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Happier this Week July 24th, 2016

I’m going to start a weekly feature where I talk about things that made me happy over the past week. It might be an event, a product, or something simple, but I want to take the time to be mindful of the good things. There is only one month until school starts back up.Both of my boys will be in high school this year, which is truly hard for me to wrap my head around. I decided to take Friday off work to spend some time with them while it’s still nice. That didn’t really go as planned, but I did take my oldest to experience a teenager right of passage. He got his learner’s permit!!! I have a seriously hard time believing that I am old enough to have a child that can drive. But here he is signing his temporary permit! Truth be told, he doesn’t really want to drive, and didn’t want to get his permit. I’m finding that some teenagers just aren’t into the idea like everyone was when I was getting my license. I think there is some fear there, but I also think that the ability to connect with friends through social media lessons…

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Five Books That Will Make You Happier Today

Books are just about my favorite thing. I have recently started donating my paper books as I read them, and only buying for the Kindle (read about that here), or borrowing from my library. Here’s a little list of five books that I recommend to get you a little happier every day. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero – This book was gifted to me by a friend, and I loved it so much I bought the audiobook too so that I could hear her read it. If you need someone to give you a little kick in the pants to make the most out of life, this book will do it. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – Everyone kept raving about this book…even Oprah. I finally decided to check it out and now I understand what the fuss was about. This book requires and open mind to the story, but if you give it that, you will get some great lessons. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz – This was another book that just kept popping up in conversations, so I picked it up. It’s a very quick read, but oh so worth it. I’m not there yet,…

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Make Money Using Your Phone

These days most people have a smartphone. Why not let that phone work for you? I do a variety of things on my phone that allow me to not only save money, but also make money. Cricket Wireless – My first big savings was with the phone itself! I was out of contract, and have a perfectly good iPhone. So rather than enter back into a pricey contract to get the newest phone, I decided to look for some savings. I ended up taking my phone to Cricket Wireless. I went from $67 a month to $35! I have unlimited talk and text, and 2.5 GB of data for $40. Auto-pay saves me an additional $5. My service hasn’t been any different than what I had before and their customer service is great! If you’re interested in switching, you can use my link and get a $25 credit!  Swagbucks – One of the biggest ways I use my phone to earn is by using Swagbucks. I just started really taking advantage of this site right before Christmas this year, but I had enough to get a $25 Amazon gift card to help with Christmas, and my goal this year is…

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Why I’m Giving Up My Books

I love books. I know that a lot of people say that, but I really love books. I’m an introvert, and I spend a good bit of time alone. Books are my sanctuary. I always take a glance around when entering a home to see if they have books. They’re great conversation starters if you’re socially awkward like I am. They make me feel safe, and I have always had shelf upon shelf of books in my house. I also have baskets, and stacks, and for a while I had a toy-box filled to the brim with books. There will never be enough lifetime for me to read everything I want to read. Naturally when Amazon first came out with the Kindle, I wanted one. My first Kindle was a hand-me-down and I instantly realized how great it was. I’ve never enjoyed reading on a computer screen, and the Kindle gave me the technology without the eye-strain. So many classics are free for Kindle, that while I was in school it kept me from having to buy a lot of my books. I had to read a lot of novels, and most of them were free. Then I broke it.…

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So How Do You Declutter?

Minimalism is about so much more than getting rid of your junk. But it is a big part of the beginning. Minimalism is about living intentionally, and so your posessions should be things that serve a purpose in your life. Eliminating excess is a natural place to begin this journey. So, how do you declutter? Well, that’s entirely up to you really, but let me give you some ideas. I mentioned in my post What Is a Minimalist? that I started with one cabinet. I figured I’d just toss some things out and call it good. I was not prepared for the emotional experience that it turned out to be. That one cabinet was symbolic of all of the things that I had acquired as a type of padding in my life. I had all of these things so I must be doing OK right? I quickly realized that I didn’t even know what all I really owned. I had allowed my fear of not being able to provide for my kids turn into an over consumption that actually could impact my ability to provide for them. I’d medicated my guilt with stuff. I’ve included a picture of the cabinet so that…

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What’s a Minimalist?

I can’t remember when I first heard the term minimalist. I wish that I could, because as I read more about minimalism, those who are most vocal about their journeys all seem to remember when they first heard the term. I don’t remember, and I guess it really isn’t that important. I know that I must have heard it around the time of my bankruptcy. Chances are I was reading about something related to going bankrupt, and somewhere that term came up. I just know that when I heard it, it made sense. I read more and more from people who had embraced that lifestyle, and I wanted it for myself. The first thing I learned was that it meant you owned fewer things. The idea that our stuff owns us instead of the other way around is a common theme in the minimalism community. Fresh from my bankruptcy proceedings, I could see that to be 100% true. I had stuff. I had a LOT of stuff. Suddenly all of that stuff took on a whole new meaning. I didn’t even know what I really owned, I just knew that it owned me. I had gone into a financial pit…

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Confessions of a Food Waster

I’m a food waster. I’m not saying this because it’s something I’m proud of, but because it is a fact. It’s not that I’m someone who hates to eat leftovers so I just toss them and make a new meal. Truth is I love leftovers because it means I don’t have to cook again. That’s the problem….I LOATHE cooking. I’d rather do just about any other household task than preparing a meal. My kids will tell you that we eat the same things over and over until the finally tell me they’ve had enough. That’s another issue too though, I’m a repetitive eater. I can eat the same meal for a long time without getting tired of it. But because I hate cooking so much, I will often purchase food with the intention of fixing it, then I don’t, and it gets tossed. I’m also really bad at planning meals. My kids spend some days with their dad and some with me, and we are super flexible, so sometimes the schedule changes. So either I end up with too much food, or no idea what to fix. I’ve always had this mindset that you need to do one big shopping…

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The Things We Keep For Others

I live in an apartment that is partially built into the ground. This means that I don’t have a lot of windows, and so when I’m washing dishes I’m looking at a wall instead of out the window like many people. There is a small shelf there, and whatever is on that shelf is what I have to look at. Last night as I was standing there, I started looking a a little statue of a horse that has been sitting there for probably as long as I’ve lived here. I don’t particularly like it. It’s heavy, and the details on it collect a lot of dust. So I’m sure you’re wondering why I keep it around when I don’t even like it. I’m not even sure how it ended up in my possession, but once a long time ago my father pointed at it and said “never get rid of that, that was your grandmothers”. My grandmother passed away when I was very little. I have no real memory of her, but others tell me that she was a great woman, and that we were quite close. Pictures tell me she was thin, and always liked to look her…

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The Jones’ are Probably Bankrupt

I’m often looking for movies or TV shows that I can listen to without having to be really attentive while I do other things. I’d heard that the movie The Jones’ was decent, and it was on Netflix so I gave it a go. The plot is basically that four people are paid to pretend to be a family, and move into a wealthy neighborhood. Once they are there, their job is to befriend the people in the community, and get them to purchase products that they appear to own themselves. If you’re familiar with that “keeping up with Jones’” saying, then you understand the movies premise. I won’t spoil it for you, but there is collateral damage from the consumption. It was a good enough film that if you have Netflix, and are the least bit interested in the idea, then it wouldn’t be a total waste of time to watch it. It made me think a lot about my buying habits now, and in the past. About four years ago I made the very difficult decision to file for bankruptcy. Difficult in that I felt, and still feel, a lot of guilt about not paying my bills. That’s…

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A Life Reboot

Have you ever been using your computer or phone, and while most things are behaving as they should, there are some parts that are acting just a little bit off? The generally accepted advice is to reboot. So you do that, and then everything is running just as it should again. I believe the same could hold true for life. Overall it’s pretty good, but maybe you’ve spent too much time focusing on the bad things, and taking the good for granted. You’ve become wrapped up in the every day stuff, and forget to notice everything else that’s out there. Maybe a life reboot is what we need. The other day while I was driving to pick up my kids, I realized that in four years not only will I be 40, but my kids will be out of school. If they were to move out as soon as they graduate (unlikely I know) then I will be an empty nester at 40!! That was exciting and terrifying at the same time. But it really made me think about what I want the rest of my life to look like. My life is good, and I have a lot of…

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