Paying Down Debt in 2019

So, my last post for 2018 was one of the hardest things to think about or comprehend constructively. It is that lovely taboo topic called money management and debt.

When I quit my job, I quickly realized how much spending I was doing on a daily basis. The two significant factors were mindlessly spending on little things and just giving my money away because it felt good to help.

Starting my own business made me much more careful about how I was spending my money. So, I am not an expert in finances, and I will never claim to be because there is SO much more I need to learn.

However, in 2018, I did accomplish some goals as I became mindful with my relationship with money. The most significant accomplishment was paying off almost $10,000 in debt. I still have $31,000 left to pay off, but it does feel good to know my debt is going down rather than up. My debt really isn’t on any significant spending but rather a big student loan and medical bills.

For 2019, I am going to try to pay off at least $12,000 in it. I want to finish paying this off because I need to start spending more time with my loved ones. I miss having the ability to take my daughter out. I miss just having time. So, being mindful of my time and spending has hopefully help me with the ability to accomplish these goals.

Here are some approaches that I used in 2018 to help me reduce my working time and also to have the ability to pay things off. I hope to use these same skills to improve my outlook for 2019.

The biggest habit that I acquired in 2018 is making more intentional choices on how I spend my money. I also realized that I have people that I can ask for help whether that was with actual money or with time. I didn’t understand how closed off I had made myself until I needed help on the one thing I prided myself in doing.

The first thing I realized is that easy shopping was not my friend. These small purchases were too often and collectively impacting my life. There was a lot of mindless spending on a daily basis that indeed was inhibiting me from paying off my debt. I took for granted my “fixed” income and my “fixed” payments and used the rest of my money without overthinking on its impact.

I would tell myself that I wanted to save $200 at the end of the month, but when the month ended, I had zero money in my bank account. It didn’t take long for me to see that that was not a sustainable way of living. I wasn’t reaching any of my goals. I wasn’t happy with my spending habits.

I started embracing my reality and intention that I still was avoiding. It was easy for me to donate or sell my belongings, but it was harder not to replace them. I started to do small shopping bans like staying off of Amazon or only spending what I had in my wallet for a day, week or month. These little gestures really helped to have enough money to pay my bills.

For 2019, I really want to align my finance actions with my real value. This starts with having a conversation and writing about my intentions. My husband knows my plans and having someone who is understanding to your needs is excellent. I have no problem asking questions about money and researching about how to save. I thank him for that gift.

After realizing how I was spending and being comfortable with the idea of money. I started to take stock of the big money picture. I think that’s one of the scariest parts of personal finance and it has taken me a while to comprehend. I still continue to struggle with acknowledging the state of my money flow without judgment. I just know you have to start and I do see that I am getting better with paying attention to my spending and income. It only takes time and understanding that it’s not going to be perfect and it will never be perfect.

For me taking stock means logging into all of my accounts and writing down what the balances, both the positive or negative. The big picture is not about feeling good or bad about your situation. It’s especially hard if it’s a negative experience to log in and seeing all the negatives and zero numbers, but it’s not about just looking at the numbers. It’s looking at all the different accounts that you have and making peace with your current situation.

You just have to review it. When I took stock of all the accounts that I have, the next thing I thought of is what can I get rid of to save money. It’s not just about paying off debt right away, but how many accounts or subscriptions do you have that you don’t even use.

I try to have as few accounts as possible. I’m all for whatever works for you, but I think it’s easier to have fewer accounts. It makes my life more straightforward in my budgeting process. It’s just fewer things to track or to manage. It makes sense for me and my time and to not get overwhelmed by so much information that I am just trying to comprehend for the first time.

One of the biggest mistakes I make and guilty of so many times this year is mindlessly spending without keeping track of where my dollars are going. I know that this isn’t the most fun topic or the most fun task to think about but tracking my spending is essential. Not only does it open my eyes to my behavior with money but it gives me a small moment to check in to see if it aligns with my intention.

I do weekly check-ins. I look at all of the numbers and ask myself does it align with my goals and my value. If not, I ask what I can do for next week and really understand why I didn’t meet these goals. Keep things simple when doing this type of check-in and have it fit your daily flow. I do it Monday morning. I make coffee, I sit down, and I log into all of my accounts. I track my spending and then I double check all the balances on my accounts.

There are things you can do if you’re unhappy with what is happening to your accounts and cash flow. It helps me stay focus by taking small steps and trying to figure out what my goal is for the following week. I find I am slowly changing my mindset from I am “ok” to know precisely what I need to know about my finance and it feels good to see the progress that aligns with what I really want.

One of my favorite things about personal finance is that it’s personalized to you, so everyone’s numbers and decisions are going to look different. There is no judgment in that it’s just figuring out what makes you happiest what you’re okay with spending money on and then getting rid of everything else.

The things I spend money on I try to make sure those expenditures align with my values. The biggest question I ask myself and my final tip is before you make a purchase or pay off a bill, ask when or not it is worth your time to invest. After my basic needs are met, time is the most valuable resource.

I keep this question as a fundamental practice when making any decisions of spending. “Do I actually want to spend money on this item and it is worth my time to pay it off? “

I hope this makes some kind of sense to you. Again, I am new to understanding money, so if you have any advice, please share. I would love for all of us to pay down debt and live a more fruitful life in 2019.

Happy New Years!

#budget #debt #debtfreecommunity #finance #financialfreedom #help #livingsimple #minimalism #Money #moneyhacks #money savings #moneytips #personalfinance

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Two Impactful Goals for 2019

Can you believe it?

2019 in less than a week away!

This year, was a pretty good year for me as I learned to change many of the habits that have held me back. With 2019 right around the corner, everyone is thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. I am seeing it on social media and even on the local news. No matter what you envision for next year, you probably have a few significant lifestyle changes in mind.

One of the things that I am passionate about is the environment. Climate change looks pretty scary when you read about it, and I for one started to take small steps to reduce my carbon footprint in this beautiful word. I have a daughter, and one of the best things that I can do for her is to give her skills to help salvage our environment.

One capsule I am trying to organize is my “Go Green” way of life. Last year, I reduced the amount of stuff I was buying, starting to composting and reused anything that could before discarding or recycling it. I also tried my best to buy things that were recyclable or biodegradable. I want 2019 to be more of the same only adding to my efforts to have a cleaner environment.

There is always something you can do to make the planet a better place.

To help you on your quest to be a little sustainable, I am going to share with you two environmentally sustainable resolutions I am committed to in 2019.

Stop Buying Fast Fashion

Fast fashion Is literally ruining our planet. Stores like H&M, Target, Zara, and Topshop participate in an industry known as fast fashion. Unfortunately, this creates an outrageously easy way of throwing out clothes that are cheaply made or just not in style for the new season. Throwing out clothes is the second most wasteful habit. The fashion products that we consume take up much as much of the landfills as other waste materials, like plastic. Some fast-fashion companies even participate in practices that are unethical to their workers.

Don’t get me wrong, I buy from these stores. It’s a great way to get an item you need for cheap or to fulfill a need or want. In 2018, I reduce my need to spend as I felt I had everything I needed. After watching some documentaries and reading some books, I realized how much I was hurting the environment. This scared me to take action. It has taken me a year to commit to not buying fast fashion. I had to find a system that worked for me. Starting in 2019, I will no longer buy from fast-fashion retail chains.

First, disclaimer, do not throw away your clothes if you have the use for them. They are suiting you well. The point of being sustainable is to be resourceful with what you have in your closet. However, if you have too much and you are just not wearing them. Please consider selling, giving them away or donating your clothes.

Second, buy second-hand. I live in NYC, so I know which stores have the best deals and the best clothes for me. Generally, you can find a shirt and pants for a few dollars that you may actually want to wear. I always make a list of the things I need and try to find places that can give me the best price. By making this habit, it creates a buffer from the time I want it to the time you buy it. Sometimes, I may find that I actually didn’t need the item anyway.

Finally, few fashion labels use sustainable materials and eco-friendly production practices, some of these companies include Everlane, People Tree, Reformation, and Eileen Fisher. Although these brands and others similar are more expensive than those in the fast fashion, we need to understand that saving up to purchase is sometimes worth the higher price. Some of these companies have durable clothing so the item will last you a long time, this gives you more bang for your buck. It also creates a buffer to provide you with the time to understand whether or not you actually need the item.

Limit The Use of Plastic

In an article on the National Geographic website, it stated that “a whopping 91% of plastic isn’t recycled.”

It takes plastic 400 years to degrade, so most of it still exists in some form. This is scary when you think about it, I mean, where is all of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste go? In 2015, it was estimated that every year about 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans. This dumpage, in turn, affects wildlife, the coast, and ecosystems.

The goal for 2019 is to reduce my disposables consumption. A few easy ways that I am going to practice is to reduce the amount of waste by not using single-use plastic straws, grocery bags, to-go coffee cups, and plastic water bottles.

Reminder, this also took some time to get to this point in my sustainability lifestyle journey. I didn’t want to throw out what I had without using it first. I also had to get comfortable with asking stores to not give me a plastic bag for my sandwich or using my portable coffee cup instead of their throw away cup. Habits don’t form overnight, so if you are interested in doing this, I would say, take your time and do your research. The more you know, the better you will be at actively participating. Also, doing ger discourage if you can’t master this practice. Just trying each time in each moment is more than what others are currently doing.

So, what am I going to use to help reduce my likely hold of using these easily disposable items?

I made a kit. It is small enough to carry with me and to store or to take the items that I know I will be using for the day.

Here are the items in my kit:
1. a reusable shopping bag
2. a small reusable sandwich bag
3. a reusable water bottle
4. a reusable straw
5. a reusable coffee mug
6. a reusable hand towel

You can get all these things in many thrift stores. If you absolutely cannot find it, most of these can be found on Amazon or at your local store.

I do make it a point to carry this kit with me so I can avoid temptations of convenience. If I can avoid using these disposable items in my daily life, I know I can make a difference in the environment. It also makes a statement to the people who are around you. This means that customers, sellers, and your friends and family who see you using these reusable items may spark a conversation or give them permission to do the same.

I’m personally enthusiastic about the new year. I do think that the more we progress, the more progress we will see. I see it in my personal life. My small steps in change have become more significant, and these two goals of sustainability will have a positive impact on the environment.

Please remember to keep it simple and make an effort to sustain your practice in the long term. It takes hours of repetition to change old habits and ideas. Let me know if you have any advice on sustainability and what you are or will be doing to better your impact on the environment in 2019.

Thanks for reading!

Here are some more sites that you might be interested it reading:

Planet of Plastic? https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/

35 Fair Trade & Ethical Clothing Brands Betting Against Fast Fashion https://www.thegoodtrade.com/features/fair-trade-clothing

Embrace These 5 Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions For A Greener 2019 https://www.peacefuldumpling.com/5-sustainable-new-years-resolutions

Why fast fashion needs to slow down https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/blog-post/why-fast-fashion-needs-slow-down

#organic #ocean #conservation #energy #handmade #architecture #plastic #instagood #sdg #bethechange #reduce #globalwarming #climateaction #natural #reducereuserecycle #food #future #noplastic #health #upcycle #agriculture #technology #entrepreneur #ecology #zerowasteliving #climate #water #ecofashion #greenliving

7 Tips to Tidy Mindfully and Create Space

As this year quickly becomes a memory, I thought I would share some tips that I adapted throughout 2018 as there was a need to keep my place organized. I live in a small studio apartment in Brooklyn, so my space is limited. Before I lived in New Jersey, I had a pretty good job and had a pretty modest sized apartment. I lived there for about two years when everything changed.

Now, I own a studio, a business and I am an independent contractor. I have had a lot of change in my life this year. I was pretty overwhelmed by everything. I tried so hard to stick to a schedule that I could not master. I knew I couldn’t learn it, but I did it anyway…this was a significant failure. I put to much pressure on myself to be this great person of success. So, I thought of a way to compartmentalize my life to keep things organize and to expel the right amount of energy for each part of my life. I call them capsules, but you can call them whatever works for you.

One capsule that I began to put together in 2018 was creating “a quick clean capsule” to help keep myself sane and focus. Today, I am going to share some tips and hacks I learned to keep my tidiness in check.

First, let me say I am not a clean person. I love clutter. I feel that my creativity comes out when I study the little mess in my corner. However, I do not live by myself, and it started to become a problem because I had almost no time to clean. The tiny little clutter space that I cherish quickly became unorganized and in multiple areas. Before I knew it, I was overwhelmed and didn’t want to deal with it.

So, for 2019, I thought why not share these little hacks that have helped this messy person stay a little bit organized and tidy in the home. They generally help keep my life with a little less stress. Hopefully, you will find them useful and can start to use them in your daily routine.

Quick Ways to Stay Tidy

1. Taking Off Your Shoes
This hack has been in my life for quite some time, but I find it very important. Not only does it help to keep your floors a little cleaner but you are not attracting dirt and diseases from the outside.

A study led by researchers at the University of Houston has shown that 26.4% of shoes carry Clostridium difficile, while a 2015 study claimed that 40% of shoes carry Listeria monocytogenes, these are two things you do not want in your house or on your child’s hands. It’s best to keep the shoes in an area that doesn’t affect your home.

2. Clean As You Go – The One Minute Rule
Clean as you go when you are doing things around your home. It really can be applied to many things. For example, you are in the kitchen, and you’re cooking. You’ve got a bunch of ingredients and dishes out on your kitchen table. As you use the ingredients and dishes, try to put them away when you are finished using them. You may cut down your cleaning time and have more time to enjoy your meal.

Usually, when you are doing things as you go, it takes about a minute to a couple of minutes to get them done. An example if this is picking up a pile of paper to recycle when it’s been sitting there for a while. It doesn’t take much effort to move it to the bin. Mostly if a task takes you a minute or less then do it.

Doing these small tasks can help set the tone for the day. I find that it helps create a clean, organized environment. I am not thinking about it anymore, because it’s done. I find it frees up a whole bunch of mental space.

3. Have A Spot For Everything
To have a spot for everything means having a proper space to hold your items, whether its a basket, drawer or even a glass container. For me, this is a great way to keep my area tidy and organized. It also allows me to know where things are because I always keep them there.

For example, I always keep my dog supplies in the same specific drawer so that I never forget where the item is when I need it.

4.You Bring In an Item / You Take an Item Out
This tip means what it states, if you buy an item, you have to discard an item. I use this to be mindful of what I buy, which in turn helps me financially. If I don’t have an item in my home that I am willing to part with, then maybe I can wait or not get it.

It is also useful to practice because you become aware of what you are bringing into your space. You consciously know which things you can then get rid of or donate or sell or whatever it may be to make sure that you are not accumulating more things.

5. Setup a Cleaning Schedule
Have a specified cleaning day of the week. A schedule can vary by the person so you may want to clean your home once a week or you may choose to have a scheduled time or day to clean each room. It’s what fits your schedule.

Having a particular day where you know that it is your tidying day can help to keep you organized and on track. One thing I like to do during a tidy day is setting a timer. If I give myself 10 minutes to wash the floors, it gives me the incentivization to keep going. It pushes me to clean because I have a specific time and I know that I am not going to be doing
this for the next few hours.

6. Assess Your Stuff and Start a Donation Bag
Before you start to donate you need to assess your belongings and this often applies to anything. Regularly evaluating the things that you have by going through your living area once a week or once a month and seeing what you can throw out or donate.

If you have a donation bag or bin handy, it helps to keep you mindful of the stuff you assessed but also the things you may notice while you are going about your day. You may put on a pair of jeans that you don’t like anymore or a book you are finished reading. I find that if I don’t have a bag handy that I’m much more likely to shove it back in my closet or not deal with it.

Having a place to discard your items will encourage you to recycle rather than throwing it away or keeping it. What I like to do is schedule a day to drop everything off at GoodWill or maybe try to sell it. Either way, I am making use of the item until it is out of my hands and into someone else’s hands who can appreciate it.

7. Unsubscribe to Unwanted Emails
In my last blog, I wrote about cleaning out your inbox. I find this important to me because I get a lot of emails and most of it I don’t read or even care about the company or topic.

I am bombarded with emails all the time. In 2018 I start the habit to delete them or unsubscribe to emails that I don’t read. If there is an email that I want to get to I will keep it for a week and if I have not addressed it and seems not essential, in the trash can it goes. It does feel so good not to be overwhelmed by a messy inbox. I have nine email addresses, so this particular trick was a massive help in 2018.

It will take time to clean, especially if you have thousands of emails but take your time. You may find that it is such a relief to be organized and coherent to what your email account holds. Finally, it isn’t just freeing your mind but your electronic memory. Emails take up a lot of space on your computer or phone. You will be surprised at how much memory is recovered by deleting those emails.

So, these are the tips I learned in 2018. I hope they are helpful to you in 2019. I am still working on my tidy organizational skills, but I am a lot better than I was a year ago. I hope that you learned a thing or two.

If you currently follow any of these types of tips or if there are any of these tips that you want to implement in 2019, please share your comment. I would love to know what you do to help keep your space clean and tidy.

Some more article that may help you with your tidying journey:
Is it Healthier to Remove Your Shoes at Home? https://www.wsj.com/articles/is-it-healthier-to-remove-your-shoes-at-home-1491649200

10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home
https://www.becomingminimalist.com/creative-ways-to-declutter/

25 Housecleaning Tips to Keep Your Home in Tip-Top Shape Year-Round https://www.mydomaine.com/house-cleaning-schedule/slide6

#howto #tidyup #organizationaltip #cleaninghacks #cleaninnngtip #LIFEHACKS

Inbox Detox for 2019: Ways to Clean it Out Your Emails

At the start of 2018, I had over 12,000 emails in my inbox. Most of the time, my inbox felt start crowded, and disorganized. For someone who likes to have an organization, this is a counter-productive and hypercritical way to life. It also gave me anxiety because I started to feel that I would miss an email if I deleted anything in the inbox. It really reduced my productivity.

According to a survey by Adobe Systems Inc., every day, workers spend 6.3 hours checking their emails. One-third of these workers admitted to receiving 100 emails daily, while one in ten said they receive up to 200 emails daily. 44% of these workers bother about missing a crucial email.

Of course, a cluttered inbox is not the fault of the individual, because these emails seem to troop in by the minute. As you step into 2019, here are a few ways of improving your productivity (as well as your sanity) by decluttering your inbox. Below are some ideas that I help to declutter and reduce my digital fingerprint in my inbox.

Be mindful of what you subscribe to:
Before doing anything else, the primary measure you would want to take is to try to prevent the sheer number of emails you get daily by minding what you subscribe to. Many sites lure you to subscribe on different occasions. For example, websites require that you input your email before downloading a free item, such as a free e-book or app.
These sites immediately add you to mailing lists and bombard you with newsletters and various offers. Not only that, they share your email with partner brands/sites, who would also send you unwanted emails. In 2019, to declutter your inbox, you must be picky on what you subscribe to, to declutter your inbox.

Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe:
Similar to the first point, whenever you come across a sender who either spams your inbox or sends emails you do not need, instead of merely deleting their email, unsubscribe from their emailing list as well. Ideally, you should unsubscribe from 90% of all these lists.
It takes a few extra seconds to unsubscribe, but those would be seconds well spent. However, you can use a service like Swizzle, which enables you to unsubscribe from multiple lists simultaneously.

Set up Priority Inbox:
Priority inbox boosts your productivity by placing new emails in two locations on your inbox – important and unimportant. Priority Inbox sorts the emails automatically, based on the sender and/or subject line.

With Priority Inbox set up, when you get to work in the morning, you will not be greeted by hundreds of received emails; instead, you will see around 15 essential emails that need your urgent attention. The unimportant promotional emails, newsletters, and so forth will be categorized as ‘unimportant.’

Create Inbox filters:
You can set up filters with many email clients. Filters have multiple essential uses – they allow you to label emails, move emails between folders quickly, delete emails, and lots more. With the aid of email filters, you can push certain emails to specific folders as they arrive. You may check these folders at intervals. Be sure to unsubscribe from irrelevant senders also (see step 2).

Trying Using Boomerang:
Boomerang is a Chrome and Firefox free plugin that improves your efficiency and productivity by giving you superpowers over your inbox. It lets you carry out tasks like scheduling future sending of emails, configuring the movement of emails between folders at specific times (for instance, moving your flight itinerary from a particular folder to your primary inbox, 30 minutes before your departure time), and many more.

We tend to leave emails in our inboxes to remind ourselves of important stuff. This contributes to the cluttering of the inbox. Use Boomerang to clear out your inbox and bring back your emails whenever you need them.

Opt out of receiving social media notifications:
Notifications from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., contribute roughly 25% of the daily emails most people receive. Just like the unsubscribing measure to take to declutter your inbox, you should take out time to opt out of receiving these social media notifications. You would probably check out your social media anyways, so you don’t need to get the same notifications on your inbox. For instance, Facebook notifies you of virtually everything; from comments and friend requests, to even posts by specific people. This would considerably declutter your inbox.

Make use of your calendar: Interestingly, some of the unwanted emails cluttering your inbox are not from external senders but from you. Most people like to store essential tasks on their email. While this might be useful, saving them to the ‘notes’ section of your calendar is far more productive and convenient. Further, if you keep them on your email, they will contribute to the unwanted items there whenever you are done with the task.

Improving your productivity in the new year takes a lot, but seemingly unnoticeable changes such as an organized and uncluttered inbox goes a long way. Implement the above necessary measures to tune-up your inbox, and ultimately your productivity in 2019.

References & More Tips can be found here:
Tips for Taming Your Inbox: http://listhubnews.com/tips-for-taming-your-inbox-2/

DR 133: Inbox Zero–A Simple Strategy to Conquer Your E-mail http://www.doughroller.net/tech/inbox-zero-a-simple-strategy-to-conquer-your-e-mail/

#howto #declutter #inbox #emaildeclutter #tips #hacks #2019

Crap! I forgot to check my Facebook Page!

Well, hello!

If you are like me, you have multiple accounts on several various sites, and it gets overwhelming, neglectful and forgetful sometimes? I am willing to guess that it gets so overwhelming you sometimes wish there is a way you can manage all your accounts at once and from one place.

Well, there is.

You see, I am just like you, I have several social media accounts and websites that I didn’t know where to begin and how to go about managing all of them. This resulted in me working below efficiency and being a trifle incompetent. One day I got tired of it all and decided to do what exactly it is you are doing right now: research. In the course of this, I found out that there are several tools out there that can help you manage your online presence seamlessly from one page. I dug further and found out that apart from managing my posts, these online tools can also assist me in achieving my online interactions and engagements as well as analyze my presence.

This was a little daunting at first but when I got the hang of it, things progressed smoothly, and they have been going on well ever since. The online management tools I use involve managing an entire array and spectrum of accounts from one dashboard. Imagine how productive I am now. You can also leverage on this online management tools to not only build and manage your company’s online presence but also to efficiently operate and maintain your personal brand online.

The two mentioned below have free options if you wanted to try it out to see if it works for you, so go for it!

Buffer: buffer is another online tool that you can use to manage your online presence. You can use this site to schedule posts for whichever time you wish and never worry about meeting up with time constraints again. This site has an interface that is amazing in its simplicity. It also affords the opportunity to share links in a very flexible manner.

IFTTT: this site is super productive and effective. While setting it up might be quite daunting and time-consuming, it is pretty downhill once that is done with.

There are also quite many online tools that you can use to monitor the world wide web and find out who and where they are talking about you. This allows you to control how your brand is perceived, engage your customers and efficiently be on hand to provide assistance and enlightenment to those who require it. It just takes some time and research to find one that works for you.

Hopefully, after reading through this, you are better able to manage your online presence and stay sane enough to give your time, energy and attention to other important things. If you have your own tools and suggestions, just let me know. I am always open to learning more.

What Am I Doing?

If you landed on my page you are probably wondering what is going on with it or you just don’t care, and you moved on.

For 2019, I want to organize my online presence and streamline my life. This year was great, but as my mind has it….I am just all over the place. I am so into and want to do everything that I am only scattered into a million different times, places and beings. What’s my name again?

So, starting today and in the great future, this will be my central location of all things me.  It will take some time to master, and I will be posting my journey into decluttering and altogether life moments.  If you made it this far, great!

Great! Thank you!

Please stick around and read and view some more organized randomness.

Organizing your own boat
Photo by Jayant Kulkarni on Pexels.com

“Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination”   ― Christina Scalise