When I first purchased my personal training sessions almost two years ago, Brad and I had a nonexistent budget. Bills got paid on time, but credit cards racked up, our contributions to savings were few and far between.
I committed to about $3000 dollars of training...without consulting a budget.
In order to make sure we would have the money, we had to sit down and *make* a budget. We decided to live by the "cash diet" - where our spending money / variable expenses are paid by cash. No cash, no spending. (If this is something you are interested in, look up Gail Vaz-Oxlade. Genius woman.)
So for the last two years, our finances have taken a drastic turn. Thousands of dollars in credit cards paid off, PLUS thousands put in savings, and we have learned to live on a budget.
In essence, that huge financial expenditure that was designed to put my $$ in gear and get me into top shape ended up doing that for our finances as well.
I can not describe how happy I am that we have almost two years of financial workouts and trimming under our belts before going into the massive budget crunch that is Maternity Leave! We decided to start living off the Maternity Leave income January 1st, although it won't actually start until mid-February (the only exception: the large purchases for the baby). In doing this, we are prepping ourselves for what the next year is going to look like, as well as put almost $1000 extra in savings in a month - handy, because I need to pay for our health care benefits over the next year - to the tune of about $2900, so this is keeping us from completely wiping out our emergency account.
So what in the heck does this have to do with Spark?
Well, I went crazy stupid overboard with calories over Christmas, and I've toned it down really well since then. Basically, I've put an upper limit of 2500 calories per day, and this works well since I feel best in this pregnancy at 2200-2500. On days that I come off nightshift, where I basically am awake for 18-20 of 24 hours, I increase to 3500 to account for the extra time awake. On days that I know we have special plans, I increase to anywhere from 2800-4000 depending on what that day is going to bring.
Yes, okay. How does my financial budget control my calorie budget?
Considering until January, Brad and I each got $80 a month for our "allowance" and now it's cut down to $20, we are spending a LOT less money on treats! It would be no stretch for me to spend 75% of my monthly allowance on treats and junk, especially during this pregnancy, and Brad spent the majority of his on Tim's and McD's during work hours.
We both super failed on getting our allowance to stretch this month - we both had it all gone within about 10 days. And you know what, I'm glad!
We have a new rule when we go grocery shopping thanks to the new budget. We each get $5 to spend on a willy-nilly purchase, or treat for the week. This is allowing our grocery budget to stretch further so we are able to stock our pantries, freezer and closets for mat leave. So instead of having $80 each per month to spend on junk food... we have about $40 total ($5 per week each out of the grocery budget, and our $20 in allowance).
Did I get off track again?
I swear this has to do with helping my calories!
Ahhhh yes... if you've been stalking me, you'll know I've been craving DQ (all of it, burgers, fries, and ice cream!) for a week or so now. Too dang bad, I had spent my $5 treat of the week on a box of Reese puffs cereal last week (which I'm still working through, suprisingly!). And my allowance? All gone! I waited until the next pay and grocery run to think of what I wanted for my next treat. Brad was going to do one of the grocery runs on Saturday while I was at work. 2L tub of ice cream on sale for $3.99. So basically, I could get *one* Blizzard, or many many servings of chocolate mint chip ice cream!
I picked the tub of ice cream - proud to say, still working on it, too! Even Brad has had two bowls. So it looks like the mix of pre-determining my calorie ceiling (I wrote them all ahead of time on my calendar on my phone), and restricting my cash flow are keeping me from caving on cravings.
It's helping Brad too. He has a new goal of reducing his sugar intake. We have gotten better at getting ready an extra few minutes early so I can make his coffee and bagel to go
, and we always prep his whole lunch the night before so he has less chance of needing to eat out during the day.
*Note* - I am not so controlling that if he ends up working his physically laborious job a longer-than-expected day, and all his food runs out, that he isn't allowed to use a credit card to feed/hydrate himself. The important thing is that he is getting much more prepared by packing extra water bottles and protein bars.
Just to point out how important the cash thing is - a few weeks ago, I was craving pizza all day - and it happened to be a high-calorie allowance day due to coming off nights, and hadn't prepared anything for supper. Brad comes home from work, I say "Man, pizza would be SO GOOD tonight!" He says "Oohhhh, yes it would!". I say - "Damn, that's too bad. We have no money for pizza!". He says "...yes we do. I got my tips paid out today, $80 cash in my wallet" (we don't budget his tips).
Well, shiz. I was online ordering food so fast, it was crazy!
Kiiiinda wished we had kept it a little longer so, you know, maybe-I-coulda-had-a-Blizzard-
So, personal training ---> budget success ---> caloric intake control.
I like it.
Check in with the monthly goals:
1) 1000 fitness minutes - Today we are at 74.2% of the way through January, and I am at 81.3% of my fitness goals.
Booyeah!! Talked to my doctor today too, and she is super-awesome-happy about my fitness. Says "Fit women - and I mean *fit*, not "oh, I walk", have shorter, easier labors, faster recovery, less risk of tearing and c-section. Keep it up as long as you can."
2) Be between 165-168lbs on Feb 1st - weighed in today at 165.1! Looking great for that goal. I am quite consistent with my 12+ C of water, and my sodium levels are going down too
. This is the part of the trimester is where the weight gain tends to slow down. This makes me ecstatic - 170 was my mental breakdown cut-off mark, even though getting to 173 would put me at the top cap of my recommended weight gain, I just really had trouble letting myself back in the 170s again.
3) Finish setting up the rest of the house - I got all of our paperwork sorted today! Brad did a hella-awesome job cleaning all of our tile floors yesterday, and the house is considerably consistently more clean than usual.
and.... it's the final countdown!!!!!!
2 Work shifts left! TWO! Sunday and Monday day shifts - yeeaahhhh!! So excited! My co-workers are actually throwing me a shower on Monday at work. Which reminds me - I should allocate some extra calories for it - a potluck!
And I'm out! 3 more days off, and I've got plans for all of them! Keep doing so amazingly awesome like you all have been!