Wednesday, January 31, 2018

It's February!

Read 20 books.
Reduce waste.
Pay off consumer debt.
Do two "low spend" months.
Eat more homemade meals.
Stick to a healthier lifestyle.
Deep clean the house.


1. Read 20 Books. Earlier this month I read a thing saying that if you read for 30 minutes before bed (the same amount of time you tinker around on your phone before bed), you would read about 175-200 pages every week. That being said, it should be easier to read 20 books this year! I'm almost finished with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up... and am about 1/2 through The Power. Not gonna lie, the book about tidying up is kind of blowing my mind - I guess I've been doing it wrong the whole time.

Reduce waste. I have actually been doing REALLY good at this one. I recycled most of my plastic grocery bags. I still use some for things like animal waste clean-up (thanks, dog vomit!) and the bathroom trash cans. But I have been using reusable grocery bags so much I ran out of plastic ones! I had to pat myself on the back when that happened! I've also been using my water cup at work more (instead of getting styrofoam cups) and using my reusable coffee cups more. AND I've been working on filling the first half of my compost bin, so all of the fruit/veggie food scraps go in there. I barely had a full trash bag to take out last week!

Pay off consumer debt. Chugging along - my tax refund will take a big bite out of this.

Do two "no spend" months. (I am amending this to "low-spend months") So January was my first "low spend month" and I didn't do super great at it. The first two weeks I destroyed it! I didn't buy anything outside of necessities on my grocery list, didn't buy coffee, didn't buy clothes. The third week I started slacking and the fourth week I went down the tubes. I went out to dinner more than once/week. I bought lunch at work instead of bringing it. I went and got coffee during work a couple days a week. Better than I was doing? Sure. As good as I set out to be? Nope. It did kind of reiterate how spending less money is what I need to be doing. I think I'll set my next low-spend month for the summer time - maybe June or July.

Eat more homemade meals. I have for SURE been eating more homemade meals. Every breakfast and most lunches and dinners have been homemade. I feel like I have a lot more control over what I am eating when I eat at home.

Stick to a healthier lifestyle. Again, I was kicking butt at this for the first two weeks. And then I started slacking. I'm back on the wagon though! Even though Logan and I are going to grill cheeseburgers for dinner.

Deep clean the house. I'm a little torn on this goal. One of my plans was to do one room a month. Really focus and throw things out. BUT THEN I READ The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and she actually comes out and says that this plan is hugely flawed. Harumphf. Unfortunately, I don't have the time nor the space to line up every single item in my entire house at the same time. I think for the most part I can accomplish my goal by doing it one room at a time. Hi, my name is Rachel and I have too much stuff. (Hi Rachel!) Either way, my first room was the kitchen and I really did good! I was able to throw out a lot (broken things, items missing pieces, empty boxes that got put back in the pantry, etc). I think my next "room" for February will be the hallway closet, guest bedroom, and hallway bathroom. There isn't much in any of those rooms, so I don't think it will be terribly difficult to do them all together.

My to do list:
1. Keep reading before bed.
2. Keep using the reusables!
3. Keep paying shit down.
4. Nothing here - keep applying the "low spend" mindset
5. Keep eating at home.
6. Keep going to 9R. Keep drinking water.
7. Clean the February rooms.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

This is the new year! New goals!

Hello, 2018! I am looking forward to setting new goals, honing in on some old news with new focus and new direction, and getting some shit done in 2018. Let's do this! My goals for 2018 (in no particular order):

Read 20 books.
Reduce waste.
Pay off consumer debt.
Do two "no spend" months.
Eat more homemade meals.
Stick to a healthier lifestyle.
Deep clean the house.


1. Read 20 Books. I really like reading. I started thinking about the years that I read much more than I have recently. What's changed? One thing is the amount of time I spend at home - between work, 9Round, driving around to places, and Logan's house, I am not home as much as I used to be. I should really try to bring a book with me to Logan's house. Or maybe I can get the kindle app on my phone and have a book of short stories queued up to look at rather than flipping through lists of crap on Buzzfeed. The point is, I am resetting my goal of reading 20 books in 2018. I feel short in 2017 and this is something I *want* to do rather than *need* to do.

Reduce waste. In the trunk of my car, I have a laundry basket. In that laundry basket is a stack of reusable grocery bags. Do you know what I forget to bring with me damn near every time i go to the grocery store? THE BAGS. Yesterday I cleaned out the floor of my pantry. I have a few big bags stuffed to the brim with more plastic grocery bags. Easily a hundred of them. Which is stupid because I get out of my car, walk past the trunk and walk right into the grocery store, where I just get even more plastic sacks. So I decided yesterday to do better about this. I am also really bad about getting coffee in disposable cups even though I have a few reusable ones. I can do better.

Pay off consumer debt. Ugh. In 2018, I will pay off my windows (seriously though, I am so close!) and credit card. I'm going to do it, dammit! I took a retirement seminar through work recently and even though I have heard the whole "every dollar spent is a dollar not saved" schpeal before, it really kind of sunk in. Even if I am putting that money into a shorter term savings account rather than a retirement account. It would be pretty baller to be able to just write a check for new siding or new flooring rather than have to take out some consumer loan for it. That takes me to my next goal...

Do two "no spend" months. I did a couple "no spend" periods last year. They are hard! As a reminder to myself, a "no spend challenge" is when you can spend money on the necessities - bills, gas, groceries - but that's where the spending stops, no matter how good the deal is. I give myself a couple allowances though. I will allow myself to have $20 on a starbucks gift card (but once it is gone, no more starbucks for the month) and one restaurant meal/week. All the other things I find myself spending money on have to call it quits for the month. That means no frequent restaurant trips, no clothing/shoes/accessories, no cute toys for the dogs (they have plenty), no extra stuff at the grocery store, no target trips. I am actually going to make my first one in January. From January 1-31st. No spending!

Eat more homemade meals. This shouldn't be super hard to do since I can't spend money for 17% of the year! I also got a couple cookbooks for Christmas and have dogeared some recipes that I want to try. And I got an InstantPot a couple weeks ago and have really put it to good use already, but I want to keep using it! Although, I will say that it's a little misleading and some recipes are much quicker to just whip up using regular pots/pans.

Stick to a healthier lifestyle. The goal that is always set. Sigh. But seriously, I need to get it together. This body isn't getting any younger. Going to the gym is great, but I need to follow that up with eating better - sticking to something as simple as Michael Pollan's suggestion, "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants" (which also means to not eat "almost-foods" - processed foods.) I think by eating more meals at home and limiting how much I can eat out at restaurants, I should get to this goal pretty well. I'm also going to *actually* stick with Weight Watchers. And while I don't ALWAYS agree with their point system (I feel like a hotdog should be worth WAY more points than a handful of chocolate covered raisins, but here we are), I did lose weight using it. Consistency is key.

Deep clean the house. Similar to 2017's goal of "do little things around the house," but this one involves CLEANING. And holy cow do I need to CLEAN. I am going to give myself a different room every month to seriously clean. Get rid of stuff I don't need, want, or use. Get under the beds and into the closets and the nooks and the crannies. First month - kitchen. (I'm already a step ahead, I cleaned out the floor of the pantry yesterday. Turns out, I had a few just random empty cardboard boxes down there. For no reason. Makes no sense.)

So here we go, 2018! Let's get to work!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Pay off credit cards.
Go to the gym.
Do little things around the house.
Read 20 books.

Pay off credit cards. So while I did chip away at consumer debt, it's still lingering. I'll take care of it in 2018. For sure.

Go to the gym. One of the things that I told myself I would do consistently through 2017 was go to the gym. I was paying a monthly membership fee and just wasn't going. I could come up with some pretty pathetic excuses. I finally started going in the fall and I am happy I did. I have a gym buddy who works just as a ridiculous schedule as I do, so hopefully she will keep me on the up and up with going in 2018. Although, I really need to get in the habit of not depending on someone else to motivate me to go.

Do little things around the house. I did *some* little things around my house - getting my deck fixed and painted was a HUGE accomplishment for me. It was a LOT of work, but I'm happy it happened. Also getting the cat to the vet was a big accomplishment (I slacked and she hadn't gone for years. I know she is little, but holy crap it is scary getting her into the cat carrier). I'll probably continue this as a goal in 2018, but I have a different way I am going to do it.

Read 20 books. Well. Fuck. I did NOT read 20 books in 2017. I came close though! Well, 16 books. I honestly just couldn't get into it. I spent more time on my phone right before bed, which isn't good for a few reasons (vision, being distracted by nonsense right before bed, looking at lists of cute items with the links built in and BUYING STUFF RIGHT BEFORE BED) and should have put my dang phone down and cracked open a book. I need to do better that that.


I have some new goals for 2018 - they are a bit more focused and specific than the goals I had for 2017. Hopefully I can use this focus to stay heading in the right direction for 2018 and actually accomplish some things. Hey, a girl can dream!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Pay off credit cards.
Go to the gym.
Do little things around the house.
Read 20 books.

Pay off credit cards. Guess what is going to be the main goal for 2018? Ding ding ding! Fuck you, credit card.

Go to the gym. Holllllllller! I've been going to 9R 2-3 times/week.

Do little things around the house. Nailed it! I set up my little garden in the basement with a plant lamp and a heating pad. I am growing some herbs and I just planted a few different types of salad greens and some cherry tomato plants. I hope it grows and grows and grows! I am bringing my citronella plant back from the dead - such a bummer that the cold weather snuck up on me when I got home from vacation in October and it got the best of my citronella. My mints and lavender are still chugging along.

Read 20 books. I have to finish 4 books by the end of the year. I don't think I will make it. Eep!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Hello November!

Pay off credit cards.
Go to the gym.
Do little things around the house.
Read 20 books.

Pay off credit cards. Still chugging along. I tell you what, I will never never never let a credit card get the best of me ever ever ever again.

Go to the gym. So this slowed down the week before, the two weeks of, and the week after we went on vacation. I worked my butt off the week before we went on vacation, up until the day we left. I'm honestly surprised I didn't forget to pack something. While we were on vacation, we walked a TON (14 miles one day!) and I was not about that gym life while on vacation. The week after we got home I felt like absolute crap. My allergies/a cold got the best of me. But my first day off work that I didn't feel like crap I went. And I plan on going more and more.

Do little things around the house. Maybe I should make cleaning out my closet a thing to do before the new year. I did move my plants into the basement so they are somewhat protected. The downside is I didn't do it before my citronella plant died. So I have to figure out how to revive it. I did however buy an air purifier, which I think has made a difference in sitting around my house - cleaning up the allergens from the animals. Oh, and this kind of counts, but I am finally going to wrestle the cat into a carrier and get her to the vet this month.

Read 20 books. Well. Shoot. I have a few books to go and I just don't know if I will make it! I need to stop watching TV and pick up my books instead. I am currently in the process of reading THREE different books right now. My goal for November is to finish those three.

The year is almost over! In January I will get to look back at what I accomplished, what I still need to wrap up, and what I need to work on for 2018. Holy cow, time sure does fly.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Goodbye, September!

Pay off credit cards.
Go to the gym.
Do little things around the house.
Read 20 books.

Pay off credit cards. Still working on it. The goal that never ends. After vacation I need to hop back on a spending freeze. Hopefully while we are on vacation we can find some cool christmas gifts for people. Logan and I have saved up for the vacation and kept it separate so we aren't dipping into our budgeted checking accounts or using our credit cards.

Go to the gym. Holy crap. I have gone to the gym 3x/week since late August. I haven't noticed a huge huge huge difference, but I'm just proud of myself for going.

Do little things around the house. Well I for sure did not clean out my closet or paint the front door or touch up my deck. Maybe I can do that one one of my TWO days off from now until vacation in 20 days.

Read 20 books. I have actually had to remind myself to put my dang phone down and pick up a book before bed. It's just so easy to get sucked into the abyss of social media and news sites. Or as I am reading, I will pick my phone number to text someone back and then i absentmindedly click into those apps. Ugh!

October is going to be a good month!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Another Quick End-of-August Update

Pay off credit cards.
Go to the gym.
Do little things around the house.
Read 20 books.

Pay off credit cards. Working on it, but making a dent!

Go to the gym. Guys. GUYS. I have gone to the gym 3x a week for 3 weeks. A couple weeks ago I was sitting in my living room. I was scrolling through the same two or three social media apps. I was watching the same episode of Arrested Development I have already seen a dozen times. I had 4 hours before I had to go to work. So I made a decision - and an important decision at that. I decided to go to the gym. AND THEN I ACTUALLY WENT. By myself! I typically really don't like going by myself. I like going with someone else who can motivate me and laugh with me. But I did it. And then I went again. And then AGAIN. I decided I will go 3-4x every week. I even got two co-workers to sign up!

Do little things around the house. Last weekend I cleaned up my office. Well, most of it. I still need to clean up the closet. But I finally cleaned off the futon and the big catch-all chair. My goal for September is to clean out the office closet and my bedroom closet and throw stuff away or donate it. I also want to touch-up the deck and paint the front door.

Read 20 books. I just finished my 14th book! I have a book set aside for when we go on vacation in October and I really, really want to read it now, but I will wait. I have a couple little books on my kindle to read and one that I am reading at work (it's about patient satisfaction, which sounds really boring and I honestly wouldn't curl up by the fire to read it, but I actually don't mind it and think it is pertinent to the current climate of care delivery, which is my job!) I just might exceed this goal.


I started thinking about 2017 and what I have done with my year. I graduated with my BSN. I continued to navigate my new job, learning a lot along the way. I have done a bit (I think it's more than I've done in the past) of self-improving. Things I have wanted to do and just haven't. I recently started going to the gym. In May, I started the online Weight Watchers program and have lost 9 lbs! I started and will finish my Invisalign treatment, giving me a straight-toothed smile! I've always been self-conscious about it and I finally did something about it. I have become more aware of my budget and where my money goes. Last year I changed my retirement contribution and opened an actual savings account that I actually put money into. I feel like I have made some good changes!