I’ve been going through a rough patch lately obsessing over not being content with some of the things in my life. I like to think that I am quite a positive person but I can work on appreciating the small things more often. For one, I can stop and enjoy my daily routine, starting with not walking like a zombie when heading to work and learning to tune out (or handle) the stressful aspect of my job better.
I also started making a point to slow down and notice the small things. To smell the roses as some might say. I am making an effort to be more present, to notice people and my surroundings more.
Yesterday afternoon I had Paris in mind. Maybe I am due for a visit.
Later that same evening I was browsing the notebook section and pulled this randomly:
Followed by this:
This came right after:
All while peppy music played in the background. I felt like I was Hermoine Granger (or some other magical person from Hogwarts) pulling a symphony of inspirational what-have-you together. Is the Universe telling me something? I know, I know, I was in that section, I was bound to pull one doo daa after the other. Well I am choosing to believe the former and I am hoping that it is a message from the Universe of some sort. It’s more fun that way and it saves me a trip to the psychic.
In my dreams, I am the neatest person in the world. Truth be told, I don’t think I could function well in a permanently perfect neat home. I don’t mind a bit of clutter but there are times when it does take over.
The biggest challenge for me is hanging to things. I am quite sentimental so disposing of things was a bit of a problem. What I do now is that I put items that I deem important in a box and leave it there for a while. After a certain period, say a few months; if I don’t miss it, it goes to Goodwill. It’s hard at first but it really provides relief and it helps me evaluate what is important in terms of needs and wants. Now when I shop, I only buy things that I need or love.
My mini-project this summer is to start de-cluttering every room in our place and to do it at least once a year and I will go by Anthea Turner’s tip:
“If it’s not beautiful, useful or seriously sentimental…get rid of it.”
I plan on starting with the bedroom followed by the balcony, kitchen, living room, bathroom and the den. The den has become a dumping ground of sorts so that will be the biggest project. One room per week with everything completed by Labour Day.
I was browsing around YouTube for videos on frugal living and stumbled upon America’s Cheapest Family, the Economides. They’ve raised 4 kids, paid off 2 houses and then some without going into debt. They’re creative when it comes to saving money and use the bucket/jar system of saving. Basically, you divide your savings and expenses into categories; allocate a portion of your earnings towards each “bucket” and use only what you’ve accumulated for that particular bucket.
I use this system but my buckets are not very specific as I’ve never been really good at sticking to a very strict budget. Having flexibility works best for me. My main buckets are an emergency fund, retirement, investment, mortgage, expenses and savings. I make sure to pay myself first by directing funds to the the first 3 items every paycheque. Expenses and other things come out of the expenses bucket every month and a a portion of what is left gets transferred to a different account for savings. You can be even more detailed with the buckets –> fun fund, repair fund, vacation fund, etc. Do what works for you.
The Economides also touch upon the subject of teaching financial literacy to young kids. I really like their approach as it teaches young people how to manage their finances and responsibility. I will probably use the same approach if I decide to have kids of my own.
Here is America’s Cheapest Money interview with The Dollar Stretcher: