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Making 2017 Your “Year of Yes” All Posts / Life / More

I recently read Shonda Rhimes’ (the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) bestselling book Year of Yes and it was fantastic.  In the book, Shonda describes how saying “yes” changed her life – and how it can change yours too.

Despite being a wealthy, powerful woman, Shonda is an introvert and often said “no” to attending events that made her uncomfortable.  During her “year of yes” she made a vow to start saying “yes” to everything that scares her.

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We Bought a Tiny Car + Other Winter Updates All Posts / Life / More

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I only promote products that I truly believe in.

Winter has arrived here in Minnesota…I spent 20 minutes digging my car out of the snow this morning and it’s going to be -4 for the high one day next week!  Brrr!  Hopefully most of you readers are enjoying somewhat less chilly weather.  How are you doing on your financial goals so far this season?  Share in the comments!

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27 Things I’m Thankful For All Posts / Life / More

When things are going well, it’s easy to feel gratitude.  But when things are kind of lousy, it’s a lot more difficult to feel thankful.  I’m writing this post not just because of Thanksgiving, but because I need to make more of an effort to be grateful.

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It’s The Little Things All Posts / Life / More

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling crabby lately.

I’ve been in a funk for the past few weeks due to health issues that are causing constant pain.  For reasons I won’t bore you with, I can’t go to the doctor right now (even though I have insurance), so I have to be patient and wait a few more weeks before I can see an orthopedic doctor and hopefully start physical therapy.

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Month in Review: October 2016 All Posts / Life / More

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I only promote products that I truly believe in.

I love fall.  Autumn means wearing cozy sweaters, drinking hot cocoa, picking apples, carving pumpkins, and playing in the leaves.  It’s the little things in life.

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Month in Review: September 2016 All Posts / Life / More

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I only promote products that I truly believe in.

I like to plan things in advance.

I write my posts ahead of time whenever I can, and this post was no different.  I had a cheerful draft of this post all ready to go – I had written about how September is one of my favorite months of the year because the weather is starting to cool off a bit, and it’s time for cozy over-sized sweaters, boots, and pumpkin flavored everything.

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#Minsgame – Part 1 All Posts / Minimalism / More

I recently went to my friend Heather’s house for the first time, and seeing her house inspired me to start the Minsgame challenge.  Heather lives in a 720 square foot home.  A lot of homes this size might seem cramped, but Heather’s didn’t.  Why?  Because she’s a minimalist and she doesn’t have too much stuff.

Her house doesn’t seem sparse or uninviting (like the stereotype of minimalism) – it has just enough stuff to seem warm and home-y without having ANY clutter at all.  I love her house!

I’ve de-cluttered in the past, and my hubby and I had to get rid of some of our stuff because we simply don’t have room for all of it (since we share a basement with my older brother and much of the basement is filled with my parents’ stuff).

I saw the Minsgame challenge on Heather’s blog in the past, and thought “oh, I don’t need to do that.  I don’t have that much stuff.” I kept telling myself that when my hubby and I move into our own home, things won’t feel cramped anymore because all of our stuff will be spread out instead of crammed into a small room.

While there may be a little bit of truth to that, seeing Heather’s house got me thinking about all of the stuff I have that I simply don’t need.  There’s no point in keeping useless objects around just because I’ll someday be living in a larger space.

The Minsgame, created by The Minimalists, involves getting rid of 465 items in one month.  On the first day, you get rid of one item, on the second day, you get rid of two items, on the third day, you get rid of three, and so on…by the end of the month, you’ve eliminated 465 items!

I think this approach is a smart way to ease into minimalism without getting overwhelmed.  However, I’m not a patient person and I like to finish projects quickly.  So I tried to do all of this in one day which turned out to be a dumb idea.  Trying to do it all at once (especially on a busy day when I had other things to do) was a bit crazy and overwhelming.

So I’ve decided to do it in a few big batches instead.  For each batch, I’ll share what I got rid of and what I’ve learned from this experience.

PART ONE: Bathroom + laundry room storage area
PART TWO: Bookshelves (photography, books, CDs, DVDs, etc.)
PART THREE: Bedroom closet
PART FOUR: Digital clutter

Part one is complete! I got rid of:

-4 bottles of nail polish
-3 mugs
-4 water bottles
-1 stapler
-3 picture frames
-1 pair of sunglasses
-1 (very old) camera
-1 cookbook
-1 decorative wall hanging
-20+ barrettes
-3 pairs of earrings
-5 empty jewelry boxes
-Paperwork we don’t need
-5 (very old) bottles of hotel shampoo

DSC_2057 (1280x857)DSC_2040 (1280x857)

What I’ve Learned

For each part of the #Minsgame, I’ll share what I’ve learned from the de-cluttering experience.  Here’s what I learned during part one (bathroom + laundry room storage area).

When you’re in a relationship (or if you have kids), minimalism requires compromise.

I wanted to get rid of a lot more stuff, but unfortunately, much of it is my hubby’s.  If I start throwing half of his stuff in the trash, I don’t think he’d be too happy with me 😉  Luckily, my hubby loves minimalism too, but electronics and toiletries are his two weak spots.  How on Earth my hubby needs five containers of hair gel is beyond me…and it’s baffling that he has about three times the number of toiletries that I have.

But we all have our weak spots… my hubby probably cringes when he looks at my bookshelves, which are crammed full of books, DVD’s, CDs, and photo albums.  Part two of my Minsgame is going to be a challenge!

Keeping useless stuff around is not frugal.  It’s just useless.

I’ve been storing some stuff in the laundry room that I plan to use in the future when the hubby and I move into our own home.  This includes several mugs and water bottles.  We already have five mugs that we use in the kitchen, and I can’t imagine a scenario where we would actually NEED more than five mugs.  Honestly, we don’t really need five (I don’t even drink coffee!) but we love all of them so we’ll be keeping those ones.

I find it strangely difficult to get rid of things that I got for free.

Most people probably find it hard to get rid of things that were expensive, but I don’t like getting rid of things that were free.  I don’t really know why.  I guess I just get excited when I get things for free (that’s frugal, right?) and I want to keep those things.

Usually, these are useless things (like mugs I don’t actually use or tote bags that will sit in my closet for years before I finally throw them away).  Free stuff is nice when it’s useful (like a free t-shirt that I can wear to the gym), but usually free stuff is just junk.

I’m excited to start Part 2 of the #Minsgame soon!  Want to join me?

Other stuff you might like:

Minimalism Isn’t as Bad as You Think
The Appeal of Minimalism
My Personal Finance “Aha” Moment
Why I Started a 3 Year Spending Ban
30 Days of Gratitude


Month in Review: August 2016 All Posts / Life / More

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I only promote products that I truly believe in.

August has been an interesting month with a lot of ups and downs.  The weather has been cooling off a little bit (which is odd for August, but I love it).  I’m excited for fall but not looking forward to what comes next (6 months of winter in a frozen tundra).  Here are my successes, failures, and highlights for the month of August.

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Month in Review: July 2016 All Posts / Life / More

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I only promote products that I truly believe in.

Frugal Successes

-I paid off my first “big” ($6,000+) student loan!  Now that I only have large loans left, the progress feels slow.  This can get a bit demotivating, so I’m excited that I finally paid off a big one – I know now that I can do it!  I had $418.62 left on the loan I paid off, and I also put $500 toward the next loan I’ll knock out – the current balance on that one is $7,232.

-This has been the summer of unexpected, unusual expenses. We had to dip into our emergency fund a couple times this month, which is never fun, but that’s why we have it!  Without it, we would end up relying on credit cards and digging ourselves further into debt.

Frugal Failures

-I accidentally left our freezer door slightly open and didn’t realize it for a couple days.  Everything in the freezer went bad.  Lesson learned!  I will definitely be extremely careful about this from now on.

-I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve been having a lot of pain in my neck lately, and I went to the chiropractor to find out what’s going on.  Thanks to years of bad habits (like spending too much time on my smartphone and laptop), my spine is curved forward in the neck area, which is called forward head posture (aka “text neck”).

Treating this issue is not going to be cheap.  If you’re constantly bent over your smartphone, please please please start spending less time on your phone.  “Text neck” is becoming increasingly common and it’s not fun – it’s incredibly painful, and it can lead to serious health problems if it’s left untreated.  Here are some ways to prevent or correct forward head posture.

Highlights of the Month

-I played giant outdoor Jenga for the first time at my nephew’s grad party.  My nephew just finished high school – it’s hard to believe that I have a nephew who is that old!  We look like we’re the same age. (My brothers are quite a bit older than I am).  This was the first time that all of the nieces and nephews met Herbie (our new puppy) and it was so much fun!

-I had a puppy play date with a few of my girlfriends, and Herbie met Max, Hank, and Luna (and some other dogs) at the dog park!

-I bought Financial Peace University for the hubby and myself.  We’ll be starting it in September and I’m so excited!

What I Read

I borrowed Smart Women Finish Rich from a friend, and it’s great so far!  Financial advisor David Bach (author of The Automatic Millionaire) walks readers through a nine-step program for spending wisely, establishing security, and aligning money with one’s values.  What I love most about this book is that it provides specific advice and actionable tips.

Bach mentions that we should never put all of our eggs in one basket and instead recommends that we put our “eggs” in three separate baskets: the security basket, the retirement basket, and the dream basket.

The book includes detailed information about how to choose between different retirement options and life insurance plans.  This info is particularly useful for millennials who may not have started investing yet and might not be familiar with life insurance options.

What I Watched

I watched Limitless and finished the last season of Scandal.  Limitless was okay but it wasn’t my favorite, and Scandal is as excellent as always.  The plot is a bit ridiculous, but it’s fun and addicting.

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