Holy crow! How is it already July?! I guess it really is true what they say . . . “Time flies when you’re having fun!” And last month I was definitely having some fun. Father’s Day was spent with close friends and family chilling out by the pool and eating delicious home cooked food. I’m finally starting to check off books from my Summer reading list. I’ve been spending a lot of time with the people I care most about. And I made some major changes in my bedroom and bathroom for the start of the new season. All in all, June was a pretty good month.
In case this is your first time here, I decided to set myself a new goal at the beginning of each month for 2017 with the intention to uplift my body, mind and soul in some way or another. But instead of setting multiple goals, I only set one main goal with a list of action steps.
I feel like with one main goal, there’s more focus. They’re easier to commit to and each month offers a fresh new start (especially if the previous month didn’t go quite like I planned). The more time I spend focusing on myself and checking in with what I need in my life, the more I realize that monthly goals are great! But just because a new month is starting, doesn’t mean I forget about my goals from the months before.
Inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I set one new goal or intention for myself at the beginning of each month while continuing the goals I set from the previous months.
So it looks something like this:
January: Craft the perfect morning routine
February: + Cultivate more self-love
March: + Create a better work/life balance
April: Refine and reflect on previous goals
The reason I didn’t set a goal for April was because I was super busy with my best friend’s wedding. By the time I got around to setting a goal, the month was half way over. So instead of setting a new goal, I used that month to refine and reflect on my goals set in the months before. And honestly, I’m really glad it worked out that way! It was nice to have a grace period where I could really focus on all three goals.
Anyways, I was a little split on which goal I wanted to make this month. I really want to start cooking and eating more healthy, but sometimes healthy food can be more expensive. So then I thought, why don’t I work on my budget this month and then focus on eating and cooking healthy food next month. I also really want to start some sort of workout routine (mainly because I’ve lost my glorious bubble butt and because I sit in a chair all day at my full time job), which will mean I’ll have to buy new tennis shoes and possibly some other exercise equipment.
In the end, I decided to use July to focus on building a budget, sticking to it, and saving up money.
Here’s my plan of attack my monthly goal:
- Track my spending habits: In order to build a realistic budgeting system, I thought the first step would be to start tracking my spending habits. When I read I Am that Girl, author Alexis Jones said that she prints out her banking statements and goes over each purchase monthly. It may sound a little extravagant, but once I know where exactly my money is going, I’ll be able to decide how to divvy up my money realistically. I’m also a super visual person, so I want to start paying with cash instead of always paying with my debit card.
- Stop living paycheck to paycheck: Sort of piggybacking off of tracking my spending habits, I want to start saving my money. I’m one of those people who often lives paycheck to paycheck. I’m always thinking about my next paycheck — burning up my current paycheck and spending the next one before I even get it! Basically, I live beyond my means. Granted, it’s not as bad as it used to be, but there’s definitely room for improvement. A weekly paycheck isn’t always a guarantee, so I want to make it a goal to fit my expenses into my current income. That way, even if I lose my job, I won’t be starting at zero.
- Start thinking about the long-term: It’s really easy to spend money on things that will give me instant gratification. But now that I’m 25, I feel like I should be thinking about my long-term financial picture and how I can save for future goals and expenses. With each paycheck, I want to be able to set aside at least 10% and put that into an emergency savings account that I can’t touch (if there is such a thing). Kind of like a “rainy day fund” to make sure that unexpected expenses don’t cause my goals to careen off track.
- Limit eating out: The cost of restaurant and fast food can get pretty expensive, especially if you do it several times per week. I want to start buying groceries and making food at home during the week and limit eating out to just the weekend.
+What’s your goal for this month? And any budgeting advice is more than welcome!