Wow, 1/4th of 2016 has zoomed by! Time to check in on my New Year’s resolutions just to see if I need to concentrate on any specifically.
1. See my parents and my grandparents at least once a month.
My grandma isn’t doing very well and my grandpa is suffering from grief, exhaustion, and a touch of paranoia/general crazy. But I am dang well seeing them! About 3 times a week has become the norm since my grandma ended up in the hospital in mid-February. Both her and my grandpa are in a skilled nursing facility now since he has to stay around her or all hell breaks loose. It’s romantic and insanely difficult at the same time.
My parents were doing well until yesterday. I saw them in February at grandma’s hospital but only texted a lot in March – it’s been a little nuts. AND yesterday, my dad ended up in the hospital with a fractured/broken collar bone, 3-4 fractured ribs, and a probable concussion from a fall off a ladder. 🙁 He’s doing okay but holy hell.
My in-laws are good. My husband’s great uncle has made a full recovery from a brain aneurysm and his grandpa sailed through a knee replacement as well as humanly possible (it was last Wednesday and he will most likely be back to doing everything normally in 3 weeks)…strong stock. That grandpa proves to me that I need to be in water aerobics starting at age 60 and just keep going twice a week forever.
2. Regular friend time.
February and March were filled with friend time too. Dee, Mandy, and I are continuing the weekly Girls’ Nights and Hillary has started joining us too. Good food, wine, and talking for hours and hours has become our thing. We may be watching Hollow Man 2 soon.
Hillary, Gary, hubby, and I are still meeting nearly every week on a different night for dinner too. I’m digging it. It’s nice just to have another couple. It’s slightly different conversations than friend-with-friend but is still personal time with connections. It’s fun.
We’re doing a similar double date night with another couple of our close friends about once a month. We take turns picking out restaurants to try. Last Friday Mr. BFS chose the coolest Vietnamese place with Beef 7 Ways that was delicious and cheap! All 4 of us had the Beef 7 Ways, plus a dessert per couple, plus 3 drinks for $55 total including a 20% tip!!! That’s just kick ass!!!
We also hosted two potlucks – one in February and one in March. Super mellow fun. I got to see a handful of my friends during the Texas Paw Party weekend too since they helped me out and we had pizza and hard apple cider at my place afterwards. And hubby and I have started to go out once or twice a week at night to a private nightclub with dancing.
On top of the scheduled weekly get-togethers, I was able to hang out with several existing friends one-on-one throughout the month too. William, my artist friend and close buddy, spent 24 hours at my house painting the cool Wizard of Paws backdrop for Texas Paw Party and we got to hang out last weekend too.
You are probably wondering how I get to see all of these people around my pet sitting (which has been nuts) and this online world.
Well, between working, working online, visiting my grandparents, volunteering, and just generally worrying about life, my friends have really stepped up and kept me sane. They meet me around my schedule, even late at night, and they never seem to hold the rest of my crazy life against me. I am truly blessed with the friends and family we have.
3. Max out both Roth IRA’s for 2016. That’s $11,000 overall.
DONE IN JANUARY! The stock market crashes cried out to me…instead of “sell, sell, sell”, I heard “sale, sale, sale”! It’s nice to have this checked off already even if our investment fund wasn’t really expecting to take the $11,000 hit this early. We may have to pay ourselves back a little over the year to pad for future investments.
Oh, and I haven’t been happy with the percent of our income we’ve been saving for the future specifically, so we are starting a SEP IRA and will be attempting to throw $14,000 in it every year. That will make our total IRA contributions about $25,000 a year and that’s 25% or more of our pre-tax income. That’s where I wanted to be. We had been trying to save up cash instead to buy rental properties, but the banks are making that so difficult with self-employment income that I’m looking into pure hoarding-with-interest techniques now…
4. Maintain our $15,000 emergency fund.
This year will hopefully have baby-making involved and we’d like to keep our emergency fund at $15,000…in fact, Mr. BFS wants us to try for $20,000 now just so our emergency fund (this) plus our blog income padding account (mentioned below) will add up to 6 months of expenses without any income at all. So, $40,000 in cash at all times just in case everything goes to hell at once. I think we don’t need that much, but I do not mind. And eventually we could get an interest rate higher than 0.75% on savings hopefully, lol.
5. Maintain our $20,000 self-employment fund.
Yep, on top of the investment fund and emergency fund, we also have a $20,000+ account that we use to pay ourselves each month for our online business. It fluctuates as we bring in more or less. But overall, I like to keep it at $20,000 or more because I am scared shitless of having no backup if our business ever crashes. So far, so good.
6. HEALTH. I will weigh 150 pounds or less by July 2016 AND won’t go over 150 again in 2016. PERIOD. I was between 160-165 on January 1, 2016.
I want to lose weight and keep it off mainly for my back and joints. As of January 31, 2016, I was at 159.6. As of March 27, 2016, I’m at 153.4! Woot!
I’m too busy to eat a ton of bad stuff like I used to plus I’m walking and bad dancing as my main forms of exercises right now.
By bad dancing, I mean that I really have no idea how to dance. So when we are at the club and I hear something with a fun beat, I pretty much bounce around and do those lower-lower-lower squat things that seems to be the go-to move for anything that sounds sexy. LOL, bad white girl dancing for the weight loss win!!! Wanting to look good in the outfits I wear to the club help motivate me to stay on track too. Vanity for the double win! 😉
For the food side, I’m just eating smaller portions overall for now. And I try to select healthier snacks than usual like eating an orange instead of chocolate or 2-3 pieces of chocolate or candy in a day instead of the whole bag. For my main meals, it’s just about eating less than usual. It’s becoming easier. I’m really enjoying oranges this time of year. I’ve started drinking water as my main beverage too. Water for the triple win!
My hope with doing smaller changes regularly instead of just all out dieting and exercising like I’ve done before is that these changes will stick for the long term as new lifestyle habits. That is the goal at least.
How are you doing in 2016 so far?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!