Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sweet, sweet summer time

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I was not always a fan of summer. In fact, it was my least favorite season but as I’ve gotten older I have come to appreciate the summer. The warmth no longer makes my skin crawl & I really appreciate the longer days. Looking at the calendar & seeing that July is nearly over makes me wish for a little more time to enjoy this season. If only adults could get the summers off. If I knew what I know now I think I would have been a teacher because how amazing would it be to have the summers off right now.

I’m trying to savor as much of what we have left of the summer. And I know that we still have a good two months left of summer but it’s also knowing just how quickly the time moves that has me craving summer before it is even gone. What is summer to me?

Al fresco dining
BBQs with friends and family
Longer days and nights
The most glorious golden hours
Beach time
An abundance of ice cream
Light clothing
Blue skies
Fresher fruits and vegetables
Outdoor festivals
Traveling
Evening walks

What is summer to you?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Priority: Savings

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When I first met Sean he did not have a budget. What?! That was unheard of to me especially because when I met Sean he was 28 years old. I mean, I placed myself on a budget when I was a freshman in college after my parents embarrassed me for allowing a check to bounce. Y’all, it was my first and last time. Growing up, my parents drilled into us the importance of savings and not owing anyone anything so you can imagine that my parents were not happy to see that I had ignored their advice and actually had the balls to allow a check to bounce. Well, sometimes you have to experience something to realize that you want no part of it. Or better yet, make sure that your parents do not have access to your bank statements.

Within one month of dating Sean I had placed him on a budget. Yes, I knew early on what his bills were and how much money he made. I figured that even if we didn’t last it was something that he should know how to do. He was the spender and I was a saver.

Oh how the tables have turned. No, I am still very intentional about what I spend but Sean has taken it to a whole other level.
It first began with the book, "Rich Dad Poor Dad". Sean read it two years ago and it completely changed his perspective on money.

That book lit a fire in Sean that we did not even know he had. After he read that book, new books on financial health were arriving to our doorstep weekly including another one of Sean's favorites, "Cashflow Quadrant". This was surprising as (no exaggeration) I had never seen Sean read a book that was not a textbook in all the time that we had been together. Currently, he’s listening to a ton of podcasts ... his favorite podcasts are Bigger Pockets and Bigger Pockets Money Podcast which has allowed him to imagine all that can be achieved with our real estate business. He does his ‘Life Savers’ inspired by the book "The Miracle Morning" every morning before he starts his day which include meditating, reading scripture and watching a slideshow that he created that way he can visualize all that he hopes to accomplish in his life. It is pretty incredible to see this growth and fire in him.

All his excessive money saving talk is rubbing off on me and getting me inspired to save even more. I don't know if that makes any sense but I want to save as much as I can now. Even now, when my wardrobe needs a major facelift (which I'm working on slowly) I’m having a hard time digging in my pockets but I also know that we don’t need to get extreme. I still want to enjoy life right now but it’s great when you can actually see how priorities shift as you get older.

I feel the need to do a little back story here. Saving came naturally to me due to the way I was raised but I noticed that I would attempt to save too much and then end up dipping into it which defeated the whole purpose.

So I changed my pattern and with each paycheck began to save a very small number; a number that I knew I would not miss or feel the need to touch. This absolutely worked and before I knew it the number had grown substantially. I began to want to see even bigger numbers and began to save a bit more each paycheck. With each raise, I’ll put more money away to save and increased my 401K by 1%. The idea about me putting 1% of my raises each year into my 401K was actually Sean's and it was so smart because it was money I never missed because technically I never had it.

Our desire to save began to roll off into other areas. We began to create funds. Our first fund was a Christmas fund which we've had for a very long time but once we felt the need to save more we began to create even more funds. Soon we had a travel fund, a niece and nephew fund, a pet fund, house fund, etc. I don’t know but it became sort of like a game to see how many funds we could create and it has been very cool to see how much we can save when that is a priority to us.

I think my biggest advice would be to start very small especially if you’re not one to save or think that you don’t have enough or make enough to save. Our Christmas fund started at $5 each per week. It doesn’t seem like a lot but by the end of the year we had a significant amount to make Christmas shopping actually enjoyable. Start with a number you’re comfortable with. Keep in mind that no number is too small and then go from there. Increase as you can and you’ll be glad you did.

Our 401Ks contributions are higher than they have ever been. Our savings are higher than it has ever been. We are no longer people who only think about right now. We are people who are thinking of our future. But if I could go back in time, I’d tell embarrassed 28 year old Sean (who shrunk a little when I stared at him as though he lost his damn mind when he advised that he did not have a budget) that there is still hope for him.

** I’ve decided that I’ll do several more posts on priority (different subjects) in the weeks
to come, so look out for that if these type of posts interest you **

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A 60th birthday party for Sean's mom

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So yes, I've been a bit excessive with the birthday talk the last month. It just happens that Sean’s parents & my parent’s birthdays are all a few days apart. So after this post, I won’t talk birthdays for a little while. Any who, we threw Sean’s mom a 60th birthday party a few weekends ago. It was such a good time. I got to see so many of Sean’s extended family and a lot of our friends too.

This is still so random to me but Sean’s sister, Veronica, was in charge of securing the pavilion for Sean’s mom’s birthday party but she was too late and by the time she got around to it the pavillon had been booked. Well, come to find out my matron of honor’s (Stacy) sister had booked it for her husband’s surprise 40th party. We were literally feets away and so I was able to catch up with Stacy and her family as well. It was such a good day and the weather was great too. We were worried that it was going to be too hot, but we were situated with tons of trees which provided the best shade. We were also very close to the lake so we were able to dip in the water if we chose to … the water was ridiculously cold though but it was like the kids can’t feel the cold.

Because of all the BBQ throwing the last month we are skipping our annual summer bbq this year. It is just a lot of work to get everything organized so Sean and I are looking forward to enjoying the rest of the summer with no further parties to throw.

Back to Sean’s mom … she had the best time! I can't even say how many fireball shots she had but let's say, she had a lot. She was not expecting to see 60 years old so it was a big celebration on her part and we are just thrilled that she made it. It has not been an easy road for her but she continues to beat the odds and we’re all grateful . Happy 60th birthday mother in love! ♥

We (including Sean's sister, Veronica) got there several hours earlier to set up and decorate for the party.
Beware, tons of pictures to come!

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Birthday mom has arrived.
And tell me why Nadiyah looks so grown!

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I told you about those fireball shots.

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A few of Sean's cousins

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When I met Sean's nephew he was ten years old so when I met his friends they were also ten.
The boys in the picture below are now 21 and call me Aunt Faith, lol.

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Sean's (3) childhood friend's kids!
All of their dads were in our bridal party.

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With Stacy in the left picture below!! ♥
And Sean's aunt and uncle in the right picture below.

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My Colleen!! ♥
I got to meet her new daughter too!

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Look at Sean with Cate ♥

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Sean's dad surprised Sean's mom with 60 carnations (her favorite).
It was so sweet to watch.

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See?! Why does she look grown up?!
Baby Cate, you now have a piece of my ♥

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Sean takes his games very seriously.

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Cake time!

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Beach time!

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After the party we went to one of Sean's friend's house. Sean has always wanted a pool and after this trip I'm almost convinced because Izabella went crazy for the pool. She kept on jumping in every chance she could and it was seriously the funniest sight!

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We ended this fun day with a fire and some sparklers.

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I hope you're all having a wonderful week and that you have a wonderful weekend!