The birds are chirping. The sun is staying out later. And it’s snowed, it’s rained, and it’s been 50 and sunny…all in the past week.
Welcome to springtime in Chicago!
With the arrival of spring (and the other three seasons that also sporadically burst onto the scene), I thought it was finally fitting to recap my posts for the first quarter of the year. Because somehow 2019 is already more than 25% of the way finished.
To start the year, I set some goals to focus on my health, my wealth, and some other priorities I outlined. Here’s how it went:
Q1 Goal 1 – Hit at least 10,000 steps a day.
Q1 Goal 2 – Climb at least 10 floors a day.
I set reasonable goals for my health in Q1. I’m still using my FitBit, which means I’m easier to figure out than I thought. I’ve always known that I’m motivated by rewards (Why yes, I did collect every sticker from every test for elementary school and middle school), and it turns out, I’m also highly motivated by spending my own money. I really don’t like the idea of having purchased a FitBit only to have it collect dust.
RELATED POST: 10,000 Steps: Why I’m Spending on Fitness
So my goals for the first quarter of the year were as follows were really focused on my Fitbit. I looked at steps and stairs.
CHECK AND CHECK (mostly). I must confess that there were two days when I was just steps away from my goal only to crawl into bed and forget out it. But most days, I clocked 12,000 steps or more and hit the floor climbing goal as well. I averaged about 75,000 steps a week, which is pretty fantastic considering how terribly cold it was for much of this quarter.
Q1 Goal 1 – Send $1500 to our Roths.
Q2 Goal 2 – Put $1800 to mortgage principal.
We did really well with our money goals this quarter, but I don’t want to brag too much. It was equal parts effort and sleep deprivation that did the trick.
Basically, I forgot what month it was and made an extra contribution for both of us. So we have $1825 in both of our Roths for this year already. That’s our usual monthly contribution, plus $750 split two ways from my three-paycheck month. Woop woop!
As for our mortgage goal, we knocked it out of the park…mostly because my goal was actually really imprecise. Putting $1800 toward the principal is basically the bare minimum we can do to actually keep our house. Since I’d like to continue living here, my guess is that I mean $1800 extra. In either case, we actually paid $4138.37 toward our principal. That means we paid about $2275 on top of what we already owed. Woot!
RELATED POST: Lessons Learned from Putting $33K Toward Debt Last Year
Q1 Goal 1 – Track my clutter/decluttering.
Q1 Goal 2 – Donate more. (For every item I sell, I must donate something else.)
I have been doing an excellent job of keeping track of my decluttering. I wrote two different posts about how I’m not done decluttering, and one even got picked up by The Financial Diet. (insert squeals of delight here)
We’ve also been rocking donating this quarter. It’s a combination of realizing that we can actually do a lot of good with the excess that we have and being just plain tired of lugging around the excess. I’ve sold a handful of things, but we’ve donated hundreds of others. I’m still working on my decluttering recap post for March and plan to post that next week.
Q1 Goal 1 – Continue to give monthly to causes and people that matter.
Q1 Goal 2 – Use 4 or less single-use cups.
My proudest accomplishment for the quarter actually stems from a category I couldn’t even be bothered to name this past January. In 2019, I excelled at Other. Someone, get me a trophy quick!
I only used a handful of single-use cups, and I only purchased soda in a plastic bottle twice. That second part wasn’t even part of my original goal, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my drink choices and the plastic left in their wake.
But the real victory is tied to last month in particular. I have often asked what people do with extra paychecks, and this time, I actually deliberately put an extra $50 to charity…after increasing our charitable donation budget by $50 each month.
We aren’t doing everything we can, but we are doing more. I’ve talked about upping my giving game, and it feels really good to do it not just once, but twice, in such a short amount of time.
RELATED POST: Doubting Your Charitable Giving
Q1 Goal 1 – Spend time or money (or both!) on myself (and only me!) once a week.
Q2 Goal 2 – Say no thank you to an opportunity at least once a month.
Welp. So much for saving the best for the last.
In case you couldn’t see the theme of tiredness running through the goal recaps, let me come right out and say it.
I am exhausted.
While I managed to focus on myself a bit over spring break, I spent the better part of this part quarter hustling and helping others. I’m actually a big fan of both of those things. But I’m starting to really realize what happens when I continually sacrifice my sleep and myself to everyone and everything else around me.
RELATED POST: When Your Goals Have Nothing to Do With Money
Just when I thought I’d started to get a handle on focusing on me, I found myself saying yes to a totally last minute task from my boss. I tried to say no several times, but I am a total sucker for “what’s best for kids”. (I know, I know. I knoooooooow. After getting bounced around so hard, you think I’d get a little bit more of a backbone.)
Final Thoughts on Finishing Q1 2019
It’s hard to believe the first quarter of the year is over. My favorite college professor once made an off-hand remark about why people in nursing homes look so confused. She said one day you blink and your 25, the next your 50, and the next you’re in a home wondering how your whole life passed by in a day.
I laughed when I was 18, and I feel that in my bones now that I’m 32.
Instead of speeding up, though, I’m going to try to slow down even more for the next part of the year. I’m still working through my goals, and I’ll share them soon. I’m trying to keep the focus where I really want it to be. And I’m also making sure that I’m a little more specific. Because there’s nothing quite like looking at your own goals wondering how much money you wanted to pay where and when.
So Tell Me…How did the first part of the year go for you? Do you have any money wins? If you’d like to share one using this link, I’d love the bring back the series this spring and summer!