Posted in less is more, Money Matters

C.R.E.A.M.

C(ash) R(ules) E(verything) A(round) M(e)

Although having a minimalist mindset, for me, isn’t so much about spending less as it is about living with less, I find myself seriously evaluating where all my money goes. I, mean, I have worked in banking for the last twenty-three and a half years, so I check my bank account damn near every day. While I see the money trickling in yet pouring out, I haven’t been mindful (There’s that word again!) of where the moolah is actually going. I’ve always been focused on is my balance correct and not so much on “Why the fuck did I just buy that?!”

Well, that’s changing, and I know the above statement may be somewhat controversial, but let’s face it: You need money! Specifically, you need cash to obtain freedom — freedom from debt, freedom from worry about not having enough money, freedom from everything that suppresses you from not having enough money!!!

What’s so upsetting for me right now is that I’ve always maintained the belief that I don’t have “enough money” to pay down my debt. I challenged my own mindset by pulling my last three bank statements and highlighting every purchase that wasn’t a necessity (rent, utilities, food, insurance…) and the numbers were staggering! Mind-blowing is more like it. After I crunched the numbers, I realized that I could’ve cut the balance on a debt-consolidation loan I have by half. HALF!!!!

Y’all!!!!!! I wish I could kick my own ass! But I’ve allowed myself five minutes of anger and sorrow, and now, it’s time to get to work. I have never been as serious about getting out of debt than I am at this moment. I’ll be fifty in three years, and I want to enter the next phase of my life debt-free. I don’t want to be paying frivolous bills on shit that I probably will no longer own.

That’s another thing! I’m paying debt today for shit I no longer own! If that ain’t a wake-up call, I don’t know what is…

My plan? Track my spending for thirty days, and I mean, log every cent that I’ve spent, along with why I felt I needed to make that purchase. At the end of the thirty days, I’ll reassess and determine if the purchase was a necessity or a frivolity. Then I’ll determine if I could’ve done without the frivolous purchase and created other ways to satisfy that need without having to spend money.

Yes, I’m probably overthinking this, but that’s what I do. I’ll follow up next month with my findings.

Posted in Money Matters, Musings

The Holidays Are Coming, and I’m Nervous AF!

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s only October 16th, but do you realize Christmas is nine weeks away?! I am a sucker for Christmas-the grandeur and excess of it. Yes, I admit it. It’s my most feel-good time of year, and I soak it all up.

But this year, I am determined to incorporate my new lifestyle into Christmas. I usually go all out with the decorating and gift-buying (not only for others but myself!) This year is going to be different -except when it comes to my babies. My nieces, affectionately known as my babies, are four and fourteen months. I will not cheat them out of the wonderment of a consumerist Christmas. Their parents are gonna spoil them rotten anyway…

This year, gift-giving will take some careful thinking and advanced planning. I am making all the gifts and cards that I plan to give this year (Thank goodness I’m an introvert and don’t have many friends. Ha!) I am a quiet observer. I pay attention to what the people I love like and care about and I plan to use that to curate my gift-giving this year. I’m both excited and nervous because my thoughts and intentions don’t always pan out the way I envision them.

But more importantly, I am nervous about all the temptation that will surround me once holiday ads are in full force. Pray for me…

Posted in Money Matters, Purging

Wait! I’m Spending Money!

I think I’m going about this all wrong. When I started this journey, I had a vision, but what I didn’t have was a plan. I literally decided one day that I was going to do this and belly-flopped into it. I just started pulling shit out of my closets and drawers and packing up stuff that I thought was done with.

Uhh, dumbass, you needed that!!!

I miss my sofa. And my coffee table. And my computer stand. Yes, I got rid of all of those things! That was over a year ago. In their place, I decided to “downsize” and buy smaller, more streamlined pieces. You know what I ended up replacing them with? A glorified futon, a fire engine red, metal coffee table, and one of those lap thingies that you rest your laptop on. All from Ikea. All still sitting in their original packaging. One year later.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

Oh, that’s right. I wasn’t thinking. I tend to be an act first, think later person in just about every aspect of my life. Once again, mindfulness is essential in adapting to a minimalist lifestyle. See, I got so caught up, listening to all these minimalist gurus who raved about how ridding your life of “things” make for a happier, more productive “you”. But that ain’t me!!! I like having “things” because not only are some of them necessary, but they actually do make me a happier, more productive me.

So, now, I find myself replacing the things I got rid of because I took the “less is more” mantra to the extreme. Living light doesn’t mean getting ride of every damn thing. It simply means getting rid of the things you know you don’t need or no longer use. Stop trying to be like Minnie Minimalist who can survive with two plates, a fork, one pot, and a wine glass. And for goodness sake, don’t get rid of your sofa if all you do is lay around and watch TV or read books. Am I buying a new sofa? Hell no! I’m stuck with this futon indefinitely. I don’t do a lot of entertaining, but after a long day, it would be nice to chill somewhere besides my bed without having to contort my body just to fit into it.

Lesson learned…

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Posted in less is more, Life, Money Matters

September Wrap-Up: I Did Better Than I Gave Myself Credit For

So, for the month of September, I created some pretty lofty goals for myself. One thing this minimalism journey is constantly teaching me is the art of mindfulness. I see that word used constantly among the more seasoned minimalists, and I always poo-poo’d it with a “Chile, bye”, but now, I freaking get it!

Once you’re mindful and intentional with everything that you do, you’re already halfway there. Trust me, I’m not trying to sound preachy, but it’s true. For me, I’m so used to doing what I want, when I want, and damn whatever else. I don’t think I’ve ever gone an entire month thinking about spending my money before actually spending my money. I have always been of the mindset that it’s my money; I earned it, and I’ll spend it any way I choose. Anybody like that? Enough chit-chat, let’s get to the results!

  • E-book purchases: I have a small disclosure here. I did purchase e-books in September, but I did not spend money on them. I used my Amazon gift card balance, so the books I bought were gifts, not purchases 😛
  • Clothing purchases: Honestly, I thought this would be the biggest struggle for me, yet it wasn’t. I think now that I’ve resolved that I don’t need any new clothes and that I’ll be creating a fall capsule wardrobe, there wasn’t anything I really needed, or wanted, for that matter. I was hella tempted, though. I have not unsubscribed to a few mailing lists of my favorite retailers, and I actually did go to a few websites and added some things to my basket. HOWEVER… I BOUGHT NOTHING!!!!
  • Fast food breakfast: This also was a tough one. I love to cook but not 6:30 a.m. in the morning. Yeah, yeah, do it the night before…But I don’t like reheated breakfast food. Sue me… I love Panera and Chic-Fil-A, which are directly across the street from my office and oh so convenient… I toughed it out and got my ass up to cook a hot breakfast in the morning. The question is, can I continue this? Not gone lie, the answer is probably no. But I will be more mindful of this. Shit, I saved about $50.00 not buying breakfast in the mornings. If that ain’t incentive, I don’t know what is…
  • Grocery shopping: I was fully expecting not to meet this goal, and I did not disappoint myself :/ I am a horrible grocery shopper. I rarely make lists; I don’t comparison shop; I’m an impulse or “good intentions” buyer, knowing damn well, I don’t eat yogurt or squash like that. I’m seriously working on this, and I expect to make significant improvements in the coming weeks. I ended up spending well over $300 in groceries. Admittedly, my breakfast food items slightly contributed to the spike, but not that damn much!

In conclusion, I’m pleased, overall, with this self-imposed challenge. There is room for improvement on all fronts, but I feel good. I hope October’s is just as, if not more, successful.

See y’all next week…

Posted in less is more, Life, Money Matters

Holding Myself Accountable

Every month, I’ll be posting a set of goals in an effort to minimize my spending and overall consumption. If I slip up, I will publicly shame myself right here on this blog. If I achieve my goals, I will publicly celebrate myself right here on this blog.

To those who’ve been in the minimalism game (I’m speaking figuratively; I take this very seriously) for a minute, these goals may seem like a piece of cake to you, but when this has been your norm for years and you’re trying to change, it’s like an addict trying to stay clean. These are serious addictions for me, and this blog is my therapy.