One of the very real fears people have is that of spending money.

This is especially true after you have been in a frugal mindset for a long period of time.

When you are so used to pinching every penny, it’s common to become scared to start spending more money.

While this isn’t always a bad thing, it can contribute to a scarcity mindset and prevent you from taking full advantage of your financial resources.

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A year ago, I took the plunge and quit my job to be a full-time freelancer. It was a bold, scary move considering I was and still am in debt.

Of the many reasons I chose self-employment, flexibility and increasing my income were paramount in my decision. I believed I could make more money on my own since I worked low-paying nonprofit jobs for the bulk of my career, making roughly $30,000 per year. I’m happy to report I’ve accomplished that after a year, and more of that income is going towards paying off debt too.

Although I’ve reached my goals and have more balance and am earning more, it’s not been without trial and tribulations. I feel like I’ve been on an accelerated learning curve the past year, navigating the uncertain waters of freelancing.

Here are the top things I learned in my first year as a full-time freelancer.
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lawn mower

Warm weather, combined with recent rain, finally has my lawn green and growing. I’ve dropped my first application of fertilizer, pulled my lawn mower from the shed, and generally gotten ready for another season of lawn care. Soon enough, my lawn will need to be mowed regularly.

I love being outside and mowing the lawn, but I’m a busy guy — and the two hours it takes to cut the grass and trim around the house is sometimes hard to find.

That being said, I have a teenage son who is looking to earn some extra money. He’d like to get a part-time job, but getting one at age 15 is difficult, because most business require applicants to be at least 16.

Mowing the lawn would be a perfect way for me to save some time, and for him to earn some money. But here’s the question:

How much should I pay him to mow my lawn?
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hoarding habits

When my in-laws moved to a different state, the real challenge came when we cleaned out their garage and started minimizing stuff for the move. “Where do you want me to start,” I asked my mother-in-law while looking at her very packed garage.

She thought for a while and spent a good ten minutes telling what not to touch. I couldn’t touch those vintage items because she was going to get appraised. I couldn’t touch those boxes because my father-in-law needed to do through them. Opening up a cedar chest sent her into a huge sidetrack of memories as she looked at her grandmother’s wedding items. She could surely never part with those.

It’s been a few months since that day, and even though my in-laws made the move, the garage still looks the same. They were able to keep their items stored in the garage while renting out the rooms in the home.

Does this scene sound familiar to you? If you’ve ever tried to help someone with a lot of stuff (aka a hoarder), then you know how hard it is to actually get anything done. Everything they own has potential value or sentiment, yet no progress is ever truly made on what items get sold or donated.

If you’re guilty of this, or know someone who is, here are some easy steps to take to overcome your hoarding habits.

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calculatorOne of the most important things you can do is to save enough for retirement. Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t saving anything for their future.

According to a survey from, it looks as though about one in three Americans has absolutely nothing in their nest egg. This is a concerning number since it indicates that many people aren’t preparing for their financial future.

Here are the results of the survey, indicating how much money the respondents say they have saved for retirement:

  • Less than $10K—23%
  • $10K to $49K—10%
  • $50K to $99K—8%
  • $100K to $199K—8%
  • $200K to $299K—5%
  • $300K or more—13%
  • I don’t have retirement savings—33%

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stay at home mom

Many times when people ask me what I do, I get mixed responses when I explain that I’m a stay-at-home mom. Some people are a little put off by it (which is totally fine), while others look at me as if I have stumbled upon this lucky coin in life. “I wish I could stay at home with my babies too, but we need my income”, is usually the response I hear.

For some individuals, staying at home is not a choice because they do need the extra income. However, when another mom tells me how lucky I am, I can’t help notice that they have a nice iPhone, new and trendy clothes, as well as a pricey SUV. None of these things are bad, but my point is that staying at home and living on one income does require a bit of sacrifice. That lucky coin is not be attributed to luck after-all.

Here are the two questions I asked myself when I wanted to stay at home with my kids, and still make sure the bills were paid.

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