Personal Finance stuff

When I was super broke, I haunted personal finance sites, blogs, and forums.

I moved away from those in the past few years, dealing with a (another) change in career, cancer, a roommate that took a lot of emotional energy, part-time grad school and other online learning, and, as always, my mental health.

I didn’t have the bandwidth (or spoons, if you prefer) to deal with my money or to keep up with blogs and forums. And I slowly slipped deeper and deeper into the negative.

Now, I’m digging out of a mountain of debt. I’m too embarrassed right now to say how much, but it’s a number I couldn’t even conceive of 5 years ago. There are lots of reasons why it got this high, and I’ll probably talk about them over time. Right now, I’m in the stage where I am facing the actual issue head on (because I can deal with a crisis but I can’t maintain a smooth course*) and focusing on that issue.

That means going back to some old places, like Get Rich Slowly, The Simple Dollar (that site has really changed!), the (old) YNAB forum and similar places.

It also means finding some new places. JD Roth of Get Rich Slowly recommended Bitches Get Riches . They are hilarious and insightful and talk about life as well as money, check them out.

There’s a thread in the personal finance world that always used to upset me, and the Bitches really call this out in this post on making personal finance more inclusive. Here’s a piece:

Special suggestions for our fellow personal finance bloggers

Quit writing shallow, bullshit success narratives

There is a fine line between being encouraging and being full of shit.

When you say, “If I can do it, anyone can!” what you’re really saying is, “It worked for me, and my experience with people who aren’t like me is so limited that I have a hard time even imagining their existence!” Hard work, discipline, and sacrifice may have led you to financial stability. But it’s ignorance to suggest that everyone’s life circumstances put them on equal footing.

I don’t want to hear any more exclusionary nonsense about how people who can’t make it work are “complainypants” losers and whiners. If you honestly think that willpower is the only determinant to success, you’re ignorant as well as a jerk. And you’re using personal finance and your platform to flatter yourself.

Mr. Money Mustache got popular with this kind of narrative. I was never able to follow him for long. Ramit Sethi is another one like that.

My recently retired boss tried to pull a narrative like that on me once. He had been a government employee in one form or another for 35 years and was making more than $100k/year for quite some time, and usually had a 2 income household. Right about the time he bought a house for well over $500k, he told me that anyone at any income level could save money. I shut down that shit real quick with some highlights from my story.

Anyway, what financial blogs/sites/podcasts are you following these days?

Roller Coaster of Emotions

Wow. I knew I’d ignored my blogs for a while, but didn’t realize I haven’t had a substantive post since 2014! A lot of ups and downs in that time.

  • Summer 2015 – got a good job with grown up money and benefits for the first time in over a decade.
  • Winter 2015/2016 – an old friend needed a place to stay, and in the interest of paying the universe back for the help I received, I let him move in with me. Signed up for a Master’s degree online program. Then I got diagnosed with colon cancer. Since my daughter was grown up and moved out, having someone in the house while I was going through that really helped. Although I had to give up privacy that I crave. (Also, he’s an alcoholic, but that’s for another time). I had to put the Master’s on hold. Moved to a 2 bedroom apartment.
  • Spring and Summer 2016 – dealing with chemo, but also connecting to other women veterans through a new local group.
  • Fall 2016 – jumped into the Master’s program taking 2 classes, which really stressed me out.
  • Winter/Spring 2016/2017 – got a credential for work, was completely buried under with the Master’s. Over my head a bit. Ended up with C in one class I took, and had to redo it.
  • Fall 2017 – got a promotion at work.
  • Winter 2017 – forced Roommate to go to the V.A. for addiction counseling. There was a whole big deal with the neighbor calling police and everything.
  • Spring 2018 – took time off from the Master’s to give myself a break and reevaluate if I wanted to keep going. My daughter graduated from university.
  • Summer 2018 – got sick of the alcoholic roommate. At this point, he’d lost a couple of jobs, started a new one and now was drinking regularly again. I couldn’t take it anymore. Asked him to leave.

So, up, down, up, down, up, down.

But that’s life, right?

I’ve missed writing, but in the time since I stopped blogging, I was somewhat disconnected from my emotions and spirituality.

Also, when I was blogging before and trying to make a business out of my witchiness, I was steeped in dozens of courses and other middle-aged white women trying to do a spiritual or coaching business. There was a whole circle-jerk of us? them? advising each other to up-level and increase your email list, and get the clients who will pay hundreds of dollars for a couple hours of talking with you.

I grew to hate it. Especially after one such coaching session, where I said I wanted to make a set of affirmation cards or something like that and the coach insisted I needed to do intense coaching sessions to make money, just like she was. No. That isn’t what I want to do. Then she insisted I put more coaching sessions on a credit card I didn’t have.

I don’t want to hustle to find broken women and take money from them, often when they are at a really low point. And it began to feel like a multilevel marketing scam.

No, I liked my blog when it was just me, trying to figure life out. I’ve really wanted to get back to blogging for a while, but couldn’t find my voice. I think it’s important for me to get back to it, to center myself again.

How are you doing? What have you been up to the past 5 years? FIVE YEARS, good grief.

 

 

New Routines

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For a long time, my evening routine, such as it was, consisted of coming home exhausted, getting on the computer, and staying on it, even if I wasn’t doing anything at all, until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. At least when I’m working.

And when not working, even less than that. It would be a “good” night if I spent time exercising or cleaning or anything at all, really.

Lately, I find myself turning off the computer, putting on a new age station on Pandora and sitting on the porch as twilight turns to dark.

Sometimes, I simply sit.

Sometimes, I read – right now: You Are Here by Thich Naht Hanh.

Sometimes I write, either in my personal journal or working on The Desire Map or one of my other journaling/goal setting notebooks. A couple of times, I’ve taken my watercolors out there, too.

I think it started with the Mindfulness class I did at the VA Mental Health Clinic. I started meditating in silence, which I think I’ve mentioned was a little new to me. And I began to crave the quiet time.

And then Tuli came along.

She’s so different from Pumpkin.Image

She likes being outside (Pumpkin didn’t like open spaces).  But it’s dangerous around here, so I can’t really let her out to just explore.

As often as possible, I open up the sliding glass door to the porch and let her go out there.

Having the door open somehow makes me want to go out there more.

I’ve spent more time out there in the last month than I probably have in the 6 years I’ve lived here combined.

I keep wondering why I didn’t do this ages ago. It’s pleasant and relaxing. My allergies act up a little, but still, it’s nice.

Next step: work yoga into the routine, either in the mornings or evenings. I need more movement in my daily routines.

You know what happens when you make plans?

First you make plans. . . .

Playing with my phone camera 

I wanted this weekend to be about solitude, reflection, finishing up my Core Desired Feelings, setting up concrete goals and working on my vision board and my Amazing Year calendar and workbook. I was going to have a massage this morning, and spend the rest of the weekend in reflection. I was supposed to have off from Wed-Sun.

Then, I forgot to turn in my November invoice for my contract gig, meaning I didn’t get paid this month. So, ok, cancel the massage, but it’s ok, the rest of the weekend can go as planned.

Then, something had to get done for the contract job on Friday, and I don’t mind that, actually like that they asked me to do it, so, ok, worked 7 hours.

Friday I found out something else had to be done on Sat. Still, really not a problem – it’s only 4 miles away, and it’s a quick something, so fine.

Tonight, sleeping on top of my bed, rather than under it.

Then the big thing. Last weekend, I noticed Pumpkin (my big, fat, orange cat) was hiding under the bed and not eating.

This is so unlike my normally social baby. I was worried.

He’s been to the vet 3 times this week. Right now, there’s still several things it could be, but the best bet, based on symptoms, is pancreatitis.

Right now, he has antibiotics, pain medication, and subcutaneous fluids. Today, he also got a shot of anti-nausea medication and an appetite stimulant pill (1/8th of a pill! seriously 1/8th!!).

Fresh poster board for my Vision Board.

This is, obviously, another financial hit, but luckily C is helping me with the cost.

But the point is, worrying about my baby and taking him back to the vet on Thursday and today is not helping me with the reflection and goal-setting and workbook working on stuff.

I may not get my stuff done this weekend.

And that’s ok!

Taking care of my sick kitty is more important than getting my goals written down by a certain date.

I was able to spend a little time tonight working on them, though.

I bought a new poster board and hung it where my old one was.

Water colors!!

I got out water color paints and paper and made a couple little things to hang on the board.

I’ve never been into New Year’s Resolutions, but last year, attempting to set real goals and reviewing them regularly really did help me focus on what was important to me.

This year, I’m more focused and starting to become a bit more financially stable (thanks to the contract gig). I feel like I can really begin to focus on my next steps now.

I already mentioned my Word of the Year in my last post, so here’s the start of my new board!

Getting started!

Words

My tiny black tree. 🙂

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I finally gave a nod to the season by putting up my tiny black tree. I bought this at Border’s several years ago, when C and I were renting a room in someone else’s house. We didn’t have any room for a real tree or for the 4 ft artificial tree I had in storage. C was into skull & crossbones and her favorite colors were black and red. It seemed perfect for us at the time

Last year, I didn’t decorate at all. I just never got into the mood to celebrate. This year, I put up my little tree. At least I have a *little* spirit this year.

I’m working on my Amazing Year Planner but I’m also working on Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map (I got the digital version last year in her “pay what you can” sale).

I’ve chosen my word for 2014. I chose it a couple of weeks ago. It’s been bubbling in my head for weeks, maybe even months.

Amazing Year and Desire Map Workbooks

I think perhaps reading The Desire Map earlier in the year stuck in my subconscious. The Desire Map is about finding your Core Desired Feelings – decide how you want to feel, and create your goals and make your decisions based on how you want to feel.

I chose my Word before I started doing the Desire Map work, but I definitely chose it with the idea in mind that this word was going to shape the decisions I make from now on, not just for this next year, but for the rest of my life.

I’ve had hard times, I’ve made bad decisions, I’ve done things I’m not proud of, I’ve created strife where there didn’t need to be any, I’ve created drama for the sake of being dramatic. I’m tired of that.

Earlier in the year, I wrote that I kept coming back to a wallpaper Leonie created that said, “Joy is an option!”

For the last several weeks, I’ve been thinking that I want freedom, dancing, liberation, abandonment, unshackled happiness, radical love. . . . in other words,

I want more joy in my life. It’s time, past time for it. I deserve it.

This may mean making hard decisions and letting go of things I’ve held onto for a long time.

But those things are pulling me down, and I want to FLY!

Words have power.

The things we tell ourselves can shape how we see our lives, and ourselves.

Having “Success” plastered in a place where I couldn’t avoid it this year did help. I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to, but I made a lot of progress on a lot of fronts that have me in a better place emotionally and financially than I started the year.

I’ve had moments of happiness and contentment. And now I want more than that.

It’s easier to look for this kind of emotional fulfillment when my financial picture is starting to get better.

With this in mind, the business may change.

I love giving readings.

But I would like to expand to reach people who may not be interested in readings, but are beginning to explore their inner lives.

Disappointment

Last Friday was supposed to be the relaunch of Invincible Summer..

I was holding off posting for days, waiting to post a pointer to my first post there.
Unfortunately, Life happened to the owner of the blog and the relaunch was pushed back, first a few days, then maybe next month, and now. . . I don’t know. She says:

I suppose I just wanted to write a note telling you that I’m still here, but I’m not sure where I’m going. And this blog is still here, but I don’t know where it’s going.

I completely understand where she’s at. I completely understand that she bit off more than she can handle right now.

I’m certainly guilty of the same thing, fairly often.

But I can’t hide my disappointment.

I was looking forward to working on more creative stuff. I do better when I have a deadline than when I’m working for myself.

Her following is larger than mine, and so is her mailing list. I was looking forward to greater exposure.

Now, I have a lot going on, too.

And I could be doing other stuff to promote my blog (I want to submit a guest post to Wild Sister, for example).

I’m about half-done writing up a workbook I want to put up here.

I haven’t even asked people here to look at the Inspired To Do Lists that I made or put a link in my sidebar.

On my To Do list for two weeks has been to create a page of the places I’ve signed up for affiliates and clean up my sidebar. That won’t really take me that long, but I’ve avoided it.

I haven’t listened to several of the more recent talks from the SSSBR. I also need to create a video and write up a piece about what I’ve gotten out of it, and I’ve been putting that off.

I’m putting it out here for accountability. Kick me in the ass. 🙂

Goals update

Photo from unprofound, words from Richard Bach

Just a brief post here.

One of my goals was to get more consistent with posting. Trying to not be overly ambitious, I said I’d do “at least 52 blog posts” in the year, and spread that out over a couple of blogs I write for. Meaning, at least one post per week on any blog.

As of yesterday, between here and Las Flacas I’ve done more than 25 already.

So, I’ve changed the goal to 100, but if I keep going at this pace, I’ll pass that pretty quickly, too.

I’m also working on trying to establish a couple of habits.

The 10 minutes of writing a day is still going well, and it’s usually much more than that, 30 minutes or more.

Investing in creating a new business is also on the list, and I’ve been listening to free podcasts and/or live conferences every day. I’ve gotten a ton of information and inspiration. I’m still not entirely sure what direction this is going, but I’m trying to journal it out.

And setting Most Important Tasks for the day and daily “to do” lists. I don’t always get everything done, but taking the time to think about things that need to be done helps me focus. I don’t quite make it every day, but a little more each week.

I’m moving forward on my teaching credential as well, although I still have a couple of emotional blocks stopping me from one or two steps. Working on that.

I still need to get a bit more income coming in right now until I can start teaching full time.

I’m NOT doing so well on my fitness goals but it’s possible I’m trying to do too much all at once, so as some things become more habitualized, I’m adding more in.

I do have a newsletter now, the link is below to sign up. Right now, it’s links to recent posts and sometimes links to products I like. If I’m affiliate for any of the products, I’ll let you know. In the future, I plan to turn it into a little bit more.

Sign up for the newsletter here

One nugget of wisdom from one of podcasts I’ve listened to is a quote from the Sufi mystic Rumi is “What you are seeking is seeking you.” This hit me hard. It’s similar to “You teach best what you most need to learn,” which the intermawebs attribute to Richard Bach, and was part of my spiritual training. I’m meditating on these a lot lately, because I think the key to my next path is in there.