When the Georgian New Year rolled up on us like hold up this is a stick up, Frank and I were in our jammies, sitting on the floor of our office with pens and notebooks in hand planning out our Spring releases, Year of the Pig ambitions, and budgeting goals as the sound of our neighbors’ extravagant firework show crashed through the blinds of our window.

To say the least, our 2018 was one helluva lovetrip…no surprise there. We learned so much about ourselves inside and out, but three things really stuck out.

  1. We both were possessed by an insatiable addiction to eating out, and I can be a wee bit of an impulse shopper.
  2. The best place to start looking for our keys to abundance is always right where we are.
  3. When either of us commits to something, no matter how seemingly unlikely or impossible it may appear to be—magical shit happens. Eh, who said we were going to keep it PG this year?

Dine-in/Carry-out Budgeting, Where?

So, we crunched the numbers, for our weekly dinner dates and extra spending habits for 2018. We came up with a what in the blue hell kind of average is this. Over the course of 365 days, we splurged away almost 13,000 Federal Reserve Notes. So much for me digesting David Bach’s Smart Couples Finish Rich. Safe to say, it is definitely time to pull that back out of my nightstand. Nonetheless, part of me wanted to swallow my calculator—the other part of me knew that would not be healthy for me or Baby Love. Not to mention, doing so would fail to bring any of that cash back.

Crunching those numbers made us both take a giant step back and a long deep look at ourselves independently and together. Like seriously, Mi Pueblo’s Veggie Combo numero uno and Enchilada Don Lupe are delectable dishes, but priorities are oh so necessary and pretty savory too. And let us not forget my culinary skills are not to be bet against. Eh, lessons.

Finding My Keys

Next, there is this habit that I know we all have when we are really really invested in turning our passions or careers into financial freedom. We try to reinvent the wheel—over and over again. Why? Eh, the only reason I can fathom is that trying to reinvent the wheel appears so much easier than simply putting all of your heart, energy and spare time into your passion from right where you are—even if that is ground zero.

I can be so impatient—and Frank can be pretty impatient too given the necessary catalyst. Afterall we do live in very patience lacking times with everything nowadays being on-demand. This idea of microwavable success still seems to plague those of us who desire to live free and abundant live—even though we all know longtime success requires that you put in your fair share of diligent work—blood, sweat, and tears, or at least effort and endurance.

The key is taking a moment to focus solely on what you are lacking—in our case an abundance of finance. Next, honing in on why we lacked an abundance of finances. Well, simply put we lacked a good old fashion budgeting plan.  On top of that, we needed to affirm our list of priorities.

Magical Adult Shit

Finally, the magical shit—the rainbow colored stuff that unicorns poop which turns into candy. Ha! Seriously, that is what lovetrips are all about—turning straw into gold one could say. Growing up Frank could pack away two Wendy’s Baconators, a large fry and an order of chicken nuggets with room to spare. I did not have as much room to fill as he did, but I was definitely a bacon on my burger type of girl—and a country ham, egg, and cheese biscuit with mustard was rarely turned away.

Yet, when I made the decision to go vegetarian and Frank decided to go particularly vegetarian/10% pescatarian every blue moon. We just did it. A year and some change later we made it pass temptations and all. Some days we had to be accountable for each other. Every day we had to be accountable for our individual selves. We survived and we have healthier days and nights to show for it. I said I would try to fast once a week for at least a couple of weeks. Frank already had a year in that game from his own spiritual journey. I managed 3 months shy of a year. My vision board theme for 2018 was manifest—on it, I taped a mother with a child—and that is where my fasting concluded.

Love the Process of Budgeting

I guess what I am really saying is 2018 and prior years have taught me to first really take time to access where I am. Take an inventory of what I have and what I have exhausted. It really opens your eyes and makes you focus more on your time, energy, and resources.  Next, reflect! As a unit and independently, Frank and I realized we were over-prioritizing the convenience of dine-ins and take-outs, thrift store splurges, and Redbox dates over our desire to save and build economic stability. Reflecting also made me remember how much I do enjoy preparing a hot home-cooked meal. Frank remembered how much he loved eating one.

We were very accustomed to visualizing and planning. Yet we often lacked a strong enough why-factor to keep our vision in view and our plans in action. A plan without execution is like a heart without blood to pump, dead. Now when I reach for that impulse buy my why stops me. I ask myself “will this help me make life comfortable for ourselves and Baby Love?” or “will this help me transmute my passions into gold?” If the answer is no, or I have to second guess my need for the item in question, I do not purchase it—no matter how tempting. Is this method fail-proof? Of course not! However, 9 times out of 10 I leave a store with exactly what I went in to purchase. Grocery shopping is often that 1 time out of 10.

Pit Stop

The latter acknowledged, knowing when to check your progress is key. For me, that means being mindful of how often I step foot in a grocery store. When I do go grocery shopping I focus only on what we really need in our kitchen and not everything that simply looks good. I attempt to do some budgeting before even deciding to shop. Budgeting first allows me to see where I have wiggle-room to splurge or simply save. I look at what I can do better each time I shop, like bring a pair of tunnel vision glasses with me, and refusing to take them off.

Finally, there is being grateful. This may seem weird to some, but gratitude goes a long way. Simply being grateful for that which we have to spend, the lessons we are learning, the temptations we have dodged, and the savings we had really makes our efforts feel more like rewards than burdens. I am excited at end of the month knowing we have accomplished all that we needed to and we are not robbing Peter to pay Paul.

I hope this helps someone! As always, miiandostéka {I<3U}. Below are some wonderful books I have used to help focus more on turning what I already have into gold!  Smart Women Finish Rich is actually on my to-read list.


You can find more books that have shifted my paradigm on my Bookshelf, and you can purchase your copies in the LoveTrips Shop!

The Monday Train Podcast

FREE Love and Coaching

Drop a Love Note!