Summer Bucket List on a Budget

Photo by Pixabay: https://www.pexels.com/photo/orange-mason-jar-in-body-of-water-462030/

Yay!! Summer is here! At least that’s the general feeling for most people. I know I’m in the minority here but it’s really not my favorite season. I don’t do well with hot weather, my work schedule is extra busy, and I generally feel like I can’t afford or can take the time for a nice vacation. Living closer to a beach would probably help my bah humbug attitude about summer but, alas, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

I’m busy working on my attitude about summer this year though. Of course, gas prices and prices in general across the board in my budget are just crazy right now. So I decided to create a little summer bucket list for myself and maybe provide a few tips on ways to make your summer fun a little more frugal this year. Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0, Money | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Putting In The Work

Motivational Quote

Have we gotten lazy as a society? Has our need for instant gratification affected our drive? Several commercials and advertisements lately have prompted this little rant from me today.

“Work today…get paid today…” seen on several fast food restaurant signs.

“Sign up with us and get your paycheck deposited 3 days early!”

“Drink this miracle shake and lost 30lbs in a month with no exercising and eating whatever you want!”

Say what?!? These are not good things!! I highly doubt the restaurant is going to find a good, long-term employee this way. Getting your paycheck deposited 3 days early is most likely going to leave the employee hurting even more before the next paycheck is deposited or put them in a cycle of depending on this crutch. And losing weight without putting in the work of changing your eating habits and putting in the exercise is probably not realistic at best and unhealthy at worst! Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0, Money | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Job Hunting-Does Anyone Like It?

job interview

Photo by cottonbro

Once upon a time, people picked a company to work for and that’s where they stayed for the majority of their careers. Over the years, this has become more and more infrequent though. I have learned (the hard way) over the years, that loyalty to a company is not necessarily the best financial move. 

I have had numerous jobs over the years but for the most part, talking about my career jobs, I tend to stay at companies for relatively long periods of time. Definitely not a job hopper. My last company I was at for almost 12 years and I suspect I will be at my current job for a bit. Of course, the Powerball, finally finishing and selling that best-selling novel, or a new mayor that wants their own hand-picked staff might change those plans, lol. If I had to do it over though, I would not be so hesitant to leave for better career opportunities.

I’ve enjoyed watching my sons start the career process as they’ve finished their college careers though. It’s an exciting time and I know a bit stressful at times. Here’s some advice I’ve given them over the years and used myself. Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Learning to Pivot

lady on a winding road

Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Pivot”? If you’re around my age and/or a fan of the show Friends, you probably think of the infamous scene where they’re trying to get a couch up some narrow stairs and Ross is screaming at everyone to Pivot.

When I hear “pivot”, I instantly think of life. I feel like my life has been one classic case of learning to pivot. I suspect I’m not alone in this. How many of you are living the exact life you thought you would or dreamed of as a kid.

The Childhood Dream and The Present

As a kid, I wanted to be either a lawyer, an FBI agent, or an author. I was going to be married with two boys and a girl.

Middle-age Holly (middle-age is probably a generous description at this point) has been a lifeguard, retail clerk, restaurant worker, mortgage office worker, health insurance employee, Accounts Receivable Specialist, and now the Treasurer of a small city. I did have one story published so technically I guess I can call myself an author.  I’m widowed, now perpetually single, and have two sons (two out of 3 ain’t bad).

Not exactly the life I ordered up but it’s still one that I love because I’ve learned to pivot. I’m still pivoting as I learn to adapt to a life that is no longer centered 100% around my kids. I’m learning to embrace doing more of the things that make me happy and fulfilled. Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

48 Things About Me

birthday

Photo by Natalie from Pexels

Tomorrow I will be 48 years young. Some days I do feel young, somedays not so much. Birthdays are always a time of reflection for me. The days and years just seem to be flying by suddenly. My boys are in their 20’s now and working hard on building their careers and adult lives. I’m busy trying to work on my second chapter but I can’t figure out how to make time for it. Of course, some seasons are just busier than others and I realize this is one of those seasons.

Today I thought I’d share some random fun (and maybe odd) facts about me. Just some tidbits to let you know more about me; some are things I’ve done, some are things I want to do, and random things I like. Here we go.

  1. Being a mom is my greatest, most fulfilling job. My boys are my everything!
  2. I am a diet coke and sweet tea addict.
  3. Not a big coffee drinker but I do love Chai Tea Lattes…in fact, I’ve probably reached addict stage with those as well
  4. I’ve been in the same book club for 14 years now.
  5. I love to read but I’m old school and want to have a physical book in my hand, not a kindle, not an audio book
  6. Speaking of old school, my email address is still at AOL.com
  7. Another old school item? I use a check register. Track my budget on an Excel spreadsheet but like to be able to check the register at any minute for my balance as well
  8. Widowed at 25…thought for sure it would break me but thankfully with 2 small children I had no choice but to carry on
  9. I miss being married but apparently not enough to risk my heart again
  10. I buy multiple calendars and planners every year.
  11. Also have several journals at all times so I can write down my to-do lists, blog ideas, story ideas, etc.
  12. Covid-19 left me a lovely parting gift of Vertigo and if you’ve never experienced this, it’s horrible
  13. I love steak and it has to be medium rare
  14. The only time you will really catch me eating salad is when I’m bored waiting for my steak and potatoes to arrive.
  15. I’m a horrible housekeeper
  16. I’m a lazy cook. I would like to think that I would cook more if I ever end up with a nice kitchen to move around in but who knows.
  17. Fruit cobblers and pies are better than cake
  18. The only exception to #17 is the pistachio cake my mom makes for my birthday every year.
  19. I wanted to be a lawyer or in law enforcement when I was younger.
  20. My dream job now is to be a full-time writer
  21. I’ve bungee jumped twice
  22. My zen places are the bookstore and the movie theater
  23. I am a pillow snob
  24. I set New Year’s Resolutions every year and usually try to bully everyone around me to do so also
  25. The first story I submitted for publication to Chicken Soup for the Soul was accepted and published. They haven’t accepted any more though. Beginner’s luck maybe?
  26. Huge fan of Ikea. The product line the last few years hasn’t been as great but still like the concept
  27. Thought I wanted a tiny house at one point but now that my kids are venturing out I can see where I need a bigger space so they can come back and stay with me. 
  28. Maybe a tiny house that can serve as my writing space when I become a famous author??
  29. Love HGTV, especially House Hunters and My Lottery Dream Home
  30. Love Ben and Erin from Home Town but the Property Brothers are really more my style for interiors. Maybe I’ll hire Ben and Erin to do my quaint front porch and the Brothers for the interior
  31. Also love anything Hallmark. I love happy endings.
  32. I read every Danielle Steel book that comes out. They are incredibly predictable but they’re like comfort food for me
  33. Other favorite authors include Nora Roberts, John Grisham, Kristin Hannah, Nicholas Sparks
  34. Nonfiction writers I recommend: Jen Sincero, Marie Forleo, Lilly Singh, Maria Shriver
  35. My sons have the same middle name. That was my husband’s idea and it was also his middle name
  36. Bella Grace is my favorite magazine. I’m not even sure it should be labeled a magazine since it comes out quarterly and is over 100 pages long but I love it!
  37. I always get out way more books from the library than I can possibly read at one time
  38. I am highly allergic to cats
  39. And we have a cat! Well, technically Nick has a cat but I’ve had custody for the last 5 years….
  40. I think everyone should have a written budget
  41. I’m an extroverted introvert. I’m not that person that is going to walk up to a stranger and I might come across as shy or quiet at first but once you get to know my I can be loud and obnoxious. I’m also perfectly happy hanging by myself but also love to go out with my core group of friends
  42. I post pictures of my sons on Facebook way too much. What can I say? I love those guys and I’m proud of them. And also, I wish smart phones were a thing when I was married because I hate that I don’t have more pictures of my husband.
  43. If you need bailed out of jail, you should probably make me your one phone call because I always pick up the phone!
  44. I can’t stand it when people break plans
  45. I am a night owl. I’m lucky if I ever get to bed before midnight. And I hate mornings!
  46. I work way too much but I feel like I’m good at not letting it take precedence over my friends and family
  47. I’m most definitely not glamorous. I’m most happy in jeans and a t-shirt 
  48. Love my village of people that have helped me and my boys make it through this life

Well, there you go. You now know probably way too much about me. 

Definitely some things I plan on working on for year 48. Need to start working out more consistently and take care of my body a bit better. Mostly though I’m just focusing on being grateful for all I do have. Lost my father-in-law this year and have some other family members facing some health challenges now, so I guess it’s a good reminder not to take my relative-good health for granted.

How about you? Are you the type that wants to celebrate your birthday all month? Or are you like me and just happy for an excuse to eat out (not that I ever need an excuse for that).

Posted in Life 2.0, Updates | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Life Insurance-Part 2

Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

Today’s post is one that some people are not going to be comfortable with. I’m going to talk about life insurance, a topic near and dear to my heart. If you’re at all familiar with me then you’re aware of my story. I have been a single mom for almost 23 years now. My husband died of a heart attack at the age of 35. You can read more about that here if you want.

My husband and I had a minimal life insurance policy that was provided through his employer when he died. We were young and, we thought, healthy so we assumed that was sufficient. We were soooo wrong. If I remember right, it was around $56,000 or maybe $58,000. That might seem like a decent sum but when you factor in paying for a funeral and burial plot and raising two very young children (6 months old and 2 1/2 years old at the time) when you’d just lost more than half of your household income then I can tell you that the money didn’t stretch very far. Continue reading

Posted in Money | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Let’s Pretend-How to Get Shi* Done

to do list

Photo by Polina Kovaleva from Pexels

I really admire disciplined people. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to tell you otherwise, I am not one of those people. It seems weird to admit this since I am all about setting goals and such but it’s true. I even tend to be a bit lazy if I’m not careful. As a result of this awareness about myself, I’ve learned that I need to do some ninja-mind tricks on myself to stay on task at times. Let me give you an example. Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0, Money | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Living Life Like Betty White

person looking at horizon

Photo by Szabolcs Toth from Pexels

This is not going to be a post like most that I write. Nothing in here about budgets and New Year’s resolutions and killing debt. I’m sure my 25 loyal readers are devastated to hear this. 

I have some weird fascinations and/or borderline unhealthy knowledge about several random things in life. They include Hallmark movies, Little House on the Prairie, House Hunters and My Lottery Dream Home, and Betty White. Continue reading

Posted in Life 2.0, Resolutions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

2021 Wrap Up

dock at sunset

Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels

2021 was nearly as rough as 2020. That’s all I’m going to say about that because I decided that despite some really tough challenges and situations that occurred this year, I’m going to choose an attitude of gratitude going into 2022. I am thankful for being able to spend more time with family and friends this year.

I’m not even going to go into too many details on my 2021 resolutions like I normally do. There were a lot of items on my 2021 list that I didn’t accomplish. A few I did though.  Guess what? That means I’m still further ahead of where I was in 2020, and for me, that’s what it’s all about…continuing to move forward. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

25 Great Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Young Adults

Photo by Any Lane from Pexels

Christmas is less than a week away.  I go into every Christmas season with the best of intentions of wrapping up my shopping early. I’m going to let you in on a little secret…that never happens. To be fair, my kids are weird. I try to ask them what they want and they say, Oh, we don’t need anything. Weirdos, right? Most young people are like, here’s my list, I double-spaced it for you so it’s easier to read and numbered the pages….

I am further along this year then I normally am though. The last physical gift I ordered was supposedly delivered today. I have another gift that I don’t technically need until New Year’s and other than that I just need some cash, a couple of gift cards, and stocking stuffers. Oh yeah, stocking stuffers. Sounds easy doesn’t it, but every year I’m pondering what to include in my boys’ stockings.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas-Food and Treats

  1. Candy (this works for one kid but not my diabetic son)
  2. beef jerky sticks
  3. tea bags, cider mixes, cocoa mixes
  4. miniature liquor bottles (if they’re 21 or older)
  5. coffee or tea pods
  6. miniature flashlights (grab one for their home and one for their car)
  7. air fresheners
  8. nice pens
  9. highlighters and dry erase markers
  10. flash drives
  11. socks
  12. lotions, deodorant, shower gels, etc
  13. body sprays/perfumes/colognes
  14. ear buds-my one son has an expensive pair of AirPods but you can get cheaper ones that are great for backups. I like to keep a pair at work and in my gym bag
  15. bath bombs 
  16. Tile trackers (we swear by these)
  17. chap stick/lip balm
  18. card games
  19. hand warmers
  20. gloves/toboggans
  21. charging cables-because let’s be honest, we’re all completely dependent on these and who doesn’t need backups 
  22. lottery tickets-the most anticipated stocking stuffer for our family
  23. gift cards-restaurants, gas stations, gaming subscriptions book stores. I guarantee there’s a gift card out there for everyone on your list!
  24. journals/notebooks
  25. scrunchies/headbands

Hopefully I’ve included a few ideas that will work for you. What other suggestions do you have? And please let me know if you’ve wrapped up your shopping or not. I’d love to know that I’m not the only one out there still braving the crowds.

 

Posted in Holidays | Tagged , , | Leave a comment