Starlene Martin: “It felt empowering not to depend on credit.”

“Cooking has become a really nice bonding experience for [my son and I.] We’ll talk as he chops and I fry, and then he’ll plate the meal. Now that we’re cooking at home, we’re saving around $200 a month.”

I used to have hip pain. I went to the doctor and on top of getting cortisone shots, he gave me some exercise recommendations. Once I started doing those, I felt so much better and more productive. I wasn’t sore anymore. I decided to apply that mindset of improvement to other areas of my life. I had tried the Thrive ZP Challenge toward the end of last year, and decided to finally pick it up again.

“Keeping track of my saving and spending has been a huge help.”

My first focus was money. I’m divorced and wanted to make better use of my and my son’s income. My son is medically disabled, so we live together and support each other. I no longer wanted to impulse buy. I started paying my bills on the first of each month. This gives me a really good idea of how much I have to work with for the rest of the month. I figure out what I need for living expenses and then put the rest in savings. If I ever take money out of my savings, I put the exact amount back into the account on payday. Overall, keeping track of my savings and spending has been a huge help, and I’m working on paying off credit card debt.

“We’re saving around $200 a month.”

I also started eating better. I drink more water and pick up leafy green vegetables, like spinach and broccoli, and cook them in olive oil instead of in bacon fat. I’ve also added more fruits into my and my son’s diet. Cooking has become a really nice bonding experience for us. We’ll talk as he chops and I fry, and then he’ll plate the meal. Now that we’re cooking at home, we’re saving around $200 a month.

“It felt empowering not to depend on credit.”

In addition to eating better, my son and I have set a goal to walk our dog more often. I’m also stretching and doing at-home yoga videos two to three times each week. With that, I have so much more energy. I used to limit the amount of walking I’d do after work; now that I’m stretching regularly, I don’t have to limit myself anymore. I get around all day and evening without a problem. At night, I’m sleeping better, which sets me up for a better workday and gives me more patience.

Finding the self-discipline to get in control of my money was hard. I always paid my bills, but I would always chip away at extra money instead of saving it. Now that I’m more organized, I’m more relaxed and able to enjoy things. I realized my hard work was paying off when I went to the dentist and I was able to pay my copay right then and there. It felt empowering not to depend on credit. Now, I’m feeling more productive. I know I can accomplish things, rather than giving in to any chaos around me.

—Starlene Martin, Supercenter #0826; Farmington, N.M.; $5K Winner

Through the Thrive ZP Challenge, our community is making Better Choices, seeing big results, and winning big.

Stories from past winners, such as Starlene Martin, prove that every individual has the power to transform their life every day through a combination of small, sustainable changes and peer-to-peer inspiration.

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