Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's that time of year!

We are creeping up on my favorite time of the year. It is coming slowly, but surely. :)

FALL. I love FALL! Pumpkins, lattes, candles that smell like warm vanilla sugar, jackets, leaves, cold mornings, blankets, Razorback football, and FALL CLOTHES. There is something about fall clothes that I love.

Ya see, summer is fun if you are in a swimsuit, but I find it to be VERY hard to dress cute, yet age appropriate in the summer. Everything is too low and too short. I'm not a hoochie dressing kinda person, so I really struggle to find cute things for the summer. THANKFULLY dresses made a comeback this year.

**Side note... did anybody notice that like dresses went away for a while?!?! I remember about 4 years ago needing a dress and going to every store in town and could not find ONE single dress for a woman under the age of 75. And now--they are back!!!!**

anyway, Fall clothes are awesome. But that ALSO means that it's time to go through them and get RID of a bunch of clothes. And honestly, getting rid of things makes me ALMOST as happy as getting NEW things. :) There's a good feeling that comes from purging things from my closet. It's like I feel a weight lifted when I get rid of things that I don't need/want/or wear.

Ask yourself:

So, here we go--almost at another season's ending and the start of a new one. TIme to clean out those closets and drawers and GET RID of things that you don't need!

Benefits to purging your wardrobe:
1. LESS CLUTTER in your life
2. LESS time spent picking something out in the morning
3. MONEY to spend on other items that you actually NEED and will WEAR
4. A nice little TAX DEDUCTION for making a donation
5. Cuter, nicer, BETTER items. When you own less, you can own better.

Friday, July 27, 2012

And on the subject of wish lists...

My wish list may be a tad extreme, but it's okay to "Wish" ... as long as it doesn't over take your life. :)

1. A very cool, sporty, luxury type car.

I think I could really rock this car :) very fun, sporty, and spunky! LOVE IT!

This Lexus has been my dream car for a LONG time!! I love the RX 300. The newer ones I don't like as much.

2. Some fancy new boots for fall. Not cowboy boots, I am good there, but some nice-all leather- boots for work. Something super stylish that will last forever! Remember the boots that Monica bought on Friends? They cost more than her rent and then she ended up hating them and losing them?? Well, those boots were perfect but oh my dear! That is MY Fear. Buying some super nice and fancy boots and then hating them.

3. Anything with diamonds in it. :) I am a diamond fa-REAK! I love diamonds. Earrings, bracelets, rings... you name it, I love it. I don't have that many diamonds which is TOTALLY fine, but in a perfect world on my own personal wish list I would add a very bold DIAMOND on it. And it can be DIAMOND anything :)

Sometimes it feels good to make some big, extravagant list of "wishes". :) It makes me realize that these things are kinda silly. BUT, i'd still enjoy them :) :)

What are your wishes? What are the secret things that you REALLLY want?? It's okay to share :)

We STILL have wants...

One thing that I get asked a lot is how can I live a life and "not want?" Well, I wouldn't know... :) I live a life that has many WANTS! MANY MANY at times.

I think it comes down to being able to look at the bigger picture with these wants.

I would love a new car. I mean LOVE a new car. In March, I sold my beloved Honda Accord Ex-L with nav-leather-sunroof-auto everything-and simply beautiful-and bought an old car. I paid cash for it. I had been adiment about paying extra on my Honda because my plan was to pay it OFF and drive it forever... and then I just started thinking about how I actually could sell it, make a profit, and go pay cash for something. When I did that my monthly outcome changed more than I expected. Read the full story here. Anyway, I had only thought of really a car payment going away and insurance possibly going down but I had NO idea the amount of money I would save.

My car is not a looker. It's not terrible but it's not a young, hip or desireable vehicle. But it gets me from point A to point B. AND, it allowed me to live debt free! (well, now I have medical bills but that's a whole different subject). I do not regret my decision even though I do see lots of Accords on the road and sorta/kinda miss mine.

But everytime I start to feel like DANG-I sold my beautiful car-- I think about how much more money I have. How it feels great to have basically no debt. And how this car is kinda fun... :)

But I still have wants. I would LOVE a new car. There is actually a Benz that I am just DYING to test drive. But I know if I test drive it--it will be ALL over. I work hard. I pay my bills. I save money. I try to help others do the same. "I deserve this car"...

At the end of the day living minimally is not easy. It actually requires more self control than I feel I have -- especially at this moment while I have the car I want pulled up on my computer and SAVED. Oh vey--I need help :)

Control your wants. Remember how blessed you are. Remember how fortunate you are to have less clutter in your life and less debt. That's how I talk myself down. And USUALLY it works... unlses i'm on a car lot or in a shoe store :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

An awesome reminder...

Sometimes we all need this reminder.

It is so easy to get caught up in things that you want that you can forget how blessed you are to have what you have.

Just yesterday I was stuck in traffic and began adding to my "list". I keep my list with me at all times and I keep up with my "Wants". FIRST of all I do it to track how good or bad I am doing at keeping my wants down. Second I do it so that I have a written record of what I have said i wanted and then i can refer back to it. It helps me balance wants vs. needs and even more than that, it helps me to see what I REALLLY want to save for and purchase.

ANYWAY, here I am jotting down a few things I want when I look up and see a lady who has garbage bags tied around her feet (i'm guessing those were being used for shoes?), looked like she hadn't eaten in days, and was out walking in the heat.

We as a society do NOT realize how blessed and fortunate we are.

Sometimes we need reminders. Sometimes we need to stop and take a breath and just be grateful for what we already have instead of ALWAYS wanting more...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Maybe I have to change MY perspective

I've said it before, but it's so true... our perspective on can make or break a situation. If we perceive someone talking down to us, then we get upset. Even if our perception was wrong! If we percieve things negatively, then we will more than likely act in a negative way.

The same goes for our finances, our wants, our desires...

Let's look at it this way. From a personal way. I have a huge stack of bills sitting on my desk. Doctor bills from the surgery, co-pays due, medications that need to be refilled, bills from my ER visit, not to mention just everyday-gotta pay em-lights and water are necessity--kinda bills! I could:

A. Be SO stinkin' mad that the vacation I wanted to go on is now going to be a downpayment on a new car for my doctor! 


B. Be so grateful and feel so blessed that I can pay these bills. With or without a vacation, my family is provided for.

Ya see, I have had to remind myself that it IS about perspective. One perspective makes me feel less stressed, more relaxed, causes me to smile, breathe, sigh, and say a prayer of thanksgiving! The other causes me to feel depresses, down, pale (because I need that time in the sun of course), and aggrivated with EVERYTHING in my life.

Obviously those are pretty extreme, but unfortunately they are the truth. We so quickly go to this negative place of feeling sorry for ourselves because we can't afford something, when WOW--look at the blessing we have in that the bills that DO stack up, can be paid. With cash. And there is tons of food in our fridge. And our kids are happy and healthy. and we can take them to do fun things. And we have jobs.

It's so easy to get down, but I encourage you to look at how you take a look at things :) Being negative helps no one.

Make the choice to be happy with what you already have! What God has already blessed you with.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The power of a purpose

It's good to have a purpose. this applies to so much more than just finances and living with less.

This applies to your life. To your job. To your relationships. To your parenting styles. EVERYTHING is better when there is a purpose. Otherwise, well, it just doesn't make much sense.

If you are chosing to live minimally, (minimalistically), then there needs to be a clearly defined purpose behind it. And everyone's may be different.

For me, minimalism started as a conviction. I felt like God was telling me to live on less and to get rid of things. To de-clutter my life. Then, as I have mentioned before, it escalated into other areas of my life.

To my family, living minimally is a choice, but it was an easy one to make. It's about following God's plan for our life which involves living debt free and living with the concept that our happiness comes from relationships, not through our "stuff".

What is your purpose for being on this journey? I saw that over the weekend this blog was ready over 300 times. Not as many as I would like, but it's a start. :) So over 300 people found me on purpose or on accident. Some of the keywords used to find my blog were "living on less", "living minimally", "What is minimalism" ? This tells me that so many people in the world (at least 300..hehe) are looking for something in their life to help them. They are looking for happiness. They have come to the conclusion or are on the journey to find the conclusion that their material possessions are actually causing them stress, not the happiness they had expected.

I guess I write this post so that you can ask yourself... what is your purpose? What to hope to gain by living on less? What do you hope to gain by getting rid of things that you don't need? Good questions to ask yourself, and for me they are wonderful questions that remind me of why I am here. They allow me to find the strength during the difficult times when I am wanting to go back to old habits.

So one more time I ask... what is your purpose?

Monday, May 14, 2012

All about the basics.

Sometimes it is CRUCIAL to go back to the basics. They are "basics" afterall, but sometimes those are the easiest things to forget.

1. Keep track of every dime you spend.

You can do this by using the envelope system, by keeping a notebook with you at ALL times and keeping up with every transcraction, or by using an online site to help keep you on track. Either way, keeping track is ESSENTIAL.

2. Keep lists.

I know that it's fun to make a random stop by the mall, or visit ebay "just to browse", of course, but that can get you in trouble. If you don't keep LISTS, then you will spend unnecessary money. Keep a list of your clothes. Your kids clothes. Your shoes. Your stockpile. ANYTHING that you own... keep track of it. If you don't keep ongoing lists of things you have then you just may stop by the store and end up buying something you ALREADY had. When we have lots of STUFF, we tend to forget what we have. I know I can't possibly be the only one that has been so pumped to get a new black pair of heels only to go home and realize that I already had 3 pair... keep lists!

3. Keep going to your checkups.

Just like when you are sick and the doctor tells you to come back in a week, the same rules apply to finances and our stuff. We HAVE to go back for checkups. We HAVE to take the time to look through our financial statements, our envelopes, our closets, etc. It's not a "one and done" kinda process... it is a PROCESS which means it is ongoing.

Just some tips for a tune-up.

how did you do?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Free months!

I often write about my free months at my other blog....

But I am choosing to write about it here as well. :)

Free months. What are those? Let me explain

It is a month when you spend NO money outside of your already prepared budget.

It is a time for many things. It's a time to save money. (obviously) It's a time to meditate, pray, and ponder on what you REALLY want out of life. It's a time to ponder what your wants/needs REALLY are. It's so easy to think how badly you WANT something when you are walking through the mall. But what if you could NOT go to the mall? Would your wants be less? It's a time to really stop and think about what you want to spend your money on.

It's also a time to learn contentment. It's a time when you KNOW that you cannot spend money so it forces you (in a good way) to be happy with you already have. It's a time to read more. It's a time to journal. It's a time to finish projects around the house because you are NOT going to the store, you are not running to grab a movie. It's a time to be at your house more and focus more on your family. SUCH a refreshing time.

It's also time of purging! When you cannot buy anything you tend to walk around and notice how much stuff you already have! it's a great time to clean out those closets and cabinets. It's a time to clean out your DVR! My goodness, I cannot be the only person on the face of the earth that has 87 things taped on my DVR. Shows and movies that I just HAD to tape, and haven't even watched. Since you won't be going to rent movies or go to the movie theatre it forces you to clean out your DVR!

I am getting ready for round 3 of not spending any money for a month. This means I have to have some things in order. This means that when I say "I'm not going to spend any money outside of my budget", that I have to have a ROCK SOLID BUDGET in ORDER! This is so important. It's important even if you are not having a zero spending month... it's crucial! I need to sit down with my already written budget and do some thinking. Is there anything I have left out of my budget? did I allow for gas? Did I allow enough in my food budget? It's a great time to get things in order.

I encourage everyone to have a FREE MONTH! A ZERO SPENDING MONTH! I think this is so crucial! And, it's fulfilling. i have never ended a free month and thought "WHEW i'm glad that's over!" It's more like when lent is over and you can finally have potatoes (thats what I always give up), I don't rush out to go grab a potatoe. It's just nice to know that i CAN have them if I want them. I promise it would be worth it!! :)

Thanks for reading. Comments, emails, are always welcome.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Quote for the day

If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.

Amen. :)

SUPER busy these days!

I apologize for the neglect to this blog lately. Truthfully, I have neglected ALL writing.

It hasn't been intentional, I just literally have been THAT busy. Did I mention my upcoming surgery? If not, check out my other blogs to get filled in.


Anyway, YES I have been busy. This time of year is crazy with the school year winding down for my daughter AND for myself (let's not forget that on top of EVERYTHING I have going on I decided to go BACK to school. SHEESH). Works been nuts, schools been crazy, and I have all sorts of other commitments that take up a lot of time.

But one thing I have been SUPER DUPER busy with lately is getting rid of STUFF!

I found out there was a family in our town that lost everything in a fire. So I went through all of my cabinets and closets to find items that I could donate. Sheets, pots and pans, towels, etc. That REALLY got me thinking about getting rid of more. So I set out on a journey through my house :)

I have recently taken over 100 items (clothing and shoes) to consignment. I have a good bit of money waiting on me there :) But at this time I don't need anything so I am letting it stay right where it belongs. No sense in putting it in my wallet. Then i'll spend on something silly! I cleaned out my closet, my daughters closet, guest rooms, coat closet... I went through it ALL! I feel so refreshed!!!!!

The items that are left in my closet made the cut. They weren't things that I needed or wanted to get rid of . It's OK to keep something just because you want it. That's fine. no one ever said to get rid of something that you WANTED to keep. That would be silly... and also, don't get rid of something that you might actually need!

I was reading on my favorite blog (becomingminimalist.com) the other day and his guest poster that day mentioned that she at one point got rid of things that she ended up having to buy AGAIN. How silly! But if we aren't careful and we get on a war path of clearing out our houses we will do that.

So be careful there.

Bottom line--life is crazy busy and we are making it! But in my spare time of decluttering my life. Which frankly, makes life SO much better.

Live great with less.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's an easy trap!

While I am VERY pleased with my new lifestyle of living on less and NOT having to have everything in sight, there are still these traps that get me. :) It happens to all of us... so there's no point in pretending that I have it all together. Let's be honest here...

I love pinterest.com. i am SO in love with it. I love seeing the cute outfits, shoes, recipes, shoes, fun ideas for kids, shoes... you get the idea. But the crafty stuff is what gets me. I see all of these great ideas and I SO want to do them. I get super excited and make my Michael's and Hobby Lobby lists and then I stop. I realize I am in ... THE TRAP! The trap that makes me want. So i literally have to walk around my house and look at all of the cool things on my wall. All of the neat decorations I have. Don't get me wrong... doing crafts and wanting a cute house are NOT bad things. But for me, well, sometimes I need a reminder that I DON'T need these things. Or at least not now.

I am trying something new... I am keeping a "want list" of things that I want for my daughter, my husband, for me, for the house, for the car... whatever it is! I am keeping a LIST. It's like making a Christmas list year round. :) The best part it is that while I am making this list, I am not buying any of it just yet. I've heard it said (and cannot quote it perfectly) that if you want something, don't buy it, wait 24 hours. I am taking a little bit further. I am writing down all the cute items I want for my house (as an example) and doing nothing with them. Two days later i see something cute in a magazine that I like better. BOY am I glad I hadn't bought anything just yet! By keeping up with what I WANT, I am able to decide which ones I will actually purchase or make. Sounds simple and a little childish, but for me, it has worked.

It has helped me keep my wants in check. It has allowed me to dream of all the fun things I want! Just because I have chosen to live on less does NOT mean that I don't see things that I WANT TO HAVE RIGHT NOW! It just means that I am chosing not to buy them. At least for now.

So that's my latest little thing. It's helping.

What is on YOUR want list?

Friday, March 23, 2012

What have you gotten rid of this week?

Okay, well maybe this week you didn't get around to ditching any items, BUT, did you at least give it some thought?

I am preparing for a LARGE yard sale and cannot wait!!! It's about getting rid of things, and freeing up that space-time-and money!

A few ideas for the best ways to get rid of things:

1. yard sales. always good.
2. swap party. host a swap party and have each person bring 3 or 4 items (clothing, decorations, home accents, jewelry, cookware, etc) and swap them.
3. Sell things at a consignment shop.
4. Craigslist. It CAN work. I just sold a car this week on Craiglist and made a VERY nice profit! i have friends that bought I-Phones off Craigslist this week. It's a great place to sell!
5. Ebay. Don't forget about good ol' Ebay!
6. List it in the paper!
7. Post it on facebook!
8. Donate it and GET A TAX RECIEPT!
9. Give it to someone in need.

Just some thoughts! Let's de-clutter our lives, folks!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What to get rid of and what to keep?

It's so hard to decide what to get rid of and what to keep, isn't it? There are so many things that you would LOVE to get rid of, but when it comes down to it you just can't seem to toss it. Or, at least that's how I am. I get on these great kicks where I am going to get rid of all the "Extra" stuff in my life and then at the very last moment i have a hard time tossing it.

How do you decide what to keep and what to toss?

Here are some questions to ask yourself...

1. When was the LAST time I used this? (wore it, drove it, etc)
That black shirt that you haven't worn in two years? That old car that you were going to fix up but never did, that toaster that only works HALF the time... when did you use these last?
2. Would I realize if it was missing?
This is a tricky one... and it's not very easy to ask yourself, but TRY. If you had never found those black sandles would have looked aimlessly for them? Would you have turned your closet into a diaster to find them? If the answer is no, then you can probably live without them.
3. Does this item hold more than one purpose?
Another hard one to answer... but if you are staring at a purse that you can only carry with ONE outfit, it's probably not worth keeping. If you are holding a skillet that is only used once a year, then it's probably not worth keeping.

These are hard questions to answer. I struggle with this too. I recently switched out my closets and searched through everything to see what I could sell at consignment. the funny thing was that there wasn't many things that I just REALLY wanted to see go. There was nothing that I was tired of, nothing that I could yell "good riddance" at. Ya know what I mean? I don't feel like less of a minimalist for feeling this way. I look at like this...

If it's an article of clothing that it is NOT taking up much space and I WILL wear it, then it doesn't matter if I have another one similar to it. The problem would come in if I just kept it to have it. But if it WILL serve a purpose for me then I am NOT ditching it.

Make sense?

Each person has to figure out what is NOT worth getting rid of. It's all about the mindset. It's all about your reasons for keeping it. If it's to appear that you have more STUFF, then that's probably not a good enough reason.

What are your thoughts on getting rid of items? How do you decide what to keep?

**Last month at the consignment shop I made $63.00 on items that I did NOT want. How great is that???? That is motivation to get rid of MORE!**

Monday, February 27, 2012

That REALLY pushes my buttons....

I'm reading a terrific book currently. "The Happiness Project". This book is all about Gretchen's journey through a year of getting to that "happy" place and eliminating things in her life that bogged her down and stressed her out. I HIGHLY reccomend it.

This book is so encouraging to me. It's nice to know that I am not the only person out there that thinks about things like this. I'm not the only person out there that WANTS to eliminate daily stressers that make us all on edge.


Okay, so reading this book has really opened my eyes to just HOW much stuff we have in our lives that make us antsy, edgy, moody, broke, and frustrated. I have ranted about this before, but I am going to ONCE AGAIN make a list of "Stressers" in my life that keep me from being happy and free.

**NOTE TO SELF AND EVERYONE ELSE... daily stressers will happen. You WILL  have stressful days. There is no way to completely eliminate that.**

1. Clutter. I realize that's a huge statement so let me break it down more.
-closets. things I dont wear or use need to be thrown out. every time I see them I feel overwhelmed because they are STILL THERE!
-drawers. My house has probably 5 junk drawers. I mean really?? That is insane. There are more dead batteries in these drawers. Did I ACTUALLY think they would come back to life? lol
-laundry room. This room seems to be a catch all. Don't know HOW it became that, but it seems to be the room where everything that doesn't have a home ends up.
-my car. My car constantly makes me crazy. I live out of it, seems like. i travel 3 days a week for work, I have a 6 year old, and i'm not a neat freak myself so my car is always overwhelming. ONCE AND FOR ALL--I WILL fix this.

2. LISTS. I am all about making lists. And suprisingly, Gretchen in the "Happiness Project" is as well. BUT, we have to COMPLETE those lists. So, i am actually going to SIT DOWN and make some final lists and complete them. Then I will be happier.

3. My paying bills method. i pay my bills on time, but unfortunately I do not have a designated place to do this. Sometimes it's at work if I have a spare moment, sometimes in the car while I am stopped at a red light, sometimes on the kitchen counter. NO WAY! I am done with this. That is NOT good and it keeps me stressed.

4. I will cancel DVR from recording EVERYTHING! Y'all, for real. I click on my list of shows taped and it makes me nuts. I feel overwhelmed at the list of the tv shows I need to watch. REALLY? I have GOT to get a grip.

5. I will not stop until everything has a home. EVERYTHING should have a place.

6. I will do all of this in a timely manner so it won't drag out and stress me out.

7. I will complete this and then I will breathe a HUGE sigh of relief.

8. Recycle. I will pick ONE day a month to recycle instead of making a few trips a week. Saving trees is important but it's causing me to stress. I will find something to put all of the items in so that when i make my monthly trips i will have ONE bin to pick up and be done with it.

9. I will figure out how in the world to make my bathroom countertops not look like a Mary Kay party just took place. i will do better.

Let's get happy, folks. Get rid of it! and BREATHE!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What does it mean to YOU?

What does living on less mean to YOU? What would it mean for your family? If you decided today to get rid of the clutter in your life what would that do for you?

1. You would have a LOT less to clean. You could clean your house in half the time if you didn't have SO much furniture to dust, so many nick nacks to move around and clean off, and so much stuff on the floors!

2. You would have less piles of "give aways" and "garage sale items" laying around. You wouldn't constantly be creating stacks of items to take to the good will. You wouldn't have excess things.

3. You would have more money. If you chose to live on less then you WOULD save money. Think about it... you'd have less dishes to wash, less clothes to wash, less cleaning products to buy, less gas to put in your car which saves money, less electricity to pump through your house... you WOULD save money.

4. Your debt would go down. You would save money and prevent the spending of money if you chose to live on less. You wouldn't have to go buy the newest and latest gadgets. You would relieve the pressure "keeping up with the Jones" and you could rid your life of "stuffitis."

5. You WOULD be happier. You would be happier because you would be more content. You wouldn't feel this CONSTANT pressure to have more. You would sleep better, live longer, and have more time to focus on your family.

These aren't necessarily life altering changes, but they would alter your life to some degree. Think about how NICE it would be if you chose to give it up! To give up the pressure, to embrace contentment, and to watch your financial world change.

How NICE would that be?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Preparing for the worst

I hate to even write this because I look like Debbie Downer. And I have NEVER been a fan of hers. But, some topics aren't easy to talk about but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't...

Sometimes you MUST prepare for the worst.

What if you lost your job tomorrow? Or, your spouse did? what would happen? Would you go into panic mode? Into a major stress/anxiety attack? Would you begin fearing that you would lose your house, or car, or that you would go without food?

If you answered yes to ANY of those, then you need to STOP THE MADNESS NOW!! I understand that NO one wants to purposely stress out by just thinking about what would happen if your family lost one (or maybe the ONLY) source of income. But you NEED to.

Without even realizing it (or maybe you do) you have an escape plan in mind if your house were to catch fire. you know where you would go if a bad storm was headed your way. You probably even run by the grocery store to grab bread and milk if you hear it MAY snow. So why not be thinking ahead on what would happen if suddenly your household income plumeted.

Here's a few steps that I came up with to help prepare for the "worst case scenario."

1. START SAVING TODAY! There is never a better time to start saving. It's NOT going to get easier tomorrow. Do it today.

2. This would be a GREAT time to learn how to coupon.

3. Do your homework. While you can AFFORD to burn the gas running from store to store, do an inventory of the items you buy most frequently and go to each store so that you know where the deals are.

4. invest in a deep freeze. If you do this then you are ready to stock up when you find a great deal on meat or veggies.

5. Take a look around--what can you sell? I'm not saying you need to sell it TODAY, but have a list of things you already know that you would be willing to part with in the "Worst case scenarios" of life.

6. Take a look at your bills. Cell phone, cable, internet... what changes are you willing to make to get those bills down?

7. Might not be a good idea to look up unemployment rates in your area. Arkansas has a site that allows you to calculate your approximate amount of unemployment. That would be a handy thing to know.

8. Stay in the network! Just because you landed a great job does NOT mean that you need to severe ties with former bosses, or other business people. You MAY need them one day to help you GET a job.

9. Start now living on less. Start getting in the habit of NOT running to the mall to kill time (aka blow money). Start making your coffee at home. If you lose an income in your household, those Starbucks trips will HAVE to end. Get in the habit NOW of living on less.

10. Pay off what you can. Obviously I believe a savings is MORE important, but having debt won't help. Get diligent NOW!

Make the changes today to prepare for the worst.

Monday, January 23, 2012


This post is also appropriate for www.thebargainhuntingmommy.blogspot.com

I try to keep my blog posts written specifically for each blog, but it doesn't always work that way.

I am currently reading the book "Does this make my assets look fat?" It's a woman's guide to financial understandings. From little things like budgets and shopping to the big topics like stocks and bonds. It's a GREAT book. i checked it out at our local library. I encourage you to do the same.

one of the things that really stuck out in my head was the whole GOALS chapter. I understand goals, but i've never sat down with a pen and paper and prayerfully considered what my short, mid and long term goals are. I mean sure, I have blogged about my financial goals for this year but I haven't looked at the BIGGEST picture. So I started doing that this weekend.

Short term goals: These are to be completed within 2 months and 1 year.

Mid goals: 2-6 years. Something you expect to happen in the "next few years."

Long term goals: these may be a lifelong process. An example would be contributing to a 401k or an IRA. this is not something that can just be completed one day soon.

It makes you think--what would you REALLY like to see happen this year? in 5 years? in 30 years?

I've started my list... not complete yet but here's what I have so far.

Short term goals:
Pay off my car (next few months)
Pay off credit cards (next 3 months max.)
Save 2 months worth of bills

Mid goals:
Pay off student loans (not much in there, but I need to do it)
Have 10,000 in savings
Contribute to IRA faithfully (max it every year-$6,000)
Pay cash for a new car in about 4 years(if mine lasts til then)

Long term goals:
Buy a house (with at least 30% down)
Have a GOOD retirement saved up!

Some of these may seem silly, or seem like they aren't "goal" worthy, but to me these are the things that keep me from spending when i want to. These goals keep me in "check". Dave Ramsey always says that you HAVE to see milestones along the way. That's why he says you pay off your smallest debt first. That way you see the progress and can get excited about it.

So there ya have it... my goals.

What are yours?

Monday, January 16, 2012

How are you gonna save up that money?

So, it's time to ask yourself the question you have been avoiding--how are you going to save up that money?

We've talked about saving money, living on less, getting rid of things that we do NOT need to survive. Getting rid of items we don't wear, use, cook with, watch,read, listen to, etc.

But how are you REALLY going to save up money?

Realisticially--Seriously--in all actuality--ultimately--however you want to word it, how are you going to get there?

I have another blog where i give lots of tips for this. Check it out HERE if you haven't already.

But let's get down to it... if you really want to save up money ($500, $1000, $1500, etc) how do you plan to do it? If you are struggling to make ends meet already, how do you SAVE up money that you do NOT have?

That's a question that financial bloggers address a LOT (keep in mind i am so NOT a financial blogger). Money shows, books, Dave Ramsey and people like him address this issue a lot. And some of what they say is very relevant to most people's lives. But some just straight over my head. For example, you will hear them say a lot "dip into your 401k," or "cash in the cd and repurchase at 1.4%"... HUH? What are you talking about, dude? I just want to know how to save up some money.

So, i had to come up with these on my own. It's not earth shattering by any means. It's simply some steps to help you save up to whatever amount it is that you are trying to reach.

1. HAVE A YARD SALE. so simple. Get rid of that crap in your house and gain some extra dough. Simple as that.Put the cash you make aside.

2. Sell the better items on ebay. Not much of a fee for listing and if they are good, vintage, type items you will get more for them online.

3. Raise deductibles on your insurance. This is so handy IF you do it for a short amount of time. Raise them up, and let's say you save $100 a month. Well your budget is already used to spending that amount so when you get paid each month, transfer $100 (the amount you saved by raising your deductibles) to savings. That alone will save you $1200 a year.

4. Change your cell phone plan. If you have a back up phone that will save you money to use (ex: it doesn't need a data plan), switch to THAT phone for a few months and put the difference in savings.

5. Clip coupons. Read more about that HERhttp://thebargainhuntingmommy.blogspot.com/E.

6. Don't go out to eat. It's so simple. I had a gift card to use this weekend but let me just give you a quick run down.
2 glasses of tea
1/2 chicken salad sandwhich
1/2 turkey sandwhich
1/2 bowl of potato soup
1/2 ceasar salad
TOTAL: $21.62

My cost if I had made this at home:
Well, I already had the potatoes, I already had bread, go buy some turkey meat for 3 bucks, chicken salad from the deli 3 bucks, caesar salad in a bag 2 bucks, tea bags already had. So it would have cost me nearly NOTHING to have this meal at home AND I would have been able to have this meal every day for a week if I bought the items to make it at home. So silly.

If you are trying to save money then do NOT go out to eat.

7. Car pool. If you can. I realize this is one of those "REALLY???" kinda statements but let me explain. If I have to be at work ALL day for meetings and i know i'm not going anywhere...why wouldn't I have my husband drop me off and pick me up?Just saying'... the savings ads up.

What about you? What are some ways that you can think of to save money?????

Friday, January 13, 2012

Started out this year pretty good...

So far this year I am feeling good about the steps I have taken to live on less.

First of all, i spent a LOT of time cleaning out my closet. And when I talk about my closet, well, you'd have to see it to believe it. It's probably bigger than my bedroom. It is MASSIVE. It holds a LOT of items in it and so many of them I do NOT need. So, I started out on a cleaning spree.

I made a pile of items to donate, a pile to take to consignment, a pile for my sister (so jealous she can wear my skinny clothes and shes 11 years older than me), AND a pile of things to give to a friend.

It was a good feeling watching those piles stack up and knowing that those items were going AWAY for GOOD!

My closet is becoming less cluttered which means that I am less stressed because I am not looking at it every day thinking "sigh--I need to clean this out". Which means that I am in a better mood, which means that my family is happier, which means that I feel better. It's CRAZY the chain of events that can happen simply from getting rid of some things that you do NOT need.

It's so nice.

I still have more to do. I have some attachments to clothes that is just plain silly. I hate to see them go, but i can't wear them. BUT, with this "Diet plan" i'm on I keep thinking that they may fit one day which would make me sad if I had gotten rid of them. We women--we are really something, aren't we?? :)

So I feel good. i am living on less. I am saving money. I am making the most out of what I have. I feel great. (except for this stomach flu I have had... oh dear Lord. It's been awful.)

Happy New Year. xoxo