Category Archives: Life

Our Anniversary

Sarah Cauble

Sarah Cauble

Sarah Cauble

Sarah Cauble

Sarah Cauble

One Year Anniversary

One year ago, on June 22, 2013, I married the one person that managed to captivate me, inspire me, influence me, and dare me to dream in a way that no one ever has. I’ve fallen in love with him again and again, countless times, without reservation.

I’m so happy to call Christopher my husband and my partner in this crazy thing called life.

We spent our one-year anniversary on a hill near a butte in the middle of our great state of Montana. It was a simple evening with a bottle of wine and a cozy wool blanket. But the weather and the skies and Christopher managed to make it a night to remember.

Photography: by Christopher Cauble

Wearing: Dress by Free People | Boots by Indigo by Clarks

Starlight at Night

It’s been a year since my grandpa died.

The image above is a poem he scanned at one point with some instructions for his funeral, “You can read this or put it in my ‘program.'” He was so cute that way.

I’m drawn to the composition of this simple sheet of paper with a poem and his handwriting; his handwriting is forever stamped in my mind.

It’s funny though, not funny ha-ha, funny-ironic, because that time in my life is such a blur. I can’t remember if this poem ever did make in the program or whether or not someone read it. Or perhaps, I may have read it. I don’t remember.

I will, however, forever remember and cherish every moment spent with him.

I never knew a grandfather or a man like him; he sang along to “Barbie Girl” with us and played the role of Ken, he called on the phone just to say hello.

He made sure we were always taken care of, he talked with his mouth full just to irritate Grandma and induce giggles from us.

He knew how to do the Elvis lip thing, he almost went to work every day (or so we thought) in his underwear with a briefcase (is this TMI? ;)

He made the best walking sticks you ever saw, he sent roses to all of us girls every Valentine’s day, he videotaped evvverrrrything (including the floor).

And he always reminded us how much he loved us.

My grandpa truly made the world a better place as a hard working judge, loving husband, father and grandfather.

He will be missed every day of the rest of our lives.

Te amo para siempe. Con cariño, Noni

Being 24

Sometimes you stumble upon something written that truly conveys how you’re feeling at that very moment in your life. The words of Bohemia and Bull inspired me to create the image above; something I fear, something upsetting, something I can’t quite wrap my head around as a girl woman of 24 years.

The excerpt below is what really struck a chord with me:

I’m not really sure what came over me, just a good old fashioned dose of unadulterated fear. The kind of fear where you think about life and you think about death. You think of all the times you haven’t called home, all the phone calls you forgot to return, all the friendships that accidentally faded away when you weren’t looking, and all the times you’ll never get back, all the “i love you’s” that you thought were forever, like forever, forever. How your parents are starting to look older, and your brothers date girls that look the same age as you, and you don’t know all your sisters secrets anymore, and how you live so far away from home. The damn passing of time, the universal battle to try and maintain balance somewhere between the death of youth and the expectation of maturity.

Sometimes I feel alone in this in-between stage of a twenty-something. It’s nice to be reminded that I’m not the only fearful one.

 

My Journey to Debt Freedom

The Book That Changed My Life

My journey to debt freedom began when I received the book My Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey as a college graduation present from my aunt in May of 2010. I read the book within a number of days and with each sentence I read, everything I thought I ever knew about debt and money was proven wrong. Credit cards, car payments, student loans and the like are not a way of life; both myself and the majority of our society seemed to have been convinced at some point that this is the way we should live. 90% of people in our culture buy things they can’t afford. 90%! This number should be shocking, it was to me, along with everything else in the Total Money Makeover. Dave’s “financial fitness plan” teaches you why this isn’t “the way to live” and more importantly, he teaches you how to pay off debt and how to never go into debt ever again. Sounds too good to be true? Here’s my little secretit’s not. I know from my own experience that it’s not too good to be true and that if you set your mind to it, you can literally change your life by following Dave’s plan.

Dave says that personal finance is 80% behavior and only 20% head knowledge. I’ve always considered myself to be “good” with money. I never thought I “deserved” large shopping sprees or to go out to eat all of the time or that I “needed” a vacation several times a year. I had a credit card throughout college but only used it to “build” my credit every once in a while and would pay it off immediately. I took out as few student loans as possible by earning scholarships and working part-time throughout high school and college, yet, I still managed to take out upwards of $20,000 in subsidized and unsubsidized loans throughout my 4 years. So, I guess I wasn’t that good with money. But after reading My Total Money Makeover, it wasn’t difficult for me to understand how to be good with money and how to get out of debt and stay out. Just like anything, losing weight for example, you know what to doeat right and exerciseyou just have to set your mind to it. I completely set my mind to eliminating my student loans in as little of time as possible. I was actually excited about it! Empowered! I couldn’t wait to kick those student loans out of my house for good. And I really couldn’t wait to look at my diploma knowing that it was completely paid forthat I would no longer have a monthly payment of $250 for the next ten or more years of my life. But I had to live like no one else in order to live like no one else later, that meant no iPhone, no big trips or vacations, no eating out a lot, and a whole lot of other no‘s.

Why I Started This Journey

If you read the Total Money Makeover, you’ll soon learn why you want to be debt free. For me, it was a combination of things. The first being it made sense. It almost seemed like it was common sense everyone forgot about. Why do do I need a car payment each month when I can just save up for a car in a few months? Why do I need a credit score aka debt score? Why should I take ten or more years to pay off my student loans? This book answered all of those questions for me and more. It even offers a large number of stories, like mine, of real people who got of debt and how it enabled them to build wealth, avoid money fights with their spouses, establish security, and more!

Something that really resonated with me, was Dave’s advice on car payments. He writes:

The Federal Reserve notes that the average car payment is $495 over sixty-four months. Most people get a car payment and keep it throughout their lives. As soon as a car is paid off, they get another payment because they “need” a new car. If you keep a $495 car payment throughout your life, which is “normal,” you miss the opportunity to save that money. If you invested $495 per month from age 25 to age 65, a normal working lifetime, in the average mutual fund averaging 12 percent (the eighty-year stock market average), you would have $5,881,799.14 at age sixty-five. Hope you like the car!

All I can say is read this book. It changed my life, and it just might change yours.

How I Became DEBT FREE in 17 Months

Since I read The Total Money Makeover as soon as I graduated from college, I still had that six month grace period that they give you before your loans go into repayment. That meant I had six months to save as much money as I could to throw at my student loans as soon as I got the first bill.

According to Dave’s financial fitness plan, the very first thing you must do every month is create a zero budget. That means you know where every single dollar is spent. For the first twelve months, I budgeted on my iMac’s sticky notes, typing every dollar out. But then I discovered mint.com and eagerly started budgeting using their free online tools that allow you to connect all of your accounts to their system, as well as manually enter data.

Dave has a seven Baby Step plan to get you out of debt and to build wealth. Here are Dave’s first three Baby Steps:

  1. $1,000 to start an emergency fund (credit cards are not for emergencies)
  2. Pay off your debt using the Debt Snow Ball
  3. Three to six months of expenses in savings (your fully-funded emergency fund)

I was quickly able to accomplish baby step 1 since I already had a decent amount of savings for a college grad (and since I had those six months to save even more).

So before each month started, I would budget all of my necessities (rent, groceries, gas, utilities, phone bill, internet, car insurance, toiletries and whatever else that month might throw at me (eg: a medical bill, oil change)) I would also budget in my measly $100 for fun money (shopping, restaurants, coffee etc). Since I was a recent college grad, I was used to living off hardly nothing and continued living off of very little.

So after I budgeted for the month, following the debt snowball, I then payed the minimum on each of my student loans, except for the smallest one, which at the beginning for me, was from Direct Loans. Each month until it was paid off, I put every extra dollar towards that loan.

I was actually able to pay off the Direct Loans in my very first month, December of 2010$3,889.70! I’ll admit, the first month was the hardest. Most of the money I had saved was for my dream trip to Europe. But I knew that that Europe trip would be a lot more enjoyable if it was cash-flowed, and if I didn’t have any student loans with my name on them back home. So I went for it and boy did it feel good. I also put $500 towards my Wells Fargo student loan that month. That means I paid off almost a quarter of my loans in the very first month they were in repayment!

Each month I continued budgeting, living frugally and putting every extra dollar towards the smallest loan until it was paid off. Some months I had $1,000 to put towards a loan, and some months I had nothing extra. I have an irregular income because I’m a self-employed graphic and web designer, (if you didn’t already know!) so any extra money I had varied.

Today, 17 months and $21,230.83 later (to be exact), I paid off my very last student loan and it’s one of the best feelings in the world. I truly feel free. I’m onto Baby Step number three and then I’m so excited to begin saving for that Europe trip again, as well as for a U.S. Road trip, my wedding next summer and a Honeymoon! I’m also going to begin building wealth by following baby steps 4-7!

FREEEEEEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Squiggles by Siggles

My sister, Signe, recently asked me to create an Etsy shop banner for her. Signe just loves to paint and create works of art and decided to begin selling pieces in order to save up money for a horse. I should mention Signe is eleven-years old. She has had a deep love for horses for as long as I can remember; she has always yearned to call one her very own. Signe fell for the animal before she ever even had her first ride! Once she finally did have that first ride, it only reaffirmed that a horse was right for her.

Maybe I’m biased, but I think it’s absolutely adorable that she came up with the idea to sell her paintings. And not only is it adorable, it’s very respectable. She’s not like every other young girl, asking and begging and pleading with her parents to buy her a horse for her next birthday or for Christmas. She’s willing to work for it by starting her own little online business on Etsy. What an entrepreneur—she must take after her big sister ;)

Signe holds a special place in my heart. She’s the baby of our clan of five sisters, while I hold the spot as the oldest. We’re twelve years apart, but the years we have in between us will never keep us from having the most loving, rewarding sisterhood.

To support Signe’s effort or to see her artwork, you can visit her shop, Squiggles by Siggles on Etsy.

Graduation Card Typography

My little sister, Paige, graduated from high school today. It’s hard to believe she’s about to head off to college (not to mention, on a full athletic scholarship). I swear I just packed up my bedroom, nervous and excited with anticipation for the college years ahead of me. But here I am, five years later, watching my sister graduate. Where does the time go?

I’m so happy and proud of Paige for all of her accomplishments leading up to graduation. For this special occasion, I wanted to make her a card. I’ve always been the type to create home-made cards, but this time, I went the graphic-home-made-card-route. I chose to create a typography design using a quote from the wonderful book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss.

Not only did I want to give Paige a card, I wanted to also reward her with a gift for all of her hard work. But I wanted to let her decide what she wanted as a graduation present. So instead of being un-original and presenting her with a gift card to her favorite store, I created two coupons for her to choose from (“Not valid with an other offers”) on the inside of her graduation card. The first coupon is for Adobe Photoshop. Paige loves photography and has had a taste of Photoshop from classes in high school. I would love for her to learn more about the program and explore photography further. But I only wanted to give this to her if she chooses to minor in photography (she’s majoring in Elementary Education). The second coupon is for an external hard drive – a necessity for every college student to back-up all of their files. I thought she could really use one if she chooses not to minor in Photog.

As usual, I put my stamp of love on the back of all of the cards I create. Sweet and simple.

I really enjoyed desiging this card for Paige, that’s why I thought I’d share it! If you ever would like a custom card or invitation designed, you know who to contact!

I Love Pinterest

My New-Found Love

I recently did some investigative googling in search of an online inspiration board. I’m always taking screenshots of websites that inspire me for future web design projects and they always land on my desktop. Unfortunately, a messy desktop full of screenshots isn’t so-inspiring. I finally found a website called Pinterest that was exactly what I was looking for! It’s still in beta, so I immediately sent a request to join. Within days I received an invitation and started “pinning” to my heart’s content.

What is Pinterest? According to Pinterest:

“Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.”
They go on to say:
“Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”

How To Get Started

To get started, send a request to join Pinterest or ask a friend who’s already on Pinterest to invite you. Once you’re officially invited, install the Pinterest bookmarklet in your browser so you can “pin” (save) images from other websites onto your “board.” You can create numerous inspiration boards–for the home, fashion inspiration, gift ideas, any kind of board you want to create. The cool thing about Pinterest, is you can follow other people’s boards and “re-pin” their pins. It’s a great tool to not only save what inspires you, but to be inspired by what inspires others. That’s what they call inspiration.

Follow me on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sarahnoni

E-mail Hoarding

I’ve come to the realization that I am an e-mail hoarder. For some reason I have this inert fear (you could call it…) of pressing the delete button on an e-mail. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m very good at deleting when it comes to spam e-mail from companies that have managed to get my e-mail address. This is when I say, “Yes, I love you Apple, but I don’t need you to suggest to me in an e-mail to buy my boyfriend an iPod Touch for Valentine’s Day.” (Generally speaking, I give businesses my “junk e-mail address,” to prevent me from ever having to see a “subscribed-to” e-mail. The e-mail address I give is my first-ever e-mail address from 6th grade. It’s a hotmail address!)

But back to the hoarding. I hardly ever want to delete an e-mail because I seem to think I’m going to need it down the road. E-mail from Grandma about her last days at the cabin; can’t delete, e-mail from an old boss regarding an old project; might re-read it, an e-mail from Snapfish giving me a receipt for my photo mouse pad purchase; might need it. And then there’s the e-mails I refuse to ever delete: sweet e-mails from my grandpa and all e-mails from my boyfriend. I admit it, I have a problem (at least according to the former list).

Now that I have become aware of my e-mail hoarding “disorder,” I plan to do something about it, however, it’ll take baby-steps to completely fix the problem. And when I say baby-steps I mean it’s going to take forever to go through all those e-mails, so I have to do it one little step at a time! The good news is, A&E’s Hoarders doesn’t have to come knocking on my door to intervene.

I’m In Cyberspace

Finally, the day has come for me to brand and market myself in the big wide world of the Internet. It’s rather exciting to say the least. Unfortunately, all that you can do on my website right now is see the title “sarah eleanor grant” and click on buttons that change color. That’s the extent of it. Hopefully there will be some content for your viewing pleasures in the next couple of weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time designing and coding this website so hopefully it will all be worth while in the end (ie: make me some money since I’m graduating college in 14 days). Check out my site (aka the title and buttons) if you haven’t already: www.sarahegrant.com It should soon be a fully functional website within the next few weeks, so be sure to check back!