a year of Wooden: week 16

Hi, friends! I just got back from a lovely trip up the California coast to Mendocino {pictures & highlights coming tomorrow!} … we unexpectedly did not have cell phone or Internet service, so I was unable to post this week’s year of Wooden challenge until now. I guess it is more of a weekend year of Wooden challenge at this point. Thanks for being patient with me!

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day.

This metaphorical shelter includes family, friends, good work, faith — but, since we will focus on these elements in other months, right now we are focusing on the financial interpretation.

Last week, the challenge was to take one of your weekly discretionary purchases and drop the money into your spare-change jar. Instead of going to Starbucks for an afternoon pick-me-up, I brewed some black tea at home and sipped it out in the sunshine. In Mendocino, we packed brown-bag lunches a couple days and enjoyed picnic meals out on the hiking trail and at a rest stop along the highway instead of eating out in a restaurant every day.

This weekend, the challenge is to make a small change of habit that results in more money in your savings account. For example, when I was working as a graduate student teacher at Purdue, my paycheck was deposited into my checking account automatically each month. I found the more money that was in my checking account, the more money I was likely to spend. So I began immediately transferring a couple hundred dollars into my savings account, knowing that I could always transfer it back to my checking account if I needed it to pay bills. But, guess what? I never even missed it. And as a result, my savings grew steadily each month.

Another small habit might be related to the “cash back” incentives of many credit cards. Instead of using rewards points to purchase gift cards or material items, you might think about using your rewards points to deposit cash back into your savings account. I started doing this towards the end of last year and am on track to put about $200 of “free money” into my savings account this year.

Before I go, thanks to blog reader Tracy for telling me about financial guru Dave Ramsey — I love this quote of his:

dave ramsey

Questions of the day:

  • What are your current savings habits?
  • What small changes could you make to ensure more money ends up in your savings account at the end of the month or year?

a year of Wooden: week 15

Hi, everyone! Monday means it’s time for this week’s year of Wooden challenge!

a year of wooden

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day.

This metaphorical shelter includes family, friends, good work, faith — but, since we will focus on these elements in other months, right now we are focusing on the financial interpretation.

Last week, the challenge was to keep track of where you spend your money — even small amounts. Not counting staple items like groceries and drugstore purchases, I tend to spend my discretionary money at Starbucks, bookstores, the movie theater, and going out to lunch at places like Panera.

This week, the challenge is to take just ONE of your weekly discretionary purchases and drop the money into your spare-change jar instead. For example, maybe I’ll swap one of my Starbucks chai lattes for a mug of home-brewed green tea on my own back porch. Or instead of meeting up with a friend for lunch at a restaurant, maybe we can meet up for something free like a walk outside in this beautiful weather.

Having a savings safety net is so important, and these little actions can really add up! I’m inspired by these words from Coach Wooden:

john wooden quote

Questions of the day:

  • Where do you tend to spend your discretionary money?
  • What small change are you going to make this week to drop a little extra money into your spare change jar?
  • Have you ever had the experience of not taking the time to do something right the first time, and having to go back and do it over?