Wisedebther Weekly Spending 1/28/18-2/3/18

January was gone in a flash ! Lucky for me this weekend was an EXTRA long one. My mom visited from Mass. and although she left this morning, I have the rest of the day off to play catch up, both with cleaning and my finances.

Compared to last week, this one was a heavy hitter in terms of spending. The beginning of the month signals rent due, plus with visitors I always tend to spend a little more on groceries to make sure we are stocked with both essentials + “fun” foods/drinks. The detailed numbers are below:

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Half Marathon Prep Part III

 

Lots of radio silence on the blog lately, but I’m back! And with Part III to my half marathon prep. You can see Part I and Part II here. To recap, my first half-marathon will be the last weekend of February. I’m no natural runner, so this has been quite the feat. What in the world does running have to do with debt/personal finance? Quite a lot, I think ! So much so, that I’ve aptly subtitled these posts “Improving Habits & Overcoming Obstacles”. The question is with just 6 weeks of training remaining how am I doing?

The short answer: pretty good !

Here’s the long winded response broken down by goals that I set out in Part I:

Saving Money on Group Fitness Classes: I’m still sticking to my bootcamp classes, which were prepaid in December, so no more costs on that ‘til I complete my 20 class package in the next 2-3 months(?). My only additional group fitness class cost came in the form of 2 Groupons for yoga to the tune of $46 and $24 = $70 total (see more below).

I’ve avoided cycle classes due to my constant cardio sessions of running and so yea, I’m feeling like “mission accomplished” in this department!

More time for yoga: I am, albeit 3 months into training, accomplishing the goal I set out for yoga 1 X per week. The only exception was the week prior to Christmas (when of course I probably needed it most!). The Groupon has helped exponentially ! I’ve only been a few times so far, but I’m loving it. I think after over 5 years without a yoga home, this may be the one 😉 Joking aside, yoga is one area of my life where I’m willing to shell out a few bucks. Not in a crazy sense though. For example, I don’t have fancy yoga clothes or accessories. But, for a good class and teacher it’s worth the benefits. I have this membership until Feb 5th and then another Groupon  at another studio to use for 2 weeks ($24). Physically, it’s helping me counter all the running. Mentally, it’s an amazing reset button. Namaste !

Habits, Habits, Habits: This was an area I initially struggled with. In retrospect, I think I made the training plan too long. But hey, c’est la vie. As a recovering Type A, I always err on the side of caution ..

At the beginning of December, I had only made 17 out of my 24 scheduled runs –WOMP WOMP . Letter Grade : C-

Now, at mid-January I can say I have made 15 out of my 18 scheduled runs –WOO HOO! Again, I got off the wagon during pre-Christmas week. Letter Grade: B. By the way, pretty sure I can bring that Grade up to an “A” before the actual half-marathon 😉 . But hey, who’s counting?

The other aspect of my running I should be completely candid about is altering some of my short runs to be  shorter mileage –e.g. 6 miles to 4 miles, or 5 miles to 3 miles. I’d say that pretty consistently my “work week” runs are either 3 or 4 miles, with the occasional 2 or 5 miles. What I HAVE been consistent with is keeping a longggg run for Saturday. This week’s run will be my first 10 ! Getting to the double digits baby !

Other than running, I started back to consistent, 1- 2 X day per week strength training (i.e. Back to the Bootcamp that FORCES me !) the week after New Years. I can say last week was my only “perfect” week when it comes to the recommended mixture of running, strength, and yoga. I’m aiming for more “perfect” weeks, but as long as I have some combo of running + yoga/strength I won’t be stressing.

In terms of impact to financial habits, I think my biggest takeaway would be that a LONG run just takes a lot of damn time, especially if being a slow , small, turtle runner as I am. This means I have less shopping urges/energy, because I’m usually pretty zapped after running. As an example, I have not gone clothes shopping since the New Year, with the small exception of a $13 sweater pre-cold front in early January. I am also not someone who LOVES to shop or ‘prizes’ clothing, so it hasn’t been too hard to refuse. Therefore, my biggest expense aside from rent/loans, has just been food/drinks. I’d call that a win !

Initially, I set the bar REAL high. I thought I might change some other habits too, like say meal prepping, journaling, meditating. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day. For now, I’m happy to be exercising consistently + saving money. I also have some fun New Year’s resolutions, but no other changed habits so to speak.

Overcoming obstacles. Yup, yup, yup ! That’s what my half-marathon training is all about. The last mile of my weekly long run is without fail , a JOY ! Now, this isn’t saying I enJOY every step ;), but the end is like “Yea girl, you got this”. And, “not only do you got THIS, but whatever it is fill in the _______, you got it”. This includes of course the D word , D-E-B-T!

In the beginning of my training, anything more than a 5 mile run felt daunting. In fact, my first 6 mile run I even had to stop for a walk break.  Hmm… reminds me of how last year my remaining debt, $22K(ish) as of Feb 2017 felt daunting. In fact, in May 2017, I almost wanted to give up trying due to tons of work /personal travel that got me off track. Let the metaphor continue….Last week I ran 9 easy miles. Last month I paid off another loan in full, leaving me approx. $8K from Debt free. EVERYTHING is relative. This in health , personal finance, relationships, you name it !

In my last half-marathon prep update, I had the awesome and somewhat WILD idea of paying off all my student loan debt by the weekend of the half-marathon. I’m still unsure of that. I can do it, but it might give me a little anxiety to see my emergency fund dip that low. I think what I’m waiting on is to know what my tax refund will be. IF it will keep my emergency fund around(ish) the $15 K range give or take $1K or so, I think I’ll jump the gun. Otherwise, I’m fine to drag it into March / April.

I’ll be honest, there would be a pride point of February–$22 K paid off in 12 months. (Disclaimer: by the way, I’m fairly confident in that number say 95%, but I could be off by a grand or so. Will obviously double check before my World announcement ;0). But, if it’s not  in February, it will be 13 months in March , or 14 months in April. No matter the month number, the outcome is the same ! Same goes, for my half-marathon time ;).

Well, there goes my updates from training so far. My last installment will cover the final weeks of trainings, any unexpected expenses ( there were a few small ones), and any other gems of wisdom learned. This is after all a journey about becoming Wise from debt..

‘Til next time, Wisedebther to live better…or ahem, run better 🙂

 

Half Marathon Prep

Paying off my student has been a bit like a marathon, so I decided to sign up for a real one! Well not quite, but a half marathon in February 2018. Running a half marathon has been on my bucket list nearly my whole 20s, so I’ve decided to give it a go before the clock strikes on the BIG 3-0. There are a few reasons why I think tackling this fitness goal will be beneficial to my finances:

Saving money on group fitness classes: As I work from home, I find group fitness to be a good social outlet. To be frank, a lot of times it is not even about socializing per say, but just being out in society with other humans—I’m not a total hermit I swear! Currently, I spend anywhere from $150-200 per month on fitness classes, mainly boot camp and cycle classes. During training, I’ll be running 3 times per week and have the other 4 days to fills with cross-training and yoga. While I won’t give up these group fitness classes completely, I will certainly be cutting down. My aim would be to hover this < $100 of my monthly spending.

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