How to Deal With People Giving You Gifts as a Minimalist..

Are you someone who is trying to attain or maintain a minimalist lifestyle, but has friends or family that love giving gifts? This post is for you! My husband and I also struggle with this, but we’ve found some ways to hopefully lessen the influx of stuff that comes into our house.

Some back story…

My husband & I are trying our hardest to become eco-minimalists. Consuming & purchasing as little as we can for environmental, financial, & ethical reasons. We also believe less is more & crave a clutter-free, minimal home.

For both of us, our least favorite love language is gift giving. We both no longer buy each other gifts for holidays or birthdays. We already have everything we could possibly need & don’t want something if we don’t need it. Here’s the problem.. both of our mom’s top love language is gift giving.. this is a struggle for us. If you are also a minimalist (or are trying to be, like us) I’m sure you’ve encountered this problem as well, but maybe with a friend or grandma.

It’s easy to say no to a stranger, acquaintance, or distant relative offering you something for free, but when it’s your mom & it’s a gift they picked out specifically for you, it adds another layer of complexity.

Of course you don’t want to hurt their feelings or reject their way of expressing love, but you also really don’t want more stuff.

We’ve all gotten a gift we didn’t want & it is such a burden. Now you need to figure out where to store the item, then you need to deal with selling or donating it, & you hope each time they see you or come over they don’t notice it’s gone. Not to mention the guilt of getting rid of an item someone you love gave you, the wasted resources, the wasted time, & the wasted money. This one, simple, well intended gift, quickly morphs into a knot of unpleasant emotions & waste.

So.. what to do to avoid this situation:

First, recognize that we all express love in different ways. My husband’s love language is acts of service and mine is physical touch & words of affirmation. Some people though, like both of our moms, express love through gifts. Keep this in mind before you start rejecting every single gift. If someone’s love language is gift giving & you reject it, they will take it as “I don’t love you.” even though that is not at all what it means to you! So ask yourself if you not getting a couple gifts a year is worth rejecting your friend or family member’s way of expressing love. Which it may be! depending on the gift or frequency of the gifts.

Next, once you’ve decided the level or amount of gifts that you think is appropriate (which may be all of the gifts you are offered or may be none or somewhere in the middle!) now it is time to manage the gift giver’s expectations. When you hang out with the “gift giver” maybe let them see all the decluttering work you’re doing, talk about how you love having less stuff & bring up the benefits. Talk about how you & your significant other no longer buy gifts for each other because that love language is your least favorite one. Discuss what you prefer instead of getting more things.

Another great way to lessen the amount of gifts you get is if you know there is a holiday coming up, a birthday, or an event like a baby shower, you can say something like, “You always give such great, thoughtful gifts, but we’ve really been working hard on decluttering our home, are loving having less stuff, & gift giving is the bottom of our love languages, so we would really prefer to just get a gift card this year.” You can let them know maybe a couple things you actually really need & let them buy it for you, or say “We really prefer only receiving items we truly need please!” if they insist on giving a gift still.

Another sneaky thing you can do is frame an act of service or them getting you food as gift giving. For example, maybe your mother in law keeps bringing over gifts after you have a new baby or something, but while she’s there she does the dishes to help out. Praise her for doing the dishes more than for the gift and say things like “Thank you for the gift of doing our dishes, we really appreciate that you gifted your time to us” or “Thank you for bringing over food, that was a wonderful gift. We really prefer you gifting us your time by helping out with chores or food, more than physical items. We already have everything we need for the baby.”

Finally, if they’re not respecting your boundaries or the gift giving gets out of hand, you may just need to flat-out reject a gift right away. Just say “Thank you, but I know I will absolutely never use or need this item.” You can’t really argue with that, & if they try to, explain why/how you will never use or need it or are happy with what you have. Obviously, it depends on the situation, if you’re in-front of the whole family at Christmas, probably not a good time to reject a gift, but if it’s random and just you two, that’s a great time to exercise that gift rejecting muscle.

I literally did this a couple days ago with my mom. Out of no where when she came over she said she bought me two bracelets & I never wear any jewelry other than my wedding rings & maybe a necklace once in a while for work or a special occasion. I never ever wear bracelets. It was random too, no holiday or anything, I didn’t ask for it or want it, & I’ve been talking about decluttering, organizing, & minimalism to my mom a bunch and she still thought it was a good idea to randomly purchase me bracelets. I just immediately shot the gift down as soon as she presented it, I said “Nope, I never ever wear bracelets, they would sit & collect dust, I don’t need them.” My mom said, “Oh, okay! I will take them then.” & that was it.

If you’ve followed the steps above to manage their expectations by talking about how you’re getting rid of things, don’t like gift giving, enjoy having less, or whatever your reason may be, then it will be much less of a shock if you do reject their gift. It will be a lot easier for them than if you just randomly said “No, I don’t want it.” without any explanation or back story. Now that they know the context for why you rejected the gift, they see that it has nothing to do with them at all, it’s all your personal preference for stuff.

Well, I really hope this blog post helps! I’ll probably re-post it once it’s closer to the holidays in November so more people can read it!

The Power of Manifestation:

I know a lot of people will roll their eyes at this title & a couple years ago, I would have to.

Today, I am hoping to open your mind up to the idea of manifestation, starting with guiding your beliefs & thoughts. I will tell you how to combat negative thoughts to create your own destiny & how to manifest. I then give personal examples of how manifestation has materialized what I wanted into my reality to prove you can do it too.

My previous post that inspired this one: You Are a Lot Closer to Your Ideal Lifestyle Than You Think. -I updated it a ton after I initially posted it & I suggest reading this post first, before this one.

Quote from Mahatma Gandhi

Every great invention was once just a thought in someone’s mind. The same can be said for all of the terrible atrocities that have happened in human history, they were once “just a belief” or “just a thought”…

Our reality is truly whatever we decide to make it in our mind. I understand there is privilege in that statement, but if we keep believing and supporting our positive beliefs, they will one day become our destiny.

Negative thoughts are very dangerous.. because they will manifest themselves too, just like positive ones. This is why it is important to stop them right in their tracks & not let them progress. We need to recognize that they’re there & release them from us. If we hear negative words from others, we should kindly provide a positive twist, or at a minimum call them out. A great & frightening example of this, is if you hear someone say something racist (even if covertly). Their belief has expanded so much that they now feel comfortable expressing it verbally, which will eventually lead to action.. if it hasn’t already.

I am sounding very preachy, but the irony is that I struggle with negative thoughts constantly. Some days are worse than others, but that is okay. Negative thoughts & negative things in your life will happen, no matter what. The first step is to recognize when they’re popping up. I grapple most with not beating myself up for having negative thoughts in the first place. The key is to not shame yourself, it only adds to the negativity. Recognize that your thoughts are not you, but they can eventually become who you are if you let them keep growing (But YOU can always choose to change & to make your life better). So for the negative thoughts it is best to say to yourself, “Huh, I don’t believe that & it’s not true, but thank you anyway, mind!” For positive thoughts, water them, let them grow in your mind. Reinforce the positive thoughts with real life examples that have already happened, even if it hasn’t happened for you yet.

Combating Negative Thoughts with Facts:

Negative thought: “No one ever reaches out to me, I always have to reach out to others, they must all hate me.” Positive afterthought: “Hm, has NO ONE EVER reached out to me? My mom messaged me yesterday checking in & I guess I had a friend reach out to me two weeks ago now that I think about it. Has any of these people actually said they hate me or no longer want to hang out with me? No.. Okay, well then they’re all probably preoccupied with their own lives, their time to reach out to me will come. So it sounds like there is no truth to that negative thought. I’m ready to move on with my day now.”

Negative thought: “I never make money, money always escapes me.” Positive afterthought: “Have I really NEVER made ANY money? Okay, well, no, of course I have.. Am I going to have more money once I get paid next week? Yes.. Is there any way I can possibly find to save more money? I guess I could start eating out only once a week.. So it sounds like I do make money & money always comes to me.” Then you can continue reinforcing that thought as time goes on, repeating to yourself, “Money comes to me all the time, I always make money.” These thoughts will turn into actions, that turn into habits, that turn into values, that turn into your destiny. It won’t be an over night change, but after a couple months or years, you’ll probably be shocked at how far you’ve come!

How to Manifest:

  • Meditation- Zone out, or focus on one chant/positive affirmation.
  • Write out what you want to manifest- create actionable steps with timelines! Put a due date on your goals! Even if it seems a little crazy. You’d be so surprised what you can accomplish.
  • Read about or learn from people who have done what you want to do.
  • Speak what you want to manifest out loud- be open to new ideas/routes/options. If you tell your network you want a new job & exactly what you want, someone may find exactly what you’re looking for!
  • Reflect on what you want to manifest daily. Keep it in mind, but don’t become consumed by it or anxious about it, trust that what you deserve will come to you when it is meant to.
  • Water Manifestation! This is a new concept I just learned & am trying it out for the first time. So I’m not sure how powerful it is yet, but I will let you all know! Here is a video I watched about it.

Very important side note: **I have had SO many things not work out how I wanted them to. I’ve learned, over & over again, that if you keep pushing & trying, but what you’re trying to manifest still isn’t coming, it’s not meant to happen, at least not then, because something different & better is waiting for you. This has happened to me with jobs, apartments, houses, relationships, even death, you name it. Each time, I get distraught because things aren’t going how I wanted, but months or years later, I realize it is all a part of a much bigger plan. Now, when I look back at the things I wanted so badly I could taste it, I am SO glad they did not work out! Trust the process/universe/god, whatever you believe. I think I’ve finally learned to stop forcing things that just aren’t working out. Stop trying so hard & let things be!

Some ways my positive thoughts have become my reality:

I’m not going to go over how my negative thoughts have manifested, because I have let them go & do not want to give more energy to them. πŸ™‚

  • In my relationship- when I broke up with my boyfriend before my husband, I explained to him why we were wrong together & what kind of a person I wanted to be in a relationship with. I then explained this “dream partner” to friends, describing him as “Logical, level-headed, similar sense of humor to me, works for his own money, similar taste in music, takes care of himself, and has very similar morals, values, & beliefs.” Mere weeks later, I connected with my now husband, who surprisingly turned out to be all of these things. I spoke aloud what I wanted & believed he was out there, & he appeared.
  • My current job- I hated my job before this one. I remember speaking aloud to coworkers, friends, & family what kind of job I wanted. “I want an office desk job that gives me flexibility to work from home a lot & be able to have appointments during the day without needing to take a whole day off of work. I don’t want to work in direct constant customer service anymore. I want a boss who is calm & let’s me use the bathroom when I need to.” And low & behold, my future boss walked into the bank one day (my former place of employment) & I started talking to him about a job, it took a couple months of back and forth, but I finally got it.. The job I had specifically asked the universe for.
  • My cat- I know this one sounds funny, but hear me out. Ever since I moved out, I always wanted a cat of my own. But I wanted a calm, cuddly one, that’s friendly, follows you around because they want to be by you, that didn’t scratch up the furniture, would still play with you, & didn’t always puke & pee everywhere. This is a tall order if you’ve ever had a cat, but then after about a year & a half of patiently waiting & looking. We found him, at our local humane society. What’s funny is Brandon actually picked him out, not me, but he is seriously the perfect cat. He was very sweet & calm, but for some reason he was at the shelter for 6 whole months! We have no idea how no one adopted him. We like to think he was meant to be with us. πŸ˜‰ We were only by him for a couple minutes, so we couldn’t know for sure that he would end up being our dream cat, but we adopted him & everything has worked out great. We’ve had him for 2 and a half years now! πŸ™‚
  • My home- My husband & I were on the hunt for a house basically since we moved out of our parent’s houses and were renting. We knew we wanted 2+ Bedrooms and 1 & 1/2+ baths. We almost bought a house that was a bit more expensive than we wanted with 3 bedrooms with 1 bath, that could maybe have a half bath if we added it, but we didn’t buy it. We really wanted a decent sized, fenced in yard too & off street parking. I had always talked about how I loved my childhood home & never wanted my parents to sell it. They sold it back in 2007. One day, I was driving home from work & took a weird route home, I can’t remember why, but I passed my old house and there was a for sale by owner sign in front of it! I immediately told Brandon we had to at least go tour it. We had just backed out last minute a week earlier on that other house because Brandon had a weird gut feeling, & thank god he did! We ended up buying my childhood home! Now we are slowly fixing it up & it is seriously perfect for us, I wouldn’t want it any other way. It has 2 bedrooms and 1 & 1/2 bathrooms, plus a larger basement office. One day, we would like to make it a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house, & it has a nice, good sized, fenced in backyard. Only a one car garage, but we’ve come to prefer that, since one day we would like to only have one car anyway. It also turns out we prefer having less space too, it makes it easier to not have as many possessions. (Which we’re still working on!)
  • Money- I have achieved all of the financial goals I have put my mind to. I plan to keep that streak going. It may take months or years to reach them, but I truly believe they will happen. I think about them positively, then act on my goals, then I’ve formed habits, then I formed values, & now it is my destiny.

I could think of a lot more, but I think you get the idea now πŸ˜‰

In what ways has manifestation happened for you? Or what would you love to manifest?

You Are a Lot Closer to Your Ideal Lifestyle Than You Think..

Found on Instagram at philosophyofleisure

I came across this post the other day on Instagram and it sums up how I’ve been feeling recently. -Maybe I shouldn’t be focusing on a retirement goal number, but rather my goal lifestyle and what I can do right now to achieve it ASAP.

((Don’t hate on me for going on Instagram again, haha, I’ve only been on for a little bit & don’t spend forever scrolling anymore. If I do, I’ll delete the app again, like I have before. I’ve been going on it to share things on our Podcast’s Instagram & also message certain people I only really message on there.))

Anyway..

What if you could achieve your ideal life style within a few years, rather than a couple decades? How can you make that possible? What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? What can you do to get there? What can you cut out of your life or prioritize? What is MOST important to you? (Maybe top 5 things) What would you sacrifice if it meant being able to retire early, move, work part time, start your own business, etc.? How long will it take you to get to your ideal life now?

These are all great questions to ask yourself. I am going to share some of my answers/examples to get the ball rolling.

Here are some ways to help you get to your ideal life faster:

  • GRATITUDE, is huge. Wakeup & write down 3 things you’re grateful of everyday, or at least think of them. Make it a habit. This will help rewire your brain to look for positive things, rather than focus on the negative. Also, remember when you wanted what you currently have?
  • Stop comparing yourself to others! You are not them & will never be them, just like no one else is you or will ever be you. Recognize that you are enough & you have enough. (unless you’re literally starving or something like that..)
  • Understand that pain & problems are unavoidable. They will always be there, you just get to choose which pains & problems you want. (Other than some health issues, people dying, or if your government gets thrown over, or something like that..) They are just a part of life.
  • Base your decisions off of core principles. This is much better than basing your choices off of things like what your spouse wants or what would benefit you the most. Example Core Principles: My personal health is most important, I choose to put it first. Time with Friends & Family is one of the most important things in my life, I will treat it as such. I will make purchases consciously, keeping in mind the environmental impact of every choice I make. Then say f**k it to everything else that does not support your core principles & kick those things (or people) out of your life.
  • Quit lying to yourself. Quit trying to be or accomplish things you don’t actually care about, I am guilty of this too. Small example: stop buying vegetables every week at the grocery store, then not eating them & throwing them away. Quit lying to yourself that you’ll eat them, just stop buying them to save the planet & your money.
  • Manifesting– I am making a whole separate post about this.

Basically, my husband & I have realized we can easily survive off of just one of our incomes, especially once we pay off his car (End of August 2021), sell my car, & cut out a few smaller things like not eating out as much. This is huge. We basically have been surviving off of my income for the last 3 years by just investing, saving, or paying down debt with his income. Now, he actually got a raise & makes 25 cents more an hour than I do. So we can survive just off of his income too.

We have also realized, as I have stated before, that we want to have a child, so this is perfect timing. We now know we can either both work part time or have one of us work full time or we may even be the kind of people that both want to go back to work full time after parental leave, who knows! We won’t know for sure until we are parents. I just want to prepare for at least one of us not wanting to work at all.

With that being said, we know ourselves pretty well. We think I will not want to be employed by someone anymore, & that Brandon will want to go back to work, most likely 25-30 hours a week (if not full time) after we have a baby. I will happily work on this Blog and the Podcast & try to monetize them. In the mean time, while I am making little to no money from them, I will gladly do part time odd jobs, like babysit, help my older neighbor ladies, help my mom, etc. the options are limitless. No matter what happens, our expenses will be covered. You never know, the podcast or blog could take off and end up covering our expenses or make even more money than we need to survive, which we will then invest or pay down debt with.

For context, here is my Dream Life post that explains what my ideal lifestyle is. πŸ™‚ As you can see, it’s a pretty simple life. To be honest, if me taking a couple years off of work to spend time with my future child means I can’t renovate my kitchen or can’t go on any expensive vacations like I used to, I am 100% okay with that. I would much rather choose not having to work and spending time with friends & family, over remodeling my house & traveling, personally. That stuff can wait. We’re planning to not travel or do remodeling with a baby or toddler anyway.. that sounds very stressful to us & we’d rather not.

Answering the question: What pain do I want in my life?

People’s gut reaction is “None! Of course!” But we all know that is absolutely impossible. Pain & suffering are a fact of life, and are very important & necessary. We should calmly assume it will happen.

I want the pain of going through pregnancy, birth, & postpartum. I want the pain of waking up through the night, cleaning poop & puke. I want the pain of taking care of a house & yard. I want the pain of setting boundaries with loved ones to help our relationship(s). I want the pain of writing blog posts more frequently. I want the pain of needing to record, edit, & upload podcast episodes. I want the pain of sacrificing house projects & traveling for more time with family. I want the pain of being mindful with every purchase I make. I welcome the pain of grief after a loved one dies, because it confirms how much I loved them. I want the pain of being conscientious about what we do with our money.

Answering potential questions/concerns about going for your ideal lifestyle:

Now some of you may be thinking, what if a larger emergency expense comes up? Well, first of all we have insurance & a home warranty we pay for. Second, that’s why we have an emergency fund. By the time we leave full time employment, we will have over 20k saved that we can just let sit there. Another option is we temporarily work a bit more to make more money to cover the unexpected expense. Finally, all Roth contributions can be withdrawn whenever without penalty (this would be our last resort other than going into debt). So we have back up plans to our back up plans. “Worst case scenario” is we actually start working full time again. Everything is temporary.

Another question people may be wondering is what about investing in your retirement? If you’re only making enough to cover your expenses, how are you ever going to fully retire? We already have $40,000 invested & are planning on hitting $50,000 invested before we cut back on work hours. So let’s say we go down to part time work when I’m 23 (sometime next year) and we just let the $50,000 sit & grow at a moderate average rate of 7% annually, (Our investments have been going up by 10%) we will have $1,000,000 when I’m 66 (2064) years old if we never invest another cent & don’t touch it. If we keep our money in 90% stocks like we currently do, & it continues to grow at 10% annually, we will have $1,000,000 when I’m 54 (2052). Again, this is if we don’t make anymore money than the bare minimum we need to survive & no longer invest anymore. I hope eventually my website, podcast, or something will take off before then, haha. Once our kid(s) go to school, we can choose to work a lot more again too.

*Side Note: Our mortgage will be paid off in approximately 2034, if we don’t put any extra money on principle after we go down in work hours. That will free up $1,200/month from our expenses that we can then invest! Or use for travel or house projects by then.

Finally, what about things like health insurance? Well, my husband and I are both on our parent’s insurance, Brandon will be until October 2022, & I have until August 2024. We may decide to just get a family plan in October 2022, depending upon pricing. At that point in time, our income will be low since we are planning on just working enough to cover our expenses, therefore we will qualify for MNsure. MNsure is a Minnesota state sponsored insurance for lower income people, so we can get our insurance at a major discount, if not totally covered, especially if you have a child or children. My husband can also get health insurance through his job if he stays on at 30 hours.

I suggest looking over your expenses vs. your household income & see if you’re already partially financially independent as is! Try to find creative solutions to problems like the ones I listed above!

Found on Instagram

I also loved this post (above). We just need to slow down and appreciate & have gratitude for what we already have. (It may also mean literal appreciation of assets over time.) You can do this by stopping the comparison game (stop comparing yourself to millionaires on Instagram! I see you!). If you have a roof over your head, clean water, clean clothes, food to eat, etc. You’re already far better off than A LOT of the world.. so let’s stop the hyper consumerism & be content with what we already have been blessed with. This makes sense financially, ethically, & environmentally.

So here is what my modified dream life looks like if we sacrifice traveling & house/yard updates, & do not worry about paying off the house immediately:

  • 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, I want to vanish from it.
  • Help others financially through the Money For Everyone podcast, this blog, & my time.
  • We have one car & 2 bikes.

This all sounds MUCH more doable. In fact, this all can be accomplished by the end of next year. We have already accomplished a lot of these things, but there is always room for improvement! Some aspects of these goals are out of our control & that is okay. For example: like certain health issues or if we have fertility issues.

I would love to hear your response to this post! Feel free to comment below! If you want to answer these questions just for yourself, that’s fine too. πŸ˜‰

Again, here are the questions I asked above:

  • What if you could achieve your ideal life style within a few years, rather than a couple decades?
  • How can you make that possible?
  • What pain do you want in your life?
  • What are you willing to struggle for?
  • What can you do to get there?
  • What can you cut out of your life or prioritize?
  • What is MOST important to you? (Maybe top 5 things)
  • What would you sacrifice if it meant being able to retire early, move, work part time, start your own business, etc.?
  • How long will it take you to get to your ideal life now?

Then start, today!

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

June 2021 Financial Update:

Hello & Welcome back! In June, we wrapped up our first season of the podcast which is exciting & I’m starting a new work role as of today! My new job position is going to be a lot, I just hope I succeed at it. I will finally officially be an insurance agent & have the opportunity to make a lot more money. I’ve been in an awkward limbo trying to do 3 different work positions at my job at once for the last couple of months. I will update you all on how it goes! I just don’t want to disappoint myself or my work partners.

In June, I spent a ton of time with friends, it’s been amazing! It’s so wonderful being by people again now that we’re vaccinated! πŸ™‚

We’ve been selling more of our things online to continue becoming more minimalist & to make money. We have also decided to keep my car for now because of my new work role & needing to go into the office more again.

I just did some calculating and… WE HIT $100,000 NET WORTH!!! -At some point over the last couple weeks, OMG! We’ve been working towards this goal for what feels like such a long time, it’s a great milestone.

In September 2018, we were at a 0 Net Worth when we bought our house. One thing I want to try to do is celebrate my/our accomplishments more! I never have done this in the past, I just check it off the list, then keep moving, but I want to take time to appreciate this. A lot of hard work, mindfulness, & sacrifices went into getting us to $100,000 net worth at the ages of 22 and 24. We both have had low-middle income jobs between 2018 & now, each only bringing in about $30k/year average. If we can do it, you can too!

I’m so looking forward to us continuing to progress, this is just the beginning. I know hitting $200,000 will be easier than it was to hit $100,000 & it will continue to get easier from there. (hopefully!) It all snowballs.

Our Current Numbers as of July 1st, 2021:

  • $39,942.37 Invested (Our IRAs)
  • $10,768.70 In Savings
  • -$127,416 Mortgage
  • -$5,841.56 Car Loan (Will be paid off by end of August 2021!)
  • $166,300 House Value
  • $12,000 Resale Value of B’s Car (estimate)
  • $5,000 Resale Value of My Car (estimate)
  • We are both still working full time.
  • Net Worth: $100,753.51!!!

Some of these numbers may seem slightly off because we are doing more larger payments towards our debts today, July 1st & this Friday, July 2nd, so they are not calculated into the numbers listed above.

So, the plan is:

  1. Pay off B’s Car (β‰ˆAugust 2021)
  2. Hit $18,000+ In Savings (I have to save more with my new role because I will be self employed & need to pay a lot more in taxes.) (β‰ˆDecember 2021)
  3. Max out Roth IRA contributions for 2021 (& every year) by April 2022!
  4. Increase savings account again to $25,000+?
  5. Pay off the House
  6. Leave full time employment! (If we or one of us wants to)

We’re trying to focus on one thing at a time, so it’s less overwhelming & then we are more likely to reach that goal faster.

Our Partial Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $25,000+ In Savings for Emergencies.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Total amount needed to reach partial F.I. Goals: $207,546.49

Total Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $900,000 Invested
  • $36,000 In Savings
  • $0 Debt
  • Both of us have the choice to leave any & all employment

Total amount needed to reach total F.I.R.E. Goals: $1,018,546.49

May 2021 Financial Update:

It’s officially been one year since my first financial update! Let’s see where we were financially in May 2020:

Our Current Numbers as of June 1st 2020:

  • $16,814 Invested
  • $10,028 In Savings
  • No HSA (will get one Oct. 2022 when we can)
  • -$150,279 Total Debt (House and Car)

Some things that happened this month.. our cat had an unexpected vet visit (only $70), he is okay. He jumped at the window to try to catch a bird and fell onto our wood table and hit his nose super hard so he was bleeding all over our living room and kitchen floor. Brandon paid for his car tabs ($194), & we still haven’t gotten the electrical issue in my car fixed or our fence fixed yet.. so we still have some larger expenses coming up. We also started working on fixing up our back porch to make it look a lot nicer, still need to do another coat or two of paint.

Also, we found a lot of random animals this month.. this one takes the cake:

A chinchilla down by the lake lol

This month, I read and wrote everyday. It’s been kind of tiring, but I love what I’m reading & writing, and I’ve been learning & growing a lot!

Anyway, here is where we are at for this month:

Our Current Numbers as of June 1st, 2021:

  • $39,868.45 Invested.
  • $11,565.75 In Savings.
  • -$134,227.20 Total Debt. (House & Car)
  • We are both still working full time.

*Just a reminder that we paused our investing for now to focus on paying off Brandon’s car. That’s why our investment number hasn’t gone up that much from last month, but our debt number has gone down a ton!

I’d say we made some great progress over the last year!

  • Our total invested went up $23,054.45
  • Our savings went up only $1,537.75 (We had a lot of random expenses this last year and focused on investing & paying down debt rather than saving.)
  • Our debts went down by $16,051.80. It would’ve been more, but we refinanced our house in September 2020.

So that is an over all positive increase of $40,644! -I’m not including appreciation of our house or the depreciation of our cars, because those things don’t really impact our F.I. goals. With that being said, I had the goal of hitting $100,000 Net Worth by the end of August 2021, but it looks like we’re on track to hit it in June or July! Very exciting, a great milestone!

Our Partial Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $25,000+ In Savings for Emergencies.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Total amount needed to reach partial F.I. Goals: $207,793

Total Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $900,000 Invested
  • $36,000 In Savings
  • $0 Debt
  • Both of us have the choice to leave any & all employment

Total amount needed to reach total F.I.R.E. Goals: $1,018,793

9 Reasons Why You Should Quit Social Media:

In 2020, I took 2 separate month long breaks from social media, once in January & once in June, I ended up never going back to any socials except Instagram, Pinterest, & YouTube (& a touch of TikTok to post financial education videos). Now on May 20th, 2021 I started another indefinite break from socials. I am allowing myself access to Pinterest & YouTube because I do not end up scrolling for hours on them, I use them for more practical life application, and I don’t feel negative while on them.

Why I want to quit socials for good (& why you may want to too):

1. I was addicted to Instagram, maybe still am, & I really don’t want to go back. I would scroll for way too long & post too much on my story. I was neglecting real life productivity & social interactions. I tried time limits, but they didn’t work for me. An alcoholic can’t have just one beer and stop, I couldn’t just go on Instagram for 15 min. I also noticed my attention span & the attention span of others shortening, which was/is very frustrating & concerning. I know many people are addicted to the dopamine hits they get from social media, so I’m not alone.

2. On social media, I often feel frustrated or overwhelmed as a Highly Sensitive Person & an Empath. It is so easy to compare yourself to others & feel distraught over all of the horrible things happening in the world (at least for me).

3. It is a huge time waster & an enticing distraction. Since getting off, including the last two times, I read & write more. I also spend more time with people & outside. You’ll be shocked at the amount of free time you have.

4. I’ve been sleeping better! Now that I have less screen time & often read before bed instead.

5. The separate times I’ve been off of socials, I haven’t missed out on much, if anything. We have this sense of urgency & an immediate need to know everything right away, when that is just not true. This can cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety. It is okay if you don’t get back to your friends right away. Really, I can’t recall anything I missed out on being off of social media for two separate months.

6. Social media provides an illusion that you’re being social, when you’re really not. Our brain does not recognize it as such. A lot of people become depressed because they aren’t getting enough real, face to face social interaction. Humans are social pack animals, we need a sense of real life community. (I understand this was challenging during a global pandemic obviously.)

7. So much misinformation is spread like wildfire on social media, it is insane. Some social platforms and accounts are particularly toxic/negative. People are happy to say things through a screen that they would never say in real life to someone’s face & without any fact checking.

8. You can lose your sense of self in social media. You are bombarded by other people’s lives you may start to think you want what others have, but is that true? If you had never seen that post would you really want that thing? Or are you just losing touch with your own principles & values?

9. Social Media promotes Hyper-Consumption. You are constantly shown advertisements for things you don’t need, other people living a (seemingly) more lavish life than you, influencers promoting products or services, etc. This is going to make you feel less adequate or inadequate, even if subconsciously. Which in turn makes you want to spend money on things you don’t really want or need. Which then turns into clutter in your home, something you have to sell/donate, or landfill.

Defending Social Media:

Social media is of course a great tool to connect with others, but to be honest, just give people your phone number if they’re really important. Social media takes you away from those you are physically by (often the most important people, like your immediate family & close friends). With that being said, social media can be great for those who maybe don’t get along with their immediate family or are stuck in a small town with people who don’t share the same values as they do, like a teenager that is struggling to fit in (or doesn’t want to) can find other likeminded people through the internet.

Some people use social media as their job or to promote their business which is great! I think it all depends how you use it, if it is actually serving you, & if you can be responsible with it (not scroll for 4 hours a day). Social media employs a lot of people & keeps a lot of businesses afloat.

You can keep larger groups of people up to date on your life, rather than needing to call or text each person an update. (As someone with a small circle, I don’t really care if someone I haven’t talked to since high school or that distant cousin in Nevada is up to date on my life.)

Social media isn’t all bad, but I personally think the cons majorly out weigh the pros. (And I’m a Generation Z!)

Feel free to comment your thoughts on the issue!

My Dream Life:

Without knowing where you want to go, you will surely get lost along the way, wandering aimlessly. The same can be said about your finances & every other aspect of life. Before you start your conscious journey, Where are you going? Where do you want to end up? What does your dream life look like?

Here is mine:

  • I’m healthy in every way, including being spiritually enlightened.
  • Prioritize my relationships; non-toxic folks only.
  • Be debt free! And have the choice to never be employed again.
  • Do what I can to support a more sustainable environment.
  • No more social media, except Pinterest, I want to vanish from it.
  • Help others financially through the Money For Everyone podcast, this blog, my time, & donations.
  • Have a child.
  • Our house is minimalist, updated, and full of books, plants, & love.
  • Have a large garden in our backyard.
  • We have one car, that is 100% electric & have 2 bikes.
  • Travel to at least one new place every year.

I encourage you all to do the same, write it out. Then plan out how you can achieve each of those goals; create actionable steps.

April 2021 Financial Update:

Hello & Welcome back to Ease Your Financial Payne! Spring weather is finally here so we’ve spent quite a lot of time outside this month. It feels so amazing to finally get some natural vitamin D again!

Local woods & stream πŸ™‚

Some things that happened this month: Brandon (my husband) is now fully vaccinated and so is a lot of our family now! So we’ve been spending time with them. I got my first shot and have my second shot in a couple of days, then we’re good to go! Also, I passed out for the first time in my life the other night after standing up to get out of my bath. And no, it’s not from the vaccine, I got my first shot 2 weeks before this even happened & haven’t gotten my second shot yet. When I did, I hit my head hard and scraped my arm on the stone accent trim around our bathroom. So that wasn’t fun, but somehow I didn’t really have any pain & didn’t get a concussion, so that’s good! It was scary waking up naked on the floor of my bathroom not knowing what happened though. I now have a mark on my forehead that’s going to be there for awhile.

Anyway..

In April, my friend Eric & I released two more podcast episodes, so feel free to check those out on Apple or Spotify at Money For Everyone. We upload bi-weekly on Monday Mornings. πŸ™‚

Some unexpected expenses did happen this month. Last month, we had the fence fall over & some plumbing issues (we still haven’t paid for a new fence, we are waiting for lumber prices to go down again). This month, I had to get some maintenance done on my car that cost a total of $240 (now I have an electrical problem too I have to get checked out & pay for, so who knows how much that will cost.), Leo (our cat) is going to the vet on May 1st, but that should only be about $100, and then we got the bill for Brandon’s Car Tabs we will have to renew soon ($198). Also, our annual billing for our life insurance came out this month to for $120. So it was a frustratingly expensive month.. BUT

On May 1st we are still putting an extra $2,000 on Brandon’s car, so that will be calculated in on next month’s financial update. This is a part of our plan to get it paid off by the end on August! After this check, we will only owe about $8,000 on it. Progress! We did not invest any money this month. We are pulling back on investing for a while & focusing on paying off the car for now.

Also, we are on track to hit $100,000 Net Worth in August! My Birthday, our Anniversary, and a rescheduled concert (that we’re super excited about) from 2020 are in August as well, so there will be a lot to celebrate, we’re looking forward to it!

We are still planning on selling my car, since it is older & can’t haul as much when compared to Brandon’s car. Once we sell my car, we will get a bike & put the cash we get towards paying off Brandon’s car or in savings. I have driven my car maybe 10x in the last year, and a lot of those times could have been avoided anyway, so it just no longer makes financial sense to keep it. We are still paying for insurance, new tires, oil changes, wiper blades, tabs, etc. to only use it 10x a year… So we’re finally going to bite the bullet and just have to get more creative with getting to & from work sometimes. The amount we have been spending on the vehicle does not make sense for the use we get out of it. Even though the car is paid off, it is still costing us on average $100/month because of insurance and other car maintenance. So if I only use my car once a month, that’s $100 per ride!! I’d rather have one of us pay $8 once a month for a Lyft to work or just drop each other off. BUT with restrictions lifting, I may have to start going back in the office more. So we might wait until next year to sell it.

Total Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $900,000 Invested
  • $36,000 In Savings
  • $0 Debt
  • Both of us have the choice to leave any & all employment

Our Partial Financial Independence Goal Numbers:

  • $100,000+ invested, for retirement.
  • $25,000+ In Savings for Emergencies.
  • An HSA we are Maxing out every year while working for Medical Expenses. (No specific Goal Number)
  • $0 Personal Debt- No Mortgage or Car Payment brings down our expenses a ton ($1,540/month).
  • With husband & I working part time (or one of us not at all).

Our Current Numbers as of May 1st, 2021:

  • $39,377.69 Invested.
  • $11,562.90 In Savings.
  • No HSA yet, we will get one Oct. 2022.
  • -$138,939.92 Total Debt. (House & Car)
  • We are both still working full time.

Total amount needed to reach partial F.I. Goals: $212,999.33

Total amount needed to reach total F.I.R.E. Goals: $1,023,999.33

Our Podcast Money For Everyone Has Been Released!!!

On February 15th, 2021 we released our first full episode of Money For Everyone on Apple & Spotify. Today, we have five episodes out. We upload a new episode bi-weekly on Mondays.

A bit about the Podcast:

We have a vision of a world in which everyone knows how to manage their money to achieve their dream life. As two finance nerds who have a lot of knowledge and success for our age, in regards to all things personal finance, we want to help educate as many people as we can. In this podcast we will cover just about every topic that relates to personal finance, from student loan debt, to investing in your retirement, and current events. So, whether you make $20k/year or $200k/year, are in high school or are nearing retirement, this is Money For EVERYONE.

I started the podcast with my old co-worker & friend Eric. I had been wanting to start a financial podcast for about a year, but couldn’t find the right person to do it with & didn’t have the resources (time, space, & money) to do so. Then Eric and I reconnected in November 2020; we realized we had the same vision when it comes to money, he also wanted to start something like a podcast, and we both were now done with our formal education, so it worked out perfectly.

Since we both graduated from college in 2019, we are gearing our podcast more towards beginners, like college students and high school students, but the information we share can easily help anyone. It has even helped people we know who are in their 50s. We’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback from many people, which is so amazing. We love the feeling of knowing we’re actually making a positive impact in people’s lives. We love doing the podcast. We love discussing finance, answering questions, and I even love editing. As long as we are helping at least one person out there, it’s all worth it. Obviously, the more people we can positively impact, the better. So I am going to add links below so you all can check it out & share it with your friends & family. Thank you so much for your love & support. πŸ™‚

Easy Changes You Can Make to Live More Sustainably:

Hello & Welcome back! I’ve been obsessed with environmental sustainability & wanted to share some simple changes my husband and I have made so far:

We are planning on doing a lot more, but this is where we are at right now. πŸ™‚ I’ll share updates as we make more changes towards a zero-waste life.

A saying I love is:

We don’t need a few people doing sustainability perfectly, we need a lot of people doing it imperfectly.