Penny Wise, Dollar Foolish

Penny wise and dollar foolish is a saying I have heard since I was little.  I will admit, it has been me on occasion – okay, maybe more occasions then I care to admit!  🙂

Halfway through the year and starting a new fiscal year at Thirty One this month is when review my goals and my finances.  Doing it mid-year check helps me keep things in balance or get back on track if I have wavered.

Life with MS (#MSwillnotdefineme) has been interesting to say the least.  No excuses, just the realization processing things doesn’t work unless I have a system.  A system to stay on track with bills.  A system to work my business.  Admittedly, the the money system faltered some in the first few months but I have grabbed the bull by the horns and am back on track with a new plan.

I hate to admit I am still learning money matters in my 60’s, but there are a few things I wish I had learned in my 20’s.  Learning is an ongoing process and I am determined not to give up on my goal.

#1 A bigger and better job doesn’t mean you get to spend more.  By keeping your costs the same when you increase your salary you’ll be able to save some.  I always thought more money meant I could spend more.  Silly me!

#2 Never spend more than what comes in.  And limit your cards to the lowest amount possible. This has been the toughest for this recovering addict to conquer. 

#3 Pay off any debt first.  Pay your credit card debt as soon as possible, those high interests won’t be doing you any good. Then once they are paid off DON”T use them anymore.

 

#4 Student loans on autopilot.  Students loans usually have a really small interest rate so make regular, steady payments to pay off your loan and it’ll soon be a thing of the past.  Check out too if you are eligible for a “forgiveness program”.  Make 120 payments on time & the balance of your loan is forgiven.  Works for the kids but not the parents.

#5 Build a back-up.  YES, saving is still important even if you have debt.  Make sure you always have a few hundred set aside for unexpected costs and bills.

#6 Insuring yourself is essential.  A crashed laptop, unforeseen doctors bill or stolen bike can wreak financial havoc if you’re not insured. The cost per month will pay off in the long run for any unexpected mishaps.

#7 Set long term goals to help you focus on what you really want. Figure out how much you’re gonna need and start saving now.

#8 Monetize your talent if you can.  Write blogposts, take photographs or try to monetize your special skills as (additional) income.  I have been a crafter for as long as I can remember.  I just wish I had of saved some of that money.

 

#9 Think about retirement.  This is especially important if you are your own boss.  Sadly, I learned too late it’s essential to put away money for the future.

#10 Lastly, here is a marvelous piece of advice given by StickleyMan on Thought Catalog. It’s reaaaaaally good.

Take some more chances. You know that idea that’s been ruminating in the back of your mind for years? That one that doesn’t have anything to do with your job or your mortgage. That one that falls outside your schema of living and routine and that you shrug off as some immature or impractical idea; as just some silly fantasy. Maybe it’s a crazy business idea or a trip to go live in a hut in India for three months or to breed Pygmy hippos or to become a juggling street performer. Whatever it is, explore it. Maybe even try it. I don’t mean take a stupid, life-threatening risk. I’m not suggesting a trying a lifestyle of meth addiction and bare-knuckle Fight Clubs. But something outside your comfort zone. Try it. Maybe you’ll fail miserably at it. But just try it. Because in about a decade when you’re responsible for more things and more people, you won’t be able to. And you’ll find yourself in a self-imposed mental prison of ‘what-ifs’. And take it for someone who didn’t because I was too scared, too embroiled in my own insecurities and addictions, and so heavily conditioned to fear failure – you’ll wish you did.

Any cash lessons you learned in the past year? Tell us in the comments, we’d love to hear how you spend and save.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What was I trying to say?

Have you ever been in the middle of a sentence and forgot what you were going to say?  Or maybe you want to use a word in a conversation but can’t think of it? Or maybe even use the wrong word the wrong way?  Or better yet, have someone say something and you are clueless on what the meaning is of a word so you don’t understand what they said.  I know everyone has it happen on occasion, right?
This past month has been a struggle to find the right words from writing my blog to talking to people to even working with customers in my business.  I usually can play off not remembering the names of products or prints when talking to customers – I mean I know what the best product is to solve their particular need, I just can’t remember the name of the product.  I may remember customer’s faces but 99% of the time, I can’t remember their name.  Then there are those moments when hubby tells a joke and then has to explain it because I didn’t process any of the words.
Why am I tell you all of this? It has been awhile since I shared about my struggle with MS.  On the outside everything seems to be great while on the inside there is a never ending struggle to keep my life the same as it always has been.
Okay, back to words…..
We all use words ALL the time.  From speaking to thinking them in our head or writing them down on scraps of paper. Not a day goes by without the use of words. My words seem to come out all mixed up.  It is like someone poured all the words in my head into a blender and then dumped the chopped up words on a table. Some where along the lines, the words get lost. 

Thankfully when I write, I can proofread and wait before I hit send on an email or post on social media..  Otherwise, my sentences would have words which don’t belong or the sentence would ramble on forever.  The scary part for me is when I talk. I will say something and then pause for a moment wondering “What did I just say?”.  Most people are polite and just smile if what I said makes no sense.  While others will question what I said or meant which causes more frustration for me.  Then there are those times when I “thought” I said something or asked for help with something only to find out the words never actually came out of my mouth.  UGH!!!

I hear everything correctly in my head but the words coming out of my mouth…well, they aren’t the ones I was thinking.  It’s crazy how the filter between my brain and fingers, or my brain and mouth, seems to get things all mixed up.  Even when I am trying to read aloud from a piece of paper – my tongue seems to have a mind of its own.   I wonder if there’s a replacement filter I can install? They make filters for the car which is replaced after so many miles of use. My air filter in my office gets replaced after some many months.  Our water filter gets replaced every 6 months.  Maybe I can get a filter replacement for my brain?

I thought auto correct was the solution.  WRONG!  Auto correct messes me up even more. It rewrites my words into different words and inserts random words into sentences which has nothing to do with what I’m trying to say. The end result – I get more confused then I already was.  Is that possible?

Life with Multiple Sclerosis. I’m learning to laugh about situations or at least be honest and tell people what is happening.  No, I don’t look like I have MS.  This crazy disease is playing havoc on the inside of my body – messing with my words, making my arms and legs constantly tingle and robbing me of my memories.

There are many auto-immune diseases out there which play havoc with people on the inside while their outside appears to be “normal”.  Maybe not to them because they are living with the craziness of their disease.  So the next time someone stumbles on their words, says something totally out of wack in a conversation or seems clueless in a conversation – have some patience for you never know what may be happening on the inside.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Detox from Your Cell Phone

Well, it is the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend.  It is when we get the first taste of what the summer will bring as the “shoobies” make their way to the Jersey Shore.  This is always a tough weekend for me…. not it isn’t because of the influx of people; it is the weekend I am reminded of the loss of my aunt, Elsie AKA “my buddy” in 1999.  Yes, I squirreled for a moment, sorry back to today’s blog post…………..

Does the picture look like you 99% of the time?  When your phone isn’t in your hand, scrolling Facebook, reading emails or sending text messages, where is it?  I will admit mine is usually close by at least within arms reach.

How often has your Hubby or family or even you wished you could have “phone-less” time!  I mean a time when the phone was either shut off, put away or on “do not disturb”?  Are you starting to sweat at the thought of missing out on notifications?  Are you already picturing the fight with the kids over not being able to talk to their friends?

Most days, my cell phone is on “do not disturb” so the only people able to reach out to me are family.  Why?  So I can stop being obsessed.  So I can work my “at home business” on my time not when ever any calls or texts.  It wasn’t long ago I realized the ONLY time I have been totally “unplugged” from everything (cell phone, computer, tablet) was when we were on a cruise.  It is an automatic switch when I get on the ship, it goes off and it doesn’t come back on until we reach the car on our drive home.  I know a week worth of emails and messages can make your head spin but the truth is, we all need it once in awhile.

If all of these boxes apply to you, you’re clearly in need of a detox

  • When your thumb on your dominant hand is sore from all the scrolling
  • You look at your phone first thing when you wake up
  • A panic attack is around the corner when your battery is running low
  • You get anxious when being separated from your phone
  • You lack concentration and check your phone too often (even unconscious)

Did you answer yes all (or most) of these?  Then you are in desperate need of a cell phone detox!

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Start with 8 hours of disconnectionyou’ll feel restless at first, but getting used to being phone free takes time.  The easiest way is to turn it off an hour before you go to bed and don’t turn it on until you have had your coffee in the morning.

2. Throw a phone free dinner – see how the conversation changes.  People actually talk and listen to each other.  Oh and no photos of food.  Dinner is a no brainer for me.  I don’t do the phone at dinner, especially on the nights hubby is off.

3. Go out in nature and connect to the real world.  The weather is nicer so this is a whole lot easier to do. No pictures or checking your phone.  Depending on where you go for a walk, you may need to take your phone in case there is an emergency.  I carry mine in my pocket when I go for a walk only because of the MS.

4. Set a phone curfew to turn phones off after 8PM and have a relaxing night.  Okay, so this may be a little bit tougher but I am willing to try it.  The problem is when I switch off the phone, the iPad is close at hand to check emails and Facebook.  How do you totally unplug?

5. Grab a magazine, a coffee and go soak up some sun by yourself!  This sounds great in theory but my books are on my iPad which then keeps me connected to the internet if I am close to the house.  UGH!  Solution – I have been buying some old fashioned books at yard sales so I can start reading “electronic free”.  Then I donate them back to the church rummage sale.  A win for everyone.

So, be honest… how many times a day do YOU check your phone?  I’m getting better but it is still a process.  How about you, are you willing to give it a try this holiday weekend?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

This Isn’t How You Planned It

Is your life going the way you planned it?  Are you living out your dreams?  Or are you on the verge of giving up? Are you working at a job which seems fruitless?  Is your relationship hitting a brick wall?   Do you get a little extra money, and then an unexpected expense saps the money as quickly as you got it?

I’ve been there and some days I’m still there.  Sometimes life is all about moving ahead when the road is long and hard. When you’re exhausted and weary, it’s essential you take charge before you burn out or give up.

Like you, I’ve been there, done that!  I never planned to reconnect with the love of my life 16 years ago. I never planned on leaving my dream job.  I never planned on being diagnosed with MS.  Life happens and the plan changes.

The best skill you can gain in life is the ability to navigate unexpected turns and setbacks life throws your way. NEWS FLASH!!!! Life doesn’t always go the way we plan it. The truth is, it rarely does.  So, let your challenges build character and perseverance to empower you to stay the course and win your race.

Here are some tips from the amazing Valerie Burton on just how to do this:

1. Stop expecting things to be easy.

The quickest way to become discouraged is to expect life to unfold just the way you planned it, with few or no obstacles or opposition. Raise your hand if this is you?  I know I’m not alone here.  Life is so much easier when the expected challenges appear –  you know, the ones you planned for.   Don’t get caught up in feeling sorry for yourself when hard times come.  This is the perfect opportunity to tap into your strengths, character, and faith to courageously face whatever life throws your way.

2. Get some fresh air.

When your inner gremlins get the best of you, and you start traveling down that dark tunnel, it might mean you need a break.  Have you been focusing on your problems, rehashing them over and over in your mind? Remember, focusing on the negative brings us more negative.  Take a walk. Do something different. Get out of your normal environment. It can energize you and redirect your thoughts.

3. Get some perspective.

Fresh air will give you perspective and clear out some of the cobwebs or maybe even blow away the inner gremlins.  The greatest difference comes when we focus on someone else’s life. When you start focusing too much on what’s wrong in your life, force yourself to notice what’s right. STOP and think of three things you’re grateful for. Believe me, you probably can’t stop at three! Now, open your eyes to others’ stories about determination and strength.  Despite what we may think, we are not the first person to face our challenges.  Look for someone who has gone through them with strength and grace? When you realize you are not alone, you will feel the rush of power. In face, you may discover someone who has triumphed through far greater challenges and can be a source of inspiration.

4. Commit to running your race to the best of your ability.

Who knows why you are going through what you are going through? It may not even be worth the energy of attempting to figure it out. What is worth your energy is expanding your character and capacity in the process.  Think about the ways will you become a better person by persevering through this? What growth do you intend to glean through it all?

5. Be an inspiration.

Yes, you can be an inspiration for someone else.  Your story may be just the thing someone else needs to hear to overcome their obstacle.  Every person who has faced a challenge has overcome them with their attitude, determination, and faith. Tackle your challenges in a way your children, friends, family, and coworkers will be inspired by your example. You can give others hope by simply acting with the courage to live and love fully in the face of fear and disappointment.

The first time I was told I was an inspiration, I laughed because the truth is, I never believed I could inspire anyone.  My life was my life full of challenges and obstacles.  Some I have overcome and some inner gremlins I still do battle with.  About 2 years ago, when the diagnosis of MS was “unofficially” given, I made a decision to allow my setbacks to build character and perseverance. Truth was my life’s journey had brought me to where I was today.  The challenges were actually a blessing in disguise.  Do I always understand it? NO!  Do I always like it? NO!

If you are struggling, I challenge you to stop feeling sorry for yourself.  It is time to gain  some perspective which will inspire and empower you.   When you get discouraged, what thought will lift you up?  Share it with us, maybe you can inspire someone else…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Honoring Family

Today will be an emotional day, one of remembering two people who impacted my life – or at least trying to remember through the fog of MS.  The memories come and go but the impact they had on my life will live on.

I will be celebrating Edythe’s life at a vendor event today.  Strange right?  The vendor event is a fundraiser by Holly Assembly, Order of the Rainbow for Girls for the scholarship fund names in honor of her.  Growing up, Rainbow had a place in all of our lives and even through the MS fog, I still remember many of my Rainbow teachings.  Edythe was on the Advisory Board for Holly Assembly.  She helped to mold and shape the lives of girls for many years.  The scholarship is part of her legacy.   Her kindness, compassion and caring lives on in the lives of others.  Edythe was a strong independent woman who inspired me through some of the darkest days of my addiction.  Her smile and laugh could light up a room.  If you are in the area, stop by and say hello. Or if you would like to support this cause, click HERE to place an order on my Thirty One website.  I will be donating 100% of my Thirty One commission to the scholarship fund as well as 50% of the sale of awareness angel ribbons.  Complete the form at the end of the blog post if you are interested in awareness angel ribbons (additional colors are available).

  

Today also marks the one year anniversary of my dad’s death.  Some will not understand why I decided to do this event but I know my dad would totally get it.  Dad wouldn’t want me to sit around crying and being sad, he would want me to enjoy life. My dad and my mom were on the Advisory Board of Iris Assembly when I was in Rainbow.  He would definitely get why I am doing the fundraiser today.  Dad was loving and kind, nonjudgmental and accepting. Yes, there were tough times with  years of anger and hurt.  Dad was not perfect but are any of us.  He admitted his faults, and even with memories of bad times, I forgave him.  No matter how bad a situation was, he always found the silver lining and worked through it.  He leaves a legacy filled with memories for his family and friends. Dad liked to cook especially on the grill.  Didn’t matter if there was snow or rain, he found a way to grill.

Today is about honoring two people who impacted my life.  I celebrate the legacy they leave behind – the memories, the stories, and the traditions.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!