Thursday, March 14, 2013

Zumba lessons, budgeting lessons

Happy Thursday friends! Today's post comes to you courtesy of my college friend Jana, who blogs over at the Daily Money Shot. Please go check her out, and follow along if you want to read things that make you think about budgets, money, blogging, planning, writing, zumba, and life in general. I will be guest posting over there today as well, so look for my post after 10:00 a.m. est. Have a great day!
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Hello, friends and readers of Life According to Steph! I’m Jana, the author at the personal finance blog Daily Money Shot and the founder of Bloggers Helping Bloggers mentoring program. I am thrilled to be guest posting here (and I’m equally thrilled that Steph is returning the favor on my site). If you like what I have to say, the fun continues on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Stop by and say hi!

Like Steph, I am a huge fan of Zumba. In fact, it’s my choice for exercise most days (except when I do stupid things like walk into a baby gate that we use to corral our dogs and hurt my toe and can’t walk but that’s a story for another day). It surprises me that I love it so much because I’m not the most graceful of people (see above story about baby gate) and really, group exercise is not my thing. I’m not exactly the most outgoing of ladies, and I’m also easily intimidated by the very fit, very coordinated attendees in the classes. But last May, I said screw it. I decided to give one class a try to see what would happen and I instantly fell in love. I was hooked.

I’ve been going regularly since that first class. It’s become a big part of my daily routine; it’s essential that I find time to fit it into my schedule. I even find myself listening to some of the music the instructors play in class! I’m still not very good but I keep moving and I sweat and I’ve made friends and I guess that’s really the point. I keep going back and maybe one day, I won’t totally suck at it.

I went through a similar progression when I learned how to make a budget. For years, my husband and I lived without one, just kind of haphazardly spending money on what we felt we needed and wanted. We consistently found ourselves shocked that our savings account was paltry. We were amazed when our checking account would fall into the 2 digits (before the decimal point). We were puzzled when we had to pull out our credit cards to pay for necessities. But one day, after careful examination of our spending habits, we realized the culprit was that we were living without a budget. I know, shame on us.

But we found it intimidating to create a budget. After all, we had no clue what to do. We thought, much like I did entering that first Zumba class, that we’d fall flat on our faces. We believed budgeting would be a disaster. As it turns out, we were wrong. Yes, it was hard (read: insanely difficult) at first. We epically sucked at living on a budget the first few months. But we stuck with it. We kept going back for more. And now, it’s just a normal, regular part of our lives.

By now, you’re probably wondering if I’m going to get to the point (quite frankly, I don’t blame you. I ramble at times). So here it is. It turns out that learning Zumba is a lot like learning to budget.  Here’s a few ways how:

   1. There are dozens excuses for why you can’t start. There will always be reasons for why you can’t attend a Zumba class. It’s too late at night. You don’t have the right shoes. You can’t dance. It’s too expensive. The excuses are endless and will stay that way until you just stop making them. Decide you’re just going to do it and go. No more excuses. If you don’t have a budget, apply this same principle to creating one. Cease justifying why you haven’t sat down to create a budget. Pick a day, a time, write it on your calendar and just make a budget.
  2. Everyone can do it, regardless of skill level. In Zumba, there’s room for people of every ability, shape, size, and skill. You follow along, do what you can and, eventually, you’ll be able to do the high impact moves. Same with budgeting. There’s room for all kinds of budgets, even the most basic one to get you started. As you get better, you’ll be able to make a more sophisticated, detailed budget.
  3. A good teacher makes all the difference. Every Zumba instructor is different. They use different music and routines and have different energy levels. It’s important, if you’re going to stick with it, to find the one that works best for you. Doesn’t matter what works for your friends or your mom; it matters what works for you. And you might have to test a few different teachers before you find the one for you. This also applies to budgeting. There are hundreds of budgeting tools available. Sample a bunch of them and find the one that best suits your needs.
  4. Stick with it and you’ll get better. From what I’ve seen, most people suck the first time they try Zumba. Yes, it’s dancing but it’s a different kind of dancing. And it’s confusing as hell. However, the more you go and the more you practice, the better (and less confused) you’ll get. Sounds like budgeting, right? Creating and living on a budget is not easy. It’s actually really uncomfortable at first. But the longer you do it, the easier it gets. Seriously. I promise.

Having both Zumba and a budget is second nature to me now. I can’t imagine living without either one. It’s a nice, comfortable place to be. I won’t say that I’m perfect or even excellent at either, but every day I do it, I get better. And once you start, you’ll find similar results.

(If you’re interested, you can read about my Zumba and budgeting journey on my site.)

9 comments:

  1. that is very true. i do workouts that require some agility and coordination and in the beginning i'm a total spaz but after a while, you "get it" and you feel so awesome that you're getting it that it makes you want to do more!

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  2. I really need to set up a budget. I just live paycheck to paycheck basically. . . would be so much better if I knew how much "extra" I had each week (don't worry - I have money taken directly out of my account to retirement and savings)!

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  3. @Kathy, you are absolutely right! Once you actually "get it", it feels so good, you don't want to stop. And you want to share your new information and excitement with everyone, too :)
    @Jodi, yes, you do need a budget. Living paycheck to paycheck is so uncomfortable. My husband and I did that for so long. Things are so much easier now that we know where all of our money is going. And you're on the right track with savings and retirement! Good for you...that's a lot more than many others.

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  4. Nicely done, connecting Zumba and budgeting! We used to have a budget back in the day, and we really could use one now. I think my husband has one in his head but that could be a dangerous place.

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    1. I completely understand because my husband's head is a very scary place as well. He's also terrible with money. It's why I'm responsible for the day to day stuff. But we did come up with a budget together. Maybe that could work for you guys?

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  5. I know I need a budget, I just can't make myself do it. I haven't found what works for me yet. I look at the pre-made excel options and get so overwhelmed I just quit!

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    Replies
    1. There are so many options besides Excel spreadsheets. Quite frankly, I hate those. They're huge and frightening and really confusing.

      I know it's overwhelming but it's so important. If you want help, please feel free to email me and I'll point you in the direction of some resources I used when we created our first budget.

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  6. Great Blog entry thank you for sharing. I have been consistent with exercise for years so budget here I come!

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    Replies
    1. Hooray! Good luck on your budgeting endeavor!

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