Last year was all about figuring out my finance game plan and Saying Yes to opportunities to forge new relationships with people.
This year is about slowing down a bit and turning the focus inward. Taking the things that worked really well last year and using them to fuel me from the deep well of lasting change that exists within all of us if we’re quiet enough to hear the splash.
In 2017, I spent $19,062.24 on Past Self choices. I have about $23,000 left to repay and if I maintain only my current payment schedule it’ll be gone entirely by July of 2019.
I took a slightly different work position in October, that grew out of my former role, and a big part of it is office based. I’ve literally never had a job where I’m sitting let alone sitting at a computer, and I’ve discovered that not only is it affecting my physical movement (which I expected) but my writing, as the last thing I want to do when I get home is type on a keyboard.
Up until now, I’ve used this blog as my occasional outlet for accountability and haven’t made a schedule or put any work into growing readership, because of things like the above. The motivation I get from the personal finance online community is valuable to me and I don’t want to turn any part of my PF bubble into an obligation. I do, however, see how big a difference writing here more often made to sticking to my financial goals – my spending toward the end of the year crept back to 2015 levels which wasn’t ideal.
My goals for the coming year:
Pay off at least $20,000 of debt. We aren’t offered overtime currently so I’ll have to try to pick up a few casual shifts at my side job and take on any housesitting opportunities that pop up.
Lean back from the Say Yes project and focus on things that enrich my inner life: Continuing yoga (paid classes), cycling with my bike shop, camping/hiking, and taking time to write and read. The only major expected expense for any of these categories is building a dynamo hub wheel for my bike in the spring in anticipation of longer randonneuring rides next season.
Ensure I get adequate sleep throughout the week. This directly impacts my finances, because a tired Kat means a Kat that is more tempted to skip packing lunch and buy food in the cafeteria (just last week) or drive to work instead of leaving 30 minutes earlier to bike or use transit (for free).
Continue frugalizing social events. Eat before meeting friends at the pub; bring snacks and beverages on bike rides; continue seeking free admission events to museums; continue limiting music shows that aren’t supporting a friend directly.
The big one, that will likely be difficult halfway through the year based on 2017: ZERO FRIVOLOUS PERSONAL SPENDING. I’m starting with the Frugalwoods’ Uber Frugal January and will reevaluate in March. Things like impulse shopping before dates (rare but did happen in November), buying ink for my favorite pen (when I have sample jars waiting), and take away coffee (no excuse) are just plain off limits.
The way I’ve framed these are not exactly detailed, actionable SMART goals. My focus this year is more on how I want to feel, not what I want to do or even where I want to be one year or five years from now. I want to pay off debt so that I can feel unencumbered by budgeting so strictly (and the spending creep that followed). I want to focus back inward to feel less frenetic in my personal interactions. I want to remain open to new people and new potential adventures while staying true to myself and my core values, building only those relationships that are mutually satisfying. I want to be well rested and well fed to fuel my body and my inner fire.
I am starting 2018 with peace in my heart and a sense of anticipation for the wonder this year will bring!
How about you?