budget

Financial Wellness: Paying Debt

By on September 24, 2020

To proceed from my financial wellness post from yesterday, I want to share a simple formula for applying your excess spending and paying debt or adding to savings.

After finding the excess in your budget and really allocating it out, the quickest way to pay off debt is to stack your outstanding debt from smallest to greatest. Take the excess spending that you have located in your budget and apply it to the smallest total owed until it is 0.

Paying Debt Faster for Financial Wellness

An example is: $270 trimmed from budget

$500 10.00 minimum

$1000 15.00 minimum

$1200 20.00 minimum

$3000 75.00 minimum

$5000 150.00 minimum

Continue to save and cut excess spending and apply the money to the second smallest bill next. And so on and so on. 

Reduce the Amount of Time in Repayment Mode

Instead of spending years chasing the minimum on debt, really step up your payments and knock your debt out much faster. In the above scenario, the repayment plan would knock out the debt in 1 year and 3 months.

As your consumer debt decreases you can continue the plan paying off car loans and mortgages.

If you are already debt free, the same idea works well to start savings for an emergency fund. Ideally saving for 1-6 months of living expenses saved for emergencies, and on and on as you build wealth and investments.

I just wanted to share some tips on financial management. Having this tool is a nice, clear-cut method of repayment without having to increase your immediate income. It is also a nice way to reallocate your budget if you have had a reduction of income.

If you have any suggestions or methods that worked for you, please post in the comments below. I am always happy to share what I know, but I also love learning.

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budget

Budget Decluttering: 3 Simple Steps

By on September 23, 2020

Hello friends! Today I am going to share with you how to declutter your budget. This is a way to look clearly at your spending and My husband and I just took a look at ours at the beginning of the pandemic and found that we could easily save $500-600 a month just in our grocery budget. I blogged about how we did it here

Life is rarely constant, so this is something that needs to be reassessed frequently.

Making a Plan

When sitting down to declutter your budget and make a plan, gather a couple of months of bank/credit card statements, receipts, some highlighters, a pen, and a notebook. 

Step 1: Look at the Past 

Go through you checkbook/bank statement and receipts for the previous month (or two) and record every single purchase that you have made.

Take an inventory of exactly how much your basic living expenses cost and write that number down. Mortgage/rent, utilities, vehicles, etc.

Step 2: Get Organized 

Categorize your purchases into food, entertainment, gas, necessities, etc.

If you do not have a plan, your default plan will be disorder – which leads to failure.

Step 3: Locate the Abundance in your Budget 

Look specifically for where you have spent money without thinking. Look at app purchases, subscriptions that you’re not using or that are unnecessary, drive-thru coffees, and other “mindless” spending. Write all of them down and calculate a total. Vow not to do that anymore and then start using the “excess” to pay down debts.

Awareness Leads to Change

In our personal budget, I found that we could declutter our grocery budget and random Amazon spending. I cut our grocery budget in half simply by having a meal plan, using what we already have (which cuts way down on waste and feels so good!)

This exercise puts into perspective what is a necessity, where there is room for compromise, and where there is not. For instance, we won’t compromise on our health and wellness but will on entertainment, junk food, or other things that do not support our ultimate goal for health, family, and wellness.

Another thing we’ve done is not spend money other than necessities for a month, just to see what it feels like. So much of our spending was “pleasure” spending. A shirt here, a toy there, etc.

We have all had instances where we cleaning out and donating just to make space for the new stuff and why do we NEED the new stuff? This is a practice in mindful spending and something that has helped me have a healthier mindset when it comes to saving or spending.

Tomorrow, I will share how to pay off debt with the excess you find in your budget. It is a simple formula that can be quite significant.

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budget | yoga

Financial Wellness: Tips to Reduce Stress

By on September 21, 2020

On this blog, I have talked about many facets of wellness. One component of wellness that I want to mention is financial wellness.

I am aware that many people are dealing with additional financial stressors right now. I know first-hand how damaging financial stress can be, so I will share any and all tips I have gathered over the years.

The Effects of Financial Stress

72% of Americans pre-pandemic reported financial stress. This is a huge percentage of people worried about paying mortgages or debt and struggling with personal financial wellness.

Stress takes a toll on health, and financial stress can be especially toxic. As a result, the stress manifests physically as migraines, heart disease, diabetes, or sleep problems. In addition, it is common to see relationship problems, delayed healthcare (to avoid an added expense), and poor mental health.

Over the next few blogs, I will share a few ways to cope with financial stress. Such as, how to trim spending, pay off debt, or even earn some extra money. 

Take a Breather & Make a Plan for Your Financial Wellness

Learning to improve your financial wellness and effectively manage your financial situation will allow you to feel more in control of your life, reduce your stress, and build a more secure future. The first step to solve any problem is to make a decision.

If anything I am writing today resonates with you, start your financial wellness improvement journey with this simple stress-reduction technique. I enjoy starting any new project with a clear mind, and this does the trick.

  1. Find a comfortable place to sit undistracted for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Close your eyes and just begin to notice how you are breathing. Feel if your breath is shallow or deep, if you feel constricted in your chest, or if you are relaxed and able to take a full, deep breath.
  3. Acknowledge your thoughts, and do not get hung up on your to-do list or your worries. Just breathe through it.

After taking your breather to clear your mind and open your heart, you are ready to make a plan of action!

In tomorrow’s blog, I will share with you how I learned to declutter my budget. This step only takes a few minutes and is quite enlightening.

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emotional wellness | yoga

Energetic Frequency: Protect & Nourish

By on August 8, 2020

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went on a nature walk to learn about medicinal plants that are local to our area. It was fascinating to learn how we can use certain plants for food, for healing, and even for shelter. The first thought the naturalist and guide touched on was the energetic frequency of plants. How they are communicating and living on a much deeper level than we can see with our naked eye.

Energetic Frequency

What is the nature of energetic frequency? It is a measurable rate of electrical energy flow that is constant between two points.

As humans we have an energetic field that surrounds us– it extends about 2-3 feet around us and the typical frequency of the human body is 62-68 MHz. Our brains, during daytime hours, are running around 72-78 MHz. 

Everything has a frequency, although there are different types of frequencies. Most electronics in our homes run around 60 MHz. Frequencies are incoherent, coherent, chaotic, harmonic, direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC). Electronics and items that are manmade have an AC current which is chaotic. Humans, plants and other items found in the natural world are DC and harmonic.

When the frequency of our body dips, we become candidates for illnesses– the immune function is suppressed.

Facts about Frequency

  1. When the right and left lobes of the brain vary more than 3 MHz, a headache sets in. When they vary more than 10 Hz, that causes a migraine.
  2. A cold sets in at 58 MHz, flu at 57 MHz, candida at 55 MHz, Epstein Barr at 52, cancer 42.
  3. It has been measured that holding a cup of coffee can drop the body down to 58 and it takes about 3 days to get the frequency back to normal on its own. 

Things that negatively impact body frequency:

  1. Processed/canned foods= 0 MHz.
  2. Negative emotions/thoughts/words.
  3. The company you keep.
  4. Toxins/environmental disturbances.

Fun facts:

  1. Fresh food and herbs have a frequency of around 15 MHz.
  2. Essential Oils can have frequencies anywhere from 52-320 MHz.
  3. Applying an oil can change your frequency in 21 seconds.

I want to talk about the quality of our thoughts and what we surround ourselves with. We can think anywhere from 12,000-60,000 thoughts per day. 98% of those thoughts are often repetitive, and those repetitive thoughts are what establishes our beliefs. Out of those 98%, repetitive thoughts, something like 80% are negative for the average person. 

Negative thoughts carry low frequencies. I’m sure you’ve had days that feel light, happy and at ease. When your frequency is low you may feel dark, confused, or heavy. The quicker you can recover your “vibe” to optimal, the healthier you will be. Blame is an emotional state that has an incredibly low frequency– forgiveness has a much higher frequency.

It is important to keep your physical body healthy by eating foods full of good vitamins/minerals and life supporting frequencies. The company you keep is also vital. The 5 people you spend the most time with should be high frequency, positive folks, and music and media can also affect frequencies.

Protecting your Vibe

Ways to support healthy energetic frequencies:

  1. Get outside (without your phone).
  2. Eat high vibe food. Fresh produce (local if possible), pure water, avoid alcohol, and chemical additives.
  3. Practice gratitude– here’s a blog post I wrote about how to foster gratitude.
  4. Check your relationships and make sure you keep good company.
  5. Use essential oils. Oils won’t necessarily prevent your frequency from dropping, however it will help reestablish optimal frequencies very quickly. You can apply and your frequency will rebound in 21 seconds! Naturally, it takes around 3 days!
  6. Make your environment beautiful. Make a space at your desk that you enjoy, keep your home serene, reduce clutter, use color.
  7. Think positive thoughts. 
  8. Meditate/Breathwork. These practices calm the mind and nervous system, reduce stress and allow you to be grounded in the present.

So, the next time you start to feel low, or maybe begin to feel sick take a moment and think about the energy you are emitting and the energy you are accepting.

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breastfeeding

Simple Breastfeeding Tips

By on August 6, 2020

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and I don’t want to pass it by without mentioning it in this space.

I am passionate about breastfeeding and I am proud of the relationship I have been able to establish with all 3 of my kids. However, I am not saying this to receive a pat on the back.

I know for others this can be triggering. It may cause memories of anxiety, frustration, pain, or feelings of failure.

My intent with this little internet space is to help mothers and babies so that they can receive the support they need. I want to know where mothers didn’t feel supported and where they struggled.

For most mothers, breastfeeding does NOT come naturally. It is a learned skill— even for the baby. The education, the support, the care the mother receives has so much to do with the “successes”. I am going to share the tools that have helped me find success.

My 3 Favorite Breastfeeding Items

I am a minimalist when it comes to breastfeeding or baby items. In all honesty, that is probably why I am so determined when it comes to breastfeeding my kids— less stuff to pack and carry around! The items I am mentioning I only used in the early weeks/months but I work from home so I have a different situation than the working mother.

  1. An electric pump– I pump a lot in the early weeks to establish a supply and start to make a stash. These days, most insurance companies will cover a nice one.
  2. A haakaa is the coolest invention I’ve found! This is a manual suction device and is super inexpensive. I used this to help establish my supply and then help get past the early oversupply (I am a milk machine). The haakaa is great because you just attach it to the opposite breast the baby is feeding on and collect what would normally leak. I could easily collect a few ounces at each feed without using a pump.
  3. Nursing Tanks– In the early days, being easily accessible is the most important. I love wearing nursing tanks and yoga pants. They are comfortable, supportive, and allow easy access.

Tips for Getting Past the Early Struggles

  1. Latch issues– There is nothing better than having a good lactation consultant. I always make sure to see the one in the hospital before leaving and will often make a follow-up appointment just in case. A lactation consultant can help troubleshoot the latch issue, can help show different positions, and how to encourage baby to open wide and get adequate breast tissue in their mouth. Each of my babies has struggled with the initial latch and I’m not going to lie– sometimes it takes 6-8 weeks to become a “pro”.
  2. Keeping baby interested and awake. Learning how to read feeding cues and responding immediately is the most effective. I am a c-section mama and my babies are usually a little lethargic from the anesthetic so I have to make them uncomfortable. I undress them, get them a little cold, tickle their faces, or wipe with a washcloth.
  3. Supply issues. “Breastfeeding is a supply and demand relationship.” I have really found this to be true. With each of my kids, the more they want to nurse, the more milk I have. If they back off, my supply dips. So the more your baby sucks at the breast, with an efficient latch, the more milk you will produce. I avoid supplementing at all costs. The reason for this is that supplementing with a bottle or formula fills the baby and signals your body that baby isn’t needing this feeding, production will adjust to baby’s needs. The first day of supplementing likely won’t decrease your supply, however, after about 3 days of consecutive supplementation, the message will be received.
  4. Slow to regain birth weight— I had a few moments where my babies have lost too much weight or have been slow to gain initially. I remedy that by pumping AFTER a feed and immediately supplementing with my own milk, or collecting with the haakaa and using that collected milk as a supplemental boost. It can take a few weeks to get the hindmilk/foremilk balance regulated. I also buy a scale and weigh my babies at home and chart it out. This gives me peace of mind and is a visual that baby is eating and growing in between those well-checks.

Self-Care for Mama

Breastfeeding can be stressful, and I know this may sound a little crazy but mom’s state of mind has a lot to do with supply and confidence. Trust your body and know that you can feed your baby– and regardless of your choices YOU know what’s best for YOU and YOUR baby. I have written before about postpartum emotional well-being which elaborates much more on self-care.

Staying relaxed affects both you and your baby. I know that if I am stressed out or tense, my kids immediately feed on my energy and are stressed out or chaotic. Babies are smart and they are attuned to their mamas! I will have a chat with my kids when we are going through difficult times (even newborn) and tell them we are in this together and I’m here to provide their food. I promise it works!

  1. Affirmations are a powerful way to stay relaxed and confident in motherhood. I write affirmations down on post-its in the bathroom so I see them each time I look in the mirror or wash my hands.

I am able to provide all of the nourishment my baby needs. We are connected. I am enough.

2. Hydrate– Water is so important! 3-4 quarts of water per day is what a pregnant or nursing mother needs. This helps with mental clarity, fatigue, milk supply, and general wellness.

3. Essential Oils– I use oils to help with my milk supply, my mood, and my energy. It is amazing that these little tools can be so powerful for many aspects of motherhood.

4. Get outside– Fresh air and sunshine do so much! Having a new baby or a baby and other kids can make it more difficult to opt outside. A short walk around our neighborhood does so much to elevate my mood, so it is worth the effort to pack up the kids in the stroller and get out!

I think it is important we share our stories and I think that is what World Breastfeeding Week is about– bridging the gap so we can support mother’s who did not have the outcome they were seeking.

Let’s share our stories.

What worked for you, and what didn’t?

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