TCOY Lessons From My Favorite Bloggers (Apr10)

For the first time since beginning to post TCOY Lessons From My Favorite Bloggers, I have to include some things in one month that I read in another. Usually I post about shareworthy information that I've read during the month on the blog's "Other topics" day (the 27th of the month). My favorite bloggers included a few shareable nuggets during the last few days of March that I simply couldn't leave out, so they've been included in this month's list.

Relationships from Small Notebook:
I believe that the most important relationship in your life is with yourself. Relationships with everyone else stem from this first and most vital relationship. Rachel shared about her endeavor to strengthen that relationship in Taking Care of Me.

Finances from The Simple Dollar:
In Twelve Ways a Money Buddy Can Really Help, Trent says:

I’ve long been an advocate of a “money buddy” – someone close to you who is going through a similar financial experience as you who can support you through the (sometimes) difficult challenges ahead while you also support them. Usually, a good money buddy can already be found in your social network – a sibling, a cousin, or a close friend who seems to be going through fairly similar financial troubles as you are...There are a lot of benefits for finding a money buddy, both directly financial and psychological.
In theory, a money buddy sounds like a great idea. I'm a private person, though, and to be honest, talking about things or getting feedback isn't something I need. What I need is for the relationship with my husband to become better so that we can once again be a team who's handling our money.

In mid-February, my husband decided to tear apart the wall he built to divide us and, as he's been working to clear away the mess, he's actually smiled at me and welcomed me over to his side once again. For obvious reasons, this has opened up communication, rebuilt some trust and reminded us that we were friends once upon a time. One of the best areas of our life that has been impacted by this quite dramatic shift is that we are once again talking about our money; how we are spending or saving it, where we want to utilize it to enhance life, teaching each other money hacks we've learned, etc.

I now have a money buddy and, I agree, the support from my money buddy has dramatically lightened my spirits.

This month, in a post on The Rat Race Trap called Buying Happiness, Stephen encourages us to "buy experiences instead of accumulating expensive toys or clutter". I've read so much on not buying short-term gain things like a dinner out, etc. but instead to buy something that you can use for quite awhile that this was an interesting perspective. I do understand where he's going with this. Once we get used to it, it will just be the 'norm' and we'll still be paying for it--whether by installments on credit or because the money is not able to be used elsewhere.

Self Improvement from The Simple Dollar:
Whether you prefer to make one change at a time or several all at once, please remember that each takes its own toll on us; on our time, our motivation, our attention, etc.

Trent encourages use of the 'one change at a time' idea:
The only problem is that this progress is very much in the “five steps forward, four steps back” mold. One step forward is better than “five steps forward, four steps back.” On the surface, the accomplishment is the same, but underneath it, the “five steps forward, four steps back” approach leaves you worn out mentally and physically and reduces your ability to really trust yourself.
Awareness from The Rat Race Trap:
In another insightful post by Stephen, he advises us to put down those rocks we tend to carry.
We all know we are supposed to not let circumstances rule us, not get upset with what we can’t control, not be victims, etc. The problem is that it is easier said than done....A metaphor that really helps me is that of picking up and putting down rocks. I don’t know where I first heard this, but it really helps when I visualize something physical like a rock. It makes the letting go seem real; you are putting down a rock and your load instantly seems lighter.
House & Family from The Simple Dollar:
The usually frugal Trent shares when he, normally "a huge advocate for reusing and recycling things", "knows the limits of reuse" and is OK with replacing things early.
When reusing an item too often can result in an expensive disaster or when it might result in harm to the people I care about, I back off. In fact, I tend to use the opposite approach – I stick fiercely to maintenance schedules and the like...For me, it’s all about value, and the best way to maximize the value of a large purchase is to maintain it. The best way to maximize the safety and health of my family is to sometimes let go and replace an item a bit earlier than I might otherwise do.

The end result? I save a lot of money and protect the things important to me at the same time.
Life Clutter from reSPACEd, Small Notebook and the Happiness Project:

MaryJo and Rachel unknowingly joined up this month to give a 1-2 knockout to the question, "Why do we keep clutter?"

Mary Jo advised us on the most common reason your house gets disorganized:
...because the owners have a great system for getting stuff into the house (shopping, gifts, freebies) and no system for getting stuff out of the house.
And Rachel reminds us about saving on the high cost of storage by asking ourselves:
Is there something you’ve been hanging on to, just because it’s easier than getting rid of it, or in case you or someone you know 'might need it later?'
And finally, Gretchen at the Happiness Project says she "...started to notice a new Secret of Adulthood: A clear surface tends to stay clear"...So now, when I look around our apartment or my office, I try to clear off surfaces...It’s funny how this mission allows me to spot clutter that I’d overlooked before."

On the 30th of the month,, I like to look at the new month ahead and think of a change to focus on. I've found this looser method of goal-setting to work with my perfectionistic tendencies. I've written posts on the TCOY 1 Minute Focus and the TCOY 30 Day Focus to illustrate some of these changes in my life. Adding the "30 days towards a new habit" philosophy in your life could be of benefit to you and I'd encourage you to look into it if it appeals to you as well.

In regards to starting something new and making purchases to support a new venture, Trent cautioned us to consider this: don't buy stuff to try to create a new habit.
Don’t let the stuff lead the passion – it almost never works. Instead, let the passion lead the stuff. See if the passion is deep and true before you throw money into it...At the six month mark, you will either have found that the passion is sustainable over a long period or that it didn’t fulfill you like you initially thought that it might. In either case, if you didn’t invest a lot up front, you’re in better shape than you would be if you had invested a great deal up front.
Yes, a fourth posting from Trent at The Simple Dollar. I can't help it! He is one of my favorite bloggers because he understands the psychology of money so very well and provides motivation for change in many areas of our life.

Until next time...Take Care Of You!

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