Last week I started pulling out all the tax prep paperwork to give to our CPA. Because we both still work and are self-employed, our tax returns are complicated and far above my abilities as a do-it-yourselfer. But as I began going through all the receipts I was relieved to see that in spite of all our expenses—the fun ones like travel, and the necessary ones like medical—we still managed to save a decent amount of money. In other words, thankfully we once again managed to keep our income above our outgo, or “live below our means.” While I realize that isn’t always possible for everyone depending upon circumstances, I do tend to believe that we each continually make certain choices that can help make it more of a reality than a dream. And yes, when we do that, the freedom and peace of mind it brings can far outweigh the effort.
The other day my husband Thom and I were having lunch with a friend. That’s when Susie (not her real name) asked the question, “How do you cope?” Sure we were talking about a couple of troubling current events, but the question still surprised me. Why? Because I tend to think that most of the ideas I write about here on SMART Living touch on ways to cope and move forward in a positive way. That’s certainly the way I handle stress in my life. But clearly that option wasn’t helping Susie. Then later, I happened to pick up a new book I’d been offered to review and the answer became clearer. What I’ve come to realize is that there isn’t just one right way to cope with stress or trauma. Instead, like with any “rightsized topic,” we each need to find what works best for us and then work to allow it to bring us the comfort we seek.
I know that I mainly write about how beneficial Rightsizing can be from a Baby Boomer perspective. I sure hope that doesn’t turn off Millennials, because I honestly believe that the sooner a person starts rightsizing, the better their life will be from then forward, no matter what their age. So with that in mind, I decided to focus on why I think rightsizing works even more advantageously if you begin when you are younger. And hopefully, it might also remind those of us who waited until we were older, that there is no better time to rightsize than right now! [Read more…]
Last week I explained how a big part of Thom and my ability to travel frequently comes from living a rightsized life. Yet although that’s the starting point, the successful details of our vacations usually boil down to a few simple tips—or hacks as they are often called these days. While these certainly won’t apply to everyone, they do work for us. And because a number of people seem curious, I decided to share them with you. If I can inspire just one of you to explore your options, not to mention save money, then I’ll consider it worth my time. [Read more…]
As some of you know, my husband Thom and I took a road trip in July. As usual, we were seeking a way to avoid the summer heat in the desert that we call home. As planned, we figured that a road trip to the Pacific Northwest just might be a great solution for part of that time. It was. Not only was the weather spectacular, we also met with family in Seattle, old friends in Kelowna, B.C., as well as a planned meetup with some of my friends who blog. With a little forethought and design we had a wonderful vacation. However, once we returned people continually questioned how it was possible to spend several months both traveling and renting out-of-town houses for over three months, while most people are stuck at home. And remember, we aren’t retired either. Our go-to answer is always, “Because we rightsized our life.” [Read more…]
Do you listen to podcasts? Last month I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Kim Acedo on her podcast Me Time Midlife Podcast. I enjoyed our “chat” so much and the opportunity to talk about rightsizing that I decided that this week while traveling I would share the episode with all of you.
I don’t know about you, but it took me a while to get into podcasts. Most of them do take a bit more time to listen to—but they are also very portable when on the move. [Read more…]
Are you a victim of “lifestyle creep?” No matter how good a rightsizer you are, and I tend to think I’m usually pretty good at it, chances are you occasionally find yourself slipping into the creep now and then. I know I do. That’s because in our culture, nearly all of us are continually lulled into slowly but surely living just a little more comfortably, a little more extravagantly, a little more indulgently than in the days, weeks and months before. How does that work?
Slowly over time, any spending that starts out as a splurge—like a $4.50 latte at Starbucks to treat ourselves, a pricey bottle of wine to celebrate, or going out to dinner on a special occasion—can gradually become an almost daily necessity if we make them routine. Those acts are often triggered when we start making a good salary or get a raise. After all, we have the extra money, right? And as that “creep” of spending just a little more than yesterday becomes a new norm, we often find ourselves needing more and more such “rewards” to keep us happy and satisfied. If we aren’t careful, we can reach retirement with nothing to show for it. Fortunately, I believe a good cure for the dreaded lifestyle creep is to stay as mindful and focused on rightsizing as possible.
Most of us are uncomfortable talking about our money. I know I usually am. After all, few of us think we have all we could ever need—even the super wealthy. And if we are lucky enough to feel fairly comfortable about it, we don’t usually bring it up because we don’t want to appear insensitive to those who have less. Or maybe worse, we don’t want to jinx what we have. But, is it possible that how we feel about money is directly related to how we feel about life in general and ourselves in particular? In other words, is our relationship to our money happy, affectionate and at peace? Or is it sad, fearful and distrustful? Getting to the heart of those questions is the focus of a new book by Ken Honda titled, Happy Money—The Japanese Art of Making Peace with Your Money. And some of his perspectives may surprise you. [Read more…]
If you opened the SMART Living Blog post email last week you probably noticed it was different. Rather than publish a full article like usual, I decided to take a short trip down to Baja Mexico with Thom and enjoy myself. And while that might not seem radical if you haven’t followed SMART Living 365 for long. But it was actually the first time in over six years that I’ve given myself permission to not post an article. And guess what? The world did not collapse and (thankfully!) you all did not unsubscribe. What it did do was allow to me pause and consider why I have felt so driven to stick to such a strict self-imposed schedule. More importantly, it reminded me that my definition of success and happiness as I enter my third-act of life is the guidepost that I want to follow at the present time. And perhaps my thoughts on this are something all of us can use regardless of our age. [Read more…]
As I mentioned last week, I confess to watching a certain amount of television in my ofttimes. While I tend to avoid reality programing, I do admit that every now and then I flip on HGTV. A few of the shows I’ve seen in the past are, House Hunters, Love It Or List It, and The Property Brothers. Yet even though I realize that these shows are meant as entertainment, I still find my husband Thom and I asking ourselves: “What are those buyers thinking?” Or even worse, “Who can afford that kind of house—and why would they want to?” If you have ever watched one of these shows and reacted like us, you might also wonder if the messages being portrayed are actual “reality” and whether the shows should come with a disclaimer attached. With that in mind, I came up with five SMART disclaimers that I think every program on HGTV should include. [Read more…]