You Weren’t Born to Pay Off Debt and Die

February 10, 2016

not-born-pay-bills-and-die

I’ve seen this picture float around the internet that says, “you weren’t born to pay bills and die”. I can see the point it’s trying to make: life is about more than working and paying bills. But, not to burst the picture’s bubble, the simple fact is that there will always be bills to pay. Unless you become the man who quit money, you are always going to have to pay for something, like utilities or a phone service. So, while I agree that you weren’t born to pay them, you will, in fact, probably always have to.

What you don’t have to do forever is live with debt. You don’t have to spend every month calculating how much you can afford to put towards debt repayment, while continuing to use credit, and staying in the never-ending cycle of borrowing money and trying to pay it back. It’s not an easy cycle to get out of; I know that firsthand. But it is a cycle that will not only control your finances, it will control your mind and your life – and our time on this planet is far too short to let debt control your life.

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Book Giveaway: Tidy Up with Marie Kondo

February 1, 2016

marie-kondo-books

One of my goals for the first 90 days of this year is to read 1 book/week… and, to my shock, I’ve actually been able to stick to it. My early success with this goal might be a result of the fact that I’ve committed to sharing a book review on Instagram every Sunday, so I feel the need to stay accountable. But it has also served as a great reminder that it doesn’t take very long to read a book – sometimes just 3 to 6 hours, depending on how long it is – all we have to do is make the time.

Time is something that many of us claim to never have enough of, despite the fact that we’re all given the same number of hours and minutes in a day. I’ve come to realize that so much of our personal definition of the word “time” is based on how many tasks and to-dos are floating around in our brains. Even if it only takes 5 or 10 minutes to accomplish some of them, each task takes up mental space that makes us feel “busy”, and that’s space we can’t get back until a task is complete.

For years, I would write “clean” on my weekly task list. By “clean”, I didn’t just mean do laundry or scrub the bathroom tub; I meant tidy up and re-organize my belongings. Since getting rid of 75% of my stuff, however, I never have to do that. Whenever I’m done with something, I put it back where it belongs – in a spot that’s easily accessible and makes sense for me. And because I got rid of so much stuff, I never feel overwhelmed by the task (so now “clean” finally means exactly that).

I want the same to be true for you, which is why I’m giving away two books that can help.

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The Ultimate Shopping Ban Guide: Part 2

January 25, 2016

how-to-do-a-shopping-ban

This is Part 2 of a two-part series on how to start and successfully complete a shopping ban. In Part 1, I shared five things you can do to prepare for it, from decluttering and taking stock of what you already own, to opening a separate savings account you can put all the money you save by not shopping. Once you’ve completed those steps (especially writing the three lists you’ll need!), you can start your ban.

Today, I’m going to cover some of the things you’ll experience and need to work through, as you’re in the midst of it. The toughest time period for me to get through was the first 30-60 days, but there are still challenges and temptations I face today – 18 months into my own two-year ban! The truth is, setting yourself up to start a shopping ban is easy, compared to what you’ll have to do during it.

Here are my suggestions for what you can expect and how to deal with it, starting with outside sources (a.k.a. the people in your life)…

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