Bits & Pieces

  • It’s been almost 3 weeks since my last blog post, which is possibly the longest I’ve gone without blogging. That’s not quite the path to building a successful blog but I’ve been incredibly busy with other endeavors. Such is the life of someone with lots of ideas and pursuits!
  • My last post about giving up a well paying job for a different life has been in the back of my mind since I wrote it. The longer I work and spend time in an office, the more I just want the freedom to do whatever I want. I’m hoping that’s what building a business will eventually give me.
  • Startup founders are some of the most enthusiastic people ever. I’ve been very involved in this world lately and it seems like all the startup CEOs are on a different energy level than the rest of us. Obviously that is what it takes to make a new business succeed but some of these people blow me away with their personalities and excitement.
  • My living expenses have been out of control the last few months but are about to drop drastically. I’m moving in with a roommate and this situation will save me $200 per month in rent and more in electric and other utilities. I’ll end up saving about $300 per month total in living expenses which will help me hit my monthly spending goal and save more money. I’m so excited!
  • Speaking of saving money – I’m about to start going at it hard. I’ve decided to buy a house in exactly one year so I need to save as much money as possible for the down payment. I’m starting with just a small amount on my end (plus my partner has been saving). I’ve got to squirrel away several thousand dollars throughout the year. I’d like to set my goal at $500 per month and work my way up from there as I find new ways to save money in my budget. I’m incredibly excited about the possibility of finally buying a house so I think this goal will be easy to work toward over the next year.
  • All other aspects of life are great and going along swimmingly, so now I just need to get back to blogging at least once a week!

Giving Up A Well-Paying Job For A Different Life

While I don’t read Cosmo often, I recently read an article about a woman who gave up a $95,000 job to live on an island scooping ice cream and bar-tending. At first most people would think this is insane. If you’ve got a great job, why would you ever get it up?

After realizing that her life was simply comfortable but not satisfying, Noelle wrestled with questions about her life. Was life just a series of saving up enough money and vacation days to take a break every so often? If you always feel like you need a vacation, do you just need a new life? She decided to pick up and move to an island she’d never visited.

beach pier dock ocean white light

It was startlingly simple to dismantle the life I’d spent a decade building: I broke the lease on my apartment, sold my belongings, and bought a one-way plane ticket. The hardest part was convincing myself it was OK to do something for no other reason than to change the narrative of my life.

“You can’t just move to a place you’ve never even visited!” my mom protested.

“Sometimes you just have to leap and the net will appear,” I said with more confidence than I felt.

Six weeks later, I stepped off the ferry in St. John. I had no plan, no friends, and no clue how ridiculous I looked, festively ensembled in boat shoes and a dress celebrating the palm tree. Yet I had a strange feeling that everything would unfold as it was supposed to.

My parents did not share this viewpoint. I come from a conservative Southern family with a healthy respect for the American Dream: You worked hard in school, chose an upper-middle-class job with a 401(k) and a good matching plan. So they were pretty taken aback when, upon arriving in St. John, I took a job at the local ice cream parlor.

“But, but … you went to Yale,” they sputtered. “And you’re 31 years old!”

Perhaps there was something indulgent and Peter Pan-ish about this new lifestyle. But the truth is, I was happier scooping mint chocolate chip for $10 an hour than I was making almost six figures at my previous corporate job. It was calming to work with my hands. I met new people constantly, talking face-to-face instead of communicating via email and instant messaging. When I closed the shop at the end of the shift, my work was done and my time my own. Besides, I found that not everyone shared my parents’ concern. “When I moved here 25 years ago, my dad insisted I was ruining my life,” said one of my regular customers when we got to chatting about our lives one day. “Recently he visited and told me, ‘You had it right all along. I’m toward the end of my life and looking to retire to someplace like this, and now I’m too old to enjoy it.'”

It’s incredibly interesting to see people that are living a life contrary to the typical life you see promoted by…everyone. The typical life is go to a great college, get a good job, save money, take a few vacations, and then well, it ends. Life is so short but few of us take chances like this woman did. We dream and plan and wish we could make bold moves like this. But do most of us? Nah.

bright blue ocean sky white rock people

There’s a whole world of people out there living these different lives and soaking up interesting experiences.

These days, I work as a bartender, a job I pursued simply because it’s something I always wanted to try. Sometimes I think back to the question I used to be asked in job interviews: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” That always seemed a depressing notion, to already know what you’d be doing five years in the future. Here it’s not unusual for someone to work as a cook on St. John, then move to Thailand for six months to work as a dive instructor, then they will head off to Alaska and work on a fishing boat.  Living abroad has exposed me to a different approach to life, one in which you’re not expected to settle in one place and do one kind of job. Perhaps some of us are meant to move around every few years, change jobs and live many different micro lives.

Click over and read the full article. It’s pretty interesting!

If anyone has ever dreamed of doing something like this, I think they should! Life is so short. So, so short and unpredictable. Just the other day, a young father I know passed away unexpectedly. It could happen to any of us just as quickly. If you aren’t living the life that you want, then you should make a change. Perhaps you don’t need to scoop ice cream on an island but don’t be scared to take risks. You don’t have to wait until you have a million dollars and can retire. Sometimes life is more about having a job that pays you a lot of money or a very hefty bank account. Sometimes it’s about pursuing the lifestyle and things that interest you and make you feel alive!

Bloggers, You Need A Mobile Friendly Blog

Today’s post is just a reminder for other bloggers out there – you need a mobile friendly website!

Why you NEED a Mobile Friendly Blog or Website

mobile friendly websitesGoogle is about to change their algorithm starting tomorrow to rank mobile friendly websites higher than those that aren’t mobile friendly. If your blog doesn’t have the tag “Mobile-friendly” in the search results then you are going to lose out on visitors searching on phones and tablets.

Mobile friendly sites aren’t just great for the search engines, but they offer a better experience for your visitors. The links are easily clickable and text and images resize to fit the screen for users – all things that make browsing your site more user-friendly.

Most sites have large amounts of traffic coming in from mobile devices. Here on Figuring Money Out I usually have 30-40% of traffic visiting from mobile devices. That is a significant part of my traffic overall.

Google has planned this change for a while and says it won’t be a subtle switch. We should see results and changes immediately, so get yourself a mobile friendly website!

Mobile Friendly WordPress Themes

If you don’t already have a mobile-friendly blog then you should immediately rectify the situation. I personally used the Genesis Framework from Studio Press for my blog. It offers a mobile responsive framework that lots of designers and developers use. That means it easy to find themes you like or find someone that can make you something custom for you.

I’ve recently been somewhat obsessed with pretty designs by Restored 316 Designs. They create pretty, feminine and mobile-responsive designs that you can use to make your site look great. I haven’t decided yet which theme I’ll be using because I love them all. There are also tons of other designers out there that create mobile-friendly designs in case you don’t have that skill set. No matter what, make sure you are picking a mobile-responsive theme.

Google has provided users with a guide to creating mobile friendly websites in case you need more help. They also have a test to see whether or not pages pass its mobile-friendly bar so you can get the designation next to your site in the search results.

How Do You Make a Difference?

Do you care about making a difference?

This question has been ringing in my head for days now. The question of my career and plans for the future is up in the air often lately as I pivot and change plans and try new things. It’s an exciting time and I feel like I’m growing a lot and learning new things. But am I making a difference? Does any of what I’m doing matter if it isn’t making people’s live better?

How to Make A Difference

There are lots of ways to make a difference in the world. The first step is to define what making a difference means to you, since it’s a different concept to everyone. Then you find ways to actually do things that make a difference.

Below I’m looking at the different ways I’ve considered this idea of making a difference.

how to make a difference

Making A Difference With Your Career

There are lots of careers that are fulfilling because they make a difference to other people. From the medical field to being a teacher, there are lots of ways you can use your working hours to help other people. Maybe you work for a non-profit or you set aside a certain amount of hours for projects that matter.  Or maybe your whole profession is about making a difference and helping people.

I’ve personally struggled with this area because it feels like my career has not touched this area. The work I’ve done in the past hasn’t fulfilled me in this area. I sometimes look at my friends who are doctors and teachers and psychologists and wish I was making a more tangible difference like they are doing.

Making A Difference With Volunteering

An obvious way to make a difference to other people is through volunteering. You can spend your time outside of work donating your time and skills to help people and organizations that need it.

In my past I volunteered a lot but it slowly tapered off as I spent more time blogging and working on side hustles. I miss that volunteering mentality and lifestyle that used to come easily to me. I plan on reconnecting with this part of my life and spending more time in volunteer work.

Making A Difference In Other Ways

Obviously you can make  a difference in the world in other ways. Maybe it’s through a regular donation to a cause you care about. Maybe it’s through the way you raise your children and support them. Maybe it’s through a blog you started to help other people.

I like to think I make a difference with this blog. I recommend products and ideas that I’ve used to help me get out of debt and make major progress in my financial life. Sharing those things with other people will help them do the same thing. Changing your financial life can change your whole life, so it does feel like I am making a difference in a small way.

How do you make a difference?

Obviously it will vary from person to person and based on what you consider making a difference, but I want to know! How do you make a difference? How do you plan to make a difference in different areas of your life? Is it something you even think or care about?

Photo Credit: BKColby Gutierrez-Kraybill