Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Goals Part 2 and Update on Other Goals

First an update on the goals I made last week:
  • Track what I am eating everyday no matter how junky. Hold myself accountable. When I have a bad day, don't let it defeat me and start over the next day. I tracked everyday except Sunday! Quite proud of myself and probably going to consider Sunday my free day from now on (even though from the looks of my food diary, a couple other days were also free days eek.) Definitely made me realize how many calories I am consuming and made me feel a little gross. Hoping to watch the amount of calories I consume fall this week or at least meet my goal.
  • Take the stairs more. Even just going down them. Face it going up them in my shape might kill me. The first few days I did really well making an effort to move more. But towards the end of the week I didn't do so well. Got tired and just plain lazy. Going to try and start momentum up again this week.
  • Park further out in the parking lot even if the front row spot is available. I have been parking about in the midpoint of the parking lot so walking a few more steps than I was.
  • Invest in some sort of activity tracker in the next month or so. So I can see how much I am moving and challenge myself to do more. A work in progress still....budget kinks being worked out....more on that next.
  • Walk the dog at least 3 times a week. No excuses. Even if just for 5 minutes. Didn't even attempt this one. Getting colder here in Michigan and I am hating it. Started Vitamin D and hoping that helps my energy and mood, may have to get some B vitamins as well.
  • Be under 300 lbs by the end of 2013. (Baby steps I know but I have to start somewhere) As the scale in the picture shows(So far away because I am tired and don't feel like figuring out why it won't move.) I am down 4.5 lbs :-D. Decided to make the goal 15 lbs by the end of the challenge with my friends which should be around the end of 2013.
  • New goals for this week: 
    • Do not eat 2 hours before bed. 
    • Dedicate 30 min to exercise this week.
As I eluded to earlier some of our household budget kinks are being worked out. Since Matt and I moved in together in 2010 we have pretty much said what's mine is yours. We got a joint checking very early on, mostly because Matt's credit was so bad, he couldn't get one on his own. I married a man with bad credit but I said for better or for worse and money problems happen to everyone so didn't really phase me. We have dealt with these things pretty much since the beginning. We are making steps to help improve his overall credit but there is only so much you can do. You have to live. Rent, food, gas to make a living etc etc are necessities not things we can cut the budget for. But our spending in the last couple years has been out of control for lack of a better term. Now in the grand scheme of things we have not done that badly. We have been able to pay our bills and other expenses but there have been months when we just made it, with no extra. We haven't thought about the future. About the family we are working on starting and what that means financially. In recent months I have spent hours scouring the internet for financial advice. For ways to budget, expense track, save money, spend less etc etc. I started by looking at our checking account for a month in June and was blown away by how much money we were flushing down the toilet on gas station stops, eating out and random impulse buys. The next month I took it a step further and actually saved receipts and tracked expenses more specifically. Same story. I continued that for a couple months and then decided I needed to take it a step further and start to use a budget. So began my search for the perfect excel template because this seemed to be the easiest way to do it. This is how I tracked our expenses but the template I had found for that didn't allow me to include an actual budget and see what I spent against what I budgeted. I finally found it in Pear Budget .

Pear Budget began as an excel template a few years ago and has since developed into an actual web based application. I have only used the spreadsheet template so far but I love it. It lays everything out clearly and allows you to create your own categories divided into regular, variable and irregular expenses. Here is a screen shot of what a month looks like:

I used this tool in October and again realized we spend too much money. So Matt and I decided together to change some things. We are going to start using cash for groceries, fun money, misc and eating out. Once the cash in that category is gone, we are done spending money in that category. I am hoping this will curb our impulse buys when grocery shopping especially. I want to focus on paying down debt. We also decided to car pool to work as many days as possible (hence I am sitting at McDonald's writing this as we speak at 7:45 AM). This has proven a little more difficult now that we have a dog. My husband has to be to work at 6 AM and I start around 8:30 AM so we are gone from 5 AM until about 5:30 PM. I feel bad making Ace hold it that long so we carpool on days when someone can let him out (days my sister has off or like this week my parents were gracious enough to help out). My husband also has school two nights a week so those nights are out as well. So our goal is once a week if we can do more, we do. But onto the actual goals part. Here are my financial goals for the next 6 months:
  • Pay off one credit card. 
  • Stick to a budget throughout the month of November (barring extenuating circumstances) and continue to adjust according to needs and new findings about things that work for us.
  • Build a savings of at least $500
  • Start to tithe at least 1%. By the end of 6 months be tithing 5%. (This may seem very small but I have always struggled with the concept of tithing. I am happy to give money to my church and those who need it but giving away 10% of my income has always scared the bejeepers out of me. Praying I become more comfortable and that God moves me to give as much as possible.)
  • Keep Matt more involved in our finances. (I have no problem taking the reigns with paying bills and balancing the checkbook but I want my husband to be more aware of where we are financially. Financial issues have caused some strain in our marriage the last few months and I really don't want it to be something that puts a wedge between us)
  • Use our tax return to pay ahead on car insurance and pay down debt. If enough, use small amount for something fun. (April falls at the end of the 6 months since I am starting them from November, should have our tax return by then as long as the government doesn't shut down again or some other crazy thing happens, you never know I suppose as it is all in God's hands)
I forgot how much I love making goals and how much I love accomplishing them. This last week accomplishing just a couple of my goals for the most part really gave me motivation to continue on my get healthy journey which is a work in progress as well. Still not making the greatest nutritional choices but trying to incorporate more veggies and fruits and drink more water. And added new goals for this week. 

Also starting to fall in love with writing again, as evidenced by this post. And starting to fall for blogging......this getting up early thing makes me feel so much more accomplished. Time for work!!! Happy Hump Day! (And happy Friday to me, yay for 4 day weekends spent with the hubby, even if we aren't doing anything super special besides spending time together.)

Until next time!