Category: Goals

Checking in on 101/1001

“I don’t focus on what I’m up against. I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.”
– Venus Williams

Six months have now gone by, so it’s time to check in on where I’m at with my goal list. At a rate of nearly 2 a month, here’s what I’ve ticked off so far:
35. Move to a new (bigger) apartment
46. Keep a spending diary for a month
51. Do the Yoga With Adrienne 30-day Challenge  (Did a 31-day challenge instead!)
55. Blog twice a week for six months
59. Participate in  a protest in support of a cause I care about
65. Finish another “cult TV” show (Twin Peaks)
81. Find a way to collaborate with one of my creative agency contacts
82. Achieve 10,000 steps a day for a month
85. Drink 2 litres of water a day for a month
94. Go a month without biting my nails
97. Try starting a new feature on SDS (monthly faves)

And here are some longer term goals currently in progress:
28. Go a month without eating out once
30. Put $10 in savings for every goal accomplished
33. Pay off the remainder of our student loans
44. Go on a shopping hiatus for 3 months once a year (currently on 2 of 4)
49. Decorate a new apartment like a real, live grown up (a work very much in progress)
54. Pitch 4 writing projects a year as a bare minimum (3 of 15)
66. Listen to one new-to-me music album each week for a year
83. Go on one holiday a year with just friends (1 of 3!)
84. Deep clean once a season for duration of 1001 day timeline (2 of 15)
86. Vote in every election in my US state for duration of 1001 day timeline
91. Relearn how to knit
95. Listen to 20 audiobooks (6 of 20)

Brag your recent personal achievements in the comments and let me know how you’re getting on with some of your long term goals and priorities!

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Spending Diary Vol. 5

“A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.”
– Jonathan Swift

In the interest of full and final disclosure, here is the last of my spending diary for the month of January this year. I gave myself a final food indulgence and ordered dinner on Tuesday as I committed to not eating out once during February, let’s see how that goes!

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This has been an amazingly useful project, so thanks again for playing along and holding me accountable. And thanks to everyone who commented and shared these posts, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by all the kind and thoughtful engagement from this series. As always, the Minion Coterie are the real MVPs around here.

Sunday
Renewed blog registration: 22.00
Delivery customs charge (for what, I’m not sure, but apparently I have a package incoming?): £14.27

Monday
Lunch: £4.10
Travel card renewal and top up: £43.00

Tuesday
Lunch: £16.50
Coffee for  pal having a bad day: £3.90
Dinner: £24.00
Groceries: £25.00

Total £152.77

The End of “Money Month”

“Being happy isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have.”
– Carrie Fisher

It’s the end of Money Month and so here’s a bit of an overall update for those who have been playing along. Writing about money and consumption has been a really helpful exercise for me in trying to consciously change or update my habits. In some cases I was surprised at the personal insights I explored, in others, I only confirmed my existing suspicions about my financial choices.

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image via Death to the Stock Photo

What have we done?

As a broad status report, our student loan debt is down from nearly $100k initially to less than $16k. Huzzah!

I’ve written a new household budget that I’ll be sticking to (and reporting back on periodically, as it ticks off a 101/1001 goal).

I kicked off another personal shopping ban, one month of three down!

I reinstated my monthly cash budget and stuck to it. In fact, I took it a step further and consolidated all the spare cash and coins in the house to start using our loose change instead of letting it accumulate. As a result, I didn’t once withdraw cash from an ATM this month.

I ticked off another 101/1001 goal by documenting my spending daily, and I learned quite a bit about my casual spending and how it adds up.

Where do we go from here?

Two more months of a personal spending freeze before another self evaluation.

In February I’m going to try and avoid eating out once to tick off another 101/1001 and save in the area where a lot of my discretionary money has gone.

In March I’m going to try and limit my grocery spending to £40 a week, which will require some more planning than usual.

No entertainment spending for two months as well. Instead of going to the theatre or movies etc., I’m going to put that money towards outstanding credit card balances.

Develop a family monthly credit card payment plan. Some months we’ve paid large payments, others just the minimum. I’d like to set monthly target as part of the larger goal to pay them off entirely in the foreseeable future. With our student loans in hand and a sustainable path forward on them, credit is the area of my financial life I want to tackle next.

Incorporate regular donations to causes I care about. Setting aside the personal if this month has taught me anything it’s that this is not a time in which to stay stay silent.

What I’ve learned:

I still believe I’m not bad with money, but what I’ve discovered I am is unregimented and that needs to change.

Specificity is everything. Limits or targets that I can monitor and track helps tremendously, while having a lofty or vague sort of goal is useless to me. I’m not a vision board girl, I’m a list girl!

Breaking down my financial goals into even smaller increments than I used to also helps me achieve larger aims. Sometimes even monthly goals are too vague for me or too easy to forget–or talk myself out of! Weekly goals, on the other hand, are a lot easier for me to keep at the top of my priority list. I’m amending a lot of my habits around this insight, not just financial ones.

What’s a financial goal you’ll be working on this year? How will you be tracking it? 

Spending Diary Vol. 4

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.”
-Seneca

After getting a bit sloppy last week, I decided to buckle down and organize more this week. I’m still adjusting to a new schedule and some of my anxiety habits are trying to creep in to muck with things like sleep and morning routines, but progress is being made. Again, food took up a lot of spend, but I feel like I have a much better handle on it this week, and was able to use food prep leftovers better.

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Sunday
I wasn’t feeling well after the march on Saturday so we had a slow day. We went to our local brunch joint, did a decent amount of grocery shopping (heavy on the cheap items like pasta), and then I did some packaging prep for leftovers to take to work tomorrow, plus some portioned green smoothie ingredients in freezer bags.
Brunch: £32.80
Groceries: £44.00
Amazon Prime (a monthly recurring cost): £6.25

Monday
Vexation! I packed both snacks and a lunch and was feeling smug…until the office microwave gave up the ghost spectacularly. Alas that my lunch was soup. I had to buy some food, but forewarned is forearmed, and I prepped salad mixes for future meals this week so as not to rely on the kitchen.
Travel card renewal: £33.00
Lunch: £9.60

Tuesday
Much better behaved today, except for one indulgence…
Coffee (cash): £2.90. Bad, C.!

Wednesday
Lunch with a friend in from out of town: £21.00

Thursday
My sleep had been out of wack for several days now (for no readily apparent reason besides groundless anxiety, which is annoying) and I came home feeling like I’d been smacked with a chair and very much not up for cooking. Indian takeaway order it is, planned to account for multiple meals.
Lunch (cash): £4.20
Snack (cash): £1.60
Dinner: £24.80

Friday
Breakfast (cash): £4.70

Saturday
Solo brunch, Jeff was catching up with some of his buddies and I took myself, a bunch of podcasts, and a book off to a local joint to munch and catch up on my reading. It was delightful!
Brunch: £16.40

Total: £201.25