The Recovering Non-Saver’s Savings Plan Jumpstart

Want to be a Recovering Non-Saver and Start a Savings Plan?

My name is Mary, a recovering non-saver and next month I am going to be doing a “Recovering Non-Saver’s Savings Plan Jumpstart. Not saving money has been a bad habit of mine for a long time and I am working to change it. If you are in the same boat and want to change the bad habit to a good one, one where you have spare change in your savings account, read on. What I am proposing  may seem a little drastic and even a little scary, especially with December being the month of spend, spend, spend, which is all the more reason to tackle it head on!

Looking for more green in your savings account? Join the December Recovering Non-savers Savings Plan Jumpstart!

Be Willing To Do What Others Won’t…

Dave Ramsay, author of many books including The Total Money Makeover has the above  as part of his teachings: “Be willing to do today what others won’t, so tomorrow you will have what others don’t”. I tell myself this quote in many areas of my life as it is so true. I had to be willing to do what was hard (and scary) to get my Group Exercise Certification at age 50. I have to be willing to do the hard of setting my alarm for an hour earlier each morning so I can wake up for a four Sun Salutations (yoga moves) and gratitude journaling practice to create more balance and calmness in my life. I had to be willing to do what’s hard (meal prepping, months of workouts I couldn’t miss, following a strict meal plan and more) to be able to do a couple of figure competitions a few years back. This was the year I decided to quit telling myself “I wish I could do _______”, and start doing what is hard.

I just finished the money – mindset book “Get Rick Lucky Bitch” by Denise Duffield-Thomas (and am starting from the beginning again tomorrow!). In it, Denise shares on how sometimes not only do we have to do the hard, we also have to do the drastic, hence my savings proposal for the month of December. Why not wait until January for a New Year’s Resolution instead? Because I feel it’s time to do something  that seems hard AND drastic in order to change the energy around my lack of savings. As Denise says, our upbringing and current energy and thoughts around money are what keeps us where we are financially and sometimes we need to “throw everything at it” to create change. I remember my mom telling me at a very young age “money burns a hole in your pocket” and guess what, it has continued to do so, and for this reason I came up with the idea for a savings plan for December.

This recovering Non-saver is ready for a golden savings plan jumpstart

The Plan: Save A Dollar A Day For Each Day

If I haven’t scared you off already, you like me, must be ready for some real change to add change to your savings account. Now whether you jump in and succeed or don’t quite make it, it is OK. Many times just taking the leap and getting started will help you do better the next time around. Remember how many times we fell down learning how to ride a bike??? I quit smoking 100 times (or more) before I quit for good! Are you still with me? Good, here it goes.

The formula is simple, set aside a dollar a day for the day of the month. For example on December 1st, put $1.00 in a jar, December 2nd – $2.00, December 3rd – $3.00 and so on. It will be easy at first and as the date climbs, so does the savings! At the end of the month we will have $496 in our savings accounts! I know some of you are already freaking out (I am a little too) telling yourself how hard it is going to be and finding every excuse in the book: I never have any cash, I don’t want to have that much cash laying around, how will I be able to put aside $20 one day and $21 the next? I know, because these are the thoughts I had when I came up with this crazy idea. Here’s the dealio…it will be easy  IF we believe it will! If you are still with me and haven’t “x’d” out of this blog post and said “she’s nuts” (or something stronger), I have created a printable pdf checklist to follow along. I suggest you post this on your fridge or bathroom mirror where it can be seen every day and can check off your “deposit” and just in case a day or two is forgotten, go back where you left off and catch up. My plan is to start out using a jar to drop cash into the first week or so and then depositing into the bank where I can make daily transfers. I will also open a special account for this at a new bank. Why? Because it’s too easy to transfer funds back OUT of savings to checking! My current bank allows to connect with another bank to transfer funds easily.

A dollar a day for each day adds up to $496 in savings by the end of the month!

Why am I doing this? Partly because I personally need this, but mainly because I hear SO often “I wish I could afford to do _______.”. That sentence has come out of my mouth waaaaaaay too many times in my 50 years and it’s time to teach us old dogs (and young ones) a new trick! Last year AND the year before I started one of the 52 Week Savings Challenges where I saved a dollar the first week and doubled the savings every week. My short attention span gave up after the second month as eight weeks in I still only had $36 in savings and I’d forget half the time! As I mentioned before, this seems like it’s drastic, it’s a short time where we can see results FAST. Imagine on January 1st, having an extra $500 in your savings account! I’d love to hear your reasons for joining in the challenge and what it means for you! Here’s to having a successful December Savings Club! Who’s in????

Need accountability partners for your savings plan journey? Be sure to share on your favorite social media channel and tag some friends! If you aren’t following us already, you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Can’t: You Can’t Let It Define You

Mark Black 2005 Beargrease Champion can't

Don’t let people spoil your motivation and tell you you can’t do something.  If you want to set your sights on something then dammit, do it. I have let others spoil some of the things I have done, or wanted to do, just because I listened to their negativism!  Good example: Some of you know I raced sled dogs for many years. (more like: holy sxxt 35 years!!).  I had two major goals I wanted to accomplish during those years. One; finish the Iditarod. Two; Win the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.  Through the years, I had many tell me I would never win a sled dog race because I was too big, my dogs were too slow, I didn’t know how to train a team right, etc. etc. etc.  Well, I raced in the Beargrease 16 times, never finishing out of the top ten! In 2004 Mary decided she wanted to give the Marathon a try, and she finished an impressive 4th place. The following year, I took basically the same team at my 13th run at the race (13th time is the charm!), and finally had my victory!  It was just one of those magic carpet rides where everything was going as planned, and everything went great.  It was one of those moments where you can think back through all the hard work, and money spent, and goals achieved, and say yes, it was all worth it.

You CAN’T Let Anyone Burst Your Bubble

After crossing the finish line beaming with pride, it didn’t take long to have my sought after victory tarnished by naysayers.  I had one competitor comment “well big deal, who did you beat?”, and a couple days later, a family member sent an awful letter pretty much knocking all the wind out of my happy sails.  I let my accomplishment be tarnished by their negativism, I vowed I can’t ever let that happen again.

Mark Black: Who Says a big guy can't win the Beargrease Marathon

Moving On: More Can’ts

A couple years later we retired from racing sled dogs, a passion I had for so many years.  Six months later I found a new love for an old hobby, lifting weights, when Mary and I bought the local gym. We ran that for a couple years, but two years later decided we wanted to thaw out and moved to Florida.  While in Florida, I became interested in Strongman Competitions and started training for the different events at the gym we worked out at in Ocala.  I had planned on entering a competition down there, but at the last minute they canceled the masters division and I didn’t think I was ready for the open class. We have since moved to Alaska and have been living in Fairbanks for the last year.

Mark Black Strongman Tire Flip

Not long after moving here, I found a Strongman gym and when I tell people what I’m doing I have people say that I can’t do it becuase “you’re too old to start doing that” “you’re gonna get hurt”, “is your back ok to do that”, or as one family member said, “I just don’t like you doing that, I don’t like you weighing that much”.  Well guess what?  It’s my life, it’s my back, and I am doing just fine for 55 years young! Matter of fact, I entered my first competition in July and did pretty well! The best part was beating  ALL the competitors in the truck pull, all of which were 15-20+ years my junior.  Yep, I pulled a semi for time, and had the fastest time at 55 years young!  I will be doing more competitions in the future, and have set a goal to qualify for nationals! My next goal is to do a 400 pound bench, 500 pound squat, and 600 pound deadlift, and I’m getting pretty close.  Oh yeah, I’ve always wanted  20 inch arms too!

Turn Your Can’ts Into I CAN, I WILL and I AMs!

Set a goal, and just go for it!  Don’t let others detain you from accomplishing them and don’t let ANYONE say you can’t do something.  I am 6 foot 6 inches tall, weigh 310 pounds and have never been stronger in my life and I am loving it, except I keep growing out of my clothes!

Can't The Aging Youthful Dude says don't let it define you.

P.S. About the Iditarod goal.  I ran it in 1996 and 2002 and had a bunch of bad luck and had to scratch in both around the 900 mile mark.  I have yet to accomplish that goal, but we ARE living in mushing Mecca of Two Rivers, Alaska, with our only dog, an Aussie named Takum. But I ain’t dead yet, right Chase Tingle?

5 Steps to Remove Drama From Your Life

Don’t get me wrong, I love drama, as long as it’s in a movie I’m watching. In my personal life, I try to stay as far away from it I can. A few months back I created the graphic below in response to all the people on Facebook posting a LOT of drama on Facebook.

If drama follows you, maybe it's not following you after all. ~Mary Black I used to feel like drama was following me and guess what? I used to be one of the people saying to myself things like “why does this keep happening to me”, “there always seems to be a black cloud over my head”, and many other similar sentences. I can tell you, I was not always a lot of fun to be around; I was miserable and tired of things “happening” TO me.  I don’t remember the exact date, but I remember the day I told Mark, “I’m done with the pity party, I’m going to be grateful for what I have, I’m no longer focusing on what I don’t”. What do you think happened? You guessed it! Drama quit “following me”. While making that one decision was a pivotal point in my life, drama is all around in the world and keeping drama out of my life is a daily practice. Below are five steps I take to help keep drama out of my life.


Do you know what CNN stands for? Constantly Negative News. ABC; Always Broadcasting Crap. The easiest way to follow this step? Turn off the TV. Yes, turn it off. Stop watching the news, reality shows, docu-dramas, etc. If you can’t completely shut off the TV, limit the shows you watch to a couple favorites a week. We went 12 years without local TV or cable and we didn’t miss it. Mark and I have TV again, and wow, there is a LOT of created drama in the news, they make drama out of nothing and don’t even get me started on the reality shows.

5 Steps to Remove Drama From Your Life


Who are you following on social media? Just like TV, you have the power to turn off the drama posted, tweeted, snapped, Instagramed, etc. When the drama is coming from people I follow, I quit following and/or unfriend them. What to do if the drama queens or kings are family and they would create even MORE drama if you unfriended them? Unfollow them. Another way to have less drama in your newsfeed; quit liking, commenting and sharing controversial posts. It is really that simple. I have been criticized for doing the above, but I am unapologetic about what is in MY newsfeed and it has cut down on the drama even more than shutting off the TV.


Are you standing around the water cooler at work listening to or spreading gossip about another co-worker, complaining about your boss or bitching about _____________(fill in the blank). One word of advice: STOP. All the above does is create negative energy, aka DRAMA, and once again you have the power to walk away. If it is the thing to do it and makes you FEEL like you fit in with your co-workers, it’s time to look for a new position, job or place to work. My advice, walk away,  and head back to your desk and work. The result may be your co-workers start gossiping about you (guess what, if they were gossiping about another co-worker in his/her absence, they are already doing it in your absence). Unless you have a boss that encourages gossip, he or she will take notice of you working while the rest of the office is standing around the water cooler, and you might just get a promotion.


I guess this tip could almost fit in with #3, but I’ll gearing this toward your personal life. Late personal development guru Jim Rohn stated “you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with”. Let that sink in for a couple of moments. Are the people you hang out with loaded with drama? Over the last few years as I’ve tried to remove as much drama as possible, I’ve had to “bless and release” a fair share of people in many areas of my life. Some were people I followed on Facebook, others were friends and even some family. While I can’t completely shut out family members, I can choose to spend less time with them. A couple of years ago I had to let go of a couple of friends who live out of state. I first started by unfollowing them on social media, but it wasn’t enough as they could still see my posts. I finally decided to make what seems like harsh decision;  I unfriended them as I would get a pit in my stomach every time I received a notification they had commented on one of my posts.  By unfriending the offenders, I no longer cringe when I click on my notifications and enjoy an uplifting scroll through Facebook and my other social media channels.

Stop Creating Drama

Lastly and most importantly, Stop CREATING Drama

The best way to remove drama in your life is practice patience, empathy and understanding of others and in turn it stops creating it. Do you realize you are creating drama when a driver cuts you off and you get all worked up and you create a story of how much that person is a jerk, flipping them off, honking, etc. when in reality he may not have seen you? Do you get impatient with a cashier or the person ahead of you while waiting in line at the store and being a jerk when you check out? If you do, STOP. All you are doing is creating drama where there doesn’t have to be. You can also stop creating drama using all the steps above, when you choose to not participate.

Feel free to comment below on where you can practice more patience, empathy and understanding of others to have less drama in your life?

Aging Youthful Blog: Aging Never Looked and FELT So Good!

Aging Youthful for PinterestHello Aging Youthful fans! We have been busy working on redesigning the Aging Youthful brand with the bonus of Mark joining Mary in writing! Stay tuned for the “dude’s perspective”! While we will still “motivate. inspire. empower.” and have nourishing our bodies through fitness and nutrition as part of our mission, we are adding two more elements we believe are equally important in creating the Aging Youthful Lifestyle: nourishing our minds and nourishing our souls. We are working hard to post at a minimum three times a week, with articles pertaining to each element. Below I will share what each element will focus on, keeping in mind there might be crossover. I personally believe we can’t have one without the other.

Aging Youthful’s Nourish Your Mind

CoverNourishing the Mind will focus on mindset…what we THINK we become. This has been a huge part of the personal growth of our lives! I have found in coaching others, mindset is KEY in a person having success. I understand most people are skeptical these days, but we must have an open mind and believe that something will work, in order for it TO work! This year I turned 50 and with this milestone came a HUGE SHIFT in thinking and deciding to really leap outside my comfort zone and start REALLY living life to the fullest, not caring what others think and do the things I’ve always wanted!

In the last couple of months this bull (I AM a Taurus after all) took the bull by the horns and created the women’s empowerment workshop First Love Yourself (or FLY), where I create a safe environment for women to share their beliefs of why they feel they are not good enough. This loving environment shifts their thinking and creates massive breakthroughs for women to leave the workshops with the knowledge and tools that they ARE good enough, “perfectly imperfect” and can go back into the world and lift others up with what they have learned.The workshops have been extremely, I am creating curriculum for a day-long retreat to dig deeper and simultaneously creating modules for a 4 or 6 week e-course to work at their own pace from anywhere in the world!

Aging Youthful’s Nourish Your Body

As mentioned above, this element will focus on fitness and nutrition. You may think nourishing your body is just about nutrition, it was also designed to move, be strong and fit! Under this element we will share some of our favorite healthy recipes, superfoods and supplements, and workouts. We are both in our 50’s and we are NOT letting age slow us down! At 55 years young, Mark competed his first Strongman competition this summer and he’s just getting started! His strongest event is the semi-pull and at the Northside Classic in June, he had the fastest time in the semi-pull, with all of his competition being 15+ years younger. Not bad for an “old, retired” musher. 🙂 He’s been so inspiring to me, I’m even considering joining along and training with him! (YIKES, did I just type that???).

Aging Youthful’s Nourish Your Soul 

August2016FullMoonThis element is my favorite. While Mark isn’t on the personal development bandwagon as much as I am, we both have grown by leaps and bounds in this area in recent years. Having so many birthdays (I don’t like to use the word “age”) comes wisdom. For me it means I am reconnecting with my spiritual side. The element will not focus on religion, it is a giving space to allow others to share what speaks to THEIR soul. For some it may be a specific religion, for others it’s a strong pull of knowing we are a part of something much greater than ourselves. Whatever it is, speaks to us through our souls. This is where I know I still need work and the reason I call myself a “student” as I will be ever-learning, ever-evolving. We must be conscious of what type of energy we give out from inside of ourselves and believe we need to nourish our soul with what makes us feel good (volunteer work, philanthropy, coaching, etc.) in order for us to lead a fulfilled, youthful life.

We will share what we learn as we grow and hope you will share nuggets of information you have learned on your journey! In the meantime, drop us a note and sign up for our email newsletter. Our first one will be coming out soon!!! Be sure to like and follow us on your favorite social media platform; we are currently on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Age Youthfully My Friends!