Resolution progress | January 2014




This is that time of the year when I tend to have forgotten all of my resolutions and shamelessly given up on anything I set out to accomplish as a goal. I'm happy to report that is NOT the case for this year's resolutions! {Okay, well for two of the three...}

I'm going to do a monthly check-in, partially for my own accountability and partially because I want to be living proof that resolution follow-through can happen in some way, shape or form. Because if I feel this good right now in January, I can only imagine how much better I'll feel in December!

So as a refresher, my resolutions for this year were as follows:

1) Plan out my meals on Saturdays, shop on Sundays and be prepared with cooked meals Monday - Friday. Of said meals, ALL ingredients need to be free of artificial ingredients. No compromises, for reals. My grocery bill may be higher, but my insides will be happier. 

2) Go to the gym after school three days a week. Get 5 minutes of cardio in every day (walk, jumping jacks, jog around the block). I really, really, really need to get moving. 

3) Not use a single credit card for 2014. Not once. Not for perks, not a store card, not for discounts, nothing. Zip. Nada. No bueno. Credit cards are very sneaky little tools that make you think you're getting a lot, but instead are life suckers when they send their bills and after 10 years of owning them, I'd rather just pay cash for everything now, thankyouverymuch. 



Resolution #1: Success

Every Saturday I curl up with my cup of coffee and my computer and meal plan. I dig out recipes I've always wanted to try from Pinterest and visit my go-to favorite websites such as pinchofyum.com or simplegreensmothies.com to pick what I want to have for breakfast and dinner each week. This planning ahead has been so positive in multiple ways, including cutting out how much we eat out or get take-out (we only went out one time this month for happy hour, and went to dinner one night on our trip to Ashland). We also take leftovers for our lunches at school and I drink a green smoothie every day with ingredients like kale, broccoli, spinach, pineapple, oranges, coconut, and multiple other ingredients that give me energy in the mornings while getting my fruit and vegetable servings as well. 

Meal planning has also helped with stress levels after school surrounding "I have no idea what to cook for dinner" (which usually defaults into, "let's just grab a pizza because I'm too tired"). Each day I know exactly what I'm making and I have bought all the ingredients for it ahead of time. Some meals have become new favorites, and some I'll never make again. However, it keeps us out of the restaurants and spending more time together at home as a family which is another positive. I also set a budget for each week and only exceeded it by $50 this month because a) I ran out of saran wrap and Ziplocs, b) I'm making carnitas for the first time and dang those pork shoulders are expensive and c) wine will no longer be on  my weekly shopping list. Gotta save somewhere!

Resolution #2: Big FAIL

I haven't even been to the gym one time. This is why I have a love/hate relationship with gym memberships. I feel great when I have time to go and love going, but then when I can't go or don't have time I'm throwing money away. I have had a meeting after school every day this week and last for at least an hour, and by the time I'm done I need to head home and get dinner started because T gets home much later than I do. I haven't even got moving for 5 minutes each day aside from all the walking I do at school, because I'm full of a million excuses. I hope that February is much different because I don't like wasting money and I do like getting in shape. 

Resolution #3: Easy success!

I don't know why I thought it would be so hard not to use my credit card. A lot of people have wrote me after my initial post encouraging me to use credit cards and then pay them off to get the points and take advantage of their rewards. I totally get that and if you are self-disciplined enough to do so, more power to you. However, something in my brain just gets ticked off when I have to go back and pay a credit card bill. It's like this false security game you play each month where you use a credit card to buy something which doesn't affect your bank account, and then you have to go back to your bank account later and think, "this balance doesn't really exist," to shell out for your credit card purchase. It may sound silly, but really I hate paying bills and I just don't like that extra step month after month of paying on a credit card and then turning around and paying it right off. So this year I just decided I wanted to skip the credit card step altogether and learn the habits where, even if I have the money in a week, if I don't have the money right then in my bank account, the purchase will not be made. 

I've been using cash a lot and it has been so freeing. Not using a credit card has been so freeing. It's really forced us to prioritize what is most important to us and get creative and be content with what we do have. We have to constantly say no to things that we do want to do. 

A few of those recent nos have been:

1) Not putting a down payment on the Alaskan cruise we want to go on in June. Instead we're going to wait until the last minute for a better rate and hope the one we want is still available. 

2) Not going on a spring break trip like we do every year. That would require us to put a down payment on it as well and we don't want to use our cash for that this year. Instead, we're doing an explore-Oregon-every-day spring break trip which I'm actually really looking forward to. :)

3) Not giving into ANY email sales that get sent my way on a daily basis like GAP, Banana Republic or Nordstrom, no matter how good they sound. Some might say, "Just unsubscribe to those emails..." but I like to be able to show the willpower to overcome that temptation. 

4) Not going out for happy hour or going out to eat because we have food in the fridge (read: resolution #1)

5) Not going to the movies and instead watching a RedBox or a Netflix movie at home


These seemingly insignificant "nos" have paved the way for bigger "yeses" to happen later on which I know we will be happy about in the long run. It's not so much that we had issues with credit cards, but its more that we used them without regard and never really thought about anything we were spending our money on. I want our spending habits to change so that when we do splurge on something, we've thought about it and it makes sense and it's something we really want. I am enjoying what we do have, and relishing in the memories of all the past trips we have taken we we do not regret even 1%. 

So far, so good 2014 (minus the gym trips...)-- I'll report back on what February looks like which will hopefully be even better! 




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