Phase Two, Engage!

It‘s been over a year since Katie left the nest. I’ve used the time to not only come to terms with the fact that I’ve entered into another stage of this adventure called Life, but to figure out what I wanted to do next.

I’m not about to just rest upon my laurels, after all. That’s not the stuff that I am made of.

The first thing I did was take complete stock of my circumstances. I’ve come a long way! I’ve more than tripled my income since 2019. I’ve gained a bedroom and a bed which feels heavenly whenever it is time to sleep, along with some other items to increase my comfort level.

Quietly, I began to make plans. I didn’t speak of these plans, not even to you. Instead, I considered my options and formed a basic game plan while I engaged in the mindless tasks at my job.

Yet I did form a plan. To start, I knew that I not only needed reliable transportation, but I also needed to increase my credit score as well. This will allow me to take the steps needed to build my wealth even further as I move forward. I invested in a new car to accomplish that.

Once that was sorted, I crafted an office area in a private spot, invested in some books to build both skills and knowledge, and got to work.

I wrote in a post several years back that, after spending my life exploring frugality and life on less to achieve the goal of being a stay at home single mother, that I wanted to explore the other end of the spectrum, a life where frugality is a choice and not a necessity. I want to see how far I can go now that my maternal obligations have been discharged.

The basic preparation phase is complete. I have launched the next phase.

Forgive me for not sharing too much of my goal. While I’ve discussed it in the past (many of you should be able to work it out), I want to hold it close for a bit longer while I position myself to make this goal a reality. I will share more as I get closer.

For now, I am exploring options for long-term employment at a simple, yet less physically intensive, position. I’m not sure what the results will be, but the income from a public job will allow me to maximize my savings for a major purchase that I am planning. While I could do it without working a public job due to my royalties and investment income, the journey would take longer. I can reduce the time span by working a public job as well as pay into Social Security for my eventual retirement. I’m not sure if Social Security will exist by that time but I’m willing to take a chance.

At the moment I am taking advantage of the weather in my area. With the use of creative ventilation combined with some fans, I hope to keep my electric bill low for a few months in order to maximize the money I can squirrel away. I want to have as much down payment as possible in order to minimize my monthly payment when the time comes.

I’ve also began to teach myself how to cook. Every meal I can prepare at home is more money saved. It will also be far healthier than I could get at a restaurant. It will also give me creative food ideas as we continue to have shortages of one thing or another.

One of my investments has been an Instant Pot. It allows me to pressure cook cheaper cuts of meat to my desired tenderness while saving time. Given the price of meat these days, it has already paid for itself in the short time I’ve had it.

I have also began to rework my yard a bit. I wanted to pull my car off of the street to reduce the risk of it being hit, since I live on a narrow street. This will also allow me to avoid being snowed in; the snowplow drivers seem determined to plow anyone in who parks on the street in winter. I’ve had to miss work in the past or call for a ride after discovering that they’d blocked me in with piles of snow.

I removed a piece of fence so that I can save money in another way: washing my car at home. Commercial car washes are not cheap; I’ve no desire to give them money if I can avoid it. I’d rather stick the savings back to get closer to my goal.

While I will continue to invest in books, I have set a limit upon my purchases. I tend to buy several at a time based upon subject, so instead of running the risk of buying a mountain of books that I never get around to I refuse to order more until the current round is completely finished.

Every penny I can conserve will take me closer to my goal. My challenge is to maintain a higher standard of living than I allowed myself to enjoy in years previous.

I will keep you posted on my progress as I move forward. So far, my simple efforts have taken me $2,000 closer to my goal. I’m curious to see how well I do.

What goal are you currently working on? What stage are you at? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Mission Accomplished

When we walk away from something, we can gain the distance needed to see. When we walk away from something, we change our perspective in a way that reveals aspects that we’d previously been blinded to.

I’ve been aware of the theory for ages. I’ve rarely seen it work, however, so it’s just been a random bit of knowledge that I’d tucked away in a dark corner of my brain.

And this has been a stressful year. I reached the point where I had to step back, to walk away from almost everything just to maintain my sanity.

That decision allowed me to gain distance from a goal I’ve been tinkering on for close to 30 years…

…a goal that I’ve just discovered that I’ve accomplished.

I don’t know whether to shit or go blind. OMG…I did it. I really, truly did it.

I developed a self-sustaining, perpetually growing passive income. Not only have I managed to develop the Mother Lode of income sourcing, I’ve actually managed to accomplish something that I’d privately given up on.

I did it, folks. I’m free. I’m really, truly financially free.

We’ve shared this journey together for over a decade now. You have followed me through every single one of my zany adventures. You’ve stuck with me through the blood and the sweat and the tears and the countless mess ups I’ve made.

So I feel that I owe it to you to tell you that I finally made it.

I don’t have to worry about needing to acquire a public job during the Covid crisis. Given that 97% of Covid deaths here in Kentucky are people that are my age and older, I’ve been terrified at the thought that I may have to expose myself to that danger just to earn enough money to survive.

I’m free. OMG I’m free.

Do me a favor. Keep this to yourself. I’m telling you this out of obligation because you’ve been there with me for all of these years, but I don’t know if I’m ready for this to get out yet. I need to process this. I’ve spent the bulk of my adult life pursuing this dream, and to finally realize that I’ve accomplished it is a bit much for me to handle at the moment.

I need to think.

Do We Need to Establish Goals?

Around the turn of each year the conversation tends to revolve around the establishment of goals. “What is your New Year’s Resolution?” seems to be the title of scores of new articles that proliferate this time of year.

One major issue I have with this annual deluge is the fact that so very few posts ever discuss the why.

Why should we bother establishing goals? What is their purpose? What makes one goal better than another goal? Is it okay not to set any goals at all? Does it really matter in the end?

Perhaps this is in the forefront of my brain because I have yet to set any personal goals for myself this year. Try as I may none of the ideas I’ve came up with seem appropriate.

I mean, what’s the point in setting goals if we will be dead in just a few short years? What is the point in trying to accomplish anything aside from survival when we are just a miniscule fish in the giant pond of the world?

I’ve thought about that a lot lately. I am just an old woman who started blogging as a form of self-therapy; a woman who skyrocketed to success in the minimalist arena and whose star faded just as rapidly. I am no one in this grand scheme of things, and now that the only purpose I had for my life has been achieved (being the best mother I could be), I am beginning to wonder if I even have the right to search for another path.

The Connection Between Goals and Purpose

It seems to make logical sense to create goals that align with our purpose, so let’s backtrack and start from there. After all, if we create a goal that doesn’t align with our overall purpose, we may not be motivated to follow through or may even sabotage certain aspects of our life.

The Funk & Wagnall’s Desk Standard Dictionary (1939) defines purpose as “to have or place before oneself, as an aim or intent; determine, resolve, or intend; have a fixed design or determination.” (p. 632). In other words, our purpose is something so important to us that it guides our actions throughout life.

Is there anything so important to you that it has (consciously or unconsciously) guided you so far in your life’s journey?

After giving much thought to this, I believe my personal purpose in life is to leave the world a bit better place than it was before I entered it. I may not have had a choice to be born but if I can somehow improve things a tiny little bit, the struggles I have faced will be worth it.

With that in mind, it is safe to say that my purpose has not changed; I still have a desire to make this world a bit better place. Whatever goal I decide upon should reflect that.

Have you ever contemplated your purpose in life? Do you believe that it is important to have a purpose? Is there any point in establishing a purpose or even to set goals?

And is there anything in your life that you would pursue if money were not an object? If you had enough money in your possession to grant you the freedom to never work at a public job again, what would you do with your time?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Update

It has been hectic these past few weeks but I wanted to give you an update on my progress.

I have finally reacquired my driver’s license and I may have a vehicle coming my way over the next few months, depending up how the negotiations work out.

I have reached the next phase of correcting my dental issues, so in the next few days I will begin the process of acquiring dentures.

I became a full-time employee at my public job. At that place, full-time is like the Gold Standard. I suspect that the pay will still be garbage, but that is okay. I am taking steps to correct that issue.

College is going well. It is a challenge to work and go to school but due to the fact that I’ve been actively simplifying my life things are becoming easier. I plan to have the broad sweeps complete by the end of the year so that I can spend what little time I have to spare writing a new book.

All of this is leading to the next step of my plan. I don’t know the exact steps I will take yet, but they will become apparent as I move forward. All I know is that I need my teeth and transportation sorted before I begin the next step.

I am exhausted. I have not been sleeping well as of late. Despite the fact that I am deliberately scheduling in ample time for sleep I find myself waking throughout the night. I suspect that my mind is active on my plans.

Over the next three days, I will be working ten-hour shifts. I will write the two papers that are due during my lunch breaks.

Some days I wonder just how in the world I am pulling this off.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I am still here, working in the background. I miss being able to talk to you.

Peace,

Annie

PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING

One semester down; 19 to go.

We can do 19 semesters.

When I shared that fact with my daughter Katie (who is studying for her Bachelor’s in Health Science now), she announced that it sounded so much easier that way. She had been a bit depressed at the fact that she just committed four years of her life to not only working full-time, but studying full-time as well.

Unlike my Katie, I am only capable of going to college on a half-time course load. The thought of taking four years to acquire a two-year degree would be depressing but 19 semesters?

I can do 19 semesters.

To monitor my progress, I decided to take the suggestion of reader Belinda to heart. She used a five-year journal to keep track of her progress as she stopped smoking and sorted some health issues. I decided to follow her lead and use the multi-year journal format to keep track of both my long and short-term goals. With each passing year, I will be able to look back and see how far I’ve come.

It will help me gain perspective when I feel as if I’m not making any progress.

How do you maintain a positive perspective as you work towards your goals? Please share your stories in the comments below.