Control Freak

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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. emoticon

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. emoticon

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. emoticon

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. emoticon

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! emoticon

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? emoticon 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! emoticon

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 emoticon , 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. emoticon

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! emoticon 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. emoticon

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. emoticon 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." emoticon

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 emoticon . 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. emoticon

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. emoticon

and.... it's the final countdown!!!!!! emoticon

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! emoticon

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!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    That's wonderful! It truly is freeing to not have debt! Congratulations o learning how to work your budget and make it work for you!
    1943 days ago
  • BAKER1009
    That's great Grace, thanks for sharing your story with us!
    Ya know, I did good up until the last month of pregnancy, that's when I started buying treats. Ya know how I'm controlling that now? By not being able to go to the grocery store (it's too cold for the little one) with hubby, and telling him absolutely NO TREATS! LOL!

    You're much better at the control than I...go you!! emoticon
    1943 days ago
    Control freak, indeed. I'm glad it works out so well for you, and that you and Brad are on the same page all the time! (Personally, if I couldn't hold myself to my calorie budget, I doubt I could hold myself to a financial budget... not when it came to a $3 blizzard! ;) So kudos to you.

    I didn't realize you'd had a personal trainer. Is that where you got your build/burn phased system from?

    2 work days left! Ah!!!!! Awesome. What are you going to do with your time off? ACTUALLY rest? Haha. Seems unlike you...
    1944 days ago
    1944 days ago
    C and I have noticed the same thing, actually. As my physical fitness increases, our financial fitness has, too! The majority of that is because we used to eat out in restaurants every Friday and the tab was always between $75-$100. That was on top of fast food run throughs 2-4 times a week! Then of course, since we were out, we'd do some meritless shopping and snacking and the running around killed us on gasoline...

    Seriously makes me cringe to think about. Boy, I'm glad I got my s!! together. hahaha

    1944 days ago
  • DR8561
    I got so many budgeting ideas from your blog! Wish I had planned my pregnancies like you have - I gained a lot of weight both times. emoticon
    1944 days ago
    It amazes me how well organized you are! And what a great tactic to tie in your health savvy with financial budgeting. Always love reading your blog posts :)
    1944 days ago
    Amazing! I also have a budget that I follow but admittedly, am not nearly as good as it as you are! It's such a relief though not to be buried under a mountain of debt and to actually be making efforts to save money. I think it's awesome how you've been able to keep calories in check, to an extent, through budgeting as well. Nice work!
    1944 days ago
    Wow! I'm so impressed with everything ya'll are doing. I think it's all awesome! I'm super inspired by your pregnancy weight gain, you're doing fantastic. This is exactly how I want to do it when I get pregnant one day.

    You totally rock!! Keep up the amazing work!!
    1944 days ago
  • WUBBY82
    So, ummmm, what made you crave a Blizzard so badly?!?! Haha


    You're a rockstar, Grace!!
    1944 days ago
    Awesome! I am impressed with so many things you've accomplished -- the financial budget, the calorie budget, AND the pregnancy "weight" budget that you've been so faithful to! How did you figure out what your healthy weight should be and determine the goals for where you should be at different points? That is amazing -- you can call yourself a control freak all you want, but what you are is a living breathing SUCCESS!

    You are amazing -- I can't wait to read all your mommy blogs!
    1944 days ago
  • ROCKMAN6797
    Wow, this blog was like a roller coaster ride!
    Congrats on monthly goals progress and the both of you must be giddy with excitement as that special day approaches!

    1944 days ago
    I'm just so excited for you! And the "controlling" stuff to someone unorganized like me just looks like someone super organized and on top of stuff. In fact, I envy how awesome you are at budgeting and doing all of that. I mean I handle my money fine and I have no debt or anything, but I just love how well thought out everything is over there. Being so prepared for Lil Bean is going to save you so much stress later, and a lot of people don't prepare like that. You are a rockstar on ALL COUNTS! emoticon
    1944 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/24/2013 1:41:16 AM
  • BRADMILL2922
    That is a really organized and well thought out plan! I have simialr reasons for not having a credit card going on 10 years now. If you can't afford it with what you have, you really don't need it. Looks like your goals for the month are right on track also! You are doing great!
    1945 days ago
  • JO88BAKO
    We don't have credit cards, never have. It is an awesome life. This summer we bought a place in N.C. to spend our winters out of the cold. We paid cash for it. Best of luck on the birth of your new baby!
    1945 days ago
  • CHUM48
    Wow! Isn't amazing how everything works together. I always say you have to work your problems, from the simplest to the most difficult. One day at a time, sees great accomplishment at the end of the day! You are doing a wonderful job!
    1945 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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