Goodbye January, Hello February

We have our first month done for the year, and it went pretty well, all things considered:

  • Keep grocery spending under $450. We spent a total of $433.86 on food this month, and ate very well if I do say so myself. I was hoping to make just one Costco visit this month, but ended up having to go twice. However, on both trips I purchased less than six items, a new record for us.
  • Aim for zero food waste. After throwing out a few items at the beginning of the month (salsa and some spoiled vegetables) we had no other food waste. Everything got used up and eaten!
  • Have one full no-spend week. We had a completely zero-spend week January 22 through January 29.
  • Have four no-drive days. We had 11 no-drive days this month and needed just one fill-up for gas for the entire month.
  • Try one new recipe. I made slow cooker Coq au Vin as planned (without the Parmesan potatoes), and although it was a quite a bit of effort up front it turned out well and we enjoyed it for two dinners as well as lunch one day. I also made two other new recipes: an easy blueberry galette and one-pan spaghetti and meatballs. Both turned out well – recipes will be coming!
  • Track my meals and calories every day on MyFitnessPal. I did a pretty good job of getting this done almost every day although I did miss a few days. I was so eating way too much at the end of last year.
  • Walk 40 miles. I finished the month with 24 miles under my belt. The weather just did not cooperate much of the time, giving us rain, thunderstorms, snow, below- or near-freezing temperatures, and more, but I walked whenever I could.
  • Visit one natural or historical site in the area. We were all set to visit the Carnton Plantation on 1/30, and then found out our grandson will be with us all day this Friday (K still has school that day) so we postponed are trip and will take him with us on that day.
  • Read three books. I read nine books! Two of those were re-reads: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande and Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillibrand. I enjoyed both immensely, just as much as I did when I read them for the first time.

We were concerned that with everyone here for the holidays and all the energy we were using that our utility bills would soar, but they ended up just under $40 more than we usually pay which was quite a relief. We spent only $433.86 on food in January and put $16.14 into the change/$1 jar. Another important goal we completed was our taxes (federal only; nothing owed to Hawaii, and Tennessee does not have a state income tax). We wanted to get them done early because we have to pay estimated tax beginning this year and needed to figure out how much that will be. Finally, I didn’t get any crocheting done – it has to wait until after my eye surgery is done and I have new glasses.

And, I was called in for an interview with Trader Joe’s on the 28th, and called back for a second interview on the 30th and am now waiting to hear back from that. They know I will be unavailable in February, but are okay with my working just two days a week, so we shall see!

My goals for February are pretty much the same as they were last month, with a couple of changes:

  • Keep grocery spending under $450. 
  • Aim for zero food waste.
  • Have one full no-spend week. 
  • Have four no-drive days. 
  • Try one new recipe. I want to make a beef pot pie this month (never have before), but that’s all I know of for now.
  • Track my meals and calories every day on MyFitnessPal. 
  • Walk 20 miles. Because of my upcoming eye surgery, I’m only going to goal myself with 20 miles this month (ten two-mile walks).
  • Visit one natural or historical site in the area. We will have the grandkids over for one weekend while our DIL is on a business trip, and are planning to take them hiking at Smith park and do a “nature scavenger hunt” with them. We’ll do another trail with the kids than the one Brett and I did there before (it would be too long and too rugged at times for them). The weather will be, of course, the wildcard in our plans
  • Read two books. I am only goading myself one book this month because of the eye surgery. Right now I’m rereading Ron Chernow’s wonderful biography of Ulysses S. Grant.
  • Study ***** every day for 10 minutes. I decided last month that I wanted to continue to study a foreign language this year and started online lessons. I’m enjoying it so far and it’s good mental exercise. I’m keeping the language a mystery for a while!

My eye surgeries will be on the 10th and the 14th, and I am so ready for them as January was a struggle, vision wise. I will post when I can, and be back at the first of March to report how February went!


14 thoughts on “Goodbye January, Hello February

  1. Coming out of Costco with only six items is impressive! 🙃 Occasionally I can manage that, but it takes will power. And nine books! That’s great. I felt great when my flights to the UK and back allowed me to catch up on my New Yorkers…they stack up like crazy. But of course, there were several new ones waiting for me when I returned.

    The weather does hamper my walking intentions, too. Ice is not my friend. But the roads are bare here now, so I really have no excuse. We seem to have tons of snow followed by big thaws. 🤷‍♀️

    I’m sure you’ll be glad to have your sight improve. Best of luck on the surgeries.


    1. Broke a record today at Costco – went in for a roast chicken, and came out with a roast chicken . . . and nothing else. I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for that!

      Today was absolutely freezing (below, actually) but we took our grandson to see a plantation house that was involved in the Battle of Franklin. He actually did OK on the tour (we thought he might be bored because he knows nothing about the Civil War) other than being cold. We had hoped to tour around the plantation home but it was too cold and we couldn’t wait to get back inside our warm apartment. Thankfully there no ice on the ground/roads but surrounding trees were coated in ice.

      Pre-op eye drops start next Tuesday and surgery is in a week. I will be ready because I can’t stand the way things are now!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems you’ve had worse winter weather than we’ve had where I am. We’ve only had a dusting of snow so far and the temps have been in the 50s for the most part, although it’s been colder the past few days and it’s blustery and only in the low 20s right now.

    I hope you get the Trader Joe’s job! I’ve always been curious what it would be like to work there. Good luck with the surgeries!


    1. The weather has been brutally cold here this past week, and pretty gloomy as well until today when we had beautiful blue skies and sunshine for a change (temperatures were still below or hovering around freezing though). I am eager to get out an walk again, but it’s just too cold now.

      I heard from Trader Joe’s today and I will begin working two days a week in early March!


  3. Thank you for the update; I enjoy following your food travels as they’re quite different from mine. Although- I do like Costco, too! Best of luck with your surgeries!


    1. Thanks, Margie!

      I think so differently about food now than I did just a year ago, and I’m having fun working within our new budget. It’s inspiring me to be more creative because the money we’ve allotted only goes so far. We’ve been having some great meals though.

      I will always love Costco and I always see things I want to try but these days I usually can’t imagine Brett and I finishing those big packages or containers.


  4. I stopped shopping big stores like Costco and Sams because I was impulse buying too much and I don’t buy rotisserie chickens any longer because they are so full of sodium. So says my doctor. I also am working on no waste of food. It’s hard sometimes because I eat two meals a day and I am now cooking for myself and my adult son (who rarely eats at home) My hubs passed away two years ago and I am still learning to cook smaller portions. I also cook my two dogs food each week and that is ground turkey, ground beef and some vegetables.
    I’m going to guess you are learning Spanish , since you are planning to make Mexico your future home. Best of luck on the surgery and the potential new job. I just retired in December after 44 years in the aerospace industry. I am still getting used to being retired. The best part so far is I can get up when I want to and go to bed when I want, and I don’t have to be anywhere I don’t want to be. I got up at 5 am for many years. I sleep usually until around 7:30 now.


    1. Sherry, it took me several years before I got the portions right-sized for Brett and I. After cooking for five for so many years, it was very hard to adjust to cooking for two. These days almost everything at Costco is just too much, although I did buy a rotisserie chicken last week – we got four meals out of it! I agree though – too salty.

      Brett worked in aerospace, as a technical writer. After his years working in aviation while in the navy, aerospace was a natural progression and good fit, although he mainly worked in the commercial aviation community.

      The absolute BEST thing about retirement is waking up when I want, and not to the sound of an alarm clock going off. It absolutely drives me nuts whenever I have to get up early in the morning for anything other than a flight!


  5. Will be thinking of you during your eye surgeries. It will be wonderful to have them done and behind you. A job at Trader Joe’s! An added benefit may be many clever new recipe ideas after being surrounded by their products. I hope you will share!


    1. Tomorrow’s the day for the first surgery and yes, I am nervous! But, I know the results will be worth it.

      And yes, I am going to be a Trader Joe’s crew member! I am so glad to only have two days each week so that I can recover between shifts. It’s been more years than I can remember that I’ve had to be on my feet for that long. I am so grateful to them for allowing me to get through my eye surgeries as well. And boy oh boy am I looking forward to that employee discount! You will probably definitely be seeing a few new recipes.


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