StepBet Challenge: Money Incentives for Fitness! Starts 1/23

It’s very easy to encourage me to do things when money is involved.  In 2012 I did Weight Watchers and lost a shitload of weight…but now I’m 30lbs up again and am just…..unable to do that again.

So I’m putting money down in ways that I can get back.  One of the greatest investments I have made has been my FitBit Charge HR and several sites that I link to it!

My friend recommended DietBet but I am trying out their partner StepBet for a FitBit challenge where I had to hit my step goal 4 days a week and go above my goal 2 days a week…if I do this, I will get my $40 back and then some.

Sign up and join us for Fitbit for Weight Loss: Goal Getters! – $40 Bet
Starts January 23 and ends March 5.

Not a bettin’ man?  You can also use Achievemint to earn for fitness for free- link your fitness and social media apps to earn!  Sign up with my link and earn 250 points.

 

How do you earn money for your fitness goals?

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Craft Cave + Painting

Today I have the day off thanks to Christmas – so the man and I are bopping around the house, cleaning up, and tackling some projects.  I am going to start a painting and he is testing out some stripping on a trash-picked end table.

wp-1482771185506.jpgGetting my hands dirty…

Even though he has primarily used the basement so far for projects in the winter…I am really putting a Craft Cave together down there for craft and art projects.  Today I put a base color down on my first canvas in a good 5 years and it feels good to have paint on my hands again.  I’m going to warm up with some paintings of my dog.

 

I will use this link to organize my palette

I’m looking forward to using these hands to make some artwork again in 2017!

What are you doing to live a more creative life in 2017?

Prime Ribmas – our easy, lazy Christmas

Christmas has always been a draining time to me.  From having it be my birth month, my years in retail, and family things always being a bit difficult…in the past it has been an exhausting time.  I think I am finally out of my retail/consumer hatred enough (after 6 years of being out of retail) that I can de-Grinch a little and get in the spirit.

My dad and I have been doing Prime Ribmas for the last few years….where we get together and eat prime rib and just hang out.  We exchanged one gift with each other and they were practical and greatly appreciated.  We did this last night so I now get to hang out at home for the rest of the day and enjoy the three-day weekend.

Pictures from my Instagram

My boyfriend is in the basement staining wood from a $25 shelf we got at Philly AIDS Thrift and I’m on the couch snuggling with Wally and working in Swagbucks and InboxDollars so I can cash out by year end and be done with them for awhile.  Tonight we’re going to a thai restaurant with his mom and aunt (one of the few things open)

Happy Whatever!  The holidays are almost over!

Investing in My Community – the South Philly Food Co-op

Last night I went to a very informative happy hour for the South Philly Food Co-op – a local grocery store that is slated to open in 2017.  They have been working on this for several years and are up to over 700 member-owners.  I threw my cash down to be a part of this community.

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What is a Co-op?

The International Cooperative Alliance defines a co-op as “an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.” A co-op is not a charitable organization or social service agency.

Why did I join?

South Philly has had an interesting landscape over the last decade – particularly in the Easy Passyunk Avenue section.  When I first moved to the city in 2011 nobody went to East Passyunk as there was nothing there but a few local shops.  Now it’s a thriving food hub and up-and-coming neighborhood for the next generation to settle down and grow some roots.

I bought a house less than a mile from where this new grocery store would be.  I want to support my community and spend my time with like-minded people so it makes sense that I would buy into an all-natural organic market that gets its products from local sources.

I also do miss non-profit life and this would be a great way to volunteer and be proactive in my community without putting a lot of money forth.  You pay a one-time fee and you’re a member for life so now that they got my money (thanks, bonus!) I don’t have to worry about paying dues or anything.

How do you support your community?

 

Five Frugal Things

A la The Non-Consumer Advocate:

  1. Yesterday we went to BJ’s and as you may have seen – I wrote the amounts of savings on each .  One of the things I got was 36 eggs for $6.23 (after in-store coupon and iBotta) Today we had a hearty breakfast and I just made a batch of Tollhouse cookies.  We go through eggs like crazy in this house so it was a good investment.
  2. I am working on earning a big amount in December on my earning sites and plan to stop using them next year to create more art.  Now that I’m 30 and live with my partner I am qualifying for more surveys.  Alas, these sites aren’t earning what they used to so I need to look at other income options.
  3. We finally hung some things today on one of our wall – including the beautiful mirror my boyfriend re-did!
  4. I’m writing this blog post and am looking at other blog ideas for 2017 – this is frugal because it is free to do and may build up to better things!
  5. I didn’t buy anything stupid.  We’ve eaten at home for every meal.  Snuggling with my dog and baking instead of turning the heat up!
BJ's List for Today.

BJ’s List Hack – why haven’t I thought of this until just now?

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I’ve gotten very sick of trying to rustle through the coupons and trying to do math at the same time in the aisles – so I’ve made it slightly more idiot-proof!  I have this list and I will not deviate from this list.  Everything we need to get through the winter without ordering delivery every night.

The IB circled next to some is for iBotta – it’s a cash back app where you unlock rebates, scan the items you buy and take a pic of your receipt, and then when you hit $20 in rebates you can cash out to Paypal, Venmo, or other types of gift cards.  Sign up for iBotta with my referral link and get a bonus.

Five Frugal Things – Birthday Edition

  1. I have been taking advantage of the free coupons you get for signing up for e-mail lists.  I ate lunch twice last week for free thanks to coupons (and a third lunch thanks to a coworker buying me birthday lunch)
  2. I also got a 20% off coupon to our local thrift store and went with a friend for some girl time.  I got two work-appropriate tops and an ugly sweater for work’s ugly sweater party…and I will use this for every ugly sweater party henceforth.  I was gifted a $50 Visa card so I didn’t touch my credit or actual money for this fun.  We also bought a collapsable hutch made of iron and wood….and carried it home on the subway instead of getting an Uber.  In hindsight, that wasn’t so smart….but we got it home for almost free.
  3. My friend drove up from Maryland to celebrate and we spent yesterday at a free, local event.  We spent no money and enjoyed a stroll down Easy Passyunk Avenue looking at ice sculptures.
  4. I went to Aldi on my birthday.  Just because I’m “celebrating” doesn’t mean I should completely break my routine and leave myself set up for failure for the rest of the week.  We know I’m not grocery shopping after work!
  5. Instead of going out to one lavish, overpriced birthday meal, I opted for many small, cheap/moderate meals over a full weekend.  I’m happier this way and will get a fancy meal at my company’s holiday party next week.

Here’s to 30.

Today I celebrate my 30th birthday and am one of the few that get excited about it.  I’ve had a FANTASTIC weekend with a few close friends and have done a bunch of things that make me happy.

What did I do on my birthday weekend?
Well, I drank and ate!  A lot!  With great people!  I enjoyed being with my people at Taproom on 19th, the East Passyunk Arctic Ave , Black Cat Tavern on 12th, SouthHouse, and Philly AIDS Thrift.  I also took off tomorrow to recover.

I GOT A PAINT SET! My wonderful boyfriend went above and beyond and got me a full painter’s box with both oil and watercolor with plenty of accessories.  I will get to paint!

 

I am a better person than I was at 20.  I’m finally learning the balance needed for personal growth – positive influences, personal management, and reflecction.  I’m more healthy, confident, and responsible.  One could say I thrive on adulting.  I am thankful to shed my awkward twenties and march Beyonce-style into a more confident and stable decade.

 

To Create.

I spent a good deal of my sunday organizing my craft area. my womancave, if you will.  I looked forward to coming home and sitting at my little spot and doing a collage…but my boyfriend used the basement for another project.  

I won’t say his project as it is refinishing a mirror I grabbed out of the trash a few months ago.  it was painted white and I could tell that wasn’t its first coat.

I appreciate that he enjoys sanding and staining and painting.  it turns out that this trash treasure is older than I would have thought.

So I will not fuss as crafting and creativity is happening in the womancave!  instead, I have whipped out an old, half-filled sketchbook from college to do a little doodling with the dog. 

The important thing? Aside from this post, I am not just wasting away in front of a screen.  Baby steps.

My First Meeting with a Financial Advisor

“You already know the right person…”

That was the subject line of an e-mail I received from my bank last month – offering a free meeting with the “Relationship Banker” for my area.  I looked the guy up on brokercheck (as you should always do when someone wants to deal with your money!) and he’s a new financial advisor.

As you may have guessed by now based on this blog, I am obsessed with trying to figure out what to do with my debt and how to take care of it the fastest.

I scheduled a meeting to meet with the guy at 9:30am on Saturday morning.  I erred on the side of TMI and spent Friday night printing the most recent versions of the following:

  • Paystub
  • 2015 Taxes
  • Retirement Account Statements
  • Credit Card Statement
  • Student Loan Statement
  • Mortgage Statement
  • Insurance Policy Summary
  • 2016 Expenses – exported from Mint.com

It was an hour of relaxed conversation that gave the RB a better understading of my situation and he was able to give me a gameplan.  Here were my key takeaways:

ONE: The majority of my debt are investments

Aside from $1,700 on a 0% interest balance transfer card – my debt are student loans and a mortgage.  I wouldn’t be making the salary I’m making or in the field I’m in without that Master’s – even if it’s not what I went to school for.  I once asked my supervisor if she thought I’d be able to pass the insurance license exam and she looked at me when I was crazy and said “Uh, yeah, you got a Master’s!”so I need to think of this debt as an investment and accomplishment and that it is something tangible.  He pointed out the window and said “there are guys out there right now with $76,000 in CREDIT CARD DEBT”

TWO: Calm down about my student loans

I’m on the Income-Based Repayment plan so as long as I make on-time monthly payments, they will be forgiven in 25 years.  I can’t see myself getting such a raise in income that I will no longer qualify for these so I was advised to make my monthly minimum payments and not really worry about them right now.

THREE: Do something you love and always be open to new opportunities

He strongly suggested that I get back into art and creating and try to find some profit in it – he even suggested blogging!  And I’ve felt it recently and may have even flat-out told my boyfriend that I wanted Windsor & Newton Oil Paints for my birthday next week.

He also mentioned that I should always keep my resume updated and be open to new opportunities because the only way to make more money in our industry is to move around.

FOUR: “Don’t just micro-save, macro-save”

An exact quote form my Relationship Banker on my way out after explaining how Digit and Qapital work and how I’ve been trying to use them for savings.  He also said I should hold off as long as possible on the kitchen remodel.

Instead of throwing all of my money into all of my debts I should be putting my extra money into savings and my mortgage.  Instead of keeping myself poor trying to pay these off I should be building savings so I don’t have to use credit cards when emergencies crop up.  He told me to build up my savings and then look at everything in August and start allocating some of the savings into different debts.  I have until October to pay off that $1,700 before it accrues interest so there’s no rush.  There’s no rush!  Just stop accumulating credit card debt and this will be handled!

This guy is available to me via phone or e-mail anytime I have a question and has a file ready for when we meet again in a year.  I feel renewed and excited for the new year with a new gameplan.

Have you ever met with a financial advisor?  If not, would you?