Savvy Saturdays: Why Saving Now Is Important

It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to understand that the more money you save, the better off you’ll be financially. But saving can be hard. In fact, when you live some where like Los Angeles or New York where the cost of living is through the roof, it can seem damn near impossible.

When you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it can be hard to see beyond next week’s bills.

But know this: it’s not impossible to start saving now. Sometimes, all you need is a little mental motivation.

Think about it this way: if you’re living paycheck to paycheck right now, relying on the hope/idea that at some point you’ll snag that job or promotion that will elevate you to a spending status where you can afford to buy a new car or house, you might never get there. But if you start being savvy with your money now, you might not need to snag that pay bump to afford the things you dream of.

Why?

Because saving is a mindset.

Here’s another point to ponder: if you’re living paycheck to paycheck right now, and its not because rent takes up 75% of your income and the other 25% goes to groceries and debt, it means that you’re spending any leftover money you have every month on things that aren’t a necessity. Often, even in a 75/25 situation involving debt payments, there are still ways you can cut your costs. So if you haven’t already gotten out of the habit of spending every dime you own, what makes you think that having a fatter paycheck will remedy your excessive expenditures? Take a lesson from Kanye and realize that having millions (or billions!) doesn’t necessarily guarantee your financial security.

Instead, get into the saving mindset: always strive to live one step below your means.

Simply put, this means that if you live on an income where you can afford to go out twice a week, live with the mindset that you can only afford to go out once a week, pocketing the cash you save not spending an extra night out each week. If you want to save more money faster, you can get more drastic. Currently, I tell everyone I’m too poor to pay for valet parking, go out more than once every two weeks, and spend full price on a movie ticket more than once or twice a year. I’m not going to tell you how much I could afford, because honestly, I don’t even want to know. As long as I live in this mindset, I’m saving money. The second I “let” myself afford more, I don’t.

So if you’re not already in this line of thinking, start training your brain to think this way now. Why? Because you’d be amazed how much you can save up by saying no to a $5 coffee here, and a $20 movie there. You might discover that in a few years’ time, you have enough to pay for a new (or new to you) car, cash up front! Or, if you’re a big dreamer like me, a down payment on a house. đŸ™‚

So get savvy, savers!

-tlc

 

Musing Mondays: Why Now Is As Good A Time As Any

Start doing the things you dream about today. Yes, Googling “How to do [insert whatever it is you want to do]” counts as working towards your dream. Reward yourself.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my future lately, and what I want to do in that future. And though thinking about all of this has left me more questions than answers, I have figured out a couple of things: 1) The office 9-5pm (or for entertainment 9-6/7pm) is just not my scene, and 2) I want to travel and experience the world.

Okay, so I didn’t really really just realize I hate working in an office and my desire to travel, but thinking about my future made me realize that these are things I should be pursuing now.

Why? Because why not? Why is now not as good a time as any other? As I get older, (hopefully) establish a stable career, (hopefully) start a family, I’ll only have more and more commitments. Down the road, when I get sick of renting (HA, already happened) and want to look into buying a home, I won’t have the freedom to spend (what little money I have) on travel that I do now. So why not? Sure, it means untangling a lot of logistical knots, sure it means trying to figure out an end plan for what to do/where to go when I get back stateside, but isn’t that worth it?

And I came to nearly the same conclusion about quitting the office lifestyle and going remote/freelance: Isn’t it worth buckling down now, building up work as a freelancer now, so that I can have the flexibility I need to focus on writing? Because the end goal is getting paid to write and stay home anyways, right? So why occupy all of my time at an office doing a job that won’t set me on the trajectory I’m looking for, when I can find work from home, and devote more time to writing. Sure, it means giving up a steady, stable, moderately cushy (for the likes of me) paycheck, but it also means the possibility of a more rewarding, bigger payout much sooner than possible when devoting my week days to an office.

This isn’t my big, public “I’m quitting my job” announcement post; I have starting formulating a short-term trajectory and plan to fulfill my travel dreams, and eventually transition to a remote work lifestyle. For now, I’m continuing to work and save up as much as I can. But I tell you all of this to say one thing:

Stop telling yourself no.

There will always be bumps, always be commitments that seem too important to set aside. As someone who grew up in the Midwest, raised under the mentality that a stable job and income was more important that pursuing a passion, I understand that it’s downright terrifying to give up the comfort of home, the safety of a close-knit family, and the familiarity of friends and a certain lifestyle to accomplish the things you’ve dreamt about doing. But you should do it anyways. Not because putting in the effort necessarily means you’ll be successful or accomplish what you set out to do, but because trying and failing is still more of a success than never trying at all. Don’t live your life in regret and full of wondering what might have been. Go out and do. You’ll be surprised where life will take you, and what you wind up doing might turn out to be something you had never even thought of, but that you love even more than your original dream.

Don’t put up walls–I don’t want to hear any excuses about why you can’t do something you want to do! Figure out how to make it possible! I’d love to know what you want to do, share it in the comments, and if I know of any resources that might be helpful, I’ll share them with you!

-tlc

5 Things To Get Going With Your Goals

I came back to Los Angeles last week a little bit overwhelmed with the possibilities and potential trajectories of my life in the upcoming year. There are a lot of places I’d like to go, things I’d like to do, and accomplishments I’d like to achieve. It was all a giant blurry mess inside my head, and trying to sort out what was priority and what was fluffy back-burner pipeline dreams threw me into a lot of gray area. I started questioning what my true career goals were and what I really needed in order to be happy and enjoy my life on the daily. I realized something about myself that I had never really considered or allowed myself to fully embrace: I have some burning entrepreneurial ambition that I’ve never truly explored. And I also realized that what I really want is not a specific career title, but rather a career lifestyle. It kind of blew my mind when I came to this realization. Once I knew this, I suddenly had a new-found energy to face the bumpy, unknown road ahead. I created my list of goals and rules for myself, and I’ve started tackling them with a zest I didn’t know I had. You’ve probably seen some of my posts on Instagram about the healthy lifestyle change I’m making through ID Life, but that’s not even the half of it.

I want you to find your own zest, too! Maybe you’re rethinking your own goals, or wanting to renew your efforts on some old goals, or maybe you don’t even have any goals yet–that’s fine. It’s important to accept where you are and know that the only way to fail is if you don’t let yourself try. Here are five things that I’ve been doing that have really helped me start off with a bang and stay on track:

  1. Write Everything Down–I’ve noticed over the past few months that not only is it immensely helpful to clear the mind of overwhelmingly cluttered thought by writing everything that is distracting me down, but that actually hand-writing these things is very therapeutic. When I’m working on a writing project, I always start with pen and paper now. The only exception I’ve made for this is my list of goals, rules, and general thoughts on my short-term life plans. Those I keep in a typed document on my phone, where I can reference them any time and they don’t take up physical space, which always makes me feel clutter if I feel that it’s something I can’t lose and can’t file away. BUT, before you can make such a document for yourself, it’s best to brainstorm, word-vomit (whatever you need to do to get those thoughts out of your brain), etc, on a sheet of paper, first!
  2. Mantras–Okay, I was definitely one of those people who thought mantras were super cheesy and weird. Even in yoga class, when the instructor would have us do the “Omm” I would feel so silly. But I’ve been doing a home practice for a while now and have started incorporating phrases into my daily routine. When I give myself permission to say these mantras and really think about how they can apply to my day, and how I can incorporate them into my actions, I find I go about the rest of my day with more vigor, and I often do just what I tell myself in my mantra, sometimes without even realizing it.
  3. Perspective–Often, new years resolutions fail because people come at them with negativity. I.e. “I’m going to lose 30lbs,” “I’m going to quit smoking,” “I’m going to read more because I don’t read enough,” etc, etc. It’s great to have a desire for self improvement, but when you come at it from the angle that where you are right now is a problem that needs to be fixed, you set yourself up for failure. This is because you already view your current state of self as a failure, so when the results you’re looking for don’t come when you expect them, when you get impatient that things aren’t happening more quickly, you’ll view your unchanged status as a failure, and not a success for simply taking the effort to make a change. Instead, approach it as a transformation: you are building upon yourself. Reading more is an investment in your mind, getting in shape or beating your addiction is an investment in your health, etc. Seeing your lifestyle changes this way will allow you to give yourself recognition every time you make an effort towards achieving that change.
  4. Prioritize–There are some things that are always going to need done in your life: cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, etc., and there are some things that always wind up on the back burner because of this, usually the things you actually want to do. Obviously you can’t ignore your bills or stop eating, so instead, find a way to streamline these things that works for you. Maybe that means you put your bills on autopay, or take two hours out of one day each week to plan out and/or cook your meals for the coming week. Maybe you do one chore a day so that the dirt and grime doesn’t build up and you don’t wind up spending precious free time turning housework into a weekend event. This might not solve the time needs for all of the adult responsibilities you have. But find a way to streamline the most important things (the ones that will cause a shitstorm if they don’t get done) and shrug off the rest. You’ll be dusting for the rest of your life. You need to travel, write, build, research, learn–whatever it is you want to do–now.
  5. Relieve–Even after you’ve written down all of your mind clutter, given yourself a positive mantra, allowed yourself to accept where you are, and prioritized your responsibilities, you’ll probably be feeling overwhelmed or anxious at the impending changes to your routine. It’s a lot to keep track of, even if its something as simple as adding 30 minutes of exercise to your day. You need to remember to give yourself breathing room; find a place or a time each week (maybe each day if you need it) to get out of your routine bubble and just let yourself be. Maybe that’s meditating in your room, maybe its a stroll around the block or in a nearby park; my personal weekly relief is church. This is some place or activity that you don’t view as a commitment or obligation. It’s a reward that you freely give to yourself because you know you need it. Even if you don’t feel like you deserve it, don’t feel like you’ve done enough this week to give up the time for it, allow yourself time for relief. It will help refresh your energy and renew your determination to achieve your dreams!

I would love to hear about what you’ve done to achieve your goals. Share in the comments if you have any great things to add to this list! Let’s conquer 2016 and be the best we can be.

-tlc

How I’m Making Better Changes in 2016 (And You Should, Too)

I don’t know about you, but 2016 has been off to an interesting start. Not to go into too much detail, but 2015 ended with a not-so-great bang, and though I’ve enjoyed my 2016 so far (I got to explore Seattle and part of Portland with my adorable nephews!) I haven’t been too enthusiastic about it. BUT, I am determined! The past couple of years have been a bit of a wander for me; I’ve jumped head-first into a new city and industry that I knew nothing about ahead of time, and I’ve learned to make things work. But I’ve spent enough time simply letting things happen and “going with the flow” (Not that either of those things are bad; the first rule to being happy in life is learning that nothing is truly in your control). This year is about taking initiative and taking steps towards finding what goals matter most to me, and then reaching those goals. And maybe I can help you reach your goals, too.

How? Well, for starters, after reading my last post my good friend Joel sent me a great article about making goals and resolutions vs. making rules, and the success rate of each. Check out the article here, it makes some great points!

So I am making some rules for myself. I sat down this afternoon and wrote up a quick list of rules I want to implement into my daily routine over the course of the next couple of months, and then a wrote up a list of general goals for the year so that when I’m ready to create and implement new rules, I can go back to my list and stay focused on the things I most want to accomplish this year. I’m keeping all of this on my phone, as I’ve realized that as much as I love pen and paper, I feel very disorganized having random sheets and lists lying around my room, and eventually I lose them, anyways. I also didn’t want to type it up on my computer, as it would likely get lost in my documents folder and I would never look at it again. This way, with both my rule list and my goal list on my phone, I have them with me whenever I want to look at them, and they don’t take up space or make me feel cluttered or overwhelmed.

I also started off small, making a list of maybe 5-6 rules total for me to implement gradually over the course of the next month so as not to overwhelm myself. That’s also why I created a goal list; 5-6 simple rules will not get all of my goals completed, but as I successfully implement my rules, I can create more that will eventually help me reach my end goal.

I’m also changing my outlook this year. So often, I find that I fail at reaching the goals I create for myself because I expect to find success or completion before I’ve even begun. I don’t like the way I look in a sports bra and yoga pants while I’m working out, so I stop. I don’t have the knowledge or creativity to generate viral quality content, so I stop producing. I stop publishing. The first three pages of my current writing project suck, so I quit working on it. Etc. Etc.

This year, I’m looking at it as a work in progress. If this blog and its readership has taught me anything, it’s that working through the tough, embarrassing, often public mishaps that come with being new to something and learning as you go is the only way to find success at something. Rome wasn’t built in a day, Harry Potter was not the first story that J.K. Rowling wrote, and every successful business person has failed first. So you get the privilege of seeing this blog change before your eyes, and maybe seeing me change, too!

I want to hear about your goals for this year, and if you need help making rules of your own, give me a shout out. You know where to find me.

-tlc