Do Work You Love

06 Feb
by Jenny, posted in Consumerism/Minimalism, Money Honey   |  9 Comments

Imagine a life where you could choose to do work you want -- regardless of pay. Now figure out what you need to do and make it a reality.

Round and round and back again. It’s been a long time coming, but I finally feel that I’m in a place where I can choose work based on my interests rather than the income. I always dreamed of this place and thought it to be a distant fantasy rather than a reality for me.

Simplifying my life and finances has opened up the opportunity to do any kind of work I want. It’s been both liberating and overwhelming. Sometimes it’s easier to do something because you have to.

Having more options can be exhilarating. And terrifying.

When you’re forced to decide what your highest point of contribution is, work life becomes a bigger responsibility. Suddenly, your choices are not based solely on providing for yourself and your family.  Now you’re free to decide what you love to do. And what you’re best at.

Freedom is a blessing and curse. But the positives outweigh the difficulties by a landslide.

What do you think?

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Found Money Staring Us in the Face

31 Jan
by Jenny, posted in Money Honey   |  5 Comments

I’m not sure why we waited so long, but Kirk and I finally refinanced our mortgage to secure a lower interest rate. We have been trying to figure out how to pay off our mortgage sooner, but we didn’t want to lower our retirement contributions to get there.

Refinancing our mortgage allowed us to reduce our interest rate by 1.375%. We went with a 30-year fixed rate loan again, however, we’ll be paying the same amount we were paying before refinancing – even though our new mortgage payment is lower.

Since we’re paying the same as we were before even though we now owe less each month, we’ll actually be paying an additional $220 towards the principle of our loan each month. This will shave nine years off the term of our loan – even if we never raise our overpayment.

So, by not paying anymore than we have been each month, we’ll get through our loan nine years earlier. Like I said earlier, I’m not sure what took us so long to refinance with low rates like these!

Found Money

Even though I thought we shaved every possible unneeded expense from our budget, I overlooked the enormous savings to be had by refinancing our mortgage to lock in a lower rate.

Sometimes it’s the most obvious things that need reevaluated in our budget. Maybe it took clearing out all of the smaller clutter from our budget before we could see the single biggest opportunity for savings.

How about you? Is there a major beast sneaking under the radar in your budget too?

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What Appeals to You Most When it Comes to Living with Less?

23 Jan
by Jenny, posted in Consumerism/Minimalism   |  12 Comments

Two weeks ago week I asked a simple question which received some terrific responses: What appeals to you most when it comes to living with less?

Below is a peek at what the Facebook community had to say:

what appeals to you most when it comes to living with less

Continue Reading

Kiss Your Debt Goodbye: Three Steps to Debt Freedom

16 Jan
by Jenny, posted in Money Honey   |  4 Comments

Make this the year you tackle those lingering debts. Shedding the restriction and stress that debt evokes is well worth the effort. It may seem overwhelming, but you can break it down into manageable pieces.

Three Steps to Debt Freedom

1. Write down how much you owe.
Get a paper and pencil or spreadsheet together that simply lists out exactly how much you owe to each creditor and what your monthly payments are. This may take an entire month if you rely on bills showing up in your mailbox to tell you where to send your money, but it will be the most important step you’ll take. Knowing where you’re starting from gives you the leverage you’ll need to lunge forward. Continue Reading

What are Your Simplification and Money Goals for 2013?

11 Jan
by Jenny, posted in Consumerism/Minimalism, Money Honey   |  2 Comments

I’ve heard many people talking about how they don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I like to use the beginning of each new year to set a few goals. Doing this helps me to work toward aspirations that might otherwise feel overwhelming. Goals help me break down larger dreams into bitable chunks I can tackle with confidence.

This year I plan to work towards the following goals:

  • Remain consumer debt free.
  • Continue to simplify by selling or donating excess possessions.
  • Continue to contribute to our car savings until we have enough saved for Kirk to purchase his next car outright. Currently have $4,892 saved. Our goal is $20,000.
  • Raise the additional principal we pay on our mortgage each month. Currently only paying $20 additional per month. Our goal is to pay an additional $1,000 monthly.
  • Increase the amount we contribute to the kids’ college savings. Currently contributing $50 monthly. Our goal is $300 monthly.
  • Be more intentional and consistent with the message I hope to share at Ex-Consumer.
  • Explore the possibility of going back to work full-time. Continue Reading

The Most Dreaded Clutter Purge

03 Jan
by Jenny, posted in Consumerism/Minimalism   |  7 Comments

I have a dirty little secret. There is a room in our home that escaped the rampage of purging and downsizing undertaken over the past two years. It’s a room with sentimental clutter, outdated files and memories of a past I wasn’t ready to let go.

The home office.

We’ve decided to turn the space into a media room for our two sons since we no longer use the room. Deciding to repurpose the space has meant that everything now occupying the space needs cleared out. Everything. Wow. Continue Reading

Who are the Joneses in Your Life?

18 Dec
by Jenny, posted in Consumerism/Minimalism, Money Honey   |  6 Comments

the joneses

We’ve all heard the idiom “keeping up with the Joneses.” But who is this person, family or group we’re measuring our lives against? Odds are, my “Joneses” are different than yours.

The Joneses in your life can be any person, family or group that you compare your life against.

Most likely, the Joneses you choose to compare yourself with have more of something you feel you’re lacking. In fact, you may not have given something a second thought until you saw that Sally Jones had the very job, car, vacation, education, etc. you never knew you always wanted.

Suddenly you feel less than. If only you could have that job, car, vacation, education, etc. that Sally has. Then you would finally be happy. Or not. Continue Reading

Thankful for A Perfectly Flawed Life

21 Nov
by Jenny, posted in Consumerism/Minimalism   |  7 Comments

I’ve never been a fan of white clothes. Not only do they lose their brilliance after several washes in our hard water, but wearing a crisp white shirt always makes me uneasy. White is unforgiving. Unrelenting even.

Like my clothes, I prefer a life enveloped in more forgiving shades of grey as well. It’s better to allow for some lenience as we blaze through our life journey.

Circumstances and people disappoint me far less often when I lower my expectations, practice unconditional acceptance and remain tolerant of differing perspectives and opinions. Expecting perfection will always lead to an illusion of lack. Continue Reading

How Will You Vote?

05 Nov
by Jenny, posted in Consumerism/Minimalism, Uncategorized   |  4 Comments

There are more than two choices for the upcoming presidential election.

Most of us won’t even see the names of the other candidates until we go to cast our vote tomorrow. Unfortunately, only the two political parties with the most campaign funding typically make it into most American’s decision-making process.

Who do you think is funding those campaigns? Continue Reading

Step back. Reflect. Repeat.

11 Oct
by Jenny, posted in Consumerism/Minimalism, Money Honey   |  13 Comments

The past few months have been a time of retreat and introspection for me. Periodically, I like to step back from my life and process my current circumstances. Occasionally these periods of reflection lead to great changes. This time, however, I’m quite happy with the way things are.

Since eliminating our consumer debt in August of 2011, Kirk and I have more flexibility in our working lives. I’m able to choose projects I want to work on and Kirk can choose work that’s a good fit for him. We don’t have to force ourselves into unsavory work or projects to pay creditors.

It’s a freeing feeling. Continue Reading

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