January 2022.

January is my busiest month of the year for work, so instead of making resolutions and trying to be “my best self,” I’m often just trying to keep my head above water. Last month wasn’t the most brutal, but it wasn’t great, either. However, I survived! I even got all of the W2s and 1099s done in time. And that’s as much of a victory as I needed, so it’s fine.

I have changed what I’m tracking in these monthly wrap-up posts, though they will mostly be the same as always. I’ve added some specific quarterly goals and will change how I categorize a few other things. Anyone who reads these probably figures out that these summaries are just for me, though I don’t mind other people reading them. (I’d turn off the Twitter auto-post app if I did! Hahaha.)

First Quarter Goals – January Progress

Finish one course on Writing Mastery Academy.
I didn’t make any progress on this last month; I was too busy with paid work.

Take three short Creativebug classes.
I started a short embroidery course but haven’t finished it yet.

Finish posting my Tee of the Month garments.
Again, I was just too busy.

Sew three new garments.
Nope! I did shorten the sleeves on a ready-to-wear sweatshirt, but that doesn’t really count.

Try six new recipes.
I tried a kale and mushroom soup, which was okay, and bean and corn stuffed sweet potatoes, which I liked. I also baked some whole-grain soda bread that I liked so much that I tweaked the recipe to add golden raisins and caraway seeds the second time. I’m already halfway there on this goal! Nice to have a little success.

Launch a new side hustle.
I’m falling behind on this one and may need to push it into the second quarter, but how much progress I make in February will be the deciding factor.

List all remaining reserved clothing on eBay.
I only posted two new things in January, though I had hoped to list at least four. It takes me a long time to take all the photos, and I tend to procrastinate because of that. I’ll schedule another photo session next week.

Clean and declutter the walk-in closet.
I made far more progress on this than I anticipated! I’ve already cleared off the floor and gotten rid of an entire tub of fabric scraps. I still need to go through some of the accessories like hats and bags and a few boxes of seasonal items, but I may finish this one in February.

WRITING

I revived my old newsletter, Bombastic Frippery, and plan to send it weekly this year. A Little Better is still going out weekly and just started a new series on building practical skills. No fiction yet in 2022, but I’m thinking about what I’d like to write next.

CONNECTING

I sent some postcards, and we visited the botanic garden with my partner’s family.

HOUSEHOLD

I tried to replace my desk, but the new one was defective. Oh, well! Lennox managed to fix the keyboard tray on the old one, thank goodness. I already mentioned that I worked on decluttering the closet. I also bought an aluminum ice scoop on a whim — from the hardware store, of all places — and it’s weirdly my new favorite kitchen gadget. If I’d known how great having an ice scoop was, I would have gotten one years ago! It doesn’t hurt my hands to make iced tea now.

MONEY MATTERS

My Personal Spending
I’m re-evaluating my personal budget, so I didn’t have spending targets in January. I spent $25.89 on books, $38.71 on clothing, and $78.02 on sewing, which felt pretty reasonable.

Household Spending
We spent less on groceries than I thought in January again! It’s nice to come in under budget, but I wonder if I overestimated costs. I’m re-evaluating our household budget — just a yearly tune-up, so to speak — so I’ll be looking at the numbers, anyway.

How I saved money in January:

  • I had a free burrito bowl at Freebirds.
  • I had a free drink on my Starbucks card.
  • I downloaded four free graphics sets from Creative Market.
  • I downloaded some free printables for research.
  • I downloaded an Amazon First Reads title for free. This one was by an author I’ve read before and enjoyed, so I was pleased to see it on the list.
  • I redeemed survey points for a small Amazon gift card, which I combined with the last few dollars of a gift card I got for Christmas to buy a full-price ebook the day it was released. I rarely get new releases (aside from a handful of authors I always pre-order), so this was a real treat.
  • I gave away a bunch of pantry items we weren’t going to eat and some dental floss on the Buy Nothing app. This only saved someone else money, but Buy Nothing works both ways, so sooner or later, it will be my turn.
  • I found a few new-to-me free stock photo sites and used one for a newsletter post graphic.
  • I read 12 ebooks and two physical books from the library, and I also read a free Kindle book. I would never be able to maintain my reading pace if I had to pay for all of my books. The library is marvelous!

How I made money in January:

  • Mostly I just worked my butt off at my regular job! I was much busier than usual.
  • I also did end-of-year forms for a private client.
  • I made $12 selling a cardigan on eBay.
Final Thoughts

Last week, I took some time off to recover from January’s hectic pace. It was nice to rest, and I can’t say I’m raring to go now, but I don’t feel as overwhelmed. And that counts as a success!