REAL Scary Story #1: The Black Mass

She laid in bed, next to her basement bedroom window. The light from the street lamp outside in the cold February night, filtering through the blinds. She rolled over and glanced at the clock, it was 2:36am. She turned over again, her back against the window, trying to sleep, this time of night had always made her uneasy. Unable to sleep, again she rolled over, the clock now said 2:43am. She all of a sudden felt a presence, a spiritual one, her heart started racing in hopeful anticipation, could it be her dead father coming to visit her?

Then something happened that she had never experienced before and that she still hasn’t to this day.

A black mass slowly moved to block any light that was coming through the window from outside, so she could not see what entity was before her. She knew in this moment, this was not a loved one as she had hoped. The entity was not satisfied with no light coming through the window, it decided to force her head away from it & held her body still, for good measure.

Rather than becoming terrified, like most would, and for good reason, she became extremely aggressive & angry. She was trying to force her head to turn so she could face her opponent, to now avail. The feeling of someone, or something’s breath caressed her right ear that faced them, not hot, not cold, then it spoke two words, “Oh God.” Again, still furious, through gritted teeth she forced out the words “F**k Off!”. She remained paralyzed for quite some time until she finally fell asleep again..

In the morning, she woke up to her mom entering her room looking concerned… “Grandpa isn’t doing well, we need to go see him today. I’ve called the school already to let them know you’ll be absent.” Then she turned and left.

With this new piece of information, in combination with what happened last night, Meghan knew what was coming, as she had before, death. Sure enough, only 3 days later, her grandfather had moved on to the other side. This was not the first nor the last time she would predict death based upon weird spiritual things happening to her.

Knowing things before they happen is a challenge, to say the least. If you tell people your predictions & you’re right they think you’re crazy or it’s a coincidence, if you tell them and you’re wrong, again, they think you’re crazy. If you decide not to tell anyone, then you feel guilty because you wonder, would the outcome have been different if I had warned/told someone? Luckily, the vast majority of people I know, don’t judge me and are open minded.

I wanted to write something different than I have ever written or posted on here before, and what better time than October?

I hope you enjoyed this scary, short, true story of mine. Please let me know if you did because I have more. If not, do not worry because I have loads of my usual content scheduled. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

-Meghan

The 4 Principles I Base All of My Life Choices On:

I read the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People a while back and have since focused even harder to center my life around a few core principles, rather than things like: what would benefit me the most, what would make my spouse happy, what would make us the most money, etc.

The book explains in detail why centering your life around principles is so important, I also explained why in one of my recent posts: Grief, Ego, & Principles. I highly recommend reading the book. It can get kind of technical, but it’s worth powering through, because the lessons in it are valuable. People greatly underestimate how helpful the knowledge in books are. If you don’t like reading, you can listen to audio books instead.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

The 4 Principles I Center My Life Around:

#1 My Health is My Top Priority:

Health is Wealth. A cliché, but it is true. If you’re not healthy, you can’t enjoy life as much as you could if you were.

I ask myself, is the choice I’m making what is best for my health? If not, I make a different choice. When I say health I don’t just mean physical, I mean mental, emotional, & spiritual health too. Maybe what I need more than exercising somedays is rest. Maybe I need to unplug & get off of social media for a day.

I once heard an example that really puts everything in perspective: Imagine you win the lottery, you’re all excited that you get to quit your job, travel, & purchase some things you’ve always wanted. 2 weeks later you have a doctors appointment & they tell you you’re going to die in a month, does all that money really matter then? Some could argue yes, for their heirs it matters, now your kid(s) or your spouse may not have to work or worry about funeral costs, but from your perspective, the money doesn’t mean much now. What you would probably want more than anything is your health back & to be able to have more time with your loved ones, something money can’t buy.

Which is a perfect Segue into my next most important principle…

#2 I Prioritize My Relationships:

I make sure that the choices I’m making are good for my relationships with others and that I make space to spend time with family & friends. With this, I also make sure my relationships are healthy ones. I may need to disconnect from some people or set boundaries for the health of our relationship and for my own personal health.

I will prioritize my health over my relationships. I need a lot of alone time as an introvert, for my mental/emotional well being. So, I may decline spending time with someone if I know I need alone time for my own sanity. If I’m not healthy, that may shorten my life span therefore shortening the amount of time I have with loved ones. Also, if I’m mentally unwell, I’m not going to be the best friend/spouse/whatever I can be. I am then less capable of helping & supporting those around me.

Your relationships are the second most important thing after your health.

#3 Live an Eco-Minimalist Lifestyle:

We need a healthy planet to live on.

Our Earth & Eco-Systems are dying, so I want to do everything in my power to change that. If the Earth dies, we won’t have the human race, let alone things like the economy or social issues to worry about.

In order for me to help the planet, the healthier I am, the more I can accomplish. Then I can also use my relationships & network to get the word out on different ways we can help Earth, & in turn help absolutely every living creature on it.

So before I make a choice, pretty much anytime I go anywhere, use anything, or buy anything, I ask myself: “Is this the most sustainable option available to me right now?” Then if it is, great, if not, I try to find an alternative. I am very mindful about each choice I make everyday and how it impacts our Earth. The goal isn’t perfection, it’s to do better. Slowly make better choices for the planet. Like once your laundry detergent runs out, replace it with a more sustainable version.

Along with making more sustainable choices, I include minimalism. –The idea of “Less is more.” because it absolutely is. For this, I highly recommend the book Lightly, the blog The Minimalists, as well as checking out the Minimal Mom & Nick Keomahavong on YouTube. Minimalism is so freeing, great for the Earth, great for you financially, & great for your health! I can’t hype it up enough, you will not regret it. Trust me.

And finally,

#4 Achieving Financial Independence & Being Debt Free:

The final principle I base my choices on, is: Will this choice help me get closer to Financial Independence/Becoming Debt Free? If not, I walk away. Often it is an item I don’t need to buy.

Now, if the thing I am questioning is great for my health & the environment, but costs money, I’m going to do it anyway because I prioritize my health, relationships, & sustainability over money. For example, I pay quite a bit of money each month to have a weekly therapy session. Is that helping me towards my financial goals? Not at all, in fact it is setting me back, BUT it is great for my mental health! And that is my #1 priority. Another example, is shopping at our local co-op for most of our food instead of HyVee or Walmart. It is more expensive for sure, but it is better for our physical health & better for the environment, so we do it anyway.

Conclusion:

If whatever I am trying to decide isn’t good for my health, my relationships, the earth, or my finances, then I’m not going to do/buy it. Every choice I make has to benefit at least one of those options. Whatever doesn’t align with these 4 principles, I kick it out of my life. For example: Alcohol (bad for your health & expensive -is often bad for relationships too!), people who I feel crappy around (bad for my health & relationships), unsustainable products (bad for my health & the Earth), etc.

I am by no means perfect in any of these areas either! I have a long way to go when it comes to health, sustainability, minimalism, etc. It’s a journey though, not a destination. I want to continuously improve in these 4 areas.

These are just my personal core life principles. Yours do not need to be the same as mine! I do think Health & Relationships are/should be the top 2 priorities for everyone across the board though. You can have more than 4 principles too, I suggest keeping it to 5 or less, otherwise it can get to be too much to keep track of.

What are your core principles? Do you agree or disagree with any of my principles?

Thank you for reading! 🙂

-Meghan

What to Do if You Lose Your Job:

So… You’ve lost your job.. now what? I suggest saving this post as a guide, just incase.

Photo by energepic.com on Pexels.com

First of all, try not to panic. You will survive and everything happens for a reason. This doesn’t make it any less sucky, but recognize that panicking & fighting against what is done will not help the situation.

The best thing to do is be pro-active. Prepare for job loss, before it even happens.

  • This is obvious, but have an emergency fund of AT LEAST 3 months of expenses, so that you aren’t screwed if you can’t find a new job right away, or don’t want to.
  • Write a backup plan & keep it somewhere safe, I have a Google doc. List things you can cut back on to limit your expenses as much as possible, write down other potential employers, write down things you would be willing to sell if you had to pay your rent, etc. If you have a side hustle, use this as an opportunity to kick it into gear.
  • Follow through on your back up plan, start cutting expenses (ex. stop eating out, get rid of Netflix, cancel all travel, etc.), start selling items online, and update your resume & start submitting it to other businesses.
  • Apply for unemployment. I know each country & state has a different site/place to go to do this. I suggest Googling what you need to do for where you live.

If you do not have an emergency fund or backup plan, start one right away. Even after you lose your job you can start brainstorming what expenses you can cut by looking at your online banking (My post on how to drastically cut your spending), you can start posting stuff for sale, you can update your resume, etc. You are not helpless, take some control back.

Most successful business people have a story of how they were laid off or fired, and used it as an opportunity to work on their own business. You could be one of those people. Again, trust that everything happens for a reason. In my post, The Power of Manifestation, I explain how I have gotten so distraught when things weren’t working out how I planned or wanted, but something bigger & better always came along afterwards. Always. It just takes time. There will come a day where you will be thankful you lost that job, whether it was your choice or not.

I know this is a shorter post, but I want to keep it simple & straightforward like usual.

Thanks for reading! I know everything will work out & you will understand why this had to happen one day.

-Meghan 🙂

September 2021 Financial Update:

So… I wrote this blog post, and mere hours later I unexpectedly lost my job. This changes things a lot. It was of no fault of my own. My bosses messed up really bad and let me go as a last ditch effort to protect themselves, hoping I don’t know my rights. That’s all I’m going to say for now.

It’s really funny reading this post & editing it now because of how things have drastically changed in just a few hours. It just goes to show that you can’t predict the future, but you can do your best to be prepared.

I think this is a blessing actually, it’s what is meant to happen. I have learned to stop forcing & fighting against things. It is what it is. I’m going to take this opportunity to work on my blog & Instagram A LOT more while I’m on unemployment. If we get to the point where we can’t cover our bills, then I will get another job.

Here’s some more good news: We will be fine financially. We have $20,608.33 in savings, and Brandon’s income now covers all of our expenses. So even if I don’t have any income for a while, it’s not a big deal. We also have a ton of items around our house we’ve been meaning to sell, so now I have the time to post things for sale on Facebook.

Thank goodness we just paid off B’s car & sold it back in August and that he got a raise. I also have always had a google doc of a back up plan I can put in motion if I ever lose my job.

It was the craziest 5 days, with Millennial Revolution sharing my blog, then me losing my job. I believe everything happens for a reason…

I haven’t even enjoyed the fall season very much yet, it’s mostly been in the 80s during the day here in MN, which is extremely concerning, so I don’t feel like it’s fall. It has been way warmer than usual the last couple of years here, even today, October 1st, up in Minnesota, it is a high of 82 degrees.

I did take this picture at the Pumpkin Patch though 🎃

Other than that I’ve just been working on this blog & Instagram account in my free time, and spending time with family a bunch. This blog has gained a lot more viewers than usual over the last week, thanks to Bryce & Kristy at Millennial Revolution, which has been amazing & very unexpected.

I’m going to have a lot of time now to do what I love: writing & creating content, spending time with friends & family, cleaning, reading, etc.

Our Current Numbers as of October 1st, 2021:

  • Investments: $48,097 -Market went down in September, so our investments are lower than they were at the beginning of September.
  • Savings: $20,608.33
  • Debt: -$123,648.29 (Mortgage)
  • Just Brandon is working full time

I’m no longer going to share our Net Worth, except for large milestones, from now on because our Net Worth doesn’t really matter when it comes to achieving FIRE. What matters is being debt free, how much we have invested, and how much we have saved.

Our Partial Financial Independence Goals:

I’m adjusting our goals again, we don’t necessarily care about fully not working, just working less hours & when we want to.

  • $0 Debt.
  • Brandon works part time at his job.
  • I am self-employed through the Ease Your Financial Payne blog & Instagram. I can choose how much or how little I want to work & when.
  • We need $2,000/month in income, whether that comes from investments, Brandon’s part time job, or my blog, it doesn’t matter.

As always, thank you for reading! I’m looking forward to sharing this next exciting & challenging chapter of my life.

-Meghan

My Links:

  • BetterHelp -A week of Therapy for FREE!
  • Betterment -Invest your first $5,000 for FREE!
  • Back Market -My referral code: 6888f588d6f85083 -$10 off your order! Refurbished Tech! My sister & I both got “new” phones from there. They’re awesome, great quality, so much cheaper than buying new (by up to 70%), came super fast, was super easy to buy, AND we saved 123 pounds of carbon emissions, each!

How to Retire in Your 20s -No Gimmicks or Inheritance.

Yes, you read that right. Something amazing happened the other day, the authors of Quit Like a Millionaire and the blog Millennial Revolution decided to do my reader case & promote my blog.

I sent our financial situation to them 2+ months ago and honestly totally forgot about it. I just went to their blog like normal, started reading their newest post, then saw my face! The crazy thing is, they “MATHED SHIT UP” like they do for all of their reader cases, and according to their projections & math, Brandon and I can “retire” in just 5-11 years… at 27-36 years old. I already knew this, but seeing it confirmed by prominent people in the FIRE community that I look up to and bought their book almost 2 years ago in Barnes & Noble, made my head explode.

They retired at 31 & 33 years old, with six figure, computer engineer, incomes, but even they asked us, how did we do this?? On just office admin & sandwich shop manager salaries??

Well, Here’s How:

  1. Stop buying stuff, for the love of god. You don’t need a new car, a new iPhone, that décor from target, etc. Pump the brakes. Pause and ask yourself before you buy ANYTHING. Put it back on the shelf. This includes traveling & home remodeling. Only buy what you NEED, I mean what you would literally die without, food, water, etc. and buy what you can secondhand. We are not perfect with this & have wasted SO much money over the last couple years, it’s insane. So, you don’t need to be perfect, but you need to do better. Here is my post on how to drastically cut your spending. Also, stop wasting your money on drugs, alcohol, nicotine products, and/or gambling. It’s expensive AND bad for your health.
  2. We didn’t go into any student debt & got moderate paying jobs instead. I did get a 2 year associates degree at a local tech school. This saved up tens of thousands of dollars & while others were in school for 4 years, we just worked our way up at our jobs for 4 years. How I got my degree debt-free.
  3. Honestly, don’t even bother with buying a house, for the most part, they’re money pits. Something always breaks. Also it’s not just the mortgage you have to pay for, there is insurance, taxes, repairs, etc. It racks up quick. If we never bought a house, we’d already be financially independent, no joke. I could quit my job today and never work again, at 23 years old..
  4. Just avoid debt like the plague, it’s not worth it, nearly ever. Save up & pay cash for everything. If you have debt, pay it off before you worry about anything else, at least, if you want to retire ASAP. Sell your cars and buy a cheaper one, sell your house, bike, do whatever you possibly can to minimize debt.
  5. To do all of these things, you need to be disciplined. Discipline is key, without it none of this will work. Do you want a new car or to retire in 10 years instead of 40? that’s up to you. Every penny counts. With that being said, so many people are penny wise, but dollar stupid. They try to buy things on sale, use coupons, flush less, but then go out and buy a new car.. come on dude..

If you want to be average and retire at 67, then ignore all of this advice & you keep doing you.

It’s really that simple, don’t go into debt, don’t buy a house, stop buying stuff/paying for non-necessities, that’s it. We bought a house, went into debt for cars, went on trips, & bought non-necessities & are still on track because we decided about 2 years ago we were done with all of that. Use all of your extra income, to save, pay down debt, & invest. I make $3,000/month and my husband makes $2,400/month after taxes, we do not make a lot of money at all. We are currently 23 & 24 years old, and are on track to retire by 30. If we can do it, you can to. I believe in you.

If you are beyond your 20s, you can follow this path to retire in approximately 10 years, depending upon your financial situation.

For more details & advice, you can check out the following:

As always, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the bit of tough love in today’s post.

-Meghan

Grief, Ego, and Principles

“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.” -Arthur Schopenhauer.

I cannot express this sentiment in better words. When you lose something, or particularly, someone, that is exceedingly important, an extreme paradigm shift occurs, rather rapidly. Which can be excruciating, but as Carl Jung said, “There is no coming to consciousness without pain.”

Your whole view of the world can transform in an instant, thus influencing your priorities in life. This is why I believe many people, not all, go through mid-life crises. Around this time in most people’s lives, is when they start to “lose” loved ones, typically parents or other important figures in their life so far. When this occurs, as it will to all of us in due time, the aforementioned paradigm shift happens. Most people then realize they’ve been guiding their life by less valuable principles, such as: popularity, pleasure, money, etc. causing them to break down. Not only are they grieving the loss of the loved one, but the loss of who they once thought they were.

Those who struggle with midlife crises, rather than learning from this, dig their heels in deeper into their former way of life out of fear of facing the falsehoods they’ve based their whole world around. The ego dominates. This phenomenon happens in other ways as well, such as someone staying with a partner that adds negativity to their life. The fear of admitting they “wasted” 10, 20, 30 years with the wrong person is too much for the fragile ego to handle. So they stay.

In a way, this makes loss at a much younger age a blessing in disguise. You’ve already learned the hard way what is and is not important before you’ve had the time to base your whole entire life around poor principles for decades. Resulting in others saying, “You’re so mature for your age.” or “You’re wise beyond your years.” … Well, yes. I received a painful and extreme paradigm shift at a young age. What a waste that would be if I hadn’t adjusted my actions accordingly or at least learned lessons from it. Which unfortunately is the case for some people, even if they experience loss at a young age.

You have to face the unsightly grief. Delve into all of the horrendous thoughts and feelings you are experiencing to figure out why you are thinking/feeling this way. Once you know why, you can start to work through it. Remember: The problem is never the problem, dig deeper until you strike diamonds (the true why). –Therapy is marvelous for this.

Only then can you truly start to heal, it may take years; It took me over 7. Re-evaluating and adjusting the principles you base your life off of are a part of the healing process. Along with deciding where you are going to spend your very limited time and energy.

With that being said, where do your priorities truly lie? Are you truly satisfied with your life now? If you aren’t satisfied with your life today, chances are you won’t be satisfied with it tomorrow either. It will take time and personal development to change this. No quick fixes exist in life, no matter how much you want them to.

If after reading this you realize you have based your life off of trivial principles, I suggest facing your frightening thoughts and feelings, preferably through therapy, and recognize that it is okay, normal and healthy in fact, to make mistakes. As you work through these thoughts and feelings, you can start to decide where you want to reallocate your remaining time and energy. Life is a journey that is not linear, nor is anything in life permanent. You don’t need to lose someone either to experience this paradigm shift. You can always choose to change course.

Here is a link to BetterHelp for online therapy. This link gives you and I both a FREE week. Let’s help each other.

I have another post coming soon on what principles I now base all of my life choices on.

As always, thank you so much for reading. I hope you find healing and your purpose.

Feel free to share this with whomever you think may need it.

-Meghan

Reaching Partial Financial Independence:

I made a post on July 7th, 2021 called: You Are a Lot Closer to Your Ideal Lifestyle Than You Think.. and it turned out to be very true. Now that we sold my husband’s vehicle, we have accomplished everything on my “dream life/ideal lifestyle” list that is near the bottom of the aforementioned blog post. Everything except, have a child & go down to part time work.

Photo by Jackson David on Pexels.com

Here is the list:

  • I’m healthy in every way, including spiritually.
  • Prioritize my relationships; non-toxic folks only.
  • Debt free, except for mortgage.
  • We are working part time, or only as much as we want/need to.
  • Have a child.
  • Do what we can to support a more sustainable environment.
  • No more social media, except Pinterest & Instagram.
  • Help others financially through the Money For Everyone podcast, this blog, & my time.
  • We have one car & 2 bikes.

As for the items on this list we have not yet accomplished:

We now have enough money saved, decreased our expenses enough, & have gotten raises to the point where we could both easily go down to part time work & maintain our current lifestyle. Or we can survive on just one of our incomes. So, we are partially financially independent now. (My husband and I are only 23 & 24 right now.)

To see how we got to this point, you can go to my Monthly Financial Updates page where I have tracked our financial journey since May 2020; or you can check out my Financial Advice tab too.

As for having a child, we are planning on working full time until we have a baby, which we have no idea when that will be since a lot of that is out of our control. I also wouldn’t tell people (except a few close friends & family members) until I was successfully out of the first trimester, since 20%+ of pregnancies end in miscarriage. This does not count still births or numerous other things that can go wrong during pregnancy & birth. You never know, so I am not putting any pressure or expectation on our “have a child” goal.

Even if we successfully have a baby, we are not sure who would go down to part time or stop working. There are so many unknowns & variables. Such as, what if we have twins? What if the baby is alive but has health issues? What if I have postpartum depression and/or anxiety? What if our baby is easy & chill? What if I feel fine after a couple weeks & want to return to work? What if we have fertility issues & can’t conceive so all of this wondering, worrying, & planning is pointless? Who knows! We won’t know the best choice for us as a couple until after the baby is here.

It should feel like a relief now knowing one of us could lose our job (or quit) or choose to work less hours, and everything would be fine, but I, for some reason still feel just as worried about our finances. It doesn’t make sense, we’re more secure than we’ve ever been, but I feel even more anxious recently.

My hypothesis on why I think I’m feeling this way: When you have more, you have more to lose, which is scary. We have not inflated our lifestyle, in fact, we’ve deflated it, so I’m not talking about losing material possessions. I don’t care about that as long as we can keep our very modest house. I also think I don’t want to miss out on money I could’ve had & I’m worried about not taking advantage of every opportunity to get as far ahead as I can. Of course I want to work less if I have worked hard to get to that point financially, but there is still that fear of not achieving enough, for me at least. Millennial Revolution made a post about this recently, called Why Freedom Can be Scary, that explains this further. Another reason may be, with more freedom & control, there comes more decision making & responsibility. I’m not as worried about this since I am a decisive & responsible person, but I think my husband greatly struggles with this (or will once we are fully financially independent), he is insanely indecisive.

I think I’m just stressed out from work too. It’s not stress that is screaming in your face, but more mild & constantly buzzing in the background reminding you of the 50 things you have to get done, but the buzzing is growing louder. My job has gotten far more complicated now with my new work role, so I decided to go back to my Office Administrator role. It just wasn’t worth it.

Even so, I feel more calm & confident about leaving work than my husband does. This is because I’m the one who does all of the financial planning, money management, & calculations, so I know for a fact we would be okay. I think he also likes his job more than I like mine, but I’m not certain.

It’s still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that we’re already partially financially independent, when we were at 0 net worth & just starting this journey exactly 3 years ago. I’m thinking that around 3 years from now we will have our mortgage totally paid off, with our monthly expenses somewhere around $1200-$2000/month. At this point, we will both absolutely go down to part time work, & maybe have one of us not be employed at all. The main goal is for me to be self employed through this blog & EYFP Instagram, & have Brandon work part time at his job, that’s it.

As always, thanks for reading! Our September Financial Update will be out Monday, October 4th, 2021.

-Meghan

My Links:

  • BetterHelp -A week of Therapy for FREE!
  • Betterment -Invest your first $5,000 for FREE!
  • Back Market -My referral code: 6888f588d6f85083 -$10 off your order! Refurbished Tech! My sister & I both got “new” phones from there. They’re awesome, great quality, so much cheaper than buying new (by up to 70%), came super fast, was super easy to buy, AND we saved 123 pounds of carbon emissions, each!

Quick & Important Ease Your Financial Payne Instagram, Blog & Podcast Updates:

Hello & Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne! I just wanted to make this quick post to let my followers/readers on here know some important updates regarding Ease Your Financial Payne.

I created an Instagram account for this blog (@easeyourfinancialpayne). I personally don’t like a lot about social media, but I see it as a “necessary evil” to help promote this blog & connect with more people. I am still personally staying away from all socials except Instagram & Pinterest.

The Instagram feed:

Feel free to follow me on Instagram to know when posts are released, see more content, and/or reach out to me.

As for the blog, I am planning on continuing to post weekly. I have realized though, that I have been posting on the worst days & times for engagement on my blog. I analyzed what dates & times my posts did best. So, from now on, I will have a new post out every Monday morning at 9am. If I want to post more than once in any particular week, because I have bonus content, I will most likely post it on Wednesday at 9am.

Eric and I originally thought we would be returning with season 2 of our podcast at the end of August/early September 2021. Since it is already September 12th when I am writing this, that is clearly not going to happen. August & September have been very eventful for us and we are heading into our busy season for our jobs. October is Medicare season for me, which will be crazy because I’ve never sold or done work with Medicare before at all. Also, Eric is in the process of moving across the country as I’m writing this, so there’s no way we’ll be able to record anytime soon. Now is not the right time for us to start season 2, at all. I’m not saying we never will, but for sure not anytime over the next couple months. For now, I want to use the free time I do have to focus just on Ease Your Financial Payne.

Other than my personal life, things like my health & relationships, I’m going to be focusing only on keeping my job & growing Ease Your Financial Payne as much as I can, that’s all.

As always, thanks for reading!

-Meghan

The Best Sustainable Cleaning Products! (No DIYs!)

Want to clean your home without dirtying our planet? In a way that’s easy AND saves you money? I feel you & that’s why I’m writing this post! I suggest saving it or liking it so you can come back & reference it when it’s time to buy new cleaning products! Your own sustainable cleaning cheat sheet.

Some of my cleaning products

I’ve tried quite a few sustainable cleaning products now & I finally have a sustainable cleaning routine for my whole house that I love! (With the exception of toilet bowl cleaner, we’ll get to that later.)

The Products I Use & Love:

I basically own Blueland’s whole range of products at this point. I’m never going back to single use plastic bottles/containers for my cleaning supplies. I wish this post was sponsored by them, but it’s not, lol.

Best Overall Sustainable Cleaning Brands:

(To me, that actually work, are accessible, are affordable, & of course, far more sustainable than some brand owned by Procter & Gamble.)

  • Grove Co. at Target -All Refillable & Recyclable packaging! Cruelty Free & B Certified Corporation!
  • Blueland -All of Blueland’s products are refillable & come in compostable &/or recyclable packaging. They are also a Cruelty Free & B Certified Corporation! Their products actually save you money too! Again, this is good for the planet and your wallet! Also, because they do the small, tablet refills, you will save so much space in your cabinets/drawers! No more clunky plastic bottles, just small refill packets. Which is great if you’re on a minimalism/decluttering journey like us!
  • Ever Spring at Target -Their packaging is made from 100% recycled plastic & are cruelty free, which is great! They are NOT a B Certified corporation though. We want to make sure we support companies or brands that are using 100% recycled packaging to encourage them to keep doing it & show other brands that they should be doing it too if they want our money. With that being said, I try to avoid disposable packaging in general, so I generally prefer Blueland now, then fill in the gaps with the Grove Co. because I can get refills through them instead of buying a whole bottle every time.

Laundry:

  • Blueland Laundry Tablets -I drop 1-2 tablets in with every load of laundry.
  • Blueland Oxi Laundry Booster -You also don’t need to buy their containers, you can reuse a jar you already have and just fill it with their product!
  • Dryer Buddies -Bought them years ago at Target, mine are pufferfish, but now they’re hedgehogs. Good for the planet, but a lot cuter than wool dryer balls. They truly are my dryer buddies. 🙂 Wool Dryer balls are great too!!

Bathroom:

  • Blueland Bathroom Spray -I just reused my old scrubbing bubbles spray bottle & put their product in instead. I use it for pretty much everything in my bathroom.
  • Then I will admit I still use my Clorox toilet bowl cleaner, because I want to make sure my toilet is truly clean & disinfected. I haven’t found a good sustainable version yet, but when I do, I will add it here! (Get on it Blueland, haha)
  • Blueland Hand Soap -For this, I would recommend buying their soap pump because it is a foaming hand soap, so it won’t work with all soap pumps.
  • Who Gives a Crap Toilet Paper -Made from recycled paper! Or you can choose their bamboo option.

Dishes:

  • Blueland Dish Tablets -I’ve used Cascade for years & I don’t notice a difference in how clean my dishes are when I switched to the sustainable tablets instead, so they work just as well!
  • Casabella Kind Scrub Sponges -Not the most sustainable, but for me, Blueland’s sponges are currently too expensive to justify the price, so I buy these ones from Target. I’m still trying to find a better option.
  • Grove Co. Dish soap -I’m switching to this after I use up my last tiny bit of Dawn. It looks like it will work well, has amazing reviews, and is a cruelty free & B Certified Corporation!

Miscellaneous:

  • Blueland Window Cleaner -Essentially Windex, but sustainable.
  • Blueland Multi-Surface Spray -It works well, but I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest fan of the scent, but that’s just me.
  • Grove Co. Multi-Surface Cleaner – I love the smell of this one more than the Blueland. (Citron & White Rose) Also, it is at Target.
  • Wood Surface Cleaner by Ever Spring– I like the smell of this one a lot too (lemon & mint). I have a lot of wood furniture, so I wanted a special cleaner for it because the multi-surface cleaners weren’t cutting it.
  • I do use things like baking soda, vinegar, & hydrogen peroxide every now and then for random, special cleaning hacks; like getting my baking sheets clean or soaking my shower head.

Thank you so much for reading & I hope this helped someone out out there!

Let’s clean our homes while keeping our Earth clean! 😉

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4 Reasons Why You Should Sell Your Car NOW:

I hate it when writers mess around and take a long time to get to the point of their post, and I have to keep scrolling & scrolling. You know what I mean, so I am just going to jump right into it:

  1. Car values have appreciated for the first time ever. This is huge. You will literally never get more money for the car you own than right now. The car lots are nearly empty & the dealerships will gladly pay you for your vehicle. I know this because we just sold my husband’s car to a dealership & they’re desperate for vehicles, particularly cars. Here is my last post: our August Financial Update where I give a bit more information, like how much we sold the car for. If you’ve been toying with the idea of selling a vehicle, do it, now. You won’t regret it, if you do, you can always buy another vehicle when the prices go back down again. There is no better time to sell your car, & probably won’t ever be, unless we have another global crises that shuts down most manufacturing for a year+. This is the biggest reason why I wanted to publish this post as soon as possible, it is time sensitive.
  2. It will save you money over time. Besides getting a huge check for your vehicle, it will also save you so much money monthly. No more car payment, insurance, gas, oil changes, new wipers, registration, etc. (For us, we’re saving $540/month now!)
  3. Selling your car is better for the planet. If you sell your car, or maybe go down to one vehicle for your household, you will ride your bike, walk, car pool, or take public transportation instead. These are all more preferable for the Earth.
  4. Finally, it can be great for your physical health. If you don’t always have access to a car, you may walk or bike to your destination instead. If you are using public transportation, you will have to walk to the nearest bus stop or train station. Bonus: if you are taking public transportation, then you can do whatever you want while traveling to your destination, read, get some work done, make a call, etc.

Selling your car, or going down in the number of vehicles you own, is wonderful for the Earth, your wallet, & your health! Win, win, win! These are the main reasons why we sold our vehicle. We also happen to work a block away from each other, work similar hours, are only a 15 min bike ride from our jobs, & I work from home a lot now too.

The top concern I hear when people are hesitating with selling a vehicle is: “What if my spouse & I both want to or have to be somewhere during the same time or day?”. This is my rebuttal: that scenario is a lot more infrequent than you think, but when it does happen, you two can car pool & drop one off first. Then if someone needs to get back home before the other person, they can either wait, order a Lyft or Uber, use public transportation, get a ride from a family member, friend, or co-worker, walk, use an electric scooter, or bike. Or, for example, the wife can simply drop the husband off at work & take the car back home or to their job with them, then come pick up the husband once they are done with work.

Of course, there are some households where it is necessary to have multiple vehicles. This post is about analyzing the vehicles you own to see if it is truly necessary, and maybe it is!

There are so many options! We, especially in the U.S., just default to having 1 vehicle per adult in the household, which is usually not necessary. It isn’t that hard to think of alternative ways to get you from point A to point B.

How many vehicles do you own? What is your primary transportation method? Would you sell your car? Are there any additional pros or cons of selling your car or going down to one vehicle you would like to add? Was this post helpful?

As always, thanks for reading!