100 Day Spending Fast | Day 40

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It’s been a little over a month since I started the 100 day spending ban. Day 40 seemed like a great time to update you all because I have completely rearranged my finances and everything is actually going really well. I mentioned that this Spending Ban would be tough because I had a lot of pre-planned expenditures. This remains true, but the costs have remained low thanks to the kindness of my friends and heavy self-control on my part.

First, the most exciting updates! As of today, I have added an additional $1700 to my savings/emergency fund and paid down an additional $1300 on my CapitalOne Quicksilver account. This is huge because I never thought I would reach those numbers so quickly. Here’s how I did it:

40 Days In | No Spending Challenge | Rose Colored Water #money #savings #goals

1. I transferred my car loan to the Quicksilver credit card.

I pulled this stunt before on another loan (and it bit me in the butt because of the terms I agreed to in my divorce), but I have wanted to do this for a long time. First, I feel that consolidating my debt as much as I can will create leeway in my budget if things go south or I need extra breathing room. Second, my car loan was a 4.95% rate, while the Quicksilver is only 4%. This is due to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Learn more about that HERE.

Consolidating that debt and reducing the interest rate is going to help me make bigger payments in the long run.

2. My tax refund arrived.

If you’re one of the many who hate people like me, I’m sorry. I love my tax refund. This year’s refund totaled around $1300, thanks to education deductions, retirement savings credits, and student loan interest deductions. I use Turbotax because it makes everything easy and free for military members. I highly recommend it.

I put $1000 of my tax refund in my savings (for my impending move) and the other $300 went to the Quicksilver.

3. I started a different shift at work.

My new shift isn’t forever, but in the meantime, it has helped me stop spending and save $$$ on fuel.

  • Traffic is non-existent. My miles per gallon on the Terrain are up by about 4 mpg because I’m no longer sitting in rush hour traffic. I also feel happier because my commute is only about 30 minutes each way (opposed to an hour or more). When I’m happy, I don’t want to spend money.
  • I arrive at lunchtime – so there’s no more peer pressure from co-workers and it’s easier to pack a light dinner.

4. I played a lot of Fallout 4.

Whatever your feelings on video games, it can help you save money. I’m not your typical video-gamer. I don’t buy a new game every week. I can play the same game for years, and I don’t even own a new console. Fallout 4 is my roommate’s game that I’ve been playing on his PS4. Someone help me when he moves away. Since starting Fallout 4, I have had little desire to do anything else. When I’m not playing, I’m working, eating, reading, or sleeping = money saved.

5. I put all my credit cards in a drawer.

This has made the biggest impact in my spending fast thus far. You may not realize it, but having your credit card in your wallet will make you use it. There have been so many times when I have tried to save money but continued using my credit cards (swearing I would pay off what I spent). While I did pay off the little things I had spent money on each cycle, there was a noticeable increase in how much I spent on those little items. A white caramel mocha here; a quick bite for lunch there.

It adds up and you never feel the pain. Since removing my ability to use my credit card, I have removed the temptation to use it. There have been times when I’ve almost fallen to temptation. Then I remember that if I use my debit card, I will have to write it down in my expenditures notebook at home. I am so lazy that it actually feels me with dread. The less I have to write in that book, the better I feel. 

60 More Days to Go

March is going to be much tougher with a lot more expenses. My lease ends in March, so there will be some overlap in my new apartment and old one (money wasted, but what can you do?). Plus – security deposits, pet deposits, etc.

I am so excited to move back to Aurora. The extra money spent to move again will be worth it to reduce my commute and find a space I love. I will continue to keep you updated. Also – look for my first quarter financial review at the end of March to see the real impact of this spending fast.

Do you have any tips or suggestions to help with my Spending Fast? Are you doing your own No-Spend Challenge?

9 Resolutions that Might Actually Make You a Better Person

Making resolutions is my favorite part of starting a new year. Last year, I created goals and followed up with them quarterly to see how I was progressing. It held many changes for me. I wouldn’t say 2017 was a bad year. It will always hold some beautiful memories. However, it was also full of financial setbacks, tough decisions, and long days and nights.

I can say with confidence that 2017 was a year of…

Everything I did was deliberate and impactful. That being said, I want 2018 to be everything 2017 was not. I beg you. Do not waste 2018. The world is changing, and we never know what will happen. It is hard to change who we are, but I believe we can make small, daily changes that will influence our lives every day. In 2018, create resolutions that will shift your perspective and transform your life.

January is over, and you may have already failed your resolutions. Who cares! Make new ones. Fresh month – fresh start.

9 Resolutions that Make You Better Person | Rose Colored Water

Talk less. Listen more.

Do you ever leave a conversation wishing you had said less? This happens to me every day. I talk a lot, and sometimes the things I say are useless to the people around me. It has taken a long time for me to realize and accept this. Make 2018 your year of speaking less and listening more. Listen with sincerity. 

Stop worrying.

Easier said than done. I am a constant worrier. Rampant thoughts about should haves and what ifs keep me up at night. Many of us are worry-warts. The problem is that constant worrying is hard on your health. The physical strain worrying puts on your body is worse than whatever you are worrying about. Worrying can cause:

  • exhaustion
  • stomach problems
  • poor memory
  • weight gain
  • low libido

It’s time to take control of your thoughts and stop living in fear. Whatever happens will happen and YOU CAN & WILL HANDLE IT. (See what happened to me in January. If I can do it… so can you.)

Expand your musical horizons.

There is a lot of bad music in the world, but it isn’t good to condemn people based on their musical choices. Maybe you’re not into smooth jazz or rap, but give it a listen every once in a while to see where people are coming from. You might find a song you enjoy – and there’s nothing better than finding a new favorite song that makes you happy.

Unplug.

A resolution many of us should recommit to every year – unplugging from technology can bring full-fold benefits. If you find yourself multi-screening (texting, surfing the internet, reading e-books – all while watching tv – or any combination of those things), STOP. You are not doing yourself any favors.

Read often and out of your comfort zone.

I have spent most of my years reading young adult and fantasy novels. I realized a few years ago that this was a mistake. It is not a mistake to read what you love. Life is too short for trash books you hate. But sometimes, you have to push yourself and broaden your scope. My 2018 reading list does exactly that. If you’re not a reader, try audiobooks. They are quite wonderful and allow you do some mundane things, like household chores, while listening. Also, check out this 12-month reading guide to get you started.

Have a monthly dinner party.

There is something idyllic about a dinner party. Gather your friends and pick one day out of every month to host a dinner party at someone’s house. Choose the meal and make everyone bring a side. Take time to slow down and enjoy your friends without the hassle of spending a bunch of money and fighting the busy weekend crowds that often accompany a night out.

Too often, we feel that we need to be spending money under the bright lights to have a good time. The truth is the best times can actually be found in the comfort of our own homes with work colleagues, family, and friends.

Cut out uncomfortable & unhappy relationships.

I separated from my husband in June 2017. The divorce didn’t finalize until the last day of November. I was unhappy in my marriage. Even though I love my ex-husband and believe I always will, we were not right for each other. We were holding each other back.

It can be terrifying to cut yourself off from negative people if they have been in your life for several years. But what is it doing for you? How do you actually feel about yourself when talking or spending time with someone who makes you feel miserable? Life is too big and bold to live with constant negativity. Make this year the time you cut out unhealthy and unhappy things in your life. You’ve got goals to reach, and those people – or things – are only holding you back.

Start a blog.

Starting Rose Colored Water – a real blog on a real domain – changed my life. If you enjoy journaling or writing, or you need accountability in your life – starting a blog may be a great choice. There are hundreds of stories across the internet about people who created blogs as outlets, only to later turn it into a new career or find their way to debt freedom.

Now is the time to take action. Make yourself accountable for the goals and dreams you’ve made for yourself. If you don’t know where to start – try my simple, five-step guide to starting a blogClicking on any of the links to Bluehost will earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you!

Quit something you hate.

How many times have you wanted to quit something and never did for fear of being called a quitter? Or weak? Or lazy? It’s time to stop caring what other people think about you for the sake of your own well-being. If you hate volunteering at the homeless shelter – quit. Find an organization you enjoy and put your time into that. If you hate your job, but live in fear of the unknown – make a plan to get out. 

Just like negative relationships with people – continuing down a path you hate is doing nothing for you.

What resolutions have you made that have completely changed your life? Do you have any recommendations to add to the list?

9 Resolutions that could change your life | Rose Colored Water

FEARLESS | my Mantra for 2018

Today, I woke up and knew my morning should be slow. I felt drowsy and not quite awake, but that quickly changed after walking Mots in the snowy dark. After our walk, I brewed my morning coffee and opened up the curtains.

Natural light is my preferred lighting, and you’ll rarely see a light on in my apartment before the sun goes down. I hate turning on the lights when there is sunshine pouring in. In today’s case, it is cloudy and snowy, which makes it all the more perfect.

Once my coffee was ready, I decided to take a bath. Not many bathrooms have windows, but mine has frosted glass above the shower, which allows for just enough morning light to see what you’re doing. I lit a candle and started the water.

I turned on Spotify’s Easy Vibes playlist (you really need to check this out), stepped into the tub, and let myself relax.

Be Fearless in 2018 | Rose Colored Water

Last year was tough, and January didn’t give me any breaks. But even with career setbacks and an unknown future, I am learning to embrace life as it is. Five years ago, I never expected to be living in Colorado or in the military. My life is blessed.

Being Fearless

No matter what I endure, 2018 is my year to be fearless. I’m not going to let anything scare me. Lately, I’ve worried about what I will do when my closest friends PCS and how living alone in a small apartment will be after so many years of having another person nearby.

I know I will be okay. I once thrived in a quiet, low-key environment, and believe I’ll get that back when I’m there. Change is rarely easy though.

This year, I have a great shot at making Staff Sergeant (E-5) and finally being at the rank of many people my age. I haven’t lost hope in my chances of commissioning yet.

Yesterday, I sent my package to the University of West Florida. Soon, my Eastern Kentucky application will be ready. I’m also almost ready to send South Florida my application. No matter what happens, I still need to push through in trying to get accepted into a nursing program.

The next few months are full of unknowns, and I must be fearless in how I acknowledge and deal with them.

My plan for 2018 is to be bold, present, and brave, dealing with issues as they arise, and not worrying about problems yet to come.

What is your word or mantra for 2018?

My 100 Day Spending Fast

In September 2017, I dared myself to survive a one-month spending ban. The ban was mostly successful, thanks to the encouragement and help from my friends and family. In December, after buying loads of Christmas presents, I knew another detox was needed. In my goals for 2018, I vowed to pay down $20,000 of my debt in hopes of reaching a record low of $40,000.

This audacious goal won’t come without sacrifice. That’s why I’m cutting my excess spending for 100 days.

100 Days Spending Ban | Rose Colored Water #debt #money #spendingfast

January 1st – April 10th

This spending fast could not have arrived at a worse time, but maybe that makes it the best time. There’s no time like the present. The next few months require so much of me and my money. I have to:

  • move to a new apartment (deposits, fees, etc.) – My roommate is PCS’ing and most of my friends are moving as well, so I’ll be living in a one bedroom.
  • a lot of going away parties and gifts – my friends know I’m on a spending fast, but I wouldn’t miss their going away parties for anything! I will spend some money to be with them and wish them well on their new adventures.
  • the vet has recommended that Motley’s teeth be cleaned – This procedure will cost around $1000. I am still trying to decide if this is a necessary procedure.
  • the A/C went out in my Terrain – This is not something I am going to fix until I absolutely have to. Living without air in the car won’t be so bad when I’m not commuting an hour each way.

All of these things will need to be saved and budgeted for. They may even impact my ability to reach the $5000 debt pay-off goal I’ve set for this 100 day spending fast.

So far, I’ve done well. From what I can tell, I’ve spent $15 on extra stuff since the start of January. That included one going away lunch for a co-worker and a Coke from the vending machine. The next few weeks should be spend-free, aside from groceries and gas.

I look forward to seeing my debt drop every month. Will you join me in the spending fast?

Goals for the Year 2018

This is the third year in a row I’ve made New Year Resolutions. I started back in 2016 (see my 2016 resolutions and 2017 resolutions) and was so impressed with how successful it was, I kept on doing it. Without my yearly and quarterly reviews, I wouldn’t accomplish half of these goals. Rose Colored Water has been instrumental in what I achieve every year, and even if I never posted, the check-ins alone would keep me going.

This year, I decided to stop calling them resolutions and start calling them goals. My plans and desires are not resolutions by definition. A resolution is something you “resolve” to do. My goals are more than just things I am resolving to do. I could resolve to eat better, but I would rather make a specific goal to cut out dairy three days a week.

See what I mean?

2018 Goals | Rose Colored Water

For 2018, I made concrete goals I can take specific steps to reach. Plus, most require a lot of work and aren’t dedicated to making me a better person. I am not trying to lose weight, eat better, or pursue minimalism. This year, I need to get things done. If I don’t, other parts of my life will rearrange and change course.

CAREER

There are very specific career goals I have in the Air Force, and I hope to complete all of them in 2018. I’ve mentioned it before, but if I don’t get into nursing school, then I can’t apply to the NECP. That will mean another year of waiting for the next cycle to open again. There’s also the possibility that I will get into a nursing program, but not into the NECP. My goals extend past my acceptance into that program.

1. Get into nursing school.

I am applying to five programs, but two of those may fall through before I can finish their application. I will update you as things develop. Acceptance into nursing school means I can move forward with my application to nursing school.

2. Get into the NECP.

Once I am accepted into nursing school, I will move forward with applying to the Nurse Enlisted Commissioning Program. If I don’t get into the NECP or can’t apply, this goal will roll over to next fall where I will reapply.

If I don’t get into nursing school or the NECP, I plan on hopping into a few more college courses (pathophysiology, general chemistry II, and medical terminology) to increase my chances and gain more educational experience.

3. Score a 90 on my PT test.

Typically I take my test in October. However, if I get into the NECP, it is highly recommended I test in June or July so my testing cycle falls during summer sessions (less going on and more time to prep). I have never scored below a 90, and I don’t plan on starting now.

4. Make Staff Sergeant (E-5) first time.

I will become an E-4 (Senior Airman) just in time to test for the rank of E-5 (Staff Sergeant). Staff Sergeants are given more responsibility and take on supervisory roles and responsibilities. I want to make E-5 the first time because it comes with a big pay increase and I would finally be the same rank as many other people my age. That’s the tough part about enlisting at an older age. I believe I am ready for that position and hope to have a positive impact in my work center.

If I don’t make it this year, I will have to wait another year to test. If I don’t get into the NECP, it would be horrible for me if I didn’t make this rank the first time. Talk about feeling like a failure…

5. Volunteer 100 hours at the hospital.

I volunteer in the emergency department at a local hospital, so over the next year, I would like to gain at least 100 hours. This provides invaluable experience for me and looks great when applying to nursing school.

LIFESTYLE

These are the general goals I want to accomplish in 2018. They aren’t necessarily important to anyone but me, but I place them high on my priorities.

1. Take one big trip.

Hopefully, this trip will be a big move to wherever I get into nursing school, but if that falls through, I would like to take a real vacation. I want to go somewhere I haven’t been so I can forget about my problems.

2. Move closer to work.

As you may already know, last year I moved to be closer to my husband’s (now ex) work. This increased my commute time from 30 minutes to more than an hour each way. Now that I am divorced, I can move back to the area I lived before – shortening my commute time, increasing my happiness, and reducing my expenses.

I will have to give up my two bedroom lifestyle because my roommate is PCS’ing in April and I move in March. There is no one else available to live with right now, so I think it’s best for me to downsize and sell some stuff. This will help with some of the debt pay-off and improve my minimalist mindset.

3. Read my entire 2018 book list.

Every year, I make a reading list. This year, I am attempting to read 39 books. It’s an audacious goal, but some of these books are from my 2016 and 2017 lists. Check out this page to see all my book reviews as I work through the list this year.

4. Make intentional purchases.

I hope to spend very little money in 2018, but I also want to create a space that feels cozy and minimal. Right now, I still feel my home has too many odds and ends. Reducing the amount of stuff (furniture, random knick-knacks, etc.) will create a much quieter, peaceful environment.

I’m going to continue purging old things I’ve found in dumpsters (literally) and start saving up for specific furniture and decor pieces I’d like to have. Check out my Home Decor Pinterest board to see some of my minimalist style wants.

FINANCIAL

1. Pay my debt down to $40,000.

I have about $60,000 in debt. This is scattered across credit cards and student loans. Paying off $20,000 on my salary is going to be tough, especially since I will be living alone. However, I’m dedicating 2018 to the biggest, most bodacious, nearly unachievable goals.

If I can put an additional $1000-$2000 a month towards my regular debt payments, I can achieve this goal with the help of other things. Paying down my debt to $40,000 would be ALMOST as good as getting into the NECP.

Below are some goals that will help put more money towards my debt.

2. Refund my extended warranty on my car.

I admit it. Buying the extended warranty for my GMC Terrain was a decision made out of fear. It felt like the right thing to do to reassure myself. Now that I’m trying to cut my expenses and find some loose cash, the warranty must go. I’ve never needed it, and with a healthy emergency fund, I will be able to handle anything that comes my way.

The fine print reassured me that even if I did need to use it, they would find a way to not honor it. So… through a bunch of hassle and letters, I will attempt to get back the pro-rated amount left over on this extended warranty. It will go right back into paying this car off.

3. Pay off my car.

Of the $20,000 I want to pay off this year, my car is the first priority. I am still underwater on it and it is the biggest payment I have. I hope to pay it off in full by September.

4. Switch to the Blended Retirement System and get my employer match.

As of January 1st, a new retirement system is available for military members. I won’t go into details here, but I’ve decided to opt-in to this plan, which will now include a 5% employer match to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). I want to continue contributing 10% into my TSP, so now it will be like I’m putting in 15%. Pretty dope, right? Once I pay off more debt, I’ll increase my contributions.

5. Reach $5000 in my emergency fund.

That ever-elusive $5000 I’ve been trying to save is finally going to happen. Honestly, I’d rather have this sitting in my bank account than paying down the debt to $40000. I want to feel secure financially, and this is the most important way to achieve that.

BLOGGING

1. Monetize Rose Colored Water.

Last summer, I said that monetizing my blog was a priority and I wanted to make $500 a month by the end of 2017. This was also around the same time I decided to end my marriage. Everything blog-related was put on the back-burner and I vowed to eventually get back to it. This is the year. I am still keeping the goals of making $500/month on the blog by the end of 2018. Through affiliate marketing and ads (possibly), monetizing my blog will help me reach the goal of paying $40,000 in debt off by the end of the year.


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2. Retake/Finish the Making Sense of Cents Affiliate Marketing Course.

I started this course back in April 2017 and never completed it (for the same reason as above). After May, I really want to dig back into this course and get to work on affiliate marketing and optimizing my posts.

3. Publish 10 posts a month.

I have not wanted to blog for a long time, but I am dedicated to growing my site and helping others. This year, I hope to publish at least 10 posts a month. This will require me to re-motivate myself and work through my lack of inspiration. I have a ton of ideas and drafts; I just can’t bring myself to write them. This is my year though. I’m going to make it happen.

4. Finish re-optimizing my blog posts.

This is something I worked fervently on last spring, but fell to the wayside when all my life changes happened. I hope to continue this and finish making all my blog posts beautiful with Pin-worthy images.

These are big goals for the year, but I believe I can accomplish a lot of them if I stay motivated, excited, and energized. Many of my friends are PCS’ing this year, so I will be spending more time indoors (alone, sadly). The positive side to this, if I don’t get into the NECP, is that I will be able to put more time into reading and blogging.

What are your goals for the year?