I hope that you’ve had an amazing holiday season. And, that you’re excited about the year and not only the new year to come but the new decade to come as well. 

Recap of 2019

This year I concluded my very first year of whatever first year of semi-retirement, which is basically working indefinitely part-time.  In all honesty, the transition was not exactly smooth, every step of the way. 
I had to get accustomed to having less discretionary income at the tip of my fingers as I reduced work hours to part-time. I had to get back to my financial roots and take the time to watch my budget and monitor my spending closely. These are all things I know I should be doing, but perhaps had veered away from when I had the luxury of more income on hand. I’ve had to become more intentional about saying, you know what, let’s get back to the core to the things that I know work. And that is exactly what I did. 
The year of 2019 ended up being my lowest earning year of the entire last decade. But it was a very intentional decision to take a step back and reclaim some of my time. In spite of the challenges and period of adjustment, I think 2019 was a pretty good year overall. I’m still standing, I’m still here. 

Turning 39 and Getting Off the ‘Busy’ Train

On Christmas Eve, I turned 39 and I’ve discovered that I just can’t go hard like I used to. I can’t work 50 hour work weeks and survive on 4 hours of sleep anymore. I no longer desire to be on the busy train so I hopped off.  And one of the surprising benefits of getting older (at least for me) is that I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin. If something doesn’t feel right, then I’m going to speak on it and I’m going to make the necessary changes. I’ve definitely gotten more bold and more confident in myself as I’ve gotten older, and I’m loving it. I hope that encourages you to slow down a little bit if you’re able to, doesn’t have to be a total full on retirement or taking, you know, expensive trips for extensive periods of time three, four weeks off. Sometimes just scheduling in a couple of extra days off in the week is something that will really renew you and give you a sense of feeling refreshed so that you can get started with going on with the things that really you’re passionate about. You have to have that time built in, where you can have white space to think about the things that you want, and really see if the life that you’re living right now is getting you closer to fulfilling that dream.

We Traveled Less but made it to Hawaii

2019 was a year of less travel for me. I didn’t travel nearly as much as I would have liked to. But Eric and I were able to travel to Hawaii for our 15 year anniversary in June sans kids.  We’d originally planned to make the trip for our 20 year anniversary.  But we decided to move up the goal. Why not? Why wait if you didn’t have to? So we decided to make it happen a little bit earlier. The Hawaii trip did require some saving because we wanted to cover it in cash. We were able to cashflow the trip in June and the sights were truly amazing! 

East Coast Road Trip with the Kids

In August before school started back up, we hopped in the car, and we drove up the East Coast a bit. We traveled from Maryland to Philadelphia, then to New York City, and the Jersey Shore. We saw sites like the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty. Our daughters have been wanting to travel to New York for some time and I’m glad that they were able to scratch it off of their bucket list. It’s challenging having three kids in a car, but it’s worth it. These are memories that we’re making! All of us ultimately enjoyed it, and we did it on a budget.

Attended my 3rd FinCon & Received my 2nd Plutus Nomination

In 2019, I attended my 3rd FinCon, this time it was held not too far from home in Washington, DC. I didn’t even have to book a hotel, because it was a very commutable distance from home. The highlight of the conference was the Frugal Chic Life Youtube channel being nominated again for Best Personal Finance Youtube Channel! I didn’t win, but it was an honor to be nominated again. It was also really awesome to meet face to face with my mastermind group that includes other personal finance influencers, bloggers, and Podcasters. 

Attended the Ramsey Influencer Event & Met Dave Ramsey

I was just spontaneously invited to the Ramsey Influencer event in Nashville at Ramsey Solutions. And I got to meet Dave Ramsey and his amazing team got a chance also to network with lots of other personal finance content creators. And there’s still all kinds of blessings just coming out of that particular event, just in connecting with different people. And I’m still going back through my notes and implementing some of the things that I learned when I visited Nashville as well.

Started the Frugal Chic Life Podcast…Finally

In August of 2019, I started the podcast that I’d been talking about for over a year.  I finally decided that I wasn’t going to let fear stop me from doing what I wanted to do. It’s been a learning curve, but I’m really enjoying podcasting, particularly because podcasts are one of my favorite ways to learn. And, of course, in 2019 I continued to work with coaching clients, talking to people in my Facebook group and interacting with and receiving emails from people letting me know that I have touched their lives in some way.  And that makes everything totally worth it. 
I feel like accomplished a great deal in 2019. And although it wasn’t my most robust financial year I was able to slow down the pace of my life and get some much needed clarity and peace of mind with where I want to go in life and in business. And that’s absolutely priceless. 

Launched the Beyond the Budget Money Planner

One of my proudest accomplishments of the year was launching The Beyond the Budget Money Planner. It took a long time to get the design down, and get it exactly the way I wanted it, but it did in fact happen. 

My ‘Word’ for 2020

In 2019, I adopted a ‘word’ for the year for the first time ever. Initially, I thought adopting a word for the year was a fluffy, woo-woo thing to do.  But I did it anyway, and I’m better off for it. My 2019 word was ‘Enough’. Every time I felt myself veering off track, I reminded myself of my word for the year and it helped me course correct. So, I’m again adopting a word for the year. And I encourage you to do the same if you haven’t already. 

For 2020, my Word is ‘Simplicity’. Since I’m no longer a passenger on the busy train, I’m taking the opportunity to streamline processes in my home and in my business that will help me reclaim even more of my time.

I even got a new haircut that is very low maintenance. I got sick and tired of wearing my signature bun and thought I’d mix it up a bit. I had originally planned to cut my hair when I turned 40, but again, why wait? One Sunday morning after washing my hair, I hopped out of the shower and grabbed the scissors. Then, a few days later I went to my husband’s barber to clean up the cut and taper the back and the sides.  So far, I’m digging it. I love that the haircut fits perfectly with my idea of simplifying my life. Simplicity is what it’s all about for me in 2020. And in that vein, I’m also keeping my money goals fairly simple and pared-down for 2020. 

My 2020 Goals: 

1. Save $10,000 in cash.
And so that is roughly what $833 a month. And I’m putting it into what I’m referring to as a financial freedom fund. And I’m also referring to it as Project 100 K. So if you hear that, then you know exactly what I’m talking about Project 100 K, roughly in the next 10 years or so, I want to save about $100,000 in cash may save more than $10,000 in some years, maybe less than some years. We’ll see how it goes but the ultimate plan is to save this $100,000 towards financial freedom. Right now at this point, I don’t know exactly what that means. I do know that I have been feeling led to stay more cash, I feel like I’ve had a lot of my money in investments. And I’ve been pretty good with investing my money, but I want to have a little bit more liquid available. And so that is my number one goal was to save $10,000 towards that financial freedom fund. 
2. Complete a year-long savings challenge.
I’m going to be saving a total of $28 per week for this year-long savings challenge. And the way it works out is Sundays put aside $1 Mondays put aside $2 and then by the end of the week, you have put together a total of $28. And so I said I’m just going to do a transfer of $28 at the end of each week, I’m not going to remember to go in and do put in $1 and $2 and $3 here, so I’m just going to transfer $28 every week into a savings account. And that is just going to be like a slush fund for me. And just to have some additional cash for me.  Personally, whereas the project 100 K, that’s going to be like four big things related to financial freedom retiring early, maybe getting an additional rental property or something at some point. But the year-long savings challenge is just a way for me to say that I’m going to continue to build my savings muscles and save more money if at all possible. 
3. Max out my 2020 Roth IRA contributions for a total of $6,000.
And that’s something that I would like to continue to do each and every year, if at all possible as well.
4. Get back to paying myself consistently from the business.
This is a rollover goal from 2019 when I initially said that I was going to pay myself a consistent monthly salary from the business.  I was actually doing pretty good right up until about April or May of 2019 when I got off track.  I wanted to launch some different projects and products inside of the business, including The Beyond the Budget Planner. But the thing about physical products, unlike digital products, is that it takes a pretty significant investment on the front end to get the product made and ready to sell. 
Because I didn’t have a ton of cash flow in the business,  I borrowed money from a personal account to fund this project within the business. And at that point, I stopped paying myself a salary from the business. And I don’t regret that decision because the Beyond the Budget Planner was a labor of love and thus far, it’s selling well. And on an even better note, I was able to write myself a check from the business and pay myself back every penny at the end of year! 
But in 2020, I plan to sit still in the business.  I get tons of business ideas all the time, but that doesn’t mean that I have to act on every one of them all at once. For 2020, I’m keeping things simple. As I said, the overall theme of my life for this year is simplicity. And I want to just sit back and do more of what has already been working in the past. As of now, I have no plans to create any new products in the coming year. So, I’m committed to making sure that I pay myself and not just solely focus on reinvesting everything into the business. Paying myself consistently will help me to achieve the other financial goals that I have. 

Of course, I also have my usual run of the mill, annual goals like workout more and stuff like that. Who doesn’t? But I want to recommit to being the best physical version of myself. For one, I’m not as young as I used to be and being healthy is a part of being wealthy. Wealth isn’t just about the money. There’s no point in having a big pot of cash if you’re unhealthy and sickly, so eating healthy and remaining physically active are ongoing commitments for me.  

How did your 2019 go? What’s on the horizon for you in 2020?  

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Managing money, while balancing work, kids, and multiple responsibilities can be stressful, overwhelming, and frustrating. But the good news is, you’re not in this alone. Together, let’s embrace the beauty of financial freedom so that we can work less, and live more!

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