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Valentine’s Day — Can’t Buy Me Love

Posted by Marko on February 14, 2019 in Off Topic |

I have mixed emotions about Valentine’s Day. On the one hand, I love doing a little something special for my husband and children on February 14th. On the other hand, I’m repulsed by the over-commercialization and pressure to overspend on a holiday that should have nothing to do with buying expensive jewelry.

My friend Robert from Untitled Minimalism absolutely nailed it in his post The Secret to Experience Gifts, Valentine’s Edition.

In his post, Robert explains the goal of all gift giving perfectly. As Robert suggests, we all want to present a gift that will create a memory for the recipient. I laughed out loud reading about Robert’s comparison to giving a teddy bear as a gift versus dressing up as a teddy bear and singing “Teddy Bear” by Elvis. Read more…

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What are your simplification and money goals for 2019

Posted by Marko on January 13, 2019 in Off Topic |

I’ve heard many people talking about how they don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I like to use the beginning of each new year to set a few goals. Doing this helps me to work toward aspirations that might otherwise feel overwhelming. Goals help me break down larger dreams into bitable chunks I can tackle with confidence.

This year I plan to work towards the following goals:

  • Remain consumer debt free.
  • Continue to simplify by selling or donating excess possessions.
  • Continue to contribute to our car savings until we have enough saved for Kirk to purchase his next car outright. Currently have $4,892 saved. Our goal is $20,000.
  • Raise the additional principal we pay on our mortgage each month. Currently only paying $20 additional per month. Our goal is to pay an additional $1,000 monthly.
  • Increase the amount we contribute to the kids’ college savings. Currently contributing $50 monthly. Our goal is $300 monthly.
  • Be more intentional and consistent with the message I hope to share at Ex-Consumer.
  • Explore the possibility of going back to work full-time.

Read more…

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Found Money Staring Us in the Face

Posted by Marko on December 27, 2018 in Off Topic |

I’m not sure why we waited so long, but Kirk and I finally refinanced our mortgage to secure a lower interest rate. We have been trying to figure out how to pay off our mortgage sooner, but we didn’t want to lower our retirement contributions to get there.

Refinancing our mortgage allowed us to reduce our interest rate by 1.375%. We went with a 30-year fixed rate loan again, however, we’ll be paying the same amount we were paying before refinancing – even though our new mortgage payment is lower. Read more…

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Do Work You Love

Posted by Marko on December 13, 2018 in Off Topic |

Round and round and back again. It’s been a long time coming, but I finally feel that I’m in a place where I can choose work based on my interests rather than the income. I always dreamed of this place and thought it to be a distant fantasy rather than a reality for me.

Simplifying my life and finances has opened up the opportunity to do any kind of work I want. It’s been both liberating and overwhelming. Sometimes it’s easier to do something because you have to. Read more…

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Unconventional Christmas

Posted by Marko on December 2, 2018 in Off Topic |

I love Christmas. I love the family gatherings, the cookies, the lights and most of all — I love the magic glimmer in children’s eyes as they anticipate the excitement of the holiday season.

When I think back to my favorite Christmas memories from years past, a few things stick out. Like the years my dad would get off from work early on Christmas Eve to take me to feed the animals at a live manger scene. Or listening to my older brother shake jingle bells while screaming, “Ho, ho, ho!” after I’d gone to bed on Christmas Eve night.

I was the youngest of four, so the entire family tried to keep the magic of Santa alive for me as long as possible. For their sake, I pretended to still believe years after I knew the truth.

It’s hard for me to remember many of the gifts that I received. In fact, only two really stick out. The first was the red bed tent my brother gave me for Christmas when I was seven. I was always afraid to sleep at night and that bed tent made me feel so protected. Read more…

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The Most Dreaded Clutter Purge

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

I have a dirty little secret. There is a room in our home that escaped the rampage of purging and downsizing undertaken over the past two years. It’s a room with sentimental clutter, outdated files and memories of a past I wasn’t ready to let go.

The home office.

We’ve decided to turn the space into a media room for our two sons since we no longer use the room. Deciding to repurpose the space has meant that everything now occupying the space needs cleared out. Everything. Wow. Read more…

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Enrichment Activities on a Dime

Posted by Marko on November 15, 2018 in Off Topic |

In the city where I live, there are practically limitless opportunities for children to participate in enrichment activities. There are opportunities to partake in sports of every kind, music lessons, scouting, writing workshops, martial arts training, art classes, science classes, dance lessons, math enrichment and even manners training.

Allowing our children to try all of the things that interest them can get overwhelming pretty quickly.

Have you experienced activity overload? It can get exhausting (and expensive!) taking our son to soccer practices, Taekwondo training and Cub Scout meetings and events. Now he’s begging to take classes on LEGO robotics and computer programming. Read more…

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Thankful for A Perfectly Flawed Life

Posted by Marko on November 6, 2018 in Off Topic |

I’ve never been a fan of white clothes. Not only do they lose their brilliance after several washes in our hard water, but wearing a crisp white shirt always makes me uneasy. White is unforgiving. Unrelenting even.

Like my clothes, I prefer a life enveloped in more forgiving shades of grey as well. It’s better to allow for some lenience as we blaze through our life journey.

Circumstances and people disappoint me far less often when I lower my expectations, practice unconditional acceptance and remain tolerant of differing perspectives and opinions. Expecting perfection will always lead to an illusion of lack. Read more…

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A Change in Daily Routines

Posted by Marko on October 29, 2018 in Off Topic |

It’s been about two months since I quit my full-time job. During this time I’ve been trying to balance freelance projects with a newfound freedom.

When I go though a big change to my daily routine, it typically takes me a few months to reorganize and focus my time. I tend to get overwhelmed when my days dramatically shift.

While I don’t miss working full-time, I do miss the predictability of my days. Read more…

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Tratament pentru copaci

Posted by Marko on October 27, 2018 in Off Topic |

Ingrijirea corecta si regulata a copacilor asigura nu numai o crestere a randamentului, ci, prelungeste si viata copacilor, sustinand aspectul atractiv si sanatatea lor. Pentru acest lucru exista  tratament pentru copaci care este atat de necesar pentru sanatatea gradinii. Mentinerea trunchiului de copac si a ramurilor scheletice principale intr-o stare sanatoasa, asigura longevitatea copacului. Copacii care au trunchiuri deteriorate si ramurile scheletice, sunt mai putin rezistente la inghet, la infrangerea diferitelor boli si daunatori, in timp ce randamentul este redus. Read more…

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