Thursday, June 20, 2013

Money Musings

When I said changes, I meant serious business. My husband and I have recently both put in resignations at our current day jobs, and are starting our respective new ones on the exact same day in july. There is substantial risk here, for we are taking a pay cut and leaving the comfort and safety of insurance and benefits. The exchange? More flexibility with our hours, which means increased creativity and more time with each other and our loved ones. For once, we are shifting focus away from the worry of the dollar sign and toward the light of our intuition. Like I said in the previous entry: Simplicity and joy. Bottom line.

For the Me of even one year ago, all of the changes necessary for a life overhaul would not just have seemed terrifying, but damn near impossible. Back then, it was a good day if I took a shower. But conscious growth and intentional living are powerful tools, indeed, and I now find myself poised and ready for whatever life brings. 

So far, I've found true change isn't pretty or comfortable at first. It requires you to sit and marinate in your crap for awhile. It requires you to detach from yourself and look at the situation to see where you may have screwed up to get you here in the first place. It requires you open the closet and let the skeletons fall out on top of you. It requires forgiveness. 

In short, change requires you to be really, really brave. And brevity isn't about not being scaredquite the opposite. It's about feeling the terror and walking through it anyway, a yearning to be on the other side of the pain. And it is in this holy instant that pure alchemy takes place, for it is through even the smallest willingness to see things another way that miracles occur.

For me, a big block in the way of my happiness has been finances. Like many, I grew up with parents who were not always wisest with their money (they would tell you this themselves if you asked!). Many of these habits have slowly and unconsciously seeped in, going mostly unnoticed or ignored for my entire adult life. It is only through going through the discomfort of facing the mistakes I've made, and looking at the numbers objectively that I felt moved to change the story, once and for all. This meant taking a long, hard look at our spending, resulting in an overhaul of our entire budget. We are looking at the situation through different lenses, and are spurred to embrace what we once ran from: paying bills on time, massively cutting expenses, and actually picking up the phone when Sallie Mae calls.

i've enlisted many helpers along this new path. One is the book "Peace and Plenty: Finding Your Path to Financial Serenity," by Sarah Ban Breathnach. Comforting, yet practical, this little gem has had a marvelous impact on the way I see abundance in my everyday life. It is divided into short, daily chapters, allowing you to take her sensible advice in bite-sized chunks. I don't know about you, but just thinking about finances can get me tense, and this book certainly eases the pain. It helped me to understand that I have it within me to face my past hardships while still being kind and loving to myself. Also, this book is chock-full of thrift and household tips to help you improve your living on a budget.

Which leads me to the next tool that has aided me in my financial overhaul. Living Well, Spending Less is by far my newest blog addiction. Writer Ruth Soukup is a thrifty mom of four with a beautiful story and a fabulous voice. Her user-friendly site has advice on everythingclipping coupons, Do-It-Yourself home projects, organization, and wellness. The website has way too much content for one visit; I recommend starting with her series, The Beginner's Guide to Savings. Make sure to download these awesome free budget worksheets

Overall, I am feeling more confident about my financial future than I ever have before. I've faced the demons, and now there's nowhere to go from here but up. 

I'd like to encourage all of you to seek freedom from your money woes! Ask yourself the question: "What small step can I take today toward financial serenity?" One small step. That's all it takes.

xo, Morgan

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