Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Privilege of Living Simply

Since moving to our new home I've been decluttering and trying to simplify our life and finances. Lately, in my quiet moments of reflection, I have had the reoccurring thought over and over again:  Privilege.

Photo by Easton Oliver on Unsplash

Let me back up.  I believe this thought entered my head several weeks ago while listening to a podcast by Nicole Antoinette on her thru hike on the Arizona Trial. In the podcast, she mentioned the privilege it was to choose her own suffering. She chose do this hike and to leave her life, family, and friends for 6 weeks to be alone in the desert. It was tough both mentally and physically. She could have stopped any time, but she chose to stick with it even through the cold, the cactus that shredded her skin, the hunger, and lack of water. It was a privilege for her. Most people never get to experience a thru hike, even those who desire it. 

That got me thinking about my life, priorities, and ambitions. For those regular readers of my blog, you will know how I desire to live a simple, conscience type of life. I declutter, getting rid of things I no longer use or need.  I want to live in a small house.  I strive to make the things I DO purchase come from local or small businesses, and companies with ethical principles.  I love to cook with fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat bought from local farms. I don't work outside my home and like to devote my life to my family and lifestyle.  All of this is an incredible privilege.

In my last post I mentioned how when Nakoma and Phoebe moved in with us, we were crammed into our 1250 sq ft house, and how it really was a first world problem that I was even complaining. That's privilege. As I said in that post, in many countries, multi-generational families live in much, much less. But even in our own country this is privilege. Many multi-generational families are squeezed into small homes, living paycheck to paycheck, not even able to have the option to move to something larger.

Some people in my own town live in a food desert, meaning they are not within walking distance of a store that sells fresh food and do not have the transportation available to make the longer trek to the store. They are then left with the option of the fast food joint down the street that sells 2 burgers for $2, or the convenience store on the corner where they can get a $1 slice of pizza and a bag of chips. The fact that I choose and am able to shop for local and organic food is a great privilege. (By the way, the food desert is something I want to dive into more at some point in time.  I am very new to this reality in my town and many other towns in the US and cannot speak knowledgeably about it at this time other than what I wrote above. I know there are many organizations who are trying to eliminate food deserts in cities.  Hopefully I can post again on this subject.)

Because I haven't always lived a simple life, I have things I am constantly removing from my home. I sell them, give them to charity, or throw them away.  Even in our own country, there are many people who lost everything in the hurricanes and fires last year and do not have the means to replace them. The fact that I have excess to remove is privilege.

Finally, I have the tremendous privilege to work from home. I was fortunate when my children were growing up to be able to choose to stay home.  The times that I worked outside the home was because I wanted to, not because we needed the income.  Now that my children are mostly grown I still work from home.  I am able to help Nakoma with childcare for Phoebe, cook fresh meals, keep my home clean, and spend only the hours I want to working on my eBay business or blog. Many people desire to do this, but are financially not able to do so. 

Now don't get me wrong, I certainly don't want to sound like I am writing a blog post about how I'm privileged in a I'm better than them way. That isn't my point at all! So does that mean I should stop talking about these things?  I don't think so. I think that it's fine to live in this way; to strive to be good with money, thoughtful in purchases, and not living in excess. Not only is it a good lifestyle practice, it's more sustainable for the planet. I think it should be a way of life in which I write to encourage others. But only, while knowing how incredibly privileged I am to be on this path. 

Finally, to take it one step further, how can we impact those people in our own cities and towns who do not have the opportunities we do?  How can we balance excess and need? I look forward to diving into this more in depth in the future. Until then, what are your thoughts on this, friends? Like me, do you have incredible privileges that you take for granted?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

My Quest to Live Simply

Since moving to our bigger home last December, I feel like I have lost a part of my identity.  When we lived in our little farm house it felt so perfect - so me.  True, there were things I hated, like the low water pressure, and how the water would get dirty every time we had a heavy rain, or the old beat up floors, or how an occasional mouse would find it's way in. But in spite of that, I loved it.  It was quiet with a beautiful view of the mountains; I had a garden and chickens, and over the year had made both the inside and outside my own.

The shabby little farmhouse and acreage were my simple life.  We had downsized by half to move there, both in space and in possessions. Because it was a rental and in the country there was no need to "keep up with the Jones's". I was able to grow some of our food and hang my wash on the line. I felt like the best version of myself there. If we ever talked about moving it was to downsize even more....we certainly never talked about doubling the size of our house and yard work!

But life changed. Within a matter of a week we became a multi-generational family squeezed into a 1250 sq foot house. Remington didn't even have closet space anymore. There was no separate spaces to decompress other than our small bedrooms. I know this is certainly a first world problem and in many parts of the world multi-generational families live in much, much less. But it was hard for us.

In the midst of this I was still dealing with the reality of my fibro diagnosis and it resulted in anxiety and depression. I was NOT in the right frame of mind to be making another life altering decision.  But sure enough, that is what we did.

Had we to do it over again, we would not have bought this house. We have lived here two months now and from day one we could see it wasn't the best decision. However, even though we should have thought through it a bit more - it's done.  Most likely, financially it was a fine decision.  We can put a little money and elbow grease into the house and make a good return in a few years.

For me, the hard part all comes back to losing a part of my identity by moving here. With a larger house comes the idea that we need to fill all the rooms with all the things, or, the idea that we need to do this, that, and the other so it looks like every other nice house in our neighborhood.

But this is simply not true.  We don't need to do any of that. We have a sparsely furnished room with the bookcases and one chair. I thought I needed to buy a few more chairs making it into a library...even though we have a sofa and recliner in the family room where we can read. Our guest room is totally empty, and while we DO need to get a bed for the room, it isn't a priority since we have no scheduled guests at this time. Truly, we have everything we need to live a comfortable life - way more than we need, actually.

I can still be the best version of myself here....even in a house in which the very size speaks against my ambitions to live a simpler, downsized life.  I can continue my quest to live simply. I can keep a sharp eye on the finances and only buy things that add value to our lives - not something I feel like I need to buy to fill the space or keep up with other people's ideals. I can cook more often with fresh, local ingredients. I can declutter so that when we move again someday we only have what we love and use. I can continue to make time for the things that add value to my life.  A walk with Mocha, a date with Chad, playing with Phoebe, expanding my knowledge with reading, or writing to encourage myself and others.

Even more, I can appreciate those things that I didn't have before.  The wonderful water pressure, the flowing clean water, and floors that are easy to keep clean and aesthetically pleasing to look at. I can enjoy having our own space to unwind without being on top of each other.  I can sit in my peaceful backyard and enjoy the trees, birds, and wildlife that live nearby, and listen to the water flowing in the creek next to our house.

I can continue my quest to live simply. When the time comes in a few years we will downsize again, hopefully having learned a few things along the way about contentment and living our best life wherever we are planted.

My encouragement to you, friend, is to also find contentment wherever you are.  Even if your entire life doesn't line up to your ideals, keep striving towards the things that are in your control. Practice gratitude, not only for the positive changes you make, but even the negative things that may just be a teaching tool for future growth. Happiness and contentment do not come from where you live or the things you have, but from how you live your life.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Personal Goals for March

Happy March, friends! February is gone already and it's time for me to set some personal goals for March. Also, if you are following along with our no spending challenge and budget goals, click here to read how we did in February!

Honestly, my personal goals were pretty easy last month.  I wish I would have walked more, but otherwise I am pleased with how things ended up.  I'm setting a few more challenges for March, but first, lets dive into how February went.......

Eat vegetarian 70% of the time. -  Success! Out of the 61 meals I ate in February, 46 were vegetarian and 15 contained meat so that is actually over 75%!  The majority of the meat meals was usually in the form of stir fry, so often it was a very small amount.  I did have a sandwich with turkey lunch meat once and a sandwich with a grilled chicken breast once, and my health log noted I didn't feel well the day after.  Interesting!

Walk Mocha every nice day - Mocha and I did not walk every nice day, but took an average of 3 walks a week. She has a nice fenced in backyard to play in on non-walking days.

No beer other than the brewery- I cheated a bit on this, but still consumed way less beer than I usually do.  Chad and I had a date at local restaurant that serves craft beer on tap and I had one with my meal.  Also, we wanted to go to the brewery, but decided to use our date money and have a date in our backyard instead so we bought beer to drink for this "date".  We figured we should enjoy our beautiful backyard on nice days, and it was a savings compared to the brewery.

Journal/Blog 3 times a week - Success! I have either written in my personal journal, or worked on a blog post 3 times a week.

Health journal daily - Success! This is a great way to see why I feel the way I do.  Food really affects my pain levels. I also noticed after getting many breakouts I was eating dessert every day, so was able to cut them out and my face cleared up.  Having this journal is very helpful in understanding what my body likes and does not.

Drink 1 gallon of water each day - Success!

Go to yoga 2 times per week - Success! I love it that Chad usually joins me for the yoga classes when his work schedule allows.

Read 1 book (at least) -  Success! I read Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much Moreand am I'm almost finished with Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II.

When thinking through March's goals I want to continue to challenge myself physically and mentally, so many of the goals will be continued.  Drinking beer will not be one of them, though. I enjoy drinking a beer a few evenings a week and on the weekends, and it's rare that I ever have more than 1. I also found wine gives me a headache after just one glass, so even though wine is probably healthier for me I don't like the headache and prefer beer. For March, I am setting a much harder goal, though.  No sweets. Gah!  Let's take a look at my goals for March!

March Goals

Eat vegetarian 70% of the time -  I would like to clean up my eating a bit more.  Some days even though I did not have meat, it wasn't exactly healthy and heavy on grains. So with that in mind......

Eat vegetables every day  - Cooked or fresh. The easiest way for me to do this would be to incorporate smoothies into my diet.

Walk Mocha every nice day - Even though I may not make this goal I still want to set it.  It gets my butt in gear on days when I otherwise would not want to walk.

Journal/Blog 3 times a week 

Health journal daily 

Drink 1 gallon of water daily 

Go to yoga 2 times per week

Read 1 book (at least) - I want to finish Monarch and then read one more book.

No sweets - No candy, pastries, cookies, cake, or sweetened drinks like a chai from a coffee shop.  This does not include fruit or sweetener I put in tea at home.  I only have a cup of tea a few times a week so I figured that wasn't a big deal.  I am hating myself for making this a goal already! HA! This is going to be super hard for me, but a good practice nonetheless. And you better believe I enjoyed a piece of cheesecake on February 28th before this challenge started!

So that's a wrap.  What are your goals for March, friends?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February's Budget Numbers

Well friends, I am one month into my six month shopping ban and things are going well!  I have not had too much of an urge to shop for things not on my approved shopping list.  When I think of something I would like to buy that isn't on the list I write it down, and I'll see if I still want those things at the end of July when my shopping ban ends.

I've had a few questions regarding our emergency savings, so I thought I would explain what it is to us. Our comfort level emergency savings would be roughly about 3 times our full monthly expenses. Because we have income from several different areas, it is unlikely we would lose them all at the same time making us unable to pay our bills, so three months expenses is what we feel comfortable with, as a minimum. With our move in December and kitchen remodel, we had dipped significantly into these funds, which is why we need to build it back up. Once we have 3 months expenses saved again, we will devote more money to home improvements, but continue to save at a slower pace, eventually reaching 6 months of saved expenses. Home improvements are also an investment of our money since they add value to our home. Additionally, we save for retirement and healthcare in accounts separate from our emergency savings.  Both of those are taken out before taxes, so those percentages are not included in the numbers below. Our budgeting numbers are based on take home pay.

So now, on to the numbers for the month!

Savings - 14% - We are very pleased with this amount! It was nice to see a decent size jump in our savings account balance after so many months of seeing it get smaller and smaller.

Monthly Bills - 42.5% - This was lower this month because two of our bills (garbage and water) are quarterly, thus we did not have to pay them this month.

Groceries - 15% - This percentage is a bit off because I started spending my grocery money at the end of January, but didn't start this challenge until February 1.  The money is gone, but my money app shows me I technically only spent 11% in February. This gives me hope that I may be able to lower the grocery budget by 1-2%, but we shall see.  Some months I have to order vitamins or buy more things in bulk, which make it more expensive.  Also, since one of my personal goals was to not buy beer last month, that has been a savings as well.

The remaining 28.5 % were split up between the envelopes (18.5 %) and saving for Remington's school and expenses for him (10%).

Personal Spending - I bought only two things in February with my personal spending. I am allowed to buy one book per month on my shopping ban, so this month I chose Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More. The book was excellent and I highly recommend it if you are looking to simplify your life or career. Courtney's story of simplifying her life after her MS diagnosis was very relevant to me and my life with fibromyalgia.

I also bought a chair for our deck.  The wooden rockers that sat on our porch at the farmhouse had to be moved down to the lower deck because I didn't like them getting rained on. The upper deck is where we usually sit and is not covered so we needed a waterproof chair.  We already had one, so I bought another one so Chad and I can sit on the deck together. We enjoyed a few hours last Saturday on the deck with a beverage, and can see we will get much use out of the chairs this spring and summer!

I have a bit of my money left in my envelope to carry over to March. My birkenstock's broke completely this week so I am trying to decide whether to replace them next month, or wait 1 or 2 more months.  I really want to buy a plant and book in March, both of which are on the approved shopping list.

Envelopes - All the remaining envelopes, Date, Mocha, Fuel, Car Repair, House Repair, Gifts, Donations, and Travel/Hosting have money left which will carry over to next month.

March looks to be a little more expensive.  We have two birthdays and our anniversary, but all of those should be covered with the appropriate envelopes. I also have been considering doing a float session in a sensory deprivation tank.  Have you heard of those or have you tried a float before? The tanks a are filled with 900 pounds of Epsom salt which causes your body to float. The water is heated to skin temp and the tank is sound proof, so it is supposed to be highly relaxing and good for anxiety and pain. It sounds interesting, so I may work it into the budget. I need to see if I can use our healthcare funds for it first though.  We will also continue the shopping ban and approved shopping lists.

Month 2, here we come! I will update April 1 to let you know how March went. How did your month go, friends?

Friday, February 23, 2018

Frugal Friday Fun 2/23

Hi, friends! I thought I would start a new series on Friday - a short post telling what's been fun this week or frugal things we have done. Join me!

Last week week was Valentines Day and while Chad and I have never been huge on the holiday, we usually celebrate in a small way.  This year was no different, but we may have set the record for having it be low cost with a great opportunity to connect. I picked Chad up from work, we grabbed a buy one get one free pizza at one of our favorite spots, and headed up to the mountain overlooking the city.  I had packed linens and drinks, so for less than $10 we had a romantic date where we were able to connect in quiet and have intentional conversation about of life and future.  It was SO great we decided we need to do it more often.

Another one of Chad's and my favorite dates is to Givens Books.  Their cafe is excellent and we can get a meal and coffee for less than $20. We also love browsing through the used book section. Last summer I picked up a used copy of Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II, but just now got around to reading it this week.  For those of you who love Netflix's "The Crown" and PBS's "Victoria", this book is a must read! Although it was written in 2002 at the time of Queen Elizabeth II's golden jubilee, it's fascinating to read the history up to that point.

One of my favorite bloggers and online friend, Andrea, of Seasons and Salt, gave a heads up that you can buy Fiddle Leaf Figs through Home Depot online for less than $30!! I am beyond excited! I have been looking for a Fiddle Leaf Fig for years.  I found one a few years ago at a local garden store, but it was over 6 feet tall and was $100! I am allowed to buy 4 plants on my shopping ban, so you can bet this will be purchased soon!

One of my favorite reads this week on gratitude.

Phoebe is gone this week visiting her Dad and grandparents, so I am supposed to be painting trim (with paint I already have). The weather has been SO nice I have been procrastinating.

Hope you have a lovely weekend, friends!  Have you done anything frugal or fun this week?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Shopping Ban and Stretch Goal

Hi Friends!

As I wrote about in a previous post, since moving to our new home, Chad and I set a stretch goal to have a fully funded emergency fund in six months (July 2018). After further looking into our budget this looks like it will be unrealistic because some bills in our new house ended up being higher than anticipated.  (It really does cost twice as much to heat a home two times bigger, even if it's 100 years newer than your last one. Bummer!)

However, since we made a 6 month plan, we wanted to stick with it, even if we don't quite fully fund our emergency savings.  Our goal is to save 12.5% of our monthly income, plus, 50% of our tax refund. To some people, 12.5% doesn't sound like much, but if you consider the money we save for retirement and healthcare before taxes, Remington's school, and our envelopes that carry over, we are saving quite a bit more for the future. While we would love to save 30% and fully fund our envelopes, that isn't feasible at this time of our lives.

To succeed at saving 12.5%, we need to clean up our spending and tighten up the budget. Following Cait Flanders book, The Year of Less, we talked about a shopping ban and what it would entail both personally and as a couple. Today I am going to share a what our budget looks like.

We start by evaluating our income each month. We have several different areas of household income, but one area is strictly used for Remington's housing, food, school, activities, and so on. Our monthly income also includes Chad's paycheck, renting the apartment, and any money I make from sales either locally or online.

Once we know how much money we'll have for the month, we follow by paying our monthly bills such as our mortgage, utilities, insurances, gym membership, nexflix, and cell phone.  Chad pays these bills online or with a check every month. These bills are around 44% of our household income. We would like to get them to the 40% range so we may eventually look at how we can lower the amount spent in these areas.

We then have categories where we set money aside in envelopes, which is funded with cash. This system has worked well for us in the past and setting aside a certain sum every month in these areas helps us avoid having an unexpected bill throw off our whole budget. Below are the envelopes and what we allow ourselves to buy in each category.

GROCERY - Essentials such as, food, supplies for cleaning, and toiletries like soap and shampoo. This also includes products for the hair and haircuts. Usually there is no money left in this envelope at the end of the month. I've been trying to clean up the grocery spending since we moved.  That means meal planning, shopping weekly so there is less waste, and buying only what we need for the week.  Eating Vegetarian 70% of the time also helps keep our budget low. Additionally, I make about 75% of my cleaning supplies, which is much cheaper than buying store-bought. If we stay on budget in this category, it will be reduced by 25% since last fall. We spend about 15% of our household income on food. As a person who loves to cook with quality ingredients, I'm not sure if I'll ever get this percentage lower.

FUEL - This isn't technically an envelope, but a separate account with a debit card so we can pay for gas at the pump. We set aside 4% of our income for fuel, but we don't always use it every month. Carry over is nice for months when we travel.

MOCHA - I set aside a sum for Mocha's dog food, grooming, medicine, and vet visits.  There is often money left over so it carries over for months when she may have a vet bill. Mocha takes up 2.5% of our household income. We may lower this at some point, but she is due for shots in the spring so that will mean a vet visit.

CAR REPAIR - Oil changes, other maintenance that may need done to the cars, and savings for tires. Usually there is money that carries over from month to month. Once we have a fully funded emergency fund we will increase the amount in this envelope each month and begin saving money for a different car in the future. Car repair takes up about 1% of our household income.

HOUSE REPAIR - This is not house updating, but repair, such as when the washer quits, the air filter needs replaced, or an outlet doesn't work. Again, there is usually money that will carry over from month to month. House repair is also 1% of our household income.

GIFTS - For birthdays and Christmas. We decided how much we wanted to spend this year and divided this by 12. We may reevaluate this envelope next year and increase the amounts. Gifts are 1.5% of our household income.

DONATIONS - We set aside a sum to be used where we feel led. Sometimes it gets used in a month and sometimes it carries over. Donations take up 2.5% of our household income. Obviously, this is an area we need to increase, although there is more to donating than simply money.

DATE - As a married couple, we know dates are a very important part of a healthy marriage.  We lowered the amount by 33% during our challenge, so we'll need to go on cheaper dates or no money dates like hiking or picnics. Date is 2.5% of our household income

TRAVEL/HOSTING - This is a new category for any trips we will be going on and also extra expenses that occur when we have guests, such as a meal out or activities. Eventually, we would like to increase this amount because we love to travel and have people visit. In the past, these expenses would throw off our monthly budget so hopefully this will help. This category is 1% of our household income. 

PERSONAL SPENDING - For things we want to buy such as books, clothing, and other fun things. Chad's is 1.5% of  our household income and was decreased by 40%.  Mine is 1% of our household income and was decreased by 50%.

The remaining 10% is used for Remington's school, activities, clothing, and other expenses for him not covered in our budget above. The funds are in a separate checking account with a debit card that I use for paying for these things.

Personal spending is an area I would often go over on when I wasn't on a strict budget. Chad is pretty good at not spending over his allotted monthly spending and is allowing himself buy whatever he wants with his spending.  My personal spending, unlike Chad's, is strict.  The reason why is I find it's easier for me to just say no shopping other than my list. Say I have $50 to spend and I go into TJ Maxx for a picture frame....I come out with a top, throw pillows, soap, and socks and NO picture frame and having spent $60 and robbed $10 from another envelope.  This, in turn, leads down a slippery slope and usually ends up with too much month left at the end of the money, which is why we were not the best at saving the last few years.

I DO have an approved purchase list I can spend my personal spending on though, very much like Cait Flanders has in her book......and none of it involves going to TJ Maxx! (Although Lowes can sometimes be worse!) Below is my list of approved purchases.

Rebecca's Approved Personal Shopping List February - July

Fixing my Birkenstocks or buying new ones

Flowers + dirt for pots in spring

New chair for deck

4 plants either for the house or outside

1 book per month

1 lunch out with friends per month

As you can see, other than the Birks, I am not spending money on clothes. My inventory showed me I have plenty of clothes and about 10% of what I bought last year never was worn!  What a waste!

I also did not include house decor in this list. I have plenty of decor, and this will hopefully make me be creative with things I already own and find new ways to repurpose my heirlooms, which I love to do.

Things I'm Not Allowed to Buy

(Other than Birks)

House decor

New pots for outside plants
(I have plenty. I may buy a can of spray paint to freshen up the ones I already own though.)

(Except for a new bed)

Meals out by myself, including coffee.
(This does not include if I travel, my 1 meal with a friend, or dates.)

Essential oils 
(I have plenty and I need to experiment with what I have rather than buying new ones.)

New kinds of makeup, nail polish, or hair stuff
(I can buy the basics only if I run out.)

(I need to continue making my own.)

Linens for my home.
(There are some that need replaced but this can wait 6 months.)

We will be a getting a tax refund back this year and will take about half of it for home improvements that need to be done before July. Our backyard is dirt so every time it rains, (which is several times a week in the spring) Mocha comes in with dirty paws. We want to lay sod in the backyard to help combat this issue. I also recently ripped the carpet off of one flight of stairs with the intention of refinishing them.  I will need to buy stripper and stain and I already have sandpaper and paint. Also, after months of waking up hurting, it's time for a new bed! If there is any money left after those two projects and the bed, we may also replace the carpet in the family room with something more dog friendly, or, replace the tile in the hall bathroom. They may need to wait until later in the year, though. The other half will go into our emergency savings fund. Once our emergency fund is fully funded, we will add a saving envelope for additional house updating.

Whew! That was long! I hope to update every month how we did on the goals. Did we stay within the budget? Did we save 12.5%?  If this post is helpful in your own personal budgeting, is there other content you would like me to include? Let me know in the comments.

I also will update my personal and health goals at the end of the month.  Plus, I will try to post some recipes and other life updates.

Have a great week, friends!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Personal Goals for February

Hello, friends!

Before I get into the post about our stretch goals for the next 6 months, I thought I would share my personal goals for February, seeing that the month is a third over! I want to set monthly goals for myself for a few reasons: I feel that even though I may not meet my goals, I am much better at striving towards them when I write them down.  Publishing them for my friends (really the whole world) to see adds another reason to get my butt in gear. Also, it's easy to get discouraged living with chronic pain, so working on achievable goals helps me to stay more positive in the midst of pain.

Health/ Personal Goals for February

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Eat vegetarian 70% of the time.

Last September, shortly after my fibro diagnosis, Chad and I went vegan for a month. Honestly, for a person who loves to cook and eat, it was too much for me, although I DID notice a reduction in inflammation in my body. (Although I think that was from cutting out dairy, not meat.) It wasn't enough to continue, though.  I did decide, however, to eat less meat and have been good about it since then. So far I have been meeting this goal this month. I really need to set a goal to cut out dairy...but I love cheese.

Walk Mocha Every Nice Day

I can tell you right now I am failing this goal.  My pain has been bad this month, and some days I am not loosened up to deal with a pulling dog before Nakoma goes to work and I need to watch Phoebe. It's also been cold. I think I need to change this goal to just moving every day.  I can do yoga or a workout in the house while Phoebe naps on days I don't walk.

No Beer Other Than The Brewery

If I have beer in my fridge I drink one or two almost every day, which probably isn't the best for my health, not to mention our budget.  So I have decided to cut it out with a few exceptions. I can drink the beer I have left in the fridge from last month.  Also, I can drink it if we go on a date to the brewery, which most likely not happen because it's cold and the seating is outside. Since I am not buying any, I'm making my last three in my fridge last! I'm also not going to drink beer when we go out on a dinner date, but drink water instead. We still enjoy a bottle of wine on the weekends.

Journal/Blog 3 Times a Week

I have been working on upcoming blog posts so I am doing great on this goal!

Health Journal Daily

Writing down what I eat and drink, my pain level, medication, and exercise. I eat a lot better when I write it down.  Something about the thought of writing down that I ate an entire bag of jelly beans makes me only eat a handful instead! :-)

Drink 1 Gallon of Water Each Day

My friend, Ashley, is doing this and I thought it would be great to join along.  It is an easy goal for me as I have always drank a lot of water, but it does make me more mindful to drink throughout the day.

Go To a Yoga Class 2 Times Per Week

I should be able to meet this goal.  I was going to yoga 4-5 times a week in the summer, but with Phoebe it's a little more difficult now. I am happy to say I am much more flexible since I take 2 Yin Yoga classes each week! I also try to add in 1 power yoga class.

Read 1 Book (At Least)

Currently reading, Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More">.

So those are my goals for February!  Do you make monthly goals?  If so, how are you doing on yours this month?