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minimalistic

Making progress πŸ’ͺ🏻

We have been so BUSY! With good stuff!!

Since I last posted…

*We have have paid $12k on my bonus sons student loan πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

*We are in the middle of cash flowing summer vacations

*We have now paid over $35k since we began this journey in November!

INSERT HUGE CELEBRATION HERE

For those of you considering changing your lifestyle, or trying to pay off debt… it CAN be done! It’s crazy how “simple” it is. I put that in quotes because it is HARD work and dedication like none other but the principals are simple.

On my Instagram page (moneyonmymind02) you can follow more up to date progress. I encourage you to follow financial pages (debt free hashtags, frugal, etc) as I have found this to be a huge source of encouragement. What’s crazy though are the {dare I say} cat fights I occasionally see in regards to Dave Ramsey’s plan versus the avalanche method. In DR’s plan you pay smallest to biggest whereas the avalanche goes by highest interest rate. I’ve watched people call DR fans “cult members” and I’ve seen others bash the avalanche method for not doing it right πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

I always chime in and say it is YOUR journey! We started with the snowball plan due to having small debts that we wanted done quickly. That made sense! But then we jumped over to the avalanche method to knock out a high interest credit card. Here’s the deal- follow whichever plan you want! Mix it up! If you are intentional in your finances and are slashing through debt– who cares what plan you are on?? I’ve seen people start with automobiles and leave small debts waiting. For them it made sense to knock those out first. Who am I to judge?

Start somewhere. We took some HUGE leaps and dumped a lot of monthly bills to get going fast. Not everyone can or wants to so that! (Lemme tell ya… I don’t miss cable but I do miss my cleaning lady! 😭😭) Do what works for YOU!

We’ve made some major progress. We are working towards pre-paying (I guess you’d say) our summer trips. So this month there’s no “snowball” so to speak but we still have a plan and that is the most important part.

Anyone knew to the journey? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

And an additional $265

I’ve posted previously about saving over $600 a month by cutting back, literally cutting the cord, and making some phone calls.

And as you know from reading here I decided to downsize my car. Trading my car meant notifying my insurance company so that they could make the change of vehicle to my policy.

Well…

Between the car payment lowering, insurance going down, and the HUGE gas mileage difference… we have saved an addition $265 per month! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

$868.25 is our new monthly savings total! Talk about that debt snowball growing tremendously in just a few short months!! I am SO excited!!

Couple of things to note:

You CAN do it too! You may think you don’t have enough to cut but I assure you there are at least SOME changes you could make. Get specific with your bills and make some phone calls.

You CAN keep it up. I’ve had several emails from readers asking if I can REALLY do this long term. Here’s the deal– I can and I will! There are two reasons I can say that with confidence.

big

1. I have a “big picture” in mind. I know the purpose behind the madness. I know with every penny I pinch I am ONE step closer to obtaining this goal.

2. I allow LOTS of room for fun! Whether it’s using our “fun” money to go see a movie or spending hours walking around my favorite resale shop to find some deals… I allow the room for that! I look for bargains and I try my hardest to stretch every dime but I still get to do fun stuff! (That costs actual money) Life doesn’t feel THAT different than before except that I’m watching balances decrease. And that is a beautiful thing!

Keep going!! You can do it! πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Thanks for reading!

For Now,

Cara Roxanne

What I learned from a 21 day social media fast

1. It wasn’t as hard as I anticipated it being

Like I was pretty freaked out thinking it was going to be so difficult! I pumped myself up with pep talks. And then-BOOM! The day came to give it up and it wasn’t that bad. Then it became super easy. And now I’m debating on social media moving forward.

2. Facebook will email you if you take a break

It’s insane! I got emails from Facebook that said “______ just updated their status.” “_____ added a new photo”. I think FB was freaking out that I was like dead or something.

3. No one noticed I was gone

I guess I shouldn’t say that. But the truth is that the people I most closely “follow” {makes me sound like a stalker} are people I see or talk to on a regular basis. I did hop onto FB and instagram this morning and after about 30 seconds on each, I shut it down. I realized that I felt overwhelmed by all the photos, words and videos. I have NOT missed that. But my point is that the world kept on going. People continued to live their lives and post about it. No harm in that! But was my social media presence truly missed? Not at all. That’s something to chew on, isn’t it?

4. We are a vain society aren’t we?

Over the past 21 days I have taken less photos. I still went and did some cool stuff but I didn’t document it by a photo. Isn’t that strange? Perhaps it is because I wasn’t going to be posting it for others? That is sad! It hit me that we as a society are kinda vain. Gosh- that includes me!! I don’t like having that realization.

5. I felt less stressed

Mentioned above, but it is so true! I didn’t feel pressure to check in to a restaurant. I wore less makeup. Perhaps because I wasn’t going to be posting any pics? I’m sure you are well away of our “frugal” lifestyle and financial changes. We had several days that we STAYED HOME! Didn’t go and do anything special. Just legit played board games and watched Hulu reruns. If I had been on social media on those days [i feel strongly] I would have felt down. I would have seen other families/couples out doing cool stuff while we sat at home vowing not to spend a dime. I would have felt pressure AND temptation to get off track. Talk about stress!

6. I take less pictures

That part makes me sad. I did take a few–I’m still ME! But not near as many as I would have without the hiatus from social media. We went with our friends on a hike in the National Park here in Hot Springs. It was cold, but perfect at the same time. We all stopped and watched a chipmunk for a few minutes. I had never seen one that close! I chose not to document it with photos. {regretting that now}. But the point is that I just experienced it. There’s a lot to be said for that.

7. We use social media for everything!!

I was trying to remember the name of a store I love down on the River Market in Little Rock. We went there yesterday and stayed the night {on hotel points! Promise!!} yesterday and I wanted to run into my store. I knew I followed them on Instagram but couldn’t recall the name. Man- we use social media for so much!! One of the places we went had a sign for a discount if you “check in” on Facebook. I wasn’t buying anything so it was fine but even discounts come through social media!

8. Traffic on my blog was down

Without the occasional “here’s my new post” on social media, I saw a slight decline in traffic. Kinda hurt my feelings! Like come on- I have to remind you to read this?? (Totally Jk) Social media CAN be a good thing!

9. I kinda enjoyed the privacy

It was interesting to realize that no one knew what was going on in my life. And I liked it! Social media provides open doors for conversations such as “how was dinner last night? We’ve been wanting to go there.” That type of stuff happens to me a lot. And I love it because I love people and it provides small talk and open doors for friendships. But it was pretty darn nice to know that we were just doing our thing without anyone really knowing where we were. (That sounds like we were doing something bad. Can’t figure out how to better word thatπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ)

10. My return will be different

I don’t think I abuse social media but I definitely am a “post too much” kinda woman. I don’t mean to me!! We do fun stuff. We go cool places. My child is just so cute and says the funniest things! I’m USED to posting on a super regular basis. But now that I’ve had a break… it’s going to be different. I haven’t decided my new “rules” but I’m praying and mulling them over. I so enjoy keeping up with people. My family is scattered and I enjoy seeing their photos. Makes me feel like I’m apart of their lives even though we are far apart. I was telling my husband on the way home this morning that “I’ve literally spent hours of my life looking through peoples photos and they were people I didn’t even like in high school! Why do I do that!!??” It’s a distraction. If I have felt stressed or been bored I have grown accustomed to hopping on social media. No more. I realize how much time I have wasted that I will never get back.

It was difficult not having social media during the Golden Globes, Oprah’s statements that eluded to her running for President, the Government shutdown!! I mean that was super tough! But the bottom line– no one REALLY cares what my opinions are on issues like that. And if they DO care they will probably reach out and ASK me! The feelings I experienced while not being on social media taught me a lot more than these 10 things. What a good lesson that was for me.

What are your thoughts on social media? Have you ever taken a break before? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Biggest wastes of my money in 2017

I shouldn’t do this to myself… but in the 12 hours I spent in the car over the past week I had a lot of free time. I came up with several purchases I made that I totally regret. Care to join in? These are NO specific order.

1. Cable

I literally watch (or rather listen from a distance) about 20 minutes worth of GMA while I’m getting ready in the mornings. I hear just enough to know the latest stunt our president has pulled and catch the high temp for the day. In the evenings we watch Netflix OR reruns of “Everybody loves Raymond” or “Friends.” How ridiculous is that?? We have our shows for sure… but they ALL show up on Hulu the next day!! It’s crazy. I figured up we spent over $1500 this year on Dish Network.

2. Oil changes at the same dealership.

Thankfully I didn’t make this mistake ALL year. {this may not be the case in all states/all dealerships} My first oil change was free but they told my husband I needed a tire rotation as well. Let’s just say that rotation MORE than made up for the price of that “free” oil change. I purchased the extended warranty so I knew that keeping up with the maintenance was crucial but I also did my research and discovered as long as I can prove that I had the work done in a timely manner then it did not have to be from the dealership where I purchased. So- you see a local shop advertising oil changes for $20– go for it!! You get a coupon in the mail for $10 tire rotation- take them up on it. Just KEEP THE PAPERWORK!!!

3. Pedicures

This one is hard to admit. But I did spend a LOT of money on my toes this year. I love doing a mom/daughter date at the nail salon. And on a rare occasion I am okay with this. But I didn’t do it rarely this year– I did it OFTEN! When I began adding it up I felt sick at my stomach. I have sensed purchased a nice pumus stone to buff my own feet and have spent time looking up which essential oils can be applied to help with hard/cracked heels and toes. I can’t say I will not splurge on a pedicure in 2018 but I CAN guarantee it will not be often.

4. Monat

I had several friends selling Monat and I dove in. Why not? For some there were dramatic results. But for me, well, I have pretty good hair. I use good conditioner purchased at a discount and I allow my hair a break from heat (drying, curling, straightening) so my hair not what you call “damaged.” I spent over $180 dollars this year on the products and I cannot tell a difference. Not knocking the products at all! Just saying that for ME it was a waste. I will say this… when I realized I was not getting the results I expected {and I can’t even tell you WHAT I expected} I stopped using it daily and now use it once a week. It will last longer this way AND I feel like I’m still getting use out of it.

5. Cheap essential oils

Yes they WERE cheap, but I basically paid for things to smell good. I had a hard time spending the money (initially) for nice oils {like plant therapy, Do Terra, etc} but in turn I wasted nearly $100 this year on brands that were not true essential oils. Don’t get me wrong- it was HARD to pay for nice oils but at least I knew what I was getting!! To put it simply- if you are using a diffuser/oils to make your house smell like peppermint and that’s it– save your money and buy cheap! If you are wanting healing properties and wanted to ingest/ put on your skin, buy true oils from a trusted company! And if Young Living or DoTerra is out of your price range look up Plant Therapy. They are a trusted company who has super reasonable prices. [no one is paying me to say this!!! This is my opinion only]

And I’ll say this… I’m not throwing away my cheap oils. They can still be used to make the house smell yummy. Just this morning I used the type of candle that holds a tea light and has a place for oil/wax on top. I poured some of my cinnamon bark on the top and lit that candle. I just won’t be using those oils to add to my bath or rub on my skin. I’m working hard and not being wasteful!!

6. Organization and the tools to achieve it

I spent so much time, energy and money attempting to become organized in 2017. The problem with that is this… I didn’t need to get organized– I needed LESS stuff! All the labels, bins, tubs, calendars and compartments were (mainly) a WASTE. It didn’t hit me until the end of the year that I was never going to organize ALL THIS STUFF! I just simply needed less. Once I began my overhaul my life become easier and {surprise surprise} instantly more organized. It doesn’t take time and energy to organize less because well, there is an automatic organization that comes with less. Giving away, donating and trashing– all of which cost nothing has gotten me more organized in NO time!

Donate what will help you out with taxes! We had some furniture that we were done with. That was worth donating and getting the tax deductible form.

The mismatched socks were tossed. The worn out rags were tossed. Served no purpose-tossed!!!! That was easy!

The clothes that were in good shape were given to a friend who welcomes hand-me-downs or mailed to my sister.

The bottom line is that I quit focusing on getting organized and started working towards having LESS.

7. Subscriptions

I no longer get any magazines! Well, I say that. My mom got me a Southern Living subscription for Christmas but that was a gift. But I no longer pay for magazines or any other subscription such as Ipsy or FabFitFun. Here’s the deal… magazine articles are 99% online. I would get a magazine in the mail and then hop on Facebook and see half of the articles (the big ones) were free online. Unfortunately over half of what I got in my FabFitFun was nothing I wanted. I gave some away and the rest was stashed in my closet. It either wasn’t my color or wasn’t even my style. Sure it felt like a “bargain” in that the price was $60 per month and the value was substantially more BUT it’s not a bargain if you don’t need it!! I’ve made the best of it (re-gifted, saved for later) but that bad boy is cancelled. As far as Ipsy goes, it’s just $10 a month but a large portion of the products I didn’t care for. What I did like I have saved and even have a set of makeup places in my overnight bag just waiting on trips. But all in all it was a waste of $120 this year.

2017 was a year of growth for me. A lot happened and big changes took place. And while graduating with my Masters was a huge accomplishment, the change I’m most proud of his year is my attitude towards stuff and having a clearer view of what I want for my life. And that my friends is priceless

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Waste not, want not

I hate WASTE!

It makes me sick to my stomach to dump out a half a can of Sprite that I find upstairs. Like, in all honesty, it bugs me 1000% more than it should. I really wish I didn’t get bugged by waste as much as I do… but I just do. (ANYONE else that way??)

Last week I decided to try Emeals. {Link added for YOUR benefit. They aren’t paying me}. It was recommended by Dave Ramsey [whom I have a love/hate relationship with] and since he recommends that you not spend a dime EVER, I figured it was worth looking into. It’s actually pretty cool! You pick your “Style” so to speak and from that comes a list of 7 meals with <BEST PART EVER> a grocery list!! HALLELUJAH! I couldn’t turn down this opportunity to save money, have 7 new recipes to try and a grocery list premade for me. So far I have cooked 2 meals and they were fantastic!!

But here’s the kicker… yesterday I walked in the kitchen after church and one of the Roma tomatoes that I had to buy for a recipe was covered in mold. {insert scary emoji}I instantly felt that sick feeling from knowing I had wasted something!!! UGH!!! Not only did I waste something but now when it is time to cook THAT meal that required THAT tomato… I have to go BACK to the store.

Why God, WHY?!?!?!?!?!

Ok so I will attempt to turn down the drama. But here’s the deal… I don’t like wasting things and I am reaching out for YOUR help. In this scenario of the veggies going bad before I could use them… what do I do?

  1. Go to the grocery every few days?
  2. Freeze stuff?? (I mean can you freeze tomatoes?)
  3. Quit cooking healthy meals
  4. Have Amazon prime deliver veggies (do they DO that?)
  5. Just get over it….

Wasting stuff MAKES. ME. CRAZY. And nobody needs a crazy lady on their hands.

Having good intentions of saving money, time, cooking healthy meals, etc., gets RUINED when things go to waste. How do YOU do it? Please and THANK YOU!

A frustrated lover of NOT wasting things,

Cara Roxanne

Where do we even begin?

“Where do we even begin?”

These were the words I mumble often. *SIGH*

I always feel like I don’t know where to start. I get these wild hairs {either from being on Pinterest too much, or visiting a friend, or just being tired of what I am looking at} to do a project but then I become so overwhelmed that I don’t ever do it.

*FACE PALM*

For years I have been into the idea of Minimalism. But I like to call it “Minimalism BC”. BC stands for “BY CARA”. This means I have taken the whole concept, read all the books, read all the blogs, researched, what the documentary on Netflix, and then come up with my very won version of Minimalism. The problem is…

IT IS LIKE A DIET!

If you don’t stick with it, plan thoroughly and pay CLOSE attention to what you are doing you will quickly find yourself off track. You will be lost somewhere stuffing a burger in your face, or in my case, hoarding with pride my 56 bottles of shampoo. {I love shampoo, y’all. It’s like my thing. Isn’t that strange?}

YOU MUST STAY FOCUSED

So where do you start? That’s a good question. As a therapist I know that I can’t tell someone to start but I can rephrase the question: Where DO you want to start? Or to spice it up…Where do YOU want to start? [See what I did there? Best part of being a therapist is answering questions with a question. It’s my fav.]

I WANT TO START OVER

I did good for so long and then I got busy. Legit busy. I went back to school, went back to work, had more income and therefore wasn’t as careful, and I got lazy. It became easier to just go buy a bag of socks than it would have been to dump out my drawer and look for it’s mate. {Again- face palm.}

So that’s just it– i’m starting over. I had on my list of errands to run the other day “buy socks” for my child. On my way to the store I literally said out loud “WHAT AM I DOING??” If she has more than one pair of socks I do NOT need to buy more. Truth is she probably has 57 pair of socks I just haven’t taken the time to look through all of them and pair them up or toss them out. It’s not the price of the socks that I need to be concerned about here. Dropping $8 on a bag of socks isn’t going to kill me, but it would just have been MORE in an already cram packed chest of drawers.

I NEED A REFRESHER

Maybe you are new to the idea of living on less. {And I don’t mean money– i mean STUFF!} Maybe you are like me and have done really good for a long time but just got busy. Or lazy. Or both. We can DO THIS! This isn’t the first time that I have needed a refresher so for what it’s worth… here’s my refresher.

Side note… Read “The 100 Thing Challenge”. It is amazing! And a great place to start. This guy chose 100 things to keep, I choose 46,000 but the bottom line is- it had an impact on what I kept.

  1. Don’t buy anything!!! Do not buy ONE single thing {except food, duh!} until you have gone through the process. Pay your bills, put gas in your car and food in your bellies and that’s it. Maybe that will motivate you to work through this process faster. It took me 3 months the first time.
  2. Start one room at a time, closet at a time and drawer at a time. Go through everything you own!!! Get rid of what you don’t want, keep what you do. And if you keep it make sure you will either use it or has some type of sentimental value. As for what you don’t keep- sell it, donate it or give it away. Get it out of your house.
  3. I had a hard time getting rid of a whole bunch of t-shirts. My thought here was that even though I didn’t wear them all, but I knew over time I would. So I kept 7 t-shirts out and put the rest in my attic. So when these wear out I have a whole (semi) brand-new stash to pull out. This means I won’t have to go BUY anything else but they will feel new to me. Use this to apply to anything! Don’t wanna throw dish towels out but don’t need 14 in your drawer? Put the rest away. When you need them, you have them but your drawers are less cluttered and not stuffed to the brim.
  4. If it stays in your closet, WEAR IT! If it stays in the cabinet-cook with it. If you realize at the end of this project that you haven’t used something Β you kept, get ready to say goodbye!
  5. Don’t be crazy. This is my last refresher step for now. Last year I decided to take a bunch of DVD’s to the game store my daughter trades in games at. I was so pumped about clearing off a shelf and getting a little extra dough to spend towards a DS game for the kiddo. Well… they wanted to give me 1 cent for each. Now some would say “TAKE THE PENNY AND RUN”. I said no thanks. It wasn’t worth it to me. Don’t sell something you know you will regret getting rid of. And dang sure don’t sell it for a dollar. This is meant to be methodical and planned out to make YOUR life is easier. Not cost more later on.

Make sense? What are your tips for living a more simple life? I’d love to hear them!!! roxyrambles02@gmail.com is the quickest way to catch me or comment below.

I am getting started TODAY on my appropriately named “Spring Fling”. I’ll post an update soon.

Thanks for reading,

Cara Roxanne

Seriously… UNenroll me!!!

“You’ve Got Mail”

That sound makes me happy. People make fun of me (like literally I have had people laugh at me) because I still use AOL. I use AOL for 3 reasons.

  1. I have used it for so long I can’t remember life without AOL
  2. It talks to me (You’ve got mail)
  3. It is SO simple

{Side Note… Most of my posts will have 3 points. I was raised Baptist. I can’t help it. Three points are our thing}

My email chimes at me a lot or reminds me I have mail very often. 98.4% of the time (yes that was made up on the spot as most statistics are) it is junk. But GOOD junk! Emails like “75% today only” and “One Day ONLY” sale emails, and reminders of upcoming sales at Victoria’s Secret. So while it truly is JUNK email in that it’s not a personal email, it is “Good” junk. Those good junk emails have cost me so much money through the years.

I believe in “Big Brother” and I swear he listens to us too. Inevitably every SINGLE time I talk to my husband about finances and saving money, or pray that God will bless our finances and help us be wise with our money, that ol’ familiar sound of “You’ve Got Mail” comes blaring through my computer only to inform me of a Buy 1 Get 1 sale that I just cannot resist.

mail

So… I did something that was very VERY hard for me. Like literally almost made me sick to do it. I unenrolled. (And apparently that is so NOT a word because my computer has the red line underneath it). I went to unroll.me and did just that. It took a long time because somehow I am signed up to get every advertisers email EVER, but I did it.

My email talks to me less nowadays. I no longer wake up to an average of 30 emails each morning that are our mainly emails informing me of where I can “save money” today. BUT– my savings account thanks me. Β I didn’t WANT to do it. But I needed to.

I cannot begin to tell you the times that I would be at home working on school work with a day (planned) to be filled with cleaning, organizing, getting rid of, etc, and that trusty ol’ “You’ve Got Mail” would have me out the door in 10 minutes flat to go get my bargains!! Isn’t that sad? It speaks volumes to my lack of determination even when I would harp on being determined to be smarter with my finances. It speaks volumes of the level of consumerism I have. (hopefully I can move this past tense soon). I would justify it to myself because HONESTLY most of those trips I left the house for so quickly were to buy things for someone else. (Children’s Place gets me EVERY. SINGLE.TIME. with their “huge savings.”) But…spending money is spending money. No matter who it is for. I had to come to grips with that.

I wish unroll.me was paying me to write this post, but they aren’t. This isn’t a shameless plug to get $10 in my blogger money account, this is a post to be very candid and frank about the steps I personally had to take to calm down my spending and increase my savings. You would think at 31 years old I would be able to just delete the email, but acknowledging the problem is half the battle…RIGHT? {Please someone say YES!!!!}

So check it out. Know yourself. Know what triggers you to spend money that you don’t have or shouldn’t be spending. For me, this was a huge step in the right direction.

For now,

Roxy

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