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January in review

February 1st, 2018 at 03:33 pm

So I set myself up at the beginning of the year with half a dozen goals plus a few projects. I made progress in some categories, but on the daily exercise and CFP exam studying, I need a goal reset for February.

Here are the details by goal.

1. Job performance: Improve timeliness of advance preparation for client meetings. Complete the basic CFP coursework. I am tracking my meeting preps and got the last one done six days in advance. The year really started out with a bang, with a whole month's worth of meetings to prepare for in the first 18 days of the month. February looks more reasonably spaced. But I've made no progress yet on the CFP studying.

2. Take care of myself. Eat healthily (this includes an emphasis on whole foods and preparing my meals in advance), exercise consistently, sleep enough, and make time to de-stress with a daily meditation session (or two). I started a Whole30 but didn't adhere to it consistently, as I ended up eating out several times while feeling busy & stressed. Still, I did eat more "Whole30ish," limiting grains, dairy, etc. I lost weight while I was being strict about it but after I relapsed and particularly once I allowed myself to fall prey to the candy in the office, I ended the month weighing the same as I started. Also, I got very little exercise, but I did get fairly good sleep and I meditated 24 days out of 31.

3. Create a peaceful and inviting home environment. Teeny tiny progress so far. I'll do better when I'm less stressed and less cold.

4. Increase my Net Worth by 15%.
Assets up $7,245. Debts down $5,427. Total increase: $12,672, or 2.37% (28.46% annualized rate).

I have started tracking my spending--not daily, but a few times a week, using the Simpleplanning Budget planner, a nice straightforward Excel-based spreadsheet that I find much easier to work with than the current version of YNAB. I liked YNAB when it was Excel-based, but there are now too many bells and whistles and I find it confusing to get started with.

While I was successful at regular tracking, I was not successful at keeping my expenses under budget. I spent 10% more than planned. Food is my biggest area of concern, both groceries and eating out. I also spend too much on books. I already have social restaurant plans in place for the weekend, but starting Monday, I'm going to try to make the rest of February a "gas & groceries" month, in terms of spending on "variable" as opposed to fixed expenses--with the exception of (knock on wood) medical if needed for myself or the kitties, or any home or car repair emergencies that might arise.

For groceries, I'm going to limit myself to the cheaper chains this month: Aldi, PriceRite, and Giant, and avoid my favorite Wegmans, which isn't really that much more expensive on a per item basis for the basics, but it has better quality and more variety, so that the items that end up in my cart are that much more pricey. I only shopped at Wegmans once in January and I could really see the difference. Also, last month I bought some dehydrated vegetables plus some bulk teas I like on Amazon, so for those items, I still have a lot of food left over.

Even though I was over *budget*, my take-home pay for the month was $2,917 and my expenses were $2,613, so that is $304 to the good.

5. Maintain and expand my social life. January was a maintenance month--went out 3 times, once with one friend and twice with another, which is good for a month as busy as it was.


6. Take more and/or more frequent time off/vacations. Nothing concrete planned yet.

Projects: I'm not listing the ones I haven't started yet, but one project was to write at least 3 blog posts for work. I've now written 4, of which two have been published so far, a third will be published tomorrow, and one the week after that.

2 Responses to “January in review”

  1. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    The candy in the office can be such a difficult hurdle. Getting better/more sleep ... so much would love this.

  2. PatientSaver Says:

    Good goals...

    You must find it interesting when meeting with all your clients and coming to understand their varied situations. No doubt your many years of addressing a class are helpful when you're speaking with clients.

    Any interesting observations you can share about your clients, in general terms? I'm guessing your clients tend to be on the high net worth side.

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