Well folks, it’s that time of year again where I recap what I did in 2017 and how I felt it went overall. I’m doing this in two parts. This post is a recap of each month, and the next post will be reviewing how I did with my 5 Core Values.
I declared back in January that this would be my “exploring year.” I think for the most part I accomplished that. I travelled to Europe, tried some new activities, did a lot of hiking, and met some new people. I would say I also let my guard down a bit with frugality, but I still saved a lot each month, so that’s worth something.
Let’s get on with it!
I think most of the nation was still in shock Donald Trump was elected President. And frankly, many of us still are (and by many I mean a lot). He’s a lunatic and a terrible human being.
I did participate in a local Women’s March (see the video I made), and was moved beyond tears to see how many people in the world came together that day…and peacefully.
Also in January I was still dealing with Pepe (who is 17) spraying in my apartment for no good reason. I was this close to, you know, not having him around (saying putting him down just makes me feel awful). I even got my carpet in my apartment replaced with vinyl flooring to try and help the situation.
Needless to say, I was about to discover the one thing that changed everything: cat Prozac. It stopped the problem.
In January I also bit the bullet and signed up for an Intrepid trip to Croatia/Slovenia in May (eventually tagging on solo trips to Germany & Austria to bookend the trip).
And finally, I was going to put Budget and the Beach to bed and start a new blog called “Seeking Simple.” But in the end the effort of starting a new blog from scratch just wasn’t worth the effort, so I found a renewed energy in making BATB be all it could be.
Nothing that exciting happened in February except that Pepe was improving! There were definitely some work stresses and challenges I was facing, but not worth getting into.
In March we got an exciting opportunity to meet and do a Facebook live interview with Tony Robbins. He was incredibly nice and gracious, and so was his whole team. The guy’s energy is infectious and you can truly tell he is passionate about what he talks about.
I also started working on my (shared) backyard. I wanted to improve the look and plant more vegetables, but do it as frugally as possible. That included back-breaking trips to pick up free mulch in the city I live and spreading it around the dirt in the backyard, but it did help it look nicer!
I also bought some new summer clothes and watched my garden start to grow!
May was mostly about my Europe trip, which was awesome and totally worth all the money I spent (plus what I had to pay for a cat sitter).
The only downside of May (technically it happened in June) was getting really sick with some kind of stomach bug the day after I got back, and having to miss my good friend’s wedding as a result. 🙁
In June I did a lot of side hustling, including a day as a volleyball ref for my friend’s team-building company.
I also was in talks with my work about a title change and move within my department. It had been an extremely challenging first six months in 2017, so I was ready for it. It wouldn’t officially take effect until August, but just knowing things would change helped.
In July I did a couple of challenges. One was making a video a week for my BATB Youtube channel, and the other was to bike to work every day.
I successfully completed both, although I found biking to work every day backfired a tiny bit on me. Because I biked, I didn’t do a lot of other kinds of exercising (I only live 1.6 miles away from work), so I gained a couple of pounds.
And making a video a week also proved to be challenging. I don’t think people realize what goes into making a video and how much extra work and time it takes, especially when you’re dealing with a really old and slow computer.
It was a pleasant month where I saw a few free movies on the beach, did a goat yoga class (and got peed on from a goat) and gave a tour of the South Bay to Michelle when she stopped by for a day.
I also attended the Lola Money Retreat in Portland
In September I was supposed to go to Vermont to shoot a documentary on the Frugalwoods. I ended up cancelling the trip because…well, unfortunately it just didn’t work out. 🙁
October is my birthday month and my dad and stepmom came out for a visit. We visited the Getty Center, drove to Idyllewild for a wine festival, and had a couple of nice dinners out while they were here.
My college roommate Tammy was also in town for a work conference, so I got to hang out with her and her husband and friends.
November was a nice month. I did a mud/terrain run with one of my co-workers and that prompted us to sign up for the Tough Mudder Half in March next year.
I also did a 5k trail run on Thanksgiving and got second in my age group, which was a pleasant surprise! That prompted me to sign up for another trail run race in January.
I also did a couple of hikes and had a nice four days off for Thanksgiving, which was productive and relaxing!
Instead of doing a December rewind I’m just going to combine it with this post.
A couple weeks ago I took a little time off and went to Bass Lake (near Yosemite) to visit my friend Karen. We did a lot of local hiking as well as heading to Yosemite for the day.
I had a great time and it was nice to be in the crisper air and see green along my hike instead of brown fire roads which are typical to a lot of LA hikes.
I was worried about getting out of LA to drive up there since there were so many wild fires happening, especially along the 405 freeway, which is my main freeway for getting out of town.
Luckily the day I left they had that one so under control that I literally did not see even one plume of smoke at all and actually made it to Bass Lake in record time. You could still see the charred land though along the freeway, so I’m extremely thankful to all the firefighters and first responders for all their hard work!
At work we had our holiday party, which was a boat cruise in Marina del Rey. It was nice, and I got $100 for singing a karaoke song, and won another $50 in a raffle! Not too shabby. I ended up buying a Garmin GPS/fitness watch (on sale for $143) that I had been eyeing for some time with the money that I won.
As I’m writing this, it’s the day after Christmas. I’ve had a nice four days off work and made the best of that time exercising, resting, blogging, and hanging out with some friends.
Saturday I caught up with Melanie from Dear Debt and we had some drinks and went to see The Shape of Water, which is a stunningly beautiful film.
On Sunday I did a really long hike near Malibu with my old boss Jim. We did a 10.5 mile sunset hike and had great views of the Santa Monica mountains and the Pacific Ocean as the sun was setting. Afterwards I was SO hungry I stopped at a place and ate the most ridiculously priced burger ($26), and then paid $8 to park on top of that. Note to self: bring more food on a long hike.
I did a beach run on Christmas, but not much else. I made myself a nice wild-caught Alaskan salmon dinner with roasted asparagus.
Finally, let’s talk about money!!! As of writing this, my net worth has increased $5,616 this month, and approximately $65,000 over the last 12 months (although that will go down about 2k because I really need a new computer). I did have a goal of hitting 300k (I’m at $265,751), which I did not hit, but I’m still very proud overall with what I did save!
There were times I was great at tracking my spending and times where I just totally screwed the pooch, but I also accept my shortcomings and pat myself on the back for being pretty “good” most of the year.
That’s it for part one of my yearly recap. In a week or so I’ll post my 2018 goals, and pick a new theme for the year!