Par usual in January, I’ve signed up for some challenges…I said I was NOT GOING TO OVERDO IT as I have in previous years, and I think I’m kinda following my own advice?
The 34-day reset challenge, hosted by YNAB (youneedabudget.com). You don’t need YNAB to participate, but I am of course using it to track my challenge savings. Essentially the point of this challenge is to reset your spending habits by following 3 simple rules:
- Track your spending. Easy peasy, since I do this religiously anyway.
- Only purchase “essentials” – to be defined by you before you start the challege.
- NO EATING OUT.
My experience so far:
- This challenge has been easier than I expected. Especially #3! I expected my family to start revolting by now because they’ve been denied takeout, but I got them on board early, and here we are. 21 days in, with no mutany! A MIRACLE! Should I try for February too? Naw…even I am jonesin’ for takeout at this point.
- The facebook group is INSANELY active. I’m seeing lots of great posts, but I’m also seeing that there are so many people out there who are insane consumers of all the things that are trying to reign it in. I am very proud of them for joining this challenge. What is sad? All the people who didn’t join the challenge and just continue to spend, spend, spend on non-essential things.
- I actually am not saving much during the reset. Fortunately my dining out and alcohol budgets are pretty lean to begin with. I did cancel a hair appointment I had in January, as I didn’t really NEED a haircut. I’ve deferred a couple of non-essential purchases, and sold a couple of things that I no longer required. Regardless, I have over $300 in my “saved so far” category. It’s good to take a look at your spending habits every so often to see if you are putting your money towards what you value most.
- I added “no alcohol purchases” to my list of rules. This has actually worked out surprisingly well, in that I’ve been forced to get creative with existing bar stock. So far, this month has brought brandy neat, margs, tequila sunrises, homemade vodka sodas, and a down under dreamsicle…so I’m surviving over here. What’s a down under dreamsicle, you ask?
Down Under Dreamsicle:
- 1 1/2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
- 3/4 oz light rum
- 6 oz orange juice
- 2 dash of club soda
Add Irish cream, orange juice and carbonated water to a blender. Blend with ice and pour into a coupette glass. Add an orange wheel and a cherry, then float the rum on top.
Note: I did not follow these instructions at all. I just blended it all together in my new Magic Bullet that I recieved as a Christmas gift. And, I did not use a coupette glass because I had no idea what this was. Still delicious regardless.
SPAR! Challenge – 7000 steps a day. So I used to do way more steps a day. Then, I got plantar fasciitis in April 2020 from hiking in improper footwear. I learned after the fact that my type of feet (high arches) are prone to this over time. I’m still dealing with it today, however things have improved to the point where I can handle 7k steps a day with minimal pain. It’s not a lot, but at least it forces me to be a tiny bit active without overdoing it. I hope that over the next month I can up to 8,000, then 9,000, then 10,000 steps a day. I track it all with my Fitbit. What a huge pain in the ass this has been. I will never take walking for granted again!
SPAR! Challenge – Declutter and Organize. Every day, I have to do some decluttering and/or organizing. This is so benefical since the state of my home affects my mental state directly. Unfortunately this is not true for my child who doesn’t mind living in squalor. I would love to cut my posessions in about half; then I would be moving stuff around a lot less, giving me more time to focus on other things. The tricky part is getting the family members to contain their clutter, especially in shared spaces. There’s much work to be done here.
Well, that’s it so far. What I like about joining challenges is that it helps me create habits that would otherwise not be created. The SPAR! app has been instrumental in helping me focus on systems I want to integrate into my life, so I’m very thankful for that. Any kind of external motivation, like having to pay real money for not doing something, is effective for me. It only took me 40 years to accept the fact. And now we have free technology in the form of an app on a smart phone to help me address the situation.
What challenges have you made for yourself this month? Formal or otherwise, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
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