2016 Debt Payoff Recap

At the beginning of 2016, I set a goal of paying off $30,000 of debt.  Though my student loans totaled more than $30,000, I thought this amount was adequately ambitious while not being completely unattainable.

$30,000 represented more than half of my income for 2015.  To put this amount towards loans would mean sticking to a very strict budget throughout 2016.

As I’ve mentioned before, the majority of my debt is student loan debt.  But at the beginning of the year, I was also paying off a car loan.  I decided to follow the debt snowball method and pay off the loan with the smallest balance first, rather than the highest interest loan first.

In 2015, I was making payments towards five different student loans plus a car loan.  I’m excited to say that the car loan and four of the student loans are now paid off!  By following the debt snowball method, I’ve eliminated all but one loan.   Continue reading “2016 Debt Payoff Recap”

Organize Your Holiday Shopping to Stay Within Budget

I can’t remember where I first saw this, but I recently read about “the 4 gift rule.”  Have you heard of it?  It’s usually aimed towards parents buying gifts for their kids, but it can be applied to anyone who you tend to spend excess amounts of money on at Christmas.  For me that person is Matt!

Here’s how the rule goes – each person gets four gifts: something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.

How can this help your budget?

This is a great strategy to organize your holiday shopping.  Limiting the number of gifts to four sets a clear boundary for your Christmas spending.  Once you have four things to wrap for someone, you’re done.  There’s no picking up that one extra thing you find last minute.

Set a total budget for all four gifts.  That way, you’ll have some flexibility.  If the “want” gift is a little pricey, buy a less expensive item of clothing for the “wear” gift.  Or if you splurge on a nice coat as the “wear” gift, buy the paperback copy of the book for the “read” gift. Continue reading “Organize Your Holiday Shopping to Stay Within Budget”

5 Things I’ll Do Differently for Marathon #2

Now that more than a week has past since the Philadelphia Marathon (my first full marathon!), I’m looking back at race day through rose-colored glasses.  Running a second marathon currently seems like a good idea!

My legs no longer feel sore.  I managed an enjoyable two mile jog on the treadmill on Sunday, and I cycled a few miles on the stationary bike on Monday.  I’ll be taking it slow – focusing on marathon recovery – for a few weeks.

But without another race on my schedule, my training moving forward is up in the air.  I’m tempted to sign up for another race to give myself something to work towards.  I like the structure of marathon training – training without a plan is usually a disaster for me.  I skip out on workouts or cut them short.  I need a goal race to motivate me. Continue reading “5 Things I’ll Do Differently for Marathon #2”

2016 Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap – Part 2

I ran my first marathon on Sunday so I’m sharing a recap of my experience.  If you haven’t read part 1 of my race recap, you can find it here!  

Sunday (Race Day!)

My alarm went off at 4:45am.  I was excited and very nervous, but didn’t have much time to think about it as I rushed to get ready.  We had to be on the bus at 5:30am.

I ate my usual oatmeal and a banana and drank a cup of coffee.  I also drank half a bottle of gatorade and some water before getting on the bus.

We got off the bus at the security check point around 5:45am.  Luckily there was no line yet.  I had read horror stories about the security lines at the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon so was mentally prepared to wait in line for hours.  I was pleased we didn’t have to wait because it was freezing (30ish degrees and windy). Continue reading “2016 Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap – Part 2”

2016 Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap – Part 1

I’m officially a marathoner!  Can’t quite believe the Philadelphia Marathon is over as I’ve been thinking about it all year!  I’m proud to have finished it, but a little sad that it’s over.  The whole weekend was amazing so I’m excited to share my experience with you. Continue reading “2016 Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap – Part 1”

My Marathon Goals

I’m running my first marathon TOMORROW!

Unless this is your first time visiting (if so, welcome!) you already know about my marathon and are probably bored of hearing about it!

I’ve been preparing for this marathon all year.  It was one of only two goals I had for the year, so it’s a pretty big deal to me.  Luckily, I’ve already hit my other goal for the year so now I’m 100% focused on this one!

As it’s my first marathon, everyone says my only goal should be to finish the race.  Though that is goal #1, I have a few other marathon goals too!  And I want to share them on here because blogging about things has become a good way for me to hold myself accountable. Continue reading “My Marathon Goals”