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What do You Think You Need?

Posted by Marko on September 30, 2018 in Off Topic |

If you really want to take complete control of your spending, you must have a very clear understanding of the difference between needs and wants. I suspect you’ve heard this before, and perhaps you already understand the difference, at least on a technical level. But I’ll bet that if you could hear a perpetual recording of yourself, you would find yourself saying “I need fill-in-the-blank” — (something that isn’t a real need at all) — at least once a day. Read more…

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Storms, Guilt and Emergency Preparedness

Posted by Marko on September 22, 2018 in Off Topic |

On Friday night, a wicked storm with winds up to 80mph whipped through the Columbus, OH area where I live. Trees were unrooted like weeds and lawn furniture was tossed around like leaves in the powerful gusts.

We were fortunate to only lose power for a short time, but many others are — and will — be without power until as late at July 9th.

I’m left feeling somewhat guilty about being spared the inconvenience and discomfort of losing power. And I’m realizing how swiftly electric-powered comforts like air conditioning and home-brewed coffee could be swept away.

The past two years have been peppered with my experiences in living with less. But even after paring down substantially in an effort to become more self-sufficient, I realize how utterly dependent I am.

I tend to keep my pantry rather sparse to avoid the possibility of food waste. After the storm on Friday, I decided to stock more non-perishables in my pantry to ensure my kids have some food in the event our refrigerator isn’t powered.

It goes against my minimalist tendencies to stock things I don’t need, but I have to admit that putting those boxes of crackers, bags of oats, dried fruit, sunflower seeds and other non perishable food items in my pantry felt good. It felt safe. Responsible even.

I’m also evaluating what I would need to put together in order to quickly evacuate if we ever needed to get the heck out of dodge in a hurry. After the reality check of the storm Friday night, I’ve decided we’re not prepared.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be putting together the items we would need to keep safe in the event of an emergency, or grab and go if we ever needed to leave our home quickly. Ideally, I would like to have the items in one place so they would be easy to find and fast to grab.

Do you have a plan for an emergency situation? What are your best tips?

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Are You Prepared for an Emergency?

Posted by Marko on September 16, 2018 in Off Topic |

A recent power outage in my area that lasted up to nine days for many people prompted me to begin assembling an emergency kit of sorts. I realized that my family doesn’t keep any nonperishable food, and we never stock extra water. It’s become clear to me that having some basic supplies in case of an emergency is important.

There were so many great suggestions on my last post from many of you about what to keep in case of an emergency. Thank you!

In talking with others, I’ve discovered most everyone keeps some kind of emergency supplies. I know it can get out of hand (my cousin was telling me about her friend that has three years of dehydrated food stored!). But having at least a few days worth of food and water for you and your family just makes good sense. Read more…

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Your Ideal Life

Posted by Marko on September 8, 2018 in Off Topic |

What is your ideal life? How far away is your ideal life from where you are today? What can you do this week to start closing the gap?

For me, the ideal life involves a flexible work schedule that allows for plenty of traveling and time with my family. It also involves doing work I’m passionate about.

What do you love to do? How could you turn your passion into your work? What’s in the way?

Beginning a couple of years ago, my husband and I lowered our living expenses by about 40%. We sold a lot of our crap and used the money to pay down our consumer debts faster. Last August we paid off the last of almost $26,000 in consumer debts. Read more…

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Spend More on the Things You Love

Posted by Marko on September 1, 2018 in Off Topic |

There are many areas in my life where I practice frugality, or just do without. The funny thing is, those areas where I cut back are areas in which I don’t notice any kind of lack. In other words, I never feel like I’m missing out.

For example, we almost never eat out. This is no big deal because I like to cook and have my family gather around the kitchen table for meals. Sure, some nights it would be easier to just order take out, but I enjoy the challenge of making a meal out of what we have on hand. Read more…

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What’s Your Ideal Work Arrangement?

Posted by Marko on August 24, 2018 in Off Topic |

The past few weeks have been a total whirlwind for me. Earlier this month I launched my first e-book, then awaited some changes looming in my full-time job. Late last week, I finally got the news. I am being switched from salary to hourly employment. While the details aren’t finalized, what’s certain is there are going to be some huge changes in my working life. Read more…

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Wow. I Did Not See that Coming

Posted by Marko on August 17, 2018 in Off Topic |

There have been some exciting developments happening in my world lately. A couple of fantastic opportunities I’ve never before considered have presented themselves — and some of them have to do with this blog and my new e-book.

As things take shape, I’ll give you more details. For now I’ll just say, wow. I didn’t see that coming. 🙂

As I work through some of the transitions happening in my working life, I’m finding my time rather pinched. I’m hoping that will change in the coming weeks as well. Read more…

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Why I Love Budgets. And You Should Too!

Posted by Marko on August 7, 2018 in Off Topic |

I’ve always kept a budget, but the method by which I keep track of my spending has evolved over the years. When I first started out, I budgeted by calculating my monthly expenses, and then dividing them by two. I got paid twice each month, so I would deduct half of my monthly expenses from my check register balance each time I got paid. That way, at the end of the month I’d be sure not to spend more than I had available. Doing this enabled me to easily meet all of my financial commitments, while socking away over $40,000 towards the down payment on my house.

I love budgets because they are the road map to organizing our personal finances. They make the journey fun, as they show us how we will successfully arrive at our desired financial destination. Read more…

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Why I Love to Pay Bills

Posted by Marko on July 26, 2018 in Off Topic |

I guess I’m on a “why I love” kick this week. But the title is true. I really do love to pay bills.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t always loved to pay bills. In fact, there was a year-long period after my first son was born that even the thought of paying bills made me feel so overwhelmed that my husband grudgingly took over the task for one full year.

Part the reason I felt so overwhelmed was because having a newborn baby was a far more demanding round-the-clock task than I expected. Another part of the reason was because I was operating a small business (with long, retail hours), from which I hadn’t been drawing a paycheck in over a year and would soon be closing.

Paying bills when you’re — a) exhausted, and b) broke — is NOT fun. Thankfully, my life is much better now.

I have enough money to pay my bills, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband just landed a new job making 62% more than he used to. This definitely offers us some breathing room. Read more…

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Too Many Commitments = Sickness

Posted by Marko on June 19, 2018 in Off Topic |

We try to keep a moderate schedule. My oldest son is typically in one or two extracurricular activities that never require more than a couple of hours one or two evenings each week. This spring, however, we agreed to let my son play soccer.

It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but my son also takes Taekwondo and participates in Cub Scouts. Now, in addition to three days a week for soccer practices and games, he has one Taekwondo session and many weeks he has a Cub Scout commitment as well. Throw in a random evening school concert, art show or skit and my son has an overpacked schedule. Read more…

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