Here are five things I have tried, started or gotten recently I think everyone should know about.
1. Savory Oatmeal
You, like my housemates may think this sounds gross. However it isn't fair of you to say this unless you try it (or are allergic to oatmeal).
I tried this while I was on the excitement high of researching for the creativity post, I thought I was out of raisins and so I googled "unusual oatmeal toppings" this is what I found. I have tried soy sauce green onion, the spinach garlic, and the bannana one. I love trying new things, and this green onion soy sauce oat meal is something I eat just about every day now.
makes 1 serving
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 green onion chopped thinly
(optional: 1 tsp sesame oil, i think this gives a fuller flavor)
Put oats and water in microwave safe bowl for one minuet.
Remove from microwave, add soy sauce (optional sesame oil) and half of the chopped green onion.
microwave for one minuet thirty seconds.
Top with remaining green onions.
I have at least two hours in the car everyday. Thankfully it is in small 30 minuet chunks, but still, that is a lot of time. Recently I discovered that time can be filled not only with NPR, but with podcasts!! I am sure many of you already have discovered the wonder that is podcasts, but in case you haven't you really need to give it a go.
I think what is hard about podcasts is finding them. Once you find a genere of podcast that you like, you just sort of naturally hear about more. I am constantly listening to small creative business podcasts. which are a complete education. I am learning so much. It is like going to school two hours a day in the car, which is pretty great. I also listen to a few just for fun podcasts for Thursdays and Fridays when I am feeling info overload.
Current Podcast List:
Mico Biz Tips & Inspiration:
Elise Gets Crafty
Dear Hank and John
Around The Table
Ted Radio Hour
Her Money Matters
So, I had never bought a pack of sharpies. Until it was my assignment to buy them for a group craft project. I am so in love. I completely recommend that you buy a fun pack of sharpies (but not for full price!) Or buy gel pens (loving those lately too) or whatever favorite pen you have your eye on.
Get something new and colorful that will make you want to draw and write. And then doodle away.
4. Pretty shoes
A couple weeks ago my housemate gifted me with a new pair of ribbon sandals. I don't generally chose to spend my own money on pretty shoes, but wearing those sandals changes my whole attitude. They make me want to dress up for work. My job is very casual, so I struggle finding ways to feel like I look good while I'm there. These sandals really help encourage me to wear a cardigan or just put that little bit of effort in.
So if you need any easy mood booster, or outfit update, get a pair of pretty shoes.
5. (Paper) Budgeting
Ok, I know. Budgeting is scary. It is hard. You are good at it or you aren't-
Actually not that last one. Budgeting is learned. It is never too late to figure it out, or make a better system.
We have really struggled to set a realistic budget, and stick with it. I think the main problem has been just over complicating everything. We have sat down several different times and made an excel sheet, that we then promptly never look at again. It was always stressful and we avoided it as much as we could. I set us up with Mint (great finance app) more than a year ago, and that has been really helpful in tracking and visualizing our spending. However we haven't been able to really budget through that system.
Just before last month I got reinvigorated by the Her Money Matters podcast (mentioned above), and decided just to keep things simple and made a 3 category budget. Food, Gas, Shopping. I set a limit on each category and then just wrote in bills and other expenses that were one time.
I also set a goal that I wanted to be able to get a haircut at the end of the month. That haircut goal really helped me save, because I didn't want to spend any money that could be going towards my haircut.
I also decided that to make it work we would have to sit down and track our spending once a week. So every Tuesday night I got out a paper, made my categories, wrote down all the transactions for the week in their categories, totaled them, and totaled the spending for the month.
It was hard work, but I got really into keeping track. One week Tuesday night didn't work out, and it really bothered me that I din't know how the budget was going.
I was so excited at the end of the month when I had enough to get a haircut, and we had extra money to move into savings. It was the most rewarding feeling.
I highly recommend working to find the budget system that is for you. For me I need to touch the numbers and tract the transactions myself. Maybe something like Mint, or a pre-made excel template is all you need, and that is great. Get to it.
Budgeting is hard, but highly rewarding. Not only when you meet your goals, but also because the goals that you set and meet are at the core of your lifestyle. Budgeting allows you to do what you really want, through the hard work of saying NO to everything else. But in the process you realize that what you are saying yes to is more important.
Have you started or found something great lately? Let me know! I love new things.
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I'm Sara. I live in Portland, Oregon. I have chickens. I love coffee AND tea, I make stained glass pendants in my basement, and I love adventures and new ways to live. I have an Etsy store as well.
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