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Stop waiting for a winning lottery ticket. Go ahead, you CAN make your own luck and you can definitely make your own miracle!
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…
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: email@example.com (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.
This is a post by Chelsea who is currently doing a Spending Fast®.
Change can be such a scary concept! Leaving the life rituals that you are used to and starting something new seems almost suffocating at times.
I was living in Ohio and having to work two jobs because after seven months of living there, I still couldn’t find full time employment. The world as I knew it ended and here I am, three weeks later, sitting in my new apartment in North Carolina with not one but two full time job offers. I have no idea which one to pick! How did I get to this point? Does it matter? What an awesome predicament!
Change is awkward and uncomfortable and unfamiliar but sometimes it’s good. Although I am very lonely and unhappy about my recent relationship split, I now have time to focus on my career. Which, when on a Spending Fast, is a great thing! What do I wanna be when I grow up? I have no idea! Now is a great time to channel my energy into figuring that out.
During the move, the bottom drawer to my dresser decided to break. My apartment has a big enough closet that all of my dresser items can fit inside it. As I was starting to take the dresser to the dumpster, I realized that I don’t have a desk. And a desk is really just a dresser without the drawers! So I took that bad boy back inside and started unscrewing the drawer brackets. After about 30 minutes of work, I have a new desk! It got beat up a bit in the move so I will have to paint it but instead of spending money on a desk, I created a free one. I changed something familiar into something new and useful.
After thinking about it, isn’t that what being on a Spending Fast and paying off debt is all about? Deciding to commit to the change instead of pushing against it. Changing your spending habits may seem weird and uncomfortable now but in the long run, it’s going to be beautiful and make your life more functional.
What are some ways a life change turned out surprisingly well when at first you weren’t sure it’d all work out okay?
Chelsea Overton is in the midst of a Spending Fast® and writes about it from North Carolina with her bulldog, Xena the Warrior Princess, by her side.
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…
This is a post by Chelsea who is currently doing a Spending Fast®.
Since starting my Spending Fast a little over three months ago, I have learned quite a bit more about myself than expected. One of the main things is that I have a lot of marketable talent that I completely didn’t realize. Last Monday I started a new job (hallelujah) and my title went from “Clerk” to “Information Technology Specialist.” I tell you this because my college degree is in Spanish. I have no formal training in computers, I just happen to enjoy working with computers. I realized this a few months ago and added my skills to my resume. After meeting a new friend, I mentioned to her that I was good with technology and she told her boss; the rest is history.
How To Figure Out Your Skills and Sell Them for Cash…
This post is by Chelsea who is currently doing a Spending Fast®.
Being on a Spending Fast can seem like such a drag! Since starting my third month of no spending, I have realized that being on this Spending Fast is actually awesome! I know what you are thinking, just hear me out. Obviously I wish that I didn’t have debt and could buy anything that I wanted. Instead, I have found that while on this year-long adventure, I have been able to do some really cool, unexpected things…for free!
Since my boyfriend and I aren’t going out on the town like we used to, I have become a little creative with my time.
The Benefits to Being on a Spending Fast…
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!
I just love this comment that reader Katie left. She says “It’s so great that And Then We Saved helps us see that saving can be as much fun as spending.” That just made my day!
Month 2- CONQUERED!!
I can hardly believe how much I saved this month that it hardly seems real. I mean it’s sucked a lot to not spend what I want but it doesn’t seem like I’ve been saving THAT much and really it’s not been THAT sucky. Of course I say that now as a wiggle around in my saving halo of glee.
For the month of February I saved- OMG- I saved $934.37 !!! what the-! ??
It’s JUST INSANE! Insanely, GREAT!
Maybe because it’s a short month? Maybe I’m getting more used to not spending? Maybe I’m not a very good add-er or subtract-er and I have totally messed up my check book and that’s why it seems like I saved so much. That’s a possibility.
The only other notable changes I’ve made this month are: I cancelled my locker at the gym (savings $6), I stopped using official soy creamer and now just refill the little container with the rice milk I already buy (savings $3ish), and I’ve been eating food out of the pantry that I’ve had forever (who knows how much saved).
Apparantly all these little changes are starting to add up big time.
Was I REALLY spending that much per month!? How could I have been? I just don’t know. It can’t have been so. I mean I literally felt broke every month before I started the Spending Fast.
This month I’m going to be able to pay off 1 credit card completely with a $373.37 payment! whoo- hoo! Suze Orman are you proud of me Mizzz?
Then, I’m gonna send an extra $75 to my parents for the college loan they took out for me. Because they guilt me and the quicker I can get that paid off the better.
Then, $486.58 towards the last credit card. Hopefully I’ll be able to wipe that out soon. Especially if I can keep up this rate of saving.
Then, a savings account will finally get started.. but that’s still a little ways off yet.
Whoa. Still can’t believe it.
Month 1 of the Spending Fast is done! and I’m happy to report the 1st months results!
I have saved $505.58 and (this is embarrassing) I usually dip into my overdraft protection account for around $200 bucks. So, I probably saved closer to $700 but I’m not gonna assume what I saved I’m just gonna stick with the hard core facts and numbers.
$505.58 is pretty good for the 1st month. Like I told you before, moderation hasn’t ever been my thing so I’m finding myself wanting to cut out even more so I can save even more (who IS this person!?!?) Because if $505.58 is good then wouldn’t $905.58 be even better?
I can only imagine that it would be.
What can I do to save even more? I think its the groceries that I’m spending the most money on. So, that is going to be my next area of attack. How can I cut cost there? Coupons maybe? Gotta think about this one.
So, how will I distibute this month’s Spending Fast savings you ask? Well, what a good question! Let me tell you.
Rather than start a savings account I’m going to try to pay off my high-interest credit card first (per Suze Orman’s advice- look who retained some tips from her books). This is how the break down is gonna go: $430.58 as an additional payment this month to my credit card and $75.00 extra to my parents for the college loan they took out for me years ago.
This extra $75 payment to my parents might not make much sense since my parents don’t charge me interest on that loan. And, I have to tell you, it’s been really hard to pay them for that loan since they DON’T charge me interest (thank you) because every financial guru out there says that you should pay off the highest-interest credit card first, then the next highest then the next and so on. So, that’s what I’ve wanted to do. But, this is what comes into play with this decision: every chance my mom gets she tells me about how she would be traveling to Paris if it wasn’t for the student loan that they pay for me every month. If any of you have experienced the wrath and guilt that a Catholic mother can produce then you know that there is no joking around when the guilt is being doled out. So, I made the self-preserving decision to send them a few extra bones this month because there is nothing I would like more than to see a picture of my mom beneath the Eiffel Tower or to see her sipping an espresso in a sidewalk cafe or to see her wearing a cute little beret on her freshly cut hair-do.
Plus THE GUILT MUST STOP!
See. The $75 bucks to them makes sense now huh.
Seeing how much I have saved this month is really very empowering. Now I don’t even know how I was so mindlessly spending $500-$700 bucks every month on stupid, albeit enjoyable crap. It’s hard to believe that those thoughtless and aimless purchases really add up to so much. Really nuts, huh.
Never thought that passing up Starbucks, itunes music, etsy cuties, a few new shirts, a seemingly inexpensive flight, or a dinner (or 15) out a month would add up to so much money. Is my life really that much worse off since I didn’t buy those things? Was so much joy passed up because I didn’t shell out that dough? Or, has taking the steps to get control over my financial future and feeling empowered about my finances been worth the change in habits, daily troubles and almost constant inconveniences?
I’d say it’s been worth it. It has sucked a lot but I’m learning how to deal with the suckiness more and more and it’s getting easier (if not fun-er). Plus, knowing that I can possibly get my debt paid-off through this process is the silver lining to this shit sandwich. Not having the debt umbrella hanging over my head or weighing on my shoulders is going to be more awesome than a daily Starbucks coffee or Forever 21 shirt.
Have you been doing the spending fast with me? How’d your 1st month go? I’d love to hear all about it.
Also, I’ve started a new section on this blog called Total Savings so you can keep up-to-date at anytime with my monthly savings and the savings distribution.
image by Brian Donnelly
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.
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
Something that has been helping me with buying the off-brand versions of foods at the grocery store is to put the generic version of the item in the old name brand package.
Like this for example:
Say you buy some Kroger oats (this is our local grocery store King Soopers generic brand) just go ahead and pour those generic oats into the Quaker oats container. Then when that white-haired Quaker fellow is staring at ya from the cupboard it doesn’t feel nearly as painful to eat those oats. At least for me. Plus oats are cheap! Even better.
Here’s another example for you: when you run out of your fancy coffee shop coffee go ahead and fill up that 1/2 lb bag with Folgers or whatever inexpensive coffee you have around and it instantly tastes better!
The power of suggestion really does seem to have magical powers.
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.
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.
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’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:
Hook someone up with some gen-u-wine niceness.
It’ll go far. Trust me… and if it doesn’t well, urrr, ur, uh…
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
It’s the 1st day of my year-long Spending Fast and I ironically found myself at the mall with the hub. Say what? Yeah. I know.
It was kinda like testing myself and probably way too soon. It’s DAY 1 for goodness sake!
He wanted to return something and I said “I can do this. I can handle it…” and I did but it was kind of a weird experience going there knowing that no matter what “Great YEAR END/NEW YEAR Deal” I saw and whatever I found that I couldn’t possibly live without that I was in-fact going to walk out of there item-less. Oh, poor me huh. I know what you’re thinking and yes, I did do this to myself.
Browsing from store to store I was surprised to find that through this project that I may actually be able to find myself released from the burdens of my self-imposed debt. The constant heaviness of that debt that however subtle it feels on somedays is always there. It prevents me from doing certain things and definitely holds me back. If not literally then mentally.
Being in those stores I found that I no longer had the unspoken pressure/expectation to spend. That due to the Spending Fast that expectation has been removed (at least for the moment). Ok. I proved my point. Now, can I stop? ha.
In lovely lovely Anthropologie, it was a new experience to be able to enjoy the smells and textures and the true beauty of the items. Strange. Needless to say, that was quite a different experience than I usually have in shops. Usually I am consumed with the desire to find the best thing for the best price so I can be the best at whatever I’m trying to do/look-like/whatever. The American way? Be the best-est?
I’m happy to say that I left the mall awkwardly empty-handed.
Todays experience made me realize that I have been constantly and mindlessly spending money based primarily on convenience, instant gratification, boredom and I’ll be honest… out of laziness too. It’s a lot easier to buy a new shirt or skirt than try to figure out an outfit from old stuff that I’m sick of already.
This is only Day 1 with a total of $8 spent (on oranges, cilantro and other grocery store fruits) and who knows how much saved. As I sit here freezing (68 degrees on the thermostat) with a hat on and 2 pairs of socks I’m excited to see what other revelations come into being throughout the year… however hard it is in the beginning I think it will be worth it in the end.
Since my Spending Fast is coming up in 2 days (ack.) I was thinking that I need to figure out what I might need for the entire next year and just hurry up and buy it all right now. What holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, trips might possibly come up?
I’ll plan for it ALL RIGHT NOW and then this whole challenge will be A WHOLE WHOLE LOT EASIER.
I probably should buy a whole bunch of those bank gift cards where there is a certain amount of money on em and then I will be set for any uncomfortable/difficult/don’twannadothespendingfastanymore moments.
I’m not gonna do that but that’s a good idea huh.
Here are some of the items that I have bought in my last minute hastiness before the spending fast starts. I just NEED this stuff. Right. (See. I tried to tell you I have spending issues):
It’d be appropriate to say that yes, last minute panic is setting in. I’m starting to worry about the reality of how this will work and if I will really be able to pull this off.
A lot of people are asking me questions about different scenarios that may happen throughout the year and how I will handle them all and really, I don’t know all or even most of the answers to their questions. ”We’ll see” I say to them while wondering to myself how it will really all shake out. I feel that I don’t have to know how every detail will go down and that part of this will be figuring out how to do a year-long spending fast while messing up and sometimes doing it just right.