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My One Black Friday Purchase


I had a fantastic time with my family last week in Texas. It was jam packed busy though. I completed all my normal work hours, cooked a huge Thanksgiving meal and participated in lots of family fun. And through it all, I knew something had to give.

I felt terrible. No, not COVID or ill, just not healthy. Lots of sodas, desserts, chips, ice cream sandwiches, all the bad choices. All jam packed into one week…which followed several weeks of occasionally sampling left over Halloween candy. Thank God, the candy is now all gone.

I was dragging, felt so sluggish, my back was hurting, my eyes were dry. And I knew I had to make a change! It is really time for me to making getting healthy a priority.

On our first day back, Princess and I jumped in the car and visited all the local gyms…there are 4 in this tiny town. I have no idea how it supports so many gyms. As we set out, I asked her what her needs were from a gym.

An hour later, we both had a different gym we wanted to join. (Yes, we ran through the gyms quickly because let’s face it, once you see one set of gym equipment, you’ve seen them all.)

And I joined a gym, just for me. And I am so committed to it.

Why I Chose This One

Here’s why I chose the one I did…

  1. It’s the closest one to my house and within easy walking distance. This was important to me for two reasons: car availability cannot be an excuse and adds another aspect to the workout if I walk there and back.
  2. It’s one of the three locally owned options. We have one chain here, and I want to support small businesses. Princess preferred the chain option which I will admit to being tempted by as they have lots of perks BUT they don’t do any classes and I need classes.
  3. This particular gym really focuses on community. They celebrate members accomplishment (lots of body builders but also other things.) And as isolated as I am, I thought it might be nice to maybe be a part of something like that.
  4. Competitive cost and offerings. With a waived enrollment fee, no contract commitment and a variety of classes, it has everything that was important to me financially and health-wise. (Their Black Friday special ran through Saturday so I was able to purchase it on my return to town.)

Paying Myself to Go

I’m going to have to adjust my budget a bit for the $24/monthly fee. But I’ve built in an incentive to make myself go. I’m going to pay myself $10 for every day I go to the gym.

Now, wait, hear me out before you jump down my throat. And remember the little games and challenges I do with my finances really keep me motivated and focused so I think this will help in this area as well.

I already have $400 a month budgeted for “personal/entertainment”. It’s eating out money, random fun or purchase money and sometimes “kid needs” money. It is also used to buy craft supplies, an occasional book, cleaning supplies and just a bunch of random.

Now, I have to earn that money. I am keeping $100, as there are essential items it supplies. But the other $300…I am going to have to earn the right to it, $10 of it every time I go to the gym. Otherwise, it goes into savings or debt payment…that day.

And the kids know it. So they will be helping keep me “motivated” because they know that we will be tightening our belts even more if I don’t go to the gym every day now. (We are starting the earning piece in January, giving myself December to figure out how it works into my schedule and making space for it.)

Yes, I know it’s silly. But when I’m not feeling like going…well, hopefully this will be the push that gets me there. Either way, my finances win so I’m not taking away from them.

I’ve set workout goals as well…but the first step is to actually get in the routine of going EVERY DAY.

December Challenge: End the Year


I have struggled to come up with a challenge for December. And finally, I landed on more of a mindset challenge. The more mature I get in my personal finance knowledge and more importantly follow through, the more I realize that it really is all about mindset.

Personal finance mindset lessons that took me forever to learn:

  • Every time you go into debt, you are borrowing from your tomorrow. Do you really want to be paying for this XXXX next year? Is it worth that?
  • There is nothing more comforting and confidence building than having a health emergency fund…nothing!
  • You must be selfish with your finances…think about your future over your kids activities and everything. In doing this, you are watching out for them in a completely different way.

I could go on and on, but these have been my big ones.

December Challenge

This has been an unprecedented year. I don’t think anyone would have predicted all that has happened this year. And with the state of COVID, the change in presidents and so many more unknowns, 2021 is bound to bring some more changes.

The challenge for us is to adjust our mindset. To give up our preconceived notions about what life will or should look like. And to prepare for the changes that are surely to come and the unknown. How do we do that?

This has become especially important in our house for Beauty and Princess. With graduation just 6 months away, we have to begin working on a what’s next plan for them. And frankly, with all the changes at the college level, Princess is floundering and I understand that completely.

Open Your Mind

This year may look different then any year before it. There is no real normal anymore. Schools are all over the place as far as in-person, virtual, hybrid, etc. Searching for a job is a entirely different beast with most all companies searching online and virtually only.

I’ve been working with the girls to do some brainstorming exercises. The goal is to open their mind to every possible opportunity. Then doing pros and cons for every option. We are going to have to have several options and prepare for several options for them.

What Would Life Look Like If…

The challenge for each of us is to spend some time considering all the possibilities for next year. No matter your stage in life, this year is going to be different. We had to adapt quickly this year with COVID and lock downs and new ways of living. And I think it’s relatively safe to say that more of that is coming.

Take some time and consider what you like about your reaction and how you like how your life changed. And then also consider the things you do not like about this new reality. And consider your options. How can you make the good even better? How can you make the challenging better or different?

And for those of you with seniors in high school, how are you approaching next steps for your child? Has COVID changed anything for you? I’d love to know your mindset and approach to guiding your child at this juncture.

I believe we should begin the new year how we want it to go. This challenge is the first step towards that.


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