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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Friendship is free

Long sappy post ahead..so here’s the cliff notes if you don’t have the time or energy to read the full post: Don’t be a dick..instead be a good friend

Full sappy version below and feel free to grab some tissues if you’re feeling your emotions today and ready for some self reflection:

I have regrets that I haven’t made spending time with all of my friends a priority like they deserve. I’m so lucky to have so many close friends that I have met over the years and have no excuses for being too busy to reach out, even just a simple text or just something..anything. It’s so easy to say we are busy and we will hang out next week, which turns into next month, which turns into next year. And then, just like that, last week, last month, and last year are gone..the time is gone. So here I am reflecting on those choices.

I have several friends going through some difficult times in their lives right now. Their struggles are all so different, and I just wish so hard I could do more for each and every one of them. I wish I could take the pain away and just tell some of my hilarious jokes, make a fool out of myself with some sweet Mindy dance moves, and just like that, it’s all wiped away and replaced with a big smile and we are laughing so hard we are crying. But sometimes those tears have to fall and they can’t always be from laughing too hard.

We have all gone through something challenging, something we didn’t know we could get through at the time, or maybe we are currently, or we will in the future at some point. There is absolutely no way we can avoid the crazy shit life is going to throw our way and a lot of times we have no choice but to lean into it.

That’s where our true friends come in. To be there as a light in the dark, to be that shoulder to cry on, to be that person to help pick us up when we’ve fallen and don’t think we can get up on our own.

Value those true friends if you are fortunate enough to be going through good times in your lives right now. Meet up for dinner, call them to say hello, send them flowers on a random Tuesday afternoon. Just show them. Don’t wait until the difficult times to be there for them. Do it today and everyday and show them the love and gratitude you have for them.

Small actions in the good times can help us all gear up to handle the tough times when they come our way. Those that are by our side for the good times also let us know who we can look to and count on when the bad times roll in. Don’t ever forget that power you hold to make a difference for someone you care about. You could be their one person to make them feel strong when they are at their weakest. Remember that.

Organizing my life

I don’t know if the eleven years of me bitching finally wore my husband down or what, but I’m so happy for what he finally did to organize our lives. You may have seen my post last week on Instagram about the garage door incident..if not, shameless plug to go follow my_semi_basic_life on IG and FB. You’re seriously missing out on everything, because a lot of times I post short stories and pics there. πŸ˜‰

But back to my point. Trying and failing at times to live a more minimalist lifestyle leaves us with a million places to be at once sometimes. I don’t want to glorify the “busy” life, but I think we all fall victim to overcommitting our time once in a while, and it can get hard to keep up with a husband, two kids and three dogs (yes the dogs have activities). 🀣

To give you a glimpse into our world in the month of April, here are a few examples:

I have to travel for work about once a week, my husband is gone for a week for work, daughter has softball two nights a week, Girl Scouts every two weeks, along with a family camp out, son has t-ball two nights a week, there’s 735 bday parties including my sons bday, aerial yoga classes, ladies night, book club, dr appt, dentist appt, dog obedience training classes, dog walker helping a few days, school presentation, Easter activities, take your kid to work day, contractor and property management bids and sweat equity to get our rental renter ready, and likely several things I’m forgetting. Keep in mind that doesn’t count normal stuff like groceries and food prep or the urgent care visit I’m waiting for as we speak for a sick kid…phew. Are you exhausted just reading that?! Try living it! Once again..not trying to make being busy seem glamorous, as it just escalated really quickly, and by the time I noticed, I was already in too deep. 😬

But my awesome husband set up a Family Sharing calendar and it’s a GAME CHANGER. We can at least now add events as we learn about them, so the other person knows what’s up. For my next trick, we just have to figure out how to be in two places at one time. 🀣 If you are a single head of house family, this would be great to coordinate with the other parental unit or even for grandparents or people that help with care.

We have iPhones and I’ve conveniently placed directions below (full disclosure that I didn’t set it up and have no clue if these are legit directions, but Google rarely lies).

If you use Android, first of all, stop that. πŸ›‘ But if you must, directions below for you.

Now you can coordinate your busy schedules also..your welcome. πŸ˜‰

Also, please feel free to share other apps or ways you calm the chaos in your life..would love to hear other ideas. πŸ’‘

My top 5 reasons for πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

I used to have this belief that yogis were all zen af tea sipping vegans (nothing against the zen af tea sipping vegans out there). I also thought yogis could turn themselves into a human pretzel upon demand πŸ₯¨ and liked to show off the crazy things they could do, all while judging you for your life choices, that processed food you were eating, and your inability to turn into said pretzel. Let’s be honest..I was super intimidated and turns out I was the judgy one πŸ’β€β™€οΈ.

I have to add a quick depressing back story to explain how I became a yogi. My journey began after not one, not two, but three separate and very traumatic “events” in my life that took a major toll on me emotionally and physically. I will spare you the details, but especially after the third one in my late twenties, I was in a very dark space and time in my life and there were days when I didn’t even think I could (or didn’t even want to) get out of bed. There are probably people I know reading this and thinking that they had no idea this went on in my life. I think it’s important for people to understand that a lot of people out there are fighting a silent or invisible battle every day with mental health or physical disorders that “look fine” or are great at putting on an act for those closest to them. I was desperate for change after each of my traumas, and unfortunately had found some unhealthy coping mechanisms. 😬

Luckily, I got suckered into a Groupon with a friend at a local yoga studio about 8 years ago. I did that first two month trial and was immediately hooked. My reasons were rather shallow at first..I saw all these hot yoga bodies and wanted one, wanted to do some cool pretzel poses, and I also liked yoga pants and owned several that had never seen a day of yoga before. 🀣

Over the years, a lot of things in my life have changed, but Yoga has been a constant and my love has grown and my journey continues to challenge me every day.

It’s not always easy, but here’s the top 5 reasons why I stick with it:

1) STRENGTH-this is not the physical aspect..that’s great and all, but mentally I feel stronger than ever. Yoga is a feeling for me, and it’s one that is truly hard to describe and I’m sure that feeling is different in each yogi. This feeling isn’t an overnight thing..it took me years to get it.

2) COMMUNITY-I have met so many people along my journey and the support they offer to everyone is amazing. I was way off in my initial stereotyping of all yogis, and so glad I live in a place where there is a big yoga community where everyone is welcome.

3) CONVENIENCE-you can literally do yoga almost anywhere at any time..home, at your desk at work, outside, at a studio, etc. I have done yoga on a beach, on a mountain, in a parking lot, my driveway, a training room at work, and a hotel room just to name a few. All you need is a mat, and if you don’t have one, you can still do yoga right on the floor with no equipment needed.

4) FREEISH-there are a lot of resources out there, including classes on YouTube, apps for your phone, or check your local studios for free events or community based donations, or a good deal they are running. I throw on a Yoga with Adrienne video at work during lunchtime with coworkers a few times a week. I love Saturday morning at my local studio (check out Core Balance Yoga Center if you’re near me in KC), and Spring-Fall always has a lot of free outdoor yoga options that I take full advantage of.

5) SELF LOVE-I love my body and all the things it’s capable of, and will always do my best to take care of it. I have said it before, but if you are fortunate enough to physically be able to do yoga, then do it..seriously..so many people would love to be in your shoes. I also do NOT feel guilty one bit for saying that I COME FIRST. My family needs me to take care of myself, and in return, I can take better care of them.

If you do yoga, what are your reasons? If you haven’t tried yoga before, what are your reasons? Have an open mind (no flexibility needed) and give it a try and hopefully I will see you on the mat.

Maybe you will become zen af or learn a cool pose or two in the process.πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ

-Namaste

For your viewing pleasure..a few of my favorite yoga memories over the years 😍