Northwest Native: My 2016 Resolution

Thursday, December 31, 2015

My 2016 Resolution

I've given my resolution for this year a lot of thought (actually, even before it was officially my resolution, it was rarely far from my mind). I've actually never claimed a resolution before. Often it seems like it's setting yourself up for failure. Every year people complain that the gym is way too crowded in January but by March it's cleared out, right?

Well, this resolution is really important to both our future and our (well, at least my) present, and I figured making this my resolution could only improve my progress. Can you guess what it is?

Living With Less

Our lease is up in November, and we're hoping to save enough for a down payment so we can buy a house when our lease is up, or go month-to-month or maybe sign a six-month lease and then buy a house. Either way, buying a house is our goal, and we'd like to do it soon. That requires more saving and less spending, which is one half of the goal.

The other half is to keep clutter to a minimum. That means keeping the apartment clean and organized, donating/selling things that we don't want or need, and making sure we have the right organizational tools (which seems counterproductive to the saving money goal, because it means possibly needing to buy things for organizational/storage purposes).

Reducing Spending
So, how am I going to reduce spending? Are we going to live on ramen, never go out to eat, and cancel cable? No (though I would be so down to get rid of cable--sigh). My clothing budget is going to get stricter.

If you recall, I've been doing budget posts since I started this blog. Most of the reason I did that was that those are some of my favorites to read. I didn't hold myself to a monthly/quarterly/annual set budget, because I had never tracked my clothing budget like that. (My tracking consisted of checking my bank account, seeing if I have extra money, and going from there.) Now that I have a record of my spending over nine months, I have more of an idea of what to base my budget amount on.

In my December budget post, I did a roundup of my spending since I started tracking. I ended up at $1,045.89 for a nine month period. I ended up returning the boots I bought--I was so proud of myself! They were so cute...but taupe suede + living where we've had like a month of rain straight? It just didn't make sense. I'd rather have that money back than be able to wear those boots twice a year. The boots that my mother-in-law bought for me didn't end up fitting either, so I will have that amount on a Nordstrom gift card. Gift cards are the only reason I made it through nine months spending $954.91.

That comes out to $106.10 per month. I was going to make my goal $1,000 over the year, which would be $83.33 per month. I realized that that was probably a little too restrictive and decided to settle on $1,200 over the year, or $100 per month.

Now, I reserve the right to restrict anything from budgeting. For example, I desperately need to go to a bra fitting and buy myself some new bras that actually fit. And those things aren't cheap. But that's a necessity, and I wouldn't have included that in my budget in 2015 either. Other needs will not be included, such as underwear, work wear (I'm still wearing jeans, but if for some reason I have to buy dress pants or a pencil skirt or something, I'm probably not counting it). Also if something I own and love gets ruined or lost or I need to replace it, I may not budget it. And I may cheat like I have in the past and not include a $10 piece of jewelry because that's like two coffees.

As usual, gift cards don't count towards the $1,200 total, and I can also subtract money made from eBates, ThredUp, and Splender. (Also going to be hitting Shopkick and Swagbucks real hard to get me some gift cards!)

I can spend more than $100 in a month, but not more than $1,200 over the course of the year. So I could spend all $1,200 in one month, or I could spend $20 a month until December and then blow the rest. You get the idea.

I'm hoping to include one or two new pretty handbags in that $1,200. The bag I mentioned in my TWOsday post this week apparently disappeared in the color I wanted right after I posted that, so that's fun.

Increasing Saving
This is pretty self-explanatory, and really, it shouldn't be hard to increase what we're saving now...because we haven't been saving much. Especially over the past few months with Michael being unemployed for a while. We have a joint account where we put any wedding money we got, and we've decided that once we're back on our feet financially (February, perhaps?) we will move a large portion of that to a savings account and start putting either a set percentage of our income or a set dollar amount into that checking account every month. That way we can use it for shared expenses like groceries or gassing up the cars (it's so annoying having the, "But I paid for groceries last time!" discussion--cheers to ending that cycle!).

De-cluttering the Apartment
Have you seen that little trick going around where you turn all your hangers backwards in January, then when you wear an item, you turn it the other way? In June, whichever hangers are still backwards are not worn and should be given away. I think I'm going to try that out. I feel like I go through my closet at least every two months and somehow I always find more to get rid of. This might simplify things by not allowing me to hold on to something through another cleanout only to get rid of it in the next one.

Better Organization
First and foremost, I desperately need a nightstand. I didn't realize how much I did until I didn't have one...for a month and a half (and still going strong). I'm thinking perhaps this one. There's also this one which is similar and cheaper, but not quite as attractive.

We also need a kitchen table and chairs. This IKEA set is only $239, and while the quality isn't great, we aren't really at the stage of being picky and buying a gorgeous dining set that costs $1,000+ and will last us twenty years. (Side note: These organizers on the IKEA site make me swoon. Seriously. We have everything all over the place and not a single piece of our furniture matches.)

I'm linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

Do you have a New Year's resolution? What is it?

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  1. I could totally stand to nix cable, too. My husband likes it too much. Ugh.

    K and I have talked about downsizing and even moving to a "tiny house" to save money and focus on what's important right now. I'd really love to do it, but pulling the trigger on that would mean SO MANY changes. Good for you and Michael!!

  2. i think this is a fabulous goal / resolution. i track my shopping but i don't add it up because i might have a heart attack. my goal next year is to pay down some debt though, so i definitely need to shop less. good luck!

  3. Very much agree with decluttering and learning to live with less "stuff." For financial reasons and for over all well being. Things pile up so quickly! Best wishes on your goals for the new year:)

  4. This sounds like such a great goal to work towards all year, and something that we all could probably work towards. I feel like our life is so cluttered, so I would love to get myself organized and try to have a house that is always 5 minutes ready before guests come over. I hope that you have a wonderful New Year!

  5. I looove this, I'm usually not a big resolution person either, but have been thinking about how I want 'less is more' to be my theme for the next year. I love that you're setting limits, but not restricting yourself too hard on things that you might really *need*. ps. I love that rebecca minkoff bag!

  6. GIRLLLL - you are speaking to me. I so want to simplify so much in my life - CLUTTER & SPENDING being #1

  7. okay you know what i just recently started taking advantage of? the whole shop kick linked debit cards thing. every so often i sign in and it's like "hey you got 5 kicks for your purchase!" and i was like... YESS!!!! so you should sign up michael's debit card, too. maybe even ask your parents if you could sign theirs up too, haha.

    && swagbucks... recently i got like 300 swagbucks in one day because i seriously went at the survey thing. if you're ever just watching netflix or anything, you should go through some surveys.

    you've got this!

  8. Decluttering has been something I've been working on this year, and Lord willing, I can get rid of the extra clutter in my life that I don't need, especially so I can focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, not on my stuff. :)

  9. I definitely think you could do this! I'm doing the same thing living with less. I think it's a popular theme for many of the bloggers this year. I hope to spend less on clothes too.

    You could use a facebook group or something for the nightstand, that's what I did so we wouldn't have to spend so much on a nightstand.

    liz @ sundays with sophie

  10. I love your goal for the year Mattie! And I hope that you guys reach it. It sounds like you have a great plan in place for saving together. Btw isn't figuring out combing finances the hardest? I adore your honesty. I think that many ppl probably just check their accounts and go from there too. And even still, tracking spending is completely different than budgeting spending. It could be dangerous to deduct things from your $1200 yearly budget, BUT I definitely have a separate clothing budget for just workout wear or intimates so I understand your reasoning for that. And random but be on the lookout for the kate spade 75% off sales, I have a version of the Maise purse that you have pictured and I got it for half off at one of their sales. Best of luck with accomplishing your goals in the new year

  11. Hi, Mattie! Wanted to tell you that the wedding pics you've shared so far in several of your posts are just beautiful. You and your husband both look gorgeous in them.
    I'm sorry I haven't commented in so long. I hope all is going well with you. Good luck as you prepare to move. I hear ya about decluttering. It's so hard! I keep telling myself to work on a room a week, but it hasn't exactly happened yet... or even really started! Maybe once we're stuck inside due to snow, I'll get motivated. Fingers crossed.
    Best wishes for the new year!
    The Busy Brunette

  12. Love this! Setting a goal as exciting as buying a house will definitely keep you on track!

    Also...I love how you broke down your monthly clothing, etc. spending and now I kind of want to do that, too.

    Confession: we've been married two years and we still have separate accounts. Ha! We have a joint credit card, but mainly for the pure reason of laziness we haven't joined every account, but I'm kind of okay with that. It's worked just fine so far.

    Okay, shutting up and wishing you a Happy New Year!!

  13. Less really is more. I love your resolution for 2016. I have no doubt that you'll be able to conquer that goal!

  14. These are some great goals! Keeping the clutter away is definitely on my list too. Clutter just accumulates so quickly!

  15. I love your resolution! Gave me some good ideas for mine since I'm still thinking it up....haha!

  16. These are all great resolutions! I love Shopkick for gift cards & it's find to go around and scan stuff when you're in the store sometimes. I haven't been using as much as I used to but I need to get back into it! We recently just joined our accounts & set up our paychecks to have a certain percentage deposited into savings, checking (for bills) and "fun" money. Once the fun money runs out, that's it until the next pay day! :) And yes to de-cluttering & organizing! I usually set aside some time on the weekends to do an all-over cleaning of the apartment which I think helps throughout the week. Good luck with everything!

  17. Since my daughter moved in we are doing a far bit of decluttering why because she keeps going through cupboards and tossing stuff out

  18. Getting your own house is SO EXCITING! I can't wait to hear how this goes. I have never heard of the hanger trick, but it sounds so smart! I definitely need to do that myself. While IKEA isn't always quality, I have to say, table and chairs set has lasted me for 9 years and it is going strong. Same with some of my bedroom furniture! It's great stuff to start with or DIY to make your own! Good luck with everything!

  19. This is an awesome resolution!!! Buying a house is a great goal. I totally agree that I'm always pulling things from my closet that I haven't worn yet didn't purge the last time around. Maybe I need to try the hanger trick myself! :)