Today is a new beginning and I'm looking forward to the next 12 months for several reasons. Besides being our anniversary, I chose today to start documenting a new chapter in our lives.
I also want to help you have a less stressful and more enjoyable life. The key? Simplifying.
How Simplifying is a Key to Success
Simplifying is about removing distraction and noise from your life. One huge reason I've started this site is I've seen firsthand how easy it is to
Learning from My Mistakes
I announced last year that we were going to pay off the student loan, the last of our non-mortgage debt.
Long story short, we didn't make it.
We paid it down (which is still a win in my book), but not off. Looking at 2015 we had so many things going on, some big ones inlcuded:
- putting our townhouse for sale (and six months of showings)
- taking care of two kids under the age of five
- adjusting and finding a new work routine as I work from home with the little ones around
- fixing and upgrading stuff around the townhouse to make it more appealing to buyers
- weddings (congrats to my cousins!)
- medical issues for several loved ones
Looking back I realized that a huge part of the problem was not addressing the root of the problem.
I've been writing about money and marriage for some time, so I was naturally looking it as a numbers issue.
After some self examination and discussion with one another, I realized that the failure was due in large part to a lack of focus. We were trying to do too much and while we were not drowning financially, it was adding a ton of stress and causing plenty of (needless) frustration in our lives.
To fix that we're spending the next year simplifying our finances, house, and lives. And since I write, I'll be keeping myself accountable here.
If you're in the same boat, I hope you join me!
First – I'm not looking at swinging from one extreme to another.
Trading exhaustion from an overflowing plate for burnout due to trying to minimalize (is that even a word?) everything is not my goal.
Relatively few people are able to make drastic changes to their lives, but in most cases extremes don't work. I'd rather work on something sustainable.
I'll be happy and more satisfied by getting into a routine/rhythm I can keep even after I make my goals.
Before I get into them, I'll tell you how I'm planning on getting there.
How to Simplify Your Life
Since ‘simplifying our lives' such a broad goal, I created a few guidelines to help me focus.
- Begin With Why? We tend to jump to the how, but we can increase our chances of succeeding if we began by asking ourselves why? Why do you want we want to simplify?
- Picture Your Future. Where do you want to go?
- Understand Where You Are Now. The other important part to creating a map is knowing what your starting point is.
- Identify Your Weak Points. We all have areas in our finances, homes, and lives where we could do much better than what we're doing now.
- Start Small. I've seen firsthand from others that going to financial extremes can be detrimental.
- Build Around What You Value. How we spend our time and money is to a degree a reflection in what we value. If you want to simplify so you can enjoy life more, create your budget and time around what's important to you.
- Adjust as Needed. As life goes on, you'll also change on your goals, so expect to simplify different areas of your life.
If you want more details, go ahead and grab my free guide to Simplifying Your Life in 7 Days.
Simplifying Our Lives in 2016
To hold ourselves accountable, we've come up with these goals for 2016:
We want to get our necessary expenses down to $2,500/month.
To do this we are going to pay off ALL our non-mortgage debt.
We want to sell our current townhouse and get another place that is a better fit for our current life.
To put into something measurable, we need a place that allows us to live and work from home while costing us less than our current place.
We have too much on our plates. We both work and while I have some freedom and flexibility with my business, I've been swamped with too much to do professionally and professional.
My husband feels the same way. We love what we do, but we love our family more.
For this next year, we want to strip away non-essentials so we can have time for what matters to us.
Thoughts on Simplifying Your Life
Every month I'll share our progress. I welcome any constructive feedback you can offer. More importantly, I also hope you feel comfortable enough to share your breakthroughs and setbacks as well.
I'd love for you to join me on this journey (the more the merrier after all!). What do you want to simplify with your money, home, or life? Why?