2016 Goals: January Update

Please feel free to check out the Abridged version of this post.  You're welcome! :-)

1.  CMSRN credential
2.  Pay off at least $20,000 of debt.
3.  Weight loss:  weigh 200 pounds by the end of February and 185 by the end of April – monitoring with weekly weigh-ins
4.  Increased meal planning with eMeals
5.  Month-to-month junk food buying ban
6.  Decreased soda :  $24 = 3 cases/month to ZERO
7.  Using our treadmill for at least 20 minutes per day when I am off work
8.  Improved planning and crop yield from the garden
9.  Read a minimum of 5 books in 2016
10.  Increased personal time and appreciation for my wonderful and loving wife, who is the greatest momma I could ever hope to have for our amazing son.

Progress through the month of January:

  1.  I haven’t started studying yet so no progress to report on this one yet.
  2. We paid off $2,233 this month!!! (Jeep + wife’s student loans + credit card)
    1. While I would obviously like this number to be higher, we have chosen to continue contributing to our son’s Coverdell ESA, even while paying off our debt.  Since we haven’t contributed the funds for 2015, we have to do that before filing our taxes.  We deposited $1000 of the maximum $2000 into the account this month and will finish it off over my next one-to-two paychecks.
    2. Progress of goal to pay off at least $20,000 in 2016 –>  11% so far!
    3. Also of note, but not counted towards our debt-paying goal for the year, I received my second Loan Repayment disbursement.  This was a nice deposit of $18,164…of which I sent off a little over $14,000, paying a nice chunk toward my federal loans and, more importantly, we paid off my private loans from Wells Fargo!  DEUCES!!!
      1. This is another automated budget action that I implemented.  I have a separate account for my loan repayment money to deposit in; then I send off a big chunk and hold on to enough for auto-debited monthly payments to get me to my next disbursement.  This way, it allows for easy payment verification that is required prior to next year and it allows me to focus my paychecks toward other debt.
  3. Loss of 11.2 pounds and 3.5 inches this month!!!
    1. Super proud of these results thus far.  No signs of turning back as we have gone the entire month without purchasing any processed sugary foods.  We have even resisted my wife making her incredible brownies or chocolate chip cookies and I haven’t made banana bread, despite the abundance of available bananas we have been keeping, along with apples, oranges, and pineapples.  We have also found Yoplait Greek Yogurt with strawberries to be quite good at curbing the occasional sweet tooth, as well.
      1. FYI…an incredibly delicious and healthy breakfast I have been eating a lot is to take 2-3 egg whites, including one yolk, and scrambling it up with a mushed up banana, add a little vanilla and cinnamon, and then cook it up like scrambled eggs.  I even like to drizzle a little sugar-free pancake syrup over it.  For any Weight Watcher Points followers out there, this breakfast is only 3 points and I find it to be very filling.
      2. Product Details       Product Details  These two things are my best friends in the weight-loss department.  Based on your age, sex, height, current weight, and goal of gaining, losing, or maintaining your weight, it tells you how many “points” you’re allotted to eat for the day.  Points-per-serving are calculated based on grams of fat, carbs, fiber, and protein.  It’s simple to use and gives me perspective on portion control.  The nice part is that fruit and most vegetables do not count towards your daily points in order to encourage more consumption of these things because they help you feel fuller longer than simple carbs.
  4. We have remarkably improved our variety of fruits, vegetables, and foods.  eMeals is going well and provides us with recipes, some of which we have followed, while others we have made some modifications to.  So far, we haven’t had any bad experiences and enjoy the fact that you can change back-and-forth between types of recipes (i.e. there are multiple categories such as “Crock Pot Meals,” “Low Carb,” “Portion Control,” etc.)  We have been using our Crock Pot a lot more.  It’s incredibly easy to get it going in the mornings when I get home from work and then it’s ready to eat by the time I’m up about six hours later.  One of our favorites is cooking a whole chicken with nothing more than a little Lawry’s seasoning salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika.  It’s delicious as is and is incredibly versatile for multiple meals, including homemade pizza, in wraps, on salads, and can be used in several eMeal recipes that often call for deli rotisserie chicken.
    1. If you haven’t heard of eMeals before, I encourage you to check out their website (that is NOT an affiliate link…it just saves you from typing out the address :-D.)  You can sign up for a FREE two-week trial to see if it’s something you find helpful.  It has helped us get out of a terrible food rut of having the same few meals over and over and over.  We have also found it helpful to print out a blank calendar and write out our meal plan.  This saves time and energy figuring out what to make.  If you subscribe to the service, they also have an excellent app that allows you to check out the recipes (which come to your email every Wednesday) and save the ones you want to make; when you add the recipes you want to make, it puts all the ingredients required into a shopping cart, creating a shopping list that you can check off as you go.  We find the list to be a little disorganized and, therefore, hand-write the list in an order that fits the store we shop in but it’s still an excellent resource.
  5. As noted above, we have stuck to our junk-food-buying ban and have eaten ZERO processed sugars in January!  I’ve even done well and resisted the often available temptations that my coworkers bring to work, choosing to eat the fruit I bring to work instead.  We are feeling awesome and have no desire to go back.
  6. Improved with a noticeably decreased consumption of soda:  $24 dollars purchased 76 sodas.  My wife drinks very few anyway so the vast majority of these were drank by me.  While I know that soda is a complete waste of money, I enjoy them and now find myself liking them even more when I consider them more of an occasional treat, as opposed to drinking them at will like I was.  As of the last day of the month, three sodas remained from this purchase.  We purchased February’s stash on 1/29; our closest full-size grocer is about 50 miles away so we did our grocery shopping while we were in town taking our son to get his round of vaccinations.
  7. I’ve done very well with spending at least 20 minutes per day off work on the treadmill.  I did one week of Yoga, which feels incredible and I definitely intend to incorporate this activity into my life; however, that particular week I only lost about 1/2 pound so, for now, I will focus on utilizing the treadmill until I begin getting closer to my ultimate weight-loss goal.  I have also started using the app, C25K, and have completed four days worth.
  8. I ordered seeds and pre-ordered some tomato and pepper plants for the garden but haven’t mapped out exactly what the garden will look like just yet.  We’ve got several inches of snow and ice on the ground so there’s nothing to be done outside for now.  I don’t have any supplies for indoor seed starting and, due to the terrible positioning of our house (i.e. there are ZERO south facing windows,) I have no decent spot to do so anyway.
  9. 1 book down:  Glenn Beck’s Agenda 21 – excellent fictional story about the extremes that could theoretically result from the United Nation’s Agenda 21, a real thing that I intend to do further research on.  It was a rather quick read, full of emotion and suspense.  I will have to get the sequel, Agenda 21:  Into the Shadows, that was recently released in September.  Now I am working on another fictional novel, James Patterson’s Along Came A Spider.  It is the first in the series introducing Patterson’s hero Alex Cross.  As of your reading this, I am about 2/3 of the way through the book and it is extremely good.  I also have the second book in the series, Kiss the Girls, and will continue on with it.  I got the books from dad, who I believe has every book in the series so if I enjoy these, I will have to get the rest from him the next time we make a trip home.
  10. My wife’s birthday was on the 31st.  Feel free to swing by her website, Love, Laughter, & a Splash of Lunacy, and wish her a happy belated birthday!  Our son and I made her a sweet homemade card with his hand print on it, which she loved, of course!  I also made her a homemade card, which I have done for nearly every birthday and anniversary we have celebrated to date.  While she did not receive any physical gifts from me, she got exactly what she asked for…we repainted our bathroom!

All-in-all, I am extremely pleased with our progress through the end of January.  The number one category that needs work is with regards to my wife, whom I will never be able to express my appreciation for because it knows no bounds.  She is wonderful and deserves more than I could ever possibly “give” her!

So how are things going with your goals?  Where are you excelling and where do you find yourself struggling?  More importantly, if you’re struggling in any particular area, why do you believe this is happening and what do you intend to do about it?  Let me know in the comments below!

Also, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog so that you can follow along on my family’s journey toward financial independence.  We would love to have you along for the ride and would love even more to have the opportunity to talk with and get to know you! 🙂

-Frugal RN and Family

One thought on “2016 Goals: January Update

  1. Pingback: 2016 Goals: January Update (abridged) – Frugal RN

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