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Friday, September 30, 2011

What's on Your Checklist?

Daily Checklist-Keeping Goal Oriented One Check at a time
(1)         List on Ebay/etsy                                                  O
(2)         Write-Tweet-Blog                                                 O
(3)         Exercise-Outdoors-Fit tv-Walk-jog-Bike           O    
(4)         Dinner from Scratch                                             O       
(5)         Clean Indoors ½ hour                                          O
(6)         Yard work-Outdoors ½ hour                               O
(7)         Drink 8 glasses of water                                      O
(8)         Eat less fat and sugar-more vegetables            O
(9)         Write down ALL expenses                                   O
(10)    Have Meaningful Conversation                             O
Gather your thoughts. Get a pencil, and list 10 items that absolutely need to become a part of your routine. (Pencils have erasers) Print out your sheet. Put one on the fridge, mirror, or vanity where you can see it every day. Simply check it off. It is only 10 items. We can do it.
   

Thursday, September 29, 2011

October Restock


                                                                                                                                 Photo by Tammy Bennett

Restock for October.
During the last 2 days of the no spend month I’ve been thinking……how am I ever going to have enough for the next month of October if I don’t restock? Yesterday I went to the store and <gulp> restocked. I felt guilty spending $96. That hasn’t happened in almost a month! I was able to restock everything for that amount! We now have lots of fish, chicken, beef, pork, vegetables, bread, dairy, makings for dessert and snacks. So I shouldn’t feel too bad. The meat was extremely on sale! Had to purchase at those prices!
We are ready to go for another 4 weeks.  I’m upping the amount in the envelopes to $20 day. I’m wondering what the total looks like for the month with this plan.
·    20x 7= $140wk x 4 weeks=$ 560 month. Plus one $100 purchase to restock at the end.  So it comes out to like $660 a month.  That sounds like a lot….Should I take another look at what I’m doing?
What does that leave for the emergency fund?  If you have “it” should you spend “it”? NO! I don’t think so! We really love the feeling of freedom of spending way less than what we make! It’s the items that we were not expecting that seem to be keeping us from our emergency fund goal.
Onward! So I’m spending $140 a week for food, gas, and fun.  How do I bring that amount into the house? That is the question. If we were to offset the amount going out it would be all of the better. Maybe EBay and Gazelle?  Time to reduce the “STUFF” and make some extra….First items on the list are suits and designer purses!
We’re at least leaning towards an emergency fund increase of $1,000, with $500 deposited for the month of September. Going to try again for $1,000 in October!
Blessings as we approach the month of October….and the downsizing mission.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No Spend Challenge-Final 3 days

          "Traveling to LBI to Watch the Fishing Boats bring in their Catch." ~Tammy
4th week of the No Spend Challenge. Running out of necessary items in the cupboards and fridge. We still have plenty in the freezer. The notepad on the fridge reads:
  • cream cheese
  • coffee
  • water
  • cheddar cheese
  • mozzarella
  • milk
  • bread
  • popcorn
...and the list gets longer the more I look for missing items. I guess that it wasn't going to stay full for ever. 

Do you think it may be possible to up the envelopes to $20 and still not go for a full load of groceries? Just to continue to replenish the "Fridge pad list" purchase only the items needed, and not just buy boxed items that are "on sale". Sometimes coupons are fantastic, but other times I really believe that I don't need another tube of toothpaste (when I already have 15) if it is going to cost me even .25 cents. A good deal if we're not going to use an item, or it is going to cost us for convenience (Boxed pre-packaged) when double the amount could be made for cheaper from scratch.

Is it possible to save on utilities? How much does it cost when a light is left on all day? Are there alternative routes to the utilities that we now use? Wondering if we could have a November of Little House on the Prairie style living.....candles, lanterns, limited electricity use....no television....limited computer time....more activities outdoors. How much would that save? Does anyone use a drying rack instead of an electric dryer?

Going to the shore soon to watch the fishing boats bringing in their catch, while contemplating the answers.....
  • October -Downsize closets and dressers. Continue with Envelope System $20 Day
  • November-Little House Experiment-Bake all snacks from scratch, limited electric.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Not a Saver by Nature.


Not a minimalist by nature, nor am I a saver. I love to bargain shop and would prefer to have more closets than less.  However, Enough is Enough! Really.

I counted my designer purses purchased at consignment and thrift stores....."Do I REALLY NEED one in every label?"

So where does one begin to minimize and simplify? I'm thinking that it's by not bringing another item in unless parting with 2 items.  So if I bought 1 purse that I can't live without, it would mean parting with two that I already own.  Since I really like the ones that I currently own, I would have to LOVE the new one. (to get rid of 2)  These are just more self imposed rules that I think may motivate me into action.

Out of all of the shoes and purses that I own, I'll bet that I only wear and carry 3-4 out of the whole lot of them-the rest just sit there occupying space.  Same with my pans, silverware, china and drinking glasses.  So why are they still sitting there? Do I even like them? Did someone give them to me? I need to send what items are not in use, or loved, out the door. No longer a size 8? Only keep the flattering items.

It certainly won't get done in a day here.  We're just beginning to think about scaling back. We wanted 500 items gone this past month.  I think at times I counted broken rubber bands, empty shampoo bottles and dried ink pens.  This next month really needs to be more substantial items....like designer purses.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Seasons

"There is something infinately healing in the repeated refrains of nature-the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter." Rachel Carson The Sense of Wonder

Seasons- In the Northeastern United States there are 4 distinct seasons. Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. Each season brings with it new perspective on living.
  • Winter- Warm cozy homes, candles and soup. Sled rides and snowmen. Handycrafts, and cocoa.
  • Spring- Baby chicks and Easter baskets. Tulips and lillies. Rainy mornings and bike rides.
  • Summer-Longer days and starry nights. Sun, sand and surf at the shore. BBQ and watermelon.
  • Autumn-Colorful tapestries on the mountainside. Sound of crunching leaves and  the sight of vibrant pumpkins.
One week left of "apple season" September. Then it is on to October. My favorite month of the entire year! The weather is spectacular 60's and 70's during the day and 40's and 50's at night. The mountainsides are a feast for the eyes! Reds, Yellows, and Oranges are so inviting it is nearly impossible to not hike to the top to look down through the valleys.  But that is next month.......

During this last week of September it is time to regroup the budget, and plan one last uncrowded trip to the ocean. The weather and the beauty of the season offer bounty and abundance on a budget. It is time to plan.

Long Beach Island has no boardwalk, only the ocean on one side and the bay and docks on the other. A light house, clam chowder, salt water taffy and bagels and coffee. We are able to stay on this quaint island with family. So it won't break our budget, it is time to plan. Whether it is from the hammock in the yard, sitting in a comfy chair, or listening to the ocean along the shore at the beach, it is a time to reflect. It is the change of seasons-an opportunity to re-organize our budgets, homes, and activities.
  • Budget for the Fall: Continue to Save towards the $1,000 emergency fund. Envelope system up to $20 day. Coin Jar Christmas-Build the coins until December 1st. Then wrap coins and turn to cash.
  • Homes- Organize stuff. Develop a plan for each room. Downsize the amount of things that are owned.
    Categorize and prioritize ask questions of each and every item!
    1. Do I use this?
    2. Does it work?
    3. Do I love this? How it works, fits, makes the room look?         
    4.Is there an easier way that I could keep the memory and get rid of the thing? i.e. Grown children's art work in bins, wrong size jeans, shoes from the high school prom....etc.
    5.Does this item have any value?     
  • Activities- Free Activity list. Libraries, Universities, State Parks. Using Points for flights, hotels, and car rentals. Farmer's markets, writing groups, hiking, jogging program, horse back riding.
This last week of the September No Spend Challenge is a reflection week. The change of the seasons brings with it an opportunity to recommit to financial goals and re-evaluate the process of getting there.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rags to Riches

Sheets waiting to become a Rug

Crafting a handmade item is fun. It really is. Taking old sheets, and vintage tablecloths with holes, and then turning them into something else is a site to behold. Making something old new again is creativity at it's best. When we found the photo of the oval braided rug made out of unwanted materials like old sheets, it was certainly inspirational to me. Although I've only just begun to braid the strips together, already I'm seeing progress. The goal being a completed rug. I've no idea how long of a braid, or how large of a rug I will end up with. Or when I will have to begin the process of tearing more discarded sheets to make a new ball of material, but the journey to the finish line is an adventure. I'm sure enjoying watching it unfold. The first couple of twists that created the braid made me say: "Wow, this just might look great!" Seeing progress motivated me to continue.

Saving money, getting in shape, frugal living, scaling back on stuff, is all like that I believe. Taking something that was a certain way, maybe with "holes in it", and making it useful by reinventing it. Seeing progress motivates us to continue. Working towards a goal, even if there are modifications and detours, is better than not beginning at all. Every inch of the way is progress. A Penny in the coin jar, a bike ride in the afternoon, a clipped coupon for a needed item, discarding an item that we no longer need, that we've walked by 1,000 times, are ways to move towards our goals.

Braiding strips of material one inch at a time creates a rug. Making positive choices one at a time creates the good life.



Friday, September 23, 2011

Kitchen Coins and Envelope Balances


Kitchen Coins and Envelope Balances

We've had an old fashioned coin jar on our dresser for years.  Not really designated to any particular spending its contents have helped with Christmas, vacations or simply a fistful of fun on an afternoon when the ice cream truck can be heard coming down the street. (yes, we really do have an ice cream truck ;)

It's time to designate the coins. We're crowning them Christmas Cash.  Not sure how much may be in there already, but I'm thinking, $175-$200. There's also a kitchen coin can to catch found coins quick-from the washer, couches, purses and pockets.  The kitchen can is conviently on the counter (I think I will decorate it today), this kitchen can is dumped into the coin jar once a week when the envelopes replenish on Wednesdays (Done for the first time this past Wednesday :) and it felt Great!

Since this was a brand new No Spend Month Challenge for us it's still a work in progress.  Kitchen Coins and Christmas Coin Cash are welcomed additions.  The coins were always there but never designated a job.  It feels wonderful to give them a goal. October will continue as a No Spend Challenge. We're half way to our $1,000 emergency fund. J

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Raising Chickens



This is our first year with chickens. Peeps at Easter time, hand fed, lamp raised, chickens.

They were started in a Rubbermaid tub, graduated to a chicken tractor and now live in a hen house. No roosters, only hens.  We live in a town on not quite an acre.  So we use the trampoline, enclosed with flexible plastic chicken fencing to keep them on fresh grass. When they've eaten and fertilized a section we move the trampoline to a new section of grass, and replant the grass seed where it was bare.  You should see how lush the lawn is getting.

We compost the old bedding (shavings), kitchen vegetable scraps and coffee grounds.

The fresh eggs are fabulous and the personalities of the chickens are so cute to watch.  Continuing to learn, haven't gone through a winter with them yet, so any pointers left in the comments would be great.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Price Differences-When to buy?

"If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher's stone."--Benjamin Franklin

Stockpiling.

Do you know the rock bottom price that you have paid for an item? Would you recognize a magnificent deal if you came across one, or are you in such a hurry that you just go into the store, buy the brand you like and get out because you're tired and you still have laundry to do when you get home?

I've been in both scenarios, but being in the place of where you have a surplus, so that you can wait on your rock bottom price is fantastic! The laundry detergent pictured here on top of my washer was purchased for $1.50 a piece. While at the store today I meandered over to the detergent section to discover that detergent is $5.99 - on sale!! Just this one item purchased at the rock bottom price was $4.49 cheaper!!! That amount multiplied over the course of a year at 2 bottles a month is an average savings = $107.76 just on that one item!!! Imagine if every item that you purchased were configured that way. That you would be able to save ½ to 1/3 of your money that was slipping through the cracks due to disorganization or simple lack of time.

I've been pondering this.....what are the benefits of buying at rock bottom prices, not even including coupons, which would multiply the savings further... Is it possible when working a full time job to accomplish the no spend challenge and buying  in bulk? I think it is. Actually once there is a stockpile, one can simply shop at home from the discounted surplus, rather than running to the store and paying full price.

What are your rock bottom prices? Post a comment to continue the list. I'll start:

  1. Laundry Detergent $1.50
  2. Bathroom Tissue $ 4.00 for 12 double roll (sometimes with 2 bonus rolls)
  3. Toothpaste Free
  4. Shampoo .25cents
  5. Flour (10lb) $1.59
  6. Seasoned pork loin $1.67 total for 1.5 lb
  7. Chicken breast .99 cents lb
It was one said by Benjamin Franklin that a penny saved is worth a penny earned, however many influential individuals now claim that a penny saved is worth 2 earned! Taxes and other expenses factor into the reality that it has never before been more important to save.

Please add to the rock bottom price list above by commenting on the post. I'll update our list to reflect our common list.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Time



“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do, are in harmony.” - Gandhi
Time

We all have 24 hours in a day. There are a multitude of choices to make in every minute. Deciding to have a No Spend Challenge has taught us that there is a world of opportunity in each decision that we make. Taking the challenge to only spend $15 a day taught us creativity, the importance of appreciating what we currently have and the ability to know the difference between a want and a need. These principles could be applied to money, weight loss and giving (whether work, home or charity).
Food
A 3 lb package of ground round made into more than one meal. Tacos, Spaghetti, chili, meatloaf and sloppy joe bbq sandwiches all made from a single package. Never let an item go to waste in the refrigerator. Reinventing leftovers saves cash and eliminates waste.
Fitness
Losing weight can be a fun challenge filled with adventure. Train for a race, take a bike ride with a friend, or simply do a set amount of push-ups or crunches while watching the morning news.
Frugality
Giving and working can be creative outlets. Love what you’re doing, and suddenly you are doing what you love. Simplify one item at a time. We’ve been learning that if we don’t Love it, then it shouldn’t be given space in our lives.
·       Old Aprons,
·       Butternut Squash,
·       1940s Music-Dean, Frank and Judy,
·       Old Bicycles,
·       Candles,
·       Farm Fresh Eggs,
·       Autumn,
·       Pearls and Sweater Sets,
·       Antique Books,
·       Hammocks and wind chimes
These are some of the things that belong in my world. Other items may be lovely, but are more suited to someone else. Simply give them away.
Fun
Auctions, Thrift Stores, Yard Sales, Produce Auctions, State Parks, Museums, Libraries, Universities,  Book Stores and Radio and Newspaper games all offer opportunities for frugal fun. Check your local papers, online and newsletters for upcoming events in your area. Universities, for example, often have world renown speakers open to the public for free.
Enjoy your abundant blessings~

Monday, September 19, 2011

Perseverance


Perseverance
“Don't be discouraged.  It's often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.”  ~Author Unknown
The 30 day No Spend Challenge has been an experiment in saving and minimal spending. On $15 a day there have been days where we’ve borrowed from the next envelope in order to make a purchase.  (Not many, but some. )Yesterday, at LOWES we borrowed the rest of the cash in the envelopes for the week!! This is the first time since the beginning of the month that this has happened. We now have NO cash in our envelopes until Wednesday!!  The envelopes replenish to $15 in 7 envelopes on Wednesday (2 days to get through). This week there will be NO LOWES Home Improvement Store for us! There were many things that were soooo cheap that we just couldn’t pass them up –especially since we needed them. Ceramic tile for the back splash in the kitchen sold for .28 cents each, grass seed for $9, a can of exterior Valspar Paint for $5!
Never the less, it was a NO Spend Month. We are still within our budget for the week, but not for the day. Now in order to stick to the game plan there will be some perseverance required.
So today we’re focusing on Perseverance. We’re considering continuing the NO Spend Challenge into next month. Using the envelopes keeps us accountable to ourselves. At the end of a pay period there is a balance left for building a fund or paying off a debt.  Please remember that each family has a different-Income, needs, and members.  Find your individual daily spending dollar amount, and then go from there- deciphering your wants from needs.  
PERSEVERANCE: According to Merriam Webster
: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition : the action or condition or an instance of persevering : steadfastness

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Recap of a No Spend Month


A Recap of a No Spend Month
Walking with my friend Cherie, on our local rails to trails, she shared with me that she was saving for her trip to the beach. Cash in an envelope in her dresser drawer.  That she would spend no more than the amount that she set aside.   She would make do.  My reply back was something to the effect of the fact that we just use whatever was in the check book and made do with whatever was left when we got back.  It dawned on me a couple of years later that my way of thinking was backwards.  To save beforehand for what we want or need is not only satisfying, but freeing as well.  It frees up the use of the money set aside and allows for a certain knowledge amongst family members of how much is available, and the fact of when it’s gone, it’s gone.
So I began to consider how much we would need realistically to be able to function considering our current circumstances-taking into account the amount in the freezer, fridge, cupboards and pantry. Travel is a consideration, as well as activities-gas, etc.
I got out 7 envelopes and labeled them #1-#7.  In each I put $15 = $105.
·         My Deep Freeze is Full
·         My Fridge is full
·         Cupboards are overflowing
·         Pantry is full
·         Stockpiled backroom-toilet tissue, deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. (6-8 month supply)
I topped off my gas tank-filled it at the beginning of the month. My gauge tells me how many miles are left to drive, which I love.  I can plan longer trips around appointments and such all in the same day.
I have a “fridge pad” a small magnetic notepad that we use when something is running low. Right now it has: sea salt, pepper and coffee listed.  This gives a heads up to look for the lowest price for those items.  The $15 a day is for these items.  It can be used for gas, entry into sporting events, or whatever your family considers a necessary item.  These are your own individual self-imposed rules.
My goal the first week was to have a balance from the $105 at the end of the week--which we did in the amount of $34-which we deposited towards our emergency fund.  The second week my balance was given to someone in need.  This week since the checkbook and plastic have not been touched, the focus is on the checkbook balance.  We intend to deposit the balance of the checkbook into our emergency fund. With the original amount in the emergency fund, the $34 deposit and the checkbook balance if we remain on budget with the $105. We should have reached our goal of $1,000 in the emergency fund for the no spend month of September.


"Never Spend Your Money Before You Have It.” –Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Last Watermelon



The Last Watermelon-
This afternoon we will eat the last watermelon of the summer.  It’s a time of transition.  It’s a time to turn towards autumn.
v  The smell of cinnamon and pumpkin
v  The sight of falling leaves and piles of plenty
v  The sound of crunching leaves and wind chimes
Warm homes and toasty cups of cocoa are welcomed as the last of the red seeded fruit is eaten.
Transitions are part of life.  Sometimes they are welcomed, and other times they are not.  During our No Spend Month of September we are intending to build an emergency fund so that when we have an unexpected transition like a new roof, new carpeting (after 20 years), or the car needs repaired, it is not a burden, can be paid for with cash and accomplished without guilt or remorse.
The animals gather at this time of year, storing up for a long winter. Our No Spend Month is much the same.  We are gathering our loose change, extra dollars, and unspent balances so that we have a surplus in times of transition.  It has been a transition in habit to live on $15 a day. It has also been very rewarding. We are almost half way through the No Spend Month. It has been a welcomed transition for the most part, and one that I would like to try and continue for another month.
 Living this way year round may be possible. I wonder?
“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” –Author Unknown

Monday, September 12, 2011

Goals

Goals...
What are goals, and are they necessary?  Would we end up at the same place if we didn’t have them?
Miriam Webster defines the term Goal as the following: “The end toward which effort is directed.”
I believe in goals with detours. I think that when we identify too much with where we are going that we then lose track of where we are.  Being, while we’re becoming and content with where we’ve been, make goals obtainable in my opinion. Moving towards the positive is all that can be asked. Giving up on perfection is a necessary condition of true success. Yes to goals, No to fixed rigid goals that do not take unforeseen circumstances into account. In other words, goals that focus on the end and not the effort (method) are what I believe to be effective.
“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor”-Brian Tracy
During the No Spend Month of September our goal was to spend ONLY with cash. We have done so. To spend only $15 a day, and preferably have a surplus at the end of the week. (So far, so good) The first 10 days went off without a hitch. Our goals were met- Success! A deposit was made into the emergency fund. Day 11 brought with it some challenges. Unexpected birthday gifts, a craving for expensive cheese, and an urge to just get in the car and drive-which threatened the goal of $15 a day. However, even with these glitches Day 11 was under budget by $2.14.
 However, for the past 10 days nearly a thing was purchased. My expectations and goals shifted into the unrealistic goal of saving even the $15 a day, when in actuality that money was there to spend on gas, grocery items and necessities throughout the week. Sometimes going for a ride, or buying horseradish cheese (when it’s in the budget) is okay. I mean I still had $2.14 left in my envelope at the end of the day. It wasn’t the whole $15, but it was something. I’m satisfied. I can keep going now. Tomorrow’s $15 + 2.14 = $17.14 is going towards a birthday present for my niece. I have two more gifts to buy this week, and gas again for the car. It can be done. I have a reachable goal.
                                                                              
Success
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and to endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Aim for your goals today, lean towards them, and you are moving in the right direction. Life is a journey, not a destination.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Choice

 
                                                                                                                                                                             Photo by Tammy Bennett  

Today was a lesson in learning. We are all constantly learning something. I am a firm believer that the more I learn the less I truly understand. We are by nature incapable of knowing everything, and why would we really even want to? There is this little component called trust that when planted becomes rooted and grows into faith. I think it’s our job to trust, and if it is in God’s will to bless us it will become the gift of Faith. Reach out and you will be greeted with abundance everywhere you look.
Yesterday I was called to meet my husband with his work keys that he had forgotten. It was not in my plans to do so, but I went. The gas, during a no spend month is rationed. I have the odometer set to read exactly how many miles are left to drive. The further I drove- just to deliver his forgotten keys, the lower the miles dropped. “I’m wasting gas”… went through my mind.  Then I decided to let it go. Thinking,  I must have been meant to go out of my way for a reason. The acceptance of my reality, and contentment with my situation, made the ride a blessing.
Then, on the way back from the key delivery, I decided that I “deserved” to get a few things—from the Department Store. My goal was to spend from my $30 left from the week so far. I needed (wanted) some things. Besides I was already out in the car, wasted gas, so why not?  Long story short-I was proud that I’d passed by the major sales in Lawn and Garden, only putting those things in my basket that I felt were “needed items”. Those things totaled under my $30 in cash. I got to the register and discovered…..I had NO cash. Not even plastic.
Again, I learned an important lesson. I didn’t need those items after all, I simply wanted them. If this wasn’t a NO Spend Month, I already had my emergency savings built up, and my mortgage was paid, maybe I would look at things different, or maybe not.
Either way, I came home to my $30 surplus still in place. I trust it was meant to be that way.  Learning wants from needs is definitely an individual experience. I’m learning my needs are very limited. I don’t really need very much to be happy. Happiness is simply a choice, a state of mind. Circumstances are at times beyond our control, I think what we do with those circumstances is what makes all of the difference. ~
Attitude
by Charles Swindoll
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company…a church…a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude….I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you….we are in charge of our attitudes.” –Charles Swindoll

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Essentials


We need to surround ourselves with those things we love, that make us feel at peace and closer to who we were created to be.” –Tammy Bennett
                                                               
                                                                        ESSENTIALS
The Essentials –What material items, that you currently own, would you keep if you could only keep 5? We’re speaking of all non-living items-“Things”- as they are called, which 5 are essential to you?
Here are mine:
1.       Bottle of Chanel No 5
2.       Great Fitting Jeans
3.       A Cardigan Sweater Set
4.       My Sneakers (and ballet flats, and sandals, and pumps….okay I love shoes)
5.       Lipstick
  • Essentials-What foods do you LOVE?  Have you eaten any of them lately?
  • Essentials-What flowers do you love? Do you have a photograph, vase or potted version of them?
  • Essentials-Exercise….have you moved your body today? A gym membership is not required.
What about the Non-essentials. We all have them, things that frustrate, confuse, or bring us to a place where we feel overwhelmed or like giving up. Here’s a poem that I have always referred to when life becomes overwhelming, and there are more NON-ESSENTIALS than ESSENTIALS filling my space :
DON’T QUIT
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit!
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
when he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow-
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
it seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out-
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit--
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
—Author Unknown

Take the time today to surround yourself with what you love, the essentials. Don't Quit. We are all truly blessed. ~

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Enjoying the Coffee (Life)


 “Quality coffee that is tasted from a worn tin ladle, is just as exquisite as that which is served from a golden cup.” ~Tammy Bennett

I looked up the word Abundance today. According to Mirriam-Webster it means:

1: an ample quantity

Are you at a place where you can say that you are living in Abundance? I read a story some time back, that summarized abundance. It is the message that I am trying to live during the September NO Spend month.

The story, by an author unknown, goes like this:

"A group of alumni, highly established in their careers got together to visit their old university professor.  The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups-porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive, and some exquisite-telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

After all of the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all of the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.  While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress." "Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee.  In most cases, it's just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink.  What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and then began eyeing each other 's cups." 

"Now consider this: Life is the coffee.  The jobs, houses, cars, things, money and position in society are the cups.  They are just used to hold and contain life.  The type of cup we have does not define nor change the quality of life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided us." ~Author Unknown

Enjoy your coffee (life)~

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Motivation-Frugality with an Abundant Mindset

                                                                                         Photo by Tammy Bennett ©
             Understanding Motivations
It seems to me that the key to accomplishing anything is motivation. When you have this component in your life you’re charismatic, energized and focused. When you are lacking motivation you are the opposite-dull, tired and scattered.  What is it that motivates us?
For me, it’s ideas that motivate.  I think that our thoughts become words, words become actions, and actions become habits, habits become your character, and finally your character becomes your destiny.
It is day #3 of the September No Spend Challenge.  I have been able to stay busy and not spend anything for the first two days. Since I’ve rationed $15 a day in envelopes- I have accumulated an extra $30. Today Day 3 –the envelope contains $45. That’s pretty good right? Except for one thing! I just got the mail. There’s an unexpected $15 bill that needs paid! So now I’m back down to $30. Still, I haven’t used plastic at all. Little inconvenient bills and unexpected expenses can either frustrate us into giving up, or spur us into moving forward.  Move forward. Stay motivated.
I’ll be putting together a low price sheet to share in the next few days. I’ll post it so that you can print it off as a kind of check list. It will have rock bottom price alerts that will be a green light to purchase in bulk. For example when chicken breasts go to .99 cents lb. it’s a great time to buy more than 2 packages.
1.       Stay Motivated and Enthusiastic
2.      Make lists and complete them
3.      Be Grateful for where you are on the way to where you’re going.

“Don't say you don't have enough time.  You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
  ~Life's Little Instruction Book, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 1- September No Spend Challenge


“Understanding is more important than being understood.  Step back-with prayer and contemplation.”
~
Tammy Bennett
No Spending Month-September
Is there something to saving real money if you use real cash? (Not plastic Debit) 
  • Go to the ATM once.
  • Withdraw $105
  • Divide into 7 envelopes-$15 in each
  • Move excess from the day to the next day’s envelope
  • Borrow from the next envelope if it is a must.
  • Left over money at the end of the week is fair game. You earned it! Save, Spend or Give.
One key component to the 30 day no spend month is my “Fridge Tablet”.  Here is where we write the items that we need in the kitchen-milk, bread, butter and such. This way when it’s running low we see it every time that we open the fridge. Filling in the food staples and adding a gallon or two of gas in the car is what the $15 a day is for. The goal is to only use the cash however, not the checkbook, debit or credit cards.
There are many things that are left undone in our home. After 20 years of living in a space often times we walk past imperfections without even noticing them. On this the first day of the no spend month, along with saving, I’m opening my eyes to those things left undone. (Those that cost NOTHING to fix) Painting, De-cluttering, Baking, Gardening, and landscaping can be done with simple “elbow grease”.
Ø  $15 a day-15 items out the door.
Ø  Month of September GOAL: $1,000 saved-500 items GONE
Ø  100 more miles on the Bike-Run a 5k