So it's about six weeks into my Resourcefulness Challenge and I can see it in our bank account and I also feel happier. My creativity is growing at a massive rate. Things shift when you impose limitations, limitations can be an amazing tool to help you grow.
Here's much of what has happened over the past few weeks. There are tips here to help you save money, make money and build wealth, be financially free from debt and enjoy your life more.
What would life be like if you didn't have to worry so much about money? Here is how we do it. Love and Light, Courtney
Do you struggle to make ends meet?
Do you feel like you will never get ahead?
There are basics for anyone to follow and you can empower yourself.
Let me show you how here.
Video Part 1
The basics are :
1. Make a list of everything you make each month and all your bills and expenses: Include rent, mortgage, insurance, food, gas, pet care, utilities, absolutely everything. This is the first and most important step. 2 columns 1 for each.
2. Assess Needs Vs Wants: Food, Shelter, basic clothing, medicine, enough gas to get to work those are needs. Beyond that not much is a need. Be real with yourself. I once had to find homes for two of my dogs because I could not afford them after a divorce. It was hard but had to be done. Get rid of all expenses that are not needs. Cut off cable, etc...
3. Tell your money where to go. That's all a budget is. In column one put down all your expenses on the left side, then make four or five columns for each week of the month, or two if you get paid twice a month. Under each column at the top put down your total income for that pay period, underneath list the bills that have to be paid. Subtract the bills from the income and what is left over is the money you have for food/gas/ savings/fun.
4. Time to Create an Emergency Fund Fast: Sell stuff , use you tax return, do what you have to do to get $1000 in the bank for Emergencies only. Needing tires is a planned expense not an emergency.
Once you have one you don't have emergencies because the money is there. Leave it alone unless there is an emergency like your car breaks down or you need to go to the emergency room.
5. Sell Stuff to pay bills: If you are strapped then start looking at what you have and sell what you don't need. Have you looked at Swap Shop online lately? I swear people will buy anything. Clothes, coffee pots, juicers, etc... get some money fast to help you get ahead. I sale my clothes at the resale shop and use the credit to buy things I need. Meet people at the Police Station Parking lot and have someone with you for safety if possible.
6. Get another job. There has been little time in my life when I did not have two jobs. Look at your schedule and get out there and work nights or weekends. If you already work nights and weekends find some time and work extra until you get ahead. It can be done.
7. Meal plan. This is a huge savings. If you make a pot of chili one week you can eat four or five meals off of that. Get stuff for sandwiches. There is a 300% markup on food. Eating at home saves a ton. Also make food from scratch. If you don't know how start with breakfast foods, sandwiches, and basics like spaghetti and tacos. Then check out a library book and learn to do some basic cooking. Eat leftovers and pack your meals and snacks. Avoiding going out to eat as much as possible.
8. If you need something check out Goodwill or a Resale Shop. Don't go just to go but if you need a coffee maker and you are broke chances are Goodwill has one for under $10 vs $30 at Walmart. Be smart.
9. Do not use pay here places for appliances or cars. This is what keeps poor people poor.
The cost of a used washer and drier is anywhere from $100 to $300, a new one is three times that. Going to a Rent a place, will cost you as much as 5 to 10 x the value of the item. If you have a washer and drier on monthly at $25 for two years by the time you pay that off you have paid $2400 for something that would have cost you $600. Ridiculous. I once sold a van and I regretted it. I saw one at a tote the note place but I had cash. The cost of that van was 3 x the value because that's how they trap poor people. As soon as you get a tax return that's the time to find a car for sale by an individual and buy it.
Video 2, when to look for another job
Video 3: Save over $600 a month, want to know how, words on meal planning and shopping for things cheap.
You hear a lot these days about "story telling" and let me tell you I am about some stories. I love stories. I love to hear about people and their stories and I like to know people's "Why". Why do you do what you do. If you don't know your why it's really hard to be successful in what you are doing and meet your goals.
Why do I write this blog on resourcefulness and why I have written blogs, taught classes, hosted and created large events on the subject, started groups, created book clubs and written hundreds of entries on the subject when I don't have to do it.
Here is "MY WHY?".
There is no way I could begin to tell you all the reasons I am so passionate about this but I'll try with a list of 5. My main "Why" Is I would like other people to be happy! Being of service makes me happy and when you can figure things out on your own you are happier and feel more confident. I think this may be my mission in life to share the gift of being resourceful.
1. Being Resourceful helps you make friends: Being a child raised by grandparents and divorced parents I became very adaptable. I was also an only child until I got a bonus sister at 21. I learned to resourcefully entertain myself with whomever was available, be it senior citizens, my dads fishing buddies, or whatever stray animal would let me drag it around. I would talk to anyone, go fishing with a my dad and his buddies, or hang out with a cat in barn. This has made me learn to get along with all kinds of people.
2. Being Resourceful helps you learn new things:I read to learn things. You can learn so many things from books and online. Reading on my own has probably taught me more than I learned in all my years of school. I've taught myself to cook, clean, raise children, handle money, and learned a ton about my craft. Nowadays I love to watch tutorials and learn from videos as well.
3. Being Resourceful give you confidence: I can go to my closet right now and find something to wear for almost any occasion no money required, and I don't have a ton of stuff. I can figure out something to take to a potluck most likely without having to even go to the store (I can make bean dip out of a bag of dried beans) because I know how to cook.
4. Being Resourceful helps you find keep a roof over your head. Though I have a great career now I know that no matter what happens I can very likely find a job and chances are I could find a place to live and a way to survive. Why because I am not afraid to ask people if they have a job, know of a job, have work I can do, a place to stay, etc..... I have no problem asking questions and you need to know what and how to ask those questions. I know that my connections in life are important. I've cleaned houses, watched peoples pets, taken care of babies and children, answered phones, kept books and done all kinds of things because I needed a job. No job is beneath me. I would do what I had to do to eat and care for my family.
5. Being resourceful builds self esteem as you learn how to do things in clever and new ways and to make things work with little resources. When my kids were little we were on a government subsidy called WIC, a food voucher program. My ex and I were both in college and we were struggling with three kids. I learned how to cook every possible thing with what they provided. I made it my mission to feed my kids well with that food and we did. We did not have health insurance for some time and I took my kids to the Health Dept for shots and check ups and I also went there for my care. Humiliated? No because I knew it wasn't forever and I was not to proud to take care of my kids. Eventually we wouldn't need it but I did what I had to do to get out of poverty. You do what you have to do to care for your family and you hold your head high. Doing all of this made me realize I have the grit to do what has to be done even when it's hard and that makes me proud. And I never, never took it for granted. I was thankful to be able to find what I need. I always dressed my kids in clean clothes and kept what we had clean even though it may not have been new or the best we always looked kept and never did I allow us to look pitiful no matter if I only had a $1 in my account.
My kids are grown now and three of them are out of the house. They have watched me their whole lives food pack, budget, and take care of them even when things were tight. Now I don't have to do that as much, it's more of a choice now but my kids have those skills and that is so important to me. The other day Cole told me he needed two pair of jeans, one for work and one for daily wear. He said "I realized that at work I really didn't need anything fancy, just something without holes so I went through all my old jeans and found some that I could get by with and save the $70 cost of a new pair of Levi's." My heart was so proud. I knew I had done a good job.
This week I have had a lot going on and have noticed many areas where I was resourceful.
For ideas here you can watch the video on saving on groceries or when you don't feel like that shopping trip, finding health coverage (not boring I promise and quick), to letting your kids figure things out to encourage resourcefulness in them, or good old ingenuity.
One area I forgot to talk about was my son's glasses. My son broke his glasses for the 2nd time in a month, we have another pair ordered.
Due to his high prescription there is no way to get a quick pair of glasses. Our eye doctor's glasses person, not sure what you call this, was able to not once but twice find glasses in the donation box to pop his lenses into to get us through. Now that is resourceful. I am so grateful to Debbie at Rose Eye Clinic.
Weather you are trying to save time or money you can get fit and healthy for cheap. Exercise: 1. See what your local library offers in classes. They are usually about $5 a class. 2. Check out videos and books from your library. 3. You Tube free videos for exercise. I will do "15 minute beginner Pilates" and lots of stuff comes up. Nothing required but internet! 4. Check out a gym this month with a $10 no contract and see if you like it and can stay committed. 5. Take a walk in your neighborhood or use that equipment you have been using to hang clothes on. 6. Put your exercise equipment in front of a t.v. and allow yourself to watch a special show only when on the equipment. 7. Listen to podcast or a book on tape while you exercise. 8. Write down your "Why". Why do you want to exercise? Look at it often. 9. Schedule your time to exercise. When people ask you to do something else say "I have an appointment" and schedule another time. Self care first. 10. Get active with others, your friends, your family, or join a group. Hike, bike, do something with someone else. Food 1. Eat mostly plants. 5 to 9 servings a day. 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup whole is a serving. 2 cups of veggie soup is 4 servings. It's not as hard as you think. 2. Eat whole grains in moderation (we need about 30 grams of fiber a day). 3. Avoid red meat except on rare occasions. I only eat it about once a quarter if that. 4. Eat beans for protein often, they rebuild your gut flora and help with depression as well as overall gut health. They are anti cancer and great for fiber. 5. Try to eat your carbs in the daytime or before you exercise. If you didn't exercise that day or in the evening avoid carbs at night. 6. Avoid WHITE: Sugar, flour (breads, pastries and pasta), rice. Eat brown rice, natural sugar in moderation, and whole grains that have the fiber and hull. 7. Eat organic when you can, when you can't choose the word "Natural", then it's always better to eat a washed plant than something like a candy bar. 8. Eat a variety of food to minimize toxins or hormones getting into your body. 9. Stay away from plastics like BPA, ideally store things in glass, secondly BPA free plastic. BPA disrupts your hormones. 10. Eat healthy fats in moderation. Avacado, nuts and oils. Be careful they are high in calories and it does not take a lot to get the benefits. 11. Switch to water. 12. Cut the sugar and replace with fruit smoothies to get over the hump.
Our wedding was beautiful and simple and I wouldn't change a thing.
Cowboy and I were engaged over five years ago. Cowboy wanted a big wedding and he had all kinds of grand ideas that included horses and lots of people and bands and it went on and on. Me I was like "can we run to the JP ?". I don't like all the big wedding stuff and attention and the planning, ugh. The planning makes me crazy. It seems like such a waste of time and energy and mostly money. The point is that two people who love each other want to commit right? I know I sound like the Grinch who stole the Wedding but this is my third wedding. Once for less than a year (I was 18 don't judge), then for twenty years. I've been with Cowboy six years and finally agreed to get hitched but there was one thing "No big wedding!".
So finally after 3 to 4 attempts he said "Ok Honey". Good Lawd he is harder to train that a wild Mustang Horse!
So I'm frugal but not cheap. We could have spent the money on a wedding but why? I would rather have a new driveway. Ever the romantic that I am.
So here is how we did it. And by the way I am writhing this for all you folks out there that want simple and do not want to do arts and crafts. Why is that always a theme when you look up simple weddings????
1. Jim wore his normal "Fancy" attire, this meaning funeral, wedding, going out to a nice dinner, going to church, or going out on a Friday night. Starched Wranglers, starched shirt, big ass belt buckle, and he cleaned his boots just for me. He did add a tie and a jacket since it was an "extra special day". Cost $0
2. I wore my friend Erin's former brides maids dress. I borrowed a shawl and earrings from mom and slipped on a pair of matching sandals I have owned for at least seven years. See pic. Cost $0
3. My mom wanted to do the flowers so she did my mantle, the bouquet for me and my bonus granddaughters bouquet and the centerpiece. She tied ribbons on our gate and two places on the road. It was beautiful. All I wanted was baby's breath but she wasn't having me just havin' fillers! So I said "Ok antique pink roses". I think it was about $250 for flowers.
4. Rings: We went to look at rings and I just couldn't find anything I liked and my engagement ring has a middle and two sides and maybe is a little fancy for an engagement ring, it can serve as a wedding ring. So no cost there as it was purchased a long time ago. I decided I don't need more to keep up with. Jim chose a Titanium band as it looked best. The budget was $600 but we only spent $139.
5. The invitations. I chose to send out an email (I know, I know Emily Post just turned over in her grave) to my family and close friends and said "This is what I am doing and if you would like to come we would love to have you. We chose to only have 40 guest ,mostly family and a few close friends.
6. We did no tables, just chairs, and there are tables and what not around our house. I borrowed 26 chairs from a friend and used what we had to set up a church like pew scene in our living room.
7. It was New Years Day so I made black eyed peas, cornbread from Cracker Barrel then I cooked three low sugar desserts (Jim and I eat healthy). I bought 48 cupcakes, chocolate and vanilla with whipped icing and we served them on a tiered tray (mom brought her husband and wife from her last cake and sat it on top). My friend and family brought a side dish instead of a present (if they wished to, I left this optional). Booze was two "Nice" boxes of wine, a six pack of Miller Lite and a bunch of flavored and plain waters in a bucket of ice. We also borrowed ice buckets for drinks and ice. We served the food on fancy paper plates, clear silver wear (plastic) and fancy plastic wine glasses.
8. I asked friends who would like to participate to please take pics and share. I promptly downloaded them and used the free pic app on my phone to order 25 for $3.99.
9. Music, My friend Rena brought her Bose speaker and played two songs. "Your Love Amazes Me" by John Berry for Jim and Gracie to walk out to then "A Thousand Years" for me to walk out to.
10. Jim's boss, Judge Cassady married us. It was beautiful and the vows were simple. Fairly standard with a bible verse.
11. My mom also borrowed some lanterns from a friend and brought electric candles ( I bought a bookoo of cheap batteries).
12. I did my hair and makeup and my friend did some ringlets right before the wedding. I even shaved my legs to the top and put on lotion!
All in all I can't say how much the wedding cost but all total I would say about $1000 to $1200 and it was amazing.
After the wedding I changed into boots, a sweater and leggings.
I would do it exactly the same if I had to do it over again!