Friday, February 28, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

First Rap Video I've Ever Liked

I'm not into rap and I never was, but this video from the new "Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon is pretty darn clever. I suppose they used software to find the clips more quickly, but it still seems like a big job to put something like this together. Enjoy:


Excerpt from Downsizing Book




Downsizing your life isn’t just about getting rid of a lot of stuff you don’t use. It’s also about looking at your life, including everything you surround yourself with, and removing the extraneous while considering what would make you happy and what would make more sense for the life you’re living today (not last year or two decades ago).

This often requires a move. So the first step in downsizing is deciding what to do about where you live now.

Should You Move?

Is your home too big for you?
Can you no longer afford it?
Are you tired of taking care of it?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you need to decide about moving before you start going through your things. It can mean the difference between just whittling down your belongings and doing a great purge.

If the idea of moving scares you, yet keeps nudging at you, it’s probably something you need to do. To get past the fear, arrange for a trial downsizing. Rent a small cottage or cabin somewhere and take only daily necessities plus a few things for entertainment, such as a music source, tablet, eReader or a few books. Go for a week. (If you can’t afford to rent a place, ask friends or acquaintances for a line on someone who might own a place that would let you stay there free for a week.)

Afterwards, note how you felt without your home, without your possessions, away from your current living situation and living in a smaller space. Most people who temporarily downsize like this are surprised to find that they become quite relaxed; they especially enjoy the lack of stress they experience during their time away from their life and their stuff. (This is part of why vacations are so much fun, too, don’t you think?)

Making the decision to move is just the first step. If you’re downsizing primarily for financial reasons, make sure the math works out. Do you know where your money goes now? Figure that out first, and then determine whether the place you’re thinking of moving to will actually cost less than your current situation. Chuck neglected to do that before he sold his house in the suburbs and bought a condominium in the city. But within a few months he realized that the condo owners’ association fees and parking garage fees made his new lifestyle more expensive than the old one. Not wanting to take a loss by selling so soon, he took a second job instead to help cover his added expenses. Remember, numbers don’t lie, so do the math first.

If you’re looking for a cheaper place to live, or wondering whether you can afford a certain place, check out http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/moving-cost-of-living-calculator.aspx. Another great site for learning about new places to live is the forum at www.city-data.com.

Some people believe a downsizing move is only worthwhile if it will reduce your annual expenses by at least 25%. But there are intangible rewards as well, so keep that in mind by considering both your budget and your desires.

Costs of moving include movers or truck rental, and the realtor’s commission if you have a house to sell. Be realistic when you estimate the proceeds of a house sale; you may not get as much for your house as you once hoped, thanks to the housing crisis of recent years. You can check out recent sale prices of homes in your neighborhood at www.zillow.com for comparison purposes.

If you’re single and money’s tight, consider moving with someone else. A good friend or a sibling or cousin who’s also looking to save money and live somewhere new can split costs with you.

Finally, if you decide to move, don’t buy a house or condominium. Our economy is unstable, and the housing market has varied wildly. Buying something could trap you somewhere. Besides, part of the fun of downsizing is knowing you’re free to move if you want to go somewhere else or if you find a new job. You’ve likely spent your adult life doing what was expected of you. Now it’s time to relax a little and stay flexible. Renting lets you do that. And when the heat won’t come on or the refrigerator stops working, it’ll feel so good to call the landlord and know you won’t be getting the repair bill.

It may take a while to find a location that’s right for you. After we sold our house and downsized, we rented a house in one town for two years, then moved to a different town and rented there for two years. The first experience taught us that the first town wasn’t for us; we sure were glad we didn’t have a house to sell before we could leave. The second experience taught us that the second town was for us, so we felt good about eventually buying a house here. But we also knew (from experience) that there’s a tight rental market in this town; should we get the urge to move somewhere new, we can easily rent out our house and increase our monthly income. Since we work from home, we can live almost anywhere.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Downsizing Your Life for Freedom, Flexibility and Financial Peace





Today and tomorrow, my new book is free on Amazon! Downsizing Your Life for Freedom, Flexibility and Financial Peace explains why so many people (including me) have downsized their lives, and how you can do it too.

This concept makes so much sense if you're out of work or underemployed, if you're an empty nester or if you just want to make your life easier. My book is full of true stories (including mine) of people who purposely downsized their lives and are loving the results.

Feel free to forward the book link to anyone you know who might be helped by it. If you enjoy the book, please review it on your blog or at Amazon.com. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Everyone Has Their Clutter Limit...Even Oprah

After many years of collecting homes and all the stuff one needs for them, Oprah Winfrey has finally reached her limit: she's decluttering! Wow, I guess decluttering is officially a trend now! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

New Files for 2014!

I've always kept files of paid bills, such as utilities, insurance, credit cards and taxes. I just kept adding to them, year after year. When a file got too fat, I moved its contents to a box, and starting refilling the file.

Of course, I never had time to go through the boxes of old paid bills. They joined my boxes of bank statements with cancelled checks (remember them?) on the basement floor, where they were soon covered with dust and occasionally sprinkled with water from a leaky pipe. You can imagine how attractive that made them; just one more reason to avoid them, as far as I was concerned.

And then we had to move, after 20 years in that house. We had to move quick, so everything in the basement went into storage (ugh). There it all sat, mildewing away, until we bought our little house and I was finally forced to go through it all, because you can't just pitch boxes of old bills and checks. Your SSN is on them, not to mention lots of other personal info. You have to go through it all, see what few items must be kept, and shred the rest.

So after we got here, I spent days in our hot garage doing so. What fun....not!

This experience forced me to turn over a new leaf. Since then, I wait until we've done our taxes, so that every file from the previous year is easily accessible, and then I move the previous year's files into a box. Not just any box, but the box that just recently held the files from the year before the previous year, until I shredded them.

So, as soon as we've filed our 2013 taxes, I'll shred the 2012 paid bills, leaving the box all ready to hold the 2013 paid bills. Then I get to start filling up fresh new files for 2014.

I suppose it's kind of silly that I get so excited about new files now. But it sure feels good to NOT have years and years of musty, yellowed files weighing on my mind and lurking in my basement!