Ms. PTM’s 2016- Finance, Wellness and Mindfulness


Change is hard. Really hard. Especially for me.

I am the type of person who goes all out. Extreme goals with extreme choices to go with them: diets that eliminate everything (including happiness, which for me includes wine, pizza and chocolate); extreme exercise (like a personal trainer named Spike, or something like that) and massive money saving goals, house cleaning goals, blah blah blah. All at once. And I am really great at it for like, 3 days.

So day 1 of Ms. PTM, change fiend looks like: Jump out of bed, make a healthy breakfast, head to Orange Theory for a workout, walk the dogs, make healthy lunch,  prep meals, do laundry, clean, etc. Generally an incredibly productive day, and I feel great. Rinse and repeat.

On day 4 it looks a little more like: hit the snooze button 5-6 times. Grab a Starbucks breakfast sandwich and coffee. Have lunch out, order dinner in, Netflix and Chill.  And instead of chalking that up to a bad day, picking myself up and getting back to business, I decide to rinse and repeat that new cycle. And I am really good at Netflix and Chill, so I usually stick with that for….ever. And it’s easy. But I feel awful. Physically and mentally.

So I guess the point is I like the idea of change. But I am not change committed. So I took a look at my major personal goals and asked myself: “What do you need to stick with the lifestyle you want?” And I broke it down into three major categories: Finance Goals, Wellness Goals, and Mindfulness goals. And where I am starting from isn’t pretty. Really isn’t pretty. But sometimes you have to look in the mirror at the monster, and address the whole being. And all of it: my health, my spending, my mindset; it’s all related.


I have amassed some debt over the last year. Some debt is really an understatement. I took on a mortgage, a car loan, and $14,000 in credit card debt. Here is a snapshot of where I sit today, 01/02/2016.

Cash snapshot 01/02/2016
Cash snapshot 01/02/2016
Loan Snapshot 01/02/2016
Loan Snapshot 01/02/2016
Credit Debt Snapshot 01/02/2016
Credit Debt Snapshot 01/02/2016

In order to tackle my debt, but still live a life I want to lead (meaning not total withdrawal from the things I love), I budgeted out my monthly salary as follows:

Take home monthly: $4,200

Loan Payments: $2,100 (Mortgage and Car)

Wellness: $250

Mindfulness: $200

Monthly Credit Card Payments: $550 (including minimum payments)

Emergency Savings: $460 (Until account hits $2500)

Bills & Utilities: $300

Groceries: $200

Discretionary income (which I will take out in cash): $140

Now, I realize that this is not an incredibly aggressive budget plan. In fact, Mr. PTM is much more hardcore than me, and I admire him and others who can put their mind to something and really kick butt. But, for me, change is hard, and I am learning that I am not good at the full-speed ahead method of change. So it is one bite of my plan at a time, and as I hit my stride, I will get more aggressive, and show my budget changes and progress.


There is $250 allocated in my budget for Wellness, which may seem silly since I that money would make a big dent towards my debt every month. However, in the interest of full disclosure, there are a few reasons why I have chosen to put that there.

In 2013, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia after struggling with pain and fatigue (and dealing with dozens of doctors) since I was 17.  In my case, it was a diagnosis that came from repeated misdiagnosis, as an umbrella term for what I was suffering that fit better than anything else.

For those unfamiliar with the condition, it is a fickle little bugger. Every day is different. Some days I feel great, and as a result feel like I can workout hard and knock out chores and whatever else has been sitting unfinished. And then I will be laid out in pain and with chronic fatigue for days. Sometimes, I feel pretty good for months, with mild pain, and am able to push myself harder with little repercussion. And sometimes I have what I call “flares”, which means pain and exhaustion, every day, without reprieve.

Because of the pain, I stopped exercising. Because I was tired, I stopped cooking. And now, I am out of shape, in pain, and unhealthy. So to resolve that, the $250 breaks out as follows:

Orange Theory Fitness: $150 for unlimited monthly memberships

Acupuncture: $100 (4 sessions per month)

Orange Theory is perfect for me: it is one hour, it is trainer led, but personal motivation and modification, and it is all over the country for when I travel for work. It combines strength and conditioning to maximize my time and my physical needs to combat the pain with muscle strength.

Acupuncture is a process for me to wean off the fibro medication I have been on (Cymbalta, which is a nasty thing), and take a natural route to self-healing and pain management. I found a community acupuncture clinic with a sliding payment scale to maximize affordability while also maximizing treatments at 1x per week.

Below are my body shots as of 01/02/2016, that are proof of my physical wellness change I hope to embark on, and a reminder for me to push on, to strengthen my body and self-esteem.

IMG_5733 IMG_5734 IMG_5735

















The mindfulness piece is what ties all of this together. For $200 a month, I hired a mindfulness coach for Mr. PTM and I. It was time for me to take a look at what I had been doing, where I had fallen off, and make a choice to have someone else help guide me to make better choices, and forgive myself and move forward when I didn’t do things perfectly. The mindfulness, resilience and coaching that come along with this journey will help Mr. PTM and I in our individual goals, as well as in our joint ones.

So with these pieces of my 2016 puzzle, I am off on a new adventure. It isn’t the travel or massive change I usually choose, but small everyday choices to make those big changes possible.

-Ms. PTM



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