Category

Personal

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I’m breaking busy and want to talk again

05-23-16_diana_photoshoot_fc-9bBrooklyn, NY

You might recall when I shared I was reading this book about Breaking Busy and I was doing so well? I sort of was, and then work came along and then I freaked out, on top of a kitchen remodel (no regrets) that took longer than expected.

Sometimes, the only real time I can relax, sleep in, indulge in Netflix and not worry about laundry, cooking, or anything at all is when I’m on vacation – and so, I booked a flight for a week to visit my parents and 14 year old pup. Paris is 14! Have you seen the trailer for A Dog’s Purpose? You know everyone’s going to be crying in theaters over that! I saw the trailer before watching Bridget Jones’s Baby which just gave me a wonderful flashback feeling like I was reading the book and seeing the movies when it first began. Love me some Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy – also glad Renée Zellweger didn’t look too different as Bridget post surgery whatever she had done to her face.

It has been sadly so unfamiliar to just blog and write about nothing. I came across some old posts years ago before this little space got any attention at all. I read my carefree words – carefree because I didn’t have much of an audience – and since the numbers went up, I got some stage fright writers block. And sometimes, brands are checking out my blog and seeing the content published, I of course overthink every post.

I also swear I was so funny back then – the things I would say, like this dating post or maybe I was more thoughtful like when I’d just admit my relationship is a disaster with my brother (unfortunately we still aren’t speaking, I’d appreciate some prayers), and how to cope with feeling left out.

We need more than just seeing pretty outfits, happy photos, we also need words. Words to heal, words that bring our souls together for a brief moment, words that make us stop briefly to reflect, to encourage, and to say, hey, life can be beautiful and a struggle at the same time.

It has been a true blessing to be able to find my niche in the popular yet completely insanely competitive blogging world – Not a mommy blogger but can blog about similar products mommy bloggers do, just not diapers. I like fashion but not enough to keep buying new outfits and also do prefer sweatpants and drawstring waistbands however always stylish while traveling because I’m forced to be intentional on packing. How do I make life easier in this busy world? Oh this is a cool product, need to share this immediately. And here we are, some of you still here, growing with me, and I love you for it.

As you can tell, the collaborations are plentiful lately, and I love them for several reasons. 1) They are creative for me, and 2) They are intentional. Either I reach out to them or apply for the opportunity to work with the brand and been happy to find some good fits. Being able to share and report on products or whatever it is, makes me happy to give you some informative content. It also helps me get out of my stretchy pants, slap on some makeup and brush my hair to show you that you too, should do it.

I assume that our world is busy, we’re rushing to get to the next thing, serving others (which is good!) and barely taking time to just rest. To read, to relax, go on vacation, and I have certainly become guilty of it – the lack of writing and the assumption everyone is like me – scrolling for bullet points and the information fast, forgetting that sometimes we need a connection. We need more than just seeing pretty outfits, happy photos (while they are of course part of life and provides creative value), but we also need words. Words to heal, words that bring our souls together for a brief moment, words that make us stop briefly to reflect, to encourage, and to say, hey, life can be beautiful and a struggle at the same time – and just a reminder we’re all through this journey together and there is so much to be thankful for!

I’m back, and I’m ready to talk.

Photo by Fernando Ceballos

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Get out of debt and love your life (+ Giveaway!)

money-saving-dave-ramsey-rachel-cruze-love-your-life-not-theirs-book-review-9262Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want (c/o) / Joggers: Sincerely Jules

Are you in debt? You’re either debt-free or you’re not, says Rachel Cruze, the daughter of Dave Ramsey in her latest book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want. The average family carries an outstanding balance of credit card debt of $15,863!

It’s written to us for today’s world and our struggles – starting with social media. Instead of looking across the street to keep up with the Joneses, in today’s world we can see every Jones across the world – fashion bloggers with fancy purses, friends with new cars, travel bloggers on an exotic vacation.

The average family carries an outstanding balance of credit card debt of $15,863.

Grab a cup of coffee because let’s spend some serious time together and change our financial future as Rachel also gives personalized answers to some of my questions about money.

Rachel’s wisdom on money and debt

  • Most of the expectations you think people have of you simply don’t exist; it’s more like the expectations you put on yourself.
  • Your either debt-free or you’re not.
  • Debt is owing anything to anyone for any reason.
  • Have discipline to say no to yourself, even when you have the cash in your pocket.
  • How we choose to spend our money affects our present – and our future.
  • Lifestyle choices are a big reason so many people struggle with money.

I love that Rachel’s book is an easy read – she touches upon biblical principals throughout, spending money on kids, having 3-6 months of emergency money for living expenses and gives useful tips how to do it. I was so intrigued with this book because I think we can never have enough good advice about how to manage our money, we can always be better.

“Don’t feel like you’re losing just because someone else is wining. Their success has nothing to do with you, so celebrate their success sincerely while you keep working toward your own.” Show love and support to each other.

Paying off your mortgage sooner

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine the other week over financial goals and telling her about this book! She said, “Can you imagine not having a mortgage at 40?” That was a goal of hers and how amazing is that?!

Rachel says, “Add $20 to your mortgage payment each month. By doing this, you could pay your mortgage off a year and a half early, and save over $6,200 in the process.”

Rachel, how much do you suggest putting more towards a mortgage principle monthly? Or tips to pay off a mortgage sooner? – Diana

As with any debt, the goal should be to pay your mortgage off as soon as possible. Here are some great ways to help you pay off your mortgage sooner:

  • You can shave years off your mortgage by paying a little extra each month. Every dollar you add to your regular payment each month puts a bigger dent in your principal balance. In fact, adding just one extra payment can knock four years and nearly $17,000 off your mortgage!
  • Add $20 to your mortgage payment each month. By doing this, you could pay your mortgage off a year and a half early, and save over $6,200 in the process.
  • Consider bringing your lunch to work every day, rather than eating out. That sacrifice alone could save you up to $45,000. If you put all that money into paying off your mortgage, you could accomplish your goal 11 ½ years ahead of schedule.
  • Be sure to check with your mortgage company about their policies on extra payments and prepayment penalties. Also make sure extra payments are applied to the principal, not the next month’s payments. – Rachel

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Our financial background (Diana + Benjamin)

I figure if I’m going to share Rachel’s tips about debt and money, I should transparently share ours. Benjamin and I grew up with parents who agree with the Ramsey method. We are both thankful for them providing us a head start by paying for our college and living expenses as we earned our degrees. *Benjamin did have student debt for his MBA more on that and how he paid it off, later. Individually, we lived modest lifestyles, and once married, our individual habits continued. From a small wedding, Benjamin driving a 6 year old sedan, and I still drive my now 10 year Lexus SUV I had purchased with cash 8 years ago. Our trips are paid from our flight points and hotels, using a credit card with points that we pay off monthly. Our only debt is our mortgage, and we’re working on getting that taken care of sooner.

We still have struggles – I am a natural spender and Benjamin is a natural saver. It takes a lot of self control for me to not spend it all, but our goals are the same – so we continually choose to live modestly and live lower than our means. It doesn’t mean we don’t splurge on things – if we have the cash on hand, then we can.

Instead of looking across the street to keep up with the Joneses like our parents, in today’s world we can see every Jones across the world on social media.

Dealing with debt – student loans included

Don’t be discouraged if you have debt. Rachel doesn’t condemn anyone with debt (think about it anyone reading this book has something to pay off). She offers solutions and change of habits to help get out of debt. Before we met, Benjamin had over $60,000 in student loan debt from getting his MBA – he paid it off in 3 years on his own. He told me it was hard for him then, he didn’t eat out, he didn’t do anything but put his money towards paying it off because it stressed him out. So if you have debt, you can pay it off – he loves telling that story to encourage others. And of course, life happens, pets, medical, and emergencies and Rachel talks about how to handle them and prepare for them for the future.

Before we met, Benjamin had over $60,000 in student loan debt from getting his MBA. He paid it off in 3 years on his own.

Focus on your priorities – and not judging others

Rachel touches upon different households and how they choose to live. Perhaps a stay at home mom’s priority is raising their kids but they must sacrifice losing that additional income, while the mom who chooses to work is doing so in order for her kids to go to a better school (or as a friend of mine is doing paying off their mortgage early) – neither one is wrong, priorities are different and so are the sacrifices. Rachel encourages us all to be supportive of each other, and that’s why I am writing this huge post about it!

Lifestyle choices are a big reason so many people struggle with money.

Saving money with children

People say children are expensive. Do you think they are or what is the expense? Is there a way to cut expenses down? – Diana

Kids can be expensive, but there are things you can do to keep the costs down.

  • Budget! Having a plan for your money is always important. The purpose of a budget isn’t to limit your freedom, but to give you freedom – with some boundaries in place. This is important when you have kids. Make sure you have space in your budget for things you know you will need to purchase for your kids – clothes, formula, diapers, back-to-school supplies – before you purchase.
  • Buy used! A young child doesn’t care if he or she is wearing consignment clothes or sleeping in a used crib. Parents are usually the ones who insist their kids have only the best and that thinking is what breaks the bank.
  • Don’t overspend! There are definitely times when you’ll be tempted to over spend, like during the holidays or on birthdays. Birthday parties are becoming a lot more about the parents than the kids. Remember, your toddler doesn’t have to have a theme party with food trucks and ponies. They just want birthday cake. During the holidays, it’s important to remember that your kids may have a wish list a mile long, but you aren’t obligated to get them everything on that list, especially if you can’t afford it. Five years from now, they probably won’t remember the toy you got them, but they will remember piling into the car with their family to go search for Christmas lights. The key is to plan ahead for these celebrations that come every year. – Rachel

Birthday parties are becoming a lot more about the parents than the kids. Remember, your toddler doesn’t have to have a theme party with food trucks and ponies. They just want birthday cake.

The temptation from reading blogs

I want you to know that the products I display on social media and on this blog are either gifted or paid for with cash. I take responsibility in making sure I don’t show you a lifestyle with a credit card balance due behind it. And I say this in hopes that my financial lifestyle is one that you find suitable to follow and encourage you to hold off on purchases until you know your pocketbook can say yes – I say this as a friend to another friend. You can come over and try them on or play with them, but don’t get into the red as tempting as it can be. Whether you have a large or small amount of debt, let’s work together to have a lifestyle that we love and pay off balances.

I saw something on a blog and suddenly I the object is in my online shopping cart. What should my thought process be before I check out and possibly have buyer’s remorse? – Diana

It’s perfectly okay to buy the things you see online or on blogs as long as you have the money and don’t have to go into debt to buy them. You may also want to consider if the item is really a need or just a want. – Rachel

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GIVEAWAY!

Ramsey Press is giving one of my readers a copy of Rachel’s book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs: 7 Money Habits for Living the Life You Want available on preorder now. Just leave a comment, you don’t have to get into details if you don’t want about your debt, but you certainly can if you want, or share a success of paying off debt!

A winner will be selected by October 3, and contacted by email.

Phoenicians – Rachel will be signing copies of the book in Phoenix on October 14 at Barnes & Noble Desert Ridge at 6 pm. Check out her website here for more information about her visit and info about her video stream, audio books and e-books with her father, Dave Ramsey.

I was given an advanced copy to review and all opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this post.

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