“We have everything to share, nothing to prove…”

-We have everything to share, nothing to prove...-

“We have everything to share, nothing to prove…”

This quote. That quote always speaks to me. I wish I knew where it came from, but I’ve heard it all over the place so many times so I can’t really say where it originated. It’s a favorite of mine. A lot of people who do yoga, meditation, dance, or theatre have heard it many times. It’s one of those quotes that we share before we perform or take a class. It’s one of those “safe” phrases or just a reminder that no matter what, we are sharing our gifts with the world and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

  • It reminds us to be brave; performing or even speaking in front of others can still be difficult – even to the most seasoned veterans.
  • It reminds us to do our best – our personal best, for ourselves. And then share that with others who choose to see it.
  • It gives us permission to share our work an talents, but also to be ok with our process in the skills we’re sharing.
  • It gives us courage to embrace who we are and what we are presenting without worrying about pleasing everyone. Because, in the end, you just can’t please everyone. It’s just not possible.
  • It humbles us and gives us a chance to appreciate our talents and abilities. In the end, there will always be someone who is prettier, or more talented, or more whatever than we are. And that’s ok, because we don’t have to compare ourselves. We’re just taking this time together to share whatever play or song that we’ve been working on. Nothing else.

When you have everything to share and nothing to prove, you’ll realize that your standards are the only ones that matter – no one else’s do.

So, go out and have a great weekend!

On Patterns….Old & New

OnPatterns

This post was inspired by a couple of very random things:

  • One of my favorite musical theatre audition pieces: “Patterns” from BABY: THE MUSICAL by Maltby & Shire. This is a HUGE go-to song for me in my collection.This musical revolves around three couples and pregnancies and attempting to get pregnant. Even though that is not the stage of life that I am in, I still love the song and it highlights my vocal skills well.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 10.07.18 PM

 

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I know, this very random. However, I think it’s totally relevant. Go with me here because I just love a good text analysis that I can connect to my life.

Since leaving my full-time job to “decide what I want to do next,” I’ve been kind of aimlessly wandering. Sure, I’m still working on some freelance gigs and at a bar gig, but it all feels very “out of the norm” to me. It’s not routine. It’s not a pattern…yet. I was in the same daily pattern for so long before I quit my job and I still find that I’m struggling to adjust. I would almost say borderline depressed with the whole “what’s next?” factor. I think it was basically grief for closing a chapter of my life and not knowing (still don’t) what the next chapter is for me.

Patterns in my life that I trace ev’ry day
Patterns as i say the things I always say
Patterns in the ceiling as I lie awake
Why are patterns haunting ev’ry move I make?

Then, that Mastin Kipp quote showed up and jogged my brain today.

“Circumstances in your life that hold you back are simply patterns that no longer work.”

Doesn’t that explain the job I left? I felt that my old job was a circumstance (or a hindrance) that didn’t allow me any opportunities for growth – I’d climbed the top of the mountain already, per se. In this particular market that I live in, this was the TOP job that I could have in my field around here. Seriously, peaking from the ages of 25-29 was not quite what I had in mind. Cool and all, but definitely not where I wanted to hit the high point of my career. The environment became almost hostile, frequently catty, and extremely dismissive to women. However, I was in the routine (the pattern) of going to work each day and doing my job – no matter how I was really feeling. I just did it, because it was the routine. It was what I should do.

Patterns that begin as I walk through a door
Patterns in the curtains and the kitchen floor
Patterns in the day’s routines I must arrange
Patterns in the ways I try…but never change

Just look, as I’m thrown a curve again
I leap, then I lose my nerve again
In tears, running home I go
Secretly relieved
Safe with what I know, again

Those last two lines especially sting me – “Secretly relieved, safe with what I know, again.” I had been applying for different jobs for quite some time before I eventually just decided to leave my full-time job. I would always find little things wrong with each one I was applying for or offered, but I stayed for so long because I thought it was safe to stay. I stayed because I was relieved to not have to look for another job, regardless of how upsetting it was to go to work each day. I could count on the safety of the place, even if the workplace environment was no longer serving me in anyways.

Back to the quote by Mastin Kipp, “…Change the pattern, change your life.” I’m in the middle of changing a pattern of my life. A change from the certainty to something a little less certain. I don’t know where this change is taking me, but I feel things shifting in a positive way. I would never have the chance to see what else is out in the world if I had remained in that job. I would be stuck in a place that offered menial wages for unnecessarily hard work, stuck in a job that wasn’t challenging to me anymore, and just stuck being genuinely unhappy and stifled.

So, readers, my message is this: start changing the patterns in your life. If it’s not working, find a pattern that does.

  • If that pattern is coming home after work and eating 3 bags of Cheetos on your couch, change the pattern and take a walk after work instead.
  • If that pattern is working at a job that makes you so unhappy that you can’t stand it, change your spending pattern and save up enough money to cover some major bills to quit – that’s what I did.
  • If that pattern is burning yourself out as a parent all day and all night, change that pattern and ask for help once in a while. It’s ok to ask for help and you’ll be a better parent when you get a moment for yourself.
  • If that pattern is overspending, change that pattern to something that better serves you in the long run (saving, investing, cutting expenses overall, etc.).

I’m changing the patterns in my life, but I haven’t quite found myself in any new ones yet. If I get another full-time job, I’ll probably fall into a new pattern. If I choose to move somewhere else, I’ll probably fall into a new pattern. That time will come, I’m sure. For now, I’m trying to enjoy the random spontaneity I have. I know it won’t last forever, so I should enjoy it while I can. I’ll get back into a pattern soon enough.

Tell me in the comments: What patterns are serving you right now? What about patterns that aren’t – how are you working on those?

Coffee & Chit-Chat!

Hello People!

It’s been a journey here in the Broke Twenty-Something land this month! I’m thankful to have been busy with some things, but I’m ready to catch back up with you all! The month of July (and now into August) has been made possible by giant vats of coffee. I may need an intervention.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you just how proud I am of the special gigs I’ve taken on this summer. Directing a full-on kids show without minimal outside help has been exhausting, but rewarding. I may never work at this particular theatre again, but the kids have brightened my days and giving my days some structure.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you about all of these promo gigs I’ve been working. My agent always sends out “Hey! We need promo girls for events” emails and luckily (or unluckily), I’ve been free. It’s hard to say no to $20+/hour gigs. Totally thankful they’ve been around to pay the bills this month since I left my job. I’ve also been booking gigs on Fiver, not to mention the random gigs that have come my way from Craigslist! Also, that means you should Hire Me for something! 🙂

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you how much I’ve enjoyed spending some extra time with my nephew before he goes back to school. If I would have had a full-time job this summer, all of that hang out time would not have been possible. I’m thankful that I’m just down the road and can spend time with him. He also discovered how to video chat – trust me, I’ve seen more feet, toes, and silly faces than I ever knew I needed. He’s a keeper.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that it’s been ONE WHOLE YEAR since my sinus surgery! I know, I can’t believe it either! I’ve been 10x healthier ever since and I’m loving that I can breathe!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that getting new health insurance was A SNAP since leaving my FT job. I qualified for a great state plan that has no co-pays. I couldn’t even believe it! I’m just thankful that I have minimal health needs right now. It’s a blessing.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I love owning my time again. Not going into my FT job anymore has made quite a difference in my life. I know I’ll have to go back to working some place soon (unless I keep picking up more freelance gigs), but this break prevented some serious burnout. I know that my situation would not be ideal for everyone, but I’m grateful that I could do it.

More soon, I’ve been taking some online courses and preparing some product & book reviews that I hope to share with you all soon!

Happy Friday!

Financially Savvy Saturdays #151

Welcome to Financially Savvy Saturdays, the savviest personal finance blog hop on the planet, created specifically for personal finance writers! We welcome all things money here. Whether you’ve written anything from how to tell if your finances are in order through to the details of your favorite money podcasts, you’re invited to link-up.

Vote for Financially Savvy Saturdays in the Plutus Awards!

7th plutus awards

Before we get started with this week’s link-up, we wanted to let you know about the upcoming Plutus Awards! The Plutus Awards is an annual awards ceremony celebrating the best in personal finance. This year, it’s being held at the FinCon Expo on Saturday September 24 2016, in San Diego, California.

One of the categories for the Plutus Awards is Best Personal Finance Collaborative Project and we’d like to ask everyone that takes part in Financially Savvy Saturdays (whether you’re a blogger or a reader) to consider nominating us!

It’s really easy to nominate and will only take a minute – please head on over to the Plutus Awards nominations page!

Now back to the link up! If your blog post ties into personal finance, we want to read it!

Financially Savvy Saturdays Blog Hop with Disease Called Debt and Broke Girl Rich

One Broke Twenty-Something

This weekend we’re excited to welcome back One More Broke Twenty-Something, where she writes about the trials and tribulations of surviving your first decade on your own without starving to death.

Tweet about it. You can use #finsavsat when tweeting about the party!

Concerns about SEO? Recently many bloggers have decided to stop participating in events such as Carnivals. If you’re worried about how participating in this link-up could effect your SEO, I’d encourage you to check out this article.

Interested in co-hosting? Co-hosting is fun AND easy. If you’re interested, you can email us via brokeGIRLrich(at)gmail(dot)com or info(at)diseasecalleddebt(dot)com with any questions. Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can sign up on this Google doc.

If you’ve co-hosted before and enjoyed it, please consider doing it again! If you’re interested but nervous about getting involved, please email one of us, we love talking to new bloggers and would enjoy explaining how blog hops work and getting you more involved!

Feature of the Week

As this week’s visiting co-host, One More Broke Twenty-Something has selected her favorite post from last week’s blog hop to be this week’s feature – “Time’s Not Money, It’s Life” by Making Your Money Matter!

Yes! Time is simply worth money, and prioritizing your time means weighing things that are more important than money against making a living to support your family.
Click here to read this inspiring post!

If you submit a post, you could be featured in next week’s party!

We do have a couple of rules for participation. Those who don’t follow the rules will have their link taken down.

1. Your post must be written in the past seven days, related to personal finance and not be solely a giveaway.

2. Be sure to include a link to one of your hosts by copying and pasting the html in one of the boxes below into your linked up post. You have the option of the button or a text link.

3. Follow your hosts. You can follow brokeGIRLrich on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, OR by subscribing to her RSS feed and A Disease Called Debt on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, OR by subscribing to her RSS feed. Also, you can follow One More Broke Twenty-Something on Facebook, Twitter, OR Bloglovin.

4. Comment on at least one post before and after you that have joined the party.

5. HAVE FUN!

Please copy and paste this button into the post you link up:

Disease Called Debt

OR copy and paste this code for a text link:

 <em>*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on <a href="http://brokegirlrich.com/financially-savvy-saturdays-151/" rel="nofollow">brokeGIRLrich</a>, <a href="http://diseasecalleddebt.com/financially-savvy-saturdays-151/" rel="nofollow">A Disease Called Debt</a> and <a href="http://broketwentysomething.com/2016/07/12/financially-savvy-saturdays-151/" rel="nofollow">One More Broke Twenty-Something</a>*</em>

My Ten Reasons to Rent Instead of Buy

My Ten Reasons to Rent Instead of Buy

Here in my neck of the Midwest, it’s super common for recent college graduates to buy homes. Almost immediately upon taking a full-time job, I’ve seen numerous of my friends, colleagues and Facebook acquaintances buying homes around my city. Single people or couples, it doesn’t seem to stop anyone from buying around here. However, in some locations in my city it is way too expensive for the average twenty-something to own a home, which is upsetting because these are some of the most safe locations in the city I live in.

Unlike a lot of people my age, I have zero interest in owning property. Believe it or not, the majority of my family have been lifelong renters! That’s a pretty rare statement in this day & age. That choice seems to have trickled down into my life, but I’m glad because I’ve enjoyed renting most of the time. It’s been a great choice for me since I’ve been renting for the most part since I turned 18.

With no further ado, ten of my reasons to rent instead of buy!

  • Lower Home (& Auto) Insurance: My renters and auto insurance are connected (and I’m sure my homeowner’s could be merged with my auto) so I have lower premiums due to a multi-line discount. That said, my renter’s insurance is $10/month and it covers floods. If I owned my home, depending on size and other factors, I’d be looking at a much larger monthly bill.
  • Low maintenance: If I have a problem, I call the management office and they send someone to fix it for me. The washer or dryer died? I call the office and someone else fixes it! The air conditioner goes out? I call the office and they send technicians. The best part is that the cost doesn’t fall on me. As a homeowner, I would be the one to pay for and handle all repairs. I also don’t worry about maintaining a yard, but I live in a very urban area, so I wouldn’t have to anyways.
  • Low utility cost: In my current rental, my utility costs are very low – usually less than $100/month. I pay for electric, basic internet, and that’s all. My landlord covers all other necessary utilities. If I owned property, I would be responsible for other utility costs.
  • Property Values: In the area in which I live and rent, most homes sell for $300-400K. Obviously, the property value is very high here. If I owned property here, my mortgage payment would be over TRIPLE my rent. If I didn’t rent, I could not live here as my income wouldn’t be able to support it.
  • Location: At my current rental location, I am within walking distance of my current job in one of the best food & nightlife areas of my city.  The crime rate is also extremely low here, making it one of the safest locations in the city. I’m also less than a mile to two different grocery stores. Location is an extremely important factor for me. Renting here gives me safety, but also convenience.
  • My Personal Debt-to-Income Ratio: This is something that’s relative to each person, but it is extremely relevant to me. When your yearly income is barely over what you owe in student loans, that doesn’t look good to mortgage lenders. I just don’t see the reason to add any mortgage debt on to the debt load that I already have.
  • Length of Time I Plan to Stay: I like mobility. I tend to stay in places for about 3 years before I move elsewhere. Since I enjoy being in places short-term, buying seems counterintuitive.
  • Minimalism: I don’t buy “stuff.” Therefore, I don’t have a lot of “stuff.” If I were to buy a home, I’d inevitably have more space to put stuff. If I bought a home, I’d have to buy the stuff to fill it – appliances, lawn equipment, a bigger bed, a better couch, etc. No thanks, my minimalist self will pass.
  • Need for Paint & Decor: If you look at number eight, you’ll see that minimalism is important to me. I have no need, want, or desire to paint and nail things to all of the walls just to make it “my own.” I’d much rather spend my money on a few staple pieces that can be used and repurposed in various ways, rather than worrying about painting accent walls to match one piece of furniture or decor.
  • A Home is NOT an Investment: Let’s say it again, a home is NOT an investment. Think about it, you plop down a large chunk of change to buy a home, but it’s future value is unpredictable depending on the market. Think about all of the extra fees, taxes, and maintenance costs that you incur over time. Then, when you want to sell it, you have to wait for a buyer to actually buy it. After that, you might be lucky to break even or profit on the sale, but don’t forget closing costs that will come out of your pocket as well. Too many “ifs” for me. I would rather put my money in an investment account that I can see the value of at anytime.

For me, the pros of renting FAR outweigh the pros and possibilities of ever buying a home.

Tell me in the comments: What are your reasons for renting instead of buying? Or, buying instead of renting?

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*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, A Disease Called Debt and One More Broke Twenty-Something*

Try LivRelief to Ease Aches & Pains!

TryLivReliefto EaseAches &Pains!

NOTE: This post is sponsored by LivRelief.

I’ve always been one of those lucky people that always seems to get bumps & bruises and sprains. You name it, I’ve probably done it! Lately, my biggest aches & pains are stemming from my left calf, ankle, and foot. I’m on my feet A LOT during the day – walking, jumping, kicking, dancing – I’m an active lady! Whenever I’m feeling those flare up lately, I’ve been reaching for LivRelief’s Ultra Strength Pain Relief Cream.

Why LivRelief?

  1. The ingredients are over 90% natural! That even includes the active ingredient – capsaicin. Capsaicin is found in hot peppers and it’s well known for it’s antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Let’s not forget that LivRelief is paraben-free, petroleum-free, and gluten-free! My absolute favorite part is that it is fragrance-free so there is no lingering menthol scent that you sometimes get from other brands.
  2. This product uses Delivra, a new transdermal delivery system! That system allows all of the active ingredients a chance to attack pain right at it’s source – not just using menthol and chemical smells to distract you from the pain you’re feeling.
  3. This LivRelief cream was created by molecular pharmacologist for his wife! She was suffering from intense pain after a surgery and then LivRelief helped her to find relief! I love knowing the origin of products that I am using!

You can purchase LivRelief for yourself at Amazon.com – you don’t even have to leave home to buy it!

If you’re looking for an all-natural pain relief product, I would highly recommend LivRelief! It’s light scent makes it convenient to use at any time and with my hectic daily schedule, I can highly appreciate that!

FOR MY READERS: Buy LivRelief now and receive $2 off your purchase when you use promo code ONU56TLN during checkout on Amazon.com.

LivRelief 300x250 Ad

DISCLAIMER: Though I was compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.

On Quitting a Job Without a Backup Plan!

NoBackup

 

Not that I recommend this, but sometimes it happens. Such is my life at this moment.

Summer always feels like a season for new or majorly changing things in my life. School ends for the summer, moving home or to some new place, and reconnecting with old friends all seem to be some of my most fond summer memories. Summer of 2016 is proving to be a major season change in my life – I actively chose to abandon my full-time job without a solid fall back plan in place. At the beginning of June, I turned in my three weeks notice and I’ve reached the point where I’m choosing to actively be unemployed full-time. I’m still working my bar gigs and random other side gigs, but I’ve dropped my stable income because I value my time, skills, and sanity. I first dropped this bomb in my post titled What Financial Health Means to Me.

WARNING: Long post ahead!

I was working in a full-time hourly job at a large (the largest in its particular field) non-profit organization, but I had been considering an escape for months. I think the first time I mentioned it on here was during the winter – so this has been something that was a long time coming. I’d been applying and interviewing at various places for quite some time, but nothing was really equal enough to take the leap. Finally, I chose to give it up for various reasons: increasing demands (giving us managerial level work) without increasing compensation, not allowing me and my teammates to use the accrued benefits we’d earned, expecting us to “work” in off times, and so on and so on. Needless to say, the time had come to wrap up my time there and take a wild leap into the unknown.

So, here I am, NOT employed full-time anymore. Don’t worry, I don’t look like the guy in the graphic above. However, this is not something I entered into lightly. This reflects something I pondered and planned for almost six months. I know that the specifics of my situation will not work for every one, but here are a few things to consider when leaving the secure 9-5 job and how to fill your time once you’ve broken out of the shackles.

  • Save up cash! Don’t just quit your job if you don’t have any other income and no savings. I told myself I needed at least two months or rent and two months of car payments if I was even going to consider taking the leap without another job lined up. I HIT THAT NUMBER plus a little extra, so I was less stressed about taking a hike. I also work in a bar and do freelance work, so I’m able to pay all of my other bills. I also cashed out A LOT (really, A LOT) of unused PTO time, so I had even more buffer to my budget. Be ready to cut discretionary spending because you won’t have income available.
  • Health Needs! Prescriptions can cost A LOT of money, but if you’re lucky, some prescriptions can be given out in larger amounts (like 2, 3, or 6 month supplies). That’s what I did; I take one specific medication that I was able to request a 6 month supply of, so hopefully I will have enough insurance in 6 months to renew the prescription without breaking the bank. Do you have FSA funds? I did and had to use them quickly! I was able to buy another year’s worth of contacts and stock up on other items that I might need over the next few months. Look at what Health Care Marketplace options you will be eligible for when you take a dip in income. Fortunately, I’m pretty healthy so I’m not looking for very detailed plans. Luckily, I qualify for a few very cheap  (less than $30/month) plans so I’m not worried about covering a few months on my own.
  • Student Loans! As soon as I put in my notice, I submitted an Income Based Repayment application that was based on my bar gig. That change in income was enough for me to make my payments $0 for the time being.
  • Make plans for your open days! Seriously, don’t just sit around and putter once you leave your job. It’s all too easy to sit on your butt and feel bad about not working. Don’t do it! Remember that this moment will pass and you won’t always be unemployed. Apply to jobs, take a class, declutter, make lunch/coffee dates, update your social media and networking profiles – don’t sit and wait for opportunities. Keep busy and keep improving yourself.
  • Spend time with friends and loved ones! When will you have as much time to spend with them again? Take advantage of the free time when you can.
  • Read a book! Personal development or for fun, take in some literature. It’s good for you.
  • Take time to pause! Really, I mean it – stop to pause. I was in a job that was high energy 24/7 and I loved it. I worked 6-7 days most weeks, but the work was rewarding. I cried and grieved upon leaving, but I knew that I was making the right choice. Take the time to appreciate the hard work that you did and the relationships and friendships that you built. Take the time to refresh and figure out the next step.
  • Remember this is only a speed bump! I’ve applied to many jobs and interviewed for a few as well, so I’m confident I will replace my income soon enough. I’ve been hustling at my freelance and bar gigs as well, so even if I don’t head back into full-time employment immediately, I’ll still be ok.

I’m working hard to remember these things as I enjoy this downtime from working every single day. I’ve got a night directing gig that is keeping some structure to my days, but the peace and quiet has been extremely refreshing. I don’t quite know what I’ll be doing with all this downtime, but I’m hoping that I’ll learn something new about myself and what I’m really looking forward to in a new job. Maybe I’ll win the lottery? Maybe I’ll decide to move in with my boyfriend (he’s been trying)? Now that I’m not tied to a full-time job, I’m considering a lot of ‘what if’ situations. I could go many directions and I know that ultimately I will have to make some choices. Today is not that day. Today, I’m enjoying a day off and a free comedy event tonight. I’ll worry when I need to.

That said, you should Hire Me for something! 😉

In the comments, share your best career or job hunting tips!

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich, Disease Called Debt and Money Can Buy Me Happiness*

Share-the-wealth-Sunday-button-150

#FinHealthMatters – What Financial Health Means to Me…

What Financial Health Means to Me

To this “Broke Twenty-Something,” financial health means flexibility.

For me, this June has been an absolute epic month. I’ve been bouncing a few freelance projects, directing a kids show, and LEAVING MY FULL-TIME JOB. Feel free to gasp. I’ve gasped and cried many times about it all. I made the choice at the beginning of the month to leave my job and pursue some other options. Talk about stressful and hectic! While I do not yet feel prepared to be a full-time freelancer, I would not have been able to take a leap of faith out of my full-time job unless I was in a good state of financial health.

According to the Center for Financial Services Innovation, “households that say they have a planned savings habit are four times more likely to be financially healthy than those that do not save or do not have a planned savings habit.” In my experience, that quote is proving itself to be true every day. I’m so thankful that I got into a savings habit early. Every two weeks on paydays, I’ve had a set amount automatically debited from my bank account and that has continued to build up over time. Because of that, I was able to walk out of my full-time job (almost) without stress so that I could find a better opportunity. That healthy savings habit put me in a place to be flexible and open to finding a job that better suits me. If that financial habit was not in place, I would be stuck toiling away at a job that didn’t value me for an undetermined amount of time just to make ends meet.

Aside from having savings as an indicator for financial health, I also think it is important to consider having more than one stream of income. Even with your physical health, you know diet AND exercise are crucial to maintain overall health. With financial health, I believe savings AND income are essential to financial health. If you don’t have income, it can be hard to save any money and when you don’t have an income, you’ll be thrilled that you saved some money to fall back on. Right now, I’m fortunate to have both – some savings to pay my bills from, but some freelance income to push me through until I find another full-time opportunity.

At this moment, I don’t think I can go without a full-time job for more than just a couple of months, but I’m grateful to be in a good state of financial health for the moment. The flexibility to make a choice because of my financial health has made all the difference to my mental and emotional health too. I can take solace in knowing my basic needs will be met, but I can also take a little time to rest and reset my future goals. I wake up in a better mood everyday because I’m secure enough to not go into a job that was giving me such grief and anger issues to deal with everyday.

Like I mentioned above, being financially healthy means flexibility. Flexibility to make a choice – to choose how to spend my time, to choose something that gives me joy, to choose whatever I want for this short amount of time.

Tell me in the comments: What does financial health mean to you?

**Written as an entry for the #FinHealthMatters Blog Contest!**

My Quarter-Life Mini Guide to Adulting!

My Quarter-Life Mini Guide to Adulting!

Ugh. Growing up. Something we all have to do and it’s something we don’t always want to do. As I reach the end of my 20s, I really do think that age is just a number, but nonetheless, your 20s are such a defining decade in your life. Think about it: you finish school, you get your first real jobs, you start building the life that you truly want to live. This quarter-life segment of our life gives us so much to consider or try for the first time. Between 20 and 30 there is so much “adulting” still to learn!

This is what I’m calling “My Quarter-Life Mini Guide to Adulting!” Enjoy! 🙂

  • Learn how to budget! — To me, this one is simple. I know lots of us have/had Mint accounts, but I’m talking about going back to the basics. Learn how to do one on paper (or a spreadsheet if you are that afraid of the calculator) and see what you can do. Don’t let an app do the work for a while because seeing those numbers in your handwriting makes it so much more tangible for you. Once you’ve accomplished one on paper successfully, go back to your apps and spreadsheets. This is one skill that so many people lack, but it’s crucial for adulting.
  • Learn self care! — As we get in the rat race of employment and commitments, we so easily forget how to take care of ourselves. We forget to find pleasure in the things that we used to enjoy outside of working. Whether that’s a daily run on your own, pedicures, a trip to the movies, or whatever, there’s no shame in finding time for yourself.
  • Cultivate SOMETHING that’s important to you! — I don’t care what this is, but doing this is important for everyone. To you, this might be building new friendships or a new professional network of contacts. For others, this could be starting a blog or a side business that means a lot to you. Maybe it’s getting a certification in becoming a sports referee or even maintaining that First Aid and CPR certification. This could mean involvement with a non-profit and so on – the options are endless as long as the project means something to you. You can even try something that is completely new to you! It’s so easy to get stuck in “work mode” that we forget about the other things that bring us joys as humans.
  • Volunteer your time. — Like I’ve mentioned above with cultivating something that is important to you, I also think it’s important to give your time to something that is important to you or your community. I consider that an opportunity to meet new people, try a new skill, and perhaps find a future job. Plus, it makes you feel good to help out organizations (or people) whenever you can.
  • Invest in a nest egg. — Yes, invest in something that you don’t touch. I don’t care if it’s a liquid savings account, rental property, or a retirement account. Invest your money in something that provides you an income, security, and hopefully some flexibility for choices in your life.
  • Go on at least ONE online date. — This. Is. Everything. I know it sounds absolutely crazy, but do it. You can’t learn about the types of people you want in your life unless you are out and about meeting different people. It’s also a great way to discover the type of people that you don’t want in your life. The online aspect of finding those people can also really help broaden your horizons. Also, it’s another chance to practice small talk and make new connections.
  • Meet with your HR department. — I find this extremely simple to do! Meet up with a representative in your HR department to make sure that you understand all of your benefits. Are you getting a company match on your 401K or HSA? Do you know what health insurance costs should be covered by your plan? Are you aware of any company discounts on travel arrangements or rental cars? What about reciprocal benefits at other related businesses or organizations? Don’t leave any benefits out on the table just because you didn’t know that they were there.
  • Pay off the student loans. — Yes, the big elephant in the room. These things tend to be leeches on us millennial people! I know I still haven’t done this yet, but I continue to make my payments and not accrue any more student loans. This was something that I intended to have done already, but life has happened. I know it’s possible to make major headway on these things if one tries, so if you can, I highly suggest you do. Pay them off and get that elephant off your back to move on with your life!

These are just a few ideas of some things that you can accomplish in this quarter-life segment of our lives! The best part about this list is that it will be different for everyone, so tell me about your list!

What are some things that you believe we should “check off” in our 20s & 30s?

It’s CSA Time!

It's CSA Time!

CSA season is seriously one of my favorite times of the year! Seriously, cue the music: “It’s the most wonderful time….” My love of CSA season is real. For me, CSA season runs from May to mid-November and I love it!

The simple definition of CSA is Community Supported Agriculture. LocalHarvest defines the process like this: “…a farmer offers a certain number of ‘shares’ to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.”

I’m a part of a small group of individuals/families that purchase from a small Amish farm (they use a manual plow!) about an hour &  a half from our fair city. Two families that participate in the CSA facilitate pickups and all of the money related to the CSA. We are even invited at one point during the summer to check out the farm where all of the shares originate.

I think it’s really incredible to KNOW the source of your food and how it’s grown. I also enjoy the whole “community” thing that goes along with it since we get to meet the farmers and the other people who have shares in the CSA. It’s such a cool thing!

Here are some of the reasons that I’ll always choose a CSA when I can:

  • It’s cost effective for me. I’m not paying a store, just the farmer who is producing the food. My weekly cost comes out to about $16 a week for all farm fresh and organic vegetables. Balanced with my other grocery costs, I think it’s well worth it.
  • I’m supporting a small business!
  • My CSA doesn’t accept credit cars for purchase, only cash and checks. That helps keep costs lower for them and for us, plus keeps me from racking up any more charges on my cards.
  • The food is picked from the ground on the day I pick it up – can’t top that type of fresh!
  • There’s always a variety! Sometimes we get things I’ve never ever tried before. Who knows what to make with kohlrabi?! There are vegetables, fruits, herbs, molasses, flours, honey, you name it!
  • I get ideas for weekly meal planning. We usually know about a week before what we’ll get in the shares for the week and I can plan my grocery deliveries.
  • The CSA helps me to eat healthier. I can’t let veggies go to waste so I’m always finding ways to eat them all up! Spinach in smoothies, salads for days, veggies portioned for the freezer – I’m always getting creative!

I’ll say it again, I think it’s so incredible to know where you food comes from. A CSA is good for you, good for the local economy, good for your wallet, and better for the environment.

Have you ever tried a CSA? Would you like to?

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