2020 Goals: January Update

Hello! I can’t believe it is already February. January didn’t feel long and it also didn’t fly by, it just felt packed full of stuff! I started my field placement and work picked back up and school started and it’s just been a lot.

That being said, I’m still pretty excited about my goals. Let’s just get straight into it!

Max out my IRA contributions

Let’s talk money. This is probably going to be my most challenging goal. Mostly because my priority is to pay for grad school without taking any loans, so any cash I have to save goes straight to that first.

However, because I know future me will be thankful for any contribution I make, I am still focusing on investing as well. I have increased by savings rate and, through some fun frugality, have opened up quite a bit of cash to throw into savings or investments as well!

Visit somewhere new

This is happening! We stayed relatively local (aka Texas) this month, but we planned some exciting trips. In April we’re going to DC and Philadelphia for a wedding and I can’t wait. I’ve never been to Philadelphia (or Pennsylvania, in general) and I am 100% going to get myself a Philly Cheesesteak.

I’m getting ahead of myself. In January we went to Bandera for my 50k. I had never been to Bandera, and honestly didn’t see much of it since I was running the whole time. However, my race was in Hill Country State Natural Area – a park I had never been to – and it blew my mind. It was so rugged and beautiful; it could easily be a national park. I’ve recommended it to anyone who has asked about the race. I’m like, “forget about the running, let’s talk about that park!”

Unfortunately it’s roughly 3 hours away from Austin, but it would make for an excellent day or weekend trip!

Read a book a month (at least)

Not to be dramatic, but I am crushing this one. I started using Goodreads and it has helped me keep track of what I want to read, what I have read, and how long it is taking me to read books.

In January, I read: Economics for Social Workers by Michael Anthony Lewis (no, this was not for school), Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (did not like at all), The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker (a little scary at first, but a must read!), and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (fun read).

February is not off to as ambitious of a start. Mostly because the book I’m currently reading has been a slow starter and I’m struggling with it. Will update next month!

Pursue finance, professionally

Not a whole lot going on here, unfortunately. In early January I applied to be volunteer at the Financial Literacy Coalition of Central Texas, but haven’t heard back. I do think I am going to try to start a financial therapy group of sorts at my field placement, but that probably wouldn’t happen until later this spring anyway.

While I do want to make progress on this goal, January was just too crazy of a month to reserve a lot of time or energy for it. That being said, it is 100% still on my radar. I’m excited to attend an awesome investment event later this month, too!

PR my half marathon

Woof. We’re getting there. When I made this goal, I hadn’t run my ultra yet! I ran 31.1 miles on January 12th and planned on taking a whole month off before I began training.

Well, I needed to run. Life has been crazy (sensing that theme?) and while I have many outlets to process my stress, running is my favorite. I actually didn’t have my first run back until February, so that doesn’t really count here. I decided to just get my legs back underneath me with some casual, shorter runs and then I’ll start building speed and distance in a few weeks!

I’m pretty excited about that!

And that’s January! I cannot believe a month has already gone by! I’m looking forward to chipping away at those goals this year, especially since 2020 is going to be the largest year of my life thus far.

Talk to you later!

Juliana

Dinner$: Success!

Hi!

Life got crazy really quick. And this post is – uhhhh, like – two weeks late. Nonetheless, we made it through January without going out to eat (well, paying for it at least)! January was the right month to go for this goal. Why? Well, I started field placement for school and it has thrown a wrench in my normal life schedule. Along with working and doing my regular school work, I can already feel myself wanting to just go out to eat all. the. time.

HOWEVER, Patrick and I are working hard to resist that urge. Meals will probably become simpler than they already were and Patrick will have to do more cooking probably. TIA Pat.

Anyway, back to a few weeks ago. To be honest, I didn’t take pictures of everything we made and I can’t even remember what was on the menu that week. Regardless, we’re going to try our best:

Monday: Instant Pot Chicken Tinga

Not to be dramatic or anything, but these were one of my favorite things we’ve ever made in the Instant Pot. They were so good and so much better than crappy HEB fajita meat tacos.

Two pounds of chicken made tacos for the whole week. We probably ate this 12 times throughout the week. We also had rice and beans that we just mixed straight into the shredded chicken after our first meal of it. The chicken gets pretty oily, so definitely have a napkin handy.

We ate this as tacos, but it would be excellent in a burrito bowl!

Another day (oops, can’t remember when): Buddha Bowls

This is a staple in my diet. I don’t actually know what a true Buddha Bowl that you’d buy from some bougie restaurant for $14 actually consists of, but I love mine so I don’t care.

This was: roasted Brussel Sprouts, roasted asparagus, roasted sweet potatoes, a 5 grain mix, and fake Quorn chicken pieces. And, of course, this peanut sauce. Made in ATX. So delicious.

These bowls are so filling and are excellent leftovers! I’ve also added avocado or sriracha in the past. And if you’re someone who is a self-declared vegetable hater, do this: ROAST YOUR VEGETABLES IN OIL. ADD SALT AND PEPPER AND WHATEVER SEASONING YOU’D LIKE. For us, that’s garlic powder.

Again, another day: Green Lentil Soup from The Feed Zone cookbook

Color me unimpressed. Y’all, I had such high expectations for this and was just let down. For a couple reasons!

First, we make Ina Garten’s Split Pea Soup a couple of times a year and absolutely love it. This was in no way split pea soup, nor were the recipes similar at all, but it looked enough like the split pea soup that I was disappointed it didn’t taste like it every time I had a spoonful.

Second, it was so so so salty. Which is cray because I didn’t even salt it. I used chicken broth that we already had and I think that’s what took it over. The recipe called for broth or water, which was weird since they are definitely not the same. But whateva.

Third, it just didn’t satisfy me. I was not in the mood for it that day, but it’s what I made. Also we ate it at maybe 4 pm. We are old.

LOOK! I am missing two meals from this week… I know we cooked something, but I didn’t take any pictures so I can’t remember what it was. Whateva whateva.

I probably won’t keep doing these posts in February, because I just don’t have the time or mental capacity for it, BUT we will keep making food at home.

Why? Well, because of my budgeting and frugality in January, I saved an extra $1900. That’s EXTRA money, y’all. I had already saved and invested and included that in my total “spent” for the month. This crap was just not spent. I rule. Grad school debt, who? (Brb need to go knock on some wood).

Thanks for reading! Cook something delicious tonight!

Best,

Juliana