First of all, I would like to wish, Crystal Paine, author of MoneySavingMom.com, a Happy Book Release Day! Crystal’s new book, The Money $aving Mom’s Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year hit shelves today and I couldn’t be more excited for her.
(Notice my pretty nail polish? Thank you, hubby! More on that later this week.)
So you may be a bit curious about the title of this post or why I, as a weight-loss blogger, would want to review a personal finance book on my blog. Well, besides the fact that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a free pre-release copy of Crystal’s book, or that I am a long-time reader and avid supporter of Crystal’s blog and ministry, or the fact that I am passionate about debt-free, frugal and simple living and I share plenty of non-weight-loss information here on my blog…
Wait, what am I talking about “besides the fact”? Those are pretty darn good reasons to want to read and review her book.
What I didn’t bargain on (get it, bargain? LOL, I crack myself up!) was learning SO much about my weight-loss journey, and really, life in general, from Crystal’s book. I was surprised at how many of the things she said in her book apply to this weight-loss journey so many of us are on.
Why it should come as a surprise, I have no clue. There is a reason why it seems most people’s top three New Years “Resolutions” every year are to 1) get out of debt, 2) get in shape, and 3) get organized. It seems that when we lack self-control in one area of our lives, it has a tendency to spill over (or TAKE over) the rest of our lives.
Crystal makes her readers take a good, hard look in the mirror and really get to the bottom of why they are in the mess they are in (financial or otherwise), so that they can work their way out and never go back to that place they once were. And she gives you all of the steps to get you there.
So what ARE some of the things that I learned about weight-loss from Crystal? (The following are all quotes taken directly from Money Saving Mom’s Budget)
1. You’re Never Stuck-Unless You Choose to Be
No matter where chaos seems to land in your life-whether it be your pocket book, your home or your thighs (can I get an amen?)-there is ALWAYS hope for change. If I can do this:
in six-months time, then trust me when I say it, there is ALWAYS hope. But in the words of my favorite Bible Study teacher, Beth Moore, “Honey, you got to change your want to.”
You have to WANT it and you have to WANT it bad! Do you want to experience financial freedom once and for all? Are you ready to shed all of the clutter that is consuming your home and your life? And what about those thighs? YOU have to make the choice and keep making the choice.
2. True financial success is bred and born of patience, sacrifice, hard work, determination, and discipline.
This sentence is on the first page of her book! Crystal didn’t pull any punches or waste any time getting to the heart of the matter. As true as this is concerning our finances, it is just as true concerning our waistlines.
There are no “quick fixes” or “get-rich-quick” schemes. It is hard, hard work. It will not happen overnight. It will require you to say no-to yourself, to other people and their expectations, to cultural norms.
Giving up is not an option, because when you do you can refer back to number one. YOU WILL BE STUCK. There is only ONE way to do this. The hard way.
Guess what? There is no secret! I have not found any earth-shattering solution to get the weight off quickly and for good. The only solution is you have to want it and you have to work for it, and work hard. Quit blaming other people for being the way you are, get off the couch and decide, right now, this very minute to do something about it.
Now, do 30 more jumping jacks! Go!
5. If you’re willing to be aggressive and keep at it, you can successfully win the battle against clutter in your home.
Crystal makes the argument that it’s very hard to gain any track financially if your home is in a constant state of chaos. If your dishes are never done, you are much more likely to go through the drive through (bad for those thighs and the bank account!). If you have no system for organizing your bills, they can go unpaid, costing you more money, time and stress in the long run. If you can’t find clean underwear and socks, you’ll have buy some more (or go without, but we won’t go there ).
The same thing that works with conquering clutter and getting control over your finances-being aggressive-also works with weight-loss. You have to be all in. It can’t be something that you just think will be nice to do someday. You have to jump in with both feet. A half-hearted effort will not get you any closer to your goals, and may make you take some steps backward.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can conquer it overnight or that there won’t be setbacks. There will be. But it does mean, that you keep pushing forward regardless.
Crystal is up front and honest on her blog about all of the ideas she tried and that have failed and about how hard the journey was getting to where she is now. Crystal also says, “Inching forward-even at a microscopic rate-is still moving forward.”
6. It is a healthy thing to budget for splurges.
Oh, I am so glad Crystal included this in her book. A budget, just like a healthier way of eating, is not about restricting you, giving you no freedom and making your life pure misery. It’s okay to splurge every once in a while. The point is, that when you splurge, PLAN it so that you can do it guilt-free.
I have readily admitted that I generally don’t restrict things in my diet. I eat when I am hungry and I plan for times when I know I may want to enjoy dessert or eat a meal with more calories, by compensating in other areas-either exercising more or eating fewer calories. I don’t go overboard, it is definitely a controlled splurge, but it is a splurge nonetheless.
Just like you shouldn’t feel so suffocated by your budget that you rebel and go on a huge shopping spree, you also shouldn’t feel so shackled by your meal plan that you give up completely and go on a 3-day binge. Neither of those situations is healthy, but allowing yourself to splurge does not mean you have failed. Just plan for it and you will be able to enjoy it that much more without all of the associated emotional turmoil that can result.
7. Contentment is a state of the heart, unaffected by outward circumstances. Contentment is a choice. You can choose to be miserable in your situation or you can choose to bloom where you are planted. You can choose to stop focusing on what you don’t have and start being thankful for the many blessings you do have….It’s all about perspective. Choose to bloom where you’re planted-even if it seems like it’s among thorns!
I can get really, really discouraged when I look at the big picture of my weight-loss journey. I get disheartened when I find myself focusing on the fact that I have 160-plus pounds to lose. It’s depressing to get on the scale week after week and see no movement. On one of the darkest days I have had so far on this journey, I came to you and confessed that I felt like giving up and that I was considering bariatric surgery.
I’m not going to lie. This is a long, hard, road. So is obtaining financial freedom. I know because we have been there too. The Chick Magnet and I worked our tails off (well, not literally, but now we’re working on that too) to become debt-free and we work hard and sacrifice much to keep it that way. Lest you think I don’t know what it’s like, just trust me when I say I do.
Remember that whole job loss, supporting a family of 6 on one income thing? And that’s not the first time we have been in that situation either-but it was our first time going through it debt-free and let me tell you what an amzingly wonderful, peaceful, freeing feeling it was to not have to worry about creditors beating the door down or harassing us with endless phone calls. The time to change your future is NOW. Don’t wait until you are in a seemingly hopeless situation to do it!
I also know that I have a longer, harder road ahead of me than what already lays behind me in terms of my weight-loss. But what keeps me moving forward, what keeps me motivated, what keeps me blogging, sometimes in raw, painful honesty about this journey, is how far I have come. It’s my before and after photos. It’s wrestling on the floor with my kids or chasing them around the house. It’s feeling good in my new clothes and preparing healthy meals for my family.
A few people have made remarks to me over the past few months since The Chick Magnet has been gone about how strong I am. I’ve even been called “Super Mom.” But, really? I’m not doing anything special. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I keep doing what needs to be done. And I CHOOSE contentment.
Is it hard? You better believe it! It’s one of the hardest things I have ever done? Do I ever want to give up? Yes, I have my moments where I despair and feel helpless and hopeless.
But every day I have a choice to make. I can give up because I am not progressing fast enough and I don’t look like a super model. I can feel sorry for myself because I seem to be doing all the right things only to move backwards. I can berate myself when I slip up and fall down.
Or, I can choose to bloom where I am planted. I can be content with what I AM doing, knowing that I am doing everything I can. And I can commit to never stop moving forward, never stop doing the next thing.
The rest of Money Saving Mom’s Budget is filled to the brim with practical examples of how to set goals (and keep them!), how to declutter your life and learn to say no, how to save money on your grocery bill by couponing, among other things, and how to be sure you never pay full price again! I got so many new ideas on ways to save money and further our financial goals even more.
I teared up when I read the final chapter where Crystal talks about what it was like to live some months on $650 a month (total, with a rent payment of over $500 and continuing to tithe 10% to their church!) while her husband was in law school. She has lived every little bit of what you will find in her book. And the amazing thing about all of it?
Every dime of profit she is making on this book is being donated to Compassion International. You can read her post all about it here-it’s is seriously awe-inspiring.
And here is Crystal herself speaking about what her book means to her and what she hopes it will mean to those who will read it:
So, after all that, do you want to win a copy?
I am giving away 3 copies of Crystal’s book. You have three chances to win one copy. Please leave a comment for each separate entry. If you leave one comment, telling me you did all three things, it only counts for one entry. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents, ages 18 and over.
Leave a comment telling me why you want to win, or one of your financial or weight-loss goals for 2012
Subscribe via RSS or e-mail to Fat Chick Fed Up. You can subscribe in the sidebar, or if you are already a subscriber, just let me know in the comments.
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Contest ends at 12:00 am, Sunday, January 15, 2012. Winners will be posted and contacted on Monday, January 16.
Please do not leave more than 3 comments. Good luck!