The Money Problem Part 2 - The Practical Reality of Tightening Your Belt

The Money Problem Part 2 - The Practical Reality of Tightening Your Belt

If you’re in the development and spiritual game, there’s a comment you will hear a lot from teachers and other seekers, and it has to do with confusion that people can’t understand them, especially when they’re talking so plainly and literally.

At first you take this very personally, and land up spending a lot of time adjusting your communication style, but eventually, you realize that the reason people can’t understand you is because they don’t want to understand you - so they block you out.

The reasons for this are varied, and usually have to do with the reward that they gain from the challenging aspect or behavior.

Please scroll down for the video version.

In a nutshell, it’s fair to say that people disagree with anything that does not support their view of the world or suit them - and those are the ideas that they hold onto.

What’s important to realize is that this process happens inside the LISTENER that is HEARING the answers. In this case, that listener is you.

Huh? What do I mean?

Below we’re going to lay out practical advice that you could have thought of for yourself, but the fact that you DON'T WANT to hear these answers is what prevented you from thinking of them in the first place.

We get to articles like this and we look at the content and we think: “I know all that. I don’t have to read this.” But that again only happens because you are avoiding seeing the answers.

Another reason is the fog that sets in…. it’s amazing how practical and simple tasks escape us when our minds are otherwise occupied - and this is no exception.

You land up getting so busy looking for a big solution, that you miss all the little fixes that can accumulate into a big solution that actually solves the challenge.

  1. Your Lifestyle Budget
  2. Food, Diet & Healthy Living
  3. Health & Beauty Care & Medication
  4. Saving Water & Utility Costs

Your Lifestyle Budget

I remember being a younger adult, already working in business, when a round of economic dip hit.

At the time, we had a pretty well-known business celebrity CEO in SA, who headed up one of the mobile service providers. He wrote a chain email urging everyone to just calm down and not worry about the money situation.

This was during the days of email-everything and endless chain emails, and this happened to be one of those that was passed around.

I was young, and so not really cognizant of the economic impact, but there was a line that really stood out:

"So, we tighten our belts and drink Ricoffy (a cheaper coffee brand) instead of Nescafe (a more expensive brand) for the next few months. Just suck it up - this too shall pass.” (NOT verbatim LOL).

I was glad for that piece of advice for many years going forward - and in my family we developed a habit of just sucking it up when we had to. As a family. And learning to spend time together that did not involve money in any way.

Turns out all you really need for a good time is great company.

The thing about lifestyle budget is that it contains many extras that you’ve come to think of as necessities - like insurances, cable and multiple phone accounts.

From a global perspective, anywhere you cut costs will have a knock on effect - and if the system is going to collapse, it’s going to collapse regardless of what you do.

The choices you make now will have an immediate gain for you and those around you though.

So get practical about it.

Do you really need to be saving for retirement when you can’t afford monthly costs?

How often do you actually use your medical insurance? Can you reduce coverage or do away with it altogether?

It stands to reason that if you have extra unused vehicles and recreational vehicles you should consider selling them, but in the meantime look at your short and long term insurance costs. With the economy as bad as it is, many insurance companies are offering discounts in an effort to attract new clients.

Speaking of extra vehicles, and devices… that’s really all about entertainment isn’t it?

Do you really need such an expensive cable package? Or could you do away with cable and just have Internet access?

The same goes for magazines and movies and eating out… can you do it at home, gathering friends together and keeping costs low?

And where you do decide to cut monthly costs, please do it in a humane way and think people first.

Our natural instinct is to pay big companies first because they have bigger legal departments and debt collection capability, but the people who will really suffer in the initial waves are small business owners, casual labourers and those in lower status positions.

So if it comes to a choice between cable and your maid - get rid of the cable. Your maid won’t be able to find more work so readily and she’s likely supporting a family on what she gets from you.

The same goes for supporting small businesses - pick a healing or getting your hair cut over a payment to a company.

Long term this strategy will NOT stop an economic collapse, because eventually the big companies will run out of money, but short term you will make life easier for the people immediately around you.

And it takes companies a while to chase you up anyway. You’ve got way more than just a few months to play with.

Food, Diet & Healthy Living

3 meals a day and all that…. this is nonsense.

We’re used to eating a lot, because we’re used to eating on schedule.

We’re told to eat breakfast, and we make our way to lunch to get a break from the workday, and we’re hungry at night because we want to relax and we’re habituated to be hungry… but we need nowhere near the amount of food we consume.

How do I know this to be true? Obesity is one of the leading causes of medical issues and deaths in the WORLD.

So yes, every 10 seconds somebody dies of starvation, but on average 1 in 3 are considered obese, and 2 in 3 are considered overweight. And they have a laundry list of medical complaints to go along with the weight they’re carrying ( https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/09/02/20-diseases-and-conditions-directly-attributable-to-being-overweight.aspx ).

We not only eat too much, but the food types we eat are so processed that they’re basically not food anymore. And Monsanto has made sure that we’re only eating herbicides or pesticides (poison), if we do eat raw.

Even raw, unprocessed meat is so chock full of chemicals, antibiotics, hormones and GMO food, that you may as well be taking birth control, or a course of antibiotics, instead of dinner. It would have the same effect.

I was ALWAYS overweight - as a child, teen and even young adult. I finally got a handle on my weight issues in my mid-30s. Now, I’m approaching 40, and for the first time I’m slim. Curvy, but slim.

I didn’t diet or do any crazy exercise - and I still don’t. And even my loose skin has tightened and shrunk. How much weight did I lose in total? Nearly 30kg, or 66 lbs. I dropped from a size 22 pants to a size 10.

In order to get my weight under control, I had to throw all the rules out - and I learned a lot about food in the process.

I had to get out of the habits that caused regular, scheduled eating, get out of bad habits like eating from boredom and emotional or stress eating, and I had to learn how to get hungry.

I did all these things, and I trained myself to drink water, and lost the weight… and you know what I heard?

  • “You’re too thin”
  • "You’ve lost too much weight.”
  • “You drink too much water.”
  • “How can you survive on so little food?”
  • “You don’t eat enough.”

It made me very aware of how much people around you will try to peer pressure you into eating badly and staying fat, so that they can stay fat as well.

We see ourselves in contrast to the people around us - we compare ourselves to the people directly around us.

So in order to avoid the work they know it will take to adjust their lifestyle and eating habits, they will encourage you to eat badly instead.

It’s worth knowing this, because you will find that the people around you don’t support you. It’s really the worst of keeping up with the Joneses type of pressure.

Similarly food is small talk for many people, because it’s the lowest common denominator they have - after the weather.

This one will definitely impact you more at home and work, because it’s a pattern that takes place in closer, more regular relationships: food will become your small talk.

Watch an old couple to see this for yourself… they talk about what they’re going to eat in some depth. And they either start planning the next meal immediately after, or discuss it for a while before they make it.

All of a sudden you’ll have a completely different take on food choices, and they won’t like what you have to say necessarily - because it sounds boring and like a sacrifice to them.

And don’t kid yourself - in the beginning it will feel like a sacrifice. Especially as you learn how to be hungry and learn how to drink water.

Both of these processes will take a couple of months to slip into a groove with.

Once you’re in that groove however, it’s pure magic.

You crave water - and can feel how other drinks dehydrate you. Not to mention the small fortune you save not buying drinks.

You learn how to identify when your body is hungry and you listen to it tell you when - and what - to eat.

This is surprisingly less often than you think. I know there are periods in summer I can comfortably go for up to TEN DAYS without food even crossing my mind.

I know right… hard to believe isn’t it?

But if you think about it, it actually makes so much sense… feast and famine.

Before the advent of electricity and refrigerators in the last century, people did not always have access to food.

If you go back to caveman days, it was catch an animal - or lots of them - during summer, and feast and get as fat as you can.

By winter you’ve built up a store of dried stuff and that keeps you pretty well until a point in winter, and that’s hoping you have a few successful winter hunts to go along with it.

By the end of winter however, there’s little to no food, and you can feasibly go a good long while before you find something to hunt or kill.

Feast and famine. Feast or famine.

You may find - I certainly did - that your body settles into a natural cycle of feast and famine. And considering our tribal history, that kind of instinct for food actually makes a lot of sense.

In fact, it’s probably causing much of your gluttony and overeating now… you’re so instinctively used to thinking of food in terms of feasting, that you feast every opportunity you get.

All that this cycle will achieve is to introduce the natural balance of famine in between. And you will be amazed at how readily and easily the weight finally falls off.

Quality AND Quantity

It’s not just limiting how much you eat though - it’s changing what you actually put into your system as well.

So we’ve touched on water above… but the value of water cannot be stressed enough.

The habit of water is hard to build at first, so your strategy has to be dual fold.

You have to force yourself to drink water AND you have to forgo the drinks you’d usually use to replace the water.

Why is this necessary?

Contrast. Contrast, contrast, contrast.

If you follow my work, you’ll notice word contrast comes up a lot. As human beings we experience the world in contrast - we understand something next to another thing.

So, for example, if the sun shone all the time, then day would be like air - a constant.

But because it gets dark and becomes night, and you understand the concept of night, you also automatically have a concept of day. So in a way you need the contrast of night to understand day - you see where the differences are.

You need night to understand day, and you need day to understand night - otherwise explaining a concept like day would be like Morpheus trying to explain the Matrix to Neo. It’s so much a part of your existence that you don’t even see it anymore.

Other ways it plays out is with competition, for example: we were talking above about people who won’t readily support your food, diet and lifestyle choices in terms of diet.

We are so used to looking at ourselves “compared to” someone around us, that we forget to look at ourselves in isolation.

And while we’re taught that competition makes people strive and excel, in practice the opposite is actually true: the “best” person is ONLY required to be one tiny bit better than the second best person, in order to be the best.

So while there is an initial push to be better, once you’re the best it no longer serves you to improve yourself at all.

In fact, if you get too much better than everyone else, you will be penalised for it. Think about labels like eccentric, weird, obsessive.

So you can be a little bit smarter, but if you’re always smart, then you become a know-it-all.

This is how the system keeps you within a certain subset and boundary of behaviour, and why you find groups of specialists when you really want to push yourself in an arena. It’s even the concept behind ideas like study groups.

So how do you revamp your eating style quickly?

This first part is optional, because it’s not necessarily budget friendly. The reason I suggest it however is because it does make the process feel more natural to slip into, so it will be less stressful overall.

This can also be done by fasting for a couple of days - but few find it easy to fast.

If you can fast, expect a headache on days two and three as your body starts to detox and purge.

You can fast with just water, or with raw fruit and veg - unlimited quantities. Your body will extract the excess water and use it to flush your system as well, so the rules for headaches still apply.

Don’t be an idiot and try and brave the headache out - just take a damn pill. It’s more important that you change your lifestyle than come with a silly excuse why you have to give up, like you messed it up by taking a tablet.

Yes - everyone does stupid stuff like that. “I had one cupcake and now I blew my diet.” It’s nonsense.

With fasting, the point is to go past the initial hunger - it lasts a couple of days, and then you just stop being hungry all the time. And then you really start feeling when you are hungry - but you can’t tolerate as much food.

Another sneaky trick at this juncture is to pick things that are harder to chew - when you haven’t been chewing for a few days, chewing gets tedious quickly.

Okay so back to the optional part… a no rules week.

Huh? It’s exactly what it sounds like - 3 to 7 days of NO RULES. It’s nice to do over a long weekend or when you don’t have to go in to the office, so that’s why the time period is variable.

Basically it means there are ZERO RULES for the week - you get up when you want, sleep as late as you want, eat when and whatever you want, without guilt, and just basically do whatever you want. Total freedom.

Most people naturally tend towards overeating in these periods, so it is a natural way of feasting - but as I said, not budget friendly, so not for everyone.

So once you get to the end of your fast or feast, or if you just decide to dive into the next step, what you’re going to do is allow your body to talk to you.

So you still take the sandwich or lunch to the office to shield your budget - but you only eat it if and when you are hungry.

If you’re not naturally hungry in the morning, then skip breakfast. In fact try and skip breakfast for a few days anyway - you’d be amazed at how many people do not like to eat in the morning at all.

You’ll be equally amazed at how much hungrier you get on days when you do eat in the morning. It seems to be easier to wait until dinner if you skip breakfast altogether. You’re more likely to want lunch if you eat breakfast.

It also has the side effect of simplifying your morning routine a little bit.

So the first rule is WAIT until your body indicates that it is hungry. And learn to wait every time. This is a habit in and of itself.

Eat when you’re hungry.

Stop when you’re full.

Eat what you feel like (within budget).

Enjoy every mouthful.

Also start introducing some fresh and raw stuff into your diet wherever possible. Your body needs these tastes so that it can tell you what to crave.

And cravings will happen after a while - for surprisingly healthy stuff if you’ve exposed your system to it. I find I crave raw fruit and veg more than anything else now, and I used to eat very badly.

Also, stop buying processed meats.

Even plain cuts of meat are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics nowadays, but the processed stuff is way worse.

So start introducing things like plain steamed chicken and vegetables, or even steamed fish.

The upside of this step is how much cleaner your system will be… you’re going to not only lose weight, your skin will look better, you’ll feel healthier and be happier in general.

Intolerances to things like wheat and sugar will fall away because you won’t be consuming so much of it.

Your irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and general tummy issues? Gone. You’ll be amazed at how regular you are in fact.

Your need for medicine will reduce alongside your grocery bill, so you’ll save money on both fronts AND feel healthier and younger than you’ve felt in years.

And what about junk food? And meat and dairy?

Well, did you know that there are multiple CONFIRMED cases of human flesh being found in the meats from major takeaway places? If you go into the story behind it, it’s to force you partake in cannibalism as part of ritual Satanic sacrifice. So sure, go grab that burger.

Or how about the fact that a certain major global fast food brand's chips DO NOT decay - even after weeks? Google it. Your mind will be blown.

Or how about that fact that dairy is graded according to how much PUS it contains? Full cream milk means more PUS. Cheese and cream? Pure pus. No wonder you’re full of phlegm after eating it.

Luckily there is a large and growing section of the population that are choosing to forgo meat and dairy, so there you will have peer support actually, and food options will continue to increase for those who have chosen this path.

A final note on food and hunger… get into the habit of drinking a glass of water FIRST when you think you are hungry.

In many cases, you’ve also confused thirst with hunger, especially because the sugary juices and drinks are more like food than actual water to your body.

This way, you retrain your body to distinguish hunger from thirst - and you’re going to be surprised at how often that confusion has been the case in the past.

Health & Beauty Care & Medication

If you’ve bought into science and modern advertising, and are deeply married to your bottles of lotions and potions, then this next bit will sound totally loopy to you.

In order to have a complete toiletry kit, the following is what you need: good soap, a good face wash, a razor, shampoo, conditioner, salt and coconut oil.

You’ll also possibly need a nail brush and a pumice stone. You will need a nail clipper and nail file, and if you do your eyebrows, a tweezer. You may also need antiperspirant.

That’s it. Yes really.

All those little bottles of lotions and potions you use everywhere on your body? Replaced by coconut oil, which is naturally antibacterial and will clear up almost all your skin issues, including breakouts.

I don’t have to explain the rest, but it’s worth noting that you VERY rarely ever need to condition your hair, especially if you only shampoo once when you shampoo. The second shampoo actually strips the natural oils. So you save by using EVEN less than before.

If you have curly hair, grow it and get the bluntest, plainest cut you can. No feathering AT ALL. Your hair will turn into a breeze to manage and you won’t need any hair products.

And if you need to color your hair and eyebrows, packets of henna powder are dirt cheap and come in a range of colors that require no bleach, ammonia or peroxide - so no damage to your skin. And the color lasts for MONTHS.

If you want to treat your hair WHILE you color it with henna, you simply mix the powder with runny coconut oil. Just stand it in a basin of hot water and it will go runny quickly.

And you can even get the stuff all over your hands and forgo gloves - it may stain the skin a bit, but it will mostly wash off easily.

If you put coconut oil on your hands a few times, it will basically all be gone the next day. It does stain your nails however, but that can be easily buffed off with an emery board.

Finally, the salt… use it as a scrub, all over your skin, and put it on your hair.

Stop the shower, cover yourself in a few handfuls of salt, and give a bit of a scrub to your skin, and then rinse clean before you get out.

You are going to be gobsmacked at how good salt makes you feel, and how amazing your skin and hair will look. It seems to replace the minerals that the chemicals strip, and is well worth a try.

The next major cost for everyone in this arena seems to be medication and medical care.

Simply making these changes to your lifestyle is going to reduce your stress, and the junk you’ve been putting in your system, and so the need for many of the medications will disappear - much more quickly than you realise.

Don’t be afraid to push your doctor for accelerated reduction wherever possible.

The pharma companies use scare tactics - and I wouldn’t be surprised if they made the medication addictive on purpose. The only scientific proof of the effects of withdrawal is pamphlets printed by these companies themselves.

You can trust yourself to make decisions about your body and what you can tolerate - and you are not at the mercy of your doctor.

These doctors get kickbacks from the pharma companies and have a different motivation for keeping you on the meds - even if it’s just that sexy medical rep who always puts out. And they will charge your medical insurance for calls you make to ask them questions.

Doctors are just humans who have studied a specialised subject for a few years. If they were infallible we wouldn’t have so many malpractice suits.

And if you want to see how widespread the problem of obtaining fraudulent degrees really is, read this true horror story: http://lifecoachestoolbox.com/index.php/fraudulently-obtained-legal-degrees-a-true-horror-story

A degree does not make an expert, and you have to take back control of your own health by making the decisions for yourself.

This is a path of learning, but everyone can heal themselves if they apply their mind.

Speaking of healing yourself, here are a series of daily resources for overall health and well being and stress management.

All these tools are easy to remember and do yourself, and can be used for daily maintenance as well as stress management wherever you are. You should be able to remember these the first time you do them.

Saving Water & Utility Costs

So one thing I didn’t touch on in food earlier was speak about frequency of cooking.

At present, you’re used to two ideas: that you have to have a nightly meal, and that it is usually different/varied from the night before.

I was never fond of cooking, so it was a natural progression for me to cook slightly larger meals and then eat on leftovers for the next few days.

In fact, it’s become our preferred way of cooking. And it means only cooking every few days instead of every day.

Also the lack of variety means that you also naturally seek less food - you have no idea what a big deal variety is for you yet. You will further down the line ;)

One way that works really well for us is to make a pot of soup or stew, and starch side, or to pack the steamer with chicken and veg and potatoes and eat on that for the next few days.

What makes this work is no fixed meal times - everyone just goes to the kitchen and grabs something when they are hungry. You quite naturally drop into an easy rhythm.

You’re also going to be surprised at who gets hungry when: my daughter used to hate dinner and love breakfast, and I hated breakfast and loved dinner.

One of the less obvious immediate side benefits is also using less gas or electricity for cooking.

The same applies to making a flask of coffee or tea instead of individual cups - all those little drops in power usage land up adding up to a huge amount later on. We halved our total utilities bill doing this.

However, we also focused heavily on water usage.

So at least here you have the green excuse lol

Laundry is laundry, and there’s only so much you can do about it, but check your machine for an eco wash setting - most models have them.

Not only will this cycle complete in a third of the time, it uses limited cold water wash. Really, city living doesn’t require a much more intense wash than that.

Likewise, you can develop a habit of wearing items multiple times before you wash them - it really isn’t necessary to wash something after one wear. Even if you only do one load less a week, it’s still a saving of 25 to 40 gallons of water.

The big culprits for water savings and usage though, are your bath, shower and toilet.

A bath uses about 36 gallons of water - and a 7 minute shower using an older showerhead can use the same amount of water.

Newer shower heads will stretch that to 18 minutes, but that still isn’t crazy long if you think about it. It’s easy to get lost for 20 minutes in a shower if you’re honest.

Showering can definitely be a water saver over bathing - but have you considered NOT showering every day?

It’s really feasible to go two or even four days between showers, wiping with a cloth in-between. Even if you only shower every second day, you will halve your water usage - and costs.

When it comes to shaving, a tiny bit of water in the basin, while you stand or crouch on a towel to shave, works like a bomb - and you don’t leave the water in the shower running while you shave, so no wastage there. And by tiny I mean an inch of water is enough to shave everything, including both legs.

The next big culprit is your toilet - every flush wastes a huge amount of water, between 1.6 and 4 gallons of water. For metric users, a gallon is approx. 4 liters.

Get into a habit of NOT flushing every time: if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down.

You’d be amazed at how quickly it adds up - and you’re making a real difference to the planet by doing it.

Dishes are another area - and it touches on the house proud mom thing.

Take the pressure off and let the dishes accumulate a bit - at least until it validates running a full basin of water.

A basin of water uses between 8 and 27 gallons when washing by hand, while a dishwasher uses 6 to 16 gallons. The benefit of hand washing is that you can fit more dishes than the dishwasher.

Read more on average water usage at https://water.usgs.gov/edu/qa-home-percapita.html

The last area of utility costs you can save is power and heating.

Turn EVERYTHING off when you aren’t using it - unplug it if you have to.

Especially pay attention to things like charging cables that draw a vampire load even though they aren’t actually charging anything. Don’t leave these plugged in.

When it comes to heating costs, we tried something interesting this past winter that may work well for you: we hung blankets over our curtains.

In fact this worked SO well that we only used our heater twice, for about fifteen minutes each time, over the whole of winter.

Layering blankets underneath and on top of us, also meant that we didn’t have to use electric blankets to stay snug in bed either this winter.

If heat is your problem: I find that cutting an old towel into strips works well, if you dampen the cloths and place them in ziploc or freezer bags, and leave them to freeze.

You can clip them behind your fan to cool a room quickly, or simply use them directly on your body to cool you down instantly.

Placing them behind the neck, on top of your head, on your bare stomach and underneath your feet works very well to cool you down.

And since your freezer is running anyway, there’s no extra power utilized to cool you down.

Using an old towel for the project means you also land up with lots of strips, so you won’t run out either, and it’s reusable.

 

The Money Problem Video Series Part 2 - The Practical Reality of Tightening Your Belt

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