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Daylight Savings Challenge

Who else is not a big fan of losing an hour of your life and having your routine rocked?!  But..I guess there is always the joy of it not being pitch black and making me think it should be bedtime at dinnertime anymore.  I was thinking about the time change and how we can use daylight savings as an opportunity to increase our financial savings.

So here is the challenge..if you so choose to accept!  I challenge each and every person that reads this to go put $100 into your savings account, or to start a savings account if you don’t currently have one.  Go dig in the couch cushions, cash in those change collections, cut out that plan to get your hair highlighted next week, cancel an a monthly subscription or two that you don’t actually use, or pack your lunch every day for the rest of the month.  Whatever it takes to find that $100 and either start or add it to your savings account.  It may not sound like much, but little steps like this can make big differences.  If you do this challenge again in the Fall when we move the clock back, then you now have $200 more in your savings that you didn’t have before.  Now just think if you do this every year for the next 5 years?  You would have $1,000 saved up!

Since I think having a savings account is a huge first step in building wealth, I am going to help someone with the challenge by investing in your wealth.  (this is not a sponsored giveaway) You will need to have Venmo in order to receive payment, and I will randomly pick one winner Monday 3/9 at 8 CST that will receive $100!  Only requirement is that you follow my blog and comment below any creative ideas you have to quickly come up with $100.  The more ideas we share, the more people we can help…and GO!!

silver and gold coins
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie

When I think back on the first 35 years of my life, I literally read only a book or two a year, and I can promise you they were trashy books.  There certainly weren’t any self improvement books in the mix, and if I’m being quite honest, I used to think those types of books were cheesy.  Last year, I changed my mindset and made it a top goal to educate myself.  I ended last year having read a total of 43 books!!!   Don’t worry..there were still some trashy books in there, 11 to be exact, but the rest were educational.  Whether it was about finances, real estate, self development, or parenting, each of these books has given me at least one takeaway that has made me grow as a human.  I’m listing each of them below (in no particular order), so just click on a book for the full description in case you are looking for your next read!  

If you are looking for an amazing Audible discount or Kindle Unlimited, or even just other book recommendations, click the link below! Let me know if you have any questions..I’m an open book. 😉

https://amzn.to/2RoSQpM

 

(Full Disclosure: These are affiliate links, so anytime you click on a link of mine and purchase, there are a few pennies that help go towards administrative costs of running my blog)

 

Three Thrifty Travel Tips

Nobody likes listening to Linda talk about her travels to literally wherever she wants whenever she wants when all you can afford is to travel your ass to the couch in your living room. So let’s stick it to Linda and become world travelers if for nothing else but to have stories for Linda at the water cooler on Monday. Here are the 3 things that matter the most when considering your travel strategy.

1. Where you go matters. It also matters what time you plan to go. For example, some of my favorite trips have been to the mountains in the off season, like early Fall for hiking. Everything is reduced usually, including cheaper flights, AirBNB rates, and even those trusty Colorado souvenirs you want to pick up. So a good key is, if everyone else is going to this same place at the same time, don’t be like everyone else. Also, just because Linda is spending three weeks hiking in Rome, it doesn’t mean that your trip is less travely if you pack up the car and take a quick long weekend road trip to the next state over. Travel is travel is travel and it’s about experiencing something new, not about a competition of who can get the farthest from the zip code they reside in.

2. What you pack matters. I once made it to Jamaica for a six day trip with only a carry on. Being intentional with what you pack will help with expenses and time. (no extra bags or overweight charge, or maybe a smaller car is ok to rent without oodles of luggage) Don’t be afraid to pack one pair of jeans to wear multiple times or leave those super uncomfortable six extra pairs of shoes at home and pack that one pair you know will get you through site seeing blister free. Now that you know what to leave behind, let’s pack the essentials. A reusable water bottle is a necessity, and just make sure you empty it out before security. Now, if you are traveling, you can save a TON by packing some snacks and quick meals. If we are road tripping, we bring things we usually don’t eat, like chips and a loaf of bread and peanut butter for easy sandwiches. Grab some travel ready fruit like apples and oranges and some baby carrots and you have several meals and snacks. Yes I know Linda is posting all her gourmet meals on Insta, but remember, you can go out to one or two quality meals to experience the local cuisine and totally get the same foodporn ammo to post..just cheaper and likely a bit healthier also. (Linda leaves out the part about that 5 extra pounds she brought home as a souvenir)

3. Where you stay matters. Find a place that jives with your agenda nicely. If you are just looking for some time to chill and enjoy a nice hot tub or swim and don’t have a rental car, then maybe a hotel makes sense. If you will be out soaking up all the free local attractions, then AirBNB on the outskirts of the city will probably be a great fit. You can pick a place based on amenities and the proximity to what you want to do. Closer isn’t always better, especially on the budget. But if they have free breakfast, dinner, coffee, and tea, well then, it may in fact be a great choice. Or if you are bringing stuff like we do, then make sure you have a kitchen area to prepare those on the go meals. I know Linda only stays in 5 star all inclusive resorts, but let’s remember kids, you are paying a premium for all that inclusion, even the stuff you won’t be using. So give a no inclusion, off the beaten path, quirky little cottage a try and you may discover that it’s even more enjoyable.

What is it that you are looking to get out of your next trip? For me, traveling is always a time to unplug, explore, try new things, and spend quality carefree time with my family. So regardless of where you go, how you get there, or what you bring, don’t be like Linda. Be unique, and don’t lose site of your why. Safe Travels!

6 quick tips on budgeting

Man..it’s crazy to me that it’s 2020 and there are still folks running around rogue with their finances, thinking it’s not going to catch up with them. Several recent studies show that only about 40% of people are living that budget life. 😱

I have personally been living with a budget for over a decade, and I can promise you that this is one of, if not the biggest contributing factor to my current debt free and wealth building chapter of my life. I would definitely still be living beyond my means without a budget.

There is no better time then right now to put the money you make to work..and that money isn’t going to get to work without your help. So do me a favor, and if you are in the 60% of people who don’t currently budget, then make a pinky swear to yourself to start ASAP…after reading my quick tips of course. 😉

Tip 1-Live off of a zero budget. That’s a fancy way of saying that every single penny you have incoming should have a home for where it needs to go. The key to this is to assign your money jobs BEFORE you’re eyeballing that delivery menu on an empty stomach or you’re clicking on that BOGO sales ad that just landed in your inbox. So a few days before the month starts, you can sit down and map out your incoming vs outgoing. Mind that gap with some investing and savings. Which brings me to my next point.

Tip 2-Have a goal you are working towards. Whether it’s building your savings up, paying off debt, or investing in index funds to work towards financial freedom..you will be more successful minding the gap if you have short term and long term financial goals in place. Don’t let lack of planning cause you to live with a YOLO mentality..it’s true..you only live once..so get your shit together already. Nobody wants to keep hearing your “I’m broke and just barely getting by because they don’t pay me enough” talk, yet you’re driving a new car, eating out, constantly getting new clothes/AmazonPrime packages and texting your money problems on the latest IPhone. (sorry for being a little harsh..but seriously..someone had to say it)

Tip 3-Speaking of planning..plan for the unexpected. I’m talking about having enough in your savings to cover a bigger item, like a new transmission, your HVAC suddenly breaking down, your car insurance deductible from an accident, or taking your dog to the vet after they ate something crazy again. I don’t have time to get into details here on what’s considered unexpected, but if you have to ask if it’s an emergency..it’s not. Also, stuff that is recurring, like personal property taxes or Christmas gifts are NOT unexpected. You knew all damn year they were coming up..you should have separate money you’re putting back to plan for these annual recurring expenses.

Tip 4-Check for trends and opportunities. For example, if you are noticing a large chunk of your money is going towards gas, then it might be time to explore a more fuel efficient ride. If you are spending over $100 each time you hit up Target, then it might be time to keep your ass out the store. Luckily, there are other ways to shop now, including carryout or delivery, so that could possibly help keep you to the items you need vs want. Also, if you find yourself doing a great job, like going two weeks without eating out..then celebrate. Rewarding yourself (within reason) for good behavior is a great way to train yourself on new spending habits.

Tip 5-Give yourself a cash allowance. Let’s be honest..little things come up and having some cash on hand is a great way to take care of these little things. For example, if you slept like crap and really NEED a Starbucks latte..go get yourself one. Or the neighbor kid hits you up for buying some Girl Scout cookies, and nobody can say no to those Caramel Delights, nor should they say no. Much like crash diets, budgets don’t work if they are so strict that you feel deprived, week after week, month after month. This will make you more likely to fall off the budgeting bandwagon, so plan to allow a little flexibility sometimes.

Tip 6-Make it easy. Budgeting is a long term wealth building strategy..not a get rich quick scheme..remember that as you set things up. Keep it simple and keep evolving as you and your needs change. Setting up autopay on everything is about as easy as it gets for your fixed expenses. Also, for tracking, I used a paper check register up until last year..lol. BUT it was easy and worked for me. Now I have a word doc that lists out all my recurring expenses, along with an app called Spending that tracks all incoming/outgoing expenses. Don’t get so caught up in trying to figure out the details to a point where you don’t ever start. Any way you track is better than not tracking at all..so get to it already.

You know I am happy to share my tracker if interested and answer questions, so ask away.

My 2020 Vision

When you stop and reflect..only to realize you went through the all the previous decades you’ve been in existence without goals, you decide to make up for lost time by going BIG.  Not that I have ever really gone small at anything ever, but it’s different.  Something about this year reminds me that whatever I think, whatever I envision, and whatever I write down is mine.  I don’t have that “one day” or “maybe next year” or “I wish” or “must be nice” mentality any more.  I know who I am and what I am capable of and create the shit out of some positive energy.  I am not locked and loaded with excuses that “I don’t have time” or I can’t afford it” either.  I know that I have time for the things that I make time for and I am in control of my money and tell it where to go.

Last year was just a tiny taste, a sip of what my life can really be like and I’m back for more.  I have decided that this will be the BEST DECADE EVER!!  I came up with my goals back in December, but since I’m an ever-evolving person..lol..I wanted to give them a few weeks to simmer before I put them out into the world.  I am now ready to share, and I have decided that 20 goals for 2020 is only appropriate.  My list is below and you know the drill..ask me questions and would love to hear your 2020 goals!!

20 SMART GOALS FOR 2020

  1. Get tenants placed in Indy Beauty by 3/1 and cash out refi by 6/20
  2. Use Self Directed IRA to put 25% down on a multi-family by 9/1
  3. Take childless trips to both the beach and the mountains by 11/1 and let the kids plan spring break trip location and agenda
  4. Hike our first mountain
  5. Obtain my real estate license or shadow and do my first wholesale deal by 12/15
  6. Build-up/Maintain 6 months liquid reserves for all rentals owned by 12/1
  7. Set up LLC by 3/1
  8. Acquire next BRRRR deal by 6/1 to be ready to close by 6/21 (or earlier if the deal finds me..lol)
  9. Have private money lending capital self-funded at 10% of goal to be our own bank by 11/1
  10. Max out family HSA contributions by 12/15
  11. Read 25 books this year
  12. Once I hit 10k followers, give away $1,000 to help someone else towards their financial goals
  13. Coach 2-3 people to become debt free and/or get started in real estate by 7/1
  14. Start researching markets for out of state investments to start 2021 off with a bang
  15. Work towards dinner at the table Mon-Thur (on activity free nights) and at least 1 hour screen free family time Fri-Sun
  16. Expand my meditation practice from 15 minutes up to 1 hour
  17. Learn 3 new skills/hobbies, enough to be dangerous..lol
  18. Cashflow new carpet and exterior paint for primary residence
  19. Analyze food budget and meal prep to find areas to improve health and decrease costs
  20. No Spend Year again!!! (clothes, shoes, accessories, purses, makeup, haircuts/dye)

 

 

My Personal Homebuying Journey

I am so excited to have recently been featured as a Plum Homeowner..click link below to see my story alongside all the other homeowners featured and a whole bunch of other resources all under one roof..see what I did there 😉

She does such a great job educating women and sharing all the unique homebuying journeys, both the ups and downs. Enjoy!

https://www.livewithplum.com/blog/plumhomeowner-mysemibasiclife

Fighting the urge to splurge in 2020 with another No Spend Year

Because I mean..what’s better than a full damn year of doing a No Spend?! I can’t think of anything except for doing it for a second year in a row!!

Yes you read that right..another No Spend Year for 2020!! If you’ve been busy shopping at the latest BOGO sale or living that AmazonPrime “what’s in this new box” lifestyle, then you may have missed my multiple posts about not buying certain things for all of 2019, along with my updates and all the ups and downs of the journey. I encourage you to look back at my previous No Spend posts to catch up, but I will also summarize here.

I banned buying any of the following items for all of 2019:

Clothes, shoes, accessories, purses, makeup, haircuts/dye/waxing (undergarments and socks can be replaced as needed). I think I added household decor items to my banned list, but I hate throw pillows anyway, so I don’t really need to ban them..lol.

I DID fail and buy a pair of sunglasses, along with a new nail polish, so I wasn’t 100% successful, but I have come a LONG way from who I was before my No Spend Year. I will take the under $15 total for the year versus the $3,000-$4,000 total I was likely spending before per year. It’s also changing my lifetime expenses, which the average woman now spends around half a million dollars in their lifetime on vanity items. 😳 (more to come in a future post on this topic)

I have to say, I was certain I would die when I started this. Well, if you haven’t picked up on it from the fact I’m writing this..I actually did not die. I in fact LIVED..lived like I never have before..completely free of others opinions about my same old clothes, about my hair showing grey or being “slightly” uneven from cutting it myself, or showing my makeup free wrinkly face for a year straight. Damn that shit was freeing and turns out most people didn’t even care or notice the clothes or makeup free face, or at least they didn’t say anything. Now the hair, people had very strong opinions either supporting me and saying they do their own hair also, or telling me to leave it to the professionals. Overall, it wasn’t as drastic of a change for me to ban these items as I anticipated.

I really haven’t lost anything except for the weight of worrying what others might think..and turns out I really don’t give a shit, which honestly surprised me a little (keeping it real..after 35 years of caring to some extent about impressing others, it’s been a big change). What I gained was a LOT..more money in my account, more time since I am no longer shopping or putting makeup on every morning, and a lot of inner reflection on my values and getting comfortable in my own skin. I can truly say that I have never felt prettier or happier with who I am and what I look like, inside and out.

I encourage everyone to try a No Spend, even if it’s for one day or week or even a month. If you can commit for a year, I promise it will change you as a person. One of the joys of a No Spend is that you get to customize it to fit your life and determine your own banned items list. Also, I have a ton of quick tips that helped me and can help you also. First, stay out of the stores all together and keep emails about deals out of your inbox by hitting that unsubscribe button. Clean out your closet to donate unworn items and organize it so you can easily find the items you do love to wear. Take care of your appearance in other ways..drink more water, eat a healthier diet, exercise, and stop damaging your hair with heat and product and let it dry naturally and embrace whatever your natural appearance is. I fought my wavy brown hair for years trying to straighten it, curl it, make it blonder, etc. and turns out my natural hair is pretty awesome once I stopped damaging it. Find friends to swap clothes with for those times you get bored or have an event and nothing to wear. Find a friend or two to join you and help keep you accountable. Learn to fall in love with yourself and embrace your flaws as perfect imperfections rather than trying to cover them up. Finally, make a goal of what you will do with the money you save and put it towards making a big dream a reality and share your progress.

Now I just need to know..who is ready to join me this year?!