Financial Things

Hello!

One of my New Year’s Intentions was to get my financial life in order, so I thought a good way to keep track of that would be to do a regular Financial Things post, both to remind myself that I am making progress and also to have something to post (I tend to tell myself that I have nothing to write about, but then I’ll read someone else’s post and ideas explode in my head). So without further ado, here are my latest financial things:

  • I reconnected with an old budgeting system I used to use. All of last year I used YNAB (You Need A Budget) to track my expenses and plan my budget, and while I really love almost everything about it, it just doesn’t make sense to me to pay $84 a year for a budgeting system when I a) am trying to cut expenses and b) there are so many budgeting systems that cost way less or are free. In searching for an alternative to YNAB, I tried several different options – and was getting frustrated that I couldn’t find one that I clicked with – when I happened to be looking for pictures on my desktop PC at home and discovered, buried deep in my documents folder, a budget template from 2015 that I had gotten from SimpleOrganizedLiving.com (which is now adreadekker.com). I opened it up and reworked it to fit my 2019 needs and the clouds parted and the angels sang and I found my one true budget template love. I sit down once a week to plug in my expenses and see where I’m at for the month. It’s easy and it’s FREE. I may have paid for it back in 2015 or maybe it was offered as a free download, I don’t remember, but I’m very happy that I have found it again.
business charts commerce computer
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  • I bought a dresser from a Facebook resale group. Since my son moved into his own apartment, that means my girls get their own rooms now, and we are in need of a little bit of furniture. When they shared a room they had one large dresser for their clothes, but now they each want a smaller chest of drawers (side note: it’s chest OF drawers, not chester drawers, and that’s your grammar lesson for the day). I really do not want to pay over $100 each for brand new dressers (we’re also going to need night stands and different beds as well, which could add up to hundreds of dollars. Um…no.) so I found a small wood dresser listed on a resale group for $40 that we are going to repaint to match the room. I’m on the lookout for another dresser and eventually I’ll be on the lookout for the rest of the furniture, but for now, I’m happy with my find.
apply blue brush carpentry
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  • I used a birthday coupon for a free large popcorn and drink at the movies. My son and I went to see Captain Marvel over the weekend, and I was able to use a birthday coupon from my theater loyalty card which got us free popcorn and a large drink which saved us $13.50. Oh, and my son bought the tickets for my birthday, so I only spent $5 for a medium drink. Seeing the Marvel movies is our bonding thing, so it’s worth it to me to spend the money to see a movie once in a while, but yay that  I didn’t have to spend much this time!
white and green pop corns beside red gummy bear
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Those are a few things off the top of my head that I’ve done lately to get ahead of my financial situation. And let me point out, my financial situation isn’t awful or dire, I just have some small debts that I’m tired of paying on and although we tend to break even every month, I want to get ahead of things. I want to better my situation, I guess you could say.

What have you done in the past to better your financial situation? What are your favorite frugal tips? What financial advice would you like to share? Hit it in the comments so we can all benefit!

 

Mental health Monday: 3 apps that keep me sane

Hello again! I thought today I’d give you a run down of how I use apps to keep me from flipping my lid on a day to day basis. Some of these I use every day, others I only use occasionally but I like knowing they are there if I need them.

First up:

Simple Habit

simplehabit

Simple Habit is a meditation app. I love this app because I like to think of it as meditation for normal folks. There’s not a lot of woo-woo going on here (maybe a teensy bit, but that’s all). The meditations are short – anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on how much time you want to spend, and although you can sign up for a paid account, there is plenty of free content to keep you occupied for quite a while. Why meditate? Here ya go:

Benefits of Meditation

And like Simple Habit says, “it’s a daily vacation for your mind.” I don’t know about you, but I need all the vacation time I can get. Available for Android and iOS.

Next up, You Need A Budget (YNAB)

ynab

Late last year I decided that I was finally ready to take control of my money and stop living in a scarcity mentality. Oddly enough, getting a budget has increased my peace of mind exponentially. But this budget app is different than any stale, boring, old-fogey budget – this budget has a sense of humor and a laid back style that makes it attractive to someone like me. There are 4 rules to YNAB: 1) Give every dollar a job, 2) Embrace your true expenses, 3) Roll with the punches, and 4) Age your money. I’m still learning to work with all the steps but this has been so helpful to me. It actually helped me set up a category for my daughter’s cheer fees, so that when it came time to pay the $300 fee, I had the money ready to go and could write the check with no anxiety. That’s a major win for me! YNAB offers a 34 day free trial, live online classes, and personal support. I’ve been really happy with them so far. I might do a post just for this sometime in the future. Available for Android and iOS.

Lastly, how about a game?

hue

This is a puzzle game in which you have to rearrange colored squares into their proper hue-order. It’s actually much more relaxing than it sounds, but it can be somewhat challenging. What I love most is the dopamine hit I get when I finally solve a puzzle and feel like super smart person. I’m not a huge game player, but sometimes I just need something simple to focus on when I have some downtime, or when I’m stuck in a gym watching volleyball for 10 hours, or when I’m waiting to board a flight. In a world of multitasking, sometimes it just feels good to focus on one single thing.

 

What apps do you find are essential for your sanity? Have you used any of the apps I mentioned? I’m always on the lookout for fun apps, so share in the comments some of your favorites!