Dave Ramsey Baby Step 6: Pay Off Your House

Dave Ramsey Baby Step 6 - Pay Off Your HouseMan! If only I learned how to handle my finances 30 years ago instead of 10, I would be in a much better place in my life. As it happened, there was no class in school on personal finances, and growing up poor taught me that as soon as you get money, spend it on something you want because you may never have that chance again.

All this non-education growing up helped me go into debt often, buy things I couldn’t afford, and take money out of my savings and retirement to make payments on those things I couldn’t afford.

I’m not saying my life sucked, I mean I went on vacations, I bought new cars, and I ate out all the time since I was (am) too lazy to cook. When I didn’t have enough money to pay a bill, I would either work more, sell something, or take money from one card to pay another.

I actually thought I was being smart and that I was “good with money” because I could come up with it when I needed it. But that actually gets exhausting, and complicated, and confusing. And I knew it had to end.

The transition between having things and doing things with “borrowed” money and having things and doing things with only the money you have is tough. You have to go without long enough to save money to be able to have again, which also is exhausting, complicated, and confusing. But knowing what I wanted the outcome to be (financial freedom), made it easier since there is a true light at the end of the tunnel.

Starting out, I read a lot of finance books and tried all different financial freedom programs. Some were a waste of money and some really worked for us. If you have read any of my finance blog posts, you know I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey. He offers practical advice, easy steps to follow (he calls them the baby steps), and classes that offer the individual help and group support you need to be successful.

He also offers a free podcast, 3 hours each day, anyone can listen to. He answers caller questions about all areas of finance from budgeting to investing.

As most of you know, I love podcasts and I listen to his daily. His advice is very simple and useful. One of the topics he gets questions on all the time is mortgages. When to buy, how much to spend, etc. He has a few rules. Don’t buy a house without a down payment.

Don’t buy a house while you are still in debt. Don’t buy a house with anything other than a 15 year fixed mortgage. Never co-sign on a house with someone you’re not married to. Your 15 year fixed mortgage payment should be less than 25% of your monthly take home pay. Never take out a second (or third or fourth) mortgage on your house.

After breaking several of his rules, we started this year fresh with a 15 year fixed mortgage in our names only! And since we had some equity in our house, we even got to stop paying the mortgage insurance we previously paid each month for not having a down payment. It took us being home owners for 18 years and 3 houses later to finally learn!! Phew!!!

Don’t be afraid to tell your financial planner or your mortgage lender or your retirement advisor exactly what you are wanting. They will find a way to make it happen for you. If not, find another. I am lucky I met our mortgage lender, Mandy, several years ago. She has helped us with our financing and re-financing over the past few years.

If owning a new home or refinancing your current home or rental is in your 2017 resolutions, reach out to Mandy! She has made an otherwise stressful transaction easy and pleasant.

mandym@fairwaymc.com
970-980-4213
http://www.mandymortgages.com

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See you there!

Dave Ramsey Baby Step 3…DONEZO!!!

Dave Ramsey Baby Step 3…DONEZO!!!HOLY EMERGENCY FUND! I never thought we would get past Baby Step 3. I am talking about Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps to Financial Success. We have been following Dave Ramsey’s plan loosely for about 8 years now but pretty seriously for about 3. Baby Step 3 is to have a fully funded emergency fund.

Fully funded means 3-6 months of expenses set aside in case of an emergency. My original goal was to have it fully funded by September 1st , but we actually didn’t get there until December 1st . Three months doesn’t seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of life, but it felt like forever for me since we had a ton of setbacks along the way.

LUCKILY the setbacks were nothing serious (like medical bills) but just “life” happening as it does. Car troubles, home repairs, etc.

The hardest part for me is that my husband and I are not always on the same page with money. He doesn’t believe in “saving for the future” where I want to save to alleviate stress and anxiety that I associate with lack of money.

One of our biggest setbacks in the 15 months it took us to build our emergency fund was a trip my husband took to Ireland for a month. He planned far enough in advance to save enough money for the trip, but ended up spending twice as much as budgeted. His reasoning is that he was only going to be there once so he wanted to do whatever he wanted while he was there.

I have a different mentality in that if I get to do something awesome, I have to give up some of the luxuries in order to get to have the experience in the first place. For example, if I am paying for a race far from home, I typically bring all my own food and sleep in my car to offset the cost of the race and gas to travel.

Another issue that came with the same trip was that he got a big bonus from work that he was going to use to paint the house. When he decided he wanted to use it for his trip instead, that was fine. It was his bonus he could spend it as he chooses.

I just mentioned that since he was using it for his trip, we couldn’t get the house painted until next year when we saved for it. He agreed. Until he came back from his trip and said we had to get the house painted. Again, I would have waited and saved, but he said it was important to the longevity of the house and if we waited we would have to replace rotting wood, etc.

At times it was frustrating since we have different philosophies about money, but in the end we accomplished our goal…a fully funded emergency fund!! On to Baby Step 4 which is to put 15% of our income into an IRA.

This has also been a cause of friction between us, but in the end, he trusts Dave Ramsey so he is moving on to saving for our future. By this time next year my goal is to have our IRAs maxed out each month and be paying double on our mortgage each month (which is Baby Step 5).

I can’t wait to feel relaxed and secure in our financial situation. This is a far cry from the way I felt even 5 years ago and am grateful for all I have learned from Dave Ramsey along the way.

Check out his book here…

http://amzn.to/2hHysjf

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Here’s to a prosperous 2017!!

See you soon!

Baby Steps: Saving Money

Baby Steps: Saving Money | Whether it's something you want (NormaTec Recovery boots) or something you need (house painted), things cost money, and often a lot of money. Most people don't have a huge savings account just sitting there waiting to be spent. Whether it’s something you want (NormaTec Recovery boots) or something you need (house painted), things cost money, and often a lot of money. Most people don’t have a huge savings account just sitting there waiting to be spent.

In today’s world, many people just charge these things on a credit card and then worry about paying it off later, but most of those people are also broke and in debt up to their eyeballs which is stress added onto stress.

So I have a better idea! Save for what you want (and need). Like the olden days where you don’t buy something unless you have money for it! I know that sounds boring and impossible, but buying something you actual have money for is far from boring, in fact, it’s exciting. And saving up for that thing is very possible.

When I was 12 years old I really wanted this pastel blue Swatch sweatshirt. It cost $30. Keep in mind this was the early 80s and we were poor. Most of our clothes were hand-me-downs from our babysitter and my allowance was $2 a week.

But I HAD to have that sweatshirt, so I saved my $2 a week for 15 weeks and walked right into Joslin’s and paid for it!

As a waitress in my late teens and 20s, I really began to see the act of saving for something add up.

I used the “envelope system” for my budget since I was paid cash every day. The things I had to pay for (rent, utilities, school loans, etc) were the first set of envelopes marked with how much I needed to make each day to make the payment each month.

The next set of envelopes were the things I was saving for that I needed (car, insurance, family visit, etc), the next were what I wanted short term (clothes, shoes, movies, out to eat), and the last were what I wanted long term (money for Christmas presents, snowboard pass, vacation, etc).

As you can see I was very different then!!

Each day I would come home from work with a wad of cash and distribute it into my envelopes. After the necessities, I would start putting money into the other envelopes. On the days when I made a lot of money, even the very last envelope would get a few bucks!!!!

Over time, this would add up and when I grabbed my Christmas shopping envelope to buy presents, it would have $500 in it! Where did all that money come from? It was a couple dollars every day for a year! And yes…that came to $500!!

These days I don’t earn cash, so I have a list of all the things I am saving for in the foreseeable future.

These include things I want (the recovery boots I mentioned, races, massage, trips, tattoo), things I know I will buy anyway (running shoes, bike tires/tubes, swim suits, registration for Kona), things I will need in the future (phone, computer), and things I don’t want to spend money on but know I need to at some point (painting house, AC).

Each week when I do my budget, I allocate a percentage of my income to these things I am saving for (10%) and divide that amount by the number of things I have on my list (20) and put that amount toward each item on the list. Some weeks that amount is $5, some weeks that amount is $2. BUT IT ALL ADDS UP!!!!

For example, in 2012 when I really started focusing on my dream of racing the ironman in Kona, I added it to my list. By January 2013, the year I was going for it, I already had over $200 in my “Kona fund”. By the time I qualified (September 22) and had to pay for my entry, I had $422 saved. Now granted the entry was more like $800, but I had to pay it then and there if I wanted to accept the slot, so I charged the other $380. BUT if I didn’t save up the $422, I would have had to charge the entire $800!!! And this was seriously by saving $2-$5 a week!!

Think of how many times in a week you waste $2-$5. Off-hand I can think of at least 5.

So here is your homework…

Write down something you have really wanted but kept saying “I can’t afford it”. Over the next week write down every penny you spend through the week. See where you can take $2-$5 away from something not as important (drink at the gas station, fast food, cigarettes, alcohol, going out to eat, coffee, soda, the gym membership you haven’t used in 6 months, the online subscription to something you can’t even remember, the atm fees, satellite tv, etc) OR if you really can’t (or don’t want to) cut any expenses from your life, pick up a little job a couple hours a week, all you need to do is make $2-$5 so it can even be pet walking or lawn mowing or direct sales or even selling stuff on eBay or Amazon.

Now start saving and go and get that thing you want!!

PS This works with getting out of debt too. Paying down a few dollars on a consistent basis over time pays off debt!

PSS Have fun and work for something you REALLY want!!!

Keep me posted!!

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I Crashed My Car and I Didn’t Cry

I Crashed My Car and Didn't Cry | BudgetingBefore I tell you what happened on Monday, let me just tell you a bit about myself and how I have dealt with money and financial crises over the past 30 years.

I have always had very unhealthy emotional issues when money was involved. I know the issue runs deeper than this, but usually it starts with “I never had any.”

I have been known to cry my eyes out while talking with credit card companies, my bank, car dealerships, and utilities companies when my bill was $10 higher than I expected it to be or there was an extra charge I wasn’t counting on for the month.

I always ran my budget pretty much to the penny so these unexpected expenses threw off my entire plan, and often resulted in me having to spend time and energy frantically transferring money from one account to another before I overdrafted my account.

And this has been going on since I was a teenager…and this is not an exaggeration. In fact, I may be downplaying it a bit from embarrassment as I am not 100% ready yet to share what a financial mess I have been for pretty much my entire life.

So for the past 20 years, anytime I get sick, injured, lose anything, or break something…like my car, I would cry. Not because it hurt or I was sad, but because I was scared. Scared because I didn’t have the money to fix or replace it, scared that I would have to get another job and work more hours to make up for all the money this was going to cost me. Scared that I would be struggling and stressed out about money my entire life and that this financial roller coaster I was on would never ever ever end.

10 years ago I started working on my issues with money by reading books, attending seminars, and tapping. I didn’t notice any big changes but I kept going.

6 years ago I attended Dave Ramsey’s FPU and learned a little more. I kept reading, tapping, and working on other issues in my life to make me a better me. I still didn’t notice any big changes but I kept going.

2 years ago my husband and I started getting serious with our financial plan. I was still reading and learning and listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast every single day. I still didn’t notice any big changes but I kept going.

1 year ago we decided to make a push and get out of debt. We did it! We paid off over $30k in 15 months and in October 2015 we were debt free other than our house. I didn’t feel any different. I still felt stressed and overwhelmed with money and still got frustrated and scared (and still cried) when faced with a financial crisis. Ugh! Seriously? When will it end? But I kept listening to the podcasts and working on our plan to build our emergency fund.

Initially it took us about 6 years to have a solid $1,000 emergency fund (Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Step One”), so to build up $15k per the Dave Ramsey plan seemed so daunting. But we stuck with it, baby steps, and every chance I could make a little money here and there, I would. And every chance I could save a little money here and there, I would. I thought it would take at least 15 months to build it up, but with no debt, it’s building faster than I had hoped and I am sure we will have it done by the end of the year!

So what does this have to do with crashing my car Monday?

Well Monday I slipped on ice and drove my car into a ditch. On Tuesday the shop said it would be about $5k to get fixed. At the time I didn’t even think about insurance, I just thought CRAP! Where the hell am I going to get $5k? And I wanted to cry.

Like I seriously sat there expecting to get that sick feeling and for tears to start rolling down my cheeks. But I didn’t. I took a deep breath and thought “I’ll talk to Rick tonight to see if we should spend the $5k to fix it or use it to buy a beater car while saving for a nicer one.” I mean I wasn’t happy, because either way we would be cleaning out our emergency fund, but we had it in our emergency fund!!!

Plus…we bought a $2,500 total beater truck from a friend a few months ago, so I could drive that until we decided what to do, and could save even more money for a new car over the next couple months driving that thing. OMG! I am so grateful! My life rocks right now!

On Wednesday I had to go by the repair shop to grab my swim stuff and Pure Romance stuff out of my car, so I set off in our truck with the windows that roll down with a handle and the doors that lock with my finger. On the way there I passed the place my car slid off the road 2 days before and a thought occurred to me…insurance! What? I can’t believe of didn’t even think about that!!!

So I called my insurance agent, talked to the claims dept, and am now just waiting for the adjuster to call me with the plan. And since my deductible is $1,000, that is all I have to come up with for this entire accident!! And I actually have that in my emergency fund!!! And I’ll have some left over to continue building up to my fully funded e-fund. And who knows, I may even still get it fully funded by the end of the year like I had originally planned…even with this minor inconvenience!!!

And no tears! Yay!!

I 100% believe in Dave Ramsey’s plan. You can learn all about it in his book here…

http://amzn.to/1Q0rLyU

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See you SOON!!!

What 10 Years as a Passion Parties Consultant has Taught Me About Sex

(due to the nature of Passion Parties there is content inappropriate for children, 18 years or older please)

What 10 Years as a Passion Parties Consultant has Taught Me About SexHAPPY PASSIONANNIVERSARY TO ME!!

So I started looking online for things I could do to make money with skills I already had, without having to invest a lot of time or money to get it going.

I was already maxed out on time (worked at the gym 5am-5pm 7 days a week) and money (everything we made was already spoken for). This brought me into the world of direct sales and network marketing. Now all I had to decide is what I wanted to sell??

Everything that I knew about (candles, lotions, makeup, cooking stuff, supplements, etc.) all seemed like a hard thing to sell. And that is when Passion Parties came across my screen. It seemed like it would be easier to sell, if for nothing else, curiosity would bring women to a party, and once they are there, they will want to buy at least a lube or something to keep them out of “those stores” or avoid a loudspeaker announcement at Walmart “price check on K-Y lube for the woman in checkout lane 4 please”.

I was sold.

The only problem was, I knew NOTHING about any of the products. I have never been to a Passion Party before, had never seen any of these products, and quite frankly was nervous to talk about them. I don’t think I ever said the words penis, vagina, or clitoris out loud…ever! Even my husband of 9 years at the time when my startup kit arrived asked me “do you even know what that is?” Hmmmm…

I had a lot to learn. Luckily I was motivated to get going, make money, and build up my biz enough to quit my job at the gym so I started booking parties immediately. Also, doing the parties was easy because I had spent the past 15 years in spandex wearing a mic bouncing around on a stage teaching aerobics so I was used to “public speaking” and “making stuff up as I go”. But honestly I knew nothing about sex, passion, intimacy, or our products, much less teaching OTHERS about it!

So I did what I always do, start learning!

Here are the 3 things I learned along the way that have helped me help thousands of women have better relationships with their partners…

1. When you feel sexy, you are sexy.

Being sexy honestly has NOTHING to do with how you look, it’s how you feel. If you feel sexy, you will emit an energy that will make you sexier.

In the fitness industry I saw this all the time. Someone walks in who is not the typical “hot gym body” but has the confidence and attitude like she is. And guess what? She looks way better than the girl all hunched over in the corner hiding herself and her body, even if her body is “better”. So if you want to have great sex; be sexy, feel sexy, and you will look sexy! We have over 40 bath and body products designed to help you look and feel your sexiest!

2. The majority of women are not having wild amazing orgasmic sex daily.

Now that I am in my 40s, been married almost 20 years, and have been in the sex industry for 10 years, this sounds like a “duh” statement. But when I was 33 and never talked about sex with any of my friends, ever, I was shocked (and relieved) that this was true. I am an avid movie watcher and also enjoy the occasional night time drama such as Grey’s Anatomy where women are constantly horny and turned on and no matter how tired or busy they are, they always want to end their night or shift with hot sex.

I thought there was something wrong with me since I didn’t feel that way and I just chalked it up to being different (and a loser, and a weirdo, and a prude, and a lame wife). Come to find out, I AM NORMAL!! I am the norm! YAY!! What a relief! Now to talk my hubby into believing it!

What I have found in talking open and honestly to women of all ages, backgrounds, and relationship status’ is that about 1% of women have sex daily (or multiple times a day) and about 40% of women are having sex about once a week. That leaves over half of all women having sex less than once a week! Just knowing (and sharing) this fact has helped so many women feel more confident in their selves and their relationships. It’s always nice to know you aren’t “broken”.

3. 80% of women cannot have an orgasm without clitoral stimulation.

Another complete “a-ha” moment for me after watching women all over the small and big screen having mind-blowing orgasms, several times in a row, every single time they go at it. And again, a sign of relief knowing that I’m not a broken woman. When I tell women this at our in-home parties, I get the same reaction I had by the majority of the women. Grateful they are not alone and grateful that now they know the facts and can work around this little inconvenience! And the majority of our products for both individuals and couples are designed to help with this specific issue.

So there is hope! For all of us!! YAY!

Flip through our catalog here…

https://kirsten.yourpassionconsultant.com/passion-parties-catalog.asp

Join my next online party here…

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Have a PASSIONATE day!

See you soon.

3…2…1…WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEEEE!!!

3...2...1... We are debt FREEEE!I have been listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast almost every single day for the past 2 years. It used to be only 40 minutes (schneriously???) but then last year they upped it to three 40 minutes segments a day…EUREKA!!

At least once every “hour” of his 3 hour a day radio show, Dave has people either call in or show up live in Tennessee to do their “debt free scream”. This is where singles, couples, or families have paid off all their debt (some even pay off their mortgage, but that’s not a requirement to complete ‘baby step 2’…paying off all debts but your mortgage… to do your scream) and get interviewed by Dave who asks questions about why, how, etc.

The two minute interview culminates in the person (or people) who are now debt-free counting it down (3…2…1…) and then yelling at the top of their lungs “WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEEEE!!!” and the crowd goes wild! It’s AWESOME!!!

Ever since I attended Dave Ramsey’s FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY over 6 years ago I have been “working” toward being debt-free with little success (HELP! Baby Step 1…AGAIN…UGH!!!).

I decided to get serious (well…more serious) about a year ago when I declared to the world (or at least my friends… (My next big thang!) that I was really going to finally kick this one in the ass! AND I DID!!! As of September 23, 2015, we have paid off all our debt other than our house! YAHOOOOOOO!!!

We are heading to Nashville, TN after my 7 marathons next month to do our own debt-free scream out in front of Dave Ramsey’s building where he does his radio show. We can only be there on a Saturday so he won’t be there, but I’ll video it so it will still be official!

When he interviews people who got out of debt, he asks them questions in order to help others who want to get out of debt get inspired, motivated, or just get some ideas on where to start. I wanted to answer some of the questions he asks so that YOU may get excited about getting out of debt too! I hope this article will help each and every one of you believe that you too can be debt free!

Q: How much debt did you pay off?

A: $30,957 since we started getting serious and keeping track

Q: How long did it take you?

A: 15 months

Q: What was your household income during that time?

A: Varied a LOT because we were traveling all over the place and just working here and there. I would say we ranged between $2,000 a month and $6,000 a month

Q: What happened 15 months ago that make you think you should and could get out of debt?

A: We had been “trying” to get out of debt for about 6 years with no traction. We went to FPU and that started us thinking we should, but we were still spending more than we were making every month. About a year ago we just got sick and tired of being stressed about money ALL THE TIME and we decided to buckle down and JUST DO IT! We wanted the freedom to be able to travel more and we needed to be out of debt to even consider it.

Q: Did you sell anything?

A: Yes. I am always selling things. Books, DVDs, etc. The big thing we sold at the end was our RV we had been traveling in the past 2 ½ years.

Q: What was the hardest part about getting out of debt?

A: Sticking to a budget. Both of us have that “entitlement” mentality of “I deserve this” so we had to break some bad habits of buying whatever we “needed” which was usually insanely expensive trips to Whole Foods for me.

Q: What was the hardest thing to give up?

A: For me it was racing triathlon. It’s my favorite hobby (well, only hobby) and I gave it up for one year.

Q: What were other things you gave up?

A: We also gave up cable (don’t miss it), we only ate out a couple times a week (used to be triple that), I buy more food at Wal-mart (and less at Whole Foods), and I could only do a running race if I got a free entry (I used to race every weekend).

Q: Did your friends think you were weird?

A: They do anyway! So no more than usual!

Q: What advice would you give others who want to get out of debt?

A: Work together WITH your spouse/family to have a plan and stick with it. The biggest thing that kept me going was listening to every podcast every single day for the past 15 months. And don’t forget to tell everyone around you your plan. That way they aren’t shocked when you don’t show up with gifts at Christmas and birthday parties or they aren’t surprised when you decline their offer of dinner at an expensive restaurant or joining the family vacation.

After the questions, Dave would say, “Kirsten and Rick paid of $30,957 in 15 months making between
$2,000 and $6,000 a month. Let’s hear a big debt-free scream…”

And Rick and I would reply excitedly, “3…2…1…WE’RE DEBT FREEEEEEEEEE!!!!”

So what is next? I’m sticking with Dave which means BABY STEP THREE which is to save between 3-6 months of expenses in an emergency fund. My goal is $18K by this time next year! I’ll keep you posted!

Join our FINANCIAL FREEDOM group…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/FinancialFreedomROCKS

And find out what I do to make extra money each week…

http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/RealResultsROCK?bctid=2688606650001

See you SOON!!!

What I Gave Up For My Vitamix

What I Gave Up For My VitamixThe year was 2012, summer was in full swing, the Tour de France had just started, and the Summer Olympics were on the horizon. I was finally recovered from my broken collar bone 3 months earlier and was working hard to earn enough money to buy a new bike by the end of the summer. Life was good!

Then my friend Wendy loaned me her copy of “Finding Ultra” a book written by vegan ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll. The book is compelling and inspiring (you can buy it here http://goo.gl/ubaH1o) and made me REALLY want a Vitamix. But we seriously did not have $400 lying around.

I already had all my books, DVDs, Passion Parties inventory, Beachbody inventory, and anything not nailed down for sale to get enough money for my bike by the end of the summer so I could race again.

So I had to get creative. What else can I get rid of???

Luckily my husband was out of town so I decided on my own to forfeit the Olympics (tough decision) and the remainder of the Tour (even tougher) and cut the cable! We were paying almost $100 every month between our Pay per View addiction and all the channels we got with our satellite. I figured 6 months of no TV would pay for my Vitamix.

So I canceled it.

And I bought a Vitamix.

It was the BEST decision ever! I have used my Vitamix almost every single day since I bought it. It has helped me stay healthy and vegan while busy, traveling, and racing. It has helped me stay mostly raw since I have started eating more raw, and has made me smoothies, sauces, soups, even desserts!!

And the best part is that we didn’t ever turn back on our cable! It was tough at first (with the Olympics, Tour, and hubby coming home to no TV), but after a few months we didn’t even notice! And 3 years later, we don’t miss it at all.

It boils down to this. We are all already maxed out on time, energy, and money RIGHT?? So if we want to ADD something to our lives, we have to TAKE something away. What are you willing to give up to get what you really want? What are you willing to NOT do in order TO do what makes you the happiest or feel the best? I will tell you without a shadow of a doubt that my Vitamix has done more for me physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually in the past 3 years than ANYTHING a TV could have done.

I am grateful I took the leap!

What are your favorite Vitamix recipes? Share in the COMMENTS!

Check out some of my fave Vitamix recipes here…

www.YouTube.com/VeganDivaKir

Order your Vitamix here…

http://amzn.to/1HX3e9A

And check out my weekly HAPPY HUMP DAY newsletter here…

http://goo.gl/2aEzBn

You’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for letting me share 

See you SOON!

HELP! Baby Step 1…AGAIN…UGH!!!

Help! Baby Step 1 Again...UGH!!!So I have been following Dave Ramsey for about 6 years now and for the dozenth time, I am back to BABY STEP 1! Boo!! I feel like such a failure!

I listen to his podcast daily and he is always talking about making changes and that the only way you will ever win with money is to change your daily spending habits. Obviously I am not getting something.

If you have no idea what/who I am talking about, Dave Ramsey is a radio personality who has been giving financial advice for over 25 years. His advice (as he puts it) is the “same advice you get from your grandma but we keep our teeth in”. So basically super simple, old school, sound advice: spend less than you earn, save some, give some away. Sounds simple right? Simple YES, easy NO!

His steps are small and you do them in order…thus the name “Baby Steps”. Baby Step 1 is to as quickly as you can save $1,000 in a mini emergency fund to keep you a little bit covered as you work on Baby Step 2 which is a doozy for most people…pay off all your debt (other than your home).

The first time I did Baby Step 1, I did it rather quickly. We were living in a house and I had acquired lots of “stuff”. I basically sold books, clothing, DVDs, etc and built up my $1,000 very quickly. It was a long time ago so I can’t remember what we spent it on, but it was depleted fairly soon after it was built up.

The next couple times looked about the same. I sold some stuff, worked a little more, scrimped here and there and saved it up, only to use it up…again! Now somewhere in there my husband broke both wrists (yes…at the same time! And yes…to all the questions your wondering about what I had to do for him over that next few weeks) and I broke my collar bone. So we did have some true emergencies, but that isn’t an excuse to consistently spend more than we earn…which is what we were continuing to do.

That brings us to the present. We decided to get “serious” again about our finances last year. I say “serious” because in October of last year we spent a month in Hawaii which pretty much set us back a year…but of course worth it! We came back October 31st and started (once again) on Baby Step 1. It’s been 6 months and I have had to re-start Baby Step 1 FOUR times already.

This time there are no emergencies, no medical issues, I am just spending more than I make. So I have 2 options, I can spend LESS or make MORE!! Hmmm…tough one! I am already giving up racing triathlon this year (sad face) and am buying my fruits and veggies from Wal-Mart (no comments please). We are down to eating out once a week from like five times a week, and for Pete’s sake, we live in an RV!!!

So apparently my only option is to make more money. This is a conundrum for me (yay! I have always wanted to use that word in a post) because if you read my post on BRINGING LAZY BACK you know I am all about taking time for myself and my family and BALANCE. But I also want to get back to doing the things I love to do (race and eat out) without turning in my loose change to be able to do them.

After reading through this post, I made a decision to put my big girl panties on and turn up the juice for the next 2 months. I am committing to waking up 30 mins earlier each day and do my PSSJ and POTs (codes for things I know I have to do for my businesses to grow), continue tracking my food expenses, and going through my stuff again to see if I have anything left to sell. In 60 days, Baby Step 1 will be my bitch!! PERMANENTLY!!

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GRATEFUL FOR YOU!!!

The Truth About RV Living

The Truth About RV LivingWhen people find out that I live in an RV, the first thing most of them say is “How awesome! You are so lucky. I have always wanted to do that.” It’s interesting because that is the same response I get when I tell people I own my own business and get to work from home. Funny thing is…I think if people REALLY knew what it was like (both living in an RV and owning their own business), they would realize it is DEF not for everyone.

To me, living in an RV and owning my own business have the same pros and cons, but typically require two completely different personalities to be successful. I thought about this extensively while I lay sleepless in bed last night while the strong wind rocked the RV like we were on the high seas, so I thought I would share.

I think the number one thing people are looking for in their lives is MORE FREEDOM. And living in the RV and owning my own Home Based Biz, I do have more freedom, however, it comes with a price.

Typically the people who want more freedom also want to be spontaneous and live in the moment. In general successful business owners are the exact opposite. But to be successful in RV living, you need to be flexible and malleable because your life, environment, and situation are constantly in motion, normally not the personality type you equate with business.

When you have a job, you have security, a steady paycheck, benefits, sick days, and hours you typically work every day, every week, month after month.

When you live in a house, you have consistency, fairly steady costs and expenses, and you generally know what your life will look like day after day, week after week, etc.

On the other hand, when you own your own business, you work long weird hours, your work is never really “done”, you are constantly in a state of flux, your income and expenses vary radically from month to month, and surprises pop up almost daily. It takes a very diligent, focused, driven, planner with a type A, organized, and detail oriented personality to be successful in a work from home environment.

Most people think that living in the RV is cheap and easy and predictable…more like a job…when in fact, it is more like owning your own business. Every day is different, prices fluctuate radically between RV parks, utilities, propane, fuel, and food depending on where you are, roads close, weather is unpredictable, and RVs need constant maintenance, even the newer ones (which ours is not). If you aren’t planning ahead, you may find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere where the only option for sleep is a Wal-Mart parking lot.

We learned very quickly that we don’t like pulling into any towns if we don’t need to (36 foot RV with a motorcycle lift on the back pulling our car) and truck stops fill up by 5pm in most places with truckers and others wanting to catch some ZZZs. Not all truck stops have working propane or dump stations, and when you don’t plan ahead for these things, a lot is at stake!

The other thing people don’t think about is convenience. When we’re in the RV health food stores, fresh produce, and water aren’t always easy to come by. Where as in a house, you KNOW where everything is, how long you will be there, and how long your produce will last, especially since most likely in a house you always have electricity and gas…not the case in the RV.

So just like with owning your own business, living in an RV in my opinion is much more work than living in a home, but definitely worth the effort for me. The payoff is freedom, experience, adventure, education, and self-growth…the same payoffs as running my own business.

I think what you need to consider before deciding the RV life is for you is WHY you are doing it. Here are my top 3 things I love about living in the RV…

1. Simplicity. I am forced to keep my life simple and not gather “stuff” or get too attached to something or someplace.

2. Flexibility. Living in an RV and traveling has taught me to be more flexible and malleable in life which I think is one of the greatest life success character traits. Temps, weather, outside noises, environment, expenses, etc are all constantly changing.

3. Creativity. I have learned to use my creative side when it comes to cooking, cleaning, storage, workouts, working, organizing, and building my businesses, something I wasn’t using as much in the house.

All in all, living in the RV has been a great experience for me, but it’s not all fun and games like most people have in their heads. Just as owning a business takes hard work, dedication, and a strong reason behind it, RV living also does.

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I would love to hear about YOUR RV living experiences. I am currently writing an e-book as well so I would love to know what questions you want me to answer in the book!

Why Training for an Ironman is Easier than Getting out of Debt

Why Training For An Ironman Is Easier Than Getting Out of DebtAs a kid I was involved with just about every sport available to me. Basketball, softball, tennis, volleyball, swimming, track, gymnastics, baton, and soccer. Over the years I gravitated toward gymnastics and swimming, finally settling on swimming when at age 12. I was far too large and inflexible to be a gymnast.

One of the reasons I gravitated toward swimming was that for the most part it was an individual sport. I liked the way my success was dependent on only me, as were my failures. I only had myself to blame if I didn’t train hard enough and no one else’s outcome was dependent on my decisions.

Years later, I moved into triathlon, another individual sport, for many of the same reasons.

When I am training for a triathlon, I set up a very routine, regimented, specific schedule for swimming, biking, running, eating, sleeping, and recovery. Unless I decide to change something, it is constant and un-changing. In other words I have 100% control over my training. I like that.

Over the years one of my biggest struggles has been finances. In my life everything that involves money is constantly changing. Income, prices of goods, bills, living expenses, accidents, and emergencies.

Add additional people to the mess (friends, family, husband, pets) and it turns into a world of unknowns…which to a person with natural tendencies that include a type A personality and a love for order and control…can get very overwhelming.

Just today our internet bill went up $10, just yesterday our pipes froze in the RV, and with the ever changing price of gas and fruit, how’s a girl supposed to keep to a budget?

So what is the solution? Apparently it’s the same as the solution to 99% of our first-world problems…flexibility, surrender, and that darn serenity prayer.

Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference

When I am training for a triathlon I can change pretty much anything if I need to. If it snows, I bike on my trainer, if it’s too cold, I run on the treadmill, if I am sore, I swim, if I am too tired, I rest, and as long as I am paying attention to what I need, I still come out triumphant in the end.

I’m still figuring out how to apply what I have learned in my sports to end up successful in my financial life. Here is what I have so far…

  • It’s a daily practice
  • Be patient (argh)
  • Take baby steps
  • Stay committed to the cause
  • Take breaks if necessary
  • Ask for help (double argh)
  • Trust the process
  • Never give up
  • Stick with the plan
  • Surround myself with supportive positive people

WOW! Looking at that list gives me hope! I may just ROCK THIS yet. I would love any words of wisdom from those who have the financial game mastered.

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