New things are happening and it is for the best! I quit two of my part time jobs and my main full time job to take a church job doing something I love! It is a lot less pay, but have some flexibility and love the atmosphere. It might not seem like the best move for someone following the Dave Ramsey plan but it is the best move for our families happiness! Even Francisco quit his corporate job to work from home! Our son needs us and he is more important! We feel a lot more happy! More at peace! More time for family! No amount of money could ever replace that!
Over the last month I have become a Dave Ramsey fanatic. I urge you to search for his name on you tube. My friend who I meet with introduced me to his method of becoming debt free! I am in love with Mr. Ramsey so much that for the next 3-5 years my husband and I have decided to be poor! If you hear what Ramsey says, you will understand. But like Mr. Ramsey says, we will be living like no other people for the next couple of years to then live like no one else for the rest of our lives!!!He is a Christian man who not only has devoted his life to show and teach people to live without debt, but to spread the Word of God! He teaches us about integrity and financial wealth all in the same podcast that you can hear daily from 2pm-5pm Eastern time! It is live too!
I urge you to Google him, I t will completely change your life and/or at least the outlook of debt and budgeting. My husband and I have realized that we have been living not within our means and although we de-cluttered we had to look more in depth at the root of the problem. We have spent so much money over the last decade that it’s ridiculous!!! It makes me sad, for we have sinned, but it also makes us soooo MAD!!!! And let me tell you, being mad is a good thing! We are now attacking this problem with gazelle intensity! We are being swift and we know who the enemy is!!! Like the Bible states in proverbs 22:7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. (NIV)
Well my friends, we are sick of being slaves! We created this mess and we will take a choke hold of it! I will break it all down and I personally could care less what any friends reading this may think or what even some family members think, but I am putting ourselves out there to hold ourselves accountable! We owe a little over $70,000.00!!! YIKES! I won’t bore you with the exact numbers but just in student loans its about $40k, $18k for one of our cars and $6k for our other car, the rest is various credit cards. And guys…. that is not even counting our mortgage!!! The good news is that within 3-5 years we plan to have it ALL paid! And two years after that our house!!! And two years after the house our son’s college education and 6 months worth of our salary as an emergency fund!!! But it will take a lot of hard work, no going out (yet we still plan to have fun.. a lot of FREE fun), maybe extra jobs in our future and cutting a lot of expenses. I’m not saying live on rice and beans but damn close to it!!
So who is with me? Have any of you heard of Dave Ramsey?
Over the last few weeks I have noticed such a huge change in me and my family. We are living with less but have gained so much! Our son Frankie is oblivious to it all since he is only 4, but he is such a sweet and caring boy that he seems to understand when we explain certain things to him and he is so adamant about doing things right to please us. Before all this, anything he wanted, any request, any double look he gave an object he got. For Christmas his budget has been unlimited for the last 4 years of his life. For his birthday he gets whatever he wants from us and we throw this HUGE party that people would think it’s his Bar Mitzvah! We invite close to 150 people and the kids! We have his birthday at a huge hall at our church with 2-3 bounce houses that fit cozy inside incase it rains since his birthday is in June. We have more food than we know what to do with and to top it all off, we ask the guest to bring a check to donate to our charity of choice that year. Not to mention that we hire people to entertain the kids and we give toys to almost every kids who attended the party. Overall, his birthday usually costs between $5000-$8000. Yes! Ridiculous and I see that now. Frankie now knows that he only gets new toys for his birthday (which will be budgeted to $100 in gifts and a birthday party of 8-10 friends at our house) and on Christmas (this year the budget will be $150, plus family gifts). He is also allowed to buy his own gifts with his own money. We call it his commission and he can earn up to $4 per week. When he turns five the commission will increase to $5 and so on! We don’t pay our son an allowance for chores around the house. He has to do them regardless. He is a part of the family and therefore must work and pitch in with the family. He earns the commission for simply doing good in school, behaving and going the extra mile! He will know that with hard work and dedication great fruits will come his way.
So, besides giving up the spending that was out of control towards our son we have gained more time with him. We play with him, do outside activities, we talk, we teach him and he is even taking a sense of pride on the chores we give him. This not only pleases us but he himself has become a much happier kid! Our son holds his head up high every time we praise him! His shoulders roll back as he reminds you how good he did at something. He talks to us about his day as soon as daddy comes home from work and tells us who did what and what he did at school. He is even more thankful. He thanks me for making his breakfast, packing his lunch or snacks, and even thanks me for cleaning the house and having it so pretty! Every Sunday he also tells me how beautiful I look wearing this or that. Whether its my dress, a shirt, my hair bow or a simple bracelet. I have gained a loving boy who will eventually grow up to be a caring man who appreciates women, the work we put in and the meaning of hard work! He has gained a lifetime of happiness knowing that we love people and not things.
Another thing I have gained is better conversations with the hubby! At night we don’t watch TV anymore. If we do it is on a Friday night, but even that has become a lost art in our bedroom. Before it was turn on Netflix, let’s catch the Walking Dead, what is on E!, etc… Now we talk more about our day. He gets to know more about my work and vice versa. We talk about our projects, our plans, our budget. We do things together. At least he tries to help more with things around the house. It is taking him a while because he is very unorganized. He is making more of an effort to wake up earlier. He is writing to do lists, notes and reminders. I have gained so much more from my husband over the last month than in the last ten years of our married life so far! It is amazing!
I have a new found respect for myself. I feel like I have accomplished so much. Not only the things around my house, but in my personal view of myself. As you all know I have a huge self acceptance issue and I turn to food for many if not all of the things that go on and when I think I have a grasp of it, it turns out that I don’t! I have to keep reminding myself that I am worth it. I am worth more than that cake, more than those chips, you get the picture. If Jesus could pass the temptations of his fasting after the 40 days, how could I not pass by a moment of temptation? With living with less, I have been able to create (yet not mastered, but working on it) a plan for food. I have a budget and I must stick to it! It must be healthy and it must be things we all enjoy to eat. Food Proportions will come in handy a lot more when I start to tighten up this budget a bit more and although it is still a work in progress, it is a steering in the right direction!
I dare you my friends to do this with me! You will fee freeing! You will gain more than you would lose. I am seeing now that all those material things that made me so happy in reality didn’t. Only for a small moment they brought happiness which then turned o clutter and a way of clogging up my life. It took something so drastic to open up my eyes! I am thankful to God for allowing me to see beyond our material world. I lived a life of sin by being so materialistic and for portraying something I was not. Something that was taking away from others viewing the real me.
I am finally finished! I have de-clutter, organized and formatted my home and my life. So many changes have been made. Big Decisions have been prayed about, talked about with my husband and a new plan has been set in place! The past week Of having everything organized and de-cluttered has been a God-sent! I’ve had more time to spend with Frankie, to read, to concentrate on simple tasks that I have been meaning to get around to at home. It really is more fulfilling to live with less!
I have however been struggling with my eating habits these last two weeks. I have been so occupied to getting the house to where I was happy that I have let myself go. I have been eating everything in sight and have gained weight in the process. Now that I have more of a flow of things I need to get right back on track!
Let me tell you that getting ready in the morning has become a breeze, and although I must admit that I have added a few key pieces of clothing to my wardrobe it has been to compliment the new look and color scheme of things. I have gotten rid of even more shoes! I know, what is wrong with me? I have realized that if something is not working then it must go!
I also finally got around to talking to my priest about my decision to leave my job. He was so kind an understanding about it. I have had second thoughts as I mentioned before because now I have signed up to getting out of debt the Dave Ramsey way and well, the extra money would have been nice but I can always apply at any other jobs and if they don’t make me happy or are bringing more stress, then I will let it go. I am not bound to anyone or anything besides my husband and child. That’s the way I see it.
What have you done lately to de-clutter your life, your home, your thoughts?
My husband and I are VERY active at our church and our community. Since Frankie was a newborn he has been next to us in every activity that we have devoted our time to. So much so that he himself volunteers and several things at our parish since he has been three years old. We draw the line somewhere though and the reason I am writing this post is to bring light to those parents that volunteer sooooooo much that their kids suffer from it. Yes, we see it. The mom or dad are so involved in helping everyone, every group, different churches that their kids get dragged everywhere, they don’t have other interaction with kids their ages. I’ve seen the parents or mother of the kids asking people in the community to watch their kids because they have to be somewhere to volunteer, because they promised so-and-so that they would help, etc. It saddens me!!! It actually infuriates me! I believe that spending time with your child(ren) is much more important than any volunteer work you can give. There is a limit and kids need to be kids. If you are a parent, mother/father that does this frequently, I please urge you to volunteer more of your time with your kids. Trust me… It will please God more if you do.
Since the beginning of November I began to notice that my stress level was up the roof. I was smoking like a chimney which is something I picked up as of lately because before I was a smoker who would only do two maybe three cigarettes per day and that was it. It came to the point that I was smoking nearly a pack a day. It got worse when my husband lost his job after Thanksgiving break. That was the eye opener! He has been our main bread winner and without his salary how where we going to make ends meet?
I have always been great at math and our budget and of course, that is where I started to look. What can we cut down? Boy o’ Boy I was in for a huge surprise. We became that materialistic, disposable family that accumulated stuff! We had our son in every sport we could attend, signed him up to every website he can learn from, we acquired more and more shit along the way that some of it just sat at home and even some with tags still on them. We were indulgent, sinful, wasteful, whatever you want to call it. How can it be? How did we get there? It was all the money one starts getting used to. It is unbelievable to even think that without my husbands salary that we would survive financially. What did we do when we first got married? Both our combined salaries then didn’t even come close to just my husbands salary, yet here we were, with his “BIG” salary, my decent salary (my 40 hours per week job as a secretary) and a Part time job (20 hours per week as Director of Religious Education) All this EXTRA money and we were broke?? How is that possible. I guess this is were I started looking into having less, but yes you already read about us minimalizing our home and de-cluttering just not the house but our lives, but now I want to also live stress free (or close to it) and this implies us working less. Yes, you read correctly.
For my new years plan (because I hate to call it a resolution) Was to be happier and have a lot less stress in everything and anything that involves us (me in particular who is doing this more drastically) If something doesn’t bring me happiness and/or is bringing upon stress in my life I am getting it out of the way, away from me, out of our lives, or working to make that aspect of it better. It’s funny because as I have gotten rid off at least 75% of everything that was cluttering up our lives and I of course offered certain things to my family first (jewelry, appliances, art work, anything of high value) they have come to the conclusion that we are moving. LOL! I explained to them about this whole minimalizing our lives and they just don’t get it. Hopefully they will get to see how happy living with less is making us because I can already see the change.
The crazy part of all this is that last week I quit my part time job as Director of Religious Education. I know crazy right? I love what I do. I love the kids most of all! I love it that we are molding young minds and teaching them about the faith. I am a firm believer that Religious Education is not just information that we teach these kids about the Bible and our Faith. It is Faith Formation! We are forming them to know and defend their faith! With that being said, this is what is stressing me the most. It has been about 3-4 years that I have been dealing with whether or not this is right for me. The reason being the parents. Believe it or not, most of them take their children to CCD Classes (a.k.a. Sunday School) to get them out of their hair for 3 hours. They never know what is going on. The kids don’t turn in assignments, the parents clearly don’t care, then when you seem like the total b*tch for reminding them (almost to the point of harassing them for information or paperwork) of events, etc. Then there are those that drop them off very early when they know my husband and I are there setting up and guess what? They pick them up late AFTER Mass is over!!! Where are they? Why didn’t they come to Mass? I feel like the Sunday babysitter most of the times. I think that working with the parents bring on the most stress. I don’t want that in my life anymore. Not for a while. I want to get away from it for some time. I talked to our priest and explained to him. He was very surprised but understanding. I’m not leaving the church, my community, just de-cluttering that aspect of my life too! I will miss it though. Dearly!!! So much to the point that it aches me and I second guess whether or not I have made the right decision.
Only time will tell, and for now I will continue to get rid of anything that doesn’t make me happy. Things will be tight around our household but not impossible. Common’ I have God on my side! I have faith! I believe a lot of good will come from this. Plus, the only true test is time.
Last night while eating dinner, Frankie threw a left curve ball at us that left us stunned! Frankie had already finished his dinner and was off playing while my husband and I talked over ours. That’s how it normally happens over at our household and I have a very special post on why we normally or should I say not always eat dinner as a family and why it works for us! So, he comes to us and says his friend so and so got in trouble today. We asked why and he says “because he said what the f**k?” I nearly spit my zucchini out my mouth! I had to ask ONE more time to make sure I hear correctly. Sure enough… My son drops the F-bomb again. Documenting his first time cursing as January 24th. Around 7pm. Year 2018!
We were in such shock that I think I scared the living sh*t out of him. As a parent we told him that yes that was a VERY good reason why his friend WOULD get in trouble in school. We told him that is one of the worst words he could ever use and that even as an adult we don’t use it and if we need to tell someone else that someone used it we say F-word instead. Then Frankie reminded us that just like the F-word we do not say Gods name in vain and that we should also only use Gods name in prayer. My husband and I agreed with him and when I felt proudness overcome me, he shattered it by telling me: “Mommy you always use God’s name in vain. You always say Oh My God! And you shouldn’t only in prayer”. ?!?! I mean, what can I say? Besides that he was right and to please let me know the next time I do it so that I may stop doing so.
We continued the conversation on using bad words and how he should immediately tell his teacher because 1. He might get blamed, even if he is telling the culprit not to use such word, 2. That was the teacher can address the issue with the classmate saying it and 3. If he repeats such bad word he will spread it to other classmates that might not know about it and he would be spreading evil that way. We told him that every time he says a bad word that it is the devil working through him and spreading evil. OMG, why did I tell him that? He started to cry because he felt bad that he had used the word to tell us.
This morning he still reminded me that the F-word was bad and I got a chance to talk to his teacher. The teacher assured him that he would be doing good if he tells her when ANYONE of his friends use that or ANY other bad word. She even made mention that he doesn’t hear his mommy and daddy use those bad words right? Thank the Lord p high he reassured his teacher he doesn’t hear us with that kind of language. I would have died right there! (Mental note to stop having a sailors mouth) He did surprise us by asking who in his friends’ life must be using that language because they were bad people.
Oh the things our kids say! They sure keep us on our toes. I can clearly see him correcting me for all my OMG’s!
Motivation is hard to find at times. Being lazy is the easiest thing we could do as humans. It is something that comes natural because it is so simple. We are all lazy in our own way. The good news is that it is something we can change! I am a very driven and motivated individual. At least I like to think so! 🙂 I am an overachiever and a go-getter! (Not even sure on spelling, but bare with me. English is not my first language and don’t you dare correct me on my grammar!) I have to-do’s for everything, planners for everything, lists for everything and everyone! My son had a calendar and picture planner that I specifically made for him to organize himself since he was two! It has gone down in size for him since he has already been molded to expect certain things that must be done! For example, if you ask him what we do on Thursdays after dinner he will quickly tell you that it is weigh-in day! LOL! My husband and I have been on weight watchers for about 6 years off and on, but more into it lately to lose the last couple of pounds we need to. Frankie gets to go with us. He also weighs in and we tell him that everyone in that room is trying to get healthy. That we are all winners there and he loves it! The point is that he has in his head that on Thursdays he can’t play because there is no time. He also knows that he is only allowed TV time for an hour max on Tuesday, Thursday (while he eats) and Saturday and Sunday!
In structuring a calendar of to-do’s he also is a great kid in putting away his dirty clothes as soon as he takes it off. he knows there is a routine before going to bed. He gets motivated from feeling accomplished and that is what we adults feel in a way when something gets done. When someone tells me they are not motivated to do this or that, I ask them, but don’t you want to feel accomplished? Then why not just do it!!! Here’s the thing… If you have ten things on your to-do list and you only do 3 or 4 or even just one, well… that in itself is an accomplishment! You did one more thing above zero and that in my book makes you a hero! (Anyone beside me laugh at that? Please let me know.) Every morning before we leave the house we play the same song. A worship song of your choice will do. Something up lifting! It just puts you in that mindset to conquer the world and what better way to start your morning than praising God? Our song is “Here I am Lord” Composed by Dan Schutte. There are different versions out there. We prefer a live version with the audience praising God and singing along!
Another part of my routine is writing down my daily goals. I do this EVERYDAY. At times I do not accomplish all but if you write them down you are already going in with the mentality that you will do them! I also write down 3 things that I ask myself every morning. 1) How will I grow today? 2) How will I give? and 3) What am I thankful for? I have a journal just for that and it might be something so simple that you write, but make it your own and that will motivate you so much! If you start your day happy then you will end your day happy. I tell this to Frankie all the time. The person in our household that has a hard time following that philosophy is myself. We all have those days that we wake up and something bothers us and just sets s sour tone for the rest of the day. Lately I have learned how to manage those emotions and redirect them to more positive things. it has helped me greatly because I would wake up and just pick a fight with my husband or Frankie for no reason. I realized how this was hurting us as a family. I am also making it a point to smile more. This is something that is extremely hard for me. I don’t want to be fake about it and it doesn’t come naturally. So, it is something that I am working on. It is a continuous struggle for me because I always have this “bitch” face or frown on me and it makes me seem mad at the world when in reality I am not. I am just a very serious gal! I promise. This is hurting me because it makes me not approachable.
Finally, search for motivational videos. Start affirmations for you, your family, etc. When I get into work I put my headsets in and here something inspiring everyday. Some things on repeat more than others because it is what gets me motivated! So go for it! just get it done! What are some of the things you do to get motivated? Any challenges?
By all means, I am very new to this declutter thing. About a month a go (maybe less than that even) I went on a girls night out with a good church friend. We both really needed a girl’s night out to talk about organizing and budgeting. Of course we did that and more! Mostly talk about our kids! That is what mothers do right? Well, one of our major topics that night was about decluttering the home and how we acquire so much crap over time. How there were more important things in life than a Gucci bag or a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes!
After that night I did a lot of thinking. So much so that I have been un a purging spree! I started to re-evaluate what is important to me. What the significance of material things in my life meant and have. What it was taking from me and my family. So the easy part of this was that fewer things meant a more simplified life. Or so it seems? So far for the last two weeks I have been bagging, donating, giving away tons of things that were just a grab and get rid of easy task. It got harder after the first three days. I started to really think whether I still wanted this or not? Was it worth giving away? It cost me money, it’s too valuable, etc.
I came to halt on the fifth day and wanted to give up . Instead I decided to do more research, reading on the topic, watch videos of others who have gone thru the same experience, etc. and I got inspired again. Not only did it create some sort of spark in me, it got me beyond the just decluttering the house but becoming a minimalist. let me explain before I go on what a minimalist means to ME! You can look up whatever definition the internet gives you and go from there, but to me it simply means living with less. it is the removal of material things that distracts us from the things we really value in life. I’ll be honest. I watched some videos on minimalism and what some people have done and I was like OMG! These people ain’t got sh*t!!! How can they live like that? Then I started to see a pattern. Most NOT all where these free spirited, roaming the world people who lived out of their suit case. Most are vegan and do yoga. Seriously… I was not about to get into yoga or give up my bacon! No way! So I took it to heart that I was going to go this route a different way. To be honest, I might have gone too far. LOL!
I have begun with my bedroom and as I write this only 80% of so has been re-evaluated. Mostly my belongings like shoes and clothes. I had over 300 pairs of shoes and over 800 items of clothing. No wonder I took over an hour to pick out what I was wearing. I am proud to say that as of yesterday I now only have 30 pairs of shoes and about 79 items of clothing not counting gym wear, bras and underwear. I think I can go with less but half of that I am keeping for about 3 months and see if it really gets used or not. I got rid of so much and have donated so much. I have also begun the kitchen and 30% of it has been purged. I have a lot of work ahead but with just those simple changes I have come to noticed that I am more efficient in the morning. I feel less overwhelmed and I am looking forward to less cleaning of things around the house and concentrate on what really matters most. My family! My community! God’s Church!
Doing this so far has required a certain commitment. I have broken this down to 30 minute sessions a day. At times I do more than that! Before I started this I prayed. A lot!!! I prayed for discernment. I prayed for peace. I prayed and asked God for forgiveness. When did I become so materialistic? Having more meant I was wealthier, happier, of higher status and in reality I was being buried by it all. I started to pair this materialistic way of living to the issue of having self-acceptance issues and having a comfort problem with food. They might seem to NOT go hand in hand, but to me they are. one feeds the other and it has become a cycle of ups and downs. I am seeing that I need to feel my emotions and not feed them. to be honest with you on the food topic, these last two weeks have been so hard, so emotional that I have not committed to my diet. I have binged on food and continue to do so. Although I am exercising, I have not stopped eating these emotions away. I’m working on it, but I feel like I am working on so many things right now and guess what? Some might tell me to take it easy, slow down, do one and then finish the other. Whatever!?!? I want to just do it! I want to get it over with! I want to feel free! This is what all this has come down to. Freedom! Not being bound to things. I will concentrate on my diet next week. (At least I hope I will) I need to tie some loose ends at home with my materialistic ways.
All the purging I have been doing has not been easy. I am hurt inside. I’ve had second thoughts. It has not been easy. I saw hundreds and hundreds of dollars inside plastic bags that used to have meaning to me and as I looked at it all piled up on my balcony waiting to be taken to a donation center, I tear up. This has been extremely hard for me. I love to dress up, I love to have more choices, but after some “soul searching” I have come to the realization that all that is taking a lot of time from not only my husband and son, but from myself. I am giving people the wrong image of who Alejandra really is. I am not cute clothes, pretty bows and a killer shoe collection. I want them to see who I really am and what I am made off beyond material things and that is the reason why I want all that out of my life. I am worth so much more that that pile of “things” that is sitting in my balcony waiting to be taken away.
With all this going on please look forward to other things I am purging out of my life on a new post coming soon.
Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about you because your 4th birthday is just around the corner. Your daddy and I hope that one day when you read this you will fully grasp how much we prayed for you. Six years into our marriage and our prayers were answered. The wait was worth it because it took God some time to make the most precious, loving, kind-hearted and happiest boy to bless us with. Know that although we spoil you a little there are things in life that don’t come easy. We work hard to give you almost anything your heart desires, but as you get older and understand better you better believe that you will need to earn things in life.
The road to getting blessed by you was not easy. Daddy and I went through many tribulations and they told us we could never be parents unless we did IVF (I know you will research what this is, but know that it is against our Faith). Practically, the doctors told us that they were the only ones that can help and as good Catholics we refused that choice because our solution was not a man of science. We had other options. To adopt or keep praying. Although we were devastated to hear those news, we believe that God would make us parents someday.
A few months after visiting that doctor or prayers were answered. You were conceived by love and Faith. It took you over 9 months to come into this world. You were too cozy inside my womb. Even upon the day of your most anticipated arrival you didn’t want to come out. You had a massive crowd of family and friends of ours waiting to meet you. You weighed 6lbs and you were 23 inches long! I knew the moment you came out that you were a gift and that you were special. Mommy and Daddy prayed the rosary every day from the moment you were conceived. You came to this world to do great things. You are already a man of God. In time things will get hard and you will go through your own hard times, but if it is one thing you take from reading this is that we must always pray for what we want and have the Faith in God that it will happen. Not in our time but in His time.
For the past almost 4 years your daddy and I have watched you grow, learn and flourish. You have made us the happiest ever. You are thoughtful, smart, loving, kind-hearted, handsome and an overall joy to have around. On your birthday not only do we celebrate you, but we thank God and Mary for you. We throw a huge celebration for life!!! How can we not thank God for you? All we wish and pray for everyday is that you are healthy, safe, know and learn more about your creator, learn to fear God, love our Mother Mary, be an example of good and kindness, be obedient, say your prayers, do great in school and have fun living this life. Remember that the middle is what matters. You must not look back or think what if? Why didn’t I do this? What if the future was like this? Will I ever accomplish this? What you do in the present is what matters. The rest will come in time, your questions will be answered and your dreams and aspirations will come true if you work for them. Nothing is free in life or easy.
Know that we love you so much! We are blessed beyond expectations. You are our greatest gift! On June 11th you will reach another milestone and we will celebrate you and life! We will pray over you, dedicate a rosary for you, go to Mass and thank God for you and lavish you with love!!! Happy early birthday my son.