Plan With Me: December 2018

This is the last month of 2018, can you believe it? It feels so odd for me. It’s like the year went by fast, then slow, but now that I’m looking back at the “slow”, I’m kind of like “Really? Where did almost 5 months go?”

I’ll be doing a 12 days of Christmas challenge at the end of the month, which will be better paced (plus shorter!) than my attempt at 31 days of Halloween.

Let’s jump into planning this month, shall we?

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A usual first step for me, after deciding what is happening that month, is laying it out on my whiteboard. Come next year (and really next month, if you think about it!), I’ll be doing things a little differently, so stay tuned! If you don’t already follow me on Instagram, you should. You get sneak peaks into my planning life, and into some of my posts on here! Plus, I’ll take polls and questions, that may feed into my posts!

Next is my budget, but I won’t share that. From there, I’ll start my grocery outlook.

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I usually start with what I have on hand, and what coupons I have in my arsenal. Sometimes (more often than I’d like to admit), I’ll land up having stuff that I don’t make in the list/outlook of dinners, due to leftovers, deals, or sometimes even just a tighter budget than I thought. I’m still working on this whole adulting thing here, so be easy on me haha!

This is my planning for this month. Very basic, but with the new year around the corner, I wanted to keep it simple, so that I could focus on the habits I want to build and create in the new year, plus have time to spend on how I want to create 2019 to be!

I’ve already started some habits, and some basic things like a vision board for 2019, but that’ll be shared later this month!

Are you changing up how you plan, in 2019? Share with me down below!

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Retail Talk: Survive Inventory

Inventory depends on the store, and the company you’re working for. I can only speak from my experiences, at the store (let alone company) I work for. I hope my sharing will help those of you who are new to the retail world, regardless of how you get introduced into the retail world (after HS, during HS, as a higher up in the industry somehow…).

I work for the (or one of the…depending on how you calculate things, but it’s one of the top Fortune 10 companies, if I’m being polite) top retailers in the USA, let alone the world.

I’ve also made it 5 years there. I know that was half of a plug…but retail…I guess I’m alive and not on welfare, while doing alright overall, means something. Retail may make you feel dead or apathetic inside, over the years. I’ve been trying over the last two years to not let retail get to me like that.

For my company at least, with talking with others from various stores, Inventory is not all at the same time, company wide. It makes sense, in a way. If you have a regional, or even state/area specific company you’re dealing with on inventory, it makes sense to break things up, for transparency on their end.

Personally, inventory is more annoying and tedious than the regular holiday season. It’s a lot of “prim and proper” where as holiday season is more of “get it on the shelf so it can be sold”.

I have a lot of my own ideas of when inventory should happen, and how everyone should handle it, from management staff, to stocking staff, to maintenance staff.

My store has always done inventory during fall, which IMO, is the worst time to do it. It’s varied on date, but it’s during this whole “BTS to Halloween” time of year. Read my last Retail Talk to get some deets on that (It’ll open in a new tab so you can easily come back here).

It generally doesn’t matter when your store does inventory, it’s usually a headache. Yet the holiday stress doesn’t help any, is what makes it worse. Bless your heart if you’re in a store like mine, where it’s anywhere from right after Back to School, to Halloween or into even Thanksgiving themed stuff.

My store also does Lay-a-way pretty early on, somewhere starting late August to early September, through early to mid December. I believe we count the lay-a-ways as inventory, as they’re not exactly paid for. Don’t quote me on that for the company, let alone your store/company.

I’m not sure about other companies, but my store (and assuming for other stores corporate wide), makes us make it easier for the outside company that comes in, to count. That’s where it’s a patience-testing thing. Trust me, even with a butt load of patience, you may get irritated or bored from the night or two prior, let alone the week or month prior to inventory.

This is my first “I’m off for night shift’s prep” of inventory in all the years I’ve been there. This is/what would be my 6th inventory.

I hope your store allows you to team up with one other person, and allow you to execute the area you’re designated to, so you’re not bored out of your mind. Working with at least one other person makes it more manageable let alone less agonizing.

If you can’t do that, I advise a music playlist, YouTube playlist, audio book, or something to educate yourself, that you can sidetrack yourself in the dull hours of prepping for inventory. I know it’ll be difficult on your shift, management team, and where you work. Attempt to reason with them if you can.

Try to make a fun little game out of the zoning/facing when you’re stuck doing that for your shift. If it’s called something else, let me know, but zoning or facing is what I’ve heard it called. It’s where you make the merchandise look decent, straighten it up, and it may be different for your store’s every day look, compared to inventory.

My store used to do it two ways, but sometime last year (2017), my store went to always zoning how we zone for inventory (or a little not so nice, because ya know, time…). I recall last year I was teamed up with 2 other girls for about half the night.

Once the department was about half way done, I was pulled away for another smaller department that was lighter to deal with, but needed to be done. I think…haha. Night brain and working brain is going good right now…it’s all blurring together.

Learn what you can and can’t get away with it, and work with it as much as you can. It’ll make it more bearable and fun, if you can.

Have you worked retail? Do you work retail now? What’s your experience with inventory where you were/are at? I’d love to know some other experiences, from other stores and chains, big or small stores and chains (ma and pa to national/regional/global).

Birthday 2018: Life Update

There’s so many things I want to share in this post, so be prepared. Also, this is a start to finish in a day post, quite literally on my birthday, so also be prepared!

This post contains affilliate links. You get some, I get some! Treat Yo’ Self!

As you read this, or think of me today (when you’re reading this, even if it’s not when this goes live), listen to: this, this, and this. Yes, I will always reference my band, and yes, this blog will take me so much longer to write, because I had to stop and appreciate the videos. Watch the behind the scene’s of High Hopes here, because it’ll show you how obnoxious Brendon really is!

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Yes, I’m being so “basic” and making a mood board for 24. I’m all about setting goals and making sure I’m happy and setting myself up to be happy in the future, by pushing myself now. Of course in a healthy manner!

I have lyrics from one of the songs I suggested to listen to (Hey Look Ma, I Made It!), a planner, to keep planning for the future, and make amazing memories, as well as build myself in all aspects I can, and the film picture for Farmlands, which is from Lauren Southern. This film really inspired me back into my journey of investigative journalism.

A little known fact about me, is that I wanted to go to college for journalism, and investigative journalism was (and is) something I wanted to more focus on. I never went because I know my talents are decent, but the field is so overpopulated, and I didn’t want to waste my time, money (or really credit to pull out student loans) for a degree that would hinder me more than help me.

With things like Skillshare (2 free months if you sign up!), and freelance work, I want to make it happen. I have some ideas in the works, that I am going to start on this year, since the fire has been kindled underneath me. I’ll see where it takes me!

To continue onto some of my vision board for 24, I have cooking, savings, and photography goals and aspirations. All are overlapping as well as different.

Now let’s get into a tarot reading, because why not?! Here’s the spread I chose for today:
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Now, here’s my drawing, which by the way, was spot on, and I am glad I drew it!
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Yes, this is a hot mess, but it spoke to me! I won’t go into great detail here, but this spread called out that I should forgive and allow my past to be my past, be and create my confidence and leader self, and go after the goals that I wish to set up for myself, in aspects of betterment and what my soul longs for. This is going to be a good year for me (until I turn 25, and I can assess how 25 will treat me!).

For reference, my cards were:
1- Ace of Swords
2- Ten of Swords
3- Five of Swords
4- Seven of Cups (Reversed)
5- The Emperor IV
6- Judgement XX (Reversed)
7- Queen of Coins

So, with all of that in mind, that is the general gist of me turning another year older. I have some basic things planned in honor of my birthday, with those that are close and love.

What do you like to do for your birthday? Do you have any specific rituals you do each year, or do you try to do something different? Do you do anything at all? I’d love to know! Share in the comments what you do, or have done!

Plan With Me: September 2018

So this is my BIRTH MONTH!!! I’m playing it super chill this year, since summer was so packed full of events, and I did a lot last year for my birthday. I was planning on some events, but they’ve fallen through, sadly. Next year though. There’s next year, and next year will be a better year (hint: I’ll be worth a US quarter! I know I’m worth so much more than that, but it’s a cute joke!).

For this month, I have more content planned for you guys, and this will be more of a month for relaxing, taking long weekends, and enjoying alone time, and time with those I care about the most. Let’s get to planning, shall we?

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I usually start with my whiteboard, even though I should start with my Artist of Life Workbook review of the previous month. Wiping it clean allows me to have a clean slate of what will be in front of me, so I can just keep the past, well, the past. I set the month up numerically, then go into the review of the previous month, for what I didn’t finish.

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On the whiteboard, I note any plans, and for this month, it’s just my birthday and a live chat that I have in my Artist of Life Mastermind group, as you can see. Sometimes it’s as simple as that, and other times, it’s more complicated like June was.From there, I can easily see what is happening, and what days are where.

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Since it’s an easy glance, I go from there, into either my notebook, like this month, or into a digital note, usually on my phone, to plan out what blog posts I want to do that month. Then from the ideas, I set the date I want them to be posted on.

For this month, since I had things written out on paper, and I wrote down some notes, I took the themes of the blog posts, and put them on a sticky to-do note pad, and on the far side I write the tentative days I wanted to post them on.

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Past this, I don’t have much plans for the month, other than tentative plans of relaxing, and birthday dinner(s), depending if I feel like doing a solo date, and one with my dad, and if my guy and I go out.

I also planned out my meals for the month, since I’m doing a cleaning out of our cupboards this month. It’ll help me with some of the food days, plus clean out the stock we have, and I don’t feel bad for wasting it, or donating it.

I know there’s people who could use the help, and I’ve been there before (ironically, there’s a few canned goods that are left over from my dad’s raid of his pantry, since he’s doing a Keto meets low sodium diet).

I used to take a big monthly wall calendar to meal plan, but I noticed that I would forget what I was meal planning for the week, when I’d be shopping, and wonder why I would need one random ingredient, or something of the like, and dumb me would just not get it.

Now that I’ve gone digital, I can look at the meal plans on the go, and if I can’t recall why I need something, or if I need to tweak something, I can see what needs it, more on the fly. I love being frugal and prepared, and it’s so much easier. Plus, with trying to be more conscious of what I use, and why (really, the Konmari mentality, of if it truly brings me joy, and adds value to my life), I feel better by using what I already have.

What do you do to plan your month? Do you meal plan for the month, or by the week, if at all? I’d love to know your answers, truly!

Talk Tuesday: Budgeting & Planning

I want to start off by doing a little gloat/self plugging. I now have a Facebook page for this blog! There, I’ll be asking what type of topics I should talk about, sharing my latest posts and of those I like of other bloggers, and brief updates that don’t need their whole post about. I would totally appreciate it if you went over there and hit that like button. Go here.

Now, grab yourself a glass of champagne or cup of coffee, open up your budget (or just a sheets document if you’re new).

This post contains affiliate links.
For transparency reasons, I’m disclosing this to you.
I get a small portion of commission, regardless of what you purchase

To be completely transparent, I’ve played around with how I budget, and I’m great at planning but can be lazy on the execution. I seriously need to work on my self discipline in those moments, and as I’m learning what I like to work with (and not like working with other things), I want to become better overall with budgeting.

Obviously, this isn’t just to share my perfect solution to budgeting, but it’s sharing what I’ve done and liked or not liked, and sharing my growth with ya’ll, and hopefully you can get something out of it for yourself!

So I’m going to be sharing my set up for September, since August is near over, and I’m kind of fond of September (it’s my birthday month).

My best advice to get motivated to budget towards the end of the month for the next (it’s okay if it’s the first week of the month you’re budgeting for too! I’ve done that a handful of times), is to watch budgeting videos on YouTube, or finding podcasts as well. Learning how to budget, and learning about all the ways you can budget is a great motivator for me. Since I’m still in the learning phase, I enjoy this, and taking what I like into the future, and discarding what doesn’t vibe with me.

I know a lot of people like Dave Ramsay’s method (book, workbook extended book), and if that works for you, awesome! I’ve never got into his method, but I know some of the basics, and it seems like a good, although broad, model. The basics of save a base $1,000, then get out of debt (and keeping that $1,000 in savings), then work on the emergency funds for 3-6-12 months of living, is good.

Living off of just cash though? You could do it, and get prepaid cards for internet transactions, but I don’t think that’s practical. Maybe during that time period, while you’re trying to fix your debts and save, while learning how to budget hard core. But long term, in my eyes, at least post the habit forming years, I don’t see it as a great option for the way society is heading.

To get you into the *lazy way* of learning how to budget, and what you should focus on, and what you may be doing wrong, I turn to The Financial Diet channel on YouTube. I’m not sponsored here (but….I wouldn’t mind future collabs…putting that good vibes out there).

They have shorter videos on the basics, and some kind of longer videos going more in depth on some stuff. If you have the attention span to watch people like Phillip DeFranco, you can do TFD. (For Youtube, I’m not sponsored, at least for now. I’ll let you know when I am! How could I not?!). Anyway, TFD even has a book! I should add it to my reading list.

If you want more of my favorites for budgeting, when it comes to channels, books, and digital or physical planners, let me know! I have so many things to offer and you’d be here all day trying to sort through what I’d offer. I’ll do a mini series even on it, so it’s more palatable!

So for September, this is what I have on my plate for bills:

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This month, I’m challanging myself to $75 a week on groceries. I did this earlier this year, in May, right before my trip to CA. Well, the like. It’s a take on Jordan Page’s Shelftember. Check out her Q&A on her YouTube channel. I’m going to tweak it a bit, as we don’t have the greatest stockpile in our cupboards and what room we have in our freezer and 2 small fridges.

This will help on dwindling on our stock, so that nothing expires, and I can stock up on the (hopeful) big haul in late November/early December that my store offers each year. Hopefully it’ll stay. Once that stops, I’ll have to change my strategy. I’ll easily share that process when it comes, for sure!

This will also help me in my planning for the winter months anyway, so I can plan what foods I want/what’s on sale/coupon for winter foods, for warmer hearty meals, and if the power goes out or if we’re stuck in from a winter storm.

I always leave the due date list open, until I know when things are due by. Sometimes I’ll approximate the date. Our electric water, and internet bills are due around the same time each month, so I put those approximate dates in until I get the bill due date. Things like groceries and laundry are a “at pay basis”.

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From budgeting, I make a template in a Docs page (use a Word Document too…I use Google for everything, so that first screenshot was a Google Sheets page, and this one is a Google Doc, with a table added, in a 7 across by 7 down, to cover all days of the month, plus a row to put Sunday through Saturday as a “header”).

I added in what days I was doing laundry (we don’t have laundry services on site, so I go and do laundry every other week, so sometimes I’m doing laundry three times a month. Those days I treat as a “fast food” day. We don’t eat out more than 3-4 times a month, 2-3 for laundry days, and once when we get gas in our car.

From there, I usually try to work in what we have on hand (which is usually very loosely, to be quite honest, hence this shelftember is a great challange), and see what I can come up with for meals. This month, I’m going to be diving deeper into using more of the canned goods we have, and using them up. and truly saving money as well as making what we have (since having canned goods and never using some doesn’t help any at all).

Meal planning is what I’ve played around with the most, from just making a list in my phone, to using a monthly wall calendar, to doing this style. Next year, I want to take a whiteboard and write the weekly down on it, and post it on the fridge where we have our current wall calendar.

I want to see if that’ll help any, so I don’t always have to weasel my way through my Google Drive to get to the monthly food outlook. For the record, yes I’m organized on that (folders within folders within folders type).

For “real” meal planning, I camp out in our kitchen/dining room and see what we have, and think of meals. Sometimes I turn to Pinterest and my Trello list of different foods (I have a whole board, sorted into quick meals, longer meals, crock pot meals, winter meals, among other lists). For this month, I’m getting back into seeing what cupons I can print off or have sent to my email, that will help drive down my costs. Here’s what I came up with for this month:

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This is most of my planning. From making the monthly budget, adding due dates, and making a meal plan, I just insert into a template of what needs paid each pay period, and write a grocery list for the upcoming week, so that come Monday morning, I can shop.

This is what I’ve found to work the best for me, at least so far. Some people mark down in their calendar when things are due, but I just see when the payday is, and see what’s due, then make payments set for that day.

How do you budget? If you’re new, and haven’t found a perfect/good planning outlook, what have you tried and liked so far?

Mercury Retrograde: Trying Out New Plans

Today started the second Mercury retrograde of 2018. This will last until the 19th of August for me, here on the east coast of the US. I don’t know what sparked the idea to plan out what I wanted to do, but it happened.

For the first retrograde this year, I took time off of social media, and created this blog. I officially launched it at the end of Lent, which was way after the end of retrograde, but whatever.

This one, like the last, I had some things I wanted to accomplish, as well as go back offline during retrograde. This time, I’m debating on going offline until the end of August, a little longer than the retrograde period, but since I did it last time similarly, I figure why not.

The only thing is, is to plan out the last near 10 days that I didn’t before the retrograde started. I could work on that during my 2 laundry days that I only have donation on.

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So the first thing I did, after brainstorming all I wanted to do, while I reflect during this retrograde, is organize it on a website/app called Trello. Visit the website here or download the app for Android or iOS.

I made a complete board for Mercury Retrograde, and I have a few boards to the right, that are for the next retrograde (November 17-December 6). I think I’ll at least keep this out of this little experiment.

Some of the cards have to-do lists, or checklists on them, which is the little check mark and 0/(insert number here). Since this is day one, there isn’t anything checked off. Once this goes live, I can check off my first thing under my blog checklist.

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Next, I made a chart, for how long Mercury would be in retrograde, and sorted out what I wanted to do for each day, from the trello lists. The more bite-sized you make it, and keep things super simple, you won’t get overwhelmed (a great practice for regular day life, but super great for where time seems to be even more out of your grasp, like a planet retrograde.).

From there, I’m taking one day at a time, because Mercury either flies past you, and you did nothing, or you take even smaller bites of what you need to do, and work on a day by day basis.

If you have projects due, or stuff like that, please DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. It’ll come to the due date a lot quicker than you think. Think of that stupid phrase on your side mirrors on your car. (haha, punny right?!)

Being a person who is ruled by Mercury (a Virgo), and learning about the planets, how they affect people overall, then especially over those that they rule over, it’s making more sense of how much I feel of certain things, and when. I am a task-doer and love to keep busy, but tend to bite off more than what I can chew, so things like this are so helpful, and truly needed.

Planning is more and more important to me, and that’s why I want to share my journey with whoever will listen, hopefully benefiting someone else’s journey. This may help more than just myself, even if I’m just playing around with ideas, and seeing what works and what doesn’t for myself. Hopefully something will stick with you as well, even if it’s through my trial and error, or even if I don’t care for it myself.

Plan With Me: 2 Week Trip to CA

So later today, I’m starting a 2 week trip to California. And it’s going to be a busy one at that as well! I know a lot of people can’t just take a 2 week trip, and until the last few years, I was in that same boat.

This trip started last fall, and I want to share how I planned this, and share how busy I’ll be! This 2 week trip will bring so much inspiration and content. It will also give me a break from the mundane life that I’ve been living the last 5 years since I’ve started working for the company that I do.