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Friday, August 1, 2014

Breaking Free Part 5: The Art Of Sustainable Sacrifice

It's been two years since Danielle and I started down this road toward debt-free living. It's been a challenge, a fun ride, a ministry, and a blessing, all rolled into one adventure. This week we'd like to look back on our journey, share some of the intricacies of how and why we do it, and hopefully encourage you to gain some ground in your financial battle.



Sustainable Sacrifice
Saying that I don't complicate things is like saying a full moon doesn't throw a monkey wrench into the Wolf Man's daily grind.

I have a tendency to immediately over-think and over-complicate things, but when Danielle and I first started budgeting I forced myself to be intentional about keeping it simple. In fact that's one of Dave Ramsey's key points in Financial Peace University. He calls it KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

So, first, we followed the plan. Simple.

Then we wrote our entire budget out on paper to make it easier to work with. I even used a pencil instead of a pen. Simple.

When we compiled our budgetary needs we put them into a small number of categories. For example: instead of having budget lines for cleaning supplies, tools, and home repair, we have one line item called Home Needs. See? Simple.

We found that a successful budget needs three main things in those first few months:

  1. Discipline. You've got to keep at it. You've got to do the work. You've got to set it up and make your money work for you.

  2. Realistic expectations. Unplanned expenses are going to happen, and the money to cover them has to come from somewhere.

  3. Flexibility. A budget is rarely going to work properly from the get-go. It will need adjustment.

After about six months we had the budgeting thing down to a science.

Spend Less, Earn More

When it comes to paying off debt, Dave Ramsey points out that the two things that contribute the most to attacking debt are spending less and earning more. I'll give Danielle the most credit when it comes to earning more. That girl can work like a dog when she's got a goal. She took a lot of extra jobs on top of her full time job to earn extra money.

And when it came to spending less we both made a lot of sacrifices. We didn't cut out restaurants and movies at first, but over time we cut back at these things more and more with the understanding that we couldn't give them up forever.

That's what sustainable sacrifice is all about—sacrificing unnecessary expenses to accelerate progress for a period of time. The idea is to stay motivated as you see your sacrifice enabling you to get ahead in other areas financially. If you can get debt free in one year by sacrificing deeply, go for it! Otherwise, take a good look at your budget and determine what expenditures you can cut back and for how long.

In our case, we knew we'd have to sacrifice for about five years at least, and we made decisions based on what we thought we could handle for that amount of time. Had we gone into it without a determined timeframe we—mostly I—would've gotten too discouraged and probably given up.

I Gotta Have My Cookies

Sustainable sacrifice isn't about depriving yourself of everything you enjoy. It means being intentional about telling your money where to go. If you want to spend some of it at Dunkin Donuts, that's fine, just make sure you plan for it. Otherwise you get fat.

Oh, wait. Wrong topic. Well, it still sort of applies. See, now that my wifey is into being a Beachbody coach, and now that I've seen the tremendous success she's had with eating right, I've decided to work on adding a better dietary plan to my workout routines. But, like my personal spending money, if I don't have some junk food to look forward to I'm going to get real discouraged real fast.

So I prepared an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies and divided them up into little freezer bags of three. Every Saturday I know I have that beautiful, chocolaty sweetness to look forward to. If i didn't have that, I wouldn't keep track of what I was eating. A candy bar here. A brownie there. I wouldn't know from one week to the next how much junk food I was eating.

Knowing I've got cookies coming on Saturday makes the sacrifice during the week sustainable.

Sustainable sacrifice.

Now, just as a quick side note, the types of sacrifices that move the debt needle the fastest are monthly sacrifices like cable TV, subscriptions services, and the like. Maybe for this summer you decide not to purchase a golf membership. (I know, heresy!) Or if cutting out television entirely isn't an option, maybe a cheaper package with fewer channels is the way to go for the next year.

Making sustainable sacrifices will help you make progress, which will help keep you motivated to make more sacrifices to keep on keeping on.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Breaking Free Part 4: The Things We Didn't Give Up

It's been two years since Danielle and I started down this road toward debt-free living. It's been a challenge, a fun ride, a ministry, and a blessing, all rolled into one adventure. This week we'd like to look back on our journey, share some of the intricacies of how and why we do it, and hopefully encourage you to gain some ground in your financial battle.



The Things We Didn't Give Up
Too often Danielle and I harp on all the sacrifices we've made. No movies. No restaurants. No this. No that.

Woe is we!

Although it's the sacrifices that are the hardest, there's lots of other stuff that we DON'T sacrifice. Like Superman holding back that train, or a fly bouncing against the glass, we're determined not to surrender these things, stubbornly holding onto them in dogged determination to retain some sanity in the midst of all the sacrifices.

This is kind of an essential part to this whole journey, actually. Because you can go too far with all the penny pinching, the budgeting, and the Dave Ramsey fanfare. To really be successful—and to not go crazy—you've got to be stubborn in some areas. So here are some of the things that Dani and I have refused to give up.

(Also note that these things are different for everyone. What you chose to keep might be totally different.)

Giving

I'm a natural giver. I love blessing others, but I always wish I could give more. In the past I wouldn't hesitate buying a birthday present for someone that cost more money than I could afford. "I'll get my paycheck next week," I'd tell myself. "I'll just pay for it then." But that's not a good habit to get into. Like Dave Ramsey is fond of saying, "Live now like no one else so that tomorrow you can live and give like no one else."

So, someday, Danielle and I will have the money to "give like no one else," but for the time being we need to be a bit more conservative. Still, we like to give, to others and each other. So we have a fund for birthday presents, Christmas gifts, baby showers, weddings, and anything else that may come up. It's not a lot, but it's what we can manage for now.

Tithing

Apart from giving to others, Danielle and I believe that, first and foremost, we need to give to God. Tithing honors Him, it reminds us that everything we have comes out of His hands, and it increases our faith. We have never not tithed since the day we got married, and we intend to keep it that way. The missed blessings of not tithing aren't worth the risk.

For a more detailed look at tithing in the midst of paying off debt, see our post: Is It Ok To Stop Tithing To Pay Off Debt?

Investing in My Photography

As much personal enjoyment as I get out of my craft, photography can be a big money earner too. I can make more money shooting one wedding than I do in a week at my day job. In our rural area of the country, however, it's hard to keep photography work steadily coming in.

Still, in order to make money, we need to spend money, which is why 50% of all money earned through my photography goes into a fund to maintain equipment, buy new lenses and filters, and market my services.

Healthy Living

When we first got married Danielle thought we could survive on a $40 grocery budget.

When you're done laughing I'll continue.

Finished?

Ok.

The problem was she didn't know how much a 30-year-old man with a daily calorie intake of 2,000 would need to eat. And when that number goes to 2,750 during workout periods that can amount to a whole heckofalot of food. Since Danielle started getting into all this health and fitness stuff through Beachbody.com she found that she needed more food to fuel her body as well, not to mention the fact that healthy food simply costs more money.

So over the last two years we've upped the grocery budget twice. We've decided that even though we can eat more cheaply, the types of food we'd be eating aren't worth it. Our physical livelihood and general health are more important than a few extra dollars. So we're making the investment in healthier living, and so far it's been worth it.

Pocket Money

I need my pocket money.

No. You don't understand. I neeeeeeeeeeed my pocket money.

I would lose my mind if I didn't have some dollars, unencumbered by some budgetary requirement, to spend at my leisure. So both Danielle and I get a little money every week to spend however we want. It's not much, but it helps make the rest of the budget feel doable.

For all the other spenders out there, I can't stress enough how much easier budgeting is when there's a little money set aside just for you. It does wonders for your mental health, and it actually helps keep the whole budget on track because without that little bit of "fun cash" one might be tempted to dip into other areas of the budget.

No matter where you are in this process, it's helpful to remember that this is only for a season. Danielle and I know that even though we're dramatically scaling back in many areas, it's not going to last forever. Our spending habits and the sacrifices we make are going to look dramatically different when we're debt free!

So what things have you been stubbornly refusing to give up? Or is your budget too tight? If so, what things do you think you could introduce—like tithing or pocket money—that might give you a little bit of your sanity back?

Other posts in this series:
Part 1: My Personal Wake-Up Call
Part 2: How To See Some Hope
Part 3: Overcoming the Comparison Trap

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Breaking Free Part 3: Overcoming The Comparison Trap

It's been two years since Danielle and I started down this road toward debt-free living. It's been a challenge, a fun ride, a ministry, and a blessing, all rolled into one adventure. This week we'd like to look back on our journey, share some of the intricacies of how and why we do it, and hopefully encourage you to gain some ground in your financial battle.



Overcoming the comparison trap
It's so easy to fall prey to comparison.

"Bob and Mary have a nice house. They're the same age as us. We should have the standard of living they do!"

"My wife and I have a bunch of kids to feed, but neither of us can get a job. We must not be as good as John and Jane who are both doing quite well."

"My two best friends have both gotten new cars in the last three years. I must be a loser if I don't get a new car soon."

"Mary is so beautiful. If I looked like her I wouldn't feel so insecure."

The examples above may seem ridiculous at face value, but they're actually not that far off from the kind of thinking we all experience from time to time.

Jacey, over at The Balanced Wife, has a wonderful article on comparison. Regarding her financial situation, she writes: "It wasn’t jealousy or bitterness I was feeling, but something more like shame. I felt behind, like a new bar had been set for what people my age were supposed to have, and I didn’t measure up."

Money management wizard Dave Ramsey talks about this feeling in Financial Peace University. He says, as adults, we try to recreate the standard of living we had as a child, or, for those less fortunate, we try to create what we always thought was the ideal.

My wife admitted once that this was the case for her. After we got married, she wanted a house. A big house. A house to raise a family in. She wanted to cook dinner like her mom always did and expected me to keep up the property like her father. Imagine her disappointment when, over time, she realized that married life wasn't going to be all that she saw growing up. She doesn't have the time to cook meals all week. I'm not the Mr. Fix-It that her father was.

We both had expectations that were dashed pretty early on in our marriage.

Breaking Free from Comparison


Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy."

Comparing ourselves to other people is one of the first major obstacles we have to overcome to find financial peace. And I do mean "peace." Because you can find financial freedom without overcoming comparison, but the road there will be longer, more stressful, and more irritating, because as you continually compare yourself to others you'll be unhappy and you're likely to make those around you miserable. Financial peace is a much more rewarding road.

The comparison trap is a dangerous one, because comparison, by nature, is always negative, unfairly putting the worst of ourselves up against the perceived best of others. Comparison usually ignores facts, and often accepts too many broad assumptions. Comparison is inaccurate. It wastes time. It fails to realize that everyone is unique and that nothing in life is a "one size fits all."

When the Apostle Paul wrote "godliness with contentment is great gain," he wasn't just speaking philosophically. He had learned the secret to contentment in every circumstance in life. While that secret eludes most people, it need not elude any true believer.

Here are six practical steps to overcoming comparison.


  • Learn to give thanks

Not just for good things, but for all things. Thankfulness is a matter of simple obedience to God, but it is also evidence of a Spirit-filled believer. Not feeling thankful? That's ok. You don't always have to FEEL thankful. Just give thanks anyway. God won't ignore your obedience. (1 Thess. 5:18; Eph. 5:18-20).


  • Learn to rest in God's providence

God is always unfolding His purpose in our lives, a purpose that is for His glory and our gain. So when bad things come our way, who are we to shake our fist at the sky or grumble and complain when, in the long run, God is only doing what is best for us. (Rom. 8:28; 1 Pet. 4:12-13).


  • Learn to be satisfied with little

Paul learned to make this choice. And that's exactly what it is: a choice. You can choose to be content just like you can choose to smile at the clerk at the checkout line, or choose to have a good attitude toward those you don't necessarily enjoy being around. (1 Tim. 6:6)


  • Learn to live above your circumstances

Life happens. And if I am to be truly honest, life can really suck sometimes. No one knows this better than the apostle Paul—abused, imprisoned, tortured. He didn't take pleasure in the pain itself, but in the power of Christ manifested in him. Clinging to Christ when life gets hard is so crucial to truly being content. (2 Cor. 12:9-10)


  • Learn to rely on God's provision

Danielle and I took a major step of faith when we decided to sign up for Christian Healthcare Ministries as an alternative to Obamacare. It means our trust isn't in an insurance company, but in the hands of God, who, through thousands of other believers, will help us cover the cost of our medical expenses. I have faith in this, because Jesus promised that he will never leave us and that he will supply all our needs. (Heb. 13:5, Matt. 6:26)


  • Learn to care for others

Really practice this one, because as we focus on meeting the needs of others, an amazing thing happens: comparison takes a back seat. Focusing on others means learning about them, and as we learn about them we can find empathy and understanding. Loving others rubs out the assumption-based aspects of comparison and replaces it with facts. (Phil. 2:3-4)

Associations are powerful, and the company we keep can influence our decisions in many ways, even without us realizing it. When people around us start buying houses and going on vacations, we feel like we deserve the same. But once you choose not to be swayed by this kind of thinking, there is immediate freedom from comparison.

While Danielle and I feel strongly about debt, we don't shove our beliefs on others, nor do we look down on friends and family who spend more money than we do or take out loans. Their choices don't threaten ours, and when you don't feel threatened you're in a much better position to love people where they are without judging them.

(Adapted from What Is The Secret to Contentment?, by John MacArthur.)

Other posts in this series

Part 1: My Personal Wake-Up Call
Part 2: How To See Some Hope
Part 4: The Things We Didn't Give Up

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Breaking Free Part 2: How To See Some Hope

It's been two years since Danielle and I started down this road toward debt-free living. It's been a challenge, a fun ride, a ministry, and a blessing, all rolled into one adventure. This week we'd like to look back on our journey, share some of the intricacies of how and why we do it, and hopefully encourage you to gain some ground in your financial battle.



Finding hope in the war
Danielle made a comment recently that I'm pretty sure would've proven true had our lives taken different paths two years ago. She said, "If it weren't for our financial plan we probably wouldn't be together."

And I think she's right. Just a few months after getting married we found ourselves locked in a purgatory of money disagreements (we don't like the word "fights") and bad financial habits. She's a saver. I'm a spender. And neither of us had really considered the impact our individual approaches to money would have on our relationship.

In the fall of 2012, just four months after we got married, we took Financial Peace University by financial guru Dave Ramsey. I know there's a lot of Dave Ramsey detractors out there, but a lot of it is simple misunderstanding. I've noticed two groups of Dave-haters. First, there's people of the world who think debt is normal, who think our country's national debt is no big deal, and therefore don't understand why Dave Ramsey is on a crusade against it. Many of them—the biggest haters—also know he's a Christian, and that, in and of itself, paints a big shiny target on his bald dome.

Then there's other Dave Ramsey hate that comes from people—mainly Christians—who simply misunderstand his message. Sure, he can be a little too dogmatic about some things, but if you listen to his story you'll understand why. Dave doesn't claim to have all the answers, but he's built a massive empire around his business that's loaded with people who work their butts off every day to find the answers.

Dave's money management program stems from his own personal experience of having wealth, going bankrupt, finding a renewed faith in God, and having wealth again—lots of wealth! He's currently worth millions. His home in Tennessee—which he paid for with cash—is worth $4.9 million. Some Christians have a problem with this. They think Dave is unbiblical for living in such a way. But I fail to recall any Scripture that says having money is evil, or that when God blesses you in one particular area because of your obedient faithfulness that you need to turn the blessing away.

Their feelings on the matter leave me vexed. Terribly vexed.

Anyway, Dave's plan for achieving financial peace has one major design flaw: it doesn't work if you don't do it!

Ok, ok. That was a little too emphatic. Sorry.

Danielle and I aren't the Dave Ramsey worshippers that many others are, but we do appreciate his method because it has worked amazingly well for us. We also understand that everyone is different and that different plans work for different people. We encourage people who are in serious financial straightjackets to consider Crown Financial Ministries or another biblical-based money management program.

The Time When We Saw Hope


Danielle and I faithfully worked through the small-group version of Financial Peace University in the fall of 2012. I didn't want to do it. I didn't think it would work. But both Danielle and I needed to change the way we felt about money, and, more importantly, we needed to find mutual ground upon which we could start building a budget to get us out of debt.

Dave Ramsey's Baby Step #1 wasn't that hard for us—get $1,000 emergency savings in the bank. During our time leading FPU we met some people who struggled with this, so, trust me, we know how hard it can be, but we were just married and we didn't have any children, so finding $1,000 to put in an account was no biggie.

But then came Baby Step #2—pay off all non-mortgage debt using the debt snowball. This took some time, but we doggedly tracked down every spare dollar we could and eventually paid off the credit card. Then we took the money from the credit card payment and added it to a vehicle payment and we paid off that vehicle a year early.

And then our eyes opened.

Then we took the combined payments of the credit card and the vehicle and added it to another vehicle, and that one was paid off six months early.

And our eyes opened a little wider.

The plan was working, and, most importantly, it was changing the way we felt about money. Seeing progress was making the change happen within us. We began to see the value of cutting back on how much we spent on eating out. So we cut back some more. As our debt went down and our savings went up we saw the value of canceling nonessential monthly bills, like our Netflix account. We even decided not to budget for vacations for a while.

As time went on our vision for our financial future came together. Gone was the fear and desperation that my wife had felt before. Gone was my frustration at her for being so tight-fisted with money. We had learned each other's "money language," and there was newfound respect and empathy.

Our friend, Jacey, over at The Balanced Wife, puts it well: "Taking the first step takes so much more energy than staying in motion."

The great thing about Financial Peace University is that it allows you to see hope in a short amount of time. Usually within 1-to-3 months you'll see that $1,000 emergency fund in the bank. After 3-to-6 months you'll see that debt snowball working wonders. You'll start to feel more in control of your money, instead of feeling like you're money is controlling you.

You might even start to see that maybe Dave Ramsey is really onto something after all.

Other posts in this series:
Part 1: My Personal Wake-Up Call
Part 3: Overcoming The Comparison Trap
Part 4: The Things We Didn't Give Up

Monday, July 28, 2014

Breaking Free Part 1: My Personal Wake-Up Call

It's been two years since Danielle and I started down this road toward debt-free living. It's been a challenge, a fun ride, a ministry, and a blessing, all rolled into one adventure. This week we'd like to look back on our journey, share some of the intricacies of how and why we do it, and hopefully encourage you to gain some ground in your financial battle.



My Personal Wake-Up Call
I can't name a date and time when it happened, but it was shortly after Danielle and I were married, and when it happened it was like a train pulling into the station, towing with it freight car after freight car of realizations and harsh realities.

I realized I couldn't eat out whenever I wanted.

I realized I couldn't spend every weekend at the movies.

I realized my collection of Batman action figures wasn't going to be growing anytime soon.

I realized that I suddenly had a mortgage and a bunch of other financial responsibilities that took priority.

Most importantly, I realized that I had a wife who had this innate need within her to feel cared for, and my going around spending our money all willy-nilly style was going to make her feel insecure. I realized that I needed to step up to the plate of manhood and aim for the bleachers.

I'm glad this all dawned on me when it did, but I just wish it had happened sooner. I tell you guys, you men, if you're not developing good money habits right now the struggle to keep your head above the financial waters is going to multiply when you get married, buy a house, and start a family. If you've got boys you're raising you need to start preparing them for this because the early years of married life are nothing but a time bomb waiting to happen for someone who is completely unprepared to handle the larger financial responsibilities of life.

Thankfully, the Lord put it on my heart to take Financial Peace University about three months after Danielle and I were married, after we had been through three tumultuous months of arguing over money matters, wondering if our differences in this area were going to drive us apart.

Dave said two things that really made sense to me.

Saving money is about emotion


Dave says, "Personal finance is 80% behavior and only 20% head knowledge." If you want to improve your financial situation, you need to change the way you FEEL about money. If you want your sons and daughters to grow up with a responsible approach to handling finances, you need to make sure they develop healthy feelings about it.

There are different ways of doing this, but it begins with getting out of the "credit card" mindset that permeates today's culture. When you pay cash for something, you FEEL the money leaving you. This is not true with credit cards. Paying with plastic develops a disconnect between people and money.


Saving money is about contentment

"Saving money is about emotion and contentment," says Dave. "When you aren't overspending to impress others, you can win."

Comparison is a dangerous trap. It kills contentment, and if you can't model contentment in your life then your kids will never learn it either.

Dave says, "Being content is the spiritual state of not needing something else to feel whole. When you're content, you're not motivated to buy stuff... Don't get sucked into the illusion that you'll be happy when you have that new car, that new home, or $1 million in the bank. Stuff does not equal happiness."

We'll talk more about contentment on Wednesday in "Overcoming the Comparison Trap."

But, for now I'll just say that learning about how Danielle felt about money, understanding how I felt about money, how to be content and less concerned with keeping up with the Joneses was a real eye-opener for me.

What it really boiled down to was choice. Choosing to be content is immediately freeing. You can choose in any given moment to be content or not. Choosing to not concern yourself with what others think about you or your spending habits is a huge leap toward finding true financial peace.

Other posts in this series:
Part 2: How To See Some Hope
Part 3: Overcoming The Comparison Trap
Part 4: The Things We Didn't Give Up

Friday, July 25, 2014

How To Afford Vacation When You Can't Afford A Vacation

Want to vacation but don't have the money? Here are some ideas of how to afford it!
Since getting serious about paying off debt the hubby and I decided to stop putting money toward vacations for a while. I know, I know. Crazy, right? We just figured that since we're young and don't have any kids we could live without expensive vacations.

Besides, we had squirreled away some money into a vacation fund which we decided to keep on hand in case either one of us was ever in danger of internally combusting without some kind of a vacation. Fortunately that hasn't happened.

In fact, fortunately, we have been blessed with many astoundingly affordable vacation opportunities in the last year or so, which can only attribute to God's grace. We got to go to Boston for a night; enjoyed a weekend at Old Orchard Beach, ME; and, of course, our infamous trip to NYC to be on the Katie Couric show (which you can read about here if you're awesome). And all of these vacations cost us little to nothing.

Now, granted, life isn't always so cooperative. Some people really struggle to find vacation time. In fact, we have some friends who went through our Financial Peace University class this spring who live for vacations. Cruise ships. Beach resorts. They look forward to it every year. It was a huge sacrifice for them when they cut back on some of their vacation expenses.

Jake and I know how hard it can be to make such sacrifices. When it comes to vacations though, there are lots of affordable alternatives that can do the trick until you've paid off enough debt to be able to afford that luxury cruise.

For this summer, my original idea was to camp out in our back yard, make the house off limits—except to use the bathroom—and cook all our meals over an open fire. Romantic nights under the stars. Just me and the hubby in a tent in the backyard. Close to nature. Deer. Bears. Ticks. Oddly enough, he wasn't thrilled about this idea, but I have no idea why ;-)

We considered staying at home for a week, making a plan to do some kind of activity every day—hiking, biking, kayaking, or some other free activity in the area. This idea was more palatable, because, honestly, sometimes after a vacation you come home and are just as tired from all the traveling and busy activities as you were when you left. So the idea of staying home and just relaxing was rather appealing.

The other idea was to do something with my family. In the past they have rented a cabin on a lake in Vermont, and so we talked with them about possibly renting something together.

All of us talked about a bunch of ideas, but nothing seemed to solidify.

And summer was upon us!

I needed a vacation. I didn't need to go anywhere or do anything special, but I needed some time off. Jake, ever the odd one—I love you, honey!—doesn't ever seem to need a vacation. I think before we were married it had been two years since he last took one.

Anyway, time was running short.

My dad—ever my hero!—happened to do some work on a camp at a lake in Groton, VT, and in exchange negotiated a week of vacation there. Ironically, the camp was right next to the one that he spent time at as a boy. Small world.

Our camp fire at Old Orchard Beach, ME
My parents are awesome, and whenever they get the opportunity to do something like this they never hesitate to get the rest of the family involved. Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents... even my oldest sister from Florida, along with her husband and brand new baby girl—who is sure to be the hit of the week—are coming up from Florida.

And I. Can't. Wait!

I know getting a free week at a lake isn't an option for everyone, but my point here—as it has been in previous blog posts—is that there is almost always some alternative available if you take the time to look. I have a friend who recently camped-out in the backyard of a friend who lived a few miles from Hampton Beach. Not only did she get to catch up with some friends, but they also got a free vacation!

Maybe there is something you could do for someone else in exchange for a discount on a campsite, cabin, or other vacation spot. Maybe you have friends who would be willing to join you in sharing the expense of a vacation.

This may not be ideal, but, again, it's not forever. These are alternatives to help get you through these penny pinching years. The bottom line is that even if you have little to no money in the budget it doesn't mean you can't have a fun and memorable vacation. What it all comes down to is: how creative can you be?

Let us know some of the great things you have done on a staycation or awesome free vacation spots you have been blessed with.

Keep pinchin' :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Beachbody: Curse Those T-Shirt Nazis!

Apparently when you complete a Beachbody workout you get a free t-shirt. Or... wait. Let me rephrase that.

Apparently when you complete a Beachbody workout you CAN get a free t-shirt. Apparently in order to do so you need to submit before and after pictures showing your physical transformation. Apparently these pictures need to be accompanied by weekly weight measurements and include inches lost around legs, waist, and arms. Apparently if you neglect to do this—like I have—Beachbody won't give you a free t-shirt. That's right. You get nothing. Nadda. Zip. They're like t-shirt nazis.

"No t-shirts for you!"

That's a Seinfeld reference, by the way.

Well I've completed my nine weeks of Sean T.'s Insanity. It kicked my butt more often than not, but I deserve a free t-shirt! So I'm going to do what any formerly rational adult male who has been made mentally insane from Sean T.'s ridiculous workout routine—I'm going to do it again. Nine more weeks of nut-so workouts. This time I'll follow the t-shirt nazi's strict regiment—step to the left, speak clearly, no extraneous comments—and submit the required information because, dagnabbit, I want my t-shirt!

Thanks to my wife so willingly signing up to be a Beachbody coach, we now get a discount on workout programs. We've recently gotten our hands on a whole bunch—PiYo, T25, P90X3, 21 Day Fix—and they all come with free t-shirts providing you properly document your progress.

I don't know what's come over me, but I'm determined to get my sweaty paws on those t-shirts, so I'm going to pound my body through every workout and document what is sure to be a Shrek-to-Hulk transformation to appease the nazis at Beachbody. Some may call me a glutton for punishment, but in actuality I just have a high tolerance for pain—I suppose that's why I've been able to live in the northeast for as long as I have. Anyway...
Beachbody: Curse those t-shirt nazis and their strict t-shirt rules.

Beachbody: Curse those t-shirt nazis and their strict t-shirt rules.

Beachbody: Curse those t-shirt nazis and their strict t-shirt rules.

Dani was recently telling me a story she heard about a fellow Beachbody coach who was walking through the airport one day wearing one of her Beachbody P90X shirts when many people started a conversation around how hard P90X is. First it was the cab driver, then the TSA agent, then the lady at the terminal, then another and another. By the time she boarded her plane she had contact information for eight potential clients.

So getting these t-shirt isn't just proof of accomplishment, but it can also draw in business.

But clients or no clients, I'm getting my free t-shirts!