44 for 45

I am now 45.

This time, however, on my 44 for 45 list, I am setting more doable goals. Some of the things I have on this list will be a repeat of last year’s list. (I am DETERMINED to do a year-long shopping ban, for instance.)

Here it is:

  1. Shopping ban. Probably an adapted version of this.
  2. One box or bag a day: either empty a box to put things away, or throw/donate a box (using konmari method).
  3. Weed out digital photos.
  4. Complete virtual pace series.
  5. Complete at least one cycle of the following: ChaLEAN/PiYo/cize. (No, I am not a beachbody coach. But I like their exercise dvds.)
  6. Be able to hook my hands behind my back and touch my palms to the floor. (This is an odd to-do, but it would be really nice to scratch the hard to reach places on my back.)
  7. Make room to exercise. Literally and figuratively. I need to add it to my planner and clear a space to do it.
  8. Go plant-based. Did a blood test last month, and the numbers are really concerning. I can still reverse them, and part of that is exercising and the other part is diet. Going to do this.
  9. No more soda.  I have been drinking a lot of soda and my teeth are paying for it. Diet soda has its benefits (no calories), but the studies against drinking that stuff is concerning.
  10. Eating out only for social events.
  11. Run a 5k.
  12. Lose 50 pounds.
  13. 21 day fix. Another Beachbody product, but you can follow the eating plan pretty cheaply, using the containers found on Amazon.
  14. Rehab master bathroom. It needs new paint, new shelves, new outlets, new mirror. Other than the electrics, most of the stuff I can do myself (or enlist Mr. Jasperitis).
  15. Fill in the photos of the frames in the house. I have lots of photos, and collage frames that don’t have those photos in them.
  16. Install photo holders in the garage.
  17. Landscape backyard.
  18. Get everyone’s birthday and send cards.
  19. Train Wilbur to loose leash walk.
  20. Sophie’s surgery. Sophie needs leg surgery.
  21. Eliza needs to learn to be calm (WIlbur, Eliza, and Sophie are the dogs of the Jasperitis household.)
  22. Volunteer somewhere. Either here or here (if either will take me).
  23. social media – limit.
  24. Delete all games from phone, except for Neko Atsume (because Tubbs).
  25. Digital Detox. Really, screen time needs to be limited. The Bored and Brilliant Challenge is just the ticket.
  26. Screen time is over at 10 pm.
  27. Blog at least once of week.
  28. Take lunch breaks.
  29. Complete the Book Challenge.
  30. Sew one article of clothing.
  31. Finish Lego Dimensions. Yes, this goes against my screen time challenge, but I hate the feeling of leaving things undone.
  32. Enter a photo contest.
  33. Shoot photos in manual mode.
  34. 104 photo project.
  35. Use my camera at least 2 weekends a month.
  36. Finish watching Arrested Develpment/Facts of Life/Frasier (again, more screen time, but see #30).
  37. Visit to Philippines (this WILL happen)
  38. Project Life the last few years.
  39. Put together Lego Doctor Who kit. I’m surprised I haven’t done this.
  40. Have a zero cc balance. My balance isn’t as bad as it has been in the past, but I want to nip it in the bud before it gets too crazy.
  41. Update resume
  42. Save 5 months salary.
  43. Find a (paying) side hustle that I can do on my own time.
  44. Understand my retirement accounts.
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43 for 44 – how far did I get?

I turn 44 tomorrow.

This blog was originally meant to document my progress of my 43 for 44 list (the 43 things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 44), but I ended using this for sharing my thoughts on other things like my favorite the local baseball team, brushing up on my photography skills, and sharing photos of my dogs.

Of the 43 things I wanted before my birthday, I completed 11 of them. I made progress on some of those I didn’t complete, and others I totally went the other way.

Starting with what I didn’t accomplish:

1.Shopping Ban. I did ok for 5 weeks, then I fell into the trap of subscription boxes. My gateway to buy new things.

3. Remember birthdays, anniversaries, etc.: Nope, did horribly on this.

6. Save $10,000. I am $6,000 short.

7. Complete Chalean, Piyo, or Cize. I’d get two workouts in, and then didn’t do much after this.

8. Get rid of at least 100 items. I got rid of lot of items, but nothing significant.

9. Complete C25K,. See #7.

10. Create and exercise space.  I did, and then it got filled with stuff because I was unable to do numbers 1 or 8.

11. Get to drivers license weight. Because I didn’t do 7, 8, or 10.

17. Fix bike. Still sitting in our sunroom. Still gathering dust.

18-20. Project Life 2014-15; Project 52 for 2016. Nope, not even close.

22. Landscape backyard. The backyard is still all dirt.

23-24. Train the dogs to be calm; walk them more often. I am a horrible dog owner.

25. See Frances Ruffelle in Washington, D.C. Missed it.

26. 10,000 step habit. Barely made it to 3,000 on some days.

29. Electronics off by 10 pm. I am writing this post at 11 pm.

30. Visit the Philippines. I really regret not doing this.

32. Pack/Unpack 7 boxes a week. I started and now my “exercise space” is filled with half-filled boxes and things spread around.

33. Lose 10% of weight. I actually gained 10%.

34. Sew again. My sewing machine is covered with items to fulfill numbers 18-20.

36. Quit Sunday job. I took a month off, but I can’t quit it. I like the people I work with too much.

37. Do a 10k. Whoops. I forgot about this one.

38. Fix the window screens in the house. The dogs keep poking their nose through it.

40. Apply to one job. There was one, but I chickened out.

41. Update resume. Still need to do this.

Sort of did.

12. Weed out photos.  I am 1/10 the way through. Still have a ways to go.

14. Learn something new every day. I did, but didn’t document it.

15. Do something nice for my husband everyday. Almost every day I did this, but that doesn’t count. And then I didn’t document it.

21. Fix toilet seats. Replaced one of them. Mr. Jasperitis replace the other one.

27. Play games, music, books I own; use what I have.* Mostly did this, but bought new music with gift cards/credit.

Completed:

2. Dog Beds. Yes, did that! But unfortunately, the legs broke and

4. 5 5ks.  Actually I did more than that, because I found out about virtual races.

5. No more pinning on Pinterest; use what I pinned.  I don’t pin anymore. In fact, I deleted the app from my phone and tablet.

13. Back up photos in hard drive. I found Amazon Prime members have unlimited photo storage.

31. Buy a mac mini. I did! And didn’t charge it on a credit card.

28. Limit to 5 subscription boxes. I had a peak of 15+ subscriptions at one time, now I am down to one, and that will be done in September.

5. No more pinning on Pinterest. I did one better. I deleted the app from my phone and ipad.

39. Start blogging. You’re reading this.  I wasn’t as prolific as I thought I would be, but it’s a start

16. 52 books read, including S. and The Money Class. Done. Done. Done. (I actually read 55 books.)

35. Photography again. Yup. Did that. And I am rusty!

42. Organize paperwork. Took a two days, but I got it squared away.

43. Household binder  I put one together, similar to this. (Now actually using it, that’s another story.)

I didn’t accomplish everything, but I didn’t expect to, really. Lots of things were dependent on one another, but the fact of the matter was that I was easily distracted by other things.  I found myself staring at a screen, whether it be my phone, tablet or computer. Sometimes it was productive (blogging, backing up photos, or weeding out said photos), but most of the time I’ve been distracted by social media (Twitter is my Waterloo), and games. Like this one. Or this one. Or anyone of those slot machines games.

What happens tomorrow? Work, as usual, and another list.

 

 

 

 

35. Photography

Ever since I was a child I loved to take photos. I can thank my dad for that. He was the photographer in the family, and as each of his kids grew up, he or she became a photographer in the high school yearbook staff. My dad even built a darkroom in our garage.  In sixth grade, I got my first camera, a hand-me-down that used 110 film.  (Something like this, but probably older.)

Eventually I moved on to a SLR and during my stint as a yearbook photographer I developed film and printed photos, knowing the ins and outs of developer, stop bath, and fixer. I enjoyed the entire process from rolling the undeveloped of film into the cassettes to seeing the finished product of negatives drying on the clothesline in the darkroom to doing the final rinse of the photo after the sitting in the fixer.

As technology shifted to digital, I moved towards digital photography, using mostly my phone and several different point and shoot cameras and relying heavily on my cell phone. It was much more convenient (easier to manipulate the photo on the computer) and cheaper, too (you can take 100s more photos for the same amount spent on film). I bought a DSLR, then sold it because I wasn’t using it (too big, and too conspicuous).

Years passed, and I felt the urge to take photos again. So many choices!

So here is my new camera (taken with my cell phone):

IMG_6295

This will help fulfill #35 on my list, and will inspire me to take more shots than ever before.

One my first shots, with more to come. (My poor dogs will soon get sick of this.)

IMGP0009

Wilbur!

Whelp.

Three months in, then I completely fell apart. Since my last entry:

  • Shopping ban has been completely busted
  • new subscription boxes ordered
  • no exercise
  • savings depleted
  • weight gain (and don’t get me started there)
  • and so on.

What happened? Holidays, complacency, lack of accountability…it led to a perfect storm of spending, eating, and lazing around. I think the only thing I’ve been able to keep up with is my reading.

Time to start again.

September 2014 vs September 2015 spending

I’ve had my first full month in my shopping ban, and I wanted to see if there’s been a significant difference in my spending.

Rather than listing everything I did, I divided them up into categories. Some caveats, however:

  1. Because I don’t remember what I bought on Amazon (actually, I could look into my Amazon buying history, but I’m too lazy), I made a miscellaneous/unknown category.
  2. There were some transactions in 2014 (like Costco) that I wasn’t able to divide into groceries and miscellaneous, so I lumped them all together.
  3. This is all just debit spending; it doesn’t include any credit card debt accrued (that applies in 2014, not 2015).
  4. Seriously, the miscellaneous/unknown/groceries is truly a catch-all. It includes pet care, car repair, and other appointments
  5. I didn’t include income, but it’s roughly the same.

2014

  • Gas: $91.50
  • Mortgage: $1200
  • Bills: $466.89
  • Debt: $1,705.63
  • Miscellaneous/unknown/groceries: $658.32
  • Eating out: $107.79
  • Gifts/donations: $67.61
  • Savings: $171.12

2015

  • Gas: $140.75
  • Mortgage: $1400
  • Bills: $403.15
  • Debt: 0
  • Miscellaneous/unknown/groceries: $1,016.17
  • Eating out: $153.14
  • Savings: $1,025

The good 

I am putting a lot more into savings. Last year I saved money for two reasons: to spend what I saved on Christmas, and to spend what I saved on my birthday. This year I still maintain four savings accounts, and for now they are broken down into the folloring categories:

  1. Emergency savings (I save this on my own)
  2. Emergency savings (V and I share this account)
  3. Christmas (money I save to use for Christmas gifts)
  4. Birthday/me (money I save for stuff I want – like a mac mini)

For #3 and #4, I started doing the 52 weeks of savings, where you save $1 the first week, then $2, then $3, etc. I went backwards for the Christmas savings ($52, then $51 and so on), and the more traditional way for my birthday account.  Now I’m just putting as much money as I can in those accounts, more than expected. And I don’t plan to spend it all.

More good: I am not paying credit card bills, student loan bills, or car loans.  I paid off the student loan  this spring, and the credit card bills were paid off when I refinanced the house this year. I do realize that I will probably be paying more in interest in the long term, but if I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t be able to save.

I am also putting more into the mortgage. Before refinancing, we would pay $1200, about $75 more than the minimum amount.  Now we’re paying $1400 (V’s share is 600 and mine is $800, because only my credit card debt was paid off), and it’s $150 more than the minimum.  

The not-so-good

It is so difficult to analyze this without more specifics, but I feel like it wouldn’t be a true comparison.  I spent more on gas this month. We’ve been using my car more often and I visited LA one weekend, so my gas consumption is higher than last year.  I don’t believe I can attribute the increase in spending due to higher gas prices; I think prices are lower now. I could be wrong, though.

The bills have been consistent: gas, water, cable/internet, phone. The difference is the HD package for NFL Redzone was charged and paid for during a billing cycle not reflected in 2015 (I think I paid for it in August).

Eating out was a surprise to me. I thought I was doing wel!

Miscellaneous category. There’s a huge difference. When I looked at the individual transactions, I noticed I spend a lot on Amazon in 2014. However, I spent a lot on subscription boxes in 2015. I need to improve, clearly.

Conclusions (for now)

I certainly have some work to do! It’s so hard to analyze my shopping when it’s lumped together like this. I am going to do this again, this time comparing this month and October, with more details. Let’s see if my spending trends downward, as it should.

Week 3 in review (ending Saturday, September 12)

What I spent:

  • $43.72 supplies to complete #2: Dog beds
  • $38.16 groceries
  • $25.48 subscription box (Studio Calico) that I’m cancelling. I needed to complete my commitment first.
  • $59.94 for a new subscription box: Blue Apron. It counts as groceries, right?
  • $103 bills
  • $36 for the vet
  • $200 to savings
  • $8.72 for makeup brush cleaner. I ran out

Cautionary expenditures

  • $14.82 fast food
  • $7.90 coffee for me and V (used gift card)

In progress:

  • #11, 33: 4.4 pounds lost 
  • #6: $7,118 left to go

Completed:

     #2: Dog Beds! 2 down, 41 to go…

Uh-ohs:

  • Fast food. I really shouldn’t be eating that stuff.
  • A new subscription box. It really is groceries, so I’m hoping it will inspire me to cook more and have less wasted food. We shall see!
  • I only went through 3 boxes this week.

3 Day Refresh

On Monday, I started a 3 Day Refresh.* 

What is it? It’s a 3 Day plan from Beachbody that “Instead of leaving you depleted from fasting, after 3 days you feel energized, lighter, REFRESHED!” I’ve done it twice before. The first time was tough, the second time I cheated on the plan.

Here is goes:

Day 1:

Had a glass of water when I woke up (a rare thing). The morning was the Chocolate Vegan Shakeology blended with water, ice, and half a banana. Drank that while prepping the next three days.

Fiber Sweep – gritty texture, but I like the taste.

Lunch: Drank the Vanilla Fresh before heading to the Padres game.  Had hummus and carrots and blueberries for lunch. For the snack, hummus and carrots. V had chicken tenders and gourmet french fries. It looked good, but it smelled better. Not fair (but it was my choice).

Dinner: Steamed veggies with coconut oil and salt. This was really, really good. 

Fell asleep at 8:00 pm at the start of a headache (went coffee-free this time, so it withdrawal symptoms).

Exercise: Not a planned program, but I walked 7,000 steps.

Day 2: 

 

Day 2 food for the day, minus the Shakeology and 1/2 banana.

 
Woke up with a headache.  Started the day with two ibuprofen and a glass of water. Repeat breakfast.

To help temper the headache, I had a cup of green tea. Slightly helped.  Drank the Fiber Sweep later than expected, so lunch was delayed a by an hour. 

Lunch: Vanilla fresh with water, blueberries, hummus and carrots. No baseball food to tempt me this time!

Snack: Carrots and hummus. Yes, I know I could have more variety, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money just to have one serving of something different.

Halfway through the program!

Dinner: Drank the Vanilla Fresh before the Padres game. Ate my salad, while V munched on this:

 

It’s Taco Tuesday!

 
Suddenly my salad didn’t taste as good.

Managed to survive the game, but that night…I cheated. I ate some trail mix.

Day 3

Had a massive headache. So bad, I called in sick.

Between sleeping, ibuprofen, and drinking water, the day mirrored the first day. However, instead of going to bed early, I ate: peanut butter, cheese, and graham crackers.

 

Dinner!

 
Results: 

Even though I didn’t follow the plan exactly, I lost weight. Of course I lost weight. I ate way less than I normally do (if you use Weight Watchers language, it’s 20 points worth of food). I lost 5 pounds, but no inches. 

Would I do this again? Probably. It is a kickstart, and the first thing** I ate this morning is fruit, not cereal. It showed me I have a major caffeine addiction. I also had a difficulty with wanting to eat when I had no more food in the plan. I was hungry!

*I am not a Beachbody coach, just a customer.

**The second and third things I ate were a sourdough jack and curly fries. Have I learned nothing?