Since part of the reason I started this blog was for accountability in my own journey, I am going to start posting weekly progress reports. They will probably be pretty boring, so read at your own risk, but hopefully I will be able to look back and see that the small, consistent steps I took over time made a huge impact.
FARMGIRL LIZ FINDS A FARM
The big highlight of the past week was my first volunteer shift at a goat dairy farm here in NC. This amazing opportunity came across my Facebook page about a month ago, and I knew I had to do it. Basically, I get to go feed and cuddle baby goats once a week. I get to clean up after them too, but to me, that’s part of the charm (really, I swear). Not only because it’s a good workout and way more fun than going to the gym, but because I get to learn first hand what it is like to raise goats, which are on my list of potentials for my own future farm.
I got up at around 5:45 on Saturday morning so I would have time to feed and walk the dogs, grab a bite to eat, and not be late for my 7:00am shift. It takes a LOT for me to get out of bed that early, but even the light rain did not dampen my excitement. It is about a 45 minute drive up to the farm from where I live, and I did end up being a few minutes late (this would not surprise anyone who knows me).
Over the next 3 hours, I got to help bottle feed a group of about a dozen babies (I was kind of surprised and discouraged that I had a hard time with this, but I blame the bottle), muck out the pens the babies are kept in, and then go out to the field and visit with a brand new set of triplets born just about an hour earlier and a set of twins born the night before.
I spent the most of the rest of the day in a happily exhausted heap on the couch, reading, napping, and catching up on tv shows.
FINALLY, A WALK AROUND THE LAKE
I was so excited to move to my apartment on the lake last month, but since then I have barely
had made enough time to enjoy it. Between my still painful broken toe (four weeks later) and the hissy fit Mother Nature has been throwing for most of this month, the “daily walks” I had envisioned myself taking have happened exactly zero times. Until Saturday. After the rainy morning, the weather turned absolutely beautiful just long enough for me to convince E to take a walk with me.
I really want to get into the habit of walking in the morning, after dropping E off at school and before sitting down to work. Usually I am just too tired after work and it’s too easy to skip it. Lately, mornings have been rough for me – probably because of the gluten coma I have been putting myself in on a daily basis. Also, because my expectations for myself are (as usual) just too high. The weather for the upcoming week looks more promising, so I will renew my determination to get out and walk.
WAY, WAY, WAY TOO MUCH EATING OUT
J was out of town for spring break last week, so it was just E and I at the house. Every day I planned to go grocery shopping, and every day I put it off. We ended up eating out nearly every day, which was super bad for my budget and super bad for my health.
Better choices next week for sure – in fact, I am making a meal plan and grocery list today so I can hit the store on the way home from work, BEFORE my butt hits the couch!
I set a HUGE goal of losing 100 pounds this year, and I have lost exactly four so far. Actually, I lost six and then gained two back. It is time to get with the program – which program, I am actually not sure of just yet, but at the very least, I need to get my head out of the sand and start weighing in weekly. (I am not quite ready to share my weight just yet!)
For about two weeks at the beginning of the month, I was doing pretty well on a “reset” diet. I gave up gluten, dairy, sugar, processed foods, and no alcohol. The processed foods were the first to creep back in, in the form of Luna Bars for breakfast and snacks. Then some frozen lunches, because I wasn’t taking time to pack anything. And then C came home to celebrate her 19th birthday, and all bets were off.
I don’t know if the devil wears Prada, but I know he comes bearing gluten.
I really don’t know if I should try it again, or just go for a more “everything in moderation” approach. I guess I better decide soon, since I’m going grocery shopping today!
Also health-related, my sleep schedule has been awful the past few weeks. I am back in my “night-owl” mode, which is making it really hard to get up and get going in the morning. Then they cycle keeps repeating, because I am catching naps during the day and then staying up late again to either get things done or just vegging in front of the tv (usually with an unhealthy snack or three) because I’m not tired come
DOLLARS AND CENTS: BUDGET REVIEW
I have been doing great with the budgeting and tracking expenses. I usually sit down every Friday and enter my transactions into QuickBooks, run a P&L, and update my budget sheet. I created a spreadsheet in Excel based on this free printable from Frugal Fanatic, but prefer to print it out at the beginning of each month and update it by hand. I think there’s a lot to be said for the physical act of writing. I also love to cross things off with a fat sharpie, so I use sticky notes to allocate paychecks and other income to different expenses.
I have now set nearly everything up to save, transfer, and pay automatically. I currently have a rather convoluted system of bank accounts which could probably be simplified, but for now it is working for me and it feels amazing to know that my rent and expenses are covered each month without me really having to think about it.
Overview of March so far:
- I have already spent about 4x my eating out budget for the month
- I had an unexpected charge related to my bookkeeping business – thankfully this is a 5-payday month, so it was covered
- I took a leap of faith and signed up for FinCon Expo 2017 in October – that was an expense I hadn’t budgeted for but an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up and glad I could fit in
- I am over budget on utilities because I am paying for the apartment and the house – hopefully not for too much longer! I also had to play catch up with the phone bill this month
- Budget for gas needs to be adjusted to account for my weekly trips to the goat farm – totally worth it 🙂
- Ethel, my soul car, adventure-mobile and partner to trailer Lucille, has a failing engine. I have no idea yet how I am going to handle this.
ON THE NIGHTSTAND
As usual, my ADD brain can’t settle for just one book at a time. What with the move and everything, I am way behind on my goal of 100 books in 2017. Less Netflix, more reading! Here’s what’s currently on my nightstand:
Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
Save Your Retirement, Frank Armstrong &
The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United
States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Pound Foolish, Helaine Olen
Saving Capitalism, Robert Reich
White Trash, Nancy Isenberg
Overall, I would say it’s been a good week. Nearly three months into the year and I do feel like I’m getting my sh*t together, knocking out some goals and working hard on the others. I just need to work on scaling back my expectations and taking small steps…you’d think small steps would be easier, right?
How is your week going?