This week was an absolute bear. Work was pressing. We had a sick little babe at our house. I have to give thanks and praise to my husband and my mom and dad for helping our sick kiddo to have time to heal and get back on his feet. We found out on Thursday night he had step throat, now with antibiotics he is finally getting better!
I still think that the lower light of winter is messing with my energy levels. I am chalking it up to a combination of all of these– a little seasonally affected, a little bit sick, a little bit stressed. I did get back on the bike commuting this week as temperatures cooperated, and that helped to smooth out some of the stressed edges.
I also had some personal triumphs on the No New Things Challenge front this week, and some funny lows which I’ll explain in a minute. This past week I opened a savings account. This might be small for some (read: you may be laughing at the simplicity, you’ve had a savings account since you were twelve, you have millions of dollars in the bank, or you are simply just very good at saving so it seems absurd that someone would not know how to do so). But for me it is a major win.
Remember when I talked about my perception of money as the tide— it comes and goes, it is generally needed for life, but the supply may wax and wane without really bothering me. This is why a savings account has always been so hard for me. If the savings was there, it was a nice cushion. If it wasn’t, I was never overly stressed. But there always seemed to be a slow leak between my savings account and my checking account. Let’s just say that this leak out the bottom method of savings doesn’t really work. Shocking, I know.
So with this new savings account there are some ground rules I’ve set for myself. I haven’t started HUGE but small. The one rule is that it doesn’t get to leak into my checking. This is the saving account that I plan to let sit and get fat. At some point I’d like to get fancy with things and invest. But for now, I’ll take the year and see where this savings leads. When I was with my sisters around Christmas, they shared some of their tips for savings and I am incorporating some of those into my own money mindfulness as well.
I also set up account tracking through Mint which has been a big win. I have long needed to set up a way to track what I am spending and look at what I am really spending it on. In The Art of Money, Bari encourages everyone, anyone regardless of income, prosperity level, or wealth to do this. I obviously have known and heard this advice before, but I really had never implemented it!
As I have been more conscious of my money spending habits, it has also brought me to some funny little internal junctures. I don’t know how to frame this other than to try and describe what I think happened, but I believe this was one of my first experiences feeling “cheap.” Let’s actually change that to “frugal.” Let me try to tell this story in three sentences. I called to order a gift basket from a Groupon I’d been gifted. I found out that the shipping would be half as much as the total gift card value. I was flabbergast at the shipping cost, and I was upset at the fact that I had to PAY to have my gift shipped. I was annoyed at their customer service person who didn’t seem to know what they were talking about. I ended up telling them I didn’t want to order and I hung up.
I went home (yes, I realize this is more than three sentences). I had a chance to examine some of my feelings regarding this exchange. Why was I so annoyed at the shipping price? I had the money, it wasn’t about that. Why didn’t I want to pay the cost? I realized that I was feeling overly frugal. This was new for me. I was annoyed at both the feeling, and at myself for feeling “cheap.”
I called my sister. I told her that I was experiencing something new in this money mindfulness journey. I was actually having a feeling when I went to spend money. It wasn’t guilt. It wasn’t sadness. It wasn’t excitement. It was begrudging. I didn’t want to spend the cash to have my package shipped. We laughed. Both of us. Together. Because it was actually an awesome new moment in my money spending experience. I cared. I cared about the money that was leaving my checking account.
I was aware. I was aware of this moment for ME. I got online, used my Groupon voucher, ordered my gift basket, talked my sister through the same process, and went on with my day feeling happy. I felt that I had turned over a very important piece of money mindfulness for myself that day. More to come on this money mindfulness front next week. But for now, I want to thank you for following along on my No New Things Challenge. Oh, and I wore this same outfit from two years ago this week and subbed out a different necklace. Still such a nice transitional combination in the mid-season!
There have been some wonderful moments for me this week, and there have been some lows, as I described. So I want to leave you with this little clip, and a reminder to “stay on your bike” as you move through life’s crazy twists, turns, log jumps, and loops. Yes, above all, “stay on your bike!” And, you know, if you are feeling it, don’t be afraid to do the WHIP! Here’s Danny Hart winning the UCI Downhill World Championship in 2011*. I wish you just as much success, luck, and seamlessly nailing of life’s rough course, as these announcers gave Danny Hart. I’m cheering you on!!
*This clip may not be for little ears.