“It’s not how much you make, it’s what you do with it.”
Shockingly, I couldn’t find the author of that quote. Does anyone know who first said that line?
I bring up this quote because I’ve gotten some questions requesting the exact amounts I spent/spend on different things. People have asked if I use certain software to manage my money, how much I make and other nuts and bolts types of questions to try to determine how to structure their own Spending Fasts/Spending Diets.
How much to save each month during a Spending Fast and other questions answered…
One of the things that I did to increase my income to try to pay off my debt faster was that I came up with different things I could make to try to sell. My Etsy shop was suddenly born and any money I made and continue to make from those sales goes right to paying off my debt.
It’s cool to feel pro-active but and it’s even cooler to think of completely random stuff to create to try to sell.
Some of the ideas worked better than others. For example, I thought that maybe drawing people would be a good money-maker/BIG HIT. The only problem was that I didn’t think I could draw people very well. Like, not super realistic so I decided I would try to maximize the horribleness of my drawings and make “Ugly Portraits” of people. THAT was NOT the hit I had hoped it would be.
So, I changed them into zombie or vampire portraits of people. Still going with the whole not-cute thing but making it more relatable. I mean, really, who doesn’t love a good zombie. I mean, come on.
I bring this up because turning people, pets, babies and families into zombies or vampires for wedding/anniversary/birthday/baby shower/random/anytime gifts is never anything I would have considered doing pre-Spending Fast. Since I didn’t ever have to “go-there” I guess I never did.
Due to the Spending Fast I found (and continue to find) myself thinking of different ideas and exploring options of things I might not have previously considered. My mind has been opened in a way. I’m finding that the side-effects of The Spending Fast are varied, often un-expected and usually totally welcome.
Still feeling a bit discouraged about the Spending Diet I decided to look into a quote I’ve heard about regarding “wanting”.
The quote is: “All Suffering Is Want”.
I feel like I’ve been in a big place of WANT lately and I’m not happy about it. While I’ve come millions of miles from where I was a little over a year ago I hoped I would have completely wiped out this transition-y period where I still want. I don’t know, I probably AM being too hard on myself like one super nice commenter pointed out. (I have to say being called “Buttercup” was nice and sweet and unexpected and appreciated. Thank You for the nice words since I’ve mentioned I’ve been down on myself about the Spending Diet.)
It’s been kind of shocking to realize that it was actually easier to be on the Spending Fast. It was a RELIEF to say “NO” to all wants. Now I’m finding that with discretion comes uneasiness. I’m walking through the uneasiness and experiencing it and trying to get a hang of this whole “moderation” thing. I’ve never been good at that whole thing.
Yesterday was better at least. I didn’t spend any money on anything like I have planned. Feels good. Real good.
So, about that quote… Turns out its a Buddhist saying. I’m not Buddhist but reading about “Want” from this perspective was quite insightful.
THE SECOND NOBLE TRUTH: THE TRUTH THE CAUSES OF SUFFERING
The Buddha’s had observed that life is suffering. Before He could find a solution to the problem of suffering in life, He had first to look for the cause of suffering. The Buddha was just like a good doctor who first observes a patient’s symptoms and identifies the cause of illness before prescribing a cure. The Buddha discovered that the direct causes of suffering are desire or craving, and ignorance. This is the truth of the cause of suffering, which is the Second Noble Truth.
CRAVING is the deep-seated desire that all living beings have for the pleasures of the senses, and for life itself. For instance, people always seek to enjoy good food, entertainment and pleasant company. Yet none of these can give them complete and lasting satisfaction. After the fine meal has been eaten, the beautiful music heard and the pleasant company shared, one is still not content. One would like to enjoy these pleasures again and again, and for as long as possible.
People who desire to own many things also can never be fully satisfied too. Like children in a toyshop, they crave all the attractive things they see around them. But like children, they soon become dissatisfied with what they already have and desire more. Sometimes, they can hardly eat or sleep until they get what they want. Yet when they succeed in getting what they want, they may still find their happiness short-lived. Many will be too worried for the safety and condition of their new possessions to enjoy it. Then when the object they possess eventually breaks into pieces and has to be thrown away, they will suffer its loss even more.
When we have obtained something we desire, we may want more and more of it, and so greed arises. Because of desire and greed, people will lie, cheat and steal to get what they want. Uncontrolled desires can also lead to addiction, for example, to smoking, drinking and overeating, all of which lead to suffering and cause mental and physical harm.
If another person prevents one from getting what is desired, one may feel anger towards that person. Desire, when obstructed, can lead to ill will and anger. This in turn can lead to harsh words, violent quarrels and even fights or killings. All this is suffering.
Since that was super deep we need some non-deep-ness.
Things with the Spending Diet have been a little rough. I’m feeling a bit down since that 1st weekend after the Spending Fast when I gave myself a “weekend off” from saving and all of it. I’m spending way more money that I was planning on. I look at my account and there are more negative signs than positive signs, there are receipts on my counter and in my bag, I completely went over my $100 limit and I’m not liking where this is path is taking me. I’m trying to remember that just because I am kind of blowing my financial goal right now doesn’t mean I have to give up. Tomorrrow is a new day, right?
There’s a lot of talk from financial guru’s like Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey about which method is best for paying off credit card debt. To get my credit cards paid off I used my own method. (When I started the Spending Fast I hadn’t even heard of Dave Ramsey). I should share it since it worked for me.
And Then She Saved’s Method for paying off credit card debt (this is what I did):
Step 1 – Write down all the credit cards you have.
Step 2 – Call the credit companies and ask them what your current balance is and most importantly, what is the interest rate on the card? (I had no idea what they were when I called them and was shocked to find out how much they were and ohmigosh the rate is listed on the bill they send out)
Step 3 – While on the phone with the company ask them to lower the interest rate. Some will do it. It’s worth a shot huh.
Step 4 – Okay, now that you have the card balances with the interest rates write the highest interest rate credit card at the top to the lowest interest rate card at the bottom.
Step 5 – Pay the absolute max you can every month on the highest interest rate card until it’s wiped out while paying the minimum on the others. (Luckily the credit card that had the highest interest rate for wasn’t the credit card with the highest balance so it was a morale booster to eliminate that relatively quickly)
Step 6 – Once that highest interest rate card is paid off you will be able to increase the amount you send to the next card on your list. Continue until ALL of your cards are paid off and then do the same method on your other debts.
My order of attack: credit cards, loan from parents, college loans.
And there you have it!
And… The Guru’s Methods…
Dave Ramsey’s Snowball Method for paying off credit cards:
Step 1 – Make a list of all your credit cards, ranked in order from the highest balance to the smallest balance.
Step 2 – Beginning with the card with the smallest balance, pay as much as you can on that card while paying the minimums on the other cards.
Step 3 – Once the card with the smallest balance is paid off, take the amount you were paying towards that card and apply to the card with the next lowest balance.
Step 4 – Keep on keepin’ on until ALL the cards are paid off.
Suze Orman’s Method found in The Road to Wealth:
Step 1 – Figure out the largest possible amount you can afford to pay each month toward all your credit card balances together.
Step 2 – Add $10 to each minimum payment that your credit card company is asking you to pay.
Step 3 – Add up all your minimum payments plus $10 added for each card.
Step 4 – Hopefully the difference between the figure found in Step 1 is GREATER than the figure in found in Step 3. If so, apply the difference to the card with the HIGHEST interest rate.
Step 5 – Once that card is paid off, you continue the process (Steps 1 – 4) until ALL the cards are paid off.
I ride the bus. A lot. Usually, twice a day. That has saved me approximately $1,400 over the past year.
In January 2010, I started what I called a spending fast. For a full year, the plan was that I would spend money on necessities only. No more eating out, no more movies, no more shopping, no more “wants”. I knew this was going to beintense, and I was also fully prepared for it to suck.
You see, I’m the type that buys what she wants when she wants because I work hard and I feel like I deserve it. I know plenty of people that have the same feelings as I do about work and money and spending and not spending.
But a funny thing happened: I also found myself in debt. $23,605.10 worth of debt, to be exact. I know that amount is not as much as some people’s debt, and I know it’s more than others. But the point is, it was bad enough for me. My debt was suddenly and horribly overwhelming.
I know why people don’t pay off debt. I know why it’s easier to pretend it’s not there. I know what it feels like to be completely convinced that the debt will never ever, ever get paid off, and that if it did it’d only be because I won some random game show or some Mega Lottery Jackpot that I don’t even play.
Debt is overwhelming. When the number gets to a certain point it’s kind of like, “Ah, screw it! I might as well enjoy myself because I’ll always have this debt.”
I have been there. I was there just one year ago! But throughout the year of my self-imposed spending fast, I saved $17,911.89. And the majority of my savings are from my “day job” as a clerk for the State of Colorado. Nothing glamorous.
To get the debt paid off, for me, I had to become conscious with my money. I had to re-think money. Re-think saving. Re-think spending. I had to see it in a different way. Also, I had to “simply” stop spending money that I didn’t have and stop spending money that I did have.
As part of eliminating my expenses, onto the bus I went. After all, most (if not all) money saving/budget/financial experts tell converts to “walk!” “ride the bus!” “ride your bike!”
A perk of my job is a bus pass for only $10 a month. That’s way cheaper than getting a monthly parking spot plus gas costs, so I let my husband pretty much have the car that we shared so I could reduce my portion of the car expenses to almost nothing.
My plan worked. Riding the bus daily reminded me that I was doing it for a reason: debt elimination. As I sat there on the bus, I knew I was saving money.
What the experts don’t tell you, however, is that the bus is nothing short of a modern-day-rolling-adventure-machine. It is a way to get in touch with all of humanity.
There was this one time when this little kid was just smiling away and pulling the cord so we ended up stopping at every single stop. This could have been super annoying, but she was enjoying herself so much I didn’t care.
There was a 4-year-old boy who literally kept asking his dad “Why?” about every single thing we drove past. His dad answered his son’s questions so patiently and thoughtfully that it was cool to witness such love.
Of course, the bus has some not-so-savory things about it. Some examples of things that happened to me on the bus:
– A blind man told me that I put on too much perfume.
– The bus jolted and I suddenly realized that a man’s butt cheeks were enveloping my shoulder.
– Watching my seat mates pick the zits on each other’s faces and then spoon. (You know, spoon spoon. I never knew the bus was such a romantic place.)
– Getting such horrible motion sickness from all the stopping and starting that I threw up. (It barreled out of me like a wild animal and the entire bus gasped. True story.)
Those experiences are just a perk, though, to the main thing: The bus helped me get rid of my debt. And probably more importantly, it helped me to not acquire additional debt.
Because convincing myself to stand in the freezing wet snow and wait for the bus even when I don’t want to comes from a deep desire to remain debt free.
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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