Friday, August 2, 2013

July Goals Update

My goal for July was simple - eat at home, all day, every day (including bringing a lunch from home). I failed on this exactly twice (out of 93 meals this month, so I think that's okay). Mr. Giraffe's family invited us to stay with them at their beach house for a few days. This is where I slipped up. First we underestimated our hunger before leaving the house, and snacks couldn't tide us over on the drive, so we stopped for pizza. Then we were invited out to dinner our last night there, and of course we accepted. Honestly, I think both these meals were worth the compromise - no one wants to be stuck in a car with me when I'm hungry, and we didn't want to eat dinner separately from the rest of the family when they had been kind enough to accommodate us at their house. 

The main point of this goal was to break the mindless habit we'd been falling into - going out to eat 1-2 times a week for fun. And I think we accomplished that. I'm looking forward to going back to our once a month routine.

On to August. 
As far as personal finance goes, I feel like I have two phases that I vacillate between - the urge to pay down debt and the urge to stockpile money for a rainy day. We have automatic deductions for savings, retirement, and monthly payments, but money that's left over at the end of the month is what I can never make up my mind about. (I'll spend 3 months putting every extra penny toward the mortgage, then switch to saving the extra money.)

I know I do better when I have a plan or goal in mind, but we don't have anything obvious to work on like the past few years (when we were busy paying off hubby's credit cards, my student loans, saving for a down payment, paying for our wedding in cash, and paying for my master's with cash). Our savings are in good shape, so I decided to focus on debt - all I have left is the mortgage and my car loan

I considered focusing on my car loan because it's far less than the mortgage and would be easier to put a dent in. But since it's 0% APR, there's not a huge incentive to pay it off early. Instead, I'm going to challenge myself to pay an extra $1000 toward my mortgage's principal by the end of 2013. This will give me some guidance for that leftover money without too much pressure to hit a certain amount per month. It might be $250 a month, or it might be $50 one month and $500 the next. And added bonus: I'll be watching my expenditures a little more closely to make sure I carve out the $1k! 

Oh, and here's a lovely graph to show how inconsistent I am:

Want to read some feel good debt related stories? EcoCatLady only has a few months left on her mortgage, Sarah got rid of her debt, Michelle killed her student loans, and Katy is now debt free.

How are your goals going?

12 comments:

  1. I love the July Challenge...I wish we could do this but Hubby loves eating out!

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    1. Mine does too! Luckily we went on a week long trip at the end of June (and we ate out almost every day on vacation) so he was willing to give it up for July. And he promptly went out to eat yesterday for lunch, haha! :)

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  2. I love the July challenge too. I seem to consistently wreck my dieting goals by eating away from home. Your mortgage strategy is sound as well. You're going to have unexpected expenses from time to time, the way you've set your goal allows for this. Stopping by from the Blog Strut to say hello :)

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    1. Thank you! I agree - it's hard to find healthy stuff on restaurant menus (and much easier to be tempted by something smothered in cheese ;) ).

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  3. Just found you through the Blog Strut! Although we don't have a mortgage, we do have a very lofty savings goal of $5000 by January 1! Last month my husband received a work bonus so that put us in good standing. We were also able to put $500 into savings out of the regular budget. We're a one income family of 6 so this is no little thing. I believe I'll bring up the no eating out goal as a way to save more. We're both guilty of liking to eat out.

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    1. That's awesome - especially impressive for a family of 6! I wish you the best of luck! Eating out less often will definitely help your cause :)

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  4. I don't eat out much, about 1-3 times a month. If we have tickets for an event, we stay in the city and have a meal before whatever show we're seeing. So instead of eating out when we feel like it, we save it up for nights like those.

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    1. I love your idea! That makes a special night even better :)

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  5. Oh my goodness, I've said numerous times that I want to try doing this too. We eat out a LOT! Good luck, let me know how it goes for you. ;)

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    1. I hope you do! Can't hurt to try, right? :)

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  6. Wow! Congrats on your eating in! We have started using the streaks app in order to track goals, and one is eating dinner in. I read a book by Cathy Erway called The Art of Eating In, about not eating out for a whole year! It was fascinating. She has a blog: http://noteatingoutinny.com/. We are just happy when we go a whole week cooking dinner, let alone a month or year!

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    1. Wow, a year?! That's intense! I will definitely check out her blog. Unfortunately, I only have a basic phone so I can't use the streaks app, but it's right up my alley. I love checking things off a list or calendar!

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