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This post is inspired by The $1,000 Project.

 

I started by own $1,000 Project on October 24th. At about full month in and I have saved quite a bit of cash I otherwise would have spent. I was also able to add to my sinking funds for our quarterly HOA with the left over unspent cash from last month’s “budget.” (I use budget in quotes for a reason I will discuss later).

 

I learned to cut my own hair — This plan was more out of necessity than money saving. My one hair stylist moved to Florida and the other was on maternity leave. Since I had not had a cut since February, I needed a cut pronto. A haircut for me can easily set me back $80.00. I do not do color or a complicated style, my hair is long and straight and my cuts are generally just thinning, trimming the ends and layers.  I combined the amateur methods and found a professional video and established with my own method. I bought professional scissors and a razor comb (like in the video) and went to work. It turned out perfectly.  All I need to get down is layering and I am set for life.

A Lunch Packed is $10 saved — Lunches are expensive these days. I’ve spent up to $12 on a single lunch meal. It seems like lunches are just as pricey as dinners and have not gotten any bigger, more filling, or more complex. Inspired by the $1,000 Project concept, I kept track of the days I packed my lunch and added that to my total saved. So far this month I have saved $140.00 in lunch money by packing my lunch. I keep track by week so my average is buying lunch 1 to 2 days a week.

A Night in versus a Night Out  — Like most people, I love to go out to dinner and  walk around a store afterward. Early this month I wanted to do just that: go out with my husband to a dinner and then to the bookstore. Instead, I made a meal at home and we watched a movie on Netflix. Easily saved $100.00.

Cut Back on the perceived essentials  — Over the last few years I slowly reduced the amount of “essentials” to get my makeup routine down to a 5-7 minute Le No Makeup Look . My makeup now involves: CC Cream, Powder (also what I carry for touch ups), brow pencil, bronzer and mascara. Make up is expensive so find your absolutely favorites and stick to them, keep it as simple as possible.

Double up — My hair products are simple: Shampoo, Conditioner ; a deep conditioner (which I double as shaving cream); detangler (doubles as a heat protector); Smoothing cream and a blow dry spray, and hair oil.  (The blow dry spray I will not repurchase because I prefer the smoothing cream.)  Cutting back on these things can really save a lot of money.

Use it Up and Use What You Have — Raise your hand if you go out and buy another cosmetic well before what you have is empty. That is a massive money suck. Unless you absolutely hate it or it causes an allergic reaction, use it all up before buying another.  Also, think if you would buy it again. This also goes for food items and cleaning supplies. Get creative as to what you can use to fill a need. I am a sucker for notebooks so when I get a fresh new idea I want to buy a new one. I decluttered quite a bit of notebooks and I use them for various reasons. Use those cover to cover.

 

What creative ways can you save money?

Not to sound cliche, but this Fall has been one of transitions. At the end of September, there were some things churning in my brain and spirit craving a reformation. I hit a point of feeling like a failure and without any map to tell me how to get out of the detour.  And I did what I usually do: [pit]bulldoze past it on the outside, but on the inside there was a nagging voice, tugging at my heart saying, “There’s got to be more…”

After a few weeks of trying to ignore that voice thinking it wasn’t worth listening to, I had an intervention with myself. I signed up for an 8-week Mindfulness & Stress Reduction Class, I set out a goal to find a new job by December 31st, to really take my meditation seriously, in order to get out of this funk. One of the sources of my funk was being turned down for a role with my company. I was told I was perfect in every aspect but missing a key piece of experience.  Needless to say, I was bummed. My goal of December 31st was ripped out from under me and I had to redirect. After about 2 weeks of that usual self-pitty, I picked myself up and kept going.

I dedicated more effort to my mindfulness practice – on and off the cushion or yoga mat – and really worked hard to know and believe that being turned down for this role was opening the door to another. That my “job” was to be happy.

A few days later I got a call from a person within the company who I was working with on a project. He said he suggested me to another person for an open role. After 3 interviews and a lesson in patience, I am happy to report I was offered another, even better position at my current company that I start December 16th.

Which leads me to my first favorite; Kundalini Meditation and Yoga. I did the following meditation every day for 40-days and it really helped me mentally. It wasn’t about me “getting something” but more about getting to feeling good in general. I highly suggest you try it. It is only 11 minutes and I swear you will feel so much better.

Image result for sa ta na ma meditation instructions

 

Speaking of Feeling Better, I also listened to the reading of Just Be Glad. This was written and published in 1912. Here is the audio reading that I used. It is so inspiring and reminds you that “all things gather where life is a song.”

 

As the 40-day Kirtan Kriya came to a close, I wanted more. I searched and found some excellent You Tube channels and play lists of Kundalini Yoga. Below are my current favorites. I am doing the 40-day program with Kundalini Lounge: along with Kimilla’s.  Both are excellent!

On another note, in 2016 I discovered the phenomenon of Minimalism and Simple Living. Now, I’m not a huge fan of the empty room, white walls and all white furniture, dishes and rugs, but I do love the idea of only keeping what you love and keeping a clean open space. It’s more of the lifestyle rather than the decor that I like so much. With that I have culled my makeup routine down to 4 steps. Yes, four.

my favorite foundation is IT Cosmetics CC cream and the powder to set. i’ve been using this since early this year and it is by far the best I have ever tried!

Image result for it cosmetics cc creamImage result for it cosmetics cc+ airbrush perfecting powder spf50+Image result for it cosmetics airbrush brush

 

 

What are your current favorites?

regain-your-email-inbox_01

 

Take a look at your email inbox. If you are like many others, you have several: work, personal, business personal, gmail, etc. Is there a common theme? Is a huge number sitting in parenthesis struggling to stay inside those brackets like your belt after Thanksgiving dinner?

Not to sound like an inbox snob, but mine does not. I used to think a low number in my inbox meant I was not busy or important enough but that number does not indicate quality or quantity of work (what numbers do anyway!?).  If you want to get your e-mails and messages down to a manageable size, here are some things I do to keep messages flowing in and out with ease and giving each message breathing room within the box. For me, this helps me increase work flow, efficiency, and peace of mind.

  1. Delete After Responding: Many messages that can be auto-deleted are “final” emails. For example, someone saying thank you, confirming something, or at the close of an issue. The rule I use is if it is something I can respond to immediately, delete immediately.  “But, Amanda, I am still working on that issue. Just because the email is responded to doesn’t mean my work is done!”
  2. E-mails as Follow-up Reminders: If that message above in italics was your thought, I get it. Right now I have (5) emails in my inbox as they are “pending” issues. One says simply, “Thank you!”  It is perfectly acceptable to keep emails as reminders, but it shouldn’t be your only source because as you know, they pile up fast. In some e-mail platforms, each message sent has it’s own separate line. Delete any “extras” or previous messages and keep the most recent one. If there are various people on the thread, just keep one open. More than likely, all the past messages will be there within that one saved email.
  3. Assess your box daily: Each evening and morning I do an inbox review. I delete messages right away that I do not plan to read, clear out spam messages, and review every e-mail in my inbox. If you have hundreds going through them twice a day is impossible. But practicing the delete methods above will help.
  4. Create Folders: Not all messages can be deleted as they are “references” or things to remember. I have a folder for my work address simply called “References.” It is where I keep process changes, “cheat sheets”, etc. Create folders that make sense to you, but don’t let these become clutter closets. Shoving everything in a closet doesn’t mean you’ve cleaned up. These folders I tend to go through once every few months. I delete any information that is over a year old and/or outdated.
  5. Positive Folder: Keep one or two positive folders in your box. I have 2: Happy and Positives. The Happy folder are folders that made me laugh. The Positive folder are messages from customers or internal co-workers with notes going beyond the standard “thank you.” It is a folder filled with kudos. These are great for reviews or when you need a pick-me-up.