Monday, January 30, 2017

5 Ways to Manage Your Money

You ever pay a bill, clean your house, do your laundry, and think... wouldn't it be great if this was complete forever? Like once your house is spic and span clean, why can't it be like that for the rest of your life without having to break a sweat to clean it the following week? The same goes for paying bills. You pay utilities, car, mortgage and everything else under the sun monthly... but why can't you pay it once and be good for the rest of your life?

Well I'm here to remind you that life just can't be unicorns and rainbows. We're expected to adult in our lives, taking responsibility for ourselves, our children, our loved ones. A huge part of adulting is managing our money. I learned about managing my money when I first started working. I wasn't great at it, but I did learn a lesson or two that once it was gone, it was GONE... and how I spent every dollar determined a little bit more about my future.

As I got older, I got more strict with myself and spending habits. I thought I would share a few tips that might help you help your future as it did for me:

1. Set a budget for everything
This worked (and still works) for me like a charm! Each month, I allocate a certain amount of money towards things I know I need that month. For instance, I have a category for Food, Cleaning, Beauty Items in which I set a certain dollar amount. I keep track of every cent I spend in every category I have for the month, and if I'm getting close to the budgeted dollar amount, I know I have run out of funds for the month and will have to wait until the following month to purchase whatever it may be. On the flip side, if I don't spend what I allocated for the month, that "leftover" money gets automatically dumped into my savings.

2. Write down what you spend
The good ol' check registry worked wonders for me back in the days... until I got tired of collecting those little booklets. Then I moved onto Excel spreadsheets! I love using spreadsheets instead b/c I can digitize or hand write if I choose to. Going back to point #1, since I set budgets for various categories, I typically categorize my spending by what exactly I purchased. This helps me see where my money is going and what it's being spent on.

3. Check your bank account daily
Since I write down every cent of my spending down, I also cross reference it with what my actual online banking reads. I like to keep track myself instead of solely relying on my bank because who knows if someone charged an automatic payment to your account, or if there is some mysterious fee that is attached to your type of checking. Bottom line is that I like to see what I'm spending and ensure the bank agrees!

4. DO NOT expense it to your credit card if you can't pay it off the following pay cycle
I used to charge it to the card for every little thing back in college. Books, food, parking passes... everything I couldn't or didn't want to spend my paycheck on I would charge! Why not when the minimum payment was so minimal?... or so I thought! Looking back, the amount that I owed credit card companies was MUCH more than what I actually spent because of that wonderful interest fee that gets tackled on each month. Now, I use credit cards, but only for the benefit of cash back, keeping a good credit score, or 0 interest... AND I pay whatever I spent the following month which means it comes right out of my paycheck. Nothing owed for more than a month!

5. Put away for a rainy day
I once read that you should have at least 6 months of your salary saved in case you were to ever lose your job. You wanna make sure your house/rent is taken care of and your bills are being paid while you're looking for another job. And it's always nice to have a stash in case any type of emergency were to arise.

Becoming more and more aggressive with my budgeting has helped my husband and I in so many ways. I just wish I were this determined when I first started working!

How do you keep yourself in check with your money?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Weekly Reflections

Looking back isn't the hardest thing to do, and I choose to look back for positivity, growth and appreciation for what I have today. Some of the things that I struggle with today seem so minimal when I really think about what I went through 5 or 10 years ago. As I said here, I want to take time to reflect on memories to help appreciate today for today!

// My Hubs Career
As hard as it is to think about, less than 10 years ago, the Hubs and I (at the time- the fiancé and I) were in one of the lowest lows financially we have ever been in. He had the opportunity of a lifetime to intern in the weight room at Oregon State University, so we packed up our goods and 2 doggies and hit the road from Cali to Oregon. I left my full-time job and he left his high school coaching job to endure this journey which we had no idea would lead to. Almost 10 years later, we survived many months of being more than broke, away from our family, and in the midst of busy football seasons! Today, I'm so proud of where he is with Nebraska Huskers, and we are blessed to own our first home with our first baby!

// Learning is my Game
I was in school for what seemed like a lifetime! I loved (most of) everything about it... from the new term school supplies, to my classmates, to my professors, to just learning new theories and research about topics I was passionate about! School brought me lifetime relationships that I still hold onto dearly today, from classmates to professors. Nobody understands the hustle and grind other than the peeps that surrounded me day in and day out. To my surprise, I'm still in the educational setting, but this time I'm the one teaching. There's something about education that is new, exciting and ever-changing!

// Professional Coaching
Coaching has always been a fun topic in my books! I love helping people in general, but to actually help someone help themselves is on another level. I worked quite a bit to get through coaching training, and then thereafter with clients to actually practice coaching. What I would love is to continue that journey and coach student-athletes towards career goals upon graduating and playing ball.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Rayna J. Inspiration

don't worry, be happy! free print from this website.:
Since we've visited Nashville for the bowl game, I have been ooh'ing and ahh'ing over the foundation and motherland of country music. So much so that I even started watching the series Nashville on ABC. I started with Season 1 episode 1 and now am in the midst of Season 4... and currently binge watching every second baby is down for the night and I don't have to grade papers.

Can I just say that I LOVE Rayna James! She's so down to earth, real and authentic. What I love about her the most is how she's able to be a mom, wife, and have the career of her lifetime even when it gets tough to balance it all. She has also really inspired me lately to be super patient and solution-oriented. For those of you who watch Nashville, I think you can agree that she rarely panics at her or others' problems and looks to be more positive and uplifting instead. Even if you can tell she may be doubting something, she still portrays positivity that this too, shall pass!

There's been a handful of times each day I would let some type of situation cloud my present moment of being. Sometimes that situation can come up multiple times in one day and make me stress or be anxious about what is going to happen. The reality is is that I'm not solving that situation multiple times a day when it comes up in my thoughts... I'm not getting anywhere by worrying about how things will pan out. Instead, I spend useless time just thinking about different possibilities, and of course worse case scenario.

This character of Rayna James often comes to my mind when things boggle my thoughts, her patience and solution-oriented personality inspires me to keep on pushing without stressing about what's going to happen. I've been telling myself, "Yes... I can do it all! I can be a wife, mommy and have my career." Things will progress and get better day by day as long as I stay faithful in God's plan [I also blogged here about different ways to overcome some of these feelings in addition to positive self-talk]!

What works for you when you stress about life?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sweat Sesh

Many of us have set new fitness and eating goals the beginning of 2017, myself included! I was working out with stroller moms last year, having a grand ol' time outdoors doing all types of different workouts with baby in the stroller watching and playing. I LOVED it and working out with other mamas, but come winter time in Nebraska, baby nor I was up for working out in the cold or even getting out in time all bundled up!

So I was back to figuring out my own workouts indoors (I'm not sold on getting back into an actual gym quite yet!). I would pull workouts from Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram... hoping for a good sweat session. Then I heard/saw advertisements on Daily Burn. If you're familiar with Beach Body workouts, you may have also heard of Daily Burn. It's a website that provides hundreds of workouts, ranging from cardio, to kickboxing, to strength training, to yoga and much more! You have the luxury of choosing from a library full of workouts, or you can follow a structured program with certain trainers. The thing I love is that they also have a new workout streaming live in the morning every single day if you choose to follow those workouts.

I love having this option to workout wherever I am, and creating my own workout schedule for the week! No matter where you are in your fitness game, find something that works for you and get to moving.

What works for your workouts?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

One Year of Eternal Life

Earlier this week marked one year since my mom has passed. I keep saying this over and over but it's just so surreal how one entire year has already flown by since she left this earth. While planning for her anniversary of eternal life, I was bummed... bummed I was planning these events in honor of her memory and also bummed that one year marks the release of mourning of her loss.

My family and I hosted a beautiful lunch for close family and friends to come and honor my mom's memory. Then we had a blessing at her grave site and of course shared a meal over chitter chatter amongst each other. Both of events were simply beautiful and felt very free'ing. We shared testimonies about my mom and what a lovely woman she was, and how her memories impact us every single day.

After celebrating my mom's life and her entering the gates of heaven to eternal life, I feel at peace. Not to say that I won't ever have another bummed or sad moment, or that I won't shed a tear thinking about how much I miss her. BUT what I can say is that when I think about my mom and how she gets to rejoice with our God in Heaven, I am beyond happy for her and want to celebrate that moment as much as I am able to when I think of her.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Reflection Friday

I wish I can catch all of my memories and place them in a jar of life so that 1) I can remember and reminisce myself and 2) I can share those memories with my children, grandchildren, family and anyone who will listen! I've written many blog posts on J&BT, and even more when I was blogging here... that sometimes I go back in the archives and reflect where I was at a week ago, a month ago, even a year or more ago! Reflecting makes me grateful for where I am and what I have today.

All of that to say, I thought of something I can do to help bring my memories back to life. I can take one day a week and reflect here on J&BT... back to years ago, or maybe even short days ago. One of the most powerful messages I heard at my church was to feed your miracle. In other words, once you have received your blessing(s), be sure to share that blessing with others and bring it to life as much as you can! That's what I intend to do with these reflection posts... bringing my blessings back to life to remind myself of how amazing God is, and also in hopes that they might inspire you!

// My Mother
A year ago at this time, my mom was battling stage 4 cancer that she had just found out two weeks before she had passed. Her strength and calmness during those weeks in the hospital was extremely reflective on how she was her entire life. She was a woman of great patience and understanding... of love and forgiveness... of humility and honor. She was my mom and I am so proud to say so!

// Finding My Determination
A few years ago, I thought my career was over. There were major budget cuts in the university I worked for, and unfortunately our entire department was let go. That was the first time I had ever been a part of a major lay off and it was almost as if I was mourning a piece of me. I've left a job in the past, but on my terms. This time I had no control of departing ways. Reflecting back, I know that time was meant to happen and it allowed me to be fully present when I gave birth to my LO. A total blessing in disguise!

// We travelled back home!
To visit, that is... The LO and I flew back to LA to celebrate my mom's one year of eternal life. We left on an early morning flight in hopes that it would be sleepy time for my LO, and it turned out to be  just that! I was grateful that he slept most of both flights, but there were also short moments where the small space confined him so much he was flopping like a fish! BUT we made it safe and sound and we're looking forward to celebrating my mom and spending time with family.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Husker Bowl in Nashville

This past football season, the Huskers definitely had their share of highs and lows. We started strong and went about halfway through the season undefeated. Then we went out on the road and had a heartbreaking loss against Wisconsin during overtime, and then another loss on the road against Ohio State. Since those two losses, our guys sort of shook off some of their confidence they started with. All we could do was continue to support them and cheer them on as they played their best. We certainly did better than last season... and better yet, we were bowl eligible! Bowl games are quite an honor to be a part of... families have the opportunity to travel with their husbands and fathers and experience the Husker family intimately and sort of behind the scenes. For me, it's eye opening and rewarding to see what my hubs loves about football and the players!
We had the pleasure of spending a week in Nashville for the bowl game over the Christmas holiday, and I just fell IN LOVE! I didn't expect to love it as much as I did, but the historical places and love for country music was so hard not to lust over.

Both Nebraska and Tennessee teams stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and it was nothing short of gorgeous! Since we arrived on Christmas Day, we all had a Husker family Christmas meal and the kiddos were greeted by Santa! My LO didn't like this Santa, just he like didn't like the Nebraska Santa. It made for a great infamous screaming picture though!

The resort was absolutely stunning! It was entirely saturated with holiday goodness, from snow tubing, to a human sized nativity display outdoors, to huge Christmas trees lit in the middle of the resort. It was perfect eye candy for the kids and our LO surely enjoyed staring at all of the lights!
We've been SO lucky to have family come and meet us for each bowl game that we've been fortunate to travel to. My family flew out early in the week and we all spent some QT exploring the Music City together! 

Despite the hubs busy practice and meeting schedule, we made it to visit the County Music Hall of Fame Museum, and oh em gee... what a place to fall in love more with country music! It was huge and full of the very beginning of country music, what started off so different than what it sounds like today. ALL good music but to hear country music in the 30's-40's was so eye opening for me... I have a greater appreciation for the story telling back then!
Sadly, we didn't end up pulling the W against Tennessee. We fought though and fell short in the 4th quarter. Needless to say, I'm so proud of our players and coaches for improving themselves and the team since last season when we all first started together. We can only get better each day, and I know this off season will be a hardworking one where our guys will be getting stronger and more physical in the weight room!
Have you been to Nashville? What's some of your faves to do?

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hello 2017

It's 2017 and feels like ages since I last blogged (well... probably because it has been!). The lovely thing I enjoy about a new year is that everything feels so fresh... a fresh start to whatever you want the blueprints to look like for the year. I'm a stickler for creating new goals at the beginning of the year, probably just like the majority of the bloggy blog world! Last year I didn't have a chance to think of any goals. But this year, I've put quite some thought into what I want for myself in 2017.

I'm the type of person that likes to see what I am working towards (hence, why I actually write them down on paper). To take my accountability check one step further, I thought why not share some of my self-reflection on the blog!

I thought about my priorities for 2017, specific goals I'd like to accomplish, and things I can tell myself in the moments I feel like giving up. I'll spare you the deets, and just share some of my PRIORITIES for 2017:

// Be kind to myself
I totally believe the words of, we are our own worse critics. For me, I am critical of everything I do, both positive and negative. I'm always reflecting in my mind, saying things like, "I should have started that months ago..." or "Why didn't I say this instead of that..." Though I think some of that self-talk is THE MOST to overcome, this year I strive to be kinder to myself. I will celebrate accomplishments more often, both big and small. I will be more forgiving if I skip a morning of workout. I will appreciate more ME time rather than feel guilty for it. I will love myself more than I did yesterday.

// Be a patient wife
I'm sure it's known to many by now that my Hubs has a demanding job. Football is year round for strength coaches because during off-season, the guys are working out and conditioning. That means that hubs is at work a lot. Most of the time, I'm accepting of this lifestyle... but there are those few times where I wanna curl up into a ball and think about how nice those 9-5 schedules really are. At the end of the day, I do realize we're blessed to be where we are today and I wouldn't have it any other way! The coaching world is such an honor to be a part of, for the hubs, for myself, and now for our children. This year, I will be more patient and understanding of the long days being home holding down the fort with our LO, 2 dogs and home!

// Be a flexible mommy
I'm a rookie to this mommy life. To be honest, I don't know what or when or IF I'll ever qualify for veteran status, but I'm constantly learning new things about parenting. One thing I want to prioritize this year is being more flexible with planning, scheduling, and just being with my 16 month-old. If we don't make it to the museum because it's time for another nap, then so be it! I realize that my child is really not the same as anyone else's child. So if he doesn't fit into someone else's solution for sleeping, or feeding, or daycare, IT'S OKAY! We will find our own solution so long as it works for my LO.

// Communicate frequently with family and friends
I've always loved to chit chat and catch up with my peeps, especially since we moved away from home to Nebraska 2 years ago. When I say I want to prioritize communicating with my peeps, I really mean to actually pick up the phone and call more often. Last year texting and being with baby just made sense... he seems to pick up this attention need when I say HELLO to someone on the phone. Not this year though... I'm making it a point to Adele it up and "Hello... how are you?" my faves!

// Work-life balance
Typically, I've always struggled to find this balance, but with the weight more alongside the work part. Last year, the weight fell on the life side, specifically being a mommy and staying home FT with my LO. I didn't start working again since having the baby until late 2016, and I started part-time. This year, I'm still teaching in the Spring, but I would love to pursue more of my time into teaching opportunities and looking into professional development to further this aspect of my career that I'm actually really enjoying!

Long winded post, but I wanted to share some snippets of my blueprints for 2017. I'm excited to get started with transforming some areas of my life this year, and even more excited to be blogging again!

What are you looking forward towards this upcoming year?

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