Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Accountability - January Goals

In January I set a few goals for myself and I thought it would be a useful exercise to go ahead and review how I did on the "achievement" front. And since I posted my goals in this semi-public environment, I am going to go ahead and take an honest assessment of myself.

(I am posting this in the hopes that no one is actually reading my blog these days...)

For my financial goals I hoped in January to stay under budget and to eat out less. Well, I can say proudly that I had an extra $20 left in my wallet at the end of the month! While that doesn't sound like much, it is a decent accomplishment for a few reasons. First, January is a birthday month and that always takes more cash. Second, we had company in January, and no matter how well I plan, it always costs a little extra to have company here. Finally, the cost of everything is going up...everthing that is except my budget. I notice with each trip to the supermarket that the price on everything from milk to soda to produce is going up. But even with all these January realities, I had a $20 bill left over. Not too shabby, I say.

I also hoped to eat out less. I am confessing here and now that this is a tough one for me. Growing up, we didn't eat out much at all. (It took us 40 minutes to get to the nearest McDonalds! How did I survive that upbringing???) So eating out still feels a bit like a luxury to me. Added to that, I don't have any sort of natural cooking inclination. I am not sure if it is because I don't think I have the time, if I don't have the confidence, or if I have a deep seeded aversion to the activity. Either way, I really have to a lot of mental prep to get in the kitchen and enjoy myself. (Unless "get in the kitchen" means eating. Then I am all over that!) All of this to say, eating out is a financial Achilles heel for me.

It is hard to be objective as I try to evaluate this one. Remember, I did have a $20 left over, so I couldn't have crashed and burned too terribly bad with eating out, right? But I am sure we could have done better. We always plan to eat Sunday lunch out, and maybe one other dinner in the week. If I am being transparent, it may be the (gulp) lunches out that are a problem. If Cal and I are out running errands, it is easier (OK. It is more rewarding) to drive through somewhere. And I think the lunches (Um, and the occasional Chick-fil-a breakfasts) may be hurting us. Drat.

As for health goals, I hoped to eat more fruits and vegetables. I did awesome...for a few days. Over those few days, I did feel better and I tended not to eat as much junk. I think once my body got ever the initial shock of "Fiber??? What is this FIBER thing???" it kind of liked it, and the junk didn't sounds as appealing. Oh, to have stayed in that good place!

So what is my take-a-way with this exercise?

We can, in fact, live well within my cash means each month. That is affirming! But I need to do something to address the lunches and breakfasts out that are costing us more than they should. And making a positive adjustment there would spill over into my health goals for next month.

I have taken this week's meal planning very seriously, so I feel good about the start of February in that respect. But I am going to need to come up with some easy, fast, healthy, but delicious breakfast and lunch options to help me curb the drive thru issue I seem to have. I would love any suggestions you may have about that!

As for February goals, I am working on them. I hope to get them posted by the end of this week, and if this accountability thing doesn't kill me, we will check back in together on them in a few weeks!


Renovation Girl said...

I'm here, reading, and keeping you accountable for your goals!!! :) Good for you for the extra $20! We are trying many of the same things for many of the same reasons, but you are doing much better at it than I am!

As for healthy breakfast options...I have a few recipes that I have to dig up for you, but one I know offhand is to buy 100% whole wheat pita bread. Cook up a few scrambled eggs (or even healthier-Eggbeaters). Cut each pita in half. Place a layer of eggs into the pita, then put some low-fat cheese on top of it. You can also put in some cooked broccoli (which I love, but Builder Boy despises!!) You can add other items peppers, seasoning, zucchini, tomatoes, etc. The best part is this-you can freeze single portions and just heat up in the microwave as you run out the door. It's great! I'll email you the others once I find them.

Good luck with February!!

Aly-Rae said...

I'm a breakfast eater to be sure. I rarely eat out simply because it has been a long time habit to head immediately to the kitchen to indeed break-fast. I LOVE breakfast! Maybe for our next cooking lesson I'll show you some super easy and yummy meals and smoothies you can whip up. Until then have some luxurious breakfast items in the house like bagels, waffles or muffins. ANYTHING is gonna be better for you than what they serve at fast food joints, not to mention cheaper.

Aly's healthy hint of the day...
*Have a pretty basket or bowl on your counter that is always filled with fresh fruit. It's easy to grab and super good for you and pretty too!