10 Time-Saving Tips

Time is a currency that will forever be limited. It is my most valued asset and I try not to take it for granted. To honor my time, I reduce the amount of time it takes to do things. I want to reserve enough of it to be able to enjoy. “Not having enough time” is the number one reason people fail to live out their lives to the fullest, achieve their dreams, or even partake in the little joys. There came a point in my life where I said to myself, “I don’t want that to be me.” So here are my top time-saving tips. I hope it helps regain control over some of the hours in your day.

10 Time-Saving Tips

Create habits.

It’s quicker to do something automatically than to have to think about what to do next. Eliminate the decision tree and get rid of decision fatigue. Simplify your life through habits. Stack them one by one, and you can get so much more done in a short amount of time. Here are 5 habits I do every single day.

Automate everything.

Turn on Auto-Pay for all recurring bills. Create response templates for your emails. Have a system for your life. Automation not only reduces stress and worry, but it also reduces my to-do list!

Get rid of distractions.

Distractions are so unhelpful. Get rid of the things that will instigate a distraction. That could include TVs, social media apps on your phone, or even access to email. One tactic that has helped me a lot is to keep a blank sheet of paper next to me when I work. Any distraction that enter my head get jotted down for later. I then look back on the sheet at the end of the day and intentionally choose which ones make it into my schedule and which distractions are tossed out.

Delegate as much as you can.

This is my weakest point. I try to do things myself, but am slowly learning that it isn’t always efficient. Ask for help. Look to experts. Or turn to friends and family. You don’t have to be the one to manage everyone else’s schedules or do the laundry. At first you may feel guilty, but just try to delegate one thing a week. See how much that helps you.

Declutter your to-do list.

Half of the things on my to do list are unnecessary. Truly! I love to re-evaluate in the middle of the day and cross off the tasks that really won’t get me towards where I want to go. I also declutter the things I don’t really want to do. Is there a point to menial tasks that don’t add value to your life?

Use a capsule wardrobe.

I never spend time thinking about what to wear. That’s because I use a capsule wardrobe. My make-up routine takes me less than 2 minutes. I wear scrubs to work every day. And I wear athleisure on my days off. When I was younger, I would spend at least thirty minutes getting ready every day. Today, I can roll out of bed and be ready in five! Plus there is no stress. With fewer options, there is less anxiety about whether or not you chose the “correct outfit”.

Time block the schedule.

You’ll get more done in a day if it’s time-blocked correctly. Why? Because you increase focus and flow, both of which increases efficiency. Just like buying things in bulk can save money, doing things in bulk saves time. It also reduces the amount of energy your brain is using switching from task to task. Multi-tasking is the biggest joke anyone ever told. Stop trying to do it, as it’s hindering your progress.


I know that it sound’s crazy coming from a finance blog space, but outsourcing could be your best friend. Think of it in terms of return. You could spend hours researching the nuances of student loan repayment options. But it could take you 50 hours to gain the information a professional has. Would it be worth it to book a consult for an hour and pay the fee? Perhaps. Especially if you can start putting into effect what you learned and earn that money back in the meantime. I highly recommend outsourcing things such as finance advice and I recommend speaking with a professional. Travis Hornsby from Student Loan Planner is a good one! Andrew Paulson from Student Loan Advice is an alternative. These are both my affiliate links.

Optimize tasks around energy levels.

In other words, optimize your timing in a day. Tackle your most difficult tasks when you have the most energy. For some that could be first thing in the morning. For night owls, it could be late into the night. Check out my post on how to optimize timing in a day.

Be intentional with incoming information.

We get tons of information day in and day out. It is our job to weed through that knowledge and pick and choose what we allow into our lives. This applies to everything, from who you choose to follow on social media to what emails you choose to open. I literally don’t listen to every voicemail on my phone. I certainly don’t open every email that enters my inbox. This life is now an attention economy and people, businesses, industries, corporations are fighting for your attention. Make sure it goes to the people who care about.

I hope this list helps you save time. Life isn’t meant to be spent checking off a to-do list all day long. Go out there and enjoy it!

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

How Enneagram Type Relates to Finances

I am a big fan of the Enneagram. I have read about and taken multiple personality tests and to me, this was the most accurate of them all. Learning my enneagram type was similar to being wholly seen for the first time, even by me. At the same time, I better understand the people closest to me. It gave me a framework for relating to their motivations, their deepest fears, and their innate reactions. I wholly recommend learning about the Enneagram and then learning which type people around you are. It changed my life by allowing me to interact with others at a deeper, more personal level. It also gave me more empathy, a greater ability to help support others, and more confidence in where I fit in other people’s lives. Today, we will be talking about how your Enneagram type relates to your money habits.

There are 9 Enneagram Types

There are 9 Enneagram types. Each type has a title, a main motivator, an innate emotional reaction to failure, and a core way of processing the world. For each enneagram type, I will list these characteristics, followed by their money tendencies. So as not to peg people inside a box, it is important to append with the acknowledgement that we are all on a personal journey from our base enneagram type to a more evolved version of ourselves. When people work on themselves, they transcend their Enneagram type’s limitations and become a higher-self version of their Enneagram. I’ll avoid minute specifics for now, but I do recommend you read Enneagram books in order to learn more.

Type 1. The Reformer

  • Main Motivator: Moral Perfection
  • Reaction: Anger
  • Processing: Instinctive/Gut

Type 1 focuses on moral perfection, justice, doing what is right and being a good person. More often than not, they have a voice in their head that is constantly talking to them like an angel or devil on a shoulder would. I can affirm this as I am a type one. Constantly, a voice tells me “bad, wrong, not good enough, be better, work harder, try more.” Self-criticism is a big thing with Type 1s, and so is judgement of others.

Just as they seek moral perfection, they also aim at perfecting their budgets. They are great at creating budgets and keeping track of their money. Their strength is that whenever they make a rule, they follow through with it to the end. They restrict pleasure quite easily, so they can push through hardships.

Sometimes, it’s difficult for them to start facing their finances, especially if they suffer from perfectionist procrastination. For example, some type 1’s will first need to assure themselves that the stock market is a morally right place, or that being rich is does not make one morally bad. But once they form an idea, they fall behind it almost religiously.

Unfortunately, they often fail to celebrate successes. They feel a lot of guilt with spending money, especially on themselves. They also question, “Do I deserve this?”. Most often times, it goes back to moral perfection. I personally keep thinking, “How could I buy all these things when others in my country barely have food to eat?”. This may be why my love language is receiving gifts. I rely on people around me to gift me things that I can’t give myself. Type 1s sit well with what others would consider deprivation, especially when they have a finance goal in mind. With type 1’s there is no stopping them until they get to what they view as the right destination.

Ways in which type 1’s can transcend their finances:

  • Let go of the All-Or-Nothing thinking and embrace the middle ground. You can save money and spend on yourself too.
  • If you think the stock market is a bad place because it supports morally wrong companies, perhaps the best strategy is to pick and choose companies that are morally right to you. For example, if you don’t want to invest in SPY because it includes oil companies, maybe pick one or two companies you believe in and invest in them instead. I also like the idea of not investing in companies but rather, investing in yourself. Your education, your small business ideas, and your family and friends.
  • Set aside a small amount of money each week dedicated to yourself. If you budget it as ‘Fun Money’, it is accounted for and you will feel less guilt when you buy something for yourself. Although, I can’t guarantee the guilt goes away completely 😉

Type 2. The Helper

  • Main Motivator: Being Loved or Liked
  • Reaction: Shame
  • Processing: Feelings/Heart

Type 2s main motivator is being loved or liked by others. They are interesting when it comes to money because they can be both altruistic and hedonistic. They are altruistic because they earn the love they seek through flattery and being helpful to others. This could mean giving their time to do favors for other people, dishing out words of affirmation, or buying people gifts and experiences. Because type 2’s struggle with feeling enough, worthy and lovable, they tend to buy their love from others. Often times, type 2s are the ones supporting their families.

Part of the heart triad, type 2s are considered emotional spenders. They overspend on others and are the least likely type to ask for help. At their worst, they use money as a way to fill a void within themselves. They end up hurting themselves financially. It is important to recognize that their spending on others is not as sustainable as it is honorable.

There are some 2s who prefer to give their time to others. However, they feel that financial stability is what will allow them to give up their time. ‘If I am financially stable, I would be able to work less and spend more time with people I love.’ Ironically, because of this, type 2’s work extra hard so they can make more money to have enough resources for others. Work can end up taking up most of their time.

Sometimes, they work so hard in an unselfish way that they forget to self-care. This is where the hedonism comes in. Type 2s tend to burn out because they are so self-less. When this happens, spending goes out the window and they become self-indulgent. They throw money at the problem in bursts of quick fixes, whether that’s a day at the spa, a quick get-away trip, or massages and shopping sprees. They don’t care how much money they spend because they are so fatigued and exhausted.

A strength that type 2s can use in finance is their ability to read others. Because they are constantly seeking love, they tend to know what their bosses and co-workers want from them, and they can use that to get promotions. That combined with being a hard-working employee, type 2s can definitely move up the ladder and make more money quicker.

Ways in which Type 2s can transcend their finances:

  • Balance is key. Dedicate one way to show self-care every day in order to avoid burn-out. That could be taking a walk, taking a bubble bath, or reading a book.
  • Budget money for spending on others. For example, we have a ‘Gifts and Donations’ category in our budget. Another great title for this category is “Love Language Money”
  • Limit the amount of hours you spend at work. When you are off, spend time on yourself instead of with others.
  • Prioritize yourself when it comes to finances. Understand that spending too much on others can be hurting you. If being loved and liked is your motivator, reframe. Think of how not being financially savvy can make others feel. The people you love don’t want you to hurt. Let those around you motivate you to improve your finances.
  • Get an accountability partner! 2s are motivated by others and some have reported that it helps to do the weekly budget with a spouse via a ‘date night’. Set challenges and share your goals and successes with each other.

Type 3. The Achiever

  • Main motivator: Success
  • Reaction: Shame
  • Processing: Feelings/Heart

Type 3s main goal is to achieve success, or more importantly, to appear successful to others. They have big dreams, big goals, and big spending habits. Let’s talk first about their strengths. Type 3s are constantly thinking to themselves “I am worthless and I need to earn my worth through doing and achieving.” They are strongly tied to money. Type 3s tend to be high-income earners. Their wish to do and achieve also makes them hard-workers.

When it comes to budgeting, they are good at it when they want to be. They are at their best when they can track progress and see their outcomes. They are goal-oriented and work hard to reach their money goals. Just like type 1s, they stick with the rules they make.

Their weakness lies in their need to appear successful. Technically, they are emotional spenders. Type 3s tend to keep up with the Joneses. They accumulate debt. Type 3s spend money on things that look good instead of feel good in an effort to be recognized. To them, money is a measure of success as well as a status symbol. Wealth to 3s is more about doing what they want when they want rather than having money sit in a bank account. Unlike Type 1s, money is a reward for their hard hustle. ‘Work hard, play hard’ is probably something they live by.

Ways in which Type 3s can transcend their finances:

  • When feeling compelled to spend, ask yourself your true intentions. Is it to impress others or keep up with a trend? The clearer you are on your priorities, the better you are at feeding your inner happiness.
  • Define financial success by how much you save as well as how much you earn. This will keep a balance between earning and spending. There is no point in earning more if you go into debt because you spend a lot.
  • Since type 3s are external-facing, start a blog on saving money or publish your savings goals. If you don’t want to be so public, verbally announce to friends and family what you wish to accomplish. For example, if you want to pay your student debt down by a certain date, inform your social circle. Then you will feel the pressure of success to get it done. And starting blogs CAN increase your income too.

Type 4. The Individualists

  • Main Motivator: To be unique and original
  • Reaction: Shame
  • Processing: Feeling/Heart

Type 4s are most concerned about being seen in the fullness of who they are and liked to be viewed as original. Their greatest fear is that they will have no identity or significance to the world, and they long to find themselves and remain authentic to who they believe themselves to be. This is an Enneagram type that is not really motivated by money.

Like type 2s and 3s, type 4s value the way they are viewed by others in the sense that they have to be seen as unique. So they emotionally spend money in order to be perceived a certain way. However unlike type 2s and 3s, they do not live up to other people’s standards. They live by their own rules.

Type 4s can be big spenders. They like to spend money on very nice things so that they can live up to their standards. They will buy rare items, one-offs, and very outlandish costumes in order to stand out. Because unique items tend to cost more, they tend to spend more to be original.

They also spend money on becoming who they want to be. For example, if they decide they want to pursue a hobby or passion like snowboarding, they will buy the nicest gear, and ALL of it. They think that doing so will make it more likely that they achieve that title. They are romantics are heart, so they approach everything they do from a sense of grandeur.

Type 4s hate mediocrity. If they feel like they can’t reach high levels of success, they’d rather be doomed to failure and not try. This is bad for finances. Type 4s tend to avoid budgeting if they think they will fail. They have very high standards and can be like type 1s in their all-or-nothing approach. They also tend to keep things to themselves because they don’t want others to know they are failing. If they fall short of their own standards, they pretend like they didn’t try at all in order to avoid the shame they feel.

The strength in 4s lies in their ability to romanticize everything. If they so choose, they can make something as mundane as money super cool!

Ways in which Type 4s can transcend their finances:

Type 5. The Investigator

  • Main motivator: To be Informed
  • Reaction: Fear
  • Processing: Thinking/Head

Type 5s are the researchers and the intellectuals. They are the people who usually start the conversation with, “Actually, did you know…”. Their biggest fear is being useless or incapable. In terms of finances, they fear depletion. Because of this, they hoard their resources. They do that with everything, actually. They hold back on affirmations, they reserve energy, they save time.

Type 5s are incredible savers. They actually don’t want to spend their money. They limit what they ask for and buy because they can mostly do without. Unfortunately, this also means they don’t do much with money for fear of approaching it incorrectly. They don’t invest their money and typically prefer to let it sit in a savings account. If that is the case, a Marcus High Yield Savings Account would probably make type 5s comfortable. If you open an account using my referral link, you can receive an additional 1% APY for the first three months.

Ways in which Type 5s can transcend their finances:

  • Introverted type 5s tend to spend money on information. Use your research skills to learn about finances. Create graphs and charts that will point you towards the right direction in terms of investments. Trust the information you gain and invest your money. Remember this statistic: Historically, the market always goes up.
  • Gamify your finances! Type 5s spend most of their money on music, streaming, and games. They love YOUTUBE. Make a game out of your finances. Optimize your credit cards for free flights or maximize rewards! Find ways to get free stuff.
  • Just like type 1s, create a ‘Fun Money’ category in your budget! It’s okay to spend on yourself once in a while.

Type 6. The Loyalist

  • Main Motivator: Security
  • Reaction: Fear
  • Processing: Thinking/Head

Type 6s value safety, security and certainty. They want answers for everything. They care a lot about money because they want to ensure they have enough of it. This can sometimes lead to fear of losing money. Type 6s may avoid investing if they view the risk as a great one. However, they should reframe investing in the market as the only sure way to secure a future wherein their wealth grows.

Type 6s are called loyalists because they are loyal to their friends and family. Sometimes this can become an issue. When it comes to money, they will spend on the people they care about. They tend to rescue others. Sometimes, those people can take advantage of 6s. They know that 6s are prepared enough to have the money and may rely on them for money.

In terms of career, 6s tend to stay with a stable job for a long time. They don’t like to be in charge, so they avoid promotions. This can limit their earning potential. They also stay in jobs that may not be promoting them or have a toxic environment, simply because they are comfortable with their role. They are the ones who most likely will keep a stable job and pay down their home ASAP. This can be good but it can also limit their wealth growing potential.

Type 6s struggle to use their savings for a free and happy life. They worry a lot about money. In the same boat as type 1s and 5s, type 6s are most likely to stress about having money in the future. This makes them very good savers. They are most likely to have an emergency fund. They are considered the most responsible Enneagram type, and should lean into High Yield Savings Accounts, long-term investment accounts like Roth IRAs, and set-to-forget apps.

Ways in which Type 6s can transcend their finances:

  • When 6s treat themselves, they tend to spend the most money on the ‘essentials’ like clothing or dining. It is important for 6s to also spend on self-care.
  • Type 6s are uncomfortable with promotions and career changes. However, they are typically great at what they do. Have the courage to ask for a promotion. Reframe it as ensuring finance security and wealth in the future. Use financial security as a motivator to earn more.
  • Type 6s tend to worry about not having enough for retirement or their kid’s college. Perhaps looking into how I Bonds can help with paying for both would calm a 6s nerves.
  • Don’t let fear overcome your finances. Try a set-it-and-forget it strategy with investing and budgeting. Then avoid checking in every single day.

Type 7. The Enthusiast

  • Main motivator: Being Happy/Satisfied
  • Reaction: Fear
  • Processing: Thinking/Head

Type 7s are adventurers who want to experience life to the fullest. Their main motivator is being happy and seeking pleasure. Their fear is to be trapped in emotional pain. Type 7s don’t want to be limited and like to keep their options open. Because of this, commitment is rough, budgeting is even rougher. Having to structure spending is stressful for them.

Type 7s tend to spend money. They like new experiences and are good at convincing themselves that there are no consequences to their spending. When they feel limited or trapped, they look for escapes in forms of hobbies or travel. They tend to fudge the numbers in order to justify themselves. Most often, they tell themselves ‘Everything is possible.’

Type 7s tend to fall into the hamster wheel of life. They have to work their tails off in order to work back the money they spend. Often times, they spread themselves thin and have a hard time following through.

They are great with idea creation. Unfortunately, they also tend to overestimate their love for something. They might spend money upfront on a hobby that they will later give up. Often times, they get a bad rap for being flaky but they really aren’t. It’s more like they want to experience it all and jump from one hobby to the next in their zeal. They spend freely on what they love. And they are open to financial risks, but do not want money to limit their life.

Ways in which Type 7s can transcend their finances:

  • Type 7s should create frugal challenges. View these challenges as fun adventures. For example, Don’t Buy Technology Brand New.
  • Use their creativity and idea creation to find ways to get what they want without spending money.
  • 7s sometimes suffer from impulse buys. Perhaps create a rule to wait 24 hours before buying something. Sleep on it. Or find ways to borrow items from someone or buy used.

Type 8. The Challengers

  • Main Motivator: Being strong
  • Reaction: Anger
  • Processing: Instinctive/Gut

Type 8s are the challengers. They are strong, decisive, and protective. Some might see them as aggressive types, but they will defend themselves and their loved ones whole heartedly. Their biggest fear is weakness. They don’t want to ever be controlled or undermined. They view the world as a dog-eat-dog place and feel the need to be strong to survive. In this sense, they are highly motivated by earning money.

There’s a running joke that the only person an 8 will listen to is themself. So when they set a budget, they will stick to it. They have a ‘Go Big or Go Home’ mindset which could work for or against their favor. They want to earn a lot of money because money is a social status symbol that tells others they are on top. But they also don’t mind spending money with their ‘work hard, play hard’ mentality. At their worst, they are stubborn and even delusional with their financial habits.

The good thing about 8s is how they protect their loved ones. They will do the hard things to care for others. Sometimes, this makes them prone to burn out. Physical illness befalls type 8s often. They will financially support their family members the best they can.

Ways in which Type 8s can transcend their finances:

  • Fierce 8s are good negotiators. You should use this to their advantage. Type 8s would make great salespeople or could negotiate a better salary for themselves at their current job. No one is going to rip them off and get away with it.
  • Listen to other people’s money stories. It isn’t the easiest thing for 8s to do, as they are programmed to think theirs is the best way, but learning from others could pay out in the end.
  • Sometimes 8s spend money to feel in control. Notice when you are doing that. Instead, reframe it as your money controlling you. To be better in control of money, focus on a budget.

Type 9. The Peacekeepers

  • Main motivator: Easy to get along with
  • Reaction: Anger
  • Processing: Instinctive/Gut

Type 9s think they need to be easy to get along with. Think of them as the gentle and creative devil’s advocates in the Enneagram world. Their biggest fear is conflict and separation from the people they care about. Type 9s struggle with numbness to self and numbless to life. Some sources call them sloth-like and indolent. They do only what they need to get by. Likewise in terms of finances, they only want to earn enough to live their life. Type 9s are not very motivated by money. In fact, a statistic shows that type 9s are the least likely Enneagram type to make over $150k per year. Only 4% of the people in this salary bracket at type 9s.

Type 9s also struggle with prioritization. They are thoughtful and considerate with their outcomes and options. Unfortunately, they also get overwhelmed easily. They often don’t know what’s most important and where to go next. This leads to procrastination. Type 9s get overwhelmed by money too. They hardly want to create the systems that will help them with money. However, once it is done for them by someone more proactive, they can follow systems quite well. They are of the set-it and forget-it types, because peacemakers TRULY WILL forget it.

Their strengths lie in the fact that they don’t need a lot and are not big spenders. They are happiest with ‘useful’ purchases and prefer to spend on hobbies over status symbols. 56% of peacekeepers define being wealthy as having what they need. However, because they are so kind and agreeable, they may get pulled into trips, movies and outings they wouldn’t attend on their own.

Ways in which Type 9s can transcend their finances:

  • Create a vision board of your wants in life. This may spark interest and inspire action. Type 9s are actually very creative people which is why vision boards are a great thing to do. They don’t always have the right words to explain what they want, but they can cut out pictures or images of what they hope for.
  • Like type 2s, type 9s will benefit from having a friend hold their hand. Budgeting dates work best for a type 9. Creating finance goals and having an accountability partner is helpful too. Pick someone who is more go-getter than you, not another peacemaker. My husband is actually a Type 9 through and through. It works out really well for us. He lets me (a type 1) formulate the budget, and then he goes through and adds and subtracts from it as needed. I am crucial to getting the job started, but I need him to curate it for me in an intentional way.
  • These self-less creatures name gifts as an expenditure that gives them joy. Create a ‘fun money’ category in your budget.
  • Definitely budget! 9s seek inner peace and having a budget set every month actually calms them down since there is a plan set out for them.

As I said in the very beginning, enneagrams are meant as a framework for understanding the people around you but it is by no means set in stone. If anything, I hope you found this fun. Enneagrams have changed my life and have improved the way I interact with people. I actually have a specific person in my life for each enneagram type. These are the ways in which I give to them financially.

  • Type 1: Give them a gift, just-because.
  • Type 2: Constantly tell them they don’t have to buy anything or do anything for me. I schedule self-care-centered dates, such as coffee, hiking, or beach days for my type 2s.
  • Type 3: Tell them they are successful enough.
  • Type 4: Gift the most random/unique item I can find to gift them, usually from my travels.
  • Type 5: Remind them to spend on themselves.
  • Type 6: Buy them gift-cards to restaurants or essentials.
  • Type 7: Gift them experiences over things.
  • Type 8: Thank them for their hard work.
  • Type 9: Set up systems for their finances.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Financial Self-Care

Here we are, back again on this topic of self-care. It is a recurring theme in this space, and appropriately so. The concept of self-care is a crucial tool for people of color, women, poor communities, and the LGBTQ movement as they work to dismantle the systems working tirelessly to keep them down. It was created with the following question in mind: “If I don’t take care of myself, who will?” Self-care and FIRE (financial independence, early retirement) are similar in a way. Both require taking into one’s hands the situations presented to them and navigating around a system that would otherwise keep us on the hamster wheel called life. So what does financial self-care look like?

For starters, self-care does not mean self-soothe.

Like everything else, self-care as of late has become a commercialized term. Self-care is marketed to young generations as buying products to ‘take care of themselves’. Yes, some products can help with self-care. I wrote a list when I turned thirty of my own products. But more often that not, the products fall short. That’s because self-care does not mean self-soothe.

Self-care isn’t buying things to make yourself feel better about your situation. Throwing money at something won’t make it go away. If anything, spending money on ‘self-care products’ could be hurting you in the long run, at least financially. It will make you feel better for a short while. Perhaps enough to deal with the situation, sure. But self-care products will never take away the cause of the problem. One day, you wake up back at square one.

Here are 10 Ways to Practice Self-Care Without Spending Money

Self-Care is Doing the Hard Bits

I could have said something else instead of ‘Bits’ but I didn’t. You know what I mean. Most often, it is really about doing the hardest things in life. Here are a few examples.

  • Showing up one more day, when you just want to give up.
  • Working that extra shift to save enough money to buy your financial freedom.
  • Not eating that slice of cake in order to be a healthier person.
  • Waking up at 5:30am in the morning so you can hit the gym before work.
  • Staying up late at night getting the household chores done because you spent your day-time hours with the kids.
  • Resisting to keep up with the Joneses because you know it hurts you financially.
  • Standing up to your boss, colleague or partner who is taking advantage of you.
  • Quitting a job that is not aligned with your values.

Self-care is about showing up for yourself. That means doing the hard things in order to better your life. It’s taking care of yourself at the core, ensuring the future you want for yourself, TODAY. Usually, that means resisting buying all the self-care products. Ironic, isn’t it?

Financial Self-Care

If I am going to be brutally honest, financial self-care not about rewarding yourself for your hard work with a shopping spree. It’s not about treating yourself to dinner after a long day. Skipping your workout because work was exhausting is not taking care of yourself. Scrolling for hours or watching mind-numbing TV isn’t the way to fix a mentally tiring day. All of this is self-soothing, not self-caring.

Self-care is pushing through the hard work and continuing on. Because the goal is to get through the hard stuff in order to reach your destination. Erase the “I deserve it” mentality. What we all deserve is a reality check. Self-care as its sold today only sets you back.

Contrary to deprivation, TRUE financial self-care is fueling your life energy into whatever gets you to financial freedom. Some people attack this belief with accusations of deprivation. If you asked me, deprivation could be viewed the other way. By buying into consumerist culture, you are depriving yourself of true freedom from the grind.

Here are a few examples of financial self-care:

  • Budgeting every dollar that you earn.
  • Investing your money instead of spending it.
  • Cutting out certain relationships with people concerned about the Joneses.
  • Saying no to societal norms and expectations.
  • Having tough conversations with friends and family about what it means to spend money.
  • Dissociating from the idea that ‘more expensive’ means ‘better’.

Look out for yourself.

Corporations want you to spend your hard-earned dollars on products. And there’s no better time to convince you of doing so than when you are most exhausted, fatigued, stressed, and burnt out. That’s why companies hang onto the term, promising to fix all your problems if you just buy this ONE item. They manipulate the term’s original intention. ’Take care of yourself’ they say, pretending to care about the real you. But just remember, Who will this really help in the long run? Wouldn’t paying for self-care services and products keep you working day in and day out? Doesn’t that keep you away from time off, time with family, and time to take a break?

Let’s not get it twisted. As the founders of the term self-care thought to themselves, “Who will take care of us if not ourselves?” They couldn’t rely on systems that worked to keep them in their place. Financial self-care is about financial freedom. That’s all it is.

Photo by Aiony Haust on Unsplash

10 Things I Do to Overcome Overwhelm

It’s 2022 and I am more open to admitting that I suffer from anxiety. I always have, but was never fully aware of it. My anxiety usually left me overwhelmed, a symptom that I learned how to overcome. As a kid, I was surrounded by an excess of stimuli. I grew up with a big family and a culture that loves to express joy in laughter, music, and chatter and more negative emotions openly. I spent much of my childhood with a book or fast asleep. Frequently, I was highly irritable, frustrated, or crying. I couldn’t understand my anger until I was in my thirties. The realization that I felt really calm when I had a lot of space, time, and quiet changed my life. Since then, I have learned what to do when I feel overwhelmed. Today, I want to share 10 things I do to overcome overwhelm.

But before we get into that, you may also like to read the following similar posts!

10 Things I Do When I Feel Overwhelmed

  • I make lists. You’ve probably noticed that my blog posts have recently taken on a list format. This is not a recent infatuation. I have always written to-do lists. My husband once joked when we were still dating that he had to write ‘breathe’ on my list, in case I forgot to do things outside of my list. List making organizes my mind, and organization makes me feel more in control of my life. A lot of my anxiety arises when I perceive a lack of control. That’s why lists work so well!
  • I tidy the home. More accurately, I do a deep clean of my spaces. This goes back to organizing so that I feel in control of my environment. This is especially useful when my anxiety leads to stress. The physical act of cleaning releases endorphins. I like to ‘sweat out the stress’. Meanwhile, tidying minimizes the clutter in my environment which reduces the ambient noise. Not only do I feel more in control, but I feel calmer too.
  • I empty the calendar. My overwhelm is sometimes caused by me not acting in alignment with my values. It’s when I say yes to things or do things that do not give me joy. Overwhelm can also happen when I do too much. That’s why I write about slow, intentional living. Emptying the calendar helps a ton! I always have a planner wherein I make long lists of things I want to do. I go through my lists and cross off anything that isn’t pertinent, necessary, or joyful. I usually am able to cross of 50% of the things I wrote down. It’s a great reminder, too, that busy is not the same as productive.
  • I sleep. My parents still tell stories about me as an infant, falling asleep everywhere. At restaurants my head would dunk into the plate in front of me. Once, I nearly fell out of a high-chair. I am known to take up the whole couch in someone’s house during parties. No one could sit down because of me. In college, I used to sleep in my car in between classes. I also sleep in my car on my lunch breaks. Sleeping is kind of my super power and I am quite proud of it. Anytime I feel especially anxious or overwhelmed, I take a power nap in the middle of the day or call it quits by 8pm. I wake up refreshed and ready to tackle whatever was ailing me before.
  • I write. Reflective writing is my form of therapy. Only recently did I realize that my anxiety is born from a perceived reality created in my mind. It helps to separate the facts from my interpretations. I realize that a lot of my overwhelm comes from the way I internalize things. When I feel like I cannot control a situation, I start to get that pitter patter in my chest. The good thing about writing is it forces me to sit down, and reassess my thoughts and emotions. It’s almost like mentally finding a way out of a situation. Writing works best when I jot down my thoughts by hand. Tactile tracing of letters is like drawing out a path from point A to point B. Either way, seeing the letters on paper and knowing that I put them there in a controlled manner is calming too.
  • I chug a glass of water. I get an illogical feeling of calmness after chugging water. I absolutely LOVE water! It just makes me feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and hydrated. I wonder if it’s akin to pets when they get stressed or anxious. They tend to pant a lot, and maybe humans have a version of that subconsciously happening. It’s not like I hyperventilate or something when I am anxious. But I do feel parched when I am overwhelmed. Stopping to drink a glass of water gives me pause as well as shows myself a bit of self-care. That, itself, is enough.
  • I get a good workout in. Recently, I have been turning to sweating out the stress. If it’s really bad, I will go for a run in our neighborhood. I know I’m really anxious when I start to do mini-sprints. For milder cases of overwhelm, I will do a forearm plank, or pick up some free-weights and start doing arm exercises. If I have the time, I will roll out the yoga mat and tune in to Yoga with Adriene. Oddly, working out calms me down. Plus, it preps me for a good nap (woo-hoo!).
  • I go outdoors. There are a few things that really work for me. First, simply getting in the sun helps a ton. If all I can do is lay out on our balcony and soak in some rays, I will do that. A better option is to couple the sun with a bit of water time. Getting in the pool to swim laps, or in the ocean to jump in some waves is great therapy for me. In the winter time, I would also use the jacuzzi a few times a week. And if the week is especially tiresome, I plan ahead for long hikes with my husband. 10 to 14 miles of hiking in the mountains does the trick! These days, I run a dog-sitting business and it has been the perfect antithesis to dentistry. Having dogs at my house forces me to go on walks early in the morning and after a long day of work. I never cheat the dogs. They will always get a 30 minute to one hour walk with me, but in reality, they are doing me the favor and improving my mental health! I am so grateful to be a dog-sitter and I think many people can benefit from this side-hustle. That’s why I wrote a mini-course to guide others who want to get into dog-sitting.
  • I schedule a hangout with a friend or family member. I have to admit that I usually try to do alone-things first, such as clear the schedule, write, sleep or work out. The reason is probably because I am a natural introvert. I also treat others the way I want to be treated and I would hate to be a burden to someone else. It would make me feel guilty to call someone up and just dump all my problems on their lap. But now I realize that hanging out with friends and family is a two way street. I can also listen to their suffering and perhaps together, we could uplift each other’s spirits through the commonality of our suffering. It’s a give and take. We can offload our stresses and then take on their stresses. While it may sound like this would add to the anxiety, the opposite is quite true. As we realize that others are also doing the best they can in life, we have more grace for ourselves and our perceived shortcomings. Hanging out with people reminds me that doing my best is enough.
  • I ask for help. On that last note, I have become better at asking for help. I used to hate doing that. I thought asking for help meant I wasn’t good enough. But I now know that asking for help means I am already doing my best. When I get overwhelmed, I reach out to people around me and delegate some of the tasks that I cannot handle.
    • I ask my husband to help with household chores.
    • I ask my assistants to do more of the prep work.
    • I ask my front-desk to block out the schedule.
    • I request a vacation from my boss.
    • I ask my siblings to help with my parents.
    • I ask my parents to help with the cat.
    • I ask myself to let things go.

Side note: The trick to efficiently asking for help is to be very specific about your needs. Instead of asking my husband to help with the household chores, I say, “Today, can you please do one load of laundry and clean the kitchen.” I tell my brother and sister, “For Mother’s Day, can you (brother) make the reservation and (sister) help pay for lunch.” Being specific helps others help me. At the same time, it helps me determine how important those tasks really are. Are they worth asking others to work on it? If they aren’t, then I simply delete those tasks from my to-do list and that’s a relief, too!

Photo by Patrick Schneider on Unsplash

The Ever-Growing List of Things I’ve Done to Get Out of Student Debt

I graduated from dental school at 26 years old with $575,000 of student debt. That fact alone was mind-blowing enough to land me a podcast interview on Choose FI back in 2018. I then became the first interview with Travis Hornsby on Student Loan Planner Podcast. Since then, I have partnered with Student Loan Planner and Student Loan Advice to help young grads tackle their debt. Because the shocking reality is that big debt exists for almost every new-grad out there. Which is why this blog was originally born. I wanted to share my path towards financial freedom in the hopes of helping others maneuver past their student loans. I really hope it has helped thus far. Today, I decided to write a round-up post on everything I have done to get out of student debt. I’m sorry it has taken this long.

But before we get to it, you might be interested in The Ever-Growing List of Ways to Earn Extra Income, The Ever Growing List of Things I’ve Given Up in the Name of Frugality, and The Ever-Growing List of Things I Have Given Up in the Name of Creating Less Waste. You may also want to read my interviews with other bloggers. The UnOrthoDoc shares how I am paying back my student debt in 7 years. I talk about the effects of our heritage on personal finance in an interview for the series Blood Debts. And Making Sense of Cents shared how I used side-hustles to catapult debt repayment.

The Ever-Growing List of Things I Have Done to Get Out of Student Debt

  • I worked three jobs during under-grad to support myself financially and to take as little debt as possible. This work ethic is what got me to start side-hustling my way to financial freedom. Check out these posts for ideas: 15 Early Morning Jobs To Jump-Start Your Day and 3 Early Morning Jobs I’ve Done to Earn Extra Money.
  • I chose a college that I could commute to for Undergrad. Even though I got into more prestigious schools, staying local was an intentional choice. I lived at home with my parents in order to save money on rent and food.
  • I finished Undergrad in 3 years. I was able to do this by taking more than 10 AP classes in high-school. These credited as college credits. My college classmates suggested I stay the fourth year to ‘get the full college experience’. I chose to graduate in three years so I could save on tuition and work full-time in my ‘fourth year’.
  • I moved in with my then-boyfriend, now-husband and two guy friends in order to save on rent during dental school. I lived near campus the first two years and was paying $1200 per month in rent. I asked to live with the boys in a city 30 minutes away to save money. My rent went down to $375 per month. After calculating in the gas, I ended up saving $600 per month the last two years of dental school. This equated to over $14,000!
  • I hired a financial planner who ended up saving my life. I spent my first paycheck to pay for his services. He listened to my needs and wants, and made a plan that worked for my goals. I owe all of my financial success to him. I always recommend interviewing a few options before choosing the planner that’s right for you. A few options are Travis Hornsby’s Team from the Student Loan Planner or Andrew Paulson’s team from Student Loan Advice backed by White Coat Investor.
  • We mastered our budget. I think budgeting is the most important life skill for financial well-being. It doesn’t matter how much you make, if you don’t know how to control spending. That’s why I wrote a Free Course on Mastering a Budget. We use You Need a Budget (YNAB) for our budgeting tool. It is my absolute favorite. I call YNAB our secret weapon. I recommend people create a budgeting tool that works for their needs. You can always try YNAB for free for 34 days.
  • I paid off all credit card debt within six months of graduating from dental school. If you have trouble paying off your credit card debts, you can always try The Credit Pros. They will help identify the most damaging and most helpful credit items, as well as provide advice and educational tools.
  • My husband and I got a roommate for the first five years of our marriage. Getting a roommate is the best way to save money on rent. In California, housing expenses are very high. By getting a roommate, we were able to save money to buy a home. Learn more about co-housing here.
  • We bought a home which gained equity. We then sold the home in 2021 to buy a better home. We took the equity and saved it for loan repayment. Find out How We Made Our Home Cash Flow Positive and How Home Ownership Sped Up My $575,000 Student Loan Repayment.
  • We travel-hack in order to see the world. One of our top life priorities is to travel. We spent the first five years of our marriage traveling to 10 countries and over 10 states. We did that without paying for air-fare. Learn how to TRAVEL FOR FREE in this post.
  • I worked midnight shifts as an early morning baker. It eventually led me to open my own bakery. When that shut-down in 2020, I became the wholesale director of the previous bakery. I had no experience as a baker, shop owner, or salesperson. But I ended up doing those things simply because I asked to learn.
  • I opened a dog-sitting business. I now earn over $1.5k a month taking care of other people’s pets. If you want to set up a dog-business, sign up below to receive my guide in your inbox. It walks you through the steps I took in order to set up my business and thrive within 6 months!
  • We placed all of our savings in a High Yield Savings Account with Marcus. A HYSA gives a higher interest rate than a savings account at a bank. When the pandemic caused a pause in student loan repayment, we held on to our money ‘in case of emergencies’ and stored it in a HYSA. It has grown with interest while the student loans are at 0% interest. It really catapulted our loan repayment journey forward! Sign up with my referral link to receive an additional 1.0% APY bump on the current listed APY for the first three months.
  • We invested money in I Bonds in order to beat inflation. On top of putting our savings in Marcus, we recently invested the maximum amount possible in I Bonds. Due to high inflation rates, I Bonds are currently at 9.6% APY until October 2022. This rate of return is unbeatable especially at a time when stocks are down. I really recommend I Bonds as a hedge against inflation. Learn more about it in this free email course.

  • I decluttered all my stuff and embraced minimalism in order to reduce spending. Here is a list of 100 things to declutter if you want to get started!
  • I try my best to resist the attention economy. I try to avoid a consumerist lifestyle. Instead, I engage in free activities that bring me joy and vitality.
  • I started this blog! I learned a lot about blogging and how to turn my writing hobby into a side-hustle. It all started with taking the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I learned how to make passive income through my writing. I really love this course and have taken it over and over again. It’s a one time fee for life-time access. It is the most life-changing course I have ever taken and definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to start a blog.
  • I’ve done everything on this list to save as much money as possible. All the money I saved, I put towards my student loans!
  • I’ve done everything on this list to make money. Saving only gets one so far, so making money is also key.
  • I invest in personal growth and learning. I read at least two books a month. There is variety in the topics I choose. I never assume I know everything about a topic. Plus I have embraced fiction as a way to learn more about the self. You can check out the recent books I have read on GoodReads.

Photo by Adam Bartoszewicz on Unsplash

5 Habits I Do Every Single Day To Grow

I’ve built a life structured around daily habits. Habits help remove the challenges that I would otherwise face to reach my goals. I like to imagine my goals as being on the other side of a wall. Habits are steps that I stack on top of each other, which eventually become tall enough to allow me to climb over that wall and get to the other side. I have multiple habits that I do every single day to reach my goals. One of my main goals, though, is progress. I want to continually grow, learn, and become my future self. Here are the top five habits I do every single day in order to grow.

5 Habits I Do Every Single Day to Grow

  1. I prioritize the top 2-3 tasks for that day. Every morning, I wake up and sit down with my planner and morning coffee. I write down specifically the top essential tasks that would catapult me forward the most. I used to write down a whole to-do list (to be honest, I still do) but I focus on the top few that would have the most impact on what I am trying to achieve. I like to tackle these tasks early in the day when I have the most energy. All other tasks get pushed back to make way for these things. The key is to be mindful about how many to choose. If I know I will have a busy day at work, I will only write down 2 things. It makes it way more doable!
  2. I write for 30 minutes, usually in the morning. Writing is important because it’s the way I organize my thoughts. I do my best thinking, reflecting, and organizing when I write. It is crucial for my personal growth and learning! Finding time to write used to be difficult for me, until I realized that I needed to create the time. I also have difficulty writing when there are distractions around. Even the drop of a needle can cause me to lose focus, which makes it complicated since my husband has been working from home these last two years. I finally realized that what worked for me is waking up insanely early, at the cat’s first meow. Typically, I force myself out of bed around 5:45am, before my husband gets up for work. The coffee helps! The real secret, though, is having a game plan for success. I make it easy on myself by prepping my coffee the night before. I charge my laptop and set it on the table. I go to sleep early. I give myself a time to wake up by (5:45am) and a place to be (at the dining table). I create a routine so my body just goes through the motions. I make it EASY for myself. I now dedicate 30 minutes every day to write.
  3. I read for 20 minutes. It shocked me to learn that most adults stop reading books after graduating from college. To this day, I still say that reading is my number one super-power. I not only learn from non-fiction, but I also understand people and the world better through fiction. I read self-help books, science books about health and the environment, life-style books about slow-living, autobiographies of famous people, you name it. I never miss my reading. I challenge myself to read at least 24 books a year, but end up reading around 30 books a year.
  4. I initiate a positive interaction with someone. I have a tendency to focus inward on myself and my goals. Even though I consider myself a giving person, I sometimes find that I have blinders on. When I am focused, I ignore what’s around me. In the past, I have even ignored my own health and body! As I got older, I realized the importance of focusing outward, keeping relationships, and helping others before myself. Every day, I initiate a positive interaction with someone, via text, email, phone call or in person. If it weren’t for the people around me, I would never have gotten to where I am today. I recognize that investing outwards is an important way of investing in myself.
  5. I reflect on what went well today and what can improve tomorrow. I gratitude journal by writing down three things that went well that day. Then I think about what I struggled with and why. I can either choose to improve tomorrow on what I struggled on, or to improve further on something that went well. It is not the experiences that make us wiser, but the take-away we get from our experiences. Therefore, reflections is a key part to growth!

Of course, the key to creating good habits is setting yourself up for them. I like to choose a planner or journal that would trigger my good habits. One of my favorites is Monk Manual. This planner really outlines an intentional lifestyle. I highly recommend it! And if you liked this post, you may want to check out what I do to become 1% better every day. I have multiple goals and personal growth is just one of them.

30 Activities to Get Out of a Rut

I would be the first to admit that sometimes, I fall into a rut. It could be hitting a creative wall or experiencing burnout from work and personal life. Either way, I find that the best way to get out of a rut is to do something else. I have a list of activities that I pull from to get me out of my funk. Something as simple as stepping away from the page, going outside for fresh air, or looking out a window can do the trick. Other times, it requires a bit more energy. Swimming laps, going for a hike, or chatting with a friend are other great ideas.

A rut, by the way, is different from the blues. I wrote about how to shake the January blues earlier this year. I liken the blues to sadness and ruts to feelings of lackluster. Sadness can be combated with activities that add vitality, whereas ruts are best fought with inspirational moments. Sometimes these activities align, but not always. Speaking of inspiration, here is a post I wrote about freeing oneself from a rut. Here are my favorite activities to get out of a rut.

30 activities to get out of a rut

  1. Go on a walk/hike/run/swim/bike ride.
  2. Bask in the sunlight.
  3. Be outdoors.
  4. Look for nature.
  5. Breathe fresh air.
  6. Listen to music.
  7. Read a book.
  8. Watch a movie.
  9. Color or do art.
  10. Fly a kite.
  11. Throw a ball.
  12. Chat with a friend.
  13. Tidy the home.
  14. Plan something exciting.
  15. Doodle.
  16. Make lists.
  17. Do any sort of physical activity.
  18. Play pretend.
  19. Mediate.
  20. Hang upside down.
  21. Drink a cup of coffee.
  22. Drink more water.
  23. Garden or Farm.
  24. Cuddle with a pet.
  25. Cook or bake something.
  26. Try crafts.
  27. Go bird watching.
  28. Sleep.
  29. Go on a retreat.
  30. Learn something new.

If you liked this post, you may also like:

Spring Cleaning: 100+ Things to Declutter

Spring is in full swing in the Golden State. Gloomy rainy days intermittently sprinkle their way between days that mimic summer weather, coaxing us poolside a few months earlier than expected. I guess that means it’s time to spring clean. Thanks to our ultimate cleaning list, we don’t need to spend time cleaning our home any more than we already do. Rather, Spring cleaning takes on a larger focus. Now is a great time to cleanse not just our homes, but our bodies, minds, and souls that which does not serve us. This may seem like a large task, but we can take it a step at a time. I have found that the best and easiest place to start is in our physical space. Let’s start Spring cleaning with 100 things to declutter.

Related Posts:

Decluterring changed my life. I became a minimalist after getting rid of the stuff that did not add value to my life. Today, I live a life of gratitude for the few things I own. I spend less time worrying about my things. I have to do less cleaning around the house. And I spend less money, avoiding adding more clutter to my home.

All of these things (saving money, saving time, and worrying less) improved my life significantly. I would consider decluttering as one of the highest forms of self-care. It’s a practice in evaluating life to the fullest, in the hopes of improving it and taking it one step closer to the life I want it to be.

Things I Have Learned During My Decluttering Journey

The art of decluttering is a personal act.

Not everything I declutter needs be decluttered by you. Do not have guilt for wanting to hold on to something that I don’t value. Do not use others as your measuring stick. The goal is to go through the mindful process of being honest with yourself and asking yourself what these items do for your life. Do they give you joy? Add stress? Make you feel warm and fuzzy inside? Support your lifestyle and goals? Do what feels right!

Decluttering one category at a time is essential.

In order to have a clear idea as to what does not belong, you need to assess each category fully. You should not jump from room to room and declutter a little bit in each one. As I wrote in the post How to Get Things Done, we need to focus on the ONE thing in order to get great results. In the case of decluttering, focus on each section of this post and you will be more effective at the job!

This is a sequential process for a reason.

Some things are easier to let go of than others. Start with the closet. These items are easier to let go of because it is the area in most homes where we have excess. The closet also contains items that are typically easy to replace, and therefore easier to let go. And usually, people aren’t that attached to their clothes, unless your a fashionista! I would reserve the most difficult categories (such as paper, digital clutter and memorabilia) for last. They will be the hardest, as they can contain personal information that requires a bit of decluttering resolve.

Decluttering is a practice.

Decluttering is surprisingly not easy. Many people feel anguish, guilt, and overwhelm. It’s totally normal and okay to feel that way. I did, too! Decluttering is a practice. If you start to feel these things, stop. Revisit another day. I would recommend taking all of April to finish this decluttering list. It doesn’t have to be done in one day. And just let go of what feels right to you.

You can always declutter again on your birthday as a sign of rebirth. Or before the holidays, in order to prepare yourself for a busy season. Or in the New Year, to start new habits. There will be plenty of other opportunities, and it takes time to build what I call the decluttering muscle! You are doing great just by starting today.

Without further ado, here are more than 100 things you can declutter this Spring, plus a few tips.

100+ Things to Declutter

The Closet

  1. Clothes that still have tags on them. There is a reason those paper tags are still hanging loosely from the labels. You will likely never wear them if you haven’t already. I don’t know about you, but when I get an article of clothing that I am excited about, I rip off the tags and wear it right away. And I wear it every week! Wouldn’t it be nice to feel that much joy and excitement about everything in your closet?
  2. Clothes that don’t fit. Stop saying you will wear it when you lose ‘X’ pounds. Embrace where you are right now and love your body as it is. By holding yourself against a possible future self, you are hurting the present you. How do you expect to get to a goal in the future when you are not supporting the present?
  3. Clothes that you are keeping just because they were a gift. Let go of the guilt you feel. It isn’t worth hanging onto the clothes. Your true friends and family will understand. To be completely honest, it actually helps them choose more intentional gifts for you in the future that you can actually cherish.
  4. Clothes that you have only worn once. Most likely, there is a reason. Whether it is because it doesn’t fit, isn’t your style, or bothers you in some way, take it as your intuitive self telling you to let it go.
  5. Clothes that don’t go with your style or lifestyle. I like to live with a capsule wardrobe that supports what I do throughout the day. You can read How A Capsule Wardrobe For Work Saves Me Money AND Time. You can also see my current capsule wardrobe here.
  6. Clothes that are at the end of their life cycle. I know you love that T-shirt or sweater with a hole on it, but honestly, you can’t wear that outside of the home and does wearing worn down clothing make you feel good? Probably not. You can thank it for its service, and then let it go.
  7. Clothes that are occasion specific. Think graduation robes, bridesmaid dresses, wedding gown and Halloween costumes. Maybe these held some significance at some point, but the memory doesn’t lie in the hanging on to things.
  8. Excess coats. How many people have multiple coats but only wear a handful? How many sweaters do you have? I usually grab for the same puffer jacket and rain slicker. I rotate through a few sweaters when I stay indoors or need to layer. And I keep one fancy wool coat that I absolutely love and is easy to throw on during those cold winter mornings. That’s it!
  9. Multiple swimsuits. I only have one and it is a classic, black one-piece from Summersalt. My advice for curating swimsuits right this way. It has been two years of using my swimsuit almost every other week, and it’s stretching a bit on the sides. I have my eyes on this new release from Vuori, and I am thinking of bravely adding a pop of color in my life.
  10. Multiple sunglasses. I only own this pair from Warby Parker, and it fits every bill.
  11. Excess hangars. After you’ve decluttered the clothes, you should have a bunch of excess hangars.
  12. Socks and underwear with holes in them.
  13. Shoes that are uncomfortable. Our feet do a whole lot of work. They need to have ample support and love from us, and the best way to do that is to wear comfortable shoes.
  14. Shoes that are worn. They have supported you for long enough, and they need to move on too.
  15. Accessories that you never use or only used once.
  16. Accessories that are unnecessary. For example, scarves?
  17. Repeat accessories. How many scrunchies/hats/beanies do you have? Perhaps pick a one or two favorites.
  18. Tarnished jewelry. This goes into a similar category as holey T-shirts. They served their purpose, but these things don’t make you feel good, whether you are aware of it or not.
  19. Broken jewelry and accessories. You will never fix them like you say you will.
  20. Jewelry you never wear. Sometimes we hang onto things because they are pretty, even when they are not useful. Try to remember that even pretty things hold mental space, and that clutter can have negative effects on your body.
  21. Out of style or costume jewelry. I try to avoid trends, for the sole reason that they go out of style. I pay a pretty penny to buy less things that are iconic and last me many years. The jewelry brand J. Hannah is making waves with millennials who wish to buy high-quality, simple, versatile and timeless jewelry at significantly lower price points. It is where I buy my jewelry. My daily jewelry set includes these hoop earrings, this locket necklace, and a discontinued pearl demi ring which has replaced my wedding ring. All are in silver for simplicity and because it is my everyday set, I never even have to think about what jewelry to wear that day.
  22. Multiple purses. I like to keep one main purse with me. This versatile OG2 purse from Lo and Sons functions as my work purse, travel purse, and gym bag. I do hang on to tinier versions such as a mini pouch and a belt bag from Lululemon when I go on errands or simple adventures. A simple trick I use is to put my essentials in a mini pouch that fits in my OG2 purse. Whenever I want to go with less, I just grab the pouch itself without having to repack a single thing.
  23. Worn out hair ties and bobby pins.

Bathroom Products

  1. Make up you never used.
  2. Makeup that doesn’t really go with your style.
  3. Make up that is unnecessary. (I don’t use foundation, eyeshadow, lipstick, blush, highlighters, fake eyelashes, etc…). In my honest opinion, this Everyday Set is the only make-up a gal needs. If you are like me, however, and dislike ingesting lip color, I would personally opt for the Sunday Edit and call it a day. I prefer to use lip balm only on my lips, and carry around a more au naturel look than most.
  4. Old and expired make up. The shelf-life of these things are not as long as most people think.
  5. Nail polish that’s dried up.
  6. Nail polish colors you never use.
  7. Deodorant that’s dried up.
  8. Doubles of certain bath products. Do you horde shampoo bottles? Toothpaste? Lotions from Bed Bath and Beyond?
  9. Extras of bath essentials. Get in the habit of buying only one at a time to decrease clutter. People are always surprised when we tell them we buy toilet paper rolls individually wrapped.
  10. Travel sized toiletries that you collected from your travels.
  11. Old sunscreen.
  12. Expired medicine. I am constantly checking supplement and pain medicine bottles and making sure they are up to date.

Kitchen Items

  1. Kitchen tools that only serve one purpose and can be replaced by another tool. You really only need a set of iconic kitchen tools, like this one from Material Kitchen.
  2. Multiple sets of knives. You only need a set of basic knives. This trio knife set from Material Kitchen is my favorite for minimalists.
  3. Multiple cutlery or tableware sets. One set is all you need. I prefer to go with white tableware and silver cutlery, both dishwasher safe to simplify my life.
  4. Extra mis-matched mugs. I love coffee vessels! But I usually only drink from one or two pieces each season. My advice is to find a mug that you LOVE and make it an everyday mug. You will cherish the routine of drinking coffee more and imbue significance in that one mug when you tie the ritual to an item.
  5. Seasonal tableware. My parents keep Christmas plates to pull out only once a year. I find it to be a shame because their plate set is so beautiful, but hardly used. It must have cost a fortune back in the day too, because it includes a place setting for 12 people!
  6. Repeat items (two wine openers is one too many). People’s homes are riddled with doubles of things, for the just-in-case. Just get rid of doubles and your life will be simpler!
  7. Gadgets that are finnicky, difficult to maintain, or promise ease of use but instead, clutter the space. My mom has an electric juicer, but I opt for a handheld lemon squeezer and that’s it.
  8. Expired foods in the pantry or fridge. Declutter (and deep clean) the fridge every two weeks.
  9. One-time use ingredients and spices that you’ll never use again. The trick is to avoid those complicated recipes that ask for incredibly unique ingredients that you never use!
  10. Organizational tools that, in reality, add clutter (for example, bins and pantry organizers). Recognize them for what they are – just more stuff.
  11. Paper towels and one-time use napkins. Opt for dish rags, bar mops and linen napkins.
  12. Old rags or hand towels. Thin out your collection.
  13. Placemats. I got rid of a set of 12 placemats and replaced it for one oatmeal-colored linen tablecloth. Less to store and clean.
  14. A plethora of serveware. I like multi-functional things and use cutting boards as cheese boards. I don’t have multiple trays, place mats, or serveware. Typically, when we host, I place the bake pan, pot, or roasting tray directly on a few potholders and call it a day. I will admit, I have a few cake stands, which double as appetizer stands when I can help it.
  15. Excess sauce packets and free napkins from your to-go orders.
  16. Excess pots and pans.
  17. Tupperware with missing lids. I have actually been guilty of this one!
  18. Multiple water bottles and travel mugs. I have one water bottle and one travel tumbler, both from an amazing Japanese company called Kinto.
  19. Broken Appliances.
  20. Fridge magnets.
  21. Chip bag clips.
  22. Junk drawers. The name says it all.


  1. Spare bedding. I only keep one for each bed.
  2. Excess throw blankets and decorative pillows. Having too many can create the feeling of clutter. A recommendation I have is to keep neutral colors in the same hue. It’s less exhausting to look at than patterns and plenty of color.
  3. Spare towels. Keep only enough for a few guests that you can host. Keep only one set for your family.
  4. Seasonal textiles, such as sheets, pillows, tablecloths and blankets that can only be used during the holidays or special occasions. Opt for a neutral design that fits all occasions and the every day.
  5. Single use table cloths and napkins.

Home Decor

  1. Seasonal home decor that you only use a part of the year.
  2. Figurines or vases that you no longer like.
  3. Picture frames that aren’t really being used.
  4. Artwork that may be cluttering the walls.
  5. Throw pillows that get in the way or are stored in closets.
  6. Multiple candles or old candles. Alternatively, gifted candles with scents you don’t like and would never use.
  7. Collectibles. My mom really loves her collectibles and I would never force anyone to part with something that means a lot to them. But if you once collected beanie babies as a child and they are sitting in a dusty box in the garage, at least ask yourself the question, “Do I really love these as I once did?”

Travel Items

  1. Additional suitcases. We were gifted matching large check-in bags for our honeymoon and we have only used them once – during our honeymoon! It has been more than five years, and as minimalists, we usually need nothing more than an overhead bag, even when we travel for weeks at a time internationally. See my minimalist travel packing tips in this post!
  2. Neck pillows. Toss ’em.
  3. Multiple backpacks. We each have one that we use for everything.


  1. Books that you’ve already read.
  2. That box of 100 pens or 100 pencils that you bought in bulk to ‘save money’. Change your mindset to ‘Save Space’.
  3. Old pens or stationary.
  4. Unused craft items.
  5. Old batteries.
  6. CDs and DVDs.
  7. Organizational items like bins, manila folders, paper trays, etc.
  8. Office supplies that you hardly use, like stapler, hole puncher, and paper clips. We don’t even have a printer at home.
  9. Excess pads of paper, box of envelopes, or empty notebooks. I like to stick to one notebook at a time. When I finish it, I go back through and decide which information is still needed and I either save that on my laptop or transfer it to my new notebook. Usually, it fills maybe one page.
  10. Gift cards and coupons. I have a habit of using gift cards right away. That might sound silly but I just don’t like to hold onto them. So I spend them once I receive them and let them go. If I have nothing I wish to buy at the time, I use them to buy someone else a present.


  1. Wrapping paper saved for Christmas or birthdays. I like to choose brown paper or something simple that fits every occasion. I tie with jute string and decorate with leaves or flowers from the park outside. You can also check out how I wrapped presents one Christmas using the art of Furoshiki.
  2. Cords with no purpose.
  3. Musical instruments or music devices that you never use.
  4. Old toys.
  5. Rusty plant pots.
  6. Unused paints.
  7. Outside equipment.
  8. Unused or broken tools.
  9. Pet items. Yes, even our pet is minimalist! He has one food and water bowl that’s big enough to fit one serving of food. He has one carrier, one bed from Tuft and Paw, and a litter box with litter mat. And a handful of toys. No pet clothes and certainly no fancy cat tree. Get rid of the half-chewed up toys. And definitely declutter any extra accessories.
  10. Board games that your family never plays. We have a huge collection of boardgames, but if I am being honest, there are a few we never reach for. Perhaps regift it to a friend who also loves boardgames, or to a school in need.
  11. Puzzles with missing pieces or ones that you are never going to use again.
  12. Video games and systems that you don’t use anymore. Try re-selling them online, as my husband has always had success in that.
  13. Freebies and giveaways. You probably only took those items home because they were free. But are they really? Remember that everything takes up mental space and cost you energy.
  14. Loose change. I don’t even carry around cash anymore. Everything can be done online.

Paper Clutter

  1. Old letters you hang on to.
  2. Birthday cards or holiday cards from years prior.
  3. Receipts that you really don’t need.
  4. Bank statements or other records which you can get online.
  5. Notebooks and notes from the past.
  6. Class notes from college days. How many times do you really look at them?
  7. Mail. Open them once you receive them, and then throw them out. Secret – 90% of mail is junk. A tactic I use to really keep mail to a minimum is to unsubscribe to everything. It initially takes work as you need to contact businesses and ask them to take you off their mailing lists, but it is SO worth it.
  8. Magazines that you’ve already read or don’t plan on reading. In line with my previous note, I would get rid of magazine subscriptions altogether.
  9. Photographs that don’t hold meaning for you.

Digital Clutter

  1. Email. I have had the same email since I was in elementary school. One day, frustrated by all the junk and clutter in my digital space, I just hit ‘Delete All’. I never missed a single email and I haven’t turned back since.
  2. Photos on your phone, cameras, desktop, or USB drives. It takes a decent amount of emotional distancing from material goods to be able to let go of memorabilia. This is not for the soft-hearted decluterrer. Be advised, proceed with caution. Me? I am totally fine with clearing my life of photos, and do so regularly. I keep a few, but never more than one USB drive.
  3. Documents. Depending on your line of work, do you really need all your documents? I am a writer and I don’t keep many. I write, I publish, and I delete.
  4. Receipts. As we progress into the digital age, there are very few receipts you need to keep. Most likely, if you have a digital version of it, you can find it somewhere.

Because I started decluttering, I am able to live a more frugal and intentional life. One that allows me to pay back my student loan debt of $575,000! I am able to live in a smaller home and pay less for housing. I love all the things I own. They are beautiful and functional. I look at my items as comrades who help me get through this thing we call life. There is a relationship with my things, for which I have gratitude.

I hope that this year’s Spring cleaning brings you something more than a clean home. A new outlook, perhaps. Or extra breathing room. Either way, share your thoughts and ideas around this post below!

Photo by Mathieu Perrier on Unsplash

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