Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015!

2014 RECAP

The Good

  • I paid off my credit card and one of my student loans.
  • I made a $7,722 decrease in student loan debt for 2014.
  • I over made $1,100 in side income (selling stuff, baby/pet sitting, house cleaning, and survey sites).
  • I bought a domain for my blog.
  • I visited my family in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan twice.
  • Through 23andme DNA testing, I found out I am over 27% Finnish.
  • I took a staycation and experienced a number of firsts (mani/pedi, hibachi, sushi, cards against humanity).
  • Participated in a Relay For Life with my best friend.
  • I was running regularly (couch to 5k) normally for a month.
  • I animated.

The Bad

  • I neglected my blog.
  • USPS messed up 3 times.
  • My best friend moved to South Korea
  • I learned what OPP stands for (you don’t want to know).
  • I stopped running when it got cold.
  • My sleep debt took a bigger toll on me than my actual debt.
  • Stress was through the roof!
  • I had lots of health issues: stomach pains (IBS), hiatal hernia, food poisoning, colds, many sinus infections, 3 infections at one time, nasal polyp, sinus deviation, sinus surgery, at least two corneal abrasions and two instances of having to wear an eye patch, eyelash/skin removal procedure, D&C surgical procedure, and I developed allergies.

Remember my 2014 Goals…Overkill post?  Below is what I actually accomplished from that massive list (100% passed, no almosts).

  • Play with my cats prior to meal time – It has seriously helped them not run around like crazy on top of me very early in the morning.
  • Add about $25 to our savings account after each pay day to grow our emergency fund to $1000 by the end of 2014.
  • Decide on a domain.
  • Create a daily skin care regimen.
  • Get rid of/sell things we no longer use.
  • Acquire a kitchen table and microwave stand/cart.
MASSIVE 2015 GOALS LIST

Financial Goals

  • Make $200 a month from side hustles (pet/baby sitting, house cleaning, surveys, Fiverr, etc).
  • Pay off StudentLoan#1 before I turn 30 in June.
  • Apply for co-signer release on my private student loans.
  • Get hubby on board with budgeting.
  • Look into some kind of retirement savings (because relying on death or the future NFL success of my best friend’s two year old child aren’t smart options).
  • Weigh the pros/cons of pet insurance.

Career Goals

  • Relearn the programs that are relevant to my Media Arts & Animation degree.
  • Create a minimum of four pieces of art to add to my portfolio.
  • Have a portfolio website up and running by October 2014.

Blog Goals

  • Have several blog posts written in advance, schedule them, and stop neglecting my blog!
  • Have guest posts on my blog and write guest posts.
  • Look into affiliate programs and ways to make money through blogging.

Artistic Goals

  • Complete a 30 Day Drawing Challenge.
  • Practice face painting and caricatures (would make great side hustle income).
  • Get my air brush working!
  • Sew at least once a month – I have so many pairs of pants that need hemming and would love to be able to create and alter clothes that fit me.

Health Goals

  • Take all of my medications and supplements (Prilosec, fiber, probiotics, etc.)
  • Every night complete the Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye dental care regimen.
  • Keep a sleep diary and figure out how to get some quality Zzzz’s!
  • Exercise regularly!
    • Take a dance class.
    • Begin strength training with the end goal of kipping before my 30th.
    • Take a daily walk, eventually add running spurts and run a damn mile!
  • Eat healthier!!
    • Meal plan weekly.
    • Log my food/calorie intake on MyFitnessPal.
    • Cut back on processed food, eat less sugar.
    • Prepare meals/snacks ahead of time and don’t waste fresh produce!

Personal Goals

  • Be more positive.
  • Relax (meditate) daily.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Schedule and manage my time better (cleaning, cooking, exercising, reading, relaxing, wake up and bed time routines).
  • Spend less time on Facebook.
  • Spend less time watching tv shows (except the ones I really enjoy).
  • Visit my best friend in South Korea!

Knowledge Goals

  • Learn to knit.
  • Learn a little sign language.

Home Goals

  • Sort through Hubby’s boxes/piles of stuff and clean up the guest bedroom.
  • Acquire a coffee table.
  • Hang decorations that I have and create new ones.

Relationship Goals

  • Attend a marriage retreat to work on improving our relationship.
  • Do more things with Hubby (shooting range, out to eat, movies, etc.)
  • Make more friends and do things I enjoy (bowling, dancing, game nights, arts & crafts, etc.).

Yep, once again, I have a massive list.  There’s a lot of things I want to change and I know that I will likely fail at most of these in 2015, but I have to try!  Happy New Year!

I’m Doing the Health & Wealth Challenge!

I know it’s a bit late to mention this now that we’re in the second week of November, but I’m participating in Budget and the Beach’s Health & Wealth Challenge.

Basically, you workout 5 times a week for a minimum of 10 minutes, create a new healthy habit each week as well as a wealth habit, where you find a new way to make or save money.

My goals for the first week of November were to stop eating taking out food and to cook meals at home.  I failed.  I went to the grocery store with the intent to cook, but it never happened.  I was just too busy!  I did manage to workout 5 days a week for a minimum of 10 minutes and I started the Couch to 5k program.  I also made $108 at a yard sale!

I’m recycling my goal to stop eating take out food and to cook meals at home.  I pretty much have to work out for the next 5 days to meet the exercise goals after falling a bit behind with having a swollen eye the past few days.  I’m also going to start a new side income job, at least temporarily as I’m unsure it’ll be worth it in the end.  But we’ll see!

2014 Goals…Overkill

I may be setting myself up for failure here with this monstrous list of goals (and random to-do’s) but this is all stuff I want to change, I’ve tried to change, or NEED to change!  Let’s do this!

Financial Goals

  • Make $200 a month from side hustles (pet/baby sitting, house cleaning, surveys, Fiverr, etc).
  • Pay off all credit card debt (including hubby’s) by December 2014 – That’s about $410 a month, doable.
  • Add about $25 to our savings account after each pay day to grow our emergency fund to $1000 by the end of 2014.
  • Budget better (pre-purchase junk food) for long underways or deployments that hubby goes on this year.
  • Look into some kind of retirement savings (because relying on death or the future NFL success of my best friend’s barely one year old child aren’t smart options).
  • Weigh the pros/cons of pet insurance.

Career Goals

  • Relearn the programs that are relevant to my Media Arts & Animation degree.
  • Create a minimum of one piece of art to add to my portfolio each month.
  • Have a portfolio website up and running by August 2014.
  • Start freelancing again by September 2014.

Blog Goals

  • Have several blog posts written in advance, schedule them.
  • Have guest posts on my blog and write guest posts.
  • Decide on a domain and redesign!
  • Look into affiliate programs and ways to make money through blogging.

Artistic Goals

  • Carry a sketchbook with me in my purse, and use it.
  • Complete a 30 Day Drawing Challenge.
  • Practice face painting and caricatures (would make great side hustle income).
  • Get my air brush working!
  • Sew at least once a month – I have so many pairs of pants that need hemming and would love to be able to create and alter clothes that fit me.

Health Goals

  • Take all of my medications and supplements (Prilosec, fiber, probiotics, etc.)
  • Every night complete the Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye dental care regimen.
  • Exercise regularly!
    • On days I don’t work Thursday mornings, go to the free zumba class on base.
    • Sign up for the Friday evening adult gymnastics class and begin kip training by February.
    • Take a daily walk, eventually add running spurts and run a damn mile by December 2014.
  • Eat healthier!!
    • Meal plan weekly.  Cook more and utilize the slow cooker my mom got me for Christmas!
    • Log my food/calorie intake on MyFitnessPal and keep up with the Fit for Fourteen group.
    • Cut back on processed food, eat less sugar.
    • Prepare meals/snacks ahead of time and don’t waste the fresh produce!

Personal Goals

  • Continue my TMJ and Speech therapy at home.
    • Relax (meditate) for 15 minutes with the heated blanket wrapped around my head.
    • Twice daily do neck and tongue depressor exercises.
    • Read out loud, slowly, over-exaggerate enunciation.
  • Sit up straight.
  • Revamp my 15 things I should be doing daily list and print or write out this list and place it around my apartment so I see it daily.
  • Develop some kind of feeding routine for my cats so they stop thinking I will feed them every time I get up from my computer chair.
  • Create a daily skin care regimen.
  • Schedule and manage my time better (cleaning, cooking, exercising, reading, relaxing, wake up and bed time routines).
  • Spend less time on Facebook – There’s no reason I need to see EVERY single post I missed since I last logged in.
  • Spend less time watching tv shows (except the ones I really enjoy).

Knowledge Goals

  • Take a workshop at Home Depot (learn to use power tools, refurbish furniture?)
  • Reread H.O.T. Web Design book.
  • Learn to knit.
  • Learn a little sign language.

Home Goals

  • Sort through Hubby’s boxes/piles of stuff.
  • Get rid of/sell things we have not used since we moved in.
  • Organize the bedrooms and linen closet.
  • Acquire a kitchen table, a microwave stand/cart, and a coffee table.
  • Hang decorations that I have and create new ones.

Relationship Goals

  • Work on being less of a snarky bitch towards Hubby.  (Happy thoughts…hold my tongue for three seconds before responding).
  • Do more things with Hubby (shooting range, out to eat, movies, etc.)
  • Make more friends and actually do things beside work with them.  (Book club, board game night, etc.)

And here’s my 2014 list of 15 Things I Should Be Doing Daily:

  1. Take ALL medication and supplements.
  2. Wear sunblock.
  3. Dental care regimen.
  4. Read out loud.
  5. Stretch (legs, arms, neck stretches).
  6. Walk or exercise for 15 minutes minimum.
  7. Log food/calorie intake on MyFitnessPal.
  8. Consume one piece of fruit (solid or liquid form).
  9. Draw something.
  10. Brush cats, this will help keep cat hair at bay.
  11. Play with cats prior to meal time.
  12. Scoop all litter boxes.
  13. Vacuum at least one room.
  14. Clear clutter and dust/wipe down counters and surfaces.
  15. Dishes, either wash them by hand or put dirty ones in the dishwasher before bed.

Uhh…that’s a lot of stuff, kind of overwhelming.  One day at a time!  I’m on Pinterest now looking up other ways to help me change my habits…from printing lists, writing lists on my bathroom mirror, using real post-it notes, etc.  I definitely need to find a better way to organize my random notes and to-do’s because my desktop is plastered with sticky notes and it’s kind of overwhelming.

stickynotes

I think I need to get a planner!  Until then, I created this weekly planner page that I can insert into a plastic cover thingy and use a dry erase marker to fill in all the details.  On the bottom, I have a section where I can schedule cleaning, blog, art, exercise and meals categories daily.

planner

2014 shall be the year of lifestyle changes.  Yes, yes it shall and YOU will be my witness!

Happy New Year!

happynewyear

Happy 2014!  It’s that time of year where you have to get used to writing 2014 on everything you date!

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I came up with these resolutions.  I feel like it was just a few months ago. No excuses for the lack of crossing off more items!  Here’s how I did with my goals for 2013.

Improving time management.  While I still procrastinate a bit, being busy with work and volunteering has helped me be more productive.  I have somewhat of a morning routine to clean instead of hopping on the computer right away, which helps set the pace for the day.  I’m not exercising daily but there have been some improvements and attempts.  Sleeping schedule with a bed time routine is a joke and I need to fix this, badly!  I’ve attempted meal planning and cooking more but I really need to stick with it every week.

Finding passion in art.  I’ve successfully been able to separate the anxiety I once felt when creating art. I’m still not creating art every day, but I’m working on it.

Some other things I want to do in 2013:

  • Go to the shooting range with husband – Won’t happen in 2013 but it’s on my list of things to do with the hubby while he’s on leave.
  • Visit my family
  • Pay off credit card debtI paid off one card, still have one to go!
  • Run a mile easily – Hahaha.  Yeah.No.
  • Use my Waterpik habitually – Didn’t even try.  Finally cleaned off my bathroom counter, took it out of the box and WILL start using it!
  • Develop a skin care regimen – Didn’t try this either.  Now that everything is organized, I just need to make this a daily habit/routine.
  • Read more – I read a couple books but slowed down the past few months.  Recently joined a book club so hopefully that will help with the more aspect.
  • Update portfolio/demo reel and design new website – Nope.
  • Kip training (click the link to see what a kip is) – Not at all.
  • Sit up straight, improve posture – Not really.
  • Meet people/make friends and do fun things!  Have met a few new people and hope to meet more in 2014 to do fun things with!
  • Spend less time on the computer!  Work and volunteering has kept me away, but I want to spend less time on Facebook, specifically.
  • Improve time management – develop daily routines (exercise, cleaning, working/side hustling, bedtime routine)  Getting better!
DAILY GOALS – 15 THINGS I SHOULD BE DOING DAILY

Some of these things overlap my goals for the year.  Sadly, I have failed at most of these things.  Playing brain games and laughing have been successes and a few others are getting a lot better but still not daily.  I need to print/write out this list and post it around the apartment so I can see it every day and truly work harder at doing these all.

  1. Brush cats, this will help keep cat hair at bay.
  2. Play with all the cats, encourages them to get into trouble less.
  3. Scoop all litter boxes.
  4. Vacuum at least one room.
  5. Dust/wipe down counters and surfaces.
  6. Dishes, either wash them by hand or put dirty ones in the dishwasher before bed.
  7. Use my Waterpik.
  8. Go for a walk.
  9. Eat fruit!
  10. Read.
  11. Play brain games (sudoku, word search, etc).
  12. Laugh.
  13. Take ALL medication, including vitamins/supplements.
  14. Stretch and do balance exercises.
  15. Wear sunblock.

Some goals I have for getting debt free ASAP:

These are goals I made a year ago and after reexamining them, I don’t think they’re very realistic as I’m months behind.

  • Within 2 months:  Brainstorm/begin new and creative ways to make extra money. – Did that, just took a while to actually make extra money and it’s still not a significant amount.
  • Within 3 months:  Have a job, even if it’s part-time minimum wage. – Took 10 months.
  • Within 4-6 months:  Learn to love to create art again.  Update my portfolio.  Build a website and start freelancing! – Still no love but I’ve cleared the anxiety.  No real progress on portfolio/freelancing.
  • 6 months to a year:  Credit cards paid off! – Just one down, one to go (two if you include my husband’s new credit card).
  • 1 year:  Smallest private loan with co-signer paid off!  Not.Even.Close.  I’ve gotten this loan just below my original principal balance.
  • 3-5 years:  Have all private loans paid off!  With interest, this probably isn’t reasonable but I’m not nixing it yet, especially now that I have a job (or two).
  • 10-15 years:  Federal loans paid off.  Unlikely, but still hopeful.

I’m getting pretty detailed about my steps towards achieving goals for 2014 and since this post is already pretty long, that’ll be for another day!

Happy New Year, readers!  How did you do with your goals for 2013?  What new ones do you have for 2014?

October Recap

Based on my grading scale, I give our October budget a big, fat F, at 65%.

Octbudget

Fixed Expenses – Rent, pet rent, washer/dryer rental, and Netflix are the same every month.

Expected Expenses (Electric Bill, Cell Phones, Renter’s Insurance) – As expected.

Gas – I upped our budget from $100 to $120.  We spent $119.

Car Stuff –  $110 for maintenance.  Wasn’t expecting it to be that much.

Prescriptions – $8 for one prescription, budgeted $30.

Medical Bills/Co-Payments – I didn’t have a lot of bills this month but I expect to exceed the $200 budget next month.  Hubby had a $58 eye exam at the NEX (probably could have gotten it for free if he’d gone to the medical branch on base).

Groceries – Way over budget this month.  We spent $514!

Dining Out – Budgeted $25, spent $124!!  Hubby’s gotten into the habit of walking to the nearby McDonald’s after work.

Energy Drinks – $87, below budget.  Hubby’s been drinking more Powerade and juice, which goes into the grocery category.

Slush Funds, Electronics and Games – All under budget!

Pet Expenses – On budget.

Splurges & Miscellaneous Expenses – I budgeted $25 for miscellaneous expenses, spent $375!  We bought a new iron, a bunch of Halloween candy and I have no idea where the rest of it went.  $140 was a cash withdrawal that have absolutely no recollection of.

I did a horrible job keeping up with our expenses this month.  I usually save receipts so I know exactly what was purchased but I’ve just been tossing them out lately.  Groceries, dining out, and miscellaneous expenses/splurges were pretty bad this month.

Did you over-spend at all in October?  How did you do overall on your budgeting?

OCTOBER GOALS RECAP

Much like our budget grade, I failed majorly on sticking with my goals!

  • Meal plan every week!  FAIL!  This is probably why we spent so much on groceries!
  • Consume at least one serving of fruit each day.  Juicing and smoothies count!  MAJOR FAIL!  I didn’t even try.
  • Don’t waste any fresh produce!  FAIL!  I bought some spinach and didn’t even touch it.  Bad Kasey!
  • Prepare snack-sized portions and (freezer) meals ahead of time.  FAIL!  Did not even attempt!
  • Track my calories.  FAIL! 
  • Limit myself to one piece of dark chocolate a day.  FAIL!  I did go a couple days without any chocolate but I couldn’t hold myself back the other days!
  • Limit myself to less than 1/2 cup of ice cream a day.  PASS!
  • Start taking vitamins/supplements DAILY!  FAIL!
  • Take a 30 minute walk each day (wear sunblock!)  FAIL!
  • Meditate for 2 minutes a day.  FAIL!
  • Play a brain game at least once a day.  (Supposed to help with a  bad memory)  FAIL!
  • Get a job or start making income somehow!  PASS and PASS!  I have two jobs and an interview later today for a third!  I also made $20 sewing a patch onto a dress blues uniform!  w00t!
NOVEMBER GOALS

I’m going to try to slim my goals for this month in hopes of being able to stick with them.

  • Meal plan!
  • Don’t waste fresh produce!
  • Prepare snack-sized portions and (freezer) meals ahead of time.
  • Meditate for 2 minutes each day.
  • Play a brain game at least once a day.

What are some of your goals for November?

September Recap

SeptbudgetBased on my grading scale, I give our September budget an 84% or a B.

Fixed Expenses – Rent, pet rent, washer/dryer rental, and Netflix are the same every month.  Internet went up by $10!  I called to see if they could give me any loyalty discounts but I’m stuck at $47 until February.  Cox is also supposed to be introducing faster speed internet at the same price.  I’ll be calling again in February to try to lower my bill again!

Expected Expenses (Electric Bill, Cell Phones, Renter’s Insurance) – Under budget with electric.  The cell phone bill was mighty expensive this month (but I knew what it would be).  I have a feeling October’s cell phone bill will be higher too.  Hubby tends to play Rage of Bahamut on his cell phone whenever he has a free moment and we’re already at 3.9 GB of our 4 GB data plan that doesn’t reset until October 14th!  I’ve used less than .5 gigs myself and I just can’t understand why or how his game uses up so much of our data plan!

Gas – $118 out of the $100 budget.

Car Stuff –  Paid property tax on my old car.  Hubby paid $60 for a taxi instead of finding a ride home from work like he said he could when I took the car to help my friend.

Prescriptions – Last month, my normally $45 prescription only costed $7.  This month, $0!  Can’t explain that one.  I’m wondering if I reached some sort of cap that resets with the fiscal year?  Maybe my prescription migrated to the generic category?  We’ll find out the next time I get refills!

Medical Bills/Co-Payments – I budgeted $90 for medical bills but paid $63.  So much better than last month!

Groceries – With me being gone, we only spent $209 on groceries.

Dining Out – Spent $32, budgeted $25.

Energy Drinks – $100, on budget.

Slush Funds, Electronics and Games – Hubby only spent $75 of his $100 budget on games, and we didn’t spend money on anything else!

Pet Expenses – Spent $94 out of the budgeted $65.  $70 for a pet sitter while I visited my friend BUT she paid me for it!

Splurges & Miscellaneous Expenses – I budgeted $25 for miscellaneous expenses, spent $20.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad month.

Did you over-spend at all in September?  How did you do overall on your budgeting?

OCTOBER GOALS

These are basically the same as my September goals, which I failed at completely.

  • Meal plan every week!
  • Consume at least one serving of fruit each day.  Juicing and smoothies count!
  • Don’t waste any fresh produce!
  • Prepare snack-sized portions and (freezer) meals ahead of time.
  • Track my calories.
  • Limit myself to one piece of dark chocolate a day.
  • Limit myself to less than 1/2 cup of ice cream a day.
  • Start taking vitamins/supplements DAILY!
  • Take a 30 minute walk each day (wear sunblock!)
  • Meditate for 2 minutes a day.
  • Play a brain game at least once a day.  (Supposed to help with a  bad memory)
  • Get a job or start making income somehow!

Happy Fiscal New Year!

PFFT!  With the government shutdown, this isn’t something I’m thrilled about.

 

Yeah, that’s not a party hat…

I’ve been seeing a number of posts about resolutions and new years.  Erin, from Red Debted Stepchild, posted on My Diary Entry about Autumn being like January 1st.  Girl Meets Debt posted about there being 99 Days Left in 2013 to achieve your goals.  That was seven days ago so there’s now 92 days of 2013 left!

I haven’t been doing a very good job completing my monthly goals.  I don’t think I completed any of my September Goals.  Maybe one of them, for part of the month.  Oops!  It didn’t help that I was gone visiting a friend for about 10 days this month and most evenings they ended up ordering take out.

Let’s see how I’ve been doing with my resolutions

Resolutions Revisited

Basically, I suck at sticking to my goals.  But there’s still 92 days left in the year!  I have hope!

Improving time management (lose procrastination) is one key resolution.  I need to develop some sort of routine, where I spend less time on the computer and more time working to pay off my debts, volunteering, creating art, exercising regularly, develop a cleaning schedule (once we move) and even have a sleeping schedule with a bedtime routine.  With a routine in place, I will be more productive, get regular exercise, meal plan, cook more and overall eat and be healthier.  Hopefully by volunteering, working, and taking zumba classes, I will meet some people in this area and make friends so I can get out and do some fun things in 2013.

I have volunteered, tried out zumba (volunteer interferes with zumba), meal planned a couple times, ate slightly healthier, cooked just a wee bit more, and have developed somewhat of a sleep schedule.  I still procrastinate quite a bit.  I don’t have a routine, I spend all day on the computer, I don’t exercise regularly or create art, no cleaning schedule (been moved for 6 months), and I still don’t have friends in the area, though I did recently join local area Facebook groups to hopefully remedy that situation before the real new year!

Finding passion in art is another key resolution.  I need to somehow separate the anxiety/indebtedness that I have come to associate it with.  I need to learn to lose the anxiety altogether.  I mentioned anxiety about dealing with my resolutions.  Change is difficult and difficult things cause me anxiety.  It shall be overcome!

Not there yet.  The desire to create things has returned, I just haven’t pushed myself to actually create anything.  It’d be nice to one day try selling the things I create to earn extra income…that gives me a bit of motivation but I’m still a procrastinator.  It’s nearing Christmastime and I want to make gifts for my nieces! I’ll find that passion again, I promise!

Some other things I want to do in 2013:

  • Go to the shooting range with husband
  • Visit my family
  • Pay off credit card debt
  • Run a mile easily
  • Use my Waterpik habitually
  • Develop a skin care regimen
  • Read more
  • Update portfolio/demo reel and design new website
  • Kip training (click the link to see what a kip is)
  • Sit up straight, improve posture

I’m getting there!  I think all of these, aside from updating my portfolio/demo reel and designing a new website, are doable within the years’ end!

Readers, have you been noticing any posts in all bold text?  Despite re-editing posts to ensure no posts are all bold, they keep showing up that way from my home page.  If I click on individual posts, the boldness goes away.  Anyone else notice this?  Thanks for your input!

How are you doing with your goals and resolutions?

September Goals

First, I’d like to recap how I did on my August goals.  If you remember, I created these goals on my Meal Planning post half way through August.

SO HOW DID I DO?
GOALS FOR THE REST OF AUGUST
  • Cut down on the grains I eat and buy gluten-free products. –
    • I did manage to cut down on grains for the week that I meal planned…not so much the last week of August.   I definitely didn’t try to purchase gluten-free products.
  • Consume at least one serving of fruit each day. 
    • I definitely didn’t consume at least one serving of fruit a day.
  • Juice one cup of fruits and veggies daily or make a smoothie. 
    • I only juiced twice and didn’t end up making any smoothies.  I have to say, freshly juiced OJ is AWESOME!
  • Buy smaller quantities of fresh produce, don’t waste it! 
    • Some products you just can’t buy smaller quantities of.  I ended up wasting blueberries, kale, and a cucumber.  But the amount of fresh produce I did use up greatly outweighs what was wasted!
  • Prepare snack-sized portions and meals ahead of time  (freezer meals for the days I want something quick). 
    • I cut up some broccoli and carrots and made dip for snacking.  That was all I made ahead of time.  No freezer meals.
  • Track my calories.  If I’m repeatedly coming up short on reaching 1200 calories a day, consider high calorie shakes. 
    • I did not track my calories.  Tracking calories of homemade meals is difficult!  BUT not impossible, so I should be doing this every day!
  • Half or even quarter recipes that I can’t freeze 
    • Easy!  (except for quartering an egg)
  • Limit myself to one piece of chocolate a day. 
    • On most days, there wasn’t even any chocolate in the house!
  • Don’t even buy ice cream! 
    • For the most part, there was no ice cream, except for the last week of August where I caved and bought a pint of Phish Food.  But considering one pint lasts me 4-5 days, I’d say that’s pretty good!
  • Start regularly taking the vitamins/supplements I’ve been “forgetting” to take (calcium, fiber, probiotics, melatonin, etc) 
    • I started taking melatonin and probiotics daily.  I took fiber one day but forgot about the rest.  Need to add them to drinks DAILY!
  • Get outside for at least 30 minutes each day (wear sunblock!) 
    • I didn’t go outside  for 30 minutes each day, nor did I wear sunblock.

Yeah, not so great.  I could definitely use some improvement for September!

I did try to make some frozen banana chocolate ice cream….it did not turn out, at all.  I bought cocoa powder based on a recipe and it was just plain disgusting.  I am going to try it with some Ovaltine to see if it is any better.

My husband and I went grocery shopping yesterday after I meal planned based on my soon-to-expire coupons and the store ad.  Out of the 47 items we bought, I think maybe 5 of them weren’t on sale or we didn’t have coupons for!  We ended up saving about $35!  We still spent over $120 so I’m no extreme couponer or anything.  I’ve never seen coupons for healthy food anyway.

SEPTEMBER GOALS
  • Meal plan every week!
  • Consume at least one serving of fruit each day.  Juicing and smoothies count!
  • Don’t waste any fresh produce!
  • Prepare snack-sized portions and (freezer) meals ahead of time.
  • Track my calories.
  • Limit myself to one piece of dark chocolate a day.
  • Limit myself to less than 1/2 cup of ice cream a day.
  • Start taking vitamins/supplements DAILY!
  • Take a 30 minute walk each day (wear sunblock!)
  • Create an #outwithstudentdebt video.
  • Meditate for 2 minutes a day.
  • Play a brain game at least once a day.  (Supposed to help with a  bad memory)
  • Get a job or start making income somehow!

I have two potential job interviews coming up within the next few weeks.  One is for a local house cleaning business and the other is at a library.  Wish me luck!

Meal Planning

Meal planning is something I’ve tried and failed at in the past.  For a while, I was able to force myself to cook instead of consuming microwaveable meals.  Blogging my progress really helped but I wasn’t focusing on the healthy aspect.  So I’m resolved to not only force myself to once again cook, but I’m aiming to plan some healthy, balanced meals based on the image below.  Half my plate should be fruits/veggies, a quarter grains, the other quarter protein and a serving per meal of dairy.

Easy enough, right?

SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER

My gluten intolerance.  My poor diet choices has me eating a lot of crap from the grain food group.  When I do that, I end up with digestive issues.  I once went a week with no grains and I felt great.  My GI doctor recommended not completely cutting grains out of my diet but to consume them in moderation.  Easier said than done considering…

I don’t eat a lot of vegetables and even less fruit!  I probably eat about one serving of fruit in a month!  I know, it’s not good and that’s one of the main reasons why I’m trying to meal plan.

I have a tendency to not consume the fresh produce I buy.  I want  to eat healthy so I buy fruits and veggies with a plan to eat them…but then I wind up choosing convenience foods and the fresh produce winds up in the trash, wasted.  I hate wasting food.  No more of this!

I don’t eat a lot.  For many months I was tracking my calories at MyFitnessPal and struggled most days to reach 1200 calories even while eating processed junk.  Fruits and veggies are generally lower in calories so I’m thinking I’m going to have an even more difficult time reaching my daily caloric intake.

Cooking for one.  When I do cook, I assume my husband will eat what I make.  Often times, he’d rather eat beans or hummus instead and I wind up with leftovers that I can eat for another 3-5 meals!  I need to learn to cook for one so I don’t wind up constantly eating leftovers I’m sick of.

I am a chocoholic.  Once upon a time I could live off a 1 inch x 1 inch piece of chocolate a day.  Those days are long gone.  While I’m still not usually eating a whole 3.1 oz bar of chocolate in a day, I pair it with chocolate ice cream or chocolate milk.  Too much sugar!  I need to get back to smaller portions of chocolate and snack on healthier things.  I have a buttload of frozen bananas that I can use to try out banana ice cream recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest.

Holy crap!  Meal planning is a lot harder than I thought it would be!

Do you have any tips for someone just beginning to meal plan?  Any tips on making and maintaining new habits/better lifestyle choices?

GOALS FOR THE REST OF AUGUST
  • Cut down on the grains I eat and buy gluten-free products.
  • Consume at least one serving of fruit each day.
  • Juice one cup of fruits and veggies daily or make a smoothie.
  • Buy smaller quantities of fresh produce, don’t waste it!
  • Prepare snack-sized portions and meals ahead of time  (freezer meals for the days I want something quick).
  • Track my calories.  If I’m repeatedly coming up short on reaching 1200 calories a day, consider high calorie shakes.
  • Half or even quarter recipes that I can’t freeze.
  • Limit myself to one piece of chocolate a day.
  • Don’t even buy ice cream!
  • Start regularly taking the vitamins/supplements I’ve been “forgetting” to take (calcium, fiber, probiotics, melatonin, etc)
  • Get outside for at least 30 minutes each day (wear sunblock!)

Confessions

I’ve been slacking off this first week of June.  I came down with a nasty something and am just about completely over it, hopefully.  I’ve been lazy, spending lots of time sleeping or just sitting at my computer, in my pajamas all day.  I haven’t been keeping track of our expenses and I still haven’t been to the ATM to get cash for groceries and other cash-only budget items.  The apartment is a mess.  Heck, I’m a mess.

My cortisol levels are elevated and I have more tests next week to see if it’s still high.  I imagine it is.  I’ve been having an extremely difficult time dealing with stress lately.  While I typically have a short fuse, it’s been instant lately.  It’s ridiculous.  Fight or flight (usually fight) type symptoms over stupid little things.

I had some panic attacks after my oral surgeon consultation.  This appointment was in Richmond at a medical university, two hours north of here.  No one told me over the phone while I was scheduling the appointment or when they called to confirm my appointment that they didn’t take my insurance.  I found out when I got there.  And since I had driven two hours, I decided to at least go through with the consultation.  My scans were supposed to have been sent to this new oral surgeon but they didn’t have them. I felt absolutely sick having to get new ones knowing full well that my insurance probably wasn’t going to cover them.  The doctor was friendly but I’m not going back.  I thought I was seeing an oral surgeon but he was just a TMJ specialist.  He was supposed to give me the name of a specific type of TMJ physical therapy to look up in my area but forgot (and so did I). He offered to set up a consultation with the actual oral surgeon. No thanks!

I cried in the car on the way home.  I kept beating myself up for making stupid mistakes.  I should have called my insurance to make sure it was covered.  I should have left when they said they don’t usually get Tricare recipients up there.  I should have said no to the new scans.  It was ridiculous.  Increased heart rate, flushed, sweaty hands, shaky.  I could calm myself down for a few minutes but the thoughts would soon come rushing back.

I’m still kicking myself over it but I imagine it won’t be so bad.  University centers are usually cheaper, I’ve been recommended to ones before when I had crappy insurance.  There’s also payment plans and I’m sure I can do some negotiating.  There’s also a small chance my insurance will cover a portion of it (fingers crossed).

I normally have near panic attacks when I’m thrown into situations that I can’t immediately resolve but I have a feeling my elevated cortisol levels have something to do with recent attacks and increased anxiety.

I’m also starting to wonder if I’m hypoglycemic.  I’ve been having episodes of extreme tiredness, sometimes jittery, and where I’m completely “out of it.”  Usually having some chocolate helps but mix this with stressful situations and I felt like pudding after getting angry with my husband over a stupid shower head.

A couple weeks ago a bunch of bloggers were doing confession posts, so I guess this is mine.

I have a short fuse.

I’m horrible at dealing with stress and I don’t like not being able to immediately resolve a stressful situation.

I suck at communication, especially when put on the spot.

I’m a lazy procrastinator.

I have an irrational fear of things that pop.  I hate opening these!

I hate bugs, especially ants and I fear them crawling on me!

Okay, enough with the negative Nancy crap.  I need to get out of this funk.  I figure it’s about time I set some monthly goals and actually stick to them!

JUNE GOALS

1.  Eat healthy – This means I’ll have to stop being lazy and actually cook!  Or wash out my juicer.  I said I’d do that a month ago!  No more wasting food!

2.  Exercise daily – at least 30 minutes, even if it’s just a walk around my neighborhood…to my apartment complex’s fitness center!

3.  Laugh – Watch something funny, play with my cats more, do anything funny and entertaining for 30 minutes.

4.  Meditate – Start with 20 minutes a day.  I’m hoping this will help with the stress a bit.

5.  Read – Read an actual book for 30 minutes a day.

6.  Unpack those few boxes that have been sitting around since we moved in April!

7.  Get rid of stuff in the large storage closet – Sell it, Freecycle it, or trash it.

8.  Make cat scratchers out of the cardboard boxes in the storage closet.

9.  Spend more time with my husband.

10.  Start those daily to-do routines that I’ve been putting off!