Hell YES 2016

Are you like me? Did you march into 2016 thinking, "Hell, yeah! I am SO going to conquer this year!", and then you blinked, and it was the middle of February? Funny how life works like that. I've quickly realized that time marches on while I go from day to day to day. And while I started the year off determined to tackle big goals, I've lost sight of the magic in everyday life. I'm now, more than ever, determined to take on some big goals that will actually help me enjoy each and every day -- like limit TV time, commit to spending fasts and meal planning, pay down debt, develop a training plan, simplify my home life, allow myself to say no to things that don't fit and yes to things that do. Those goals may not sound huge, but for me, I've let TIME and MONEY become the enemy, so tackling these barriers will open my life up for more with less... and allow me to truly enjoy life without stressing over the little things.
Found via @jenibrittonbauer

So, here's your reminder that it's not too late to say, "Hell, yeah! I am SO going to conquer this year!" I dare you to take that little leap.


Revisiting Old Favorites

When I was blogging regularly back in the day, I had a few favorites that people seemed to go gaga over just as much as I did. With my old blog now defunct, I thought I'd share some of those favorites here, as well.

These faves go all the way back to November of 2008 but still seem to be a huge hit on Pinterest.

Both images below were originally found here.

This gorgeous blue door was found here.

This amazing kitchen was found here.

And this laundry room was from Domino magazine.

And this gorgeous sideboard was found over here.

My taste may have changed a bit in the years since I blogged about these images, but I love that they're all still relevant and classic. And, I must admit, I am still drawn to blue and green touches in a home. Stay tuned for more from the blog archives...


Life Marches On

Funny how you can have every intention of posting and life marches on. Days become weeks, weeks become months, and suddenly, it's been nearly seven months since I've posted. Well, I owe you a bit of an update on whether I continued the spending diet and how living life with less is going.

via OhSoBeautifulPaper
The day after my last post, I decided I needed to think a bit more about what I could do to make the biggest bang for our buck. So, after chatting with my hubby, I called Directv and canceled our service with them after nine years! We had paid up through most of March, and by chance, the service was canceled the same day Wisconsin was playing in March Madness. To say my husband was suddenly questioning our sanity is an understatement. But, when he realized how much we'd been paying a month?!*%! (his words), he knew it was the best decision for us. Before the cut-off date, I picked up two Roku 3 receivers (for FREE because I had won a Target gift card on Instagram!) and looked into our options. We decided streaming through Hulu would be a good start, and the kiddo and I were stoked. Unfortunately, sports was pretty much out of the question. Also, because we live over three hours from any major television stations, we were out of luck in the antenna department. Within a week, we added Sling, a streaming service by Dish, to the mix -- giving us the option of realtime viewing of ESPN, HGTV, Disney, and others. So, what did these changes net us? We were spending over $150 a month on Directv. Our streaming subscriptions are $8 for Hulu and $25 for Sling (with the Disney package). Leaving us with a savings of $702 in six months. I'd say it has been worth it... until now. While my son and I are loving where we are, my husband has been missing out on sports for months. Because I also value his sanity, I am looking into our cable options now. Would I recommend ditching cable and satellite to others? In a heartbeat! Especially if you live in an area where an antenna is an option.

Not only have we been continuing to find ways to save, we've been purging, purging, purging. It's been such a freeing summer. It's amazing how living with less can relieve stress, as well. Now that I've been drilling down my wardrobe to items that fit, have current cuts, and bring me joy, getting dressed in the morning is quick and easy. No more standing in the closet lamenting over having nothing to wear while staring at loads and loads of clothing. One of my favorite things this summer was packing up jewelry and shoes to send to my nieces and friends. When you have great items that don't bring you joy, you might as well pass them on to someone else who will find joy in them! Next up... taking items to consignment and listing on Ebay.

I am starting another No Spend Month in October. Would you like to join me? Strength in numbers, right?


Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

I don't know about you, but 2015 has had me itching for change. The past year and a half showed me that I can handle change a lot better than I ever imagined. So, I'm taking on something a bit bigger this year -- myself. Over the years, I've accumulated some debt, paid it off, and then turned around and accumulated it all over again. I've finally come to terms with how my spending affects our family and am ready to tackle changing some habits in order to pay down debt for good. Coming off the minimalist challenge in January, I felt the urge to simplify after a month of purging. The best way to end the need to purge? Stop accumulating to begin with! If you're anything like me, you find the majority of your purging needs relate to those impulse purchases from Target. All those $1 bin picks add up quickly... especially when they end up in the trash. Just thinking about it makes me cringe.

So, I followed Anna's lead and challenged myself to a spending diet. It takes almost a month for something to become habit, so doing a no-spend month seemed like a perfect way to start changing my ways. I laid out a plan in advance to help me stick to my guns. I may have technically cheated by purchasing a couple of things in advance -- like a couple of books for my son and small gift certificate for my husband for Valentine's Day -- but those were exceptions. 

Here's what I did spend on. A couple were expenses that some might have eliminated. 
Gym membership -- this is on auto-draft, and our family is not willing to let it go just yet
Haircut -- I wouldn't have been able to get in for another month and a half if I had canceled.
Gas -- drove minimally, so even this was down
Minimal groceries -- meat, veggies, fruit, but no extras
Credit card bills

That's it. And those credit card bills... I annihilated them! All that money that wasn't being spent on stuff went toward those balances, and it felt amazing to see the numbers go down every week. Did I mention I paid toward my balances every week? Yep. By paying every week, there was less of a chance on it getting spent somewhere else and less interest accumulating daily. Win-win.

Wondering how you can avoid temptation? Here are a few things that helped me.
Unsubscribed from catalogs
Unsubscribed from store emails
Filtered store emails I stayed on directly into a separate folder in my email account
Locked my credit cards in our fire-proof safe at home
Paid with cash -- you will be surprised at how much more meaningful it is to hand over cold, hard cash
Feeling the urge? Put it in your "cart" and sit on it for a day or two, then think about what else that money could go toward.
Find a motivator. (Mine is the freedom of being debt-free.)

I also set up a high interest savings account that is separate from our normal bank and easily accessible online. The bonuses -- higher yield if I deposited monies three months in a row, and an even higher yield if I didn't withdraw funds for six months in a row. I followed the 52-week plan in reverse... depositing the amount that corresponds with the week, i.e. $52 the first week, $51 the second week, $50 the third week, and so on. By the end of the year, we'll have over $1k deposited by following this plan. Another win-win.

February's no-spend ways were intoxicating, so I'm seriously thinking about doing my best to continue. March already has some expenses that I can't avoid -- like a mandatory minimum commitment to my son's school fundraiser -- and I ordered some essential oils today in hopes of keeping our family health in check. But, this not-spending thing is turning into a game, and I want to win.

Do you think your family could do a no-spend month? I dare you to write down things you can cut out and calculate how much money you'd save. Double-dog dare you. Take the leap. Have you tackled a spending diet before? If so, what tips do you have to share?