We made it halfway, folks! It still amazes me how time flies at warp speed. And with each minute, I hope I’m getting wiser, better and closer to my goals. Unlike other years, I locked my mind into this debt-free journey for the long haul. My 2017 goals reflect that decision. Check out what I’ve accomplished so far and read the BIG NEWS about what’s coming up in the fall.
How have I done with my 2017 goals so far?
The goals include:
- Saving $1,000
- Paying off my Chase credit card
- Paying off two of four parts of my undergrad student loan group
- Reading 12 books
- Visiting Thailand
- Visiting family and friends back in the U.S.
So far, I’ve checked off four out of six goals! Crazy! These were stretch goals in December because I wasn’t sure of my cash flow. I’ve got to think bigger next year.
- Saving $1,000. I completed this task shortly after getting my tax refund in February.
- Paying off my Chase credit card. I made four payments in May to wipe out the remaining $825.31 balance I had on May 1.
- Paying off two of four parts of my undergrad student loan group. These two small debts were knocked out in the first quarter.
- Reading 12 books. How about reading 16 books? Yeah. I devoured 16 books thanks to my long commute and my appetite for self-improvement. And my goodness, I’ve learned so much!
- Visiting Thailand. That’s still on the docket. Right now, I’m eyeing a Christmas getaway. I told myself, however, that I wouldn’t take an international trip until I’d paid off my credit card debt. I must pay off about $4,300 to stay true to myself.
- Visiting family and friends back in the U.S. This goal may be pushed back to February when I’ll have a month off for the Chinese New Year.
I also paid off two medical bills in the first half. Overall, I paid off $2,926 in debt. Not bad for a teacher on a low income! AND THERE’S MORE!
What else happened?
- Well, I got a raise and promotion within six months on the job.
- I earned two side hustles after updating my resume and LinkedIn. It’s funny how lucky you become when you prepare yourself for opportunities.
- On Dec. 27, I enrolled in the Clever Girl Finance 6-month accountability program. I actually stuck with the program, too, by reading the suggestions I could find in China, doing six no-spend weeks and completing most of the tasks. The 26-week program pushed us to save $1,378, which is the amount you would save in the traditional 52-week challenge. I decided to stop at $1,000 and pay down debt with the rest of the money.
- BIG NEWS! I got a new job with the help of a fellow teacher and Dorianne St. Fleur, a.k.a. Your Career Girl. It’s a full-time job getting a full-time job. Glad that’s over for now. I’ll be working at an IB kindergarten in the suburbs in the fall. I’ll work a regular 9-to-5 instead of the night and weekend shift. The job pays more and provides free housing and utilities. My commute to work will go from about 1 hour to 1 minute. The apartment building is next to the school. I’ll be about 40-minutes from the city center, but my Western amenities (grocery store, McDonald’s, gym) are close to my new home. SCORE!
- In June, I enrolled in Dorianne’s 4-week, Sig Figure Status program with about six or seven other ladies who wanted to increase their income. The amount of information and support I got was worth way more than the $99 I paid for the inaugural session! Dorianne texted and Skyped with me to help me decide between offers, prepare for interviews and become confident with negotiation. She’s a God-send. I didn’t complete the lessons to a tee because there was so much information and I didn’t carve out the time to get it done. I got so much from the lessons I did complete and the one group call I was able to join.
- My roommate returned to the States in early May. She could have left me with four months worth of rent to pay, but she was gracious enough to pay for June. That meant I was on my own for July, August and September. By God’s grace and hard work, I’ve been able to easily pay rent and send, at least, $1,000 home each month.
- I also got huge, unexpected shout-outs from the #debtfreecommunity on
Instagram. Bola from Clever Girl Finance has retweeted me, exposing me to her huge following. Love, Daring Greatly mentioned that I suggested a book to her on your YouTube vlog. (Check out the video below!) Then, Student Loan Hero featured me in this list: 11 Instagram Accounts That’ll Inspire You to Be Better with Money. How dope is that?! I had actually taken a break from the ‘gram when I saw a message from Bola. She told me that I made the list, which also included her. She’s one of my sheroes.
- Also, @wisewomanwallet has over 1,600 followers. I’m humbled and grateful.
What I learned from the first half:
Plan you work and work your plan.
Making monthly and quarterly goals has done wonders! Every time I’ve faced a challenge, I’ve gone back to the drawing board and put in the work to overcome it. Anything can happen if you stay persistent. Cheers to a great second half!
Check out the YouTube video I previously mentioned.