Avoiding the Downside of Saving

Like all good silver linings, saving often comes with a storm cloud. Too often, people fall into the trap of forgetting to live while they are digging out of debt. Once you get into the habit of spending every spare cent to pay down debt, retirement, or a college fund, it gets easy to ignore the present in favor of the future. The downside–or potential downside–to saving, debt repayment, and frugality is a deferred life. Whether it’s deferred fun, deferred education, or deferred personal development, it can be detrimental to you and your relationships.

Changing Reality

Changing Reality

My wife and I have had this conversation. We’re in the groove on our debt repayment. We are making excellent progress right now. Since we’ve got it all automated, it leaves us time to plan, dream and consider our options. We’ve been looking at converting a hobby into a business venture. Doing so will involve a $1-2000 investment. If we can make it work, my wife will be able to quit her tolerable, comfortable, soul-sucking job within a couple of years. If we can’t, she will still have moved her hobby into an advanced–and more fun–level. That’s a win either way, but our initial reaction is to postpone. We already know we’ll have to postpone the purchases until we’ve saved for it, because we refuse debt in all forms. Our initial reaction has been to postpone saving, effectively deferring development with long-term potential to improve our lives until our debt is completely gone.

We’ve been discussing this, off and on, for months. We have finally decided to start saving, but only when we have money that is purely extra and we’ve tucked money into all of our other savings goals. It’s not a perfect solution, but it seems to be an acceptable compromise given our situation and values.

Regardless of your situation, it is important to remember not to defer your life while you tackle your debt or savings goals.

Update:  This post has been included in the Carnival of Personal Finance.

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30 Day Project Update

My first 30 Day Project for the month of February has been to work my way up to doing 100 pushups in a single set. At the end of January, I did a test to find my baseline, my starting point. I could do 20 pushups, but there was no way 21 would happen.

My plan, based purely on the math, was to start from there, doing 5 sets in the morning and 5 more at night, adding a set number to each set every day. That lasted a day.

The problem with starting a new exercise routine at my max level and progressing from there is the pain. Holy wow, that hurt on the second day. I was doing sets of 5, then. Ow.

The new plan has worked much better. It is an aggressive, self-correcting progression that automatically correct for over-extending myself.

I do 5 sets. Each set is based on the maximum set in my previous session. My first set is half of my max. The next 3 sets are 3/4 of my max, and the final set ends when my abs are cramping and I want to cry, establishing my max for the next session. If I over-extended myself in the previous session, this set either shrinks or stays the same. If the final set stagnates for a couple of days, I take a day off to rest. When I come back, the sets improve drastically.

How well has this worked? Last night, at the halfway point for the month, I ended with a set of 75 pushups and noticable muscle growth. Next month, I’m doing situps and I will be using the same plan.

Plan #2 is also coming along well. Details in 2 weeks.

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30 Day Project – February

My 30 Day Project for February is to be able to do 100 push-ups in a single set.   The most common reaction when I talk about it?  “You’re nuts!”

Is it ambitious to the point of being aggressive?  You bet.   30 Day Projects aren’t supposed to be easy.   This is going to be a difficult painful month.

On the other hand, I have five fingers.   How many people do you know able to do 100 pushups?  I don’t know any.  In 4 weeks, I will know one.

What have I done to prepare?  Nada.  Nothing.  Zip.  Zilch.  I am starting this from scratch.

Here’s my plan:

At this moment, I can d0 20 pushups.  I am going to start with 5 sets of 2/3 of my max(14) with a one minute break in between sets .  That will happen in the morning and before bed.   Each session will involve more pushups.  I need to add about 3 to a set each day to get to 100 by the end of the month.

Now, it’s entirely possible that I won’t be able to manage 5 sets of 14, or that my progression is unmanageable.  That’s ok.  I refuse to test my endurance on this, and I’ve done no research.  I’m flexible and willing to adjust my plan to match reality.

Aggressive and painful.  Wish me luck.

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Merry Christmas

Happy Hanuchristmakwanzivus.

Family and travel. No posts today.

Make the most of the holiday.

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