Author Archives: tanyahiggs

Day 9 – Living Well Spending Zero

So I had this thing named all wrong. It’s a 31 day challenge of Living Well and Spending Zero. Ah well. So Day 9! And once again, I didn’t even look at the darn task for the day. I need to rename this challenge – 31 Days of Trying to Read the Actual Tasks of the Living Well Spending Zero challenge. Which I am utterly failing at. But, at least I’m blogging! Dear friend who suggested I blog, you’d better be reading this.

Day 9 is Cleaning Day.

It calls for cleaning your whole house including baseboards and ceiling fans. What the WHAT!!?? Umm….perhaps this challenge isn’t for people with young children. Definitely people with young twins. I cleaned my entire house this morning and it still looked crazy by 2pm. Food serves a dual purpose for Ava and Aaron. First and foremost, it is played with. Whether its squishing bananas between their fingers, tossing oats out of the canister and sloshing around in it , turning over bowls of cereal, or emptying out their juice cups – it’s all about the playing. Then they eat…but always MY food. I just try to eat when they’re not around or when they’re not looking. Last time I snuck around this much I was in high school and up to no good. This is payback.

So I didn’t do today’s challenge entirely….but did I clean? Yes. Does it count? Hecks yeah! Besides, I’m not cleaning my baseboards until the twins start school. If I have any free time at all, it will be spent in one of three locations: in front of my sewing maching, in front of my television, or in front of a book. Baseboards? Pfft.

Let’s see if I can actually get Day 10 done tomorrow. . . 





Days 5-8 Spending Freeze

So….um. Days 5-8 kinda went just like the title. A total blur. I didn’t even LOOK at my tasks for the day. And I definitely didn’t slow down. How is it possible that the VERY week I decided to slow down and even blog about it……I have the busiest week in sales I’ve ever had? TheTwinShop was approached by a German site that caters to twins, we got our biggest order ever, and a bunch of last minute Easter orders. Sigh. I did at least take the twins to the beach one day this week but they were terrified of the waves. As in shrieking, screaming, and sprinting AWAY from the water when I tried to get them in. Ah well.

So what did I miss? Day 5  called for eating “out” at home. As in make a restaurant copycat dish at home. Weellll, Ariel (my awesome 13 year old daughter) made tofu teriyaki with fried rice, Does that count? Yes, it does.

Day 6 called for getting a free education. More specifically, to learn something new (skill, hobby, insight) without spending a dime. Well….I taught myself how to sew for free. No it wasn’t today. It was a year and a half ago. Does that count. Yes, I think so.

Day 7 calls for reflection. Well…I don’t have time to fill out that pretty sheet that the creator of this challenge came up with (and really. fill out a sheet? who handwrites anymore?) So reflections – biggest challenge? Not eating fast food. BUT I had to once or twice or three times. Hey! I have 2 year old twins. No more explanation needed. BIggest insight? I have to plan plan plan. Its easy to mindlessly spend, especially when I’m stressed or pressed for time. Time management is key to finance management. At least for me.

Day 8 calls for Preparing to clean. I am in a perpetual state of preparing to clean. I keep the broom and dustpan next to my computer because I will use it 15 times before the day is over.  My house never actually stays clean for more than the ten minutes immediately following a major cleanup….but that’s life with five kids and twins. I think I swept oats off the floor three times (the twins LOVE pulling down the canister, dumping oats off the floor, then eating it. shudder.). I mopped two or three times. The twins LOVE dropping bananas on the floor. And turning their falsely advertised spillproof sippy cups upside down and shaking the juice out. This was all in one day. So does that count? Yes.

Well would you look at that? I managed to stick to the spending freeze challenge even though I didn’t actually look at the challenges each day. One could make the point that I didn’t really stick to the plan. And I’d tell that one to shutup. I have five kids including twins. I can get away with it.

Hope I can do day 9! Let’s see what it is…..and its…..Cleaning Day. On a Monday?!! Oh dear.




Day 4 – Spending Freeze

Day 4 of the spending freeze is over and I almost spent nothing.  As usual, my day didn’t go as planned and I would up in my car longer than I thought I’d be so I had to stop and get some fast food for a grand total of $3.18. One could argue that it was an essential expenditure as I was starving, and the twins needed to eat as well. That one would be me. The donut and cranberry juice later this evening wasn’t an emergency….but it was only $2.94!! And I really needed a pick me up after such a long day. So I guess that was essential too. See how rationalizing works?

Other than that, I dutifully restrained myself even though I went to the beach and it would have been PERFECT for pizza and smoothies. Instead I packed cashews, hummus, carrots, fruit and water. Much healthier, and much less tasty. But that’s not the point of the freeze!! And it felt good to eat healthy and…not spend needlessly. 

So the fourth day of this challenge calls for planning a meal swap. Uh no. I’m a little picky about my food. . . .The only person I’d want to cook for me is my bestie Jennifer Hall. But she lives in Philly, and I can’t cook anywhere as good as she does so it’d be a totally unfair exchange with her family of three, and mine of seven.

Day 5 looks like a lot of fun – stay tuned 🙂



Day 3 – Spending Freeze

Day 3 of the Spending Freeze calls for Brainstorming Meal Ideas. Being the listmaker and organizer that I am…..I kind of already had that done. And it’s on my Google Drive. At one point (and I hesitate to admit this)……I even had a master grocery list in a spreadsheet. Broken down my store, cost, and aisle. Alphabetized. 

Then I got a little more creative and made a menu board that I saw on Pinterest. But the kids messed with it so much it started to come apart, so I gave up. But still, I make a menu every week and generate a shopping list accordingly (that I carry on a clipboard to the store).  I am baffled when I see people in the grocery store without a list. And a cart full of groceries! How do they know what they need for the whole week?? I swear, there’s nothing more frustrating than having to go back into the store to pick up the ONE thing you forgot. Lists take care of that.

I finished Day 3 successfully and did NOT a thing. I REALLY really wanted to go out and get a smoothie since I had to work late. But I just made  a cup of tea (healthier and free!), snuggled up in my couch and finished Gone Girl. Living well, and spending less 🙂

Day 2 of Spending Freeze

Day 2 calls for Organizing Your Pantry. The idea is to use what you already have instead of buying more. After inventorying my pantry, this week’s menu is a hodge podge of meals including veggie chunks, beans, and possibly couscous. The hubby is a big fan of disgusting instant meals of the “add water and/or milk, then microwave and mix” variety. And he actually eats frozen dinners. That might be the worst food on earth. Right there with McDonalds or KFC. Shortly after we got married, he watched in amazement as I made mashed potatoes…from actual  potatoes. He thought they only came in a box.

Part of this 90 day slowdown is not working like crazy and contracting as much of my clothing orders as possible. So today instead of frantically running errands and rushing home to work, I dropped off my orders to my seamstress (who I’m sure is positively delighted with this development) and went to an Asian market. Instead of my usual rush, I walked around surveying foods that I will never ever eat unless I’m on a reality show that will pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so. I saw jellyfish, octopus, quail eggs and old chicken. And yes, in the freezer were bags labeled “old chicken”. Perhaps young chicken isn’t as tasty?

The twins promptly fell asleep on my way home, derailing my plans to finish grocery shopping and catch up on some fabric cutting. Instead, I sat in my parked car in the driveway for an hour, took a short nap, and read a few chapters of Gone Girl.  I used to wake the twins up, but I’ve learned the hard way that there are only a few things in life worse than dealing with sleep deprived 2 year olds. So I look at my schedule for the day and do triage since I lost an hour. Seems like a small amount of time, but like interest, it compounds, and before I know it, the weekend is here and I still haven’t gotten the laundry done, returned phone calls, or cleaned my bathroom.

So Day 2 is through, and I survived without Starbucks or Amazon, my two biggest vices. Let’s see what Day 3 brings!





Morning 1 of spending freeze

I’m slowing way down for the next 90 days and for the next 31 days I’m on a spending freeze. Hence, the cleverly titled….90dayslowdown. Real creative, huh?

I have been working so much that my dad said I looked older than my 92 year old grandmother. While I don’t THINK this is true, it concerned me. I also watched the movie About Time (which truly is cleverly titled) about a man that can time traveI. And long story short, he lives to the fullest and enjoys every moment. There’s a lot more that goes into it, but trust me, it’s a great flick.

I was very excited last night about this new plan, and today I’m a little nervous. I’m very good at starting big and even better and quitting small. Usually within a few weeks. Don’t judge me!

However, I REALLY want to do this, and I know that writing things helps it get done. Sharing it helps with accountabilty. Plus my friend Eugene has been telling me to blog so I know I have at least one reader. And maybe my friend Kelly since I wrote on her blog. And maybe the other three members of my book club because…well they like reading. But if no one ever reads this, which is very likely going to be the case, I just like writing. And I like being able to go back and see how my life and how my thinking has changed.

Anyhoos, this is the plan I’m following for the spending freeze for 31 days. Its part of an overall 90 day slowdown. For 90 days I’m going to do something that is a HUGE HUGE HUGE leap for me, but I can’t say what yet. It involves me slowing down and spending more time with the family, but that’s not the exciting part. At the end of the 90 days, I’ll share the results.

Now I’ve got to actually get some work done as the twins are gone for the day, and that almost NEVER happens.  . . .