In our 2019 goals post, we outlined our plans for the year in four broad categories: financial, employment and time, health, and fun. In my ever so humble opinion, goals are useless unless you make an accountability plan to complete them. Much like reporting our monthly spending, reporting our progress to you is our accountability plan.
In terms of our financial goals, we’re on track to hit all of them. Mind you, our goals were a bit modest this year because we’re buying a house and I quit my job at the end of May. So far, we are making progress towards maxing out Justin’s 401k and our HSA. We figured out that we can’t directly max out my 403b due to restictions set forth by my employer, but we did come very close to the maximum deferral through contributions to my 457b.
We had our pre-insulation walk-through for the house during the first week of May and things have moved pretty quickly since then. The cabinets, counters, and trim have been installed and the inside of the house has been painted. The project manager thinks that it will be done in August, but, with our travel planned for that month, things could be a little logistically hairy.
In terms of the financial side of things, we’ve paid all of our earnest monies for our selections and we’ve saved up the rest of the down payment. I’m going to start researching appliances very soon. We’ll need to buy a washer, dryer, and refigerator. If all goes well, I’ll be telling you all that we moved in during the next goals update.
employment and time goals
Justin keeps chugging along and enjoying his job. Part of his role requires him to work with accountants on a regular basis. Since actuaries and accountants don’t often speak the same language, Justin has enrolled at our local community college to take a few accounting classes. His summer accounting classes started the last week of May and so far have gone very well. He wasn’t a stellar student before his undergraduate years, but somewhere along the way he really began to enjoy the learning process.
For one, it’s a very humbling experience to start at the basic (i.e. “101” level) concepts of a new field and to see what you can learn. Accounting terms I have taken for granted like ‘debit’, ‘credit’, and ‘accrual basis’ have become more clear through the first month of class. I’m looking forward to wrapping my courses up in July and deciding where to go from there.Justin
I’m officially unemployed (aka semi-retired). My last day was May 31. I have continued adding new items to my etsy shop and shipping out orders as quickly as they come in. I’m still volunteering with the pet pantry and will start volunteering with the human food bank when we get back from South Africa. As of right now, my life is full and I’m content. I’m holding back on adding anything new to my plate for the time being since we have a fair amount of travel planned for the rest of the year, moving to the new house sometime in the fall, and then the holidays.
health and fitness goals
According to Justin, he’s certainly stumbled here a bit. The bright spot here is that he still fits into his cloths. He sort of fell off the wagon during the first half of 2019 in terms of good eating habits, moderation in drinking, and keeping up an exercise routine. During the third quarter of 2019, he’s recommitting himself to healthier habits!
For me, the good news is that I have managed to continue my 8k per day step streak and I’ve continued going to yoga at least three times per week. Right now, I’m in the middle of a yoga challenge being held by my studio. The challenge is 30 classes in 45 days. I’m on track to complete it as long as I keep going every day I don’t have something else big planned. I’m about 40% of the way to my next Achievement payout and should be able to have that done by the end of the year. I gave up on doing extra yoga at home and decided that every day I don’t go to class at the studio, I’ll plank for at least a minute. That’s been a much more manageable goal to keep up with.
We are still working on reducing our food costs. I won’t have the official q2 food spending percentage for a few days yet, but, considering we’ve spent a bit more than during Q1, we still have some work to do. Our 2019 Q2 food spending is slightly lower than our 2018 Q2 food spending. It’s definitely a work in progress.
We’ve been slowly transitioning to a more plant-based diet. The last few months we’ve stuck to only eating meat that comes from our delivery service. We did have to put it on hold for the rest of the summer due to travel, but it’s nice to see that we can find ways to eat more plants.
Oh my goodness! We had a blast on our trip to Bermuda. We only spent four days there, but we were able to cram a lot in. We very much enjoyed the fresh fish, beautiful beaches, and being able to get off the beaten path. Justin’s favorite meal was at the Devil’s Isle Cafe where he had a fish sandwich. He’s going to try to recreate it at home. I was super impressed with how every place we went took my dairy allergy seriously. I was a little worried at the outset, but everything turned out well. The one downside was the cost. Everything was very expensive, which makes sense since everything must be imported. On the upside, it helped us to “recalibrate” our views on airport food. We both commented that the sushi lunch we had in between flights on the way home seemed “reasonable.”
I just finished my weeklong trip to Michigan. I spent two days with my family, one day with a life-long friend, and two days with my Lansing buddies. It felt like a fast trip since I had stuff planned for every single day. I’m still chuckling about my sister exclaiming, “I ate vegetables!” when we were at the vegan restaurant. Cuddling my niece and nephew was great and I appreciated getting to catch up with my friends. It was the kind of trip that reminded me that I’m loved.
Justin is going to Michigan for work for a few days in July. He has plans to catch up with friends as well. I’m skipping the trip this time since I just got back home and Michigan in July is a bit too humid for me.
We’ve finished planning our trip to South Africa. All that is left to do is enjoy it. Getting there will be a bit of a journey. We fly from Denver to Frankfurt first. Since we have an eight hour layover, we found a company that will create a walking tour of the city for us and make sure that we’re back to the airport on time for our flight to Johannesburg. We have one night there and then a flight to Durban where we’ll have a four hour drive to the reserve. I’m pretty excited! Then it’s the safari itself and the return adventure home.
We might have another trip to Michigan in September. It really depends on if Justin’s employer wants him to come for a meeting or not. If so, I may decide to tag along. I love fall in Michigan. The colors are great and the weather has chilled out a bit.
In a surprise twist, I added another trip to my calendar. One of my yoga instructors is offering a seven-day retreat in Bali, Indonesia in October. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip so I’m going. I should have everything planned and paid for before our next quarterly update. I’m looking forward to spending some time deepening my practice and getting some clarity.
word of the year: simplicity
We took a few minutes to reflect on how we’ve embraced simplicity in 2019.
Justin and I really embraced the library this year for my fiction reading. This is a small thing, but we’ve have had a tendency in the past to purchase books that we really only intend on reading once.
According to Justin: There’s a few issues I see with this practice. First, you have to pay for the book which can really add up if you’re purchasing new books or hardcovers. Second, when you purchase a book as opposed to borrowing it from the library you don’t have that artificial deadline pushing you to finish reading (I’m embarrassed to say I have books on my shelf I haven’t read in 10 years!). Finally, when you’re done with a book you’ll only read once you’re stuck with three options either I.) the book collects dust on your shelf forever, II.) you go through the pain of selling/shipping the book, or III.) you donate it or give it to a friend. (I wrote blog posts about my love of the library and other post about decluttering books.)
While my last day of jobbing was May 31, I had turned in my final grades for the semester in during the third week of April. Essentially, I was done a month before my last day. I’ve been working on not overcommitting or overscheduling myself. It’s been strangely tough. Now that I have all of this time, I want to fill it up with the stuff that I want to do, but I have to remind myself to not over do it.
Where are you at with your goals? Are you making progress? Do you need to reevaluate?