The Dedication Continues

(While I’m away visiting a lovely friend, I’m reposting some content from my archives. This one was originally published on February 8, 2010). 

before

after

Just since month 1 of the Spending Fast has come and gone please don’t think my dedication is wavering. Just check out the shotty camera phone pics above. This shows you one of my recent lunches. This is a “delightful” vegan can of chili that has been in my cupboard for over a year. It looked like dog food and didn’t taste much better. It tasted like something a contestant on Fear Factor may have been dared to eat. I thought about plugging my nose while eating it and actually gagged a little towards the end of the bowl but came out victorious over that blasted nasty chili.

Only 4 canned soups remain and 4 cans of fruit (eww. why did I ever buy those?) are left. Maybe I can wipe them out this week.

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in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!
Say What?

(While I’m away visiting a lovely friend, I’m reposting some content from my archives. This one was originally published on March 30, 2010).  

The other day a reader suggested Debtors Anonymous. I know she was just trying to be helpful but my 1st thought was “Ugh. Really? You ain’t talking to me right!?”

She said that she thought it might help me with what I’m trying to do and that actually some of what I’m trying to do is inline with what they try to help people do.

Since I’m on this Spending Fast “journey” this year I decided to consider that there might be something to this suggestion. On their site there are the signs of a compulsive debtor and then 15 questions to ask yourself if you think you might have an issue.

Below are the questions and answers that are posed on their site and even though I don’t have a problem based on their questions I might actually hit up a meeting to see what it’s all about. I mean after the Spending Fast year is up I will have to find a way to be a responsible spender rather than just say, “Nope. No. None for me!”

Signs of Compulsive Debting:

1. Being unclear about your financial situation. Not knowing account balances, monthly expenses, loan interest rates, fees, fines, or contractual obligations. Yeah, before the Spending Fast not sure about certain fees and fines and rates

2. Frequently “borrowing” items such as books, pens, or small amounts of money from friends and others, and failing to return them. Nope

3. Poor saving habits. Not planning for taxes, retirement or other not-recurring but predictable items, and then feeling surprised when they come due; a “live for today, don’t worry about tomorrow” attitude.” Yes, poor saving habits

4. Compulsive shopping: Being unable to pass up a “good deal”; making impulsive purchases; leaving price tags on clothes so they can be returned; not using items you’ve purchased. Yes, impulsive shopper (before the fast)

5. Difficulty in meeting basic financial or personal obligations, and/or an inordinate sense of accomplishment when such obligations are met. No, able to meet basic obligations

6. A different feeling when buying things on credit than when paying cash, a feeling of being in the club, of being accepted, of being grown up. No

7. Living in chaos and drama around money: Using one credit card to pay another; bouncing checks; always having a financial crisis to contend with. Chaos, yes. Drama, no.

8. A tendency to live on the edge: Living paycheck to paycheck; taking risks with health and car insurance coverage; writing checks hoping money will appear to cover them. Yes paycheck to paycheck (before the Spending Fast). No on the others.

9. Unwarranted inhibition and embarrassment in what should be a normal discussion of money. No

10. Overworking or under earning: Working extra hours to earn money to pay creditors; using time inefficiently; taking jobs below your skill and education level. Yes, probably overworking and under earning

11. An unwillingness to care for and value yourself: Living in self-imposed deprivation; denying your basic needs in order to pay your creditors. No

12. A feeling or hope that someone will take care of you if necessary, so that you won’t really get into serious financial trouble, that there will always be someone you can turn to. Yes, this is true for me

15 Questions

Most compulsive debtors will answer “yes” to at least eight of the following 15 questions.

1. Are your debts making your home life unhappy? Yes… trickle effect I guess

2. Does the pressure of your debts distract you from your daily work? No

3. Are your debts affecting your reputation? No

4. Do your debts cause you to think less of yourself? Yes

5. Have you ever given false information in order to obtain credit? No

6. Have you ever made unrealistic promises to your creditors? No

7. Does the pressure of your debts make you careless of the welfare of your family? No, well maybe because there is insufficient (meaning none) savings

8. Do you ever fear that your employer, family or friends will learn the extent of your total indebtedness? No

9. When faced with a difficult financial situation, does the prospect of borrowing give you an inordinate feeling of relief? No

10. Does the pressure of your debts cause you to have difficulty sleeping? No

11. Has the pressure of your debts ever caused you to consider getting drunk? No

12. Have you ever borrowed money without giving adequate consideration to the rate of interest you are required to pay? Yes

13. Do you usually expect a negative response when you are subject to a credit investigation? No

14. Have you ever developed a strict regimen for paying off your debts, only to break it under pressure? Yes

15. Do you justify your debts by telling yourself that you are superior to the “other” people, and when you get your “break” you’ll be out of debt overnight? No

So 4 out of 15

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in Spending Fast
Minus 1 Ticket

(While I’m away visiting a lovely friend, I’m reposting some content from my archives. This one was originally published on January 26, 2010).  

The Northwest is a place that speaks to me for some reason. With its lush green trees, misty grey air, inherent outdoorsy-ness, cool style, coffee (yumm!) culture and artsy, laid-back vibe it’s an area of the US I’ve always wanted to live in and I have always welcomed any and every oppurtunity to go there.

Ever since a childhood trip to Seattle to see cousins and aunts and uncles I’ve been smitten, I mean straight out full-blown IN LOVE with the lovely Northwest.

I think it was the hike that we took when I was there for the 1st time. I was probably around 11 or 12 and it was a hot late August day. We geared up and took a hike through the wooded green greens of the Washington coast to ultimately end up at a snowy mountain with snow caves (!) and people were sledding.

SLEDDING IN AUGUST!

Seriously? Yes. So. So.  Serious.

Basically, I was awestruck that there was snow anywhere near this time of year. I was even more surprised that people were enjoying it and most likely missing school ALL THE TIME here. no?

The only thing I could think was that these Washington kids HAD IT MADE!

Washington state became a place in my mind where dads and uncles and aunties walked with their kids and nieces and bow-legged dogs to seemingly exotic snowy locales hidden away deep behind mosquito riddled woods, made detours at the neighborhood pool, ate gooey ice cream sundaes while watching movies and then camped out in the backyard just for the fun of it.

So.

It’s with real sadness that I find myself passing on an upcoming trip to Portland with the hub to see the bro-in-law and his girlfriend. Two very cool people, that do cool things and seem to be all cool all the time because it comes so easily, of course.

The other day said cool bro-in-law asked why I wasn’t coming out to visit them. Thought to self: “Waaaahhhhh!” But actually said: “Because of the spending fast I can’t spend the $138 bucks on the ticket.” Him: “Oh.”

Bummed. Bummer. Bummer. bummmer. I want to go. hmpf. I’m just gonna whine now. wahhahhhhhagain.

ok. over it. sorry.

Not going. Saving $138. Check out that dedication!

 

photo Le Love

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in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!
Autonomy

(While I’m away visiting a lovely friend, I’m reposting some content from my archives. This one was originally published on February 9, 2010).  

One of the best things about this Spending Fast process has been the possibility of getting to a point of being autonomous and not owing anything to anyone. How great would it be to not owe money to credit card companies, school loan companies, banks or parents?

Oh. It. Would. Be. Amazing.

For me, autonomy is about being personally independent. The reality is if you’re accepting money from someone they get a say in how things happen. Or, at least they’ll think they get a say in how things happen which can sometimes render more grief than if they actually had their way. Really, I’m finding that I can’t be all that independent if I’m financially dependent on someone or some bank or some line of credit.

That line of credit, that “bail out” is just a big fat white collared anchor attached to your leg; a ball and chain that has good grammer and has been looked over 20 thousand times by a lawyer charging $300 bucks an hour; it’s someone jumping out of a plane with no parachute and asking you to hold their hand on the way down. Geez. that’s more depressing then I intended it to be.

If you need to borrow anyone’s money, have ever borrowed anyone’s money or currently owe anyone money the people/businesses probably have a say (or want) a say in how things go down. Who doesn’t know a father that gave money to a daughter for her wedding but put stipulations on that money? They want a say in who can and can’t be on the invite list,  if you are allowed to live “in sin” before marriage or not and even if alcohol is served at the reception or not. Or what about the gift that is given with strings attached? If you haven’t ever been given money or a gift with strings attached than you are probably in denial to the whole situation while everyone talks about it behind your back or you are a lucky chap who also just so happens to be a leprechaun with a pot of gold at your beck and call.

Really, money brings up all sorts of feelings and expectations for people and how people spend money shows where a persons priorities lie in life. So, then that brings up feelings and emotions and deep down things that we thought we had already talked to death about but turns out, we hadn’t dealt with it like we had thought.

Autonomy is a concept that came into my world a few years ago. Never knew what it meant before then because I never had a reason to care. And I didn’t decide to act on it until now. Since now I don’t want to owe anyone anything. I want to be free of that. I want to be self-governing. I want to be able to make decisions based on my best interest and not what is in the best interest of the people or organizations that I owe money to. I want as many financial strings as possible to disappear.

This Spending Fast is helping me get to a place of autonomy in the long run. It’s hard to remember all this when I’m in the moment and want to buy something that would make my life easier for the moment.

My motto has always been “You either spend time or money” and now, I’m spending the time to get my stuff in order and paid off and develop a life being autonomous.

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in Do Without, Enough (Crap, Debt, Guilt), Family, Friends, & Relationships, Make Do & Mend, Motivation, Paying Off Debt, Personal, Societal Pressures, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!, Take Action!
Instead

Rather than look online at all the pretty items that I wanna buy I decided to switch gearz and look at free pictures that make me chuckle instead.

How’s that change!?

The answer: Pretty good. Pretty. Pretty. Good.

via fxxxes

via slithr

via moonbrains

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in Do Without, Just For Fun, Spending Diet
Clean ‘Er Up On The Cheap

Since the homemade laundry detergent recipe was such a hit that I wanted to share this homemade toilet bowl cleaner with you.

Yah ol’ hippie.

Patricia’s Recipe: 

Here is a great natural way to clean your toilet bowl.

– Pour vinegar into the toilet bowl. Add baking soda. (When the baking soda hits the vinegar it will FIZZ)

– Scrub with toilet brush

Toilet bowl will sparkle and just think – no stinky, harmful-dangerous chemicals needed to tackle the task.

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in DIY
Hey Ya’ll

I hope your Valentine’s Day is awesome.

via tumblr

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in Just For Fun
Variety Smariety

Oh, Variety.

When I was on the Spending Fast I dreamed of all the wonderful outfits that I would be wearing if only I wasn’t on the Spending Fast. I imagined myself dressed amazingly everyday and just wearing some really cute clothes. In a way I found myself feeling fashionably victimized by the ol’ fast. Every day I would put on my black pants (that had been re-dyed to give ‘em new life- read post here). I’d wear the same shirts over and over and I felt I was being forced to wear all these old horrible clothes because I couldn’t buy anything new because of the Spending Fast- don’t you know!!

At the end of the Spending Fast and before the start of the Spending Diet I went shopping and “refreshed” my wardrobe. I bought some new work pants and a couple new shirts. Imagine my surprise when I recognized the fact that when I would get dressed in the morning I was actually continuing to select the same clothes I wore during the Spending Fast.

Oh, touché.

Look who WASN’T being FORCED to wear all that black after all!

Turns out, this whole variety/not varied thing isn’t much of a shock to “the experts”. I remember reading a stat that most people only wear 1/3 of the clothes/shoes/accessories that they own and actually THINK they like variety far more than they really do. This whole – wanting variety but not really utilizing the variety thing was quite a revelation. That means that I’ll just about always gravitate towards what I know. For me, that means: wearing what’s comfortable, wearing what looks generally decent, I’ll pick items that are easy to wear and ones that I know I won’t adjusting all day or be self-conscious in.

When I go on a trip and I want to pack light I just admit the fact that I’m not going to be busting out any new outfits and getting all adventurous with my clothing. Most likely, I’ll wear the same thing over and over: hat, jeans and switch out a t-shirt or two but it will generally be a variation of the same outfit throughout the vacation.

So why the need for variety? Why constantly be on the hunt when the likelihood of it getting worn is slim? Optimism maybe? I like to THINK that I won’t wear just about the same outfit everyday… but I find that I do.

Maybe you’re one of the people that wears every single thing you own.

If so- Bravo. Bravo.

If you’re not sure there are a couple of tricks/tips to use to really see what you do and don’t use in your closet.

One tip: Face all of your hangers pointing “IN”. When you go to hang an item back up face the hanger “OUT”. After a month or two (or however long you decide to survey) evaluate the items with the hangers still facing “IN”. If you still haven’t worn it there’s a likelihood that you’re just not that into the item (and that’s okay).

Another tip (this is the one I use): Pants on the left. Shirts on the right.  As I wear an item I replace it on its respective side placing the shirts to the far left of the shirt section and the pants to the far right of the pant section. The way this works is that the items that are worn the most end up in the center and the ones that don’t get used end up on the ends of the closest.

Things I think about when clearing out: Do I really need the item? Do I even want it? Do I even like it?

I guess variety isn’t all it’s cracked up to be- at least for me and at least regarding clothes. I’ll have to remember this when I’m tempted to buy all those beautiful clothes out there.

2 comments

in Fashion & Style, Spending Diet, Spending Fast
  • 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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