If You’re Counting Down to Quitting Time…

Do you count down to quitting time every work day? Do you dread Monday mornings with a sick passion? Are you always wishing for a little more vacation time and a little (or a lot) less work time? I’m here to encourage you to create a life you don’t need to take a vacation from.

If you hate your current job then you can’t shine at your job. If you don’t shine, you don’t feel that happiness, pride, and sense of accomplishment that makes you glad to be there, working, and earning. There are plenty of other people who would love your current job, and there are plenty of jobs you would love that would also financially support your life and family.

If you hate where you are, get the heck out of there and find the money-making source that feeds you, where you can feel necessary and critical, and that you don’t need a vacation from!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

Counting Down to Quitting Time?

Do you count down to quitting time every work day?

Do you dread Monday mornings with a sick passion?

Are you always wishing for a little more vacation time and a little  (or a lot) less work time?

I’m here to encourage you to create a life you don’t need to take a vacation from. If you hate your current job then you can’t shine at your job. If you don’t shine, you don’t feel that happiness, pride, and sense of accomplishment that makes you glad to be there, working and earning. There are plenty of other people who would love your current job, and there are plenty of jobs you would love that would also financially support your life and family. If you hate where you are, get the heck out of there and find the money-making source that feeds you, where you can feel necessary and critical, and that you don’t need a vacation from!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

Maximizing Your Closet & Your Money

We all have those clothes…clothes we love, clothes we purchased 15 years ago, but haven’t worn in 10. Clothes that we just never seem to wear anymore, but also can’t stand the thought of getting rid of them.

Let’s quit being sentimental and start being practical!

You could keep those clothes for-ev-er…continuing to never wear them, of course. With every house move, you’ll require more and more closet space for these clothes you don’t wear but can’t seem to part with, either.

You could donate them to a charity of your choosing and be filled with warm-fuzzies for your good deed.

You could turn the whole load of cast-offs into a consignment shop, and then cross your fingers that they accept everything.

Click to go to my eBay page!

Click to go to my eBay page!

Or, you could do as I did in my most recent flood of Spring Cleaning, and eBay it all! This way, I set my price, and I am thrilled when someone new can get a new lease on my clothes that are still fun, still cute, and still in great condition…just because I don’t wear them any longer doesn’t mean someone else shouldn’t be getting some good wear out of them!

If everything I cleaned out of my closet this week sells, I’ll be a couple of hundred dollars richer, which is good for my closet and my budget! The items that don’t sell in the first round will be relisted. If there are items that stay stagnant, I’ll happily donate them and know they’ll still find a good home and I’ll get a small dose of warm-fuzzies, to boot!

Charity is great! I’m a huge believer in charitable donations. However, there are some times when you could use the cash more than the tax deduction.

So, what’s stopping you? Go see what clothes you have left that you love but still don’t wear. If you love them, someone else will, too…and that new person will see those gorgeous garments with fresh, new-to-me eyes that glimmer! The buyer gets a good deal and some great, new clothes; you get a little more room in your closet and in your budget–it’s a WIN-WIN scenario!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

P.S. If you’d like to see what’s available from my own closet, here ya go: http://www.ebay.com/sch/ironwritress/m.html?item=322079455822&ssPageName=STRK%3AMESELX%3AIT&rt=nc&_dmd=2

I’d love for you to tag me if YOU participate in this closet clean-out, too!!!

Cell Phone Insurance, Leasing & Financing

We’re all friends here, so let me just cut to the chase. Paying a monthly charge to insure your cellular device is a waste of money. Leasing your cellular device is a rip-off. And, financing to pay for your cellular device is just fiscally off-the-charts irresponsible.

Now, you can take that information for what it’s worth and go on about your business, or you can keep reading as I elaborate on the above three points.

CELL PHONE INSURANCE IS A WASTE OF MONEY. Yes, cell phones break. They break easily and often. At the same time, however, there are about as many cell phone repair shops around, now, as there are nail salons, so the market is completely saturated with quick ways to get your phone fixed when something happens. Cell phone repair shops cost money, money you may or may not always have laying around when you need a new screen or other random, fragile cell phone part. However, when you pay your cell phone provider a monthly rate for cell phone insurance, you have that payment plus you still have a deductible when (not really “if”) your phones needs repair.

As an example from my own life to put this cell phone insurance into perspective as the crock it really is:

My cell phone provider charges $7/month for coverage. (This doesn’t even include the taxes on that amount, and don’t even get me started on all of the taxes and fees that cell phone providers are able to get away with charging on top of everything else…) $7/mo equals $84/yr for the insurance. When I drop my phone face-down on the tile floor and (duh) it shatters into a beautiful snowflake of glass shards, my insurance coverage requires a $100 deductible payment AND I have to send my phone off to the repair place they specify so not only am I out $184, but I am also without my phone for a week or more. Based on several times of paying for this exact repair, I know that my cell phones usually cost $100-125 for a new screen and the repair. So, I am out time and money on a simple repair.

With the above example in mind, now consider that on my cell phone plan, I don’t just have one phone. I’m a mom. I have kids, each with their own phone. If I paid for insurance coverage for everyone’s phone on my plan, I would be paying an extra $420 a year just for this insurance that I’ve just established doesn’t really insure anything. What if you put that “insurance” money in a tin can at the back of a kitchen cabinet, instead…now THAT would be an insurance policy that would actually be helpful next time your phone gets broken!

Although broken screens are the most common cell phone repair, there are certainly plenty of other issues that can come up with your cellular device that may be a bit more costly and may make you think about justifying the cost of the insurance. I’m here to de-bunk those, as well. When a cell phone is damaged beyond the point that a $150 fix and a couple of hours at a cell phone repair shop will get you back up and running, the next best solution is one of the two following options:

  1. Always have a back-up. It may be ugly and outdated, but we all have cell phones that we used in the past and then upgraded beyond. They’re in the back of our sock drawer, or thrown into a junk pile on a desk, but they’re there. Keep up with at least one workable backup option, complete with it’s charging cord and any accessories you still have for that phone. Then, if you get in a bind and can’t afford to fix your fancy upgrade, at least you have a back-up phone to switch back to if need be.
  2. Hit up Ebay. I am a huge fan of eBay for buying cell phones! This is especially true when a phone gets destroyed beyond fixing (I do have kids, after all), and I don’t want to throw a bunch of money at the problem. I usually shoot for finding a gently used or manufacturer refurbished phone and have not been disappointed in many times of going this route both for phone fixes and upgrades. You get exactly the phone you want AND have the flexibility to compare prices and options that you may not have through your cell phone provider. *Just be sure that the phone you purchase is compatible with your provider, but that is as simple as putting your provider’s name in the search and go from there.

Opt out of the insurance and make a better plan. It pays for itself immediately…no matter how fancy your taste in phones may be!

LEASING A CELL PHONE IS A COMPLETE RIP-OFF. I don’t know if this is an option available across all cell phone providers, or just the one I use, but as soon as I saw the phone-leasing option, I thought, PLEASE tell me no one in their right mind would ever fall for this trick! 5, 10, 15, 25, 30 dollars per month to borrow a phone. Seriously? One of the great things about cell phones is that when you upgrade beyond them, you can keep the “old” phone as a back-up OR get on eBay (or other selling option) and get some money for it! If you lease your phone, you pay and pay and pay out, then have nothing to show for your payments when the terms are up. Don’t fall into this trap. It’s a complete rip-off!

BUYING A CELL PHONE ON CREDIT IS ABOUT AS FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE AS THEY COME! Financing is for big-ticket items. Houses. Sometimes cars. Building big businesses into bigger businesses. NOT…I repeat NOT…for buying the latest and greatest iPhone. If you need a $700 cell phone, you need to find a way to save your money and purchase it outright. If you cannot afford a $700 cell phone, then buying one on credit is not going to do you any fiscal favors, no matter how you want to justify it. Seriously, people, insisting on purchasing an already tremendously overpriced item AND pay finance charges on top of the sticker price. Do you even realize what you’re doing. Would you ever say to your cell phone sales person, “Yes, I really want this phone. I know the pricetag says it’s $700, but I am actually going to pay you $850 PLUS TAX for it. Sound good?” That, my friends, is what you are doing when you buy a cell phone on credit.

All this being said, always remember that as soon as you activate a new cell phone, the next, latest, and greatest version is about to be released. The market is moving so fast and keeping up costs BIG BUCKS. None of us needs the newest phone every time it comes out. If YOU can afford it, more power to you…enjoy not having anything more important to spend your money on. (eh, hem…world hunger…global warming…education in America…) If you cannot afford the latest upgrade every time, no one will think any less of you (and if they do, that’s a whole other topic for a whole other time).

Pay for what you can afford, and spend your hard-earned money wisely so that your money is working for you, rather than you always having to work ridiculously hard and have nothing but bad credit and debt to show for your efforts.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

 

Universal Abundance & A Lot of Hustle

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Forbes: The 2015 Billionaires Issue

Settling in this morning with a hot cup of coffee and the latest issue of Forbes Magazine, my eye is drawn to this little blurb within the first few page flips. These stats are also on the cover of the magazine, but they knew they had something powerful enough to repeat.

It was another record-breaking year for wealth: 1,826 billionaires, 290 newcomers, 197 women, $7.1 trillion in aggregate net worth.

Even living in my current situation, working around the clock and still needing to check the bank balance before making a trip to the grocery store or out to lunch, this blurb in Forbes still strikes a hopeful chord in my soul. I’m not looking for Forbes kind of wealth from life, but I’m working every day, hustling every day, to earn the kind of wealth that gives comfort and breathing room.

This blurb reminds me that the universe is abundant, that there is no limit to my learning or my earning, and that we can find the inspiration and the extra push we need wherever we look…we just have to open our eyes to all the possibilities around us!

Make it a great day,
Marilyn

How Much Income Would it Take for YOU to have “Arrived?”

Have you “arrived,” financially speaking? What would your life look like if you had? What are the similarities and differences to your current reality?

In his bestselling book The 4-Hour Work WeekTim Ferriss has his readers go through an exercise he calls “Dreamlining.” The purpose of this dreamline is to think of things you could foresee having, doing, or being, over the next 6 to 12 months that would give you the security of being free to live your life the way you want to live it. I’m a HUGE fan of Ferriss’ work, both in this book and across media outlets, and I appreciate the basic premise of his dreamlining exercise.

Ferriss’ dreamline is an eye-opening experience, the basic point being that you oftentimes don’t really have to be earning much more money than you’re currently making to get the sense of more freedom and higher-quality living. As many 4HWW dreamlines as I have completed for various spans of time, I wanted to take it a step further. I would like to expand on Ferriss’ dreamline for my own purposes, and share with you.

We dream of making $100,000, $500,000, $1,000,000, or more dollars. As children, we all wanted to be bazillionaires, but as adults doing the daily grind of balancing work and family, those numbers have become a little more realistic…but how realistic are they, really? I could say I would like to earn $500,000 a year, but that’s just a pie-in-the-sky number if there’s nothing to back it up. Until you have actually done some of the math, you don’t really know what your truest goal annual income would be. This is where my update on Ferriss’ dreamline comes in.

I’m calling my update the True Earnings Goal Assessment (“TEGA”) and here’s how it works:

HAVING: List three (3) things you would like to have within the next 12 months. Would you like to have a new car? Would you like to have a solid college fund set up for your child(ren)? Would you like to have a facelift? Would you like to have an RV and the freedom and budget to travel? Would you like to have an office space outside of your home so you feel like you can work and focus without interruptions?

Once you have your list of your top three “haves,” put a price tag on them. If you want that new Subaru Outback that’s calling your name from the showroom floor, factor how much your monthly payments will be plus insurance. If you want $12,000 worth of plastic surgery, factor in $1,000 a month for that. If your new office is going to cost you $1,700 a month to rent and operate, factor that in, too. Whatever it is you want to have in the next 12 months, estimate the monthly expense would be, if it’s of top three priority to you then it makes the list!

BEING: Similarly, list three (3) ways you would like to be within the next 12 months. Would you like to be a great pastry chef? Would that entail going to culinary school, and if so, how much would that cost you? Would you like to be a skilled photographer? How much would classes at your area camera shops cost you and add to your dream? Would you like to be a triathlete? Do you already have the gear you would need or would you need to purchase it? Would swim lessons or tri classes help you better prepare for your goal of triathlon success? Now, estimate your monthly expenses for being each of your top three priority items and add those to your list!

DOING: Again, list three (3) things you would like to do within the next 12 months. Why not choose now to begin (doing) an annual family tradition like trips to Disney World or visiting all 50 states? Would you feel so much better to be actively repaying (doing) an old debt that’s been looming for too long? Take this opportunity to make that happen and get that monkey off of your back! How would it sound to even keep it closer to home and plan (doing) a weekend get-away for just you and the love of your life to go off to a cabin in the woods and just enjoy the peace and quiet of some alone time? What would your monthly budget look like to be doing each of your top three priority items in this category?

Now, on to the math (AKA: the fun part).

  • Calculate your current monthly living expenses and multiply that amount by 1.3 to allow for a little wiggle room in case of emergencies or whatnot.
  • Add up your monthly HAVING dream total.
  • Add up your monthly BEING dream total.
  • Add up your monthly DOING dream total.
  • Calculate the total monthly expenses of these four items (current expenses x 1.3, having, being, and doing).
  • Multiply that monthly total by 12 to arrive at your annual earnings goal amount.

THAT, my friends, is your truest earnings goal amount. THAT is the income amount to strive towards, not some random number picked out of thin air. There’s a difference in setting the bar high and setting it too high to realistically reach. Your goals have to be attainable or you’ll quit just shy of success. For example, prior to doing this modified version of Ferriss’ dreamline, my random goal earning amount was $150k. Boy, was I surprised that even with all of the BIG ticket items I put on my TEGA, my true annual goal earning amount was just $82,200. That number is almost half what I previously thought I would have to have to live large and in charge in my own little world! This was a huge relief and pleasant surprise!!!

Depending on your current lifestyle, your numbers are likely significantly different than mine. But, I hope you find–as I did–that having a hard number to put on your dreams as you go through your life and business choices will make your work more productive, your choices more fact-based, and your dreams much more attainable. You don’t have to be a bazillionaire to feel like you have “arrived” at financial freedom. You have a number, it’s just up to you to find that number, then strive for it.

You’ve got this!

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

How Much Can Your Body Change in Just One Week?

So, how much do YOU think your body can change in just one week? We certainly know how much fat and fluff we can gain so easily over a holiday week or the battle of the bulge we fight from about Halloween through Valentine’s day each year, but how much positive change can you see in a short time frame?

How much fat can you lose?

How much tighter and stronger can your feel?

How much more energetic can you be?

How much healthier can you become in just one week?

That’s the goal here! To make BIG changes in one week, so that we can focus on short term goals in order to see REALLY BIG changes over the course of weeks and months. Rather than biting off a 6 week or even 6 month health and fitness goal, our goal is to focus on short term bursts. Focus on today, focus on this week; then, at the end of this week, then you’ll start thinking about the next week. Our goal is for these goals to be attainable, less overwhelming, and still big enough to see and feel the difference in your body and in your health every week!

This week-long challenge will be three things in order to make the biggest changes without taking big chunks out of your day like some diet and exercise plans can do. Here’s what we’re looking at:

1) This will not be overly time consuming

2) It will not be overly expensive

3) It will be measurable

RULE ONE: THIS WILL NOT BE OVERLY TIME CONSUMING. Food prep and exercise for this program will be necessary, but it will not consume your days. I will exercise no more than one hour a day on the days that I do train (4-5 days a week), and there will be days when I split my exercise times into shorter intervals over the course of the day. Some days I may hit the gym and train for almost an hour, then there will be other days when I work out 20 minutes in the morning and another 30 minutes that afternoon. We are such a busy culture of people, whether you are a mom or a student or any other mere mortal, our schedules stay jam packed with to-do’s and obligations, so this will not take away from your normal life, it will only add spark and energy to the rest of your days!

RULE TWO: IT WILL NOT BE OVERLY EXPENSIVE. You do not have to buy into some fancy gym membership or blow your grocery budget on the most expensive kinds of foods every week in order to lose weight, burn fat, gain muscle, and live a healthier lifestyle. It actually angers me how much society feeds us this garbage on how expensive it is to eat healthfully…thinking we just might as well go ahead and eat all of our meals through a fast food window. Eating clean can be inexpensive and easy; getting exercise doesn’t have to cost a thing more than wearing comfortable shoes if that’s all you can afford right now. Being healthy does not need to put a strain on your bank account!

RULE THREE: IT WILL BE MEASUREABLE. Be my friend on Endomondo (my favorite GPS tracking exercise log), and MyFitnessPal (an awesome nutrition tracker that gets the whole nutritional picture without only counting calories or fat, plus it synchs with Endomondo so also count my calorie burn!).

Also, watch HERE on MarilynHorton.com for daily reports, measurements, weights, pictures, workouts, etc. I’ll post it all here for one-stop-shopping!

So, WHO’S WITH ME??? Join me and together let’s see how much your body can change in just one week!

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Isn’t It Strange?

MarilynThe following greeted me this morning from my email inbox, and I thought it worth sharing. Author unknown.

Isn’t it strange
how a 20 dollar bill seems like such a large amount
when you donate it to church,
but such a small amount when you go shopping?

Isn’t it strange
how 2 hours seem so long when you’re at church,
and how short they seem when you’re watching a good movie?

Isn’t it strange
that you can’t find a word to say when you’re praying but..
you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend?

Isn’t it strange
how difficult and boring it is to read one chapter of the Bible but
how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel or book?

Isn’t it strange
how everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts or games but
they do whatever is possible to sit at the last row in Church?

Isn’t it strange
how we need to know about an event for Church 2-3 weeks
before the day so we can include it in our agenda,
but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute?

Isn’t it strange
how difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others;
but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?

Isn’t it strange
how we believe everything that magazines and newspapers say but…..
we question the words in the Bible?

Isn’t it strange
how everyone wants a place in heaven but…
they don’t want to believe, do, or say anything to get there?

***

Make it a great day,

Marilyn

RoadSignstoHim.com

Unsuspected Wealth

Driving around Music City with my paternal grandfather today, seeing all of the big, beautiful homes, and booming local economy, made me think of a book I have often heard about but never read, called The Millionaire Next Door. (I was tempted to call this post by the same name but opted to save the money that would have to go toward the copywriting lawsuit…so I opted for something more generic)

I have known some people in my lifetime thus far who truly were those unsuspecting millionaires and their lives looked nothing like anything I’ve observed here in Nashville!

So, I have compiled the beginnings of a list of attributes I have witnessed in those unsuspecting millionaires. I’m not condemning those who don’t fit the mold of this list (as I certainly don’t!), I’m only intrigued by those who are able to either fit the mold or create their own!

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My list follows, but I also welcome and encourage you to submit others in the comments section! Here we go:

-Unsuspecting Millionaires (U.M.s) do not have the fanciest house on the block. In fact, it’s generally quite plain, but still well-maintained. Neither an eyesore our a showcase!

-U.M.s rarely drive new cars. They may drive a new car every ten years or so, but you can be assured that new car purchases are well-planned events and rarely (if ever) bought on credit!

-U.M.s can often be seen with coupons or sales ads. They know the price of everything and how to get the most bang for every buck! This isn’t out of a sense of scarcity, but out of a sense of duty to be good stewards of every penny…no matter how much the world thinks that penny is worth.

-U.M.s have clean homes, clean clothes, and clean bodies.

-U.M.s are so careful to be discrete in their money handling that even their own children rarely know they’re U.M.s!

-U.M.s don’t pay $5 for give cents worth of coffee.

-U.M.s are rarely bored! They tend to stay busy and productive, leading structured, simple, but very content lives.

-U.M.s are humble and thankful.

-U.M.s are forward thinkers! They would rather provide more comfort in the future and do without a little now.

-U.M.s do not view doing without now as a sacrifice, but rather part of the grand plan.

**This is just a jumping off point! Please add more to this list in the comments and we’ll continue to grow our list.