What time do you wake up?
I used to loathe mornings. I was a beastly, grump-filled, snooze button addict with a penchant for the passive aggressive before coffee. But then, I grew up. Not in a maturity sense per se, but more in an inevitable passage-of-time, another-year-older type of way. And now? I tentatively think I can be categorized as one of those horribly chipper, brown-nosing, obnoxiously peppy, disgustingly saccharine “morning people.” Ugh. I’m embarrassed to even admit it.
The Origin Of The Fabled Morning Person
In truth, our early schedule originated with Frugal Hound. For a dog who doesn’t even know how to eat properly, she has an uncanny knack for sensing when it’s 6am. She just nose.
Her waking ritual commences with a low whimper that’ll escalate to a someone-is-torturing-me whine. Until of course, we rouse ourselves. She’s also not above running over to the side of the bed and sticking her perpetually damp snout on whatever body part she can access (fortunately for me, that’s usually Mr. Frugalwoods’ face).
Once we accepted the fact that our houndlet would be waking up promptly every morning, we decided we might as well too. Plus, we discovered that waking up early is our trick for squeeeeezing a few more hours out of the day.
Much like how I go out without money to trick myself into not spending, we wake up earlier to trick ourselves about the finite nature of 24 hours. Soon after Frugalwoods got off the ground, we realized we’d need more time to write things about money, take photos of greyhounds, and converse with you, dear reader. But from where would we fabricate more time?
Early To Bed = Early To Rise = Less TV!
The other side of this equation is, of course, the nighttime. To accommodate our 6am reveille, we go to bed earlier, which means we’ve drastically reduced the amount of TV we watch. Back in the day, we’d veg in front of a show for an hour or even two (gasp!) before bed, which we acknowledge is really just lost and wasted time. We’ve repurposed those squandered minutes of life into productive mornings. And the only thing that’s suffered is our TV queue.
Now, we watch maybe 30 minutes of TV a night, if that. Then on Friday nights, we indulge in a full hour or two. Along with our frozen pizza entree, Friday nights are our 100% laziest time of the week. I’m a big believer in balance and so Friday’s caloric and television binge is countered by our salads, hummus, and productivity the rest of the week.
Our Actual Morning Routine, Live and In Person
You know we love to put things on autopilot, and our mornings are autopilot-ed to the gills. 6am brings the chime of our alarm and the dulcet tones of a greyhound informing us she’s awake. We get up, make the bed, and give Frugal Hound scratches over on her bed. If you rub her ears in the morning, she lets out these grunts reminiscent of a cross between a wooly mammoth and a wildebeest. It’s borderline absurd.
Once the Hound is sufficiently patted, we put on our lounge clothing (these are actually just sweatpants and hoodies, but I feel like “lounge clothing” sounds vastly more exotic and possibly refined). Then, I take Frugal Hound out for her morning walk-of-relief while Mr. FW executes the vital tasks of coffee, oatmeal, and kibble* assembly. By the time Frugal Hound and I return, breakfast for hound and humans is served. You can see why I miss Mr. FW so much when he travels for business… I’m not gonna lie, the fact that I get coffee and oatmeal is pretty much all the motivation I need to roust myself. I’ll do a whole lot for a coffee and a meal.
*Foot note: Frugal Hound has learned how to high-five for her food, so this complicated little number is now an official part of the routine.
Mr. FW and I then settle in at the kitchen table and devote ourselves to Frugalwoods. The insightful emails, comments, and tweets that we receive from you fine people are inspiring. We take great pleasure in hearing so many stories of people taking charge of their finances and their lives. Rock on, frugal weirdos!
At around 7:45am, we perform The Scientific Seven-Minute Workout together. I say “perform” because we both look certifiably ridiculous doing it. Let’s be honest, it takes more than seven minutes to get fit, but this workout is amazing! My arms especially are always sore afterwards, so I herald it a success. It’s a great supplement to our yoga, hiking, walking, and biking regimes. Plus, it has been especially useful amidst this winter’s snowpocalypse. Nothing like not leaving the house for three days in a row (#guilty). So yeah, it’s been good for me to continue doing at least this workout every day….
And then, just like that, it’s 8am and I have to get ready for work. This is arguably the worst part of the day because it represents the end of what we love to do–work together on a project that’s meaningful and fulfilling–and the start of what we hate to do: work for other people.
What’s so invigorating about this morning ritual is that it enables us to start every day in our perfect image. Even though we have to leave each other for our separate jobs once the clock strikes 8:30am, we’re able to internalize the joy that stems from our mornings together.
I find that I have more energy, I’m more positive, and I can better make it through the day. The simplicity of our mornings, and the satisfaction we derive from them, is in stark contrast to the often demanding complexities of other aspects of our lives.
Change It Up
Our newly revamped mornings are a prime example of why it’s good to try new things. If something isn’t working optimally in your life, change it! If you’re always tired or always short on time, change it!
Experiment with your schedule, your habits, the food you eat, and–you knew this one was coming–your relationship with money. If you overspend every month, force yourself to alter your actions next month. Save more, spend less, and truly live more.
Be bold and get outside of your comforter zone. Yes, that’s right, I said comforter. Don’t do the same things and expect different results. Challenge yourself.