Can you completely elevate who you already are?

Yes.  But first, you must know exactly what you want, and who you are.

Are you able to pull yourself out of an emotionally poor history, or bad health, or change your education, or completely change your mindset, can you become positive where you are negative, can you better your parenting, your heart, your love, your life? Can you disengage from those that continue to hurt you, habits that threaten your life?  Can you quit everything that is harming you?  Can you pursuit a life of your dreams?  Can you walk away from everything that deep inside your heart, inside your gut, you are not?

Yes.  But it takes everyday effort to live as you deserve. Are we ready to do the work?

I was blessed, and raised by a strong female.  I was also immensely loved by my family and had a ton of affection growing up.  From my grandma in Poland, from my father and from my mother.  My sister and I are each other’s cheerleaders, and this helps.  This was my foundation in life – regardless of ANYTHING else I did or didn’t have – it was pretty damn fine.

From here, I learned from others.  From the people that hired me, from Oprah, from books, from YouTube, from mentors, from people I admire from a far, from my husband, my children, from life, experiences, travel, and just that day to day living.  Each day my vow to myself is to grow a bit stronger physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.  My goal is to always be inspired, and in awe of what I previously did not know.  The goal is to learn learn learn so to thicken that foundation and do better each turn.  This is what this entire website is about, increasing our Stealth, our Wealth and our Health, by doing the work ourselves.

If one or all three of these groups aren’t your solid ground right now, and you feel extremely far from where you want to be, it’s possible to get there very quickly.  See, we all believe, initially, that the GOAL is to ALREADY be there, or to be there in present moment, but where we all want to be is on the road, on the journey of incredible habits that we are exercising each and every single day, putting into use daily.  It’s always the destination, and when you are on the right track, you know it.  It just feels alright.

I love independent thinkers and independent human beings that create their best lives for themselves and those they love, without apologies or regrets.  Even if someone gave us a free college education, or a home, or an inheritance or work – STEALTH, WEALTH and HEALTH is truly only achieved and kept on our own.  And once you achieve this, or are on the road to S W & H – no one can grab this from you.  Instead, it’s now building blocks upon building blocks you lay down each day.  Sure, things can go array and you lose a bit of this or that, and get thrown off, but at the end of the day, when you know the road you want to travel, and you know how how high you want to climb, you are already that much closer to who you are, than ever before.

How do you change your life, so quickly?

CLEAN EATING

These three things are it.  They are so simple, and yet, get the rest of us in trouble.

Start off by cleaning up your diet.  I don’t mean go out and purchase vitamin pack upon vitamin pack, but just clean it up.  Just eat more vegetables, eat more fruit, eat more vegetables eat more fruit, eat more vegetables and eat more fruit.  Drink water, drink water, drink water, drink more water.  Where you drank soda, drink water.  Where you purchased a big bag of chips or a pint of ice-cream, eat a pint of blueberries instead.  Where you went through a Wendy’s or Taco Bell drive through, eat more fresh grub.  Don’t complicate it.  The simpler we keep it, the easier it is.  After years and years and years, I’m still trying to figure out the best eating plan and style for me.  Some days I feel I have figured it all out, and the next day, I’m out there with a map and binoculars looking for my right track.  To stay motivated, write down what you ate, and how you felt the next day.  There are so many awesome documentaries on Netflix or videos on YouTube that can keep you strong and motivated daily, and learning the latest on nutrition.

When we keep it clean, and simple, we get right back on track, and thrive.

CLEAN SPENDING

There’s nothing more powerful, in this entire Universe than NOT purchasing something you don’t need.  If we don’t need it, we keep it.  Throughout the last two decades I saw couples break up.  Beautiful wonderful loving and fun couples break up.  And in every situation it was because of money misunderstanding.  It wasn’t because there was not enough money, but because the money that was coming in, was going out too fast.  Purchases were made that were not needed, and purchasing bordered on addiction.  Buying and buying and buying things, when things were not needed.  Commit to spending less, or stop spending all together.

If you go out to lunch each day, stop.  If you buy breakfast each day, stop.  A lot of people believe that it’s those LITTLE things that they do, that do not impact their overall wealth and financial future, but it’s exactly those LITTLE things.  If you are out and buying a lottery ticket each day, a $10 purchase is $3650 per year, and then $36,500 in 10 years, x interest in the stock market, you could be out 100K.   This may seem like an extreme example, but this is what makes the difference, and why one person who lives in a 200K home, earning $75K/year is broke, and another person who lives in a 200K home, earning $75K, is a millionaire.   Where do you belong?  What do you deserve?

Can you go this whole month by focusing on clean spending.  Just putting away the major credit cards, and especially the little credit cards, and just doing away with all of them.  Discontinue the endless buying, and reconsider all purchases that feel like a MUST.  Put together a BUY ONLY list, and this may include:  utilities, home, transportation (to work), food, and obviously other necessities (like a copay for the doctor if you are your child are not feeling well!)

Otherwise, when you want to get or buy something – check in on your BUY ONLY list.  Is it on there?  Do you need it?  Why do you need it?  What will you do with it?  Is it necessary?  Ask yourself a million questions, if you need to, until you realize, that nope, if it’s not on the BUY ONLY list, the purchase won’t serve your future.

Lastly, CLEAN THINKING.

This is my favorite, because once you get into the right mindset, your whole life is free.

What type of thinking do you currently have?  Are you always irritated? Is everyone else to blame for your problems? Are people always annoying you?  Are you just perplexed with these liberals?  Are you bombarded with these conservative?  Is your family amazing or sad or plain crap?  Are you out of your mind with your children?  Is your spouse a loser or your best lover?  What is your thinking like?  Do you laugh when others get hurt?  Are you jealous by nature?  Do you want more all the time?  Are you always the unlucky one?  How do you feel about yourself?  Are you ugly? Are you fat? Are you unforgivable?  Do you tell yourself you have anxiety and stress and worry and you never will be a human grenade ready to bomb?  Can you always be kind?

What is your thinking like, and can you clean it up?  Thinking, and our thoughts design our life.  Clean them up, day by day, and start today.

First, start reading about how to improve your thoughts.  Start reading about emotional intelligence, and positive thinking, and how to become more and more grateful.  Most importantly, take 100% responsibility for your life.  Sure, we have people in all our lives who may give us more grief or nausea or make us sick, but it’s still on us how we react, if we react, how much we let them in, and if they know how we feel.

The mind, our brain is just like any muscle in our body.  We must train it to work exactly how we want it.  We must take an active role and put in a great amount of effort into make sure it’s putting out thoughts, feelings and actions that match our goals.

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There could not be a elegant way to ELEVATE our lives, our selves, our hearts, than to CLEAN IT ALL UP.  Start small, and little by little, clean up your grub, your spending, your thoughts, and eventually your life.  Once all the garbage is out, you’ll find room for you, for growth, for health, for happiness, peace and your pretty amazing elevated self.

 

 

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What and how to feed your healthy kiddos? Rule 1: Throw out the rules.

I love feeding my family, and especially my children.  Certainly, for some reason I derive a ton of pleasure from watching my little peanuts eat, and watching them grow into healthy little humans.  Recently, my daughter started asking, “Mama, what’s this good for me for?”  “It’s good for my eyes?”  “It’s good for my belly?”  It’s really cute because she wants to know why it’s important to eat what she’s eating.  When I put food in front of them, and it’s perhaps some “new” food, I want her to realize that she’s eating grub NOT just because it tastes good, but because it helps nourish the body.  My younger two babies really enjoy this game of eating and knowing how the food is helping them flourish.

A while ago, I asked my son if he wanted to go to the movies, and his response was:  “No, you just sit there and eat junk.”  Now, we have not been to the movies in years, and I can’t ever recall ever ever ever saying something like this, or if I did, I would have never said this in front of him. He’s a pretty witty character so I really believe he gets it, and figured this out on his own.  Of course the movies are so much fun, and I can’t wait to go and have a blast soon going to see a cool movie, and it certainly doesn’t have to be two hours full of junk food, but we all get the idea.

We don’t eat out, because my daughter is three, and eating out with her is just not fun for anyone.  We did go to a fall festival in the fall, and went to a little sushi place afterwords to celebrate LIFE and HAPPINESS in general, and I remember before leaving the restaurant, I squatted down and picked up all the rice that fell to the ground while she was eating.  As I’m bent over, practically sitting on the restaurant floor like a clown, trying to use a napkin or a wet-wipe to grab sticky and soft rice off the ground, I knew we weren’t doing this again, for a very long time.

So at home, we cook, and there are absolutely no rules to what they eat, and how much they eat.  We’re like a free range farm!  The only rule is that you must eat with your mouth closed and say please and thank you, but other than this – it’s about fun!  I purchased these green trays from the dollar store, and put a few different things on the trays most evenings for the kids to eat.

And you know what they do – they all eat so differently.  Our 15 year old, obviously is 15 and grown enough to eat what she wants, and can ask for more, but I still like to give her a lot of fruit along with the main course.  The little people can be picky, but they always figure out what they love most.  The other evening, my beautiful sister and my almost three year old nephew were visiting and so on each plate I put:

organic chicken, grilled
rice with vegetables & turkey bacon
strawberries
fresh mandarins
pasta with creamy sauce

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So my son ate just the chicken and mandarins, my daughter ate JUST the strawberries, and my nephew ate the strawberries and rice.  And that’s how different and cool kids are. They will eat what they want, and whatever they need at that moment.

I know a lot of parents feel like short order chefs/cooks, and I too feel like this, but whenever they ask me for a snack or for a meal, I offer them fruit first, or cucumbers or carrots or avocado (this seems to be the only raw veggie they will eat).  This way, it’s super quick to eat and prepare, and easy to put away if they don’t eat all of it.

Last night I made pasta and added flax seeds and chia seeds to the mix, and served it with more fruit for our oldest, and apples for my son and avocado for my three year old.  My son ate just the apples, and my little one ate all the pasta and then asked for more avocado.  My son doesn’t love avocado at this time, but did eat it when he was younger.  I’ll keep trying with him, but I know he loves apples and have no issues feeding him a small one for breakfast and dinner, along with other grub.

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I’ve learned that adults don’t need to eat that often.  We don’t need 6 small/big meals a day, but I do believe that kids have tiny little bellies, and my children in particular do well eating a bit here and there.  As soon as my daughter comes home from school she wants waffles.  I either make her a waffle (with flax and chia and coconut oil), or have it already ready, and then she eats a big bowl of frozen blueberries.  When it’s time for dinner, she may eat all of it, or none of it at all.  It really doesn’t bother me either way, because I do think kids are extremely smart and have that intuitive eating down.  We, adults, on the other hand, have lost this ability.  If my kiddos can keep their intuitive eating up for a long long time, it would make me extremely happy.

I, like all mamas and parents, care about their education, and hope they are socializing correctly, and think often about their futures, and want to make sure I am doing everything I can to give them a super present so that their future is strong and bright, but their food I do not worry about. I know that because we eat at home, I am doing the best I can.  My son packs his lunch for school, and my little one eats at school.  When we go to birthday parties, they have whatever they want.  When we came home from Halloween, they had their candy, and we got rid of the rest.  We don’t have candy sitting out, and it’s not normal for us to have junk food sitting out.  BUT, when this happens, and things like this are available to them, they have it, and we move on.  I don’t worry or stress over this at all.  It’s IMPOSSIBLE to absolutely control 100% of your children’s food environments, but I def love putting in an effort to make sure they have all they could need and want, most of the time.

We cook a lot of grub ourselves, and even my husband makes our own bread.  I want them to know and understand that food can be made and even though I buy pastas, and we don’t raise animals, and we don’t have a garden (just yet), food has to come from somewhere, and ideally not a factory.

Here are the three birds standing around their father, as he rolls out dough.  They love participating and making their own little pizzas or calzones.

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For over a year now, I’ve had meal shakes and undenatured protein shakes shipped to our house.  Our oldest has one for breakfast each day.  It’s a perfect combo of protein and fat and carbohydrates and fiber for a growing girl, and fueling her muscles and energy.  I or my husband make her one each morning and I know she’s going to school ready to rock.  This is my form of “fast food” and I couldn’t be more happy that this is how she starts off her day.  My son will have one either for breakfast, or dinner.  Last night, when he was helping unload the dishwasher he drank the whole thing just walking around the kitchen putting forks away.  Again, our meals aren’t ALWAYS perfect (far from it I’m sure), but having nutrients via shake makes me more than thrilled, knowing he’s getting goodness into his little body quickly.

What has really started to change for us in the past year, is making an effort to always create home cooked and home made meals.  Even when we have celebrations and parties and friends over, I like to focus on real food.  Sure, there are times I purchased little pre-made quiches or other cute things, but lately, and certainly for the rest of this year – it’s going to be real food that serves our bodies, versus hurts our bodies.  Even for the AMAZING SUPER BOWL GAME that is coming up, my husband wants to get Publix’s fried chicken wings.  But I suggested let’s make our own.  We can put as much batter and oil and whatever else he wants on them, but when they are HOME MADE they are really just that much more stellar.   I also appreciate when we go to our friend’s houses, it’s always mostly homemade grub, which feeds us all on such a deep level.

Here are our two smallest wonders, and they are prepping a fruit tray.  Just putting fruit (grapes & blueberries) on a skewer makes eating them that much more fun.  Heck, I can go without the little plastic sticks, but for kids, this is a big deal!  And if it helps them eat more blueberries and less chips, it’s a win!

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Overall, the most important thing you can do with your kiddos is set a great example by eating whole real food yourself, and then, have fun with it.  Don’t stress that your children aren’t eating every single piece of clean chicken or brown rice or this or that.  Just give them as many options as it makes sense for you, and then let them feed themselves.   It’s actually so much fun watching what my son will eat versus my daughter – yet they are both thriving and growing and getting their nutrients in.

Here’s our favorite green trays and some different dinners from the past few weeks.


What has definitely helped feed them has been keeping a fridge full of fruit they like.  Right now, they like pineapple, and apples, and strawberries, and mandarins, and grapes, and blueberries, and melon and even kiwi.  We don’t have ALL of these foods stocked at all times, and sometimes we just have apples, cuz you can get like 25 for $4 at Aldi, but we all survive, and other times we do!  I wish they loved bananas more, but I think as they grow, they will.

Do I spend a TON of money on grub each week or month?  Sometimes it feels like this.  And other times I know I do not.  I shop at Aldi which helps a lot, and we don’t mind leftovers.  There is no food thrown out, and as much as I like when they try new things, I know what my children like.

Do my kids eat processed food?  Absolutely.  When outside the home, I am not the mom pulling out hot-dogs or cookies out of my kiddos hands.  But do I pick and choose carefully the events we attend? Yes.  If it makes sense to control something and avoid a breakfast of cake a pizza – go for it.  Are we perfect inside our home?  No.  We have a pantry of graham crackers and teddy bears snacks and Z-bars.  We have pizza Tostitos in the freezer, we have chicken patties, but we have less of this each month.  Less fast food, and now more fast fruit.

Here is my free range chicken helping herself.

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As mamas and papas we have a LOT on plates.  Decide to have fun with your children and what you feed them.  Feed yourself well, and improve on this monthly.  And as you improve and enjoy your diet, you’ll see the kiddos taking after you.  It’s a long journey raising health conscious and children excited about nutrition and food, but it’s possible, and we have a good amount of time to get it right!

Cheeers, and start right now.  I bet if you are reading this, you are already kicking arse, and getting your kiddos grub on track and thriving. So cheers to this, and good job!

 

Getting started with weight training.

I ran this morning, and then I ran to the fitness center in our club house.  It’s about the size of a small office, so there’s nothing fancy or exciting about it.  Most of the time, it’s empty, and either I or my husband and I get the whole Universal System to ourselves, and other times (like this morning) three people walked in right after me.

At first, my first thought was, oh no, it’s going to be so tight, and then I changed my thinking and thought:  Wow, three other people right here with me are getting their health on!  How freaken awesome is that.  I love to learn a little something new about health and fitness and our bodies every single day.  It helps me stay motivated in getting up and out each morning.  I have lost motivation in the past, and it’s so hard to get it back and get excited about a previous goal.  But once you are going, you have to keep going, and to keep going, we need to continue to learn and live and live and learn all we want.

I always knew weight training, and resistance training is great for your body.  For the longest time on my vision board I always had:  Cardio, Yoga and Weight Training as lifetime and everyday fitness goals.  Lately, I’ve been watching more YouTube and reading more about the benefits of weight training.  It’s pretty amazing what happens when we continue to use our muscles, keep our lean muscle mass as we age, and even grow it stronger.  The last several weeks I decided that ever other morning I was going to run my 20 minutes, end at the gym and then go there to do three weight training exercises.

Today was my third day of this routine.  One day I lower body, so I did squats with a medicine/weighted ball.  Then I did quad extensions on the big ham/quad machine.  Then I put my foot through one of those loops the Universal machine offered (you can do about 1K different exercises on it, no joke), and raised my leg to the side to strengthen my hip muscles.  It was a legit sore booty day the next day, but felt good in a painful way.

Today was upper body, so I did the row on the Universal machine, then a pull-down exercise on the Universal, and then a shoulder press on another machine they have there.  I did 3 sets of each exercise with 10-15 reps each.  I’m still warming up, so I wasn’t lifting to failure. But even 20 pounds on the shoulder press machine was extremely difficult.

This is the main machine at our fitness center.  It’s about 3/4K retail, and after you really learn how to use it and LOVE IT, it might be worth the price.  For now, it’s .5 miles away from our home, and totally worth the run there.

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Certainly this year, getting moving, getting fit, getting focused on exercise, and running, and weight training, and everything else that is still coming up, isn’t as much as how my body looks or will look.  It’s 10000% on how it feels, and how healthy it is, and how balanced and at peace and strong and happy it can stay.  If we start to look at it from that perspective, it’s all about working with our bodies, and giving them everything they need to function properly for the long term.

There’s a TON of things we can all do in the short term to get into a pair of pants, or look good, or even temporarily feel good.  But what about the LONG TERM?  What if you weight train 100 days each year going forward, and add 25 HEALTHY years to your life, where you are able to move and be independent, and strong, and hormonally in balance. Instead of declining health and limited movement at 75, you continue to walk and even run, and weight train, and travel and love and eat naturally, and do everything and anything you have done previously, but even with more sass and finesse.

I have a long way before I can call weight training and resistance training and maybe even heavy lifting a way of life for me, or a part of my routine.  I am JUST getting started and uncovering this world.  But, it feels good to break down a bit of muscle, to rebuild with strength.  The best part about weight training is that you are unable to see the results immediately.  Weight training (at least for me) is believing in the process and getting it done, and improving on it when your body is ready.

The older we are, the more we know our bodies.  We know what we NEED to get better.  We know what we need to feel healthier.  We know our body types, we know what foods effect us, what we need to avoid, what we need to do more of, we know ourselves more today than ever in the past.  I’m rowing the same boat as we all our.  Once we have this knowledge, it’s a whole other animal to put it into practice and way of living.  And THAT’S the hard part.  At least for me it is.  And that’s why I write and share and read and learn, and surround myself with people who are also trying their best to be who they are, and deserve to be.

My mom started working out and weight training when I was in high school.  So she was just 36 years old, just a year older than I am today.  Today, she still goes to the gym, she does her cardio and she weight trains.  She is a nurse and is on her feet all day when she’s working in the hospital and is staying strong.  Does weight training have a lot to do with the fact that she’s healthy and able to move and travel and continue a physically demanding job?  Fo’ sure.  Really proud of the routine my mama got into decades ago, and excited she’s keeping it going.

For Christmas, my husband and I purchased a set of dumbbells for ourselves.  He ended up getting 55 pound weights and I got 25 pound weights.  They are our bedroom’s decor, because I wasn’t born with that beautiful style gene.  Whenever I get a moment I lift mine and get stronger.  One morning during a weekend, I did a little routine in our living room, and my baby girl did it with me.  She used cans full of mandarins to get her sweat on, and afterwords, I told her to return the cans to the pantry.  Instead, she wanted to put her “weights” right next to mine.

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Cheers to getting fit.  Staying fit.  Getting strong.  Staying strong.

#stayubermotivated in all you do

4 Week of Mornin’ Runnin’

Today marked 4 weeks of morning running.  Each morning I have been getting up, and before anything else gets done, I go out for a 20 minute run.  It’s been pretty fun to get into this routine, and at first it seemed like a BIG DEAL.  I had to drag myself out of the bed, into the closet, out the door, and shuffle my way through the run.  But now, it’s becoming a routine, a habit, and the only way i start my day, that it does feel like NO BIG DEAL.

Some days are certainly much more easier to just spring and jump up and out, and get it done.  Other days involve a lot of self talk, like okay, get out there and get it done, and it’s almost over and keep pushing, and it goes by quickly.  And that’s just how it rolls, but that’s how it all rolls right.  Sometimes what we want to accomplish feels like a BREEZE and other times it feels like a freaken STORM.

Anytime we put ourselves through interesting experiences, such as this challenge, or any type of goal or journey you are on – we learn a ton.  Getting out the door each morning is super simple.  It honestly is probably one of the most low key things you an do, and I certainly, being a low key human being (or at least striving to be this), has further opened up my ability to just keep going, and keep pushing forward.

I like this because regardless of how you may feel, regardless of what happened the day before, or what you have going on that day, or whatever is on your mind, or whatever obstacles you may feel are in your way, or whatever the weather – you just must keep going.  Getting out the door, and getting sweaty, coming home with a lil runner’s high, has certainly helped me just keep on moving – regardless of anything else.  It has helped me stay or get positive, or happy or peaceful and open minded.  It has been fun to know I can do this, and therefore eases the way for more challenging thoughts, actions, habits.

Visually, imagine a really big zig-zagged line as your day or your life.  And getting out the door each morning has given me the ability to jump higher or longer.  I strongly believe in the power of positive thinking, and visualization, and the last four weeks have made it easier to use both of these strategies and resources to do things a tad bit better, and be stronger and more determined in the day to day life.

Once you get out on a run, there’s nothing really that is that big of a deal, or a show stopper.  Whatever is happening in your life is more manageable, more likely to be okay, and gives you an ability to handle the stress or the actual events or occurrences with a bit more sass, strength – whatever it is you may need.

A lot of us have to work hard to overcome the all or nothing mentality and wanting to accomplish our goals has all of us stopping and starting and stopping and starting because of the all or nothing thinking.  This little morning routine I have gotten myself entangled in helps me eliminate that all or nothing worthless mentally.  Once I’m back in the house, everything that has happened until that time gets a positive spin on it, almost as if glitter has been sprinkled on it, and i’s all brighter.  It’s easier for me to see the good in it all, and easier for me to see all past or present events as meaningful versus dreadful.

As life goes on, we are able to take on or bring with us a lot of baggage from the future.  We need some sort of filter or disposal of everything that has scarred us a bit.  None of us are immune to this, therefore we need to create a natural exit for all the junk.  A lil bit of running has helped with this.  It can turn a bit of mental chronic pain or discomfort or frustration into sunshine or brightness or at the very least provide a lens of looking at it all a bit clearer.

Palm trees at 6am, post workout.  Looking mighty fine and inspiring, even though not very bright or fine or clear or perfect.

How do you get started?

Pick something that you want to do for a very long time, but has been challenging for you to do in the past.  Because you have wanted to do this, you know you should do it. You have researched it enough, and been interested in it for a long time, this is YOUR thing.  Or maybe you don’t know anything about it – but want to get started regardless. Maybe it’s running, or maybe it’s just 20 minutes of cardio – on different pieces of equipment.  Maybe it’s 20 minutes of weight training, or 5 different weight exercises for 3 different sets at 12-15 reps.  Maybe it’s a video, maybe it’s 25 minutes of morning yoga or Pilates or Tracey Anderson or Pure Barre or spinning or swimming!  Whatever it may be – pick it.  Pick something that you can get started on today or tomorrow, and keep it going.  I’m suggesting and am a fan of physical activity because the benefits of a bit of cardio/increased heart rate are amazing.  Not even for the physical/heart/muscle reason, but for the mental and mind and soul improvements and massage.

A lot of us are fearful of failing.  So we never get started in the first place.  Failing never feels as bad, as we think it does.  Are we all perfect all the time?  No.  We’re human.  And we do poorly in some/many things in life, and kick arse in others, but we can ONLY succeed when we keep trying.  Otherwise we can be pretty darn amazing at doing not much at all.  And who wants that on your resume?  I ran for 365 days in 2010-2011, and since THEN, I have tried many different times to go consistently in exercise.  But ONLY when 2018 hit, did it click.  Give yourself a lot of grace, and a lot of leeway, but pick something, and keep it going.

Cheers to YOU, and may daily movement get you moving and growing.

 

 

Doggy Food Grub, 3rd Batch

Friday evening I was in my glory.  The work week went by beautifully and it was time to have some domestic fun!

So homemade dog food making was on the agenda.  The best part about making yo’ doggy’s very own grub, is that it doesn’t really take a long time.  Almost as long as a fast chili.  Because doggies have acidic bellies, they do better if all the grub isn’t cooked all the way or overcooked by any degree.  Yet, I certainly make sure that his food is cooked, and not raw at all.  We’re raw and there yet.  I have to do a LOT more research before we go there.

So at Aldi I purchased (or already had in the house) the following grub to make our Artex:

sweet potatoes
carrots
ground beef
eggs
peanut butter
flax
white rice

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I was boiling up the sweet potatoes, cutting up the carrots, and browning up the beef, when my son walked in and said, “Oh my mom, it smells so good in here!”  Even the dog wouldn’t let me take a few steps without him, just in case I was going to let him sample some of this doggy goodness.  I ended up leaving the carrots raw, and mashed everything into one large pot.  After all was put together, I forgot about something green to add, but next time I’m def putting in a bag of kale in there as well.

This is our third time making doggy food.  I ended up getting two big Tupperware containers of grub for my pup, and each morning he gets 1 cup of homemade dog food with 1 cup of dry store purchased food.  Same for each evening.  Some owners feed their dog once a day, but the same amount, which makes a lot of sense from a health perspective.  I suggested this news to my main man, and he didn’t love it, so we shall see.  The idea of EVERYTHING being digested and used up BEFORE he feeds again is brilliant!  I’ll keep learning more and figuring it all out.

Here’s Artex getting his ears messed with by the cat.

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He’s been thriving and enjoying each meal, just like he was prior to getting on the homemade grub.  It does make me feel sooo good though to be able to feed him something I made myself, versus 100% processed grub.  Eventually, I would like to buy him ORGANIC and grass fed or wild raised everything, and do a combo of beef, and liver and eggs, and salmon so that everything be completely clean and perfect.  But we’re not there yet, but a dogga mama gotta have goals!

Each day we’re still so amazed at what a really great dog he is.  To think that we could have left him in that crate at the shelter all alone and missed out on his amazing personality and life.  Instead we took him home all smelly and skinny and nervous as heck.  I never really ever had a dog, so it’s been the most wonderful experience having this big boi give us so much love, and vice versa.  My kids are very interesting with the dog.  My son is not one to snuggle or cuddle or do anything with him at all, while my daughter acts like she is his one and true queen and ruler.  Every single time we take him to the doggy park, she’s there with him, holding him onto him, walking him, and making sure he stays in line.  She will be the first one to jump on him, and play with him, and throw him the ball, and even though he’s double her weight, she sees this as no challenge at all.  She has to be the one to open up the crate for him, or let him out to pee or else we get in trouble taking over her doggy duties.

This is her this weekend, at the dog park, baking pies for all the pups.

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Cheers to all animal lovers, and everyone taking great care of those you love. May something as simple as making some home made dog grub bring you a ton of pleasure and joy!

 

 

 

Nature Time

Is spending more time outside in nature, away from the cars and calls and work and stress the answer to everything?  Pretty much or at least a nice big happy answer.  The best part is that we can all incorporate a bit more time outside.  I’m not a lovah of nature by nature but as I age, and thankfully develop more wisdom, I see the importance and the positive effects of spending time outside – HOWEVER and WHENEVER you spend it – makes it all better.

There’s a reason little kids just want to be outside.  It just feels so good.  December of 2016, my daughter wanted to come home each from school and run out right to the park behind our house.  She wanted nothing to do with the coming-in-the-house part, and getting re-dressed part, or having some dinner part – it was from CAR to park.  I would look at my husband with those pleading eyes, like “PLEASE HONEY GO OUTSIDE WITH HER, PLEASE.”  And thankfully he is an amazing father and husband and would find his gloves and hat and push her endlessly on the swing.  She would finally come home with a freezing nose and usually frozen hands and a snotty runny nose, but was happy as a clam.  She loved it.

And that’s how we’re all build.  We must breath in that fresh air, and expose ourselves to just the simple beauty of nature.  Whether it’s a walk around our neighborhood, or time in a big park, or going for a hike, or a run, on the beach, or a bike ride alone, we must get out.

If you are not used to and opposed to spending too much time outside, start off with a walk.  Maybe a walk with a purpose.   Just around your hood.   When we lived in NJ, I absolutely loved walking to the bagel shop on a Saturday or Sunday and getting bagels for the kiddos and a hot cup of coffee for us.  It was so fun to USE our legs, and just be outside.   Even here, I started taking my daughter to school via bike or walking her.  On the weekends, we could walk the 2 miles each way to Publix to pick up any goodies we needed.

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Whenever I run down a road, I am always amazed, that regardless of how many times I ran down the same street, I always see something I did not see before.  The running or walking routes that became my favorite are always the ones I go on the most.

If you know that you do need to spend more time outside, get it done.  If this means making a DRASTIC life change like finding an older bike to use, or getting rid of ONE car, or moving closer to where you want to spend more time outside – get it done.  Life is so incredibly short.  My husband spent several years in Alaska with the Army.  I have a friend on FB who lives there now, and spends a lot of time outside.  Personally, it’s not my cup of tea.  I need WARM weather most of the year to function well.  Whatever you need to do nature – get it done.

If moving is NOT an option for you – which I totally understand (because it’s hella drastic), make it happen anyway.  With warm jackets, and fleeces, and hats and gloves and thermos, go outside regardless.  Commit to taking a walk each day, regardless of the weather.  Or commit to biking for groceries as often as you need to this year.  Challenge yourself to something that will bring more breath and life to your lungs.

Do you have an awesome hiking trail near you, or the beach or a lake or some sort of getaway?  Nature is open all year!  When it’s rainy or windy or chilly or snowy or too hot or too humid or too sunny, or too cold or too freezing, I get the sane choice of staying indoors.  But be different.  Do different. Your body still needs fresh air, and to be out and about.  Do you have a HUGE backyard you never spend time in?  Do you have a favorite park or area that you can be more outdoors in?  Do you have a dog that you can take to a dog park?  This alone is everything.  Watching your POOOOCHY FURRY BEST FRIEND play with new friends brings so much joy to most of us.  Start there. Go outside for someone else.

How can you immediately incorporate more NATURE and OUTSIDE time?  Can you do something each day at lunch?  Can you commit to spending at least two hours outside each Saturday or Sunday?  Can you just sit quietly outside, staring up at the sky every day pre or post work?  Can you discover new trails?  New parks?  New beaches?  New lakes?

How many adventures can you have?  That’s what’s beautiful about nature.  It doesn’t mean you have to pack up several suitcases and book flights, and travel to some gorgeous and amazing destination to experience nirvana.  You can put on your sneakers or big warm boots or easy flips (depending on your location), and just be outside.  It’s soooo much fun, because it’s so simple, yet so freeing.

We recently took my lil guy to the beach.  It wasn’t bikini swimming season, but there were so many people wondering the beach, and running with their dogs, and playing with their kids.  The wind was blowing in our face, and I was wrapped up like a freezing mamacita, but it was fun!  And it was FRESH.  And it was FREE.  And it was just cool to be out and about.

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We just got back from bike ride with our dog.  He needs to get out and exercise and walking on a leash at times isn’t enough for this part Shepard mix.  He needs to run, with his tongue hanging out his face.  We rode about 5 miles in total, and went through a new neighborhood, and enjoyed the beauty that surrounds us.  Was it super hot and warm and sunny?  Nah.  The wind blew at times, and at times I was warm, but it’s all good, because I needed to be out.  We’re in front of our computers, and phones, and in our kitchens, and stores, and work, and in our beds, and talking, and texting and reading and writing, and paying bills – and we need a break in all of this.

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Go out.  Be naughty in nature.  Have fun.  Let that sun get into your skin, let the wind blow out your hair.  Let that sea air free you. And let nature’s beauty be you.

Cheers Nature Lovers!

How to stop eating out.

I went through a phase earlier in my life of going out a lot, and eating out even more.  It was delicious. Probably some of my fondest and funnest memories.  Food is good, and comfort food that is full of fat and salt and sugar and everything bad (when combined together) is the type of food that we eat when we go out and about.

And it’s also extremely expensive.  If it’s extra inexpensive, like “Holy moly that Chinese place sells a bucket of wings for $3” then it’s probably extremely bad for your heart and stomach and body and mind.

So how do you stop eating out?  How can you completely eliminate this expense? How can you reduce this expense?  How can you save more, by eating out less?  Or by not eating out at all.?

Just stop.  Just give yourself 30 days to eliminate going out all together.  If you buy prepared food daily, or go out every few days, or weekly, just set a goal of 30 days of not going out.  You must know your goal, before you can go after it, so set it.  Set it at 30 days, or 60 days or maybe even 100.  Maybe give yourself until Valentine’s Day or your birthday before buying out food, or eating out again.

Plan and prepare.  There’s just no way you can avoid eating out and buying fast or prepared food, if you don’t plan correctly.  If you are out at an event, or you are outside your home all day, bring a lunch.  Most of us have a big lunch box or cooler that we store in a far away place like the garage.  Get it out, clean it, dust it off, and pack it with your goodies.  This might be breakfast and lunch, or all three meals.  Get it done.

Get your family on board.  If your kids are used to going through Dunkin’ Donuts or the drive through each day or every Saturday, let them in on your goal or the family goal.  Let them pick out their breakfast and snacks and lunch before you head out for the day or events and get them excited for this adventure.  If your husband or wife, or significant other refuses to jump on board with you and your eating out ban, go about it alone.  It’s no big deal if everyone doesn’t understand this goal, or doesn’t want to partake.  Don’t stress over this, but go hard alone.  They can eat out, they can drive through, they can go to a restaurant, but you sit back and eat your home made lunch.

I have a friend of a friend who packed her lunch for work, all her life.  She would give her husband, who liked to buy lunch each day, a budget for each week, that he spent on his food out.  They were able to retire early, and continue to travel the world.  Was saving $20 a day or more throughout a 20-30 year career be the sole reason for such a financial stable present?  Absolutely.  Money saved ads up quickly, and this habit makes other saving habits possible.

What if you get stuck?  And you didn’t plan for a fork in the road?  Well, you can do a couple things.  1 – You can certainly skip a meal.  None of us have died by not eating on time.  It’s actually quite healthy for you.  2 – But you can also find a grocery store, and buy what you need.  If you want to push the limits a bit, go and buy a prepared salad, or a sandwich, but at least you won’t be paying the extra extra cost of a restaurant meal.  Or maybe go into the produce section and grab a couple of whole fruit.  Whatever you want, get yourself, but don’t overbuy, and just buy for that meal.

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Stock your fridge.  Even though I’m a HUGE fan of eating through your kitchen, and cabinets and pantry, I also believe in making sure you have EVERYTHING you need and available, if you are starting off with this goal.  A lot of times, we want variety.  And if you are one of these people, you need to go to the grocery store and market to make sure you have all the variety you need, to stay strong in this goal.  Your kids may at times want burger and fries, or other fast food goodies.  If you don’t have these items available, then you are more likely to go through a drive through.  Will we be spending more at the grocery store?  Yes.  If you were eating out several times a week, and you are now eating at home, you may need to increase your grocery store budget.  But, you will certainly be saving money immediately by not spending your cash on the meal, on the restaurant, on the prep, and on the tip and tax.  Instead, by buying at your grocery store (even if it’s more initially) you will be saving a ton in the long run.

Have convenience foods ready.  I love love love my shakes.  They are perfect, and quick and fast and ready.  My kiddos have them for breakfast.  They are meal replacement shakes and I buy them each month.  This makes it super easy to have a healthy breakfast ready for them, every single day, because they take no time.  Sometimes we get caught coming home later from practice, and I use them in the same way.  Instead of stopping by a Wendy’s for a lil piece of heaven aka a Jr Bacon Burger, I know that I can quickly blend a healthy meal for them before bed.  You may want to prep a few meals on a Sunday (or any day of the week) so that you can have quick meals ready.  Maybe you want to wrap up a few sandwiches or any type of grub, and freeze them.  Food prep now is everything, and the amount of resources out on the Internet to make it fast easy fun and healthy is endless.  Get it done, and prep and confirm convenient yet healthy fast meals for you and family.

Indulge.  Eating out often brings feelings of luxury, and indulgence and glamour.  So set up the same environment for yourself at home.  We usually eat VERY QUICKLY prepared meals.  You won’t ever see the dinners or lunches or breakfast I make take more than a few minutes.  But sometimes, especially when we want to be fancy (usually on Friday nights), I go ALL OUT!  I get fresh potatoes, and maybe some steaks, and I prep some amazing potato fries, or a something else that takes longer (like home made pizza or Indian food), and we really enjoy this time.  We might even light some candles, and SIT DOWN (crazy right, eating sitting down), and really make it a BIG night.

What’s your environment like? When we lived in NJ, we lived very close to the grocery store, and to at least 5 different pizza restaurants, and a lot of fast food.  It would literally take a total of 15 minutes round trip (if not 10) to order food, go get it, and be back home. That’s freaken FAST.  But here in Florida we live 6 miles from the closest grocery store.  That seams fast, but it’s not.  It’s like 10 minutes each way.  And I can’t even tell you the closest restaurant, because I have not been to a close restaurant.  I have gone out on a girls night one night, which was too much fun, but also very far away.  I recognize, and you should too, that your environment certainly contributes to your eating out, or how often you do it.   It’s okay to accept this, and put a lil blame and shade that way, but you can change it and control it anyway.  1000% self responsibility is everything.

Perfection isn’t the goal. It’s progress we are after.  We were at a wrestling tournament a few weekends ago, and it was a gazillion hours long.  I packed a whole book bag of snacks for my kids, and a big lunch bag of food and wraps and shakes and bars.  I didn’t want to spend money at that attractive and amazing -smelling-of-nacho-cheese-concession stand.  But my three year old daughter doesn’t understand this effort just yet, so regardless of the amount of teddy grahams I had for her, or beautiful cut up strawberries, she still wanted Skittles, and then Cheese Doodles (the orange mouths, the orange fingers are the worst, but they seem to love them the best).  So she got them.  Then I purchased my son an Snickers ice-cream, and got myself a diet soda (daaaaa worst).  Even after planning, even after trying my best, it still turned into buying “food” day.  And this is okay because it’s not our usual jam.  But if I went into that gym without my home food, it would have been worst.

How much money will you save by eating at home?  The numbers will very but the number will always be positive!

Cheers Savers & Home Eaters!

Can we be who we are, but spend a lot less?

A lot of times, when we want to change our habits, because we know deep down in our hearts, this is what is best for us, we start to feel challenged.  We begin doing things we have not done, we want to live ways we have not lived, and this is because we want what we have not had whether the goal is health or stealth or wealth.  And this can absolutely challenge our personas or who we think we are.

I find that living on less, by spending less, shopping less, saving more, eating in more, getting more creative, and taking care of ourselves more from a holistic perspective, can be extremely frustrating to our old psyches.

Can we be who we are , but spend a lot less?

How can you feel beautiful, and self-care, and feel glamours, and feel fancy, and have fun, and be entertained, and “live life to the fullest” and everything that is glamorized that DOES make us feel good instantly, but know you have to take a step back and put a stop to this?

How can you DENY yourself all you want in material possessions and activities, yet still feel amazing?  How can you treat yourself well, by not buying what you feel you may need, or what makes you feel good?

It’s certainly awesome to go to the store, and buy new threads.  It’s super to go to the nail salon, and then to get your hair did, and to get new shoes, and new bags, and Whole Foods groceries, and top of the line everything and anything, and come home and get dressed for an event, or maybe no event at all, and feel GREAT.  You feel like a million, know you spent close to this.

So the question is:  How can you feel GOOD, but perhaps be selective or more selective of where your dollars go?  More importantly, can you feel good CONSISTENTLY, without going bonkers each week or month financially?  Can you feel as good as the celebrities look on Instagram, but go without spending their budget, and your budget and your kids college, to feel the same?

First, be aware that the above may be the truth for you.  That this may be the truth.  That spending money on yourself, makes you feel really really good.  But perhaps it doesn’t align with where you want to be financially next week, or next month, or next year or in five years.  Perhaps it is a very quick feel good feeling, and then it quickly goes away. Being honest with ourselves about how our spending makes us feel, is the first step in taking back a bit of our control.  The money does not flow out the door, we open the door, put the industrial fan on, and blow that ish.

What is it REALLY you are after?  Are you after looking good or feeling good?  What is most important to you, while out and about and spending the money?  Do you want beautiful nails, or healthy nails?  What feelings are you craving most?  Do you want to be loved, or do you want to be admired?  Once we narrow in on EXACTLY what we want, you can cut your budget in half.  The most important feeling I’m after is health.  I just love feeling fit and healthy, because it makes me feel sooooo good.  But when I don’t feel fit, or healthy, or happy, I’m the first one who wants to buy something NEW to make me feel good.  I have stopped this habit (regardless of how I feel), but this was certainly true in the past.  When something is off, spending money feels better.  But it’s a very fleeting and short lived feeling.

Lay down, sit down, and narrow in on exactly what you want.  When we all get honest, the answer is NEVER necessarily more possessions or more material things.  It’s usually and always positive feelings and emotions, it’s always freedom and peace and happiness and health.  And those things – you can certainly purchase, but the key is to figure out how to have them permanently, and for free.

Are there spending habits you just need to cut, or cut out completely from your life?   I can only imagine that some people have an established habit of going to the mall, or spending money without even THINKING about it.  Perhaps Friday nights are always going out nights, or happy hours, or if there is a birthday party or a wedding, it’s always new outfit buys.  Taking a step back, and just closing the door on these automatic habits, will turn that money fan off.  What can you do instead?  How creative can you get?  What else could you do, during this time, to decrease that spending time?  How can you better SERVE yourself and your family and the hard earned income you welcome as often as you are lucky to welcome it, to be more of who YOU are and not the habits that have been established?

The holidays just passed, and I along with so many people had to think hard and often about buying too much for the kiddos.  They are all such wonderful little humans, who don’t experience getting new stuff all the time.  But they have everything they need and everything they could possibly want.  Yet still, it was HARD for me, not to want them to open up A LOT of gifts.  But I thought to myself, and though how could I still make Christmas wonderful, and happy and enjoyable and special and bring in that WOW factor, without killing my spirit, without crushing our budget, or putting us in debt.  It’s not about that one day – but the many days after.  How can I still be the LOVING MOM by spending less?  And so, we established a tradition a long time ago, that each of us opens a present one at a time.  So instead of all of us going nuts for 5 minutes straight and ripping wrapping paper, we take turns, and really take the time to do this.  It’s even more fun the more people you have in your home, because it takes so much longer, and gives us all time together and requires fewer gifts.

Make a list of things, you can do each and every single day, that makes you feel really good about you. Most people spend all their extra cash because it either makes them feel good, or it’s just a habit they have developed and played for weeks or years.  If money you are spending is NOT serving who you are – deep down inside, do not spend it.  Save it.

Learn. Maybe there is a topic you want to learn more about.  Do more research on this topic.  Learn more.  Get excited about becoming a mini expert on something that you ALREADY love or have interest in.  If you can’t think of a single thing you want to learn more about – start off with financial nuggets.  There are so many awesome blogs, and articles and videos on this topic.  If you are reading this, you have an interest in this, and health and stealth – so start with google search on any of these.

Move your body.  Even after working out for most of my life, I am STILL amazed how good it makes us all feel.  I just can’t believe it.  I am literally in AWE about this phenomenon every single day.  Move your body any way you want.  Maybe it’s just walking or lifting weights but engaging in exercise whether it’s specific and direct (like a GYM session or an aerobics class), or just walking or riding your bike to the grocery store, get it done.

Get creative.  I know not all of us feel like we’re budding artists.  But there is something in every single human being that makes them feel alive.  What is it for you?  Do more of this?  For me, I love writing.  I feel it nourishes my soul.  I love reading with my son.  I love cleaning up my home (I know, talk about how wildly the creative juice must flow out of me!).  I love love love feeding my children and main man.  I just love it.  These are TINY little things I focus on daily, so I don’t get distracted by shiny objects, or shiny services disguised as “convenience”.

Think quietly.  I am not very good at meditation.  I have tried to sit there and breath and quiet my mind, but I usually start making a mental list of things I have to do and find the actual practice of just sitting there not my cup of tea (this could and should certainly change in the future).  But I do enjoy thinking.  Each night before bed, if I don’t pass out like a tired working mama zombie, I take just a few seconds to legit be grateful for the day, and grateful for my husband.  When I wake up in the AM, I often think the same.  I start my day by just laying there and just saying thank you.  I have to get up to run, but before I do, I just think thank you.  You can totally do this anytime and all the time.  If a spending challenge is presented, you can always just turn it around and think instead.  I know it’s wacky but the ONLY way we will change our habits is when we change our thinking.  Sitting there or standing there or laying there, with focused and positive thoughts in our mind, is the most important start.

Most days, I’m just grateful for the weather.

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We have it all.  Whatever your situation.  Whatever your status or position or goal, or whatever hole you think you are in.  You and I already have it all.  It’s not about having the latest Louie bag, or the latest AirMax, or being already debt free, but it’s about knowing and believing you absolutely already have it ALL to be who you are, and need nothing else.  You don’t need anything, and I mean anything to be more of who you truly desire to be.  You don’t need a gold this, or a diamond that or a fast thing, or a more expensive ring or anything.  YOU have it ALLLLLL.  The only thing you must do right now is to start to BELIEVE it.  Be 1000% responsible for how you feel about yourself.

Start to immediately recognize your talents, and your work ethic, and the love in your heart, the funny out of your mouth and the beauty of your life.  Appreciate what you do each day, and be excited for what you will start doing each day, that will give you a stronger and more peaceful life.

You can ONLY be more you, by recognizing and loving the real you.  And this my lovely human beings, is completely free.

Cheers Savers.

Taking a SPENDING INVENTORY and eliminating the junk.

I’ve been actively trying to live the frugal life for the past six plus years, yet, this is the first month I have actually started to take and create a SPENDING INVENTORY of every single dollar we spend.

Every. Single. Purchase.

Usually, many of us go from getting paid several times during the month, to not having any money left by the end of each pay or month, and starting over again the same way the very next month.  Money in, and money disappears, and then money in, and money disappears. Sometimes we get more money from our taxes or raises or promotions or bonuses, and same thing happens.  If our income goes up, our spending goes higher.  Sometimes daycare fees end or car payments end, and it’s almost as if these extra paydays did not come in at all, and it’s the same again, month after month.

At one point, you have to say to yourself:  enough is enough, I need to keep more of what I earn.

For January, I started an Excel tab on my financial file, and every single time we spend money, pay a bill, or buy something – I write it down.  I want to know EXACTLY the amount of cash that is leaving this house, and what else can we do to keep more of it.

Without sharing specific numbers, because those are boring and vary from person to person and family to family, here is where the money went this month:

Monthly/Standard:
Mortgage & Taxes
Preschool – Alegra
Internet
JEA – Electric, Water, Garbage
Netflix
Car
AT&T- Cell Phones
Barber Shop
Gas

Food:
Isagenix
Publix
Aldi

Non-Regular/Misc:
Kalyaan Market
Circle K – Snacks/Fast Food
Gelato
CVS
Walgreens
iTunes
Starbucks Gift Card – for birthday gift
Target Gift Card – for birthday gift
Flag Football – Spring
Post Office

We have 9 days left, and we have my husband’s birthday coming up, so I’m expecting one more run to Publix and one more to Aldi, but that should be it for the month.

I encourage everyone starting right now, or starting in February to write down every dollar that you spend, in bills, in cash, in debit card, in credit card, in change, in gift cards. If something is charged monthly to my credit card (like Netflix), I put it into this spending inventory.   If I make a purchase with a prepaid card or a gift card, I still put it into the spending inventory for the month.  It’s good to see EXACTLY where it is going, and a nice way to figure out WHERE it can go instead.  I know it’s much easier on the temporary to NOT know, and to just go from month to month and hope there is more left over sooner than later, but get going with this right now.

There are months where the spending is more (or ideally less).  We pay our car insurance twice a year, and we have to pay an association fee in December, and other bills arise such as co-pays and medicine, and vet bills and life insurance that may come in randomly or may come in annually.  But if you see certain items pop up on your inventory that you don’t believe in, you don’t agree with, you can do and go without – get them the HECK off of there, and keep that cash instead.  (The goal is to SAVE enough to invest the first time, and then to keep investing.)

As soon as I make a purchase, or a bill is paid or the credit card is charged, I add it to my Excel file, but I also keep my receipt in a plastic folder on my desk.  So when a bill comes in, I quickly pay it and then save it.  It will be nice to see and compare this going forward and see the positive changes that can be made when we are all more aware of the output.

Taking this inventory isn’t suppose to make you feel good.  Or perhaps on Day 1 in February it may, if you managed to not buy a single item, but otherwise, it’s an exercise that will make you stronger GOING FORWARD, and not immediately.  A lot of times, you may have a bit of regret, but this regret, will help you make better decisions in the immediate future.

Do I want to see a $25 ice cream purchase on my spending inventory in February?  No.  not for my budget, and especially not for my health.  You can even break this down as far as you want.  I break out my Publix and Aldi purchases as well.  How much did we spend in vegetables versus beer and wine?  Oh myyyyyyyyy.

The most important part of this is have fun with it.  I WISH I became more aware of my spending when I was 18 and not 28.  It would have been LEGIT so much cooler to be in a better position when you are younger, than when we are older, but such as life, and good habits need to start as soon as you recognize the need for them, which most of the time is yesterday.

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Review your inventory on a weekly basis (or as often as possible), and this way you can get EXCITED from already positive progress.  You can feel good INSTANTLY where you had a week where you did not eat out, or buy fast food or convenience food.  You can get INSTANTLY excited when you attended a nice party, and instead of buying a new outfit, you found a good one in your closet all ready to go.  It’s nice to have a weekend where you don’t have to insert a new row, because you made it fancy and ate what you already had, and played with the family and friends already around you.

You also may find yourself typing out your inventory, or writing it out in a notebook, and not being able to find a SINGLE item or bill or dollar spent you can’t go without.  And you may cross your arms, and pout and say, heck no, how can I save more, when I ONLY buy what I or we need?

Little by little, as you practice this exercise you will find areas in your spending and purchasing where you can improve.  I was there.  I certainly thought everything I needed and wanted was a die hard necessity, until I  slowly realized I didn’t. That we can do better, with less.  This is not meant to make you feel bad or uncomfortable permanently. It’s only suppose to wake us up a little bit more so we can save and invest a lot more.  Keep going, and keep writing, and keep saving more and more and more, by making your spending inventory shorter and shorter, and full of necessities only.

You WILL get creative, and that is the best part.  I don’t sing, or dance, or draw or do anything fancy.  But the amount of passion and pleasure and fun I have with this – is I can only imagine how Brit Spears feels on her stage on Vegas.  Or maybe perhaps even more.

Hit me Savers one more time!

Cleaning out yo’ closet, and not buying new clothes this year.

At the end of last year, I had a few days off from work, and felt my energy at night was boooooming!  Once the kiddies go to sleep, my husband and I are usually in bed a minute and half after them.  But not this night.  I had this overwhelming and overpowering feeling to start going through my closet and donate everything I didn’t love, I no longer wore, I never wanted to wear again, and to give our closet some more breathing room.

I work from home.  So before we go on I totally recognize and acknowledge that it’s much easier to have LESS clothes when you are in shorts or leggings 24/7.  And now that we live in Florida it’s just one season.  I’m kidding.  It’s just summer and winter.  So have to have things for both types of weather.

This particular night I just felt a need for a clearing, and for more energy, more space, more closet room, in an already non-stuffed closet.  But you know what I was craving most?  I was craving the desire to donate what I didn’t love, didn’t wear, didn’t need.  What’s the point of holding on to ANYTHING that you don’t need/want/desire.  I was ready to part with it, and part with it asap.  And to back it up a bit, we went to a thrift store before the holidays.  There so many around here, and it’s fun to just go walk around and check out what people give up.  Or what they purchase in the first place and no longer need.  And so we walked into a local one recently, and we found this youth Jacksonville Jaguars jersey.  My son loves football, and enjoys wearing jerseys so we though it would be perfect to pick this up for him.  We bleed Eagles green, but we still were super excited that we have a local football team so close to us everyone goes gaga for!  Including us.  And so this older Jags jersey was perfect for our little boy.

It didn’t have a tag on it, so we walked up to the register, and asked the price.  It was $1.  Yup, a $1.  I was so happy, and so was my little man when he got it for Christmas.  It was super fun to wear this last week when the Jags were in the playoffs, and a friend even borrowed it for her dress down day at school. It has brought a lot of happiness and fun, a little $1 shirt.

I share this, because I knew that whatever I had in my closet, that I wasn’t wearing, and rocking and loving around the home or town, others could perhaps use instead. I love sharing.  The younger millennial generation is living and breathing and making an incredible amount of money with this concept – because it feels so good!  From sharing info and photos and articles and cars, and houses – sharing is caring, and I feel the same way about my home, and life, and food, and clothes.  And so these things had to go.

I packed away so much.  Basically anything I didn’t love immediately after looking at it.  I was holding onto some things because I though MAYBE they would look good soon or I would like them soon enough.  Those went bye.  I couldn’t stop.  I just kept taking things off the hangers, and dropping them into the donate pile.  Once I had a big bag of clothes, we dropped them off to this exact thrift store that sold us this little jersey.  I figured, if their prices are so nice and fair, it would only make sense to give them back a little bit of what I had.

I also set a goal of not buying a single item of clothing for myself this year.  Again, because I work from home, and still have most of my best dressy or business outfits, this was a realistic and not an extremely difficult goal to set.  Yet, once a bigger event starts to come up, I will really have my resilience tested, because I am one to usually one to run out the day before, and buy something brand new.  Yet, this year, the goal is to go back into my closet, and get something I 100% have versus spending money on buying more.

Items of clothes, regardless of price add up.  Even if you are spending just $50 a month on new threads, that’s about $600 per year on clothes, and what if you buy more?  These tiny purchases are hard to add up, and easy to ignore.  Especially if charged.  Oh, a bit here, and a bit there and without even knowing it, you may have been spending $5K or $10K on clothes per year, that it may take five times this amount to pay off.

I recently received a box of clothes from my mom she no longer wore.  I went through all of the items, and picked out a handful of my favorites.  My first instinct was to pick out more pieces and to keep more.  But then I realized that I didn’t need to keep clothes that didn’t fit me perfectly, or that I would not enjoy wearing, or that I didn’t need.  And so I sent the rest to a girlfriend who I enjoy sharing clothes with.

It’s amazing what happens, when you realize that you don’t need THAT much.  That we really need very little to be extremely happy and satisfied.  It’s a bit of a different way of THINKING about things and clothes and items, but when you look at what you have, and love it completely, then that’s powerful.  We don’t need to keep adding and adding and adding onto what we already have.  Instead, it’s just about being grateful grateful and grateful for what is already in our possession.

I have my jeans/shorts folded in another section, otherwise, this is it.  It’s not perfection, it’s progress.

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I’m not a very stylish or trendy person to begin with.  I can only believe that if you love style and fashion then this might be a tough assignment of not buy anything for an entire year or longer . But what if you set a limit?  What if you challenged yourself to get more creative with what you already had?  What if you found more and different uses for your possessions?  What if you picked your favorite things, and wore then just for a month, and then did not wear these items the next month?  What if you kept switching it up, so you always felt you had new and interesting things? Or what if you challenged yourself to shopping just from the thrift store?

Is this about being perfect, and ONLY having 10 pieces of items.  No, there is no need to be extreme.  But it’s a daily practice to have what you need, appreciate it more than having more of what we don’t need.  is my closet ONLY filled with just the few items that I love and wear.  No, there’s extra in there.  Extras that next month I may wear and not want to put down, or wear and donate.  It’s a practice, a mindset, a way to continue evaluate what we have, and what we purchase.

Cheers, and save big by buying less, by loving what you already own, and sharing with others.