March 2023 Progress Update

I am still working on rebuilding the habit of regular writing. That is most difficult for these monthly updates. When the habit is solid, I write the update throughout the month. But as I write this, we are already one week into April. This means I am late setting monthly goals and have a hard time remembering what we did during the month. 

We had fun in March. We attended the home opener for our local soccer team. That was fun! Our weather was uncooperative. It seemed like every weekend in March had a fresh snowfall that would quickly turn to ice or slush. As a lifelong Midwesterner, January and March are always my least favorite months. Apologies to my parents who respectively celebrate birthdays in those months. We celebrated St. Patrick’s day for the first time in several years. It coincides with a friend’s birthday, so we ducked out of work early to meet at a local pub. We also attended a hockey game for our hometown NHL team to celebrate another friend’s birthday. These outings brightened an otherwise dreary month.

Notably, I finished my first quarter running challenge. As a continued celebration of my recovery, I decided to start a new run streak on January 1st. I planned to run one mile a day in January (month 1 on the calendar), two miles a day in February (month 2 on the calendar) and 3 miles a day in March (month 3 on the calendar). During August 2020 I ran 5 km every day, so I knew that last month would be quite a challenge. I wanted to test out my discipline and to build my fitness. The weather sent me to the treadmill for many of the early March runs. Ultimately, I completed the goal. My last run of the month was one of my favorites. I needed to pick up a rental car for our weekend road trip. Thinking ahead, I’d picked a location less than two miles from our house, easily within running distance. Functional fitness gives me a huge thrill.

On to the charts. This week, Mr. Vine and I experimented with weekly money meetings to plan out our spending for the coming week. We generally liked having a regular touchpoint. We are still ironing out how these meetings will go and the timing. But it was nice when we reviewed our monthly spending and there were no surprises. Our spending was consistent with January, and up slightly from February. We had a couple of big expenses like car repairs driving the higher expense numbers. 

The market rallied a bit to end the first quarter. This resulted in a new all time high net worth for us. It was by the narrowest margin, but still counts! The volatility makes it hard to see on the chart. When I look at our net worth chart, it’s clear to see the trend in the longer term. Even though it is frustrating that we have bounced around and have now spent 16 months without crossing a new $100,000 barrier. 

Because we are at the end of the quarter, here is our quarterly chart against our “goal.” This goal might have become obsolete. I’m not sure it was ever a good number. But it is the goal we initially set and we have not reached it yet. We will likely revisit the goal at some point. For now, though, this serves as a useful check of how we are progressing toward that original goal. Any future goal would likely be higher. 

How did we do on March goals?

  • Checking account balance exceeds credit card balances – We’ll take a letter grade of B+ on this one. We did not quite achieve the goal, but made good progress. I will push it to April with the expectation that we’ll meet it then. 
  • Finish first quarter “monthly miles” running challenge (I’m planning to run 3 miles per day in March) Done!
  • Publish blog posts Done! I managed to get back on a track with weekly posting
  • Remove snow tires – This one did not happen because our new wheels and tires did not arrive. We’ll push this to April 
  • Catch up on cleaning checklists – I’m giving myself a letter grade of B on this one. It was sort of a mixed bag. 

Let’s set some April goals:

  • Reset finances to resume regular investing targets
  • Begin weight lifting program
  • Meal plan
  • Submit 30 day dress challenge results
  • Maintain blog publishing schedule
  • Remove snow tires
  • Checking account balance exceeds credit card balances

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