Monday, February 1, 2010

Resolution Review: One Month In

Well, it's Monday AND the first day of February, so it seems like a good idea to check in on those resolutions I made last month. I don't normally make New Year's resolutions, but since I made some big ones this year, it seems like a good idea to hold myself accountable throughout the course of the year. So, let's see how it's going.

1. Get our finances in order. Originally, this was about figuring out what to do with our savings. Except, ha ha, now we only have one income, and we're keeping our savings right where they are to serve as an investment and safety net, so suddenly "having our finances in order" doesn't mean "paying extra money toward our mortgage and starting a college savings account" anymore. Now it means "only spending what is absolutely necessary." And on that count, we've actually done very well. We've cut our grocery budget nearly in half, stopped eating out, and avoided buying anything that wasn't absolutely necessary. Other than the items budgeted for and mostly covered by my salary (mortgage, car payment, insurance, gas, utilities, gym membership, groceries, cleaning supplies, and health products) and business items, we purchased the following in January:
  • Several months' worth of glucosamine pills, tartar control, and liver treats for the dog ($68)
  • A small gift for Kristie to thank her for her awesome help answering my tax-related questions, since I plan to file our taxes myself ($15)
  • A car wash to get the salt off our car after the last snowstorm ($8)
That's IT. $91 in unplanned expenses over the course of the month. And if you don't count the dog, which I really shouldn't because I actually budgeted the cost of her food, treats, and vet visits, all of which are covered by my salary, only $23. I'm going to call this one a resounding success.

2. Start working on obtaining a child. Well, this one isn't happening right now for obvious reasons. Though we have definitely decided that at least for the first kid, our first attempt to obtain the child will be through me trying to get pregnant. If we have trouble with that, or want more kids in the future, we'll see about potential adoption, fostering, etc. But for now, the goal is pregnancy, but not yet. However, I'm going to go ahead and take this one off the list for future resolution reviews, because there may come a time when I'm not ready or willing to discuss this, and I don't want to feel required to discuss it, or like my choice not to discuss it speaks louder than words.

3. Help Torsten advance in his career. Um, CHECK.

4. Spruce up the house. Well, we got an awesome dining room table as a Christmas gift from his parents and an awesome bed frame for our guest room as an early birthday gift for both of us from my parents. So we moved our old, square, wooden dining room table to the family room, and moved the recliners from the family room into the living room. And that's as much sprucing as is going to happen this year (unless there is a need for a nursery down the line, and/or Torsten's business suddenly takes off well beyond our expectations). We have some pictures we'd like to frame and hang, but right now picture frames fall in the category of "unnecessary, and therefore not allowed during the spending freeze."

5. Be more deliberate about our food. I must say, despite all the changes that we have quite successfully implemented this month, I may be the most proud of this one. This past month, we only ate out once, and that was a business dinner that was paid for by our colleague. Every other night, we either cooked or ate leftovers. Torsten has been doing some cooking, but I've been doing most of it, using some of our old favorite recipes and also some new recipes that I'd never tried before. And I've discovered that I'm actually a good cook! We've been planning meals in advance, buying ingredients cheaply, and spending MUCH less on food than ever before. And we aren't suffering at all. The food we've been eating is tasty, filling, and healthy, and we almost always have leftovers around the house the next day, which means we're also eating much healthier lunches. And I don't mind cooking, and I don't feel resentful of how much time it takes, and I've enjoyed experimenting and trying new recipes. I have no idea how long this honeymoon period will last, but I'll take it. This has been fabulous.

So! Overall, an excellent start to these resolutions. Now the real test will be to keep them going throughout the year.

15 comments:

  1. Awesome job, Jess! You have incredible focus.

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  2. We have some similar goals for 2010, though you are way ahead of us. It's inspiring to see you act so quickly - I'm very impressed!

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  3. Wow you are so much better at the "no unplanned spending" thing than I am. I'm in awe. Tips? Other than a will of iron?

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  4. You really do have great focus! This is inspiring!

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  5. You guys are off to an amazing start on your resolutions! I'm most impressed by your drop everything unnecessary budgeting - that's hard to do and takes a lot of willpower!!!

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  6. Sounds like you are off to a great start. It's interesting how what you think your goals are in one month can vary so much the next.

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  7. As usual, I am very impressed with your progress! I think I am most proud of you too with #5. Getting a handle on buying, prepping and making healthy, high quality food is such an awesome feeling. One that makes me feel like a grown-up, but in the best possible way. I far prefer home made food to eating out and take out and I always feel a rush when I am able to use all the produce without any going bad.

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  8. i have so little willpower when it comes to harnessing in my expenses. all of a sudden everything seems so much more NECESSARY. i neeeeed this box of junior mints to get me through the day, right??

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  9. Look at you guys go! You're doing awesome.

    (Thank you again for the sweet gift!)

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  10. That's great! I had some unplanned spending - or rather spending that happened earlier than planned - but it was mostly stocking up on gifts for various birthdays at a closing sale at one of my favorite home stores. Just today I decided to have leftovers for lunch rather than spend additional money.

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  11. keep up the good work, sister!

    I found that last year, reporting on my blog about my resolution to quiet was very helpful to keep me focused.

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  12. OH man, I do NOT know how you don't eat out. We are so addicted!

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  13. Good job! I'm trying to get us to save money and eat better but we haven't been nearly as successful as you guys have.

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  14. You know, when I look at our two-income (pre-child) budget I'm shocked by how much more money we had! We were saving so much and still spending a lot, and that makes sense since we had nearly double the money. Now that we've lived without it for nearly three years, I don't really notice it. You guys are doing great!

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