I was asked many questions in 2011 and this is a collection of the most common questions asked of me.
A “spending fast”? What’s that?
I’m forgoing my wants for needs and have done so since January 1st, 2011. What money I’m not spending on wants, I’m putting toward my student loan debt.
Why are you doing this?
To pay off a ridiculous amount of student loans! Check out The Idea page for a more in-depth answer to this question.
How long are you doing this?
I’ve committed myself to a year. We’ll see where this crazy train takes me in 2012 and beyond.
Are there rules you follow? What are they?
I’m glad you asked. Check out the Rules to Live By page for the laundry list of rules I’ve made for myself.
The Thrifty Social Worker? What’s that about?
I am actually a social worker. I got my Bachelor of Social Work in 2004 and my Master of Social Work in 2006. I work in community mental health in the Denver Metro Area, helping those who have mental illness in the criminal justice system. It’s truly one of my passions. I love what I do and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Is this just about paying off the loans?
A simple answer – No.
Complicated answer – This is a larger task than just paying off my loans. Sure, that will be a great reward, but the bigger task at hand here is to change my thinking and behaviors to become a more fiscally responsible person. I want to change my consumerist ways and be more of a minimalist. I’m attempting to change the outcome of my socialization to eventually rely on consuming only what I need and being okay with less. It’s definitely easier said than done.
So you’re telling me you haven’t bought anything that wasn’t a “need” this whole time?
I so wish that was true! Of course I’ve messed up, many times. By no means am I perfect and I don’t pretend to be. This is a journey. I’ve screwed up plenty of times and most of them are found in this blog. As I make mistakes, I make them known. Accountability is key.
How much of your loan have you paid off?
The answer to this question isn’t static. You’ll have to check the 2011 Progress: Loan Repayment page at the beginning of every month for the answer.
What do you do for fun?
There are all sorts of opportunities for fun without spending money. Getting together with friends, hiking/walking around, free days at museums, being crafty…It’s about getting creative and thinking differently. I also try to look for new experiences to enjoy.
What about your friends? Are they doing this too?
Life would be so much easier if they were, but they aren’t. They’re all really supportive and understanding. They often say they need to get their finances in check too and ask for tips. I’ve been honest with them about what I can/can’t do during this time.
So what do you do when you hang out with friends?
We hang out at each others’ places, do free activities around town, have potlucks, etc. I still go to happy hours with them, but I eat before hand and drink water. We’ve gotten creative.
What about “The Mister”? Is he doing this too?
Nope. Not. At. All. We keep our money separate. His spending habits have changed over the course of the spending fast, but he isn’t as strict as I am. He’s SUPER supportive of this and I think he’s even proud of me.
What’s your take on couponing?
I dig responsible couponing. I do subscribe to the Sunday paper and clip coupons. I use coupons to get better deals on things I already need. Check out the Discounts, Coupons & Free Stuff page for the websites I often use to find coupons. I try not to go overboard with coupons and I keep myself in check so I don’t buy things just because I have a coupon.
This seems hard. Doesn’t it suck?
Yeah, kinda. Any change is hard, especially in the beginning. It gets easier over time, really.
I’ve got great ideas on how to save money. Wanna hear them?
Sure! Send me an email, leave a comment, post on Facebook. Give ‘em up. Secrets secrets are no fun…