I have found that living intentionally helps me to stay focused on the most important things in my life.  Also, as a Type A person, I love having goals to hit instead of feeling frustrated or “stuck”.  So, here’s how I did in July/August for each of the 8 categories.
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I put $1,300 extra toward my loans in July and $1,835 extra toward them in August.  This is in addition to my regular $408/month payment.  When I first started paying on my loans, my payment was about $816/month but I’ve paid down my balance enough that the minimum payment has decreased to $408…which frees up more money to put toward extra payments.  This is how the debt snowball works.

My husband had some car issues to get fixed (the entire back hatch fell off of his car and he had to drive around with plastic wrap as his window for a week – #smartcarproblems), so he couldn’t put as much toward his loans as he wanted to, but he did $1,000 in July and $1,900 in August (these are in addition to his regular $400/month payment).

I am finally feeling really happy about the progress we’ve made on our loans.  We began at $117,000 and we’re down to $49,000!!

I’m currently working on a (6.5% interest) loan that started at $20,000 and is at $12,000 now.  Once I’m done with that one, I will only have a few low interest (3.5%) loans left.  My husband’s balance on his loans is down to $20,000, so we’re hoping he can pay his off within a year.  We’re planning to buy a townhouse in about a year and a half, and we’re very excited about that!


A few years ago, I started eating a whole food, vegan diet and quickly lost 35 pounds.  Unfortunately, I gained most of the weight back.  I’m starting to accept that I’m just not going to lose weight right now (I’m on medication that increases my appetite and I snack constantly).  Instead, I am focusing on eating healthy food and trying to not have too many cheat days.

I go for 45 minute walks every day and I’m currently averaging about 8,700 steps each day.  I track this using my FitBit Flex – if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to a FitBit, my hubby recently purchased a $20 Bluetooth Fitness Tracker and it’s been working great for him.  My goal is to average 9,000 steps per day, so I’m getting close. (10,000 would be ideal, but I think 9,000 is more realistic for me since I spend the majority of my day sitting at a desk).

I also attend free holy yoga classes twice per week.  Yoga has been such a blessing in my life.  It helps a lot with my anxiety and my chronic neck/shoulder pain.


-My income went up recently :)  and every penny goes toward the extra payments on my student loans.

–Side hustle (blogging): My page views went down a bit recently :( I had taken a break from Pinterest and guest posting on other sites, and both of those things definitely had an impact on my traffic.  It’s also summer, which means people are out enjoying the nice weather, so it’s going to be a slower time for blogging traffic.  I decided to ramp up my Pinterest strategy and guest post on several other sites this summer, and hopefully I will see an increase in traffic!

I’d like to increase my traffic as much as possible so that I can also increase my blogging income (which goes straight to my student loan debt).  If you’re interested in starting your own money making blog, I created a free step-by-step guide that walks you through exactly how to set up a blog.


I went to church every week and went to holy yoga classes (which are held in a church) twice per week.  I recently finished reading the entire Bible on the She Reads Truth app.

I’d like to do something more in-depth now (like taking a class at church), but those cost money, and I’d rather do something free.  If you know of any free online resources or apps, please let me know!

Relationships & Fun

I currently am on a three year spending diet (which includes date nights and outings with friends) while we pay off our loans.  This doesn’t mean that I never hang out with friends – I just find free things to do with them.  Over the past couple of months, we’ve had board game nights, gone on walks, and attended free yoga classes.

As an introvert, watching Netflix is one of my favorite cheap things to do.  Over the past couple months, I watched Scandal (4 stars) and Parenthood (4 stars) on Netflix.  I used to love Scandal even though the plot is beyond ridiculous, but lately the plot is so crazy I’m starting to lose interest.

I also watched the new seasons of Young and Hungry (3 stars – silly but funny), Orphan Black (4 stars – a little hard to follow at times but still interesting) and Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce (4 stars – used to be one of my favorites but it’s starting to feel a bit tired).

*Note: these ratings are based on my completely subjective opinion.

Environment & Service

Environment: I’ve been making more of an effort to reduce the amount of waste I produce.  There is a reason why “reduce” is at the top of the waste hierarchy.  The best way to eliminate waste is to not create it in the first place.  Reducing waste is one of the many benefits of minimalism.

Service: I recently became an “OCDvocate” (OCD advocate) for the International OCD Foundation.  When you sign up to become an advocate, IOCDF will email you some prompts and “challenges” related to sharing your own personal experiences via social media.  Talking openly about mental illness improves understanding and reduces stigma.

If you or someone you know lives with OCD, I highly recommend checking out the IOCDF website.  It includes helpful educational information and plenty of resources (including information about how to find a therapist who specializes in treating OCD).

Highlights of July and August

A couple of highlights from July/August: the bizarre sometimes fall-like weather (I love fall!), celebrating National Dog Day, and finally starting Project Life (I’ll be sharing a post on here soon about how to do Project Life on a budget).

Happy National Dog Day from Duck, Buddy, and Herbie!

Gratitude: I had a really crappy day in August.  I wasn’t feeling well and had gotten no sleep the night before, but even though I felt terrible I realized I still have so MANY things to be grateful for.  Even on an awful day, I still had scrapbooking, amazing cannoli (which my hubby found in MN…I hadn’t had it since our trip to AZ a year ago), and the sweetest dogs who follow me around everywhere.  It’s the little things :)

Who could resist that face? And yes, I am wearing pug socks. #Crazypuglady

In Case You Missed It

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One of my goals for this summer was to do more guest posting on other websites.  I had three guest posts in July and August, and it was awesome to be able to write for some of my favorite sites!  Thanks Bobby, Chonce, and TFD for having me :)

5 Steps to Take When You Move in With Your Parents – Millennial Money Man
5 Reasons I’m Proud to Be a Boomerang Kid Who Lives With Her Parents – The Financial Diet
4 Reasons Not to Go to Grad School – Millennial Money Man
How to Get Started With the Debt Snowball Method – My Debt Epiphany

How is your summer going?

Other stuff you might like:

My Personal Finance “Aha” Moment
How We’re Preparing Financially for a Pug Puppy
Why I’m Grateful for My Student Loan Debt
The Appeal of Minimalism
9 Ways to Get Free Yoga Classes

Want more?  Read the personal finance book that changed my life: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey