Contributed by Rachel Stever, The holiday season is behind us but spring has not quite sprung, warm weather in central Arizona notwithstanding. A few weeks ago Renee wrote about how she sets New Year’s goals. Last year I wrote about how I start the year off by reviewing the previous year and setting financial goals. This year I am trying something new. I still have my budget and saving goals and an overarching goal of being a good person but rather than make general resolutions like exercise more or spend less, I am focusing on smaller, more specific goals for each quarter. First up is cooking.
I enjoy cooking and baking, especially for a group. Ask me to bring a dessert to a party and I will probably show up with three. But when I just have myself to feed, I tend to not want to go to a lot of effort. And if I have a lot of events I am cooking for, I can forget to make sure I have general groceries on hand. Just before Christmas I made a shopping list that itemized everything I needed to make pies and then just said “food” for the non-party grocery shopping. It took some effort to remember what it is I actually eat on a regular basis. After reviewing my spending for December, the answer turned out to be mostly take-out.
So I am dusting off my cookbooks and making a real grocery list. So far the cost of restocking my pantry has been less than eating out was and hopefully the results are healthier, too. To start out I am making old favorites that I don’t mind having leftovers of. Once I get back into the swing of it I will start tinkering with my recipes to give a little more variety without being wasteful. Next month I am going to take a class at the local kitchen supply store to learn something new I can try out. And when I find a really good recipe I will invite some friends over and cook for the group.
Of course, focusing on a shorter-term goal doesn’t mean I’m going to let everything else fall by the wayside. I’ll still watch my budget and keep an eye on my investments and savings. And I’m not going to stop exercising now since that will be a later goal, just like I hopefully won’t give up on cooking in three months because I’ve moved onto something else. The idea is to focus on one thing so it becomes a part of my regular routine rather than try to meet several goals all at once and not doing my best on any of them. We’ll see how it works.