February 2020 Lookback

two months into 2020 and it's time for roses, hearts, pink, and red. In the state of Georgia, we got our first taste of snow earlier this month, and it was as delightful as you can imagine for a state that rarely sees the white stuff. Of course, the snow only stayed for a few hours, just long enough for kids to get outside in it and have fun.

Here's what else is going on in my life ––

Listening to:

70's music. Lots of Diana Ross and the Supremes.


Past Valentine's Days and Februarys. Eating pasta and chocolate cakes with hearts. Seeing snow one Valentine's Day. 



In March, we are going to NYC with some friends. The plan, so far, is to explore the architecture of NYC and see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. I think we are going to stay at a Hyatt Andaz, but we haven't booked it yet.

We got a little further in our travel plans for Paris, London, and Scotland this summer. I intend on having a photographer capture some images of us while we are in Paris, so I booked that. (Thanks Sara at Journey of Doing for the recommendation!) I'm also looking at seeing the ballet Play at the Palais de Garnier. Maybe we will spend one night at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme?

Other goals on the list: dinner at La Poutre in Montmartre, breakfast at Angelina's, and shopping at Galeries Lafayette.

We are continuing to work on our French language skills before we travel to France this summer.

Anxious about:

Someone I know has gotten really quiet and I'm curious/worried about why that happened.

Interested to Know:

what travel adventures this year holds. I'm thinking NYC, Miami, Paris, London, and Scotland. Possibly Orlando and Nashville. I had the intention of doing a cross country trip, but the current cost of the rental car is $800, so that probably won't work. 


Sharona Snake-Printed Jacket from Anthropologie

• Leggings, shorts, and a hairbow from Forever 21
Free People Sunday Shore Pullover from Von Maur in black, white, and twilight mist (purple)


Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn. I received the book free for review from SheSpeaks.

Lookbacks from Earlier This Year:


Monthly Financial Update: January 2020

When reviewing my finances for 2018, I mentioned my desire to look at them on a monthly basis in 2019. Justin and I spent a little too much in 2018 and let our finances get the best of us. Maybe by looking at our finances monthly (and let you guys/gals keep me in check), we will do better this year.

That's the goal anyway.

Here's month #1 for 2020:


Last Year:
• We spent more on food & dining, travel, and auto & transport.
• We spent less on bill & utilities, shopping, fees & charges, personal care, and gifts & donations.

In December
• We spent more on food & dining, travel, bills & utilities, shopping, and gifts & donations (Christmas gifts, niece's birthday gift).
• We spent less on bills & utilities (decent weather), auto & transport, fees & charges (Chase Sapphire Preferred). and personal care (getting dresses altered).

Where We Spent Our Money:

Top 10 Merchants:
1. Chase Sapphire Reserve (fee)
2. Hyatt (hotel, food, parking)
3. Trader Vic's (restaurant)
4. St. Cecelia (restaurant)
5. Anthropologie
6. Electricity
7. Marriott (hotel & food)
8. Hilton (restaurant)
9. Westin (restaurant)
10. Quiktrip

Top 10 Categories:
1. Food & Dining
2. Travel
3. Bills & Utilities
4. Auto & Transport
5. Shopping
6. Fees & Charges
7. Personal Care
8. Financial

9. Gifts & Donations

Gas & Fuel – over
✗ Groceries – over
✗ Restaurants – over
Hair Appointments – under
✗ Everything Else – over

Net Income:



credit cards

How Did I Do On My Financial Goals for January?

I didn't have any.

* Loan Payoff Date 5/1/21 (but loans are currently in flux)
* Emergency Funds: $23,754
• 401K $50,405.27
• Credit Scores: 747 (Justin), 798, 802 (me)

Overview of the Biggest Impacts This Month:
1. Travel at the beginning of the year. (rental car, hotels, food out, gas)
2. Credit card fee.
3. Lots of time with family and friends eating out.
4. Changing companies for Justin's student loan.
5. Getting clothing altered.

What went wrong this month?
1. I got sick and missed 2 days of work.
2. Paid to get clothing altered which meant I had more clothing options but .... it was probably an unnecessary expense.
3. Spending too much on food for various reasons.
4. I also bought too many clothes.
5. We get into ruts with regards to spending. We should probably break expensive habits and start spending less.

What went right this month?
1. Making returns.
2. We spent less than we made.
3. Sold 2 items on Poshmark.
4. Lowered the interest rate on Justin's student loans from 4% to 2%.
5. Earned money from recommending Justin for loan refinance.

Financial plans/goals for February?
1. Make returns.
2. Book flights for NYC and EDI to CDG
3. Open Chase account and make $300.
4. Complete taxes.
5. Try to stay below food spending,

It's a new year and a new chance to conquer our bad spending behavior, learning and altering it into something new, different, and more manageable. This month we found ourselves spending a lot of time with family and friends, but we also spent a lot on food while with family and friends. Another issue we ran into was with hotels and having to pay for unexpected travel to visit family and friends. It was like all of my previous few years' resolutions finally resulted in a culmination of life forcing us to do the thing we kept evading. For better or for worse.

February will bring different goals and expectations. We have even more family and friend time coming up, which we are immensely grateful for, as well as prep for our summer travel in Scotland and Paris.

Where will all of this leave us next month? Only time will tell. But, as is usual for me, the hope is that this post and being aware of where we stand financially will put us in a better position to handle whatever life throws at us.

Financial Resolution Goals 2019