Pursuing Dreams

I thought I’d share with you a little more of my personal side and some of the things going on in my life.

So what’s my dream? Well, you might have guessed that it is to make a full time living as an author. Are you surprised that I’m not there yet? 🙂 I’ve got a way’s to go, actually. With a small niche like mine, I need a lot of books available for sale, since no one book is likely to be a break out hit and sell millions of copies!

Clearly one of  the steps in pursuit of this dream is to write more books. Lots more books! And I’m enjoying the process of trying out new genres, new formats, new stories. I’m excited to go beyond the self-consciousness of the books about Elizabeth and explore more storytelling. 

Another aspect to achieving my dream is to not only grow my income, but to shrink my expenses.  The less money I need to live on, the sooner I can drop the day job and go to full time writing.

I tend to get very obsessive when I find new interests and I’ve found that learning to spend less can be quite addicting and a lot of fun! Anyone watch Leverage (affiliate link)? There’s at least one way that I’m a lot like Parker. She doesn’t care about having “stuff,” she just likes having the money itself. I love to see high numbers in my bank account and I enjoy that a lot more than I enjoy having stuff!

I was inspired in this direction when I discovered Mr. Money Mustache.  This guy RETIRED at age 30 and now supports a wife and son from his savings. He has some amazing posts about cutting back on spending and how much money you really need to see enough interest growth to live on. 

The first thing I did was sign up at Mint.com to track my spending for me. I love doing this. I don’t have to write down every thing I buy from my debit card, my bills, my checks, my credit card…Mint tracks all of my accounts and processes them into one graph that shows me everything I spent money on and what percentage of my income it is.

This was a great place to start so I could see where we could save more. Food was a major drain. My boyfriend and I had been eating out a lot in the beginning of our relationship and then we just got into the habit of it. Although we had started to cook at home more, I knew we could do a lot more.

  • We signed up for BJ’s Wholesaler Club
  • I started learning about couponing (No, I’m not planning to be an extreme couponer like on TLC’s show, but there is definitely more I could do to utilize dollars off here and there). I’m thinking about signing up for The Grocery Game because I don’t feel up to figuring out and tracking sales myself
  • We have a schedule for cooking so neither one of us gets burned out on it. We alternate weeks so each of us is responsible for all meals for both of us for a week at a time.
  • I have an aerogardenand I bought a second used one on ebay. We live in a small apartment and the balcony gets almost no sun light, so I wanted to set up an indoor garden to save us money on produce. I’m planning to grow bell peppers (which we use every week and are expensive!), lettuce, and maybe eventually I’ll do basil, cucumber, and garlic in container pots next to the aerogardens (using their light).

Other places I’m working on saving money:

  • I use a credit card for gas, grocery, and most of my spending. I pay it off every month, but it earns me points that I can spend on gas gift cards, at amazon.com, or to get cash back
  • I brought my childhood bike back from my parent’s house and I’m trying to ride more places instead of driving
  • Using the library more for books and magazines
I’m already doing pretty well at not having extraneous spending. We don’t have cable or a home phone and I don’t get my hair cut! (Seriously, another of my hobbies/obsessions is growing my hair and I don’t get it cut at all. I dye it at home with natural henna). I hate the taste of coffee, tea, soda, and alcohol, so there’s no money spent there (Well, not quite true. The boyfriend does drink soda and coffee!).

I am seriously having a blast finding more and more places to save money and squirrel away excess into my emergency fund, the one I hope will be a cushion for me when I’m finally ready to quit the day job.

So that’s one step that I’m taking to move towards my ultimate dream. What are you doing to move in the direction of your dream?

The start of my stockpile and my indoor garden!

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