Checkin off those goals.

Another goal checked off the list. This one was less focused on a better physical or financial well being and more on self expression and experimentation.

We celebrated a lovely lady’s birthday this weekend and I broke out the red lipstick to go with my party dress.

Firecracker red.

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Crossing off completed goals feels great (even if it is something a little more trivial like wearing red lipstick) & makes the year feel progressive.

I think it’s good to challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone in lots of ways and this was my perfect example.

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We had a lovely time and we got some great photos.

Hope you had a happy weekend!

In case you were wondering- the lipstick? It’s Mary Kay. The dress? It’s Forever 21. 🙂

Zero.

Zero is beautiful, you guys.

Maybe not when that’s the number in your checking account, or how many calories you have left in your allowance for the day.. but when it’s the number on all of your credit cards? BEAUTIFUL.

It’s the second time I’ve paid off several credit cards. And the last.

I was so angry with myself for letting them get racked back up [not long] after they were initially paid off about 2 years ago. I had an excursion to Europe (where the exchange rates are just terrible when converting American dollars to the Euro and pounds, unfortunately) and Christmas that followed paying off those credit cards and well, one thing led to another.. and they got pretty high again.

2013 has been a year focused on aggressive financial changes and I’m happy to announce that I made my last credit card payment & all card balances are back to ZERO and that I’ve completed goal 3 of 13 in 2013 much sooner than I originally thought I would.

It’s been hard work, the past few months but it feels AWESOME to have no credit card debt.

Next challenge is socking that extra monthly cash allowance that was designated for credit cards straight into my car.

I’ve heard that money doesn’t buy happiness. But I’ve also heard recently that money buys choices.

What could you do with extra money in your pocket?

In a few months I’ll h ave no credit card payments and no car payment.

Oh, the possibilities!

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No fear, I’m back!!

It’s been two and a half months or so. I knew I’d be cutting back my presence in blog world, but I didn’t anticipate a complete halt. Life’s been super busy filled with 70 hour work weeks, tackling the aftermath of whatever tornado comes through my house once a week (usually on Tuesdays for some reason) and life’s curve balls like surprise vet visits when my little fur baby started whimpering when she walked. She has arthritis, btw- but is taking lots of vitamins and pills now to keep her joints feeling great so she can bounce around like she likes to. 🙂

I’m not QUITE into debt free land but I’m RIGHT on the other side of the bridge about to pay the toll to enter! When I began my blogging hiatus, I was in about $4500 worth of credit card debt. In the large scheme of things, that’s not a big deal if you look at the average amount of debt most people carry, according to all of those polls and articles floating around on Wisebread and on any financial site. But I mentioned it a couple of months ago, I was in a surviving mindset with that hanging over my head and not really enjoying too much of my life. I was consumed with working and making money to get rid of the debt, but not in a systematic way. So, long story short – I knew changes had to be made.. but those kinds of changes are usually the hardest kind to get going. Nevertheless, 2013 is the year to get out of debt and get to a better financial place. I am down to ONE card with less than $1,000 balance (in 2 months, whoo!) and I have analyzed, adjusted and rewritten my budget (more than once) to allow me to pay off that debt and still have money to take care of all of our necessities and have a little bit of fun money that is currently going into redecorating 🙂

So in my 2 month hiatus, I have slowly gotten to a place where I am loving my free moments because they’re full of guilt free, non-worrisome moments with Josh & the pups, finding a new favorite brunch spot, spring cleaning & decluttering (it’s so freeing!), dreaming up new design layouts for our house & ways to continue to personalize it to fit our personalities. I’m content with my 50 hour work week working jobs that don’t fire me up because these jobs are allowing me free time to engage in the moments that DO excite me. I’m trying to make a point to appreciate those moments every day and notice the little things that make one day different from the next.

I hope to transition this blog into showcasing those moments that make me happy and make our life in this moment something special. I can always dream about my goals for the future: that perfect job I haven’t found yet that I spring out of bed for, that first house with a fenced in yard for my pups that we’ll buy, etc. but I’ve realized that today is just as important as next week or next year and I want to live in it.

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WHIRLWIND.

This year I made a big plan to make a lot of changes. I made 13 goals, I seriously considered the ways I was going to implement them and I committed myself to the goal of getting out of debt. I set up a plan to do that by keeping my regular job and working my Mary Kay business. Recently I was given the opportunity to take a day job that would work around my current night job and still allow me to have weekends free. I took it. In theory this second job (in addition to the first and Mary Kay business) would allow me to catapult my get out of debt plan and allow me to get there 3 months earlier than I had planned as well as use those extra couple of months to sock extra money into savings/paying off my car early (a goal I set for the end of the year). I must be old because these 60 hour weeks are KICKING MY TAIL.

It’s been 2 weeks of straight through 10-10 and Mary Kay on Saturdays and household chores/shopping/cooking/cleaning. It’s busy. But it’s worth it because of my four cards with balances, I’ve already paid off one! The second one is a joint card between Josh & I and we’ve each been paying $100 bucks every month and converted to a cash only system for all joint spending – that will be back at zero next month.

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The third card will be paid off next week and a little more than half of the last card at the end of the month. So as my March calendar with big red X’s indicates – I’ve got another 3 weeks of straight through 10-10s and then I can take it back down a notch.

It’s exhausting. Last week, when we didn’t prep all of our meals for the week – it was stressful all week. We’re back on track this week at least with the household things and we have meals for every day this week ready in the fridge or freezer, grab and go style. It’s also exhilarating. Being debt free opens doors. That dream job, that dream house.. that vacation we never take because there’s somewhere else that money should really go…

Soon to be a thing of the past.

Do you have any debt? Do you just deal with it as a part of life and still enjoy the little things or does it hang over your head like a weight? Or am I just a little too OCD for my own good? 😛

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Looking back on January: 2013 goals recap

I posted my 13 in 2013 goals at the beginning of this month, viewable here. Now that February is knocking on our door TOMORROW (time really does fly so much faster when you get older), I figure now’s a great time to review the last month and see how much progress I’ve made so far.

Of the 13, I’ve especially focused on 4 this month more than the others:

  • Be healthier
  • Project Life
  • Become debt free
  • Truly invest in the Mary Kay opportunity

Be healthier:

I do all of the grocery and meal planning in our house. Josh does go with me to the store (which is a lot more than most guys from what I hear from my girl friends), so we’ll give him that credit.. but when it comes down to healthier eating, it pretty much falls on me to work out the how. When I wrote my goals list I imagined being healthier to include eating healthier in an overall, balanced sort of way (not a diet way) as well as exercising. Now, baby steps usually get you there faster than trying to jump into several things all at once. So this month, we stopped drinking sodas (I did anyway) and have started drinking MUCH more water. If I have the occasional rare coke, it’s okay. The idea is to be balanced, everything in moderation. But overall-less of sodas is better. I started working fish into our meal planning. I cut back the red meat purchases we’re making and switched to ground turkey and ground chicken. We haven’t really been eating bread and I switched our tortillas out for wheat tortillas. The exercising part hasn’t really been incorporated into my routine much.  Josh has been going for runs a little more frequently and working with weights. During February, I’m going to run my first 5k (and probably want to die) and will start training against my own body weight to continue to save money for now. Once we get a little closer to financial freedom, I’ll probably go look back at joining a gym again because I love the group fitness classes. 🙂

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Project Life:

I love Project Life. It really gives you the chance to notice and appreciate all of the the little moments in your life that you normally would forget about at the end of the day. It is also getting me back into the habit of printing pictures regularly and there’s nothing better than going to pick up actual prints. Because the pocket sizes in the page protectors aren’t all standard 4×6, some of the photos are printed as wallets and then I have a few extras to hang on the fridge or on my coffee table. It’s just nice to have updated photos around the house all the time, even if they’re not all portraits.

Become debt free

I’ve spent a few extra hours this month coming up with a new budget, tightening certain areas and meticulously writing down every purchase and every cent of income as well as engaging in new opportunities for income. I have a pen and paper system that I always end up going back to, but since it’s tucked inside my planner – sometimes I forget to update it right away and certain things get foggy when I’ve misplaced a receipt. I installed a new system in our office for being organized with regards to my Mary Kay business, this blog, and our finances (in a post coming soon!) and hopefully it will be a visual reminder every time I walk into the office to write down the day’s expenses.

I also have a Mint.com account that I spent time last night updating to reflect all of my new budget rules/added categories as well as newly updated goals. I knew the first month was going to be the hardest, but I used cash all month (even for gas purchases.. I actually went into the gas station and prepaid with cash)! I’ve also trimmed all of my spending and [subsequently] developed enough of a cushion in my checking account that I can make a $290 extra credit card payment this month (which was my goal) and not stress about it! Besides that, I also set a goal to transfer $50 to savings every month. It doesn’t seem like much but I don’t ever transfer money to savings and have to improvise when things happen and involve large purchases. I made my first $50 transfer to savings this month! It’s taken a lot of self control but I’m so proud of myself for actually sticking to the system and am filled with determination to keep moving forward.


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Truly invest in the Mary Kay opportunity

This is the first month where I’ve really put effort into Mary Kay. I became a consultant in December of last year and was trying to get my head around everything as well as do everything for the holiday time. Now that the holidays are wrapped up, I was able to spend time training and getting organized and start booking appointments. Now that I feel comfortable with the position, I am starting to see this business truly as a business and a real way to bring in extra income. This month I made a couple hundred extra dollars but now that I’ve proven to myself I can do it, I’m ready to get creative and get going to really make a splash. Everybody’s hesitant to try something new (especially a work at home something) but I have to say that although I was hesitant and stressed about the decision, I’m starting to see it was a fantastic decision and pretty soon I’m going to be reaping serious rewards and enjoying my life more.

I have made some progress in a couple other goal areas, just not as much. I’ve been working on small projects to add some TLC to our home (in posts coming soon). I’ve also made more of an effort in myself. For a while recently I was wasting my days and doing nothing but moaning about how I was frustrated with my life. I’ve set a schedule for myself and taken on projects and goals lately. I feel like I’m working towards something and finally holding myself accountable. The other major difference is that I’ve gotten into the habit of dressing for an occasion every day (most days). Just because there isn’t a special event every day isn’t a reason not to look and feel your best because you never know what’s waiting for you that day.

In February, I hope to take the healthier living up a notch by incorporating exercise. I plan to keep on track with my debt free payment/savings plan and to get more creative with my Project Life album. My Mary Kay business is also going to change to be more dynamic and be influenced by more creativity. I am going to bring in double what I did this month.

Change is hard but the progress keeps you going. Here’s to a great February & great progress!

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