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Making money from home…

Let me first start off by letting you know…this is not a sales pitch. We’ve been through a really tough year. And by “We”, I mean everybody. My hubby and I have been living off our savings for the past several months (after his heart attack) but I knew that it would be a temporary “fix” to a much longer term income issue.

There are 4 things I’m doing from home that are making a difference and starting to change the cash flow issue for us…

#1 We made a budget.

Our church is doing “Financial Peace” with Dave Ramsey for our small groups right now. One of our first assignments was to make up a budget. My hubby and I both rolled our eyes…

I am 52 and have never lived by a budget. I always felt they were too restricting and didn’t let you have any fun. Totally not true! We made up our first budget and found that rather than restricting us, it has allowed us to have fun, guilt free! We have a set amount every month for entertainment and it is so freeing to know we can spend that amount with no guilty feelings. We used to regret spending money on fun stuff because we always felt that something might come up that we’d need that money for, But now, we have an emergency fund for those unexpected things.

The budget has helped us see exactly where we’re spending money. And it’s not rigid, in that we can make a few adjustments, during the first few months. Since we’ve never done one before, we’re currently guessing on how much we spend for things like groceries and gas…now that we’re tracking every dollar, we’ll be able to adjust categories as needed next month.

How are we saving money with a budget? By being more mindful of what we’re actually spending, it’s easier to skip the drive through, “just one more” amazon purchase, and snacks at the checkout line. A budget makes it easier to say “no” to impulse purchases…or “yes” when you’ve saved your fun money for something you’ve had your eye on.

#2 Order groceries online

This single thing has saved us a TON of money! I order our groceries online and pick them up without ever setting foot in the store. Post COVID, most stores are offering this service for free. I make up my meal plans for the week, check my pantry and then make up my grocery list. Ordering online means I’m not throwing any extras in the cart or buying something “while I’m here”. I stick 100% to my list! Oh! And one other bonus? …no hour+ wasted going up and down the aisles of the grocery store!

#3 Start a home based business

Lots of people have gotten creative here…mowing lawns, pet sitting, cleaning houses, data entry, etc. With my background in retail sales, I chose to go with a retail option. There are lots of “business in a box” options with a very low start up cost. My hard rules were that I didn’t want to have to hit up my friends and family to buy things they don’t need and I didn’t want to have to beg people to “join my team” in order to make any money. I found an option I love and was making good money at fairs and festivals until COVID hit…all my normal avenues were shut down. I quickly realized I’d have to switch to online if I wanted to continue selling retail. With a little research and the help of friends, I learned a lot about online sales in a short amount of time and my stream of income is still steady (slightly less than pre-COVID, but steady nonetheless). I have learned to love working at home and, as events begin to open up again, I’ll be able to maximize both in person and online.

A couple of tips regarding a “business in a box”: make sure it’s a product you absolutely love; pick a business that does not require you to carry inventory; make sure there are not monthly or quarterly fees or quotas; find one that maintains a free website for you.

#4 Managing my own IRA

This option is not for everyone and definitely not for the faint of heart! There are huge risks to playing the stock market, but with a lot of patience and being willing to learn from teachers who have been doing it a long time, there can be some big payouts. Your decision making needs to be made logically and not based on fear or excitement during the ups and downs of the market. If you know that your personality tends to be impulsive, this may not be for you.

I started out by transferring my 401K into an IRA that I could personally manage. After a few months of studying and learning how to understand the stock market, we opened another trading account with some of our savings. The IRA is growing money for our retirement while the other account is usable now as needed. Again, there is big risk involved, but if you’re willing to put the time into educating yourself, you can make some pretty good money by managing your own investments.

So that’s it for now…

Feel free to share this post and subscribe to my blog…

Hope you have a beautiful day!

Laurie

PS. I am not getting any perks or commissions from any of these…just sharing what has worked for me and hope that it helps someone else out there…Resources I have used and had success with are the following:

BUDGETING: Dave Ramsey: Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps

GROCERIES ONLINE: I use both Walmart and Publix

MY HOME BASED BIZ: Laurie Young, Independent Manager with Lilla Rose

MANAGING YOUR IRA: Why Choose TD Ameritrade | TD Ameritrade

FREE STOCK MARKET EDUCATION: TFNN.com | Educating Financial Investors

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Tangled…

not the Disney fairy tale movie!

I have many friends and family members who have struggled with super fine hair for years. Tangles and breakage have made them dread the battle to ease the inevitable snarls…the telltale harsh ripping sound while brushing, daily signaled the resulting hair breakage and split ends.

Thankfully, I have found something that has really made a difference. This is what one of my friends shared with me…

“My daughter and I are already in love with it! I use it after my shower, when my hair is still wet, to help brush through, before adding anything else. It helps me avoid pulling out or damaging any hair while brushing and conditions my hair for a healthier look and feel. My daughter uses it with her hair dry. In the morning before school, she sprays a few squirts and brushes through those bedtime knots without any pain! And it leaves her hair shiny and beautifully soft.”

Today I’m feeling so grateful because I love helping others feel better, look better, and enjoy life more… My heart is happy and I truly love what I do!

You can find what worked for my friend right HERE

Feel free to share this post and subscribe to my blog!

Have a beautiful, wonderful day!

Laurie

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Never thought I’d be this…

That mom…the one that cries at the drop of a hat…the one that loses it when the national anthem is played…the one who lies awake at night, praying for the safety of her son…the one who puts a flag on EVERYTHING.

I knew my youngest son wasn’t happy taking college courses, but I was seriously blindsided when I got a call from my daughter. She was the one who broke the news to me that he was thinking about enlisting and had dropped his college classes for the semester. Since he lived with his dad, I wasn’t always the first to know what was going on in his life.

Two days later, my son called me to apologize for not calling sooner and to let me know…

He enlisted in the Army that day

He was already sworn in

He would be leaving for boot camp on Monday (less than a week later).

I was in shock. I have always tried to hide my disappointments, fears, and sadness from my kids, but the emotions overcame me and my voice betrayed my breaking heart.

Don’t get me wrong…I am SO proud of him for making this HUGE life decision and for serving our country so selflessly and completely, but I needed some time to process the “mama thoughts.”

I needed time to process the shift from school to soldier life. I needed time to process and let go…to surrender my child 100% to God’s protection. I needed time to say good bye to my “little” boy and embrace the man he was going to become overnight. The hardest thing to accept was that I would not be able to see him off…to give him that last hug and kiss before the toughest challenge of his life thus far.

The day he left, I was able to talk to him for about 10 minutes. I pushed my emotions deep down into hiding for that phone call…I wanted him to remember his mama happy and proud of him. We laughed together and I made mental notes of what his laughter sounded like.

It’s now 2 days later, and I haven’t heard from him yet. I suspect he will call his dad and since they only get one phone call when it’s earned, I will need to communicate in other creative ways. There are several things I plan to do throughout his time in boot camp and I’m not sure if it’s more for him or for myself…

I’m writing letters every day. 2 down, 47 to go

I’m praying for him every morning. “The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children” (Stormie Omartian) has a beautiful prayer of protection in the chapter on “Be Protected and Survive Tough Times” It has become a comforting way for me to find peace and surrender my son to God’s protection.

And lastly, I’m doing push-ups, adding one each day, so when he gets out of training, he can tell someone ELSE to “drop and give me fifty”

To help me through the toughest days, I’ve found some great advice and tips from some Army moms groups and perhaps the best advice is to accept the waves of emotions that will come but always be positive and encouraging when receiving those phone calls or writing those letters…you can cry in the shower later…

Yep…I have a feeling our well pump won’t have to work quite as hard for a long while to come.



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Turtle Run Ranch Changes Everything

If you’ve been following my blog, you may have noticed that I’ve been absent for quite some time. In spite of the fact that my hubby and I never got COVID, “2020” seriously did a number on me and I had to let some things go…

Letting go has always been hard for me…my old thought habits make me feel that, in laying something down, I have been a failure or, at the very least, a disappointment. So while 2020 was extremely difficult, I grew a lot as a person.

I learned that setting something down does not mean I’ve failed…it means I can pick it back up later when I can give it more attention.

One reason I needed to take a break from my routines had to do with travel. My hubby had wanted to move back to FL for a very long time. He’s not a happy camper in cold weather, even though TN is considered to have “mild” winters. He asked me what I thought about moving south. “Warmer” sounded good in February, so when both of our businesses came to a screeching halt in March, we hit the road looking for adventure and possibly a new life. Our first road trip in March, covering the FL panhandle, came up completely empty. The only thing we found that even remotely resembled our downsizing dream, was a 2 1/2 acre lot, mostly cleared, but we would have to build. As we started researching what the FL building codes, permits and requirements would be, we quickly knew that was NOT the option for us. Road trip #2 in April was much longer as we explored first the east side of the state going as far south as Delray Beach and then back up the west side. We put an offer in on a property and were outbid, so we started the trip back to TN. We had been on the road for several hours when a new listing came up and we both felt we needed to turn around and look at it.

I learned that home really is where the heart resides.

My hubby and I are opposites…I mean, as in 100% opposite. The fact that we both felt pulled toward this property was a miracle in and of itself. But when we met the realtor at the house, we knew the minute we walked in that this was the one. “Turtle Run Ranch” was born and today it’s a place of peace and rest for both of us. (More on the “ranch” later)

I learned that saying good bye is hard, but if you use it, technology can ease the pain.

When we moved to FL, I had to leave my family behind… My 3 kids are now grown so I wasn’t seeing them as often as I would have liked but at least they were in the same town and I could be there if they needed me. Same for my mom…she is not in the greatest housing situation and I spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out how to fix that (I’ll save those thoughts for another post.) My dearest friends, who are like sisters to me, are still connecting and we are able to support each other through video chats and texts. I was worried I would lose touch with many of the people I care about, but I was wrong and my heart is so blessed by each of these beautiful people.

I learned, on more than one occasion, that life is fragile and deserves love and gentleness.

2020 brought 2 near death experiences into our life. A spring tornado passed by in the middle of the night, just 2 blocks away from our TN home. We heard it coming and were able to get to safety in our walk out basement…for those of you who have never lived through a tornado, it is a sound you don’t ever forget. We seriously thought these were going to be our last living moments as we clung to each other in fear. Once it passed, we stepped outside with our flashlights in hand, to survey the damage. Aside from a few downed tree limbs and losing power, our house and our neighbors and their homes all appeared to be ok so we went back to bed and tried to get some sleep. About an hour later, I knew something wasn’t right as emergency vehicles continued to travel up our street…all night long. In the morning, I took a walk to see what was going on and was in shock as I rounded the bend in the road. Entire blocks of houses were completely gone…as in, just the foundation remained. I learned later that one couple was killed just 2 blocks from our home. While I’ve always considered life to be sacred and fragile, I suddenly realized just how fleeting our life and lifestyle truly are. I now cherish little miracles and snippets of time with a whole new perspective.

I learned to be content.

For the first time in my life, I am truly content. I don’t drive a new car but I love the one I have and enjoy not having a car payment. My house was built in the early 80’s and has had very little updating, but it’s a log cabin and I love the rustic nature of it. Are there things I’d like to change, oh yeah! But I realized yesterday, as I swung on my porch swing, I’m content. I’m at peace with where things are at. I could live here for the rest of my life and not change a thing…and still be content. Maybe part of it is my age, but after 2020, I no longer feel the need to have the latest and greatest. My appliances are old…the dishwasher has rust stains inside from the iron deposits from our well, the freezer door doesn’t seal properly unless you close it just right, the microwave is missing the turnplate inside…I could go on but it really doesn’t matter. I truly have everything I need and that is a beautiful, warm and wonderful feeling of freedom.

I learned that joy and laughter are vital to a healthy life.

The second near death experience came in October when the love of my life almost died. He had a “widow-maker” heart attack at the age of 51 and, thanks to a friend of his, got to the hospital in time for an emergency stent. The stress of 2020 had finally caught up to us…tornado, finding a home, prepping a home to sell, putting a house on the market, downsizing, packing up and moving out of state, getting settled, and building fencing, all by ourselves, had taken a a hard toll on us. We were in survival mode, ate a lot of “drive through” and weren’t taking care of our bodies. We didn’t smile or laugh much for several months. STRESS. When I thought I was losing him, I realized how much pressure we had put on ourselves to complete tasks and realized that we had forgotten how to live, how to enjoy the moment, and how to have fun.

Yes, 2020 was HARD and yet it changed me in ways that I’m trying hard to maintain.

I learned to speak kindly to my own heart and that doing the best I can is a gift to others, even when my perfectionism thinks otherwise. The smallest of actions carried out in the spirit of love is all that’s really needed in this world…

What did 2020 teach you? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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