My glass carafe broke. This is a poor woman's Keurig.

My glass carafe broke. This is a frugal woman’s Keurig.

Last week, when I ended my workday Friday, I had logged in 48 hours in 4 days work. I was tired and stressed and overwhelmed. Partly because work has been so busy, but also because I haven’t had time to rest and just seem to be getting further behind.

I’ve been spending time with friends, taking my mom (who lives 2 hours away) to the doctor, dealing with the surly teen in the basement, trying to write a novel,  designing my travel trailer, fixing up the house, working to improve my fitness level and trying to keep up with the budget I set to pay for college. Did I mention that I have been feeling stressed and overwhelmed?

This week, I am on vacation to rest and get caught up. (Hmm….do those seem like opposed goals?) But something magical has happened. As I was doing the chores and home improvement projects that needed to get done, I realized that the main reason I’m feeling so stressed is a lack of focus. I’m trying to do too many things….and the perfectionist in me doesn’t like it if I don’t do things to a certain standard.

My most important goal for this year and the next is to pay for college for two students. I don’t make enough money at work to pay for this outright. I have been using my savings, but I can see that it will not get me to the finish line. So, I have given myself the goal of having my house ready to sell for maximum profit by May or June of 2016.

As soon as I set this intention, ideas about how to make it happen began bubbling up in my brain. The financial guru Dave Ramsey calls this kind of focus “gazelle intensity,” describing the energy that a gazelle has in outrunning a predator. Mr. Money Mustache (financial guru and bicycle advocate) calls this focus a “your hair is on fire” emergency. I certainly have been feeling the stress level of being chased by a predator or having my hair on fire. Now I have a plan for a way out.

I’ll take photos for you all as I move through the house projects.


9 responses to “Refocus

  1. Hello, I’m coming in late here on your blog, but I can’t help wondering why you prioritize paying for your children’s college education. There is a school of thought that young people can and should figure out a way to go to college if they want to, without burdening the rest of the family financially. It is especially recommended if the parent(s) have not taken care of their needs in retirement. Touchy subject, I know, and I hope I don’t offend.

    • Yep. I am aware of that school of thought.
      I choose to help my children pay for their educations. There is nothing I would rather spend my money on. Not fashion. Not travel. Not my own comforts. This is what I value.
      I paid for my own education, put myself through nursing school with a toddler on my hip. I choose something else for my kids.
      And as I have mentioned previously on the blog, in the United States, children of divorce can sue their parents to pay for 1/3 of their university education. My kids’ dad and I entered into a formal agreement stipulating how their post-high school education will be paid for.

  2. I can understand you wanting to pay for your kids’ education but it’s not helping them in the long run. Both my brother and I paid for our own working evenings and weekends, which taught us to prioritize, to live on a budget, to be self-sufficient, to know what hard work is, and to appreciate every penny we made. As for the surly teenager, I would show him to door if he didn’t change his mood and see what it’s like to be on your own and not dependent on mom and dad!

  3. What a gift you are giving your kids. I so admire how you live your life, Fawn. I find your blog truly inspiring. We hope to help our kids pay for college. Not all of it, they will probably have to get some small loans since they are 5 and 1 and there’s no telling how expensive it will be once they get to college. But, my husband and I would like to do as much as we can to help them graduate with as little debt as possible. That’s how my parents did it for me and my siblings. We had some scholarships, some loans, they paid for what they could, and we worked and helped out all through college.

    • Sandy- I think that is the new reality. Some loans, some scholarships, work, frugality and help from the parents. When I went to college in the late 70’s and 80’s, it was possible to put oneself through school by working minimum wage jobs. Minimum wage has stagnated and college costs have escalated. The math just doesn’t work anymore.

      • “the math just doesn’t work anymore…” That is an excellent way to put it. I couldn’t agree more.

  4. Fawn, your costs for funding your children/s college is one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate that you have to forfeit your retirement savings and maybe become homeless to put your children though school. This is just too much. My children joined Phi Theta Kappa for 50.00 a year and received 10 thousand each year for private college. They went to a community college for two years prior. I have heard that there is an app called Scholy that matches scholarships to students and costs 2.99. I have not used this but others think is might be worthwhile.

    • You dears are so worried (unnecessarily) about my retirement. I will have at least three income streams, none related to the college savings. The house is too large at 1750sq feet for a minimalist like me. I wouldn’t stay here if I had millions.
      My college students have secured thousands in scholarships….all is well.
      Please do not worry.

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