Last month I shared how I was working to achieve my 2012 resolutions. I thought I’d share an update with how I’m doing in hopes to encourage you to evaluate your own goals for the year!
As a reminder, my overarching theme to this year is simple: GET RID OF CHAOS. This means cleaning up the waste and clutter in my life – the things that are bogging me down to accomplishing my goals and living the life I truly want to live.
Fitness & Health
February was an excellent month for me in this regard. I ended January weighing 151 and today I weigh 143. I credit much of this weight loss to successfully completing my Going Vegan on a Budget challenge. Yes, that’s right; for a full month I followed a vegan diet and omitted meat and dairy from my diet. I will be sharing my month-end results in a separate post.
I thought I’d share some before/after pictures today. The before picture was taken nearly a year ago, when I weighed in the high 150′s. Below’s photo is taken this morning.
Me last year, weighing about 155
Me at 143 lbs
In case you’re wondering, I ended 2011 weighing 158 lbs, so that’s a total weight loss of 15 in 2012. I am actually the lowest I’ve weighed since the birth of my daughter in 2008. My goal is to get to the mid-130′s, where I was before the babies.
Financial & Couponing-Related
I recently shared how Terry and I have been going through the Financial Peace University at our church. We are now half way through the course and loving it! We moved to using the cash-envelope system for our variable expenses (such as groceries and eating out) and are following a strict budget to meet our financial goals. I’m amazed at the amount of money we’ve been able to find in our budget at the end of just one month.
Here’s the quick ‘n dirty stats on our grocery spending this month:
Shelf Cost: $490.93
Total Paid: $327.65
Budget:$350 (under by $23!)
Total Saved: $169.86
% Saved: 34.60%
While you might think that I’d be disappointed that my savings rate was a mere 34.60%, I consider this month a complete success because we stayed under our budget! Also remember that we ate a whole foods, vegan diet this month, too. Compare that to January – we saved 43%, but overspent by $14. Also think of it this way: 34.6% is almost $170! That’s a lot of money if you consider what you could do with it in the space of a month. That’s about three nice dinners out, a few new outfits at the store, or nice little chunk to set aside towards a special vacation. (And PS, remember you can track your savings with my free savings tracker, too!)
I have also been working diligently on my taxes. I have a couple more small deductions to enter in TurboTax, and then we’re pretty much good to go! Such a relief. By the way, I recommend TurboTax ALL.THE.TIME. because it’s what we’ve used for nearly a decade. We’ve had some complicated tax stuff pop up too, and it’s been able to handle everything easily. I love how you can come back and work on it over a period of time (in case you think of other deductions!), and you can see instantly what your tax refund will be (it actually goes up or down with every entry you make!). If you’re looking for ways to save on your taxes or make the leap to doing it yourself, give TurboTax a try.
Getting my House in Order
Confession time. I really was lax on this one for February. I think I completely burnt out after my big house purge in January and I had trouble getting restarted. Word to the wise: if you do a house purge, just get ‘er done. The whole thing.
Well at least I tackled the medicine cabinet, right?
The only room I managed in decluttering was the master bathroom. I still have two other bathrooms, our office, and walk-in closet to complete. My goal is to finish this up for March.
Social & Spiritual
I really want to be better about making time for my friends and doing things just for the fun of it! I’ve been a part of a book club, Bibliotherapy, that my pal Keri started almost five years ago now. Keri actually created an AWESOME Pinterest board of all the books our club has read to date. So if you’re looking for ideas of books to read, check out her board.
This month’s read was Books 2 & 3 of The Hunger Games. I read about half of the last book the day before the book club last night, but yes, I did finish them. I must say I enjoyed Books 1 & 2 so much more than 3. Towards the end of 3, it just seems like everything about the world sucks. Which isn’t really the feeling I am going for when I want to curl up with a good book in my “spare time.” Those that have read the book – do you agree with me?
Our book this month is Chocolat. I’ve never read it. Feel free to join me.
I also set an ambitious goal to read through the Bible in chronological order. I’ve not started this yet (DOH, me), but I have decided that maybe for March I’ll do something more realistic. Read through the book of Proverbs. There are 31 days and 31 chapters. How perfect is that? I’m particularly interested in parsing out all the verses that relate to personal finance and am thinking of keeping a journal on what I discover. Again, feel free to join me.
Recap of February & Looking Ahead to March
It’s time to cross of my February goals and update it for March!
Find the chronological order of the Bible and set out a plan. Read through Proverbs.
Order seeds for the garden and do some general clean up. Seeds ordered! Plant greens & develop a calendar.
Read Books 2 & 3 of the Hunger Game series. Done! Read Chocolat for March.
Successfully complete my vegan challenge for February. Done! Yeah, me!
Lose another 5 pounds (for an end goal weight of 146 for end of Feb) Done! Goal for March: anything under 140!
Continue our Dave Ramsey series. Going great. Finish strong in March.
Finish the house declutter. Did not do – keep in the list for March.
Finish our taxes. Nearly done. Get the final deductions entered & run the final TurboTax edits.
- Complete our annual credit report review.
This is all so cool to me because I am usually pretty lax with resolutions or goals like this. I feel like I’ve done a great job and am looking forward to March.
So I’ve love for you to chime in. What did you accomplish in February? Are you on track for keeping your resolutions? What are your goals for the month ahead?