Hi Readers! I get so many great questions from you all, and many times you are asking questions about situations that other people are running into as well. I follow a fellow wedding photographer, Jasmine Star, and on her blog, she has a great feature where you can send her a question and she’ll answer it on her blog. Seeing how well that works on her site got me thinking that would be a great solution for sharing the responses I help readers out via email. Hopefully your question or dilemma can help others too!
If you’d like me to answer a question for you here on the blog send me an email with your question to: email@example.com. In the subject line please write: Reader Question. I’ll change all identifying info so no one will know it’s you but me and you. I most likely won’t be able to answer every single question but I’ll try to let you know ASAP if your question will be getting selected for inclusion in a post. If your question doesn’t get selected, remember you can (and should) post about it in the Community section of the site. Get and give support! It’s a great resource!
Well, let’s go ahead and get started with the first question…
There’s no doubt that boredom can creep in while doing a Spending Fast or Spending Diet…especially when we don’t have our usual boredom relief “go-to’s” that we used to use pre-Spending Fast/Spending Diet (shopping, eating out, partying, etc.). See how Melanie is tackling this obstacle below, and follow along with all the Spending Fasters here. – Anna
I’m about nine months into the Spending Diet and I must admit, at this point, I am getting Bored (with a capital “B”). I’m chugging along and gritting my teeth smiling through it, but for the past couple of months I’ve felt like throwing up my hands and yelling, “F*** this! We’re going to Costa Rica!” I’ve never been to Costa Rica, but it feels like somewhere tropical and warm could solve all my problems.
Fortunately I’ve been on the Spending Diet long enough to know that spending more money, even if it is on an amazing trip, isn’t going to solve all my problems– in fact, it might create more problems. But the travel bug has got me bad. What’s a girl to do?
Well, I don’t know if it was a moment of weakness or a moment of clarity, but my husband and I went on a little weekend getaway. I had just finished planning a conference at work. It’s probably the biggest, most stressful thing I’ve ever done– even more stressful than planning my wedding or changing jobs or deciding to stop renting and live in an Airstream. And I know it’s dangerous to think this way, but I deserved to get away. Read More »
My sister, Kelly, has her Spending Fast update for us below. I can’t believe how much she’s been able to save in only 4 months. NUTS. Follow all the Spending Fasters stories here.
This month the Spending “Fast” has looked a lot more like a Spending “Diet”. With 3 children I knew there would have to be some level of flexibility in there, and this month proved that. Between all the little things that have come up with regular life I’ve been tempted to forget about this entire Spending Fast thing. But thankfully(? ;) Anna is only a text away and she “gently” reminds me I haven’t submitted a post in a while.
Saving, Making, and Earning More Money with Little to No Effort…
I’ve been looking for ways to increase my income with little to no effort — seriously — I’m busy enough as is! Though if it ever came down to it, I always thought Starbucks would be a good place for a part time job. The change of pace is appealing, there are free drinks (I’m assuming?), a free pound of coffee to take home per week, and I hear they’ve got a great college loan payment program for employees as long as you work a certain amount of hours.
A couple things I’ve done besides getting a part time job: I signed up for a weight loss competition at my gym for $50, top prize is $6500. It was an extra expense to do the challenge but the money on the line is very motivating, and working out is not only mentally healthy for me but it’s also a pretty cheap hobby. It’s a 12 week challenge and I’m in the middle of the 5th week right now. I’ve lost 10lbs and 8.5″ so far. I’m determined to make that prize money mine. IT WILL BE MINE!!! Read More »
The ONLY dress you’ll ever need? Um. Tall order, right? But, trust me on this. It’s completely true.
I’ve heard of convertible dresses before, and was even able to convince my little sister to consider one for us (her bridesmaids) for her wedding. We ordered the dresses (from a different company), and tried them on for her to review and analyze so she could decide if they would work for us for her wedding. Let’s just say there were boobs flopping and flying all over the place. The dress wasn’t supportive on its own, you couldn’t wear a regular bra with it, and, needless to say, it showed faaaarrr too much of the personal bitness (if you’re picking up what I’m putting down). The dresses got returned, and we ultimately went with a more conventional option for her wedding.
That was my last experience with convertible dresses so when Henkaa contacted me about doing a post about their convertible dresses I was curious but also very skeptical because of my previous experience.
I looked over their site, picked out a dress (the Iris 3/4 sleeve, midi, convertible dress in teal), it arrived in record time, and before I knew it I was tearing the package open to see how (and if) this dress was different than the last one. You shoulda heard me as I was checking it out. I was telling Aaron: Read More »
Guys!! I am happy to report I have finally made some progress! This update is combining the last two months. For month 3, I was able to pay $200 on my debt, which wasn’t a wow amount, but it was something nonetheless. Month 4 I was able to pay $1,000 on my debt, taking the balance of one of my two cards down to $425! I am so close to getting this one card paid off that it feels like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The 1,000 consisted of a $500 tax refund and $500 saved from my paycheck.
There have been some changes in my household also. My roommate and friend Tina, was offered a new job as a traveling nurse to Washington DC for three months! I am excited and happy for her as she starts this new journey. Also, my boyfriend and I have decided to move in together. He has been here a month already but officially moves his stuff in this week. I am excited for the changes in my life. I will miss Tina and can’t wait till my friend comes home to tell me all about her adventures.
My total credit card debt left is 3,358.04. I plan to pay off the $425 by the end of March. And then my goal is $500 a month to my last card until it’s gone, which should last six months. That puts me at the end of September to be finished with my credit card debt. Then I will move onto my car loan.
It feels good to have this plan in place and to know that I will be done with this before 2016 hits us. It makes me feel like I can hold off on my Wants for now because I can see the pay off at the end. I can picture myself being able to actually save money, and also being able to finally travel if I so choose. I can see myself being able to purchase something that I actually want — something that will add value in my life, and I will be able to do so guilt free. I am looking forward to freedom more than anything.
Here are my Spending Fast Stats:
Spending Fast Start Date: October 9, 2014
Month One: November 2014 – Derailment in SF: $0 saved
Month Two: December 2014 – $400 saved into savings account
Months Three and Four: January/February: $1,200 towards credit card Total Saved Since Starting the Spending Fast: $1,600
What about you? What would you do if your debt wasn’t holding you back?
I’m over halfway through my Spending Diet! At this point, I’d love to tell you all how wonderful it feels to have saved $7,600, but January had me in a slump. I managed to save my goal of $1,000, but I got paid early in December and I kept thinking I had more money than I actually did.
For some reason I also schedule all my doctor, dentist and my dog’s vet appointments for the beginning of the year. I don’t know why I do that, they all seem to just fall on the same month. I’m so lucky to have insurance, but a $30 dollar doctor’s appointment, a $50 dentist appointment for my husband and myself and a $235 vet appointment adds up quickly. And although I was bummed to spend over $300 on preventative care, I know that preventative care is just that–preventative and may help me save on medical care in the long run.
This month I also went back to having just one full-time gig. I had taken on teaching a course in the fall at the community college where I work and I had earned a bit of extra money each month for it. I really enjoyed empowering my class with my infinite wisdom (ha!), but the stipend was very low and I am currently planning a conference at my full time gig. I just didn’t feel I had the time or sanity to take on both. With the stress that comes with planning a large-scale event, I’m also preemptively worried that when things get too stressful, I’ll spend, spend, spend. I’m hoping these past 7 months have taught me that the thrill of seeing a bigger number in my bank account is better than the thrill of any stressed-out sushi lunch. Read More »
“I’m trying to help solve the personal debt crisis that’s going on in the world. If we can integrate budgeting into people’s everyday lives, in a natural way, they’ll be more likely to do it. It’s like exercise: If you want to get in better physical shape, you exercise regularly and watch what you eat. If you want to get in better financial shape, you watch your budget regularly and watch what you spend. That’s where the name FitFin came from (Fit Finances).”
FitFin is a website and app that is three tools in one: a budget, an expense tracker, and a shopping list—and they all work in sync. You set up your budget(s) in seconds. You can create budgets for things like groceries, dining out, etc. You can also set temporary budgets for vacations and the holidays. Both individual budgets and an aggregated budget are summarized on the Budgets Overview page. You get to know where you stand in seconds. It’s all about building money-consciousness, and it’s about seamlessly (and easily) integrating money management into our lives.
A few of my fave features:
– Historical Charts: To help monitor spending over time. Use this tool to find problem areas, and monitor them.
– Expense Tracker: This is great because you can add anexpense quickly, take a picture of your receipt, and attach it to the expense (no more receipt piles!).
– Shopping Lists: According to Reader’s Digest, eighty percent of what webuy at the grocery store is purchased every week. Rather than write milk on a piece of paper 52 times a year, store it permanently (and never leave it on the counter!). You can also save an item’s price andquantity. Then when you activate items on your list,FitFin will give you an estimated spend total for the entire list. To get the most out of the shopping list feature, you’ll enter the item, its cost, and thequantity of the item that you normally buy. You can even createseparate lists for each store.
– Something else that’s nice: the Check Budget feature that’s right within the Shopping List section. Use this to see what you’re going to spend ahead of time and how it the purchase will affect your budget. If you don’t like what you see with how your budget will be affected you get to make the decision before the purchase so you don’t get yourself into a mess by overspending.
Q&A with FitFin Creator, Rick Portillo… (Enter to win the $100 gift card at the end of this post)
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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