Baby Steps: Saving Money

Baby Steps: Saving Money | Whether it's something you want (NormaTec Recovery boots) or something you need (house painted), things cost money, and often a lot of money. Most people don't have a huge savings account just sitting there waiting to be spent. Whether it’s something you want (NormaTec Recovery boots) or something you need (house painted), things cost money, and often a lot of money. Most people don’t have a huge savings account just sitting there waiting to be spent.

In today’s world, many people just charge these things on a credit card and then worry about paying it off later, but most of those people are also broke and in debt up to their eyeballs which is stress added onto stress.

So I have a better idea! Save for what you want (and need). Like the olden days where you don’t buy something unless you have money for it! I know that sounds boring and impossible, but buying something you actual have money for is far from boring, in fact, it’s exciting. And saving up for that thing is very possible.

When I was 12 years old I really wanted this pastel blue Swatch sweatshirt. It cost $30. Keep in mind this was the early 80s and we were poor. Most of our clothes were hand-me-downs from our babysitter and my allowance was $2 a week.

But I HAD to have that sweatshirt, so I saved my $2 a week for 15 weeks and walked right into Joslin’s and paid for it!

As a waitress in my late teens and 20s, I really began to see the act of saving for something add up.

I used the “envelope system” for my budget since I was paid cash every day. The things I had to pay for (rent, utilities, school loans, etc) were the first set of envelopes marked with how much I needed to make each day to make the payment each month.

The next set of envelopes were the things I was saving for that I needed (car, insurance, family visit, etc), the next were what I wanted short term (clothes, shoes, movies, out to eat), and the last were what I wanted long term (money for Christmas presents, snowboard pass, vacation, etc).

As you can see I was very different then!!

Each day I would come home from work with a wad of cash and distribute it into my envelopes. After the necessities, I would start putting money into the other envelopes. On the days when I made a lot of money, even the very last envelope would get a few bucks!!!!

Over time, this would add up and when I grabbed my Christmas shopping envelope to buy presents, it would have $500 in it! Where did all that money come from? It was a couple dollars every day for a year! And yes…that came to $500!!

These days I don’t earn cash, so I have a list of all the things I am saving for in the foreseeable future.

These include things I want (the recovery boots I mentioned, races, massage, trips, tattoo), things I know I will buy anyway (running shoes, bike tires/tubes, swim suits, registration for Kona), things I will need in the future (phone, computer), and things I don’t want to spend money on but know I need to at some point (painting house, AC).

Each week when I do my budget, I allocate a percentage of my income to these things I am saving for (10%) and divide that amount by the number of things I have on my list (20) and put that amount toward each item on the list. Some weeks that amount is $5, some weeks that amount is $2. BUT IT ALL ADDS UP!!!!

For example, in 2012 when I really started focusing on my dream of racing the ironman in Kona, I added it to my list. By January 2013, the year I was going for it, I already had over $200 in my “Kona fund”. By the time I qualified (September 22) and had to pay for my entry, I had $422 saved. Now granted the entry was more like $800, but I had to pay it then and there if I wanted to accept the slot, so I charged the other $380. BUT if I didn’t save up the $422, I would have had to charge the entire $800!!! And this was seriously by saving $2-$5 a week!!

Think of how many times in a week you waste $2-$5. Off-hand I can think of at least 5.

So here is your homework…

Write down something you have really wanted but kept saying “I can’t afford it”. Over the next week write down every penny you spend through the week. See where you can take $2-$5 away from something not as important (drink at the gas station, fast food, cigarettes, alcohol, going out to eat, coffee, soda, the gym membership you haven’t used in 6 months, the online subscription to something you can’t even remember, the atm fees, satellite tv, etc) OR if you really can’t (or don’t want to) cut any expenses from your life, pick up a little job a couple hours a week, all you need to do is make $2-$5 so it can even be pet walking or lawn mowing or direct sales or even selling stuff on eBay or Amazon.

Now start saving and go and get that thing you want!!

PS This works with getting out of debt too. Paying down a few dollars on a consistent basis over time pays off debt!

PSS Have fun and work for something you REALLY want!!!

Keep me posted!!

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See you soon!

What I Gave Up For My Vitamix

What I Gave Up For My VitamixThe year was 2012, summer was in full swing, the Tour de France had just started, and the Summer Olympics were on the horizon. I was finally recovered from my broken collar bone 3 months earlier and was working hard to earn enough money to buy a new bike by the end of the summer. Life was good!

Then my friend Wendy loaned me her copy of “Finding Ultra” a book written by vegan ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll. The book is compelling and inspiring (you can buy it here and made me REALLY want a Vitamix. But we seriously did not have $400 lying around.

I already had all my books, DVDs, Passion Parties inventory, Beachbody inventory, and anything not nailed down for sale to get enough money for my bike by the end of the summer so I could race again.

So I had to get creative. What else can I get rid of???

Luckily my husband was out of town so I decided on my own to forfeit the Olympics (tough decision) and the remainder of the Tour (even tougher) and cut the cable! We were paying almost $100 every month between our Pay per View addiction and all the channels we got with our satellite. I figured 6 months of no TV would pay for my Vitamix.

So I canceled it.

And I bought a Vitamix.

It was the BEST decision ever! I have used my Vitamix almost every single day since I bought it. It has helped me stay healthy and vegan while busy, traveling, and racing. It has helped me stay mostly raw since I have started eating more raw, and has made me smoothies, sauces, soups, even desserts!!

And the best part is that we didn’t ever turn back on our cable! It was tough at first (with the Olympics, Tour, and hubby coming home to no TV), but after a few months we didn’t even notice! And 3 years later, we don’t miss it at all.

It boils down to this. We are all already maxed out on time, energy, and money RIGHT?? So if we want to ADD something to our lives, we have to TAKE something away. What are you willing to give up to get what you really want? What are you willing to NOT do in order TO do what makes you the happiest or feel the best? I will tell you without a shadow of a doubt that my Vitamix has done more for me physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually in the past 3 years than ANYTHING a TV could have done.

I am grateful I took the leap!

What are your favorite Vitamix recipes? Share in the COMMENTS!

Check out some of my fave Vitamix recipes here…

Order your Vitamix here…

And check out my weekly HAPPY HUMP DAY newsletter here…

You’ll be glad you did!

Thanks for letting me share 

See you SOON!

Can You Go an Entire Day Without Spending Money?

Can You Go An Entire Day Without Spending MoneyGoing an entire day without spending money sounds easy enough right? Maybe when you were 12! These days unless you are a super planner, it’s a challenge IMO to go an entire day without spending any money. This month I made it ONE day, next month my goal is TWO!

For those of you who know me, I LOVE a challenge. In fact, many times the only way I can accomplish anything at all is when I turn it in to a challenge.

If you are single, it’s not too hard, when you have a partner, it gets a little more daunting, when you have kids, it’s nearly impossible to plan what those little nuggets are going to need in advance.

Several times I have picked the day in advance, only to have something unexpected come up. And I guess if you are super flexible in your routine and your life, you can delay those “emergencies” for a day or two. However, as adults, we are pretty set in our ways. If I get to the pool for my swim and my punch card ran out, I am NOT going to shrug my shoulders and say “oh well, guess I’ll swim tomorrow” and head back home…which is precisely what happened today on my planned “No-Spending Day”.

Here are some of the things to take into consideration when you are picking your No-Spending Day…

  • Do you have gas in your car? Fill up the day BEFORE.
  • Do you have all the food in the house you need to prep your meals you planned for your No-Spending Day?
  • Are your kids all caught up on fees, etc. for their sports, activities, hobbies, fund raisers, camps, and school? It would be a shame if you went ALL day spending no money and then that night you pick up your son from Baseball and you forgot you owe $20 for the coach gift.
  • Are you all paid up on bills, utilities, credit cards, debts, bank fees, etc?
  • Check your schedule for that day to make sure you aren’t running any errands that cost money like Post Office, ATM, parking, tipping, laundry mat, Dr. appt, etc.
  • Make sure you are up to date on your prescriptions.
  • Check your calendar and make sure you don’t have to buy anything that day like plane tickets concert or show tickets, etc.
  • Make sure there is nothing you need repaired IMMEDIATELY…that you know about…of course emergencies do come up!!

OK! Now you are ready to pick your day (and a back-up day or two) and DO IT!! Don’t wait too long. It’s better to pick something within a week and just GET CREATIVE if you have to? When was the last time you BORROWED something you needed from a neighbor or friend instead of bought it? It’s fun…try it!

I would LOVE to hear about your No-Spending Day experiences. The good, the bad, and the ugly!

Especially advice you have for others. Can you do more than one a month? A week? Two in a row? Now we’re getting a bit crazy but I love it. I love delaying gratification. I think it is a sign of greatness and a characteristic of a successful life.

I am working toward being DEBT-FREE by June 2015 and this is just one challenge to help get me there.

If you want to join us in our FREE support group with other money-savvy peeps…Financial Freedom Rocks Facebook Group