May 2020: this is vaguely a Q2 goals update

Welcome to May-written-in-December, where time is even more meaningless than it has been all year! Although May does stick out to me as the month of widespread protests against police brutality and systemic racism. And conversations about how the personal finance community needs to do so much better.

Here’s a secret: I’ve been reading my partner’s net worth reports lately to help myself remember what happened during a month (slash make sure my math more or less checks out on the expenses we split like groceries and restaurants). I’m sad that May is last time I can cheat like that and I’ll be on my own trying to remember what happened for the rest of these posts!

So according to his post, other than going to see his parents for the week or so coinciding with Mothers’ Day, what stood out in the month was that we went on three hikes. Remember when I had goals for the year and thought that coming close to a hike a week was a feasible thing to aim for? lolsob. We’re not ending the year anywhere near that number of hikes (just a few things have been occupying my attention lately), but a month like May is not the reason we’re going to fall short of that goal. One day when I’m caught up on the posts I want to do on Instagram again, I’ll embed some of those hiking photos here.

We went on an extremely foggy hike in Shenandoah the weekend it reopened

A (long) note on weight struggles during a pandemic

Writing that above paragraph has meant that I actually went back and read both my goals for the year and my Q1 update. Since I don’t see any reason to do a Q2 or Q3 update since it would be two straight posts of me typing “AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA” until those two keys on my keyboard broke, I’m going to take a second to address something I said I would in my Q1 update:

14. Continue decluttering my wardrobe

This has not happened. Because—

15. Lose my extra weight in the first quarter

This didn’t happen in the first quarter of the year, sadly. It’s weird writing this in mid-May and pretending it’s only the beginning of April. I’ll have much more to say about this for the Q2 update.

Nope, I wasn’t writing that hinting at a pregnancy—I hate my IUD (oh and also I definitely have a bit of nerve damage in my arm from the Nexplanon I had before it) but I love the peace of mind it gives me! I hadn’t (and still haven’t) decluttered my closet because at the end of last year I weighed significantly more than I wanted to and was having trouble fitting into many—most—of my clothes. My partner and I went through a diet change in January, but overall that wasn’t helping me (let’s be super real, a weekend job at a distillery where I spent quite a bit of time drinking post-shift sure as hell wasn’t helping either). I refused to buy a whole new wardrobe, so spring was going to be my time to get back in shape (and hike a lot because 2020 goals!) and lose that extra weight so I could wear my damn clothes again. And then all this shit hit.

Weight is absolutely the last thing anyone needs to be worrying about during a pandemic. I just want to make that crystal clear. It’s been an absolutely shitty year, have a cookie or ten. And I’m reluctant to address this topic at all especially since I have a history of disordered eating as a preteen/teen. Weight isn’t an indicator of a person’s health or worth and I don’t want anyone to misconstrue this as me adding to all the fatphobia out there.

But I wasn’t happy with my weight at the beginning of the year, pre-all of this, and after a month or so in March/April of not working out and stress drinking and eating (although I refused to stress bake because I knew that was danger), I decided I wanted to stop being deeply unhappy with my body. I couldn’t keep hating what I saw in the mirror, and my partner wasn’t happy seeing me grimace at the mirror. So at the end of April/beginning of May I stopped drinking a bunch and threw myself into barre workouts three or four times a week. I also used to walk 4-5 miles a day every day, but with the pandemic had nowhere to go. Pacing our tiny apartment was a laughable idea. So I made a point to get out in the neighborhood for walks, even though narrow sidewalks meant frequently walking in the street to maintain distance from people. But mostly, I started calorie tracking. And by “I,” I mean “my partner input the recipes we made into an app and divided them out by the number of meals they lasted us to figure out how many calories I was consuming to make sure I had a deficit because I would’ve ragequit if I’d been doing that myself.”

It was miserable. Absolutely fucking miserable. I don’t recommend anyone doing that period, let alone when the world is absolutely on fire, and that was with weekly cheat days built in (because a weekly takeout pandemic habit is worth giving yourself grace for and also it’s a fucking pandemic who gives a fuck about salads).

After months, we relaxed with the strict counting (plus we knew by then generally what a day looked like with the meals we have in regular rotation) for a number of reasons, progress on weight and many Real Life Adult Things being some of them. But overall I’m still trying to be cognizant of what I eat (pumpkin cookies are an exception though!), and yes, often when I want a glass of wine in the evening, I’ll settle for a sparkling water instead.

I haven’t tried on many of my real clothes (aka pants with zippers/buttons and any and all dresses) to measure my progress that way, but I can at least see progress in the mirror. Progress isn’t linear—there are days I feel fit and strong and happy with my body and days I don’t—but overall I’m making progress and pretty content with where I’m at these days. If nothing else, my engagement ring tells me that. My partner proposed with a size 6.5 ring in February. It was loose but okay for the rest of the trip in warm Arizona but fell straight off my hand onto the floor of our room when we got back to frigid DC. So 6.5 was too big of a size right off. But over the next few months we exchanged it for a size 6 and then a 5.5, which I’ve been wearing since April. At first I thought that size would be fine, but it’s pretty loose now (I need to actually figure out what size my ring finger is so I can both have this ring resized and have someone make a wedding band for me!), and that’s not all just due to the fact that it’s fucking cold these days. It was already loose in the shoulder season.

So all that is to say I didn’t declutter because I was trying to get back to a point where I actually fit in most of my clothes to know which ones I should get rid of. Also I haven’t decluttered still because who knows when I’ll wear real clothes regularly again and what will/won’t fit then and if my tastes will have changed. With a larger closet now, a pretty permanent work from home situation (and therefore a 24/7 casual uniform. Jeans and underwire bras can die), and the rest of everything that’s happened this year, that’s been pushed way down to the bottom of my priority list.

So. May was also the month I started actually doing barre classes again (thank goodness for virtual live Zoom classes meaning I didn’t have to also figure out a new exercise routine) and the miserable start of actually paying attention to portion sizes and what I was consuming.

Doing all of that sucked, but spring on Capitol Hill didn’t

The numbers

Short and sweet here this month. Turns out when you go nowhere and do nothing, there’s not a lot of complicated spending to report.

Rent $700.00
Internet and utilities $51.68
Groceries $262.03 Adjusting to a new normal in spending here, I think
Restaurants/bars $47.40
Car insurance $195.22 I bought six months of car insurance this time instead of the year’s worth I’ve been doing lately
Barre membership $104.94
Misc dues/subscriptions $31.05 Patreon, Apple Cloud storage, etc
Clothes $177.36 Turns out when you’re working from home all the time, it’s time to own some shorts/running shorts (aka ones without zippers or buttons) for your summer WFH wardrobe since leggings don’t cut it when it’s hot and you refuse to run the a/c constantly. This also includes two other colors of skirts I bought in 2019 that are my FAVORITE. One day I’ll wear real clothes again and will be super happy I bought those…
Other shopping $162.38 I bought some puzzles and some art
Vacation $200.00 My part of my family’s beach week in July
Charitable giving $175.00 I threw money at a bunch of Black Lives Matter organizations
Wedding $902.31 We paid our photographer deposit, plus I spent some money on shipping fees and bought some shoes and jewelry for engagement photos
Total spending: $3,009.37
Paychecks and other income $2076.08 An extra paycheck month!
Retirement contributions $2385.16 And another assist from the extra paycheck
Total income: $4,461.24
Total: $1,451.87
Savings rate: 33%

Extra paycheck month clearly saved my ass there, but also I was not expecting to be spending money on my own wedding this year. That’ll bust any budget!

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