The Most Daunting “F” Word: FINANCES

Exactly one week ago, I told you about 2014 being MY Year of the “F” Word. A day later, I dove into “F” Word #1, and the meaning of it’s placement in my life in 2014. Next, I explained why I included The BIGGEST “F” Word of them ALL: FAMILY (because they are kind of a big deal). What next?

Disclaimer: As mentioned in my first post on the subject, my “F” Words are not listed in terms of relevance to me, and neither will they be explained in any particular order.

#3: Finances. Not something I ever thought I would have a hard time with. Ever.

I have been listening to the Dave Ramsey show in the car with my mom for years. I saved up as much money as I could prior to college so that I would have some spending money. I lived at my parents’ house following college for nearly 3 years to save enough money to move out while also being ahead. I should have thought more about the “saving money” part while there, because I didn’t come out with as much in savings as I anticipated.

Especially with a wedding coming up.

So, as you may have read in a number of my posts, I recently moved out of my parents’ home. And I have this wedding on the horizon. Timmykins and I are paying for it (for the most part) on our own. My parents have generously offered to help out, but I want to take care of it as much as possible. With his bonus being a little less than anticipated, and my not putting myself on a spending fast (as of yet), we aren’t quite where we want to be for the wedding…2 1/2 months out.

AND at this point, I won’t have that cushy nest egg when we are finished paying for this big ole shebang that I have right now, as my savings account became my wedding account.

Should I have stayed living with my family until the wedding? Probably. But I really wanted to live on my own for the first time in my life (if even just for a few fleeting months), I am getting a pretty good deal where I am staying because it is a good friend renting it to me, and now, Timmykins and I have a guaranteed place to live for after the wedding (at least until my friend moves home and wants his digs back, which is up in the air for now 🙂 ). Should I have gone on a spending fast way before now? Yes. But: CHRISTMAS.

I had a bit of a meltdown at marriage prep weekend this past weekend – not the place to have a meltdown – and hyperventilated going over how little I will be able to contribute to the wedding in my coming paychecks. So, I made a plan to put a specific amount of money directly into the wedding savings account every time I get paid, and to only pull money from that account for the wedding. When Timmykins and I mapped it out, we are going to be able to save just about the amount we need come wedding time. PHEW!

But then, what about AFTER the wedding?

This is my 2014 financial plan: Build & Maintain. Only, after March 21st, I must focus on two of us.

After the wedding, I will continue on a little spending fast (no impulse buying, eating healthy and not buying a bunch of snacks or fast food, keeping the bills down as much as possible) in order to:

A. Build the emergency nest egg back up 
B. Continue to pay off my student loans. I am officially announcing that I will have these paid off by December 2014 (I THINK I can, I KNOW I can).
C. Save up enough money to take a family trip abroad this summer (if my parents see fit) as well as honeymoon in the fall. Comfortably.
D. Keep Timmykins on track to save more than he spends
E. If we see fit, combine our checking accounts into one. Ahhh, married life 🙂

So, now that I have laid that out in front of me for the first time (thank you, readers, for the motivation!), I can more carefully plan, and DO! This “F” Word could constantly have me going “OH F***!!”, but with a little budgeting based on what I KNOW lies ahead, as well as all of the unknowns, I can keep my head on straight.

And so can you!

What are YOUR 2014 Financial Plans?

❤ The RoaminTwin

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Day 15: Email Lists & THE Challenge Update!

Happy Thursday, Happy People!

I just want to start out by thanking you. YOU choose to click on a link to my blog. YOU choose to spend at LEAST 4 seconds of your time reading what I have to say. YOU may have already decided to join the motivational happiness bandwagon, and if not, I hope you find something to keep you coming back for more. So, first and foremost, THANK YOU.

Today I am answering the prompt for Day 15 of the Blog Challenge! I am still a couple of days behind, and have had to double up a few times because of days where I couldn’t get a post written! Sometimes life gets in the way, and I apologize! But, if I only have a minute to sit down and try to bust out a blog post, I would much rather wait. Quality over quantity, right?

If you want to check out my progress from day one, start HERE!

Enjoying the Blog Challenge material? Stop by my twin sister’s BLOG! We are answering the same questions separately to see how similar our answers are! Do YOURS match any of ours?

Day 15 Question: What would the purpose of your email/ newsletter be if you had one? How often would you like to send it and what type of content and value would you provide to readers?

A: An email list? Just another step in the right direction towards my dreams. I would send to your inbox all kinds of content, from pins to videos and podcasts, to interactive programs on happiness. I don’t want to give too much away because I want you to be DELIGHTEDLY SURPRISED! When it comes to happiness, I have seen so many suggestions for ways to obtain it, live it, be it, do it; but not much has clicked for me. And maybe what I have to say won’t click for you. But I want to be innovative with my material and in getting the information out there to help you on your happiness journey!

As my mind races with ideas, it stops momentarily on the fact that Timmykins and I are still participating in THE Challenge: who can save more money between August 5th and December 31st? As you may remember, last week I was about $125 behind him (womp wompppp), and here is where we stand THIS week:

Me: $380
T: $300

BOOM! We still have a long way to go, but I have surpassed him! I am telling you, it is largely in part because of this 100% personal interest idea that I have instilled in my spending/saving: for every dollar I spend (aside from big, timely bills), I must put the same amount of money in the bank. This has proven pretty easy this paycheck as I didn’t have any big bills due, so I purchased a few smaller items for the wedding: bridesmaid gifts, maid-of-honor gift, centerpiece pieces (that are also doubling as home decor. Why waste money on a one-day item?), and more!

Blog challenge, money challenge, fitness challenge: I am SO excited for all of the challenges I have placed in front of myself, because I am proving to myself and the world that I can do anything I set my mind to!

Now, what kind of support can I give you? What can you challenge yourself to do to bring happiness to your life?

❤ The RoaminTwin

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THE Challenge Update & Blog Challenge: Day 6

Good Morning, Happy People!

I hope everyone woke up on the right side of the bed today! I planned on it: waking up early to try some new yoga moves and maybe a little cardio sounded fun to me…

Until my alarm went off.

Didn’t quite get done what I wanted to this morning, but some days are better than others, right? And, I won’t let the fact that I got a late start ruin my entire day!

Welp, it is that time of the day for the blog challenge routine that I have been conquering (because it doesn’t take getting up early to do)! If you are unsure as to what the hee haw this blog post is all about, check out my Day 1 post HERE!

If you are enjoying the Blog Challenge material, stop by my twin sister’s BLOG! We are answering the same questions separately to see how similar our answers are! Do YOURS match any of ours?

Question: What are my three priorities for the next 30 days that will move me closer towards living life on my own terms? Top Tip: Focus on the ones you believe are a stretch, but achievable.

A: Just know that this is taking me a bit of time to think about. Which is the point of the exercise, right? Focus…Focus…

1. In the next 30 days, I will book 15 projects. Albeit video, photography sessions, a speaking series, writing workshops, etc. I will focus on the photography and video side. This is HUGE for me, because as much as I love a good challenge and people, I am no good at reaching out to strangers. At. All.

So, HELLO cyber-strangers/friends! If you or anyone you know needs a video project done (for anniversaries, weddings, sports highlights, and yes, even funerals), or if you live in the same vicinity as I and would like to book a photo shoot, shoot me an email at erin@dbl-take.com, and check out some of our work at: dbl-take.com! Excuse our mess of a website. We are working on completely revamping it – well, Timmykins is – but I am challenging myself starting TODAY! Life doesn’t wait on new website design! 🙂 

Oh man, my first shameless plug. Why do I feel no shame? Because photography and film make me HAPPY, and this blog is about happiness, right?

2. In the next 30 days, I will focus a lot more on the development of this blog. Not only will I continue to bring you posts 7 days a week, but I will reach out to readers and other who inspire me for guest posts, as well as share more stories, videos, and photos of happiness, both personal and shared by readers, loved ones, and the internets.

3. In the next 30 days – and hopefully to infinity and beyond – for every dollar I spend (save for larger bills), I will put into savings that same dollar amount. That’s right! For every grocery, meal out, outfit, magazine, etc. that I carefully choose to spend money on, so too will I gift myself 100% interest. This will push me to think harder before I spend the money, because I will be “spending” twice as much on it. The best part? Whatever is left in checking from the previous paycheck when the next gets deposited into my account already goes straight to savings.

Win, win.

And really, this will be an awesome mindset as I continue THE Challenge with Timmykins: who can save more money between NOW (well, last Monday) and December 31st? As outlined previously, he makes a significant amount more than I do in his line of work, but he has extra expenditures that I do not. It has been a week and a day since we started this challenge, so I think now is a good time to update my readers. This is totally to hold me accountable and motivate me to charge forward.

Me: $75
Timmykins: $100

Darn my luck! I am behind! Boy, I canNOT wait til payday! Time to close that gap! Please keep cheering for me!

What challenges have YOU started that I can support you in? Shoot me an email, or leave a comment here, and I will not only support you, but give you a shout out or two for accountability!

Now, go out and have a Happy Tuesday, Happy People!

❤ The RoaminTwin

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THE Challenge

Quick Note: 100 posts!!! WOW! I didn’t know I had it in me! Thank you so much for joining me on our journey of happiness thus far, and I hope you will continue onward!

Alright, on to the nitty gritty:

I am always up for a challenge.

And, honestly, I haven’t been challenging myself enough lately.

So, a couple evenings ago, I had a conversation with Timmykins that went a bit like this:

Me: So, this wedding. I want to be able to afford it.

T: We will be fine.

Me: I want to be more than fine. How about we see who can save the most money between now and December (31st)?

T: You will win.

I don’t make as much as he does, but he has more expenses than I do at this point, so I understand what he is saying. 

Me: Well, let’s try it! It can’t hurt…

I think that is where the conversation ended. But that is not where the idea nor the challenge ended. I am not letting this one go.

And I need your help.

I need you to hold me accountable, to motivate me. I know that I can become more relaxed with the idea of being able to pay for a wedding without spending every penny I have, but it will take a lot of hard work and determination in the mean time.

And, since I am challenging him, I don’t think I will be getting much support from Timmykins 😛

Do you need motivation and accountability in the way of a challenge? Let me know and I will get on YOUR support bandwagon too!

❤ The RoaminTwin

PS–Any ideas on how to make extra money for me? I will do all I can in the way of saving, but that might not get me to pass Timmykins! I love arts and crafts, people, getting rid of my “junk” and photography. What else can I do? Thanks 🙂

Spring Cleaning

Hello, Happy People!

Today, let’s talk about cleaning. Though probably one of my least favorite subjects – an organized mess is a work for genius, no? – it is time for all of us to do some Spring Cleaning for our finances sake (me included). It’s time to clean, simplify, and organize. And heck, if we light a fire under our own behinds, maybe this could cross over into every day life! (maybe)

1. Gather all of your bills, statements, and pay stubs (medical, banking, or otherwise) into one area. It can be a binder or a box. I wouldn’t suggest a drawer. I have tried that and it is still a disheveled mess. If you are feeling up to it – and TRULY, it will only help – make a tab for each type of bill, OR a tab for each month.

If you are feeling a little frisky, scan all your documents into the computer! Insert: oohs and aahs!

2.  If you haven’t already, sign up for online billing and bill pay to as many places as you can. Not only is this environmentally friendly, it is also more efficient and will prevent the loss or delay of a bill or payment in the mail. Plus, you can sign up for bill pay reminders or automatic withdrawals.  Just keep track of what is being pulled out of your account ALWAYS, and make sure no one is shafting you!

3. Resolve to spend less.  Do you really NEED to eat lunch out 3 days a week? Are you close enough to work to ride a bike or walk? Can you take shorter showers and unplug/turn off electronics when they are not in use? Do every little thing you can to slice spending.

However, don’t forget about living, fun, or yourself. Just cut spending in other areas so that you can save up for that night out on the town, or retirement even! I know I have been stashing money for travel, and boy does it add up!

4. Budget. Budget. Budget.

I cannot stress this enough. And honestly, once you get the hang of it, the stress of money will wash away and you will wonder why you never did it in the first place. Create multiple checking accounts, or use an envelope system; whatever you feel is right for you. It will take a couple of months testing the waters to see how much you should budget for each area of your life. Some examples include: Loans, Car, Food, Entertainment, Phone.

Just do it.

5. Another “just do it” item? Sell your crap! And guess what? This crosses over into the TRUE Spring Cleaning. I just helped drive 3 car loads of clothes to my friend’s new home. The problem? 2/3 of the cars were solely filled with her clothes! If you are strapped for cash or want a little extra spending money, sell gently used clothing. There is a multitude of avenues: online swap shops, craigslist, ebay, garage sales, friends. You can even donate them for a tax deduction (just make sure you get a receipt)!

This applies to many items: too many dishes, picture frames, purses, scrapbooking supplies, electronics in good condition? Just put a little effort into cleaning them up, putting the word out, and parting ways.

 

Dreaming about the day when you can have your finances in order can really bring your mood down, stress you out, and take up a lot of your precious time. With a little organization and a lot of will power (YOU can do it, Water Boy!), get yourself in check, and get HAPPY!

I know I am 🙂

❤ The Roamin Twin