisher.
All opinions are my own. **

September Progress & October Goals

Raise your hand if you’re in the fall spirit! Mine is up in the air! October 1st came and it’s like the weather realized what season it is — cooler temps and cozier vibes. I’m so excited for this new month and shift in season! Sweaters, hot tea, blankets, oh my!

The fall candle came out just in time to work on my PowerSheets. It only took about 20 minutes to recap what happened in September and set my intentions for October — it was time well spent!

Setting aside that time makes all the difference. There is power in being intentional and it’s what makes me feel prepared and empowered to go after what matters most! It can be easy to just float along, but I’m sure most of us want a say in where we’re headed.

September Progress

Monthly Goals

  • Tithe/Budget — We are in a good flow with this and it’s definitely easing financial stresses. I think it may be a good idea to start tracking where our money is going which will be more work, but will help us spend more wisely. Any suggestions on formats or apps to make this easier?
  • Intentional time with Eric — Our job schedules make this absolutely necessary. We’re not perfect at this, but we’ve tried to be intentional to plan time/days together when we can. Doing the best with what we have!
  • Cultivate community — I didn’t make as much progress here as I had hoped, but definitely took steps in the right direction. As you’ll see below in the October goals, I’m excited to share that we’re working on beginning a small group for married couples!
  • Rest — Sleep continues to be of high importance, but also resting throughout my day. I took time to relax whether that be with a bubble bath or a good book. Often times it’s a Netflix session. Giving my mind the space to rest.
  • Contentment — While “no spend” days can be overwhelming and seem impossible, contentment is much more doable! I’m finding contentment in the things I already own, the status of our finances, and the goals we’re setting. This will remain a focus and mission since it’s ever evolving.
  • Learn something new each day at work — There is so much to learn in my role, so this has definitely been achieved for September. I’m pushing myself to seek out new information and ask more questions! Whether it’s a new question or new situation to deal with, I’m learning along the way.
  • Pay off student loans — All the confetti and praise hands for reaching this goal!!! I won’t go into too much detail because you can read all about it here!

Weekly Goals

  • Memorize Scripture verse — This was challenging, but so sweet to carry truth with me. To keep it at the front of my mind and help me memorize the verses, I would choose the verse and then find a nice image to set as my phone background. Encouraging and useful!
  • Friend date — We are not meant to do life alone and I’m loving connecting with girlfriends, new and old. Friendships are being both planted and restored and I’m so grateful!
  • Meditate I’m enjoying this and proud of myself for doing it almost everyday! Sometimes I forget or the day gets away from me, but it’s been so beneficial to be more mindful.
  • H2O only — Hanging on strong to this one! I feel such a difference in my mind and body when I’m hydrated. I’ve been aiming for at least 100oz of water a day which I will continue. I’ll get a soda occasionally if we’re eating out, but we don’t normally buy it. Can’t drink it if it’s not in my house!
  • Meal plan and prep — I’ve gotten into a rhythm with this and it’s so much easier. We buy mostly fruit and veggies at the store with some meat. I love easy meals like Crockpot chili or roasted veggies with sausage, so cooking is much smoother. I prep meals the night before during the week which makes my mornings less hectic.

Daily Goals

  • Quiet time
  • Spanish
  • Exercise
  • No phone AM

Good growth happened in my daily goals in September! I struggled with not checking my phone in the morning. I’m still struggling with it, but I’m going to focus on my morning routine as a whole and see if that makes a difference. My phone can be a huge time suck, so I don’t want to waste precious time in the morning scrolling through apps (although it can be fun). Quiet time and Spanish are very much a part of my routine now. It feels good to see positive habits are being cultivated in my life ❤

We’re 2 days into October and I believe so much goodness is ahead!

October Goals

Monthly Goals

  • Contentment
  • Wise finances
  • Let go! Surrender
  • Blog growth opportunity
  • Cultivate community – friendships
  • Prepare for small group

Weekly Goals

  • Connect with Eric
  • Drink only water – at least 100oz/day
  • Morning routine
  • Enthusiasm & growth at work

Daily Goals

  • Worship & Praise
  • Active body
  • Meditate 
  • Nurture plants

90 days left in 2017 — lets make them the best yet! You are a bright light shining and I know you’re going to use these next 3 months in big, meaningful ways! What goal are you striving to accomplish by December 31st or even before!? Big or small, I’d love to cheer you on!

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One step closer to financial freedom

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I am ecstatic to share that as of September 15th, 2017 at 8:36am…

I AM STUDENT LOAN DEBT FREE!!!

Because I’m over here celebrating and soaking it all up, I wanted to reflect and share with you things I’ve learned along the way and how we got rid of those pesky suckers.

I graduated from North Carolina State University in May 2014 with close to $30,000 of student loans. That may be better or worse than your own student loan start, but regardless, we can all agree: student loans suck. Debt sucks. It’s a current (annoying) payment on a past experience. I absolutely do not regret getting a college education – its molded me and gotten me to where I am today. But I do regret not being very money wise in my younger years.

Personal finance should certainly be a required class for all high school seniors. We live in a credit driven world, but many of us don’t learn the consequences of debt until we’re already into it. And then it feels like we’re drowning to get out. But no matter where you’re at with your finances, you CAN get to a place of financial freedom!

If I could go back in time and tell my 18 year old self to apply for scholarships and start actually saving money, I so would! But sometimes lessons need to be learned the hard way. Ever since I could I was working and earning money whether that be by babysitting, working at the YMCA, lifeguard, retail… but that money went anywhere besides staying in my bank account. Whoops! I didn’t even know what was coming for me in the form of student loans a handful of years later.

The biggest way to knock down that debt is to a) make all your payments on time and most importantly b) make higher than minimum payments. It’s so discouraging to make a debt payment only for most of it to go to interest. That’s going to happen, especially if you’re only making the minimum payment, but even if you only have an extra $10 to put towards your payment, do it! Every little bit helps.

I didn’t start taking my debt payments seriously right away. I always paid them on time, but especially when I was a fresh graduate, I didn’t feel like I had a lot of extra money to spare. I also wasn’t closely following a budget… so that was probably the problem. I was continuing with my old ways — my money was going to shopping, out to eat, etc. If you don’t have a budget to tell your money where to go, it’s gonna go wherever it wants. And you’re not going to like it.

February 2015 is when my finances hit the fan and I realized I really needed to make a change. My parents graciously helped me get back on my feet even though I was on my own and that was push I needed. I put together a budget. This helped me recognize the things I was paying for that I didn’t need (Hulu, Netflix, massage membership, online shopping…) I canceled the items I could and made plans to decrease expenses — quick financial victory!

Fast forward to July 9th, 2016. Eric and I get married and with “I do” comes my debt. It became an “us problem” that we needed to tackle together. We got things more straightened out during the rest of 2016 and set up our joint account in January 2017. A family budget came into play and we made a plan to aggressively pay off those student loans. Goal: pay off student loan debt by end of 2017. At the time that seemed way out of reach…

But we rocked it! We started this year with about $22,000 of loans. Like what!? That’s crazy to think about. Now it should be no problem for us to save $10,000, right?? 😉

We got focused, we made sacrifices, and we set goals. It definitely wasn’t easy and we could have gotten them paid off faster had we not eaten out as much (although still much less than we used to) or gone on as many trips earlier this year, but whatever. We still made it happen. It’s important to be realistic about your method of paying off your debt. Build some “fun money” into your budget so you’ll actually stick with it and want to keep going. You can still enjoy your life while making payments, just do it wisely and on budget!

Our budget and payoff goal was absolutely crucial. We had to work together towards the same goal otherwise it wasn’t going to work. We would throw any extra money to the debt including bonuses from work. It would’ve been easy to just consider that play money and blow it, but now that the loans are paid off we have a lot more play money anyways! And don’t feel guilty about using it.

I’ve become pretty obsessed with our finances. I check our budget and accounts daily (read multiple times a day). I aim to stay on top of it so that we know what’s coming and can plan accordingly. This helps us to not go into more debt on our credit cards and I can keep an eye on any unusual activity. A few months ago we did have fraud payments ran on our card of $1000s — I’m so grateful our credit card company is awesome about handling fraud and that we noticed it the day it happened.

We went above and beyond to make this payoff happen. Any babysitting opportunity that came up was an automatic yes assuming I was in town. I had a good size 401k built up when I left my old job in June – that got cashed out and put all of that towards my loans. Of course we want to save for the future, so a new 401k plan is up and running. Eric picked up extra work and hustled (and he still does). He is the hardest working person I know and has been the best partner in all of this.

Along the way I’ve learned about contentment. We are beyond blessed and really there’s nothing extra we need. Yet my heart would still crave “the things”. The things Pinterest, Instagram, people show me that I needed. I’m working on breaking the chains of materialism. Of course I will continue to buy, but with a different heart behind it. I am already loved and made whole by the One who created me – no amount of stuff can change that. I will buy things that are useful, necessary, beautiful, spark joy – not just because the world tells me I “have to have it.”

So now what? 

We will set new goals.

I’ve been inspired by Dave Ramsey’s teachings throughout this journey, so we’re loosely following his 7 baby steps to financial peace. We’ve gone a bit out of order to start, but I love the simplicity and framework of it. We may adjust it so that it fits for us, but I think it’ll be a great guide to us as we’re moving forward.

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I’m so grateful to those that have encouraged me and given great advice along the way. I have super smart friends and the internet is full of finance savvy people! I’m a huge fan of Dave Ramsey, Pennies into Pearls YouTube channel, and whatever other budget videos/blogs I can get my hands on. Soak up the wisdom of others and learn from their mistakes. I’ve gotten so many good ideas and inspiration by watching how others handle their money.

I hope my story will be inspiration for your financial freedom and that you’ll continue along the journey with me! YOU CAN DO IT!!! Share this post with a friend to encourage them on their way.

I’d love to hear from you! What are your thoughts about finances? Do you have student loan debt you’re paying off? What are your tips and tricks when it comes to finances? Lets chat in the comments below ❤

Love you! You are AMAZING!

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August Progress & September Goals

Hello, friend!! A few apologies for ya — 1) sorry it’s been a month since the last blog post (which was actually last month’s PowerSheets update!)  and 2) sorry this one is later than usual. But better late than never, right!? PowerSheets time!

Is it just me or do the months seem to go faster and faster?? Regardless, I’m so grateful I’m being intentional and focusing on the things that matter. I don’t always get it right and some days are just plain difficult, but little by little progress adds up yall! Good goals were set and good progress was made through a crazy August.

August Progress

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Monthly Goals

  • SJ’s 21st Birthday Celebration — My baby sister is 21!! We were able to have a celebratory dinner with our parents and I surprised her with a birthday gift waiting for her before she left for her trip to New York! And I’m sure the celebrations will continue 🙂
  • Learn at work — This will be a constant goal because there’s so much to learn! But each day is getting a little better. Slow and steady progress here.
  • Budget — We are doing well with this! Spending got a little out of hand and I’d like to have more face to face “financial meetings” with Eric (most of it occurs via text because of our schedules), but we’re doing a good job overall.
  • Tithe — We’ve figured out a system that works for tithing! I was having a hard time since Eric gets his tips paid daily so we overcame that by tracking his earnings on our budget spreadsheet and then I’ll give each week based on 10% of what he earned.
  • Gratitude — I’ve gotten into the habit of giving thanks to God for our many blessings, big and small. I also worked on seeing the silver lining in challenging situations.
  • Intentional time with Eric — As I mentioned, our schedules are pretty funky, so time spent together has to be intentional. It’s not like what it used to be, but that’s okay! We’re making the most of it in this season and taking advantage of those “pockets of time” we have together. It takes time to get into a rhythm and we’re getting there ❤

Weekly Goals

  • Meal plan and prep — I’ve gotten back into the swing of this and I’m so glad!! I’m using Pinterest and healthy Youtubers for inspiration. I enjoy simple recipes and ingredients that I can easily mix up depending on what I’m feeling and what we have on hand.
  • Meditate — I started using a different app that I randomly came across called Simple Habit. It’s still guided mediation which I love, but they’re mostly just 5 minutes which I can totally fit into my day!
  • Friend date — I felt kinda silly putting this one on my tending list, but I’m so glad I did. It can be really easy to go weeks or months without seeing friends because of schedule coordination, demands at work and home, etc. But it’s super important to carve out time for those relationships! Dinners, coffee dates, group hangouts: good for the soul.
  • Unplug — I’m not really feeling the need for this one anymore since life has shifted. I’m unplugging and unwinding a bit each day, so I don’t feel it’s necessary for me to be as intentional about this and I think that’s a good thing!
  • H2O only — I’m not a huge soda/coffee/whatever drinker, but my water consumption has definitely been slacking. I bought a new glass water bottle that I love and since I’ve started tracking my water with the Fitbit app, I’m drinking a lot more and feeling good!

Daily Goals

  • Exercise
  • No extra spending
  • Devotional 
  • Pray with Eric
  • Journal
  • Spanish
  • No phone AM

Overall I’m feeling really proud! There was a lot more going on this month tending list wise as compared to last and I feel like I’m getting into the swing of things again. I made progress in every single area, some “perfect” or almost perfect. No phone in the morning (at least not until after my morning routine) and no extra spending were harder than I thought.

No extra spending felt extreme, but it was helpful to see where I had those impulses to spend and what types of things we were spending extra on (I’m talking about outside of the necessities here). I ended up creating a list of “wishes” — items I’d love to purchase, but not now. I reevaluated the list throughout the month and will continue to do so until either I purchase it because it’s serving a purpose at that time or it gets deleted from the list.

September Goals

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Monthly Goals

  • Tithe/Budget
  • Intentional time with Eric
  • Cultivate community
  • Rest
  • Contentment
  • Learn something new each day at work
  • Pay off student loans!

Weekly Goals

  • Memorize Scripture verse
  • Friend date
  • Meditate
  • H2O only
  • Meal plan and prep

Daily Goals

  • Quiet time
  • Spanish
  • Exercise
  • No phone AM

This feels like such a wonderful blend of meaningful, exciting, important goals and I’m so eager to make progress. September is going to be amazing and it’s already off to a strong start! I’m giving myself grace for not always being “productive.” A time for rest and peace is so important. I already have everything I need, the rest is extra. I want what I’ve been graciously given to flourish, but that can only happen when I give it the care and space to grow. 

Do you have goals for September? What is one you’re most excited about!? Share it with us in the comments below ❤

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