LIVING THE FI KINDA LIFE

Meditation, gardening, minimalism, fitness, and everything else that keeps us healthy, happy, and on our road to Financial Independence!  Here you will find stories about our lives. You will also see some of the cool things that you will be able to do if you stick a FI lifestyle!  Lots of people think that they would have to give up so much in their daily lives to achieve financial independence, but that’s not true!  We have loads of fun on the road to freedom!  The trick is balance!  So let go a little, have some fun, and see how you can have both!

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Are you ready to be productive this year? Well so am I! 2019 is the year that we will achieve all of our goals and set our future selves up for success.

But let’s be honest. Being productive is hard. There are so many things that I want to do that I have a hard time focusing on just one. I want to do write a travel blog, create art, design t-shirts, cook healthy meals, read all the books – and there just isn’t enough time to do all that while working a forty hour per week job (hence the quest for financial independence!). I get so distracted by new projects that I forget all about the old ones. Does anyone else have this problem?

I’m sure we all do. Whether it’s new projects, social obligations, or even our favorite tv shows, distractions crop up all the time and rob us of our opportunities to be productive. But there’s a solution!

The Solution

The solution is to identify the keys to productivity and implement them in our daily lives. The keys to productivity are pretty easy, but unfortunately implementing them is much harder.  However,  I have an awesome tool that will help you with that part: The Ultimate Productivity Bundle. It’s a giant bundle of all the best productivity products on the web, grouped together for an incredibly low price (Only $37 for the entire bundle!) Let’s take a look at the major keys to productivity and find out what the bundle has that can help you. The time management tools available in the bundle alone are worth almost $133.

Keys to Productivity

The main keys to productivity are:

  • Time Management
  • Goal Setting
  • Planning
  • Self-Care

Time Management

The first thing you need to do in order to be productive is to manage your time properly. We all have 24 hours in a day, we need to learn to use them wisely! The Ultimate Productivity Bundle includes five products that are specifically designed to help you with time management.

Time management Products
  • Time Management: How to Finish Your To Do List Every Day! by Marcia Ramsland ($47.00)
    (Video) This video will show you how to turn the chaos of the day into calm control with smart planning and your TO DO List will get done, your home will be cleaner, your work will get done, and you’ll be happier and relaxed.
  • It’s About Time by Aby Garvey ($49.00)
    (eBook) Create a customized time management system that is in sync with your values and priorities and helps you feel in control with It’s About Time.
  • Organize Your Life with Trello by Cara Harvey & Elisa Giorgio ($47.00)
    (eCourse) A digital course that helps moms who are sick of being overwhelmed and finally want to get control of everything.
  • Personality Based Time Management© by Susie Glennan ($4.99)
    (eBook) Don’t fall for the one size fits all myth! Learn about personality-based time management© from someone who was not born organized and has been there and done that for more than 20 years.
  • Take Back Your Time: How to Become a Motivated Time Saving Mama by Emily Bendler ($4.99)
    (eBook) Emily’s book will help you to efficiently manage your time so you can get things done and make time for the people you love and yourself.

 

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 I love that the bundle offers a mix of books, videos, and courses so it can appeal to people who learn in different ways. My favorite tool for time management that the bundle offers is the personality-based time management ebook. Everyone is different, and it’s nice to see our uniqueness celebrated and catered to.

Goal Setting

Another important aspect of being productive is setting attainable goals. If you don’t have goals, why are you being productive? What are you working towards?

I think we need to expand upon what we mean by goals. Sure, we all know what are big picture goals are: be financially independent, make money blogging, set our kids up for success, etc. But we need to set up smaller, more focused goals that will help us achieve these giant dreams. The Ultimate Productivity Bundle has tons of tools that are specifically designed to help you do just that! It has five products worth a whopping $400 to help you set and achieve your goals:

 

Goal Setting products
  • Brilliant Baby Steps: Make the Most of Your Messy Middle for a Beautiful, Balanced Life by Beth Anne Schwamberger ($47.00)
    (eCourse) Brilliant Baby Steps teaches a simple but effective system for making the most of your day regardless of your stage of life. It will help you get more done with less stress, while still being there for the people you love and activities you enjoy.
  • Driven Women Grace Based Productivity for Christians by Phylicia Masonheimer ($98.00)
    (eCourse) The Driven Women Productivity Course is a grace-based, biblical approach to time management that teaches you how to develop routines and habits that fit YOUR personality and lifestyle.
  • Goal Setting 101: How to Set Goals as an Absolute Beginner by Nadalie Bardo ($49.99)
    (eCourse) Goal Setting 101 is an 8-lesson eCourse that teaches you exactly how to set achievable goals.  
  • Start Finishing Your Projects: Boost Your Productivity, Effectiveness, and Creative Momentum by Learning to Finish the Projects that Matter Most by Charlie Gilkey ($14.99)
    (eCourse) This will help you get your unstarted or unfinished project done, as well as teach you how to set yourself up for success with any other project you kick off after taking the course.
  • The 90-Day Personal Productivity Power Plan by Lise Cartwright ($197.00)
    (eCourse) Lise Cartwright created The 90-Day Personal Productivity Power Plan to share the EXACT principles and strategies she used to master her to-do-list in a matter of months so you can do the same.

I’m so excited that the 90-day Personal Productivity Power Plan by Lise Cartwright is included in this bundle. This course alone has a $200 value, so purchasing it through the bundle is like getting it for an 82% discount! Plus, you get all the other resources, it’s a no-brainer!

 

Planning

There is one major task that you need to master in order to properly implement both time management and goal setting, and that’s planning. The Ultimate Productivity Bundle has you covered there too with 15 products designed to help you plan out everything in your life; from your daily goals to your biggest dreams. There are planners and workbooks that are designed to let you write, manage, and track all of your goals. These tools will help you turn your small daily baby step goals into big picture personal growth and productivity goals.  All of these planners put together have a total value of over $300! Heck, I’ve bought single planners for close to $37, getting 15 for that price is freaking amazing!

 

Life Planning Products
  • Beyond Blessed Life Planner for Christian Women by Ana Willis ($17.00)
    (Planner) The Beyond Blessed Life Planner is the most complete and Christ-centered undated Printable planner to help you take your life from good to beyond blessed now and in the years to come!
  • I Heart Productivity Pack by Laura Smith ($34.00)
    (Planner) This printable productivity pack is designed to walk you through the process of setting goals that really stick and then track your progress.
  • Planner ePlanner: Calendars, Schedules & To Do Lists by ListPlanIt ($10.00)
    (Planner) This ePlanner has what you need to record the To Dos that bring clutter to our minds and our lifestyle. Learn how to record and prioritize your schedules and to dos to make the best use of your time.
  • Simply Scheduled Workbook by Julianna Poplin ($27.00)
    (Planner) A minimally and elegantly designed set of checklists, planners, worksheets, and calendars to help you plan your life efficiently and effectively.
  • The Planner Obsessed™ Planner [The Silver Edition] by Carlie & Hannah Kercheval  ($15.00)
    (Planner) The Planner Obsessed™ Planner will help you get your life organized, all while creating the habits to make your life the best it can be.
  • The S.O.S. Planner by Kayse Pratt ($29.00)
    (Planner) The S.O.S. Planner gives you back your time, schedule, and sanity, by helping you organize every aspect of your life.
  • The Wannabe Bullet Journal: A Loosely-Structured Weekly Planner For Those Who Need Both Freedom & Organization by Ronni Peck ($4.99)
    (Planner) The half-page Bullet Journal Wannabe for those who wish they could could bullet journal but need a little more structure.
  • Thrive with Chronic Illness Planner + Journal by Tanya at Mom’s Small Victories ($17.00)
    (Planner) Designed to help chronic illness patients manage their time and energy, break down their goals, and work to improve their physical and emotional health.
  • Time Management Sheets by Jennifer Roskamp ($18.00)
    (Planner) Get more done in less time. More than just tracking sheets, Time Management Sheets are a system unlike any other where you will use your time the most efficient way possible.

Get your bundle now! 

Goal Planning Products
  • 90-Day Personal Growth Goal and Life Planning System by Cassandra Massey ($37.00)
    (eCourse) Cassie’s 90 day personal growth goal and life planning system is a 280-page printable planning system + 8 video mini-course to guide you step-by-step in creating your goal-achieving plan of action!
  • Goal Setting Life Planner by Sareeta Lopez ($19.00)
    (Planner) More than your everyday planner – it teaches you exactly get you closer to your kick-ass dream life by integrating your goals into your daily life so that you’re always working towards them! It includes a video walk-through of exactly how to use the planner and implement my 3 Month Term goal setting system.
  • Goals and Planning Bundle by Abby Lawson ($12.00)
    (Planner) Designed to help you set actionable goals and be more productive!
  • Quarterly Targets & Goals Tracking by Kimi Kinsey ($7.00)
    (Planner) Set, track, and achieve your goals with this strategy guide and quarterly-based printable. Set comes with pages for 2019, and 2020 – to total 8 pages (1 for every quarter).
  • The 2019 Success Designer Planner by Khaye Mydette Macalinao ($10.00)
    (Planner) 2019 Success Designer Planner is a goals-focused productivity planner designed to help you blissfully manage not just your schedule but your whole life!
  • The Goal-Getter Workbook: The Plan for Busy Women to Go from Dreams to Plans to DONE by Laura S Shaw ($25.00)
    (Workbook) A perfect tool to help you create the goals that get you closer to your dreams.
  • The Ultimate Goal Setting Planner™ [Couples Edition] by Mike & Carlie Kercheval ($15.00)
    (Planner) Mike + Carlie Kercheval  have put together The Ultimate Goal Setting Planner™ [Couples Edition] to help married couples prioritize their marriage and things that matter most.
  • Ultimate Goal Setting Planner 2019 by MaryEllen Bream ($19.00)
    (Planner) The Ultimate Goal setting planner contains everything you need to set goals for the year and break them down into small, doable pieces. Over 150 pages of goal setting worksheets and calendar pages will help you manage your time for maximum productivity.

Self-Care

I know it sounds weird to include self-care products with a productivity bundle, but here me out! There is no way any of us can be productive if we don’t take care of ourselves. How can we plan, set, and achieve goals if we stressed out about other things? Or if we are too tired to put any of our plans into action? Clearly, self-care is a vital step to productivity, one which the geniuses behind Ultimate Bundles clearly recognize. There are five products in the Ultimate Productivity Bundle that focus on self-care, with a total value of almost $100.

 

Self-Care Products
  • 10 Steps to Feel Motivated & Get Stuff Done by Heather LeGuilloux ($9.00)
    (Workbook)
    Heather LeGuilloux wants to help you to be more intentional with your time by sharing a practical system that will help you to stay on track so you can finally bring your passion to life.
  • Ignite Your Life by Jess Stuart ($15.00)
    (eCourse) An online course to help you create the life you dream of living.  Learn to set goals to achieve your dreams. Want to feel more joy in each day and master the art of happiness? This course is for you!
  • Positivity Planner by Chris Mooney ($14.00)
    (Planner) Chris has developed a colorful, accessible “positivity planner,” which can help you get organized as well as inspire and encourage you with space for you to jot what you’re grateful for as well as what’s challenging you today/this week!
  • Replenish: Experience Radiant Calm and True Vitality in Your Everyday Life by Lisa Grace Byrne (9.99)
    (eBook) Replenish uncovers the 7 core essentials of well-being that need to be nurtured in order to live and mother with greater calm, clarity and vitality in the world.
  • The Breaking Barriers Challenge by Lindsay Preston ($47.00)
    (eCourse) The 5-day program that will teach you how to break through the barriers that are stopping you from confidently stepping into your BEST LIFE!

 

But Wait, there’s More!

This Ultimate Productivity Bundle doesn’t stop with the basics. It also includes products to help you be productive in all aspects of your life, with home management courses, family chore planners, organizational tickers, and workbooks designed to help you be productive at work. There is something for everyone in this amazing bundle!

Are you ready to be productive in 2019?

If so, what are you waiting for? Grab this bundle now (it’s only available for 5 days, so don’t wait!) and start managing your time, setting goals, and achieving them!

Buy Now! 

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A few weeks ago, I wrote a post explaining the basics behind universal basic income. I never said whether I supported the idea or not, but this post answers that! (Hint – check the title!)

I support Universal Basic Income

I know, it’s a crazy idea! How would any government be able to afford to pay all of its citizens a monthly stipend? The logistics of that are insane! I’m not here to talk about how it could be implemented or how we would pay for it. I know that would be a long process with a lot of compromise; and I know I don’t have all the answers.  I’m just going to talk about why I love the idea of Universal Basic Income.

Universal Basic Income and FIRE

It seems weird for a finance blogger to advocate for a program that makes it easier for people to not save money. But hear me out! Universal Basic Income would help tons of people achieve financial independence in the most basic sense.  If people had enough money to pay for their basic needs each month, they wouldn’t be forced to waste their lives working menial jobs that they can’t stand but that also don’t pay enough for them to be able to get ahead. People wouldn’t have to work two minimum wage jobs just to make ends meet.

I know that opponents of this program will use this as an opportunity to say that we would lose tons of workers and society wouldn’t be able to function; but that brings me to the next major reason why I support universal basic income – automation.

Automation is coming

Automation is going to be the number one destroyer of minimum wage jobs in the future. The consulting firm Mckinsey reported last year that almost 30% US workers are at risk of being displaced by automation by 2030. That is a whole lot of people that are going to be out of work – and the majority of them work in the menial low wage jobs that I described above.

Sure, automation will create new jobs just like the industrial revolution did, and just like all major technological advances have in the past. But what people forget is that during the transition, people suffer. Unskilled workers who can’t find jobs in new industries suffer. Families that lose their only sources of income suffer. Yes, society will eventually even itself out and adapt, but we can do better than we did in the past. We can do better to ensure that this transition is smoother and better for the working class than previous shifts have been. I think universal basic income is a great method of easing this transition.

Work is Overrated

I also support universal basic income because I think work is overrated. I get that things need to be done, and we have to pay the bills and all that. However, I think that the American concept of valuing work just for work’s sake is insane. Why should we be forced to spend forty hours per week in an office when we can get all of our work done in 20 hours? Why do we only value each other based on our salaries rather than what we contribute to society?

I think that if we implemented an idea as crazy as universal basic income, people would stop working just for work’s sake. They would start living their lives, and I think a big part of that would be making a positive impact on society. People would take care of their elderly parents rather then sticking them in a home. Families could have more time with their children rather than relying on day care, schools, and television to raise them. People would volunteer with organizations that they believe in, and would have time to pursue their passions, create art, invent things, be innovative. As it stands right now, most people don’t have time to take care of themselves much less volunteer for anything else.

Universal Basic Income and family values

A few months ago, I wrote a post on what I think family values truly are and why we should support them. I support universal basic income because I think it would be a great way to support all of those family values that I wrote about. It would help people afford healthcare, education, and homes. It would also give families more options in deciding how to care for their children.

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Universal Income and Income Inequality

Yes, I know my liberal is showing. Sorry about that! But we need to admit that income inequality is becoming a huge problem in the United States. The top 1% of households hold more wealth than the entire bottom 90% combined. That’s insane! I’m not advocating that the working class seize the means of production (socialism) but I am in favor of a safety net that ensures every person the ability to meet their basic needs in a civilized society. Wages aren’t exactly cutting it at the moment, and neither is the gig economy. I’m sure there are alternatives to universal basic income that would fix these problems, but this post isn’t about those!

What about they guy who just plays video games in his mom’s basement??

There are plenty of great arguments against universal basic income, but this post isn’t about that (does anyone want to do a guest post of why they are against it though? It would be a great debate topic!). The only argument against it that I’m going to address in this post is the one that makes no sense to me. I hear a lot of people say that they are against universal basic income because they think that Joe Schmoe will sit in his mom’s basement wasting his payment on video games and Cheetos. My answer to this is: So what?

So what if a small percentage of people use this as an excuse to not work? They are still putting their payment back into the economy. They aren’t hurting anyone.  All the Joe Schmoe’s could even band together to rent their own house and play video games together all day! They would be providing someone with rental income and keeping Pepsico stock up – both good things for the overall economy.

Do you Support Universal Basic Income?

So now that I’ve showed my cards and my support for universal basic income, I’d like to know what you think! Do you like the idea or not? Tell me why in the comments!

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These last few weeks have been incredibly stressful for my partner and I. We’ve relocated to another state, had to rent a room, bought a house, and have been working on fixing up that house. I’ve started a new job and he’s dealing with the stress of a job search. We also had to drive 30 hours in three and a half days to pick up our pets. There’s been so much going on that, honestly, sometimes it’s been hard to cope. So how did we deal with all this stress?

Dealing With Stress

There are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with stress. My biggest struggle in dealing with stress is trying to avoid stress eating. I’ve done a fairly decent job of it, but man this week was rough! We just got back from our long weekend drive to Georgia (15 hours in the car with 2 cats, 2 dogs, and a small child – good times!) and I had to go straight back to work. I took advantage of the first of my allowed restaurant trips in February (Remember I allowed myself 2 per month in my No Spend Year Challenge!) and went to a Hibachi place for dinner.

And I ate all the food.

Have you ever been to Hibachi? They give you boatloads of food. You usually have enough for dinner and lunch the next day. But oh no, not today! I cleaned my freaking plate. That’s never happened to me before (but it was delicious). However, I know that eating two full meals worth of Hibachi probably isn’t the healthiest way to deal with stress. Time to try something different!

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5 Healthy ways to Deal with Stress

1. Eat Healthy

Instead of binging on Hibachi, try eating fresh fruits and vegetables. After my shameful dinner experience, I went to the store and bought bananas, cucumbers, carrots, and celery. These are going to be my go-to foods the next time I feel like gorging myself.

It won’t be easy, mostly because my knives are still packed away, but I think I can make it work. We are slowly but surely getting the kitchen in a usable condition and unpacking our cutlery, so I won’t have any excuses to not chose the healthy veggies options, which is important.

2. Get Enough Sleep

One of the biggest reasons that our stress refuses to go away is that we can’t get a decent night’s sleep. Our mattresses have been packed up for over a month (we actually just got them back, yay!) so we’ve been bouncing from air mattress to futon back to air mattress. Those are not the answer for a good night’s sleep. Having our good mattresses back for these last two days have really helped us both feel a whole lot better and less stressed out. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do.

3. Support Each Other

It’s wonderful to have a supportive partner that you can lean on when you are feeling overwhelmed. I had a rough few days after getting back from Georgia. I was tired but still had to work and even had to work overtime. There was no time to do any of the house things I wanted to get done, and even less time for self-care. Luckily, I have an awesome partner who picked up the slack and took care of my biggest stressors in regards to the house. He’s also always there to give me a hug or make me laugh when it seems like everything else is falling down around me. Sometimes you just need someone in your corner. We do our best to stay in each other’s corners.

4. Exercise

I know that finding time for a work out is the last thing you want to do when you are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed with life. But it’s amazing how clarifying a quick walk around the block can be! So, if you are dealing with stress, get up and get moving, even if only for a few minutes. It will help ground you and help you focus.

My absolute favorite exercise for stress relief is the punching bag. There’s just something so satisfying about being able to punch something for a few minutes when you are feeling down. It’s a great work out too!

5. Meditate

Yes, everyone always touts the benefits of meditation for a healthy stress-free life. But that’s because it works! Taking just 10-20 minutes to just be one with yourself is one of the healthiest ways to deal with stress. It may seem unreasonable to take that time when there’s so much that needs to be done, but trust me it’s well worth it. I always come out of a mediation feeling re-energized and ready for anything, and I’m sure it will help you too. Come to think of it, I need to start meditating even more!

How do you deal with stress?

What are your favorite ways to deal with stress? Let me know, I need all the help I can get right now!

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Wow, I had no idea that so many people would be interested in the idea of a no spend year! Because the post garnered so much interest (even a Rockstar Finance Feature!), I decided to write monthly updates to let you know how we are doing. Here’s what our no spend January looked like!

No Spend January

I think two words really sum up our experience with a no spend January: Failed It! January was a rough month, and we spent way too much money. I think trying a no spend month in the middle of a huge move and renovation was a little ambitious, but we are going to keep trying for the rest of the year. Here’s how we messed up our no spend January:

Vet Bills

First, we had a medical emergency for our cat that we were not prepared for. There were gobs of blood in her stool. That’s not something that I’m just going to let go, so off to the vet we went! Nearly $800 later, we discovered that there was nothing seriously wrong with her. The vet ran all of the tests, and decided that the blood was caused by either parasites or stress. He sent us off with de-wormer for both her and our other cat, and we haven’t seen any blood since.

Though I wasn’t ready to spend eight hundred dollars at the vet, it’s something I’d do again in a heartbeat. My cats are a part of the family, and I’ll always prioritize their proper care, even if it gets expensive.

Eating Out

Our biggest failure in January was eating out. I know I said that I wanted to limit my eating out to twice a month, but that just wasn’t feasible this month. We moved into the new house, but our kitchen isn’t ready for cooking. We didn’t even have a microwave for the first week! I still need to clean the fridge and a few more of the cabinets before I feel comfortable storing food, and I need to get my pots and pans before I’ll actually be able to cook anything. Those were supposed to come a week ago, but the POD was delayed due to weather. Moving is fun isn’t it?

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Games

We bought our N64 system this January! It was a great way to combat the cold weather.  The BF also got one of the games he’s allowed to get this year (Goldeneye for N64). These aren’t failures because we specifically budgeted for them in our no spend year.

DIY

Our biggest expense in January was our DIY and renovation stuff. We knew we would be spending a lot of money on these projects, especially when we first moved into the house (hence the need for a no spend year!). We spent about three thousand dollars at Lowes during our first weekend, but we got pretty much everything that we will need for the first stages of renovation. 

Our mess up on the renovation side was thinking that we could install the floor ourselves.  As it turns out, we could not (Youtube video coming soon!). We ended up paying a contractor a little over a thousand dollars to complete floor after we failed at it (and it took him over four days! Clearly, we were in over our heads). The materials were budgeted for, but the contractor was not. However, we think it was worthwhile to ensure that the living room floors were done correctly.

No Spend January Summarized

Clearly, we didn’t do as well as we would’ve liked in January, but I do think that the biggest fail here was eating out. My goal next weekend is to get the kitchen in a usable condition so that we won’t have to resort to either eating out or suffering through yet another microwave meal (those are good every now and then, but horrible for every night). Once the kitchen is usable, we will be cooking healthy delicious food on a far more regular basis!

How do you think we fared in our no spend January? We know we sucked, but some positive reinforcement would be nice!

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