Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Usually, I make a few unofficial ones spontaneously throughout the year and try to stick to ’em. This year, I decided to make them in the beginning of the year and share them, in the hopes that it’ll hold me more accountable.
Friends and Family
– Remember more birthdays. I received an old-school address book for Christmas and just filled it out with all my loved ones’ addresses, phone numbers, and birthdays. I’m determined to be prepared this year! No more excuses. I’d also love to make one of these calendars to hang on my wall.
– Take a new class. Growing up, you have the opportunity to add so many skills to your bag of tricks, whether it’s playing an instrument or mastering a new sport. It sort of bums me out that as an adult, I don’t have a lot of free time or spare moola to explore new pursuits. This year, I want to take more advantage of classes available here in Chicago—such as dance classes at Hubbard Street, aerial silk classes, or a pottery-making class (which I just signed up for through Groupon).
– Leave room for more downtime. There were a good many Sunday evenings in 2013 when I found myself feeling drained and stressed out after a weekend of trying to see and do everything. I’m learning that I need more downtime to truly feel relaxed and get all my own errands done. Plus, having a freer schedule gives me more time to eat healthy and exercise—two factors which really impact how I feel on a daily basis.
– Eat more veggies. Ironic for a vegetarian to say, but I want to specifically up my intake of dark green veggies. My aunt and uncle got me a really nifty smoothie blender (it detaches from its holder to become a portable bottle), so I’m going to make it a goal to make at least one green smoothie a week to tote to work.
– Cook more meals at home. Healthier and cheaper. Win-win.
– Take a multivitamin everyday! I don’t know why I’m soooo forgetful when it comes to this. I’m going to move the vitamins from my pantry to a very visible spot next to my makeup so I’ll have to stare at them every single day.
It’s going to be a bit harder to save this year, as there are some big expenses on the horizon: a new puppy, hopefully a new laptop, and a few exciting vacations. So in order to make sure I’m still living below my means, I plan to:
– Reduce my Coffee Shop, Alcohol & Bars, Taxi, and Clothing budgets. I use the free online budgeting tool Mint.com to track my spending habits each month, and I know I can pretty painlessly reduce how much I spend in those four budgets. I have free coffee at work, yet I still find myself frequenting Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks at least two or three times a week. It adds up! So I’m slashing this budget. As for Alcohol & Bars, I hope to go out less (so like, not at all…) because of the new puppy, so I’ll save money there. When we do go out, I’m going to try and drive (which means I won’t drink and will save money!) or take public trans rather than taxiing. Lastly, I have too many clothes already, so I want to greatly reduce how much I spend per month in this category.