Birthday goals

It’s been almost a week since my 28th birthday, and per usual, it’s been one of the craziest weeks ever.  We went to a Friendsgiving, wrapped up the Annual Campaign after raising $1.4 million dollars ($1.4 million?!), and generally, didn’t get a minute to ourselves.  I mean seriously, I fell asleep on the couch twice this week and my hubby had to come get me and tell me to come to bed.


So in this week, and in thinking about what 28 means, and what I want to accomplish in this year.  And after having sushi with a friend who told me he likes to set 4 goals each birthday, I decided to do the same, and hold myself accountable for each of those goals.

So here goes, 4 goals for my 28th year of living. 

  1. Get my personal trainer certification.  It’s something I feel will make me a better teacher.  I don’t necessarily want clients, lord knows that there may not be enough hours in the day for that, but anything to make me a better and stronger, I think is worth going for.
  2. Begin some real work on a book.  It is my dream to be the black Bethanny Frankel – to write a book on black women, and their health and fitness.  Maybe my first book won’t be that, maybe it will be a guide to dating, or something fun and syrupy, but I know I’m destined for it.  I don’t know why, but I just know.  Plus I need that advance so I can pay down my student loans.  (Just kidding! Kinda…)
  3. Utilize my time more efficiently.  This is something I’ve really been striving for, but I’m not great at.  That’s sort of an abstract concept, but that means squeezing the most out of every moment I can and limiting distractions.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a lazy Sunday, but I don’t want every night when I come home from work to be a flop down on the couch kind of night.  I don’t have time.
  4. Do something creative every day.  I do my best when I’m given the chance to do something creative every day. Whether that means going to Home Depot and picking out colors, picking out linens, painting, writing (even if it’s just 100 words), or READING, I will be doing this each day.
  5. Okay, and I had to sneak a 5th one in here.  I would like to start saving more.  I’m starting with an EXTREMELY modest goal of $500, which means I only have to put $41.67 in a separate account each month.  But on top of this, I’d like to put all my checks from Aradia into this account.  The amount varies depending on how much I work, but the reason why this is hard/important is that I usually like to take that Aradia check and do fun things with it.  But it’s time to let that go.  I’m really competitive, even if it’s just with myself, so I’d really like to push.  Additionally, I’m toying with the idea of “tipping” myself for every workout I do.  I’m not sure how much, but I’m playing with  the idea of tipping myself 10% in dollar amount for the minutes I’ve worked out.  So $3.00 for a 30 minute work out, $6.00 for an hour workout and so on.

What’s ONE of your goals for the next year?  

Private College. Is it worth it?

I have been really really open about the fact that I went to Elon University.  It was a wonderful, beautiful experience, and I loved it.  But was it worth it?  Is private college worth it, and for whom?28833_603402085403_7000782_n

I was inspired to write this by a few things.  Number one, as a graduate of a prestigious private uni, I am saddled with a pretty good hunk of student loans.  It keeps me up at night.  It motivates my thinking.  It affects my purchases.  And I feel an unimaginable sense of sorrow and guilt that when I signed on for the loans, I wasn’t 1000% sure what I was signing up for.  At the time, when my parents could no longer afford Elon, I was under the absolutely incorrect assumption that by now, I would have a job that paid me a reasonable, living wage, and that with some budgeting, I would quickly be able to pay off the debt that I’d incurred.

The second thing that inspired me to write this was the fact that Emily Yoffe from Slate addressed this recently, when a mother, who’d had nothing saved for her children’s education, was questioning if she should send her son to his dream school (that they could not afford), or have him live at home, attend a state school, and allow him to transfer a few years later.  Yoffe gave some decent advice, and on someone who kinda lived through the whole recession thing, here are my two cents.

Student Loans

I didn’t have a crystal ball.  I had no way to know that my parents would go from being able to afford school to having to build back up, but if I had had that crystal ball, maybe I would have chosen somewhere different to go.  But here is my assessment, especially for those of you wondering if you or your kids should go to your dream school, or to the best school you can afford.

Okay, here goes.

I do not regret my decision to go to Elon, and the subsequent debt however, please keep in mind the following before you sign away your life for student loans.

  • Your decision will affect your future purchases.  So four years later, when you’re trying to buy a car?  The fact that you have debt will impact what you can buy.
  • Were you thinking about buying a house soon?  Not so fast with those loans holding you hostage.
  • If you’re prone to anxiety, stay far away from those loans.  Seriously, the things that keep me up at night all involve money.
  • Marriage may be the furthest thing from your mind, (I know I was not in that headspace at all) but 5 years later, I brought my debt into my marriage. Or I’m about to at least.  And I feel really guilty.  Austin gets it, he understands, but this was not the ideal way for me to start a family.

So the verdict?

If you can afford it, go to the best school you can.  If you cannot afford it, think long and hard, long and hard about loans.  And after you’ve thought about it, go to the best school you can afford, not the reach that will affect your life for years to come.

What are your thoughts on student loans?  

I discovered the Cartwheel App

First and foremost, with all of my usual joking aside, I hope you’re having a seriously awesome Memorial Day.  Please take a second (or more) and lift your servicemen up in a thought or a prayer, because we seriously live in one of the most amazing counties in the world.  We live in a country where we’re free to disagree, we have clean water, access to school, housing, nice roads, and that’s pretty incredible, especially coming from 2 developing nations (Haiti and Trinidad).

So moment of silence.

Annnnd, I’d like you welcome you guys back to the blog.  I took Sunday off of writing to clean, do some wedding things, take a 5-mile trail run with a friend (where I did not sprain my ankle, hallelujah), so I hope you can forgive the absence while I caught up on life and things.

For this one, I actually put on longer socks and did some trail shoes, which seemed to help – also focused on picking my feet up to avoid tripping and twisting my ankle again.

So, I’m sure, you’ve gathered from the blog that budgeting and saving money is something that I’m starting to get into. Yes, I know it should have been something I had been into for a long time, but when I was not making as much money, it was easier to be short-sighted. Now that I’m getting married, and it’s not just me, it’s important to save, get into good habits, and get rid of that lurking student loan debt that I want gone ASAP.

So yesterday, I discovered the Cartwheel App from Target.

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 2.18.26 PMNumero uno, Super Target is one of the best and cheapest places, in my opinion to get your groceries.  Will you get the incredible selection that you will get at Harris Teeter?  Absolutely not.  But I’ve been ridiculously impressed with the price, and the selection is sometimes randomly good.  Additionally, it’s not Wal-Mart so that’s a plus.

So I’d been seeing this Cartwheel app pop up on Facebook, and additionally a lot of my mommy blogger friends have mentioned the app when they’re talking about saving moola.

So finally, during yesterday’s trip I used the app, and was able, between the app and picking some good stuff, to save almost $15.00 on a nearly $200 order.  YIPEE!!!!  Why did I never discover this awesome app before?

No matter, I think it’s amazing, and if you’re into saving money and you shop at Target, download this app and get to saving!  It’s fun!