It's only January, just one month into the year's costs, and not much time to have got my teeth into my 2022 targets. How much can have gone right or wrong in 31 days?
Early Retirement Costs
The big news is that our grocery costs are low for once. Yippee! If I think about it, we did do a shop on 31 December, which filled the cupboards on last month's bill, and our week's holiday in Finland didn't need any groceries. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story? I'm going to ignore those things and enjoy the rarity of the grocery line not having a great big number against it!
Oh yeah, back on groceries, I should probably say that I'm putting the cat's food and litter on the pets line this year. Before, it was included in groceries, so this change will help the grocery line look better #fulldisclosure
What else on the money side? We paid our French credit card annual fees. I still can't get used to this, plus we pay a monthly bank change for our French current account. Over the past 36 years, I've held bank accounts in six different countries, and France is the only one that charges. I should probably look for an alternative.
Sally and I both bought a new ski base layer (Sally's cost much less than mine!) and some gloves, there were various extra costs for our Finland trip, Covid test, parking, airport snacks, hotel drinks etc, and Sally paid for accommodation for her trip to Spain with her sisters in August.
The cost that I don't like in the month is the upkeep and maintenance of the hot tub. I just don't get it, you're supposed to shower before you get in, spend 20-30 minutes in it, and shower again when you get out. That's too much faff for me. But Sally likes it, and given how many pairs of running shoes I bought last year, I can't really complain too much if she spends some money on the hot tub.
It's surprising how quickly the costs add up, but I don't think there was much bad spending this month.
Early Retirement Targets
At the start of the year, I'm focussing on ensuring my targets that require a year long effort are starting on the right track i.e. my exercise, blog and learning French targets. Exercise and blogging are on doing fine but French learning hasn't yet left the start line, just like last year...as we'd say, "it's déjà vu"😜
My second area of focus is starting to think/plan how I can accomplish my other targets. Here are some initial thoughts:
Running: I've identified a trail running event in Samoëns in June, Les Gets in July (both quite close to where I live), I'm already signed up for the Mauerweglauf in Berlin in August and I'm going to enter Berlin Marathon in September. I should be able to do all of them with friends.
Medical: I'm wondering about having the health check up done in Asia, perhaps Thailand or the Phillipines. We could have the health check, the flights and maybe even some accommodation for the same as the health check alone would cost in Europe.
Barcelona & Auschwitz: I'm thinking that we could take the campervan to Barcelona in April, and I could perhaps travel to Auschwitz after my running event in Berlin in August.
Climb a mountain: My friends have suggested Monta Rosa. At 4,634m, it's the second highest mountain in Western Europe (after Mont Blanc) which sounds quite impressive. From some initial reading, the climb and descent would be over three days, and is described as strenuous but not technically difficult.
Final thought...it's only early February, but I'm already realising that I probably won't have enough time to fit in all the things that I want to do. That must be a sign that early retirement continues to go well!