Debt Talk: Setting Reasonable Goals to Tackle Debt

debt goals travel blog

Maybe I’m a goal person. I am the weirdo that creates to-do lists and adds things I’ve already completed just for the satisfaction of having an additional thing to cross out. (oh man, did I really just admit that?!)

Anyway… debt is no different. And I do not think you have to be crazy to see the benefit and reap the benefit of setting a goal and reminding yourself of it – constantly.

While our end game (as evidenced in the picture above) is to have the freedom to travel – using cash – it is important to set additional goals while you are still working to achieve that overarching *supreme* goal.

Where do you start when outlining your goal?

Again this is highly personalized and extremely depends on how much debt you have. For Garrett and I, who topple the $200k range – sans mortgage, people – we know are in this cruise boat dingy for a pretty long haul.

So in making our goals we have to consider things like, Garrett’s residency is only for three years and after that he will start a new residency and we don’t know where we will be living, with what cost of living, what his salary will be, etc. We also don’t know if / when we will have kids before our debt is completely paid off. Life is happening and we can’t just pause our lives to pay off our debt and it’s not very reasonable or financially savvy to expect everything to mellow out in a few years and assume we will take care of the debt then. So we made some assumptions to help us shape our goals and projections for the future.

In total we would ideally like to have our debt paid off within the next seven years. We know this sounds extreme and it might not happen (which is okay) but that is our current goal. On a smaller scale (which I find necessary since we owe so much and that sounds seriously like ions away) our second goal is to have all private student loans paid off by July 2017. On an even smaller scale, our goal is to have all our credit cards paid off by September 2016.

Breaking it down like this makes it so much more manageable so if you are carrying a large debt load – hell, especially if you are carrying a large debt load – then set milestone goals along the way.

Keep with it – stick to it. Obviously budgets are hard to keep. Obviously it’s even harder to not spend money when you have extra money you are allotting to debt. I mean why not take that money every once and a while and instead of paying you debt, just go a little crazy?!!? … haha. We both know why and that is because it will not put you any closer to your goal, financial freedom, or building your wealth and empire. A big splurge that you will forget about in two weeks is so not worth it. Instead, associate splurges with meeting goals. Reward yourself only after you have met a goal – but keep it reasonable.

A hugely helpful way to stick with your debt is to constantly remind yourself of it. Put a sticky note on your work computer, on your fridge, in your car, etc. to be a reminder of the end game. Personally, that number is severely depressing for me so I prefer to stay motived by a different means. I do this by reading articles, books, blogs, etc. about debt and wealth management. I obsessively research finances. Whatever method you choose, the point is the same – keep your mind focused!

At the end of it all…

Know that your goals are flexible. Of course you want to stick to them but also know when you need to cut a little slack. Did you just have a brand new baby so you are out of work a few months? Don’t shame yourself for having to push your “pay off date” back a few months as well. Like previously mentioned, life is happening, just stay on top of your goals, make the right adjustments, and stay focused on the end game.

>>> Kate

Continue Reading

Debt Talk: How (almost) Depleting your Savings can Help you Save More

computer debt budget blog talk

So I know it is a day earlier than Friday but this week it’s going to be debt-talk duo. 😉

Last week we talked about setting a budget. After that budget is in place it is time to start implementing a debt pay-down to see some results as quick as possible. I’ve talked previously about different debt pay-down methods and after you have decided what will work best in your situation – after making a list of all your debts and their associated interest rates – it is time to implement the next phase, which is depletion.

So I know this probably sounds counter-intuitive but I am sure you can tell the key word here is almost*.

The reason this can help you save more is because your interest rates – especially if you have credit cards – probably farrr exceed any “good” interest you have coming in from what is in your savings account.

So how do you determine how much to leave in savings? This answer varies but do keep in mind you will always want to keep something in savings. You never want to have to revert back to piling on credit card debt after you freed yourself from it. So how much? Some debt experts say just $1000 is all you really need to scrap by if things got ugly for a little bit. This is what I first heard when I started really researching this about a year or two ago but I just could not come to terms with that low number. Does this person not know what kind of world and economy we live in?! Do they not know that there are more graduates than jobs and things can change in a moments notice? Is this person unaware of my #teamparanoid status?! At any rate, your girl decided that I just could not be comfortable with that amount. Instead I decided I was comfortable with leaving $3000 behind and luckily, my husband could agree with that number.

The number you choose may have to do with things like: are you a two-income household but could get by on one? (if so you probably don’t need as much in savings) or do you have a job that is seasonal or temporary? (save save save)

At the end of the day, this number is highly personalized, as you are the one that has to be okay with it. If you are really struggling to pick a number and $1000 seems too low, perhaps calculate your expenses for a month and start with that number. After you set the amount you are comfortable with keeping in savings, everything over that number gets thrown at debt. If you haven’t reached that number – build it into your budget so that you can reach it and after it is reached, throw what would have gone towards the savings to the next line item on your debt list.

After you have made these decisions and it is time to move on to goal setting, which is the topic of tomorrow. Having clear goals about where you want to be and when you can realistically get there is crucial to financial freedom, stability and – for me – overall happiness. Stay tuned 😉

>>> kate

Continue Reading

Detox Bath Recipe

detox bath recipe epsom salts

So detox baths are my absolute favorite! Quite a few of my friends know that I am obsessed and my husband just thinks it is crazy… but I believe in the benefits. A detox bath is meant to detoxify and cleanse out your body. It makes me feel revived, light and fresh. Give it a try if you need to feel a bit more centered — recipe and tips are below!


  • 1 cup Epsom salts (as you can see, I like Dr. Teals specific for detoxification)
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • Optional pinches of lavender extract (usually added if you pick a plain Epsom salt) or a candle to make you happy 🙂

Instructions and Tips:

  • Remove all make up and mascara (you will be sweating – a lotttt! And this also helps your pores get all the toxins out)
  • Fill your bathtub with as-hot-as-you-can-stand water. I have a pretty high tolerance for hot water so this may be why my husband thinks I’m a loon but the heat and steam in the room is what opens everything up!
  • As the tub is filing, load in your ingredients and swoosh them about
  • After the tub is filled, completely submerge yourself as much as you can. Excluding – of course – your head.
  • Stay submerged for 20 minutes (I usually play music or sometimes keep just my hands out of the water to hold a book to help the time pass – but if you know you cant stand it any more – give yourself a break!! Sometimes I can only last 10 or 15 minutes…)
  • Make sure you keep water by the tub and stay hydrated!!! (you are losing a lot of water in your body during this process)
  • After your twenty minutes are up you will probably be light headed so do notttt rush to stand up and get going… relax and let the water drain – then run some cooler water and splash it on your face. Take your time and move slowly. Practice breathing –actually breathing.

If you decide to give it a go – let me know what you think!!!!

>>> kate

Continue Reading

Debt Talk: Creating a Monthly Budget


debt talk computer budget


Creating a budget is ground zero for getting your finances, debts, and wealth under control.

I firmly believe there is no way you will get where you wanna be, when you wanna be there without a budget in place that you are sticking to. yeah, yeah … there will be screw ups but it is a process and here is the beginning step-by-steps:

  1. Outline everything you are spending money on and categorize. This sounds so much easier than it is in practice so let me lend a little advice. Of course the obvious ones are there: rent/mortgage, car insurance, electricity … but what about food? Of course you are eating but are you going to lump all your food into one category versus groceries, date night, alcohol, etc.? These are decisions that are flexible and at the bottom of this post I will blueprint what we do.
  2. Allot the cash. Again, easier said than done and you may have to play with some of these numbers in the beginning when you are first getting the hang of it. Determine what you spend on each category and fill it in next to it. For things like food and gas it may be easier to calculate what you are spending weekly and go from there. It may also be helpful to look in terms of percentage of income to category when determining these numbers but for us that didn’t make much sense. Where we are living, the rent is high high high but I work from home so what I need for gas isn’t the same as someone else. It also doesn’t make sense for us right now because we are already locked into our rent, car payment, etc. If we were to move or make a large purchase that would factor into our budget, we would look at percentage of our income while making our decision.
  3. Add it up. This is a pretty crucial step. Once you have a column of all your “allotted cash” you need to total the sum. This is how much money you intend on shelling out each month towards expenses. If this number exceeds your net income, you need to take out the scissors and start cutting. If not – figure out where you would comfortably like to put the extra money: credit cards, debt, 401k, etc. Every dollar should have a purpose to avoid frivolous spending.
  4. Track it – Regularly. Whether you are utilizing the envelope system, tracking your receipts after every expense, or using a service like you should know where your money is going to ensure you are actually sticking to this budget. You won’t always. That is okay. But learn from where you are spending … were you unrealistic with your food budget or are you eating out too much still? Either way – this is a learning process that will require adjustment as you go and as your life evolves.

Garrett and I utilize an excel spreadsheet.

Our categories include:

  • rent
  • my car payment (Garrett’s car is paid off)
  • car insurance (we pay this semi-annually to save cost but “collect” the money for it monthly)
  • internet
  • electricity
  • cellphone
  • food
  • renters insurance
  • private student loans
  • federal student loans
  • gas
  • car repair
  • medicine / eyewear
  • shopping / clothing
  • misc. (we allot ourselves a little “whatever we want” money)


We log what we want to spend in each of these areas. Currently, we are tracking everything through but for areas that we are not always spending monthly on like clothes, car repair, medicine/eyewear and car insurance, we are “collecting” the money each month keep it separate and ready for when we actually need it. In terms of food we actually do separate groceries and eating out but if at the end of the month we still have extra in eating out but need more for groceries, we will spread the love. Any extra that we have goes towards student loan debt.

Additional word from the wise: be realistic with the food budget. This is the area that most people tend to go over on and if you are going over month after month no matter how many coupons you are clipping – it can really hurt the motivational vibes. So best to keep it real upfront and some budgetters say they actually like to “budget” themselves a large amount in this area with the knowledge that they will definitely stay under because they tend to spend even less than they would if it was a small budget. Yep. Budgeting is also about psychology and mind games, not just money and numbers.


Are there any categories in your budget that are different than mine or do you have a different want of planning out monthly expenses? let a girl know in the comments 😉

>>> Kate

Continue Reading

Bennys & the Beach

Pilings on the PierI am happy to report that Garrett and I visited the Atlantic ocean this past weekend! It really shouldn’t be that big of a hoo-rah considering we live only 30 minutes away but in the two years we lived in Orlando, we only went to the beach once. (ekkkk!) It isn’t always Garrett’s jam but it is totally my happy place.

Bennys on the Beach Atlantic OceanWe ended up there because our new friends in the area invited us to brunch at Benny’s on the Beach. It’s this adorable restaurant with the majority of its tables on the pier outside overlooking the ocean. They have soo many veggie options too that are not just carbs galore — heaven!!

Pier Beach Atlantic Ocean Sign

Atlantic Ocean Beach View

Pier Atlantic Ocean View

Garrett Atlantic Ocean

Beach Atlantic Umbrellas

Atlantic Ocean

Palm Tree Atlantic Ocean Beach

We weren’t at the beach for long but we plan on making it back, ASAP! I mean – it is summertime sooo so sorry husband! 😉

xo – Kate


ps: did you know that today is the 15th anniversary for legally blonde?! #yourewelcome

Continue Reading

Debt Talk: Where to Start When You Have Nothin’

desk budget edit

Ahhh, so here it is, the first of the “Debt Talk” series. Every Friday I will be posting about debt: my personal debt, where we are in our payoff journey, and what we are doing to get to the place we want to be a little bit quicker. There will be a bunch of tips and tricks that I have heard about along the way or have implemented myself to get the debt out the door that much quicker.

As some of you know, I have become quite obsessed with paying off my debt post-graduation and around the time Sallie Mae showed me the final balance (except it’s not, because interest is a alive and well – but that’s another story). Literally nothing would be more fulfilling to me than having a debt-free life because that just screams of freedom in my world. Plus, what kinda #girlboss is okay with debt constantly looming over her existence?!

…But since Garrett was still in medical school for the last year and we were a one income household, planning a wedding, trying to figure out how to merge our finances, and also patiently waiting for match week and where we would be moving to – our debt payoff unfortunately took a backseat. … We didn’t ignore it entirely though – we did some great things since December 2015 like paying off two of my credit cards with help in part from my entire Holiday bonus.

At any rate, here we are on the other side! Garrett started his residency this week (whoop whoop!! Go baby, go!!) and we have always kinda thought July would be it. Well. That plan took a serious hit when Garrett found out last Monday that he won’t see his first paycheck for 3 weeks. Three. That is basically August. So my first thought, to be honest, was to wait to start this series – and wait to start our intense journey – until we were really seeing both incomes. Then I realized that isn’t exactly fair. There is plenty we can start doing now to help ourselves in the long run and tons of families AND single people pay off debt with just one income.

So – hence the name for the post – it kinda sorta feels like we have nothing compared to the incomes we thought we would be working with at this point. So we started with creating a plan:

  1. Creating a Budget
  1. (Almost) Depleting the Savings
  1. Determine What Our Reasonable Goals Are


Over the next few weeks I will be detailing these starter steps and then really dig in. 😉

xo , kate

Continue Reading

Brew Flow Whatcha Need to Know for Styling your Registry

registry strawberries cutting boardOkay. So to be completely honest, one of our favorite things that we had to do wedding related was do our registry. (the other was plan the honeymoon 😛 ). Although we still missed the mark on a few things– and there lies the inspiration for this post!

Here are some tidbits to keep in mind before you yourself become a scan-happy wizard. 😉

  1. Style It. Yep. Know what your general theme is for your flat or home and stick to that. Or stick to what it will be post-wedding. i.e.: don’t register for a Spanish styled serving plates as well as modern chic. Chances are you will not keep both and while both lured you in at the Bloomies, there is only one that really works with your interior vibe.
  2. Serving Ware. Speaking of serving ware – I am so glad I registered for plenty of it because I got the exact amount I think we need (for now ! ). If you love to entertain but do not have any pretty bowls or platters, here. is. your. Chance.!!!
  3. Neutrals. Part of the reason we didn’t struggle that much with picking a style is because we picked neutrals and moderns. We already have plain white plates, bowls, etc. (other wise this would be my suggestion) but we still went with a soft blue that came in funky shapes. Most of our serving wear is wood, marble or slate.
  4. Know Whatcha Will Use. This is where we went pah. We were soo happy to be scanning that we decided to register for china. This is what you do on a wedding registry right!?! Meh. Maybe for some people. But knowing that we are going to be flat dwellers for some time with minimal space and a more rustic modern vibe – it just didn’t make sense once we had it all to keep it. Well first, we didn’t get a full set and we pretty much agreed we were not up for shellin out the cash to finish it and then we realized, ummm where are we putting all this? So back to Bloomies it went. It wasn’t a total loss since people love gifting china and we got a fat gift card now from Bloomies – buttt we probably could have saved ourselves the headache of the return if we would have nixed it all together.
  5. Treat Yo Self. Okay.. this is something we knew going in and believe me – we did not hold back. Buttt some people need a little reminding. Even if you already have something, don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade! My favorite gift that we received is my new coffee maker. (thanks, Dr. Wilson!!)


Buttt we didn’t go entirely wrong. We nailed the “treat yo self” portion and ended up getting these amazing shun knives! Amazing, although I do still refuse to touch them. Japanese steal is sharp.

registry strawberries knife

And while a lot of women I know are swooning over their Kitchenaid mixers (we also got one of those!); I am in loveeee with my Kitchaid coffee pot. You can watch while it percolates which I find to be super cool and every last part of it breaks down easily so it gets shiny and clean after every use. (whudup OCD?!)

registry coffee put and knife set

registry coffee pot percolating

Knives and coffee pot are from here; while the cutting board and bowl pictured at the way top are from here.

>>> Kate

Continue Reading

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

3 repel maui waterfall

Sorry, but I really couldn’t help myself with the title here and the TLC flashback. Anyways this is another Hawaii post and also about my favorite thing we did there. Waterfall repelling!!

So the first couple times we went down, it wasn’t actually on the waterfall itself. The first one was pretty short to warm us up. The second one down was longgg and the third one down was definitely the most challenging as it was on steep rocks right next to the waterfall and you actually “landed” in the ice. cold. water. (eepppp!!!!)

3 repel maui

3 repel maui 1

Naturally when they asked who wanted to go first in our group of 6, Garrett volunteered me. Haha.

To be completely honest, I was freaking out a little when Garrett booked it for us and also when it first began (haha). In the end, I am so glad we spent the day doing this!! Did I mention that the waterfall we repelled down is the one they used to shoot the original Jurassic Park?! It kind of makes me famous…. lol.

3 repel maui garrett and me

waiting to go down the last one!!!

3 repel maui scene

I am definitely dead set on finding other cool new places to repel so if you have any suggestions, please please please share. 😉

>> kate

Continue Reading

Road to Hana

2 leave only footprints 2

If you are going to Maui, you have to dedicate a whole day for this trek to Hana. As the saying goes “it’s about the journey, not the destination”. Seriously could not think of a better quote for it and the journey is best shown by a slew of photos. So here is a photomontage through the twisty switch-backing road that sorta kinda brings me back. 😉

2 peacock hana

made a friend as we began our journey!! … I had no idea there were peacocks on the island!!

2 sugar cane hana

2 road hana

2 twin falls hana

twin falls !

2 twin falls hana G

2 jeep road to hana

i realized that in Maui, there are two types of people. Mustang / convertable people… and jeep people. 😛

11 flower hana

2 eucalyptus tree

pretty much the coolest tree everrrr! … a rainbow eucalyptus tree. these are not native to Hawaii and actually imported from Papua New Guinea.

12 hana flowers

13 volcano tunnel

heading down the rabbithole!! … actually a volcano tube.. buttt when in Hawaii?!

14 volcano tunnel 2

25 black beach

really cool black sand beach when we actually made it to Hana.

26 mud hana

sooo we attempted to get to a private beach off the road to Hana but I couldn’t get through the mud without sinking!! Maybe I wouldn’t have been so worried if I found out before the journey (instead of the day after) that there are no snakes in Hawaii. hahah.

So, in short, this journey is a must but so are snacks, a full tank of gas, and ginger ale (there are a lottt of turns and cliffs !! ).


Continue Reading

10,000 feet up


1 sun peaking volcano

Aloha! 😉

There is so much to share from the honeymoon and our adventures that this will likely turn into two posts. As many of you already know – we went to Maui and it was quite literally magical. I loved it – even with its slow pace an’ all!

1 fly over states

Quick sidenoting: The –getting-to-Maui- was quite the situation. See, my eager beaver husband put my married name on my flight tickets. SO, TSA was none too pleased and we had to jump through a few hurdles to get there and get home. At least we weren’t going international?! Hah. Sooo we arrived after a delayed flight and missed connection later AND they gave us a handicapped room. Usuallyyyy these are more spacious but this one not so much and it was sans tub with a wheelchair accessible shower. Seriously. Nothing screams romance like a shower seat and metal handrails. But ALAS! –the front desk took pity on the ole honeymooners and relocated us. Lol

1 drive up the mountain

Okay. So Maui. Our very first morning we woke up before the crack of dawn and drove hours to the top of the volcano to watch the sunrise. It was gorgeoussss and freezingggg. It was pretty awesome to look into the volcano. Did you know that NASA used that volcanic terrain to test out mars buggies?! NASA also has a huge research center at the tippity top.

Okay lotsa picture time.


1 volcano valley

1 volcano sunrise bright

1 volcanic terrain 1

isn’t the ground totally bizarre??! way different than the I-didn’t-know-what I was expecting 😉

1 jeep lookout

1 hawaii beach

a small random beach we found on the side of the road

1 hawaii flower

1 maui sunset

dinner was also gorgeous!! and super yummmyyy. we loved Honu (they also own Mala Ocean Tavern!)

yep. this post is gettin` longggg and there is nooo need to rush and squeeze such an amazing trip into a post or two. So stay tuned 😛


Continue Reading
1 2 3 5