A, adulting, goals

Best Laid Plans

Remember how we were planning to do ‘No Spend April?’ That was a great idea. Remember how we bought a house? Funny story: when you have a house you’re also responsible for the property.  

We don’t have a lawnmower. 

Oops. 
Now we are debating gas v. electric and determining what needs to be done outside while it’s nice enough to be out. 

While our plans for April have changed, we are still looking forward to the new season.We have some projects that will be hopefully taking place soon (next month– I’m still going to ATTEMPT to keep myself under control during April), and I’ll be finally planting a garden this year! Keep an eye out for updates. 

Happy Tuesday!

A, adulting

DIVIDE (and conquer) 

I’m not sure how you spent your last week, but most of mine was spent with this guy: 

thank @teddysphotos for the ink envy

Ed Sheeran‘s newest- ‘Divide’- came out last Friday. I’m not too proud to tell you it’s been on repeat since. 

Do yourself a favor and give it a listen. Or 83. And get ready to cry and call your mom after ‘Supermarket Flowers.’ 

The other thing I’ve been focused on this week is the budget. 

I’m not having nearly as much fun as this guy

Last year, I managed to pay off around $8000 of debt (in full).This year I want to up that to an even $10k. There are several ways I’m planning on making that goal a reality. 

  • The Snowball is growing. If you’ve ever even heard of Dave Ramsey, then you’ve probably heard of the debt snowball. My snowball is finally getting to a point that it’s making more of an impact. This is great news for driving down those outstanding balances. 
  • No Spend April. No Spend 2016 was a huge success, and I’m repeating it in 2017. I’ll explain more on how I structure my budget and my month for a month with no spending in a future post. 
  • Utilizing our credit card rewards. This may seem counterproductive– use a credit card to reduce debt? But with my Discover card, I get 5% cash back on items we use anyway. Q1 we are getting that 5% on gas. Instead of using our debit cards, we use the Discover and use the cash from the back end for other essential purchases. It’s a great system, if you can get it to work for you. 
  • DImYself. I’m doing my best to do more and more things in house. Up on the docket for this year: home improvements and repairs, homemade cleaning supplies and finally learning how to do my own manicure (something I cut from the budget a few years ago, and have been systematically ignoring that mess ever since – NO more). This will build on other things that I’ve already worked on — mainly brown bagging my lunches and bringing coffee from home. That brings me to the last item:
  • Continuing good habits. We have a pretty strict grocery budget, so we’re sticking to Aldi, and we try to limit our dining out to once a month. I’ve become good friends with Groupon, and gotten well acquainted with our library. We’ve become fans of dinners in with friends, and look forward to continuing that trend this summer. We will be making some investments in our home, but as our budget is a top priority, we will be choosing our projects wisely. Plus, we are still saving religiously for future planned (and unforeseen!) changes. 

Sure,  this isn’t perfect, but all these are steps to being debt free, which is the ultimate goal. 

Until we’re there I’ll just keep recalculating with the help of Ed. Apparently he’s good at math– +, x, divide? That man is on a mission to educate!

Happy budgeting! 

30x30, A, goals

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

I have a problem. 

And that problem’s name is Diet Coke. 

I love it. It tastes like joy, and smells like freedom. 

And yet, as my family is prone to point out, it’s also basically rat poison in a can.

You know, minor details. 

But after the turn of the year, I realized HOW MUCH I was really drinking and spending on that dark brown elixir. (Spoiler alert: way too much.) So I decided that I would cut back. I went to drinking one per day, which was hard. Even harder was when I decided to go to 3 per week. 

Tomorrow, however, starts the real test. I’m giving up Diet Coke for lent. 

😬😬😬

40 full days of no soda. I figure if I can make it 40 days, then I’ll have pretty much kicked the habit, and I’ll have gone a long way in to decreasing my dependence on caffeine

So wish me luck. And maybe pray for my husband. 

-A

30x30, A

30×30 (18 months)

Thirty. It’s a scary word for women in their twenties.

30 is when everything starts to fall apart.

You’re almost 30? Isn’t your biological clock ticking?

Yikes, 30?! Better get a good eye cream, you’re going to need it.

I’m not terrified of 30. I’m not necessarily excited about it, but aging is a part of life that I’m more than willing to look forward to. Why? Because aging is a luxury. One that I plan on enjoying.

In making sure that I’m enjoying life to the fullest, I’ve stumbled upon a kind-of, sort-of bucket list for us 20-somethings. The 30 by 30. Thirty items that you’d like to accomplish by your thirtieth birthday. As today is my half birthday, I’ve only got 18 months until I get to check a new age box, so I guess I better get started.

  1. Run a 10k (from start to finish).
  2. Visit at least one national park.
  3. Reduce my personal debt (student loans) by 25%.
  4. Learn to roast a whole chicken (and use all the leftover parts!).
  5. Brush up on my French. I was once fairly fluent, and I’d like to have that back.
  6. Donate my hair.
  7. Go an entire month without buying anything.
  8. Host an actual dinner party.
  9. Buy a house that my husband and I both can agree on.
  10. Become a proficient photographer.
  11. Research and begin continuing education for my profession.
  12. Take a trip with my girlfriends.
  13. Learn how to change the oil in my car.
  14. Create my wedding album.
  15. Finish Rory Gilmore’s reading list.
  16. Figure out a regular fitness plan/routine that actually works for me.
  17. Reduce my dependence on caffeine.
  18. Road trip with my husband to a major sporting event.
  19. Firmly establish a morning and evening routine.
  20. Knit a blanket.
  21. Reconnect with a friend who I’ve lost touch with.
  22. Get a bikini wax to see what the fuss is about.
  23. Update my wardrobe with quality pieces. Donate what is no longer worn. Ruthlessly slash my shoe collection to make way for others.
  24. Find a cause I am truly passionate about in my community. Donate time, effort and money to something deeply important.
  25. Replace our terrible dining room table.
  26. Re-evaluate our retirement plan and savings. Ensure we’re making good decisions and investments.
  27. Beat my husband at Risk.
  28. Earn a commendation for my work at my place of employment.
  29. Invest in an original art piece.
  30. Grow my own vegetable garden (and create my own compost for it).

You may have noticed some pretty major stuff missing from this list. I’m not aiming for any weight loss goals. I’m not convinced I need to get promoted. I’m not focused on babies. Sorry Mom.

It’s not that I don’t want babies. Or to be skinnier. Or even that I wouldn’t accept a promotion that I’m offered. It’s not even that I’m opposed to all these things before 30. It’s that I’m not putting a timeline on that process. I’m not going to create unrealistic and unattainable goals for myself. These goals have an overall theme of making a happier and healthier lifestyle for long term success. Is everything on here essential to that overall goal? Probably not. Is it stuff that I find to be interesting and important? Absolutely.

That being said… Voila! This is the stuff I’m going to be focused on for the next 18 months. None of this will be exceptionally easy, but I think it’s pretty important to have goals and to make those goals challenging enough to matter.

As I complete a goal, or start working toward completing a goal, I’m going to write about it. As that happens, I’ll update this post with the successes or failures I’ve encountered… as soon as I learn to link things.

-A