Best Purchases I’ve Ever Made

We all have something that we have purchased that we absolutely love more than anything.  So much that we would say that “it is the best purchase I’ve ever made!” I have a few things that I consider to be the best purchases I have ever made. I feel this way because these items added value to my life and I think that each one of these is worth every penny I spent.

Five of the best purchases I’ve ever made

1. My 4-cup coffee pot

I bought my first 4-cup coffee pot from K-Mart over 10 years ago. I remember that it wasn’t particularly expensive and that I just needed a coffee pot. I was and I am still the only person in my house that drinks coffee. I’m pretty sure I paid less than $20 for that coffee pot and used it daily for over 10 years. This coffee pot saved me a ton of money. Plus, it saved me time, gas, and general energy by making it at home instead of going to the coffee shop every single day. For a while I would get up, get dressed, and go to the coffee shop approximately 15 minutes from my house. I would have to drive, of course, because public transportation and walking are not a thing here where I currently live. I liked this coffee shop a lot but it was costing me at least $42 a week and that is not counting the transportation cost. At around $42 a week I was spending approximately $2184 a year. After 10 years that really adds up! Recently though, my trusty coffee pot quit working on me. I was sad. It stopped heating the water so I had to get creative. Before I could get another coffee pot (because my work schedule is crazy), I had to boil my water and then pour it into the pot over the coffee grounds to manually make my coffee. Thankfully, I only had to do that a few days before I was able to get a replacement 4-cup coffee maker. But what used to cost me time and money now saves time and money for me. That is value.

2. Roku

The land of streaming is a fantastic and wonderful land. I absolutely love my Roku. It all started with my mother. She bought the Roku several years ago and was unable to figure out how to use it. So, instead of her sending it back she just decided to give it to me to see if I could figure it out. Well, I figured it out pretty quickly and have loved it ever since. I love not being tied down to cable. I love that we used to pay over $100 a month and now we pay less than $30. I love the freedom of being able to watch on demand. I love the freedom of not being attached to a tv show that I must watch or else I will just fall over and die! I love the variety of content that is available through the Roku device. I’m sure that other streaming devices and smart TVs are all good but I really like the Roku.

3. Electric Throw Blanket

Seriously though, this is the best blanket in the whole world. Everyone should have one of these if you ever get cold. It is so soft and the heat is so relaxing. I look forward to cold weather just so I can snuggle up under my blanket. It can put me to sleep so easily. Plus, it is so helpful in keeping the heater from running so much. I can easily keep the thermostat down to 67 and sometimes 66 degrees in winter as long as I am under my blanket. For reference, I am not someone that can handle cold temperatures very well. I am the person that is always cold and adding a scarf and hat when it is only 60 degrees outside. I will swear that it is freezing and that these temperatures are totally uninhabitable. So, this blanket is one of my favorite things because it keeps me warm and toasty while not over using the heater in the house.

4. Kindle

In the beginning, I was hesitant. I love books. I love the smell, the feel, just turning the pages of the books. I love sitting in a bookstore just being surrounded by books. Books are awesome. But I decided to give the kindle a chance. I haven’t looked back. Don’t get me wrong, I still love being surrounded by books. I have seen the positives of owning a kindle and I absolutely love it. I started with the kindle Paperwhite and it just took off from there. I am now a kindle unlimited subscriber and it has also been worth every penny. I love reading so it is money well spent.      

Although there are some books that were totally a waste of my time. In fact, that is kind of how my videos came to life. I have friends that also love reading so when we talk about books, we talk about the time that we will never get back from that tragedy of words that we experienced. I decided that since I read a lot of financial books that turn out to be a total waste that I would start reviewing them and save some people from the trauma that I experienced. The kindle gives me books at my fingertips within minutes of a download. I don’t have to go anywhere to have access to billions of books. It is a wonderful thing.

5. Prius

I wasn’t going to buy this car. I really needed something reliable to get me from point A to point B. I wasn’t going to buy a new car. I couldn’t afford anything too nice. I needed a car that would last me a long time. I only agreed to test drive the car if the salesman would stop bugging me about it. Be careful what you test drive because you just might end up buying it. It turned out to be the best car purchase I have ever made. At the time, Toyota was giving dealership incentives (aka money) to sell the Prius. I was friends with an employee at the dealership so that relationship helped me. My trade in was upside down and it was breaking down all the time. A total money pit. I knew I needed to get a handle on the situation which is why I was at the dealership in the first place. Well, they were able to work it out so that I was no longer upside down on my trade but I also didn’t get anything off of the Prius. I know that day when I left the dealership that I was getting a good deal but I had no idea just how good the deal actually was. I drove that car for over 10 years and I was very reluctant to give it up. I used to giggle at the gas pump because I could fill my tank for under $20 while the large truck next to me was spending closer to $60. Yes, it is a funny shaped car that reminded me of a spaceship and I was teased for it. I laughed all the way to the bank. My insurance went down and so did my gas bill. I actually paid less for my brand-new Prius than I did on my crappy Hyundai. The Prius actually had more space inside than I realized as well as being super easy with maintenance. I only had to change my brake pads once and the oil changes were only after 6000 miles. It was an amazing car for what I ended up spending on it.

This is just a few of the best purchases I have ever made. Throughout my life I have made purchases on items of clothing that were long lasting and great as well as other items. Nowadays I try to make sure that if I am going to buy something, I will get the most out of it that I can. I want value over anything else. You too can get out of the madness and start making purchases that will add value to your life.

Ten Things I Consistently Purchase at the Dollar Store

I love shopping at the dollar store. The way I like to save money, of course I do. Here is a list of a few of the most common items I buy from the dollar store. I also buy in large quantity when I go in there to minimize the trips to the store. It saves time and money to just get at least 6 months’ worth of items so I don’t have to go back so soon.

Shampoo

Shampoo is soap for your head. It is important to understand that all those fancy expensive hair products are just taking your money and really aren’t necessary to you being beautiful. It does not cost a fortune to look and feel pretty. You can have great looking hair without killing your bank account. It is important that you remember to stay focused on saving your money. Plus, you will want to kick yourself when you realize that the shampoo at the salon is generic soap that is in a fancy plastic bottle and that the “extra” you think you are getting is all inside of your head.

Soap

Over paying for anything is its own tragedy but overpaying for soap is ridiculous. Soap works because it is a surfactant which in turn allows for it to move germs off of your hands. The germs are then disposed of down the drain with water. Soap without water is useless. Antibacterial soap is just about as useless. Wash you r hands with soap and let the water take the germs away. I’m sorry to disappoint you but soap doesn’t actually kill germs. It just runs them off of you.

Deodorant

I buy my deodorant at the dollar store because buying the exact same product at any other store is a total waste of money. It is the same manufacturer, same brand, and same packaging. If I bought one at the dollar store and one from another store and put them side by side no one can distinguish which one was purchased where. I refuse to spend so much money on personal products.

Scissors

For some reason, scissors disappear in my house. I don’t know if the scissor fairly comes along and just takes them during the night like the tooth fairy does but they just get lost. I am not going to spend a lot of money on replacing something that keeps getting lost. Instead, I buy several pair of scissors at a time and I keep a pair in almost each room of the house. I know, I could just keep one good pair in one location. That would be simple but for whatever reason it doesn’t seem to work in this house. Maybe we have a scissor ghost.

Kitchen utensils

There are actually name brand utensils at the dollar store. I can find the exact same spatula at the other store but I would pay several times more for it. I am not going to do that. I have purchased several other kitchen utensils from the dollar store and the quality is comparable to the same thing from the other store. I can’t even begin to understand why anyone would want to pay triple or more for the same item.

Wrapping paper

I am not one of those people that will carefully pull apart the wrapping paper on a present. I am not impressed with expensive wrapping paper. I will think it looks nice for a minute but I will also think that you clearly don’t know how to spend money properly because you just wasted it on expensive paper. The wrapping paper is just going to end up in the trash. That is also where it should go. It isn’t fun to carefully save the paper to use again. I think that part of gift giving is being able to just rip the paper to shreds while you are getting to the present. It’s fun. Life is too short to obsess over wrapping paper. Shred it and enjoy!

Greeting cards

I believe that most people do not keep the cards that are given to them. Greeting cards can get stupid expensive too. I refuse to pay too much for a card that is most likely going to go in the trash. It’s just paper and it only has value for a moment. Do you really need a card anyways? Yes, it’s nice to get a birthday card because it is an “affordable” way to let someone know you are thinking of them. I’m not against giving a card to someone. I still mail Christmas cards about every year. I am against paying too much money for them. That is why I like to buy them at the dollar store. I usually buy Christmas cards in bulk from clearance after Christmas. But for other occasions like graduation and birthday I will get the card from the dollar tree and pay $1 for 2 cards.

Ribbon

Ribbon is another item that has a projected short life span. Like the cards, ribbon ends up in the trash. It is pretty on the package but it will quickly be disposed of in to the trash can. Now, before you all get excited and tell me that you never throw away a ribbon, stop hoarding ribbons. I have also chosen to keep a pretty ribbon that I felt I had another use for. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about how the ribbon is only good for its immediate purpose and one-time use. Stop paying too much for items that are a one-time use.

Tooth paste

Toothpaste is an item that is too clean your teeth. It doesn’t have to be super special toothpaste. In fact, you can use baking soda and peroxide to clean your teeth. I tried it once and it was so nasty. In lieu of torturing myself with nasty tasting homemade tooth cleaner, I instead opt to just buy the cheapest toothpaste I can find. For now, that is the dollar store. It is also worth a mention that the toothpaste at the dollar store is name brand. Why do you want to spend approximately 3 or more dollars on toothpaste when you can buy it for just one dollar?

Toothbrushes for guests

Let’s say you are going to be spending the night in my house as a guest and you forgot your toothbrush. I am going to give you the el cheapo one from the dollar store because it works in the short term. Plus, there is so little invested in it that when you leave you can toss it in the trash and I won’t care. If I give you a battery powered brush though I expect you to use it forever. I have a battery powered brush for my normal use at home but I will not usually travel with it. I take one of my el cheapo brushes with me in case it somehow gets lost. I can also toss it at the end of my trip and not have to worry about keeping up with it. Then I am not upset that expensive brush is gone because it is sitting at home waiting patiently for me. Less is better.

These are just 10 of the items that I will consistently purchase at the dollar store. I have been known to get more things here and there like plastic buckets, etc. I don’t buy everything from there because value is important to me. It can be wasteful to have to purchase something over and over again because quality was sacrificed. Like anywhere you shop, it is always buyer beware. Make sure you know what you are doing when you are shopping and don’t let yourself pay too much. The dollar store is a resource that I am grateful to have.

About That Cash

Have you heard the expression, “cash is king”? Well of course you have. I happen to disagree with this statement however.  You are actually king of your cash. Money is not and should not ever be your boss. Instead, you are and should always be the boss of your money. You decide how, when, where and what to spend your money on. Money doesn’t make your decisions. Yes, lack of enough money can lead you to make choices like staying at a job because you need money, but it still isn’t the king. Another thing, you don’t actually have to stay at that job because you can always find another job. Therefore, you are king of yourself and you need to realize it.

According to the Federal Reserve website there was approximately $1.70 trillion in circulation in the United States in January of 2019. That’s a lot of cash out there. Cash is good to use because it is simple but make no mistake, it is not actually King. You have $10.00 and then you get change back from your purchase. It isn’t complicated and anyone can do it. You don’t have to keep up with your transaction because once the money is gone then it is gone. This is why it is so good for budgeting and can help you actually save money instead of mindlessly spending. It forces you to be mindful.

By now most people have heard of the envelope system. I have used it myself but I didn’t find it helpful for me. I would rather choose an amount like $60 cash and take it to the grocery store. This way I can’t spend more and if I spend less then I have a surplus. I know that it would be embarrassing to not have enough money once I am at the register so I am conscious of what I decide to buy to make sure I don’t embarrass myself. There are variations of this system and one of them may work for you.  You need to try it and see if you like it or not.  I didn’t like keeping cash in an envelope in my purse and I didn’t like writing down each and every transaction.  I also don’t like keeping a bunch of envelopes on me with different places written on them like groceries, car, etc. This system was actually discouraging to me because I felt it was more of a hassle then it was worth.

If you are uncomfortable with carrying cash I can understand. You should go back to the days of writing checks. You can use the carbon copy kind if you don’t want to record your transactions while in line at the store. You can save time in line by filling in the check with everything except the amount before you leave for the store. Don’t want to fill it in because you are worried about losing it or something, then fill it in after you park the car before you go into the store. It only takes a minute to write a check. Checks also can cost money but it doesn’t have to be too expensive if you keep it basic. Some banks will give you basic checks for no fee. Also, if writing checks keeps you from spending too much then it is an investment and a money management tool. That makes it worth every penny. I have thought about going back to writing checks but it is kind of a hassle. That’s why I just set my limit and only take that amount of cash with me to the store. To me, it is simpler and easier. Plus, I don’t want to balance my checkbook. I like knowing that I will not bounce a check.

You can though, put a limit on yourself before you go to the store if you can abide by it. Tell yourself you will not spend more than $60 at the store and stick to it. The problem lies when you say to yourself, I will not spend more than $60 and then you allow yourself to go beyond the $60 and then you are over budget. Going over budget is not desirable in any situation. You set your budget, aka limit, for a reason and if you lack the discipline needed to stick to it than you will overspend. You need to keep your money in your pocket. You need to keep the promises that you make to yourself. Swiping the ATM card makes things too easy to just go over a couple of dollars because it will all just be okay. It’s not okay though. That couple of dollars will slowly siphon off your money and you will still be stuck trying to figure out why you don’t have any money. You will feel like you failed because you didn’t have enough thought, strength, or just good old-fashioned discipline to stay within your limit. Don’t let that little plastic card be your king either.

Using cash instead of a card has a built-in limitation system. You can’t buy anything with your pocket lint. You can use cash in your pocket to buy what you really need and let it help you avoid overspending. It is a tool for you to get the items you need for life. To be clear, you don’t need the latest new tech gadget. You may need a gadget but you don’t need the newest one. Think about how you spend your money and why you are spending it. Maybe cash will help you keep your budget on track. Even if you don’t budget you can still use cash to help keep you from overspending. It is a little “trick” to help you. Remember that you are your own king and your money is your tool, not the other ways around!

HABITS

When I look at myself, I see someone who is lacking in discipline and being able to turn bad habits into good habits. It is something I struggle with every day. I know I am capable of getting into good habits but it feels like I’m not doing enough some days. Those are tough days but they are not every day. Others look at me and think I have a perfect life and that I am crazy driven. Well, no one has a perfect life and I can be driven. I wouldn’t have accomplished anything so far if I hadn’t put my whole self into it. I still lack when it comes to habits like food choices and exercising. Sometimes I still spend money when I shouldn’t. I am human and I live a human existence. I am trying though. I am a work in progress. I know that I only need to be better than yesterday and that I just need to keep progressing forward. It’s hard though. I get it. We all have bad habits.

Are we just resigned to repeating are bad choices every day, or can we push through and move forward to produce a more positive experience for ourselves in this life? I believe we can forge new habits but I don’t believe we can do a bad habit overhaul in one day. I have had to learn to be diligent in my habit forming and in improving my life. I now have habits like not spending so much money because I am thinking about what I am spending my money on. I am able to identify at least some of my weaknesses and know that I need to address them. Those weaknesses cost me money. Every day I just keep moving forward in one way or another because when I improve one area of my life, even a little, the other areas of my life improve too.

Patience

Everything takes longer than you think it should. We live in a quick fast right now society and it feels like everything is taking too long. Everything good takes time and effort or else it would be cheap and useless. It’s the payoff after the time it takes to get where you need to be. The results will show based on consistency and effort. that doesn’t mean to just sit around and wait for the money fairly to drop in and fix your bank account. It means that you will have to continue forward even though you feel like you are spinning your wheels.

Education

If you want to change your life in a positive direction then begin reading. If you already read maybe you are not reading the right books. Reading everyday will increase your intelligence and assist you in reinforcing positive habits in your life. I’m not saying to never read for pleasure, I’m saying make sure you read to learn. There is not a need for you to go back to school when you can learn almost anything from the internet. I’m not saying that you can watch a video on surgery and then go and you are a surgeon. I am saying there are many skills that you can acquire on your own. Teach yourself how to learn from others. Pay attention to the people that are doing better than you and see what little nugget of gold you can get from them. Knowing how to learn is the most valuable skill you can acquire. The more you know, the more money you will have. Never stop learning and growing.

Commitment

You will need to be wholly committed to change in order to achieve it. I went back to college after years of being out of it. I didn’t have to because I already had a Bachelor’s degree. But I felt I was being called into a different direction in my life so I decided to pursue it. It took years before I could afford to go and even then, I accepted student loans for it. I wish every day I would have made a different choice on how I paid for my second Bachelor’s degree. However, student loan is the path I took and it has led me to a new financial life where I am struggling to pay that bill every month. It is why I can help you in your financial situation. Without my struggle I wouldn’t have anything to offer you. I know this now. My purpose is to serve and I know that there are many ways I can help improve someone else’s life. Once I learned where I needed to place my commitment, my ability to commit has improved my financial life as well as other areas of my life.

Comfort or lack thereof

Sitting on the couch in my pajamas watching Netflix is truly comfortable. Getting on the treadmill, not so much. This is why commitment is so important. If you have a goal that you are 100 percent committed to then you will most likely achieve that goal. Staying in a job because of it being the devil you know is so much more comfortable than sending out your resume and interviewing. It can be so uncomfortable starting a new job that you convince yourself that you are fine where you are. No matter that you have been there for ten years without a raise or increase in any benefits. Your misery is comfortable so why would you stretch and make a change. Change is uncomfortable. So, you don’t change anything because it is just easier. Have you ever thought about how much this comfort is costing you? Not just financially but in time as well. Teach yourself to be comfortable in discomfort.

Money management is about the habits you have with your life and your money. If you are in the habit of not shopping around or thinking about things before you buy then it will cost you. If you are in the habit of buying name brand all the time because you just can’t fathom store brand or off label the it is costing you. Sitting around all day every day on a Netflix marathon is costing you money and time. It is important that you notice when you are practicing a bad habit so that you will be in a position to correct it. Use tricks on yourself to move a bad habit into a good one. Get in the habit of not caring which parking space you get because walking is good for you and stressing over the closest parking space is a waste of your life. Replace something negative in your life with something positive like eating grapes or nuts instead of potato chips. Forming a good habit gets easier each time you do it because it becomes part of who you are now. What habit are you going to change and who will you become?

5 ways to save on groceries:

Let’s face it, food is a necessary expense. If we don’t eat, eventually we will die. Food though, doesn’t have to be expensive in order for you to survive. I’m not recommending that you buy the cheapest food there is to buy, I’m wanting you to stop overspending for it. Keep in mind that the purpose of food is to fuel your body and to keep you from dying. You need to eat nutrient rich food that will fulfill that purpose. Rice and Ramen are not nutrient rich although it is cheap.

  1. Coupons

I use the digital ones from the store that are stored on my loyalty card. I have in the past clipped coupons and they do work. You need time to do it though but it really does add up and can actually save you money. Now, it doesn’t work if you buy items you don’t normally buy or are going to use. I have printed them from the computer as well and it paid off for me so much that I could stock up to a few months’ worth of some food items. It was food that didn’t spoil or I could freeze so that was beneficial. They are worth the time, effort, and energy as long as you are buying items that you would normally buy and you do consume those items. Double coupons is the best because you get double the value of the coupon. I really like it when the item I was purchasing was on sale and I was able to get double coupon value.  That’s how to maximize your savings. For the record, I have never been an extreme couponer nor do I feel that is necessary.  I have used it to my advantage though using some of the logic from extreme couponers. Coupons are money that you can take advantage of to help you save your money.

2. Shop on sale

Look at the sale paper or your grocery store’s app before you go to the store and see what is on sale this week. Then plan your menu for the week. If it is a high cost item like meat then you can get a few and freeze for later. There are a lot of food items that can be purchased on sale and then frozen. Remember, food is a variable cost and its’ purpose is to give you nutrition. It is not a show of wealth and shouldn’t be. Be mindful of what you are doing with your money and your food and how it affects your life.

3. Buy in bulk

It is more to buy in bulk up front but it will save you in the long run.  Buying your paper products at Costco or Sam’s is just a smarter choice.  It saves you time and money.  I buy our meat from Costco because I am a member of Costco and I put it in the freezer.  I also get our tomato sauce and other items we frequently use and store it all in the basement.  That way I just need to shop in the basement sometimes instead of shopping at the store. This is a great way to save time and money. I try to limit my trips to this store to every other month or eve longer because every time you get into the car you are spending money on gas. Being able to purchase in bulk is a great way to cut a little in spending overall.

4. Shop Aldi

I love this store because I know I can get food and not break the bank. I have not ever spent more than $60 in Aldi and I can easily spend $80 or more at Kroger. I usually buy less at Aldi because the choices are more limited. This is a good thing and something that I like about Aldi. This store offers enough of a variety that will meet your needs nutritionally and will give you enough savings that you will be able to afford to eat nutritionally. In all fairness I do sometimes still go buy Kroger to pick up certain items that I just like to have or if I need it for a special recipe. I still try to get it on sale or with a coupon because I don’t like paying full price. But for fruits and vegetables, you can’t go wrong with Aldi because the price is so much better at Aldi. Oh, and for those people that can’t fathom putting in 25 cents for the cart, get over yourself.  The cart return is so not a big deal and you get your quarter back when you return the cart.

5. Make a plan (menu)

Having a menu will prevent you from spending too much at the store. Go in the door with a plan.  It will help you minimize impulse purchases and help keep you on budget. If you manage to come under budget then even better. Move that surplus into next week’s budget. Continue doing that in case you absolutely have to buy cup cakes for that event at work. I know that school and work functions can get costly especially with the unspoken competition that plays out on who brought the best food item. So, budget your self for that and even better, come up with a low-cost food that tastes amazing and everyone will think you have this awesomeness about you and you will be required to bring that to each and every event. Figure it out. You need something yummy and only cost you pennies on the dollar. Once you start planning your meals out in advance you will be amazed how much control you have in your life and how much more relieved you will feel. It is work at first but it will get smoother. Once you master this you will be bragging about how awesome you are at saving time and money. Your friends will be asking you to teach them.

Try to open yourself up to buying store brand and off brand items. I have friends that complain about how much everything costs and then go to the store and purchase only brand name food. They refuse to even entertain the thought that off brand could taste good and save them money. It’s unfortunate that many people have brand loyalty. My question is though, why be loyal to a brand especially since it’s not ever going to be loyal to you? I feel this is insanity.

All of these things I have suggested today are things I have actually done or are still doing. I am not going to just hand over my money to anybody and I will be in control of that process. You can be in control too. It all starts with being willing to do whatever it takes to get you where you need to be. Once you choose to take control of your life you will be amazed at how awesome it rally is and how all the work and effort is worth it. I know how I have come a long way from being controlled to being in control. If I can do it, anyone can.

Tired Of Drowning

When you are drowning in debt so deep you cannot see a way out, I can assure you that there is a way out. There is a light and you will eventually see it. You have to keep moving, keep working, keep going forward. Do not let yourself become a victim of your own mistakes. Fight. Get up and fight. This will take work. It will take work with your physical body as well as your emotions. You cannot give up. All problems have solutions.  You are the one that can fix this.  You must be strong.  Push through.  You can do it.  Put down that credit card, put down that $200 purse. Stop letting corporate America have your life. Stop letting things own you. You own you. You are in control. Stop giving your life away to things. Start living your life.

Make the choice.

Everyday you must choose. You choose to make coffee at home or go to the coffee shop. You choose to make your lunch or to buy it from a restaurant. You choose the route you drive to and from work. You choose to purchase or to not purchase. The choice is yours. There is not anyone standing there holding a gun to your head forcing you to buy. It is all a choice. So, make your choice.

After you have chosen.

Now you have chosen the coffeeshop, the restaurant, the long way that uses more gas but has fewer red lights. You have chosen to purchase. You have chosen to waste. You have chosen to give your resources, your time, your health, and your money to someone that you don’t even know and will never see. You made this choice.

You chose to make coffee at home, bring your lunch, take the shorter route. You have chosen to keep your power. You have chosen to keep your resources, health, time, and money for yourself. You are empowered. You feel better because you are in control.

Life is not permanent.

No one gets out alive. We don’t live forever. Every circumstance is also temporary. You can change anything. Make the best of every day. That’s not just motivational mumbo jumbo. Every day is your last day and you need to accept that you will not live forever. You are human and you will die. Just like everything else that has life, there is death. This doesn’t mean to party like its 1999. This means to appreciate where you are in life. Appreciate that you can make coffee at home. Appreciate that you have opportunity around you all day every day. Appreciate your self and your life.

Life is not easy.

Hard work is the path to success.  It takes many shapes and forms but it is the path. Sitting around on you butt will get you nothing but diabetes and heart disease. Get up and get moving. You have every reason to push forward and no reason to sit down. Your attitude needs to be that every failure is a step closer to success. Keep pushing. Don’t give up. You can change your circumstances. It is not easy.  Just accept that and then get to work.

Rose colored glasses.

There is something good in each and every situation. I know that is difficult to see. How can being flat broke and barely affording to survive have anything good in it? Because you choose how this situation affects you. If you believe you can overcome then you will. You need to totally commit to the belief and that you will do whatever it takes to overcome. Make up your mind. If you believe that your will be flat broke forever then you will be. It’s up to you.

It takes commitment.

Can you commit to improving your life? Do you even care? You will need to commit like a dog on a bone. You will need to hold on to improvement like your life depends on it. Your quality of life does depend on it. Commit to yourself and to your freedom. Commit to owning yourself instead of corporate America owning you. Commit to stop being manipulated into believing that spending your money will somehow make your life perfect now. There isn’t a car, boat, house, outfit, etc. that will make your life perfect. Commit to getting out of that suffocating debt and work toward it every single day.

5 Good Reasons to Use A Budget

For so many people, the word BUDGET is the worst word in the English language.  It is a taboo word, a bad word.  “I don’t need to budget” is one of the biggest lies you tell yourself and others.  It is one that will directly affect your quality of life and your activities of daily living.  This is something that needs to change for you.  I know, change is difficult, but it is far from impossible.  You start with a choice.  First you choose and commit to your choice then the rest will follow. 

1 To keep track of your money

Not keeping track of your money is letting your money have control instead of you having control.  Take back control of your money and your life.  You need to know what your money is doing.  It is not much different then knowing where your child is located, who your teenager is hanging out with, and other areas in your life where you are able to be in control.

2 To have visible goals in front of you with a timeline

Being able to see where you are and where you want or need to go is the best way to get there.  Each and every time you look at your budget you will be reminded of what you are trying to achieve.  You will see how far you need to go to get there.  I found this very helpful in keeping me on task and achieving freedom from al the debt I was dealing with.  Unfortunately, once I got it all paid off, I stopped budgeting.  This was a big mistake on my part. I eventually went back into debt and I am now back on task with controlling my money for good this time.

3 To have a realistic view of how much money you actually have

No, you actually can’t afford those shoes, you would know this because you are using a budget.  Instead of getting excited about these most adorable shoes that you just have to have because your entire life depends on them, sigh, and using your credit card to purchase them, eye roll, you would take a minute and realize that by using your credit card you are actually harming yourself and that it isn’t good because you are willingly, happily, stupidly giving a piece of your peace away.

4 To be in control

When you don’t know where all of your money went so fast just after getting paid then you are not in control.  When you pull out the credit card and make a purchase then you are not in control.  You are not in control of your life nor are you in control of your money.  Your boss, your job, your circumstances are controlling you and you are letting it happen.  You are the one that allows the outside forces in your life control your life.  You need to take back control.  Your boss can force you to work and do whatever they want you to do at work because they can take away your source of income.  You need to get free of this type of relationship where you are not in control of your own life.  From experience I can tell you that it feels truly awful for your boss to look at you and say “do you want your paycheck” when you asked if you could leave early one day for something special that you wanted to attend and you wanted to be on time for that event.  Power and control is the ultimate reason for you to budget.  When your workplace is aware that they need you more than you need them it is a whole different experience in life.  I soon left that job for another one but it was a stark reminder that I had yet to gain the control that I really needed in my life.  It was a turning point for me.  I know right at that moment that I needed to leave that job and that i would never feel the same about that place that I actually once enjoyed working at. 

5 Because not using a budget hasn’t really been working out for you

If what you have been doing was working for you then you wouldn’t be so miserable.  Unless of course you actually like being miserable then by all means, go ahead.  I will not stand in your way of your daily quest to be unhappy and broke.  The choice is really yours to make.  I cannot live your life for you and I certainly can’t take all of your problems away.  You have to do it.  You have to do the work and you will be the one to reap the benefits of that work.  Although money management is quite a simple process it can be challenging to put into practice.  You can make it easier on yourself with your mindset.  Start with controlling your choices on what you are doing with your money then you will be able to control all the other choices you have in life.

You are making a choice about your life every day.  You are the one that chooses to go to work day in and day out.  You are the one on the hamster wheel.  You are the only one that can get yourself off of the hamster wheel.  Maybe you love your job and that is fantastic for you but do you love being broke.  Outside of your job are you living the quality of life that you really desire?  You can be honest with yourself and you can climb out of this hole you are in.  There is not only hope and a prayer, there is a promise.  If I can do it, anybody can.  So, stop saying “I Can’t” and start saying “I CAN” because either way you are absolutely right.  Set your goal and use a budget to help with that achievement.  I know you can do it and you do too.

10 Things I No Longer Buy

As life goes on there are things that we will just no longer buy.  Our reasons for this vary depending on several factors. The item could be discontinued or the store just no longer carries it. We have found a replacement and it is better. We no longer have a use for it. Below is a list of 10 things that I no longer buy.

1 DVDs

I no longer buy DVDs because I have Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc. I know that having subscriptions is spending money. If I was at a financial point in my life where I needed each and every single penny than I would cancel every single subscription whether I wanted to or not. I do keep an eye on my usage though and I will cancel a streaming subscription if I see that I am not using it very often or just not using it. It’s why I don’t have Hulu. my family and I just don’t use it enough and I haven’t’ missed it since I canceled. Nothing against it I just didn’t need it. There really is only so much you can watch at a time.

2 Soda

Also known as sugar water as far as I am concerned. Soda has nothing to offer in nutrition. It is like drinking poison and committing a very slow and near the end quite painful death. Instead of drinking soda, add real fruit that you cut into pieces to water. It gives water flavor so that it is easier to break the soda habit. Your waistline will shrink, your health will improve, and your bank account will grow. Soda is a complete and total waste of your money as it offers no value to your life and actually “can” shorten your life span.

3 Jewelry

Some people love jewelry. I don’t really care for it. I remember a time when I bought quite a lot of it but now it just gets in my way. I wear my wedding band, fit bit, a small bracelet that was a gift, and my necklace. Sometimes I will wear earrings and maybe other jewelry depending on the occasion. Otherwise I just don’t use it so I don’t buy it. I keep my couple of dressy pieces for weddings, business events, etc. but not for everyday use.

4 Disposable razors

I stopped buying plastic disposable razors a few years ago and I haven’t looked back. It is insane how much shaving your legs cost. Now don’t freak out, I’m still shaving, only for less money. I now use a safety razor. I watched a lady do a demonstration on You Tube, ordered it from Amazon, and that was it. I also ordered a set of blades that had a variety in it so that I could try out different blades to see which kind I liked better. These blades last longer than the plastic razors did and they cost so much less.

5 Cable TV

One day my mother gave me a Roku. She said she couldn’t figure it out and that she didn’t like it. I thought, well, I will give it a try and see what I think. I instantly fell in love with it and I have now got only Rokus for the TVs in out house. I have now also recently purchased a Roku for my mother, I installed it in her house and taught her how it works. She just very recently turned off her cable and negotiated a lower internet payment. My husband was ok with the Roku but believed that cable was still necessary to have in the house. He kept saying he wanted to watch the local news and we can’t get a signal over the air where we are located for the local stations. So one day, I unplugged the cable box to see how long it would take for him to realize that it wasn’t plugged in and that no one was actually using it. Over a month went by and I brought it up to him. The next day he played the tv all day and into the night with a continuous news station on. The next day he cancelled the service and negotiated a low price for internet only. No more bundling. I still don’t miss it and I don’t think he does either.

6 Dishwasher Rinse

It really isn’t all that necessary but if you must use a rinse than make one for yourself using vinegar. White vinegar is cheap and even cheaper when you buy it in bulk. All you need to do is pour a little of it in your dishwasher and it will do the same thing as the expensive product you buy at the store.

7 Newest Latest Tech Gadget

There will be a newer one out soon enough so I do not bother with wasting my money. First generation items seem to have lots of problems that need updates and such. I am not interested in trying out innovative new products. I once heard someone say that innovative just means not tested and proven. That was about medical devices and how we get all excited when a new innovative medical technique/product comes to market but fail to consider that it doesn’t have proven track record yet. Everything new needs to be proven for quality and sustainability. Don’t waste your money. Instead, wait patiently until a better version comes out that doesn’t have all the problems.

8 Diet pills

Eating an actual healthy whole food balanced diet will help you maintain a healthy weight. You may need to exercise or eat less. But diet pills are not the answer.  Not only do they have short term success, they bring with them long term adverse health effects. They can be very dangerous and they can be very expensive. Also, just how regulated are diet pills anyways? Well, they are under supplements so they aren’t regulated at all. Please keep in mind that you don’t actually know what you are putting in your mouth and it could just be sand in a capsule. Just don’t buy them and get your weight loss by restricting food and by exercising. Eat real food and not processed crap. You will be healthier and you will actually save money. Yes, you can eat healthy and spend less money. You will also be amazed at how less hungry you are by eating healthy. I know I was.

9 Shredded Cheese

Shredded cheese is wasteful for a few reasons. Mainly its cheaper to buy the block and just shred it yourself. In addition to that, shredded chees is sprayed with a chemical that keep the shreds from sticking. Yeah that can’t be healthy. So, you are now not getting as much cheese as you pay for and in addition to that you have this added health risk. Just keep your money and buy the block cheese. It only takes a minute to shred cheese. Manually shredding cheese is not the worst activity in your life and it literally only takes a minute so stop being ridiculous. Plus, it just doesn’t taste as good already shredded.

10 Potato chips

It is better to buy a sack of potatoes and make your own. This is something I have done and I like it. My homemade chips actually taste better than store bought and I don’t have a food scientist trying to get mine to hit the “sweet spot”. Real food actually tastes better than manufactured food. It is healthier and cheaper to make your own chips. You get to choose the potatoes and the oil that you use to fry them in. it doesn’t take that long to slice them and fry them in a pan. I put them in a sealing plastic bag and ate them for a couple of days. They didn’t last long though because they were so good and they got eaten up quickly. Food that isn’t nutritional is a total waste of money and you deserve to treat your body better than that. Junk food is exactly that. It is junk. It is wasteful and only offers you more poop because your body can’t use it for nutrition so it will just send it back out into your toilet. So, the next time you want to consume crap, stop and think about how it is still crap when it comes back out.

I’m sure there a few other things that I no longer buy but just can’t think of right now. I am constantly trying to save money and trying to make sure I have a comfortable lifestyle while doing it so I’m sure I will have some more in the future to write about.  For now, this list will have to suffice.

I know that some of you will think that you couldn’t incorporate these changes in your life but I know you can do it.  This list is just some of the changes I made and I have had benefits ever since. I feel that you could benefit from this too. Maybe there is something that you could let go of or make a change too that would benefit you that isn’t listed here. Take some time to think about areas in your life that are costing you instead of enhancing you.