Making a Comeback

My last post for DIY Jahn was on July 1st and I talked about the American Dream – I don’t know if you remember that. If not, you can check it out here. Anyway, it’s been a long time (three months!) since I have updated you all as to what’s going on, offered you tips, or talked about saving money and minimizing. Now, it’s time for me to apologize for the long silence and begin making a comeback.

making a comeback

As some of you may know, I work full time, year-round as a summer camp Program Director. In case you’re wondering, yes, this does explain my absence. You see, summers are crazy busy here at camp. We serve around 425 kids per summer and it’s my job to hire the staff, recruit the campers, recruit the staff, train the staff, make sure the campers are safe, follow insurance policies and standards, build the community among staff and campers, supervise, and be there for emergency situations.

Basically – it’s a 24/7 job for about 11 weeks and then a 12/6 job for a few weeks after as I begin evaluating, cleaning up camp, and preparing for the winter season where we will welcome retreat groups and begin planning for next year. It’s now been a couple of months since camp and I am finally back in the groove of our “retreat” season (or as we usually call it, the off-season). 40 hour weeks means less stress and more time to type up a blog every now and then.

Making a Comeback – Some Recent Changes

For those of you who have been following our story from the beginning (thanks for the support, by the way, it’s very much appreciated), we have had some pretty major changes to our plans and to our living situation. Now that we’re working on making a comeback, I think it’s important to update you on these important events.


My work offers free housing to my wife and I at camp. However, if you recall the mouse incident and the other less-than-livable conditions that we were in, you knew that we needed to leave for our health. For a long time we debated buying a house. We even looked at houses in the area – we would go on long car rides and look at houses that were for sale, do research online, and even put in a request to the bank to see what a mortgage would look like.

I admit, that probably wasn’t the best decision and we soon realized that (thankfully before we actually bought a property). Why? Well, for one, what if we decide we don’t want to stay in the area that we are in at the moment? That would suck if we were owning a house, wouldn’t it? Second, we didn’t have money for a down payment. In fact, we only had a $1,000 emergency fund because all the rest had been put toward debt. We were paycheck to paycheck (by choice) so that we could throw all of our extra money toward debt.

Not only did not having money for a down payment mean a longer mortgage with PMI and higher interest rates, but it also meant we didn’t have money to fund repairs on a house that are likely to happen. Finally, we have a lot of debt – as you all know – and that means we just were digging ourselves further into a hole with even more debt (bad idea, as you may guess).

But we knew that we couldn’t continue living in the house that we were living in because it wasn’t good for our mental or physical health. So, we found a house to rent in the area and moved in. The rent is pretty high, but average for the town we live in. It means that we have a healthy place to stay, but it also means less money going toward debt.

Income Changes

There are possibilities of our incomes changing in the not-too-far future and we want to make sure that we have money. So, we stopped putting extra money toward debt for the time being and have started stock-piling money in case of an emergency, job loss, or income change. Our efforts have slowed down and it feels slightly discouraging, but we are working as hard as we can to create a better situation for our future selves!

Making a Comeback – Coming Up Soon

On top of these fairly big changes, we also have a lot of stuff coming up very quickly that we need to take care of. And by stuff, I mean things that cause expenses (and lots of them). In some of the Facebook groups I am apart of for budgeting, saving, and paying off debt, they call these “Murphys” – but really, we should have planned for these things, but didn’t because we were so focused on getting out of debt and had a fairly stable amount of extra money each month so we weren’t worried – which of course, changed when we had to start paying rent and utilities.

Big Trip

We have a really big trip coming up that we are both excited and nervous for. We are going to Las Vegas for my Masters graduation – something that we aren’t willing to miss. We are going to spend a little time there touring as well since we are already on that side of the country. While we are excited, we know that this is a big expense coming out of our budget.

Brakes & Tires

Our car needs new brakes before winter (so says our mechanic and we can definitely understand why). They quoted us at about $400 for these. Yuck. We also may need two new tires – we have filled up our front tires multiple times in the last month or so because they have gotten so low.


Registration for the car is coming up – $125.

Licensing & Insurance

It’s also a renew year for my wife’s social work license and insurance (both) so we need several hundred set aside for this.


My dentist has told me that it’s time to get a crown on one of my teeth – she quoted this (on the low end) as $450.

Birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Anniversary, and Christmas

We have both my wife and I’s birthdays, we are hosting our Tuesday night dinner the day after Halloween (we host about once a month and take turns at other peoples’ houses), we have Halloween candy to buy, Thanksgiving to host, my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary to celebrate, and Christmas gifts. Of course, we are going to do these within our budget and do our best to keep costs low, but they do bring about additions to our expenses so they’re important to note.

Making a Comeback – Summary

So, basically, we have had higher expenses the last few months because of our moves, been unable to put much toward debt because of possible income changes, and have a LOT of big expenses coming up rather quickly in the next couple of months. If we can make it to January – we should be okay (you know, except the whole car insurance thing, but that’s another post for another day). *EDITED TO ADD: for the record, we have it all budgeted in and we are fine, it’s just more than we expected which means less going into savings, that’s all.

The point is – I am ready to begin making a comeback. I’m ready to change the view of DIY Jahn, to share our story with all who want to read, to encourage others to pay off their debt and live life to the absolute fullest. I am ready!

So, now we begin.

Our Financial Goals for 2016

Our Financial Goals for 2016

We began paying off our debt just a few short months ago, but we have already come so far. As you may know, our big goal is to pay off our almost $200,000 in debt as soon as we possibly can. That being said, we haven’t taken much time to sort through our financial goals in writing. Not just the big scary goal, but the little goals that will get us there.

I was scanning a fellow bloggers site and found their list of financial goals for the year. The blog is titled: Debt, Who?? And is filled with inspiring stories of their attempts to pay back their debt (of around $140,000). You can find their 2015 Financial Goals by clicking HERE and read about how they did in 2015 by clicking HERE.

I really appreciated their format, their ideas, and their overall concept. So, I’ve decided to create my own list of 2016 financial goals. Yes, I do realize that it’s a little late (we’re already well into 2016), but regardless, here are the goals we hope to accomplish for this year!

Financial Goals 2016 -

Our Financial Goals for 2016

You guys have read about why we need to pay off our debt quickly before 2017 rolls around the corner, you’ve also read about how we racked up a ton of debt, but we haven’t told you many specifics about what our goals are for 2016. In this post, I’m going to break it down for you all in a similar format to that of Debt, Who?? (linked above).

Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goals

We all have them. The daunting goals that hang over our heads – always close enough to see, never close enough to touch. For many of us, this is what debt freedom is… a ‘pipe dream’ if you will.

I have had many friends ask me about my debt repayment. When I say that I’m putting off getting a house, having children, etc. they all think I’m insane. I’ve heard it time and time again, “You’re never going to get out of debt.” “No one ever ACTUALLY gets out of debt.” “You’re going to miss out on your life trying to get out of debt.”

Of course, these are the same people who are in debt up to their eyeballs and complain about not being able to afford the luxuries of other couples who make the same income… or even afford to fix their cars when they break down.

I get it. I do.

When you’re in the throws of debt, it’s easy to get discouraged and truly believe that debt freedom is impossible. Here’s the thing though: it isn’t. Debt freedom is possible, but it takes hard work, determination, and letting go of some expectations for your lifestyle. Dave Ramsey puts it best: “If you will live like no one else now, you can live like no one else later.”

So, if you want to know why I want to be out of debt it’s simple: I want to live like no one else. That’s my big, scary, overall financial goal: to become debt free and never rack up the debt again, ever.

Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goal: To become completely debt free.

The Timeline

Okay, here’s the other part that I hate to think about. I’ve been paying off my debt like a madman, but I have never set a date for when I hope to become debt free. Sure, I wish it could be tomorrow, but we all know that’s unrealistic.

What does it look like then? I am going to set another big, scary goal of paying off all of our debt by 2019 – that’s three years. Now, I know that our debt is GIANT and that that goal is a little out of our league, but what can it hurt to try? Barring that all of our job and living situations don’t go downhill really fast, and that we stay healthy and happy for the next three years, I hope to have our debt SMASHED by 2019.

Let’s recap:

  • Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goals #1: To become completely debt free.
  • Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goals #2: To do it by 2019.

2016 Financial Goals

Now, that goal won’t happen without some other, smaller goals to get us there. That’s where this section comes into play. Here are our financial goals for 2016.

  • Overall Financial Goal for 2016: Pay off over $50,000 in debt.

Financial “Debt” Goals for 2016:

  • Complete a No Spend Challenge
  • Continue Paying Minimum Payments on car, smaller school loan, & wife’s federal loan (Total: $7,763.52)
  • Pay off our credit card debt (Total: $6,112.04)
  • Pay off the Big9 (new nickname for our high interest loan) (Total: $24,282.64 – not including interest – assume $2,200 interest)
  • Pay off the small student loans (Total: $5,428.86 – not including interest – assume $350 interest)
  • Pay off our car loan (Total: $3,389.97 – after minimum payments for the year – not including interest – assume $311 interest)

Sub-Total Goal: $49,838.03

  • Start putting extra toward my Federal loan (Total: $161.97)

Total Goal: $50,000

Financial “Mini” Goals for 2016:

  • Do not buy any boxed pasta or store-bought bread
  • Stick with our budget of $300 per month for food, gas, hygiene / cleaning, puppy supplies, fun money, etc.
  • De-clutter our home and sell items on FB
  • Work up to an extra $500 per month on the blog
  • Grow and can some of our own food
  • Find side hustles to earn more extra money (such as catering, dog-sitting, on-call crisis line (wife), etc.)
  • Put all extra money possible toward debt repayment
  • Stop stocking so much food in our home (only buy what we need)

2016 Financial Goals-

Our Financial Goals for 2016

There you have it – our financial goals for 2016! The big and scary ones and the small, but mighty ones. All are equally important in helping us to reach our goals. And if we accomplish these goals? Well, we will enter 2017 with only Federal student debt (which will total less than $140,000)! Woohoo!

What are your financial goals for 2016?

Share them in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Getting Geared Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

Getting Geared Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

Paying off debt quickly is probably the most difficult thing there is to do. Yet it’s also one of the most important. Why? Well, that’s what I want to show you guys today. You see, in 2017 all of our student debt will officially be out of deferment. Once I have graduated from my Masters program, we’ll have a six month “grace period” before minimum payments on our loans begin.

YIKES! As you may know, my wife and I have a LOT of debt. A lot. Which is kind of an understatement. Starting at almost $200,000, we were in way over our heads (you can see how we racked up all this debt by clicking HERE). So, the thought of them ALL coming out of deferment can be pretty overwhelming.

Now, my wife and I are working to pay these off as quickly as possible, but many people have asked what it will look like for us in 2017 when our loans are no longer in deferment. It’s an interesting question for us because it’s something we’ve thought about a lot, but it’s also a GREAT question for you all because it gives me a chance to talk about how important it is to pay more than the minimum payment.

If you didn’t already believe in the importance of an extra ten bucks, you will after today!

2017 -

Gearing Up for 2017… Already?

We started preparing for 2017 back in October of 2015. We were just coming off of the high of our wedding day, loving our lives, living the dream of our honeymoon. We had settled back into our home and were starting up our every day lives again. All was well.

That’s when we did some calculations and made the realization: we have more debt than we ever expected. 

We both knew that we had a decent sum of debt. We both had a rough estimate of our own debt. We had talked about debt and finances. We knew we had a lot. Basically, what I’m saying is: this shouldn’t have been a surprise. The problem was that we never truly did the calculations until this moment. It was just a figure floating in the sky, but once we saw it in black and white, it became more real.

When we saw the figure, we began truly planning for 2017, knowing that my debts would be out of deferment and that we simply could not manage all of the payments. We began planning and working toward the day when the minimum payments would be due.

And that’s what brought us to today.

2017: Paying Only the Minimum Payments

Let’s start from the beginning of 2016 for this estimation. Let’s say that we began January 1, with out hefty load of $185,696.02 in debt.

At this point, we were making minimum payments of

  • $66 – Credit Card 1 ($3,500)
  • $130 – Credit Card 2 ($3,700)
  • $40 – School Loan ($2,500)
  • $468 – Federal Loan ($68,000)
  • $139 – Car Loan ($5,100)

Which comes to a total of: $843 per month for minimum payments.

At this rate, it would take us 260 months (or a little over 21 years) to pay off the debt that’s OUT of deferment – remember, this is not including the debt currently deferred.

Even if we use the snowball method and only put extra toward debt once a debt is paid off, it would take us a total of 145 months to pay off (over 12 years).

In either scenario, we will continue making these minimum payments for a long, long time. Here’s what the minimum payment schedule looks like (if we add do the debt snowball method without upping the total monthly payment of $843).

  1. Car – 41 months
  2. Credit Card 2 – 49 months
  3. Credit Card 1 – 56 months
  4. School Loan – 58 months
  5. Federal Loan – 145 months

This means that when our other debts enter repayment, we will need to continue making both sets of minimum payments. So, the big question is, what will our minimum payments look like?

  • $500 – Federal Loan 2 ($80,000)
  • $300 – Private Loan ($32,000)
  • $40 – School Loan 2 ($3,000)

Not to mention the fact that interest has not been calculated for these two up until that point. Basically, our minimum monthly rate will sky-rocket to a whopping total of $1,683 per MONTH.

It also is important to note that both Federal loans are on a graduated plan. After a few years, the minimum payments will rise.

From the looks of it, we won’t be able to afford our minimum payments once they are all due. Thus comes scenario number 2:

2017: Paying MORE than the Minimum Payments

This is what we are currently doing and you’ll soon see why. As we noted before, our current minimum payments come to $843 (as of January 1, 2016). Now, let’s assume that we can put some extra toward our debt each month.

Let’s first look at how this changes our timeline (and then I’ll tell you some awesome stuff):

  • Only minimum payments = 207 months to debt freedom (including debt that is currently in deferment)
  • Add $10 = 193 months to debt freedom (that’s over an entire year gone!)
  • Add $50 = 184 months to debt freedom (almost another year!)
  • Add $100 = 175 months to debt freedom (this saves us over $67,000 in interest!)
  • Add $300 = 147 months to debt freedom (over 50 months of payments saved!)
  • Add $500 = 128 months to debt freedom

And so on and so forth. Basically, the higher the addition to the minimum payment, the quicker we will pay back our debts and the less interest we will accrue!

So, what about that awesome thing I was tell you about?

Well, we’ve already started putting extra toward our debt. In fact, we put a total of $1,700 extra or MORE toward our debt each month. Every windfall goes to debt, every extra payment goes to debt, bonuses, etc. All toward debt and it’s PAYING OFF.

So far we have paid off our credit card debt entirely! Not only that, we have brought our private loan down to $24,000 (from $32,000) just since January 1!

I know what you are thinking: why are we paying on the private loan that is in deferment instead of the federal loan, car loans, or school loan that isn’t? That’s a simple answer, my friend. The private loan has a super high interest rate of 9%. We want to kick that sucker out of here before we ever make a minimum payment on it.

That’s the plan.

We will pay off the private loan before it goes out of deferment. What else? We also plan to pay off the two school loans before then too. And, if we really work at it, maybe even the car loan. That’s the goal.

So, what would our minimum payments look like in 2017 if we reached our goal?

  • $500 – Federal Loan 2 ($80,000)
  • $468 – Federal Loan ($68,000)

Which comes to a total of $968 per month. Not too bad, right? Sure, its a little higher than what we pay now, but if you figure the difference between this and the over sixteen hundred we would have been paying, it’s pretty great.

Not to mention our debt payoff date which changes drastically. Before I share it with you, I need to note that my wife’s place of work is awesome and if she sticks with them for another year (which she will) she will have $50,000 of her loans forgiven. If she stays another year after that, they’ll forgive another $20,000. And so on. I will be taking this into account in this debt payoff simulation.

Here are our new payoff dates:

  • Only minimum payments: 118 months
  • Extra $200: 92 months
  • Extra $1,200: 45 months

Wow! By paying on our debt with everything we have, we could be debt free in just under 5 years, but if we stick with the minimum payments for the entirety of our loans, we’ll have them for almost 20 years. That’s a HUGE difference (and one that I certainly don’t want to test).


Gearing Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

So, is it worth it to pay more than the minimum payment on our debts? Is it better to just keep our payments low and have them forever? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

For us, we want to experience what debt freedom will be like and that means putting our all toward paying off our debts for good.

Can we do it? We don’t know, but it is certainly worth a try, isn’t it?

How are you preparing today for a better 2017?

Leave your response in the comments below!

How Our Debt is Holding Us Back

How Our Debt is Holding Us Back

Many of you may have read about our debt before. We have sure had our share of it and I am convinced that most of you reading this post have, too. I’ve written countless times about where our debt comes from, what our debt looks like, and how our debt is being paid off. What I don’t write about often, though, is how our debt is holding us back.

How Our Debt is Holding Us Back-

How Our Debt is Holding Us Back

As a blogger, I also adore reading other bloggers around the blogosphere. Basically, I spend a lot of free time (or time where I should be sleeping) scrolling through posts from other bloggers. Anyway, I have a few favorites that I visit time and time again and as you may have guessed, most of them have something to do with frugal living or paying off debt.

One of my absolute favorite, dream-to-be-like-her bloggers can be found at Believe in a Budget – her name is Kristin. Like me on DIY Jahn, she began documenting her journey to get out of debt on her blog. Now she teaches people how to do it.

Anyway, why do I tell you about her? Well, one of my big scary blog goals was to write for her site (and a few others) and guess what?

She has accepted my guest post!

How Our Debt is Holding Us Back

I’ve loved chatting with her about it and now the post has become live on her site as How Our Debt is Holding Us Back!

I would love it if you would hop over there and read the post, leave a comment, or share it on your social media!

You can find it by clicking HERE or using this link:

Thanks for supporting my journey and stay tuned for more this week!

SMART Goals for the New Year

SMART Goals for the New Year

 Happy New Year! No, wait… that’s tomorrow. Oh well, happy New Year’s Eve then! I was thinking today about what the best New Year’s resolutions are: How does one create a New Year’s resolution that can truly be accomplished? By creating SMART goals, you can create resolutions that you will actually achieve in 2016!

SMART Goals and New Year's Resolutions

Okay, first of all, today is a CRAZY day here at camp. You see, each New Year’s we host our staff reunion, but we also host a New Year’s Eve kids party – where we invite local kids to come and do some camp programming, stay up late, and party until the New Year. It’s a BLAST, but definitely makes for an eventful couple of days!

This year, we decided to lower the grades from 6-12 to K-8 – Yikes! It’s going to be a good time, that’s for sure, but it will definitely be a different experience than in years past.

Anyway, you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this and there’s a couple of reasons. The main reason is the programming involved in planning this New Year’s event – you see, we don’t just let the kids go crazy and run all over the camp. Each minute is planned out and scheduled to create a safe and exciting party experience for our campers.

Now, instead of just including a bunch of games like we normally do, we give the campers something special for New Year’s. At the top of each hour, we celebrate the New Year using traditions from various cultures. For example, we might celebrate like they do in Mexico at 6pm, then Turkey at 7pm, and so on and so forth.

At midnight, we celebrate the USA traditions – which namely consist of confetti, shouting, and creating New Year’s resolutions.


There it is! That’s where the idea came from, but that’s not all. You see, when you’re planning a camp event you also need to plan goals for the campers and for the program itself. To plan these goals, we use a great system that many of you may have heard about before: SMART goals.

Anyway, I was thinking about both of these simultaneously and that’s when it occurred to me that they should both be utilized TOGETHER.

smart goals

Using SMART Goals to make Achievable Resolutions

Without further ado, let me explain to you what a SMART goal is – and for the record, it should be written S.M.A.R.T., but I suppose that’s beside the point.

SMART goals are more attainable than any other type of goal you can create – which makes them perfect for creating the best New Year’s resolutions, right?

Here’s how it works:






While that’s a great overview, it may hold little meaning for you at this moment. Let’s look a little further into what each letter of the SMART goals framework actually means. We will focus on the example of making friends during the explanation.

Specific – In order to create a goal that can actually be accomplished, it must be specific. This means that you know exactly what you want to accomplish.

For example: The goal is “I want to make more friends.”

A Specific goal would be “I want to make new friends at school.”

Replacing “more friends” with “new friends at school” creates a more specific goal. You are no longer saying a broad term of friends, but giving yourself a specific place to start.

Measureable – Next you must make the goal measurable so that you can truly tell if it has been accomplished by the end of the duration.

For example: The goal is “I want to make new friends at school.”

A Measureable goal would be “I want to make fifty new friends at school.”

We are taking away the guessing when it comes to the goal. Instead of thinking of more friends as an arbitrary amount, you have a specific, measureable goal.

Action-Based – Now you must create action within the goal. Rather than desiring something, it is time to make that something happen.

For example: The goal is “I want to make fifty new friends at school.”

An Action-Based goal would be “I will talk to people, listen, and work hard to make fifty new friends at

Instead of simply desiring the outcome, you now have a specific plan on how you will achieve that outcome.

Realistic – In order to not become discouraged when working toward goals, you must ensure that they are actually attainable.

For example: The goals is “I will talk to people, listen, and work hard to make fifty new friends at school.”

A Realistic goal would be “I will talk to people, listen, and work hard to make two new friends at school.”

If you try to make fifty new friends in one year, you will most likely fail because it is unrealistic. Instead, set a goal that is truly attainable so that you don’t lose faith in the outcome.

Time-Based – Finally, goals do not become achievable until they are time-bound – which is to set limits on them.

For example: The goal is “I will talk to people, listen, and work hard to make two new friends at school.”

A Time-based goal would be “I will talk to people, listen, and work hard to make two new friends at school
this year.”

Once all of these are put together, you create a goal that is truly attainable – one in which you will be able to be successful completing. Not only will you feel better about yourself for completing your goals, but you’ll become a more successful person overall.

The question is, why not apply SMART thinking to your best New Year’s resolutions to make them even better?

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to earn money blogging. Instead of saying it like that, I can utilize the SMART goals framework to make it more attainable:

Resolution: I will work hard to implement new money making strategies and earn $500 per month by the end of 2016.

So, tell me: SMART goals or not, what are your New Year’s resolutions for 2016?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Merry Christmas | The Jahn Family

Merry Christmas – The Jahn Family

Merry Christmas, dear readers! I have sure enjoyed spending these last two months with you – and my, how quickly they have gone! I can’t believe that DIY Jahn is already over two months old, has over 100 views a day, a fair number of email subscribers, and comments on almost every post!


We’ve posted over 60 blog posts, spent countless hours researching and writing posts that you would find helpful, and even more hours building relationships with you all. It’s been a roller coaster and I am so excited to continue moving forward as we approach 2016.

With that being said, I wanted to take some time to let you all know how grateful I am for you. Paying off our almost $200,000 worth of debt is a lot of work – it’s stressful, time-consuming, and emotionally draining. However, knowing we have people to support us during this time means so much: Thank you.

Merry Christmas 2

We have paid off over $10,000 so far toward our debt (in a little over 2 and a half months, not bad, right?). And we have over $180,000 left to go. Every little bit counts and just by reading this blog you are helping us to reach our goals.

Again, I want to thank you for building this relationship, reading our posts, and commenting when you can! Thank you.

Merry Christmas 3

Now, I know not all of you celebrate Christmas, so for those who don’t – happy holidays, or happy Friday, whatever you prefer! For those who do celebrate, Merry Christmas!

As a reward, here are some pictures of our adorable puppy, Sofi, wishing you all a Merry Christmas. And yes, we are the weirdos who dress our dog up for Christmas photos, but she’s just so cute we can’t help it.

merry christmas 4

Thank you for reading, again, and I hope you’ll continue to follow us through the New Year.

Enjoy your holiday!

-The Jahn Family

20 something goals before 25

20 something goals before 25

Before I get into my 20 something goals, I have a story – don’t I always? Yesterday I decided that I no longer wanted to act like an adult for the weekend. After spending the week Adulting – keeping the house cleaned, working, stressing about finances, I was ready to just relax. My wife and I slept late, ate soup for breakfast with homemade noodles, watched our favorite show, and decided we wanted to play in the snow.

It was a fabulous day up until the point where I set my soup bowl on the ground to let my dog finish it up and stood back up quickly only to hit my head on the corner of the counter. But we didn’t let that ruin our day because my wife and I have vowed to live life to the fullest each and every day that we are alive. Which means not letting a bump on the head force us to have a bad day.

It caused me to start thinking about other ways I work to live my life to the fullest (and ways I don’t work so hard). So, I’ve decided to make 20 something goals to complete before I turn 25 (October 2016) – I can’t believe I’m that old! I know I may not finish all 20 something of them, but I will work my hardest to finish as many as humanly possible. I’ll be crossing them off as the year moves forward and I’ll keep you all up-to-date on the progress!

20 something

My 20 Something Goals

1.) Pay off at least 20 percent of my debt – which is around $40,000. So far, we have paid off 5% (which is almost $10,000 in only 10 weeks). This is the most important of my 20 something goals and my number one priority.

2.) Take a vacation to somewhere new – We’ve gone a lot of places, but I want to see somewhere new before I’m 25!

3.) Follow through on a No Spend Challenge – We’re trying this in January, stay tuned for more info!

4.) Get more true followers / readers on DIY Jahn – I’d love to up my reader base to have more people. More people = more comments = more conversation = more relationships = more fun.

5.) Graduate from my Masters Program – or at least finish all of the requirements (graduation is technically in November).

6.) Learn at least 20 new recipes from Julia Child – For my birthday, my wife bought me Julia Child’s famous cookbook. I’d love to work my way through at least 20 new recipes before my next birthday.

Find it here:

7.) Bring Henry back to life – Henry is my tree. He’s beautiful and has long, flow-y leaves. I suck at caring for plants though and he’s kind of dying. I want to keep him alive and get him back to his full, green self.

8.) Complete P90x3 again – I did the full P90x3 program once and loved it. I would love to complete it again before I turn 25 and continue building my strength.

9.) Speaking of exercise: Lose 40 pounds – Ultimately, I want to lose enough weight to be within a healthy weight range for my height. For now, I will stick to saying lose 40 pounds because I think that’s a good goal for this amount of time.

10.) Finish My Monopoly – Last year for Christmas we bought the My Monopoly game, but we haven’t finished putting it together yet. I’d love to make it!

11.) Write a book draft – I don’t write often and I’m not great at it, but I truly enjoy writing. So, I would like to finish an entire book draft by the time I turn 25. Just a fiction novel for fun.

12.) Turn my blog posts into an eBook – Speaking of writing, I’d love to make an eBook for my blog. I’m not sure the topic yet, but I’m thinking it will be based on my Make Money Online Series (view posts HERE).

13.) Read at least 10 books – I’m bad at reading. I love reading books and getting captivated by the story, being taken away into new worlds and loving the characters, but I’m horrible at actually following through and making time to read. So, I would like to finish at least 10 books before I turn 25.

14.) Take more pictures for fun – I would like to go on more photo walks, take more pictures, and get behind the lens more often. I absolutely love doing photography and experiencing nature all at once. I’d love to take advantage of the area we live in and enjoy it more often.

15.) Speaking of pictures: Learn Instagram for the blog – I don’t know much about Instagram, but I would love to learn how to use it for DIY Jahn. I think it’s a great resource, plus as I said, I love photos.

16.) Don’t buy any boxed pasta – Except Mac and Cheese, of course. I’d like my wife and I to make our own, homemade, fresh pasta forever – and I’d like to save money on pasta purchases.

17.) Quit drinking Mountain Dew – I have a love-hate relationship with Mountain Dew, but I’ll tell you right now that it’s mostly the love side. It’s so delicious, refreshing, and wonderful, but it’s SO unhealthy. By the time I turn 25, I would like to have quit Mountain Dew in its entirety.

18.) Go sailing – I absolutely adore sailing, but haven’t gotten to go in a long time. I’d love to get out again this summer and maybe even try out Serendipity (My wife and I’s sailboat).

19.) Fix Serendipity – Actually, that’s a great goal too. I’d like to fix Serendipity up enough that she can be licensed and stable in the lake.

20.) Go camping – As with sailing, I love camping, but rarely get to go. I would like to take some time this year to actually go camping and just spend the weekend away with my wife and our puppy.

21.) Play the cello – I played the cello all through school, for almost 12 years! But I let it slip away and haven’t played for a few years now. I would like to take Oliver, my cello, out, dust him off, fix him up, and spend some time just playing him.

22.) Build our record collection – We have recently taken up the hobby of collecting records. It would be great to build up our collection though. I would like to have at least 10 more records that I love in our collection.

23.) Finish sketches for my sister-in-law – My sister-in-law asked me to do a couple of drawings of her family – her and her husband (my brother), her daughters (my nieces), and her parents. I told her I would get them done, but haven’t had the time yet. I plan to have these completed and gifted to her by the time I turn 25

24.) Paint a canvas for my wife’s office – My wife works as an outpatient therapist for a behavioral center and she is moving to a new office soon. She wants me to paint her a picture to help decorate her new office – and that is my goal!

Ready for the Challenge

It’s going to be hard to complete all of these in one year, maybe even impossible, but I have to try. I want to have something to show for my 24th year of life and the best thing I can do is to complete these 20 something goals.

BUT I’d love your help! Comments and encouragements are always welcome. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

What are your goals for this new year? Share them below!

20 something 2

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest. Also, please not that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Happy Thanksgiving – The Jahn Family

happy thanksgiving

Today, on this very special day, I would simply like to wish you all a very, very happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving, my lovely readers. I truly wish that this Thanksgiving time is a blissful time for you all. After a stressful season at work, in class, or with the kids, it’s important to take some time to relax – even if it doesn’t always seem possible.

We know how hard it can be: you’re living life, you’re chasing your dreams, your keeping up with the demands, you’re just trying to get by. It’s HARD. Life can be really hard. So, today, we hope that you will take time to relax. Let someone else chase the kids for a moment, allow yourself to feel peace, remember that you are important too.

Take time today to smell the roses, to listen to the snow fall, to watch your dog sleep, to smell the delicious food, to relax, to rest, and allow yourself to simply be.

Remember the things you are thankful for: your friends, family, the roof over your head, the carpet beneath your feet, the heat that warms your house, the food on the table, the clothes on your back, the life that you lead, the world that you live in.

You should live life to the fullest each and every day, but especially today. Take time to smile.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, from the Jahn family.

happy thanksgiving

Thank you, readers, for sticking around this past month and a half of DIY Jahn. We are so excited to continue moving forward and so glad that you are all sticking around to see what becomes of this blog.

Have requests for what you would like to see in future blogs?

Let us know! Leave a comment in the space below!

Liebster Award Nomination from the Wardrobe Stylist

Exciting news: I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by the Wardrobe Stylist.
Thank you, Rania, for nominating me for my first blogging award – the Liebster award!

First of all, I want to wish my beautiful wife a happy, HAPPY birthday. 🙂 I love you, my darling.

Liebster Award Nomination

liebster award

The rules for this Liebster award nomination are as follows:

  1. Acknowledge and thank the blogger who nominated you and display the award. (don’t forget to link back to them!)
  2. Answer the 10 questions posed by the blogger who nominated you.
  3. Give 10 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate up to 10 bloggers that you think deserve the award.
  5. Tell the bloggers you have nominated them.
  6. Provide them with 10 questions to answer. (or use the ones from the person who nominated you!)

Liebster award

Okay, you can also decline the Liebster award if you want, but I don’t know why you would.


So, now to complete the task at hand – here are my answers to Rania’s 10 Liebster award questions.

1.) Why and when did you start blogging?

I actually just started blogging recently. I began developing content in later September / early October for my blog, DIY Jahn, which went live on October 15, 2015. The reason I started blogging? Well, there are a couple.

First of all, I love writing. I graduated with a degree in English and an emphasis on Creative Writing. I suppose it’s because my mom was always a big writer. Anyway, I love writing.

Second, I have a shit-ton of debt and I’m working hard to pay it off. So, I am using my blog to help keep me accountable in paying off debt (and maybe even help me earn a little extra money in the process).

Finally, I’m hoping that my blog will help inspire people to pay off their debt and give them the motivation they need to get there.

2.) What inspires you to blog?

My wife. When we got married, I realized that I am now responsible for providing her with the life she has always dreamed of. While I know it isn’t all on me and we are a partnership, I still feel a responsibility to make sure she leads a wonderful life. I want her to have everything – even if that means sacrificing more of my time to make that happen. I hope she is always happy, always living life to the fullest, always able to do anything and everything she dreams.

3.) What are you most proud of?

Most proud of… It really depends on the area of my life you are referring to: my blog, my everyday life, my person, my journey, etc.

When it comes to my blog? I’m most proud of my ability to continually provide content – each and every day. I really think that this will end up being a huge help in the future of DIY Jahn.

In my everyday life? My ability to provide a home for my wife, food for our table, and enough extra money to have fun once in a while.

When it comes to my person? I’m proud of my ability to stay calm in stressful situations. This is especially important while working at a summer camp where there is inherent risk in everything.

My journey? I’m proud of how far I’ve come with paying off my debt in only two months. We’ve paid off almost $10,000 (which is only a start, but still). And I’ve been able to find some extra side jobs to make some extra cash, so I’m pretty proud of that too. You can read how we are saving money and paying off debt here and how we are trying to make extra money online here.

4.) What’s your favorite social media platform?

I enjoy utilizing Facebook for both personal and professional needs. I don’t go on Twitter, Instagram, or other platforms often, but I do have accounts on some of them. I’ll have to figure out how they work.

5.) What is one thing that you are thankful for?

One thing? Only one thing? Well, I’m thankful for the world we live in. It is such a beautiful and marvelous creation. You can read about 5 things I’m grateful for here or how I think we all need to just stop and smell the roses here.

6.) What brings you joy?

My dog, Sofi, brings me so much joy. I absolutely love her. She is funny, goofy, silly, and crazy, but she is also sweet, caring, and loving. She works as a camp staffer in the summer to help homesick campers. In the winter, we call her Snow-fi, because she loves to play in the snow. She’s so much fun!


7.) Where do you mostly go to get your blogging answers?

I am a part of some great Facebook blogger groups that have helped me a lot, but I am still in the process. Let me tell you, it is quite a journey. How the hell does SEO work? I have no idea, but I’m learning.

8.) Favorite hobbies or pass-times?

I guess I really enjoy the outdoors, whatever that may mean. I LOVE to sail, but rarely get to anymore. I love swimming and anything having to do with water. I love driving the Whaler (speed boat) around West Lake (a huge lake near us). I also love going on hikes, sitting in the grass, and watching the stars and lightening bugs impersonate each other.

That being said, I also really enjoy photography and would love to do more with it. I love art: painting, drawing, building, molding, crocheting, anything. I also play the cello and the guitar.

So, I guess I’m interested in a lot of things, but don’t have time to do most of them lately.

9.) Who’ve you been admiring lately?

Sarah Titus. She’s a rock star. She writes amazingly well, she gives great information, and she leaves you wanting more. She has taught me so much about budgeting, earning money, and paying off debt. I love reading her blog.

10.) Best book or blog you’ve ever read?

I’m going to go with book since I just talked about a blog in the previous question. My favorite book is Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist. It’s a book about a young man’s journey to finding his treasure, but it is so deep. If you are looking for a book that will change your life, I definitely encourage you to get this one. Check it out here:


Alright, so the next section of the Liebster award is about giving. Specifically: it’s about giving ten random facts about yourself. So, here goes my ten random facts about me (that you may or may not already know).

1.) I can speak Norwegain. Or could… when I was going to school I decided to get a minor in Scandinavian Studies. They took away the classes in my final semester so I couldn’t actually finish the minor (and then brought them back a semester later). Anyway, I learned a lot about Norwegian and spoke Norwegian fairly fluently. It’s a struggle now, but I bet I could pick it back up if I tried.

2.) I have a work husband. I work at a summer camp and one of my best friends is one of our only full-time employees. He is my work husband. We spend ten hours a day together, we are jokingly referred to as the mom and dad of staff, and we go on trips together. Don’t worry, my wife isn’t jealous.

3.) I enjoy the snow. Now wait, before you think I’ve spoken blasphemy let me explain. I like the snow for the first two months (November and December). When the weather is above 5 degrees and the snow is still white and beautiful. Once January hits, the snow gets brown and gross, and the temp goes below 0 its definitely not an enjoyable time.

4.) I love cooking. In fact, I just got Julia Child’s cookbook for my birthday and I am beyond thrilled. I have such grand ideas of meals that I will be cooking. Of course, it will take a while to get there because budgeting and all. But I certainly do love to cook and experiment in the kitchen.

5.) I don’t know what my passion is. I wish that I could say that I have a dream job or career in mind, and I used to be able to, but now I have no idea. I love my job as a camp Program Director, but know that I won’t be in this position for the next 60 years. I would like to be an Executive Director at a camp for a while. Perhaps that will even be where I spend the rest of my life, but I’m not sure. I have a passion for SO MANY things: camp, art, photography, crocheting, traveling, writing… The list goes on… Anyway, I hope to find my passion someday, but until then: I think I’m a multipotentialite.

6.) I suck at Adulting. I want to be an adult and I certainly try to be an adult, but I often feel like I am failing. I look in the mirror and realize that I’m 24 and still have no idea what I’m doing with my life. I suppose that’s why I’m working my way through the Adulting book. You can read about my journey to Adulting here. And you can follow along by purchasing this amazing book here:

7.) I love plants, but I kill them often. I read a short, hilarious book recently called All My Friends are Dead. It’s so funny and a great gift if you are unsure what to get someone. Anyway, the plant states something like “Stop buying my friends if you’re just going to slowly kill them.” And it’s hilarious and sad because it’s totally true, as much as I hate to admit it. I’m terrible at owning plants. I definitely did not get my dad’s green thumb.

8.) I am listening to Christmas music right now. I know, I know. It’s not even Thanksgiving, but I’m not going to be ashamed. You know why? I read this great post by an awesome blogger recently about the Christmas shaming that goes on. It was so inspiring. If I remember her blog, I’ll link it here. Until then: I’m listening to Christmas music and I’m okay with it!

9.) I lost 40 pounds recently. Over the course of 2015 I’ve lost over 40 pounds and gained 15 back. Which kind of sucks, but it’s because weddings are stressful and I let myself go. Anyway, I’m going to hop back on the train soon! I won’t be gaining 15 pounds this holiday season (the average American does though!). I’ve got some great healthy recipes and meal planning in mind.

10.) I have hope for the future. I have hope that things will get better. I have hope to get out of debt, build a savings, and move into a house that is nice. I have hope that I will be able to have children and stay at home with them for their first year. I have hope that we will live the life we dream of, even if it’s a hard journey to get there. This is our life and we will be living it to the fullest.

liebster award

Nominate & Tell

So, now that I’ve finished the 10 Liebster award questions provided to me and told you 10 things about myself, it’s time to nominate others for the Liebster award!

My Liebster award nominees include:

#Beth @ The Spice Girl Blog

#Christina @ The Blissful Balance

#Caitlyn @ Live Sweat Sleep Repeat

#Melanie @ See Mommy Race

#Eline @ Heart of a Traveler

#Rachel @ A Healthful Heart

#Taylor @ Another Situation

#Kristin @ Kristin Longacre

ALRIGHT! You have all been nominated for the Liebster award. Follow the instructions above and answer the questions below if you accept the challenge (and I hope you do).


Here are my ten questions for the Liebster award nominees:

  1. Why and when did you start blogging?
  2. What inspires you to blog?
  3. What is the most beautiful thing you have seen today?
  4. How best do you advertise your blog?
  5. What do you hope your blog will become in the future?
  6. What brings you the most joy & what are you grateful for?
  7. Where do you go to get your blogging questions answered?
  8. What do you do when you’re not blogging?
  9. What is the best blog you have read recently?
  10. What do you hope your life will be like in 5 years?

There you go, ladies! Good luck. To all those who stuck around and read my Liebster award post, THANK YOU! 🙂 I truly appreciate it.

Leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. Also, please not that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Good Morning

Good Morning Readers!

I don’t have a ton of time to write today, unfortunately. However, I wanted to just let you all know that I was thinking about you and that despite the busy-ness of the day, it is important to stop and take notice of what is around you.

Today I was walking to work and I realized just how beautiful of a place I live in. As I traversed my way through the grass and wood chips, I looked over our fire swamp (a pond in the center of camp) and noticed five does looking back at me. As I walked past, they simply stayed and watched – even when I was within fifteen feet of them, which isn’t surprising.

Good Morning

These same does feed outside my windows where Sofi, my puppy, loves to watch them. She wags her tail and barks, but they aren’t afraid of her (mostly because she’s always inside or on her leash).

Of our herd, there are three bucks. They are absolutely gorgeous. One large, hefty buck and two twins who were born 2 or 3 years ago (their antlers are still growing). This morning I watched them tussle.

Not only do the deer surround us, but so do many other creatures. Our fire swamp, lake, and lagoon are filled with fish, turtles, frogs, toads, and beavers. We have opossums, raccoons, and other small rodents. And then we have birds of all sorts, ducks, pelicans, geese, turkeys, and pheasants.

It is a gorgeous world we live in. Have you taken time to stop and notice?

What is the most beautiful thing you have seen today?

Leave a comment below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. Also, please not that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.