Simple Green Me

Cultural reporter for KUTV 2News and adjunct yoga/meditation professor blogs about wellness, green living, downsizing, simplifying, better travel✨and more. Offering mindfulness, meditation, goal-setting and decluttering coaching!

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How allowance saved my marriage

My man is an AMAZING husband; the problem is me. I know this. Every pay period, I’m uncharacteristically  frustrated and frantic when bills seem to get out of control. It doesn’t make sense; with our downsized lifestyle, and a respectable income, we shouldn’t be coming up short. This is a problem many families face; the case of the “small holes sinking the ship,” to paraphrase Mr. Hunned-dolla-bill Ben Franklin.

When I am stressed about money, I’m not a nice person. I am short with my husband, impatient with my toddler, and generally a bundle of nerves. I can’t relax. I busy myself with extra projects to cover the gaps. Toward the end of that second week before payday, I’m basically tearing my hair out. This has to stop.

I go through our checking account online and notate any recurring monthly expenditure I see; all the necessities like utilities, mortgage, babysitting cash, eating out, business expenses, gas and grocery bills. I add this up. 

I circle what should be our remaining balance. It’s an amount big enough for my husband to question my math.

“No way,” he says with eyes wide. “There’s no way we would have that much left over!”

“Yes,” I say. “But small purchase after small purchase is eating up this amount so fast, that we’re left to cover a gap till payday.”

That amount could be a vacation, an extra mortgage payment, even a new car payment (although we firmly believe a paid off car is the best cat). Both of our eyes are open. 

So my husband grabs a stack of envelopes. He labels them with all the areas where we tend to overspend: Dining out, entertainment, even groceries. We allocate cash into each one, with the idea of: when it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s a budget system. 

Here’s a few tips if you want to do this method:

1. The bills that come out every month are not budgeted into cash. Those are listed out but come out of checking

2. Break your cash budgets into weeks. So if our budget is $240 for the paycheck, I take $120 with me to the store. (BTW, after trial and error, that’s a realistic amount each week for groceries for a family of three). 

3. Budget in “fun.” We give ourselves a realistic dining out and entertainment budget. It keeps us conscious of what we spend while still allowing some “splurging.” We also give each other an allowance of $50 or so a paycheck to cover any small purchases we would like that don’t fall under a budget category. I’m saving this week’s to go toward a yoga trapeze, and he’s using his to eat out when he forgets to bring his lunch. 

4. Rethink the grocery budget. We like to eat out, so we shaved a little off the grocery budget to give us Dining Out money. We also order Blue Apron meals to supplement our grocery-made meals; it’s a delivery service of recipes and ingredients that gives us 3 meals a week. My husband have a blast prepping them and learning how to cook; and we don’t have any waste because they pre-measure and send the ingredients. Yes, it’s $60/week, but we just shave that off the grocery budget. So now, each paycheck is $240 groceries, $120 dining out, and $120 Blue Apron. It seems like a lot, but it’s keeping us from those “here and there” purchases that end up costing way more than our budgeted food amount. Plus, were eating healthy, going Out to restaurants, and don’t have waste with the groceries we do buy. 

So, how’s it going? It’s been amazing. Not only is our checking account full because we’re spending our budgeted cash, but it’s adding courtship back into our marriage.

The other day, we got cash out of Entertainment to go to a movie. I was packing my purse with snacks and he stopped me, pulled a $10 out of his allowance and said, “I’ll buy the popcorn.”
Now, instead of turning into Stressy McGee a week after payday, I joke with my husband that we need to eat McDonald’s because the Dining Out is getting low. And we have! (We only eat the cage-free egg sandwiches there, so we got their breakfast during a date.) our outlook on money has totally changed, from “spend it if we’ve got it,” to “better save up for that nice dinner” or “let’s make that last awhile longer.” I have to think that over the long term, because of how lame I get when I’m stressed about money, that this budget could have been the difference between divorce, and a happy, playful marriage.

**would you like help with a budget to fit your needs and lifestyle goals? Get 10% off a success coaching session at


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Yoga for the ‘Smartphone Hump’ and other Poture Problems

Amanda showing “Fresh Living’s” host how to fight curved shoulders

Ok, so the headline may sound extreme, but technology is causing an increase of the Dowager’s Hump – a buildup of fat and calcium at the base of the neck – in young adults and even children. You yourself may even be a victim! It used to be that gravity would pull our heads forward and cause our spine to curve and fuse into a humpback, but now, looking down at your phone has become a faster-acting cause. 

When we text, our chin tucks, our head slips forward, and our shoulders round. If we fail to strengthen our back muscles, they soon become overstretched and weak, as the pectoral muscles get shorter and stronger, further pulling shoulders forward. Our task is to counterbalance the down-looking by strengthening your back muscles. Here are some yoga poses designed to do just that!

1. Posture “stacking”

2. Wall or chair shoulder stretch

3. Behind-back chest-opener with strap 

4. Locust pose

Hope these poses open up your shoulders as much as they have mine!

*watch me demonstrate all these moves during my “Fresh Living” segment HERE.

Get a personalized posture correction or prevention plan by signing up for a FREE consultation HERE

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Yes, diet and exercise – but first, MINDFULNESS.

It was 6 months after my baby was born, and I suddenly found myself 20 pounds under my pre-baby weight. I got REALLY lucky, because many women’s bodies need 2 years or more to let go of all the extra water, fat and nutrients that that particular baby needed. We never know how post-baby body will look; we can only stay in the moment and breathe into the cards we are dealt. 

I had gained 30 or so pounds during pregnancy, being very aware of what my body was asking for! It was definitely more meat and potatoes and sugar cookies than green salads. But I had been eating green salads prior to pregnancy and my body said, “hey, a little more sustenance, please!” After the baby, I was back to green smoothies and yummy healthy food, but it wasn’t because I HAD to; I ate that way because when I did, I felt more energetic; more emotionally satisfied. Pregnancy taught me to go for foods that made me FEEL good; not to just stick to a rigid diet. Pregnancy was the beginning of mindful eating. 

A few months after the baby, I hadn’t even started doing yoga again when the scale started dropping. Now, two years later and I’ve maintained the weightloss. Here’s the crazy part: I’ve done the whole personal training thing, eaten rabbit food for weeks on end, and tried every-day marathons of yoga,  yet I’ve never sustained my Weightloss like I have now. The one thing that’s different about my current fitness plan is MEDITATION and MINDFULNESS. Without awareness of your thoughts and emotions, and how they manifest in your life through action or reaction, your diet and exercise plan is merely a bandaid on a deep-rooted issue. In order to heal the body, you must first heal the soul, so that you can once again HEAR what your body is asking for.  

For example: Merideth struggles with anxiety. She leads a busy life, and sometimes when she gets home, she grabs a bag of chips and sits in front of the TV, just to unwind and distract her from the cyclone of “to-dos” in her head. But after learning breathing and meditation techniques, she grew more aware of the emotions she was having and learned to label them as “anxiety” or simply, “thinking.” Soon after, she would get home and pour a cup of tea and have an apple; she didn’t want a full stomach for her 15 minutes of light yoga she’d do in the living room. After yoga, she ate a colorful dinner and ended her evening in the bathtub with a book. Because she knew these actions brought her peace and self-love, instead of self-loathing and guilt that came with her former habits. 

Ain’t nothing wrong with vegging in front of the tv; everything in moderation! This example was just meant to show you that when you are mindful of how you feel, and how you WANT to feel, you make decisions that are much better for your wellbeing. And that is a sustainable fitness plan. Let me repeat, I’ve enjoyed two years and counting at my ideal weight. 

 Let me know if I can help set you up with a personalized mindfulness plan including meditation tools! Your first call is free; the second one is only $30! Clients tell me it’s a mix or goal-setting, relaxation techniques and therapy. I welcome you to try it! Click here to get my number. Namaste!!