Monday, September 26, 2011

My 30-Day Challenge!!

Aren't pearl necklaces wonderful?
Where do I begin? I just finished an amazing weekend of debauchery and now I am a sleepy boy who is not feeling like this blog entry will be the crème de la crème which it usually is because I went crazy and killed a few brain cells! Regardless, I will persevere to write you something both captivating and informative and you will come back to me wanting more and more blog entries and more pearl necklaces of wisdom.

Before I started on this entry, I spent a few minutes with Gail, listening to her shoot the $hit with some 40-year-old Prince$$ about how she had no savings and no plan for her future. It was a scary idea to me to think that if I hadn’t done anything about my debt now that I would have been right in the same place that that woman was. The idea of retiring in my 60s sounds awful. I mean how often do we hear about people dying shortly after retirement; for me, it’s more often than I would like and that keeps me motivated to try and retire in my 50s. Yes, I realize that I will probably be paying off the debt of the baby boomer generation until I am rolling in my grave, but I certainly don’t want to be paying off anything stupid like a mortgage well into my 70s. But anyway, I feel like my retirement savings will be taking a seat on the backburner for another couple years until I have this ridiculous debt paid off in full. Although, the icing on the cake is that I am beginning to become really confident that I will be able to say “I have no debt” even sooner than I had planned.

There are a couple of things that I wanted to talk to you about in this blog. The first is that a friend of mine has hit the milestone of paying off all of their consumer debt. You can see how happy he is talking about how he has gotten it all paid off and it really inspires me to continue on this journey and get to that point too. He tells me that he even has coworkers asking him to do up a budget for them so that they can also get onto the road to financial recovery! Which brings me to my first point; if you don’t think that you can make a budget and get out of debt, you’re wrong.

It is not completely hopeless and it’s actually much more rewarding than just having no debt. Since I have started this process, it’s not just my finances that have improved, but my relationship seems simpler, my stress is lower, my health is improving, I’m making and saving more money, I make smarter decisions, and list goes on. I guess what it boils down to is that I have learned to take control of my life again. I’m not lying when I say that I couldn’t sleep at night knowing that I had $14,581.45 in debt and that was ONLY ON MY MASTERCARD! Not only was that balance ridiculous, but the interest rate was 19.5% and at the rate I was going, there was absolutely no possible way that I would have had that all paid off anytime soon (MasterCard told me it would take more than 30 years if I only made minimum payments). Now, it’s been almost 11 full months since I started this process and I have paid that card down to an astonishing balance of $5,814.57! I am a couple checks away from being under $5,000 on that card. I think I will probably break down and cry tears of joy when that balance is gone. Not only did I get this paid down rapidly, I did it without taking out a consolidation loan. I see people on Gail’s show making double my total income (they’re couples after all) and not paying this off as quickly as me – and it makes me feel overjoyed to know that I am doing this all by myself; well, all by myself in terms of payment, but with a lot of social and emotional support from my loved ones.

30 Days and I could have that sexy mustache!
Now the other and less sappy part of my blog entry; my major 30 day challenge! As I have mentioned in past issues of my blog, I do volunteer work at a yoga studio in exchange for unlimited free yoga (and the savings are substantial). The studio is challenging its volunteers, yogis, and yoginis, to eliminate one bad habit from their life and add a new positive activity in their lives. I know that I have an incredible amount of willpower because I have quit everything from coffee, alcohol, and biting my nails just for the heck of it, so I wanted to challenge myself to do something that I know will push me to a new limit – not eating out for 30 days! That means NO coffee, NO desserts, NO dinners, well, you get the point. There were other things I had thought about doing like, cutting out drinking, or caffeine, but as I said before, I’ve done that before and for much much longer than 30 days, so I figured it would be a smart idea to do something that will not only get me saving money, but living healthier as well, and not to mention how freaking delicious homemade meals are! If you haven’t cooked yourself something at home in while, you really should, it’s the stuff that health is made of! 

AKA Sex in a pan

So, in addition to cutting out a bad habit, I also have to add something positive into my life. Luckily for me, this really is the challenge because I feel really good about where I’m at in my life right now! I figured that in keeping up with the no eating out theme, that I would add cooking one delicious (and not too complicated) meal for myself each week. Last night I made this amazing RosemaryChicken Skillet (thanks Gojee) and I got inspired to stop making the same old bland $hit and get creative in the kitchen again. What I enjoyed most about my delicious dish was that it cost a mere $15 to feed two people with completely fresh ingredients. It would have been good for two meals, but we were really hungry, and it was effing mouthgasmic!

There you have it, my challenge for the next 30 days. I will try to come up with some sort of “Gail-themed” chart again so that you can all follow along with my progress! I feel like I need to reward myself somehow though so my deal will be, if I can go 30 days without spending money on eating out, I will give myself $300 to go shopping! I really need new work shoes because they’re looking pretty ghetto – they have freaking holes in them! Also, I’ve wanted to (finally) get some sewing supplies and start working on some sewing projects! For every day that I screw up, I will take away $10 from my shopping budget! I’m really hoping I can save the whole $300 though!

Wish me luck everyone!

Oh yeah, and one more thing, I have to do 5 yoga classes per week and 10 minutes of meditation on the other two days for the entire challenge! Oh boy… 


  1. That is a freaking wonderful challenge for you to do. I wish you all the luck in the world. I'll be here watching your progress and cheering you along.