Money Update #3: Reaching My Financial Goals

The awesome website pmexplore.com was kind enough to share an article that I wrote about minimalism and food. Head over to pmexplore.com to check it out as well as dig into the other great stuff offered. 


This week I want to share with you where I am in terms of reaching the goals I set out for myself this month and more of what I’ve been learning.

I’m going to share with you each goal I set for myself and where I am in reaching that goal and my next steps.

1. How to streamline and minimize monthly expenses:

To streamline expenses, one of my goals for this week will be to set up automatic transfers to pay certain bills online.

To minimize expenses I will look into car insurance rates and reducing amount of money budgeted to categories like clothes and home decor. I hope to find what I need or want at second hand shops for less money as well.

I also will use the cash envelope system for food, gas, pet supplies, and fun stuff.

2. How to still have fun while saving money:

I am allowing myself some spending money each month for dining out or entertainment type stuff. I will use the cash envelope system and choose activities wisely.

It's helpful to remember that being conservative now will help me save up a full emergency fund which will then allow me to start saving for retirement and investing, which will set me up for a more comfortable future and retirement.

3. What I need to have a savings account for emergencies, for fun, and for retirement:

Emergency fund: I opened up another checking account through my bank which I can        withdraw from if need be, but it is not as easy to get this money out as it would be if it were in my standard checking account. I am and will continue to contribute to this fund on a weekly basis although the amount might vary month to month depending on what else is going on that month.

Fun: I mentioned last week that I opened a savings account to save money for a trip. After reading more of Dave Ramsey’s book, I think I should really save up a full emergency fund before contributing any precious savings money to a trip fund. So that’s what I’ll do. I just did my budget for October and I’m still giving myself some money to spend on fun stuff like restaurants and clothing.

Retirement: Dave also says to build the full emergency fund before starting to save for retirement. When it is time to start a retirement fund, I will do more research on the types of plans and accounts that are best for this. Dave gives us a lot of information in his book, “Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money” but it will mean much more when I’m actually ready to take the advice.

4. How, what, and why to invest.

As I just mentioned, I’m not quite at this point yet in my financial journey and when I have my full emergency fund I will take a closer look at this. 

 

To summarize, what I’m working on is spending less and saving more. In addition to spending less money, in order expedite the process of saving up the full emergency fund, I am considering picking up some extra work and have a couple things I’d like to sell. 

I’d love to hear about your financial goals and if you have any other strategies for expediting the emergency fund saving!

Megan

Decluttering Progress: Part I

Last week my boyfriend and I had a conversation about our ideal home situations and what we needed to do to make them more of a reality. 

If you’re interested in that conversation, you can check it out below:

We both want a clean, simple, organized, and personal home that is as functional as it is cozy

We both found some photos that represented our ideal homes. 

Matt’s photos:

My photos:

I think we’re lucky to agree on so many aspects of a home.

So the next step was to make a plan.

We decided to start by decluttering the basement and the bedroom. 

In the basement we have/had a lot of junk. Some of the junk was there when we moved in like paintings, fishing rods, a weird mattress thing, a desk, a clothes rack, buckets of some junk, another desk, and an air conditioner. 

We also have some clothes we forgot about, DVDs, CDs, books books books, and a guinea pig cage no one should use because it’s weird and too small.

On the other hand, we have stuff down there that we actually use. A cat carrier, laundry supplies, tools, extra dishes for when we have company, Matt’s band stuff, and painting supplies. 

The main issue with the bedroom was that Matt had a lot of clothes he didn’t wear that he needed to sort through so that he’d have more room to store the clothes he does wear.

The first step in decluttering the basement was to organize the items into piles: trash, donate, sell, keep, not sure yet. 

The subsequent steps are to throw away the trash, haul the donate stuff to Goodwill, sell the sell stuff, and find a home for the items we want to keep and decide what to do with the ‘I don’t knows’.

We are in this phase now.

The bedroom however, is in pretty good shape. Matt took the clothes he didn’t want anymore to Goodwill and has organized the clothes he wants to keep. We might need a better solution for his shoes. 

Decluttering a home can be a little stressful. It’s sometimes hard to get rid of your own things for sure, but I think it can even tougher to talk about it with your partner and get to a place where both people feel good about the plan. Matt and I are pretty lucky to be on mostly the same page.

The final and never-ending step would be limiting what comes into the home. It’s easy to fall into the habit of buying for reasons that aren’t really good enough if a decluttered home is the goal. 

Good enough reasons for me to buy something:

  1. it’s a necessity
  2. it’s going to last a really, really long time
  3. it will bring me joy for a really, really long time

Bad reasons for me to buy something:

  1. it will give me a rush for the rest of the day or week
  2. boredom
  3. to be cool

I will continue to share as we continue to make progress on our home and work toward our goals. 

What is your ideal home situation? What can you do today to start making that a reality? What are you waiting for? 

Finding The Perfect Wardrobe & My Personal Style

I really like knowing what I’m going to wear. There is a thing called decision fatigue. It's why Steve Jobs wore the same thing every day. He saved his decision making power for more important matters.

I usually know what I’m going to wear because I only have a handful of each item in my wardrobe that I currently enjoy wearing. So it’s always just a combination of those things. They say most people wear 20% of their wardrobe. So why not only keep the 20% and donate or sell the rest?

These items are comfortable, good for work and/or hanging out, and I think they look pretty nice. But they’re not perfect and some of them are starting to look a little bit worn. Most of these items were purchased at UNIQLO, a department store, or a thrift store. 

I’m working on investing in some clothing that is sustainably, ethically, and humanely made. (That’s a whole other blog post.) I’m using the INTO-MIND “Personal Style & The Perfect Wardrobe” workbook to help me discover my personal style and my perfect wardrobe. I want to feel awesome in all of my clothes. It’s funny that I feel like I have to use an 85 page workbook to do so. But hey, it’s a great workbook and I really need to see things step by step and on paper. I think if I put in the effort now, the reward will be long lasting and so worth it.

I like the idea of capsule wardrobes, where you have a small amount of pieces that fit your lifestyle and work well together. Some people have a capsule wardrobe for each season, some have two per year, and some I think create one capsule wardrobe for the entire year. Some people do 33 pieces per capsule wardrobe. Some people have more or less. I will see what feels right for me.

I think it makes the most sense to take my time creating one capsule wardrobe for the entire year. I want to own less and really get a lot of use out of each piece, especially if I’m going to be investing more money in each.

This means I will also have to take better care of my clothes, not letting them sit in the dryer for days to be wrinkled and then ironed. I think I will be more motivated to keep them nice because I will basically be in a long term relationship with them, having spent more money on them and loving them and all that…

What’s your wardrobe philosophy? Do you have one? Do you think you need one? Do you care about looking put together? Do you wear clothes? Come on people, let's talk.

When Your Partner/Housemate Isn’t Into Decluttering

This house is too much for me.

I can’t keep up.

The guinea pigs, the floors, the dishes, the laundry, the bathroom, the clutter.

I went through all of my things in April using the KonMari method and asked myself whether or not each item sparked joy. (There are some things in the basement that I didn’t include, like extra kitchen dishes and spices. I need to go through these things to eliminate clutter down there.)

I got rid of a lot of things that didn’t spark joy.

However, not all the systems I set up have lasted. This clearly means I need some new systems and places to put things away and perhaps even to further declutter my personal things.

I want to encourage my partner by being an example and show what it’s like to live without clutter. I think it’s just hard to see through all of the other clutter. 


We are pretty busy. By busy, I mean we like to do things and we have jobs. 

What we don’t like spending our time doing is cleaning up.

A piece of this puzzle is that permanently decluttering provides that clarity and space to actually clean the house regularly. 

If we spend so much time putting things away, we don’t have much will power left to devote to cleaning the house.

So I’m trying to think of things I can do that benefit us both, without coming off as pushy or preachy.

  1. I can do it. People say, “If you want something done, do it yourself.” I agree. It’s a little bit tougher when what you want to do is to someone else’s things. I can make some piles and organize and when he has the time he can go through them. This might show what the place could look like if there were less things. 
  2. I can better develop my own systems of storing my items in hopes of inspiring change. 
  3. I can give up my dream of having a clutter free home.
  4. Just kidding I can’t do that. I WILL NEVER GIVE UP.

If I do something that helps, I will let you know.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? If so, please give me some insight!

What I Loved in August

This past month of August, I have loved a few things that I want to share with you.


1. "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. 

A book about the ancient Toltec wisdom with the power to change your life for the better.

The agreement that I am most working on living by is don't take anything personally. I'm a serial take everything personally kind of girl. At least that's the story I've always told myself. This book gave me permission (that I didn't need) to not take anything personally as long as I'm not hurting anyone. If I hit someone in the face and that person is mad at me, I think I should take it personally.

2. Banana Island

Eating in a simplified way to try to heal my digestion. For 6 days I ate all bananas and some greens. I am slowly transitioning to a Raw Til 4 lifestyle.

Two years ago I ate Raw Til 4: a high carb, low fat, mostly raw vegan diet. I did it wrong. I ate too much rice and pasta, didn't drink enough water, and rarely exercised. My body said no. 

Now I eat Raw Til 4, with plenty of water, exercise, and no sticky pasta or rice and my body is saying yes. I can't wait to see how I feel in months to come!

3. Keeping the Kitchen Manageable

4. "The Punk Singer" & "What Happened, Miss Simone?"

"The Punk Singer" is a film about musician and feminist Kathleen Hanna. My main takeaway from the documentary is to be kind to other ladies, work together, support each other, uplift each other, and realize that women are the best so let's just be the best together. 

 

"What Happened, Miss Simone?" is a film about jazz musician and activist Nina Simone. She had a very interesting and important life, much of which coincided with the Civil Rights Movement. She was one of the greatest entertainers of our time and her influence is felt through more than just her music.

 

5. Into-Mind.com

http://into-mind.com

Arguably the only resource anyone needs to create their perfect wardrobe! Beautifully done, at that.

 

What were your August favorites? Please share!

 

A Storage Update: Storing Clothing the KonMari Way

I just wanted to show you how I'm currently storing my clothes, according to Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." I had previously been storing them in a way that made it impossible to maintain. 

I also filmed a very short update video:

Storing my clothes this way has reduced the amount that has ended up on my floor and couch - clean or dirty.

pants, leggings, tights, socks, sleepwear, extra tees, underwear, bras, & swimwear - some contained in shoe boxes

pants, leggings, tights, socks, sleepwear, extra tees, underwear, bras, & swimwear - some contained in shoe boxes

shoes, bags, books, inbox, jewelry & essential oils, more books & paper file folder, hair care, more books, & work out equipment

shoes, bags, books, inbox, jewelry & essential oils, more books & paper file folder, hair care, more books, & work out equipment

In the book, she writes that you'll know when the amount of things you own and the way you are storing those things "clicks" into place by how easy it is for you to maintain it. I think I'm on my way, but hope to get rid of some more of the clothes I still don't wear and invest in some higher quality, more versatile pieces. 

clothing rack with jackets, robe, skirts, dresses, & tops

clothing rack with jackets, robe, skirts, dresses, & tops

In the upcoming month or two I will be building a capsule wardrobe for the cooler seasons.

Do you have a capsule wardrobe or want to build one? If so, how many pieces do you want to include? Please let me know in a comment.