Lifestyle Choices

This is going to be one of the hardest topics yet to cover at a very high level and also my first mention of FIRE in my writings (financial independence retire early). My goal is just to inform you of two choices and get you rethinking, especially if you feel like you don’t have choices and are stuck in your current financial position. I am by no means claiming to be an expert on the topic or to get into the HOW in this post. I have just dabbled with both lifestyles mentioned and I feel like there are not enough people (especially women) who are thinking about or providing information on the topic..so looks like you are stuck with me. 😜

The above picture is the best way I could summarize the concept of lifestyle creep. For now, as mentioned, this is just to introduce you to the topic, so I have a few stats and thought provoking questions to hopefully do so.

First..the stats tell an alarming story. I recently read in this USA Today article https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/34378157 that the average household is bringing in around $75,000 annually, and of that, they are spending 90% of it, which equates to $67,500 outgoing and only around $7,500 extra annually. (which the article states a lot of this is going towards interest payments on consumer debt). This breaks down to $5,625 in expenses each month and $625 extra. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room and helps paint a picture as to why people aren’t putting anything or very little towards saving, investing, emergency funds and retirement. 😳

Essentially pointing out that people are living a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. I don’t know that this was a surprise to any of us, but it may be a surprise that people are making the choice everyday with their actions and spending habits to live this way. Disclaimer that there are people living in poverty, so for the sake of my post, I am referring to the middle class mentioned above.

Now on to the questions. Feel free to answer in comments if you want to share, or just answer to yourself or as an internal conversation or with your significant other. Keep it real because denial is a great way to protect yourself from the truth right now, but long term in fact it just ends up hurting you more.

1) Are you living paycheck to paycheck like the scenario mentioned above?

2) Have you noticed that no matter what you do, you just can’t get ahead?

3) Do you receive regular raises or have you changed jobs to make additional money over the course of your career, yet you aren’t seeing a difference in your monthly budget after expenses because they always seem to match what’s coming in?

4) Do you ever pay attention to how much you spend on conveniences like pre-made food, someone to mow your lawn, someone to clean that big house, someone to wash that new car, someone to groom your dog, someone to do your hair/nails/makeup, etc because you are too busy working to do these things?

5) Have you ever wondered why things are like this for you and probably a lot of people you know, yet it’s still a taboo topic to discuss money, so everyone just keeps working harder and staying in the vicious cycle mentioned above?

6) What will happen if you change nothing and keep following this path?

Please reference the above picture as you are going through these questions to see if lifestyle creep has found a way to creep into your life. Remember..be honest.

Next, know that there is another option. As mentioned above, lifestyle creep is a choice and I’ve said this so many times on purpose. So many think they have no choice unless they make more money and this is far from the truth.

Lifestyle creep is a path that many in our society have walked and not challenged until recent years. Here are some questions to ask yourself and see if you’re one of those ready to challenge the traditional path and choose a different way.

1) What upsets you the most about always being broke and living paycheck to paycheck?

2) How has constantly feeling stressed from working so much and not having any money to show for it affected you?

3) What are your values and what are you spending your money on? Do they line up?

4) What are your passions and what do you dream about doing?

5) What could change if you have an open mind and put in the work, I mean really put in the work, to change your current financial path and mindset? Think of one quick and easy way you can change today.

6) What will happen if you start to live a lifestyle designed by you instead of others?

As mentioned, a lot of people have started looking at the above stats and questions, and are starting to make the decision to customize their lifestyle based on their own unique values, not what society tells them to value. Spoiler alert..it’s not through making more money as mentioned above..it has never been about that. It’s about a lifestyle of being content with only those things that bring you value. Luckily, it usually don’t cost anything at all, just the basics needed like food, shelter, experiences and none of the extra crap. 😊

Don’t get this lifestyle design twisted with a life of going without, because it’s actually the opposite of that. You have room for so much more when you let go of stupid shit.

Well..shocker..I have lots more to say but I’ve said enough for one day. What are your thoughts or questions on the two different paths mentioned above?

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My biggest financial mistake

Y’all might want to grab some popcorn. 🍿 I promise you will experience a wide range of emotions when reading this, including disappointment, anger, humiliation, sadness, confusion, and hope. At minimum, some good laughs as you get a glimpse into one of my biggest financial mistakes EVER.

I still remember 18 year old me getting my first car back at the turn of the century. πŸ‘΅ I remember it to the day..because it was on September 11, 2001. I became the proud owner of a 1997 Geo Prizm that I signed up to get a loan on, and since I couldn’t get the loan on my own, my boyfriend co-signed for me. 😳 I was a full time college student and was working part time delivering pizza and taking the max in student loans that I could. πŸ• I remember my car payment being $225 and my car insurance being just as much. So I was paying $450 just for my car and insurance. That Geo started me on the road to bad choices..so buckle up and come along for the bumpy ride. 🀣

When that boyfriend and I had a bad breakup two years later (shocker), I wanted him out of my life completely. Now that I had two years of payments, I really showed him by walking into a dealership and buying a brand new 2003 Chevy Cavalier off the showroom floor with..wait for it..ground effects. πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ Everyone please take a minute and reread that and laugh WITH me. It’s best to get a visual, so imagine me delivering pizza to you. But stay with me..it gets even better. I rolled in a few thousand bucks from that Geo Prizm that I traded in because I was “upside down” on that loan. My payment was now $364 a month and I can’t remember insurance cost, because I likely blacked that out of my memory.

I somehow still had friends for the two years I drove that thing around, so thank you to those who stuck with me through the hard times. πŸ‘­ Luckily my brother was driving that thing one day and totaled it. (don’t worry..he was fine) Also lucky me that the dealership saw nothing but dollar signs on my naive ass and sold me GAP coverage, along with everything else they sold. So I was now free and clear of that additional $10,000 that I was “upside down” in with car and old boyfriend baggage. 🧳

This is the part where you started fresh..right..Mindy..right..please tell me..oh geez. One may have taken that clear break as a sign. I took it as a sign to get that SUV with the third row I always wanted..as a single full time college student..still delivering pizza and now also working another job at a video store just to get by. πŸ™„ The year was 2005 and that 2001 Dodge Durango cost me $293 a month, and I’m still blocking insurance costs out, but we can assume around $125. I eventually got a job that was an hour commute, and this was when gas was $4 a gallon, so I was basically working for free. But that job also introduced me to the coworker who heard my bitching about money on the daily and sponsored me starting the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace classes at her church.

What do you all think I did next? What would Dave had done? πŸ€”

Stay tuned for Part 2..

This is us

I thought with all the new followers, it’s a good time to re-introduce the magic behind mysemibasiclife (you read that right..I totally referred to myself as the magic). To celebrate, my daughter humored me with a photo shoot, and my favorite was one of the bloopers. 😜

Sometimes life is more about what happens behind the scenes, between the β€œperfect” pictures, when you’re trying to pose and get the best lighting, hide that lazy eye, those wrinkles and those frizzy grey hairs. She captured all of these things, all of my imperfections, including crows feet I didn’t even know were there. How fitting to show my imperfections to all of you who have been following along on my imperfect journey to financial freedom. This is me..always laughing at my own jokes, never taking things too seriously, currently staring off into space like only a true dreamer can do. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

This is the entire family that puts up with my latest crazy schemes, understands the bigger picture behind those crazy schemes, sometimes appreciates my hilariously witty comments and penny pinching ways, and packs in the car with me for that fifth trip to the library in a two day period. πŸ˜‚

You weren’t there for the early years, the dark debt days 😬 where we were living beyond our means and got ourselves into a financial spot where all of our paychecks were going towards debt. But you have now followed along as we ditched the debt, got rid of car payments and paid our last student loan off, which puts us at a grand total of $165,000 in consumer debt paid off!! You’re following as I am feeling weak, but holding strong and halfway through my #nospendyear. You followed along as we bought our first rental property and are following along now as we now search for the next one. πŸ‘€

We are excited to continue sharing our life after debt journey, including our ever changing goals, working on growing our net worth, celebrating the success, overcoming the setbacks, and the blood, sweat and tears along the way as we define what financial independence looks like for our family. πŸ”₯

Enough about us though..I want to hear from you..what’s your story? What topics that I’ve covered have helped or would help you along your journey?

What questions do you have for me?

πŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸΌπŸ‘‡πŸΌ

New Year…New..Furnace?!

I slept in gloves last night.  I wrapped up my kids into blanket burritos and hoped I would find them frostbite free this morning.  Were we camping?  Why else would I do these things you ask?  Well, the time was 8:00 p.m. on January f’ing 1st, 2019 when the alien mothership decided to land on our house.  The sounds, the coldness, the anticipation of finally getting chosen for abduction that filled our house on a blistering hot 20 degree night, the first day of the f’ing New Year.  When I noticed no aliens entering the house to take me back for probing, Matt investigated and determined it was actually the furnace.  The 20 year old furnace that nobody was “planning” to go out.  So, of course the earliest we can get our new “super affordable” furnace is tomorrow (air quotes sometimes equal sarcasm in my writing).  Fast forward to 5:07 p.m. on January f’ing 2nd, 2019 and my car decided to join in on the “fun”.  There is now a super awesome message it keeps telling me that blah blah chassis error and blah blah AWD error, so that’s gotta be good news right?

What do the two totally real life stories above make you wonder?  How is she going to pay for that after just coming off the holidays, property taxes, HOA dues, vet bills, etc. etc.?  Well..”she” is wondering the same damn thing right now (huddled next to her fake fireplace with fuzzy gloves on).  If it happened to you, would you be able to cover it?  Yes I’m getting at an emergency fund and yes I’m slightly lecturing you.  I have heard that anywhere from 40-50% of people don’t even have enough saved to cover a $1,000 emergency.  And let’s just say..that won’t even begin to cover “her” problems listed above. 

If you fall into the 40-50% statistic above (I won’t tell anyone), how would you handle life’s emergencies or unplanned expenses that have to be fixed before your burrito babies freeze?  Don’t worry, you can keep them in the burrito for about 48 hours, so you have a few days to get your funds gathered.  But if you only have a piggy bank to steal from one of your burrito babies, then maybe you should make this a focus of yours this January. 

How can you get $1,000 in an account that is liquid?! 

  1. Make it something you don’t have to do and you don’t miss by having your employer automatically put back $100 out of each paycheck into a separate savings account (If you can swing it then it will take just 5 months to get there.  Do more or less depending on your individual situation). 
  2. Sell your junk on FB or out of your garage or wherevs..the kind of junk people want to buy of course, and you would be surprised.  Go look around right now and tell me you can’t scrape together a few hundred bucks from random stuff you’re no longer using? 
  3. Save your tax return instead of “investing” in that new 60″ plasma flatscreen t.v.
  4. Cut expenses or increase income (these seem like no brainers, but could easily be covered by several posts in the future..spoiler alert)
  5. Don’t stop at $1,000!  Once you get it, make sure you celebrate and keep on going.  Most people will tell you that you should be able to cover 3-9 months of expenses with your emergency fund.  It’s your life though, so you decide what works best for you. 

Lastly, please send gloves and blankets our way πŸ˜‰