Let’s start with the numbers.
Media consumed # (remaining/total)
Movies Watched 1 (154/155)
Books Read: 4 (135/139)
Comics Read: 50 (688/738)
Podcast Episodes Remaining: 182
I haven’t been watching many movies this month. We’ve been going through a number of the MCU films that we haven’t seen or haven’t watched in a long time, and I’ve been going through old Star Trek movies for a podcast project. In addition, we’ve been working our way through our DVR and some of the streaming series on Netflix and Amazon. I figure that this will be one of the slowest movers here, especially since I have allowed myself to see films that are coming out that I really want to see.
I added eight books to my original tally of unread books to account for what I bought with my Christmas money/Amazon gift cards. It’s not the total of the books that I have read because I grabbed an additional book for an upcoming “Required Reading” episode (which is within my self-imposed rules). The pile is slowly receding, especially since I am able to carve out time each morning and each night to read a little. I may not get to all 139 books on my list, but I am pretty sure that by the end of the year, I will probably be under 50.
I have not reviewed all of the comics I read–some are still in the queue and others are going to be used for a future podcast episode. That being said, if there’s anything I feel more committed to doing through this project, it’s reading these back issues. In some cases, it’s been a slow go–some of those Huntress stories were dense–but in other cases, I find myself knocking out a few issues a night and so far, I’ve been enjoying most of them. Granted, I’ve been picking up what I want to read instead of what I simply have.
The number I have to listen to actually went up and part of that is because there are so many that are ongoing. Plus, I did pick up another limited series, which I hadn’t intended to do, but the subject matter was fascinating. I’m getting back to tackling a number of comics-based podcasts and have been binge-listening to limited series. I’m not going to really get on myself about this, though, because podcasts are something that don’t accumulate and take up physical space the way that books or movies do. I should start reviewing them, though.
In fact, there are a number of things I know I should be doing with this blog. It’s a work in progress, is what I guess I will say. Another thing I will say is that I have not just been looking at what I am consuming; I’m also looking at how I spend my money and by extension, figuring out ways to pay down debt. This means returning to budgeting more attentively, including tracking through that budget. I suppose this is where Quicken or some other software might be useful, but as I am one to operate within my own parameters, I have been using blank pages in my paper day planner.
Anyway, before I got paid today, I went through and added up my expenses and categorized them. I also had the opportunity to look over a document that my credit union sent me, which was an itemized list of every charge made on my credit card on 2018. They even categorized it for me, listing retail, travel, groceries, gas, and other categories. So I sat down with a highlighter, pens, and I calculator and dove into that, even looking at where I spent my money and what I spent my money on.
It was both alarming and freeing. I hadn’t really done this on this scale in a while–to be honest, most of the time, I look at a statement and mutter something about there being too many charges. But I didn’t really pay enough attention to what, exactly, I was buying and when I was buying it. Here are some quick observations:
A lot of cash/debit spending at the beginning of the month leads to more credit card use at the end. This is what is going to be one of many obvious, even stupid-sounding statements. I get paid once a month and if you take away the money I set aside for bills, there are expenses left. Flush with that cash, I am so ready to go! buy! all! the! things! right away, and that often can mean that by the end, I am very close to living off of my credit card.
I snack too much. We meal plan and grocery shop every weekend, so why are there so many charges at grocery stores or Target? Aside from prescription refills, items that were lfet off grocery lists, or the occasional called audible on the meal plan, most of these are trips through the chips and soda sections or snack add-ons to the necessary trips, so a $7.00 prescription refill becomes a $10.00-$11.00 prescription refill, Coke, and Twix.
I spent how much on comics? Without further separating comics by what I dropped at a convetion, what I bought as a gift, and what I spent at my LCS, my comics purchases were way more than I thought I would have spent in a year. What I do need to do going forward is take that spending and itemize it so that I can really determine how much I spend and if there is anything I should drop.
There is more here, but in the interest of brevity and not overwhelming you with all of the details, I will stop at those three. I think I may also stop and take time to explore these three things during February because it will help me tackle one of my biggest issue–I know my faults and what I should do to overcome them but don’t always follow through on them. It all begs the question: what is my mental block? What is preventing me from getting out of what is not necessarily a cycle of self-harm but just this rut I find myself in.
My goal for February here will be to “trim the fat” in a manner of speaking. If I stick to my mandate here, i will be unable to really see what was excess and I will see what, if any, effects there are.