My Home Project List

I have many things that are going around in my head, most of them are related to my family, my job, money, my home and organizing.  I’m not organized by any means in fact in most cases I’m a mess but I do want to be organized.  I seriously want to be that person that seems put together even when I don’t feel like I am.  People tell me that I seem like I am well organized but honestly my house is a mess.  The dialogue that often is inside my head is this “Uggh, this cabinet is a mess what can I do to get it organized?” or “I really want to update this in our house, how can we get started on that with little to no money?” or the latest “This room stresses me out, why can’t it ever be organized and clean?”.  That last thought is often referring to my youngest sons room.  It’s cluttered and has too much stuff.

My Home Project List

My Home Project List

My home drives me crazy so instead of continuing to allow it to drive me crazy I decided that I would start a project list.  This would be specific to my home and I’m sure I’ll have lists for other things in my life.  Because I’m a list addict I feel peaceful and content with my life and myself when I’ve got a few lists going and when I can show that I have accomplished items off the list.  I try to take time once a week to write my to do list so I thought why not start a Home Project List.  Here goes.

  • Create and decorate my new office/beauty room
  • Dining room- after the office is done and I move my desk I’d like to get this area updated and maybe add a hutch or some kind of beverage area.
  • Entry Way- I would like to move the sewing machine to my office and use it as a side table if possible so that means I need a new focal point for the entry way.
  • Organize my pantry- I can’t have a larger pantry because there is no where to put it so I just need to get this organized and look better.
  • Remodel/restructure our laundry room- will have to figure out to change the storage at the top of the cabinets.
  • Tile in our guest bathroom- we put in a new vanity and countertop but never put in new tile so would like to redo the flooring and the bathtub/shower with tile.
  • Back splash for kitchen
  • French doors in dining room- I hate the sliding glass doors we currently have in our home, french doors would be ideal here with a screen door if possible.
  • Close up living room window
  • Paint boys rooms
  • Organize our closets
  • Create a cabinet or shoe rack for our garage/mud room
  • Paint kitchen island- try milk paint
  • Paint cabinets in kitchen
  • Pellet stove in living room
  • Living room- new furniture and maybe a coffee table, rug and lamps
  • Front porch- would love to put a feminine touch here with flowers and just something more welcoming.

How do you create a home project list?

I don’t know for sure if there is a specific way as it’s not an exact science but this what I do.  I start out by finding a comfortable place to sit alone by myself, maybe in my room with my comfy blanket and a notebook and I make a list of my wildest dreams of my house.  I often ask these questions:

  • Which space makes you crazy?
  • What rooms do you know have potential for change?
  • What areas need small cosmetic changes or just new accessories?
  • What rooms would you make over if you won $10,000?  What if it was $100,000?
  • What do you wish your home had?

I start by just doing a brain dump and just keep spitting out stuff that I want…sort of a wish list.  From there I determine if these are obtainable and if so I start to put them into small buckets and create a plan for a project list.

I have been unhappy with my home in the past but than I started really doing some thinking about how much our life would benefit if we just stayed here.  First of all, our kids are getting bigger.  My oldest is already in high school so before you know it he’s going to be gone and on his own.  Than my youngest who is a social butter fly is most likely going to be gone most of the time as he gets older too.  So why move to a bigger house just because I want more space.  This house has potential if we just worked on it and it would mean we wouldn’t get more into debt to be “happy”.  So instead of moving we are going to add or change this house.  I’m grateful to have this home.  I love this home, it was my first real house.  My son and I lived in a double wide prior to living here and although it was a great starter  home it wasn’t a house.  I wanted a house and I worked hard to get this house.  Now this house is our house and it’s my families home.  I keep trying to remind myself that I may be unhappy with one particular or another about this house but I go back to that moment when I was handed the keys to my own home and how proud I was to be moving myself and my son to a nice neighbor hood and a great house for the two of us.

I realize my home project list is super long but it’s an ongoing list and most of these things will not be able to be done right away.  As we work on our journey to paying down debt we can possibly work on a few things here and there.  Later when we have made a big debt on our debt journey than we can make a big dent on the home project list.

What is on your dream list?

Have you created a prioritized list or just a wish list?

 

How to Manage a Blog with a Full Time Job

How to Manage a Blog with a Full Time Job

My neighbor came to visit Sunday evening and asked me if I was working cause my computer was on (my computer is currently in our dining room so you can see it when you come into the house) and she knows I work at home.  I told her that I was working on my blog. She said, “You have a blog? How do you have time to do that with kids, a husband and work?”  She said “I have one child and can barely keep up with the cleaning, laundry, my daughter and husband?”  I just looked at her and said honestly I love the blog, I just started it a few months ago and so far I’m super passionate about it.

I honestly couldn’t tell you the magic trick but I do know that I love to write (even if I’m not great at it) and I can sit down and pound out a few blog posts every so often.

I used to write in a journal and although I loved it I got tired of writing with pen and paper.  This helps me to just let all my thoughts explode on to paper and believe me there are a lot of thoughts in this head of mine.

I also believe that when something makes you happy and you are passionate about it that you will do more of it.  I have learned so much by having this blog.  I kind of think of it this way, if something is important you’ll find time to do it.

I have a full time job as a Physician recruiter and I spend a lot of time talking to folks on the phone and by email.  There are many days that I don’t want to talk on the phone, I just want to be quiet and write.  I have a sort of “sales oriented” job and sometimes it can feel like pressure every day.  Blogging doesn’t feel like pressure.  It feels like I’m allowing my creative energy to flow.

I am not perfect, I don’t feel like I am expert at this WordPress stuff but I love to learn and I am a sponge so what I learn I like to share.  The biggest thing I am learning is that if I want this to end up being a business I have to treat it like a business.  Yes, you have to make room for other things in your life like your family, your husband and so on, but you also need to make room for your blog.  I try my hardest to write at least once a week but sometimes I will have several ideas that I need to get out so I might write several posts and then schedule them to be published at later dates. There are great tools in WordPress to let you do this.

The key is to set aside time to work on this blog.  I know I can spare at least two hours per week so I usually sit down while my Hubby is watching football on Sunday’s and write.  I do lots of research during the week and come up with ideas to write about.  I have many tools that I use for that, specifically Pinterest because I have a secret board that is specifically for ideas.  I also write drafts when I’ve got down time and they are usually created on my phone in Evernote. I am a bad sleeper so when I wake up at 3am and can’t sleep I pull out my phone and usually will start to type of a few ideas that I can in turn remember to write about later.

Social Media can be a big time waster.

I love social media.  My boss hates that I’m on social media all the time; hello, I’m a recruiter where else would I be?!  But the problem with social media is that it is a big time suck.  Once you start scrolling through your friends pics of their kids doing funny stuff or pictures of puppies you have wasted an hour.  That is an hour I could have been writing content or even promoting my blog. The trick with blogging and social media is that you have to really start connecting.  You want to build an audience  and have readers and fellow bloggers following you so you need to connect and visit other bloggers as well.  I’ve already made so many new friends from blogging in just this short period of time.

6 Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund

Dave Ramsey talks about having an emergency fund every day on his podcasts.  How do I know because I listen to them daily while I’m doing research at work.

What is an emergency fund?

My version is a stash of cash readily available to pay for those unforeseen events, this can be in the case of not having a paycheck suddenly or a car repair.

I know it is not fun saving up your hard earned cash.  You have been eyeing that Coach purse at the mall or you have your eyes on a new set of shoes or maybe a cute dress. No, you can’t spend your emergency fund on the purse or shoes.  Putting money in an emergency is no fun.  But it will save you in the long run.

The idea behind an emergency fund is store at least six months of net income for just in case moments.  This could be just in case you face a job loss or possibly your car gives out.

If you are in debt you Dave says to start with a $1,000 emergency fund and after that has been stashed away you start to chip away at the debt with the debt snowball method.

6 Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund

Here are some reasons why you need an emergency fund?

Job loss– I have been fortunate and have never ever lost a job (Thank you Lord!) but you never ever know.  This is really the primary reason why you need an emergency fund.  If you are no longer receiving a paycheck how are you going to pay for food and to keep the lights on?

Major health or dental expense– A few years ago I had a major health expense, fortunately I had insurance through my employer but there was still quite a bit of money that had to come 0ut of our pocket for my surgery.  It wasn’t a teeny amount either, it was far more than $1,000.  Guess what?  We didn’t have enough so I had to work out payment arrangements with the hospital.  I’m glad they were able to help us but we shouldn’t have been in that situation.  Over the last year the hubby had to have a root canal a crown and two cavities filled.  Luckily we did have an emergency fund but guess what we are now building it up again.

Emergency Pet Care– Oh man this one hit us the hardest.  About a year maybe two or so ago our dog Sniffy, he’s pictured on this page, had an accident.  He was cruising with my Hubby in our jeep and he jumped out.  Yes, the dog that had never ever once in his life jumped out of a moving vehicle jumped out and broke his femur.  We had several choices, one to put him down (would have been the cheapest option), two have his leg amputated and three have surgery to see if we could save his leg.  After lots of thinking and heart to heart talks with the kids we decided to go with the surgery.  Over $5,000 later we have debt and a healthy dog.  We are still paying for this debt, don’t let this happen to you.

Car repairs– knock on wood we have not had to worry to much about this but if you think you will never have to do any repairs on your car think again.  My friend told me that in her hometown the only mechanic in town does not take credit cards.  Imagine if you were stranded there and have no cash stashed away for this, you are stuck.

Taxes– I haven’t seen a refund in years so every year we do our taxes well enough in advance so that we can have time to come up with the funds to pay the tax bill.  Not a good idea I know but I am working on getting us out of this situation.

Death in the family– this has to be the worst because not only are you heart broken but you are not prepared.  Funeral costs are high, close to $10,000 high.  We are fortunate to have life insurance but I have seen many folks not have the money to bury their loved ones.

Start your Emergency Fund today.

All of these things and many more can cause an otherwise stable situation to collapse, forcing you to tap into credit cards.  It’s stressful, it’s cause for worry but if you plan ahead and make a commitment to stash some money away every week or every two weeks you will be better off.

If you don’t have an emergency fun, start one.  I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Budgets Can Be Sexy!

“It’s not your salary that makes you rich; it’s your spending habits. – Charles Jaffe

That is 100% true!  We’ve been tracking our spending habits over the last month and really looking at our money and our ugly debt and honestly the above statement couldn’t be further from the truth.

We had a wake up call in December. Seriously, it was so bad I cried.  And I cried some more.  This post started our get out of debt journey.

I learned the hard way that I am actually a spender.  I hate it and I vowed from that moment on to get us out of debt.

So what did we do? We created a budget!

 

Budgets can be sexy!

Budgets are not sexy until you start to really see what they can do for you.  A budget pretty much help you tell your money where it needs to go.  Before our wake up call we had a budget but we never really followed it.  And we have no excuse as to why we didn’t use it, I think the biggest excuse is that we didn’t care.  Now I am following it to the T.  I have a zero based budget, meaning all the money that comes in goes somewhere and will equal zero at the end.  So if there is money left over it is directed somewhere. It might be moved to our emergency fund or to a bill we really need to get out from under.

The first thing we did when we created our budget is to focus on paying ourselves.  In this case it was really about creating an emergency fund.  We were bad about this too.  I know there are probably at least five reasons why you need an emergency fund, one being a major bill coming your way that you did not expect like a car or home repair.  So we added this to the budget as our top item.  The goal is $1,000 because we are following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps.  If you haven’t read the Total Money Make over you should and really read it!  I read it before and I’m reading it again right now.  You know when you tell your kid “No!” at least two or three times and they finally stop doing something at the third No, that works for adults too.  I kept hearing it but didn’t pay attention until now.

The second thing we did was figure out how much we owe to everyone and wrote down the minimum payments for each debt and when each item was due.  From here we created a debt snowball strategy.  Another one of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps.  The idea is that the smallest bills get paid first.  I sort of tweaked this because my concern is that we have one credit card that has a time limit; a zero interest promotional period.  So that one has to be paid first as the promotional period ends October.  As much money as we can is going to go to this bill and then every other bill will get the minimum payment. Once the first bill is paid off the money we were allotting per month to the other goes to the second and so on.  You can learn a little more about how the debt snowball method works here.

Our spending habits have made us poor, very poor.  We both make very good money and here we are living paycheck to paycheck. Seriously, I graduated from college why is this so hard?  Because we weren’t following a plan; we weren’t following a budget. The amount of money we spend outside of the things we need to survive is ridiculous. The budget I created really shows a clear picture as to how rich we could really be if we did not owe money to other people.  It feels bad to know that we are in this situation.  I am honestly ashamed and wish I could turn back time but that is not possible so we have to own our decisions and work at keeping our heads in the game to get out of this mess. Debt just like gaining weight doesn’t happen over night and it sure isn’t go away over night.

I realize that many of us make this mistake but I also know that I am smarter than this and should have never gotten here in the first place. I used to read stories all of the times of folks digging themselves out of debt and now I know why it was reason to celebrate. I want freedom, freedom from the stress of worrying and freedom from being tied to someone else.

 

 

A List of My Favorite Things

I have several things that I love and things I can’t live without, this is just a list of at least 10 of my favorite things.

  1. I love God.  I would not be here without Him.  I truly think that everything that has happened in my life is because of His will.  Yes we all make decisions because we have free will but I truly believe that He has led me to this moment.
  2. The power of prayer- I don’t care if I offend anyone because I have such a strong love for God I truly believe that the power of prayer can make things better and sometimes we need to consider that the things we want are not the same as the things we need.
  3. Arizona Green Tea- I don’t drink sodas and I rarely drink alcohol but I love me some Arizona Green Tea.
  4. Chocolate- I have a friend that doesn’t like chocolate.  The first time she told me that I was like “What?!”.  How can someone not love chocolate.  I had a double chocolate cake Wednesday evening and it was awesome.
  5. My Husband.  I was a single mom for many years and I never ever thought I would meet a great guy.  I was blessed when God put my Hubby into my life because He knew I needed him.  I was always strong and independent and never ever asked for help from anyone but God put this man in my life and he is my everything.  He is my best friend, my love and my partner.
  6. My boys.  I know all Mom’s feel like their kids are the best but honestly my boys are two of my favorite things.  They drive me crazy I won’t lie but they make my life full and complete.  Before I had my boys I was a hot mess and often a shit show.  Yeah, they help me to be stable and grounded.
  7. Lipstick- anyone who knows me knows that I love make up but I truly love lipstick.  I feel like my face is “finished” when I have lipstick on.  I feel like I am complete and ready to take on the world.  Lipstick helps me to feel powerful and strong. I know why I decided to join Senegence because I love, love LipSense.
  8. Bling.  I love all things bling and glitter.  I always have.  I have so much jewelry it is scary.  And if I had a choice between a purse and a pretty set of jewels I would take the jewels. Purses mean nothing to me they are just a thing to store my stuff.  Jewelry makes me feel good and put together.  When I do not have my jewelry on, especially my earrings I feel naked.
  9. My iPad.  I know we shouldn’t be dependent on electronics and I rarely am on it when my kids are around or my Hubby but I do like reading and I love research and I feel like it is so much easier on my iPad than my computer or phone.
  10. Pinterest- whoever interested Pinterest thank you because I feel like it is a to do list, want list, dream list and organization tool all in one.

What are your favorite things?

What is a Blog?

What is a blog?

So I was talking to my little one today and he was asking me what I was doing.  I said I’m working on my blog.  He said “what is a blog?”.  So I started to explain what a blog was and he didn’t get it.  So I thought if he doesn’t get it I need to explain it because if someone ever asks him what does your Mom do I want him to be able to answer the question.

Blogging is not my full time gig but my hope is that one day it can add a little income to our family and maybe it will end up being my full time gig.  I really love it and who knew I would love to research and write so much.

So back to what is a blog?

A blog is an online website that is managed by an individual and often times by teams as well depending on how large the blog is.  Most of the time it is a place for someone like me to share his or her expertise with the world.  I don’t think I am expert as I am just learning how to blog and in the process I am sharing what I am learning along the way.

Why do people blog?

Some people like to share their expertise and ideas with the world.  There are so many creative, intelligent and funny people that have amazing talents they can share and this is an easy way to share those talents.  In most cases you can start a blog for under $4/month.  I started this blog because I was really intrigued by other bloggers and I wanted to learn something new.  I have not been given an opportunity to gain new knowledge or training at work so I decided to take it upon myself to learn something new.  Why not try something that I like.  Actually so far I think I really love blogging.

Based on what I have been learning online there are several types of blogs.  There are fashion blogs, food, finance and blogs about family, kids and parenting.  I would consider my blog more of a lifestyle blog as it sort of has just a lot of stuff related to all of the above.  Some of my favorite blogs are listed below:

I have many other bloggers I follow but these are my regular reads and honestly I learn something from each of them.  I aspire to be like these bloggers but I still have a lot of work to do.

 

Did you know people can make money from blogging?

I had no idea that this was possible, I mean I heard that there were bloggers making money but I had no idea how they were doing it.  That was until recently.  I have been reading several of the most popular bloggers and I have learned that yes if you put a lot of hard work and time into your blog and treat it like a business you can make money.

How do blogs make money?

  1. Ads- these are the ads you see on several blogs.  I don’t have any just yet but as soon as I get to a point where I have more page views I will start working on adding advertisements.
  2. Affiliate marketing- this is probably the coolest type of revenue because if you like to share products you love this is for you.  Many companies offer affiliate programs, if you love their service or product you can become an affiliate.  Every time you share their product through a special link and if someone makes a purchase by going through that link you get a commission.  Imagine that, sharing a product and getting paid.  I am pretty sure I share this kind of stuff daily.
  3. Sponsored posts- I am still unsure about this but you can sign up to write a blog post about a specific product or service and in exchange for your time and promotion the company of the product you promoted will pay you.
  4. Products- you can create your own products, these can be ebooks or a course or maybe even a service.

How much time is involved to create and maintain a blog?

This is a really good question and one that has me perplexed.  Based on my research it really depends on how much time you can and want to invest in your blog.  But it seems like most successful bloggers work on their blogs at least 10 hours a week.  Personally I spend about an hour a day because I do work full time and I have a Hubby and two kids. I tend to work on my blog after they have gone to bed or they are working on homework. I think the trick is to determine whether or not your blog is a hobby or a business.  If you treat it like a hobby you will have a hobby, if you treat it like a business you will have a business.

It does take time to write posts and on average my posts are at least 700 or so words plus I take some time to create images.  My blog is very new and I have just started adding content so I try to post at least once a day but I might reduce this to 2 to 3 times a day so I can focus on promoting my blog.  I have yet to figure out the promoting piece but I’m working on reading and learning so I can get my blog out there.