In which I round up my completions and progress on this list from goals one through seven.
I’m gathering my thoughts on my progress over the course of this list, and how better to visit goals that I’ve worked on or completed? I’ll be using this week’s posts to transition my head out of working on this list to documenting it in a photo book. (Sadly, I’ll be working on the photo book for my first list at the same time, since I didn’t complete that goal. But more on that when I reach #45.) I’ll be adding thoughts when I have them, and leave some completed goals standing alone when I don’t.
So, here we go: my last three years in a series of challenges that I set for myself and eventually tackled to varying degrees. First up:
1. Donate to prom and suit drives – In Progress
I successfully donated one of the hubs’s old suits that was perfectly good but ill-fitting, but I never got around to going out and donating mine. I have identified the organization, though, so I’m still hoping that I can get this taken care of in the coming months. I need to get things that don’t fit but were barely worn out of my closet and into the hands of someone who can really use them.
2. Make real meals for myself while the hubs is away at training – Completed 4/6/11
4. Spend three months working on wasting less food – In Progress
This has been an ongoing struggle. I think that I definitely made some progress. Meal planning was my go-to tactic for this, and it did help a lot. I could get better at combining meal planning with freezer cooking to really use up the ingredients that always seem to go to waste. One of the things that I think has helped a lot in the later months of this goal has been the organization I put into the fridge when we moved in. I have bins and a lazy susan that help group things that might otherwise get pushed to the back and lost in the shuffle. I’ve tried to create zones for other food, which seems to work most of the time. We need to go grocery shopping, but here’s a glimpse into our fridge today, so you can see what I’m talking about.
5. Have a meal prep day to make some freezer-ready back-up meals – Completed 2/5-6/11
I’ve been getting better about making freezer meals over the course of a regular work week so that I don’t have to devote a full day to prepping. It’s so much easier to prep two pans of enchiladas and freeze one than to make enchiladas along with four other freezer meals in one day. When we just got back from our vacation, we were able off put off real grocery shopping for a few days by eating meals out of the freezer. It was really nice to not have to worry about fitting that in on our one day we’d allowed ourselves for getting back on local time.
6. For nine non-consecutive months, buy only one high-quality item of clothing – Completed in Effect
I’m calling this one as “Completed in Effect,” because I didn’t do a good job of tracking my months, but I have achieved a slow switch in clothes-buying habits to favor fewer, better-quality items. I found that it was more effective for me to wait for a sale at a few places and buy the couple of items I’d been eyeing than it was to really limit myself to one at a time and not take advantage of extra discounts. I think I can always improve further on this goal, especially in editing down the wardrobe of cheaper, not perfectly fitting items that I already have.
7. Open an IRA and reallocate retirement savings – Completed 1/2013
I opened my IRA in 2012 before the tax deadline, so was able to contribute for the length of my list, but it took me a while to really nail down my plan of percentages — how much I should be putting into each type of investment. While I still haven’t rolled over my old 401k into this new plan (shame!), I now have a solid start on a robust and balanced retirement account. And isn’t that every young girl’s dream? I’m happy that the hubs and I match up so well with thinking about retirement. We are really counting on these young fancy-free (child-free) years to provide an extremely solid base. I’ve always hoped that we can live in retirement how we’re living now: frugal without being panicked about money, saving up for things reasonably while comfortably splurging on things that make our daily lives better (new computers, flowers on the regular) or enrich our experiences (vacations to Europe, season tickets to a theatre.) This is one of the areas of my life that I feel proud of without reservations. While we have both been lucky and well-cared for financially in our college years (I do not underestimate the effects of student loans), this retirement nest egg is all our doing.