Take a Chance, Make a Change

Capsule Wardrobes, Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Meditation, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simple Life, Simplicity, Yoga

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We have a chance to make numerous choices every, single day. There comes a point though, when maybe our auto-pilot life becomes comfortable. Boring, stagnant, and comfortable. We realize beneath it all something is lacking. Our joy has been squelched due to the day-to-day demands that we dictate to ourselves. We measure our worth based on checking off the to-do-list and then beating ourselves up when we simply can’t accomplish it all.

That’s a rut. It’s a tough one to admit to, and a stickler to dig out of.

That’s where I was just a few short months ago. I started running – not walking – in the opposite direction.

It was time to take a risk: I have to change and take some risks, here. 

This realization and admittance that I am in fact, not Super Woman was a little hard to come to grips with, but there was truth beneath the surface.

I don’t want to be Super Woman.

I don’t want to be living in chaos. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed and full of anxiety. I want peace and joy.

The contrast between the two are pretty drastic.

That means I have to open my mind and try different solutions to my struggle.

Day by day, my slow changes are really easing my anxiety and happiness is finally creeping in. I do things a little differently now by:

  1. Getting rid of excess and clutter for clarity and less wasted time on organizing and picking up.
  2. Removing social media from my life so I can focus on myself and what’s important.
  3. Thinking positively by meditating and appreciating what I have and where I’m going.
  4. Letting go of other people’s behavior and my past.
  5. Changing daily chores: I hang clothes to dry, use less dishes and hand-wash when done, put things back where they belong, and let it go when I want to do something else.
  6. Eating well helps me feel energized and lose excess pounds.
  7. Paying off debt by getting my finances in order and stop useless spending.
  8. Daily Yoga helps my body stretch and tone as well as a great way to integrate balance in my life.
  9. Being conscious of my beauty routine where less is definitely more.
  10. Creating a capsule wardrobe so my style is consistent and less stressful when getting ready and wasting money filling the gaps for sake of fashion.

These 10 changes have taken time. I began slowly and deliberately and have really tried to understand myself and my past along the way. It’s been my saving grace in the stickabilty to a major life change like this one.

Knowing you need to make a change and then taking the plunge can be scary. But there is nothing to fear. You can always go back to the way things were before. I mean, what’s there to lose?

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The Overwhelmed Life

Minimalism

Turns out I’d been running as fast as I could in the wrong direction. Oops. The stuff wasn’t doing its job: it wasn’t making me happy. In fact, the opposite was true: instead of happiness, I was faced with stress and discontent and anxiety. And massive, crippling debt. And, eventually, depression. I no longer had time for a life outside of work, often laboring 70–80 hours a week just to pay for the stuff that wasn’t making me happy. I didn’t have time for anything I wanted to do: no time to write, no time to read, no time to relax, no time for my closest relationships. I didn’t even have time to have a cup of coffee with a friend, to listen to their stories. I realized that I didn’t control my time, and thus I didn’t control my own life. It was a shocking realization.

That was from The Minimalist’s website.

This is the exact same place I was just a few months ago. My life was so overwhelming. I created a certain life where I was chasing dreams and thinking I was doing the right thing.

As it turns out, I too was running in the wrong direction to the point that my health has started suffering.

Thankfully, as the days go by I feel better. I can tell a change in my body and psyche.

It’s the un-doing of the massive life I created. The un-doing of unnecessary so my priorities can be at the forefront.

My simplifying process began just a few short months ago when I admitted to myself and to my closest relationships:

I am overwhelmed. I have made a lot of mistakes. I am in a hole that I don’t know how to dig out of. And most importantly…

I thought I was super woman, but I am not. 

Those words, that admittance, has forever changed me. It has sparked some major changes. These changes are slow and deliberate and they aren’t complete. But I am digging out. I am moving on and letting go slowly but surely.

My goal with this blog isn’t to share the ‘best’ way to live your life. It’s to share my journey, my experience and to let you know that if you find yourself in the same situation as I was; that we can change. We can alter our circumstances and be free to enjoy life. It doesn’t happen in a day, but it will happen. And to me, it’s absolutely WORTH IT.

A Random De-Cluttering Weekend

De-Cluttering, Letting Go, Minimalism

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The de-cluttering process continued this weekend at my home. I didn’t set out to do a big purge like I have been doing, because I’ve already gotten rid of so much clutter.

It seems as though there are still so many useless items that I am still hanging onto, and I can’t ignore the fact that I want it removed.

My daughter likes to climb onto my bedside table onto the bed because she thinks it’s fun (even though she’s not supposed to, of course.) Her “ready, set, go….weeeeeeee!” as she jumps onto the bed is too much excitement for her to resist.

Well, she pulled off the lamp and broke it yesterday.

That was my hint and reminder that this bedside table had only two purposes in my home:

  1. To display a lamp.
  2. My daughter to jump through the air

My thought process at this point was simple.

This table really doesn’t serve a true need, here because:

a. I have another lamp that would serve the same purpose in the same room.

b. My daughter is safer by not jumping through the air or getting in trouble for doing something she’s not supposed to do.

So, I’m donating the nightstand and the old window I was storing behind it.

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along with 2 other garbage bags full of random stuff I collected along the way from cleaning house this weekend.

I can’t deny, it feels so amazing to get rid of the excess. It’s a little scary at first, but day by day my home is easier to manage and I can gain more clarity on what’s important in my life.

Facebook Be Like…

De-Cluttering, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Minimalism, Minimalist

You know, I’ve deactivated my Facebook. It’s been almost a month and I don’t miss it. I do not plan on re-activating it anytime soon because:

Facebook Be Like… back in the day bringing all your photo albums and scrapbooks to your highschool and letting the entire student body look through them.

Ew. I would have never done that back then before Facebook was a thing. Why should I do that now?

I know the high school aged kids these days grew up with Facebook; but I didn’t. I actually remember the days when my private moments were private, or I could pick and choose easily who knew my life story.

I mean, that was a long time ago – but not that long. It was a simpler time with disposable cameras, landlines, and outside activities. It was a time when you worked for what you earned; everyone didn’t get a participation ribbon just for being there (hint: real life isn’t that way even today). It was the days of face-to-face contact and telephone conversations. I genuinely miss those days.

I’m not so sure I ever want to continue making my personal life available to everyone on my Facebook anymore. I want to grow my friendships offline like I used to- like we all used to.

While I am all about technology in moderation, I still must ask myself: why am I doing this? Why am I involved? What am I trying to gain or lose?

It’s all part of the process. Until then, social media off-grid I will be. The ones who are close know how to reach me; and the one’s who don’t? Well, they should be out of my business anyway.

Capsule Wardrobe: End of Month Re-Cap

Capsule Wardrobes, Minimalism, Minimalist

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I put together my summer capsule wardrobe a few weeks ago and I must say that it has really revolutionized the way I view my spending habits and closet.

I never counted up my items because I’m not a numbers girl and that wasn’t my focus when I created it. My focus was to de-clutter and get rid of clothes that I never wear and only leave my favorites.

But, I decided I wanted to count yesterday just cause I was curious.

I have 40 items in my capsule. I’ve included in mine:

  1. Daywear
  2. Pajamas
  3. Workout Gear
  4. Shoes

So, pretty much everything item-wise except undies.

What’s weird is that sometimes I still think it’s too much. I know that there are a few items in my closet I haven’t even worn once and I’m at the end of the month. Then, there are some items that I’ve repeated a good bit just cause I love them so much.

Perhaps, it’s time for the unused to be taken out of the capsule since it’s been 30 days and it hasn’t graced my body?

I considered moving it to another seasonal capsule, but would I even wear it then if I don’t wear it now? Probably not.

The key to a capsule: It can always be tweaked. There is no right or wrong way to do it. It’s yours and yours alone. You can have however many pieces you want and ‘count’ whatever items you want. It’s your thing, and no one else’s.

I am sure not to compare my capsule with others because that’s not my point at all. I just want to love my stuff and get rid of the excess, that’s all.

Although, I do love me some inspiration for others and love looking at their capsules as well! The concept is perfect and is a positive experience to help keep ourselves in check so as we aren’t so wasteful with our resources.

Financial Boss: Part 4

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Financial Boss Series, Gentle Change, Money

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After a long time of digging deep into my financial dependence, and auto-pilot behavior the day had come to come up with a budget and game plan. If we continue to do the same thing over and over we will continue to get the same results.

Well, I don’t like my results.

That means that I have to change how I do things. This can be super scary, but in order to move forward and have a chance for success, we must take risks to get us where we want to be.

I have determined that I have been on auto-pilot allowing my money to rule me instead of me being the boss.

For me to be the boss, I had to take the initiative and create my own financial plan.

My goal is that every month I will be telling my money where to go. Period. 

My plan started after I de-cluttered my wallet and credit cards. I cancelled every unused credit card account. Then, I had a shred party where I disposed of those soul-sucking colored pieces of plastic. Some financial gurus say you still need to keep your unused credit lines open because if you don’t it will hurt your credit score. Well, I have a secret:

I do not care. I want them gone. My credit score doesn’t define me. And, I’m giving up credit cards all together when I pay off the last of my debt. This means that my credit score is not a factor in my money or how I live my life. My credit score no longer rules me either. I rule it because I am the boss and am handling my imaginary “credit score” as if it doesn’t exist. Because from now on, I will pay upfront for everything I want or need. 

I’m not scared anymore. I am angry. I am angry because the little score that pops up took me 20 years to create a ‘green colored’ number. I stressed, fretted, and had anxiety attacks to keep it there. Then, outside of my control, I got laid off from my job and within 2 measly months my credit card number is now ‘red colored’ and it is designed to make me feel bad.

So, if you want to do something drastic just like I am; you have to be ready and willing to let go of a lot of your predisposed thoughts about money.

I totally am, so that’s why I am doing this. And secretly, I know that my credit card number is going to quickly increase back to green without any of my mental chatter and obsessions about ‘keeping it at the top.’ And that’s fine. It’s just a weird game to play anyway and I’m not playing anymore.

My passion from opening my mind and looking at my finances with a new outlook made me motivated.

I grabbed a sheet of paper, a pen, and a calculator and got to work.

Previously:

My bills were auto-payed out of my checking account every week, whatever their due date.

My income is consistent weekly so I get paid a certain day every week.

I ball-parked estimated what discretionary money I had each week for gas, groceries, and anything else I wanted.

Nothing into savings, and nothing left over at the end of the month.

Now:

do not auto-draft. Ok, this is a big deal to me because I have ALWAYS auto-drafted. Now I am in control of paying my bills individually.

I pay my bills the first week of the month. Every single bill that is due that month is paid in the first week. So right then and there I am current.

I have three banking accounts:

  1. Bill account
  2. Spend account
  3. Savings account

Bill Account: I have figured up how much I owe each month in fixed bills. I divided them up weekly. Every pay day I put that amount into my ‘bill account.’

Spend Account: This is the amount of money I can spend on gas, groceries, and anything else I need/want. I have figured out how much I will allow myself and will deposit that amount into this account.

Savings Account: I have pre-determined how much I will save each week. I will be paying myself now. This amount will be deposited into this account each week on payday.

This way, at the first week of the next month, my ‘bill account’ will have the money need to pay my next month’s bills. I will then use that money to pay bills the first week of the month.

I have a separate debit card for my spend account. This will be the only debit card I use for purchases.

My savings account is going to grow really quickly. I will be using money here to build my emergency monies and pay off current credit card debt.

The formula is simple (and I am no math whizz that’s for sure!)

  1. Add your monthly fixed bills (car, house, insurance, credit card payments, etc.) and get the total. Divide by 4 (4 weeks in a month).This is the amount that you need to put into your ‘bill account’ each week.
  2. Determine your spend account. This is the amount you have to spend on things like gas, food, snacks, clothing, or whatever is not a fixed expense. Set a cap on it and divide by 4. This is the amount that goes in your ‘spend account’ for the week.
  3. Whatever is left over goes into your savings account. I am separating my money among these three account on payday which is the same day every week.

This is my new, drastic way of telling my money where to go. When I do the math and split my accounts this way, I have plenty leftover for my savings. I have savings because, well…you never know what can happen and I don’t plan on working in a career for someone else until I’m old, feeble, and dead.

There are a billion different ways to handle your finances. There are spreadsheets and programs and so many opinions.

I am not at all saying this is the BEST way to handle finances; it’s just the best way for me now.

Are you in a financial crisis? Do you hate the way your finances are ruling you? Is it time to be the boss? If so, and you are prepared for action, discover why you do the things you do, behave the way you behave, then for god sake grab a pen and paper and get to work!

I wish I had done this sooner. I really, really do. But there is no better time than today to be the person we want to be. And sometimes, that means a drastically different approach to something and an open mind.

Financial Boss: Part 3

Financial Boss Series

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This whole Financial Boss serious came about because I got to a point of ‘enough’ when it comes to my money managing me, and not the other way around. I couldn’t come up with a good excuse anymore as to why I keep allowing that to happen.

Living on auto-pilot can seem alluring and easy sometimes, but in the end important things can be neglected. I know this because I’ve been on auto-pilot for many years, skimming by. My focus now is to live an intentional life;

an intentional life in everything that I do.

So, because that is my core it is no surprise that my auto-pilot money management needed an over haul. Hence, becoming my own Financial Boss.

In Financial Boss: Part 2, I gave a quick glimpse into my credit and money spending history. It’s not a shocker, but it reveals a lot about how I’ve justified being on auto-pilot.

Discovering how I actually behave when it comes to my money was my starting point.

  1. Financial Behavior: Auto-pilot; includes auto bill pay, making minimum credit card payments, not paying attention to my interest rates, and putting no thought into how and where I spend my money.

Now that I have defined my behavior, I needed to discover where I spend money:

Hint: It ain’t pretty.

I’ve been ignoring my credit card interest rates. My statements are all online. I know my minimum payment, so I just have it auto-drafted. I’ve been afraid to face the nitty gritty. So, instead of taking the time to know the truth about my financial situation: I’ve turned a blind eye.

When we do that, credit card debt never ends.

Here is an example: My Target credit card has a 22.9% interest rate. I pay the minimum payment of $27.00 a month. That means that I pay WHAT I OWE (principle) $9.37 and Target credit gets $17.63 of that in INTEREST.

I don’t know about you, but I am not OK with that anymore.

That’s stealing and robbing from me, People!

Every dollar we hand over to a company is a way that we tell them:

I support you.

I support your business practices.

I support your mission.

I support every thing that you stand for.

I am OK with giving you my hard earned money for your product/service.

My motivation for paying credit card debt is simple:

I do not support their business practices. I do not support their mission. I do not support what they stand for. I am not OK giving them 3 times what I paid for an item.

Now that I am fired up I can move forward. I will not give them another dime after I pay off what I currently owe (and I’m going to pay it off quick). I’m totally withdrawing my support from credit card companies because it’s straight-up stealing from me; and it’s stealing from you.

My mind is made up, there will be no turning back.

My wallet would barely close when I started the process because it was so full of plastic. Cards that I don’t use anymore, duplicate cards, and active cards.

I pulled them all out and laid them on my desk to get the full visual of what I’ve been doing.

It was messy, scary, and quite honestly disgusting. I asked myself how I ended up with credit cards from so many clothing stores. Is it because they promised $10 off? Did I get scammed by advertising and my auto-pilot behavior?

I spent a few hours on the phone calling every single unused and duplicated credit card company. And it was really simple:

I closed my accounts.

They all tell me that they hate to lose me as a customer. What? I can still shop there, just not on high interest rates from credit cards.

I did leave 3 credit cards open only because I’m still paying on them, but as soon as they are paid off, they will be closed as well.

My favorite part of closing my accounts?

STICKING ALL THAT PLASTIC THROUGH THE SHREDDER.

By de-cluttering my wallet and getting rid of unused accounts I can now laser focus on what I have left without distraction or guilty feelings about my past.

So, if you are interested in getting off of auto-pilot and becoming your own intentional boss, I would encourage you to spend some serious time thinking about it before tackling it.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is my financial behavior?
  2. What don’t I like about my current situation?
  3. How does it really feel to not know where my hard-earned money is going?
  4. What businesses am I supporting by giving them my money?
  5. Am I really OK with paying that much in interest rates on credit card purchases?
  6. Am I willing to take a risk in changing my strategy?
  7. Or, am I completely content with where I am?

I feel these questions are really important. I spent A LOT of time asking myself each and every one of these. My answers were clear:

I haven’t been happy. I am not OK where I was. I am ready to take a risk and simply change the way I do things.

I’m excited about Part 4 of the series. I’m going to reveal to you the differences in my past financial management, and my new one.

Spoiler alert: It’s nothing intense or drastic: just a little different, but will pay off much better in the end.

Financial Boss: Part 2

De-Cluttering, Financial Boss Series, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Letting Go, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simplicity

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This is Part 2 of the Financial Boss series.

Within 24 hours I went from reactive to PROactive about telling my money where to go.

Because there are so many internet articles on how to budget, and how people deal with their personal finances, I want to tell a little bit about my history.

I opened up my own checking account when I was 19. Before then, I only made a little money at odd jobs and spent it all on clothes, of course. With time, my account would fill up with money, whether from work or from student loans through college. I never had a budget, I just knew I would be getting this much and could only spend so much.

This left my account empty for many, many years.

As I got older, I started working full-time and slowly began making more money, but also paying bills. I got a car, student loan debt, cell phone, gas, and insurance. I managed my bills the same as I always did: I received so much money a week, and owed so much money a month. I just knew not to spend more than I made.

Easy enough.

Then, time went on and I switched careers, got married, had a baby, and bought a house along with more bills on top of my ‘early years’ bills. I continued making more money, but increasing the money that I owed by buying more stuff. At this point, my credit card debt was minimal, and if I ever used credit cards, I paid it off quick. I knew how much I made, how much I owed in fixed bills, and then I wouldn’t charge more than I could pay off quickly to credit cards.

Insert AWESOME credit score here.

I didn’t have a hardcore budget in place at this time. I just made sure I wasn’t going in the hole. This made it possible for me to pay all my bills on time, with just enough discretionary to get what I needed. However, no money was leftover at the end of the month and I had no idea where my money was going. But, I continued on in a reactive approach. My bills were autodrafted on time, and I just didn’t spend a lot on frivious things. Still, I had no idea where my money was going. I just knew I had zero at the end of the month and nothing to save.

Insert JOB LAYOFF here.

Oh man.

I got laid off last year. Since my finances were stretched to paycheck to paycheck I certainly couldn’t pay my bills. I don’t know if you are familiar with unemployment income…but it’s not enough to pay the basics such as a mortgage or car. It’s better than nothing or you would surely starve to death, but beware: if you have debt over $800 a month you are about to spiral down to a hot mess just like I did.

Insert CREDIT CARD purchases here.

Because I couldn’t afford diapers for my child.

Now, this is extreme and I don’t take fault for this part, but it changed the way I view my current expenses.

Insert TRASHED credit score here.

If we are not prepared for the worst, the government will not cover your expenses even if you live ‘modestly’ as I do. By modest I mean: a modest house, car, and insurance. Forget it.

So, I am now trying to pay off my debt, reduce my expenses, and find out ways to survive on my own should this ever happen again. Like, gardening, savaging and the like. Sounds extreme right? Well, not really.

What would you do if you lost your job? Or, if you stay home and husband/wife supports the fam, what would you do if he/she left?

It’s something to think about, for sure. I always put those thoughts out of my mind so I wouldn’t be scared about my future.

But if disaster strikes, we need to be prepared.

This is what inspired me to boss my money, instead of letting it take on a life of it’s own without my direction.

Part 3 will discuss my first steps in de-cluttering my wallet/credit cards and getting a game plan in order.

Financial Boss: Part 1

Clarity, Debt, Financial Boss Series, Free Spirit, Gentle Change, Hippie Life, Hippy Life, Minimalism, Minimalist, Money, Simplicity

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It totally happened yesterday.

I am now in charge of my finances aka THE BOSS.

Financial advice is totally rampant on the internet because so many of us live reactive to our money.

I want to share with you how I went from reactive to proactive in 24 hours. Sounds to good to be true? Well, it is and it a’int. It was a long day yesterday getting my finances in order:

but I went to bed PROactively in charge of my money last night. 

I’m going to break up this explanation in parts because it is a little lengthy. I want to share my personal history and background and then tell you how my strategy changed drastically.

It’s not a magic potion or fix-all. It’s just a financially lazy, simple girl’s way of shaking up the way I do things and TELLING my money where to go.

You may be in the same place, but scared to make a change. It is kind of scary, but when you have your mind made up that you must do things differently, take risks, and are in an energetic, positive mental state: It can be done.

So, follow along if you want to hear about it. It’s time for change and it’s time to be the boss.

For starters:

That picture above was my stack of credit cards as of yesterday. Wow. Let’s just say that it has reduced drastically as of today, only 24 hours later.

Traveling Light; Suitcase Solution

De-Cluttering, Letting Go, Minimalism, Minimalist

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My de-cluttering journey has really been incredible this time around. Of course, I’ve attempted to minimize a million times in the past and always ended up right back where I started.

This time is different because:

1. I am intentional about my process. I’ve outlined the true reasons for my de-cluttering journey and committed to making it stick.

2. I am focused. I’ve removed a lot of distractions so I can dig deep into my heart and change my behaviors. No more Facebook, society chatter, or mindless shopping for fun.

3. I have defined MY definition of success. Success for me is following my heart, not what society tell me I have to do to be successful. Not surprising: my definition of success is a complete 180 from what society is telling us to do.

So, these three things have made me take a long hard look at my stuff.

I’m constantly still weeding out my unnecessary items and one of the newest things to go is my massive suitcase.

For one, I travel light now. Perhaps it’s that I’ve traveled enough to know that I never need everything that I usually pack. Not to mention there is a freakin’ WalMart on every corner if I so happen to forget something.

The suitcase that is now dropped off at the local charity is humongous. It comes up to my chest! It had to be stored on a ledge going down to my basement it was so big.

I will never, ever need to make that much stuff because:

a) I don’t want to be weighed down when traveling

b) It’s simply not necessary

It was time for this item to go so that I will not be tempted to feel like I have to stuff this sucker full on my next get-away trip.

I will continue to travel light and free up space in my home.