Archives for December 2011

December Goals Update

Well December overall was a great month, despite my goal failures below!  I found a full-time job and am back on track for things I want out of life.  Here’s how my goals shaped up:

  1. Read 6 books
    Fail.  I finished 3 and am officially behind on my 52 in 52.
    Jane and the Canterbury Tale on 12/1
    Drawing Conclusions on 12/11
    The Mermaid Chair on 12/21
  2. Close Citicard AAdvantage (paid if off last month!)
    Check! Closed on 12/1
  3. Pay off 25% of my credit cards
    Fail.  Paid off 20% as of 12/30 so I am pretty proud of that!!
  4. Cook dinner at least once a week
    Fail, fail, fail.  I didn’t cook once.

I got one out of four finished, but oh well.  How did your year end?

January Goals

(image via borderbuster)

I’m a little bit early on this one, but just want to throw it out there so (maybe) I can get a head start!!  I have my major goals for 2012, but these will help break it down a little.  For the month of January, I would like to:

  1. Read 6 books
  2. Pay off one of my credit cards (this may be a bit of a stretch, even for me right now, but… what are goals for?)
  3. Throw out 20 things (with my new Christmas additions, time to purge some more!)
  4. Keep a gratitude journal for the month (to get started on my 2012 goals)
  5. Put money into my Roth IRA (I stopped this in November so ready to get back on track!!)
How are you starting out the new year?  Any big goals you want to start chipping away at?



(photo: evelyn louise)

It’s the holidays.  But also, as I write this post, I feel positively joyful.

The last time I remember feeling this happy was a little over one year ago.  It seems so long ago, but a lot can change in a year. Over the course of 2011, I participated in the International Wellbeing Study and was recently emailed the results.  I watched how over the course of the year, my life satisfaction and happiness dropped, while my unhappiness rose.  I hit my lowest point on the chart about six months ago.

Since then, things have gone uphill.  I left a job where I was unhappy and felt trapped, and started a new one.  I’ve shed a third of the debt weighing me down.  I’ve been exhausted by that burden for what feels like forever to me.  So things are looking up.  I have options.  Perfect timing as I leave the old year and move into the new.

And I hope everyone has a happy holiday with their friends and families!


12 Goals for 2012

This post was initially inspired by Niki over at Debt Free by Thirty (see the inspiration post here) and then I saw Serendipity at Serendipity’s Guide to Saving posted one as well, I just knew I had to get mine out there!

Like the other two ladies, I created a pretty visual of my goals using Picnik.  And I’m going to get straight into the goals, shall we?

1. Pay off debt.
I hope this one is pretty self explanatory.  I have some nasty debt hanging over my happiness and I’d like to get it out of the way so I can get on with my life.  An admiral first priority for the new year I think.

2. Complete 52 in 52.
As of  12/16, I am right on track for my 52 Books in 52 Weeks.  I have 22 weeks to go and would really love to knock this one off my list!

3. Minimalize.
I have way too much Stuff and I am feeling the burden.  As with my debt, the Stuff is something I’d like to shed over the next year until I have enough that I am able to find balance.

4. Knock five things off my 30 before 30.
I’m not sure which 5 I’ll be knocking off yet (aside from 52 in 52), but I’m optimistic that I can knock out 5 of the items on my 30 Before 30 list, on top of everything else I want to accomplish this year.

5. Save $ for travel.
Again, a semi-ambiguous goal… I don’t yet know how much money or where I’m going to be traveling, but the truth of the matter is that I’m a wanderer.  I feel lost when I’m stuck in one place for too long and I’ve been here way too long.  So I want to take a trip.  Where is still TBD.

6. Max out Roth IRA.
I have not done this since I first opened it 4 years ago.  I’m happy with how my retirement savings are going, but I’d like to be able to step them up a notch… however this goal has a catch.  I can’t really complete it until I pay off the debt that’s been torturing me.  But if I can knock out $6k of debt in 6 months, surely I can get $5k in right?

7. Drink more water.
I used to drink a LOT of water.  I was happier and healthier then.  So bring back the water!

8. Practice yoga.
As with the water, I was happier and healthier when I made time for yoga.  Given some life changes that have been happening lately, I hope this is something I can reincorporate in my life this coming year.

9. Work on sixteen personal commandments.
I created the personal commandments as part of my Happiness Project a couple years ago.  They were commandments that were meant to better my life and help me become a happier person, so I’d like to try and bring them back.

10. Learn French.
I started to learn French as part of my Peace Corps application process.  Even if that doesn’t pan out, I’d love to learn finish what I started and learn a beautiful language.  Hopefully one I can keep up this time!

11. Create a piece of art.
I love to paint.  I love to write.  This piece of art might be poetry, it might be a painting, it might be finally turning the side table my puppy chewed up into a beautiful Union Jack table.  Who knows what that art will be?  But it’s been too long since I’ve done anything creative for personal reasons and I’d like to create something this year.

12. Be grateful every day.
I want to cultivate a life of joy and thanks, and often I find myself feeling unhappy and angry when I know there is so much to be grateful for.  So I want to be grateful every day.  People always say that couples should never go to be angry… well, I don’t want to ever go to bed ungrateful.  I’ve been blessed in life and just want to remind myself of that every day.

So there you have it, my 12 for 2012. I’m pretty happy with them! Anyone have any big goals for 2012 in general? Any fun stuff in the works for next year?

7 Things I’ve Spent the Past Month Doing

Well, since I’ve been underemployed for approximately a month, here is a list of things I’d done in my free time that are free (or low cost!):

  1. Visit the library.  I currently have about 10 books checked out (in addition to my stacks at home) that need to be returned in 2 weeks… oh how I love books!
  2. Use my XBOX 360.  Purchased 2 years ago during a particularly rough time, and part of my mission to find cheap entertainment, I’ve recently dusted off the old games and run Netflix streaming through it.  Plus, I just got Skyrim for Christmas from my little brother (early, I know!) and I’m excited to start playing after all the great things I’ve heard.
  3. Sleep… a lot!  I feel like I’m making up for the 5 months where I mostly napped instead of slept.
  4. Catch up on TV shows.  Finally getting around to Castle, Covert Affairs and Rizzoli & Isles.  I just started watching Revenge and I can’t stop, I’m totally caught up in it!  I love the Count of Monte Cristo so this is a nice, modern version.  In TV show form.
  5. Cuddle with my puppy.  Well he’s really cute and super cuddly, so who’s going to argue with that one?
  6. Deal with car insurance companies and car repairs.  My vehicle was totaled in my own driveway.  Sigh.  Additionally, my dad’s car (that I’m currently driving) was backed into on the street.  I can’t win with vehicles and I’ve spent more time than I’d ever hoped speaking to insurance companies.
  7. Volunteer.  I started teaching a financial literacy course at a local community center for low income people.  It’s scheduled to end the Wednesday before Christmas, just in time for everyone (myself included) to start the new year off right!

Bonus:  Since I work in a coffee shop, I love this article about How to Order Coffee by Laurie Ruettimann at The Cynical Girl.