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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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.

If you want to follow our adventures join us at…

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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My Next Big Thang…

My next big freedom!Thanks AGAIN for all your AMAZING SUPPORT before, during, and after my race in Kona. YOU ROCK!!

Soooo many of you have been asking me…WHAT’S NEXT?? For the greater part of the past 13 years I have focused much of my time, money, and energy on accomplishing my goal to qualify and compete in the Ironman World Championships in Kona. Now that it is over, it’s time to shift my focus and conquer the first of THREE things in my life that have been keeping me from being all I can be…

So here is my next BIG thang…

Hope you will join me…

Finance and Food: Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes

Finance and Food: Nothing Changes If Nothing ChangesIf you want a different result, you actually have to do something different. Darn!!

There are 2 things I struggle with every single day…

1. Money

2. Food

Now if you’re reading this, that means we were put into each other’s lives for a reason…so I would bet you ALSO struggle with one or both of these in your own life.

Every single month as I am setting my goals and making a plan for the month, I come up with the
perfect, simple solution…I’m brilliant by the way…Eat less.

I will be spending less money on food. Both problems solved!!

What? Sounds too good to be true!! Oh…because it is. I am an expert goal setter (big shocker) and this is my plan of how I can both lose weight and save money EVERY SINGLE MONTH.

I start every month excited and confident that THIS will be the month my plan is going to work!

However, this is how each month typically plays out-give or take a day…

On day 1 make some inexpensive dish that should last me all week. By day 2 it is gone. Day 3 I only eat what I have left in the house. By day 4 I want something delicious and exciting so I order take out because it’s enough for 2 meals right? Wrong. Day 5 I go to the store and buy whatever fruits and veggies are on sale. I’m hungry at the store so I get a couple pre-made salads from the deli and eat them that night instead of the fruits and veggies. Day 6 I’m tired and I want take out again. Day 7 the fruit and veggies went bad, I have no food in the house, and I have already spent my monthly food allowance.

Ugh! Is exhausting!!

After like 8 years if this pattern…no seriously…I decided I need to figure this out. Why can I NOT cut food and spending simultaneously?

It seemed like a daunting task, a deep dive into my bipolar psyche, years of research and therapy, and an answer I wasn’t sure I was ready to hear since I have had such deep seeded problems with both since a very young age.

But then I took a step back and remembered one of my favorite quotes “Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes”. The answer has been a cover photo on my facebook page and wallpaper on my twitter account hundreds of times and I never thought it applied to me! I used it to inspire the clients I coach to move toward THEIR health, wellness, and business goals. Yikes! That one hurt!!

So I decided to be open to make some changes…again…

I revisited both my nutrition AND financial mentors and their Venn diagrams of advice intersected at one very obvious place. Again…darn!

So here’s my new plan…

1. Stay away from restaurants…even take-out

2. Put on your big girl panties and cook meals…at home…from scratch!!

3. And LIKE it!!

My friend Wendy is BRILLIANT!! She sees what she has in her kitchen and she googles a vegan recipe using those foods.

Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes.

Today I am making a change.

PS…I am fully aware that overeating and overspending BOTH have deeper implications and I AM working through those. In the meantime…baby steps!!

What change can you make today to move toward a better version of yourself?

Can You Go an Entire Day Without Spending Money?

Can You Go An Entire Day Without Spending MoneyGoing an entire day without spending money sounds easy enough right? Maybe when you were 12! These days unless you are a super planner, it’s a challenge IMO to go an entire day without spending any money. This month I made it ONE day, next month my goal is TWO!

For those of you who know me, I LOVE a challenge. In fact, many times the only way I can accomplish anything at all is when I turn it in to a challenge.

If you are single, it’s not too hard, when you have a partner, it gets a little more daunting, when you have kids, it’s nearly impossible to plan what those little nuggets are going to need in advance.

Several times I have picked the day in advance, only to have something unexpected come up. And I guess if you are super flexible in your routine and your life, you can delay those “emergencies” for a day or two. However, as adults, we are pretty set in our ways. If I get to the pool for my swim and my punch card ran out, I am NOT going to shrug my shoulders and say “oh well, guess I’ll swim tomorrow” and head back home…which is precisely what happened today on my planned “No-Spending Day”.

Here are some of the things to take into consideration when you are picking your No-Spending Day…

  • Do you have gas in your car? Fill up the day BEFORE.
  • Do you have all the food in the house you need to prep your meals you planned for your No-Spending Day?
  • Are your kids all caught up on fees, etc. for their sports, activities, hobbies, fund raisers, camps, and school? It would be a shame if you went ALL day spending no money and then that night you pick up your son from Baseball and you forgot you owe $20 for the coach gift.
  • Are you all paid up on bills, utilities, credit cards, debts, bank fees, etc?
  • Check your schedule for that day to make sure you aren’t running any errands that cost money like Post Office, ATM, parking, tipping, laundry mat, Dr. appt, etc.
  • Make sure you are up to date on your prescriptions.
  • Check your calendar and make sure you don’t have to buy anything that day like plane tickets concert or show tickets, etc.
  • Make sure there is nothing you need repaired IMMEDIATELY…that you know about…of course emergencies do come up!!

OK! Now you are ready to pick your day (and a back-up day or two) and DO IT!! Don’t wait too long. It’s better to pick something within a week and just GET CREATIVE if you have to? When was the last time you BORROWED something you needed from a neighbor or friend instead of bought it? It’s fun…try it!

I would LOVE to hear about your No-Spending Day experiences. The good, the bad, and the ugly!

Especially advice you have for others. Can you do more than one a month? A week? Two in a row? Now we’re getting a bit crazy but I love it. I love delaying gratification. I think it is a sign of greatness and a characteristic of a successful life.

I am working toward being DEBT-FREE by June 2015 and this is just one challenge to help get me there.

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Finance: What I learned about my business while biking 120 miles

BLOG POST :: What I learned about my business while biking 120 milesLast weekend I participated in a cycling event called the Triple Bypass. It’s a 120 mile bike ride over 3 mountain passes in the Rockies. Stunning scenery, heart pounding climbs, and screaming descents pretty much sums up the day.

During my 10 hour ride, I was thinking about the lessons I was learning and realized I could also apply these lessons to my business.

1. Don’t compare yourself to others.

We are all at a different place in our lives, all here on a different journey, and have our own reasons for everything we do. There will always be people ahead of you and behind you. Stay in your own lane and focus on what you can do to make YOUR journey most beneficial to you and others.

2. Ask for advice.

When I was getting tired on the ride, I asked a girl if she knew what was coming up, and she did. Her telling me we had 8 miles of rollers until a 4 mile climb really helped me come up with a plan for those next 12 miles. Without the help and advice of others who have already accomplished what we are working to do, we are more inclined to make silly mistakes or have unnecessary setbacks.

3. Enjoy the journey.

You can’t know exactly how ANYTHING will turn out in the end, so you may as well enjoy every step of the way. Always be on the lookout for lessons and learning experiences, but also breathe in your surroundings and be grateful for the amazing life you are living. Whether it’s breathtaking scenery or the relationships you build along the way to your destination, remember to be present and soak in the moment.

4. Everything is better with good friends in your corner.

One of my favorite parts of the ride was running into my friend Wendy and we rode a couple of hours together. But before we met up, just knowing she was out on the course with me and we would be meeting at the end was enough to make me realize how many amazing people I have in my life. I don’t believe in luck, but I will say I have attracted some pretty incredible people into my business AND personal world.

Wayne Gretzky said “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take”. This can apply to sports, business, and life! So stop comparing yourself to others, ask for advice, enjoy your journey, be grateful for the supportive people you have surrounding you, and go out there and take a shot!

Finance: Why I sold everything I own to live in an RV

Finance Post :: Why I sold everything I own to live in an RVNot many people were surprised when I announced I was selling everything I own, buying an RV, and traveling around the US with my husband and dog until we got tired of it. Well, at least the people who didn’t know me very well.

From the outside, people think I am a spontaneous free-spirit who loves adventure and surprises. I’m not sure where that came from, but I think I liked that persona so I never really corrected anyone. The few people who really know me, know that I am a type A, routine-loving, schedule oriented planner who gets super anxious at the THOUGHT of not knowing exactly what I am doing every hour for the next 2 years. When things don’t go as planned, I freak out! Like a panic, can’t breathe, cry and eat cinnamon rolls type of fit.

So WHY would I sell everything I own, spend all the money I had to buy an RV (and BTW…we had never even camped in an RV before), and head out on the road with no set schedule and no way of knowing what each day will bring? The answer may surprise you…

Let me start by giving you a little background info on me…

1. I own two online businesses and if I had it my way I would work 14 hours a day

2. I am a competitive endurance athlete and if I could I would train 8 hours a day

3. That leaves 2 hours a day to sleep and I LOVE sleep and typically need about 10 hours a night

As you can see, these numbers DON’T add up. So I gave up a couple hours on each part of my life which left exactly NO time (much less energy) for my husband. And that was not what he signed up for when he married me. Don’t get me wrong, he is SUPER (to a fault sometimes) supportive of everything I do and have done in the 18 years we have been married, but after mentioning divorce on more than one occasion, I knew I needed to do something EXTREME!

My husband had always wanted to live in an RV and travel the US and we had talked about maybe doing it when we were old and retired. But desperate times called for desperate measures. At the end of 2012, I crunched some numbers and announced to my husband that we could make it work. And in January 2013, we drove to Salt Lake City, bought our new home, and drove it back to start our new life together.

We loaded everything that would fit into our 1998 37 foot National Tradewinds and sold or gave away everything that wouldn’t. And six weeks later, we were off on our adventure of a lifetime.

So far we have been on the road for 18 months. I have learned so much about myself, our relationship, living in the moment, being flexible, my values and priorities, and what I want and don’t want my life to look like for the remaining 60 or so years. And I don’t want to stop learning or experiencing this life anytime soon.

And YES, in case you are wondering, I am living my dream life with my BFF and we are closer than we have ever been…and the word ‘divorce’ hasn’t come up in a very long time.