a simple little kind of free

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Last Sunday, May 19th, I challenged myself to go 10 days without spending ANY money. I had $5 and a change purse full of coins in my wristlet and that’s all that I could possibly spend if I had to and only if I had to. All of our bills were paid up to through the end of the month, so this is literally no money being spent on anything, EXCEPT for gas. I made gas the exception to the rule because I still have to get to work somehow. 

Last Saturday I had a promo gathering for healthy foods and had a bunch of food left over. So, I froze some and concentrated on the amount of food that will eat each day until my challenge is up. I definitely should have enough. 

I borrowed Tom’s car that weekend to bring chairs and a table that I back and forth to my dad’s house; he lent me them for the day. So, from this I spent $10 putting gas in his tank on Tuesday. 

Tuesday. Tuesday was a great day. I had to work at Golds Gym from 11:00am to 5:00pm. The weather was nice in the morning so I biked to work. The gym is 7 miles from my house and it took me about 30 minutes or so. As I rode down bustling route 123 through Norton, over the 495 overpass, and down the narrow roads approaching the gym, the air smelled like summer camp and fresh cut grass. As I rode by different houses and plots of land I smelled different flowers. I forgot about the silly and corny feeling of happiness when riding a bike. When you pedal so fast and push yourself to get up a hill, then glide back down with the wind blowing in your face. This state of helplessness flying down a hill with the wind wapping me in the face reminds me that there are simple things that bring a sense of calmness and satisfaction. It felt good when I was forced to cruise down the hills, that I could let up a little bit, and lose control. 

I made a major life change in April. I quit my job at GDIT. I had been working there for 4 years. I had a great boss and I really liked the people but to be honest, Corporate America is not for me. Plus, I wanted my schedule to be more like Tom’s. We were completely opposite and I couldn’t stand it! I coached softball for the month of April to help the transition from Financial Analyst to Wellness Coach. That’s what I want to be, a Wellness Coach. I am working for and interning under Tim Sharpe, who owns Sharpe Performance Training, to become a personal trainer myself. I’m also giving hitting and fielding lessons at Extra Innings in Wrentham and working at Golds Gym. I’ve been linked up with Herbalife and using Herbalife products for about 3 months now with some pretty good successes. My goal is to become certified in fitness nutrition, personal training, and as an instructor for activities like yoga.

Today, Friday, is day 6 of my challenge. I went the first 5 days without spending any money at all. Then yesterday I bought Tom’s mom a birthday card with change from my change purse andddd some clothes. I know, I know, fail. Not really though because I gave a group hitting lesson yesterday and got some cash same day so I used that to buy the clothes. Despite this splurge, I am continuing my challenge because I am not negative any money than when I started. 

Some other temptations I had were: on Tuesday, Golds got new tank tops in and I really wanted to buy one then and there, but I didn’t; I also thought about stopping at the Norton Police Department on my ride home that day to get a license to carry mace and mace of course because openinig and closing the gym when it’s dark is pretty scary, but I didn’t do it (especially because it costs $50); then I wanted to buy beers to drink at home when Tom and I are hanging out watching tv, but again, I held back. 

I feel free as a non-consumer! Spending money is stressful, to me at least. When I worked in an office I would sit there and think about how much money I spent that day, the stuff I have to pay for, when I have to pay it, and just kept pressuring myself for no reason. No one was pressuring me, I just literally felt guilty everyday because I spent so much money each day when people around the world are living off of so little. Just about 1/2 of the world’s population, or 3 million people, live off of less that $2.50 per day (Shah, 2013). I would spend $10 on gas to get to and from work and $7-10 on food for lunch a few times a week. Those two things in themselves were too much for me. Then account for the bills! I can’t even. Biking on Tuesday was like I really wasn’t wasting anything and I got a chance to breathe fresh air. Two things I craved while I was working in an office. To top this off, I saw Tom in the morning before I biked to work. What an incredible day and an incredible lifestyle, if I can pull it off. 

This new lifestyle is so much more fitting for me. There’s a song that has the quote, “wear another shoe to comfort the soul”. The song isn’t about what I am writing about but that particular part sticks out in my head. In order for me to be happier, feel better, better my home life, and my day-to-day spirits (aka not be miserable), I made a change. I actually bought new shoes. Damn you consumerism, always making our happiness rely on buying something..

At this point, I haven’t spent money on gas. I will have to tomorrow though. I haven’t spent money on food or other stimulants like coffee or booze. It’s a different feeling earning money and not spending. I feel like people get so wrapped up in the freedom to acquire debt that they don’t really care about how much they spend. Just some food for thought. Be back on June 1st, day 10!

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