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Spend time to save money

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My last spend blog is about spending money, so I suppose that that's appropriate. In the knowledge is power groove, you can't know what you're spending each month if you don't track it. Just like you can't know what you're actually eating if you don't track it.

In Austin, I'd gotten into the habit of writing down everything I spend on a tracker -- you can get it here at SP under the Financial healthy lifestyle center (see, sparking is really more about a healthy lifestyle than just losing weight) or use a spreadsheet or whatever. I keep a running total of how much I've spent, too, and then total up the categories at the end of the month.

I'd gotten out of the habit with the move. Too much going on. Too much weird spending -- you need stuff when you move. Too many excuses, right?

I am back to it. A new year definitely seems like a time for a new start. My only problem is that I can't get DH to do it. He always says it's right on the CC bill, since we charge most everything (and pay off our bills every month). He's right, but that only works if you actually track it, which he doesn't.

How do you keep your spending in line? Do you track what you spend? Do you have a budget? Do you have any idea how much money you need to live every month? Knowledge is power, and the truth shall set you free!

On a not so bright note, my Magic Bullet (yes, I did go back & buy it) bit the dust already. In less than a month. And sadly, I'm not sure where the receipt is, altho I know I charged it (but don't think I have that bill yet). I'll be contacting them anyway.

It was definitely handy, and I had my suspicions about how long it might last, but I think it only lasted 3 weeks!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHEILA1505 1/14/2010 6:09AM

    Thanx - didn't venture into the financial side of SP at all - trying to cut back on time here - giving up the quizzes etc! but I did have a spreadsheet system (long before PCs - should have trademarked it - darn it) and used it for expenses and to an extent I still do - I have a little black book now with expenses for the tax-man
Also used spreadsheet when not-soDH No.1 used to accuse me of not doing housework/renovating/child-rearing etc - I could show him that on the first Tuesday of the month I had tidied up HIS workshop, and on the second Thursday I had washed HIS car - duhhh would I do that now??? Do I look young, stupid and vulnerable any more??

Yes I will have a look at the SP Financial charts and see what I can trim from my expenditure - put it towards FunFund /Dancing /Travel!

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BESSHAILE 1/12/2010 4:46PM


I don't track my money but suddenly reading your post I thought I'd like to.


ready to ponder this now...

thank you for the gift of an idea!

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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/12/2010 1:18PM

    I just KNEW it was going to be about money! LOL! I didn't know SP had a tracker, gonna have to check that out! You've read recently that I am making my personal finances a priority in my life, so nuf said about me! Good luck with getting on top of things! You are doing this!
emoticon emoticon

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LINDYTHALIA 1/12/2010 1:14PM

    DH and I have talked about going back to tracking our spending. We did it several years ago as part of a financial course, and it was really helpful. I'm thinking he and I should start with tracking everything for the month of February and go from there. Thanks for the inspiration! And I didn't know about the financial tracker here at SP--thanks for passing that info on, too.

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HEYRED221 1/12/2010 10:39AM

    emoticonidea and something I need to do.

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/12/2010 10:29AM

    I've heard so many good things about Magic Bullet. Hope you can get a free replacement. As far as money, I do pretty well and am a good shopper. However, I do enjoy spending and treating myself, rewarding myself (sometimes before the goal is achieved!), and drowning my sorrows with material things. Of course, as a smart lady, I understand not overdoing it. It sounds so decadent and out of control when I see it in writing! (smiling)

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Spend energy to make energy

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sorry, I just couldn't help myself. There might just be one more "spend" blog. We'll see.

This is a concept I absolutely can't get my husband to buy into to. That if you exercise, you actually feel more energetic.

Some of you may be reading that after having started a new exercise program, and thinking to yourself "yeah, sure". Maybe you're feeling a bit overwhelmed or sore. And I would ask you -- did you start out small? If you've never run a step in your life, you're unlikely to be able to run a mile, much less a marathon.

Both diets and exercise regimes tend to fail because people have an all or nothing attitude. They think they have to kill themselves to get healthy, and then they end up either burning out or injuring themselves.

I didn't get to my 1 to 1 1/2 hour exercise habit overnight. It's taken me 20 years to work up to it. Just like I started out learning to run in my late 40s by only running for 30 seconds at a time at first. Now I can run for 40 minutes straight. Yes, I'm very slow, but I'm gaining speed bit by little bit.

How many times have you started a new exercise routine only to crash and burn quickly? How do you feel when you go from nothing to an hour all at once? Now think about how you feel after just 10 minutes of exercise. I'll bet you actually feel more energized.

Start small. Build slowly. Be consistent. With those 3 steps, you'll find yourself actually looking forward to exercise because of the way it makes you feel. You'll sleep better, you'll burn more calories, and you won't have killed yourself.

Just don't make the mistake of thinking you can exercise your way out of fat. It doesn't work that way. It's a mind, body, spirit thing.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EOSTAR_45 1/11/2010 4:09PM

    I agree. I feel so energetic when I am active. Exercise has always been the easy part for me as compared to nutrition. But lately even exercise has fallen by the wayside. My excuse has been the weather and the flu but I know what it is going on.

So last week, I dusted off the treadmill so I can begin working out indoors--starting off small with half hour of mostly walking and adding jogging as I go along.

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HEYRED221 1/11/2010 12:25PM

    Its true - I may be tired from the workout, but at the same time I am invigorated!!! I always feel so much better after a workout!!!

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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/11/2010 8:56AM

    Yet, another great blog! Infact, I was going to reply more, but this is what I wanted to blog about today... so hopefully I see you on my page...

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Spend time to lose weight?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ok, I already know that it takes time to lose weight. I wish it didn't, but it's the simple, honest truth. I just figured I was on a roll with the titles!

I have resisted getting a monthly pass for WW for a year and a half now. As a lifetime member, I don't have to pay for missed meetings. I don't miss a whole lot, but I do occasionally miss a meeting when I'm traveling. So it irked me to pay for meetings when I didn't have to.

I no longer have some of the payment plans I had available to me in Austin, so I broke down & did it. With my monthly pass comes Etools. And with that comes the recipe builder, where I put in my ingredients & it tells me how many points per serving.

I spent some time with recipe builder yesterday. I admit it: I cook from scratch a lot, and not all my recipes have nutritional values. I was winging it, looking at the recipe, mentally tallying points or even just guessing.

Sometimes I was spot on. Other times I was, shall we say, a bit off in left field. And it is time to push thru this plateau to the finish line. As we get closer and closer to our goals, we do have to be more accountable. We may be able to get away with a lot in the beginning, a little in the middle, and not much at all in the end.

So I'm keeping some dates with the recipe builder. It's time to take back my power, because knowledge is power. For you, it may be SP's food tracker. Or a written journal. The bottom line is it's whatever WORKS for you. And if it's not working, then it's time to take a different tack.

I know a lot of people thinking tracking food, calories, points, whatnot is obssessive. Maybe it is. But it is what works for me. My husband commented yesterday that I'm all skin & bones. It was supposed to be a compliment, I know, even tho the truth is that it's so far from the truth it's laughable. I'm definitely more skin and bones than I used to be -- and that's a good thing -- but I've got a nice layer of fat there still.

I've been spending a lot of time on my goals lately, too -- figuring out some on my own, being spurred to figure out some by reading the Spark, too. And as I blogged yesterday, it's actually helping me to stay more focused and spend my time more wisely (at least most of the time).

I did spend more time online yesterday than I have been recently, but that's only because I was figuring out points for recipes, so it was time well spent. Anyone know of some free software or Website that will count points for me if I put in servings & ingredients?

So what are you willing to spend your time on? What gets the most bang for your buck? What is your favorite way to track food?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EOSTAR_45 1/11/2010 4:03PM

    I continue to struggle with making time to use the nutrition tracker but I am getting better each day.

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HEYRED221 1/10/2010 12:55PM

    I have the monthly pass too - I am also a lifetime member (not at goal currently!!!), but I need to go weekly and weigh in weekly to hold myself accountable to myself and the class. I feel lost when I don't go to my meeting. I buy the WW 3 month journal - I carry it to work every day and keep right on my desk. I am just trying to get back in the exercise groove, kind of lost it before Christmas break. Going for a hike today, so a good start to the week.


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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/10/2010 11:30AM

    Awareness is key! I journal in my Herbal Magic journal, and will use the tracker here if I get curious to my calorie intake! I actually utilize quite a bit of w.w. food products to help reach my goals, the ones you can get at Superstore anyways. I find that when I am not journalling, I end up like what you said above, guessing and hoping that my choices are right, to find out I went way over in my starches for the day... or wasn't drinking my water like I thought!

I don't think it is obsessive at all... especially if you are serious about getting in great health! Journalling allows us to see patterns, to not get into the same food all the time rut, and many other things!

I now see why my replies to your blogs are always so long... lol! You ask questions! Which I love by the way. It get's me thinking!

I too spent an unusual amount of time on the computer yesterday... but like I said in Karen's blog... I reached my goals for the week, and had no guilt... therefore it was okay to play, get motivated, and have fun!

Take Care!

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KEAKMAN 1/10/2010 10:26AM

    I still prefer to track my food in a written journal. But I do like the SP feature that lets my input recipe ingredients and figure out the nutritional value of the food. Unfortunately I don't cook all that many fancy foods to need it. Lots of grilled meat and baked veggies!

I still spend too much time on SP....I need a plan or a method of how to get it all done in a day. But it's worth the effort!

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DAISYBILL 1/10/2010 9:57AM

    Alpong with exercise, there is no other way to lose weight and keep it off except to know exactly what we are eating. After a while, we know what portion size of what food works for us. I cook from scratch, too, and put my nutrition tracker to work before I make a recipe to ensure I am within nutritional range and then tweak if necessary. It can be challenging, time consuming but fun at the same time.

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SLCB1023 1/10/2010 9:34AM

    Not only does tracking food give us an accurate count of what goes in BUT it also forces us to think about the food choices we make during the day. I think it is the most important tool for healthy food plans. I know I have gotten tired of it from time to time. But when I quit tracking, I quit losing. Simple thing to understand but not so simple to do day after day after day.

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KARBIE18 1/10/2010 9:32AM

    I'm with you - I'm ready to bust through this plateau once and for all. And since we're close and have to work so hard to lose every ounce, I don't see you as being obsessive at all. It's that extra effort that will get you where you want to be.

Thanks for the kind words on my blog, and the boot recommendation. I think I'll start saving now for next year. I can't affort the expense right now. I'll just keep borrowing DHs!

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FITKAT2010 1/10/2010 9:24AM

    You are spot on with this blog.

Obsessive? Ha! Nope, I'd say we are consciously aware of what we are putting into our mouths. I use the Nutrition tracker and love/hate the dern thing. LOL But at least I'm not flying blind and guestimating. I also weigh/measure EVERYTHING.

You are doing well!

Contact WW and find out if they have that kind of program. If not maybe you can suggest it. Also ask at your meeting.

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RENA1965 1/10/2010 8:20AM

    I use a small danish concept that was like weight watchers before the points system.. I liked weight watchers then- and how my concept is exactly like it now..
Best 10.50 dollars I paid a week.. As long as I stay within my goal weight I can return and weigh in- sparks and it fit together like a glove.. I prefer to train wednesdays when I am free from work- 2 times a week is not enough body building. I check in on face book with my consultant if I have problems..

Comment edited on: 1/10/2010 8:22:35 AM

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Spend time to make time

Saturday, January 09, 2010

It seems ironic, doesn't it? I have definitely spent more time than usual on my goals lately. The whole-year goals, action plans for those goals, my monthly challenge.

The upside is that I am much more focused and am getting more done. I even squeezed in a bit of painting yesterday. It's nice to see I haven't totally lost my skills. I haven't really gotten in the groove there yet -- only painting for maybe half an hour usually; when I'm in the groove, I could paint all day!

Yesterday I barely knew what to do with myself in the afternoon because I'd already accomplished much of what I set out to do. The one thing I screwed up was taking the dogs for a walk. The snow was winding down, and I figured I'd take them for a short walk. By the time I was done on the computer, tho, it was really coming down again!

I didn't have to walk inside, tho, because we were out there after dinner shoveling. I don't think I've ever shoveled so much in my life. It's not that we have a lot of snow, thankfully we don't, it's just that we've been shoveling it almost weekly and then some. I keep thinking it will help me lose more weight, but it doesn't seem to.

I am not sure how long I'll be in the groove with all the focus and organizing. I've been here before, and fallen off the wagon (much like weight loss, hum?), but I am still filled with optimism and momentum. There is so much to tackle in this house still -- moving is not fun! -- but I am slowly chipping away at it, just like I'm slowly chipping away at my weight.

So yes, planning & organizing do take time. But they make time. It's true!

My new organizing took you can find at www.getfitbook.com , altho I ordered mine from Amazon. I have tried a variety of journals over the last year and a half, but I really like this one. I'll probably go ahead and get a 4 pack of them. Gotta get myself some stickers, too, so I can give myself smiley faces and gold stars and whatnot.

What's your favorite organizational tool? How do you keep up your motivation to stay organized?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHEILA1505 1/10/2010 10:32AM

    Good idea to use the SP appointment reminders - I have set up a few but also use my cellphone reminders since that is always with me - must extend its use - hadn't thought of my pedi & tweazing! Thanx guys!

Nothing is silly if it works!

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SLCB1023 1/10/2010 9:38AM

    The more you take time to organize, the easier it gets to do... almost automatic. BUT even habits need to be adjusted from time to time. So does organizing. SO I need to relook at what things I am doing on my healthy food and exercise plan periodically. The body can adjust and needs a good shakeup every one in a while. LOL Thanks for sharing. I will be checking your suggested book.

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HEYRED221 1/9/2010 10:27PM

    very cool - I checked out the getfit book. might have to get it!

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KEAKMAN 1/9/2010 10:08AM

    This looks cool! But I have to be honest, what I need right now is not another cool toy. I need a kick in the butt. Do you have a website where I can buy one of THOSE?!

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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/9/2010 10:04AM

    This blog is so in-tune with my thought patterns right now, I almost felt like I was reading my own...


I have really been taking the time to plan, organize, and revamp a lot of areas in my life and goals!

My sister got me this journal that she uses and loves for Christmas. I have to admit, at first I was like, oh GOD, I won't be able to keep up with this journal, my herbal magic journal, and SP... along with everything else. But, I started none the less, with the mentality that I just need to jot down what I need to think about today, and go from there. Well, the pages are filling up, and I am actually developing a routine of filling it out, along with my herbal magic journal - THE NIGHT BEFORE! This is huge for me! I always journal as I go, or caught up at the end of the day!

I AM LOVING IT! emoticon

And... I actually have written in it... on my To Buy List column... gold star and smiley face stickers... no kidding... lmbo! TOO COOL!

And, I actually planned on blogging about goals inspired by my Spark Friend Joann... stay tuned.................

Comment edited on: 1/9/2010 10:11:23 AM

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KARBIE18 1/9/2010 9:30AM

    So good to see you're painting again. It doesn't matter how long - just that you're doing it.

You're right, planning of any kind takes time, but it's so worth it. If you do a good job with the planning, following through is easier.

I don't really have a favorite organizational tool. I still follow my Flylady morning and evening ruitines, and do my 15 minutes here and there of decluttering, and that keeps me pretty organized. If I notice something getting out of control (my drawer just below my computer and my paid bill drawer currently) I write them in my planner, and then chip away at them 15 minutes at a time. I use only one planner for work and home and carry it in my purse. That way, if I am at home, and I think of something I need to do for work, I can easily write it down (and vice versa). Another thing I have done is set up Spark reminders for things I do weekly. For instance, on Sundays I get an email reminding me to do things such as changing the litter box, plucking my eyebrows, filing my nails. Wednesdays I get reminders to water my houseplants. Tuesdays and Thursdays I get reminders to charge all my phones. It's silly, but that way I never have to worry that I'm forgetting to do something, or neglecting something.

Wonderful to hear that you're feeling the momentum. I am too. It's great, isn't it?

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Heahthy habits challenge: January

Friday, January 08, 2010

I create a new healthy habits challenge for myself each month. This month's was a bit delayed because I've been working so hard on my goals for this year -- dreaming them up, coming up with an action plan. The good news is that DH & I seem to be finally be in sync toward finishing up the kitchen! Oh, we don't have the same opinions, but we both seem to have the attitude of now is the time to get it done.

So on to my challenge:

Mind: Read "Eat to Live" every day. Started yesterday. Am also reading some of "The Spark" each day.

Body: Make sure to walk at least 15 minutes inside when I can't walk the dogs outside in the afternoon. If I can't walk them at all, walk 40 minutes.

Spirit: See at least one movie in the theater. Watch one insipring movie at home (I'm thinking about "The Rookie" -- you're never too old to follow your dreams! What movies inspire you?).

Food: Have fruit for dessert after lunch at least 3 times per week.

I need to come up with some rewards, too.

Yesterday I spent about 15 minutes working on some action plans for my goals. I chose 4 of my 10 goals, and came up with some specific things I need to do to accomplish those goals within the next 3 months.

We are already one week into the new year. How's it going for you? Have you changed anything? How are you feeling? Still full of excitement, or has your job or the weather beaten you down already? What do you need to do to keep your motivation going?

The biggest thing I'm struggling with right now isn't quality of food, it's quantity. I feel I've mostly been eating healthy, but there is just a day or two per week that I get so hungry. Yes it's TOM, but that rolls around every month. I'm reviewing my food log more often to try and figure out what's going on.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHY4JEANNE 1/8/2010 9:48PM

    it has been hard for me because of my tom too. I have been drinking more water to help.

still filled with hope and enthusiasm.
It is going to be a good year.
:) Jeanne

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EOSTAR_45 1/8/2010 7:10PM

    Love your challenge and the holistic approach. And rewards are a great idea too.

I too am in the process of goal planning--although I am a little behind this year. So far, I think I have narrowed down to the 7 goals I want to focus on this year

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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/8/2010 3:45PM

    I've noticed that when TOM is ready for a visit, I do the same thing! I tend to beat myself up, make bad choices, and then giver at the gym or whatever, because the scale has gone up! To... come out lighter on the other end, after all the water has left, then before that TOM guy came along in the first place.

I guess, it's recognizing where we are on our cycle and becoming aware of what happens to us through out! But, you already know this. I have also noticed I always have my best week of health and fitness the week after PMSing! Maybe try not thinking of it as a 'bad' thing, but a relax, take'er easy time, because you know you are going to get right back on the wagon with renewed vigor and energy!!!


Fav Movie - I am a sucker for all romantic comedies, like Along Came Polly, or Liar Liar! But also love the life lesson ones, although none come to mind right now.

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KEAKMAN 1/8/2010 9:18AM

    Movies that inspire me......Field of Dreams. Rocky. Hmmmm, I guess I am more a music than a movie person.

You are so wise and practical to consider all parts of your YOU - body, mind, and spirit. I need to imitate you in this. As soon as I get my life back. First week of school is never fun, and this term - woooooo howdy!

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KARBIE18 1/8/2010 9:04AM

    I like how you address mind, body and spirit, since they are all so intertwined, and they all are necessary for good health. Your consistency has always inspired me - I can't seem to stick with anything that I promise myself to do EVERY DAY. Especially when I'm working, I seem to need some flexibility.

So glad you and DH are on the same page. I know how big that can be. Planning a kitchen is such a challenge, with all the decisions that need to be made, but I know you're up for it. I know how much you enjoy cooking and baking, and I think it's exciting that you get to set it up the way you want it.

I'm always inspired by movies in which teachers make a difference. Hmmmm, I wonder why?? LOL

I have that same problem with the hungries. I choose the right foods most of the time, just too much of them. It's a recurring thing, and though I try to fight it, it never seems to change. I've decided to up the water and exercise on those days, and pray for the best.

Have a great day,

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SEKSUNSHINE 1/8/2010 6:51AM

    This is a great challenge for yourself.

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ME2448 1/8/2010 6:45AM

    That is a great idea a challenge a month

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