how did I do in april?

Earlier, I wrote a post where I enumerated a few goals that I am working towards and said to look for an update. Well, it is now the end of the month, and it is time to show my strengths and weaknesses.  Let’s see how I did.

#1 – Brown bag more lunches. I did okay with this goal, but not as well as I wanted to. For the month of April, I estimate that I ate about 5 work-week lunches out. This averages to 1.25 meals a week. I say estimate because I bought 2 or 3 lunches with cash, but I honestly cannot remember when or where and did not note them down (fail! How can I hold myself accountable if I don’t know what I’ve done?!). Basically, I stayed about the same. I will confess that this goal slid to the back of my list since I have been trying to move. I’ve been trying to eat down what I have in my pantry and my refrigerator, but honestly? Sometimes I am just not feeling creative enough to whip up a meal from what I have (it’s starting to get sort of sparse). This goal I am willing to be a little lax with until I get moved in and settled. I am still going to try to keep it light going forward in May, I am hoping to keep my buying lunch at or below its’ current level. Once I get moved in, though – game on!

#2 – Pay for my Iceland trip all in cash. This goal is coming along swimmingly. I received a bonus for the previous year in April, and I was able to put most of that money towards Iceland savings. It’s getting closer and closer – only 87 days until I leave! Being able to put bonus money towards this goal really helped. I still want to contribute for the 3 months I have left, but now I don’t have to desperately save. If I’m not able to contribute one paycheck, it won’t be the end of the world. That peace of mind is awesome. I may be able to take my Iceland trip, pay for it in cash, and still have money left over for the next big adventure!

#3 – Live below my means –even though raises are coming! I’m not really sure of my progress on this goal. I have lived below my means this month, even though the raise from my primary job went into effect on April 1st. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that my spending has been atypical this month. I have bought a sparse amount of groceries, so that I could eating my way through my fridge. On the other hand, I’ve been spending money on things for my house that I had budgeted for, but are not things that I would purchase during a typical month (a fire extinguisher, a garden hose, a power drill, contact paper, etc.). I haven’t been spending as much on eating out or extracurricular activities this month. Living atypically this month has made it hard to determine if I made progress on this  ambiguous goal.

Challenges:

Like I said, the atypical spending pattern that I have had this month has made it tricky to truly gauge my progress. Once I get into a routine, it will be able to easier to gauge my progress – although by that time, I may have a different set of goals I am working towards! Also, I was supposed to close on my house on April 26th. Unfortunately, 3 days before I was supposed to close, the loan fell through on a technicality (!). My loan officer is a family friend and a saint besides and used her industry connections to find a bank that would accept me, but this means that I have to re-start the whole loan process with a new bank. I don’t think that I will have issues qualifying again, but it does set me back as far as time goes, and since I was only 3 days away from closing, I had already given my landlord notice and had my utilities moved over, not to mention had taken time off of my 2nd job in order to be able to move. Now everything is up in the air, and it’s stressing me out – I’m such a planner! The next few months are going to be stressful, so I need to not let that affect all the other areas of my life – my health, my financial situation, my relationships, etc.

New Goal for May:

I want to add a goal for May: save $200 towards my Next Computer fund. I’ve had my laptop since 2007 and the screen is starting to flicker in an ominous way… not to mention it is very, very slow. I am pretty darn close to finishing my goal, but since the screen is starting to flicker, I want to boost my savings and get a new machine pronto. I’m $400 away from my goal, so if I can put $200 towards it in May and $200 towards it in June, I will have a new laptop by July – and I will have bought it outright, with the cash in my pocket! Doing this will be quite a stretch, since I have all sorts of house expenses + Iceland coming up, but I think if I am really creative with my spending, I will be able to pull it off!

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