February 2012: Monthly Update New Year’s Resolutions 2012

9 Mar
Nine to Five; To Seven to Eleven; to Seven AM...

PS Banana Republic really needs to recreate THIS dress in THIS colour! Come on BR. Though they've stepped it up this year a bit.

I’m committed to crossing all of these off my 2012 list and start making some dreams come true.

RECAP: New Year’s Resolutions are here. January update is here.

1. Debt Repayment 

The Good: 

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.

The Bad: 

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.

Daily research. Sigh...

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.

Need some more balance because life is starting to feel like this...

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.

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7 Responses to “February 2012: Monthly Update New Year’s Resolutions 2012”

  1. I'm Pretty Even... March 9, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    Debt can be a real pain, believe me I know and it’s not something to mess around with either. I have been making me own lunches since the new year as well, my secret? I started a vegan diet, it makes it that much harder to enjoy just about everything and would help to keep you away from the pizza pops. 😉 Best of luck on your endeavors, I hope you are able to cross these all off your list and make all your dreams come true! – D

    • nearafar March 10, 2012 at 11:43 am #

      Nice! I could never go vegan but making a lunch helps. It may not be “cool” but I’d rather be going to restaurants in Buenos Aires and not Toronto. If I continue to eat out all the time in Toronto, I’ll continue to stay here. Thanks again for the thoughtful comment. I do my updates monthly so stay tuned for March. Just got paid yesterday and already broke again! Sigh.

  2. Sheryll March 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    so excited and happy for you! SO many good things are coming your way. And yes, you definitely deserve a day of tech detox. Once I finish this course, I’m taking a day or 2 off. My brain is going to explode.

    • nearafar March 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

      Thank you so much love! You must be missing Johnny and I’m excited to hear what lies ahead for you in Korea! And remember the TEFL will get done. It always gets done. 🙂 Yay. Actually, just looked at flights today and saw PDX to YYZ for $252 direct for my date, one way. So I think I’m going to book it! Scary and nervous but exciting! Once it’s booked I’ll be relieved. It’s just a bit expensive.

  3. Megan C. Stroup March 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Congrats on everything you have accomplished! And I love your monthly challenges for spending money; what a great idea!

    • nearafar March 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

      Thank you! It’s really helping me keep focused and learn that if I know where my money is going than I can allocate it better.

  4. Anwar March 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    I don’t know what a pizza pop is but it does sound rather sinister. I wish you the best of luck with the debt payments. My Achilles heel has always been eating out too, it is where I spend way too much of my money. Good luck with getting back into the fitness routine. i fell out of it recently due to some travel and other such things, and now getting back into it has not been as successful. I miss it though too as I find I concentrate better when I’ve been exercising regularly.

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