Although this newsletter may seem pretty personal and a little hoaky. I just wanted to tell you about an experiment that I recently undertook this past month that had some surprising results.  Yes, this may be cliché, but I have been trying to lose a couple of pounds. So when I started my “diet,” I noticed that my biggest financial drains were also a huge barrier to a trimmer waist line.

I have really been trying for the last year to lose weight. I drank two shakes a day, went on cleanses, and gave up carbs, gluten and sugar in that order, and then all at once. I have worked with personal trainers, started running, yoga, weight training, Pilates and kickboxing. All of this made me feel great but it did not work to take off a pound. So, at the end of my rope, I decided to give up two things; these weren’t just any two things, but my two favorite things, the ones I really did not want to give up. For the month of February (unless it was a super special occasion) I gave up going out and eating out.

I mentioned in one of the previous newsletters that the biggest thing  I spend a ridiculous amount of money on is eating out.  I budgeted for it, but that did not prevent the amount I spent from being obscene.   I also mentioned that I track my budget on a daily basis through my profile, which is a fabulous tool for budgeting and financial goal setting. But to make matters worse, even with my huge budget allotment for dinners and drinks, I was always over budget at the end of the month. To be fair, I still went out a couple of times in February: Valentines Day, a girlfriend’s bachelorette, a couple of happy hours. But, generally, I avoided eating and drinking out and when I did go out, I did not overindulge.  I am not going to lie; February  was a boring month. I cooked in a lot, and watched most of the series The Wire…again! I also got to episode 65 of 30 Rock and I painted the hallway (hooray).  However, by the end of February, I lost 12 pounds!!!! And saved $282.00!! Almost $300 dollars! If you do the math, I won $25.00 for every pound I lost. That is quite an incentive program for weight loss. Some say it was because I cut out drinking, and some say it was because I cut out pizza. Either way, the result, I thought, was astronomically positive. Also, I did not exceed my grocery bill. Even though I was eating super healthy and mainly “fresh foods,” my grocery bill stayed almost exactly the same.  Although maybe this seems a little hoaky and self righteous, still, it is the season of Lent,  and I would like to challenge all of you to seriously consider what it is that you spend the most money on per month, and try to live without that for a month.  I truly believe you will see not only the cost savings in your budget but also positive influences in your life.

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