Category Archives: abundance

My Sustainable Community

Envisioning a sustainable and abundant future is the first step to creating one. 
As good as life already is in our neighborhood, I can’t help but think about what the future might hold. So, when I was on a roll creating my “Home Wish List,” I started one for “My Sustainable Community.” 


I began by creating a list of our current neighborhood places. One of the things that attracted us to our neighborhood is its walkability, and short bus ride or bike commute to downtown. We have a very high Walk Score, and just last week I was able to run five errands on foot. We save money at the gas pump by only filling up about once a month, and we only own one vehicle.


After I had my neighborhood places in hand, I considered what types of places we’d like to be able to eat, shop and visit. I also added the types of community events that we’d like to enjoy to create more social capital, like an annual summer block party. 


I’ve been excited to see that several of the things I wished for have already come true. A yoga studio just moved in around the corner, a kids’ music school opened, a new consignment store, and bicycle shop. All the type places that help us live healthy and local. There’s also a new community group that helps employ alter-abled adults raising food for a CSA.

Our neighborhood will never be LEED certified, but that’s OK as long as we are growing in the right direction.  

Do you try to live local? What do you envision for your own sustainable community?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Reaching Goals

“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them, learn about them, or even seriously consider them as believable or achievable.  Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them.”
– Denis Waitley



A friend of mine recently started a blog dedicated to sharing her favorites quotes, Wise Word Bandit. While I can’t claim to have reflected about quotes as much as her, I’ve always loved the eloquence and timelessness of a great quote. The beauty of a quote is that it can be so simple, and yet resonate so deeply. This quote speaks so much to why I put my  last bits of energy into creating this blog.


For me, this blog is more than just about defining my goals and taking baby steps to achieve them. It’s also a process of learning, which I love. Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled to complete my Master’s and mastering motherhood has kept me plenty busy with its own learning curve. But I was starting to long for a deeper goal-oriented way of learning, and writing this blog has been successful on that personal level. I can only hope you’re gleaning some insight from our story.


Aspiring to reach your potential means believing in yourself, and trusting in the Universe. While I have my moments of doubt, I make an effort to listen to the mumbling of my brain and filter out the thoughts that leave me feeling unworthy. Believe me, my Twin Sis had to give me several pep talks before I was ready to launch my goals into reality.


So, let’s continue to dream and plan and share this adventure of sustainable abundance together.


How can I help you reach your highest goals?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Valuing Progress

One of my strategies for creating abundance is to put things in perspective, and give myself some credit. While we haven’t reached all of our goals just yet, we have begun to take action and make progress. Here’s the progress we’ve made in three months.

We are not the patron saints of family finances or sustainability, but at least we are giving our best effort to put our priorities in line with our values. I’ve also been really enjoying the connections that I’ve made with friends and family and new readers through this blog. 

If you’ve enjoyed following our journey, could you share this with just one friend?

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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

The New Affluence

I’m a big fan of public television, and I often watch programs while I’m writing. The other night I was excited in a nerdy kind of way to find a program with financial expert Jonathan Pond (I admit I hadn’t heard of him, but I am pretty new to this whole finance arena). At any rate, he has a new book called The New Affluence: Achieving financial security in a changed economy.


It turns out that I really liked his approach to managing your finances; he spoke of the need to simplify, live a life of abundance of your own terms, and create a secure financial future for your family. Despite the occasional investment jargon, he was speaking my language!


Here are my copious notes:

  • Redefine affluence and change our investments accordingly
  • Redefine investment risk – safety, simplicity, predictability
  • Living debt-free is the new holy grail, not tax deductions

Day-to-Day Financial Life:

  • Stop conspicuous consumption and ask whether you need to buy so much stuff
  • Automatic savings transfer – make it easy to forget you ever had it to spend
  • Eliminate debt – imagine a debt free life, be realistic and reduce slow and steady
  • Career – excel in your current career, assess future options and determine whether you need a career change, consider a meaningful career – make a positive difference

Your Home and Family:

  • Making your home a true investment – make extra mortgage payments when possible, owning your home is best retirement plan, if you’re not a home owner – now is a great time to buy
  • Pay for college – look into state and community colleges, choose an age-based investment option
  • Use life insurance as a nest egg – build up cash value, continue making premium payments, consider whole life insurance rather than term
Investments:
  • All-in-one fund – target date, lifestyle
  • Municipal bonds – short term better, due to prospect of inflation
  • Savings tip – set aside a small amount regularly “good for the soul”

Hopefully you’ll get something out of my notes, it was definitely an effort on my part since it was pledge week and I had to sit through it while researching/writing. I did end up renewing our OPB membership with small monthly deductions so that I could get his book and personalized financial planning consultation. I’ll write more once I get his personalized planning report! Thanks OPB!!

Does any of Pond’s advice resonate with you?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Tax Refund Time

You may still have a month left to file your taxes, but in our household they get done as early as possible, mostly because we usually get money back. We just had the discussion again whether or not we should adjust our deductions so that fewer taxes would be taken out on a monthly basis. We both agreed that for us it feels better to get an annual “bonus” than an unbudgeted bill to pay. On a daily basis I do my best to not fret over taxes, so why would I want to stress every spring? 
Since the invention of TurboTax, my Hubby has taken the lead on our taxes. I have to say that it’s a relief to have this annual chore taken care of, plus I think Hubby secretly looks forward to accomplishing. Coming home from work last week, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he had filed our taxes while taking care of our feverish/cranky/teething BabyGirl. Talk about multi-tasking…way to go Daddy-O!! (Yes, I did promise to thank him publicly for his chivalrous acts of parenting and tax prep.)
The better news came when he told me that we are expecting a $4k refund! I have to admit that the first thought that crossed my mind was “Denmark,” returning to my adopted homeland. Yet, Hubby promptly burst my bubble by reminding me that our first family financial goal is to increase our emergency savings fund back up to $10k. We would reach that goal if we saved our tax refund. An emergency fund doesn’t scream family fun, but financial peace of mind in times of layoffs is worth it. I also know that we pay our share of taxes, but I’m not about to balk at funding essential social services. You’ve already heard my rant on green taxes.
Is your family getting a tax return? 
How do you plan to spend/save it?

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Sustainable Family Finances 
This blog is the story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.