Yes it’s already April . But I’m learning to stop marveling at/focusing on how fast time seems to fly and think more about how I am maximizing my time here on God’s green Earth. Have I learned to stop competing with others and aim to be a better person than I was last year around this same time? Am I learning to live in the moment and not in the past or the future? Am I becoming a better steward of my money? Am I content? I must admit I am a work in progress in these matters but the best part about reflection and growth is to recognize that there is work to be done and get down to the business of of actually doing it.
What I like about reflecting on goals set at the beginning of the year, is that you get the chance to see where you won and where you might have taken a few L’s. I noticed that there is so much power in writing goals down as the odds of you achieving them exponentially rises…and this is true in my case! Here’s a snapshot of my 2018 Q1:
What went right
- My student loan balance is decreasing. On December 31, 2017, my student loan balance was $18,997.04. It is now $15, 962 yaassss! I averaged sending them about $1000 in January , February and March respectively and I bring home about $3200 a month. Technically I could send at least $1200 a month after rent, food, home supplies, pet supplies, other incidentals and of course any costs associated with that jerk “Murphy” are taken out. So my focus is to throw as much money as I can to the remaining balance and tell Navient to get lost!
- I got a raise and bonus at work! I worked last year to meet expectations in my first year at my job as a paralegal for a large clothing retailer and I guess it paid off. I was sort of expecting a bonus but the raise was nice surprise , especially with all the grumblings around the office that raises have been few and far between over the years. The raise was not much (2%) but I will continue to live below my means so that I can use the extra income on debt repayment and saving. My bonus check was about $1200 so I may use the entire amount on debt or use half to pay toward an unexpected tax bill 🙁 ( more on that below).
- I committed to being consistent with this blog. Consistency was never my strong suit but I guess we are consistent in the things that are important to us. One of the main drivers for starting this blog was to hold myself accountable to my money goals and of course encourage (and inspire!) others to establish a positive relationship with money. To know that they are not alone in their desire to improve their financial picture. I want my readers to really get something of real value here that they can apply to their lives and I don’t want to do anything halfway anymore. I got my logo done and re-done, switched to a self-hosting platform and purchased a new theme which I hope you like! It is still a work in progress but you gotta start somewhere.
What didn’t go so well
- This damn food budget lol. I’m consistently going over the allocation limit and I suspect that I’m simply not giving myself enough room in this area. I’m currently budgeting $250ish a month (just groceries alone) which I think is more than enough for one person. I also fail to meal a lot of the time and shop without a list (the horror!) so this is an area i definitely need to brush up on in Q2. I’m also working on a budget template that I think will help me in some of these areas that I will be sharing soon!
- Not paying a credit card balance off in February. I know, I know credit cards are the devil but I personally am not opposed to having one. You just don’t need 15 of them especially when they’re just chilling in your purse, waiting to be used on some random, unplanned , unnecessary purchase lol. I overextended myself and ended up $800 in the hole ( consisting of a storage bill, a plane ticket to Florida to see family, a down payment on a family reunion cruise etc). I will be much more diligent about watching any recurring charges and make sure they are paid for by the end of the month to avoid those sill interest charges!
- I received a HUGE bill from the tax man. Yup the IRS got your girl and sent a bill in the amount of $1900 big ones from a 2016n filing. I prepared my taxes myself, made some silly mistakes and now I owe the government. I also love how the letter said that it was a “proposed tax bill” as if I have a choice in paying it! I did submit a Form 843 which is a form you need to argue/vacate any charges you don’t think you should pay. Waiting to see what they say about that, this should be interesting….. I think I will have a professional prepare my 2018 filing just because these days “I pays for convenience” and I just don’t want to be bothered lol.
So that has been my 2018 Q1 in a nutshell! None of us knows what Q2 has in store but let’s be intentional about following through on these goals. If you’ve fallen off (ALL of us have at some point) you can always hit the reset button and try again!
Leave a comment below and let me know how things are going so far on your end!