Warning: This is going to be a very long, personal, raw, and direct post. It didn't start out this way but kind of spiraled out of control so I'm going with it. Please accept my apologizes in advance for any grammatical errors. 😉
Today is a very special day for us. May 17th is the day that I left my "real/office" job. It has been three years now and I still can't believe the journey that I have been on since then. It isn't and hasn't been, all sunshine and rainbows and there are days, sometimes weeks, where I have wanted to quit every second of every day. There are also days where I take it for granted, more than I would like to admit. Sometimes I work way more than I did at my office job but it doesn't feel like work. It has been a lot of hard work but very fulfilling. I posted the blog at the bottom of this page on my personal website when I quit my job but since I am slowly trying to merge the sites together I thought it would be best to move that post here as well. This post will give you a little more background into where we came from and what happened three years ago but first I want to add all of this first:
Everything you want is possible but you must:
- Believe in Yourself (even when others don't)
- Work HARD
- Be Frugal/Learn How To Manage Your Money
Considering we mostly fall into the "health/wellness field", this journey has definitely caused me mental anxiety as the shift I've witnessed over the last few years in "fitness" has been unreal. I am honestly very happy to say that I am PROUD of US for not following the way most of the industry went. You won't find endless selfies, ab photos, half naked pictures, etc posted every single day on our accounts. We will definitely post the occasional selfie or progress picture but we believe that there is more to health/wellness than six pack abs and restricting your life to basically nothing other than worrying about what time you are going to workout and what you can and can't eat. We are all about living life to the fullest and for us, that means traveling, hiking, and spending time with friends and family. We aren't Olympic athletes or competitors (nor have we ever wanted to be) but we live a healthy lifestyle in order to do the activities we love - like hiking. We've been incorporating more posts about our hiking adventures and how we stay active outside of the gym.
To be completely honest with you, we could probably sell double or triple the number of workout plans and eBooks if we were to go down this basically "soft porn" road but it's not true to who we are so we are not willing to do it. We've worked really hard to build this website as a place where people can come and get recipes and workouts, without feeling like they are not good enough. We get a lot of emails, almost all of it good, but the occasional one where someone wants to tell us what we posted isn't "healthy enough" or we used some ingredient they don't like, etc. While everyone is entitled to their opinion we kindly respond that we aren't strict, by-the-book on anything. We do what feels best for us and our bodies. This means that we try to eat real, unprocessed foods as much as possible with the occasional (high quality) treat when we want it. It definitely seems to be working for us as we've maintained this lifestyle for over five years now.
Health and fitness is a large passion of ours but so is finance (which you will read more about below and here). It doesn't matter what your goal is - it could be to be a stay-at-home mom, a stay-at-home wife, save money for retirement, go on vacation, get out of debt, send your kid to college, etc - the only path to get there is through financial freedom. It also doesn't matter if you are starting with $15,000 in debt or $15,000 in savings, each and every day we all have choices to make. Those choices will either help us reach our goals or send us further away from our goals but the choice is almost always ours (there are a few rare exceptions).
You will have to start ignoring what other people think about you (sound familiar?!) and do what you need to do to reach your goals. Scott and I have been "made fun of" our entire married life (and me my entire life) about what we do and do not spend money on and what we do and do not eat. However, those people are missing the point. We do spend money. We just don't buy the $400 handbag, we buy the plane ticket instead. We don't eat Taco Bell, McDonald's OR eat at high-end restaurants, we make our own food instead to save the rest for travel.
Life is all about choices, make sure the ones you make line up with your goals.
It gets really frustrating to see people talk about how they wish they could quit their job or travel like we do, etc but then they spend money left and right. I'm not here to judge but I'm being honest. Don't say that you don't have the money when really you just choose to spend it on something else. Those small purchases add up. It's just like saying you don't have time to exercise but you have time to binge watch full seasons on Netflix. We are all about balance here but we are also about being honest with yourself and those around you. If your goals really do consist of quitting your job to be home or if you are saving for something, each time you spend money that you don't need to you are essentially taking away from that goal. It doesn't seem like much because it might just be $3 Starbucks drinks during the week, $10 cocktails on the weekends, $50 dinners, a $200 purse, a $100 pair of shoes, etc but if you add that up - it's A LOT of money. It's not that there is anything wrong with these items but if you are trying to accomplish a goal that requires you to save money, you are only hurting yourself!
Money adds up quickly either for you or against you. Make your money work for you.
The reason that I was able to quit my "job" and the reason we are able to travel is because we make choices that allow us to do that. We aren't rich. We don't have an unlimited amount of money coming in but we do live within our means and we save when others spend. Scott took a HUGE pay-cut about 7 years ago to have a job closer to our house working for a non-profit. That's really when his life started changing. He had a better work/life balance so he started investing in his health. I do the best I can to keep this website going and try to reach as many people as possible so they know there is hope in fitness and finance. For years we produced content, building up a ton of free recipes, workouts, and educational information. Not only do we have a ton of free content but we also have proven workout plans/eBooks and companies wanting to work with us because of our content. Please note that when you see sponsored content on this website is because we truly want to share the product or introduce you to something we love. We've turned down some pretty big offers this year that many others would have probably jumped at but they didn't quite fit in with our website. We've been able to maintain the integrity of our values and this website in the ever-changing social media world we live in now.
Even with all of the mental turmoil that I've suffered recently (RELATED: How Getting Into Fitness Ruined My Body Image), I am so glad that this website has given me the opportunity to connect with more people about the idea of minimalism and saving money - in addition to health and wellness. Our money challenges are some of our most popular posts!
You might be thinking, oh great now we have to eat rice and beans for every meal and never leave the house. That isn't the point - the point is to look at where you are spending your money to see where you can cut back in order to accomplish future goals but still live your life. There's plenty of free or cheap things to do and easy swaps you can make in your life but I'll go into this more in another post. We spend our money on quality food (as in not eating fast food but not eating at high-end restaurants either) and travel. This isn't to tell you to go out or not go out and quit your job tomorrow but I wanted to share this so that you realize that all of your small actions add up - in both fitness and finance!
Wow has my life changed in ONE WEEK. A lot of you were asking for details so here they are…it’s hard for me to even type this without getting emotional…it’s probably going to be pretty long…
I have worked since I was 14. Let me take that back, I have worked since I was able to walk. I was raised on a farm…yes, a WORKING farm. My grandparents watched me while my parents worked so I helped them on the farm. This means that I was picking vegetables, getting the gardens ready, feeding the animals, the list goes on and on. It was THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE. My maw-maw and paw-paw were my favorite people in the WHOLE WORLD. I miss them EVERY SINGLE DAY. I could never EVER repay them for everything they taught me. No, they didn’t teach me math or science but they taught me how to WORK HARD AND LIVE A SIMPLE LIFE.
This was originally published on my personal website on 05/06/2013.
We weren’t rich growing up but everyone in my family worked really hard and saved their money. We had land and we used it. My dad owned a landscaping business and WORKED HIS BUTT OFF EVERY SINGLE DAY. He would come home sweating and exhausted and still make sure that my sister and I were taken care of and that we were doing our homework, etc (P.S. My dad is still hiking the Appalachian Trail!). My mom has worked in the same school system for almost 30 years but she also works in the nursery at her church and sometimes helps out at a local store on the weekends. She does this because she LOVES TO WORK. When we were little we weren’t given everything, we had to work for it. If we wanted to go on a trip with the church we had to work at the church washing windows or cleaning the church to pay for it. It’s not that my parents didn’t have the money, it’s that they wanted us to know that NOTHING IS FREE. We didn’t get a toy every time we went to a store and I actually don’t even remember going shopping as a kid…I remember being outside and loving my life. That is how I grew up.
There are many successful entrepreneurs in my family (they didn’t even go to college - some didn't even graduate high school). They are successful because they WORKED FOR IT. They weren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth. I never wanted to be a teacher or a nurse or anything like that…I just wanted to work for myself, have my own business. I went to college for business then zoned in on finance because I love everything about finance. I love saving and investing. Here’s another story: Since my grandparents watched me during the day and they were “depression era” they taught me how to save my money. They were so frugal. After I would make money when I was little I would iron it and put it in my “cash box”. This wasn’t because I was obsessed with money it was because I was so thankful to have it and I knew how much hard work went into it (and because I am OCD like that). My dad would give us money a few times a year to buy school clothes and instead of buying clothes with the money…I would iron it and put it in my cash box. I kept a ledger of what I made, where it came from, and if anyone borrowed it (my sister would borrow my money because she spent all of hers!). My dad would get so mad but my mom would tell him to just let me do what I wanted to with it. So, I saved my money…ALL OF IT. I hated spending money. To this day I hate spending money. And if you haven’t been “following” me very long…I also hate shopping because I have to spend money. 🙂
When I started really focusing on fitness and nutrition, I started to relate it to saving money. Finance is really the same as fitness: Do you really want that $600 purse? Think about how many hours you need to work for that (job)…is it worth it? Do you really want that 1,200 calorie meal? Let’s be honest…sometimes it is worth it but the point that I am trying to make here is BALANCE. You must decide what is more important to you.
Ok, back to my story… 🙂
I wanted to help people and I thought that my path would be helping people with their finances because that was what I was good at. I left my first job out of college and went straight into the job I have now…because we all need a J.O.B., right? Well, I work in claims. Bad idea. No one is ever happy. Think about it…everyone I talk to either just hit someone or they just got hit by our driver. Not the most pleasant job in the world. Not to mention that the commute is 45 min to an hour each way. It’s not a fulfilling job but I couldn’t just leave a decent paying job. So, instead of just complaining about it…I decided I would change it. I studied for my personal training certification while working full time, working on the blogs, training myself, cooking, etc…not that I wanted to actually be a trainer but I knew it would open more doors for me. I worked on both blogs when I got home from the gym. I didn’t know that they would ever turn into anything but everyone kept asking for advice and recipes and instead of typing the same email over and over again…might as well make a blog, right? When the blogs became popular and we started receiving emails that we were changing lives I knew that it was what I was supposed to be doing. I sacrificed A LOT over the last few years but I knew it would be worth it eventually.
I would say that I want to quit my “day job” on a regular basis but Scott always turns down that idea (and rightfully so) so when he woke up Thursday morning (05/02) as I was getting up and said “I want you to quit your job today…don’t even go in” I thought he was talking in his sleep and even asked him if he was still sleeping. I was going into work early because I had so much to do that day and he usually sleeps longer than me since he only works a few miles from his office. He said he was totally serious. I went into work that day confused to say the least. I asked him all day if he had changed his mind and he told me no…I asked if he was 100% sure and he said 110% sure. Then he texted me and said that on his way to work a song came on and these were basically the lyrics:
“A new life isn’t easy but it’s worth working for…so open the door and start your new life”. -Jim James
He said he knew it was a sign. Then he sent this message (I really wish I had a picture of it!):
“You’re amazing and so creative so I know you’ll be successful working for yourself. I have a lot of trust in you. You mean everything to me and having a strong relationship and love is the most important thing in my life. We have so many options available now. Life has been good to us and I think we need to inspire others to help them enjoy life. I want to be successful by helping others.”
For the first time in my three or so years at the insurance company, I was actually crying HAPPY tears at my desk. I usually cry because I get cussed out. I actually did…right before Scott sent me that message I was called a b**** because I told someone that the accident was their fault. All of this happened Thursday. Friday morning I turned in my resignation.
I know that I am able to leave my job because of Scott & my ability to avoid instant gratification by saving our money. I am able to leave my job because of our hard work. I am able to leave my job because of everything we have sacrificed over the last few years. Being an online coach with has given me the ability to reach so many more people. We couldn’t keep emailing people back that we weren’t accepting new clients…here we were with people who wanted to change their lives and we had to tell them that we couldn’t help them. I’m so proud to say that now we can help many, many more people! I already have groups lined up to start their life-changing experience and plan on holding group boot camp or track workouts a few times a week!
“Today I put in my notice at my very stressful, emotionally draining full time “day job” to pursue my dreams. I could not have done it without the support of my amazing husband who believes in me. We both have worked our butts off over the…last year and a half helping thousands of people change their lives. It is now time for me to do this full time. I have cried, laughed, gotten very angry, and wanted to give up NUMEROUS times. It was soooo hard working a full-time job, commuting 45 min to an hour each way to work, working out, and cooking our clean food. When I got home from the gym I would spend 2-3 hours per night working on our blogs to help other people…answer their questions, post content that would help THEM change their LIVES. I haven’t turned on the TV in over a year. This is my passion and it is finally time for me to pursue it full time. I’m not scared, I am elated. There is no way to see what you are really worth until you get uncomfortable. As Scott told me, “Life has been good to us and I think we need to inspire others to help them enjoy life. I want to be successful by helping others.” I have no other words…”
You probably didn’t want to hear all of that but this is my blog and this is how I feel. 🙂 Whatever your dreams are you should follow them – no matter how long it takes.