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?

making a habit out of living frugal…..

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30 Ways To Save Money In 2013

Want to save money in 2013?  I have 30 ways you can save money to help save for your goals.  Maybe you have debt to pay off, or you need to fund an emergency fund or just want to save money.  There are many things you can change or implement that can help you save money.

Save Money
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  1. Drink water – forget expensive juice and sports drinks, water is free and healthy.
  2. Cut out paper products – paper products are expensive and are just going to get thrown away.  Why not help the environment while saving money and just use the dishes you have.  It doesn’t cost very much to wash the dishes or run the dishwasher.
  3. Try your hand at cloth diapers.  I wish I had been more frugal and educated about using cloth diapers when mine were little.
  4. Use cash – using cash lets you actually see how much you are spending.  When you just swipe that plastic debit or credit card, you don’t really realize how much you are spending.  It’s just harder to give up cash.  Don’t just get a bunch of cash out of your account, get enough to fund the categories in your budget where cash is feasible.  Put the money into an envelope for each category and only spend it for those things.
  5. Stay home – without the temptations of shopping sales, windows etc, you will ultimately save money.
  6. Unsubscribe – do you really need to get those sale alerts for those stores in your email?  It’s just really another temptation to spend money.  If you need to buy something in the future, you can check out retailmenot for printable coupons and online codes.  You can also check stores websites before you go.
  7. Get organized – how many times have you bought something because you thought you didn’t have the item and then wound up finding it later?  Getting organized will help you find things you already have, find things to get rid of and find things you no longer use that you could sell.
  8. Meal plan – just walking into the store and buying groceries without a list or plan is just a recipe for budget disaster.  I am sure there are a select very few that can go without a list and come home with just the items needed for a week of meals, but chances are you are like the normal shopper, you need a list and a plan.
  9. Freezer cooking – freezer cooking allows you to have meals made up and in the freezer ready to be cooked.  It’s a great way to ease the stress of busy days and nights we often have.
  10. Minimize your food waste –  use up what you have.  Cook only what you need or freeze the rest for a later date.  Make it a goal to not throw food away.  If you have leftovers in the fridge, eat them tonight instead of cooking something else.
  11. Use coupons – use coupons for items you already buy.  Check out my series on coupon use
  12. Ad match – instead of going to 3 or 4 different stores to get their great deals, you can go to Walmart and add match.  Be sure to read the ad match policy.
  13. Buy in bulk – you can buy items in bulk and split with a friend or freeze for later.  Just make sure it’s items you will use.
  14. Combine your errands – make one trip out if at all possible and get everything done while you are out.  This will save quite a bit of gas money over the course of a year.
  15. Make do – make do with what you have, make it work, can you go without?  Do you really need that new item?
  16. Buy used – if you find you really need something, consider buying used.  Shop thrift stores, ebay, craigslist and even tell friends what you are looking for.  Often times your friends may know someone that has that item to get rid of or even has one of their own to get rid of or lend you
  17. Keep lists – keep a notebook of lists of things you need to do, things you run out of and anything else you need to remember.  Keeping good notes (and having it with you all the time) will save you money by not making multiple trips as well as help you be more organized, which also helps save money.
  18. Make your own – have a bread machine?  Make your own bread.  Like Starbucks?  Learn to make your own at home.
  19. Make your own snacks – make homemade snacks (they are most likely healthier without all the preservatives) or bag your own small bags with a bulk bag and sandwich bags.
  20. Sell things you don’t need or use – try ebay, craigslist, facebook or a local means of selling.  Why not make some spare cash on things you don’t need at the same time as reducing clutter.
  21. Sell on Etsy – Have a craft you love to do?  Sew?  Knit?  Make t-shirts?  Invitations?  You get the point.  Etsy is a great way to sell handmade items.
  22. Have a yard sale – this is another great way to make some cash.  I would check potential big ticket items on ebay to see what they have been selling for before selling at a yard sale.  To check what items have sold for enter the item in search box and hit enter.  On the menu on the left of the page under “more refinements” click “show only” and then chose “completed listings”.  You would be surprised what items sell for.  Especially the things you think are worth nothing.
  23. Eat before you shop – going to the store hungry is bad for the budget.  You will buy things you don’t need or really want, but bought because you were hungry.  Eat before you go and carry a water to drink.
  24. Shop with a calculator – use a calculator so you know what you are spending or at least round the item and keep a tally on your list.
  25. Stop bribing your kids – kids don’t need a toy or candy every time you go to the store or every time they were good somewhere.  They are supposed to be good.  If you want to buy a treat, let them pick a piece of fruit or yogurt.
  26. Re-purpose and reuse – can you use something else instead of buying new?  Think outside the box.  Many times the best things come from outside the box thinking.
  27. Fix it yourself – try researching on the internet the problem you are having and see if it’s something you can do yourself.
  28. Buy out of season – buy a few key items of clothing for next winter while things are on clearance.  You can still find plenty of summer items on clearance right now too.
  29. Divorce the Jones’ – you don’t have to have everything everyone else does.  You don’t have to have the debt they do either.  Hang with people that have the same frugal values as you, or someone that can help teach you a bit about frugality and budgeting.
  30. Plan your budget – You need to plan where all your money will go each and every month.  No dollar or cent should be left alone.  For more on budgeting see my Creating A Budget Series and this recent post.

I know many people will read this list and think that these things may only save or make a little bit of money.  The truth is that small changes in a a few areas will add up to big amounts.  If you sold $300 at a yardsale, $300 on ebay and then made 10 other changes that save you $50 each over the course of a year, that’s over a thousand dollars.  Chances are you can do much better than my example.

In the next couple months I will be taking many of these items one at a time and breaking them down and really explaining them.  I hope you will join me for this new series called Practicing Frugal in 2013.

How will you save in 2013?  Have any questions or comments?  

Making a habit out of living frugal…..

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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.

Making a habit out of living frugal?

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A little about setting weekly goals

During the last couple weeks I have noticed I was wasting a lot of time and I kept a time diary so that I could see where I was wasting time and come up with a plan to recoup some of my time.

I currently write a list of weekly goals, seasonal goals and homeschool goals in my notebook or binder.  The problem is I hadn’t been getting many of them accomplished.  Do you have this problem?  Did you keep a time diary?  I found that some of my weekly goals were not being accomplished because I was staying up too late.  I am currently working on changing this bad habit, for me and my kids.

Do you set weekly goals?

I find that by setting goals for the week, I can get things done and I remember what needs to be done.  It makes me quite a bit more efficient and things generally get done on time.  My goals may include simple things like phone calls to be made, a project to do, reading time with the kids or any other things that need to be accomplished this week.

Occasionally I am going to post my weekly/seasonal goals as well as how I am doing with the changes I want to make after recording how I spend my time.  I want my readers to see that we are all human and have to work to accomplish goals.  No matter what kind of goals you are trying to accomplish, it still requires work and diligence.  Breaking old habits can take time.  This is true of budget goals, savings goals, paying debt goals, career goals, homeschooling goals ….. you get the point.  It takes time and effort, without those you are setting yourself up for failure.

My goals for this week are pretty simple since I will be working some and spending the 4th with friends and family:

  • read with girls
  • blog daily (except Sundays)
  • start kitchen declutter
  • help oldest daughter cull clothes she no longer needs or wants
  • Make a CD of vacation pictures for safe
  • Feed Hummingbirds
  • Maintain garden and pool
  • Laundry (1-2 loads a day) I am currently pretty caught up and like to stay there
  • Hotel reservations/quotes for a trip
Pretty soon we will have a good month off from our tournament teams schedules, so I will be trying to get a few more things that have been on my to do list (forever and ever) done.
What would be on your list of goals for the week? 
Making a habit out of living frugal …..

Goals: Some Summer Goals

The other day, I was writing in my notebook and decided to make a little list of goals for the summer.  Nothing big, just some things I really want to accomplish this summer.  I already start each week by writing down some goals for the week, but I sometimes fail at accomplishing these goals.  Okay maybe many times I fail.  I have very good intentions though.

So after reading Crystal’s goals for some time on Money Saving Mom, I decided that it might be a great way to get things done.  I have found that showing my efforts at reducing food waste and cutting back on eating out has really helped keep me in check.

Now I am pretty sure my goal list will look nothing like Crystal’s, but in reality it really shouldn’t.  Your list shouldn’t look much like mine unless you are at the same ballparks as me.  I must warn you that while I do pretty good at keeping my finances in order, I am not as good at getting things done.  So this will be a great project for me.

So for this week I am starting by showing you my goals for the summer.  I will post any new goals I add and how I am doing as the summer moves on and within the next month I plan to start posting my weekly goals on Mondays.

2012 Summer Goals

Financial goals

  1. Finish funding college car.
  2. Finish Funding 2012-2013 college tuition.

Work/Blog/School Goals

  1. Work at part-time job about 48 hours a month.
  2. Complete 5 changes/updates to blog.
  3. Finalize curriculum choices for next homeschool year.
  4. Reading list for girls.

Personal Goals

  1. Have a yard sale.
  2. Declutter rest of house before yard sale.
  3. Regular field trips/outings with the girls.
  4. Sell more items on ebay.
  5. Have Kassie complete the Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program.
  6. Make jelly.
  7. Make applesauce.
  8. Freeze vegetables from the garden.
  9. Try my hand at freezer cooking.
  10. Build up a little bigger stockpile.  My oldest will be heading off to college and I would like to get a good stockpile of Health and Beauty items, detergents and other things she will need throughout the year.  That will keep her from having to run out and purchase these items.  It will help her save time and money too.

What would be on your list of summer goals?  Do you make goal lists?  Do they help you?    Why not join in on the fun and tell us about your goals?  

 Making a habit out of living frugal …..