2016 Goals: April Update

Progress Report


  1. CMSRN credential
    1. Blah!  Nothing new here…to be continued…
  2. Pay off at least $20,000 of debt.
    1. Correction noted 5/15:  Paid off $1,672 this month!  This puts our year-to-date debt payments at $9,868, meaning we are at 49% of our $20k goal for 2016.  This progress is going awesome, as we are only 33% of the way into the year.  As mentioned last month, we’ve got some upcoming trips in the works (Denver in May and Illinois sometime maybe June-ish,) so the next couple months of debt payments will likely take a dip.  We’ve been using our credit card for everything in order to utilize the cash-back rewards so the way the bill revolves in relation to my paychecks results in monthly expenses rolling into the following month.  While my method of tracking things is a bit goofy, it’s all working out just fine and makes sense to me.  🙂
      1. Last week, we bought a new dining table and chairs, as our previous one was a bar height table that my wife and I bought about six years ago.  The table is still functional but, due to the extra-tall chairs, we find it to be extremely unsafe for our ever-growing and now-climbing toddler.  Therefore, it’s gotta go because, let’s face it, a new table and chairs is cheaper than a head injury and worth the peace of mind knowing that our kiddo is safe.  Rather than dipping into our cash reserve to pay for the table, it went on the card, will get us a little cash-back bonus, and will be paid off with my next paycheck to avoid any interest charges.  Since this doesn’t qualify as our predetermined “debt,” it will have a negative effect on May’s debt payments.  Certainly not a crisis, but a worthy mention.
  3. Weight loss:  weigh 200 pounds by the end of February (complete) and 185 pounds by the end of April – monitoring with weekly weigh-ins
    1. MISSION A-FRIGGIN’-COMPLISHED!!!  😀  As of my last weigh-in for the month, Tuesday the 26th, I weigh 185.6 pounds with a 35.5 inch stomach.  Total weight-loss year-to-date = 28.8 pounds and 6.5 inches off my gut.
      1. On January 1st, I weighed in at 214.4 pounds, with a gut measuring 42 inches and my BMI was 28.3 (overweight and climbing towards obese.)  Now, however, my BMI is in the “healthy” range at 24.5 and my stomach measurement is now at a circumference that no longer puts me in the high-risk category for chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  I’ve truly never felt better, couldn’t be happier with my progress, and intend to continue monitoring my weight on a weekly basis and cut down a little more weight to the 175-180 range.
  4. Increased meal planning with eMeals
    1. Meals around our house remain relatively healthy but we’ve gotten away from meal planning.  We’ve said to each other multiple times that we need to sit down and do it but finding the time has been hard.  I need to stop making excuses like that last sentence and just do it already.  It’ll save us time, money, and legitimate boredome with our meals, as we’ve been stuck in repeat mode with a lot of our meals lately.
  5. Month-to-month junk food buying ban
    1. The ban continues!!!
  6. Decreased soda :  $24 = 3 cases/month
    1. Still averaging about 3 sodas/day but some days, that ticks up to 4.  I acknowledge that I need to cut back (to zero!) but that hasn’t happened yet.  #Balance
  7. Using our treadmill for at least 20 minutes per day when I am off work
    1. The treadmill was becoming a jungle gym for our son, so it made its way to the garage a couple weeks ago.  I’ve had literally zero time to get on the thing and it was just taking up room.  My wife and I hate the feeling of being cluttered and, honestly, moving it was actually a relief.  I’m not sure what the future has in store for it, but I’m wondering if its days in the NoF household are numbered…lol
  8. Improved planning and crop yield from the garden
    1. Seed potatoes were planted this month and the strawberries planted last year continue to grow.  My wife even noticed one strawberry plant starting to bud a little white flower this past week.  All of our lily bulbs have sprouted, some of which are several inches high already.  The rose and lilac bushes, as well as the apple trees I planted last year, have greened out.  We put in an order for some tulip bulbs from Colorblends to ship to us this fall, as we are planning to start a couple beds of them along our front sidewalk.  We’re also adding some evergreen, shade-tolerant shrubs with a peony plant to the east-facing side of a house, as the plants we put there last year are complete garbage and refuse to do anything but grow to about 5 inches tall and then immediately shrivel up and DIE!  lol
    2. Oh yeah!  Remember that impending snow I mentioned in last month’s update?  Well…it came on the 27th, dumping about four or five inches of a snowy/slushy mess all over our nice green and growing flowers.  Hopefully this won’t prove to be detrimental and they continue thriving.
    3. May will see the remainder of our crops being planted, along with some additional landscaping projects we’ve got planned.  Maybe some photo updates will be in order.  🙂
  9. Read a minimum of 5 books in 2016
    1. Haven’t pick it up in a couple weeks, so I’m still working on book number 3 for the year…Glenn Beck’s Agenda 21:  Into the Shadows, the sequel to the book I read in January.  Not 100% certain what will come next, but I’m leaning towards some non-fiction this time with Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.  I’d like to get my hands on John Bogle’s The Little Book of Common Sense Investing and Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor, but haven’t managed to do so yet.
  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.
    1. My wife and I have been enjoying lots of outside playtime with our kiddo this month, as we have had some exceptionally nice weather until getting hit with the snow on the 27th.  We’ve planned out some more landscaping projects and enjoyed seeing our previous years’ gardening endeavors pay off.  She managed to get her Mother’s Day present out of me early this year (as she does with all presents!) and loves the personalized canvas tote bag that I had made for her.  To be fair, she specifically told me what she wanted…lol…but the designing was of my own doing so, at the very least, I’m taking credit for that!  🙂

We were fortunate enough to have yet another successful month in the NoF household.  Thank you very much for your time and, if you’ve been following along with our family, I remain truly honored.  If you’re not yet following along, we would love for you to join us on our journey to financial independence, with all the craziness that is our life in the meantime.  Please follow along through WordPress or sign up to receive updates via e-mail.  Thank you, again, and have an amazing day!

– Nurse on Fire

30 thoughts on “2016 Goals: April Update

    • Thank you so much! We signed up for eMeals and base them off of the recipes they provide. It’s a nice service (WHEN WE USE IT! :-|…lol) that has varied meal plans based on your desires (e.g. low carb, crock pot meals, etc…) and you can switch back and forth between the plans. They also have an excellent app that helps create a shopping list based on the recipes you choose. Check out their site and let me know if you find it helpful. Thanks again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great job on the progress toward your goals! Have you tried using credit card sign-up bonuses for some extra money in addition to the daily spending cashback? I have made quite a bit of extra money doing this over the past year (plus a free weekend in Boston, New York, and a full week in Jamaica at all all inclusive resort). They can be extremely lucrative depending on your plans. Check out my post, https://fifthwheelpt.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/best-credit-cards-for-easy-cashback-bonuses/

    The weight loss seems to be going really well. I went through a similar process a few years ago and felt so much better afterward.

    Have you read The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing, yet? I always recommend that book to my friends because it’s simple and easy to read but I learned a lot from it. The Intelligent Investor is a good book but very difficult to get through if you don’t already have an understanding of Value Investing Principles. It’s pretty in depth on some concepts. Also, If you have haven’t read it yet, The Millionaire Next Door is another one of my favorites!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks a bunch, man! I haven’t really delved into that much yet. We’ve taken advantage of some convenience check incentives to save ourselves some interest money while paying off my wife’s student loans so we are working on paying off the credit cards first. I love the idea of travel hacking, have been doing some research on http://www.travelmiles101.com, and am hoping to utilize it to take our son to Disney World in the next couple years. I will definitely check out your post, as well.

      I’ve had The Boglehead’s book in my Amazon cart several times but haven’t actually bought that one yet either. We live 45 minutes away from the nearest library and it would cost us $50/year to get a card so I haven’t bitten that bullet yet to see if they could get me those books. Thanks for the tip on checking that one out first though! I actually have a digital copy of The MND and have skimmed through parts of it but haven’t truly read it yet.

      Have you read The Boglehead’s Guide to Retirement Planning? If so, is it worthwhile or more aimed at “traditional” retirees?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, ATL! I’m really looking forward to a delicious harvest. Our tomato and pepper plants should be arriving in the next couple weeks and I’m hoping that our potatoes start sprouting soon. The strawberries are still going strong and will hopefully begin producing some delicious berries in the next few weeks. It’s just really a lot of fun and a huge learning process. The best part is that I’m super excited to share the experience with our son! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on a successful month!

    I’ve also started training today (this is coming from someone that does 0 physical activity other than walking/hiking the dog) – I’m sure that will have ramifications on our meals but I’m glad I’ve finally pulled the trigger! I’m seeing great progress financially; time to see some physically!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! You’re the third or fourth person I’ve had to tell this but…we sold our treadmill earlier today! lol! We sold some stuff to a guy who runs a used furniture/appliance store and when he came to pick the stuff up today, I offered him the treadmill for some extra cash and he took it off our hands. One less coat rack cluttering up our lives! lol 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very impressive trimming your debt and waist at the same time.
    Winner, winner, chicken dinner…..eh, make that steamed broccoli and salmon dinner.
    Seriously, wicked good progress.
    I tip my hat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! 🙂

      I love steamed broccoli and actually have some salmon in the freezer. However, other than tuna, I haven’t ever been a big fish eater so I’m not sure when it will actually get eaten. Maybe I’ll try the charcoal grill this weekend 🙂

      Thanks again!


      • I’m actually not looking to lose too much, I just need to focus on living healthier.

        About 10 years ago, I used to weigh about 40 pounds more than I do now. I just ate healthier and exercised more. But now I feel like I’m not trying as hard to be healthy. I don’t work out as much and am not as picky with my food.

        I need to get back on the wagon!

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s awesome you’ve been able to keep that weight off for so long. About four years ago, while we were in college, I lost about thirty pounds and it has slowly crept back on over the past few years. At that time, we didn’t change WHAT we were eating, instead eating less of it and exercising more. This time around, we’ve changed up most of what we are eating (i.e. less processed garbage and more fruits/veggies/whole grain/etc.) so I feel as though this time should, in theory, hold out for the long haul. I’ve been doing pretty well with the diet side of the equation…I really need to be better about the exercise aspect of things.

          Just do it like I imagine you’re doing with your finances…spell out some long term goals over the next few months and then break ’em down into bite-size chunks, track ’em on a weekly/bi-weekly basis, and then post your progress for all the world to see! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

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