This is a post by Chelsea who is currently doing a Spending Fast®.
In reaching for balance, we find alignment. -Sue Krebs
For the loyal ATWS readers out there, you may remember me from earlier this year. I started a year-long Spending Fast and immediately my extremist personality came out. I dove full force into the concept of becoming debt-free. Every second I wasn’t at work, I was posting everything I could live without on Craigslist. I was writing freelance articles for various contract writing sites. I was tutoring high schools kids in Spanish, basically anything and everything that would bring in some money. In the first month of my Spending Fast, I went from not being able to pay the minimum payments on my loans to making an extra $1,229.58 to put towards my debt! In only one month!
These extreme results fueled my “all or nothing” personality and I quickly became consumed with the concept of becoming debt-free. I would make spread sheets at work calculating how much I would need to pay per month to be debt free in a year, two years, etc. I rented books from the library about finance and how to manage your money. My life took on a new meaning. I started my own personal finance website (after seeing And Then We Saved and being so inspired). I ate, slept and lived all things related to money.
My outward life got much better once I moved back to NC in April. I had found an apartment that was extremely nice and definitely within my budget. I had (miraculously) gotten a job with a huge corporation in the area. I bought a new (used) car and for once, was no longer worried about getting stranded on the way to work. Oh, and I unexpectedly met the man of my dreams. When I told people I was dating again their response usually had something to do with me taking time to heal. But when you meet your One, who needs to take time? Answer: Everyone.
Balancing Life While On a Spending Fast…
After every dramatic, life-shaking situation people need to take time to grieve. I lost my former bulldog, Kaya, in June of 2012 and have just now, within this past month, faced that pain. It was obvious to everyone around me that I had not adequately processed that event, yet I chose to ignore that fact. The same thing with my sudden move home. It was an event that I will literally never forget; I thought I could stay busy and things would heal themselves.
I want to apologize to those of you who have been following me along my Spending Fast journey. I have not given up on the Spending Fast, but I did give up on myself for a bit. It is easy to play a role of having it all together, but much harder to face reality and realize you don’t.
While I have not stopped my Spending Fast, I did stop writing about it. I felt like a failure. I wasn’t able to put hundreds of extra dollars on my debt since the move because I was having to pay for things like trash cans and shower curtains. I was embarrassed that I had stopped selling things online so actively. I was trying to focus on learning my new job and learning about my new boyfriend and learning how to maintain living alone again and completely lost sight of myself.
No matter your financial situation, balance is something that everyone struggles with. I have recently had the opportunity to spend many nights alone and I highly recommend doing it. I have evaluated myself and the reality was that I had absolutely no balance.
The rapper Macklemore has a song out titled, Starting Over, which focuses on him confessing he relapsed after three years of sobriety. One of his lyrics states, “If I can be an example of getting sober, then I can be an example of starting over.” Although I have not relapsed into buying obsessive amounts of nail polish like in the pre-Spending Fast days; I have not been focusing my energy and time towards financial freedom.
I’m now trying to find the balance between life and my financial goals so I’m back to eating countless amounts of ham sandwiches and selling my DVD’s on eBay. Anna has said it before on the site and I’m finding it to be true throughout my own Spending Fast journey — The Spending Fast is simple but not easy — and, we can do hard things.
As always, I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts on being an extremist and also finding alignment.
In your life, when have you lost steam while pursuing a dream? How did you get back on track?
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. She also has her own website where she logs her journey towards financial freedom.
P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp!