Embrace Abundance

One of the tried and true tenets of personal finance is frugality.  Either through penny-pinching and coupon clipping, or through budgets and smart spending, we aim for frugality.  We choose to be frugal either because we have high debt loads, or because we just want to save some money for some purchase.  In short, we’re reacting to a scarcity of some resource.  In the case of many of us, that resource is money.

Through scarcity, we find ways to make things last longer, or stretch further.  We find ways to turn something raw into something useful.  Scarcity teaches us to be resourceful; not only with our money, but with our food, clothing, supplies, our whole world.

But, sometimes we get so wrapped up in embracing scarcity, and learning from it, that we forget to also embrace abundance.

Sometimes we even participate in abundance, but only because we claim that it’s the scarcity that’s the driving force of our action.

Today, forget scarcity.  Embrace abundance.

Embrace Abundance

Just for a day.  (I think you’ll want to do so longer, but start with a day.)

Embrace the things in your life that are abundant.  Embrace the abundant opportunity to partake in the last few days of summer and go to the park.  Swing.  Play with your children.  Or pets.  Or friends.

Embrace the abundant knowledge that you have in your local library, or through services like PaperbackSwap, and learn something.  Read a book. (Even if it’s strictly for pleasure.)

Embrace the abundant joy that you have in your family.  Break out the cards or board games and enjoy their company.  (Even the one who’s ruthless at Monopoly. )

It doesn’t matter what it is.  But, don’t do it because of scarcity.  Do it because there’s something in abundance that you want to enjoy.

What do you have in your life that is overflowing in abundance?  Embrace it.

14 Money Rules For Success in Your 20s

The following is a guest post from Martin of Studenomics and now Kettlebell Rebels, where he has released the ultimate kickstarter course.

Are you looking to succeed with your money in your 20s?

I know, times are tough and you have no clue what’s going on. You get paid and you want to go out. That’s cool. The problem lies in spending your WHOLE paycheck. While money management talk can often be boring, I wanted to share some easy tips with you to get ahead with your finances.

I hate strict rules. I hate telling you what to do.

I do however really want to share 14 money rules for getting ahead in your 20s.

What are these 14 financial rules to keep in mind?

14 Money Rules for Success in your 20s

1. Look for ways to make money.

There are many ways to make money out there. I suggest that you always keep your eyes open for the next opportunity. It could be a weekend gig, a freelancing business, or even a promotion within your company. Always try to increase your income.

2. Find ways to save money creatively.

Saving money doesn’t have to be boring. You can be creative with it. I recommend that you find ways to have fun with saving money.

For us it’s simple. We try to see how long we can prepare our own food or go out and not spend any money. Making your own food and saving money can get fun, especially when all you have left is beans and tuna.

3. Stop buying drinks for girls.

Stop this nasty habit. Save your money.

While you’re at it, try to go out sober. I guarantee you that it becomes more fun after a few times.

4. Go out on the cheap.

As mentioned earlier, you should try to go out on the cheap. I know that you’re not going to stay in just because some financial blogger dude told you to. I get that. Can you try saving money when you go out though?

5. Take the bus for as long as you can.

I know that the bus can be annoying at times, but you can save some serious coin if you take the bus for as long as possible. I took the bus an hour each way when I was in school. I got my best studying done on it and I saved money.

Once you get a car the expenses go through the roof (maintenance, gas, parking, and car payments). This is can really take a huge chunk of your paycheck. Don’t let it happen.

6. Hang out with friends that share similar views on money.

If you want to be frugal, you really need to surround yourself with frugal people. It’s difficult to save money if your friends want to go out all of the time and spend money.

I’m sure your parents already told you this. You are who you hang out with.

7. Don’t embarrass yourself to be cheap.

You also have to try not to make a fool out of yourself. Saving money is cool. Don’t be weird about it.

For example, don’t miss your best friend’s birthday to save money. That’s inexcusable.

8. Accept that you won’t be ready for every opportunity.

When it comes to grabbing hold of chances that come your way and moving forward, it’s okay to not be ready. You’ll never be fully prepared for everything. You just have to go.

Earlier this year I signed up for a 10k run. The only problem was that I never ran before! It was humbling, but I managed to complete it in under an hour and not die.

You won’t always be ready. That’s cool.

9. Watch how you use that credit card.

I personally support student credit cards. I also sadly have seen many friends get into insane amounts of debt because of a piece of plastic.

I’m not your parent and I’m sure you’ve been lectured on this. So, just please try to watch how you use your credit card.

10. Never spend money to use your money.

Banks will try to rip you off. Don’t let them. It’s your money and you shouldn’t be charged to access it.

I recommend finding a free checking account to save more of your money. It only takes a few minutes to switch.

11. Don’t buy just because someone tells you to.

Buying a home should be the biggest decision you make in your 20s (aside from getting married). You should treat it as such. Don’t buy a house just because someone tells you to.

Just this past week, a friend of mine bought a home because he heard it was a good time in the market. I doubt that he’s ready for it, but he’s now a home owner!

12. Don’t move in with the next person you kiss.

You don’t have to be single forever like me, but you also shouldn’t move in with the next person who looks your way.

Where’s this coming from? I helped a buddy move last March. He moved in with someone he met in January. By October he was out. He lost his deposit, the money he spent on furniture, and it ruined him emotionally for months.

Please try to stay calm with your relationships!

13. Rent as long as you can.

There’s nothing wrong with renting. Don’t let your buddy who works as a real estate agent convince you to buy. Keep on renting and saving money.

14. Pay your parents back.

Please pay your parents back somehow.

They worked hard forever just to support you, feed you, and make sure you stayed out of jail. Now let them relax.

A few years ago when I graduated, I bought my parents a trip to the Bahamas. They always wanted to go and I sent them away right before Christmas. They were tanned and relaxed for the holidays that year.

Thanks for sticking around with me. I wish you all the best with your finances in your 20s.

Don’t forget to check out Studenomics!

Save Money and Eat Healthy: Rent an Apple Tree

When my health began to suffer a few years ago thanks to stress, being overweight, and having some intestinal issues, I started taking much better care of myself.  That meant eating organic foods, following a Paleo diet, and losing over 70 pounds.

I used to always say I didn’t have money to buy organic foods, but my health issues weren’t cheap, so I decided in the long run, eating the best food I could was a priority, even if it was more expensive.  Over the years, though, I’ve found ways to cut costs on eating organic.  One way is renting an organic apple tree.

How Does Renting an Apple Tree Work?

I simply Googled “rent an apple tree” to find one near us.  Then, I rented one apple tree for $55.  All the apples on that tree were mine.  I paid in the spring, and the Paula Red apples were ready in August.

Rent an Apple Tree

The farm called me to tell me when the apples were ripe, and then I and my family headed out to the orchard to pick the apples.  It took less than 45 minutes, and we left with 94 pounds of organic apples.

What Did We Do With All Those Apples?

Paula Reds don’t stay good for long, so we turned them into applesauce.  (And we ate a lot of them fresh.)  We ended up with 28 quarts of applesauce, which I stored in the freezer.  It took me, my husband and son working together 7 hours to process all of the apples.

We didn’t have to add any sugar because they were naturally sweet.

How Much Did We Save?

The lowest price I have been able to find for organic applesauce is $2.50 for 16 ounces at Trader Joe’s.   Just like our applesauce, Trader Joe’s applesauce only contains organic apples.  There are 32 ounces in a quart, so one quart of Trader Joe’s applesauce is $5.00.

One quart of our homemade applesauce from apples on our rented tree is approximately $1.96.  Overall, we saved $85 and will have enough applesauce to last us through the winter.

We also signed up for another apple tree in October for apples that are suitable for storage.  We’ll be able to keep them in our refrigerator for several months and eat them fresh.  If we get another 94 pounds, we’ll be paying just 58 cents a pound, which will be a significant savings over the grocery stores where I can never seem to find organic apples for less than $1.99 a pound.

It’s Not Just About the Savings

Still, it’s not just about the savings.  What matters is that we know exactly where the apples came from and how they were processed.  In addition, they are local, in season, and organic, which is the best way to eat food.

If you want to feed your family healthier foods but feel that they are out of your budget, don’t despair.  There are several unique ways to feed your family organic food on a budget.  Renting an apple tree is just one of those ways.  We’ll be sure to do this again next year.

Have you done something like this? Do you buy food direct from the farmer?

Original Photo Credit:MetaphoricalPlatypus, on Flickr.