Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Month 1: Results are in

As today is the end of January, it seems appropriate that I review my first month's goal. To review, my goals were:

1. Tracking all of the money I spend
2. Analyzing the results to see whether I could/should continue for the rest of the year


For the first part of the goal, I successfully tracked every penny I spent for the month of January. As one would expect, the simple act of writing everything down makes you reassess whether or not you want to buy something, because you don't want to write it down!

I figured out that once all of my "fixed" bills were paid, I spent about 2/3 of the money that was left over. Frankly, I was hoping that I'd do better than that, but there weren't a whole lot of areas where I could have shaved down. I did buy some coffees in the morning, and bought some yarn I probably could have lived without, but those expenses weren't high enough that they would have made THAT big a difference in the overall percentage of "extra" money spent.

Still, I do think that the exercise was worthwhile, and I do intend to continue for the rest of the year. I assume that there will be months where I spend 100% of the extra, and maybe there might even be some months that I do better than I think I could. We'll see!

I haven't even decided yet what February's goal will be. I figure I have another 24 hours to figure that one out.

Friday, January 20, 2012

TGIF!

I haven't been in this good a mood in quite a while. It's Friday, I slept for 7 hours in a row last night, I didn't realize it had snowed until I stepped out the door to go to work (and it looked so pretty), I have dinner plans with friends tonight, I stopped at Brew'd Awakening this morning and have a GOOD cup of coffee at the ready...

all seems right with the world.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Halfway Through January

So, it's halfway through January, and I figured I'd provide an update thus far. Good news- I have stuck to resolution #1! I have indeed been writing down every penny spent, and it's been interesting thus far. I find that I naturally curb my spending more if I'm paying close, daily attention than otherwise. It is what you'd expect, naturally! Of course, it does take a little time and attention every day, going through receipts, quickly jotting down expenses when there are no receipts, and tallying things up at the end of the month... that part I haven't gotten to yet this month, of course.

Anyway, I am glad that I've started back up with this habit. Only a couple more weeks until I unveil Resolution #2! Stay tuned!

Monday, January 02, 2012

12 in 12 in 2012

I've never had much luck with resolutions. The only one I ever got to stick was the resolution to start using reusable shopping bags... that resolution went quite well, to the point that I didn't have any plastic bags left in the house to use for garbage bags! I also did quite well with my "five year plan" to pay down a bunch of debt. *pats self on back*

2011 was an all right year for me, but looking back, nothing really stellar stands out for me. I'd like for 2012 to be a little different. To that end, I'm going to try to make 12 changes over 12 months. I'm going to start with what I consider to be a "gimme", because I want to start with a success. For me, making financial changes seems to be easy in comparison to, say, going to bed early. So, we start with that.

For the month of January, I will improve my financial health by doing the following:

1. Tracking all of the money I spend
2. Analyzing the results to see whether I could/should continue for the rest of the year

Folks, I have done this for years at a time. I fell off the wagon in 2011, but it should be easy enough to start back up. I can do this one!

I haven't actually figured out goals 2-11 yet. I am thinking about the following:

Improve my sleep habits
Exercise regularly
Track my eating habits (I have gained a lot of weight over the last 1 1/2 years, and am not feeling my best)
Rekindle my enjoyment of my camera
Spend less time mindlessly surfing internet
Learn to meditate
Blog more often
Read more (I love to read - why don't I read more???)
Keep home in a tidier state

Part of the problem, as I see it: We all want to do better on most of these things. But why don't we? Why is it so hard to get it together? For me, it's certainly not a lack of time or finances. I work very close to home, don't work long hours, don't have a family. None of these tasks will cost much money, if any at all. In fact, #1 will hopefully have me SAVING money. I guess we get tired, distracted, or the to-do list just looks too long for us to actually believe that we can ever make a dent in it.

At any rate, I'm going to give this a try. For what it's worth, it's already January 9 and I've been tracking my spending all month, and have set up a nifty little spreadsheet and everything.