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January 04
Looking Forward

Welcome to the New Year! Last week, I briefly talked about some of my biggest challenges and successes in 2015. This week, I intend to talk about some plans for the future.

Most of my goals are pretty cliché. It's basically some health/nutrition/exercise/financial types of things that I've already started doing to a certain extent.

I want to pay down my credit cards, one of which has been my primary spending account over the past few years, which has created the interesting situation that my concept of how much money I "have" or is "available" has been decoupled from how much I really can spend to be living within my means. I don't think I'll be able to "fix" that in the immediate future, but I want to work on it, and part of what that means is using budgeting techniques.

In the past, I sort of brushed off the idea of formalized budgeting. The idea that I had was that it was either something people with much more complicated financial situations than mine needed to do, or something that you must do when you are destitute, and that budgeting was synonymous with cutting back or austerity measures.

It transpires that I'll probably need a certain level of austerity measures, but that's not really what it's about at all. There are a bunch of different programs, and I'm trying one right now. I'll probably sign up and continue trying it for a while, to get a better feel for how it works and the awareness it claims to bring. The theory is that by knowing how to time your purchases and with an awareness of where your money goes allows you to prioritize what you do with that money and choose which things you can get rid of without it feeling like austerity measures.

The endgame (in addition to just get in the habit of budgeting anyway there is to prevent anything from going unpaid and to promote the repayment of my credit cards. I also need to set aside money for upgrades to TECT.

On the health front, I really have two different goals. The first was to increase the amount of Soylent that I use in my daily diet. Right now, I'm averaging about 1-1.5 servings of Soylent per day. Part of the idea of moving toward more soylent in my diet is that it's cheaper than regular meals. Another part of it was that it is engineered to be healthier than what I would have eaten, otherwise unprompted. Yet another appealing element to Soylent for me is that it is uncomplicated to prepare, in terms of supplies and logistics.

Perhaps hilariously, I received a slow cooker for Christmas, so I need to look at supplies for that and think about when I can use it, what I'll need to buy, and how long that stuff will keep. A slow cooker should be cheaper than eating out, but supplies for it are more costly and more likely to expire than soylent is, and the work of preparing it is still going to be more costly and energy intensive than soylent is.

Nevertheless, I think there's room for it in the overall strategy.

The other health related thing is that I'd like to both metaphorically and physically get back on the desk bike. It's on loan to a friend right now, but I think that hopping on it more often will both help me get used to it and help keep my physical activity levels up. The trouble will be, as it has always been, making using it enticing, and setting up a space or computer on it so that being there can be comfortable and productive or entertaining.

I have all of the existing goals as well. My technology goals are all still in place, but most of those rely on having money available to add RAM to TECT, something I'm holding off on until my consumer debt is in a more manageable place.

Long term, something I need to consider is that I may not get that "finished" with my financial goals this year. This is really more of a TECT problem, but I need to think about, long term, what will happen if I can't get the money to upgrade or replace TECT in time to start migrating to more modern versions of the services it's running, which will require either dropping services that I'm running, or a hefty investment in hardware to run everything I want in the manner presently supported/recommended by Microsoft. I have until about 2019 or 2010 to finish this, but it's hard to know in advance if I'll have everything I need in time. There may need to be some changes in plans or what services I even run.


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