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…


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…


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…


Take this Job and Shove It!

Posted by Marko on June 12, 2018 in Off Topic |

Okay, so it didn’t go quite like that. But I did quit my job. Last Friday was my final day.

It wasn’t a sudden decision. I had been planning to leave for months. A change in company ownership created a new atmosphere in which I didn’t care to participate. But the reasons I left aren’t nearly as important as the circumstances that allowed me to make the leap.

If you’ve been following along for awhile, you probably know what I’m about to say. Read more…


Temporarily Unsettled

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

Warning! This post might get a little deep. If you’re not into the whole meaning of life question, you’ll probably want to skip this one.

Still with me? OK, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m at a crossroads in my life. It’s one of those big forks that makes you reflect back over where you’ve been and look ahead to where you’re going. It’s a time to decide what I have in my life that’s working, and what can be thrown away. Read more…


To Write or Not to Write

Posted by Marko on May 28, 2018 in Off Topic |

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet over here. I spent the last week taking a much needed digital break. It helps to get away from the hyper-connectedness of the digital world every once in awhile. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend a digital break.

My family and I took a planned trip to Captiva Island, FL last week. Kirk and I decided to leave our laptops behind and let me tell you — it was fantastic. I didn’t check email. I didn’t check Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

I watched Manatees swimming in the bay. I experienced two of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. I swam with my kids and even relaxed a little by the pool. It was blissful. Read more…


Letting go

Posted by Marko on May 20, 2018 in Off Topic |

When we find ourselves in the midst of a crisis, it can be difficult to let go of our current circumstances and jump into the unknown. Sometimes clinging to the familiar — no matter how painful — is more comfortable than exploring the unfamiliar.

Today I want to invite you to become uncomfortable.

If you’re already unhappy with the current circumstances in which you find yourself, what’s the worst that could happen if you take a step in a more harmonious direction? What are you most afraid of? Read more…


Advertising Messages and You

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

Think back to the last time you picked up a magazine or catalog and walked away from it feeling better about yourself. If you’re having a hard time remembering such a time, you’re not alone. The only way you would likely feel better about yourself is if you purchased a product you “discovered” by reading said magazine or catalog.

What if you made the conscious decision to stop browsing magazines? Is it possible that you would miss out on the lastest and greatest thing you never knew you always needed? Would you walk around in the “wrong” color eyeshadow or shoes?

What about television commercials? And radio advertisements? Would you miss out if you decided to skip those as well? Read more…


Personal Finance in Personal Relationships

Posted by Marko on May 5, 2018 in Off Topic |

Sometimes I have to stop and realize that not all people feel comfortable discussing personal finances. I’ve always enjoyed discussing money matters, but this may be because I feel that money management is separate from a person’s character.

Unless someone is intentionally being dishonest, learning to properly manage money is typically just about learning how.

I recently learned that a young man I’m close to is planning to move out on his own soon.

His mom called to tell me about his plans to leave the family nest. She said that she asked him to meet with me first before moving out to get a budget together. Read more…


Making Cold Process Soap

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

As most of you know, I enjoy making everyday items myself. I like to know what goes into the products I’m using to clean our home and bodies, along with the food we’re eating. And by making most of my own food, cleaning products and some personal care items, I’m able to be creative while making consumable items that won’t clutter up my house.

Kate, a reader, recently turned me on to cold process soap making. I have to admit, I haven’t been this excited about something or had so much fun creating in quite some time. Read more…

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