On June

June was a pretty awesome month, probably the best month I’ve had all year. For a lot of reasons, the first quarter this year was really hard emotionally. April was a bit hard from the remnants of that and things started to look up in May and starting with the May long weekend (and a few before…), I’ve had really awesome weekends and the weeks haven’t been half bad either. I’m also still adjusting to the new job that I started back at the end of 2012.

I made a few mental rules in June:

#1: Spend as much time unplugged (and outside!) as possible.

This was really awesome. I spent the vast majority of weekends both unplugged and outside. So much so that I ran out of sunscreen! (Don’t worry, I bought more!) There are now multiple evenings each week where I don’t open my laptop at home. I also turn off even Wi-Fi on my phone for some periods of time at home if I just feel like reading.

#2: Say ‘yes’ to any social event if I don’t have something already booked for that time.

There were so many fun social things this month! I can’t even begin to list them all. All of this socializing contributed to almost 700 miles of driving this month, which is absolutely insane. There were a few road trips in there. (I’ve still averaged under 400 miles/month in the time I’ve had my car though.) I’ve been making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, and enjoying my balcony and the general outdoors in my area. I’ve been spending 4-7 days/week socializing outside of work and it’s been really fun. Have I mentioned that I absolutely love combining fitness and social activity together?!

I’ve also found a pretty good, varied weekly workout routine that keeps me active about 4 days/week in addition to my walking 4 miles round-trip to/from work each work day. According to Fitbit, I averaged 6.65 miles of exercise per day for a total of 200 miles of exercise for the month. I’m loving the running trails near my condo! I’ve been trying to run once or twice a week. I think I need to start running earlier or later in the day with the heat though.

#3: Don’t worry or think about my finances.

This is why I didn’t blog at all in June. I think I did pretty well with this one. I still tracked my spending. I definitely blew multiple budget categories out of the water. (oops!) But, I had a really awesome month and my finances still survived – my non-mortgage spending came in under $2,000. I didn’t remember about my Total International stock index dividends until two days after they posted. (Normally I would have been obsessively refreshing the day of.) Until I logged in to Vanguard to check on those, I didn’t notice that the stock market wasn’t doing so hot in June either.

I’m still getting used to the auto-pay feature of my credit cards. I’m learning that it doesn’t always go through on the due date, but I should just be patient and not worry about it. I now have a credit larger than what I will spend down before the next statement date on one of my credit cards. (Oops!) Other than that and scheduling the July 1st mortgage payment on pay-day last week, I didn’t make any manual money moves in June.

June was a really good month to try this since it wasn’t a bonus month. I have a few posts lined up for July though I won’t be thinking about my finances all that much still since I know I’m just throwing my entire bonus at the mortgage. I can’t wait to see the mortgage balance at the end of July :)

 

I’m going to try these same mental rules again for July since I did so well with them in June. Here are some extra plans for July:

  1. Apply for the Fidelity 2% Investment Rewards American Express credit card and start using it as my primary credit card.
  2. Throw the entirety of my bonus at the mortgage principal.
  3. Break 9 minutes/mile in my short (~3-6 mile) runs. (I’m trying to find the time to increase my distance.)
  4. Improve how productive I feel I am being at work.
  5. Read 3 books.

Readers, how was your June? Anything exciting happening in your summer so far?

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22 thoughts on “On June

  1. Sounds like an awesome summer so far! Mine has been been similarly awesome and busy. Im actually craving a little boring down time. Way to beat me on steps most days! though I think I got you for this month just because of my hiking trip. Also, id love to hear your thoughts on the fidelity credit card you’re signing up for. Ive never heard of it.

    • I am surprisingly not craving much boring down time since I’ve still been getting a little bit here and there and I don’t talk to a lot of people at work some days. July looks like it’ll be almost just as fun, which is great!

      Yeah I can’t believe that I averaged almost 15,000 steps for the month of June! (Most months so far have only been 10-12k ish.)

      The Fidelity card is an American Express and gives you 2% back on everything. I opened up a Cash Management Account with Fidelity and then when I hit 5,000 points ($2,500 spend), I’ll get a $50 automatic deposit into my Fidelity account! This move should double my cashback on my “everything else” spending.

      • Hmm, I’ll have to look into that card. I’ve got a Chase Freedom 1% card now. I sure would love to double my rewards and just have it invested…

        • Haha yep, I’ve been throwing the credit card rewards at the mortgage to help pay it down a tiny bit faster. With no mortgage, I’d be throwing them in investments.

  2. Glad things are going well for ou! I love #1. I know I feel so much happier when I don’t always have my phone on and with me but sometimes it’s hard to cut the cord.

    You’re a faster runner than me. I find it hard to improve my times a lot without doing at least some work on the treadmill.

    I think I already told you most of my big news. Here’s to a great July!

    • I forgot to mention above that I also unplugged my TV. I hadn’t turned it on for a few weeks, so I just unplugged it! I still like to keep my phone on me, but turning off data and wi-fi makes it easier to stay present with it around.

      I started out running about a flat 10 minutes/mile and I’ve been inching down in 9:XX/mile the last few times out. I think I’m running faster when it’s cooler out, so I think the key to breaking 9 minutes might be just to run in the early morning.

      Here’s to a great July!!

  3. I attended the Electric Daisy Carnival two weekends ago. The most amazing event I have ever been to in my life. Cost a lot of money but insignificant to the amount of fun I had, not to mention the incredible world class DJ’s performing there. Glad to hear you bounced back from the beginning of the year. Sometimes spending money on fun is worth it.

    • Small world! I know someone who went to that. It sounded amazing! Agreed – money is often insignificant to the amount of fun you can have.

  4. Leigh, In this case.. It is great that I haven’t heard from you in a while.. very little posting activity.. So GREAT to see you are enjoying summer and life a bit more. I have paid very little attention to my personal finances since early May. I know I have my life style in check and have a lot more coming in than going out.. I’ll run some numbers near the end of summer when things slow down before ski season.

    I won’t mention have long my all day bikes rides have been lately, or my run pace on a 10k… but keep working at it and you’ll get sub 9’s no problem. You have the motivation to do it for sure. My advice would be to throw in a track workout into your routine once a week. For something like 3-6 miles as a target to short distance, I’d recommend doing 400 meter repeats 8 times. Start with a 1 mile warm up then 2 miles of repeats and a 1 mile cool down. For your repeats you want to run as fast as you can 8 laps around the track with a 20-30 rest between laps to catch your breath. If you are targeting a 9 minute mile you goal for lap repeats should be around 2 minutes. The key is consistency, your first lap and last lap and all in between should be within +/- 3 seconds of your goal lap repeat. i.e. for 2 minute; you want 1:57 to 2:03. Find a local athletic area or school… the tracks are generally always open to the public for running on.. Any time you wanna talk running let me know.. Good Luck.

    • Thanks Tim! I’ve still been tracking my spending and everything, but I’ve been staying off the spreadsheets somewhat.

      No worries! I am probably much shorter than you and I’ve barely started running :) That reminds me, I need to get my bike tuned up one of these Sundays so that I can go on bike rides again. I was worried someone would laugh at me for calling 3-6 miles a short distance! I’d also like to get up to 10 miles, but I need to find a new route for that. First I’m going to try running in cooler temperatures and see if that’ll get me under 9 minutes/mile. I’m not sure where I would find a local athletic area or school without driving… Thanks for the tips :)

  5. Leigh, Glad your blog silence was due to having so much fun! :-)

    Have a great summer!

  6. Sounds like June went well for you as well. For us I found peace spending time and enjoying the family and what we have vs killing myself working 50-60+ hours per week. Now I am focused on growing my digital marketing and seo company and running my blog. This are course second behind fun and quality time with the love ones. I had to much focus on money as well. I actually decided to cut the social events out for the summer if the whole family couldn’t attend. Hopefully July will be even better.

  7. I agree that sometimes when you unplug yourself from the everyday issues and finance monitoring it can be really very relieving.

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