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?!

BRRRR it’s getting cold in here πŸ₯Ά

I know I know..I’m sure everyone is thinking there must be some Toros in the atmosphere comes next?! Or maybe I’m the only old ass nerd still out here quoting Bring It On, which by the way, happens to be a classic cheerleading movie. πŸ“£ πŸŽ₯

Ok focus..it IS super cold and snowing hard here in Kansas City today, so it’s perfectly timed to talk about BRRRR, which is why we are all here (not from the cheerleaders movie or cold weather, but the real estate investing version). The strategy has been around for a minute, but the guys from BiggerPockets hold the clever naming rights I believe.

I am SO SO SO PUMPED UP to be getting after our very first house using the BRRRR method. So I wanted to explain this strategy very high level, and how it can be a great way for investors to grow a portfolio of buy and hold properties quickly, and with little of their own money tied up in the deal long term. Clearly I’m a newbie and can only speak to what I’ve researched/read/listened to, and what real life has brought my way so far, but thought I could at least introduce the concept to other newbies.

The premise is a way to use little of your own money while growing a buy and hold portfolio. In its simplest form, it stands for buy, rehab, rent, refinance, then repeat. We are still in the “buy” phase of ours, set to close this week, and excited to move into the rehab piece and plan to share the full details once we wrap up this project. We are going to just use some rough numbers here as an example.

Let’s say you find a distressed house or a homeowner who needs to get out fast of their current home. There’s lots of ways to find these deals, which I’m not going to cover in this post, but will save for another day. The distressed home or owner is an opportunity for you to help solve their problem and to buy their house from them. You would aim to acquire low, due to current condition of the home, taking into consideration all of the repair costs, and your ability to close fast. You would also need to make sure all of the numbers truly work for a BRRRR. But let’s say you can get this house for $30k and it needs an additional $30k in renovations. You use your own money, private money or hard money for the initial purchase and rehab (also lots of funding options I will also save for another post).

You know from looking at comps in the area (not houses for sale, but comparable houses that have already sold recently) that the ARV, or “after repair value” is around $100k. You have also checked average rents in the area, and know it will rent for $1,000 a month. So, after you rehab it and rent it out, then you go to a traditional bank for a cash out refinance on the property at $75k, and you pay yourself or your private money lender back and you now have none of your own money tied up in the deal and have acquired an asset with 25% instant equity. You have a tenant placed and are now cashflowing a few hundred bucks a month after your mortgage/expenses. You also walk away with a $7,500-10,000 profit (after closing/holding costs).

You keep repeating this process until you get to your buy and hold end game number, whatever that is for you. Work until the cashflow covers your monthly expenses to live, then you can sit back and enjoy your time freedom from your rental portfolio, or you never quit…completely up to you. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

I know I’ve simplified the process, but that was my intent. There are a TON of resources out there, including lots of investors using this strategy and sharing their successes/learnings, lots of podcasts, and even some books, so go do your research and dive deeper to fully understand. I would also love to hear input from others out there who are ice cold BRRRR experts. I just love this strategy and I hope sharing from my real estate investing toolkit will help you either get interested in getting into real estate, or help you to strengthen your current investing game.

No more tampons..period

Let me tell you something that’s going to blow your mind. I used tampons for a good 20 years of my life, and much like all the other topics I write about, I did it because everyone else was and I literally didn’t know there was another way. Sure there are pads if you want to throwback to your diaper days and feel disgusting for a week out of every month..ummm..hard pass. I still remember in great detail my struggles as a teen learning how to install my first tampon with the super unhelpful directions and diagrams that come with the box. Even after twenty years of practice, it still never felt like it was installed right. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

Imagine my surprise about four years back when another woman casually mentioned to me her menstrual cup. Ummm..excuse me..are you getting a drink for your vagina or something?? WTF is a menstrual cup?? Better yet, why has nobody told me, your fellow woman, in all these many menstrating years, that there were other options?? I felt like y’all have been holding out on me, and I don’t want anyone else to go even one more cycle without the period knowledge I’m about to flow upon you. Because the menstrual cup is a GAME CHANGER. πŸ’ƒπŸ»

How a menstrual cup will change you:

1. Comfort-Seriously..nothing like the feeling of inserting a tampon on a light flow day and having the experience of pulling that bad boy out at the end of the day..ouch. Also, the leaking..the freaking leaking..why do I even bother with wearing it if it’s still going to ruin my underwear? Don’t worry..these are concerns that I have never had with my menstrual cup!!

2. Better Periods-Because if you’re going to have one every month for 40ish years, might as well make it your best version right? I swear that my periods have been shorter and lighter since I stopped using tampons. Also, the cramps are almost gone and bloating has decreased a lot. I really think a lot of period symptoms are due to all the tampons laced with chemicals. ☠️

3. TSS-See my above mention of the chemical and dye soup that is just begging to attract bacteria into your body from tampons. Also, I used to get UTI’s and yeast infections and haven’t had not a single damn one since I stopped wearing tampons four or so years ago. Coincidence? I think not. πŸ’β€β™€οΈ

4. Convenience-I used to change tampons every 2-4 hours, and first I had to find another tampon, go buy one if I’m out, and sometimes the only option is the gas station sandpaper ones, and then next was go install it and find a trash bin for the applicator and wrapper. Now I simply just have to bring myself and my cup, and only empty it out every twelve hours. So I do it when I wake up and when I get home..that’s it. I’ve never had it leak during a run or downward dog, and no it doesn’t look like a murder scene when I empty it like the menstrual cup memes make you think. I’ve had one incident where I spilled, and I cleaned that shit up like a good murderer and went about my day. No evidence. No big deal. I would however advise you to leave your four year old son out of the public bathroom with you if you need to empty, because well, they have questions, and loud voices, and they tell EVERYTHING to EVERYONE.

5. Mother Earth-Did you know that each of us menstrating women generates 1,000 lbs of waste in our lifetime from tampons, and the applicators take 500 years to break down?! Ditch the tampons for the turtles!

6. Money-If you go through the average 12,000 tampons in your lifetime, then you will also spend around $4,000 in total. Go get you a $30 menstrual cup that will last you ten years, and invest the rest. Throw that money into a Roth IRA instead of a landfill. πŸ’°

Alright..I know you have questions and I’m not shy..so ask away. πŸ˜‰

And if you’re sold like I was..link below to change your menstrual life today!

https://amzn.to/2ITT9VZ

Rental House #2 Details

Our newest tenant moved in on October 1st, so I figured it would be a good time to stop slacking and post the details. This one has a funny story with it. House #1 we bought on location location location, and house #2 is no different, being an adorable 2/1 that’s walking distance to a cute downtown with shops and lots of activities like a farmers market on the weekend. Turns out I totally have a type. πŸ˜‚

First off..let’s talk money, because I know y’all are nosey like me..lol. Since we are paying the mortgage on house #1 out of our own money. (we no longer have daycare, so replaced that payment with the mortgage payment) This allowed us to use the rent funds from house #1 to fund the down payment of house #2. Our tenant for house #1 had paid the whole year up front, which was around $10,000, so talk about creative ways to leverage other people’s money. I decided to put that money to work, instead of letting it just sit in our account being lazy. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

We found house #2 and put an offer back in June that was like $12k under asking, but a fair offer based on comps in the area. They didn’t accept it, and they ended up having someone else back out due to finances falling through. I found out because I was creeping online looking for the next deal and saw it pop back up on MLS. Funny part, they ended up dropping the price to the same amount we originally offered. So we decreased our offer by a few grand, and the seller accepted it. Should have just accepted our first one. πŸ’β€β™€οΈ

So total purchase price was $86k and we put 15% down, so around $13k to closing and our monthly mortgage payment is $595. We are renting it out for $875, so around $225 cash flow after mortgage and property management. For the property manager, we will pay around $50 a month, and one month rent for the initial showings and tenant screening. We didn’t have much of anything to do or money to spend to get rent ready, besides a whole lot of magic erasering and replacing the nasty toilet. 🀒

The tenant did ask if she could install a garage door opener (with her own money) and we told her no that we would not only cover it, but we would send our guy to do the install. She works crazy shifts and said she would feel safer being able to pull right in late at night. I honestly didn’t even notice it didn’t already have an opener and felt bad. Before she moved in, I did get a bid for converting the one car garage to a bedroom and think I will save up the cash flow to pay for that renovation after this tenant. We may even get crazy and attempt this project on our own. πŸ˜‰

A few things I learned through this one.

1. Life was really busy when we got this one, so I enjoyed not having a lot of random little details like trim painting or landscaping or really anything to do, but I also feel like I’m ready to roll up the sleeves on the next one. πŸ’ͺ🏼

2. I am excited about the potential to increase the value and rent through adding a bedroom. It would only take about 2 1/2 years to recoup the project expense through increased rent, and that doesn’t even cover the added value that we could then use to BRRRR, just with a few of the r’s switched around in there. 😜

3. I’m so glad to have started the tenant move in baskets. It went over well and sets a good first impression for under $20.

4. I am feeling a little uncertain about the property management portion, and think we have learned a lot since we first started. I know we can handle on our own and my husband thinks opposite. So I’m working on my persuasive speech for self management on the next one (I can’t wait to report back on who wins this one).

5. I am ready for the next deal..since you know my type..who’s got it??

Seven FREE Apps to help you become stress free

Ok..so my title may be a little misleading..since becoming stress free is likely impossible. But I needed to get your attention and it sounded catchier than seven free ways to reduce stress. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

You guys..it’s 2019 and we KNOW that we are all living with a more demanding schedule causing a more stressful life AND it has been proven to have an impact on our health. Some studies say that as many as 80% of people are feeling both physical and psychological effects of stress, such as fatigue, headache, stomachache, muscle tension, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and sleep disturbances, just to name a few. Do you currently feel stressed?

I keep talking about minimizing the demands on your time and that as a society we need to stop glorifying “being busy” as a status symbol of success, but are you listening?! We also need to start ditching unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drugs, cigarettes, over or under eating, alcohol and my personal favorite..the art of ignoring your stressors until you have a nervous breakdown.

You guys..can we please try to be proactive instead of reactive already?! I’m not begging you, but pretty damn close, because this is that important!! I’m even going to make it easy and convenient and FREE for you, so that takes away all of your excuses. Here are seven tools and/or apps to keep in your back pocket, and you should be at minimum doing 2-3 of these things in your day to day, and holding on to the rest for those extra stressful days.

1. Headspace-this app reminds me of Notorious BIG and the song Hypnotize. 🎢 sometimes your words just hypnotize me 🎢 This app has helped to hypnotize me both to get to sleep at bedtime, and then back to sleep middle of the night when my brain was ready to party. 🧠

2. YouTube yoga videos-there are SO many videos that it’s likely you could watch a new video each day for the rest of your life. Depending on you and your unique coping, you may need either a restorative gentle video or an intense vinyasa flow. Or maybe you fall in the middle..but just don’t fall in the group that doesn’t take advantage of the free yoga available and go get you some zen! πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

3. Journaling-Daylio, Jour and Reflectly seem like good journaling apps, or if you’re like me, you can always just grab one of those random notebooks around your house and write it out (don’t act like you don’t have a hundred of them).

4. Music-ok so my AppleMusic isn’t free, but the radio is, or YouTube music videos, or Spotify or Pandora. Make yourself a few playlists..one for high stress and needing some good vibes and high energy, and another for relaxing music to calm your soul.

5. Walking/Running-no app required..just the outdoors or a treadmill. But if you’re looking for coaching, the C25K app or the Nike Run Club are both apps I love and use!! Bonus points for grabbing a dog to take with you, they get stressed to you know.

6. Daily affirmations-I have an app called affirmations, and it’s one of the first things I look at on my phone after I’m up and moving in the morning. I get a new one everyday, and it’s just that daily reminder that you are a bad ass and can handle any of life’s stresses today, so bring it.

7. Reading-I use the Libby app., which syncs with my library card and gets me free ebooks and audiobooks. Nothing like feeling stressed and taking a moment to forget it all and get lost in a good book.

These are all ways to ditch stress and get back to being awesome.

How do you manage stress?

Lifestyle Choices

This is going to be one of the hardest topics yet to cover at a very high level and also my first mention of FIRE in my writings (financial independence retire early). My goal is just to inform you of two choices and get you rethinking, especially if you feel like you don’t have choices and are stuck in your current financial position. I am by no means claiming to be an expert on the topic or to get into the HOW in this post. I have just dabbled with both lifestyles mentioned and I feel like there are not enough people (especially women) who are thinking about or providing information on the topic..so looks like you are stuck with me. 😜

The above picture is the best way I could summarize the concept of lifestyle creep. For now, as mentioned, this is just to introduce you to the topic, so I have a few stats and thought provoking questions to hopefully do so.

First..the stats tell an alarming story. I recently read in this USA Today article https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/34378157 that the average household is bringing in around $75,000 annually, and of that, they are spending 90% of it, which equates to $67,500 outgoing and only around $7,500 extra annually. (which the article states a lot of this is going towards interest payments on consumer debt). This breaks down to $5,625 in expenses each month and $625 extra. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room and helps paint a picture as to why people aren’t putting anything or very little towards saving, investing, emergency funds and retirement. 😳

Essentially pointing out that people are living a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. I don’t know that this was a surprise to any of us, but it may be a surprise that people are making the choice everyday with their actions and spending habits to live this way. Disclaimer that there are people living in poverty, so for the sake of my post, I am referring to the middle class mentioned above.

Now on to the questions. Feel free to answer in comments if you want to share, or just answer to yourself or as an internal conversation or with your significant other. Keep it real because denial is a great way to protect yourself from the truth right now, but long term in fact it just ends up hurting you more.

1) Are you living paycheck to paycheck like the scenario mentioned above?

2) Have you noticed that no matter what you do, you just can’t get ahead?

3) Do you receive regular raises or have you changed jobs to make additional money over the course of your career, yet you aren’t seeing a difference in your monthly budget after expenses because they always seem to match what’s coming in?

4) Do you ever pay attention to how much you spend on conveniences like pre-made food, someone to mow your lawn, someone to clean that big house, someone to wash that new car, someone to groom your dog, someone to do your hair/nails/makeup, etc because you are too busy working to do these things?

5) Have you ever wondered why things are like this for you and probably a lot of people you know, yet it’s still a taboo topic to discuss money, so everyone just keeps working harder and staying in the vicious cycle mentioned above?

6) What will happen if you change nothing and keep following this path?

Please reference the above picture as you are going through these questions to see if lifestyle creep has found a way to creep into your life. Remember..be honest.

Next, know that there is another option. As mentioned above, lifestyle creep is a choice and I’ve said this so many times on purpose. So many think they have no choice unless they make more money and this is far from the truth.

Lifestyle creep is a path that many in our society have walked and not challenged until recent years. Here are some questions to ask yourself and see if you’re one of those ready to challenge the traditional path and choose a different way.

1) What upsets you the most about always being broke and living paycheck to paycheck?

2) How has constantly feeling stressed from working so much and not having any money to show for it affected you?

3) What are your values and what are you spending your money on? Do they line up?

4) What are your passions and what do you dream about doing?

5) What could change if you have an open mind and put in the work, I mean really put in the work, to change your current financial path and mindset? Think of one quick and easy way you can change today.

6) What will happen if you start to live a lifestyle designed by you instead of others?

As mentioned, a lot of people have started looking at the above stats and questions, and are starting to make the decision to customize their lifestyle based on their own unique values, not what society tells them to value. Spoiler alert..it’s not through making more money as mentioned above..it has never been about that. It’s about a lifestyle of being content with only those things that bring you value. Luckily, it usually don’t cost anything at all, just the basics needed like food, shelter, experiences and none of the extra crap. 😊

Don’t get this lifestyle design twisted with a life of going without, because it’s actually the opposite of that. You have room for so much more when you let go of stupid shit.

Well..shocker..I have lots more to say but I’ve said enough for one day. What are your thoughts or questions on the two different paths mentioned above?

Where’s me lucky charms πŸ€

Another of my go to food prep containers and I have a few more to bring your way in the next few weeks. This is another amazingly easy container for making breakfast for breakfast or breakfast for lunch. I know I know..cereal has sugar..and also I don’t care. Look Karen..If you don’t like what we’re eating over here, then don’t sit by us at the lunch table. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

I’m not telling anyone to eat cereal every day for a meal..so lighten up a little and think of it as a treat once in a while. This container would also be great for oatmeal/granola or yogurt/berries, or rice/beans, or soup/crackers..the possibilities are endless honestly. It even has built in ice pack and is microwave safe. Basically great for anything you want to be separated at one point in time, but then mixed together at a later time to form a delicious meal. πŸ₯£

If you want to be like me and not be like Karen..then follow the link below..and go get you some cereal and milk in bulk at Costco. πŸ˜‰