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!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Thank you Janet Kinkade the creator of JK by Thirty-One jewelry for today’s tips. Her ultimate passion is to inspire women and help them recognize their own beauty and potential. Read more on Janet’s blog, and follow her on Instagram!

I love how we set aside a whole day to honor and celebrate the women who raised us. My mom is an amazing mother. She is selfless yet strong – and the most beautiful woman I know!

Mother’s Day holds a special place in my heart because of my own daughter – Belinda.  I remember several Mother’s Days in the past, waking up to handmade gifts she had poured her hearts into making. These moments remind me motherhood is a gift and my favorite job of all despite the fact my “baby” is all grown up.

Thirty-One makes it so easy and fun to find the perfect gift for all of the special women in your life! Here are a few ideas for you:

Save the day with a fun and funny “New Mom Survival Kit”

New moms get so many gifts for baby, why not take this opportunity to put together a cute and creative gift just for her? Help ease her transition – and give her a little chuckle at the same time – with a sweet “survival kit” tucked into a reusable Zipper Pouch or Swap-It Pocket, along with a note explaining each item:

  • A healthy snack to keep her energy up!
  • Hand sanitizer so she stays healthy. (Moms can’t get sick!)
  • Dry shampoo, because regular showers are a thing of the past.
  • Yummy-smelling candle to help create calm when she needs some alone time.
  • Snickers® bar and Laffy Taffy® to keep her sense of humor.
  • Bag of marbles to replace the ones she’ll lose!
  • Rubber bands to remind her that flexibility is key!
Take something off her plate with an all-in-one meal kit

You can pack an entire meal inside one of our gorgeous totes that Mom will love to use long after the meal is over! Put all the ingredients for a delicious dinner in a personalized Zip-Top Organizing Tote or Catch-All Bin – or in one of our new Summer Essentials like the Summer Fun Caddy or In the Clear Tote. You can even add some hand-painted soup bowls, a matching kitchen towel and potholder – and don’t forget a bottle of her favorite wine!

Why not try one of my family’s favorite meals: Taco Soup! Most of the ingredients are in cans, so it’s perfect for packing.

Taco Soup
Ingredients:
3 cans of beans (I mix red beans and black beans)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of whole kernel corn
1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 package of taco seasoning
1 package of ranch dressing mix
32 oz. of chicken broth
2 cups of cooked ground beef

Directions: Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook on high for 4 hours. (You can cook on low for 8 hours, instead, if you’re going to be gone all day.)

Express your love and gratitude with custom home décor

If you’re looking for a personalized gift that will last long enough to become a family keepsake, look no further than our custom Statement Canvas Pillows, Statement Canvas Wall Art and wooden Close to Home Tray! These gifts can be a creative way to show off her Personality, talk about her Passions and inspire others with her Purpose as a mother. Check out our 3 Ps of Personalization for tips to make a beautiful gift for her home that she’ll always treasure!

Stay close to her heart with a mother’s necklace

Our new Charm Catcher Necklace is the perfect way to design Mom her very own meaningful – and wearable – keepsake! Create a beautiful piece of jewelry (moms LOVE jewelry!) that she can put on every day to remind her of all the joys of motherhood.

Start with our Charm Catcher Necklace in gold or silver tone, then add:

What special gift are you getting your mom?  Share it with us, we won’t tell…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Santa Bundle Challenge

Are you starting to stress about holiday shopping?  Are you worried about your holiday budget?  I have a solution for you….

Check out these FOUR bundles available for a limited time…. You may be wondering why it is a challenge, right?  I’m not one for usually sharing about challenges but Thirty One’s Home Office has challenged us to sell 10 of these AMAZING bundles by December 11th.  Do you think I can do it?

Bundle #1 features our BIGGEST seller, the large utility tote.  A great gift for anyone on your holiday list.  Uses range from grocery shopping, to the beach, to organizing the car or storage.  The Littles Carry Alls are so much cuter than a gift bag.  Add some homemade treats or a gift card and you have the perfect gift.

Bundle #2 is for the traveler on your list or maybe a dancer or cheerleader. The Hanging Traveler Case will hold full size bottles standing up to eliminate spilling.  Some have used it to carry their Bible or planner with their iPad.  The Glamour Case will hold your make-up or maybe those essential oils you need when traveling.  The Mini Zipper Pouch has so many uses – make-up, first aid kit, epi pen holder and the list goes on.  Easy for kids to carry their “stuff” in too.

Bundle #3 features our personalization options.  Did you know 90% of Thirty One’s products can be personalized?  Perfect for those who have unusual names or different spellings for every day names.  Our Canvas Pillow Cover is a great way to celebrate the holidays or as a gift for a new home owner.  This bundle combined with the Littles Carry All and the Mini Zipper Pouch for a total of THREE personalized presents for one great price.

Bundle #4 is my favorite.  We all know a “girl on the go” whether it is a college student getting ready to graduate, a career women, a business owner or a mom.  This is a great set given together but can also be broken up into 3 great gifts.  The Around Town Tote is one of my go-to bags.  This classy bag has lots of room while looking fashionable.  Add the Savvy Sleeve to hold files, up to a 15″ laptop or iPad and planner.  A nice gift for the man on your list who juggles a lot of papers on the road.  The Super Swap It Pocket is the big sister of our Swap It Pocket.  The larger version has handles which allows it to be used on its own.  Organize files, a mini diaper bag for the car, a Bible case, a snack bag or even a purse.

These four bundles are available for a limited time only.  To place your order, CLICK HERE. Need help with your order, feel free to text me at 609-457-4249 or send an email to HopeWs31@gmail.com

Don’t let stressing over holiday gifts ruin your holiday spirit….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Are You Paralyzed by Perfection?

How many of you are paralyzed by perfection?  The perfect weight?  The perfect size? The perfect business?  The perfect house?  Being the perfect mom?  I have been there and some days still am….

Here is a post I saw which made me realize on most days despite my best efforts, I am “stuck” worrying about perfection….

I would tell you I wasn’t staring at him, but I’d be lying. He immediately caught my attention as he wheeled himself down the aisle. Stopping beside me, he said, “Hello.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.

He lifted himself up in his wheelchair. Unabashed, he balanced on his knees where his lower legs used to be. Unable to move, I watched him stretch, reaching for something on the store’s upper shelf.

What if he fell?

He wobbled as he grabbed his item, and then sat back down in his chair. Before I could offer to help, he’d completed his task. He nodded at me and continued his shopping.

I stood there immobilized by my thoughts. What empowered him to be so, whole?

His exterior shell broken, but inside—something beautifully different.

WOW!  This made me realize just how crippled I am on a daily basis.  I battle the inner gremlins of perfection which are often paired with the comparison game gremlins.  Yes, they love to tag team me until I am left battered and bruised.  On the outside, things look great because I have reached some milestones in my life….

  • Almost 26 years clean from my drug addiction
  • Lost 120 pounds
  • CEO of my own business which pays my bills
  • A loving husband and supportive family

Yes, I could go on but the gremlins are having a field day today.  What about you, could you list some major milestones in your life?  Do you focus on them or do you focus on your failed attempts at perfection?

Does your idea of perfection cripple you into believing everything you do has to be impeccable?  Does your worth ride on your success?  Think about the gentleman described above…. He elevated his viewpoint, lived outside the lines, and appeared content—all signs of living imperfectly.  Definitely not someone who is handicapped, right?

Here are three ways to become unparalyzed by perfection:

#1 Straighten Up

Believe it or not, standing up straight and changing our body alignment, can make a difference.  How often when we fail at perfectionism do we feel unworthy? As a result, we walk hunched over or eyes cast to the ground, not enjoying the world around us.

How long have you been bound by perfectionism? It’s time to straighten up!  It is time to  change your perspective.  For some, it may be with positive mantras which will change your mindset while for others it may be seek their Higher Power to bless and release those fears.

#2 Live Outside the Lines

Now, you are standing up straight, it is time to do step out of your comfort zone—live outside the lines. I know this one can be tough especially when those gremlins are in the midst of a battle.  It doesn’t have to be something HUGE, just something simple.  How about:

~Driving with the windows down and let your hair get incredibly messy.  Toss the hair tie which will keep your hair neat.

~Get a cake and take a spoonful right from the center. Go ahead, eat from the middle.

~Color outside the lines in a coloring book—make the tree trunk bright orange, the leaves purple, and paint the sky green instead of blue.

“You have to color outside the lines once in a while if you want to make it…”      Albert Einstein 

Just do something to push yourself outside the lines of perfection which keep you restrained.

#3 Love your life

Make a choice to love your life.  Despite whatever challenges you may have, proclaim contentment.  Remember the man I shared the story about, despite being a differently-abled person, he oozed contentment, even though he had every right to feel otherwise. You could tell he made a choice to love his life.

Perfection doesn’t validate us, it makes us invalid.

Will you challenge yourself in a new way?  Will you claim to love your life so you are unconfined from the handicap of perfectionism?  Share your story with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Productive Or Busy?

How often do you answer the question “how are you doing?” with “I’m so busy”?  Think about it…. as wives, mothers, and business owners, we often wear busyness as a badge of honor.

But is “busy” really a label you want to wear? Does it mean, your business is doing well?  Does it mean we have it “all together” as moms?  Does it mean we are reaching our goals and being successful?

Or does busy just mean being occupied? You are doing stuff. I’m not saying some of it may not be purposeful but I am sure some of it is not.  Yes, some of it necessary while some of it we do simply out of habit.  Does being busy mean you are being productive?  Does it mean you are getting things done which actually need to get done?

Think about it… do you have a plan in place for the day or the week? Do you have a clear picture of what is important or what matters most?  If you are “busy”, the answer to both of these questions is probably NO!

What if you were to say “I’m productive” instead of “I’m busy”.  What’s the difference, right?  Semantics?  The reality is, it makes a HUGE difference in how you go about your day.  You become purposeful in what you are doing.

When you’re busy, you take on new tasks without considering whether you even have time to complete them. You are less likely to delegate the task to others.  You are less likely to ask for help.  Why delegate? Because when you delegate, you take time to think: “Do I really have to do this myself? Who could do it instead? When can I ask them? How long will it take to explain?” In many cases when you are busy, the response is “never mind, I’ll just do it myself.” In the long run you waste more time and get less accomplished. Being busy generates a more stressed and hurried way of life so doing it yourself is an easy answer.

What if you were to look at “hurrying up” as the one thing which is actually slowing you down? Yes, if you took just a moment to slow down, you could actually get more of the right things done in less time and be more productive. WOW!  I know it is crazy but it really does work.  It is a great way to de-clutter your life.

I find the weeks I am more productive are when I follow a simple process of planning out my week. I make a list of everything I’d like to accomplish this week. If a week is to overwhelming, do it just for a day.  Now, put each item into one of four categories: Do it. Delay it. Delegate it. Delete it.   Stick with me, it really does work and it can all be accomplished in about 10 minutes.  Yes, you have 10 minutes to spare when the end result is feeling more productive.

So, first pick the stuff you choose to do is important. It is a priority.  I know, right now everything seems to be a priority BUT try to limit it to no more than 3 things.  I hear the groans!

Now, move on to the stuff you can delay. These are things which are not urgent and may actually be causing you stress.  Maybe you really don’t have time to do it right now, and frankly, it doesn’t yet need to be done now. Add it to your schedule for a later date.  This is where my planner comes in handy.  I list things at the bottom of the week in the space called “infinite possibility”.  If I have time, great!  It may get done before the delayed date but most times, it doesn’t.  It is okay!

Here is the tough one – the stuff you delegate.  I will admit, I struggle with this on a regular basis.  Health challenges have helped me to put this in perspective.  Delegate things which do not require your personal attention. Someone else can handle it just fine. Okay, they may not do it your way BUT it will get done.  Does it really matter as long as the end result is the same?  Maybe it is tossing clothes in the washer.  Maybe it is putting labels on the catalogs.  Maybe it is putting out the trash or emptying the dishwasher.  Learning to let go and delegate things has made life less stressful for me which is a plus as some days the health challenges are a struggle.

The last list is the stuff you delete. It is those tasks which serve no important purpose at this time. We all have them.  So, give yourself permission to take them off your to-do list.

The truth is hurrying up or busyness is actually slowing you down. What can you change in order to be more productive?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!