Finding My Path to Financial Awareness

Hi, and thank you for stopping by! This post had been edited over the months to strengthen the message I was attempting to convey. I hope you enjoy it – and would love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Let’s Take a Walk

A short distance up the street is a pint-sized wooded park between a few quiet neighborhoods. An almost invisible, narrow path weaves its way around the trees and granite outcroppings, making for a decent loop when I feel the urge to get outdoors. This is the path I most frequent when going solo with my pup for a stroll. I find 2-3 loops leaves me feeling at ease.

Hello, I am ze Dog in ze trees on ze Path!
Hello, I am the dog in among these beautiful trees!

Like every other day, a jaunt past the neighborhood gets us quickly into the woods where my furry friend is free to sniff. She doesn’t always stick to the path (what dog should?) so I tend to engage her in my peripheral vision. A few minutes into the adventure, I notice she stops abruptly and slowly approaches something shiny in the leaves.

She hesitates enough that I interrupt her investigation and snatch up the package of candies she was about to inhale. I feel lucky knowing we avoided what could have been an all night puppy tummy ache or much worse.

After picking up the candy I decide it is a little too nasty to carry in my pocket so I strategically toss it back into the thicker brush off the path where no dog will ever find it. We continue on our loop, but shortly after I hesitate. I feel quite uneasy about leaving that trash behind. Suddenly I remember the plastic grocery bag in my coat pocket.

I recently started taking some time and meditating in the middle of my workdays. This bag has been my water barrier during those sessions because the grassy knoll where I go has been understandably damp.

I duck into the thick brush, find the candy and plop it into my new trash collection bag. As we continue on the path I begin seeing wastefulness EVERYWHERE!

Proof little bits really add up!

First a piece of gunky packing tape. Then a small clear bag from some electronic product. More candy wrappers. Eventually we find this blanket sized sheet of white polystyrene foam which I shake the ice off of and stuff into our now full trash bag.


We return home and I snap a picture of what I hope is the first of many full bags of woods trash. I promise myself to always take an extra bag along on future dog walks. If my puppy had her way those walks would be every 30 minutes (other than meal time!)

Interesting, but What’s Your Point?

I feel like those thirty-minutes walking with my eyes tuned to the Trash in the Woods channel triggered something positive in my mind. Everyday I am  living my life unaware of these little bits of waste. Of course, I am not really talking about physical trash – I am talking about waste in general.

  1. Wasted TIME

    Time waste is an issue for me. I am constantly distracted by the internet, my phone, my pets (that’s really not too bad), and whatever shiny object crosses my path. If I instead was being productive during this time that would be clearly beneficial, but generally I am not. I am not going to be productive 100% of the time, I understand that. However, it does reach a point where I look back over the weeks, months, and years of my life and say – “what have I accomplished?” I want that to change.

  2. Wasted MONEY

    For too many people this is the BIG ONE. They get that paycheck and the first thing they do is treat themselves. They get home later and realize they can’t cover some bill they forgot about. It’s a cycle that repeats. All of those little leaks in their income are being wasted on spontaneous emotions of the moment. Of course that means all your hard work to earn that income just leads to headaches.

  3. Wasted ENERGY

    Much like time and money, energy is a resource you don’t always control. People rush around, trying to keep busy and look important. But, what’s the point? At some point you become so exhausted you are unable to do the actions in your life that are important to YOU.

Making Changes

Zencents is all about changes in my life. It might lean heavy on the personal finance side, but really that is just a means to an end. That end is a less-wasteful life where I AM IN CONTROL OF MY RESOURCES. I’ll be changing money habits, career paths, lifestyle choices, and constantly reviewing my life goals.

This site will be for documenting my progress, in hopes it will inspire others. And in 10 years, after retiring early, I hope to look back and see a thriving community of folks who helped me on my journey. And even more I hope to see those same folks just a tiny bit inspired looking back at me (also retired)!

Are you aware of the waste in your life?


Feature Image by Karsten Würth

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