I’m committed to crossing all of these off my 2012 list and start making some dreams come true.
1. Debt Repayment
So…I’ve managed to pay my minimum payments.
I’ve continued to track every single thing I spend by taking my trusty notepad with me everywhere. No spreadsheets. It’s done the old fashioned way. In a notebook with pen and paper. I’ll upgrade soon.
As I got more money, I spent more money as well and didn’t cut the spending in half as I anticipated. I ended up spending MORE. January and February expenses were VERY similar. So yes, there’s a pattern happening. But at least it’s being tracked now.
I’m not going to beat myself up over it. I have started to allocate the funds immediately so I don’t see the funds and know what I’m left with.
So far, so good. I’m not eating out as much (that is where more than half of my expenses are going right now). I’m trying to spend more time at home. If I want to have lunch, I can have lunch. If I want the croissant I’ll have the croissant (or two). But I’m going home and eating way more pizza pops. Time to start looking up some recipes!
I did manage to update the wardrobe, however and am feeling much more confident in my look. Plus, I snagged some pretty good sales at Banana Republic (hello 40% off coupons), H&M (my new favourite blazer). But I splurged on classics like navy blue trousers at Club Monaco which have already been worn at least 10 times. I LOVE THEM.
Goal: change up lunch and cook more at home. Start looking for more recipes. Less pizza pops.
2. Attend Book Passage.
Development! I brought my ticket! $650 later. But I know it will be WORTH it. I was humming and hawing over whether or not to go to Buenos Aires first (especially after seeing a $700 ticket on COPA). But I’m putting career aspirations first and know the travel will come. The flights are going to be just as expensive so I’m going to have to suck it up, not curse Air Canada and buy them in installments. I’ll be going to Portland thereafter and I’m super stoked for that!
3. Mini 30 Day Challenge: February’s challenge was No Lunch for a Month. I was pretty good with this but then I would end up having lunch on the weekends or spend much more on dinner. I did cut costs on the lunch and the croissants/pop/water spending (it adds up!). But it wasn’t super successful. There needed to be an intervention.
So the March challenge is a little bit more slack: One Dinner A Week. I get four (max Five) dinners in a month. I can go anywhere I want and spend as much as I want (within reason. I’m aiming to keep the dinners under $50). This one is a bit better. As we’re already on March 8, I’ve been good and stuck to my promise. It also makes me choose my dinners and my dinner companions carefully. That said, I will be checking off one of my restaurant resolutions this month (two more left!).
Being super busy with two article deadlines in a week and NOT eating or wanting to go straight home has also steered me away from going to a restaurant. With the paycheck coming in, I’ll have to exercise more restraint. But it goes back to saying no and sticking to the plan. Last month, I did end up on a lot of random, last minute meetups with friends. Some of those friends are travelling this month, so it will be a bit easier to resist temptation. But birthdays are also coming up so I have to stick to a budget in that department as well. I’m confident about this month’s challenge.
Goal: four dinners are booked this month. I’m sending you this blog if you ask me out to dinner. I am saying NO. But we can go for a walk, a hike or for a coffee. It doesn’t always have to be centered around food.
4. Get The Blog in Order
Bad News: Local designer bailed on me.
Good News: I got a new designer who knows the travel sphere inside and out and he’s going to help me out in my budget. $200 was put into savings and I’ll be able to pay him in time.
And I’m on my timeline for March 15th as well. We’re working out the kinks and he said he’d have it for me in less than two months. So so far, so good. Once I pay the deposit and contracts are signed, I’ll be less anxious about it all.
I have learned NOT to find a graphic designer on Craigslist. Wow. It is NOT a good scene out there.
Note: I need to start becoming friends with more graphic designers.
I’m really stoked for this. The blog has been in dire need of a makeover for a while.
5. Go Somewhere Exotic
This has been shelved because of payments for Book Passage and getting the blog in order. But it is still a priority this year. Quite a few friends of mine are going to or are in Buenos Aires, so it will give me ample time to research. They’ve also asked me for my recs so this will also pump out a few more blog posts on the “AFAR” section of the site (a section that is being a little bit abandoned I imagine).
I need to corral some press trips together and now that I have a bit of time, I’m able to start emailing my contacts and making some trips happen. Don’t you want to see me go on a trip?! Hello: Jamaica, Cartagena, Thailand, Mexico. The list goes on!
Note:it’s really difficult not to want to get on the next flight when all you do is write advice on where to go next and look at deals all day. Wanderlust is high. Resist urges. Eye on prize.
6. Write More Handwritten Notes
I didn’t write too many last month. This month I gave away a postcard to a new fan. So I hope to do a bit more of the same and delegate a day this month writing the notes and saying “thank you.”
Noted: March 10 delegated to the note making and postcard sending. Find more postcards. Go to Drake General Store. Try not to buy everything in the store.
7. Get Published With a Travel Related Piece
Nothing yet. Other work commitments and networking at Social Media Week took precedence but I made a few key contacts, learned lots from the travel blogging session and cemented a few relationships plus made new friends. Yay for that!
Goal this month: get back to contacts. Send three initial pitches I need to follow up on. Clean out email inbox (4200 messages…gulp!)
Other: I was pretty burnt out this month. I need more balance. I miss working out on the regular. I’m going to be looking into a fun fitness plan that I can share next month. I need to get off the computer from time to time. Just ONE DAY without checking anything. It will be hard given my profession, but it is needed. I need to see my family and best friends more. They make me happy. Good thing: I’ve realized who they are. I’m dating too and though you win some and you lose some, it’s nice to kind of get out there again and see who is on “the scene” and get out of my head/off my computer.