Monday #002

After I broke down over draining my savings account, see Monday #001, I did what any other Type A / perfectionist would do and got out my favorite pen & notebook.

If I got myself into this mess, I needed to get myself out.

It was time to game plan my debt exit strategy. Complete with feverish writing, math equations and diagrams.

I’ve struggled with budgets for the last 5 years because my business revenue has ranged from $1,137 to $12,360 each month. (From there I pay taxes, my business expenses and then myself.) It’s hard to plan ahead when there’s so much range — at least this is the excuse that I tell myself.

So I put budgeting on the list of things to figure out after I get a few easier victories. I knew that right now I wanted to start by lowering my expenses.

The math is simple — spend less than what you make.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know that, but I have yet to put it into practice. This time I wrote it down in my notebook and stared at the sentence for a few moments. Admitting to myself that I wasn’t spending responsibly hurt more than a little bit.

With that tough love, I acknowledged the pain and stress not being in charge of my money was adding to my life. As someone who suffers from chronic migraines and daily headaches, the last thing that I want to add to my life is stress or pain. It was time to take action towards not being a part of the problem.

I wiped my tears and decided to start small enough that it felt doable while also picking something that would be better for my health. Cutting out Diet Coke.

I know. I know. Is that really small enough?

The addiction to soda is real. Very real. And with caffeine helping my daily pain, I clung tightly to my ability to drink a Diet Coke when I wanted. But what started as one can when I needed relief turned into 2, 3, 4 cans of the stuff a day and 2-3 bottles on the weekends.

One bottle at the gas station down the street is $1.99.

Don’t ask me how I know this. (It’s cause I buy them all the flipping time.) And while I wasn’t buying those $2 bottles every single day, the BP charges on my credit card showed it was happening way too often.

And even with my cheap cases of cans from Costco, it’s not crazy to say I was averaging $3 worth of soda a day, $21 a week or $90 a month.

$90 a month in Diet Coke is equal to $1,080 a year!

I’ll let you in on a secret. My current credit card debt is $1,053. In theory, cutting out soda would cover the debt that I have with a high interest rate in one year. When I laid it out like that, it was an easy decision.

I worked my way down to 1 can a day for a week, when we ran out of soda in the house. I took that as a sign and did the rest of it cold turkey, even though I had planned on trying to water down those small cans for a week or two before cutting the stuff out completely.

It’s been 6 days since my last Diet Coke. While I had some diet soda (that other brand) this last weekend when I went to lunch with my mumsy. I am ready to keep moving forward with not buying the stuff while I save up to pay off my debt.

What has kept me from soda so far?

My number one resource has been caffeinated tea. I used to only drink soda at lunch time and later, never in the mornings. So I start my morning off with some green tea to get my fix well before the cravings hit. I find one cup in the morning and one after lunch works well for me.

When I work out, I’ve been using Fizz Sticks I had leftover from hosting an Arbonne party. It’s another way to get caffeine while also adding 24oz of water to my daily intake. I won’t have these for much longer, but it is helping to kick the habit.

Do you sense a trend yet? It’s all about the water.

Not to be outdone, I have found LaCroix flavors that I love and rely on a can at lunchtime to give me the carbonated pop-top satisfaction my brain needs. I am trying to keep my can consumption to 1 can a day because I know that cases of this stuff ain’t cheap either.

Aside from drinking other options, telling my husband that I don’t want to drink soda anymore helps keep me accountable. Plus he knows not to let any cases sneak into the cart when we go grocery shopping.

The other large factor in me being able to stop drinking this sugary crap is that I had stevia for the first time and reacted terribly to it. My pain jumped to a 7 on the pain scale for two days in a row and I knew it was from the artificial sweetener. It was hard for me not to wonder if even though soda can help with my pain, it wasn’t contributing to the problem.

Et tu, Diet Coke?

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