Monday, January 13, 2014

What’s Working: Green Smoothies and a MasterCard

While I may lament 2013, I cannot wallow for long. There is progress to be made…

First, Green Smoothies

An unexplainable neck pain, accompanied by numb toes, led me to the chiropractor in November. I appreciated the suggestion of my sister-in-law to try Dr. Chambers after my last chiropractor took to indoctrinating me with his opinion on a variety of topics ranging from vaccines to politics… no thanks. Dr. Chambers did the trick and was funny with only a sprinkling of opinion. Besides making my neck (and toes) good-as-new, he also made a suggestion about my breakfast habits. Where I had previously enjoyed a bowl of LIFE or instant oatmeal, he suggested a green smoothie.

Let me pause for a moment to explain something I have noticed. We all have our strengths and subjects we excelled at in school. Mine was math. Health, no. PE, oh boy. Biology and Chemistry, nope. I get the impression, from those who are gifted in the areas of nutrition and wellness, that is seems a no-brainer to “eat healthy.” In the same way I think everyone should do algebra for “fun” my wellness-aware friends suggest it is as simple as just “stop eating junk.” But when I, the admittedly struggling wellness student, seek to investigate all matters of “junk” (beyond the obvious Doritos and soda) I am immediately overwhelmed:

milk “does a body good” OR cows’ milk is food for baby cows only
plenty of whole grains OR meat and veggies only

veggies BUT only organic

So, I was grateful when Dr. Chambers said simply, “you should try green smoothies.” Essentially, START HERE. He had a handout, which matched much of what Pinterest (the zenith of knowledge) also has to say on the topic. And so I did.

Benefits: I feel full until lunch, more energy, better mood

Effort: half a green apple, two big handfuls of organic spinach, half cup of frozen blueberries, spoonful of Vitamineral Green (another sister-in-law suggestion, ground up super veggies powder), half a cup of almonds that have been soaked overnight in water, cup of orange juice or water – all blended.

And now, the MasterCard

I am the type of person who, when finding $5 in her pocket, will quickly spend it…Starbucks anyone? Is this impulsive? Absolutely. A character flaw? Sure. Reality? Yup. What does this do to my personal finances, for instance when I see the paycheck was just deposited and we have an extra bit of cash-aroo  (that, ahem, we will need in two weeks to cover that unexpected car part), enter Target! Honestly, it makes a mess. Compounded over time it is embarrassing.

I am 32 years old, have been married for almost 11 years and am mid-way through raising two daughters. I, honest to God, am just figuring out how destructive this behavior is to my financial well being. I don’t know if you read above, but math is my favorite, making this confession all the more humbling and did I mention embarrassing?

I have long suspected that the way I “think” about money is far more problematic than the actual amount I make. I have thought if I could just trick myself into thinking we have nothing, I wouldn’t be tempted to take that trip to Target. But tricking yourself is not advised, trust me, it is inherently flawed. It is akin to setting your clock ahead ten minutes in order to arrive on time, it only hones your subtraction skills.

I was encouraged pre-Christmas by the wise words of several ladies who are smart about these things. Dave Ramsey’s daughter, Rachel Cruze, is lovely to listen to and her Facebook feed is nothing but encouraging (no shame, which I appreciate). A good friend from church also prompted me with the simple restatement of the obvious, “give some, save some, and don’t spend more than you make.” For the 1,000th time I heard truth and this time it led us to a new method of banking in 2014.

Rather than keeping all of our finances in one checking/savings location, we opened a new debit account (again, Pinterest has much to say on this as well). We chose Capital One 360 MasterCard because 1) no fees, 2)no minimum, 3)interest earning, 4)easy overdraft protection, 5)great app. Into this account is deposited our monthly allowance for groceries, gas and miscellaneous expenses (clothes, eating out, gifts, etc). The remainder of our budget stays in our old account out of which bills are paid, giving is distributed, savings is managed. It’s a simplified envelope system of sorts that keeps my greedy little paws off of next month’s rent.

Benefits: Knowledge of where we are heading financially, reduced stress, guilt, and shame

Effort: Opening a new account online, calculating a family budget and allocating a reasonable amount to the new account, having grace with myself as I learn to live within these newly delineated boundaries.


Sarah said...

Katie- awesome steps and it's only Jan 13. High five, friend and a strong hug, too.

Melinda said...

That's exactly what we do with our finances...two checking accounts just like you described! It has helped us pay off more than $40K of debt over the past 3 years without much effort. :) So excited for you...such good steps for the new year! And thank you for the green smoothie recipe...I desperately need to start eating healthy and it sounds like an easy...and yummy...way to start!!