2017 Finances Check-In #2

One of my big goals for this year is to really focus on my finances - not because they're in shambles but simply because, I think like for most people, they could be better. I could spend less here, save more there, and so on. I outlined my goals here and checked in after the first week here. Now that it's been a month, I think I'd like to continue monthly progress reports, so here is the month of January:

Goal: Have $30,000 in savings at the end of 2017.
Progress: Nothing new added to savings - currently at 30% of goal, which is about where we started. Since we just have one savings account for short- and long-term purposes, big ticket purchases (namely, travel) come out of that as well, so the amount that's in our account will flux throughout the year as expenses come up. We already have some unanticipated expenses recently when we decided to transfer our lease to a different apartment in our building, so there is a fee associated with that as well as some expenses we will probably incur (the biggest one being possibly getting a new couch?). I reworked our spreadsheet (I have every big planned expense and every planned savings deposit planned for the entire year, with contingencies) and while moving is going to make our $30k goal a little more difficult, it's definitely still in reach. I have a tendency to be like, oh we're spending a bunch of money, oh well, screw it, no point in trying to save money now so the fact that I'm still committed to this yearly goal despite something coming up that could potentially throw it off is a good sign!

Goal: Put any and all rent income into savings.
Progress: Womp womp.

Goal: Budget for travel. 
Progress: After putting off booking a flight to Boston in April (because I am seriously terrified of flying and it doesn't help that the weekend of my trip happens to be the same week that almost all of the awful and tragic things in my life have happened so, naturally, I am expecting the worst), I finally pulled the trigger because prices were just getting more and more expensive. Luckily, I was able to find a flight not too much more than what I had originally budgeted when prices were low. I also booked a house for Ironman Louisville, and the place we've picked is actually a little less than what I budgeted!

Goal: Budget for running and triathlon expenses. 
Progress: So far, on budget with race registrations and haven't bought anything I haven't budged for (despite having 3 pair of running shoes in my Amazon Wish List - they're discontinued and majorly on sale!). I got a new pair of running shoes for Christmas and the free Lulu last week was nice, so I really don't need to buy anything in the near future. I also returned some cycling shoes that were too small last month and they didn't get posted to our credit card until our new statement had started, so this month's budget ended up being a little lower than I originally planned.

Goal: Donate monthly. 
Progress: Over the last two weeks we have made two larger one-time donations to the Women's March on WashingtonPlanned Parenthood, and started a smaller monthly donation to the ACLU.

Goal: Get back to a more minimalish purchasing approach.
Progress: I needed shampoo and conditioner and was going to order from Nordstrom, but found better and cheaper stuff at Ulta. I ended up adding in some travel size shampoo and conditioner, which was not a NEED need, but I do shower at the gym a couple times a week and they shampoo I've been using there is drying my hair out. That brought me up to what I had originally budgeted for the Nordstrom order, and I was*thisclose* to adding something else that I could definitely use but definitely do NOT need, which would have put me $30 over what I had budgeted. I also resisted the urge to add a bunch of other little things, not only for money reasons but because I really don't need more products lying around. I have plenty of half-used bottles and one of my missions over the next few months is to make an attempt to use them up. These are kinds of things I would normally just buy without thinking about, but they really do add up!

Things I have spent money on that I probably didn't need to (not sure why am I treating these posts like a spending diary, but anyway):

  • $50 on new prints for our bathroom. The ones we have hanging in there are ones we bought 6 years ago at Ikea, and they have lived in 3 different homes of ours now. They're black and white and I recently that we have a serious lack of color in here so I decided that they needed to be updated. I picked out the new ones that I wanted and was going to wait until we moved (oh hey, we're moving in March! More on that at some point...) to order them, but then I happened to see that they were 15% with free shipping last weekend so I went ahead and bought them.
  • $62 on a frame for a print we ordered last summer and have never hung up because we don't have a frame for it. The frame wouldn't have been nearly as expensive if the print were a normal size, but since it's not, we had to get a custom frame. I don't know why we decided we needed to frame it NOW after not framing it for 7+ months, but oh well. We did. And now that's done.
  • $39 at Bath and Body Works. I actually like the Wallflowers more than their candles, and I was at the mall the other day to return something and meet my friend for lunch, so I stopped in to stock up. Not a necessity by any means, but I saved on shipping and also picked up some hands soaps since we ran out in the bathroom and kitchen. 
  • $120 on shirts and pins for the Women's March from The Outrage. I wasn't planning on purchasing anything special to wear to the march, but The Outrage is a pop-up shop in Adams Morgan that donates 15%-100% of the proceeds of its items to various women's rights causes (including funding travel costs for women attending the march) and I have zero regrets about spending this unexpected money.
Our grocery bill is ridiculous, as always, but at least we switched credit cards and are now getting 6x back on groceries! Although this month hasn't been a smashing success, it's definitely been a solid start to the year and I hope it continues on in the next month!


  1. Good for you for making some good donations to things that make a difference right now.

  2. I have a bunch of little accounts set up for things like travel, savings etc. My #1 rule is to always pay myself first (savings/investments) before anything else.

  3. I love that you are focusing so much on your finances and budget, it is something that we are trying to do too! Why are groceries so expensive?????

  4. I love Wallflowers but my cat has asthma (eyeroll) so anything that is scented and close to his level isn't allowed in my house! But sometimes I cheat and use them in the bathroom outlets which is totally fine, right? I think I need some feminist apparel - checking out The Outrage now.


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