Beck Diet Solution - The beginning of the end of irresponsible spending!




ForMyGirls
12-17-2013, 05:53 AM
Hello Beck folk,

Having hit my 'rock bottom' in regards to financial irresponsibility (a fuller description appears on the main Dec thread) I am starting this thread so that if there are others who share my compulsion to spend money we can support each other in changing our behaviour.

My first step - today - is to commit to living within my means.

My second step - tomorrow - is to write my ARC about this.


pamatga
12-17-2013, 12:26 PM
I am with you on this ForMyGirls. As I have mentioned in the main thread it is one of my other addictions. I am working that while I am working on losing weight. It does affect the other because when I am strapped for cash as I have been for the past six months that impacts what I can spend at the grocery store. Besides, our sole income being really tapped out for the second half of this past year, we also have been borrowing at different times to stay afloat. It is a vicious cycle and one that I have recently worked hard to reverse the trend. So, what do you have in mind by starting this new thread? Let me know and I will do my best to share.

Pam :hug:

ForMyGirls
12-17-2013, 07:01 PM
Hi Pam,

Thanks for joining in. What you have said so resonates with me. When you said a while back on the other board about your tri-core addiction it really struck a chord (and was probably the beginning of my acknowledging I have a problem - so thank you!) To some extent I also share your relationship addiction - in intimate relationships I have mostly done OK - though one of them has been abusive - but I do have a track record of toxic female friendships. That one I think I have mastered - hopefully I am right - and weight is now something that I feel like I am on the path to success. Money though - I suspect I have only seen the tip of the iceberg.

I am noticing that I have far more shame about this addiction than about food. Maybe it is something about the hiddenness of it. Admitting that I am dieting wasn't too hard because I didn't need to explain that it was needed! But other than the people closest to me nobody in my life would have any idea I am irresponsible with money. I am, in every other respect of my life, very sensible, organised, diligent and hardworking - so I'm guessing most folk I know would be surprised about this Achilles heel.

My thinking on how to address this - I think I am going to try and do the Beck book - but about money. Not sure how that will work but I so like her very matter of fact and 'take a step at a time' style. I think the reason it is working for me for weight loss is that it doesn't let me hide from myself and makes me face up to what is going on - but at the same time let's me be gentle with myself. Somehow she strikes the balance between letting me acknowledge that this is hard and that faltering is OK - while at the same time not letting me use that as an excuse not to succeed.

I have just been skimming a bit of the book today and I think it might work - I skimmed through the characteristics in the "how thin people think" part (I have the pink book) and it was like "oh my god yes - that is exactly it". I think it will probably be helpful for me to share my thoughts on each step - warts and all - a bit like you have been doing on the other board about your working through the book again.

I have written my ARCs this morning - pretty brief at this point but I expect that they will expand. It was interesting to notice the impulse to put things I can buy on the list! I did notice this and none of them appear (other than owning my own home - which I think belongs in the list!) I also want today to get my bank statement reconciliation up to date so that I can get a full picture and have a realistic picture of my starting point. (The equivalent of the weighing myself as I did at the beginning of this weight loss journey). I was thinking I would have a graph to show my progress (as I do for weight loss) - and just as I type I have a thought - maybe I can have a ticker for debt as well. I wonder how adaptable it is?

I feel very empowered this morning - mildly terrified - but also hopeful that I can conquer this challenge - and relieved and proud that for the first time in my life I am approaching this in an holistic way and not just reacting by trying to fix the immediate problem with something that will only make the bigger problem worse.

So that is a very long winded answer to your question. How would you like to use this space? What will be helpful for you?


shcirerf
12-18-2013, 12:36 AM
I know, an admitted lurker here.

But I am a tight wad!

When weather permits, I love my clothesline. Saves so much on my electric bill cuz I don't have to run the dryer!

Our furnace is set at 62. Get a blankie and some slippers.

I garden and can. Freeze. Dehydrate. We butcher our own deer.

I want a new tablet, my old one croaked. I"m haunting the internet for a deal. I found a few, but, even though I have the cash, gonna hold out until Jan or Feb to see what's on sale. After, I get new tires for the car. Tires are more important!:D

It's about priorities. And long term, instead of feel good now! Trust me, I know how hard this is, My DH, is a NOW, kind of guy. After 36 years of marriage, he still has not figured out how I can save, and he's broke.:?:

Priorities!

GosfordGirl
12-18-2013, 03:21 AM
shcirerf - you are so like my sister! When we were little (I was the "baby") I would spend all my pocket money and then she would give me hers! No wonder I never learnt how to handle it. And now (we are in our 60s) she manages her money so well and I am an idiot. Admittedly I have had enormous health bills the last 4 years, but it is embarrassing. I earn a good salary and am virtually on the poverty line! She, who is on a pension, is always offering me money!

This forum just might empower me to take responsibility and be accountable for my own tragic financial circumstances :carrot:

I will plan and use Beck!

ForMyGirls
12-18-2013, 06:24 AM
Hi all,

Thanks for joining us Seadwaters. Your story if your sister rang so true. My brother is just about the most frugal person I know! He even saved money while living on a PhD scholarship. And your comment "I earn a good salary and I am virtually on the poverty line" explains my situ to perfection.

I did good today on the money front. I now know how far in the red I am. I have a "very tight" budget that will have me back in normal cash flow in 18 months. I have set up my money management system so it is really, really easy to see whether there is any "spending money" left for the fortnight and if there isn't nothing short of a REAL emergency will permit me to spend on anything but bills and groceries. Did a bit of grieving today too when I came across my "things I would like to buy" notebook in Evernote. Not gonna happen girl!

Tomorrow I shall read some of the Beck book.

pamatga
12-18-2013, 02:27 PM
Good day everyone who has decided to join and work on this "issue" as well as the lurkers who already have it "together". Congratulations to both camps.

ForMyGirls: Well, after reading your response to my first post here, I did have a couple of ideas. I do like the format that I chose to do in the main discussion group and, yes, I do not know why we can not work the same pink book but "substitute" money and/or finances in place of weight/pounds. I have always believed that "substance abuse" is "substance abuse", no matter what!

However; my caveat for myself, is that I want to finish with the first 41 days for my weight loss before starting over here but I will do that in about 7-8 days so I will restart with Day 1 here; using money and finances as my point of departure. "First things first".

I do like your plan already. I think the one thing that I really like about Dr. Beck's approach is that it is so "no nonsense" and it is also gives a much needed structure to a prevailing problem. Problems are meant to be solved. I firmly believe this. We just have to figure out a way to do so.

A few suggestions to the group who has assembled here: I do not think that it is healthy in this area as well as in the main weight loss group to compare our individual circumstances with other people. I think it can create a "superior/inferior" relationship that is not healthy IMO. Instead, we are all peers and we are here to learn from each other's experiences, not to judge but to offer support. Let's keep this in mind as we move forward. For many of us, myself included, I feel a sense of defeat and shame at times in this area of my life. We do not need someone who does have their "act together", so to speak, to tell us what to do. If you don't need this then I am happy for you but don't be a "told you so" because, I for one, do not welcome such "bad vibes". I have been guilty of this myself in other areas so I do know that even the best of intentions can be misconstrued. "Let us share and support, not lead and advise." Ok?

Seadwaters: thanks for joining this thread. I have a feeling that it can be quite a powerful one in assisting those of who really do have a desire to make this area of our life work as other areas do.

Janelle: Glad to see you post from time to time. Keep up the good work. Sounds like this is an area you have got under control. Good for you!

Well, this is my personal situation: neither my DH nor I ever made that much money. It is a long story but it is linked to our respective histories of having depression for half of our lives. The problem with coming out of a "coma" (which is what depression feels like) is that you are left to greet reality with being ill-prepared to face. I do believe that we have done the best we could with the given circumstances that we have had to deal with.

seawaters: did you know that #1 reason why people file bankruptcy is because of enormous medical bills. When my Mom died in 2008, my Dad was left with $60K U.S. in bills related to her care of 11 months. He has $1200 a month to live on. HIs small income "supports" my sister, who was fired from her job because she can no longer perform it due to physical injuries while on the job (and in the midst of a workers' comp trial) as well as one of her daughters, who is a nursing student with two toddlers. That is a very small amount to stretch for that many needs. My sister and my niece situation will change within the next 2-6 months so that will free up his income but I know other people who are struggling like this. It is not as uncommon as you would think.

I am in a Catch-22 situation where I can not work because of my disabilities but I can't afford the necessary surgeries because I neither have the money nor the health insurance. Will this Affordable Healthcare Act help me out? I am not sure. So, my DH and I are living on a significantly reduced income as a result.

In my defense; I too have learned to practice many frugal habits and I feel that for the most part I am very responsible with our shared finances but I know that I could improve. "Necessity is the mother of invention." Between the fact that this recession here in the U.S. had us both lose our respective jobs and then me having disabilities that narrowed the kinds of jobs that I can do at this time; has made it very difficult for me to assist financially in increasing our income. We are living on about $15K per year right now. Our mountain of debt is over $100K. We do not qualify for any kind of financial assistance programs. We can not file bankruptcy because of one source of my DH's income is connected to a family business partnership which he is 1/7th owner of and which would impact 20 other people adversely if he did so.

So, for 2014, I am going to have to see what I can do to bring an income in our home, one way or another. I am thinking some kind of non-traditional income that can be done from the home. I haven't applied for disability yet but I am seriously considering it.

ForMyGirls: However, having said that, we have a shared mountain of debt that we simply have not been able to pay off because of all that I shared above. I have cried about it and, of course, it has also affected my weight loss efforts since there have been times when we simply didn't have enough in the house to eat except carbs which are a serious no-no for diabetics.

I will admit that in the past I have fluctuated, much like my weight loss efforts, in how I have handled our finances. However, like you, ForMyGirls, I had a meltdown this past fall and I just told my DH, I can't take this any more, "if I want things to be differently than I/we need to do things differently." Since he is so overwhelmed by all of this, I am taking the lead. I know how "delicate" his psyche can be at times so I forge ahead for us both.

Thanks for starting up this thread since I was thinking about returning to Debtor's Anonymous but with one car (and it is 14 years old with 200K miles on it) I am very careful about how much extra driving I do with it. This will do just fine for that purpose.

We can do this. One debt at a time. One day at a time.

Pam:hug:

shcirerf
12-19-2013, 12:02 AM
There have been times in my life when we were so poor we couldn't pay attention, let alone anything else.:dizzy:

ForMyGirls
12-19-2013, 06:22 AM
I did good today. I went shopping for Christmas presents (after finding out about the non prize I negotiated an extension on a bill so that I could buy the kids some gifts - not optimum but I really couldn't face not giving them Christmas presents).

I had a very clear budget and stuck to it. I could easily have "borrowed" from the grocery money (a favourite trick of the past) but I didn't. There was one item I wanted to get for the girls that was $23 and I only had $20 left in the budget so I put it back. 5 minutes later I found a different brand on special for $13. In the past I would have begged, borrowed and stolen (but only from myself!) to buy the first one so this was a big change.

Also noticed the temptation to "treat myself" to lunch at the shops. (Lots of healthy options so would have been easy to stay on track diet wise but it would have been off track budget wise).

Haven't manage to read much of the book yet but all in due course.

Pamatga - it sounds like you and your DH are doing it incredibly tough. Huge credit to you for being able to stay strong and committed to your weightloss through it all and to be so unflinching and devoted in your support for your DH. Reading your story makes me realise just how lucky I am! Which then makes me even more determined to get this spending under control so that I am in a position to give back a bit to people who are doing it tougher than me!

ForMyGirls
12-19-2013, 06:25 AM
Oops - meant to say on the last post - Pamatga, I am totally cool with you joining in the walk through the book when you are ready (or indeed not even following that plan at all). I think it is so important that we not overload ourselves. Just having you here to listen to my ramblings and to share your thoughts and experiences is marvellous.

pamatga
12-19-2013, 01:28 PM
DH has been having one good check per month for the past 8 months and that is when I have to really keep myself focused on what to do as our "financial manager". Once again, I am very grateful that we managed to pay all of our necessary monthly expenses although I did ask for an extension on our electric bill until January 2nd. It is the one of two that we have that "allows" that and I am afraid that quite often I do so it will free up some money for groceries.

My Christmas gift to myself was to order some extra strong multi-vitamins and calcium supplement from a WLS site. They had been sending me a catalog for two years and since I have never had WLS nor ever expressed a desire to do so, I was kind of :?: confused why they would send me one. However, last winter I decided to really look through it and so I ordered just their multi-vitamins. I have taken vitamins and supplements for nearly 40+ years and I swear by them but these WLS ones just seemed to give me a lot more energy so I decided that I would "gift" myself.

I hope that I can send my only child and daughter a little money. We haven't spoke since Mother's Day when she had me crying and I asked her to stop calling me. She has since lost her job and is on unemployment. I only know what is happening to her via her FB posts and it sounds like she will be without unemployment by the New Year. I sent her $25 for Thanksgiving so I am hoping that I can send her $50 for Christmas. At least, it will cover groceries for her.

All the bills for December will have been paid by Christmas so I am grateful for that. I practice surrendering a lot, ForMyGirls. I take one day at a time and one bill at a time and trust (something very hard for me to do) that the money to cover it will come. I will admit that many days I feel like I am on pins and needles but I still try not to worry or be unusually stressed about it. For now, this is the best that I can do so that is what I do.

Great Job, ForMyGirls, on making the decisions while you staring down the future gifts. Great Job on not falling into the sabotaging thought of treating yourself after making a tough decision. That is also a hard one for me to do so give yourself a big hug on that one.

I have four more days of the pink book for weight loss and then I will start posting the Days all over again here in this thread.

We can do this! One day at a time. One debt at a time.

Pam:hug:

Valkyrie1
12-19-2013, 03:17 PM
Pamatga: I really admire you for taking on your financial challenges head on. Does Dr. Beck have a plan for finances as well? DH and I were discussing finances last night, to whit: which is better, to pay off one's mortgage, or to buy an income property and rent it out. I would like the peace of mind that having no mortgage would bring, and DH would like the income a rental property would bring in our old age. I'm sure that I would be the defacto property manager, however. Gulp.

Valkyrie1
12-19-2013, 05:51 PM
Went out to eat at a new restaurant last night. Credit to me for staying OP. Had a quinoa, root vegetable, kale, soy sausage bowl. Yum. Will return to new restaurant ASAP! It's called Veggie Grill, and it's in the UFC mall in San Diego. It's all vegan food. Afterwards, saw the "the hunger games, catching fire," at the arc light theater.

ForMyGirls
12-20-2013, 06:27 AM
Hello coaches,

Pam - your recommendation to take one day at a time is very wise. I am shocker for living 5 steps ahead of where I am now!

I did well today on the money front. Took the kids for an "end if school year" Icecream (which was budgeted for). When kids asked for 2 scoops and my partner said yes I asked him to cover the extra cost so that is wouldn't blow the budget (and he did without hesitation - and offered to pay for it all but I said I needed to still pay what I had budgeted- we have very independent financial lives and having lived in a relationship where control was an issue maintaining independence is completely non-negotiable for me - I also want to make sure that my decision to be financial responsible doesn't just turn into my convincing him to overspend!)

I also had a good moment today. I realised today (because a direct debit came through) that I had not budgeted for two subscriptions that I use for my work. I have set up a budget that has a black hole called "spending" with a great big negative balance that will reduce a little each pay (and can't be used until it is in the black) and a separate "Play money" which I am allowed to use for clothes, entertainment - anything basically that isn't bills and housing costs. So when I realised about the subscriptions I decided that I would take that out of the money that will be going towards filling the black hole (because the "play money" is very limited and I think if I reduce it anymore this will be unsustainable). I was pleased with that decision as an example if being gentle with my self. But then in terms of covering it this month I decided to take it out of the play money because I can't bear the though of changing the bottom line I recorded yesterday as my starting point. I was pleased to have that thought as early proof of just how committed I am to this. A week ago my response would have been "the debt is huge - what's a little more" but today my perspective is that increasing the debt is totally unacceptable.

So I read the beginning of the book today - the intro sections and Day 1. I had done my ARC a few days ago but added a couple and thought I would share them with you now. So ...
If I learn to live within my means I will be able to:
- own my own home one day;
- save time by being able to just pay bills when they arrive rather than scrabbling to negotiate extensions of time and "robbing Peter to pay Paul" within my personal banking
- model financial responsibility for my children (though that ain't no guarantee for their future as my parents were very frugal and look how I turned out)
- Reduce stress in my life
- discover lots of fun activities in life that are free or low cost
- live more sustainably and be kinder to my planet
- support charities and causes I believe in
- make professional and career decisions based on passion and interest only (I do mostly do this, but sometimes there have been avenues I have wanted to explore that have been closed to me because I was too cash strapped to join in)
- know that if a REAL crisis happens in my life I will be able to get myself or my loved ones the help they need
- be able to retire at a reasonable age
- be able to visit beloved family members who live overseas
- be able to send my kids to private school in their later years if it is needed
- avoid money undermining my relationship with my partner (it hasn't so far, but it could)
- feel good when I resist spending on stuff I don't need
- save time by not having to argue with myself about whether to buy stuff I don't need
- save time by not surfing the web hunting for the latest thing I don't need

Thanks for listening. Hopefully tomorrow I will have a chance to read Day 2.

pamatga
12-20-2013, 02:59 PM
ForMyGirls: Credit for really grabbing the bull by the horns with this in your finance area of your life. I returned to reading the book last night and taking some notes. I have always worked both of my "addictions" at the same time and it can be a real juggling act to say the least because for me one affects the other and so on.

I think the biggest credit that I can give myself regarding my present financial situation is simply to accept what is and not get into a lot of shaming and blaming. It is counterproductive for one thing and it ignores the good things that I am doing.

I really give myself lots of credit for being able to make the holidays special without a lot of extra (current) expense. We put up an artificial tree that we bought 10 years ago. My DH likes a live tree but it costs anywhere from $35+ (U.S. dollars). I have had ornaments for decades so all we ended needing to buy was some strings of lights. I think our total budget was under $10.

In my hey day, I bought some beautiful holiday-theme dinnerware that I like to use from Thanksgiving right to New Year's. It just helps make things seem a little more special. Then, when the Great Recession hit the U.S. and especially here where I live a lot of people who were middle class starting selling or donating a lot of their "extras" to second hand stores. I bought some of the nicest crystal glassware for $1 a glass. It was unreal. A lot of that got scooped up right away so there isn't the "inventory" that there once was but Post-Recession a lot of really good second hand stores etc. popped up in areas where they simply wouldn't have been "wanted" before. For someone like myself who is on a very tight budget, it has allowed me to shop (when I can afford it) and get that "thrill" without busting my piggy bank.

Since I am the "financial manager" in our two-person household, I insisted that we go to a couple of holiday events that were very spendy for us. ($20 a person for each event) I think I had hit a wall where I just said, "we have had our white rice days" now we need to bring some good cheer in. Yes, I didn't pay a non-essential bill to be able to do so but I am not apologizing. It was a real psychological boost for us. IMHO, I feel that while a person is both going through and moving beyond a rough time, it does help to allow oneself a treat here and there. It helps a person then knuckle down knowing that someday it won't be this bad and things will get better.

Take care, Pam :hug:

ForMyGirls
12-21-2013, 12:59 AM
Hello coaches,

Day 2 - choose 2 diets, which I am turning into choose 2 budget systems! I have been using a software program called YNAB (You Need A Budget) for awhile. It is a good program so it will be my number one choice. In a way it is like an electronic version of the envelope system. Plus I have apps that automatically link to it on my phone and iPad so it is very easy to enter information straight away - and it is very easy to see at the point if purchase whether there are any $ left in a budget category.

The flaw in these kinds of systems (and one which I have historically exploited to the max) is that although I have $X in my "electricity bill" envelope it is only virtual money and the $X,000 overdraw in my "spending envelope" means that when the electricity bill comes in there are only virtual dollars in the envelope and no actual $ with which to pay the bill.

And the way my head works as soon as something is sufficiently in the red that paying it off in one pay is not achievable I get into the "well I've blown it so I might as well keep going" mindset. And if I say "you can't spend anything at all" then it is so restrictive that I end up bingeing as soon as a pay comes in.

So - what I have done is set up two separate spending money envelopes. One has the big negative balance - and I am not allowed to spend from that at all. The second one has a small amount going in each pay and I am allowed to spend it - but it absolutely cannot go into the red! The theory is that gradually the one with the big negative balance will gradually reduce, and eventually, in about 2 years time, it will have a zero balance. I think it will work. The one limitation to it is that I will have some big bills coming in in the next 6 months that I can't budget for so they will just have to be be added to the envelope with the big negative balance. But nothing else can!

My back up budgeting system is the physical envelope system. It would be logistically more challenging and it would annoy me to be laying credit card interest when there is cash in an envelope at home - but if I can't keep to the program in the land of virtual money I will give it a try.

Some credits for today: I stopped myself from checking out the ad for apps that link with my fitness pal - a fitbit is not something i need so why torture myself thinking about it. Similarly something I was using today linked me to the App Store on my iPad. I had just clicked on the "Best Apps of 2013" and then thought - no, don't go there - there is nothing you need and it will only ake you want stuff you don't need. Did a bit if good thinking today too - one of my kids wants a new pair of swimmers - she has some that fit but they are pretty worn out and she doesn't like them anymore. In the past I would have just let her get new ones. I also promised the kids (months ago) new sandals for the summer. They have thongs (can't remember if that word is used in the US - beach shoes basically - maybe called flip flops?). I won't have enough in my "kid's expenses" envelope to buy sandals and swimmers - so I realised I can let them decide - would they rather have new swimmers and make do with wearing things this summer? Or would they prefer to make do with their existing swimmers and get some sandals.

Sorry this is so long, it is really helpful to talk this stuff through.

PAMATGA - I think you are absolutely right that in the circumstances you should be just applauding yourself for getting through each day. I remember a colleague of mine who works with people living on welfare getting really angry once when someone spouted off about some women living on the poverty line needing to learn how to budget. This colleague made the comment that in his experience people living on extremely low incomes were the best budgeters he had ever met!

And I also think you are right that it is important to sometimes give yourself - treat. The parallels with food are so common and here is another - if you never let yourself have a food you love then eating healthier won't work because eventually you will cave and go crazy. Similarly, to my mind, to live within one's means requires giving oneself some wriggle room to enjoy life. As with food though the challenge is just to get the balance right - splurge sufficiently infrequently, or sufficiently frugally (as it sounds like you have) that the big goal is not undermined, while at the same time making sure it is frequent enough that you don't go on a monetary binge when you finally take the brakes off.

In any event - hats off to you Pam for getting through each day.

pamatga
12-21-2013, 02:51 PM
My current budget plan is this: 1) be realistic 2) pay the four walls "food, clothing, shelter and transportation" FIRST (taken from Dave Ramsey, the creator of Financial Peace and whose 8 week course we took 5 years ago) 3) I add in the elements of the "Serenity Prayer": accept the things that I can not change, change the things that I can and have wisdom to know the difference.

I like the idea of involving your children in the decision making of which item to choose. It teaches me (and all of us, I think) a really important lesson that we all will have to learn at some point: life is about choices. Most of us can't have everything we want at the same time although the possibility exists that eventually we can have all that we want.

For example, both my DH and I have decided (a couple of years now) that we won't spend the money on going to a movie (with the popcorn etc) because that costs nearly $36 total. Tickets for the afternoon matinee movies are $8 each. Instead, we would rather go out to eat (although at a carefully selected restaurant where we feel we get good nutritious food at a good value). Also, I haven't had my hair cut professionally in three years. I would prefer to "spend" that money somewhere else. I also color my own hair. I told a professional hairdresser my "situation" and she gave me some tips that they use and I have followed it ever since. Most people think this is my natural hair color but trust me at my age it isn't.:D

Also, I don't mind going without having a professional hair cut. I just make sure my style is really simple to maintain but I do miss having someone else color it. I have arthritis in both my shoulders and it hurts to do the upper back sometimes. Still, I am saving myself between $40-70 every 6 weeks when I do it myself. Again, money that can be spent somewhere else.

So, my budget is about deciding what we can cut out that we won't miss. I bring this up about two or three times a year because things do change. We have gone through periods without having (paid) t.v. (the only way we can get reception). Right now, we do have paid t.v. reception but then we also remind ourselves that going to the movies (as much as the line up looks really good this season right now) is out of the question. It is about choice.

I don't go shopping at all simply because I know that if I even have 5 cents in my pocket I will find something (whether I need it or not) to spend it on. This is the same method I use with food: out of sight and out of mind. Still, this year, I told my DH that I really missed just seeing all of the holiday decorations in the malls. So, sometimes, I realize that I have to re-evaluate what I am also cutting out when I cut out money-related experiences.

I do like to check sites out on the internet though and, yes, it does become hard to resist some things. Are there any equivalent free apps that you can download. I would check out sites like Sparkpeople et al that are free sites. I do know that many of them are now starting to have apps that are free. I just am not sure how good they are.

Are you giving yourself anything for Christmas? I hope you do even if it is something small.

Today, my DH got a $20 tip so I told him to spend it at the grocery store. He had change left over when he was finished. We always buy the basic four food groups first before anything else. I rarely buy junk food simply because of the lack of nutrition for the cost. So, actually, being so strapped for cash has been an unseen blessing in terms of eating healthy. I can't afford to eat "poorly" (nutrition-wise)Then, we have a "discount overstock clearance" kind of store near us that we have actually found a lot of "hidden gems" in terms of everything from paint to cans of soup. I realize some people would not shop there but the merchandise is safe, not expired and no dents and we can usually get many things, like whole wheat bread (day old of course) for half price. Every little bit helps.

Have a great day, Pam:comp:

ForMyGirls
12-21-2013, 06:26 PM
Day 3 - eating sitting down - this one has been a bit trickier to work out an equivalent for.

So I thought about what the purpose is of the eating sitting down and I think it is 2 things: to avoid impulse eating; and to make sure I savour what I eat and don't feel deprived.

So my thinking is to address the first one what I do is that with any discretionary spending (ie: not groceries, bills or housing costs) I enter it into my budgeting system and see what it will do to my balance BEFORE I spend it. And for the second one I think I might try a rule of only buying coveted things at a time when I can spend time enjoying them (ie: on the weekend). And that I only ever buy one coveted thing at a time so that I really savour they things I do buy. (Kind of like not bingeing). I also toyed with the idea of having a rule about always finding at least 3 places that sell something to compare prices before I buy something. I think there are lots of times when I could save money by shopping around. Not sure about this one though. I am quite time poor so this might just be creating unnecessary stress. Though given how infrequently I will now be spending discretionary money I might be just fine! I think I will stick with the first 2 for now and add the extra if I need it (though I think I might find I do it anyway).

So - I am putting this straight into practice now. I am going to take my kids to the swimming pool this afternoon (heat wave continues) so I am typing while on hold with the local pools to find out (a) which is cheapest and (b) how much it will cost so that I can enter the cost before I go.

pamatga
12-22-2013, 05:05 PM
ForMyGirls: I do like your analogy of impulse eating (which often happens when you are standing at the counter and just mindlessly eating) and impulse spending. I have always seen a connection between the two in my past. It seems like when I do better with one, I do better with the other and I don't think this is by accident either.

I like your plan that you formulated. Since my DH won't get paid until Christmas Eve and we will be having our big meal then going to Midnight Mass where he will sing, I need to get food on Monday so I am shuffling some sources to do that and only buying what we need for that meal and a day or so afterwards. I will be using credit cards for groceries which is so "not good" but it will be less than $30 on each and I accept that my paying these cards off will continue as planned in spite of this speed bump. As I often say to my DH, it is all about "timing".

It is so weird to hear you talk about such high summer temps when it is so cool in the northern hemisphere. Well, when we all will be complaining about the heat next summer, I know you will be talking about the non-stop days of rain.

Take care, Pam

ForMyGirls
12-23-2013, 01:57 PM
Day 4 - give yourself credit

This requires no translation. And I am thinking it won't be too hard to do either as the credit giving habit is now pretty ingrained.

So, to start the ball rolling - credit for resisting the temptation to buy lunch yesterday rather than packing it as I normally do. Credit for leaving my wallet behind when I went to the movies so that I couldn't be tempted to buy anything. I even left my phone behind so that if i was tempted to ask my partner if I could borrow money I would be able to think "but I can't because I can't enter it into the system before I spend it ". Got a catalogue in the mail from the place I buy shoes (I have difficult feet so I have limited options for shoes and they are stupidly expensive). Chose to throw it away unopened. I won't have $ to buy new shoes for a long long time so why torture myself by seeing what I can't have!

ForMyGirls
12-24-2013, 07:07 AM
Some credits for today:
- made 2 purchases, one if which I entered in before I spent, the other of which I entered in immediately after when I realised I had forgotten to do it before :-)
- when I realised there was an essential Christmas gift I had not yet purchased (gift from older daughter to younger daughter - essential because there was already one from younger to older under the tree!!!) I took it out of my "play money" rather than the increasing the depth of the big black hole. Valuable for me to be learning that if you spend on one thing there is less to spend on other things.

Day 5 today - eating slowly and mindfully. I have been puzzling over this one today. Not sure how to translate that into the world of money. It seems that the purpose is sort of an extension of eating sitting down - ie: it is intended to make sure you stop and enjoy your food. But it is also about giving yourself time to notice you are hungry.

So my best thinking is that the plans I out in place the other day - ie: entering stuff into my budget system before purchase (so that I can see what the after balance will be) and only buying "stuff I want" when I have time to stop and savour and enjoy it - will probably meet these goals. If any lurkers on this thread have thoughts on other ways to translate this day I would love to hear your thinking. For now though it is sleep time for me - after all Santa can't come till we're all dreaming :-)

ForMyGirls
12-25-2013, 03:40 AM
Day 6 - find a diet coach (aka financial responsibility coach)

This one is sorted I think as I will be posting here:-)

Credit for today: in the post Christmas frenzy quiet time when I wanted to watch a movie I hunted for a free one, rather than renting one through itunes. Only a couple of $ saved, but it is a habit worth entrenching!

ForMyGirls
12-26-2013, 05:59 AM
Day 7 - adjust your environment

This one is pretty translatable I think. Basically remove temptation - which for me means avoiding seeing advertising as much as possible (I am such a sucker for marketing - I've been known to buy things I know I don't particularly like just because the packaging has changed and I think it looks cool!) Fortunately I don't watch much commercial TV so I don't get hit by ads there.

Probably the biggest danger zone is emails from companies I have bought from in the past. Particuarly dangerous because buying in that context is a simple as clicking a button. So the plan is to unsubscribe when I next get them. (I think I unsubscrbed from most a few months ago because I was just so sick of unnecessary emails!) There are also a couple of paper catalogues that I have some ended up on the mailing list for. Next time they arrive I will work out how to unsubscribe.

I think I can also work the "change your environment" angle by limiting what money I have available when I am at shops - that is, don't take my credit card with me. At the moment I am safe to take my debit card because tehre isn't any money in the account - but I might need to revisit that down the track.

So - credits for the day: - I spent some time checking out a blog for money saving (the one Maryann sent a link to on the other thread). It doens't feel as much like "home" as here but I think it will be helpful to be chatting to other folks who are adressing the same issues, so I have signed up.

pamatga
12-26-2013, 06:17 PM
ForMyGirls : I took a much needed break from the computer for the past couple of days so I could focus on the holiday and spending time with family and friends. I am glad to be back though.

I think the correlation that I would link between eating slowly and mindfully is pre-planning your purchases. That's how I would take it.

A Major Credit goes out to you in how you met the challenges of going to the movies. Well done!

Well, I am very proud to share that I did not use those credit cards after all to buy groceries. My DH got paid on Christmas Eve (we weren't sure if the accountant would take off earlier--he didn't) and so we bought a limited amount on the night before.

I stayed OP with my food plan over Christmas Eve/Day, pre-planning that, and it just seemed to follow that I would with money as well. I have always loved shopping the day after Christmas (going back decades and decades) because that is when the merchants slash prices on almost everything up to 80% off.

I got several clothing items for myself at 60-75% today but DH walked in as I was "online browsing" and I told him that I wanted to spend what little discretionary money on this rather than something else (for my health---my test strips are the same price). I feel a little sheepish admitting that but I have been so good in monitoring my carbs that I "rationalized" this expenditure. Sabotaging thoughts? Not exactly since I am dong well with my blood glucose right now but still..... tough one to call.

We are going to clothes shopping for DH this weekend. That was also planned.

I too get a lot of paper catalogs which I love to look at and which I have been in the habit of throwing them out for the past couple of months. I am going to look into unsubscribing to them. It is such a waste when I do most of my shopping online anyway. The one thing that I am most proud of is that I did not spend a nickel using a credit card this Christmas. In fact, I haven't used a credit card in over a month and then it was for something under $20. I did give my DD $50 cash for Christmas as planned. My DH and I do not exchange gifts so we just buy whatever we wish when we feel we can afford it. I did toy with the idea of a movie but they are just so plain expensive that I decided to stay home after all.

We got a gift card from his parents so we are going to use that on groceries this coming weekend.

Keep up the good work! Pam :comp:

ForMyGirls
12-27-2013, 04:37 AM
What an awesome post from you, Pam! I am sooooo impressed by the way in which you have not only stayed on track but exceeded your goals! I know so well that awful feeling when you realise that you have to use the credit card for essentials - so to have dodged that bullet must be a tremendous feeling - especially when it means you have not had to break a month long "haven't used the credit card" streak. Well done you!

I like your thinking about 'slowly and mindfully' translating into 'pre-planned'. My only hesitation is that I think there is a 'plan ahead' coming up. Hmm - will sit on that I think.

Today was Day 8 in the book - making time to diet - or in this instance - making time to do the extra things that will be required to live frugally. I remember finding this hard the first time around and it wasn't any easier this time. I have a plan now but it is kinda scary how little down time there is - basically my days are scheduled in 15 minute slots from 6am to 10pm Monday to Friday and half of Sunday. For the last 6 months I have been keeping a bit more time up my sleeve on weekdays and have lots of tasks to achieve on Saturday but have been finding that I arrive at Saturday absolutely knackered and then really resent having things I need to do. So the new model involves very little downtime during the week and a Sunday morning of housework but the saving grace of a Saturday that is a day of rest.

For all the scariness of it it was kind of reassuring to see just how tight my timetabling is - it makes me understand why my plan to get out and play outside with my kids is so damn hard to achieve. I thought it was just ebcause I was slack - but apparently it is because if I waste half an hour in my day there literally isn't time.

I am on leave until the end of January so it will be a little while until I have to reality check this timetable. Here's hoping it works.

That has been a long ramble. I realise I need some credits before I sign off - well, credit for doing the "finding time" task. Also credit for realising that I don't need to renew my postal redirection (we moved 12 months ago). Instead I can send emails to any service providers etc that don't yet have our current address - which is free, instead of $85.

ForMyGirls
12-28-2013, 07:00 AM
Day 9 in the book. Choose and exercise plan. Initially I thought - "this is totally untranslatable". Then I got to thinking - probably the equivalent is that to really make an impact on my financial life I need to acquire more frugal habits - I need to buy generic brands, shop at lower cost grocery stores, use discount vouchers and cook what is in the fridge rather than throwing food away.

Whoa did I get a bunch of bite back from that. "But the food won't taste as nice" - "it will take too long because there are always some things you can't get at the discount store" - "you're restricting your food options enough already and now you're telling me I can't even choose WHICH healthy foods I eat" - a rather alarming "but I'm not that kind of person" (it seems like somewhere deep inside me there is a snob. Not thrilled to discover that!) - and the old age favourite "but I don't want to!"

Got caught up in the rest of my day so haven't made any cards yet but I will tomorrow - this was a bunch of really strong reactions so they need to be dealt with or they will keep undermining me. And as I type I realise I have had the same reactions to suggestions some of you fine folk have made here on the boards and in private messages - wonder whether that is the same stuff going on. And now as I type I'm thinking this is the same stuff that once made me scared to tell people I was "on diet". Such interesting insights. Well and truly time for bed though so I shall let those insights sink in a bit more overnight. I think I might give myself a second day on this step - it seems like there is plenty of thinking to be done about it.

ForMyGirls
12-29-2013, 04:04 AM
Hello coaches (and lurkers),

I have decided to move this discussion to a separate forum that is focused on money issues (and am spreading the word about the amazing Beck books while I'm there :-)). If you would like to keep reading my thinking you can check it out at the link below:

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4853785

SparklyBunny
01-10-2014, 05:06 AM
Thanks for the link! And for the whole discussion. I'm one of those lurkers :-) I haven't read through the entire thread yet, but I did notice it before and was very interested. I was just initially a bit confused because I didn't know what Beck Diet Solution is :-)

Anyway, I do think that there are a lot of similarities between how we spend and how we eat. I took a step yesterday which made me very happy: I'm placing 10% each month into investments. It made me feel like a proper adult! :-) So now I'm really interested in actually making a monthly budget to see how I spend the money and how much do I need to get where I want to be. I realized that I have never really had any clue on any of that. It's just been a very vague feeling. I can't even visualize having what I need when I don't know what I need.

I'll come back later to read through this thread and then I'll move onto the other site as well :-)