My thoughts lately: planning to ignite a fire.

So many of us are working way over 40 hours a week, in jobs we don’t really see futures in.

I’ve done quite a bit of reading in the area of following your passion, starting your own business, or working in a more lucrative field where opportunities exist.. but aren’t guaranteed.

So, do you make the leap or do you stay in a boring, yet safe place?

All the literature out there tells you to do what you need to do in order to have a safety net, or nest egg to fall back on. If you don’t have set hours with a set pay check at the end of the week or pay period, you have to have something to fall back on.

safety net

That’s true and I agree with it. I want to talk more about how you make a plan to follow that fire and create some structure out of it.

Work backwards

You have to work your plan backwards. Begin with the end in mind.

What do you need at the end of the month to sit pretty? Start with that number. Then break it down by weeks.

Is $2,500 your goal end number for the month? Then, you need $625 every week, roughly.

Now you figure out your game plan and work out what you need to do to come up with your weekly number. How many hours you need to work or how many shifts you need to pick up and what your goal number is per shift.

If you’re looking to make a transition – you now have a goal number to hit every week, or you could break that down again by day. Say I’m looking for a 4 day work week (aren’t we all?) I need to have $156.25 in my pocket before I call it a day.

This breakdown could be FREEING.

happy day

It might take all day – doing whatever it is you choose to do- to pull in that $156.25. Or maybe you found something really lucrative that allows you to rake that in by 1:00, just in time for a little siesta.

Now that you know how you need to work and what kind of standards you need to hold yourself to, account for everything and plan ahead.

Plan ahead, differently.

Sure it’s nice to see your checking account grow and grow. But by looking at a higher number in your checking account, a sense of entitlement might come over you and a spending spree might be something that’s considered to be deserved. Go ahead and protect yourself against the urge and separate what you budgeted to bring home from any overage.

By that, I mean physically move any extra to the side.

I’m fortunate enough to deal in cash for a good amount of my income, because I wait tables in addition to my daily 10-6. I know which nights I work and I know what my goal is per shift that I work.

Every month I write out my estimated income, broken down by shift and by checks I get from my other place of employment. I have a number that I expect to have made at the end of the month. Every day I write down what I brought home in tips and any extra – goes physically into a separate envelope. (You can do the same by percentages through online banking to transfer overages to a separate account too). That being said, if I’m short a day – I can pull from that envelope that has extra cash for whatever month I’m in. We are always quick to spend anything extra beyond what we planned for, but slow to recover when we have to take a hit for an unexpected reason.

Plan to stay at the level you planned for. Then, any extra money you have physically set aside in an envelope at the end of the month is truly extra that you can fund your small business with, buy yourself a new pair of shoes with (guilt free!), or go out for drinks on a school night.

Hoping to do something you love doesn’t have to be unattainable. Every day is dull if you aren’t loving what you’re doing, or contributing to the world in some way. Of course everyone can’t up and quit their job simply because they don’t like it.

But for those of us with a passion and a vision.. get your ducks in a row. Establish your savings. Transfer your extras into savings. Go get a part time job. Suck it up for now & then once your gut tells you it’s time.. you have a plan to transition into something less stable, but potentially thrilling.

We have one life to live, right?

Boldly, go. 

boldly go

Here are some great tips from the ladies at Design Love Fest too.

Darling Little Things:Two for Tuesday.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I usually struggle more with Tuesdays than Mondays because I’m usually fairly refreshed from the weekend on Monday and Tuesday follows a 10-10 work day. But today is a much better day than yesterday & it just got better with a knock on the door from UPS.

I already follow Joy on Pinterest but had not actually seen her blog. I stumbled on it last week & fell in love. Her post The Art of Being a Goal-Getter, (in parts 1 & 2) really spoke to me because I have always felt that I was meant to do something different, something less traditional and something a little less 9-5ish. It’s not the hours that I don’t like, it’s the same [boring] routine every day. (Although a steady paycheck every week is a nice perk, I will say.)

Her summary of different jobs and transitions put me more at ease in comparison to my own life. So of course I ordered both of her books: Blog Inc & Creative, Inc. I could have ordered them on my Kindle & had the ereader version for a little less… but there’s something so gratifying and nerdy about real books & I’ll tell ya – these are beauties & I’m so excited!

Can’t wait to get going & share what I’m sure will be genius insights!

blog and freelance oh joy

Hope your Tuesday is just as delightful!

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.


cash image Savings transfer

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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Wordless Wednesday – 12.26.12

WW Project Life

Confused? I’ve been largely inspired by Elise Cripe and you can see her adventures with Project Life here. I’m SO excited to take part in Project Life 2013. Sure, not every day is the most exciting, but it’s YOUR life and it’s something special, wouldn’t you say?