Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spending Fast: Getting Started

Yesterday I posted about the Spending Fast and how I got started.  Today I'm sharing the motivation behind the fast and how you can get started too!  I have adapted the spending fast a little bit to fit my lifestyle, however I've tried to stay as true to Anna's instruction as possible so as not to make any excuses to spend!  Please keep in mind two things:  1) I am not a financial advisor or professional by any means 2) I am not the mastermind behind the spending fast! Check out andthenwesaved.com to learn more about the spending fast "OG".
First of, let's talk about the obvious:  What is a spending fast?  It's exactly what it sounds like.  You focus on spending your money on needs only and putting all of the "savings" towards your debt.  There are a few ways to do it.  The way that I'm sharing it pretty true to the original, but with a few modifications to fit my lifestyle. The next steps will show you how to get started. 

1//Determine your motivation

I have a few motivations for wanting to be debt free.  We're hoping to buy a house in the near future, i have a baby that I want to provide an amazing life to, and I'm tired of living pay check to pay check when I really shouldn't need to.

Ask yourself this:  How can I benefit from a spending fast?  What would change if I didn't have any debts?  

2// Identify your weaknesses

The way the the "Spending Fast" book tells you to do this is a revers budget.  This means that you take your bank statements from the last few months and you analyze them.  Determine where the money is going instead of towards your debts. This is also a good place to review how much your bills/payments cost you each month.  This will save you time when you create your Wants & Needs list later. 

3// Create a Wants & Needs list

Your Wants and Needs list should have two columns.  The graphic below shows what kinds of things you may have in your columns.  Keep in mind that a "Need" for you might be a "Want" for others.  Corey and I are moving to an apartment with a gym, so my membership is now a "Want" instead of a need, but if we weren't it would be on the "Need" side. 
4// Create your Debt Hit List
The debt hit list is the break down of your debt.  Just to pre-warn you, writing it down makes it very real very quickly.  You'll list your debts from highest interest rate to lowest. If you have a debt that weighs on your more for emotional reasons, that one could rank higher as well. This is a screen shot of my debt hit list:
I used google sheets for my hit list.  I put my Debt Hit List in one tab and my Spending Register on another.  We'll talk about the spending register next. 

5// Create a Spending Register

There are several ways to do the spending register.  Anna does it on an "old fashion" check book balancing pad.  Personally, I have poor hand writing and don't trust myself to keep great track of that, so I put mine on a google sheet.  On this sheet you become your own banking app.  You carefully enter in all deposits and debits from the account so that you always know where every penny is.  See the example below:


6// Decide your Cycle Length

I chose to make my cycle length two weeks long.  Each pay day marks the beginning of a new cycle.  I'm "zero balance" budgeting, so at the end of a cycle, I'll take all of the money out of my checking account and only have my paycheck, depositing the next day, in my account.  Because I'm carefully noting all deposits and debits, this is not a problem at all. Your cycle length might be different depending on what works best for your lifestyle or job. 

Once you get to the end of your first cycle, you'll take that amount the that you took out and put into savings and use that to pay towards your debt! If you're not paying debt and you're just saving, stick in savings and leave it there!

7// Start paying off that debt or saving that money!


The most important part of all of this is to stop spending on things you don't need.  You can see on my spending register there's still some fast food and things like that, but I'm working hard to make a change and stop spending on those extra things that I don't need.  And you can do it to!  

I'll be sharing my progress and more tips on making the spending fast work for you every week.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Spending Fast

*This post contains an affiliate link. If you were to purchase and item on Amazon using my link, I receive a small commission for you doing so.*

A few months ago, I was wandering around the library in the non-fiction sections.  I don't really know what I was looking for, but I happened upon a book that sort of changed my life forever.  The book is called "The Spender's Guide to Debt Free Living:  How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get From Broke to Badass in Record Time".  I checked it out and started reading.

I've always been on the "pretty okay" side of money.  I'm never really broke, but I'm also never quite where I'd like to be financially.  I have a car loan that I feel like I'll never pay off, I accumulated over $10,000 of student loan debt, and I got a mouth make over on credit.  

While everything I've spent money on has been well worth it, that number has been weighing heavy on my heart and I'm ready for it to go.  This book was exactly the motivation I needed to make that happen. 

I made somewhat of a half-assed attempt at the spending fast a few months ago, but I didn't really make a very solid plan and I wasn't truly following the suggested methods of the book.  On April 1st I decided to do a "re-start"  and really buckle down.  I'm going public with it so that you, my wonderful readers, can help keep me accountable. 
Over the next few months I'll keep you updated on my progress and I'll provide more details on how this spending fast works.  I hope you'll join me in my quest to become debt free in record time. 

If you feel like working towards a debt free life, you can get The Spender's Guide to Debt-Free Living: How a Spending Fast Helped Me Get from Broke to Badass in Record Time on Amazon by clicking the link or the photo below. 






Monday, April 10, 2017

7 months of Parenting

I've obviously skipped a few months, but I felt like jumping back in and sharing how things are going after 7 months of parenting. 

Being a parent is the most amazing thing I've ever done.  I'm sure I've said that a few times.  But it is truly so rewarding, hard, easy, and exactly what I was meant for.  My baby girl is my favorite person.  Watching her change and grow every day is what I live for.  


Today Clara likes to wave hello and goodbye.  She prefers to play with the wipes package more than most of her toys.  She doesn't like sitting up, but loves to chat all day long.  She's a little petite for her age, but growing every day.  Her favorite thing is seeing daddy walk through to door after his day at work.  

I guess being a parent is pretty okay. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Fresh-ish Start

For a few weeks I've been considering getting rid of this blog and starting a whole new one.  

I'd dedicate this new blog to what my life is like now, but to be honest, I think I'm going about it all wrong. I created this blog so that it could grow and change with me.  That's even where the concept for the name came from. 

So I've decided to stop searching for the perfect new blog name and just bring this one back to it's former glory. 

I hope that you'll join me as I continue blogging here in my "old" space.

For now, this is all, but stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2 Months of Parenting

Okay so I'm a little late on this one, but it's never too late to brag about your cute little people.  Right?

Clara is a little over two months old now, and I cannot believe it. They tell you the time flies by.  You believe them.  But you don't truly understand how fast it goes until you're living it.


Clara absolutely loves seeing mommy first thing in the morning.  She will crack a huge smile when I peak into her crib and start un-swaddling her. 

She is an amazing sleeper!  I put her down at 8:20 nearly every night and she sleeps until 6ish.  She's also sleeping in her own room.  

We're mostly breast feeding, however we're also doing some supplementing too.  Going back to work has been hard on my milk supply, and I didn't have a whole lot stashed before my return.  But we aren't ready to quit.  I'm pumping and nursing every day, doing my best to provide for my baby girl. 

Being back at work is hard, but Corey is father of the year.  He takes Clara to the sitter ever morning, gets her all dressed and ready, and even remembers to make our bed (the only neat thing about our tornado house) before he leaves. 

Clara is the center of our world and I can't believe that I get to be her mommy.  Every day I spend with her is a blessing.  When I feed her before bed I hold her close and I often cry just wishing that time would slow down.  

Here is to another successful month of parenthood!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Pregnancy Nostalgia and Other Weird Things About Motherhood


When you're 90 months pregnant and so very ready to evict the tiny being growing inside you, people tell you, "You are going to miss this!"  They say it every time you make the slightest complaint about your pregnancy or when you say "I can't wait to meet my baby!"  Everyone tells you not to wish it away and that you will miss being pregnant. 

I never thought in a million years those people would be right.  I thought, "I've had an easy pregnancy and I don't feel like I'm going to miss this!" 

I was 100% incorrect on that one.  And if you know me at all you know that I hate little more than admitting that I'm wrong. 

I totally miss being a big old pregnant lady.  I miss my cute little bump and my stretchy maternity clothes.  I miss feeling Clara roll around inside my belly and laughing at strangers saying "You're about to pop."  I miss laying in bed and night and feeling Corey reach over to rub my belly or give it a goodnight kiss.  And I miss that anticipation of wondering what my little girl would be like. 

I can't believe how wrong I was about this.  But that's not the only weird thing about being a mom.  There are so many weird things about motherhood that I've discovered over the past couple of months. 

I am constantly talking about my child. I seriously want to talk about her all the time.  I don't remember the last time I had a conversation that didn't start or end with something about my daughter. 

I am so sensitive and I cry about everything! They don't tell you this when you're sitting at the OBGYN and getting all prepped for parenthood.  I don't know if it's hormones or what, but the other day, I cried because I saw two really happy old ladies on the jumbotron at the Jazz game...like...what?

My hair is always a hot freaking mess. My daughter is really a great little baby.  She sleeps through the night (or STTN as all the mommy FB groups say), she is growing like a weed, and she demands very little attention.  But some how, the second I go to fix my hair, she wants to cry.   Or I'll have to nurse and the only practical thing is a top knot rat's nest.  Let's just call it like it is. 

I feel constant pressure to be a certain type of mommy.  Can you say hashtag MomGuilt?  I swear I have never worried so much about what I'm doing than when it comes to my child.  Am I at work too late?  Should I be interacting with her more?  Should I eat oatmeal for every meal to boost my milk supply?  Is supplementing with formula going to make my child develop slower?  Are these car seat straps right?  I'm not kidding, this list goes on and on.  I could write 10 post about momguilt. 

I worry I don't have anything in common with my non-mom friends anymore.  I haven't hung out with any of my friend who aren't parents, and I'm scared to.  See my point about the Clara-word-vomit.  

My house work is just not getting done.  The other day I spilled some chips onto the floor.  I cleaned up most of them then needed to vacuum the rest of the crumbs. The crumbs sat there for at least 24 hours. 

What crazy things have you noticed about motherhood?  I feel like my list could be 50 items long.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

5 Secrets to Giving the Perfect Gift

There's a book out there somewhere all about love languages.  One of those love languages is receiving gifts.  Well, no offense to the love language book, but I think you forgot one:  Giving gifts.

I absolutely love to give gifts.  But not just any gift.  I like to really put some thought behind the things I give people.  For example, one year for Christmas, I gave my sister the beginnings of a scrap book that we could work on together and add more of our memories.  Another year, I made my mom Christmas ornaments out of things like paper plates, pipe cleaners, and old photos of my sisters and me.  It was sentimental and exactly my kind of gift.  

And lets be honest, who doesn't love that moment when your sister opens your gift on her birthday and tears instantly come to her eyes?  To me, that's the best feeling in the world. 

Today I'm going to share 5 secrets to giving the perfect gift (even if you are never that person who brings the emotion to the birthday party. 

1//  Remember that you are giving this gift, not receiving it. 

One of the biggest mistakes people make when shopping for a gift, is they shop for themselves when looking for a gift. When you think "Well I would like to get that..." You're not shopping for your boyfriend or your husband, or your mother-in-law, you're shopping for yourself.  

2//  Shop in the right place. 

If your shopping for your friend who is all about sustainability and "green" business practices, you may want to shop at a place like Uncommon Goods rather than a large franchise.  You're more likely to find that unique gift that your friend can truly appreciate.  

3//  Know what occasion you're shopping for. 

One of the best things about Uncommon Goods, is that they break down their products by occasion.  For example, I'm looking for a gift for Corey's and my first anniversary.  I can go here and find all kind of creative ideas.

4//  Think outside the box.

One of the best ways to do this is to purchase a personalized gift. Why buy newlyweds a blender, when you can get them a personalized piece of art that they can hang in their family home for the rest of their married lives?  This one is my personal favorite.  You can check out more personalized gifts here

5//  Show them that you know them.

Picking up a shot glass in the gift shop for someone who doesn't drink probably wouldn't go over so well.  Really look for that perfect birthday gift.  Something personal like this fillable book could be the best possible gift for someone who is more sentimental that material.  (hint hint Corey ;)

I promise, if you use these 5 tips when you're searching or the perfect gift, you will not fail.  You can thank me later when on Christmas day, mom is crying over the gift you gave her being exactly what she never knew she wanted.  ;)

A few things worth noting:  I like to support businesses where I believe in their mission.  I chose to work with Uncommon Goods because of they cultivate a community of artists and quality products. Buying from a place you truly want to support could make your gift the perfect one all by its self. 

*This post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods. All opinions are my own.*


 
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