The Cafe Scholar is Back! & My Focus for 2018

The Cafe Scholar is Back! & My Focus for 2018

That’s right – I’m back!  The past few months I’ve been going through some major transitions and life changes.  I usually wait to share about transitions on social media, but now that the dust has settled, I’m so excited to share what’s been happening in my life and tell you about the three things I want to focus on this year in my personal life.  You're sure to see those carry over to the blog as well!
 
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. That just means that I may receive a small commission if you buy a product linked on this page.  It sure helps towards paying off those student loans! For more information, please see my disclosures page.
 
This year, I'm focusing on 3 things. 1. Be a prayer warrior. 2. Build healthy relationships. 3. Pay off a MASSIVE amount of debt. What about you? | https://www.thecafescholar.com

#1 New Job

As you all know, I’m trying to pay off my debt as fast as possible.  In fact, paying off a massive amount of debt is one of my main areas of focus this year (more about that below).  I had been at my job for nearly 6 years, and the problem with starting at the bottom and working your way up is that sometimes the salary never catches up.  That’s definitely how it happened for me.  I looked at my debt and my salary and my goals and the math didn’t work.  I also realized there wasn’t much room to grow there, and I needed to acquire some more diversified experience.  After months of prayer and asking God where to go from here, I started applying for jobs and started my new job in January.  This transition was bittersweet; I left behind some close friends that I miss working with every day, but was also so excited for a new adventure.  It was really important to me to “leave well,” and I hope I was able to do that.

#2 New Home

Got the keys to my new apartment! A move is a great time to build new habits! | https://www.thecafescholar.com

I had been renting from my parents since starting my grad school several years ago, and in January I moved to a new apartment.
I hit pause on my debt snowball to achieve this goal. In November I started saving money to cover moving expenses, security deposit, furniture, etc. I bet you guys think a budget is restricting.   Let me just tell you how freeing it was to be able to buy what I needed for the new place and have the money for it.  Setting limits allows you the freedom to choose where you want your money to go.  I actually have a little bit left in my moving fund still, but I’m trying to stretch it as far as I can for the last few things I want.  (Know anyone who wants to give me a stacking washer & dryer? 😃 ).
I didn’t go all out; the Goodwill Clearance Center, Dollar Tree, and Walmart were key in stretching those dollars as far as possible.  Several friends and neighbors gave me hand-me-down furniture and kitchen supplies to get started.  My God is such a good provider!

 

When you start up an apartment, there are all these things you need like cleaning supplies that may not have moved with you, and I felt such peace and victory knowing that because I had planned and prepared for this expense, I could get my new home set up without worrying about money.  If you want to feel that level of freedom and peace, I highly recommend Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover.  It's a quick read, not too heavy, and this book has really helped me get on a budget and make “forward motion” decisions. You can tell it's good stuff when 12 people have it on request at the library!

#3 New Car LoanI don't want to be a slave anymore! My focus this year: paying off lots of debt! | https://www.thecafescholar.com

One of the things I keep hearing on The Dave Ramsey Show (I listen to the podcast on my commute to work every day) is how harmful it can be for your relationships to borrow money from family members or to cosign on a loan.  The borrower is slave to the lender, and you don’t want that to be the relationship you have with your family! My parents had generously cosigned on my car loan after the accident last summer to help me save on interest.  Even though we weren’t having any friction about it, I decided it was time to set them (and myself) free and refinance the loan.  With my improved credit score after paying off debt the past few months, I was still able to get a low-interest rate.  It was not as low as before, but I’m going to pay it off so fast it won’t really matter!

#4 New Focus

I have three things I’ve chosen to focus on for this year.  First, I want to be a Prayer Warrior.  Second, I want to build healthy relationships.  Third, I want to pay off a MASSIVE amount of debt.  And I want to do all of these things within a framework of healthy habits and self care.  Little habits, repeated consistently, bring big results.  So these first few months, I have focused on getting settled in the new home and new job, building those good habits slowly, one at a time, and spending some much more consistent Jesus time each day.  I’m starting to invest in friendships as well, and once I moved, I kicked that debt snowball back into gear.  I want to pay off $40,000 this year.  That’s a really aggressive goal, and with my current salary and expenses, the math doesn’t work to meet that goal just yet, so I’m going to have to really kick some side hustling into gear.  I just don’t want to be a slave no mo’! So far in 2018 I have paid off $6,134.28, so I’m already about 15% of the way there!  It was so cool to get a “paid in full” notice from one of my student loans this month.
I’m looking forward to sharing more research paper madness, study tips, and my own experience paying off student loans on this blog.  The research paper series will pick back up next week, and you’ll have to let me know what you want to learn!  But now it’s back to you: what big changes are you making in your life this year?  What little steps can you take to get there?
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August 2017 Goals & Updates

August 2017 Goals & Updates

My August 2017 goals and updates are late – this post was kind of tough to write. You’ll see why in the Updates section below. Things have been pretty crazy, but there is good stuff coming up! Here is an update on my July goals and new ones I have created for August.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. That just means that I may receive a small commission if you buy a product linked on this page.  It sure helps towards paying off those student loans! For more information, please see my disclosures page.

August Goals and updates on progress on my July goals!

July Goals Review:

  1. Release my first two freebies by July 15.  FAIL.  I am still working on getting these released in the very near future.
  2. Make my first blogging dollar!  PASS!  I’m not in the “profit” zone yet, but I was able to earn $15 in affiliate sales during the blog’s first month.
  3. Plan my Word for Students e-book. – ON HOLD.  I am getting ready to start a course that will help me a lot with this e-book and other projects, so I took this one off the table for now.
  4. Write 4 posts per week.  FAIL.  I was able to keep up with posting twice a week in July, but not with creating the additional content.
  5. Write editorial calendar for September-December.  PASS
  6. Sell 10 things.  FAIL.  Sort of.  I sold 5 old school books on Amazon, which isn't bad, but was hoping to make more progress here.
  7. Clean out/reorganize closet: PASS!  Best yet, it has stayed clean the whole month.
  8. Walk 350,000 steps with my FitBit.  FAIL. I walked 231,754 steps in July.  What went wrong?  I usually walk my lunch break at work, and that’s where I get the most of my step-action going.  In July I had a serious of doctor and other appointments that got in the way of that lunch-break walk, and I didn’t have a backup plan.  The new plan is to have a backup plan! I am going to try to add in a second walk in the evenings if needed to get to my steps goal for the day.
  9. Lose 10 lbs. I’m on a mission to get out of the danger zone! FAIL.  I hit a plateau on this one for a number of reasons, some in my control and some not.  But since me and Jesus are in charge of my life, I’m taking charge of the ones I can control for August!
  10. Get back in the habit of my nightly routine so I can start off on the right foot for the Fall semester.  FAIL (50%).  I haven’t gotten back in the habit of the routine yet, but I have been able to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier more consistently.

Updates:

Sometimes, real life collides with your school plans! In this case it was a big truck that collided.

In July, real life collided with my school plans in a big way.  Actually, it was a big truck that collided…I had previously saved up tuition money for the Fall 2017 semester, as well as money for textbooks, supplies, parking permit, gas, etc.  In late June, I was rear-ended and my car was totaled.  Yikes!  Along with the long parade of insurance phone calls and doctor’s appointments, I ended up wiping out both my emergency fund and my school savings to make a down payment on a replacement car.  Totally not in my plans!  I am not taking out student loans (have enough of those already!), so I will be deferring my enrollment for now, until I can replenish my savings.  This was a really tough decision; I LOVE school and I really wanted to be making progress towards my PhD dreams.  I was heartbroken to have to make a pivot this time.  But here’s the thing: God knew this was coming, and he has good things planned for me!  I will still be here, studying in cafes and providing awesome resources for students from my experience as an undergrad and graduate student and as an adjunct professor, and I will be working on a curriculum writing project soon too!

August Goals:

  1. Release my freebies, already!
  2. Finish the Brilliant Pinning course.
  3. Earn $50 in affiliate sales.
  4. Write 10 blog posts.
  5. List 10 more things to sell on Amazon or Craigslist.
  6. Walk 300,000 steps with my FitBit.
  7. Lose 4 pounds.
  8. Get in the nightly routine 7 days in a row.
  9. Create a 12 Week Plan for the blog and health goals.  I recently read The 12 Week Year on a recommendation from Colette Broomhead, and I am all fired up to work on my own plan!
  10. Outline the content for my upcoming GRE Analytical Writing Assessment Workshop!

 

What goals do you have for August?

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Goals for July 2017 | The Cafe Scholar

Goals for July 2017 | The Cafe Scholar

Each month, I will be sharing my progress towards goals I have set for school, health, and this blog!

June Goals Update:

  1. Make extra $500 payment towards debt.  PASS.
  2. Prepare website for July 1 blog launch.  PASS. (This blog IS live, right?)
  3. Lose 10 lbs.  PASS.  I lost 9 :).  I’m more than okay with that!
  4. Clean out/organize closet.  FAIL…didn’t even start.  I got distracted with #1.
  5. List books to sell on Amazon.  PASS.  I listed 14 items to sell and 3 of them have sold so far!
July 2017 Goals | The Cafe Scholar

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. That just means that I may receive a small commission if you buy a product linked on this page.  It sure helps towards paying off those student loans! For more information, please see my disclosures page.

July Goals:

  1. Release my first two freebies by July 15.  I’m working on my “Word for Students” Email Course and 10 Templates to Plan Awesome Research Papers with Evernote!
  2. Make my first blogging dollar!  Time to put something in the “plus” column.
  3. Plan my Word for Students e-book.
  4. Write 4 posts per week.  My goal is to have my content for the Fall semester mostly written before school starts in late August.
  5. Write editorial calendar for September-December
  6. Sell 10 things.
  7. Clean out/reorganize closet
  8. Walk 350,000 steps with my FitBit
  9. Lose 10 lbs. I’m on a mission to get out of the danger zone!
  10. Get back in the habit of my nightly routine so I can start off on the right foot for the Fall semester.

What are YOUR goals for July?

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