We are already halfway through 2017-can you believe it? This month I will celebrate 5 years of doing research and ~13 years of working. 13 years, and I have never had a budget or a plan for my money. And with 2 years left of my PhD, I also need to plan for my degree. To be more accountable, I made a few goals for this month:
GOAL 1: MAKE 1 PAYMENT ON STUDENT LOANS
I recently posted about my student loans here. In 1 day, I’ve accrued $2.31 in interest from my student loans. I determined that by subtracting what my interest was today from what I had written down yesterday. That means that I’m paying about $2.31 more each day that I don’t pay off the loan. The only reason it would be smart to not pay down the loan now would be if I was making more than $2.31 each day in a savings account for the next year (which I am not). Right now I’m determining whether I should focus on the private loan with the highest interest rate, or the loan that has the highest principal (but a slightly lower interest rate). I’m reading other blogs, and they say to always pay off private loans first.
GOAL 2: REDUCE SPENDING BY $100
I don’t ever know where my money is going. I am always thinking that I’m saving it, but the truth is that I will put down $10 for Chipotle every day if you let me. I’ve been listening to Budgets & Cents lately, & they suggested tracking spending for a few months before establishing a concrete spending plan. I pulled this information from Mint, & was surprised that I spent so much on food. This spending is from May 16-June 2nd, and I get paid on the 16th. A majority of my extraneous spending is from food (Read: Starbucks), and a very fancy brush I bought for Candy Cane (no shame!). I’ll keep tracking my spending over the next few pay periods and see what can be cut out.
GOAL 3: SUBMIT FINAL DRAFT OF PAPER TO PI FOR PUBLICATION
I am writing the discussion now, and need to make some final edits. This paper will wrap up 1 out of 3 aims of my thesis. I have had so much fun on this project and am going to miss focusing on traumatic brain injuries. Instead, I will focus on a drug target that could be promising for TBI, migraine, and other headache-like pain. I already have some preliminary data to move forward, and set up my 1st committee meeting in July. As much fun as PhDing is, I want to be done ASAP. My main motivators to finishing ASAP is to move back in with my wife, get a significantly higher salary, and decrease my stress.
GOAL 4: VOLUNTEER OUTSIDE OF ACADEMIA AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH
I have focused on advocating for Latinas in STEM for a majority of my academic career. I worked with Latinas Unidas at Agnes, and co-founded a SACNAS chapter at UIC. I’ve received travel awards to attend minority-specific conferences, and recently got funding for my PhD project because I’m a Latina. As passionate as I am about diversifying STEM, I also am passionate about decreasing homelessness, specifically within the LGBT population. I’m attending volunteer orientation this month, and if all goes well, I plan on applying to be on the board for one of the many committees available.
GOAL 5: BLOG AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK
I love blogging so much, but I’m so bad with being consistent. A lot of that has to do with being busy and stressed. But a lot of it also has to do with me not making time. I can easily dedicate an entire day to watching Dear White People, but not prepare blog posts. I may not be able to write every day, but I will aim to write once a week.
What are your main goals for June?