Tossing the clutter to have a more meaningful life!

Short Post – update on the debt monster…

This will be a short post today, but the debt monster continues to be punched in the face by yours truly. I have managed to get it all below $120k right now, just a little over $119k (keep in mind, this includes the mortgage). The total amount between the college loan and car loan sits at around $17k.

The budget continues to be a struggle. Even though I splurged on eating out a couple of times this month, it appears that I will fall below what I spent last month. This is something I’m very excited about and look forward to doing even better in May.

On a separate note, Mother Nature decided to play a cruel joke on us this weekend. After teasing us with temps in the low 80’s last week, we’ve had 2 days with highs in the low to mid 60’s. It’s not really bad – but definitely a change after seeing 80’s.

Lastly, I want to reach out to anyone who had friends or family affected by the Boston Marathon bombing or the fertilizer plant explosion outside of Waco TX. My heart goes out to you and your families.

Again – thanks for the support from everyone and I wish you all a calm week full of all things good and joyful



I’m proud to announce…

The trip to Costco was a success this morning! I managed to get in and out very quickly, without stopping by at any of of the tasting tables! Only items on my list made it out with me!  

Take that, consumerism beast! 
On my way towards my goals and it feels GREAT! 
Victorious Island Dreamin’ Julia 🙂
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The Liebster Award

Recently, I have been nominated by Jackie at Foxy Whole Foodie for The Liebster Award. Needless to say, I am quite excited and thankful that people are starting to notice my blog, as well as get something useful from it.

The Liebster Award …

This award is given to up-and-coming bloggers, with less than 200 followers, who are worthy of a look. Fellow bloggers nominate other bloggers for The Liebster Award and essentially help promote those blogs to a broader audience.

The rules are as follows: When receiving the award, recipients must:
– post 11 facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions posed by the person who nominated you
– pass the award onto 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions of your own
– select blogs with 200 or less followers (but not the blogger who nominated you)

Eleven Facts about myself:
1. I have a passion for reading – I will read anything I can get my hands on! It’s been like this since I first started learning to read as a child.

2. I used to write poems and short stories in high school and college. I am currently hoping to build up that passion again through this blog.

3. Last year I purchased a bicycle and have discovered that I thoroughly enjoy going on long rides and observing nature / wildlife.

4. My big dream is to live on a boat in the Islands and eventually sail the Atlantic Ocean.

5. In Feb 2008 I rescued a Shiba Inu mix from the local animal shelter. Her name is Lucky and she has been the best dog I could’ve ever hoped for. She is getting older, slowing down, and I am just trying to help her have easy days in her senior years.

6. In the past 6 months I have been eating healthier and exercising more. Prior to that, my meals consisted of mostly frozen pizza and a can of ravioli every now and then. Now, I’m doing a little better – eating fish, chicken, and veggies, etc.

7. I hate dressing up. I will actually do my best to avoid occasions or locations where dressing up is required. While I have to own a few blouses, slacks, and dress shoes (for those occasions I just can’t avoid), most of my wardrobe consists of jeans, tee-shirts, a few polo shirts, tennis shoes, and flip flops.

8. I have never been able to wear heels due to my low pain tolerance and tendency to trip and fall down. Seriously – all of my shoes are as flat as you can find ‘em!

9. Out of all social media networks, twitter is my favorite due to its simplicity and fast pace.

10. I hate facebook and have not logged into my account in ages – one day I will log on and close out my account.

11. Jimmy Buffett is my all-time favorite singer / writer. The love affair started sometime in high school, when I discovered the “Songs You Know by Heart” album on the Wal-Mart shelf.

Eleven questions my nominator has asked me to answer:
1. If you could learn one skill that you’ve never had, what would it be, and why?
I would like to learn the skill of letting go when it comes to personal / emotional things. I tend to let things bother me, such as something someone said or did that hurt my feelings or made me feel inadequate.

2. If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life – what food would you pick?

3. If you could invite any three people (alive or dead) to a dinner party – who would you invite?
Ernest Hemmingway, Jimmy Buffett, and Bob Marley…now THAT would be one heck of a dinner party!

4. Name one place you’ve always dreamed of traveling to – and explain why.
This is a difficult one for me to answer because I dream of traveling the world someday. I don’t think I could pick just one place because I want to see it all and to experience other ways of life.

5. Do you have a bucket list? What have you been able to accomplish on your list? Yes I do have a bucket list.
So far, I have not accomplished anything other than several of the goals that will help me to accomplish one of the larger goals on my list. I have paid off all of my credit cards and donated many items so far in order to minimize my possessions and debt. This is going to put me in a better position to follow my dream, sell the house, and purchase a boat!

6. What is one of your guilty pleasures?
I eat a small square of dark chocolate every evening.

7. What book or movie has inspired you or changed your life?
I read a book last year, The Motion of the Ocean by Janna Cawrse Esarey and this book sparked my interest and journey towards making many changes to my priorities in order to chase my dream of sailing.

8. What period in time do you feel the most connected to?
The present / future. I have no desire to go back in time.

9. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in the summer of 2012 in order to share my Journey to Minimalism with others to hold myself accountable to this goal, and with the hope to pick back up with writing and build on my writing skills.

10. Do you share your blog with people you know in real-life?
Only with a select few. However, it would not bother me if others I know stumbled across my blog and followed.

11. What inspires you?
I am inspired by many things – other minimalists, the wonders of nature, healthy living, friends, and the newness of each day.

11 Questions to my nominated bloggers for the Liebster Award:
1. What is your favorite part of the day and why?
2. Where is your most favorite place you have ever traveled to and why?
3. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would that be and why?
4. What has been your all-time, most life altering event?
5. What is your favorite snack food?
6. Who is your favorite author?
7. What do you enjoy the most about blogging?
8. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
9. What is your fondest childhood memory?
10. What is your biggest goal or dream in life?
11. What are you most passionate about?

I was not able to see how many followers everyone has, but here goes…

My 11 nominees for the Liebster Aware are (please give them a visit!):
1. peanut on the table
2. a simple life afloat
3. born again minimalist
4. being black and minimalist
5. learning to want less
6. journey to ithaca
7. a wayward wolf
8. s/v mystic lady
9. s/v perry
10. living simply free
11. the sandcastle


Security on your Blog…

For all of the other bloggers out there, be sure to check your security settings on your blog. Apparently, there are people out there hacking into wordpress accounts, gaining access to their computers. You will find more at the Captain’s blog site

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Great start to April – small victories count!

Throughout this initial piece of the journey, one of my goals has been to eliminate certain credit cards. While I have never been one to have many credit cards, I have held 2 different ones the past 4-5 years now. One is the visa credit card I have with my current bank and the other is a MasterCard.

At one point, after leaving the ex and moving out on my own, I ended up maxing out my visa credit card with my bank just to make ends meet. As I started paying that down, I realized that if I had an emergency expense, I had no way to cover it. That initiated the application for the MasterCard. The past 1-2 years, I have done a really good job immediately paying off anything that I charge to either card, and I have been planning to close out the MasterCard. However, I always had that fear of closing it out due to the fact that the Visa has a low max rate on it in addition to a pretty hefty rate in general. Not to say that the rate on the MasterCard is any better…

Could I request a higher limit on the Visa? Absolutely! However, the interest is atrocious and I haven’t been too happy with my bank for a while….therefore, I’ve been keeping my options open.

A few weeks ago, I moved some of my savings into another bank, to see how I liked it. So far, I’m really impressed. By using this bank, I can ditch my excel spreadsheet I have been using to track all of my expenses – this bank has a program that does all of that for me (HUGE TIMESAVER)! This bank also has a really good credit card with cash rewards, and low interest rate – much better than either of the 2 credit cards I have had.

So, I am going to begin the process of moving all savings and checking to the new bank of choice, closing out my current bank account once all pending payments have been processed.

Now…to get to the point – otherwise, it sounds like I just have 3 credit cards and 2 different banks right now. NOT THE CASE!
I just closed out the MasterCard, SHREDDING the card and doing a happy dance!

Next step – pay off the $10.79 balance on the old Visa credit card and close that out as well, limiting myself to 1 credit card for emergencies only.

I know I know….my fellow minimalist buddies out there will gasp in horror at my joy over having a credit card at all. For now, since I own a house and a car, it’s a safety net for me in case any unforeseen emergencies come up that I can’t handle alone from my savings.

The overall plan is to have no credit cards, but for now, this is a small victory for me. And hey…if I’m not racking up scores of charges on the card and I am paying it off quickly, what’s the harm? I’m still contributing to that great credit score that I have, which by the way is better than 79% of consumers in the good ol’ USA. 🙂

Thanks for hanging in there with me through this journey and for all of the support and encouraging words. I am still making progress paying down the college loan, car loan, and de-cluttering. Next week – a new update!

I hope you all have a great week!



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