I'm trying to come up with a one-word summary for 2015 and am having some problems. All that pops into my mind is ok, which is sort of a lousy word to sum up a year. Perhaps acceptable would be better? Anyway, there's no need to dwell on a one-word summary. Let me look at things in a bit more detail.
- House - Personally, I didn't do any work at all. There are still a few little things to do after finishing the kitchen last year and I didn't even think about doing them. The big (and expensive) news about the house was the new roof that I had put on in September. I knew I needed a new roof for a while. It became a much bigger deal over the summer when lots of leaks showed up. That was a ~$15k bill that I wasn't expecting, which was a bit of a hit to my finances.
- Travel - Spent nine days in NYC with my bike, which was great. My friend Ellen came out for a visit over the summer and we took a road trip to Toronto, which was a lot of fun. And hit Detroit with Shadla and Garin for the Tour de Troit, which was cool. Didn't travel as much as in 2014, but that's ok. I probably spent as much as I did in 2014 though, as NYC was pretty expensive.
- Work - I think this was the biggest drag on my year. I made a gigantic error at work that still makes me angry with myself when I think about it. I'm trying to forgive and forget, but it's one of those things that was just so stupid and preventable. Oh well. No one is perfect.
- Health - I'm not entirely pleased with myself either here. I did bike a ton (more on that later), but I wasn't good about what I ate and I've screwed up my knee. Both of these were things that I had intended to improve on, but didn't.
- Biking - This was my one bright spot of the year. In fact, I would say that 2015 was the year that I went from a person who just liked to ride her bike to one of those crazy people who think that the world would be exceptional if everyone biked more and drove less. After riding for a while, I decided that I wanted to ride at least 2,000 miles for the year. I hit that at the end of October and then decided to not look at my biking total until now. So my total for the year is (drumroll please)... 2252 miles!
Those are the general highlights off the top of my head. Let's take a look now at the resolutions that I made at the start of the year to see how I did.
- Dining room table - Nope, didn't do it. Used Janet's plastic tables for parties again. The good news is that I gave them back to her, so I have to do something for next year.
- Welding - Thought about it and even picked out the welder I'm going to buy. But I didn't want to spend the money.
- Back porch - Nope, it's still a mess
- Being active - Pretty much all I did was bike, which wasn't bad, but I should have done more varied things.
- Health - Failed, already covered above.
- Travel - Ok
- Build stuff - I didn't make anything as cool as the press, but I did make myself a nice new big workbench. I also made some xmas gifts out of old wood for the cousins. I had to repair my planer a few times, so that was sort of fun. I also bought a table saw which I used quite a bit, though I'm still nervous when I use it.
- Make a dent in the mortgage - I stuck to the plan and paid an extra $300/month. Think I'm still on schedule to pay it off in seven years, though I wish it were about half of that.
- Hang out more with my friends - I always have room for improvement with this. Though if I didn't always see them physically, I am getting better about staying in touch.
- Volunteer - Failed. I tried going to Open Books, but didn't enjoy it and was too lazy to try someplace else.
- Drive less - SUCCESS! - This was without question my greatest success of the year. I will now take down my calendar and count. Here are my totals:
Month Number of Days Drove Number of Days Didn't Use Car January 21 10 February 16 12 March 21 10 April 13 17 May 8 23 June 18 12 July 19 12 August 16 15 September 12 18 October 14 17 November 17 13 December 19 12 Total 194 171
I am very pleased with this result. I don't think that I was a jerk about this, in that I did drive if it would help someone out or to do something for fun. I just tried to be conscious of when I took the car out and thought first if I could accomplish the trip by bike. And I have to say, using the calendar helped. Marking a smiley face always made me happy. I may have to start using a calendar for other habits I want to form.
I guess the last thing to touch on would be finances. The aforementioned new roof and trip to NYC took a really big chunk of money. Though, the good news is that I can definitely say that biking more helped out with my finances. On auto-related expenses (gas, insurance, maintenance, etc.), I paid $4,462.97 in 2014. I know the price of gas was less in 2015 (but not that much less). On all those same things, in 2015, I only paid $2,743.37. So I like to think that I basically paid for my entire trip to NYC by biking more throughout the year.
Overall, not including my mortgage payments, my overall expenses for the year were $44928.81. If I also take out the home improvements, which is basically just the cost of the new roof (since that shouldn't be yearly expense), my expenses for the year were $26182.46. I've been in the $25-30k range for the past few years, so that looks good to me. I'm sure I could cut back on a few more things to reduce it more, but since I don't have to, I'm not going to worry about it.
Guess that's it for 2015. Not great, not bad...an acceptable year. Tomorrow, I'll lay out what I want to do in 2016.