While I was stuck in Bay Area traffic, I had an idea for my blog. Most of my content ideas for my YouTube channel and my blog happen in traffic. I guess if I ever get writer's block I know exactly what to do.
My blog is quite deprived of my attention. I work full-time as a corporate marketing manager for an IT security company, have a 2 year old and an 11 year old, I'm married, and have 2 pets. Not to mention a hobby for creating art and slap OCD on top of it all, and well, you get a person moving a million miles an hour.
I got to thinking, in order to consistently write content, why does it always have to be some epic life changing story? My "I don't give a F*ck" attitude chimed in and made me realize it doesn't need to be. So here I am and here it is: my first Digital Diary entry. I plan to create these entries frequently, and although most of them will be random rants and useless information, maybe just one person in the world will gain insight, value, or simply a good laugh.
Recently my husband and I took the leap and started saving for a house. For those of you who live in the Bay Area (we live in San Jose, CA), you understand how laughable it sounds to save for a home here. Our loose plan: use an FHA loan to own here but no matter what happens, we plan to move out of state within the next 7 years. Bye-bye Cali, your over congestion, rude and ridiculous drivers, and over-priced housing has been fun but...
Holidays are Here
Amongst saving for a home, the holidays are here! The best part: family and food. We aren't buying gifts this year except for the kids. It's funny though, I have seen first hand how many "things" are wasted due to excessive buying during the holidays by people overall. Remember folks, cater to the trend of everyone getting offended by everything and don't dare express a "Merry Christmas." (Or just be you and stop caring what others think)
It's here and I love how everyone and their mother have an opinion. The one piece of advice I have taken from everyone and their mother is "to cherish every moment because it goes too fast." I actually took this literally and will just sit and engage in playtime with my daughter, putting everything else aside. I think that is the secret to it all, to raising a good human being, is to just spend time with them.
I know what you are all thinking, "he whose name must not be spoken." I have nothing to say here about politics, however, I recently heard a YouTuber say "overall, it's a great time for humans to be living." I cannot agree with this more. There will always exist a monster in your life in some way, you can be negative about it and let it rule over you or you can be positive and transcend it.
7 Year Anniversary
I have been with my husband for 7 years and, no joke, we are extremely happy, have a healthy relationship, and see nothing but success in our future. Was it always like this? Absolutely not. What's the secret? Not sure, but what I do know is that we continue to grow together even with our faults and always believe in one another. You can have different opinions on Life and you should. Learn to talk about money, how to raise kids, and about religion and politics.
Ask yourself, if you were locked in a 5x5 room with this person for 1 week, would you last?
Well, that's all I got for today (and if you haven't started Stranger Things on Netflix, get on that now!)
Thanks for reading,
So why am I writing this and who is it for?
I am writing this because, as a human, I experience emotions like frustration, anger, devastation, despair, and to put it simply, I get pissed off just like everyone else in the world. Does this make me a bad person or weak? Everyone from Christians to Buddhists, daughters to grandmothers, and even "chillers" experience some degree of these feelings at some point in their life.
This blog is to whoever will listen, to those of you dealing with the same thing, and to those of you who are the cause of such frustration. It's ultimately for anyone to read.
This blog post is a true factual story. One that must be told. You might say that telling such truths about people are stooping to their level: I couldn't disagree more. There are just some actions that are so disturbing, it's not possible to stoop to such levels.
Stories and events must be told. If they never were, history would not have been written and we wouldn't be able to connect with others on such events and grow strong communities to combat them. I am a firm believer in Buddhist concepts such as compassion and forgiveness. I am here to tell you that you can practice compassion and forgiveness and still tell the truth about a situation to bring enlightenment to those dealing with it.
Here is my story:
I met my husband in 2010. I met his family including his 3 year-old son and they welcomed me with open arms. My husband's mother and stepfather were happy to involve me in all family parties and holidays and I was truly grateful.
I also met my stepson's mother, the baby mama. As usual and in most situations, there was and is lots of baggage. I tried to steer clear and respect boundaries.
Something that stuck out to me in my husband's family was the relationship between his 3 year-old and my husband's mother and stepfather (the 3 year-old's grandparents.) Their relationship was solid, strong, and loving; a presence I never had with my grandparents. It amazed me how involved and close my in-laws were with their grandson and it brightened my heart.
Until the Winter of 2011: My husband's baby-mama had an affair with his stepdad (with grandpa.) This is still happening today, July 7 2017. (Think about it for a moment and let it sink in. You might need to draw a diagram or a family tree.)
Have I stooped to that level by writing this? I think not.
The affects this disturbing behavior is having on now my 10 year old step-son are astronomical. Not to mention all the in between conniving and manipulative behavior these disturbing parties have had the audacity to demonstrate.
It's only getting worse and the affair has been a 6 year catastrophic event/relationship. If anyone can think of a reason this type of behavior would ever be morally okay, I would love to know. What I do know: all the people affected by this disgusting situation were not even close to deserving it.
Affairs are very common. Affairs that happen within a family unit are troubling, almost sinister.
All of you who are dealing with similar challenges are familiar with the list of horrible events that unfold:
This is not an exaggeration. Yes, there are always two sides to a story but...mommy and grandpa together. I don't think I would care to hear that side and I know the reasons would never suffice.
Maybe they are deeply in love, Romeo and Juliet style?
Nope. There are facts and details that prove this wrong and sadly it all affects the one person that shouldn't have to deal with such adult dramas: the child.
So Now What?
Nothing, absolutely nothing.
When people hear this they ask:
Have you tried explaining to the disturbing parties the affects on the kid?
Maybe explain how it's wrong?
Tell the court!
And on, and on.
None of it has worked and it's utterly pointless in the end. All of you dealing with similar situations know what I mean. When joint custody is involved, it's simply not your business or jurisdiction when the child is with the other "parent."
So the "now" is to continue to live with this hardship. Continue to maintain a true strong family unit, continue to learn from such behaviors and teach our children how hurtful and wrong they are, continue to build a foundation of trust and love, to combat this disturbance with love, to acknowledge it as a test against faith, compassion, love, and forgiveness, and above all to continue to bring to light that such events are plain and simply wrong and build stronger communities of people who are forced to deal with such evil.
This is a true story. I am living it and have been for 6 years and by the looks of things many more to come. If you are dealing with similar disturbing and intolerable human behavior, you are not alone. There are ways to find peace, there are ways to forgive, but it's okay to feel the frustration. Now that is a normal feeling and behavior.
Reach out to discuss and bring these events to light: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Sterp
Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/eye-shading-head-girl-eyebrows-716008/
Is it possible for a high school runaway (with a mohawk might I add) to later become successful in Silicon Valley? Is it possible to obtain career success without a Masters degree or without being an engineer in Silicon Valley?
I am here to tell you that it is and you don't have to be an exceptional Being to get it done. You do need to have a strong backbone and be willing to dedicate money and time to get where you want to go. (And yes, I was a runaway punk rocker in high school with a mohawk.)
I am no expert on the "science of success." I can only speak from my experiences. I'm sure you might be wondering who the hell am I and what is it that I actually have as a career. I am a Corporate Marketing Manager and I'm finally getting paid well doing what I actually studied in college: Film & Digital Media. I didn't always have this career and it took immense dedication and challenging experiences before I got where I am today. I can also tell you that I know I'm successful in Silicon Valley (aka I'm very well compensated but it's not just about compensation as you'll see below.)
My list is in chronological order from when I got out of college up to today (a span of 7 years) so stick around until the end because there are some interesting, more mature points.
Here are the keys to career success that worked for me (success to me = generous compensation + love what you do):
1. Take the big name internship, even if it pays nothing
I know you've heard, "It's who you know, not what you know." I wish I could tell you otherwise, but it's a popular saying for a reason. I landed an internship right out of college at NASA through a gal I knew for many years. We were in a nonprofit organization together as teenagers. Years later, she worked at Singularity University, an innovative technological program at NASA, and told me about an internship in their media department. I was paid a very small stipend that was enough to pay for gas to and from work. You better believe I took it! Having NASA on my resume, even as an internship, has contributed to my career success. It's not about instantly making money early in your career, it's about building the steps to create a staircase to the top.
2. If it doesn't feel right, move on or risk becoming complacent
Early after my NASA internship ended, I landed a job in real estate. Why did I take this job? There was potential opportunity for video work and some updating of real estate brochures. It was a small step in the right direction however the couple I worked for micromanaged me and I knew that I couldn't thrive and excel in that environment. There is no need to stay in a situation that you know you cannot do your best in. So I moved on and landed a job in Apple retail, another big name.
3. Get the experience but eventually move on to bigger and better things
Anyone who has worked in Apple retail knows it's an unforgettable experience and one of the best. Some of the most critical interpersonal skills I have, I learned from Apple. I was a software trainer and had the opportunity to teach customers design and video skills. The problem was it was still just retail and in the end it was damn hard to move up so I moved on.
4. If you change career paths, you can still go back
After Apple I decided to switch it up to the extreme. I became a first grade teacher at a private school. Why would I do this? I needed to move out of retail but on a more interesting point, my stepson was attending this expensive private school and I wanted him to attend at no cost so I sacrificed a few years to allow him to get a great education for free. The pay was saddening and the work was exhausting. It didn't matter how much I out-shined others, I never received proper recognition. I was afraid to venture on because after 3 years of teaching I knew it didn't align with the rest of my experience or dreams. Remember, you are never stuck. It just takes some investment on your end.
5. Invest the time and money
While I was a teacher I decided to create a website through Weebly and start a blog (which you're reading right now.) I pay an annual fee to host my site. I invest time in producing content, including YouTube videos, for my blog. I also pay for a Lynda.com subscription, an online learning platform that contains courses on business, marketing, technology, and design. Rather than spending all my evenings going out and wasting money away, I sit at home and teach myself more design and marketing skills to add to my current experience. You need to invest some time and money.
6. Contract positions are a stepping stone
It's simple, contract positions pay well and help you to gain experience. They are a great stepping stone to land a permanent position elsewhere and to obtain a bump in pay. Just be careful not to get stuck in contract roles for years. Check out: How I raised my salary by 35k in only 9 months!
7. Remove yourself from toxic work environments
Yep, I said it. Out of all the places I worked, only one was truly horrifying and toxic. There are just some places where success is impossible because sadly there are some people whose goal is to tear everyone down. I was bullied at the YMCA of Silicon Valley and it was the first job in my life where I had to quit on the spot. The compensation package was stellar but it wasn't worth the mental and physical distress. Check out: Bully Bosses at the YMCA Sometimes you have to get out of a situation and leave it behind. Although I cannot use this on my resume I learned some valuable lessons.
8. It's some skill but mainly attitude
I guess I made the right choice leaving the YMCA because now I am making twice as much! Over my 7 years of career advancement I have learned that skills are important but people hire you for your attitude. I have always been positive, energetic, and passionate about work. People value this because they trust that you will deliver quality work.
It took me 7 years after graduating college to become successful and the great thing about it: I know this is just the beginning of my success, not the end.
What are your tips in becoming successful?
Written by Sterp
Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/board-chalk-blackboard-success-1097118/
1. What art medium do you primarily work in?
Well, I love to use wood if I'm doing a painting. Personally I find I do better painting on wood. My Father was the same way so I probably picked up on it from seeing his work.
I've tried canvas many times only to just not feel it as when I do work on wood.
One of my Passions when doing my art is that I love taking old cigar boxes and transforming them into different theme ideas, turning them into keepsake boxes. I also use dried out eggshells for texture. I like to use mosaic tiles as well for different kinds of art. "The sky is the limit" I have used watercolors but mainly I love using acrylic paint.
I also enjoy Plaster of Paris pastels.
2. When did you start creating and why?
I raised two children who are now all grown up and gone off pursuing their own dreams. I found myself with tons of free time. I felt a need to be creative to find some joy. I was "missing something." I truly believe it was my father (who was a wonderful self taught artist) that somehow from the Heavens guided me into finding my own art. I had never picked up a brush or art tool before. I was flying into the unknown if you will. One day I just decided to start out and ordered a paint set and a few paint brushes (nothing fancy.) Next thing you know, one summers day, I was painting my first painting. The joy I felt that first time was magical; satisfying. It really started to fill in the missing pieces and I've been hooked ever since. It relaxes me and takes me to another place. I suffer from anxiety and this has really helped. It's my happy place, my safe zone.
The two paintings above are also done by Leslie's father.
3. What does your art and artistic process mean to you?
It gives me a voice (I'm not one that likes to be the center of attention, I'm a bit of a loner at times.) Art lets me be spoken. I can let it show an extension of myself. My art also shows the mystic side of me. It means the world to me.
4. Who and what inspires you when creating art?
The Dream World inspires me a lot. With certain projects, I get taken off into a bit of a fantasy world (in comes the glitter and stardust!) But mostly, without a doubt, my father (who passed on in 2003) inspires me and has since day one of this wonderful ride of Art. He became an Artist at a very early age. I really feel somewhere in heaven he knew I needed this in my own life.
5. What keeps you motivated?
I feel Art never ever lets you down - It's always going to be there for you, it's always going to offer in one's own mind something new to create. You could go without creating for many months at times but you know that you can always pick up where you left off.
6. Who are some of your favorite artists?
Besides my father; I just love the artwork of Amy Browne and Jessica Galbreth.
7. Where can people find your work?
I've had to take a bit of a break in the last year in a half due to a foot injury and the passing, sadly, of my mother. I hope to get back at it more this year. Right now I have my online store which is on a break but here is the link:
Leslie was born and raised in Detroit and now she is based in Lincoln Park, Michigan.
Written by Sterp
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In one week, I'll be 30 years old. By 30 many of us hope that we have our lives sorted out somewhat but in Silicon Valley that can seem impossible in face of the brutal competitive job frontier that formed over the last 20 years.
I even did it “right.” I attended a 4 year university straight out of high school and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree. Most of the good paying jobs out there require this as a minimum aside from their laundry list of high tech skills and pound on the years of impossible experience they require and, well, you feel like an utter failure by 30.
In Silicon Valley, if you haven’t had your own start-up, if you don’t sit on a Board of Directors, and if you don’t have multiple degrees (preferably a B.S. degree, no pun intended) then you pretty much have nothing…or do you?
Let me start by saying: I am a normal girl. I wasn’t born into a wealthy family and like many alumni out there, I struggle to pay off the load of debt I owe for the higher education I was required to get to even consider having a nice salary. I grew up in East Side San Jose and my parents were hard workers who earned every cent they received. They grew up in an era when purchasing a home in Silicon Valley was common and achievable. I am not special. I don’t have a startup company in my name and I do not have an engineering degree. So how did I figure out a way to move up in my career and increase my salary? I promise you it is possible and it isn’t magic. You are never stuck in a career situation. It takes hard work, patience, failures, and diligence but it can happen.
In April 2016 I was teaching at a private school. It is no secret that teaching is one of the most underpaid professions out there although it’s the most necessary profession next to doctors and nurses. Once my daughter was born it was impossible for me to survive off a teaching salary. Unfortunately there was no way to move up quickly in that environment and raises were a joke. So I found a new job.
When you find a new job there should always be a salary increase. If there isn’t then you should keep looking. My salary went up a modest amount. This new job was a temporary position so there was no commitment needed on either side. I worked there and began looking for a permanent position when the contract was approaching its end.
In August 2016 I started a permanent position and my salary went up again. Are you noticing a pattern? Now, sure this can be risky and plenty of people stay at a job for 10 years and wait patiently for their pay raise but that is not the way to quickly increase your salary. My aunt has always told me: “You never owe an employer anything. They are not committed to you and you never have to be committed to them.”
Shortly after landing this full-time permanent role, someone reached out to me about a new position that I considered my ultimate “dream job.” I took it and guess what…my salary went up again. Needless to say the dream job didn’t work out because it was an environment immersed with manipulation and bullying. I was the victim of bullying and had to quit on the spot to ensure my mental health was safe. A link to the full story on my bullying experience is at the end of this post.
Fortunately with all my work experience and skills I landed a new job right away. Throughout this experience my salary went up 35K in just 9 months. The simple answer: switch jobs frequently but just know that employers will ask you why you had short time periods at each job so be prepared to give them legitimate reasons.
I did and it worked!
Read about my bullying experience at the YMCA:
Written by Sterp
Like all relationships, my Mother-In-Law and I cannot say that ours has always been perfect. I have learned over the years that all relationships take commitment and compromise in order to be called successful. I have also learned that any type of relationship can become successful if it means something dear to you.
The Mother-in-Law Daughter-in-Law relationship has always been a point of discussion and sometimes can be quite a challenge. I am fortunate enough to have a mother-in-law who adores me as I do her. Have we butted heads over things? Of course but I have realized at the end of it all it is all because of one thing: we are both extremely passionate about our families and our love is so strong that sometimes in can get overwhelming.
My mother-in-law is one of the few people who has really helped me in learning to understand others’ perspectives and to have compassion even if I would rather be stubborn. A “perfect” relationship with her would have never taught me some of the core values I stand by today. This might sound cliche, but our relationship is stronger than ever after 7 years of mostly positive and a few challenging situations. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
To those of you who have mother-in-laws and are having a challenging time, here are some ways to transform your situation into a more positive one:
1. Always Remember, It’s All Out of Love
I cannot stress this enough. The few hurdles my mother-in-law and I had, I needed to step back and remind myself how much she loves our family and me. Again, I am fortunate enough to know she truly does love me and I do her so this reassurance can be extremely helpful in sensitive situations. Once you remind yourself of this, then her perspective begins to make sense and you can move to Tip 2: Be Compassionate.
2. Put Yourself in Her Shoes (Be Compassionate)
Sometimes it is totally okay to stand your ground on an issue however there are more than plenty of times when compassion and compromise can go a long way. Most conflicts are not going to be the end of the world and God Forbid you make a compromise! Stepping back, removing your ego, and being compassionate, will allow you to feel and do things you never thought possible. Put yourself in her shoes and think about how she feels in the situation. For example, in my case, my mother-in-law has a total of 3 children. My husband is the only one at the moment who has given her grandchildren so we are the only ones who have created a solid family structure for now. This is what she absolutely lives for and I am learning this about grandparents. It is okay to compromise for grandparents because they give their entire being to their grandchildren.
3. Have a Face-to-Face Discussion
Rather than hashing it out over text or the phone, meet and discuss your challenges in person. This is the best thing you can do and do it alone with just the two of you. There’s not much more to elaborate on with this one. Just step it up and be brave.
4. An Act of Kindness
Put your ego aside and take her to dinner or buy her flowers. Might sound petty but it isn’t. This will make her feel better and it will even make you feel good. Why would you want some long drawn out battle when this is your family? I know conflicts can get ugly and contain lots of tiny details but this isn't the point. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. An act of kindness can really mend a relationship and can become the beginning of a successful one.
Relationships are very complex and the history of one can be sensitive. I don’t know everyone’s situation. I do know some people have truly bad relationships with in-laws that come from a place of hate but I promise you these 4 tips can even help with those. I am grateful that the 7 years with my mother-in-law has be 90% great and 10% challenge. Think about all your relationships with people who you truly love…have you ever had a conflict with them? I am laughing out loud just asking that question. I have had conflicts with every person in my life that I love and it’s because at the end of the day we have a deep affection for each other and sometimes we just get too passionate. Be thankful for the imperfections because they will teach you values that would otherwise not exist.
Written by Sterp
I recently experienced one of the worst situations of my life, almost equivalent to the disappointment of my parents’ divorce many years ago. I am 29 years old and up to this point I have been grateful to have worked in positive environments with bosses who demonstrated the values of strong leadership: values of honesty, integrity, hard-work, and humbleness. I guess I was a late bloomer because recently I landed what seemed to be one of the best opportunities of my life until in turned into a nightmare.
Like many of my peers, I have worked extremely hard right out of college, had diverse jobs, worked with different types of people, and have been in some challenging work environments. Each challenge has been an opportunity to practice my problem solving skills and has been tolerable. I am here to tell each of you: there are some instances of harassment that no one should ever tolerate. These situations exist and their complexity can lead you to believe that you are going crazy and not capable of doing your job even though your work history proves otherwise.
Here are the signs that you might have a bully boss or that your boss is engaging in non-physical harassment. This could happen anywhere. It happened to me at the YMCA of Silicon Valley, a place that nurtures and empowers the strengthening of community bonds.
When I got the call to interview for my dream job at the YMCA as a Marketing Manager, my family and I were more than thrilled. This was finally my big break. The person I would be directly reporting to was the Director of Digital Marketing. She seemed overly enthusiastic and wanted to help me in any way possible to land this position.
Sign 1: Too Helpful, If It Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
The Director continuously called me over the weekend “prepping” me for the second interview. She seemed to really want to help me land this position and took me under her wing with her positive language and initiative to explain what would be expected in my second interview with the VP.
Once I got the offer, my world would change forever. The entire package was the best I have ever seen: great compensation, wonderful benefits, a pension plan, and free YMCA membership for the family. Seems that it would take a lot for someone to leave those luxuries. I landed the job and quickly realized my two directors were playing extreme mind games, manipulating everything, and sabotaging each project I worked on. Their personalities were extremely different than their helpful supportive disposition during the interview process.
Sign 2: Your Boss Spends More Than Half Their Time Gossiping to You and Warning You of Politics, Huge Red Flag
Usually the first few days of a new job consists of training and learning about the resources you will need to complete your projects successfully. My first few days and everyday after that consisted of my directors explaining to me how to watch my back due to the politics of everything. As a new employee and a dedicated hard-worker, I reacted in a polite manner and did not partake in any gossip sessions. I just wanted to learn about my role and successfully deliver on my projects. This, however, was not an acceptable route to them and they shunned me for not partaking in their toxic behavior.
Sign 3: Your Boss Gives You Feedback and Later Says Something Different
Every past employer of mine could tell you that I do great with constructive criticism and use the feedback to improve my skills. The first few pieces of feedback I received at the YMCA seemed logical so I applied that feedback to my future projects. My directors would flip flop and confuse me making instructions and expectations unclear. When I say my directors flip flopped I am not talking about day-to-day decisions changing due to business needs. I have worked in very innovative environments like Apple and NASA where you have to be prepared for things to instantly change but the type of flip flop behavior I experienced at the Y was not due to the needs of the business.
Joe, when you write Facebook content, include a link in almost every post so the customer can learn more, like a link to a PDF flyer with more information.
This is basic feedback that can easily be fixed but what if later your director disapproves of a post that includes a PDF link and says something like: if a customer is using their mobile device and they try to open a PDF, it just doesn’t work well. This statement is ridiculous and this exact example happened to me. My director said this in front of an executive during my 30-day review even though the prior week she told me to include PDF links. This is only one example of many over the course of a month.
Sign 4: Not Getting Any Credit for Projects You Completed
My bosses intentionally sabotaged multiple projects I completed and never gave me credit for those projects. Do not mistake this for getting a pat on the back for a job well done. I completed multiple projects that my director failed to mention during my 30-day review. Instead she mentioned a couple of projects that she claimed I did not deliver on and were poor quality. I actually completed things she asked me to complete. I was asked to create a flyer that would later be posted to Facebook. She and my other director edited the flyer and even gave their feedback along the way only to tell me the next day that they were not going to use it because it did not add value to the company. In retrospect, this flyer totally could have been posted. I know it would have added value to the YMCA brand.
Sign 5: Getting Assigned Projects and Often They Are Not Used
Again, I am not referring to situations where an event causes a change to happen. I am referring to a horrible pattern where you are asked to work on projects and once completed they are thrown out the window. This is a red flag that you are being set up for failure because while you are investing your time working on these things, later when they are thrown out, your bully boss can say you did not deliver on other projects which were never clearly given to you.
Sign 6: Go With Your Instinct, Especially If You Feel Physically Ill Each Day
Lastly, go with your instinct. Although it is not written in stone that your colleagues have to speak to you, if you are a boss or manager you have a responsibility to communicate with your employees. These directors would give me the middle school cold shoulder and not say a peep to me on certain days even though they giggled happily with everyone else around me.
There is a certain degree of professional challenges that we have to endure but no one should ever have to deal with extreme bullying and non-physical harassment in a professional setting. Unfortunately, everyone I have told this story to, tells me they have experienced it at some point in their life and yet everyone is quiet about it. When the culture of a company drives out top talent, the company’s future is at risk.
After a month at the YMCA of Silicon Valley, I quit on the spot, something I have never done at any job in my entire career. I wrote and sent a letter to the CEO about my experience. She read it and I was able to provide details to their executives but that’s where it ended. We must speak up about these experiences and keep them documented because it’s the only way to stand up to bullies in the workplace.
What experiences have you had with bullies in the workplace and how did you stand up for yourself?
Written by Stephanie Briggs
We live in a world where everything is at our fingertips, including the ability to purchase anything at any given moment. For normal middle class folks, like myself, I am always trying to figure out ways to save money. In your early 20s, it doesn’t seem imaginable to start strategizing for your future: saving for a home, for your children, and retirement. Bring student loan debit into the situation and watch reality set in.
One strategy to save money is to be very smart about your spending (and NOT spending.)
Here are my tips:
1. Purchase from the Dollar Store
No reason to feel embarrassed here because I LOVE the Dollar Store. There are certain things that you can get away with buying from the Dollar Store. Everything from household cleaning supplies, some kitchenware, greeting cards, and birthday bag essentials. I refuse to purchase birthday bag items from other stores because if I go anywhere else I am spending around $8.00 for a card, bag, and tissue paper. They have it all at the Dollar Store and it is great quality. There are certain things that I wouldn’t buy from the Dollar Store like pots and pans. Never underestimate what you can find though.
2. Stop Going Out
This one can be tough for some people so I appreciate the fact that my husband and I are homebodies. However, there are tons of alternatives like hosting a get together at your house. Everything costs money so going out will only cost you. Treat yourself once in a while but try to stay in. Cook at home, have board game nights, potlucks, etc.
3. Don’t Spend “Extra” Money
It is pretty wonderful when unexpected money falls into your lap. It can be difficult to suppress the desire to want to immediately spend it on something cool but if you truly are on a budget just be logical and put it in da bank yo! You will be glad later.
4. Learn to Say No
Kids, just say no but on a serious note this connects well with point number 2. I am a big family person and I am very social but I have learned to say no to family and friends when they invite me somewhere and I am trying to save. Do not feel bad about it and if they don’t understand, that is not your issue.
5. Purchase Necessities Online
If you go into a store it can be very enticing to see things you want so buy your necessities online. I purchase my 12 month old’s formula, diapers, and wipes online because I know if I walk into a store I will probably leave with more than those items. It is easier to just buy what you need on Amazon.
6. Be Disciplined During the Holidays
This was the hardest one for me to come to terms with. I used to buy gifts for every person in my family. Uncles, aunts, cousins, you name it. Finally I realized that they would be just as happy with me just spending time with them. I made a strict rule that I would only buy for my children, husband, and parents.
Do you have any unique ways that have helped you save? Post your comments below because I would love to hear them!
My Mantra: Strive to be the best me and improve a little every day. Be compassionate, especially to those who may not practice it. Continue to learn and love. Take a moment multiple times each day to breathe. Forgive myself and forgive others. Read books. Live what I preach. Accept others. And above all, laugh every single day.