From the Desk of Susie G:
There is no magic pill or way that will help you do this but sheer grit and sheer will. Sorry, I know that piece of information stings a little but it’s the truth of the matter. Since the start of our budgeting days in February 2015, I thought that my life was over because of our dreaded new budget. After our Dave Ramsey class, Financial Peace University, I made the conscious decision to look at my life differently because I not only was living paycheck to paycheck, one paycheck away from complete disaster, and I was in credit card debt in the amount of $9000. Yep! I had dug a hole that deep all by myself and this was not the first time. I was engaged to be married and I actually had the ridiculous idea of doing a financial class with my soon-to-be-husband. Except for the fact I had been working in financial services for the last 10 years of my life! Ha, the irony. But it is never too late to begin again and do it right.
Our New Budget Equals Financial Prison Right? Wrong, it is True Freedom.
Little did I know that our new budget that I used to associate with restriction, would lead us to a path of financial freedom. No longer could I associate the word budget with limitation or lack. I now associate my budget with freedom and liberty. That’s a complete 180 in thinking. In less than 9 months, we sold our first house, paid off $25,000 in consumer credit card debt, this included our cars, we saved and paid for our reception that cost just shy of $5000 and took a dream honeymoon in which we paid $10,000 in cash for traveling to Europe for 3 weeks. Simultaneously, we were able to fund our emergency fund, which is 6 months of cash reserves in case of an emergency. Phew! Now we can take a break from that consistency and hard work called SAVING! NOT! That’s really it, you can’t take your eye off the goal and it is better to keep that intensity and focus up. Yes, it is hard, yes it sometimes sucks, because we are so hypnotized by good marketing, but guess what, isn’t it oh so worth it when you have the freedom to do what you want to with your money? Dave Ramsey said “If you don’t tell your money where to go, you will always wonder where it went.” I now live by those rules with my money and with my health goals. I tell you this because it is doable and attainable and you too can WIN with your money and your health. Our budget is the single most important reason that we are able to do what we do and are in complete control of our money.
Just like the budget, I believe it is better to keep track and enjoy your food in moderation, responsibly and within the guidelines of your goals. If you don’t track what you eat, you will always wonder how you put on so much weight and why your clothes have started not to fit. And they you ask yourself, how on earth did I get here? I cannot believe I put on so much weight, now I am uncomfortable and now I need to spend more money that I don’t have on clothes because my old ones don’t fit me anymore because I haven’t given my health enough attention and the cycle continues. It sure has happened to me and I sure as hell didn’t like it. I had to change it.
I work in a corporate office and we get food almost every day for breakfast and lunch. During the holiday season, we are bombarded with chocolates, cakes, candied popcorn, cookies, sweet treats, holiday parties, potlucks and the list is endless. I know you are putting on kilos and pounds just thinking about all the food I’m rattling off and salivating at the very thought of those delicious treats because I am too! Eating responsibly is a mindset just like any other mindset. We could all learn to practice a little mental fortitude here. I know I need to exercise my mental fortitude at Christmas, I love treats! When you look up how many calories that popcorn has or a delicious donut, you may think again! That old saying goes, “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” You need to learn to be responsible, find an accountability partner to help you out. Support is one of the main reasons people reach their goals and then reach for higher standards; successful people usually don’t do it alone. It can be hard, lonely and not motivating to always be reaching your hefty goals alone. My husband and I do that for each other. It works amazing to stay on track because we have the same goals and same objectives that we talk about and discuss so we can stay on track. I am the spender and he is the saver so we work as a team to keep each other inspired, motivated and pushing forward despite setbacks and any obstacles.
Are You Pulling in the Same direction as Your Partner?
A draft horse can pull 8000 pounds alone. When another draft horse is introduced, untrained, they together can pull not two times the amount of 1 horse, but 3 times as much as they can alone, they can pull 24000 pounds together. When they have had some training and get to know each other, and work together as a team, they can pull, not 3 but 4 times the amount they can pull alone, that is a staggering 32000 pounds. Pretty amazing right? So who are you pulling with and look at how you can multiply your results just by making small spending changes and eating changes in your life? Don’t let your conditioned habits stop you from having financial freedom and keep you from your best healthy self!
My husband and I wanted to change our habits and rituals with food. Although we had tried other forms of healthy eating, it just wasn’t working for us. We realized that we had never really tracked our diets properly, ever and we had never really had fitness and food goals per se. We are avid cross fitters and we are active people but we just were not seeing the results that we wanted to see. So we decided to make a change. We started the Macro Diet. I know, the word “diet” has such a taboo surrounding it, so whatever you want to call it, lifestyle change, or fitness goals. Like your money, there is no one size fits all strategy to get you to where you want to go but you do have to start somewhere. Just like your money goals, your health is incredibly important, don’t mess with this, make sure to consult your doctor or professional when you need to, this is where you should not skimp and cut corners. Be responsible with your health, the vehicle taking you through this life is your body, and you only get one! So please take care of it.
We hired a coach who helps us track our macros and they have you download MyFitnessPal so you can accurately track your nutrients accordingly. Is there a cost associated with all of this? The answer is YES. But because we budgeted to make a change, we were able to do it. Our health goals are important to us and it is worth it to do this. And I am so glad we did. I track everything I eat and my workouts and I have never felt better. Asking for help is a sign of strength, we cannot always do it alone and face our challenges by ourselves.
What is the cost to you if you cannot work because you have weight-related and health issues? What is the cost on your time and mental capacity if you have to miss some or a lot of your work, your livelihood because you are too sick to go because you didn’t take care of yourself? Health-related work issues are huge problems in the US. Research is finding that companies are working to encourage and create incentives for their employees to lose weight, keep fit and healthy, as the economic cost amongst the workforce is such a high price to pay in short and long-term absences.
Do YOU have Self-Confidence or are you Submitting to a Lack of Self-Control?
But really, what your put in your mouth is up to you. Yes, you. Can you believe it? You are the captain of your ship in life and you decide what is acceptable or not. You make the choice each and everyday to eat, overeat and overspend. Is this living the greatest ideal of who you want to be? In debt, unhealthy and unhappy? Or happy, financially free and fit and healthy? If it were easy we would all be in amazing health and all have financial freedom wouldn’t we?
These two things to hand-in-hand especially over the holiday season. Don’t let this be you. Be mindful, be responsible and have some self-discipline. A lot of things that are worth doing are sometimes hard. I believe in you, and you can do it! You will be astounded at what you can accomplish if you just put your mind to it, get organized and set yourself some new goals. Set yourself up for success and to WIN with money and your health. Get some help, if your health is important enough to you, you will seek advice from a professional and if you are finding yourself always broke, there are infinite ways to get out of debt, tons of internet resources to learn how save and live financially free, and yes, without credit.
YOUR Life is too Important than to Live Paycheck to Paycheck.
If you don’t have a budget, I recommend you go online, download one and start itemizing out your expenses. My friend and fellow blogger Money Peach has a free downloadable budget that helps you do this, yes, FREE. Go to www.moneypeach.com/budget You will be surprised at how much money you waste because you have mistaken your wants for needs and how much you can save and pay down your debt with that extra discretionary money. I know, because that is what we did. We even started these crazy things called “sinking” funds and saved $1000 for Christmas over the course of the year so we didn’t have to stress out or use a credit card (since we don’t have credit) to pay for gifts for the family. You don’t want to go into debt for Christmas shopping now do you? That’s another outlandish culturally acceptable practice, going into debt for gifts.
For about 10 years, I used to dread the holiday season, as I didn’t know how to handle my expenses. This really affected my confidence in myself, at the end of Christmas, I would be in debt and I would have to restrict all of my activities so I could pay down my credit card. Yuck! I was not in control of my expenses but now, I look forward to Christmas because the Christmas account is already funded and we could easily buy presents for our friends and family and even my family in Australia could get gifts now too. What a relief!
Here are My TOP Tips on How to Stop Overspending
- Whenever you go to a store make a list of exactly what you are going to buy and DO NOT stray from that list no matter what.
- Maintain an SOS “stay out of stores” at all cost unless you must to go in there to purchase something on your list.
- Find an accountability partner, your husband or friend who will support you in changing your habits.
- Start NOW. It is never too late to begin again. The only person who can defeat you, is you.
- Be confident and responsible, you CAN do this, overspending is just another habit and the good thing about habits is that you have the power to change them.
- Stay focused, know that you are mentally stronger than any store seducing you into all of that new stuff you don’t need.
“Spiritual maturity is the ability to delay pleasure.” Dave Ramsey. Don’t let that desire for instant gratification seduce you into buying things you don’t need and deterring you from your long-term financial goals. If you are going to attain your financial goals, you are going to have to forgo instant gratification. That is the trade-off. But it is worth it isn’t it?
Here are My TOP Tips on How to Stop Overeating
- Be mentally tough, you have goals to reach. Focus on the objective and know that there is a great cost if you submit to instant gratification.
- Improve your self-talk, “It is easier and more effective to AVOID temptation than to resist it.” Darren Hardy
- Educate yourself, know how many calories you are ingesting if you want that piece of pie, you are going to have to trade-off here if you want to become your best self.
- Plan ahead. If you have goals, then you know how to do this, it is important to plan ahead to stay on track.
- Don’t completely deprive yourself, your brain is amazing and when you are constantly fighting to deprive yourself, that thing you want is going to be the very focus of what you are trying to avoid.
- You are amazing when you have integrity and stick to your goals. Don’t cost yourself your mental integrity because you wanted that cupcake that you didn’t plan for. Have integrity and follow through.
Americans typically put on around 10 pounds during the holiday season. Is this going to be you this holiday season? You may be going against the grain here. But trust me, isn’t it worth it to do the hard work, get out of debt, stop being broke and have financial freedom? It feels amazing doesn’t it, knowing you can face any financial challenge with confidence? If you do the hard work now, and maintain your health and wellness by using that mental muscle of yours, I promise you, it does get easier. And when it becomes a habit and it becomes who you are, you will wonder why it took so long to get off your butt and just to do it instead of just talking about it.
Cheers to you, your financial freedom and your health.