Tag Archives: abundance mentality

SPEND OUT

My theme of the month is SPEND OUT. I want to wear dresses even on weekdays, use up the markers and notepads I have stashed around the house, and make sure to eat all the delicious fruit before it goes bad. I want to finish up gift cards I’ve been hoarding and read the good books I’m saving on my shelves. I want to spend it all, these resources I have stockpiled and these things that I have somehow come to believe should only be trotted out on rare and special occasions. What am I saving it for if not to enjoy today?

ABUNDANCE! I want to live in abundance mentality, not in fear of scarcity.

[Hat tip to The Happiness Project for the challenge]

Also, this wonderful little video is charming me today:


via @swissmiss

January 2011: challenges

January was a tough month. After holding out for so long I finally hit a wall– after my little happy hour breakdown halfway through the month…. downhill from there. Suddenly, it seems like I should “just this once” indulge in things – whether at the grocery store adding a few too many luxury items to the cart, or sliding into a booth at Burgerville that one lunch hour when I was really hungry. It strikes me that this is a really basic principal of frugality at work — that when you try to deny everything, your willpower breaks down and the flood lets loose. (Reader Micah also pointed this out on the 1/15 post).

Being prepared with food is the best way for me to avoid extra expense incurred by eating out. Ali is my personal chef and gets lunches ready every morning, I’m thankful for that. I also try to keep some packets of cashews or almonds, along with fruit snacks in the car for emergency blood sugar situations. Having a plan for dinner – something in the slow cooker or an idea of what I’m craving that day – also helps avoid thinking too much about eating on the way home. I don’t WANT to think about food so much, and I’ve never had a problem with food aside from needing to make sure to regulate blood sugar. But this longing for what I’m not supposed to have goes deep – a little bit of the ol’ “forbidden fruit” mentality? Definitely a little of “awakening the dragon” and a little bit of boredom (beans in a crock pot only stay exciting for so long).

What should I do about this food issue? I have been thinking about food a lot lately. I think the denial of eating out in some way triggers a little bit of survival instinct (scarcity mentality), which is a tiny bit ridiculous since our fridge and cabinets are full. I have thought about giving myself one day a week to eat a moderate lunch out… I may try this for February and see if I can curb some of the appetite for luxury and convenienceĀ  – or maybe that will make the longing worse. We also have a gift certificate for a really excellent restaurant a client gave me as a thank you for doing some family portraits, so I am looking forward to the opportunity to use that.

Any other suggestions? I am fascinated to explore these new and unexpected issues — the psychology behind desire, contentment and longing, and reaching for a big goal that necessitates lifestyle shift. The goal is abundance mentality in all areas of life.

$69,176.76

Many people view education debt as good debt; we don’t believe this to be true. Although education loans often sit at lower interest rates than credit card loans or mortgages, they encourage borrowers to make minimum payments for many years, accruing lots of interest while continuing to purchase new cars and houses and living life as if any money that comes into their hands is not already spoken for.

We have a pretty huge goal. We are planning to pay down the remainder of our student loans by December 31, 2011.

Ali and I have been thinking about this idea and preparing our lifestyle since we moved to Portland in August. We have been experimenting with levels of frugality, envelope budgeting, and finding areas where the money leaks out. We’ve been making a grand attempt to “right-size” our lives, taking into account the fact that we don’t need as much as we think… and most of all finding ways to live in abundance mentality. Finding joy in what we have rather than concentrating on anything that seems to lack seems to be the key to success.

Frankly, we find it surprising that so few in the US talk about personal finances. We think about money constantly, but few people share details of their budgets. Since the US is at the absolute front row when it comes to personal spending, disposable income, and consumer mentality, we should know the most about how to handle our finances. And yet, few people even know how to live within their means let alone think that’s a good idea.

We’re going to open up this space and share some real numbers with readers in an attempt to encourage others who may be in similar situations. We’re withholding specifics on our salaries, but will share details of the loans and our spending/saving patterns. We understand this may draw criticism on all sides, but we’re hoping for the grace that comes from knowing we are doing our very best to make decisions that will take our little family in the direction of true freedom.

As of December 1, 2010 our loans total $69,176.76.
We have $0 in credit card debt (we no longer use credit cards), our car is paid for, and we do not have a mortgage. When we pay off our student loans, our goal is to be completely debt free.

This blog is an invitation to readers to join us as we fight our ingrained overspending tendencies and battle our student loans to the death. Are you ready for an epic journey?

If you’d like to join in the fun, we’re going to take reader submitted questions in old-school mail format. So once a week or so (or however often we get them) we will post reader questions and challenges for us and for Spencer. The more entertaining, the better! Find your stash of stamps and envelopes, and submit your message:

Ali & Rachel H
PO Box 11506
Portland, OR 97211

For future reference, you can always find this address on the ABOUT US page from the blog menu.