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Happy July!  Summer is in full swing, and life is finally calming down a bit.  You may have noticed that there was no June check in on our goals.  Whoops!

The truth is, life was absolutely crazy in all of May and a good chunk of June.  But I did miss the accountability of this post, and I’m really happy to get back to it this month.

Our SMART Goals

How to get your debt paid off by setting SMART goals and following through.

There are a couple of times each year that get me thinking about our life goals.  One is January.  Another is August (when school starts and we get back into a rhythm).  And on our way home from vacation, we often talk about what we want life to look like when we take our next trip.

It might sound kind of nerdy, but it’s actually fun to reflect on how far we’ve come and dream about where we’d like to be in the future.

These goals were set in January 2017, so let’s see how we’re doing as we hit the halfway mark.


Once we came home from vacation, I was ready to tackle this house!  It needed some work after a month of constant running.

Remove all items from each bedroom and start fresh.

I emptied the entire attic and reorganized everything.  This was an important first step, because our home has little to no closet space.  Now I can fit more things up there.  (Luckily we have easy access to the attic space, so we can store things that we don’t use regularly there.)

We also emptied the youngest kids’ bedroom and started over.  We took it down to just furniture.  That made it easy to clean and rearrange things!

Looking forward to doing this with other rooms in the house this month.

Clean out the basement.

You can walk through the basement much easier now!  We still have work to do, including making a run to sell some scrap metal.

Shelves In Dining Room

The shelves we were hoping to get put into the dining room were broken.  🙁  But I improvised using shelves my parents had given us for the basement.  They aren’t pretty, but they’re functional.  It isn’t a closet, but it’s a step closer to organization!

Still to go:

  • Repair dining room ceiling

We’ve also added two more goals.

  • Our backyard is interrupted by a creek, and it often rises very high.  It’s been hard to keep a bridge there, because the water just lifts even the heaviest wood.  We’re installing a cable bridge, which should withstand water pressure.

We’re working on that as I type!

  • We plan to build a small platform for the middle schoolers to use our zipline.  If we build it right, they’ll be able to use it as a nice hangout spot, too.  That should encourage them to get outside more often!


  • Take a beach vacation.  We had a blast!!
  • Continue to practice swimming.  We’ve had a couple of opportunities to swim this summer.  The neighbors put in a pool, so hopefully we’ll get some more swimming practice this month.
  • Two hiking/fishing/camping trips for every warm month.  We did a small bit of hiking in June and the kids fished just a little.  We’ll hit some parks in July and get in some extra time.
  • One on one time for each child, every month.
    • Most of our one on one time is coming in the form of baseball practice and running errands.

Fun things to do as a family


  • 12 Dates in 2017.
    • January: Went to see Garth Brooks.  If you ever get the chance to see him in concert, DO IT!  This was our Christmas gift to one another.  ????
    • February: We hired a babysitter and went out for a meal and grown up conversation.  (Two dates this early in the year is probably a record for us!)
    • March: We had a sad road trip for a family funeral.  But it did give us an overnight alone together, which was so refreshing!  No noise, to do lists, or distractions made for a good rest.
    • April.  No dates this month.  Sad trombone.
    • We haven’t had a date since March.  Time to make a plan for July!!  It’s very hard to take dates when we’re chasing 4 different baseball/softball teams.


  • Yoga & movement.  Not happening still.  :/
  • Read On Writing.  I got this book as a gift for Mother’s Day!  Still haven’t read it yet.
  • Read through the New Testament.  Still chugging along!

#PressOn and Knock Out Debt


Getting the big ugly monster credit card paid off makes us feel like these last two cards feel like a lot less pressure!  Still, we know we have to #PressOn and get rid of this debt.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Paying off #debt? Learn how SMART goals are changing everything for one family. ” quote=”Paying off #debt? Learn how SMART goals are changing everything for one family. ” theme=”style5″]

The Goal

At the end of April, we had credit card #2 down by 45%.  We hit it really hard in a short time period.

Then we decided to put the card payments on hold to save up cash for vacation.  I don’t regret this, because it reinforced our better habits of paying cash rather than relying on credit cards that we’ll pay back “later”.  Besides, paying cash kept our spending in check. We came home from our trip with a little money left from the vacation budget!

So between May and June, we were able to bring the credit card bill down to just 47% paid off.  It’s not much at all.  But at least we’re still making progress!  I’d like to stretch our budget more in July and see if we can’t beat the 17% we need to pay off every month to get it gone by September.

SMART Goals for Our BIG Debt Payoff Plan

The Plan for July

The main way I’m bringing in extra right now is by blogging and freelance writing.  I’m improving my blog traffic by listening to my readers.  I’ll be writing more about the topics you want to read about.  So if you haven’t taken the reader survey yet, please do!  Or feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email.

After a couple of rough months, we’re more determined than ever to rid ourselves of debt.

Here’s to a carefree summer that allows us to shovel more money into the debt mountain!

What are you doing this month to reach your goals?