Live Like a College Student

Live Like a College Student

Live Like a College Student

One of the best pieces of financial advice we have been given was from my mom. She told us to live like college students as long as you possibly can.

You may be thinking that you made some of the worst financial decisions of your life in college. That’s not what she was talking about. She meant, live on as little as possible and save, save, save as much as you can. And that is what we did and continue to do.

Our income has fluctuated throughout the years, especially when I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom. When we had a higher income, we did not change our spending habits. Most people already plan out how they are going to spend their raise before they even get it. Our lifestyle has never reflected our income.

 

Live Like a College Student 1
Live Like a College Student 2

By living on less than what we made, we were able to save enough that we had a good cushion if there was an emergency or if we lost a job.

When we were double-income earners, we lived on less than half of our pay. Mind you, we didn’t have high-paying jobs, think teacher’s salary people. This gave us the ability to save and put extra money down on our house and put quite a bit into our retirement.

Beyond that, I was able to be a stay-at-home mom and we didn’t really feel like we were living differently (except we couldn’t put extra into savings, retirement, or on our house).

Having extra savings and not having to live paycheck to paycheck gave me so much more peace. As women, most of us find comfort and reassurance by being financially secure. Sadly, most women (and people in general) are stressed over money because their spending is out of control.

 

The Benefits of Living Like a College Student:

If we didn’t live like college students, we would have been so stressed financially. Buying a home would have been tough to pull off. I probably would have never had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom.

There are so many moms who would love to be home with their kids, but they don’t think they can financially pull it off. How tragic. If this is you right now, there is always a way. Those changes may be drastic like downsizing your home and vehicle(s). Maybe you or your spouse will need to add a side gig in to make it work. You will have to change your spending habits and live with less.

My big question for you is this:

What do you want to do in your future?

Are finances holding you back from reaching those goals or dreams?

If so, what changes do you need to make?

Most people are broke, and have piles of debt. Dare to be different. You don’t have to have what everyone else has. Live like a college student. Learn like crazy, enjoy each moment, be social, and live on a shoestring. You survived it then, you can do it today.

Share your thoughts on living like a college student below.

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Stop Acting Rich: Debunking the Lies that are Holding Us Back

Stop Acting Rich: Debunking the Lies that are Holding Us Back

Stop Acting Rich: Debunking the Lies that are Holding Us Back

We are all looking for more. The constant bombardment of what our lives should look like and what we are supposed to own is endless. What we see on television and movies paints a life where people rarely work, they have a huge spotless house, and a romantic relationship that is oh-so unrealistic.

Our perception of reality gets even more twisted by the insane amount of advertisements pushed at us daily. A whopping average of 5,000 advertisements online, on paper, and billboards each day are encouraging us to pull out our credit cards to buy the latest and greatest gadget that will ‘make our lives better.’ Instead of trying to keep up with the Joneses, most of us are trying to keep up or exceed where our parents currently are (and it took them twenty plus years to get there). Our unrealistic expectations lead us to so much debt.

Stop Acting Rich: Debunking the Lies that are Holding Us Back 3

Now, almost everything comes with a payment plan. Car and cell phone commercials only tell you the monthly payment, not the actual price. Heck, there’s a payment plan for everything. You can have a shed payment, a boat payment, furniture payment, and so much more. We are all acting like we have all the things, when in reality we are slowly paying them off and feeling like frauds.

What if we weren’t meant to go after the latest and greatest thing?

What if we lived differently?

What if we actually owned our stuff instead of the other way around?

Would freedom be found?

 

The Lie

The world is feeding us a lie that stuff equals happiness and it just isn’t true. Oliver Markus Malloy unloads reality, “Our entire life we chase the wrong things because we think having more money and buying more stuff will make us more happy. But it doesn’t. You know why a billionaire has 100 Ferraris? Because 99 weren’t enough.”

I don’t have a Ferrari, and I’m not even close to being a billionaire. But I do know, that when I stop and pay attention, I find happiness in the simple joys of life that are free.  Those memories are priceless.  Happiness is found when I push my son on the swings which brings on a slew of deep belly laughs. Snuggling up next to my daughter reading her book after book brings me joy. I don’t want to be so distracted by life and achievement, that I miss the present joys that surround me.

What brings you joy? Buying the newest and latest thing might bring a temporary high, but it won’t be lasting.  Shouldn’t we be chasing after those joys we will remember throughout our lives?

Stop Acting Rich: Debunking the Lies that are Holding Us Back 4

Reflecting on Life

When it comes down to the end, all of our stuff really doesn’t matter.  I doubt many people will reflect back on their lives and think that their newest iPhone was the highlight of their life.  We all know that experiences trump possessions, but we still live the other way around.

We just had a celebration of life memorial for my Gramps and this really hit home for me. I cherish the memories, the photos, and videos of him, but not all of his stuff. My family went through his things and we all chose a few items that embodied our memories of him.  I chose the watch that he always wore and a few photos of him.  I’m working on creating a shadow box to display these few items that bring back wonderful memories of Gramps.  Beyond that, everything has been given away or donated.

Our days are limited and someday someone else is going to go through my possessions and keep what they want and get rid of the rest. I don’t want to have massive amounts of possessions that my loved ones will have to go through. And I sure don’t want to work so hard during my life so I can pay for all the things that will one day be someone else’s burden to deal with.

I want to spend my time with people I care about, buying the necessities and not caring what others think. I may have some brown duck tape holding my super-comfy couch together.  And my kids wear hand-me-downs (heck, so do I) and you know what, I’m happy with that. We are living below our means, which gives us freedom. I don’t want to fake it.

Changing Our Expectations

I wish I had the answer or a secret formula to fix our cultures insatiable hunger for more. I do know if we start changing our expectations of what we need to own and actually started to save up and pay for things outright, we would find financial freedom. As Dave Ramsey says, “you’ve got to live like no one else, so you can live like no one else.” I can not agree more with this statement.  Most people are broke, so let’s stop doing what broke people are doing.

There are so many different strategies on how to get out of debt, but the root of the issue has to be addressed. Our things cost money and if we start limiting those things, we start to save money. It is as simple as that. If we live minimally, we not only find that we have more time, less to maintain, but we also have more cash in our wallets.

What are some ways you live like no one else? Please leave a comment below…

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#DebtDumpChallenge

#DebtDumpChallenge

#DebtDumpChallenge

Have you ever made a goal that seemed almost unreachable? Something so big that it is scary to say out loud because if you say it out loud, you might actually have to do it. Well, I’m about to do that, I’m going to share our big goal…

We are going to pay off our house by November 20th, 2019!!

Yep, this is scary to put this in writing, since there will be so many eyes on our financial goal. Paying off the rest of our house isn’t going to be easy. Our original plan was to pay off our house in the next five years, but we are so on fire to be completely debt free (and my husband picked up a second job) so we can pay it off early.

#DebtDumpChallenge 5

We have been homeowners for the past eight years. The first home we owned for five years. We have been in our current home for the past three years.

By the time we have our home paid off, I will be 32 and my husband will be 35 and we will have been homeowners for nine years.

Furthermore, four of those years we weren’t making enough to be paying down on our home. My husband and I are working so hard to pay off our home for a lot of reasons.

Below are a few of the main reasons we want to pay off our house ASAP…

3 Reasons to Pay off Your House:

ONE

Freedom

Can you imagine having no mortgage in your thirties? We don’t want our biggest expense to be our home. No mortgage gives us the ability to spend and be more generous with our funds.

Our desire is to go on overseas mission trips with our family annually and be able to help meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of others. By paying off our house, we will have extra funds to be able to do that.

TWO

No More Interest Payments

Even with our 3.625% loan, we are paying SOOO much in interest. I don’t want to be throwing away money to a bank if I don’t have to. Many people spend almost double their home price in interest rates throughout the life of a typical 30-year loan.

Let me give you an example. If you have a home that costs $200,000 with a typical interest rate right now of 4.5%, over thirty years, you will have paid $164,814 in interest. So, the total cost of the home would be $364,018.  This fires me up!!  I don’t want to pay monthly interest that only benefits the bank.

THREE

Debt Sucks

Debt sucks period. Most people think that they have to have debt to live, but that isn’t true. How often have you heard or maybe you say that I’ll always have a mortgage or I’ll always be making car payments? This is a lie, that is being fed to us daily.

We don’t have credit cards. We pay with cash/debit. Once you get in debt, it is hard to get out of it.  If you are in debt, you have to get really intentional about paying it off fast.

My husband and I started the #DebtDumpChallenge to encourage others to pay down their debt while we pay down ours.  We wanted to create a community of people who are all-in on paying down debt, so we can experience financial peace and do what we are created to do.

 

This community has almost sixty families participating and we have a collective group debt dump goal of over 1 million dollars!!  We are so excited to be able to encourage and support these families as they transform their financial futures.

 

Here are the deets on the #DebtDumpChallenge (the challenge is closed, but we will be updating our progress throughout the year!):

 

Where: #DebtDumpChallenge (Private Facebook Group)

 

When: Join before December 1, 2018. The challenge will last from Nov. 1, 2018- Dec. 1, 2019.  We will not be adding new members to our Facebook group after December 1st, because we want everyone to go all in and be part of the group for the whole year. 

 

Why: This group is created to encourage each other to get out of debt.  Share your victories of paying down debt so we can celebrate with you.  My husband and I will post videos, tips, and content to encourage each other along the way.

  • Group Goal | $1,225,693.55    [$488,307.21 PAID OFF] 39.36% 39.36%
  • Jamberlee | $47,091.00 100% 100%
  • Ash | $10,000.00 68.06% 68.06%
  • Mankinator | $45,000.00 3.33% 3.33%
  • InKahoots | $47,000.00 100% 100%
  • Paige Turner | $10,000.00 30% 30%
  • Bryca | $18,000.00 83.33% 83.33%
  • CaMel2013 | $15,000.00 0% 0%
  • D-Zone | $17,006.00 70.56% 70.56%
  • Jane Doe | $13,000.00 0% 0%
  • Lackadaisia | $19,495.00 10.46% 10.46%
  • Segullah | $1,000 0% 0%
  • C/K Trump | $20,000 100% 100%
  • M & M’s | $5,000 0% 0%
  • Micrah | $3,500 75.00% 75.00%
  • Elizabeth | $2,000 105.00% 105.00%
  • D-Money | $16,000 41.25% 41.25%
  • Toss it | $12,000 0% 0%
  • Starrmom | $3,650.00 40.55% 40.55%
  • ThirdBird | $12,000.00 17.50% 17.50%
  • Purposeful Living | $6,000.00 0% 0%
  • The Myers Pack | $10,000.00 58.46% 58.46%
  • Hoffman30cass | $50,000.00 0% 0%
  • csvg | $16,000.00 0% 0%
  • SingleMama | $13,500 100% 100%
  • It’s a wonderful life | $35,000.00 65.02% 65.02%
  • Lisa | $70,000.00 11.94% 11.94%
  • Levater | $20,000.00 55.00% 55.00%
  • DogLovingCat | $7,900.00 0% 0%
  • DebtBeGone | $6,000.00 57.75% 57.75%
  • Down With Student Loans! | $30,000.00 7.74% 7.74%
  • JKLJ | $34,000.00 100% 100%
  • Lemur | $5,000.00 0% 0%
  • Memes2687 | $1,362.00 0% 0%
  • jpdump | $30,000.00 18.25% 18.25%
  • Bradandjanelle | $9,500.00 25.26% 25.26%
  • FreedomFighters | $5,000.00 0% 0%
  • DJen | $25,000.00 100% 100%
  • MV | $8,000.00 55.38% 55.38%
  • BenO | $20,000.00 0% 0%
  • GiffordsGetAfterit | $25,000.00 0% 0%
  • LeroyJenkins | $10,000.00 10.71% 10.71%
  • SMD | $15,000.00 10% 10%
  • Lobo Roxo | $17,478.55 14.59% 14.59%
  • A&B Debt Free | $18,000.00 2.78% 2.78%
  • Pepito | $40,000.00 139.18% 139.18%
  • Cookie Monster | $2,300.00 0% 0%
  • GaleForce | $10,000.00 150.95% 150.95%
  • MoneyMagic | $65,000.00 0% 0%
  • Piddler on the Roof | $13,500.00 1.67% 1.67%
  • DRECHEL | $5,000.00 100% 100%
  • TheDahlyLlamas | $40,000 32.35% 32.35%
  • Hatashley | $35,311.00 67.02% 67.02%
  • Texas Cowboys | $90,000.00 4.44% 4.44%
  • Nelliott | $30,000.00 21.83% 21.83%
  • Family Ties | $5,000.00 0.50% 0.50%
  • The Johnson Clan | $20,000.00 32.12% 32.12%
  • MotherOfFour | $17,100.00 100% 100%
  • BrownFam | $5,000.00 100% 100%
  • Terrica | $35,000.00 23.29% 23.29%

I’m going to be really transparent with you and let you know how much we owe on our house.

We owe $47,091 on our home.

Just so you have a better idea on the numbers side of our homeownership journey, we bought our home three years ago for $180,000. The current value of our home is $250,000+ right now.  Each month I will give an update on how much we are able to knock off of our principle.

I just want to let you know why I am sharing this with you. For one, it will put some extra fire under us to get our house paid off.  Secondly, I believe we are created to make a difference in the world, and so many of us are held back by finances, including myself.

Group Goal

#DebtDumpChallenge 6

The ticks have tocked and the challenge is closed...

Day(s)

:

Hour(s)

:

Minute(s)

:

Second(s)

#DebtDumpChallenge

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3 Benefits of Downsizing Your Home Even with a Family

3 Benefits of Downsizing Your Home Even with a Family

3 Benefits of Downsizing Your Home Even with a Family

We thought we were moving way up when we moved out of our 749 sq. ft. apartment into our 2,500 sq. ft. home on a quarter-acre lot. Our five bedroom home (for just my husband and I) needed a lot of TLC since it was foreclosure. But once we fixed it up enough to move in, the house seemed empty. We didn’t have enough furniture and decor to fill the space. So what did we do? We filled it up of course. We bought couches, end tables, blinds, and all the things to make the house feel lived in.

The huge house and massive lawn seemed idealistic when we were looking at homes, but in reality, it was SO much work. I never could keep the house clean and this was before I had kids. If I’m really honest, I felt like I was doing good if I vacuumed the basement once a month. Yikes!

Instead of having tons of house guests over to stay in our large home as we planned, we had house project after house project that took up our precious time. Rarely did we have people stay in our guest room that we felt we had to have. We envisioned frequent dinner parties at our home, but they were few and far between.

3 Benefits of Downsizing Your Home Even with a Family 7
3 Benefits of Downsizing Your Home Even with a Family 8

The home we tried to fill so it wouldn’t be empty, quickly filled and now we had to make space for our child’s arrival. I wish I could say I purged, but we didn’t. We just rearranged and reorganized our possessions.  We put our guest bed on risers so we could store more stuff under it. Our poor guests had to take a running leap just to get into bed.

In the five years we owned our large home, we learned so much.  When we decided to move, we knew we didn’t want a big house or the large yard. We didn’t want a fixer-upper or a place that was hard to keep up.  If we could live by a park where OTHER people maintain it, that would be ideal.

We ended up buying a 1500 sq. ft. home with two less bedrooms and a way smaller yard.  Not only that, we have added another child to our family. Even with our 1,000 sq. ft. down grade, our smaller home has felt like such an upgrade and here is why.

Here are a few of the benefits of downsizing your family home.

3 Benefits of Downsizing:

ONE

Less Cleaning and Upkeep

A smaller house is so much more manageable when it comes to keeping the house clean. The average home in America is 2,641 sq. ft. according to 2018 statistics. That is quite a bit of sq. footage to clean.

Since our house is 40% smaller than our first home, that cuts out 40% of the cleaning I would have had if we never moved. I don’t miss that extra space or mowing the extra lawn. I have more time to do what I want with my family instead of cleaning and working on our home.

 

TWO

We Buy Less

My mom has this saying, “People are like jello, they mold to fit in whatever size home they are in.” This statement is so true.

When we had a bigger house, we bought so much to fill the space.  By having a smaller place, it limits the amount we own. We only have so much space and storage, which forces us to keep what we need and let go of the rest.

THREE

Brings Financial Freedom

This is a simple fact, smaller homes cost less than larger ones in the initial home price. The average new home price in America (July 2018) is $394,300.  In most real estate markets, smaller homes will sell for substantially less.

The amount of savings by downsizing shaves years, and perhaps decades off of a mortgage. Beyond that, smaller homes cost less to maintain with utilities, giving you more cash in your wallet each month.

If you are on the fence with the idea of downsizing your family home, I would recommend taking the leap. Downsizing has been one of the best decisions we have made.

My husband and I would have never guessed that our smaller home would house an insane amount of guests even without a guest room. We now have people over often for dinner without having a formal dining room. The world tells us that we need the newer, bigger and better home. Let’s stop buying that lie literally.  Less is more.  For us, a smaller home has been a financial blessing and has encouraged us to get outside more.

We are living in our dream house. It doesn’t look like a dream home you would see on HGTV and we are ok with that.  We didn’t need a big home or a large yard. Our downsizing, upgraded our lives.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the benifits of downsizing your family home. Have you made the leap?  What is holding you back from downsizing? Please leave a comment below.

 

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3 Benefits of Downsizing Your Home Even with a Family 9

The Simple Hack that Practically Purges Your Closet for You

The Simple Hack that Practically Purges Your Closet for You

The Simple Hack that Practically Purges Your Closet for You

Do you walk into your full closet and come out frustrated feeling like you have nothing you want to wear? You are not alone.

According to a recent study, the average American woman believes that 21% of her clothing is ‘unwearable,’ 24% of the clothing is too loose, and 33% of the clothing is too tight. And to make matters worse, 12% of the clothes are new and unworn.

That means that we don’t feel good wearing 90% of our clothes. Yikes!! How can we get to the place where we actually love all of our clothes without taking a day or more to go through our clothes?

Tackling your wardrobe can be daunting. I know I’ve made excuses like I’m not emotionally ready to handle it or I don’t have the time. This simple hanger hack practically purges your closet for you. 

The Simple Hack that Practically Purges Your Closet for You 10

My husband came up with this simple hanger trick. He adapted the classic hanger trick to make it more simplistic and doable by turning all the hangers around at the beginning, then hang your clothes normally.

Let me walk you through this adapted hanger trick, so you and the rest of your household can easily purge your closets.

The Hanger Trick: 

ONE

Turn Every Hanger Backwards

This literally will take about 5 minutes and you don’t have to turn each one individually. Save yourself some time by turning the hangers around in batches. By turning every hanger backward at the beginning, means that you won’t have to think about what direction you need to rehang your clothes. You are doing the work now, so you can be on autopilot later.

TWO

Set a Date to Purge Your Closet

Choose a date and WRITE it on your calendar. Make a phone reminder if you have to. You have a coffee date with your closet. Make it happen preferably within 30-90 days from now, so you can really see what you actually wear over time. If you are wanting to purge your closet now, check out my post, “How to Gain Freedom by Letting Go of Most of Your Clothes.”

THREE

Put Away Laundry as Usual

Hang your clothes normally until it is purge time. Make sure your hanger is facing the normal directing (inward) so you can easily distinguish what you are wearing. The rest of your hangers will be facing outward until you wear them.  This is the easiest step.

FOUR

Closet Purging Day

The day is finally here! Give yourself some time so you will actually finish it. Pull out all of the hangers that are backward (the clothes you haven’t worn). These are the only clothes you will need to go through. Woohoo! Way to save yourself some time!

Keep the clothes that you truly love and that make you feel good when you are wearing it. If you don’t know how to purge your closet or just want some tips to make this process a lot easier, check out my post “How to Gain Freedom by Letting Go of Most of Your Clothes.”  Donate the clothes that you don’t wear and throw out clothes that have stains and holes.

 

If you want to deal with your closet slowly, try this hanger hack.  Having a closet full of clothes you love is quite the treat and what we all deserve. Picking out your clothes in the morning will be a breeze. Try using this technique during different seasons, so all of your clothes have been gone through.  I love using this technique for my husband and kids. They end up purging their own closets without even realizing it.

Most importantly make a pact with yourself that you won’t continue buying clothes that are just ok or on sale, only buy clothes that you actually love.

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What Marie Kondo Taught Me

What Marie Kondo Taught Me

What Marie Kondo Taught Me

If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo or the “KonMari” method, let me fill you in. Marie Kondo is a young Japanese woman who has literally transformed the organizational world and the minimalism movement.

She is a household name because of her book, “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organization.”  This book has been published in more than 30 countries and she has sold more than 4 million copies.

Marie Kondo is taking the world by storm, but why? Marie Kondo’s book teaches anyone how to declutter once and promises that you will never have to do it again. Let me say, who wouldn’t love that. Sign me up for that!!

What Marie Kondo Taught Me 11
What Marie Kondo Taught Me 12

I wanted to see for myself if this book would actually deliver on the promise to declutter my home for good.

After listening to the book, I don’t think the book delivered on that promise, but it did give me some great ideas and inspiration to purge my home.

I had three golden nugget take-aways from Kondo’s book and three ideas that I didn’t agree with.

3 Take Aways From Marie Kondo

ONE

Keep what Sparks Joy

My biggest take away was to only keep things that bring me joy. I realized I was keeping things because it was given to me, I may need it someday, or I spent money on it. By asking myself the simple question, “does this spark joy,” I was able to let go and get rid of more items.

TWO

Thank Items That Don’t Spark Joy

Marie Kondo also thanks items for their service before donating or discarding. I thought that it seemed silly, but I did try it. By thanking the items for their service, I felt like it was a little bit easier to let it go and donate my stuff.

THREE

Shirt Folding Method

The KonMari method gives a solution to the common problem of not being able to see every shirt that you own when it is folded. Instead of stacking shirts on top of each other horizontally, Marie Kondo recommends folding and laying each shirt vertically, so you can see each one at once. This way you don’t have to pull out most of your shirts to find the one you are looking for, you can easily see every shirt you own. I really like using this method for all of my husbands t-shirts. I also use this folding method for my sweaters.

What Marie Kondo Taught Me 13
I’ve got to be real. This book had some great ideas sandwiched in with some pretty out-there ideas. So this is what I didn’t like about the KonMarie method…..

3 Ideas from Marie Kondo that I didn’t Agree With 

ONE

Unrealistic Ideas

Marie Kondo wrote this book before she was married or had any children. Let me give you a few examples of some out-there premises:

  • She talks to her stuff like they are humans. She says the way most people fold their socks into each other is suffocating them. Socks should be folded and rolled like sushi so they can rest. Marie also lets her purse ‘relax’ each time she enters her home by emptying all of the contents and refilling only what she needs when she leaves. I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for that and I don’t think my purse NEEDS to relax.
  • Marie keeps nothing in her shower. She takes out each item she will use and then puts it into the shower before she gets in. When she is done with her shower she dries off each item and puts them away. I don’t know any mom who has time to keep this up.

TWO

Throw Away Photos

Dang, I had a hard time with this. Marie says we should only keep a handful of photos from a vacation or whatever and get rid of the rest. You are only supposed to keep the best of the best. I love the photos of my kids doing mundane things. I want their lives to be documented, so we can look back and remember the past. I love minimalism, but this was way too far for me.

THREE

Bouts of Diarrhea

Yeah, you heard me right. She talks about how many of her clients have diarrhea after they purge. This is super strange to me. I can’t imagine a client telling her about their bowel movements and I thought it was pretty crazy that she felt it was important to include that in her book.
The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organization” was a good starting off point for me and helped me to create my own barometer of what to keep and what to donate.  There were some great ideas in this book.

I think it is great that Marie Kondo is helping people live with less.  I felt like it would be impossible to follow her steps to a T, and enjoy my life at the same time. Have you read this book? What did you think?

What Marie Kondo Taught Me 14What Marie Kondo Taught Me 15
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