toliveonpurpose

For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also…

Chapter 1… continued

I have been reading and taking lots of notes to share here. I have to say- it has been very difficult to summarize what I’m reading because it seems like everything in the book is sooo good that I want to share it ALL! So far, I’d definitely recommend “The Money Saving Mom’s Budget” by Crystal Paine. There is a lot of practical, easy-to-understand advice and tips.

I will just be going through and basically trying to give the highlights and the points that I feel are worth sharing, whether it was something new to me or just a helpful review. I may also interject some of my own insights and things I’ve learned along the way.

So… to continue where I left off in Chapter 1… She discusses the importance of setting goals. She says you won’t get anywhere without setting goals because “it’s a mind-set”. Goals give you purpose. They give MEANING to our efforts. The goals are what make it worth it to drive an old car instead of buying a new one or clipping coupons and bargain shopping, instead of indulging. 🙂 When we keep our goals in mind, it makes these “sacrifices” worth it, since we want to achieve the goal! 

Goals also give us FULFILLMENT. There is fulfillment in working hard and reaching a goal.

Goals give us ACCOUNTABILITY.

Goals give us MOMENTUM. Savings begets savings. It is true. Once we start seeing the effects of something… like saving… it typically makes us want to keep doing it- and doing it MORE!

She even addresses the issue of saving if you’re already “treading water.” Her suggestion is called the “$60 Principle”. She’s basically saying that you have to start somewhere. Make a goal to save just $60 in a year. Break it down to $5/month and $1.25/week. Most people can find a way to save that small amount.

Commit to short-term sacrifice (while focusing on long-term goals)!

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My next “challenge”

So I’ve reviewed The Money Saving Mom’s Budget book and it looks like I should be able to tackle 2-3 chapters per week. Some of the chapters have much more “work” involved, so there may be chapters where I can accomplish more or less within a week, but that will be my weekly average goal. Plan to have the book’s 9 chapters completely finished by March 17th.

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Don’t be alarmed if you are not interested in hearing about the whole “budget” thing. The title of the book is just a tad bit deceiving. The chapters in the book also cover topics such as Goal-Setting, Tackling Chaos and Clutter, Couponing, and Choosing Contentment. They all do pretty much have to do with saving money, but of course you could always just pick and choose tips that may work for you. So there will be a variety of issues addressed, which is both exciting and DAUNTING for me! But I know it will not be TOO daunting because I’m doing this in “bite-sized pieces.” 🙂 But it is still scary. Maybe because I will actually get to conquer some of the demons that have been crippling me and holding me back from my potential!

The first chapter – “If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Train Will Get You There” – talks about the importance of setting goals. It also tells us to actually SET THEM. It’s one thing to read about setting goals. It’s quite another to actually DO IT. One of the assignments is to set aside a one-hour block of time to really BRAINSTORM goals and then set some realistic ones that I will work toward. Whew. There is something really freeing about goal-setting. If you’ve never done it, I highly recommend you give it a whirl today! If you’re like me, you have a lot of ideas and great plans swirling around in your head that you think would be a great idea to do. It can get to be a bit overwhelming… Lots of great intentions, but not having much direction toward making anything happen. So, that’s where the goal-setting comes in. Goals give feet to those great ideas we have. Or wings. However you want to put it, the goals are the vehicle to allowing those great ideas, intentions to GO SOMEWHERE! To me, it’s sort of like having a train (the idea) just sitting there in the grass and then putting it on the track (setting the goal) so that it can actually get moving and accomplish something. OK, hopefully you get what I’m saying. 🙂

There are awesome tips in the book on how to set goals – first, having that one-hour block of time to just brainstorm, asking yourself “Where do I want to be financially five years from now?” Then writing down anything that comes to mind, next choosing the top 3 goals from the brainstormed ideas, and WRITING THE GOALS DOWN. The next very important step is to BREAK THEM INTO BITE-SIZED PIECES. We definitely don’t want to set ourselves up for failure, so this is VERY IMPORTANT to make the goals ATTAINABLE and REALISTIC. After writing the goals down, it’s important to post them where you can remind yourself of them and review them often in order to track progress. Another great idea is to reward yourself for reaching “mini-goals” along the way. What a great incentive to stay motivated toward the bigger goals!

Speaking of sticking with goals, I’ve already put a post-it on this book with the weeks written out from now until March 17th, so I can track my progress and be sure to complete a minimum of 2 chapters each week. It makes me feel good to see that, by pacing myself, I will have the whole book done in about a month from now. It’s not even scary this way. I like it. 🙂

In my next post, I will continue in Chapter 1 with “Why You Won’t Get Anywhere Without Setting Goals”. Hoping to get through this first chapter rather quickly since I already know I will be spending a decent amount of time on Chapter 2 (“Are The Chaos And Clutter In Your Life Keeping You From Financial Success”).

If you are reading this book on your own or just following along with my blog, I’d love to hear your input! Please comment below. If you’re not already a “blog follower”, check that option out- then you can get my new posts sent immediately to your email.

My blogging hiatus

I’m baaaaack! Please pardon my blogging hiatus. I was thankful to be missed, as several people told me personally that they missed my posts and were hoping I was up to something next. I really needed a break after that intense 21 day challenge. I also was contemplating what my next “challenge” would be. I want to try to stay on my toes in working toward improvement in some areas I’ve let go by the wayside. I see my blog as a great way to hold myself accountable and also a way to make sure I’m actually “getting” what I’m reading.

I’ve decided I’m going to be working through the book I recently got “The Money-Saving Mom’s Budget”. I was very excited to buy it and have yet to actually *read* it, other than just skimming. I will admit that my admiration for the Money Saving Mom (Crystal Paine), who wrote the 21 Day Challenge e-book I recently finished, has become a bit of a slight obsession, but she has a lot of great and practical information to offer and I find her inspiring to me personally.

So, I will be deciding today how I will be going through the book and blogging about it. If anyone else happened to purchase the book, I’d love for you to share your insights as well. Of course even if you didn’t get the book, hopefully you can glean something from what I share here.

And I really want to see some comments, if you feel so inclined to share them!

…More to come…

Success with the 15-minute timer!

This is from several days ago- just getting to posting it now.

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This morning I forced myself to get up early and get some things accomplished. I decided to challenge myself with the 15-minute timer. I am NOT naturally a morning person, so being productive in the morning requires me to be creative and work extra hard to get/keep myself moving! The natural juices are just not there at this time!

So, I had some dishes I left undone yesterday (for the sake of getting to bed earlier!), which I was able to tackle in my first 15 minute segment (including emptying the dishwasher and washing some items by hand).

In the second 15 minutes, I was able to switch and fold laundry as well as feed and brush the dog, along with some other random cleanup.

I have to say that this immediate success was very exciting for me and certainly gave me a boost to keep on going and also gave me a jumpstart on my daily chores. It also was great because then when the kids got up, I could be more focused in tending to their needs than trying to do chores at the same time and feeling like I’m getting nothing accomplished!

Definitely will be incorporating this 15-minute timer thing into my day as often as possible!

Results: Day 21 of 21

Wow! In some ways the 21 days went fast. In other ways, it feels like it’s been a forever journey!

Today’s reading is titled “Discipline begets discipline”. So true. I posted about this the other day. It’s sort of like motivation. I feel like once I get doing something, it gets me going and to keep going is much easier. I am looking forward to continuing to work on the habit and goal I have been working on these past 21 days and also excited about adding more goals. I’ve most definitely gained some motivation from doing this challenge, as well as some great tips to help for greater future success! I feel like I’ve gotten the ball rolling and set myself up for being motivated for more discipline to come!

Results: Day 20 of 21

Today’s challenge is to just do things that need to be done instead of putting them on a list or thinking about them too much. Specifically, the things that only take a minute or two to do. Why think about them so much when we could just take action immediately and then it’s DONE! I’ve been thinking about this lately, actually. There will be things lying around that I need to take care of and sometimes it seems like it’s going to be such a hassle, so I put it off… and put it off… Then one day I just get tired of seeing it lay around, so I deal with it. And guess what? It wasn’t that bad.

I recall recently reading somewhere to make a list of all of the things that you WANT to get done, but don’t need to be done immediately (the non-everyday type tasks). It was recommended to put just ONE thing from that list on your to-do list every day. Then it’s a very realistic way to get those things done without getting overwhelmed about it.

This challenge has been so encouraging in so many ways. One way is just knowing that someone else out there shares some of the same struggles that I have. And being given tips and a plan to deal with those struggles in order to overcome them is a great gift!

Tomorrow is the last day. Excited to see what’s in store and then to ponder the progress I’ve made and the goals to strive toward going forward. This is awesome! I’m feeling so EMPOWERED!!!

Results: Day 19 of 21

Wow. Only 2 more days left. This has certainly been a whirlwind for me. I already feel like I need a review. There’s been a lot to take in and ponder, as well as ACT on!

Today’s post has to do with “Getting it done early.” This is such a SIMPLE concept. Not EASY, but SIMPLE. I think it also has a lot to do with HABITS. A lot of the tips provided to help us to succeed in meeting deadlines, getting places on time, etc, have to do with being PREPARED and just doing things as they come, instead of waiting for later. This is so true. Crystal referred us to a post by Mandi Ehman from SimpleMom.net. Mandi says “Whenever possible, get it — whatever it may be — done early and eliminate the stress and frustration of being pulled in a million directions.” Isn’t this just so true?!?! Mandi says that “getting it done early” is the key to SUCCESS. Wow. How different would my day, my MOOD, my stress level be if I were to follow this in all areas of my life? A lot of it has to do with KEEPING UP, instead of letting things build up. Some of her practical ideas are PLANNING MEALS ahead (maybe weekly), PREPPING food all at once (cutting up veggies, dividing meats, etc), FOLDING LAUNDRY right out of the dryer, practicing the TOUCH-IT-ONCE rule to eliminate papers/clutter everywhere, PREPPING backpacks (or diaper bags in my case!) when you get home so they’re ready for the next day.

So, like I said- this concept is quite SIMPLE, but not EASY. But the benefits definitely are worth it! I know this from experience- especially when I PLAN ahead, it makes things go soooo much smoother. Then, if there is a BUMP in the road, or something skews the schedule, it’s not AS big of a deal and it’s easier to get back “on track”. Also, “just do it” pops into my head because it doesn’t involve THINKING- especially when it comes to the daily stuff- like putting things away, doing laundry, dishes, etc. I need to tell myself to STOP THINKING ABOUT IT so much and JUST DO IT! It will be so worth it and rewarding to have made the accomplishment. Plus, some of these things may just end up being new habits. Wouldn’t that be great? 🙂

Results: Day 18 of 21

This is good. Talking about embracing who God made us to be and not comparing ourselves to others or feeling guilty because they do something we don’t do (or do it better). It got me to thinking (imagine that!)… I think most of us have people who we admire or look up to. Do we want to be LIKE them? Or do we want to BE them? I think there’s nothing wrong with wanting to share some of the good characteristics or habits of those we look up to. Another great thing is when others INSPIRE us with some of the amazing things they do. It’s just important that we don’t start trying to be more like them instead of being happy with who we are and using our own uniqueness to be effective.

The challenge today is to think about who God made us to be and to ponder if we are doing the best we can with the energy, gifts, talents and resources that God has given us in this season of life. She says if we are, then we have no reason to feel guilty if our life or goals don’t look like someone else’s. My advice, if the answer is no, is to prayerfully consider how we can be used more effectively and then GET UP and DO SOMETHING!!!

Results: Day 17 of 21

I am really glad to have today’s topic in the 21 Day Challenge. Today, Crystal addresses not comparing ourselves to others- specifically in the area of goals/habits. She mentioned that we should not feel badly if we do not get up as early as she does, since getting up early was a goal she had mentioned she was working on forming into a habit.

I was glad to see this and really found freedom in what she wrote. She also said how she is in a season of life now where certain goals for her make more sense. For example, getting to bed early and getting up early are much more feasible for her now since she has no baby, is not pregnant, and her children sleep through the night. She said there was a time in her life when it would not have been the wise or healthy thing to do to try to get up early. This is so important to remember.

Seasons of life can change so quickly. Some seasons may seem like they are lasting forever, but I think it’s really good to see what types of habits and goals are REALISTIC for the particular season we are in. For example, one thing I’ve been trying to do is to keep the main living area in the house cleaned up- especially at the end of the day, and to try to maintain some semblance of order throughout the day, putting things away right away, etc. During this season of my life, while having young children at home, between toddler toys and baby gear, I’m finding that my definition of “order” may need to be a little more lax and that it will need to be “ok” for now. I need to find a point of tolerance where it is manageable to find order and be content with that. 🙂 I also need to remember to apply this to other goals that I have and really determine if they are realistic for this season of my life.

Results: Day 16 of 21

Unfortunately, the post that I forced myself to write last night did not get saved before my computer quit cooperating. Honestly, I have no idea what I even wrote, since it was very late. I do remember doing it, typing with one hand as I held a certain sick little baby in the other arm. 

So, I’ll just do a new post now. 🙂

Today’s reading was about doing those tasks that we most avoid FIRST, then they’re DONE, we don’t have them lingering over our heads and it gives us momentum to keep going with the other tasks on our list!

This has been something I’ve been pondering lately, as there are some tasks that I just seem to avoid for some reason, even though they aren’t necessarily “difficult”. So, I have been trying to figure out why I avoid certain things and devise a plan to help myself to not fall into the avoidance trap and just get them done! Sometimes there are adjustments that need to be made in other areas that will affect the avoided tasks or chores. I’m hoping this will help. Sometimes I find it’s important to see where our weaknesses are and recognize ways to combat them that will be effective in producting our desired result.

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