The Cost of One Resolution, Halfway Through the Year


I made the mistake of revisiting my New Year “action Items” the other day. Since we’re almost halfway through the year, I thought it was a good idea to check my progress on the goals I had made for 2014. Nestled in between “lose all the weight I gained from emotionally eating my way through a job that made me cry every day before work” and “floss every day” was this:

Have one friend, couple, or group of friends over for dinner once a month.

Cooking for people is in my blood, not only because I’m Southern, but also because my mom thinks nothing of layering lasagna for 70, baking dessert for 100, or roasting Cornish game hens for 50. I’m no stranger to massive amounts of cooking—I’ve catered dinners for as many as 50 by myself (so far my record stands at giving exactly 0 people food poisoning!). I thought hosting people for dinner at home would be a great way for us to become better friends with the people we’ve met here since our move, and a reason to deep clean our apartment on a more regular basis. It was also an excuse to buy a dining table that I actually liked, replacing the makeshift table we haven’t used since we’ve moved in. To jumpstart my resolution, I decided we should spend some money on what I considered “necessities” for home entertaining.

Because my husband is still in school, we have what we call the “miscellaneous fund,” which is used for things outside of normal monthly budget items since the monthly budget is tight. I used an embarrassing amount of this fund in my quest to be either my mom 2.0 or Martha Stewart, the student wife edition.

• Bar cart (Christmas present from my Aunt and Uncle): $0
• Wine, water, and champagne glasses (I found the original set of wine glasses on clearance at Ross and decided I need the rest of that particular line from various places): $118.30
• Bar tools (wedding gift): $0
• Table from an import store here in Nashville (I am madly in love with this table and it is the coolest table I’ve ever seen. I plan on keeping it FOREVER. I consider this a capital expense, but it still counts): $521.12
• Cloth napkins from Pier 1: $26.08
• Napkin rings (because of course): $36.84
• Awesome metal bread basket I could not leave TJMaxx without: $16.38
• White serving bowl (I discovered I needed one after a work party!): $17.47
• Supplies for curtains (not including fabric, which was gifted, and they’re still not made): $41.49

Total: $777.68

Obviously a lot of these things we’ll be using for a long time and these items were bought over several months (December-April), but it’s still a lot of money to spend on a goal I haven’t even starting to complete. I am the budget nerd in my relationship—spreadsheets for everything—and we’re trying to pay off the student loans as quickly as possible, so this total is a little embarrassing now that I’ve added it all up.

Please tell me I’m not alone. What resolutions have you spent a lot of money on without any progress to show for it?


Krista Simmons has a Type A personality with Type B motivation, lives in the Southeast, and can be found tweeting (constantly, and for her own amusement) @andnowlights.


38 Comments / Post A Comment

ThatJenn (#916)

I’m pretty sure my only resolutions were the ones I’m tracking on the debt/savings check-ins here. While I’m a tiny bit behind where I’d hoped to be (the “optimistic track”), I’m comfortably on the realist track to where I want to be. I am NOT going to total what I’ve spent on it, because NO.

Caitlin with a C (#3,578)

@ThatJenn My resolutions were mostly money-related too. (…however, mine were thrown slightly off track by a few things…)

RiffRandell (#4,774)

Proud/creeped out to say I guessed the writer before confirming the username! But my $$ resolution was to spend on fun purchases at the end of the month. This has happened…occasionally.

kentuckienne (#4,294)

@RiffRandell ha, me too!

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

@RiffRandell Me three. A heady mixture of pride and thoughts of “am I a creepster???”

andnowlights (#2,902)

@LookUponMyWorks @RiffRandell @kentuckienne I mean, I don’t mind that y’all are creepsters. It’s nice to have… creeps? Ha.

moreadventurous (#4,956)

My NYR was to buy some plants and keep them alive. Cost: ~$50. Of six, one plant has died,the basil is, uh, struggling, two plants are flourishing, and two are mostly fine.

So, not so much money and sort of success!

Also, I LOVE Martha! Becoming Martha, student wife edition, is totally worth any cost if you ask me.

seakelps (#5,146)

@moreadventurous my mint and cactus plants are still alive, and I have an orchid inexplicably reblooming! (inexplicable because I’ve killed 3 orchids at least so far and forgot this one existed for long enough that I didn’t notice it was going to rebloom)

But yeah, the basil, the cilantro, the strawberries, the thyme, the “mixed greens” have all died. Indoor gardening is so much harder than outdoor… or at least I tell myself that.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@seakelps @moreadventurous I can never have anything plant related as a goal because there is NO way that won’t fail. I’ve even killed a cactus and succulents.

ATF (#4,229)

@andnowlights I am so super glad I’m not the only person that has had this particular resolution! Plants, man. I did succeed once in keeping a flowering plant alive for a year. I was super proud of myself.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@moreadventurous I killed an air plant :( :( :(

moreadventurous (#4,956)

@honey cowl @andnowlights @ al.
It is actually my succulents that are doing worst. The lovely hanging plant that was supposed to be harder to take care of is thriving. PLANTS, amirite?!

seakelps (#5,146)

@moreadventurous @honey cowl @andnowlights @al.

I’d write up my “Cost of Pretending to be a Gardener” but that would be very depressing.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@seakelps @moreadventurous @honey cowl @ATF Uh, can I cowrite that with you? Because my list is… extensive and also, I still haven’t learned my lesson because last weekend I found myself researching plants that survive in low light for our apartment. Like I need another plant to kill, especially one that has to live in almost no natural light.

seakelps (#5,146)

I’m pretty sure I entertained that exact resolution for the exact same reasons and have not yet had people over for dinner this year.

But new table!

My resolution was to not purchase any new shoes in 2014 (running shoes being an exception). So far I have stuck with, at the cost of a good chunk of my sanity and about $300 worth of new sunglasses to fill the void.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@missedconnections But at least it wasn’t on shoes!

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

This is great! I have spent a truly unreasonable amount of money this year on my “eat healthy” resolution. Uncountable bushels (bushels?) of Kale that I always plan to eat only to be defeated by the mere fact that Kale is not really a good. Elaborate kitchen devices that I never use. I’m pretty sure the only successful purchase was my magic bullet and that’s only because I love seeing vegetables pulled into a whirling vortex of destruction.

Bonnie St. Clair (#2,949)

Your hosting style sounds so much more cohesive than mine! I still need to invest in a complete set of flatware so that I have more than the 4-5 forks/spoons/knives each that I inherited from an old roommate, haha.

I think the biggest amount of money I’ve spent on an as-yet-unfulfilled resolution was buying a sewing machine that was on sale a few years back. I was really into the idea of being able to sew basic things then, but I guess I lost that motivation pretty quickly, because I still haven’t learned how to sew.

As for more recently, I made an impulse purchase a few months back on a book about how to learn Python that had good reviews, but have yet to make any progress on that… It’s still on my ongoing/aspirational to-do list, but I can easily see myself selling it in a year if I never get around to it…

andnowlights (#2,902)

@Bonnie St. Clair I have so much fabric that I haven’t used! Which is actually part of a different resolution I was supposed to do … that’s embarrassing!

My 2013 resolution was to go camping in 2014, and I have spent a not-insignificant amount of money to prepare for that BUT we have a campsite reserved for the middle of July so: it’s happening! Perhaps I will do a Billfold round up when we get back?? “Costs of camping for the first time in 15 years”

andnowlights (#2,902)

@polka dots vs stripes Please include the tomato juice if you get sprayed by a skunk! But also, please don’t get sprayed by a skunk.

boringbunny (#3,260)

I made a resolution to host more parties in 2013. My last party was a dinner party – everyone was late to very late and NO ONE BROUGHT ANYTHING. No wine, booze, flowers, food, candy, etc. Ten people showed up and just ate the paella I made from scratch and drank my sangria. It’s not that I throw parties for free wine (although that’s a quite nice bonus) but I felt so used, I haven’t thrown another party since. Is this normal behavior for dinner guests? Am I being unreasonable?

AitchBee (#3,001)

@boringbunny It’s probably a liiiitle unreasonable to feel used because your friends accepted your dinner invitation, and then…came over and ate dinner.

Protocol for host gifts varies a lot based on age cohort, perceived formality of the occasion … I always ask if I can bring something, but if I was told no, it would never occur to me to bring candy or flowers!

shopgirl (#6,739)

@boringbunny I feel comfortable asking my friends to pitch in. I don’t think anyone expects a free party, but sometimes they need to be gently reminded. I often make sure to task someone to bring wine, someone else to bring dessert, etc.

@boringbunny Did anyone even ask if they could bring anything over? Maybe I just have good friends but I usually get at least a few “Can I bring anything?” texts and my response is always, “Only your presence is required, but extra booze is never frowned upon.”

I would have been more upset with late to very late because food is being served.

nell (#4,295)

@shopgirl @boringbunny Agreed! I often ask someone else to bring dessert because I can’t bake to save my life, or ask someone to pick up a loaf of bread or a bag of tortilla chips. I think if you’re talking about a gathering of good friends it’s totally okay to ask if you want people to contribute something.

boringbunny (#3,260)

@JNC Musings Factory I actually think a lot of my frustration was that everyone was late to very late without notice (and I only invited people who lived nearby) and then people weren’t mingling well and at the end of the night, I didn’t have a bottle of wine to release post-party tensions with. Hosting parties is hard! Maybe 1-2 people asked if I needed anything, and I didn’t “need” anything so I said no. But I never go to a party empty handed if the party is fancy enough for an invitation. I realize now that might just be some quirk my parents instilled in me (they actually did make us bring gifts to people’s houses whenever we visited). Good to know in any case.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@boringbunny I am old school and think you should ALWAYS bring a hostess gift! I’m really surprised that none of them did! That’s a pretty high number of people.

honey cowl (#1,510)

@boringbunny I was with you until I hear that you told them “no” — I ALWAYS bring a bottle of wine (even when told not to), but I think a good many people would hear no and believe you!

LookUponMyWorks (#2,616)

I think I’ve resolved for the past two years to see more of the good ol’ US of A. I’ve been to NYC twice in the past two years, and broad swaths of the Midwest and South. I don’t want to add up how much I’ve spent. Still haven’t got to the Gulf coast, the West coast, the Pacific Northwest, although I hope to cross off at least one of those general regions before 2015.

And I would stop in at your house for dinner, curtains or no.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@LookUponMyWorks You’re welcome any time! I should be able to finish the curtains this weekend…

Blackbird (#2,196)

@LookUponMyWorks Come to Seattle! We have rain. And a bunch of awesome bookstores and parks!

My New Years Resolution was to get in shape before getting pregnant… and I found out I was pregnant January 15, so total cost for that resolution $0, but total cost for baby due is September $2,000,000ish?

andnowlights (#2,902)

@JNC Musings Factory I’m all for skipping steps when I can! ;)

ATF (#4,229)

My resolution was to have people over to enjoy my awesome roof deck on Fridays this year because we only had people over once last summer. I even created a facebook page for friends called Roof Deck Friday. So far in the six weeks we’ve been trying to do this, it’s happened once. We’ve had four rainouts and one Friday I couldn’t host because of other commitments. This Friday isn’t looking much better. :(

honey cowl (#1,510)

Type A personality with Type B motivation describes me to a T.


andnowlights (#2,902)

@honey cowl The INTENTION is there. The hyper organization is there. The motivation/energy… is just not.

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