Relaxed or Habit? Or both …

I’ll admit, the past week I’ve been feeling a lil’ lax with my overall spending. I had a couple big expenses come up that weren’t necessarily ‘needs’ but very strong wants. Anyone can turn on their inner sales person and convince themselves that a WANT is a NEED, but we all know how that goes.

This month I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard, trying to build a consistent lifting routine after being on-again-off-again the past few years. I noticed I got rid of A LOT of gym clothing, stuff I wasn’t wearing often or shrank over the many many years of washing and failing to hang dry. I have plenty of dance outfits, and YES – there is a difference! My dance wardrobe consists of looser fitting clothes whereas my lifting wardrobe is form fitting, gotta show off the gains after all.

Thankfully Microsoft will reimburse up to $150 in active apparel, so naturally I picked a few pairs of the best leggings in production to add to my closet – Lululemon. I also used a $100 Bellevue Collection gift card from Christmas, leaving me to pay very little out of pocket. Not too shabby. Win? You decide.

In addition to some new workout clothes, I also bought tickets to see my FAVORITE MUSIC GROUP OF ALL TIME – The Glitch Mob. I’ve seen them live 3 times for each album release. The first time I saw them was in 2010 for my 18th birthday when they dropped ‘Drink the Sea’ – by far my favorite album and performance. I still get chills when I listen to that original release This year they are touring to perform ‘Drink the Sea’ again after a DECADE – I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to experience this show a second time after so many years have passed. Talk about nostalgia.

Jordan and I also gifted his mom a concert experience as a Christmas gift and she chose Third Eye Blind, which I’m totally psyched about! I’ve always wanted to see them live too, but haven’t had the opportunity to. I grew up listening to their original 1997 Third Eye Blind album with my three older brothers, they were cool enough to burn me the CD once I had my first CD player. Very excited to share the experience with Jordan and his mom, I’m glad she’s cool and has great taste in music – where else would Jordan get it?

Taking a look at my statement over the past few weeks, I haven’t really spent much aside from lunch at the Microsoft cafe – which is MUCH cheaper than surrounding restaurants and I limit my meals to one a day, if that (no more breakfast in the cafe). I haven’t used Lyft which has saved me over $100 a month MINIMUM. I haven’t rented any movies, haven’t done any recreational shopping, and we’ve been cooking dinner much more frequently.

So why do I feel so lax? Aside from those large expenses I’ve been doing pretty good. I check my statements out of habit for any expenses I may not have accounted for when I first did my reverse budget, but everything looks great. Maybe it’s beginning to feel like second nature? They say it takes 21 days to form a habit and I’ve been consciously aware of my spending and saving for a month now.

I’m sure difficult times will come and go, I’m just thankful the take off has been relatively painless. There have been a lot of free events and activities lately. Last weekend Northwest Shuffle Movement (NWSM – local shuffle community) collaborated with the owner of an art studio in Everett, we had live DJs, dancers, art, snacks, drinks and a photo booth. It was a ton of fun! This was our second event with them, but the grand opening of their new studio. NWSM has also been hosting free weekly events at Forum Social House in downtown Bellevue. Our friend knows the owner and the club space isn’t used on week day nights so we’ve been granted permission to use it! Its a really cool spot, bringing the outdoor events indoors during the cold winter months.

In addition to lifting again and attending free NWSM events, I’ve been staying pretty busy practicing with my Cali shuffle crew, Classic Movement. We have weekly practice videos and I’ve been creating more content. I’ve improved so much with them over the past few months, one of the reasons I’ve been lifting more – I feel like I’m in a good place with dance where I can begin to balance both of them again. I’ve been taking care of my body more, listening to it and stretching more often than I was.

I’m also reading two new books (will add to the Reading List when I’m done) simultaneously. The Altruistic Brain by Donald W. Pfaff, PhD which breaks down the neuroscientific theory of how we are naturally good, down to the cellular level. So far very interesting, but I have to read many sentences several times to better understand. I’m most excited to be reading 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari. If you’ve peeped my Reading List, you’ll see he also wrote Sapiens and Homo Deus – some of my favorite, despairing and thought provoking books. So far I really like this new book of his, it piggy backs off Homo Deus and breaks down the larger issues we’re all facing as a society with the explosion of technological growth.

Overall I feel I’m achieving a healthy routine – doing the things I enjoy without getting high off the next purchase, on the hunt for material possessions that will make me happier. I have time to read (two books at the same time!), lift AND dance, do yoga at night with my pup, take naps and cuddle with my boyfriend, cook more often, spending time with friends and go dancing. Since de-cluttering my home, I’ve had to learn how to SLOW THE FUCK DOWN and stop being such a busy body. Naturally I’m such a frantic and anxious person, always on the move – putting this over there, putting that inside this, cleaning, organizing, compartmentalizing – O, my! I’m learning there really isn’t much to take care of around my home, I’m allowed to relax and be present. In fact, that should be my priority.

In addition to doing more of the things I love, I’ve already paid off two credit cards and paid $400 towards my third credit card which will be paid off in two weeks = $1,345 towards debt this month alone. So here’s to living my best life, couldn’t be happier with the progress I’ve made so far, 11 more months to go!

Happy saving,
Jess

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