My Goals for 2017: March and April Update

So, here’s the deal.  I had foot surgery on March 16th.  Then, I got post-operative pneumonia on March 30th, though I didn’t find that out until April 10th.  Then, I finally started to feel better around April 24th, just in time for my girls to have influenza for four days and give it to me and my husband.

Life, it happens.  And when I have seven weeks like I just had, not much gets done on the goal front.  It’s all about survival, baby.

But hey, my foot looks and feels better, the pneumonia as well as the influenza is gone, and I’m ready to attack my goals with gusto in May!

Here is how I did with my goals for March and April:

Read 52 books and blog about them.   Done in March and April!  (16 of 52 read, so this goal is 30.7% complete)

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In April, I read and blogged about 4 books, 1 was a young adult book, and 3 were adult books:

Alabaster by Chris Aslan

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus (YA)

Finders Keepers by Stephen King

In March, I read and blogged about 4 books, all 4 adult books:

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky

Shepherd, Potter, Spy, and the Star Namer by Peggy Miracle Consolver

Above the East China Sea by Sarah Bird

In February, I read and blogged about 4 books, 1 was a young adult book, and 3 were adult books:

Carrying Albert Home by Homer Hickam

The Broken Blade by William Durbin (YA)

The Loving Push by Temple Grandin and Debra Moore

When We Last Spoke by Marci Henna

In January, I read 3 young adult books and 1 adult book:

Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan (YA)

The Giver by Lois Lowry (YA)

Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler (YA)

For 2017, I would like to read at least half of my 52 books as adult books that I want to read, not tween/teen books I have to read because of homeschooling.

Increase my financial awareness.  To this end, I have some specific goals.

  • Read one financial book per month.Not done in March or April
  • Track our net worth every month.Done in March & April!
  • Continue to use YNAB as our budgeting tool.Not done in March or April
  • Keep money for upcoming expenses in our Capital One 360 accounts–Done in March and April.  I put aside our $64.74 in April and $75 in March of found money for our trip to Michigan.
  • Spend no more than $800 on homeschooling this year.  (That includes extra curriculars, co-op, competition fees, and books and curriculum for all three kids.)
    On target.  So far we have spent $167.87 for the year.  We spent $75 in March so Bookworm could join a boys’ chorus.  In February, we spent $35.88.  In January we spent $56.99.

Find $700 in “free” money for our trip to Michigan.  On target.   Thus far, we have saved $376.20 for the year.  (This goal is 53.7% complete.)  We saved $139.74 in March and April and  $136.46 in February.
We hope to go to Michigan to visit family and friends this summer.  My goal is to find $700 in “free” money by using credit card cash back, Ebates, Swagbucks, iBotta coupons, and whatever other methods I can find.  Finding this “free” money and consciously saving it toward one goal would make the trip much less financially stressful.

Improve my prayer life.    This one continues to be a work in progress.  I said my morning prayers regularly in March, even after my surgery.  But once I got pneumonia, this stopped completely.  Now I need to get back into the habit again.
I plan to do this by saying my morning prayers every morning, saying the Angelus with the kids every week day, and praying the rosary in the evening 5x a week.

Exercise 60 minutes per week.  I’m actually putting this goal on hold.  Because of foot surgery it will be awhile before I can walk for exercise again.
I’m not one who loves to exercise.  I actually loathe it, but I know exercising will improve my health.

Write in my journal 2x a week.  Not done in March or April.
This goal was also a bit intimidating when I looked at it for the whole year, so in 2017, I plan to take it week by week.  Writing in my journal 2x a week is something I can handle.

Save 3% of my husband’s income in an emergency fund.  Not done in March or April.  Our budget has been sadly neglected because I just didn’t have the energy to take care of finances besides paying bills while I was sick.  I hope to make this up once I get the budget in order again.
Last year I set a goal to save 10 to 15% of his income.  While we were able to do that at the beginning of the year, when we hit our financial cyclone, we weren’t able to continue.  This year I’m setting the goal much lower since we still have financial damage to clean up from last year.  However, I do want to start getting into the savings habit.

Save 1% of my husband’s income in our Roth IRAs.  Not done in March or April.
I know that amount is very small, but for the last few years, we haven’t saved anything in our Roth IRAs.  Of course, my husband is saving for retirement through work, which luckily comes with a match, but I want to start adding to our Roth IRAs, too.

Enter 200 giveaways.  Not done in March or April.  I didn’t enter any giveaways in February.  In January, I entered 26 giveaways.  Unfortunately, I didn’t win any.  🙂
This was a goal that I had last year, which I didn’t quite achieve.  However, I did win a few things including our Ting cell phones, so I want to continue this goal this year.

Stick to our grocery budget.  On target!  Our goal is to spend no more than $1,058.30 a month on groceries.  Right now, we’re averaging $1,064.22 per month.  I’m still computing our averages from March and April.
Last year was all over the place with our monthly grocery expense.  Some months I only spent $500.  Other months it was $1,400.  Yikes!  We already are eating dairy, gluten, corn, and bean free (except for split peas), so we lose some frugal options that way.  Also, my son and I both were on specialized diets for part of this year, which raised our grocery budget.  Still, I know there are things I can do to lower our grocery budget.  I plan to take these steps:

  • Have a monthly freezer cooking session at the beginning of the monthDone in March!  However, now my freezer meals are all gone, so it’s time for another session.
  • Shop from the pantry firstDone in March and April!
  • Use other resources such as Vitacost.com and Azure Standard to get our healthy food at more reasonable prices.–Done in March and April!  I’m loving Vitacost.com!
  • Find frugal Paleo staple recipes–Not done in March or April.
  • Experiment with making a monthly menu plan instead of weekly.–Not done in March or April.
  • Keep our monthly grocery budget in between the USDA Thrifty and Low Cost Plan.  That is currently $784.70 for the thrifty plan to $1,058.30 for the low cost plan.  Close, but not quite.

Get organized.  On target!  This goal is so broad, I have to break it down into smaller bits.  Here are the things I’d like to tackle:

  • Organize my e-mail in boxes.  They are overflowing right now!  I definitely need to delete A LOT!  Not done in March or April.
  • Set up a chore chart for the kids with pay attached as an incentive.  I plan to use the template that was in the book, Is Your Child a Money Master or a Money Monster?  Done in January.  You can read about what I did and how it’s working in this post.
  • Give myself regular chores to complete each day.  Not done in March or April.
  • Declutter our master bedroom, closet, and bathroom closet.  Not done in March or April.
  • Declutter the kids’ toy area.  Done in January.
  • Declutter and organize the pantry.  Done in January.  
  • Set up a blog calendar and use it.  Done in February & January.
  • Set up a regular social media schedule.  (By the way, I’m on Instagram now!)  Not done in March or April.
  • Set up a homeschool schedule for the kids.  (This will primarily be which subjects to tackle on which days.)  Not done in March or April.
  • Stay 3 weeks ahead in developing weekly assignments for our homeschool.  (All of the kids are switching to a new curriculum come January 2nd, so that requires some planning on my end.)  Not done in March or April.

Make 12 homemade gifts.  Not done in March or April.
I failed miserably at this last year because our year got so crazy after June.  This time I plan to start earlier.

Did you set goals for yourself in 2017?  If so, please share in the comments below!

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