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Giving It Up

by Ryan Yates

Today is Fat Tuesday or as we like to call it around here, Paczki Day. I’ve already downed my first paczki of the day. I’m sure their will be more to follow. I almost feel like a sinner for eating one because they are so full of fat and calories. The point of breaking the rules in such a severe manner is to reward you for the coming 40 days of Lent. I’m not a religious person, but I have high respect for religious beliefs. I tend to follow the religion of Debt Reduction. It’s a cult following, and membership is on the rise across the country. People are just sick of being in debt so they are turning to people like Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, and PF blogs for guidance.

As with most religions, there are points in time that sacrifices must be made. This week many people will be giving up certain things in their life in to honor the tradition of Lent. Since I like to share things that happen during my journey deeper into Debt Elimination, I will share some things I’ve been giving up.

Newton’s Third Law
Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law states: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I think about the law whenever I want to make a change in my life. It can be reworded to become: For every change in behavior we make, there must be another behavior to replace it. Below I’ve listed three major changes in my life that I have made and the behaviors I’ve adopted to act as replacements.

Stopped Spending
One of the hardest parts of planning to get out of debt is the realization that you can no longer spend money. No more trips to Best Buy for DVDs, no more going to bar to “hang out”, no more shoe shopping just because. Cutting off spending cold turkey is very difficult. One way to combat the withdrawal is to replace the spending with an equal and opposite reaction. The opposite reaction I took was to go out and make money. I can’t think of anything as polar opposite to spending money then making money. I made it my mission to make as much money as I could. I got that second job and become a money making machine. By focusing on making money almost all my urges to spend are gone. This may not work for everyone but it’s worked wonders for me.

Quit Drinking
By definition I was an alcoholic. I would drink 3-6 beers a night and many whisky and cokes on the weekends. I was using the alcoholic to escape the stress from my first job. It relaxed me but at the same time brought anger into my life. I didn’t like the person I was becoming. So on November 22, 2009 I choose to quit drinking completely. It was not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I replaced the alcohol with something much more powerful and fulfilling, communication. Communication can mean many things, but for me it was talking and writing. I talk with my wife more about my day than ever before. Not just the ho-hum crap, but feelings on events that have occurred. I blog and use Twitter to socialize. With as much as I have on my plate, seeing friends has taken a back burner. As everyone gets older and the responsibilities continue to mount people just grow apart. Blogging can be done anywhere. Snytime I have a thought or a cool idea I type it into my phone and being a mind map for it. As I’m sure you know, I’m on twitter all the time and it provides some happiness for me during the day. The weekends of course are my favorite because I can share all the crazy things that happen while delivering. The point of this rambling continues to point to Newton’s law. Changing that “bad” behavior and replacing it with a “good” behavior makes the transition a snap.

Stop using drugs
No not the drugs you’re thinking of. I’m talking about Caffeine. Caffeine is the most addictive drug on the planet. I’ve consumed large amounts of caffeine for as long as I can remember. Caffeine was the one product that kept me going and going like the Energizer Bunny. The caffeine was really starting to effect my sleep. I would never get into REM sleep (the restful sleep). I would wake up half rested and looking for that first cup of coffee to get me moving. A few weeks ago I decided to change that too. I completely quit caffeine. I’m using a good night’s sleep and decaf tea to replace the caffeine. I’m much more rested now, and the tea provides other benefits for my body. Once the headache disappears maintaining a caffeine free lifestyle is easy. I know I’m getting great sleep now and I’m much more alert and focused in life.

Now it’s your turn. If you are thinking of giving something up for Lent, why not give it up forever. I’m sure you can live without that vice in your life. If you can make it 40 days without it, you can go forever without. Just remember Newton’s Third Law though, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Find another behavior to replace the old one and youโ€™ll be making changes like youโ€™ve never known before.


Money Funk February 16, 2010 at

Nice post, Jeff. Ya, I don’t know about the coffee. I can’t give that up. But I would gladly give up eating red meat forever. ๐Ÿ™‚
.-= Money Funk´s last blog ..Menu Plan Monday โ€“ I am going on a diet! =-.

Budgets are the New Black February 16, 2010 at

What a wonderful, transparent post! And so true: often people think they can give up an addiction without replacing it with anything else; then they wonder why they end up right back where they started…

I don’t know about the coffee, though. That’s a bit hard-core. ๐Ÿ˜‰
.-= Budgets are the New Black´s last blog ..Good Read$โ€ฆ and Other Musings from a Week Awry =-.

Jeffrey Kosola February 16, 2010 at

Ok Jolyn and Christine, you are both proving my point about the caffeine drug. Decaf tastes just as good. Ok, maybe not but at least I tried.

What have you guys used to replace shopping? You are both on the path to debt freedom.

Money Funk February 17, 2010 at

Oh that thing you do when you get your tax return? LOL. j/k. Well, partially.

Actually, I need to take up gardening again once the sun comes out. Then I enjoy reading books and crocheting right now. Or, I clean out portions of the house to deliver it all to Goodwill. Keeps me busy. Our family has a lot of stuff. Working on my daughter’s room this weekend. ๐Ÿ˜‰
.-= Money Funk´s last blog ..Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee (Frugal Tip) =-.

Toma Walker February 16, 2010 at

Good thoughts. I am inspired. I’ve decided to give up saving for retirement. I’m just kidding.
.-= Toma Walker´s last blog ..The Valentines Day – Plan B Surprise =-.

Jeffrey Kosola February 17, 2010 at

Toma I love it. Giving up saving for retirement is a great goal. ONLY if you are applying every single penny to paying of debt. I know you are only kidding but there is some merit to stop funding the retirement account. As long as it falls into the overall financial plan, and you return to saving for retirement quickly it can work. I stopped saving when I first started to get out of debt. My company now has a match so I contribute the amount required to get the match. It turns out to be a large sum of money at the end of year. It won’t max out my 401K but it sure is much better to get some “free” money for the long term.

youngandthrifty February 16, 2010 at

Wow, you sound like you have come a long way! Congratulations on stopping the alcohol and choosing to communicate more. I’m surprised you didn’t go into withdrawal with cutting cold turkey like that. =)

You’re also very right about the working aspect. Becoming a working machine really helps you stop spending because frankly, there is no time to spend!
I find that my best “No Spend” days are when I’m working. Then the weekend comes and it goes to shambles.
.-= youngandthrifty´s last blog ..How to Get More Money Back from your Tax Return =-.

Jeffrey Kosola February 17, 2010 at

It’s been almost 3 months and no withdrawals, I was surprised too. I feel much better for since I quit.

Having another part of life to focus on has really help to quit my bad habits. I like the idea of no spend days, but for me almost everyday is a no spend day. We spend money on Monday’s for groceries. We also spend money once every other week for eating out. Besides gas, that’s it.

Good luck trying to have no spend weekends. That’s a tuffy ๐Ÿ™‚

youngandthrifty February 19, 2010 at

Wow, congratulations again! Three months- that’s amazing. Keep up the good work. =) Quitting your vices is really hard… my boyfriend relapsed a couple times with his smoking (cigarettes just to clarify, because I AM from Vancouver lol) but he’s okay now.

I had a no spend weekend (or very little spent) last weekend! I think I spent a total of $5 on Saturday for our transit tickets to go to Live Yaletown (one of the Olympic entertainment venues). Then got free Coca Cola and Vitamin Water (gotta love those free sponsors!).
.-= youngandthrifty´s last blog ..Mortgage Rules Change- Uh Oh! =-.

Jeffrey Kosola February 19, 2010 at

HaHa I love the smoking part. I never knew that about Vancouver. The no spend weekend sound like they are working well for you. I’m going to try one soon. I hope you are enjoying all the events happening around Vancouver.

Thank you for the support ๐Ÿ™‚

LeanLifeCoach February 16, 2010 at

I’d given up all my addictions; the women, the drugs, cigs and cigars and even gambling. My only vice was the Dr. (Dr. Pepper that is!). Last year I picked up a bottle while waiting for a plane. As I sat at the gate it dawned on my that the 20 oz bottle cost the equivalent of $14.00 per gallon and nearly barfed! I have not bought another bottle since!

If you get a chance check this out, it will knock you socks off! A different perspective on pricing
.-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..The Value Of DIY Is Greater Than Just Savings =-.

Jeffrey Kosola February 17, 2010 at

That is awesome. Attaching a price to items like that is a great way to look at things. Your post was cool too. I knew toner was going to be very high, but not that high.

How have you replaced the Dr. Pepper? How have you replaced any of the vices? I’ve always thought a life without vices would be boring. The opposite seems to be true. I’m finding many other more productive and fun activities to replace them with.

Financial Samurai February 17, 2010 at

Jeff, a doobie here and there never hurt nobody, but I wouldn’t really know ๐Ÿ™‚

Good job kicking alcohol! Were you heavier then? Just wondering whether alcohol really is a culprit to weight gain gain.
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Do โ€œCโ€ Students Deserve โ€œAโ€ Lifestyles? =-.

Jeffrey Kosola February 17, 2010 at

I’m sure you California guys know all about the doobie stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

I was not very heavy for my weigh before quiting. I’m 5 foot 11.5 in the afternoon and 6 foot in the morning, tipping the scales at 196 lbs. I’ve been that weight for almost 2 years now. I use to be over 225 before China and lost 50 pounds from the stress. I’m now back to healthy weight and haven’t seen it change. I thought for sure quitting the alcohol was going to shave a few pounds off, but no. No culprit here.

I hope you are enjoying your trip ๐Ÿ™‚

Financial Samurai February 18, 2010 at

Oh, that’s a bummer that alcohol didn’t shed a few more pounds. Hmmm…. maybe it’s all a myth that alcohol is carbo-overloading then!

Everytime I hear 200lbs or 205lbs.. I think of Michael Jordan and an interview he had. At 6ft 6inches, he said his ideal weight was about 205lbs.

Trip is good! Everything starts early here and stays later actually!
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..We Have Peanut Butter, But No Bread โ€“ Making Do With Less =-.

Jeffrey Kosola February 18, 2010 at

So what you’re saying is I’m over weight. Thanks a lot man!! J/K who is this Jordan guy? I’ve never heard of him.

I think you have really started something the “challenge”. I can’t believe all the buzz that is happening, it’s awesome dude.

Financial Samurai February 18, 2010 at

Haha, nah, you look perfectly normal to me in your picture!

I’ll write an update about the Yakezie Challenge in a week or so. A lot of stuff has come up since the challenge started!

Seriously, we may very well start our own list given WB changed their rules by adding blogs that are offshoots of major publications already (look at #1 and #2) on their list.

Yakezie 4 life! ๐Ÿ™‚
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Marketing Or Manipulation? =-.

Forest February 17, 2010 at

I don’t drink much and when I do I do it to enjoy the drinks not get smashed (well sometimes that’s a side effect!)… You were drinking a hell of a lot! But considering it was easy to stop it shows you was not an alcoholic.

I am slowly trying to purge bad companies from my life. Coca Cola is at the top of the list with people like Nestle in a close second. Although I don’t do it 100% successfully my intake of their product is greatly reduced just be being aware and making alternative choices…. Check out Knowmore.Org if you want to know how good or bad a company is….

I enjoy reading your tweets, I have only just started using Twitter properly so I plan to make myself more interactive on there…. I do wish i had a phone with that kind of capability.

.-= Forest´s last blog ..Getting Rid Of Ants =-.

Jeffrey Kosola February 17, 2010 at


I’m glad you don’t drink a ton. Having a cold beer is great, it’s just not for me anymore. I will checkout when I get some time, sounds interesting. I’d love to see how my company ranks on the list.

Twitter really is a good tool to use. I like the interaction with everyone and even if people don’t tweet much they are always watching and cheering you on. If anyone else would like to follow Forest here’s the link FrugalZeitgeist

carlisa February 17, 2010 at

You are really on to something with giving up alcohol and coffee. Coffee & wine are a big expense in our family. The coffee i use is the more gourmet type: (starbucks or organic) since it actually keeps me from going to the coffee shop to drink “good” coffee. The wine we consume is deliciously cheap but that still adds up! Hoping to follow your lead. Good luck in sticking to your commitment.

Jeffrey Kosola February 17, 2010 at

Yep the savings are great. I would spend at least $15 per week on beer, and $5 on coffee. I work in a factory and $1 a day bought all the coffee you could drink. I love the cheap stuff though. Maxwell House or Folgers is as fancy was we get.

You know, buy the Box-O-Wine is a cheap way too. Ok, I’m just kidding on that one ๐Ÿ™‚

Good luck at cutting back and/or quitting. It really is not bad at all.

Brad Chaffee February 17, 2010 at

Great and inspiring post Jeff! great job!

I would like to give up caffeinated soda (at first) and then quit soda all-together. I drink WAY too much diet soda!!! Way too much!!!

I would also like to give up fast food completely. Like Dustin from Engaged Marriage, we eat out way too much. That seems to be our weakness and probably the main reason we struggle losing weight. I kind of started slow on the Improve Yourself challenge, then kicked some ass, but have now creeped into the normal stage of failure which is back to my old habits. (the cycle of death, as I like to call it.) It’s what inspired me to post my time management post today. I need to better plan my meals so I can avoid the quick and easy stops that end up being not so quick and easy to lose when it comes to pounds.

I would also like to give up procrastination. That goes without saying! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the inspiration dude! Keep up the good work and good luck with giving up on your crutches.
.-= Brad Chaffee´s last blog ..Time Management โ€“ Organizing Your Time For Maximum Results =-.

Jeffrey Kosola February 18, 2010 at

Thanks Brad. Since I’m open about my money, I figured I’d be open out some personal issues.

You NEED TO STOP EATING OUT!!! Yes you are out of debt, but think how much more money you’d have. Should I come down there and give you some cooking lessons. I’m sure Money Funk would help too. I know you are a busy man, me too. I still have time to make dinner of the family every night. I know you are working hard on the weight and I’m sure you are right that eating out is not helping the cause. I like that you are going to plan the meals. As with money, eating right MUST be planned out. Since you know how kick debt’s ass, it’s time to kick fast food’s.

Good luck my friend,

Financial Samurai February 18, 2010 at

Don’t you think Brad could score some discount or free pies from his old shop? That’s what I’d do. “HOOK ME UP BOYZ!”
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Marketing Or Manipulation? =-.

Jeffrey Kosola February 18, 2010 at

Yeah the free pies are good, but it doesn’t help the other cause he’s working toward.

Ryan @ Planting Dollars February 19, 2010 at

Good to hear that you’ve eliminated booze from the equation Jeff. Do you still have any desire to drink or was it just a crutch in that past? I think I need to quit blogging, haha… I’m having so much fun with it, but I sometimes a few hours fly by before I even realize it!
.-= Ryan @ Planting Dollars´s last blog ..Hiking Diamond Head and Snorkeling In Waikiki =-.

Jeffrey Kosola February 19, 2010 at

I really don’t have the desire any more. It must have just been an empty drug for me. I am sorry that booze didn’t have any affect on weight like the Samurai was hoping for.

I hear you on the blogging thing. The time just FLY’s when you’re working on it. I’ll have a special email coming to you later this weekend. I hope you like my answers ๐Ÿ™‚

David Wilson August 25, 2010 at

Very good advice. A lot of people still don’t realize that by making small, simple changes in their habits, it will affect their financial status in the end.

Jeffrey Kosola August 26, 2010 at

@David it is simple amazing how the small changes will help a person out. I wish everyone would make 3 small changes a year, that’s it just 3 and the results would be awesome. Thanks for the comment – Jeff

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