Cuddley Suze Orman & My New Love of Personal Finance Books
Author: Anna Newell Jones

1255670408928075Never thought I’d say this but I’ve been reading financial books before I go to sleep!

My fave has been a paperback Suze (is it pronounced Suzy or Suz? I’ve heard both) Orman book. The 2009 Action Plan to be specific…despite it being 2010 I think it may have some good tips.

I’ll find myself going through my normal nightly routine and then bam! Suze Orman basically hops into bed with me as my new cozy, financially responsible cuddle bunny.

Never. Ever. Thought I’d see the day. But… here it is upon us in all its glory.

That book is tricky too because it’s shaped like a fun book- you know small and soft and novel sized and then there it goes talking all about being responsible and 401(k)’s and equity and taxes and saving and spending and everything else.

I got a whole other stack of other financial books from the library too. A book about how to Live Large on a Budget (I was excited about that one), a book about getting out of debt, a huge one that is at least 700 pages and some other ones that have been wanting some attention and have been getting desperately ignored. I can guarantee that these books will get a good flipping through… though actually reading them and following the advice given is a whole other story.

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in Paying Off Debt, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Things To Do
On Not Making Exceptions to Make the Spending Fast Easier
Author: Anna Newell Jones

The other day I posed a question to you all in this here post. After a lot of thought, consideration, deliberation, hibernation and back and forth. I’ve decided to tough it out and not make any allowances for any sort of fun budget.

At this point I think it’s the right decision. As tough as the Spending Fast is I don’t want to buckle cause it’s getting harder. Part of doing this for an entire year is to see what I’m capable of… to face difficulties head-on and to stick to my guns and really DO THIS as shitty and as difficult as it is at times.

So.

That’s what I’m gonna do. Deal with the difficulty and uncomfortable-ness of being out of my comfort-zone. I’m gonna stay strong and walk through the tough parts. Like my pep talk?

Thank you to all of you who left comments. A lot of them helped me to consider some different angles on the subject and that is definitely appreciated.

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in Paying Off Debt, Spending Fast, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized)
Trade you a Liberry for a Library
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Whether you pronounce it lie-berry or lie-brary nothing is better than the library. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a city that has a library system half as good as the one here in Denver then you’re a lucky little chap.

The library system here is so great because you can go online, type in your library card number then look for any book, movie, magazine, cd, tv series that you’re interested in and then say what branch you want to pick the item up at and they have it delivered there for you.

Uh.

Can you spell a-w-e-s-o-m-e?

Sometimes, I’ll find myself in a certain well known book store using the camera on my cell phone to take a picture of book covers I’m interested in so that I can then go home and look the title up on the library’s website. Better that than shelling out the money for a book I’ll read once and then it just gets shipped off to the basement only to start the getting-musky process.

There have only been a couple instances where the library didn’t have the item I requested. I still don’t know why they wouldn’t carry the tv series “Hogan Knows Best”. What do they have against big blonde muscle-y wrestlers? It’s not like its a moral issue or anything like that because they carry “The Girls Next Door” and I can almost guarantee they will be carrying “Jersey Shore” just to please Snooki.

Also, I can tell you from personal experience that paying the late fees stinks. Our library recently lowered the check out limit for overdue fees from $10 bucks to $5.  I was bummed as I paid a whopping $7.75 in late fees the other day.

That.

My friend, is NOT in the Spending Fast budge. Never thought I would say this, but the money actually hurt as it left my card. I had been doing so good before the fateful checkout counter run-in.

I’ll suppose I’ll have to forgive you library. You un-wieldy beast you.

I love the library because if I have an interest in a topic either vaguely or huge-ly I can research it from every angle up and down and all for free… that is if it gets returned on time.

So, I’ll keep checking things out and keep my fingers crossed that sooner or later they’ll come to their senses and order “Hogan Knows Best”.

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in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Things To Do
Reducing My “Needs” Even More – Spending Fast Progress Report
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Here’s an mini-update of things I have done to reduce my out-going costs even more:

  • Changed my 1/2 size locker at the gym to a cube one that is $4 less per month
  • Bought face wash that was $7 less than my normal one
  • Consistently making coffee at work… un-told savings there
  • Checking out cd’s from the library instead of buying new music online
  • Swiping and then returning (of course) old magazines from the gym
  • Ran out of yummy smelling fabric softener and not gonna replace it
  • Making homemade notepads out of scrap paper (8×10 paper cut into 4’s and then stapled together)
  • Constantly working at eating away my soup collection (makes it sound like I bought all that on purpose if I call it a collection, see)
  • Decided to not take showers or eat or buy stamps in an effort to cut costs even more
  • Lied about the last thing on my list
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in Do Without, Paying Off Debt, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters
What’s Your Opinion? Should I Give Myself an Exception?
Author: Anna Newell Jones

The social part of being on a spending fast has really been a tricky part of this whole thing. How do I suggest that when I hang out with people that we don’t spend any money? I bring up the whole spending fast thing that I’m doing but sometimes it just doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to not spend money especially when I’m in the moment and I really want to do what I want to do. You know. Like old times. Meaning a whole 12 days ago.

So, I have a question for you dear reader if you are out there. Do you think I should take say, $30 out in cash at the beginning of the month and keep it in an envelope for things like going to movies and out to lunch or coffee with buds?

Here’s something to consider before you answer. The spending fast started with one of the main intentions being to help me shift the focus off of things and more onto people and relationships. Sooooo if I’m thwarted (that’s a funny word) by the resistance to spend money on social get-togethers because of the fast then that kinda feels like its is defying the point of doing the fast in the first place. Since then the fast would be putting strain on the relationship.

Luckily, I’ve been able to utilize a great and amazing resource we have here in Denver its this site aptly called This Week In Denver. They list events/social gatherings/art exhibits/comedy shows/independent projects/fashion shows/all sorts of cool stuff for any given week. They even email it to you if you sign up for that or you can go to their site and take a look at all the events. All that to say that they list a lot of cool stuff and then they also list the price of the event. So it makes it easy to pick out the free things to do on the weekends or during the week. This Week In Denver has been a real life-saver since the spending fast started. (I’d imagine other towns would have a similar section in the local newspapers Events section.)

So, what are your thoughts? Should I give myself a mini-budget for get-togethers? I don’t want to just cave since things are tricky in this area but I also don’t want to be miserable cause really, what’s the point of that? Plus, if I feel miserable and stuck it’s gonna be a lot harder to do this for a whole year.

p.s. sometimes when i’m writing i feel like doogie howser mustve felt. you know, just writing away. but, i don’t have a narrator reading out loud what i’m writing as i write it but that would be cool.

8 comments

in Societal Pressures, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized)
Bread Face (Make Bread. Wrap It Up Pretty. Give it as a Gift!)
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Here’s a great recipe from Stephanie Scarborough’s “Cheap Vegan” zine. It’s great if you’re vegan or not. And if you really want to use eggs and or milk its easy enough to modify. What’s even better about it is you can use a lot of different ingredients depending on what you already have in your cupboards.

I made sweet potato pecan muffins* that turned out pretty darn good.

I’m thinking that making this bread would be a very good option for gifts if a gift needs to be given to someone for something. The bread could be easily put in a bag (or aluminum foil) with a bit of ribbon on it. Done and done.

Which is simply:

Here, Stephanie teaches us how to make any type of bread we want, chocolate, pumpkin, whatever. It’s all about using the right proportion of ingredients…

All sweet/savory bread recipes are basically the same, only with different types of ingredients, but the proportions more or less remain the same. With this recipe, you can make a sweet bread with whatever’s lying around your kitchen […]. This recipe makes one loaf. It can be doubled to save time and energy. OK, here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

  • Flours
    You’ll need 1 2/3 – 2 cups. I found that my baked goods usually fail unless I use half unbleached white flour. If you’re good at cooking with 100% whole grains, go for it (and let me know your secret). For your whole grain flour (if you choose to use it; you can use all white flour if you like) you can use whatever you have: whole wheat, oat, (make your own by grinding oatmeal in your blender), cornmeal, rye, spelt, soy, or whatever.
  • Baking Soda
    1 teaspoon.
  • Egg Subsitute
    Use a substitute equivalent to 3 eggs. For each “egg” you can use any of the fololowing: 1 tablespoon soy flour plus 2 tablespoons of water; 1/2 mashed banana; 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds plus 2 tablespoons water.
  • Sweetener
    1/2 cup for sweet bread, 2 tablespoons for savory. You can use plain sugar, fruit juice concentrate, molasses, corn syrup, raisins that have been soaked in a little hot water for about an hour and pureed—whatever tickles your fancy. If using brown sugar, increase it to 3/4 cup.
  • Moist Addition
    About 2 cups. This is what kind of bread your bread is; mashed banana, grated zucchini, pureed pumpkin, mashed avocados, canned crushed tomatoes (for a savory bread. And strain off the liquid), applesauce, shredded yellow squash, mashed berries, mashed and cooked winter squash (butternut, acorn, whatever) mashed and cooked sweet potato, nut butter or anything moist and mushy you’ve got lying around.
  • Generic Liquid
    1/2 cup. this can be any dairy-free milk, juice, water, tea, coffee—anything wet.
  • Optional Add-ins and Crunchy Stuff
    Up to 2 cups. Whole berries, chopped nuts, coconut, raisins, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseeds, chopped and dried fruit, granola, oatmeal, chocolate chips…whatever’s lying around the kitchen!

Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium-large bowl. Combine the wet and moist ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently but thoroughtly. Stir in the optional add-ins and/or crunchy stuff.

Dump the batter into a lightly oiled or nonstick loaf pan and bake at 425° for an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, if possible. Makes one loaf.

*or you can make muffins like I did but the muffs stuck to the paper so I’ll use a non-stick pan next time. enjoy.

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in DIY, Food, Groceries, & Recipes, Practical Solutions, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters
Jury Duty Jury Shmooty
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Today I have Jury Duty. Which is just fine with me… I just hope to get selected for a juicy interesting trial and not a boring one.

Though, if I didn’t have to be at work I’d rather be sleeping in.

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in Personal
Ghetto Coffee Time
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Nothing says fun quite like bad coffee.

I thought I would be just fine with it. See this post. But. I’ve decided to change my mind and become totally NOT ok with bad coffee. Despite that fact, I find myself drinking it because that’s what I have at my house already so that means it’s free which means I’m drinking it if I like it or not if I want coffee.

Last weekend I ran out of my fancy coffee and made it through the week just fine because I had more fancy coffee at work but here we are at the weekend again and looky here… no good coffee.

Yes. Sad face indeed.

Since starting the Spending Fast a whooping 10 days ago. Egad. I’ve really really enjoyed the simpler things in life quite a bit more than I expected to (I’ll admit that it feels cliche to even utter those words).

Honestly I didn’t know how I would feel or how this whole YEAR-LONG Spending Fast thing would go so I suppose this “enjoying the simple things in life” thing has been a kind of non-surprise since I didn’t expect anything one way or another… other than knowing it would probably just sincerely bite more than not.

That’s as far as I had gotten with my predictions.

So. Hot hot steamy sexy delicious coffee in the morning has been something I have enjoyed a lot and found myself really looking forward to.

See Exhibit A: this purring thought to myself- “Oooooh, coffeeeeee,  yummmmmm, coffee tomorrow, can’t wait. It’s gonna be soo good. yummmmm. I need to hurry up and go to sleep so I can hurry up and wake up and drink coffee.” And off to sleep I go only to dream dreams of caffeinated steaming dark liquids that I can hardly wait to consume.

Coffee drinkers… I know you know what I’m talking about. Just like you know that your server at a restaurant loves coffee as much as you do when you see she is standing there waiting anxiously to refill your mug as soon as it gets to the halfway full mark (look who’s an optimist) cause she knows that if you’re a TRUE coffee drinker/lover you’ll want a lot of coffee and hot and quickly.

Just saying.

And. Back to my point.

Back in June we went on a trip and stayed in a couple of hotels and they had those little coffee packets in the room. I went and took those coffee packs being the coffee lover that I am. Yes. I’m one of THOSE people. And those little packets have been waiting patiently in the back of the freezer for a good 7 months just being nice and cold and waiting it out. Their time has come to get used and I have to tell you that coffee is just no no good at all.

I know. I know. I’ll live. This really is a LUXURY problem. It’s definitely not like I’m suffering from a broken leg or even a bad migraine (which I’ve heard can be really bad even debilitating). Drinking bad coffee really just makes me appreciate good coffee that much more. I didn’t know how good I had it. I was basically swimming in a pool of delicious coffee every morning and I took it for granted.

Apparently, those taking it for granted days have ended and the dreams of good coffee have begun.

I have a tub of 1/2 caff coffee in the freezer from the days when I decided it was a good idea to cut back on my caffeine consumption so I should probably stop complaining and realize that I actually have full  caff coffee to drink right now even if it isn’t the tastiest.

This Spending Fast has made me pay attention to things I don’t really want to and didn’t know where even happening right around me. It’s made me open my eyes in some very strange ways.

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in Make Do & Mend, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized)
  • Anna

    Hi, I'm Anna! I paid off close to 24k in debt in only 15 months & it completely changed my life! I want you to have a debt-free life too so here you'll be able to read all about: How to do a Spending Fast®, saving & making more money, DIY's, & a lot about living awesomely with less. Let's do this!

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