Four Months into 2017: How am I doing?

Spring has sprung and the year is already one-third over. Where did the time go?!

After taking a couple of months to explore my options, I started a new job at the end of February and I couldn't be more excited. I'm working with some really humble and hard-working people and I feel very fortunate to have a chance to learn and grow alongside this remarkable team. 

So with one goal (finding a job) completed, how am I doing with the rest of them? Read on to find out!


1. Exercise: I haven't been able to keep up with my initial goal of working out four times per week. However, I have been loosely training for the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon and if everything goes according to plan, I'll finish that race and register for the Detroit Marathon shortly after. I haven't given up hope yet -- now that the weather is nice again, I anticipate running the streets of Detroit much more often! 

2. Diet: I've been doing a decent job of eating lunch at home and saving money instead of eating at restaurants. With the opening of Avalon and Go! Sy Thai right around the corner from my apartment, I'll admit this has become a harder challenge than I expected, but I plan on keeping this momentum going into the summer. 

3. Keeping in Touch: This has been my most successful goal to date! Up until today, May 1st, I've sent 34 postcards to friends and family all around the world. 

4. Passions/Hobbies: Another success, at least so far! Yesterday, I hosted my first event -- a tampon and pad drive -- on behalf of a new group I've started called Code Red Detroit. My mission with this group is to host events and discussions around the stigma against menstruation and other women's issues. With my first event under my belt and a strong response from everyone who participated, I'm really excited to see what Code Red Detroit becomes.

5. Reading/Writing: I'm still not reading a ton, but I've started reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me after hearing him speak last month in Detroit. I also bought a copy of Philip Gorski's American Convenant that I'm excited to dive into; I'm hoping it can help me better understand the role that Christian values have played in the founding and leading of our nation over the last few hundred years.

6. Finances: I'm adding a sixth goal to this list, because I've finally managed to meet my spending goals after years of working on this. This past month, I was able to track my spending and calculated how much of my money went into three categories: fixed expenses (like rent, utilities, car payments), goal expenses (like savings and paying off debts), and flexible expenses (everything else). Personal finance experts suggest that the percentages of those three categories should come close to a 50/20/30 breakdown. I've tweaked that a bit (since cheaper Detroit rent makes it easier to spend less on fixed expenses) and have been aiming for a 35/25/40 breakdown.

 Am I overly excited about this? Well, I don't care.

Am I overly excited about this? Well, I don't care.

Check out my April 2017 breakdown, as calculated by my beloved budgeting spreadsheet; I did it! I've got a long way to go to reach my savings goals, but I'm proud of myself for achieving this milestone and hopefully I can keep it up and become more aggressive about cutting expenses and saving more.