Apology for Lack of Posting

Sorry for the lack of posts, guys! I feel really bad. It’s seriously a goal of mine to blog every [week] day, and I’ve failed at that this week. I am moving tomorrow and have been making preparations for that.

But in the middle of this move I have learned A LOT about life and money and growing up. Basically–life takes a lot of money. But it doesn’t have to take all of it. Remember….

Wealth = What you earn – What you spend

There are several things I am going to blog about I’ve learned this week so be on the look out!

I also figured my net worth today for the first time. (Crazy, huh?) I’ll blog on that too. It’s quite interesting. I’m looking forward to doing it every 2 weeks and seeing it grow. Does any of you calculate your net worth at all? I’d like to hear how you do it and how it motivates you.

Thanks for being awesome, everyone! Hope you have a great weekend. And remember what this Easter weekend is all about. 🙂

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Savings Goals: Laptops vs White Boards

We all know what this is. You’re probably sitting at one right now. And it’s made all of our lives better. Right? The computer.

I do the majority of my financial stuff on a laptop connected to the internet. I use online banking to transfer money and check account balances. I use Google Docs to hold my budget, savings goals and deadlines, a list of regular bill amounts and due dates, and other financial information. It’s convenient, really. To pick up a small device and be able to access all of that information in a few minutes and make any changes necessary and then be on my merry way.

But I started getting frustrated a couple of weeks ago. I have an excel document that holds all of my savings goals for the next couple of years and then I have it outlined (basically) how I will reach those goals. It’s in detail for the year 2010 and in general for the following years. But for some reason looking at those on a screen was just not satisfying me–plus, there were a lot of “little” things I wanted to buy with cash that I didn’t put on there because they didn’t seem important enough.

And for the life of me I couldn’t get the spreadsheet to look just the way I wanted it to. Computers can only do so much, you know.

So what did I do? I pulled out the white board. I’m pretty sure I just THINK better when I have to hand-write instead of type.

Once I found a dry-erase marker I was at it. I could put things wherever I wanted, however I wanted and it was so easy to change. I know spreadsheets aren’t hard to change, but I think I was just beginning to feel limited by my small screen. I wanted to see everything for the next few months in one glance as far as it came to making purchases I am saving for. There were items, dollar amounts, dates and current totals listed and everything seemed to be sooo much more organized.

I feel so much more free now. I don’t know about you but there’s nothing like getting things in order that takes any stress that I had completely off. Call me old-fashioned but this white board method just soooo worked for me. Who knows, maybe it won’t last but a couple of days but being able to see all of it right there and being able to change it in my own handwriting whenever I wanted to brought me a sense of control that I didn’t have when I was putting them all on the spreadsheet.

Maybe I’m crazy but what I’m trying to say is just do what works for you.

There are countless gurus out there who will tell you, “This is the way you do this” and “This is the way you organize your finances (or your life for that matter).” But none of that really matters if it doesn’t work. Find what works for you and then do it! It will save you time, money and energy.

Computers work for me–most of the time. But for savings goals I’d rather have it on the computer AND on my handwritten white board where I can, literally, touch it. 😉

What about you? Do you prefer computers or hand-written boards or pieces of paper when organizing? Do you have any efficient non-conventional methods of planning you can share with the rest of us?

Juggling It All

I remember there was this time when I was young when I found myself whining, “I’m boooooooooooooooored” to my mom and dad. It usually happened about 2 weeks into summer when I was tired of doing all of the “out-of-school-summer-fun” already. But it probably happened on the weekends too. I just didn’t know what to do with myself!

My how things have changed! I can’t remember the last time I said those words now. There’s just so much to do! Always. I am fairly certain I could keep myself occupied for 24 hours out of the 24 hour day if I could. Sometimes I hate sleep.

Our hours are filled with working, playing, learning, relating, eating, sleeping and a thing I like to call bettering. 😉 But whatever our hours are filled up with there’s one thing that is for sure–we don’t want to drop any of these. There may be seasons when we have to focus a little bit less on a certain area but we have to keep them in our lives regardless of how busy we are because that’s why they are there in the first place: they’re important to us.

So we juggle.

I juggle.
Today I juggled the fact it was a Monday with the fact I am moving this Saturday with the fact I had to be at work for 8 1/2 hours with the fact I want to spend time with my family with the fact American Idol was on tonight with the fact that since I am moving this weekend I need to get all my homework done before then with the fact my eyes hurt from already looking at a computer all day with the fact it’s such a beautiful day I just want to go outside with the fact I didn’t write a blog this morning so I want to tonight with the fact I got a new cell phone and I just want to play with it!

It could seem like it’s all so much that something’s got to give. But…it doesn’t. Necessarily. All of it’s possible. And yes, it’s a struggle, but when you set your mind and heart to it you can handle anything. And you can handle it well.

But it won’t just happen. We have to make it happen.

We have to set priorities and plans. Even if that’s a quick jot-down in the morning of what you want to do that day and how you’re going to get it all done. When you get into a routine like this the juggling becomes less and less of a struggle and more and more of an enjoyment. You feel satisfied. Accomplished. Energized. Ready to move forward some more.

We don’t have to give up things we love for other things we love or certain goals for other goals. We can handle more than we think we can…and we can handle it with a smile and with poise. 😉

How do you juggle everything in your life and keep a right heart at the same time?

It’s Possible

The more I really listen and tune my ear to what other people are saying and thinking, I realize that some people just don’t think it’s possible. They don’t think it’s possible to enjoy their work. Or lose that weight. Or have that much in savings. Or retire wealthy. Or buy that car. Or travel the world. Or start that business.

But it is. Whoever told you it wasn’t possible was very, very wrong.

Because it starts with a dream. And dreaming is always possible.

We have to give ourselves the time to dream though. Otherwise we get stuck in the day-to-day, the paycheck to paycheck, the year to year. And before we know it we realize we’ve done enough to get by but we haven’t done what we’re meant to do or what we always wanted to do.

So today’s the day to take the time.

It’s as easy.

1. Get to a quiet spot and turning off your cell phone and computer.
2. Pull out a pen and paper. (My favorite brainstorming/dreaming tool is the Moleskine Ruled Notebook Soft Cover Large.)
3. Write down everything that comes to your mind–EVERYTHING. You can always go back and cross out your bogus ones (like appearing on Sesame Street. 😉

This will give you a starting point. One you can add to and look on often. And one you can turn to when you’re ready to start planning to make one of those things happen.

Have you made one of these lists? How has it helped you start to live the life you really want to live?

Quick Tip Savings Calculator

Ok, this isn’t rocket science or anything, but sometimes we just don’t think about everything we’re spending money on.

Personally, I think I’m finally getting the picture of how far a dollar can really go. It goes further than we think. Especially when we add that dollar to another dollar and then those 2 dollars to other dollars. And then we invest them and it multiplies. 😉 So cool.

I ran across this “Quick Tip Savings Calculator” on GoBankingRates.com and thought I’d share. It’s nothing you couldn’t figure out w/ a pen and paper, but it will make you think.

Check it out here.

I had to say “no” to a few things cause I am already doing them but what I had to say yes to was:

1. Lower your thermostat. (I haven’t actually had to deal with this yet since I don’t pay the electric bill but I will starting next month! But I love being warm. I know I can wear more clothes to save a few dollars every month!)

2. Play the market: wisely use coupons. (I have just started realizing coupons actually save money. I thought the time it took to cut them out wasn’t worth it but if you use coupons on things you already normally buy you’ll save money. Don’t use them for things you wouldn’t buy if you didn’t have the coupon. That is called “spending money to save money,” and it doesn’t work well. =)

3. Go green-Convert to energy-efficient bulbs. (I don’t know much about energy-efficient bulbs but maybe you do? I’m guessing they cost more but maybe last longer? Does anyone know how that works?)

That’s all I could work on, and if I did it could potentially save me $165 a month. Wow. If that’s true then I’m definitely taking the extra time to do them.

What could you do differently and how much would it save you??

I’m MOVING!

After working full-time for 4 months and being on a waiting list with a certain apartment complex for 3 months, I am now officially moving. It will be the first time I “really” move out of my parents house. I went away for a couple of years after high school, but I told them to keep my room “my room” so I could come back. This time it’s more official since I have a job and am aiming to become completely on my own.

It’s bitter-sweet for sure, but I think it’s the right move for me right now. There are several things to take care of when moving out for the first time (or even moving at all!)

1. Get rid of junk
2. Take inventory of everything you own for insurance purposes
3. Organize papers and loose documents
4.  Update your budget to reflect new/different expenses, etc.
5.  If reasonable, get certain things moved into your own name instead of your parents. 😉
6.  Put things away in an organized and understandable fashion.
7. Compare costs of different things and cut unnecessary expenses.
8. Be confident you can make it on your own and make decisions that will lead to success!

Any other suggestions for me or for others? What are some good tasks to take on during a move?

Getting Things Done

For those with big dreams and big plans there is always “something else” that needs to be done. Whether it’s sell another item on eBay or reader another book or take another test or write another blog, the list never ends but the time in the day does!

I’m not an expert on Getting Things Done (yet!) but I spent some time with a guy who does (well, I read his book which is basically like spending time with him!) and I really believe my productivity and efficiency level increased by leaps and bounds (more realistically it was at least 200%.)

His name is David Allen and he’s the author of the book, “Getting Things Done.” (Buy it on Amazon Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
) None of us are such experts at life that we can’t use a little help. And what is awesome about this book is it crosses all different areas of life. It can apply to your career, personal life, finances, grocery shopping, absolutely everything!

The key idea Allen expresses over and over is the concept of writing things down and getting everything from out of your head and onto paper. Keeping it in your head will only keep you stressed out and feeling busy all the time though you may not actually be getting anything done. When you write it down you can forget about it until you purposefully go back and look at your paper.

Sounds simple but it’s truly life-changing. For those wanting to move forward in life and not stay stagnant it’s a must-read.

That’s it for today. Happy Monday!! Have a great week and live it on purpose!

Do you have any keys to getting things done?? Please share!