Hey, y’all! Welcome back to my little hyggekrog on the internet. I’m glad to be back after my customary month-long hiatus 😂 Real talk, the kids + school have consumed a lot of my attention lately. I’m not complaining; I’m always grateful that I have the opportunity to stay home with my children. And I’m just as grateful for the opportunity to get a “do-over” with college. Graduation photos from old co-workers are flooding my social media feeds, and I’m LOVING it. Seeing people I knew when they were freshies, proudly wearing their cap and gown, surrounded by orange and blue makes me swell with happiness. And it also provides me with some much-needed motivation. If I keep my nose to the grindstone, I’ll have the potential to parade myself about to “Pomp and Circumstance” in spring 2020. Luckily (or unluckily) it’s finals week for me right now so I’ll get a chance to be a bit more present on Lauren, Etc. during the break next week. Now onto the budget review!
I’m always excited to sit down for another monthly budget review, as it gives me a good opportunity to reflect on the changes in my life since my last review. This past February, I’ve continued to be really focused on wellness and gratitude. I’ve been doing some journaling, keeping up a plant-based diet with more fruits and veggies, drinking (and eating) less caffeine (less chocolate), meditating, spending less time on social media (weekends offline!), and intentionally being more in the moment not just with my husband and children, but when I’m alone. I’ve also had the opportunity to visit my best friend in San Diego, spend time with family in north Florida, and connect more with friends living locally. And did I mention I turned 30 this past month? Growing older is an experience I have come to cherish so deeply as not everyone gets the opportunity to witness so many seasons and changes. It has also taught me how to balance being prepared for the future and still live in the moment, in terms of wellness choices, intentionality, and finances. I’m a ridiculously lucky, privileged woman, and I hope to continue to live in a way that shows my gratitude for my life, gives more to others, and provides inspiration. So I’ll start right here by giving you a peek into my family’s pocket-book in hopes that it helps others to be inspired to get a better understanding of their own finances.
There is a saying I have heard many times. One I probably have repeated on this platform before. “You can have it all, but not at the same time”. This phrase comes into my mind in this moment because I felt it was time to officially announce a break from Lauren, Etc. This January, I started taking 2 night classes at the local community college. My first college courses since August 2009, I was worried that I would have trouble jumping back into this type of learning. Two years of the alternative education that is an architectural degree program had made my next two years at the University of Florida difficult, and, ultimately, were what caused me to leave without a degree. I didn’t want to go back to school feeling like I needed to balance it all; I wanted to stay focused on school. I am no longer of the mindset that women (especially wives and mothers) have to do everything and be everything. There is no trophy for multitasking, only the added stress, decline in health, and possibility of everything being half-assed. Which leads me to one of my other favorite sayings “Don’t half ass multiple things, whole ass one thing.” I really felt it was my duty to put my whole ass into the process of going back to school. But as the weeks have progressed, an old problem has reappeared – sleepless nights. I initially started the blog as a creative outlet, so that my mind had a place to flourish, so I could focus on something other than Daniel Tiger and milk cups and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and the big slide at the playground. So when I officially decided to myself that the blog was going on hiatus, the creative thoughts associated with blogging that buzz around my head all day stopped. Instead they manifested themselves at night as random errands and to-do’s popped. After three difficult nights in a row, I decided I would come back to my little corner of the internet with a new monthly budget update, instead of a quick note about taking a break for the semester. Sometimes when it comes to activities that add so much value to your life, it’s okay to half ass it a little bit.
As a self-proclaimed “minimalist” I’ve strived to stay focused on the elements of life that I value most – my health, my relationships, and personal growth. I have been in this process of changing my relationship with possessions (for the better), but I overestimated how far along I had developed in devaluing stuff. Stuff does not define who I am and what I am capable of, yet I still sometimes feel limited when I don’t have the “right” stuff.
Hey, y’all! It has been WAYYY too long since I’ve sat down to curate my little corner of the internet. And I have to admit, I really miss it. I had three friends mention to me last week that it has been awhile since I’ve posted. And it has. And I have no excuse other than just letting life get in the way. I can’t make any promises that I won’t continue to post sporadically, but I’m here now so let’s get down to business…..to defeat, the Huns 😉
It has been a long time since I have not looked forward to the monthly appointment I make with myself to review our budget. When I first started taking control of my finances, it was so scary to look at the amount of money I owed for student loans and credit cards versus what I was actually making each month. I didn’t enjoy knowing I was at the misery of creditors, so those monthly budget reviews survived as a great reminder of why I was being so stringent with my daily expenses. But recently when I sit down to do these reviews and I continually see the amount of coming in being smaller than the amount of money going out, I make excuses. “We were really busy so we had to get a lot of take out” or “We had to do these repairs to keep our investment in working order” or the most recent which seems to be on repeat “We had a lot of unexpected medical bills”. Eventually it gets to the point when you realize that you can’t keep doing the same thing over and over each month and expecting different results. We just bought a home and we have two toddlers – unexpected bills are going to be a regular occurrence. So we have to adjust our budget to fit these expenses. I think it might be time to go back to living like we’re in debt. Because having a mortgage, technically, means we are.
For the past couple months I have just felt so unmotivated. Keeping the house looking half decent and putting dinner on the table are pretty much all I’ve been able to accomplish. But about two weeks ago, something just hit me. Like a ton of bricks. All of sudden, I realized I was just wasting my time. I was wasting all the opportunity that was presented to me. Not even just considering the fact that I have been lucky enough to stay home full-time with my children instead of going into work, I am an able-bodied human being with a creative mind and a good amount of privilege. Why am I not taking advantage of everything that is just sitting right in front of me? And when I say, it hit me like a ton of bricks, I mean, I physically felt it. When the realization came to me, I just started weeping. I was completely alone, but I felt embarassed and disappointed in myself for allowing such a long period of stagnation to go on.
Better late than never, right? I have been deeply entrenched in this 30 Days of Less Screens challenge, and, therefore, just realized that I had not posted a budget review for June yet! I have really had to focus on being intentional with my screen time which has led to a bit of a break from my computer all together. I wouldn’t say that the challenge has been successful so far. I’ll leave the details on this whole debacle to another post.
Let’s cut right to the chase, people. The month of May (and into June) has not been easy. Things could always be worse, but I’ve had a lot on my plate. Which has made it very difficult for me to find the time to sit down to write this post. I don’t want to throw a pity party by detailing everything. Long story short – Emma had a seizure, we bought a house (WE BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOME!!!!), the house has had some unexpected repairs, and everyone (me and the twins) currently have hand, foot, and mouth disease. I’m hoping things will have calmed down by next week so I can get back to having some semblance of a blogging schedule, but, for now, please forgive the super sporadic posts!
For a bit, I questioned if I would ever get around to writing this month’s budget review. This month has already been a bit of a whirlwind as we’re in the middle of buying a house. I never understood why people have 2 months between an accepted offer and close until now. The mortgage paperwork is one thing. But the process of getting a home inspection, radon testing, termite inspection, septic inspection, etc. then negotiating work to be done, then waiting for work to be completed, then RE-inspecting, then going back to the seller’s like engineers should never own a home because y’all think you’re professional electricians, plumbers, and carpenters when you’re NOT. Can you tell I’m frustrated? YouTube and HGTV has led everyone to believe they can do anything when really we should leave some things to the professionals. Respect the craft, y’all.