4 Ways I’ve Simplified My Life

When I was growing up, my favorite band, besides The Beatles was Weezer. I was obsessed with the lead singer Rivers Cuomo and devoured everything I could find about him on the Internet. It was stated in the late 90’s he gave away a lot of his possessions and zoned out in an apartment by himself with the bare minimum he needed to get by. Since my family was full of people who loved their stuff, I couldn’t imagine doing that and it haunted me.

Now that I am at least twice the age I was when first reading that article, I can say that I am aware I have a love/hate relationship with stuff, mainly my own. Moving four times in less than two years will do that to a person. While I think decluttering your life is an ongoing practice, I have made some strides to simplify my life. I’m not perfect by any means, and nowhere near a minimalist like some, but I’ll take these small wins when I can get them.

I Donated Half Of My Closet

Last spring, I had a series of misfortunate events, which really weighed on me. I felt I couldn’t catch a break and was convinced I had bad luck. One of the things that happened to me was that I had to pack up my entire apartment in plastic trash bags so it could be exterminated, due to no fault of my own. I slowly started unpacking everything once it was safe but realized two months later I still had tons and tons of clothes in trash bags on my bedroom floor. Oops.

It took a week but I ended up donating half of my closet. I had a lot of clothes I wasn’t wearing and were just taking up space, both physically and mentally. Now I can get ready easier, I know where everything is when I need it and I have less laundry to do. I can still go weeks without doing laundry so I still have some curating to do but all in due time.

I Don’t Keep Up With The Joneses

When I was twenty-one years old, I had the bright idea to move to Las Vegas. My small town life wasn’t cutting it anymore and so I called my ex-fiancee to come pick me up. I didn’t have a job or a car, I was a real hot mess. I found a job working at Macy’s doing makeup on call for a few months until I found something more permanent but it was too late. While I was at Macy’s, I fell into a real trap of wanting nice things, specifically name brands. I fantasized about being one of my customers and spending until my heart’s content.

I had everything at my fingertips and rarely did I have the money for it. But do you think that stopped me? No. I bought designer purses when I could along with sunglasses and jewelry because it made me feel better about myself instead of addressing my real issues. My ex-bought me the same crap and obviously, we didn’t live happily ever after.

Now, I rarely spend money on that kind of stuff or anything else new or fancy. I’ve had the same car since 2011 when I bought it off my friend’s grandparents. When I purchased an iPhone last year so I could run my business from anywhere, I made sure to not buy the newest model and instead, what would work for the next few years for my needs. I didn’t need an iPhone per say, but I enjoy having a smartphone with a reliable network since I travel so much. You can buy quality items to last, it’s just a waste when you constantly feel the need to replace them.

I Mainstreamed My Beauty Routine

Gone are the days of $125 cut and colors. Yes, I did spend this much on my hair when I was younger and no, that wasn’t including the tip. My hair was three colors for the longest time and in order to get it to be two of those, I had to bleach the crap out of it. I was also obsessed with beauty products from Sephora, anything I thought would make me prettier. Do you see a theme here? Boy, was I insecure.

Now, I wear my hair long and get it cut twice a year. I went back to my natural hair color almost five years ago and don’t see myself going back. I also no longer wear makeup on a regular basis and instead, just wear it on special occasions, both professionally and personally. While I’m still not as confident as I would like to be, I know I do not need to layer this stuff on in order to feel better about myself.  I love taking care of my skin and don’t skimp but I also no longer need an hour in the bathroom.

I Meal Plan

When I was twenty-three, I began meal planning. The frugal bug had bitten me and I decided groceries were the easiest thing I could cut back on at that time. Meal planning saved me money, taught me to be resourceful and l learned how to actually cook. Years later, I still meal plan as a way to save extra costs and time.

Every Sunday morning, I scan my Pinterest app to see what I feel like making for the week. After checking my kitchen for supplies, I make a list and head to one of three different stores, depending on what my needs are for the week. Sometimes, I prefer shopping at Target while at other times, a different store. When I get home, I make sure I prep my snacks and cook a big batch of meals to get me started. It helps ensure I eat healthy as well as save time and money. The more prepared I am, the less likely I’ll stop for take out on the way home!

These are just some of the ways I’ve simplified my life as well. When you don’t spend money or energy on things that don’t make you happy or you don’t need, you start to find that you have more of it for things you enjoy and bring your life value.

What are some ways you’ve simplified?

The Importance Of A Spending Fast

For much of my life, I have not wanted to deal with my feelings. Growing up as an only child, I really didn’t have to. While my dad balanced two jobs most of the time (he used to be a workaholic), my mom stayed at home due to her ailing health. I had my mom all to myself and she was my best friend. Whenever I had an issue or a problem or was just being a jerk, my mom was there to listen and fix it. It’s no wonder that after her death I found myself so lost.

I’m not a special snowflake but I feel things more than the general population due to a few mental health disorders I battle on a daily basis. For most of my life, up until recent years, I wasn’t medicated or in therapy. I dealt with things on my own or rather, didn’t. I became codependent, wanting to be obsessed with my partner. I gained weight because I loved food or more like I ate until I was numb. And I gave in to a shopping addiction because stuff was gonna make me a better person. I remember threatening to leave in a fight with my ex-fiancee and he threatened to take away my Tiffany & Co jewelry because he knew it would make me stay. Yeah, I’m embarrassed too.

I’m happy to report that while I can still be codependent, I am now in a loving and healthy relationship with a man I adore and who adores me too. While I gained an excessive amount of weight due to a thyroid issue, I don’t eat my feelings anymore. And while I still enjoy nice jewelry and things, I would never stay in a situation because of them. But lately, I keep wanting more.

Revalation

I want to buy all the things lately. It started with a shopping bender at Bath & Body Works. Next, I added a bunch of Halloween decorations to my cart that I didn’t need.  Then, I bought a ton of Stephen King books. Granted, I never pay full price for a book but did I really need so many? Fast food started showing up on my bank statement and so did extra pounds on the scale. I stocked up on snacks like they were going out of style. Last but not least, I caught myself trying to dress up my office wardrobe. I could use a few new things, mainly black flats and black cigarette pants, but I didn’t need all of the items I was ready to buy. It was until last week that I realized I was miserable.

I can’t get into all of the details about my revelation but maybe one day I can. All I know is that I was spending money and buying things to make me happy when that wasn’t going to do the trick. Isn’t that why a lot of us buy crap we don’t need or even necessarily want? Because one day it’s going to magically make us happy? All I ever want is to be happy and healthy and that really means dealing with what’s bothering me.

Am I Spending On My Happy?

I knew I needed to participate in a spending fast like Anna from And Then We Saved talks about on her blog because I needed to plug some money leaks. While plugging a money leak is like a band-aid, it gives me time to figure out what is really going on with the plumbing and why I am leaking in the first place.

This is why evaluating your spending is so important. Every time you swipe your debit card, you are voting with your dollars what matters to you. Is it living in a nice safe place? Or driving an expensive car? Does eating out help you feel better? Or does shopping at Target every week?

I am not saying spending money is a bad thing. Instead, I am a firm believer that you should put your money where your happy is like Sarah from Yes & Yes (one of the best blogs ever) preaches. But if you are spending money because you don’t want to deal with something, you won’t truly be happy. And if you aren’t truly happy, what’s the point of just spending money on stuff?

Sangria with the boyfriend makes me happy.

I’ll be continuing on my spending fast until the end of the month and then I’ll re-evaluate to see how I feel about my money leaks. So far, so good, but I know this weekend will be rough. My friends are all going to a taco festival and I’ll probably suffer from a slight case of FOMO (fear of missing out). Instead of wallowing, I plan on cleaning my house, decorating for Halloween and just taking it easy. I won’t be home the next two weekends so I plan on taking it easy while I can!

How do you determine what your spending leaks are? Have you ever participated in a spending fast?

Athena

 

September Goals Recap/ October Goals

It’s that time of the month again! Time to check in on my September Goals and see what I have planned for the next month!

September Goals Recap 

  • Continue working on my health. Fail. I went to yoga twice and then did my doctor appointments but I really didn’t prioritize this. 
  • Deep clean my apartment. Pass! My house was so pretty and clean. Need to work on a plan to keep it clean though. 
  • Enjoy time with my family and boyfriend. Pass! I had a really bad arthritis flare up this month and I am still recovering. Because of this flare-up, I ended up not being able to go home and was struggling during the visit to San Diego. My boyfriend and I both slept a lot and just took it easy the whole time but still got to see his mom. 
  • Read two books. Fail. I suck at reading yet keep buying an insane amount of books. Hmm. 
  • Track all spending. Pass! I spent way too much money but at least I accounted for it. 

October Goals 

  • $1,000 in extra income. Should totally be doable, next month may be another story. :/
  • $885 towards debt. May take some strategy but I’m hoping to get it done. This summer I decided that I now HATE DEBT. Only took a few years, hahaha. Oh, and a cancer treatment. 🙁
  • Spending cleanse. I realized how out of control my spending has gotten again and I am attempting to do a spending cleanse this month. The exceptions will be my two trips I have planned (food & alcohol only, one souvenir per trip). For the rest of the month, I will be hanging out at home since I have enough to keep busy.
  • Read 3 books. I plan on being gone two weekends this month but one weekend involves five hours of flying and a few hours of airport time. I should be able to accomplish this. I also need to read some of the books I have bought.
  • Have fun in Mexico & Dallas. I’ve never been to either before so I am excited to explore some new sights and try new foods.
  • Work my blog strategy. I brainstormed with my boyfriend who not only runs a successful blog now but has sold one in the past for my business strategy this week. I’ve had a lot of things pop up in my business the past two months and while freelancing will still be a part of it, I am looking to branch out and diversify what I am doing. I also spent time talking to a friend I admire and she gave me some great suggestions as well. I have planned out my new strategy so be on the lookout for new things soon! If there is anything you would especially like to read or learn about, please let me know.
  • Lose 5 lbs. I need to get back to working out and losing weight, my back is killing me and I need this extra weight to come off now that my thyroid hormones are seemingly right.

Anything fun planned for you?

Athena