My Top 11 Blog Posts from 2017

Top Blog Posts From 2017The reason I started my blog about 3 ½ years ago was to share my life experiences and hope that they would help others going through the same stuff. The reason my blog is all about food, fitness, finance, and fun in your 40s is because those are the 4 issues in my own life I struggle with the most. I know there have got to be others like me out there, so I am putting my life out there in hopes of connecting with other like me. We are not alone!

My favorite part about sharing is when I get a message from someone saying how much they appreciate what I wrote because it helped them in some way. My mission in life is to inspire others to be better just by being myself. This is how I can do that!

So THANK YOU for loving me for ME and not because I have accomplished something or did something amazing, but because I am human and flawed and need love and connection as we all do!

I was reminiscing about 2017 and looking through my posts from the past year. I wanted to share with you my top 11 of the year. The reason they are my faves is because they are the ones that gave me the most response from others that they appreciated the post. And the reason there are 11 is because 11 is my favorite number!!

So without further ado…

MY TOP 11 POSTS FROM 2017…

Transition to a Plant-Based Diet with Ease
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/transition-to-a-plant-based-diet-with-ease/

Daily Dose of Hope
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/daily-dose-of-hope/

Baby Steps: Love Yourself More
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/food/baby-steps-love-yourself-more/

Homework: Plan Ahead For Success
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/homework-plan-ahead-for-success-myfitnesspal/

My Friends ROCK!
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/my-friends-rock-sending-kir-to-kona/

Race Report: 2017 Ironman Boulder
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fitness/race-report-2017-ironman-boulder/

One Day At A Time
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/finance/one-day-at-a-time/

Homework: Share Your Story
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fun/homework-share-your-story/

Suck It Cosmo!
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fun/suck-it-cosmo/

Haters Gonna Hate
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/business/haters-gonna-hate/

Homework: Let It Go
http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fun/homework-let-it-go/

Thanks for being a part of my amazing life!!

I hope you decide to make 2018 your best year EVER!!!

Stay in touch!

www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/newsletter

See you soon!

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

Join like-minded peeps working toward financial freedom…

www.facebook.com/groups/FinancialFreedomROCKS

See you there!

My Top 11 Blog Posts from 2016

My Top 11 Blog Posts From 2016 - Food, Fitness, Finance and FunThe reason I started my blog about 2 ½ years ago, was to share my life experiences in hopes that they would help others going through the same issues. The reason my blog is all about food, fitness, finance, and fun in your 40s is because those are the 4 issues in my own life I struggle with the most. I know there have got to be others like me out there, so I am putting my life out there in hopes of connecting with other like me. We are not alone!

So when I get an email from someone saying “Thank you so much for writing this, I seriously thought I was the only one who felt that way” or “OMG it’s so nice to know someone else out there thinks like me” (btw…both actually taken from emails I have received), I get SUPER excited because I know I am making a difference in the life of that ONE person, and that is what I want.

Writing a personal blog is scary. Sometimes I feel like an idiot for failing and screwing up and not learning a lesson until the hundredth time, but if my experiences can help someone else feel not so alone or help them so they don’t have to go through the same hard time, then the trepidation I had to publish my inner most feelings and emotions goes away.

So THANK YOU for loving me for ME and not because I have accomplished something or did something spectacular, but because I am human and flawed and need love and connection as we all do!

I was reminiscing about 2016 and looking through my posts from the past year. I wanted to share with you my top 11 of the year. The reason they are my faves is because they are the ones that gave me the most response from others that they appreciated the post. And the reason there are 11 is because 11 is my favorite number!!

So without further ado…

MY TOP 11 POSTS FROM 2016…

Homework: Do. It. Now!!

Homework: Do. It. Now!!

Vegan…FINALLY!

Vegan…FINALLY!!

Happy Birthday Joey | A Doggie Love Story

Happy Birthday Joey | A Doggie Love Story

Baby Steps: Saving Money

Baby Steps: Saving Money

5 Easy Ways to Drink More Water Each Day

5 Easy Ways to Drink More Water Each Day

You Can Eat Healthy Anywhere

You Can Eat Healthy Anywhere

Eat Your Junk Food With Purpose

Eat Your Junk Food With Purpose

Homework: Set Your Priorities

Homework: Set Your Priorities

5 Super Simple Weight Loss Tips

5 Super Simple Weight Loss Tips

Homework: Do What You Love

Homework: Do What You Love

I Crashed My Car and I Didn’t Cry

I Crashed My Car and I Didn’t Cry

Thanks for being a part of my amazing life <3

I hope you decide to make 2017 your best year EVER!!!

See you soon!

Food, Fitness, Finance and Fun Archives 31-45

Food, Fitness, Finance and Fun Archives 31-45If you are not on my newsletter list, you are missing out on some of my best “stuff”! Each week I send an email chock full of all kinds of great information, workouts, and RECIPES for eating healthy!

Just like the Food, Fitness, Finance and Fun site, it is an eclectic mix of everything that I have going on right now!

To make sure you get the newsletter each week, you can either click here…

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/Newsletter

Or you can text FFFF to 22828

Here are the archives of Issues 31-45…

Issue 031 11/25/15 – Swim Workout, Easy Vegan Raw Sports Drink, and Easy Steps to Eating the Way You Want to Eat

Issue 032 12/02/15 – Bike Workout, Easy Vegan Raw Carrot Cake, and 5 All-Natural Solutions to Everyday Products

Issue 033 12/09/15 – Run Workout, Easy Vegan Raw Indian Food, and the 5 Podcasts that ROCK MY WORLD!!

Issue 034 12/16/15 – Strength Workout, another Easy Vegan Cauliflower Taco “Meat”, and my Most Relaxing Holiday Season Ever!!

Issue 035 12/23/15 – Core Workout, Easy Ways to Eat Out Vegan, and how to Make Next Year Your Best Year

Issue 036 12/30/15 – Flexibility Workout, Easy Vegan Pinwheels, and What 10 Years as a Passion Parties Consultant has Taught Me

Issue 037 01/06/16 – Swim Workout, Easy Vegan Indian Tacos, and Happy Birthday to my BFF, Joey!

Issue 038 01/13/16 – Bike Workout, Easy Vegan Thai Peanut Salad, and How I became a Vegan…FINALLY!

Issue 039 01/20/16 – Run Workout, Easy Vegan Sweet and Spicy Thai Salad, and my Smoothie Challenge

Issue 040 01/27/16 – Strength Workout, Easy Vegan Quinoa Mac and Cheese, and how to De-Clutter Your Life

Issue 041 02/03/16 – Core Workout, Easy Vegan Green Curry w Veggies, and How to Do What You Love

Issue 042 02/17/16 – Flexibility Workout, Easy Vegan Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna, and Why I Didn’t Gain Weight This Month

Issue 043 02/24/16 – Swim Workout, 2 of my FAVE Easy Vegan Meals, and Why I Crashed My Car and I Didn’t Cry

Issue 044 03/02/16 – Bike Workout, Crock Pot Sweet Potato Masala, and the great debate: To Microwave or Not to Microwave?

Issue 045 03/09/16 – Run Workout, Easy Vegan Crock Pot Chili, and Why the Birthday Present I gave my Mom on her 50th made her cry

To get the newsletter weekly, click here…

http://goo.gl/WocEfV

To get the newsletter AND a free core workout video, click here…

http://goo.gl/2aEzBn

Or you can text FFFF to 22828

Thanks for being a part of my life <3

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

And join our Financial Freedom support group here…

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

And watch my monthly interview with a FINANCIAL expert here…

www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/FFFFBlab

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!!!

The Pretty Girl Book Club: April 2015

Pretty Girl Bookclub April 2015“Live like on one else so later you can live, and give, like no one else” –Dave Ramsey

Our April 2015 Book Club book was “The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness” by Dave Ramsey

Category: Money/Finance

I chose this book because I am a huge Dave Ramsey fan. I attended his live program “Financial Peace University” years ago and have been listening to his podcast regularly for the past 2 years.

Dave has been giving financial advice on his radio show for over 25 years. His advice is very simple and old school. Basically spend less that you make and if you want something, save for it. Genius!

The synopsis of the book on Amazon.com sums it up as…

If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.

Build up your money muscles with America’s favorite finance coach.

Okay, folks, do you want to turn those fat and flabby expenses into a well-toned budget? Do you want to transform your sad and skinny little bank account into a bulked-up cash machine? Then get with the program, people. There’s one sure way to whip your finances into shape, and that’s with The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition.

By now, you’ve heard all the nutty get-rich-quick schemes, the fiscal diet fads that leave you with a lot of kooky ideas but not a penny in your pocket. Hey, if you’re tired of the lies and sick of the false promises, take a look at this―it’s the simplest, most straightforward game plan for completely making over your money habits. And it’s based on results, not pie-in-the-sky fantasies. With The Total Money Makeover:

Classic Edition, you’ll be able to:

  • Design a sure-fire plan for paying off all debt―meaning cars, houses, everything
  • Recognize the 10 most dangerous money myths (these will kill you)
  • Secure a big, fat nest egg for emergencies and retirement!

The book is 240 pages long and was an easy read.

The book was pretty much what I had imagined since I have been a Ramsey follower for years. He outlines the simple steps to financial success and gives plenty of examples and testimonials to seal the deal. He also includes all the forms for budgeting and calculating that he teaches in the book.

I would HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who struggles with finances…especially if you (I) keep making the same stupid financial mistakes over and over! Listen to someone who has been both broke and wealthy! He knows what he is talking about.

Here are a few words from others who have read this book…

“It’s a good blueprint to money management. What I liked about it was that it was broken down in 7 steps. You’re encouraged to save first, which is different from most money management books out there. From there you continue to build on your new money habits. Using cash and tracking your spending is the essence of the book.

– Elmire

“Simple. Everything he says makes sense.”

– Robyn

I listen to the Dave Ramsey podcast daily. It’s called “Take Control of Your Money”. And I am preparing to lead an FPU later this year. So I may read the book again for that, but get my daily dose of inspiration, motivation, and butt-kicking in the podcast!

Order “The Total Money Makeover” here…

http://goo.gl/0hQH1r

About The Pretty Girl Book Club…

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/fun/the-pretty-girl-book-club/

Our upcoming books…

http://www.foodfitnessfinancefun.com/the-pretty-girl-book-club-book-list/

Here is the link to join the Book Club…

http://www.facebook.com/PrettyGirlBookClub

See you there!!

Newsletter Archives

Food, Fitness, Finance and Fun Newsletter ArchivesIf you are not on my newsletter list, you are missing out on some of my best “stuff”! Each week I send an email chock full of all kinds of great information, tips & tricks and RECIPES for eating healthy!

Just like the Food, Fitness, Finance and Fun site, it is an eclectic mix of everything that I have going on right now!

Here are the archives of past editions for you to take a peek at…

Issue 001 04/29/15 Swim Workout, Vegan Mashed Potato Recipe, and my New Mediation Practice

Issue 002 05/06/15 Bike Workout, Creamy Avocado Rice Recipe, and my Financial Woes

Issue 003 05/13/15 Run Workout, Vitamix Recipes, and Watch me Bring Lazy Back

Issue 004 05/20/15 Strength Workout, Raw Carrot Curry Salad Recipe, and all about The Pretty Girl Book Club

Issue 005 05/27/15 Core Workout, My Favorite Salad Ingredients, and Why Personal Growth ROCKS

Issue 006 06/03/15 Flexibility Workout, My Favorite Vegan Recipes, and Why I Love Throwback Thursday

Issue 007 06/10/15 Swim Workout, More Vitamix Recipes, and Why I Hate my Hormones

Issue 008 06/17/15 Bike Workout, Quinoa Curry Recipe, and Crafting Your Perfect Day

Issue 009 06/24/15 Run Workout, Grape Salad Recipe, and Awesome Books to Read

Issue 010 07/01/15 Strength Workout, Grilled PB&J Recipe, and Living Life in the RV

Issue 011 07/08/15 Core Workout, Super Hummus Recipe, and How to do a Gratitude Journal

Issue 012 07/15/15 Flexibility Workout, Crazy Oatmeal Recipe, and Budget RV Tips

Issue 013 07/22/15 Swim Workout, Cheesy Rice Recipe, and How to Look Good Naked

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!!

Join our Financial Freedom Support Group…

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

And I would love to hear ideas on how YOU save more, spend less, and keep your finances organized!

Message me with your tips!!!

GRATEFUL FOR YOU!!!

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.

Join our Financial Freedom group here… https://www.facebook.com/groups/FinancialFreedomROCKS/
Or join our community here…
https://www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun