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Happiness cannot be owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is a spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.
That might sound like a tall order but if we can stop and be grateful for what we have then we’ll stop trying to hunt down material items so be can have more and be better. It’s okay to just be. You’re right where you’re supposed to be at this very moment. Even if you’re in a shitty place mentally, emotionally, or financially take a second to think of 3 things that are going okay with your life. Now, do that for the next 2 weeks and you’ll dramatically improve your quality of life, and it’s totally free.
‘Don’t give up!’ It’s a mantra you may have heard throughout your childhood and even now that you are an adult. I know I even say here a lot. I find myself thinking, “What if someone just needs that little push to keep going?!” So I say it and write it often.
Whenever you set goals or aspire to do something for yourself, you may run at it full steam ahead but as time passes you may begin to fizzle out in your enthusiasm.
Since we’re right on the cusp of the New Year let’s consider the phenomenon of New Year’s resolutions. There are tons of funny puns about keeping with these resolutions because of the common knowledge that many resolutions go out the window in just a few months’ time. Gym memberships surge in January but die off in April when people find it hard to stay committed to life changes due to everything else going on in their lives.
To stay on course for goal achievement you first need to set reasonable goals. You need to start simple and build on different steps over time in order to achieve the ultimate goal. For instance, you don’t just say you are going to be rich in a year because it’s not a reasonable goal. You first plan to save $100 a month for six months and take the necessary steps to ensure that hundred dollars is available each month. When that goal is achieved, increase the amount to save more money within the year until you are more financially secure and can aim for higher savings goals.
Realize time is necessary to change your habits. It is believed that it takes 30 days of doing something regularly for it to become habit. You have to ease in to life changes to some extent and it will be the hardest in the beginning. Realize this upfront and you will go into the change with the right expectation. As an example, when you begin to exercise regularly, it’s really hard starting out because of sore muscles and fatigue. But the more you improve your physical fitness over time, the more energy you have and the stronger you feel.
The same concepts ring true with money. It can be really hard to stop spending money, to stop heading out to the mall for fun, to stop Googling online sales deals. But after you incorporate better financial management plans and activities into your life, it will get easier! The more positive results you see will make the changes easier to cope with and stick to for long into the future.
For me, the secret was learning how to say “No” to myself. I love to spend money and if I can step out of the cycle of overspending and guilt to finally get myself out of all my heavy debt then you can too!
What’s your plan for staying motivated with your goals for the next year?
Fears are a part of daily life. We have big fears and little fears of average and extraordinary things. While fear is a natural part of human existence, it can be the one blocker that stops you from success and achieving great things.
Here are 25 ways to conquer the fears that scare the crap out of you so you can keep moving onward and upward…
“Never trade what you want most for what you want in the moment.”
It’s so easy to go for the quick option… to pick up coffee on the way to work (or ahem, a breakfast burrito) instead of making coffee at home, or to go buy something new at the mall when there’s an event coming up instead of wearing something you already own.
I’ve found that changing your life and your habits is all about delaying what you want right this second (new clothes, lunch out, etc.) for what you want long-term (an end to the cycle of guilt, no more freaking debt). I know, way easier said then done but it really is so worth it.
You deserve to be debt-free, and you deserve to have the life you’ve been dreaming about. xo, Anna
This is a post by Sheila P. -Anna
2013 wasn’t a year I expected it to be. In late 2012, I graduated with my Master’s, started my doctorate, and began a new job—my dream job. The new job lasted for only six weeks before I was laid off. Then I began several miserable months of unemployment. During this time, besides wallowing and fervently searching for a job, I had to go overseas for family reasons. Luckily, I had some savings for the unexpected trip, and there I was—traveling to the other side of the world with just a small piece of luggage and handbag. While overseas, not only did I have my mind off of disheartening unemployment, but I also turned to minimalism.
The Beginning of my Minimalist Journey…
Disorganization is a normal part of most everyone’s life. With our crazy schedules and only 24 hours in a day, many people say they never have the time to get their act together. While it is a common enough though process among the masses, the reality is people that claim they don’t have the time are actually guilty of not making the time.
We may not all live a life of a chronic hoarder but there are certainly parts of our lives that could use some serious organization. The trouble with making strides towards putting things in their proper place is many people just have no idea where to start. The thought of beginning something new is so overwhelming to many, they just do nothing.
Organize Your Money, Organize Your Mind…
I’m all about efficient and versatile products so the more I learn about Branch Basics the more of a fan I become. Have you ever heard of a cleanser that is so effective that you can use it on everything from your stove to your face!?! I hadn’t either but this is it folks.
Also, since we have a baby on the way I’m really into products that are not full of chemicals. I love that Branch Basics is not only non-toxic, but human-safe, which means not harmful if accidentally swallowed and not irritating to eyes and skin so it is perfect for everyone… I love that I can easily pronounce every single one of the seven ingredients with ease.
Eliminate Products by Streamlining
Branch Basics outperforms virtually all home and body cleaning products so this means 100’s of products can be eliminated. Which is completely awesome. By using such a versatile product you get to simplify your mind and life and you get to streamline the way you clean both your home and body.
How many times have you bought cleaners like stain removers, mildew/mold cleaners and jewelry cleaners only to use them once or at the most intermittently? These various cleaners take up space, and waste money since they’re used so infrequently.
Cost Breakdown of Concentrates
The strength of the cleanser (and ultimately the cost of the product) is completely dependent on how much you dilute the product.
Branch Basics comes in 3 concentrate sizes: 32 oz, 128 oz (gallon) and a 5-gallon pail. Although the go-to dilution is 1:5 (1 part Branch Basics and 5 parts water) for virtually all cleaning jobs, it’s actually highly encouraged to dilute even more since Branch Basics is just as effective. (Cleaning streak-prone surfaces have been shown to work at a 1:500 dilution!) And, of course, this saves money: at a 1:10 dilution, the price is cut in half!
The 32 oz concentrate (retail: $27.50) is the least economical, however it still makes 6 All-Purpose spray bottles (32 oz) once diluted, each costing $4.58. At the And Then We Saved 20% discount (use coupon code ATWS20), each bottle comes down to $3.66.
The Branch Basics gallon (retail: $83.68) which is the most popular product, makes 24 All-Purpose spray bottles (32 oz) once diluted, each costing $3.49. With the And Then We Saved 20% discount, each bottle comes down to $2.79.
The Branch Basics 5-gallon pail (retail: $355.05 is the ULTIMATE SAVINGS. It makes 120 All-Purpose spray bottles (32 oz) once diluted, each costing $2.96. With the And Then We Saved 20% discount, each bottle comes down to $2.37. This is more than enough to clean an average family’s home for one year.
For tough cleaning projects you mix the Branch Basics cleanser concentrate 1:1. This covers: ovens, bathtub mats, drains, it works as a heavy degreaser, furniture refinisher, odor and stain remover, it removes oil spills and spots, and it even removes permanent marker.
For more all-purpose types of cleaning projects you mix the cleanser concentrate 1:5. This covers: all of your appliances, countertops (granite, marble, and tile), dishes, oven, pots and pans, refrigerator, sink, your stinky disposal, stove, bathtub, stubborn soap scum, toilets, bikes, cars and boats, diaper pails (yay!) dry erase boards, engines, exercise equipment, garage floors, grills, high chairs, jewelry, patio furniture, tires, toys, and even yoga mats. Interested in making the face wash I mentioned? It’s a simple 1:3 ratio in the foamer.
It does sound too good to be true, but after seeing how well Branch Basics works, I’m excited for you to try this versatile and effective green cleanser. It’s completely changed how I clean.
Get 20% off by going to Branch Basics and enter coupon code: ATWS20 (Good until the end of October!)
This is a sponsored post but as always, my opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that help make this site possible! xo!
I heard this really powerful saying the other day. So powerful that I felt compelled to go up to the lady and talk to her after she said it. She wrote it down for me so I wouldn’t forget it. She wrote it on a napkin; that napkin in the picture :)
“What I had, I spent. What I saved, I lost. What I gave, I have.”
I think that saying meant so much to me when I heard it because it showed me that while we talk so much the technical aspects of saving money and getting out of debt on this site that really what has become the most important piece of keeping myself out of debt, and to avoid having those bad money habits creep back into my life is to share the real and personal stuff about how I got out of debt.
What I learned throughout the years of the Spending Fast and Spending Diet is not mine to keep to myself, to hoard, to be selfish with. Sharing and giving what I know is what it’s all about. It’s also why I love it when you all tell me and the other readers what you know about saving money and getting out of debt in the comments and in the Community section. I know I don’t know it all, and I always, always learn so much from you all. Feeling sappy today for some reason… xo, anna
This is a guest post by Alicia Lawrence who has been doing a Spending Fast. -Anna
It’s been one year since my husband and I started our Spending Fast. Since then we have knocked out over $25K in debt (not including what we paid in interest). Anna has asked me to share my journey to getting out of college debt free and how we are tackling my husband’s debt now.
After I graduated college, I was one of the few that made it debt free. But that freedom was short-lived as I married someone who did have debt, and surprisingly more than he had anticipated. The average student loan debt is $27K, my husband had accumulated almost $60K. After our honeymoon, it was a rude awakening when my father-in-law sent me the passwords and links so we could start paying it off. I knew my husband had some debt but the real amount was twice what either of us expected.
For one, coming from money-wise parents, I couldn’t understand how they didn’t know about the amount of their debt. My husband was never encouraged to find the best loans or figure out how to get scholarships. Me, on the other hand, was searching and applying for scholarships since sophomore year in high school.
Start While You’re Young
Even before that, my parents had started a 529 Plan when I was born. Growing up in Alaska, each year every resident receives a Permanent Fund Dividend (around $1,000). Instead of giving that money to me they placed it in my 529 Plan to grow interest until college. By the time I left for college, I had over $30K in my 529 Plan to help me pay for lodging, books, classes and any other student finances I would need.
On a side note, I also worked summers and part-time jobs through college. I placed 35% in savings and the rest was used for living expenses and spending. After college, I had saved over $5K for emergencies. Glad I did since my husband and I didn’t find steady jobs till three months after our wedding. During those three months, I created budgets and action plans on how to pay off the debt quick, but you need money to pay off debt and that wasn’t something we had at the time.
We both got multiple retail jobs hoping it would hold us through till we could get “real” jobs, which finally happened a few months later. So now you know the back story, let me tell you what we are doing now.
How We Made Our Way Through Our Debt…
“May you always do what you are afraid to do.”
It takes a lot of guts to change your life… changing up your lifestyle and habits is not easy but you CAN do it. You can do hard things. Trust me. I know these things;).
Setting out to achieve goals is no doubt, noble. If you want to get out of debt, eat out of your fridge every day, work out, or just be nicer to others you absolutely can but goals will not complete themselves without work on your end. In order to be successful at reaching your goals, you must put forth the effort and keep finding ways to remain motivated in your quest.
Here are 27 ways to help you achieve the goals you have set for yourself…
“We must let go of the life we’ve planned to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
In a lot of ways starting the Spending Fast was scary. It was super exciting but also kind of, a little bit scary. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I only knew that I could no longer go on living the way I had been. I knew I had to change my life and to change my life I had to let go of some of my old ideas. I had to let go completely to my old way of life. I had to be open to the possibilty that life could be better. That life could be different.
Once I let go my life changed. I decided to make one decision- do the Spending Fast, and that’s when my life changed. You can change your life too. You can let go and see what is waiting for you. I dare you to give it a try. You deserve the freedom that comes from being debt-free. Trust me, it’s a great way to live. I want you to be free to live that awesome life that’s waiting for you.
What kind of life is waiting for you?
Many people try to live by the motto of ‘live without regret’ but it is almost inevitable that someone will regret at least something from their past. In some cases, that regret can make it very difficult to keep moving forward with their life. They dwell on the past and suffer the regret daily.
In order to live a life of progress and growth one must learn to forgive one’s self and look towards the future rather than be consumed by regrets of the past.
By not spending as much time thinking about material objects we’re freed up to think about, and act on the more substantial, meaningful parts of life. This is the perfect time to finally forgive yourself.
21 Life Mistakes You Need to Hurry Up and Forgive Yourself For Making…
Most the time I like to think that I’m immune to bad spending habits because of my success with the Spending Fast buuuuttt, turns out, I’m completely not immune to anything. Even though I’m not impervious to slipping back into my old ways one big side-effect of the Spending Fast is that I do recognize my bad habits a lot quicker, and that is totally worth something. Before where I might have gone oh, you know, like 6 months without balancing my checkbook it’s just not something that I would let happen these days. Now, on the worst of months I balance my checkbook just once a month (and by balance my checkbook I mean that I input all incoming and outgoing expenses into the Balance app on my phone, make sure things match up, that I know where my money is going, and that everything is as it should be).
I can recognize my bad habits faster and I’m no longer in denial (or completely oblivious) about them like I used to be. That’s growth and change; that’s a good thing.
So, I’ve got to admit something that happened recently (I find there is a lot of worth in stating what’s going on because it makes whatever might be troubling you lose it’s power- no matter what it might be).
I found myself really looking forward to these breakfast burritos that I can get at this little place on the way to work. They encourage calling ahead, thank you profusely when you do, and then you just go about your business, food in hand. They make the whole process so easy.
So naturally, I decided this was a super handy and delicious was to start the day.
I realized that for quite a few mornings in a row I was dropping over $5 at this place (I decided a small coffee was also a handy and delicious was to begin the day). I started to think about how much money this breakfast burrito habit of mine was going to add up to come months end and knew that I had to hurry up and cut it out already. A breakfast burrito here and there is just fine but every day? Totally expensive and unnecessary.
The calculations have been tabulated and at the rate I’m going I’m looking to spend approximately $341.25 this year on breakfast burritos alone. Uhhhh…
How I’m Breaking My Breakfast Burrito Habit (these will work for other habits too. Just adapt them to your situation)…
On Wednesday, August 7th, I’ll be doing a talk all about the Spending Fast. It will be hosted by Hannah Raynes of Trilogy Financial Services at The Curious Theatre here in Denver. The event will start at 6:00pm with drinks and appetizers and then the talk will begin at 7:00pm. There will be a question and answer session after the talk too so if you’ve ever wanted to meet, learn more about how the Spending Fast works and have some questions answered then this is a great event to attend. Oh, and did I mention it’s free? :) Can’t beat that!
If you think you’ll be attending, please send me a quick email at: firstname.lastname@example.org (so we know how much food to get). In the subject line please put: 2 attending event (or however many people will be going).
Hope you can make it! It’d be great to meet you in person! xo, Anna
** Update regarding parking: The theatre has recently lost the use of the parking lot on the south side of the building. Here are a couple of additional options: until 6pm, parking will be available on the street – and then after 6, guests can park in the DCCU lot across the street. Street parking – on Acoma, it’s free for two hours at a time until 6pm – then free o
n the cross streets, it’s metered, but free after 6pm.
“Having everything that catches your eye is not all it’s cracked up to be.”
One of the main things I learned on the Spending Fast was that buying everything that caught my eye wasn’t really as awesome as I thought it was. I wasn’t able to see this clearly when I was in the habit of buying everything but when I stepped out of the buying cycle that’s when the clarity came.
During the Spending Fast I found I got more freedom and more happiness when I said, “No” to material items I lusted after then when I indulged in them. Now isn’t that somethin’?
If you’re in the thick of the spending and over-spending cycle do you think you might find freedom from getting out of the cycle too? Believe me, you can change your life right now if you want to.
Just when you think about giving up, remember why you’ve held on for so long.
Need a boost? Bring up whatever you’re struggling with financially here in the Community area. Trust me, you are not alone.
Need a kick in the pant’s kind of boost? Read through the Debt Free Life Pledges. These people have some serious hope and motivation, and they believe they can change their lives. I believe they can change their lives too. I believe you can change your life too. Do you want it bad enough? That’s the only thing you need to decide.
Contentment is all about being okay with where you’re at and not wanting everything you don’t have. Really, I know there is no way I can be happy if I keep thinking about everything that’s not right or perfect in my life. The key to happiness and contentment for me? Wanting what I have, and being okay with where I’m at in life. For me, I have to accept life for what it is. Easier said than done some days but it’s a process, it’s not about doing it perfectly… xo.
What are you glad you have today? What makes you content right here, right now?
This is a post by Chelsea who is currently doing a Spending Fast®.
Being on a year-long Spending Fast is awesome for finances but not always so awesome for the brain. It is easy to get bummed out that we can’t go shopping with our friends or buy the latest nail polish colors.
25 Free INSTANT Mood Boosters…
Marching out of debt requires a lot of energy, there’s no doubt about it. As we discuss here on And Then We Saved, working towards a debt-free lifestyle is not just about reducing your spending. It’s about creating additional income for yourself by getting resourceful… or let’s just go there – downright scrappy. The key is to find ways to monetize the activities that you naturally enjoy doing. Take the “free” out of your free time by sharing your passions to help benefit others and earn extra cash.
15 Side Gigs to Make More Money…
This is a post by Chelsea who is currently doing a Spending Fast®.
Imagine with me for a second that you are cruising along in life, adhering to your Spending Fast contract, when you suddenly lose your job. What would you do? Let’s take it a step further and say that the same day you lost your job, you also lost your house. A bit far-fetched, but just hang in there. What if in that same day you not only lost your job and your house but you also lost your romantic partner AND you had to immediately move out of the state. Your life was great and within one day, everything changed dramatically and you had absolutely no power to stop it from happening.
Welcome to the last 14 days of my life. When this article gets published, it will be exactly two weeks from the day that all of these things happened to me. My partner told me that he wished to terminate the relationship and I moved from Ohio to North Carolina. My column is about transparency and how to survive/succeed on a Spending Fast. While today should have been the day when I announce my grand totals for Month Three, life has thrown me a curve ball and the Spending Fast had to face some challenges.
How I’ve Been Surviving Unexpected Life Events During My Spending Fast…
Keep your eyes on the prize. It’s all about becoming debt-free baby!
It’s been said that if you can change one bad habit, you’re likely to change another. This list will show you how being responsible pays (literally). In just one year, watch how making these small investments or spending habit adjustments will implement lasting benefits in your lifestyle.
You can absolutely have a better life! Might as well start today!
17 Things to do Today That Will Make You Proud of Yourself in a Year…
Old is new again with this easy technique! Rather than “Let’s go shopping!” This DIY is all about making do with what you already have!
DIY: How to Upcycle Your Favorite Flats…
I’m thrilled to show you this short sketch video that Becoming Your Own Bank created for And Then We Saved. If you haven’t done so already (or if you want to re-new your pledge) sign-up for the Debt Free Life Pledge right here. I don’t get anything out of you taking the pledge. I really just want you to have a debt-free life too! xo, anna
Thanks Becoming Your Own Bank!
What do you think does the sketch video tell my story and the And Then We Saved story well?
This is a guest post by Chelsea who is documenting her Spending Fast here on ATWS…
After paying over $1,200 towards my $25,000 debt in the first month, I knew the following months of my Spending Fast would be tough. Initially I felt empowered and excited to pay that much towards my debt, but then doubt set in. What if I can’t even come close to that amount in the following months? What if I run out of things to sell on eBay? What if I hit a Spending Fast plateau?
I’m three weeks into my second month and while I don’t know specifics yet, I think I’ve paid around $100 this month on my debt. HOW TERRIBLE! Wait, that’s not terrible! I have a constant battle in my head that goes from one extreme to the other. I needed to find a way to calm my thoughts while remaining motivated.
It was time for a monthly payment goal! Not only are goals great motivators, they’re also awesome at putting self-doubt at bay. Originally my goal was to put $1,000 towards my debt each month. This is an excellent goal but not very realistic. Goals need to be motivational, not discouraging. At $12.25 an hour, dropping a Grand each month is unlikely. I have set my new goal at paying $500 monthly. I feel that $500 is something that’s attainable and if I get awesome and exceed it then, well, that rocks! If there has been one thing I’ve learned these past few weeks, it’s that keeping things positive is a requirement for my Spending Fast journey.
So instead of being discouraged, I’m now excited. I still have a week to earn more money and meet my goal. Last Friday, I cruised over to Craigslist and saw that someone was hiring someone to address envelopes. I met this Craigslist gentleman and was handed a bag with over 600 envelopes and a list of addresses. He also gave me over 3,400 Post-It notes to write on, if I happen to finish the envelopes.
Let’s just say this past weekend was an unusual one. I am receiving ten cents per envelope (and Post-It) I complete. While ten cents isn’t much money, ten cents times 4,000 is a good amount. Completing this project isn’t glamorous or going to make me rich, but it is going to help me achieve my monthly goal.
If you are on a Spending Fast along with me, I encourage you to make goals. After you make them, really think about if they are attainable. There is nothing worse than setting yourself up for failure. I am on this Spending Fast because I know I can create my own future. Establishing a goal and getting creative in order to meet it is going to help me get there.
Next week I will be reporting back with my Month Two totals. I hope you stay tuned!
Chelsea Overton is in the midst of her Spending Fast® and writes about it from North Carolina with her bulldog, Xena, and boyfriend by her side.
I’m so excited to introduce Chelsea! She recently started her Spending Fast®, and she is going to be our new Spending Fast columnist reporting weekly about her getting out of debt journey! I’m so happy she’s going to be sharing her story with us!
Not spending money for a whole year sounds a little ridiculous to most people. After many failed attempts at paying my student loans, I decided to get serious. I had stumbled upon And Then We Saved’s post on how to cut your own hair. Once I read the tutorial I started exploring the site and was amazed at what I found. If Anna could do a year-long Spending Fast, I figured I could at least attempt to do the same.
My name is Chelsea Overton and I am a 25 yr. old lady living in Columbus, Ohio. I am from North Carolina and recently moved to the great state of OH-IO last August. Before moving, I had been able to make all my minimum student loan payments and keep my credit card balance paid. In August, I left my full-time salary job behind and with it I left all hopes of financial stability. Before I knew it I was having to choose which bills to pay each month. I would pay student loans one month and the credit card the next. At least with this method, neither account would go into default status. After the new year started I knew it was time to get my finances in order. Finding ATWS seemed like a pretty large life sign.
I started my Spending Fast on January 28, 2013 and it has already changed my life. When I started this I had a grand total of $24,996.98 in debt. Wowza! After one month, I have successfully paid $1,229.58 towards my debt and put $100 into savings. I had decided not to look at the total amount paid throughout the month. I made payments towards my credit card as the money came in and at the end of the month I was beyond surprised! My current debt total is $23, 767.40.
So, what did I do to go from not being able to make minimum payments to putting over a grand on my debt? I froze my spending! I started packing my lunch and saved the $5 a day I was spending. I cleaned out my closet and sold unused items on Craigslist and eBay. I realized I enjoy writing and started freelancing my skills through various online sites.
I used to spend money on things like nail polish and snacks because, well, “I deserve it.” After only a month of the Spending Fast, I have realized that I deserve to be debt free. I expected this year to be hard, but I had not expected to discover so much about myself this quickly. Gaining control over my spending has created a sense of peace in my life that I haven’t felt in years. I am nervous about how the rest of this year will go, but I now have confidence in my ability to change my habits. I look forward to finding new ways to save and watching my debt shrink each month!
Each week I’ll be writing about my Spending Fast and getting out of debt journey. I hope you follow along with me!
As with many resolutions, made at the New Year and beyond, we start out strong towards a goal. But as time goes by and glitches in the road trip us up, we tend to lose our steam. When our path to debt freedom is sidetracked by an unexpected expense or we fall off the wagon when we see something we just ‘can’t live without!’ we tend to get down on ourselves and blow our commitment towards getting out of debt and staying there.
Staying motivated is possible for all goals – but you have to work at it.
How To Stay Motivated To Get Out Of Debt For The Whole Year…
“The Only Joy in the World is to Begin.” – Cesare Pavese
It doesn’t have to be January 1st to change your life. No matter the date, make the decision to start.
If you want to change your life, you can!
Today is THE DAY to go for it! Why the heck not? Let’s do this!
“Don’t give up before the miracle happens.” – Fannie Flagg
It’s easy to feel discouraged when things get tough through the getting out of debt process but I have to urge you to continue on. If you haven’t started your getting out of debt journey yet, believe that’s it IS possible to become debt-free.
Please, do not give up before you start. You deserve a debt-free life so let’s kick some debt-ass together and get on with some good living!
You’ve SO got this!
How to Stick to that Good Ol’ New Year’s Resolution…
Whoa. It’s been 3 years (as of December 29th) since I started this site as a way to document my impending Spending Fast, and I always like to look back at the previous year to take it all in and appreciate what’s happened and the progress that’s been made.
The first year (2010) was all about the Spending Fast, and I managed to eliminate close to 18k that first year (!!).
The second year (2011) was all about the Spending Diet, and I managed to eliminate the remaining debt. It took a total of 15 months to knock-out the debt that I thought I would die with.
This third year (2012) has been all about trying to learn how to spend “normally”. Some months have been super easy and other months, super terrible. I guess that’s about as “normal” as it gets, huh?
Some highlights from the year…
When I came across Karen Maezen Miller’s tips for a mindful home I just about lost it. All of her suggestions make sense it that, “Duh, of course!” sort of way. I particularly love the “set a timer” tip. She’s really completely brilliant.
Is living a simpler life something you try to do? If so, how do you do it?
Awhile back the lovely Charmel Delos Santos did a guest post for And Then We Saved (read her post here) and now she has written a book called High Heeled Traders. I was honored (and shocked) when she told me that she included me in the acknowledgements section of the book.
High Heeled Traders discusses why women are natural traders, and how being intuitive with trends is an asset with investing.
Charmel is giving 3 readers a paperback copy of the book and she is spreading the love by giving everyone a free preview of the book here!
**This Giveaway is now closed***
♥ To win a copy of the book just register on her site for a mandatory entry here and then leave a comment below letting me know you have done so.
The Giveaway will end on Wednesday, May 2nd at 8pm Mountain Time. When you enter please be sure to leave your email address in the fields where it asks for it so I can have a way to contact you if you win.
Thanks and good luck! xo anna
I’ve been thinking a lot about health lately and recently had the dilemma of trying to figure out if I should stick with the gym membership or cancel it.
Maybe they’ll let me work something out… who knows. Plus, I’ve found that sometimes, just asking can be all it takes to get a deal!
Oh, and this post: 9 Ways To Stay Healthy and Fit WITHOUT The Gym totally reminds me that a gym membership is completely not necessary (especially with nice weather). So I’ve got that on the brain.
Also! I don’t know if you know about this but Corepower Yoga has free classes throughout the week! It’s such a great thing to take advantage of it you live in a city with one of those studios. I’m sure other fitness centers and gyms offer free classes too. It’s definitely worth looking into.
But, gosh, I got totally off-track there. The reason I brought up Corepower Yoga is because they will let people clean their facilities in exchange for free unlimited yoga. It’s so cool that they offer that and the volunteer/clean-for-trade positions fill up very fast since their memberships are on the crazy/oh-my-gosh/wildy expensive side.
With the cleaning for yoga trade it’s one of those “time or money things”. You either spend the time to clean or… you spend the money to not have to spend the time to clean.
So, we all know that health is, obviously, important. We’ve heard it a zillion times but how do you stay motivated to keep your health on track when “healthy” food can seem so expensive and working out takes up precious time?
This is the way I see it, you’re either going to spend your hard-earned money at the grocery store today or later on at the pharmacy and hospitals.
The grocery store option is way less expensive and far more tasty. Amiright?!
Remember this super controversial post about How To Create Meals For Under 3 Bucks? The food now vs. medical bills in the future topic got brought up in the comments and created a mega stir. (A reader named Marianna send over the link to this site called Budget Bytes. It’s about saving money while eating well and she said it’s got solid and worthwhile recipes that have saved her money.)
Why should you adopt a healthier lifestyle? Here are 4 good reasons…
Reasons To Adopt A Healthier Lifestyle Today…
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Breathe deeply. Fill your lungs and look around. Smell stuff. Taste stuff.
Imagine yourself sitting closed eyed and cross-legged in the place right beneath your rib cage. Just be. Just be still.
It’s what I like to do (try to do) when things get crazy and there’s a lot going on. Plus it’s free which makes it that much better.
It was inevitable that this day would come.
The groceries went and ran out.
All that’s left in the cupboards was bought months and months ago. I like to think that it actually LIKES to fill the space with no REAL intention of ever REALLY getting eatin. Like that’s what it was meant to do. Sit there and look cute for me. Dance! I said Dance!
Let’s be honest- I’ve had no intention of eating those non-perishables. They comfort me. I like to know that they are just THERE. I don’t know why I have this issue. It’s not like I grew up hungry eating out of trash cans or during the depression or anything like that. For some reason though, I’ve been avoiding those back-of-the-cupboard-space-filling-foods like H1N1 and felons.
Why eat that stuff if there is the option of eating something else. Anything else. I mean. Really.
Tonight the dinner choice is oatmeal (eh) or canned split pea soup (meh).
I’m going with the soup.
That oatmeal made eye contact though so I know we’re gonna have a date before too long… even if I don’t want to take the call.
This makes me feel better about soup and not at all better about oatmeal:
It’s only DAY 5 but things are getting difficult. The bills have been paid and this is usually the point of the month where I go through my Etsy favorites and see what I want and then justify why I NEED it and then I simply buy it.
I’m starting realize that just because I have money in my account and I like something that that isn’t nearly enough of a reason to buy it.
Around this time of the month in the past I would find myself at Walgreens purchasing something we can probably all agree is a need, you know, something like toothpaste and then I would find myself starting to wander to the make-up aisle to see if there is any new shade of make-up I should be testing out or something else that would be some sort of miracle cure for some problem I never knew I had until I saw an item I was convinced would fix the mysterious ailment that I have suddenly acquired. Then by that point I would find myself walking out of the store with a $62 bag of crap that I really didn’t need at all and the toothpaste had been completely forgotten.
Also around this time of the month, I used to make my way over to the famously inexpensive and trendy, yet shabbily built clothing and accessory shop Forever21. I liked to see if there might be something to add to my wardrobe to make myself feel better about myself and all my hard work at the gym. After all, what’s the point of working out if you just have crappy frumpy clothes to wear? The answer is- there is no point. Health should be a good enough reason but somedays it’s just not. Then, as anyone who has shopped at Forever21 knows the item usually falls apart after a few washes and is definitely not anything that I would say is any sort of investment. Disposable is what that clothing is and that’s exactly what I was doing with my money before I started this spending fast. Mindlessly and aimlessly disposing of my money.
This whole process has made me realize that the dollar really doesn’t mean all that much to me. If it meant more I probably wouldn’t be so fond of letting it go from my grasp.
It has been really hard to shift my habits to start thinking differently about money and spending and saving and about what I do with my spare time (since I’m not finding myself in stores as much ’cause it’s not all that fun if you can’t buy anything. can I get an amen.)
Surprisingly, I’m actually feeling empowered and more willing to make the right choices financially. It could and most likely is because I feel accountable since I have said I would tell you all about any set-backs that I may have. And… I don’t want to mess up because I don’t want to tell you about messing up.
Because of the spending fast I have:
Someone went and got crafty. You’ll never guess who.
Usually, when I start a new project and launch an idea I get a set of cards made so I can easily hand ‘em to folks if I happen to talk to them about what I’m up to. Makes sense to me.
So, since I recently started this site I found myself wanting some new cards to tell people all about what I’m up to now. Then, of course I remembered that because of this very project RIGHT HERE THAT YOU ARE CURRENTLY READING that I wasn’t going to be purchasing anything anytime soon. hhmmmm. so now what?
Crazily, I started putting items together that I already had in my house. It was actually kinda fun because it made me think about the things I already had available but normally wouldn’t even think of using… cuz I’d normally just go and buy what I want. You can see who’s gotten out of the habit of being a crafty lass.
Soon, I was ripping through the recycling bin and pulling out old cereal boxes, a brown bag, and some other random cardboard pieces and other thicker pieces of paper. I pulled out some markers and scissors and was on my way to being straight up crafty. “These are gonna look great!” I thought. Until I started being crafty on the cards and they were looking a little weird and not at all good. If only I had thought ahead and KNEW I would want cards I coulda got em on 12/31! ugh. Then I remembered how I almost bought this great HUGE alphabet stamper:but refrained for some unknown reason. Ugh again. That thing would’ve so come in handy! But that’s before I remembered that uhhhh, duuhhhh, I ALREADY OWN alphabet stamps and had completely forgot about them! Once I remembered them I realized I didn’t like their “font” anymore and decided it was that or nothing so I sucked it up and started stamping and being crafty already.
There I was cutting cute roundy cornered cardboard and paper and stamping and cutting and stamping and you get the picture and the final result turned out to be the cards at the top of this post! that I actually like!
And there you have it… homemade website cards on varying shades of brown, tan and white and stamped with varying shades of brown, dark brown and bronze. There is also a special surprise treat for each card recipient… they will receive fragments of Count Chocula’s face or a close up of a Boca Chik’n patty! What lucky people!
Amount spent on new website cards $0. (!) saweet