Goals and My Word for 2015

 

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I’m not one to make New Year resolutions, as I find that they just end up being dropped about midway into January.  Instead I like to think about the past year, what worked, what didn’t, what did we struggle with, and what do we need improve.  I do this for many areas of our life including our budget, travel, faith, homeschool, kids activities, goals, work schedules, home maintenance, long term goals and more. This is a great way to get started planning for the new year and figuring out what worked, what you would like to work on and what just didn’t work at all.  It’s also a great way to remind yourself of your long term goals.  Where you would like to see yourself, your family in the next few years.

As always I get out my handy little notebook and jot down some notes as I think about those areas of our life.  I also jot down the trips I know we have for the year, the extra expenses that may be coming up, and anything else that I can think of that needs my time and thought.

I like to then go through each of these areas and make a short list (2-3) of the most important things that need to change, be improved upon or maybe just remembered. These are my goals for the new year.  I limit these to a short list so that they will not become overwhelming.  If I have a few items I want to work on, I do my best to narrow it down to just 2 or 3.  Some of these things are a quick fix, but others will need to happen over time, and having them in my little notebook reminds me throughout the year.

You see, I am a planner by nature.  In order for things to happen, I need to plan for them.  I do not do well flying by the seat of my pants, but really does anyone?  Flying by the seat of my pants with a budget makes me incredibly nervous.  I think we would be lucky to have food on the table and a roof over our head.  Is this you?  Do you often find your life is frazzled and out of order?

The most successful people and businesses have plans.  That is how they got where they are.  They decide what works for them and what doesn’t.  They meet, they discuss and they make a list of things to change.  I feel like this is a great plan for everyone.  It will surely take some stress out of your life!

If you are one that always finds things popping up, has bills overdue, finds yourself without money right before a big trip, I encourage you to take some time to do a little planning.  Get yourself a notebook and think about the things that are always out of order and leave you feeling frazzled and distraught.

While your at it, pick a word to make as your focus for the year.  Choose one word to focus on for the year.  Something you want to remember, something that you want of focus on for the year.  For me this year it’s TIME.  I want to focus on giving more of my time to my girls, more of my time to my family.  I want to use my time more wisely, instead of wasting it on trivial things like the couch and tv.  I want to spend more time outdoors, because I love being outside.  Our time here is limited, so I want to make the most of it I can.  Make memories.

What would your word be for the year?

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Making Things Work For You

This morning I was cleaning out emails and reading posts on some of my favorite blogs when I came across a couple articles that basically talk about how what you read on blogs, in magazines or see your friends doing, is not always for you or your home.  The information out there is endless, wonderful information, but it’s not meant to make you think you are not doing something right.

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Just because I do something one way or a friend does it another, doesn’t mean it is going to work for you.  It’s information that is presented that might help you, it may make things easier for you, but it does not mean it’s the way you should do things or that you’re a bad person if you are not doing it.

There is no one way to do something.  There is now one way that works for everyone.

Keep in mind your goals for your family, what things you want to improve and be realistic about what you can accomplish, but by all means, do not let it stress you out or make you feel inferior about what you do or don’t do.

Most likely if you are reading this blog, you are trying to live a frugal lifestyle, and you should never feel bad for doing just that.  Choosing to save money is never a bad thing, regardless of your reasons for doing so.

It’s often so easy to look at other people and blogs and feel “envy” (I admit to blog design envy).  Remind yourself that not only is this just a small “sampling” of their life, but it may not be something that is as important to your family, it may not meet your goals or your beliefs.  Most importantly, it does not mean you must be following suit.

Blogs, family and friends can be a great wealth of information and inspiration, but never let that wealth be a burden or a stress to you.  Relax.  Enjoy the information.  Use it if it works for you.  Let it motivate you.  Let it inspire you.

BUT

never let it make you feel inferior or stressed out.  Never let it change who you are.

Now for 3 articles that inspired me to write this post today.  Although they are about range of varying topics, it all comes back to the same point.

Don’t Allow Simple Living To Stress You Out

All About Attitudes

Homeschooling When It Isn’t Your Gift – I know many of you don’t homeschool, but this post is worth the read.

Do you find yourself having that “envy”?  What are your thoughts?  Do you find yourself having to defend your choice to be frugal?  

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A Savings Update: March 2013

Back in January, I talked a bit about our savings goals and how I planned to reach them.  I also said that I was going to update you all about how I did.

Save Money

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I’m here to give you the sad update for March.  It wasn’t the amount I had planned, but many unexpected doctor bills came up along with a few other expenses (car repairs).

We were not able to contribute anything to our fun account.  The balance of the fun account is still $76.22.  I plan to sell some items on Ebay, and add the proceeds to this account.  I also have a bag of stuff almost ready to send to Thred Up.

We were not able to contribute anything to our Goal savings this month.  The goal savings is where we will save (and spend pretty quickly) for college expenses and home projects.

I’m not going to get down about it.  I am going to move on and know that I will be making up for it in the next few months (school is about done and I will work just a little more).  I foresee being able to put a great deal in our goal savings for the month of April.

We were able to contribute $400 to our trips savings.  I will be adding to this as much as possible, as I need approximately $3000 for our two week trip.

You may be interested in these previous posts:

How did you do with your savings goals for March?  What new ways have you found to add to your savings?

making a habit out of living frugal…..

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A Savings Update: January & February 2013

Back in January, I talked a bit about our savings goals and how I planned to reach them.  I also said that I was going to update you all about how I did.

You may have noticed that I did not have an update for January.  This is because Murphy came for a visit and made it impossible to contribute much to our savings that month.

We were able to add $94.68 into our fun account from rebates received.  I know this seems like a large amount, but many of these rebates were from holiday purchases and they came in at the same time.

This fun account pays for things like our zoo membership, field trips, clothes for the girls, craft supplies or whatever we want to do with it.  It’s not always a large amount of money, but it is enough to do some fun things.  The girls love to get involved with how much money is in the fun account.  It’s a bit of a learning experience for them.

Save Money

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In February we were able to add $80.00 to the fun account from my thred up check and some more holiday rebates that came in.  This brought the total in the rebate account to $174.68.  We then renewed our zoo membership for $ 98.46.

So right now our fun account has a balance of $76.22.  I have a couple things listed on ebay right now, so we will see if we can add more to the fund with that in March and a rebate or two that is still out.

In February we were able to contribute $600.00 to our Goal Savings.  The goal savings is where we will save (and spend pretty quickly) for college expenses and home projects.

My goals for March are a little bit loftier.  I would like to add part of one of hubby’s checks (this is a fifth Friday month) to our trip savings, I would like to add more than $600 to our Goal Savings as well as just make an addition to the fun savings.

We contribute to a couple different retirement accounts on a monthly basis as well as to our long term savings, if possible.  I will not be including these items in the goal updates as some things just need to remain personal.

Why am I sharing this information?

I am sharing this information to not brag or boast, but to show you that with proper planning and goal setting, you too can save money.  Saving money is all about planning where it will come from and where it will go.  It’s really not that hard, but we as humans make it much harder than it is.  I am the first to admit that we have been guilty of just not looking at the results, it’s easier that way, but it gets you nowhere.  We have been nowhere.  We got tired of going nowhere and decided it was time to change things.

This is the first time we have been able to contribute that much money to our savings.  It feels good, really good.

I hope you too can get that feeling.

Need help creating a budget?  Check out my Creating A Budget Series.

Need help saving money for your goals?  Check out 30 Ways to Save Money in 2013 or Practicing Frugal in 2013.

Need inspiration?  Why not try Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  You don’t necessarily have to buy it, maybe a friend has it or you can check with your local library.  A friend of mine has also recommended the Embassy Institute Financial Freedom Seminar.

making a habit out of living frugal…..

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 *Please remember I am not a financial expert or professional.  I post about what has worked for me and what I have learned from research and helping others.  I cannot be held responsible for any ideas expressed here.  You are to plan, read, follow at your own risk. For more information see my Disclosures.

What will you be saving for?

Recently I talked about the goals we have for 2013, which included a few financial (saving) goals. In those financial goals we want to save for a couple trips, some home projects and big girls housing at college.

I didn’t include it on the list, but I also save my rebates and any found money for our fun account.  This fun account pays for things like our zoo membership, field trips, clothes for the girls, craft supplies or whatever we want to do with it.  It’s not always a large amount of money, but it is enough to do some fun things.  The girls love to get involved with how much money is in the fun account.  It’s a bit of a learning experience for them.

What is found money?  Found money is money I was not expecting.  It could be money I found in a jacket.  It could be money I received for reselling clothes or money I made selling things on ebay, or just a check in the mail from our electric cooperative for the previous year’s overpayment.

Save Money
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Do you wonder just how I am going to meet those goals?  What kinds of things will I do to save that money?

Today I am going to tell you my plans for adding money to these accounts.  Starting at the beginning of each month I will then update you on how I was able to do saving for these goals and any spending I did for these goals:

  • Trip Savings
  • College Savings
  • Home Projects
  • Fun Account

Things I will do or Ways I Plan To Add To Savings

  • Excess money on my hubby’s weekly paycheck
  • My monthly earnings from my very part time job
  • Rebates
  • Found Money
  • Ebay Sales (as I declutter the house I find more things to sell)
  • Consignment of clothes
  • Limit eating out
  • Continue to save money on groceries with meal planning, coupons, sales, stockpiling and homemade
  • Buy used whenever possible
  • Tax Return
  • Fifth Friday checks
  • Sell some large items we are looking to get rid of
  • Try lowering some of our monthly bills (satellite, phone, insurance)
  • Conserve energy (hang more clothes, turn off and unplug things not using)
  • Monitor our spending regularly so that we can make the changes needed

What are you saving for?  How will you save money for your goals?  Need some help? Come back tomorrow to see more ideas to help you save money.

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My 2013 Goals and How Setting Goals May Help You

Last year was the first time I had ever written down my goals for the year and I can tell you that it really helped me accomplish my goals.  You see I don’t remember much over the course of the year if I don’t write it down.  Don’t get me wrong, I remember special events, memories and such, but goals and things to do usually don’t make the list of things I’m going to remember.  Having my goals written down in my notebook gave me instant access to them and helped me remember what the important things were that I wanted to accomplish for the year.

Set goals - motivational reminder

Have you thought about setting some goals for 2013?  If you plan on setting some goals, I recommend that you start small (no more than 15 or 20).  You don’t want to set so many goals that you get discouraged because you can’t accomplish them all.

You also don’t want to set less specific or unrealistic goals.  By this I mean don’t say I want to pay off all my debt.  If it’s not even possible for you to pay off your debt in one year, don’t even make that a goal.  Try making a plan to figure out which debt you can eliminate and add that to your list.  If you want to pay extra on your home, add it to the list.  Maybe you cannot always pay the same amount, so just put “pay extra on mortgage” on your list or come up with a reasonable minimum you would like to add each month.

Set goals for the different areas (personal, family, marriage, finances, household etc) in your life that you would like to work on.  Write these goals down and put them somewhere that you will be able to see them on a regular basis.

Refer to your goals at the beginning of each month/week as you are planning your budget or weekly goal (to do) list.  This will help keep you on track by reminding you what you had in mind for the new year.

Don’t get discouraged if you cannot accomplish everything.  You may find that it was not as important as you thought it was at the beginning of the year or you may find that it’s just not a change that will work for you.

MY 2013 Goals

Personal

Daily bible time.  I’m bad about “finding” time to read the best book, but can always find time for a fiction book.
Complete Couch to 5K program.  I would love to run one (attempt) in the future with my oldest daughter.
Work on losing 58-63 pounds.  I will be breaking this down into smaller goals and will be using My Fitness Pal to aid in my goal.
Get a consistent sleep routine.  Bed by 11:30 at latest and up at 6:30 at latest.  Seven hours is a great amount for me, but may not be for everyone.  If I get much more than that, I have no drive for the day.
Manage time better and have a more consistent routine which includes down time for reading, sewing etc.  If you need help managing your time, I recommend Tell your Time by Amy Andrews.  I have an affiliate link to it on the right side of this page.

Family/Marriage

More play time, outdoors time and game time.  In other words make more time for fun and be a little more spontaneous with play time.
Do more cooking, baking and sewing with the girls.  Sometimes it’s easier to do it by yourself, but it’s more fun to include the girls and it creates memories.
Encourage (let) the girls help with more chores.  Again, sometimes it’s easier to do it yourself, but the girls need to be allowed and learn to do more.
Plan a summer vacation.  We will be taking a week long trip to Missouri to play ball, but would also like to add a family fun trip.
Visit a U-pick farm and the Memphis Zoo.  These are not the only things we will do, but just a couple that we have been meaning to do for a while.
Give more.  I want to give more in whatever ways we can and continue to teach my girls how rewarding it is to give.
Date nights.  Believe it or not, we rarely have these.  I think we could benefit from a few date nights in the year.

Home 

Freeze and can more fruit, jelly and produce.
Incorporate more variety and healthy foods into our meal plan and shopping.
Continue to minimize (clear clutter) and organize our home.  I find it so much easier to keep clean when you have less stuff.
Develop a more routine/organized cleaning schedule.  I straighten on a regular basis, but I’m talking about actual cleaning, dusting etc.  I’m working on a bi-weekly plan for each area of the house.  Maybe a room each day of school.  Once a week is too much, we are just not that messy and it’s just not realistic.

Homeschool 

Let the girls interests lead school more.  The girls love nature and reading.  I am going to let this lead our learning more.  Interests are a great way to encourage learning.
Take school out of the dining room more.  This goes back to being more spontaneous.  Who says you can’t do school at the park, on the deck or in the yard?
Concentrate on grammar, sentence and paragraph writing and the multiplication table for K.  Yes, she is way beyond the multiplication table in math, but I want to commit it to memory.  It will make math easy the rest of her life if she can just rattle off the answer.  I know – I’m a numbers nerd :-)
Find more challenging letter activities for the last princess.  We do a letter of the week, but the activities are repetitive and are getting easy for her.
Work more with the girls on saving, spending and giving.  This would require me being more consistent on remembering to paying their allowance.

Financial

Manage our eating out.  We spent too much in 2012 on eating out.
Save for 1 large home project and a couple of small ones.
Save for 2 vacations/trips and a couple overnights out of town.
Continue to save for/fund Big Girls college housing.  We will be responsible for this part of her school starting in the fall.
Continue to save for a future real estate purchase.
Continue to stock up with sales on things we use the most, healthy foods.
Work on ways/options to reduce some of our monthly bills.  (satellite, phone etc)

Blog

Complete at least one blog improvement or change each month.
Obtain and schedule giveaways.
Build my blog audience.  I love my readers and want to share the blog with as many people as I can.
Improve my writing skills.  I have lots of thoughts and ideas, but I am not the best writer.  Language was not my favorite subject in school ….. at all.  Math was!  So while I may not write the best, I know quite a bit about numbers :-)

That’s it for me.  I know the list seems long, but many of these things I am already working on, so it will just be a continuance.  I have my goals written in my notebook so that I will be able to look at them all the time.  I will work on them monthly and weekly as possible.  I’ll let you know how I am doing.

If you want to know a bit about my notebook you should read this post.  You can also read about how The Peaceful Mom found a notebook helped her organize her thoughts and ideas here.

Yesterday I also read a piece by Money saving Mom about how to Change Your Life in 2013 With One Word.  I would definitely have to pick two and they would be Discipline and Giving.  Discipline because that is the thing I need to work on the most in 2013 when it comes to a bed time/ wake up routine, cleaning, exercise and menu planning. Giving would be because I feel it’s important to give in any way any form (not necessarily monetary) that you can.  I want my family to be able to give more in 2013 and feel that wonderful feeling that you get from giving.

Do you make goals for the new year?  What are some of your goals for 2013?  If you don’t make goals, care to tell us why and what you do instead?  

Making a habit out of living frugal…..

Happy New Year!

This post should have posted bright and early this morning, but apparently I changed the date to January 1 and left the year at 2012. It sure posted, but not where anyone would have seen it! So I shall try again!

Happy New Year ! 2013
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I’m spending my first day of the New Year at work today, but I wanted to drop in and tell you Happy New Year again.  I hope everyone had a great and safe New Year’s Eve.  Wishing you all the best in 2013.

Want to know a great way to help get your new year under way?  Set some goals.  Think about some goals you have for the new year in the many areas in your life and jot them down.

I have been writing mine down in my little notebook under the categories of Self, Family, Home, School, Financial, Blog and Other.  Join me later this week as we talk about goals and I share some of mine.

Have a Happy New Year’s Day!