Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The One Percent Club





We are always being told to save at least 10% of your income. But what if you are, for whatever reason, barely making ends meet? Is it hopeless?

Absolutely not!

Recently I stumbled across a group on Facebook called the One Percent Challenge created by Paula Pant who blogs at Afford Anything

The idea is to save 1% of your income for the first month and increase it by 1% each month, so at the end of the year you will be saving 12%. Pretty awesome right?

Say your income is $3,000/month. You would set aside $30 in savings the first month, $60 the second month, $90 the third month and so on...

Even if you cannot increase it every month and stay at 1% throughout the year, that 1% is still better than nothing at all saved. Plus, you could always throw extra money towards it whenever you could.

So don't be intimidated by those in finance who say you must save at least 10%. Just start where you are and increase as you are able. But the key is to start as soon as possible so it can build over time. 

Are you going to become a member of the One Percent Club? Or are you already saving more?


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tackling Projects







Since finishing up my last e-book, I have been taking some time to focus on the house and have finally begun to tackle my long list of projects...mainly painting!

Here is my inspiration photo from Kristy Seibert's beautiful blog, Starfish Cottage.



Though I love her wall color, I went with a darker shade called Universal Umber. I have dogs....one of which is a 150 pound Italian Mastiff who likes to roll in the dirt and then rub against my walls!

I love the colors she has decorated with - blues, greens, white and khaki. Colors found in nature. Coastal....yes!

Kristy recommends decorating with 80% neutrals and 20% colorful, trendy, or seasonal accents. She calls it the 80/20 Rule. I don't know why I never thought of it, but when I read it on her blog it immediately resonated with me and I knew changes were coming to our home!

Also, if I decide I want to change things up or decorate for the holidays, I will already have the perfect backdrop. How sweet is that?  

Other projects to be done in the office and dining room:

~ rent steam cleaner to clean carpets and sectional sofa
~ move desk; hide/organize cords/declutter desk
~ make a centerpiece for DR table
~ find a new light to go over DR table
~ paint and recover seats of 2 cane back chairs
~ paint microwave stand
~ frugal art work
~ replace plugs and light switch covers
~ paint ceiling medallion sea foam green
~ paint all hardware on doors brushed nickel or replace
~ create family gallery wall with matching black frames

Odd things about this space:

~ These two rooms are open to each other and the spaces are only semi-divided by the closet holding the HVAC system.
~ There are no windows.
~ There are 3 doorways and an archway opening up to the kitchen.
~ We have medium blue carpet.
~ I have two breaker boxes that need to be disguised.

Though I'd like for all this to be done yesterday, I'm going to take my time and enjoy the process. I don't want to buy just anything. I want all my elements to work together to create a serene, seaside retreat. Not to mention that I'm doing this on a budget! 

Are you working on any home improvement projects?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Newest E-book




I have just published my second book, Ideas For Creating a Luxurious Home On a Budget , on Amazon.com. The e-book contains practical ideas for adding a luxurious feeling  to your home - inside and out.

I am so excited to share my journey with you. I have always wanted to be a writer and so I began my blog many years ago. I have enjoyed your comments and companionship and will continue to do in the future. And now my dream of being a legitimate writer is coming true.

I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to my good friend, Fiona of How To Be Chic. We are writing buddies who encourage each other when either of us fills blocked in our own writing. Your friendship means the world to me!

Again, I thank you all for coming along on this journey with me. Here's to writing and kindred spirits!

Warmly,

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Saving Money on Razors


Hello Friends! I like to let my readers know of wonderful things I have found and if it saves you money...all the better!

Have you heard of the Dollar Shave Club? I had been hearing about them for a few years and once I found out a friend of my husband's was using them and loved it...I decided to give it a try.

Razors are so expensive, aren't they? With this service, you choose one of three razors and you get 4 cartridges. Then every month you get 4 cartridges shipped directly to your home and it's so much cheaper than what you buy in the stores!

For the razors, you have the choice between the humble twin blade for $1/month, the 4x for $6/month, or the executive which has 6 blades for $9/month.

I chose the Executive because it has 6 blades. I added on one extra razor handle, as I prefer the men's razors and paid $13. Shipping was very fast....less than a week.

How did it perform? My husband and I both used our razors and absolutely LOVED them. Nothing we have ever bought in the stores has given as close of a shave as the ones we chose!

What's the catch? Nothing that I have found. You can change the frequency of your shipments to bi-monthly if needed. You can pause the shipments for 1-3 months. Or you can cancel your membership without any fees. It is a win-win in my book!

If you would like to check out the Dollar Shave Club for yourself, please use my link. I get a $5 credit for anyone who uses me as a referral.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

For the Love of Music




Growing up, Mama always had music playing. Early on, she passed her love of music on to me. I loved the melodies and harmonies that came through the air waves to the radio. Music was magical.

I never learned to play an instrument, but I sang. I've always been drawn to music that moves me. The artist's passion shows itself through his or her music. A skillful guitar lick can touch the heart as much as a soulful voice. 

Music can evoke strong emotions. It can make you recall places, people and memories. It can soothe you and uplift you. It can even boost your energy. 

You do not need to know anything at all about music to understand it. Just listen and see what feeling arises. I enjoy many genres, but my favorite music to listen to is from the mid 70s through the 80s. I call it the soundtrack of my childhood! :)

There are few things I need in life, but music is one of them. A life without music is unimaginable. There is no cost to enjoy music and who knows....maybe one of these days I'll learn to play guitar after all!
***

What is your favorite music genre? Do you have a favorite artist or song? Please share in the comments!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Make Your Home Your Own Bed and Breakfast Retreat




Though I have never been to a bed and breakfast, I sometimes imagine what it would be like and try to make my home comparable. 

To have a successful B&B, you have to have your finances in order. So a budget is of primary importance. Each month I write out a budget on paper so I can tick off items as they are paid. It's pretty simplistic, but it works. 

The B&B I imagine is clutter-free and nicely decorated. It is also clean and sweet-smelling. I regularly edit my possessions and strive to keep surfaces clear. Routine cleaning and maintenance goes a long way in creating a clean home environment.

Meals are important at a B&B. Lately, I've been looking for new recipes to try and strive to try a new one each week. A big hit recently was my Easy Shrimp Scampi....delish! I'll share the recipe soon because it's so easy and quick. Perfect for busy nights or if you are running low on energy!

When you stay at a B&B, your comfort in the bedroom is of utmost importance! I constantly strive to make our bedroom a serene and restful space. Quality sheets, good pillows, and layers of bedding really make a difference. I only have one set of sheets which I wash weekly. Soft lighting is nice and creates ambiance. And I use a linen spray {Clean Cotton} from the Yankee Candle Co.

As usual when you stay anywhere, bathroom cleanliness is a must. I try to keep the counters streamlined {it's a constant struggle}. I want to create a spa-like atmosphere in this room. I have some ideas on what I want to do, just need to begin to implement them.

I would say curb appeal is very important to a B&B. Keeping up with yard maintenance is a must. I have potted plants and flowers by the front door, a cheerful welcome flag, and a wind chime. I'm slowly getting my yard back to where I want it to be. The 18 months I worked outside the home really took a toll on my yard! 

Other nice touches I imagine in a B&B are scented candles and wax melts, soft music playing, areas to sit outside in the garden, fluffy white bath linens, and decadent dark chocolate.

Have you stayed in a B&B? If so, what did you love most about the experience? 

Friday, May 08, 2015

Happiness: Rules To Live By





It took me a long to come to the conclusion that not everyone is going to like me or agree with me and my choices. And that's fine. Everyone is free to have their own opinion. I don't need anyone's approval to live my life in the way I choose to. 

How often, though, do we let fear of what others will say or think prevent us from doing what we want or from trying something new? 

My thinking is this: you may as well make yourself as happy as you can because no one is going to do it for you. 

My happiness is not dependent on anyone but myself. And so is yours. Here are some guidelines I try to live by:

~ Stop worrying about what others are doing, saying, or thinking. It's none of your business.

~ Don't give others control over your emotions or your life. Remember, this is your life and you have the right to live it as you choose.

~ Live and let live. You live your life in the best way that you can and allow others to do the same.

~ Stay far away from drama. It's okay to have a calm and peaceful life. If the people in your life thrive on drama, you may have to end the relationship. You have the choice to not participate in their games.

~ Follow peace. Peace will never fail you and it is better for you mentally, physically and emotionally.

~ There are no failures. Even if something you try doesn't work out, you still have the experience. You've learned something from that experience. Go on to the next thing.

~ Do not take offense over every little thing. Will this matter a year from now? If not, let it go.

~ Happiness is a choice. Do the things that make you happy. Spend time with those who make you happy.

~ Look on the bright side. Train your mind to think positive thoughts. Expect good things to happen to you and more often than not, they will! 

How do you keep your peace and live happily? How do you deal with negative people in your life?