Saturday, March 31, 2012

Goals check-in: March

This seemed like a REALLY long month! Maybe part of it was my limit on spending.  Or not eating ice cream. :D Anyway, we're at the end of it, and while things are not perfect, I've made some gains on my 2012 goals.

Read 100 books in 2012.

There was a lull after #30 -- I didn't have any new material! I eventually got to the library, but in the meantime I reread a couple of novels that I had lying around. Those don't count toward the hundred book challenge. Now I'm up to #39.

Exercise for
90 minutes per week.
Um. No. I have been glued to the computer and my back hurts.

Get rid of (sell, donate, recycle) 80 items from the house by the end of the year.
I sold an electric keyboard on Craigslist and snowflaked the proceeds to my grad school fund. I have a couple of shopping bags to take down to Out of the Closet, too -- clothes and books. 38 items this month, plus the previous total of 46 takes me to 84. And the apartment is still a mess! Next I want to tackle the kitchen utensils. Remember, I'm still working on 365 things for the Declutter Challenge.

70 posts for this blog in 2012.
16 more this month, for a running total of 37. I'm starting to see days slip by several at a time without posting, which tells me that I should prep some content and preschedule it. But this isn't really a how-to personal finance blog; it's more of a chronicle of my life stuff. It's hard to plan most of that in advance.

60 hours in 2012.
I have put in a bunch of hours on rehearsal for this weekend's concert, but I don't think that counts. I feel bad about not spending more time supporting causes I believe in. For the first time in a long time, I have more money than time -- barely, and no surplus of either if I'm going to meet my goals. Seems like I'll have to do more homework on the weeknights and set aside some Saturdays to join up with a group.

Save or donate 50 percent of my take-home income.
In March, I saved 74.4% and donated 11% of my net income. (I'm counting the cash I applied to the accounts, not any interest earned. I had a third paycheck in the month, and most of it went to grad school savings.)
Here's how it broke down:
Emergency Savings: 8.4%
Xmas 2012: 1%
Wedding: 15.5%
House Fund: 5.2%
Grad School: 43.1%
Roth IRA: 2.6%
401(k): taken from paycheck; 5% of gross income; not counted in this total
HSA and medical FSA: taken from paycheck; not counted in this total
Investments: 0%
Church Pledge: 8.4% (I added a one-time amount at the congregational forum, and dropped money in the basket at Taize, in addition to my monthly pledge.)
Other Donations: 2.3% I sponsored a friend who is riding in AIDS/LifeCycle 2012.

Distribute 40 business cards by the end of the year.
Up to 8. I found myself networking in odd situations where I was sitting around waiting. I'm not so good at striking up conversations with strangers, but wanting to get my cards out there and practice my "elevator pitch" from LIBR 282 gave me an incentive.

Spend 30 days without a phone or computer in 2012.
This, like volunteer work, needs to be scheduled in advance. (Irony?)

Be able to do 20 pushups at once by the end of the year.
I haven't been working on this.

Write 10 recommendations on LinkedIn in 2012.
Still holding at 1. However, my good friend just joined LinkedIn, and I may have the opportunity to rave about her talent for organization and thorough understanding of everyday human-computer interaction.

Don't spend.
I wasn't perfect here. While I arranged my social plans as best I could in advance, I still spent money on dinner a couple of times when out with friends.
$10 for dinner
$20 for Girl Scout cookies (they're seasonal!)

$6 tip for mani/pedi that I received as a gift
$15 dinner after mani/pedi (I could have planned better and brought food)
$71 my treat for a birthday dinner & movie date
$23 dinner w/ friends after church
$145 is a lot for a no-spend month. I gained some patience, though, by waiting to buy other planned purchases and eliminating lots of impulse purchases.

Continue not to buy lunch at work. 
I need to restock my desk drawer with soup! I keep forgetting to bring lunch (and my sweetie had a couple of sick weeks where she wasn't up in time to pack my lunchbox). Still, did not buy lunch on workdays. I'm at my 90-day goal for the 101 list!

Continue with Lenten practices of attending Taize and Q-Sangha and not eating ice cream.
Check. This year's theme for meditation, I've decided, is Every part of me is mine. (Last year's: I am a beloved child of the Universe.) I've skipped a couple of times because it felt like the hassle (an extra hour and a half on transit, without dinner) outweighed the benefits. I felt good about being able to walk to the train in the sunlight instead of rushing to Taize immediately after work and not getting home until 9:30.

Q-Sangha is a new spiritual practice for me, and sometimes it's uncomfortable. I've shown up, though (leaving early when necessary), and I feel like I've benefited. Basically, it's an hour in the week where I don't have to work or study or do chores or run errands. I've been attending with my sweetie, and the opportunity to just breathe and sit with her in silence has strengthened our connection. But the same annoyances about convenience and transit apply.

Get to work on time (or early!).
I did this successfully 12 days out of 19 workdays.
On the 1st, I decided to dye my hair after getting up in the morning, and it took longer than I'd planned, so I was late on the very first day! After that, though, transit and my sleeping schedule worked out most days, but that's still pretty dismal. (Does it make it better that I am almost always here before my coworkers?)


  1. This is a great list of goals! I would that I were so ambitious!

  2. My own meager goals involve simply buying fewer t-shirts and books. Maybe I should re-evaluate where I want to be.

    1. I think it's good to look at where your goals come from. Do you want to buy fewer T-shirts because you already have enough? Because you want to save the money for something special? Because you're attempting to dress more formally and you want to change your wardrobe? Because you object to the sweatshop practices of a particular company that makes T-shirts?

      Examining the reasoning behind your goals gives you insight into your priorities -- and you can use your priorities and values to make more goals!


Please be civil to other commenters.