FinGym Member Post: Learning to Say No

my experience with the financial gym

Jenny Rausch has been a virtual Financial Gym client for one exciting, empowering year. She wrote her about her experience being a client.

Heading into the end of October, I was having a serious financial wakeup call. My one year anniversary with the Financial Gym was coming up in December and I had nothing to show for it. Being a florist, I have 3 nonstop busy seasons. Spring, Summer, and Fall, before arriving at the slow season during Winter. Fall is where I really need to start stashing away nuts and getting ready for the slow season. But had I done that? Of course not. I was still finding myself living paycheck to paycheck and I finally reached a breaking point. I tried to think back on what I could possibly be spending all of my money on and I couldn’t think of a single thing. That was the problem. I don’t go out that often, I don’t go on shopping sprees, I don’t really make any major, irrational purchases. The problem was that I wasn’t making enough to support all of the small purchases I was making that was eating away at my bank account. I wasn’t spending my money on anything I needed, it was just all of the little things adding up. And it took me 9 months to realize it.

I mentioned to my trainer, Joy, only half serious, that I wanted to do a “No Spend November”. She thought it was a great idea. What had I done? Of course, she thought it was a great idea! But I wanted to be held accountable, that’s why I told her. I needed a drastic change in my finances and I wanted to tell as many people as I could because I was so motivated to accomplish this goal. I could pretend like I was nervous about the situation I created for myself, but the truth is, I was actually EXCITED.

I surprisingly found it empowering to say no to things. It also made me aware of the fact that I am addicted to spending money, even if it’s only a few dollars. I found myself clenching the steering wheel when I drove past a CVS. I didn’t even need anything, but I wanted to go find something I thought I needed. It’s just an $8 bottle of Essie nail polish, right? And of course, I’d have to grab a pint of ice cream on the way out. Try that 4 times a month and there’s another $50-60 gone to something I “needed”. I was spending money out of sheer boredom.

Once I met with Joy and told her about my crazy idea, I got motivated all over again. I was determined. I started listening to ShannonsMartinis and your Money” podcasts obsessively. Which was what got me started on my journey in the first place last December.  I realized I needed that podcast almost as a support group or I would fall off again. I needed to openly talk about my finances and my goals and keep my eyes on the future I saw for myself.

I dug through the archives and listened to all of the success stories and one-year anniversary check-ins and couldn’t believe I was still in the same position I was in when I started my journey almost a year ago. I knew I had no one to blame but myself. Realizing this, I wasn’t mad at myself, I wasn’t discouraged. I just knew what I needed to do to get to where I needed to be and I wasn’t going to stop. I want to be a success story, dangit!

My major goal for November was to pay off my credit card. I opened my first credit card in November of 2017 at Best Buy and purchased a $150 projector and I’ve been paying for it ever since. 3 weeks into November and I am so ecstatic to have finally paid it off I want to shout it from a mountain top! Not only did it feel amazing to pay it off, but it finally boosted my credit score over the 700 mark. I had been teetering from 660-680 all year. Once I paid off my card it jumped to 719. When I anxiously checked my credit score a few days after paying off my card, I was shocked because I assumed that the 719 I was looking at was a 619 and was so upset and discouraged and confused. My brain didn’t register that that was in fact a 7 in front of that 19 and I was officially in the “good” zone! On top of that, I was able to put money into my savings and high yield savings accounts.  And there’s still a week left to go in November! I also won’t be draining my account when the rent comes next week. I can’t tell you how empowering that feels. All because I said no to the things that I didn’t need.

I can honestly say I don’t even feel like I missed out on anything. Sure there were a few times I wanted to go see a movie, I wanted to buy a concert ticket in fear of them selling out. Or even snag some deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Countless excuses could have been made (and trust me, they were being made in my brain all month). But I didn’t spend and I don’t have a single regret. I have money in my account and I have peace of mind knowing that. I still have a long way to go, and my saying “no” isn’t ending in November. But I’m so excited to push myself and get to the financial freedom I see myself in.

Caitlin Lyttle