Budget Life List


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I am so done with it. I am done with the stuff, obligations, and waste. Instead, I need more savings, exploration, and most importantly, intentional living. That is why I developed the minimalist lifestyle checklist.

To remind myself of what’s important with a splash of compelling images.

I love pictures. Perhaps, my love of imagery is my subconscious trying to move my consciousness into that idyllic state. Or something smart like that….



I love to cull my stuff. Getting rid of stuff is fun or at least, I think it is.

I didn’t always feel that way. Much like my other valuable assets, this decluttering habit was built slowly with time.

Decluttering is very streamlined now. If I am thinking about getting rid of an item, that is my indication I should get rid of it.

I choose this harsh standpoint because it’s required for crafting a life of love. Things that I love don’t get the, “should I get rid of this,” question. It isn’t even a question because love is needy like that.

If I need motivation I watch my friend Danny D on YouTube or read a decluttering book or think about moving. Nothing says, “get rid of stuff now,” like the thought of moving it across country.


I automate all my obligations. People still get paid, I enjoy the benefits of living in a first-world country, and no one gets hurt.

That doesn’t disregard my financial duties of double-checking the accuracy of my bills but it does mean I can regulate that effort and energy to once a month event. Instead of checking financial institutions daily or weekly.

This saves time and sanity. I value the sanity more.

No, is also an option in my world. I don’t have to do it all. Truthfully, I shouldn’t.

I have finite energy and time. It is hard to say no and risk disappointing humans I care about, but the awkwardness is worth it.

Saying no upfront is vastly better than stewing over the fact I got roped into something that I don’t want to do. Pouting like a five-year-old is a look that only a five-year-old can pull off.


I hate wasting time. I should clarify, I hate wasting time on social media.

It always starts with, “just checking something real quick,” then the checking turns to scrolling, the scrolling turns to obsessing, and the next thing I know, two hours have been eaten up by the dystopia that is social media.

It’s. The. Worst.

To prevent myself from self-inflicted disappointment, I put social media accounts in a “safe” place kind of like a digital child’s lock. I delete apps from my phone (it’s banished to the desktop) or I will bury it in a folder of unrelated apps.

I also try to avoid going on those platforms late at night when I have less will power. The irony of my modern life, I have to make plans to keep myself away from social media.

Another way I waste less time is by having my work pay for my advancement.

I signed up for my employer’s health program which includes working out during my regularly scheduled work day. I love it because my employer is paying me to run. It’s as amazing as it sounds.

My writing creations are being enhanced at work too. Yes, I am here writing but I can write for work too! Since our schedule of programs and normal operation has been upended, I have less scheduled productivity time.

Instead of endlessly scrolling the news, which is a panic attack waiting to happen, I dive headfirst into the training platform.

Now, I am learning about how to become a better writer and getting paid for it! Wining for my personal life but also my professional career feels so good! Is this what it feels like to be Cat Woman??


I have less stuff. Initially, I thought that would result in direct savings and it has. However, as I continue to cultivate a life of love (aka turning into a decluttering machine) turns out there is indirect savings too.

One example that comes screaming up from my memory banks is shoes. At one point, I had way too many shoes. First, there was the direct cost of buying shoes.

Then, there was the indirect cost of spending time shoe shopping which involved various stores and online platforms. Next, providing a place for these shoes with cubbies and a shoe rack. Finally, maintaining the shoes which translates into cleaning or applying special chemicals to make them waterproof.

Now, when I bring something into my life, I remind myself of the indirect costs that might be more costly than the direct price.

I avoid that problem by buying less.

Another way I save more is by developing simple goals, like that time I saved $5,000 in 9 months instead of 12. This kind of goal is more expensive and time consuming than a pair of shoes but it’s value is more substantial too.

I can’t tell you what my favorite pair of shoes was five years ago but I can describe in detail my experience of swimming with dolphins five years ago. Fun Fact: Dolphins always win.


More time and money in my life translates into more opportunities for exploration.

I still have to do typical things like go to work, chores, etc. A house doesn’t clean itself! Unfortunately. However, now I have time to ask more questions and follow that curiosity.

Such as: I work at a popular visitor attraction, daily (if not hourly) I get questions that revolve around, “what is there to do?” Before this position, I had a general idea. It’s a small town so the options are limited.

However, because I have more time to follow my curiosity. Recently, this resulted in recently visiting each of the four dams in town. A few of the dams were spectacular with beautiful island trails and scenic rock waterfalls, others looked like a prison.  

Now, I am a more valuable asset at work as well as a more valuable asset to family and friends who come visit. I feel so cultured!

I also have time and energy to play, which is by far my #1 way to learn.

Play has been a big way of how I have learned unexpected lessons, from learning more about software to practicing French. Whenever there is an atmosphere of play, I learn better. Bonus Round: it’s fun!

Playing is a beautiful dynamic of advancing knowledge and skills in an atmosphere of joy instead of struggle. It’s a self-feeding loop of fun.

I lost my way with playful learning when I graduated high school and joined the Navy. College reignited that desire for playful learning, thanks to fun courses like scuba diving and tree climbing.

Now, that I am school deficient I have to be more intentional with learning. In college, it was easy: all I had to do was look in a catalog and made sure I had that time slot available. Today, it is more challenging but still easier because of my Minimalist Lifestyle Checklist.

Ah, this brings up fond memories of the Montana Master Naturalist course, still one of the best decisions of 2020!


Laundry, dishes, and cleaning the bathroom. Ick.

These are a few of my not so favorite things. But, I embrace this moments of suck anyways.

I practice mindfulness in these little moments of suck because if I can enjoy myself with these little less desirable moments, when a big moment comes – I’ll be ready.

It’s like practice for the big leagues.

If I want to be fully present for my trip to Antarctica, I have to be fully present for the dirty dishes too.

The last thing I want is to be staring at a behemoth ice city on the deck of the USS Polar Express and be thinking about why my car has a cracked windshield. Just. No.


I admit it, I am lacking. Time, energy, and money are all things I lack in. I can’t do it all or be it all.

I don’t want to.

There time is finite and I intend to spend that time, energy, and money on more. More things that make me feel grateful, inspired, and happy.

What do you want more or less of in your life? Do you think the Minimalist Lifestyle Checklist would help you?

Keep exploring!

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