Read along with the Podcast!
Clutter Free Academy Podcast # 405
Ready for Anything – Expenses
Kathi – Well, hey friends. Welcome to Clutter Free Academy, where our heart is to help you take small, doable steps to live every day with less clutter and more life. I am here with my friend, my partner in crime. It’s Tonya Kubo. Hey, Tonya.
Tonya – Hey, Kathi!
Kathi – Okay, we are on Week Four of Ready for Anything: Preparing Your Heart and Home for Any Crisis, Big or Small. No, I do not have fortune telling gifts. If you hear kids in the background, it’s because this is real life.
Tonya – Thank you! I’m like, “Don’t talk!”
Kathi – You may hear a cat meow or a dog bark. This is just the world we live in now. Okay, can I just tell you, I have a friend whose husband went up to go to the bathroom and their kid, their three year old, I’ve heard a couple of situations like this, but I thought this was pretty funny, their three year old decided to get on the conference call with all of daddy’s friends, and entertain them. Yes. I’ve heard many stories. Pretty funny. This is just the new reality. I think we’re all going to be a lot more chill when this is done. Hey, we just have to do things a new way. Who thought Anderson Cooper would be broadcasting from his house? It’s just a whole new world, isn’t it friends? It’s interesting. We are in a time of crisis, obviously, here in the world. Not just in the United States. All over the world. We talk about 3-2-3 in Ready for Anything. I want you to be prepared 3-2-3. So, 3: If you had to leave your house for three days, would you have the medication? The clothes? Whatever you need? That’s your Bugout Bag. Then, 2: Two weeks of food, water, power. If you had to shelter in place like we’re having to do now, would you have everything you need? Finally, 3: Three months of basic expenses for you and your household. I think the last one is the one that freaks people out the most, even though it’s supposed to be what we’re doing. I want to talk about that today. I know we’re talking in a very tender time, right now. It was interesting. We had somebody stay in our AirBnB and they only stayed one day instead of two. Normally, you don’t give refunds for stuff like that, but I know that everybody is in tough circumstances, so we sent them a refund. They said, “This is awesome, because almost half the people who were staying at that AirBnB that weekend, just before this happened, either they or their husbands have lost their jobs.” So, it’s that kind of time. We are trying to keep payroll going for our small business. All of us who employ people with their side hustle, or this is their main hustle, but they’re also taking care of kids and stuff? It’s a tough time. So, I want to be sensitive to this, but I also want to speak in truth that this is a goal that we want to accomplish; to have a bit of a cushion when an emergency comes. I also want to say this loud and clear. If this was not your circumstance when all this hit, please do not feel ashamed. Do not feel bad. You are in a circumstance that most people are. That’s just the reality of it. We just want to help you for the next crisis, or the next thing that’s coming along. So, the first thing I want to do, when we talk about Ready for Anything, I give you two small goals. They may not feel small, depending on where you’re at, but they are two very achievable goals during normal times. That is, one: buy a water jug. We always need more water than we think we’re going to. Two: Save up one hundred one dollar bills. The reason I want you to have cash is, in case you have to pay someone that’s delivering something. Cash is often king. Also, it’s good to have money in a checking account or savings account, something that has a debit card attached to it, so you can pay for deliveries, you can pay for those kinds of things, but cash is also very important too. So, some of the ways we have done our hundred dollars? One, we didn’t eat out for a month. So, we took some of that money. Remember Throwback Thursday, when you could go out to dinner? That’s what we’re talking about here. Also, we had a change jar that we were saving up for a trip. We thought, “You know what? We need an emergency fund more than we need a trip right now.” So, that’s what we did. What are some of the things you have done to be able to put aside one hundred dollar bills, Tonya?
Tonya – For us, it’s Starbucks, right? ‘Cause two adults who work outside the home can en masse a whole lot of Starbucks if that’s what they do. We’ve done a whole month of not eating out at all. We’ve got a family of four, so that’s easily a hundred dollars, if not two hundred dollars. The other thing we have managed to do, is really just looked at true needs versus wants. So, things that have been very easy for us, at certain times, to do, is just running to the store for that one thing isn’t really that big a deal. It’s the twenty two things that I find along the way to find my just one thing?
Kathi – Ain’t it the truth? Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. For the longest time, we had Roger’s shirts laundered. I wanted him to look well-pressed when he went to work, not like someone who just rolled out of bed. Well, when times were just a little bit leaner, it was me ironing the shirts, which, by the way, I hate. But, I found a way to make it fun. I told myself, “I can watch any stupid TV I want, as long as I’m ironing a shirt.” I won’t even tell you what I watched. I don’t want to be embarrassed that way, but it’s things like that. What do I have at home that I can use instead of going to the store for the things I want? So, we would have what we called The Fat of the Land weeks, where we would just eat what was in the fridge and what was in the pantry, and just use all that up. So, I think that’s really good for your first hundred dollars. Your second goal is to save up a thousand dollars. A thousand dollars starts to open up all sorts of possibilities. This isn’t just for disasters. It’s for, when the dishwasher goes out. I use that example in the book, because when the dishwasher goes out, there’s a couple of things you can do. One, you can do dishes by hand for a while. That’s another thing I hate doing. Can we just say, I basically hate housework? But I do it. But, if you don’t have the money, you can hold off for a while. You can start to save up for the money. Or, if you have a thousand dollars, what you can do is a combination of these things. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to wash dishes by hand, but we’re also not going to go out to dinner. So, I can start saving up money so we can put it outside, so we can start to replenish that emergency fund, so as we order the dishwasher and we’re able to use that. So, thinking through these things, here’s something I like to remind myself and other people, “We’re more resilient than we think. We are more clever than we think. We are more resourceful than we think. We can do these things.” Then, the third goal, again guys, please hear me, I know this is not realistic for a lot of people right now. It’s just not. But, at some point your life is going to get back to normal, the money is going to start coming back in, because you’re going to be working hard. Here’s a beautiful thing: I want you to think about what you would need for three months of drastically reduced expenses. Here’s where I love how Ready for Anything interweaves everything: your Bugout Bag. You’ve got three days of food in your Bugout Bag. That, plus, if you’ve got two weeks of food at your house, that is 17 days where you can eat from home, and you don’t have to spend anything at the grocery store. So, I like to think about it that way. That’s almost three weeks of food that you don’t have to budget for in your drastically reduced expenses. I also want you to think about, “Hey! Is there a way to delay the mortgage during those first three months?” Is there something you can do? I know there’s a lot of programs going on right now that are mortgage or rent relief right now. So, if you’ve lost your job, it’s time to be checking in to those kinds of things. Also, do you have Netflix right now? Can I just tell you? Netflix is a sanity saver, and it’s not very expensive, but if one of us lost our job, that’s one of the first things I’d be looking at. It’s things like that. It’s the Starbucks fund. It’s the time to start realizing that I am more resourceful than I think I am. I can do hard things. We are going to get through this. So, Tonya, I’d love to hear some things that you’ve done. I know you’ve told me some things you’ve done in the short term, but you’ve done things in the long term, too, to be able reduce expenses, or increase your income.
Tonya – Lily, who’s now ten, was three weeks old when Brian lost his job. He got that pink slip the same day I signed final termination notice of my career, because I was going to be a stay at home mom. So we lived this life several years ago. We were not ready. Not only did we not have savings, we were so over our heads in debt. We had no concept of needs vs wants back then. So, having lived through that, having survived that has taught us so much. So, one thing for me, and this is not going to apply to all of our listeners now, but my emergency fund is an online only bank account. There is no ATM machine attached to that account. It’s not easy to get that money, because it’s not supposed to be.
Kathi – Right! You have to hide it from yourself.
Tonya – At the beginning, you know what our huge win was? The day that registration renewal came in the mail for our cars and we had that money. We had the money.
Kathi – You had the money. That’s amazing.
Tonya – It was an old, paid off car. It was a $183, but we had never had that much extra in one paycheck at one time before, but we had that because of our emergency fund. Our emergency fund stared off with, “Do we have $100 in cash in a sock drawer?” to “Do we have $500 in this account?” And for years, $500 was as high as we could go. So, long term, that money that goes into that bank account used to be, I was watching that bank balance all the time because this was coming out, that was coming out, but pretty soon, it’s like, “Oh, we probably have that in our emergency fund and can handle that.” Our dishwasher went out a month ago. We were able to cover it. You know?
Kathi – It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Tonya – It is. Now is a situation, we’re very fortunate that Brian’s income isn’t affected by what’s going on, but let me tell you, I know exactly where I’d cut, and when I’d cut it. What I realized before is, I waited too long to make cuts.
Kathi – I totally get it.
Tonya – Stuck my head in the sand and said, “It’s all going to be fine. God will provide.”
Kathi – Well, you talked about your low financial point. Let me tell you mine, which didn’t involve anybody getting fired or having a baby or any of that stuff. It was just my own plain stupidity. So, I worked at Nordstrom and there were a pair of boots. They were an expensive pair of boots. I think they were $300. Right? What was I thinking? But I got a 20% discount!
Tonya – That’s what you were thinking!
Kathi – That was $60 off! I was so excited to come home and show my mom. While I was home that night, the person I bought my car from came and repossessed it, because I hadn’t been making payments. That’s as stupid as a human being can get. Right? So, yeah.
Tonya – At the same time, back then, I was getting my hair colored. Hindsight being 20/20, is that the choice I would have made?
Kathi – Right. I know. I know.
Tonya – Probably not.
Kathi – Look at where we’ve got in life. I cut Roger’s hair yesterday.
Tonya – I stopped coloring my hair two years ago. I don’t miss it one bit.
Kathi – It looks amazing. If I could stop coloring and it would look like yours, I would do it in a heartbeat. What we’re trying to say here, guys is, there are ways to make this so it’s not so stressful on you. I don’t want anybody to feel ashamed. I don’t want anybody to feel “Shoulda Woulda Coulda”. You know what? We’re all starting from day one. We’re at Quarantine Day 8 right now. We’re recording these in advance. There’s no shame. It’s just “What are we going to do from here?” That’s what I want for you guys. I think of those cans of tomatoes as money in the bank for me. It’s money I don’t have to spend on other things. That’s what I want for each and every one of you. So, I want you to get your 100 $1 bills. If that means you’re taking an extra three dollars out when you go to the grocery store and sticking it someplace? Then it’s there when you need it. Your second goal is a thousand dollars. So, major repairs, car repairs, things like that, you have. Even if you don’t have all the money for it? You have a head start on it. Your third goal is three months of drastically reduced expenses. So, I would look at that as, probably, what your normal expenses are, cut in half. So, what would you be able to live on, and get really smart? I’m going to tell you about two resources I love. Not everybody is a huge Dave Ramsey fan, but I think what he says makes sense, especially for those of us that are struggling. So, I look to his principles. The other thing that I love, there’s a book that I love. It was published in the 80s and 90s, but I love the principles of it. It’s called The Tightwad Gazette. It’s by Amy Dacyczyn and I just dug my copy out, and I’m going to be reading over it. It’s got all these Grandma Skills in it, and that’s what we need right now. We need the Grandma Skills. So, what is it that you need right now? I think this is really doable. Tonya, I’d like you to share some of the resources that we have for our listeners, to help them with some of these hard things, especially if they preorder the book.
Tonya – We are building up our resource library as fast as we possibly can. Right now, if you preorder Ready for Anything, and that’s if you preorder the eBook or you preorder the print addition. I know everybody has their preferences. It was just supposed to be a two week meal plan, but it’s really become a mini cookbook for Cooking in a Crisis. The idea is, lost job, whatever is happening, you have a two week go-to plan. It’s right there for you. Also, worksheets for your freezer, pantry and fridge inventory. You make smarter purchasing choices when you know what you have on hand. Then, we have some shopping lists. We have a 5-day, initially, it was a homeschool curriculum for emergency preparedness, but now it’s an all-family curriculum for emergency preparedness. So, 30 minutes a day over 5 days and you can just tackle some of the big projects that we have in the book, as a whole family. I think this is huge. When it’s a family affair, it’s so much less overwhelming. Then, our two-week eCourse Kickstart to Clutter Free. I think that one’s good, ‘cause something that I have realized is, I actually feel more at ease when I have less clutter, also, if I have something to do. I think that thing is to feel less helpless. I’m home, I have all this time on my hands, and I don’t know what to do with it. So, what I love about our two week eCourse, Kickstart to Clutter Free, and that retails for $49, it’s just a very quick, twenty minute project every single day. So, you’ve got something you can do. If you do it as a whole family, it’s another way to fill the time.
Kathi – It was interesting. I was meeting with a MOPS group today, after they watched all the stuff for Clutter Free Home. They were doing the curriculum that you and I created. We were talking about the UCL study that says, when there’s clutter, women are the most stressed out. It doesn’t affect the cortisol levels of men, but it does affect the cortisol levels of women. We need to really understand that clutter really does affect our stress. Especially since we’re indoors so much right now. We need to be on top of that. I love that we’ve been able to say, “We would love to be able to give this book away for free, but we’re just going to give you so much free stuff, so it’s going to seem like it’s free.” Which I love.
Tonya – More than anything, we’re just trying to be a resource.
Kathi – We want to be a resource – a sane resource in a lot of frightening stuff. That’s what we want to be for you guys. Tonya, thank you for giving up these four weeks to be with us. I so appreciate it.
Tonya – Thanks for having me. It’s been very helpful to dig through this. I really enjoyed it.
Kathi – I’m so glad. Friends, thank you for joining us. You’ve been listening to Clutter Free Academy. I’m Kathi Lipp. Now, go create the clutter free life you were always intended to live.
*see show notes in podcast post above for any mentioned items