February and March 2022.

It’s always worse when I skip a month and need to recap two at once, but here we are again. Considering that it’s already mid-April, I barely remember February. Oh, well!

FIRST QUARTER GOALS – February and March PROGRESS

Failure is always an option.
I legit gave up on 100% of these goals. I accomplished other things, true, but not what I actually set out to do. Not all experiments are successful! I’ve learned a lot about how I manage time over the last two months and have finally gotten to a place where I’m more effectively managing my paid work. But most of my personal projects have either stalled or been pushed aside. This is temporary, thank goodness.

WRITING

I’ve only missed a couple of weekly issues of my newsletters (Bombastic Frippery and A Little Better) over the last couple of months. I’m proud of that! I didn’t sign up for Camp Nanowrimo this session, but I’ve started thinking about how to rework one of my first draft novels. I knew I couldn’t stay away from fiction for too much longer.

CONNECTING

I sent a bunch of postcards and a few birthday cards over the last couple of months. We attended my brother-in-law’s wedding in February, took my Mom to the museum in March, and had visits with both of our families. We also had a picnic with my writer friends last month. It’s so nice to see people again.

HOUSEHOLD

We lost a couple of pieces of furniture due to a flood in our building’s laundry room, which shares a wall with our bedroom. It was a complete mess! We decluttered the utility closet after the flood, and though we lost some stuff in there due to water damage, we were also able to get rid of a bunch of undamaged things we didn’t need. We replaced our nightstands, and I slightly rearranged and spruced up the bedroom. We also replaced a set of sheets that developed a big hole. We didn’t replace a small dresser that got ruined, so I pared back enough in the larger dresser to make room for the clothing I needed to move. I’ve been decluttering a lot lately, as we will be moving this year. I haven’t been very systematic about it, but I have donated three or four bags every two weeks.

MONEY MATTERS

My Personal Spending
I spent $31.88 on books, $21.64 on clothing, and $32.48 on sewing in February, which was completely in line with my expectations. I spent $57.51 on books, $107.26 on clothing (after two sizeable returns), and $83.72 on sewing in March. I’ve had more expensive months, but it still seemed like a lot!

Household Spending
I just finished analyzing last year’s spending (more than a quarter into the new year, I know) and have tweaked our budget again. The good news is that despite fears of inflation, our current monthly food cost is slightly less than last year’s average. I guess my focus on waste reduction is paying off, though I’m sure that the amount of meat we eat (very little) also plays a part in keeping these costs lower. We expect to move pretty soon, so our general household spending will likely be temporarily higher due to moving expenses. At least our income is back to pre-pandemic levels.

How I saved money in February and March (including my birthday freebies and discounts):

  • I downloaded six free graphics sets from Creative Market.
  • I finished downloading the “Montero” album from the Freegal library service.
  • I downloaded two Kindle books and an Amazon First Reads title for free.
  • I had a free drink on my Starbucks card.
  • I had a free burrito bowl and a free chai on my birthday. (I love birthday freebies!)
  • I used my $10 birthday coupon at IKEA.
  • I used my $10 birthday coupon at Torrid on some jeans (plus an unrelated $20 bra coupon). It didn’t do me any good in the end, though, as I returned the jeans! Oh, well.
  • I used a 20% off birthday coupon to order some tea. I’d been putting off my order to wait for my birthday code!
  • I used my $10 birthday coupon at The Body Shop to order my favorite facial moisturizer.
  • I rented a DVD for free from Redbox with my birthday coupon. I watched “The Matrix: Resurrections,” and I loved it.
  • I used a 15% off birthday coupon to buy a new Conqueror Challenge to do with my extended family. My cousin Matthew kicked my butt! Hahaha.
  • I used a 10% off birthday coupon to order a bullet journaling stencil I’d had my eye on for about a year. Sometimes patience pays off.
  • I read 35 ebooks and one physical book from the library. I listened to three audiobooks I already owned for a second time and read three free Kindle titles.

How I made money in February and March:

  • I finished a big project at my day job.
  • I completed end-of-year books for a couple of private clients, one of whom paid in full the same day!
  • I made a couple of small eBay sales.
FINAL THOUGHTS

The first quarter of this year has been challenging in some ways and a roaring success in others, and I guess that’s typical. We’ll have to see how the second quarter works out.