Pillow talk

What follows is just a real life example of how the Money Game grew to over $17,500 our first year. Maybe you’ll find something that will help your money grow too.

I told George I almost bought a book the other day. I checked YNAB and my spending money was zero’d out. Part of me reasoned the book was only 94 cents plus shipping and I really “need” it (it’s a highly rated book on how to service your serger – a type of sewing machine). Payday is just a week away and it’s “okay”. That’s when I put the brakes on. The book will be still be there when he gets paid and I’ll order it then.

He agreed adding we had died by a thousand cuts until we started living like this. Now that we reversed it, it added up to some stunning balances that were made by any windfall that came our way. George whispered “$17,500 worth” and I nodded as I fell asleep.

It’s not the $5 I would have spent for the book plus shipping. Of course it’s not. It’s the way it gets away from you and it adds up. YNAB is the tool that helps you control it. I really do need that book. It will save me solid time and money. It doesn’t mean I can’t have it. I can go to the library and get it today. Or I can wait until payday and buy it then. I can try to find it on GoogleBooks and get started. There are always options.

Another way this compounds your money is you better respect the things you have. It’s my choice so I’ll have more and that makes it fun. For example, last week I realized if I cut back how much coffee I drink during the day, I won’t have to reorder it every month. I’m supposed to cut back anyway but seeing that changed it from a “have to” to a “want to”. I know where money we save goes and it’s going for what we really want.

I can’t wait until I can start writing about what we really want!

Today’s power up came from my sweet husband who has really gotten into this whole Money Game lately. Inching towards $20,000 has gotten his attention and it’s fun to be playing with him. He’s a foodie and a passionate cook. He’s also been really careful with grocery money and we have $40.34 left over this week.

Today’s Deposit: $40.34
Level Completed: 169 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1,595.98
Total Balance: $19,671.04
Our Money Game fund has increased 8.8% so far this month.

$ 334.53 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

ADD meets housework games

People with ADD have a really hard time focusing on tasks that seem dull, boring and even pointless. I know it’s not pointless to clean the house but it just gets messed up again so it seems that way.

But we don’t have problems playing games. George knows I’m up for a game anytime. Is there a point to a game? Of course there’s a point – I want to win!

So games it is. My morning always starts with the game called “Race the coffee pot”. I don’t even have to think about it or check an app to remember. It’s fun and I play it every day. The object of the game is to empty the dishwasher before the coffee is finished. I almost always win and I love that little high five I give myself.

Another way I trick out the morning is to get up with George. I noticed that he always makes the bed. I’m just not that disciplined but I’d feel guilty. I realized if I got out of bed with him that we’d just automatically make the bed together. It doesn’t take 60 seconds (I timed it).

We’re Paleo and in our home, that usually means eggs and veggies for breakfast. I make breakfast on work days and George gets fancy making a nice brunch on weekends. Recently I started racing him to get the kitchen cleaned before he backs out of the driveway.

These games make all the difference. Daily chores aren’t boring and they get knocked out quickly.

I’m behind on posting a ton of power ups. The laundry fairy made sure I saw a $5 bill floating out of dryer (is it mean that I just take this cash? NO – it goes into our Money Game fund) and $4.14 was left over after I paid the cable/internet bill.

I also buckled down and did the quarterly taxes for the first time on my social security income. I overestimated the withholding and have an extra $350 because of it.

Today’s Deposit: $359.14
Level Completed: 169 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1511.78
Total Balance: $19,587.24
Our Money Game fund has increased 8.4% so far this month.

$ 418.33 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

The Power of Thrift

How To Retire Early (by a 33 year old)

On the second slide, she says

Why would I buy a new dress when I could buy my freedom?

That’s why it’s more fun for me to put any windfalls into the Money Game than to spend it. I’m buying freedom.

The laundry fairy left me $2 (the bills floated out of the dryer). Why thank you, laundry fairy. It’s always nice to see you! I grabbed another $2 by ironing one of George’s casual summer button downs instead of sending it to the cleaners.

Today’s Deposit: $4
Level Completed: 169 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1152.64
Total Balance: $19,228.10
Our Money Game fund has increased 6.4% so far this month.

$ 777.47 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

ADD meets why it even matters

I’ve been writing on Tuesdays about how I cope with ADD without meds.

As much as I enjoy the order (and the smile on George’s face when he comes through the door) I still ask myself every single day why bother making the same bed (again) when there are so many fun projects to tackle.

Just now, the postman delivered a package. It’s a new system of drafting custom made sewing patterns and I can’t wait to dig into it. If I did it first, I’d be even more energized right?

Over the years, I’ve learned it’s like spending dollars in YNAB that turn my category red. Don’t ask me why but those purchases don’t work out.

The days we came home to a mess were days that I felt like we didn’t have as much. It didn’t matter that we had just been shopping. I’d walk in the door and that feeling would settle in. As I learned to do better (and I say “I” because I’m the family slob) I felt better too. I feel a sense of pride coming in when everything is in its place and I’m on top of my daily and weekly routines. This has nothing to do with our bank balance and the assets we own. It has everything to do with how I choose to spend my time.

When I choose to use it by taking my first minutes to tidy up and knock out the routine chores, I seem to end up with more time. I’m working hard to remind myself that this pays off.

Speaking of paying off, we came in under budget on fuel for the week.

Today’s Deposit: $25.61
Level Completed: 169 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1148.64
Total Balance: $19,224.10
Our Money Game fund has increased 6.4% so far this month.

$ 781.47 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Grab extra savings by managing your frozen food

Many of us buy food, stick it in the freezer and use some of it. Life happens – you end up working late and eating cereal for dinner. Eventually you forget (at least I do) that you bought that meat or froze that extra chili. When you finally make time to look through your freezer, you can’t recognize most of it.

Change this now by making sure you eat the food you buy. This keeps you from having to buy so much later especially when you stock up on sales. Readers on this blog know exactly what you can do with extra found money right?

Start by cleaning out one shelf at a time from your freezer. If you haven’t done this in a while, realize you may be tossing food. Consider doing this the night before your trash is picked up. Make those hard decisions by tossing things that are just too freezer burned to use. Note what’s left and make a plan to use it as soon as you can. Keep doing that with each new shelf.

If your freezer is all vertical shelving, use up what’s on the bottom shelf, move everything down one shelf and keep going. New stuff goes on the empty top shelf. Everything new that you put in your freezer needs to be labeled and dated here on out.

Keep using food from the bottom.

If you have a freezer that’s a large pull out drawer on the bottom, I envy you! I think they are awesome. But I have no idea how to organize it so that you’ll automatically rotate. I guess I’d keep a list and just go in and find what I need to thaw for the next day’s meal. Keeping a list sounds like a pain but if it coughs up some real money for you to put in your Money Game, it’s worth it to me. At least it’s a job you’re getting paid to do.

Today we are powering up with some money leftover in our food budget. Our garden is coming like crazy and all the veggies we are eating have helped to lower our food bill this week.

Today’s Deposit: $14.51
Level Completed: 169 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1123.03
Total Balance: $19,198.49
Our Money Game fund has increased 6.2% so far this month.

$ 807.08 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Level 169: Inching towards $20k

First, let’s talk about Christmas. I learned last year that I could give people nicer gifts and save more money if I would take the time to plan and to actually shop.

If you wait till the last minute, you’ll spend a lot more.

Do you have a budget? If not, it’s time!!

I have a spreadsheet with the people we buy for. I’m going to start looking for some really good deals so I know exactly what each person’s budget is (we spend x on siblings and xx on our kids). If I find something great and come in under, I can power up. (I did this last year and got to power up several times!)

An example from my sister’s birthday – I got my brother-in-law to send me some of my sister’s favorite photos and had them printed as a cover of a notebook. It cost me about $20 shipped and I normally budget $35 for her birthday gift. She commented more on that gift than anything else I ever gave her. I also got to deposit $15 in our Money Game. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

(Thankfully, I’m 97% sure she doesn’t know about this blog.)

We leveled up today with my SSA check. Evry time it happens, I feel surprised, happy and humbled. This is the second time this month we’ve leveled up.

Today’s Deposit: $825
Level Completed: 169 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $1108.52
Total Balance: $19,183.98
Our Money Game fund has increased 6.1% so far this month.

$ 821.59 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

How much do you really need?

Someone shared that she
downloaded the Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game.

To me, the magic happens when you scroll down the 5% increase column and find the amount you’d love to bring in right now on a regular basis. Whenever I ask someone to do that, they are surprised to learn that they don’t need a million dollars for that level of income.

They just need the idea. So do I LOL!!

Today’s power up comes courtesty of our Department of Motor Vehicles. Car tag registration came in. I just paid the bill and there’s $14.66 left. The budget amount won’t need to change. We came in pretty close.

Today’s Deposit: $14.66
Level Completed: 168 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $283.52
Total Balance: $18,358.98
Our Money Game fund has increased 1.6% so far this month.

$ 693.94 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Starting with what you have …

It hit me that the Bible stories of people in need seem to start with “what do you have?” a boy with a few fishes, a widow with a little bit of olive oil. Then God multiplies it. Look around and see what you have. Are you managing it well? Are you sharing with others?

Do what you know to do with you have and take care of what you have. More always seems to come.

Every Wednesday I check our balances in fuel and groceries. Groceries was over $3 and change. It’s not enough to stress about. On Wednesdays, I move the weekly budget amount in so we’ll have a few dollars less for the coming week. We can live with that.

Fuel was under $53.26 and that’s today’s power up. (Yes I could have moved a few dollars from fuel to zero out groceries but George and I prefer to look at any category that turns red as a huge red flag. It turns on the alarms and tells us to stop spending.

We used to whack-a-mole but it hid our overspending from us. We don’t do that any more if it’s a matter of simply overspending.

Do you know how happy it makes me to know that we’re only 3 days into the month and have already increased this fund by 1 1/2 percent?

Today’s Deposit: $53.26
Level Completed: 168 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $268.86
Total Balance: $18,344.32
Our Money Game fund has increased 1.5% so far this month.

$ 708.60 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Level 168: July’s expense check

$210.48

George gets this in faster every month LOL. With that, Level 168 is done! We’re working on Level 169 with 82 levels left to finish up!

When I started playing this game in July, 2016, I thought if I didn’t start buying and selling something the growth would peter out. I wouldn’t feel competitive if it wasn’t growing each month.

It’s funny how it worked out and I think you’ll see the same thing. When you start paying attention grabbing every extra dollar, more comes to you. I didn’t find something to buy and sell over and over again but the fun keeps growing at significant percentage rates each month. We’re not killing ourselves and you don’t have to either.

If I could only put a fixed dollar amount in each month, the percentage rate would get smaller and smaller each month. There was no way I could have predicted this. I challenge you to try it for yourself. Write youself a note (you can do it on a tab of the spreadsheet itself). Realistically, how much could you save in a year? I thought maybe a couple of thousand if we really tried. There is no way I would have thought $17,500 in a year because we never slowed down our 401k investments and we didn’t cur lifestyle.

I had no clue how these deposits would snowball over time. I’ve said this before but it takes on a life of its own. Grows yours today and see for yourself!

Today’s Deposit: $210.48
Level Completed: 168 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $215.60
Total Balance: $18,291.06
Our Money Game fund has increased 1.2% so far this month.

$ 761.86 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

First of the month interest payment

This is still my favorite thing to post cause our money went out and did this. I know I’m in a credit union account with a pretty dismal rate but this money needs to stay here now. At least I think it does. I hope to have a better use for it soon.

One example – the marketing arm of our favorite beach town had a meeting and plans to build a bike path connecting the bay to the gulf are nearing completion. It’s public knowledge but not many people know about it. I know of several empty lots a block or two away from the proposed path. We have enough cash to buy one right now. I’m not sure this is what we should do but it is an example of things that are shaping up. George is the one who really shines when it comes to real estate. He has a knack of picking things in a great location that are undervalued. He’s at 3-0 right now and I’m happy to follow along!

Today’s deposit is $5.14.

Today’s Deposit: $5.14
Level Completed: 167 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $5.14
Total Balance: $18,080.58
Our Money Game fund has increased .03% so far this month.

$65.06 is needed to reach the next level

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game