the halfway mark

I haven’t been looking forward to this post. I usually like checking in on my savings, but you see…

I already know I’m a little behind.

So this post is going to be part update, part inspirational talk.

To myself.

Please bear with me.

Here we go.

Dear Shannon:

Budgeting can be a woodsy, uphill trek.

Hiking in Rio, 2008 (Photo credits: Lennart de Lange)

You must keep an eye on your goals.

Mountains in Rio, 2008

Unexpected costs may come up.

stairs of Maracanã Soccer Stadium, Rio de Janeiro
Elisha on the stairs of Rio's Maracanã Soccer Stadium. Perhaps her stalling represents the "unexpected costs" part. (I told you to bear with me.)

These costs may include:

A $75 Zipcar damage waiver renewal.

A $542.90 plane ticket to Memphis to see a certain sister graduate. (Yes, totally worth it.)

Car costs after that certain sister so graciously allows you to borrow her wheels. After a $10 car wash and $50 tank of gas, someone may break into the car and damage the ignition. Half the cost of towing and repair: $225.

On the bright side, this amount is significantly cheaper than paying for half a car had it been stolen.

I think that deserves a thank you to Jesús Cristo, here in the form of Christ the Redeemer.

Christ the Redeemer
Rio, 2008

There may also be costs that you’ve chosen to ignore, or honestly don’t realize exist.

Using’s super handy Trends function, I identified a cost I haven’t been including in my budget: Fitness.

I’ve never considered myself an athletic person, but I have been investing more time and money into yoga and pilates classes. (Perhaps I’m striving for the elusive Rio body, which may be a topic for an upcoming post!)

Ipanema Beach, 2008

Since the Challenge began, I’ve spent $150 on fitness classes.

Rather than dropping my mouth at this cost, I plan to work it into my budget.

This discovery also puts me in the mood for an inspirational, goal-centric Nike commercial.


Now that we’re pumped, I bet you’d like to know what I’ve saved.

I came in under my restaurant budget (a success!), and I’ve kept to saving $100 per paycheck (another success!). I’ve also deposited “extra” money such as what a free office lunch would have cost me, or a trip on MARTA when I chose to ride a bike (although that only happened once and I almost collapsed from the Hotlanta heat).

All of that adds up to a whopping total of…


I made that big and bold to be exciting, but I still have some mountain to climb before I reach $1,000.

Hiking in Rio, 2008

But, that’s almost $400, which is almost $100 less than my $500 halfway mark.

(Back to my inspirational-talk voice.)

Shannon, you can do it.

Hiking in Rio, 2008

And when you do make it, the reward will be sweet.

Atop a mountain in Rio. The location of one of my first spiritual experiences.

Oh so sweet.

Overlooking Rio, 2008
Christ the Redeemer at dusk, Rio, 2008
Christ the Redeemer at dusk, Rio, 2008

14 responses to “the halfway mark”

  1. I love how you tell your story with pictures from Brazil. Also, I am very interested in the Rio body post you hinted at.

    • thanks Erica! I’m still researching for that post… surprisingly, there seems to be a lack of information about the topic. All I’ve found is info on plastic surgery, and there has been a lot of opposition to those statistics from people who live in Rio. I’ll keep you updated! 🙂

  2. I didn’t know you blogged… which means I prob didn’t realize or remember it whenever you announced this. *guilt trip* I agree with Erica though about the pics you used. It was interesting read, and I hope you reach your goal. P.S. Forgive my neglect over the college years, but I learned alot in the process. P.P.S. As I wrote on Erica’s, I have now have justified stalking.

    • Talisha!!!! So great to reconnect! This blog is pretty new, so you’re one of the first readers (not worthy of a guilt trip at all). Thanks so much for the encouragement!!

  3. Oh I meant to ask you about your budgeting when we met for lunch the other day. I’m so inspired! And congrats being halfway even with all the financial set-backs – seriously so inspiring!

  4. thanks Lar! $600 left to save in a month is a pretty scary figure, but I’m working on it! Lunch was so lovely–thank you again for taking the time and driving out here!

  5. What about a gym membership? Most gyms offer the yoga and pilates classes that you’re dropping 150/month on. Whereas a gym membership can cost you a third of that, maybe less depending upon competition b/n gyms. Thats an extra $100 bucks right there!!

    • Monique, that’s an awesome idea! I didn’t even think of that. I do have a teensy aversion to gyms, but I think it comes from hating gym class in high school. Hopefully I’ve grown out of that, so it’s definitely something I’ll check out!

  6. Oops. Meant mint dot com. I was trying to avoid turning it into a link so that it wouldn’t look like spam, but I failed with my typo :-).

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