Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Brainstorming A Bit of This and That"

I've been in quite the reflective mood lately. Lots of things that I want to work on, incorporate, and pick up my step in. Tomorrow is the last day of actual classes, and I have two finals back to back next week. The weekend and the beginning of next week will be spent with my head in the books. I am looking forward to the Winter break.

I love not having homework for it affords me the opportunity to cook more in the evenings. When I have homework, I usually cook on the weekends and provide more "Fix it yourself" things doing the weekdays. It has worked very well for us so it is probably something that I will continue to use as I continue my education.

There is something about the fast approaching winter months that changes something in me. It brings out in me a sense of pulling in and cocooning. Actually, if I had my way, I'd probably cocoon most of the time. But since I am not rich and most likely never will be, I try to make a very concious effort now to use my time wisely if possible.

Between classes, I have been reading different material on budgeting, stocking-up, natural living, etc. One of my favorite reads is "Mother Earth" which was sent to me by a very dear friend. I can't get enough of that magazine. There are other magazines dealing with Homesteading that I get a glimpse of online, but there is nothing like holding the magazine in your hand and marking things and going over and over it. Until I was gifted with the magazine I would read it in the school library. It would always sooth my nerves after a hectic day of classes.

Some of the things that I have been reflecting on heavily is getting my stock-up back in order, savings, teaching my children financial accountability, being more financially conscious myself, and coming up with ways to build an emergency account. Although the dynamics of my household have changed, I am still the household manager and am therefore responsible for the financial goings on in my home. At the end of each year, I like to reflect over things and challenge myself to do better or at least work smarter.

One of the books that I am reading on "Simplicity" by Janet Luhrs, makes some very profound statements regarding financial independence. It is nothing that the average person isn't already aware of, but sometimes we all need a nudge to remind us of what we perhaps already know, but fail to do. Some of the points that I wrote down for myself are:

* If you don't want to work too much don't accumulate a lot of debt, don't spend the money.* While those words seem very simplistic, most of us "tell" ourselves that we are thrifty but allow the little things to keep us tethered to debt.

* When you have money saved, you have "Options". Without money saved you have "No" choices.* To that, most of us would say that with today's economy "who has money to save?" But if we are honest again about the little things and some of the not so little things that we feel are "needs" when they are really "wants", we would be surprised.

* You have to be willing to make certain choices and sacrifices that will lead to your larger life goals.* Usually when someone sees the word "sacrifice" they are immediately turned off. But unless you have a large income, sadly something will have to be sacrificed. You just have to ask yourself what is the priority.

* You have to create a financial plan to lead you to your life goals.*

I took a lot of time to meditate on this point. To REALLY ask myself what is my "life" goal. Many people feel that they know the answer to that question but really are basically just very vague.

* Financial success is not about being rich but about being smart with your money.*

I think this is an especially crucial thought as we ride the tide of our present economy. So many people are losing jobs and homes and have no emergency funds to at least tide them over until they can figure things out. Sadly, as Americans, savings is just not that big on our list of priorities. This is going to lead to lots of heartache many.

There were plenty of other points that I have been meditating on for my own circumstances, because I feel that the better equipped I am, less bumpy the ride.

Once school is out, I plan to do a deep pantry inventory to re-stock what I have used over the past six months, and it is time to take some time to put together my winter menus. I set a certain budget for Holiday shopping and so far am sticking to it, and I am planning on giving my children savings accounts instead of stocking stuffers this year. I have also set up 5 small goals to try and reach by next year's end. One will be a larger sustainable garden. I am looking forward to that one. I drive by the AG center here every day and see the sign for the program to become a Master Gardener. If I knew that I could work it around school I would have signed up yesterday. But, who knows.

I have just had a feeling of a pressing need to up my game as regards taking our economy seriously. I am not saying that we should panic or anything, but just daily make decisions that would serve to bring us closer to our life goal whatever that might be. That is my hope and my plan. Wish me luck. Till next time...


Martha said...

Well, guess I should have posted my email I wrote to you earlier about my neighbors here!

Just remember my new all time favorite quote...

"The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want the most for what you want now." - Zig Ziglar

Good luck! Hugs! :-)

Solitary Dancer said...

Wow, you are doing great! Your hopes becoming a plan is just the beginning. Once your plan starts rolling you will see your hopes become a reality.

Here's to a fabulous 2009!


City Mouse said...

Awesome post! I do love Mother Earth News, but ... I *adore* Countryside & Smallstock Journal. I'm sure you've seen it around. Don't know what it is about it, but I think it's just the best. Keep plugging!

LivingSimply47 said...

Hello City Mouse and Welcome!!! Yes, Countryside is GREAT!! I could not think of the name of it for my life and I used to subscribe!! I still have old articles that I like to revisit every now and again.
Thank you so much for visiting and leaving a comment!!

Martha: Thanks!! I think you need to put that quote on a plaque or something!!

Solitary Dancer: I'm working on it. Still have a LOT of kinks to work out, but I'll get there!!

earth heart said...

Ro - This is a great post. Like you, I always feel the need to pull inward and cocoon over the winter months. I think it's only natural as winter is the time for reflection. We are very much on the same page with our concerns, taking small steps every day, living deliberately with an eye on the what tomorrow may bring. Keep up the good work!

jp17 said...

Winter with the onset of cold weather for me too has always been a great time for introspection. Because of the recession I think it is a particularly important time to do exactly what you are doing, evaluating, prioritizing and creating an environment that will nurture and carry you and your family through the leaner times that may be ahead.
Very nice post! Thanks.