Lani on Life

How I Quit My Job

Last month, I quit my job.

I thought this was it. I thought I was living my dreams. Until I woke up and realized what I had been experiencing was a slow, soul-draining nightmare. No, it wasn’t my marriage (praise God). No, it wasn’t my kids or my friends. It was the one thing I had major control over, my career. After going back to school to earn a Master’s degree and making a conscious decision that this was my way to impact the world, I realized that public education may not be my calling. All the certifications, degrees, awesome teacher friends, and great students couldn’t change my mind. God helped me realize that that was not where I was meant to be. 

So many of us are faced with this heavy reality at some point in our lives. Especially us “millennials” who have no problem jumping ship if something doesn’t quite feel right. So the questions are, how did I figure it out? How did I know it was time to go? It was not an easy decision (and still is not), but I am thankful I knew when it was time to go, knowing when it’s time to quit. 

Pray for guidance 

The first thing I began to do when the feeling crept in that this was not for me, was to Pray about the situation.  Before I allowed anyone else’s thoughts and feelings to cloud my decision making, I sought out God. It’s so important to build your relationship with God so that you are aware of his voice when he speaks. If I had to make this choice in y own strength, I likely would’ve continued the path of unhappiness for the sake of others. All of the “you could’ve just stuck it out” would’ve made me second guess myself had I not already consulted with God and made a decision for myself. Now my response is, “No, I couldn’t have” because I know through prayer that I had to quit my job. 

Count the Cost 

So you have to logical in your decisions, but especially when you are considering quitting your job.  I had to sit down and literally count the costs. How much money would I lose? How much money would I save? What will the effects of quitting do to my mental health? What will the effects of quitting do to my household? Going down the path of walking away from something that was a major financial contributor really forced me to look at my household budget and how it would be affected.  At the end of the day, you have to determine what is important to you and what things you can sacrifice.  Money wasn’t worth the level of stress and the amount of havoc being a full-time classroom teacher was causing in my home. So, I quit my job. 

Seek Advice 

Advice can come in many forms. I caution you here to be careful about who you allow to speak into your life. Seek out someone you trust, someone who doesn’t always agree with you just for the sake of agreeing with you, and someone who may have experience in the area in which you need advice.  For me, it was my husband. My husband is truly my friend and my sounding board. In all honesty, he is a lot more logical than I am and helped reinforce the decision to quit my job. I knew if he was on board that I was on to something here. 

Have a Plan 

Whenever you decide that your employer is not where you are meant to be, don’t get so excited to walk off of the job today. Make sure you have a plan that will sustain you. Don’t count on your business making millions the minute you launch your website and don’t think you’ll hit the lottery next week. Think carefully and practically about your exit plan and then do everything within your power to make it happen. For some, this may take a few weeks, for other a few years.  No matter the length, keep pressing towards your goals. 

My plan was online teaching. I am teaching online and loving it. I have the opportunity to continue to do what I love, without sacrificing myself or my family. There are so many options to choose from when considering an online teaching career. I work with several ESL companies as well as take on private online tutoring students. I am so blessed to do what I love from the comfort of my home. Figure out what you love, make a plan, and rock it!  

Quit: Exit stage left 

And finally, exit stage left! After all is said and done bow out as gracefully as you can. Don’t walk out cursing your supervisor or ruining everyone’s day.  Close up shop, say your goodbyes, and move on to the next stage in life. Make sure that part of your exit plan is talking to your boss about the situation (don’t burn bridges people). You never know when that person will come back into your life. 

All in all, if you feel that tug down in soul that your career choice is no longer lighting your fire, don’t be afraid to reevaluate and go for it! 

Keep doing (the best) you boo! 

xoxo Lani 

Budgeting 101: Budgeting for Kids

It is very important that we start implementing budgeting for kids at an early age. In my household, we have been overhauling our budget and getting more focused and dedicated to planning and properly utilizing our income. We all know kids don’t really care about budgets. They see things, they want them, they expect their parents to come through to make it happen. This is why I felt the need to focus on budgeting for kids. What if we challenged that paradigm and taught our children the value of budgeting and choosing what to allocate your money towards?

In the posts “How to get your Budget in Check” Part 1 and Part 2 we set the groundwork for gaining control of your finances through purposeful strategies. Here, we want to include the whole family in our budget endeavors. We want to focus on teaching our kids about budgeting. Because after all, the family who budgets together stays together…..(I totally just made that up).

teaching kids about budgeting, teaching kids about money

Set the example

Firsts things first, you have to be the change you want to see. Your kids look up to you for everything in their lives, budgeting should be no different. If you want to teach your kids good money habits, you should have good money habits. In no way am I saying you should be perfect, but you should have good habits and tips to share. More is caught than is taught. If your children see that you are not frivolously spending money, they are likely to follow in your footsteps. Be transparent about your money making decisions so they can see that managing money and a household takes both strategies and thought.

Provide Opportunity

The best way to learn is to do. Give your children ample opportunity to earn money and make budgeting decisions. Notice I said earn money (you should not just give them money, just because). When your child has completed their chores or whatever task you have set forth, they can be compensated for their work. This is how they will earn their money,

Allow them to set money goals and work towards it. For instance, If your son wants to buy a new remote control car, help him set a monetary goal and provide opportunities for him to work towards it. Once the goal is met, take him to reap the benefits of his hard work and set the next goal. Goal setting will provide your kids an area of focus for their budget.

Encourage Giving

An important aspect of teaching kids about budgets is giving. Show your children that they should be givers. They shouldn’t keep all of their money to themselves, instead teach them the power and importance of giving. I really enjoy this part because you get a chance to see where your child’s heart is based on who they choose to help. A word of caution here is to not allow them to help mom or dad. Although this is very sweet, encourage your child to be a blessing to a person or organization outside of your household. Important lesson are learned when we are givers and children learn that we can work to earn and work to help others.

Allow Them To Make Mistakes

This one may be the most difficult! As parents, we naturally want to shield our kids from making mistakes. But, who learned to ride a bike because their parents stopped them from falling off? NO ONE! Let your kids make financial mistakes, let them purchase something that is priced too high, let them give away all of their money and have nothing left for themselves. Then, use it as an opportunity to help them learn and grow to make sound decisions in the future. It is better for kids to learn about money and make mistakes while the risks are low than to become an adult making high risk decions with little knowledge.

Dave Ramsey has a great list of how to teach kids about money at different ages. The learning should never stop and should get more complex as kids age. If we can get in the habit of teaching kids about budgeting and teaching kids about money, we can break cycles from the past. We can raise children who are money conscious and well equipped to financially navigate life.

teaching kids about budgeting, teaching kids about money

How do you teach your kids about budgeting?

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

Part 2: How to Get Your Budget in Check

If you are ready and prepared to get your budget in check, you are in the right place. If you are landing here for the first time, I encourage you to check out Part 1: How to Get Your Budget in Check before continuing.

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In Part 1 we discussed the basics of getting your budget in order. Including, understanding your income, identifying your debt, and devising a plan to get your budget in order. In Part 2 we will take it a step further and discuss how to get your budget in check by identifying budget “killers”, executing your plan, and reassessing and readjusting your budget.

Let’s jump in.

Idenitfying Budget Killers

Once you have gotten a clear understanding of how much income is coming into your household, now is the time to identify the things that are killing your budget. We all have our vices and things we like to eat, drink, listen to or do at the expense of maintaining our budget. Automatic reloads on your Starbucks account could be killing your budget. $8.99 per month to an unknown subscription could be killing your budget. Stopping at Wawa every morning before work could be killing your budget.

Your responsibility here is to look over your bank statements with a fine tooth comb and identify the areas where you are spending excess. If you haven’t completed your free budget check up, it may be a little difficult to continue. If you have, it is safe to say your budget killers are the area in which you are spending in excess. Some of those factors we cannot change immediately (such as you rent or car payment), but others we can (entertainment, dining out). When you find the areas you are overspending in, you have successfully identified potential budget killers.

get your budget in check, budgeting | Lani on Life

Executing your Plan

Now that you have identified your income, analyzed your spending, and identified your budget killers, now comes the time to execute the plan. This is where things get rough! No one can make you follow through with your plan but you. What monetary goals have you set for yourself or your family? These are the things that will keep you pushing forward. To make it a little easier, put those goals up in a place where you will see them daily to help remind yourself of why you chose this path.

If you have allocated $20 a week to spend on coffee/breakfast items, I would encourage you to take that out as cash. This helps you to avoid going over in this budget category. We quickly forget how much we’ve spent when just slide that card! Measures like these are the things that you will need to put in to play to ensure you are executing your plan as effectively as possible. If you mess up one day, that is okay. Each day is a new day to get on and stay on the right track. Being in control of your budget does not occur over night.

Reassessing and Readjusting

At the end of each month (or as often as you’d like) you should reassess your budget and adjust as necessary. Many factors cause our budgets to fluctuate, that is why having a budget requires consistent assessing and adjusting. A budget is a living breathing document, not one and done.

To save your sanity, I’d only do this once a month. Reflect on your past month and see where things need to be altered. This does not mean increase categories where you are overspending! This means plan accordingly so you do not. For instance, if I am overspending in entertainment, I may preplan my outings with friends and not accept any additional invitations to events for the month. The power of “no” is your friend when it comes to keeping your budget intact. If you allotted much more to an area and ended with residual funds, you can move that to other areas of need. Neglecting to reassess and readjust your budget, will result in an unusable budget. One that will require you to start anew.

Now that you are all ready to get your budget in check, go out and dominate! Let me know what things you are doing to ensure you are keeping your budget in check and what tips you’d like to see to help you stay the course.

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

Part 1: How to Get Your Budget in Check

Let’s talk about the “B” word. You need to figure out how to get your “B” in check. No not the one you may “accidently” call someone who cuts you off in traffic. The one that is hindering a lot of our lives but we refuse to talk about and dicusss. BUDGET !

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We are still in the first quarter of the new year, so this is a fine time to sit down and realize how out of whack your budget may be. My husband and I have been attempting to get our budgets in check for quite a while now. This year we took a leap, we are taking some budgeting classes, and we are going full course ahead to get that “B” in check. How are we doing it? The same way others before us have done it. If you’re prepared to make a change in your life and get some things on course for the future, here is how you can get your budget in check.

Understand your income

First, you need to understand your household income. You cannot adequately make a plan to get your budget in check if you don’t know where your money is coming from and how much. If you are single, this will be a little bit easier than if you are married. Married couples need to get a snapshot of the total household income, as well as independent owners.

For many of us “millennials” when we got married we threw out traditional roles and kept most of our money separate. No? Just me? Okay. Trust me, it is so hard to account for every dollar when everyone is doing their own thing. You are trying to see the big picture but you are missing pieces of the puzzle. Get all the money in one place to fully understand your earning power. Once you understand your income, you can identify debt and identify the budget killers.

Identify debt

Next you need to identify your household debt. Debt is the enemy of budgets! We all have some debt, and we need to be frank about how much we owe. This is a crucial part in getting your budget in check. Identifying you debt allows you to create a plan of attack to irradicate that debt. Think about it, the longer you owe money the longer you will not have the money you thought you were earning.

Take that number and write it down, put it in a place you and your spouse see on a daily basis. This is not to remind you of the debt shadow looming over you head. But this should serve as a reminder of the goals you have to eliminate your debt and will encourage you to stick with your plan, stick to your newly planned household budget.

Devise a plan

If you have taken this time to understand your household income and identified all areas of debt, you are well on your way. The next step is to devise a plan. Planning your budget will be tough. You need to sit down and consider how much money you are already spending in several different categories. Print out your monthly statements and look at each line item and place them in categories. If you have a bank app that does this for you, even better.

Next, determine what percentage of your income you are currently spending in each category (for example, 30% on housing, 5% on entertainment etc). Then, calculate how much you should be spending based on your income. If you are having trouble on this step, be sure to download my free budget check up to get you going.

This will be the basis of your new budget. Stop at this point and take the time to get this in order using my free budget planner and come back. In parrt 2 of how to get your budget in check we will talk about idenitfing budget “killers”, executing your plan, and reassessing and readjusting your budget.

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

xoxo Lani

25 Things to do With Your Spouse

Running out of things to do with your spouse? This list is going to provide you with quick and easy, budget-friendly solutions to get out of the dating slump. If you are confused about dating your spouse, read this post.

Doing the same thing every time you have date time can get boring and old really fast. If you are stuck in a rut, take the time to create a list with your spouse of things to do. Here are some things to do with your spouse to jump-start your creativity and insert some variety into your dating life.

  1. Cooking class
  2. Indoor rock climbing
  3. Geocaching
  4. Picnic in the park
  5. A day at the beach
  6. Couples massage
  7. Dance class
  8. Roller skating/ Rollerblading
  9. Rent city bikes
  10. Silent party
  11. Trampoline gym (think sky zone)
  12. Karaoke 
  13. Michael’s make and take classes
  14. City tour
  15. Attend a local festival
  16. Art museum
  17. Beginners photography class
  18. Kayaking
  19. Improv comedy show (or class)
  20. Rent and ride river bikes
  21. Segway tour
  22. Paintball
  23. Nature walk/hike
  24. Distillery tasting and tour
  25. Paint and Sip

What’s on your list of things to do with your spouse?

Be sure to pin this page for your future date night reference.

Keep doing (the best) you boo!
xoxo Lani

How to Date Your Spouse

Dating your spouse is a must! We spend so much time getting to know one another and planning the perfect dates when we are in the “courting” phase of our relationship. Once we have each other trapped committed for life, we seem to lose the need to date one another. When life gets going, spending quality time and having fun together seems to take a back seat. The truth of the matter is, the children will grow up and leave. The jobs, the city, and friends may change. But at the end of the day, you are left with one other. Don’t look up and see a total stranger. To help you avoid “stranger danger” here are some tips to help you date your spouse.

5 ways to date your spouse

Set a consistent time

This by far is one of the most crucial detail in dating your spouse. Time is at a premium, but you must make time for the things that are important to you. Carve out a certain day of the week or month to do something special with your spouse. Most couples can at least find the time once a month to do something together. If you have an unpredictable schedule, impromptu dating is also encouraged, but do your best to set a specific time.

If you choose to have a date night once a month, do not allow anything to alter that schedule. Your friends? They can wait. Your job? That can wait. Your kids? Yes mama bears, they can also wait.

And finally, put it on your calendar! Usually, when we have something on our calendars, it is set in stone and you schedule other things around it. Why is dating your spouse, not on the calendar? Add it to the calendar to strategically and visually block off a time frame and to prove to yourself that you are commited to your special time together. You are committed to dating your spouse.

Do something different each time

We all know as time progresses, and you grow in your relationship, things can get a little stale. So, if you are committed to dating your spouse, commit to try something different each time (or most of the time). Going out to Ruby Tuesday’s is all good and well, but who wants to do that EVERY SINGLE date night? Okay, some people might. If that is your thing, go for it. To keep it interesting, try and choose different activities that the other person will enjoy. For instance, I enjoy riding roller coasters, so this time we will visit a theme park. My spouse enjoys movies, so next time we will do dinner and catch a movie.

No matter where you live, the date options are endless. A critical part of a successful relationship is communication. Communicate to your spouse what activities you’d like to try, listen to their wishes and create a “dates to try with my spouse” list together.

Get a sitter

In-home date nights have to happen from time to time. But let’s be honest here, we do not truly “unplug” from our families when they are just in the next room. Our minds continue to race in regards to what we need to do for them and…blah blah blah blah blah. One way we can help to ensure we are truly taking full advantage of the time we have to date our spouse is by getting a sitter. Where you find the sitter is your choice, but get one for as many date nights as you can. I won’t say I told you so, but you can thank me later.

Go solo and with friends

The first step in dating your spouse is, dating your spouse! Spend time alone to talk, bond, and strengthen your connection to one another. Make sure you have a solid and healthy personal dating life before you double date. If you only have one date night per month, I would caution against including other couples with you. But, if you have the opportunity to date your spouse multiple times a month, I would include another couple on one of those occasions.

Having another married (or dating) couple around allows you to be a soundboard for one another. You can ask advice, catch up on married talk and just hang out with like-minded individuals. Successful people typically go to other successful people when they want to bounce ideas off them or seek advice, couples should do the same thing. In addition, this helps you stay committed to dating your spouse because others will be around to ensure you keep your word.

Don’t stop dating

This one is very obvious but necessary to discuss. We cannot allow our relationships to go stale and dwindle. We cannot let the humdrum of life drown out the need for continuous maintenance and reconnection. Of course, we have a million and one responsibilities, and dating your spouse is an absolute priority. Do everything you can to keep your marriage growing and moving forward. One easy solution…date your spouse!

Tell me friends, how do you date your spouse?

Keep doing (the best) you boo!

how to date your spouse

xoxo Lani