March Goals 2018

March Goals

  • Pay off our personal loan
  • Pay off the fourth credit card on the list
  • Continue the steps of the Konmari method
  • Drink more water
  • Eat better
  • Spend time with friends and family
  • Work on this site 3 times a week

We have a personal loan with a balance of $926 at a local credit union. We plan to pay off this loan in a few days time. There was a lot of thought that went into paying this off. The interest on this loan is much lower than our credit cards. The payments on it are much higher. We would be paying it off later this year by simply making the payments on it. This was the debt that annoyed me most which was a huge part of why I wanted to get rid of it. The payments are every two weeks and can only be made in person. I had to give up roughly a half hour to go pay this payment every time it was due. We decided that it made sense to pay it off next because it would increase our snowball amount so much.

We owe $835 on credit card #4 now. When we started our debt-free journey we owed $873.80. We will be paying this off during March. Paying off this and the personal loan in one month is a lofty goal but it is possible. We want to set our goals high but make sure they are achievable. It’s never a good idea to set yourself up for failure but setting the bar too low limits success. I think that with some sacrifice we could easily make this a reality.

I read “The life-changing magic of tidying up” last month. We have begun the process. We have gone through Isabella’s and Octavia’s clothing. We plan to continue working our way through the steps in the book. We would like to embrace a life of living with less; less stuff, less stress, less debt. This will open us up to the possibilities of more; more time, more travel, more money, and more spontaneity in life. Our long-term plans include travel and a long distance move. Having fewer belongings would make this dream much easier. We would not have to store or move as many possessions. Living with only the items that we love would make our daily lives easier and more enjoyable.

I do not drink nearly enough water. I have developed a bit of a soda addiction over the years. I don’t feel my personal best. I know that what I am putting in my body is the major issue. Also, water is free and we’re watching every penny right now. I bought myself a pretty, reusable travel cup that I can use for water to give myself an extra incentive.

We need to start eating better. We have cut out most of our eating out because we are trying to pay everything off. We want to cut back on junk food and eat much less meat. We are going to start by eating more vegetables, fruit, and fish. We plan to eat at least two vegetarian dinners a week. My husband has always been adamant about having meat in every meal so this is huge for him. We are fairly adventurous eaters which I know will help. I also want to introduce my children to more spices, fruits, and vegetables.

We are going to continue with our goal of trying to spend more time with family and friends every month.

I feel like I am not dedicating the amount of time I want to this site. I work a full-time job, have three children, and all the chores that come with a family/house. It is easy to lose track of time and forget about anything that is not scheduled or urgent. To be clear, urgent in this house means that something is on fire or leaking, we are out of work/school clothing, the dog is muddy, or somebody is screaming or bleeding. I have a list of post ideas including the multiple trips we have taken that I have not written about. In order to get caught up and stay current, I have decided to schedule the time to write three new posts a week. I will be dedicating two of those posts a week to getting caught up on past trips. I have not decided if I should schedule the exact days/evenings I intend to write or allow things to happen more organically on a week by week basis. This blog is a personal passion of mine. I love being able to write and be creative. It is something I have wanted to do for a long time and I want to give it the time and effort it deserves.

I will update you at the end of the month. Wish us luck on all these big goals!

February End of Month Review

February Goals

  • Pay off the second credit card on our list
  • Pay part of the third credit card on our list
  • Spend more time with friends and family
  • Read “The Joy of Less”
  • Have a clean laundry room

We rocked our financial goals in February! We paid off the second credit card which was $475. We managed to pay this off fairly early in the month. This card was interest-free right now and we needed to make sure that we paid it off completely before that period ended. We actually had a few months but didn’t want to take a chance.

We were hoping to pay at least $100 on the third credit card on the list. We owed $464.89 on it. We ended up completely paying it off! I’m still in shock. We are really dedicated to paying everything off but I didn’t expect to pay off two cards in one month.

We spent more times with friends and family during the beginning of the month but not toward the end. We had a little bout of illness run through our family. We had to cancel some plans because of it. We also had plans canceled on us due to other people being sick. We are going to continue with this being part of our goal. We are planning to leave in a couple years which sounds like forever but you learn with age that time really does fly by. We want to enjoy all the time with family and friends we can before we leave because I know we will not be able to see them often once we do.

I didn’t finish “The Joy of Less” but I did read a book. I was drawn to read “The life-changing magic of tidying up” by Marie Kondo. I have become obsessed. I need time to go through it a few more times while decluttering our house before moving on. We have just gotten started with the Konmari method at our house. I will definitely be writing about the huge impact this book is having on our lives and home. I fully intend to finish “The Joy of Less” because it has been a great book so far.

Our laundry room is not clean yet but it has improved. It is going to take a little more time for it to look the way I want. We found a nifty mop/broom organizer that hangs on the wall that we will be hanging up as soon as I can find a place for it. I also want to put a small shelf next to the washer for laundry related items. There is a large closet in the laundry room that we could use but I honestly think that we will not put things away. 

We are just getting started on this crazy journey to our new life. I know all the hard work and sacrifice will be worth it. I will be writing the post about our March goals soon. We would love to hear what you are working on! Please leave a comment below.

10 Ways to Save Money This Month

There are many ways to save money. We are currently working very hard to pay off our debt. By making a few short-term sacrifices we can make a huge impact quickly. Do you have a credit card or student loan that you want to pay off? Maybe some of these ideas that helped us will help you too.

1.) Cook your way into some extra cash – We had a problem with eating out way too often. We did a lot of the grabbing something on the run without ever thinking about it. I never thought twice about grabbing dinner on a weeknight just because I didn’t plan ahead or I was too lazy to cook. We bought lunch on work days and sometimes breakfast too. It is cheaper to make things from scratch but it won’t save you a dime if you don’t cook it. Be honest about who you are and plan your meals accordingly. Throwing in a couple frozen pizzas on a busy night is cheaper than ordering it.

2.) Shop the PantryWe had many odd things hiding away in the pantry. I went through our pantry, freezer, fridge, and cabinets to come up with as many options for dinners as possible without buying anything. When I could come up with no more meal options than I looked for ways to make meals with the smallest amount of added items. This helped to cut down our grocery bill for a couple of weeks which gave us additional money to pay toward our debt.

3.) Leftovers are Your Friend – Use up your leftovers. Take leftovers for lunch. Use them in another dish or as part of another meal. We use the bottom of the cereal bag to top yogurt. Plan for leftovers sometimes. I will often make extra chicken to throw in a salad the next night. Whole chickens, turkeys, and hams can save you a ton if you use your leftovers appropriately. A whole chicken can easily feed our family of five for a few days. We made a large ham last month because they were so cheap per pound. That ham made us multiple lunches and dinners for two weeks. We had ham with potatoes and vegetables a couple of nights. We made sandwiches, casseroles, and even ham and cheese omelets.

4.) Use it all before buying more – Waiting to buy items until you are out or almost out can help you to save more money in the short-term. Depending on your habits you may save money in the long-term as well. You will not have money wrapped up in things just waiting to be used. If you are the type of person who begins using the new item before finishing the old one you will save quite a bit with this approach. Can you get another week or month out of your mascara? Do you want to buy another lipstick or eyeshadow but you have ten already? Can you squeeze a few more days out of your toothpaste or cleaning products? These little things can really add up.

5.) Delay, Delay, Delay – Anything that you want to buy should be delayed. Did you see an ad online and now you simply have to by a llama or whatever? Put that thought aside. Try to delay everything not necessary to basic living for the month. You may change your mind about the llama. Impulsive buying is not your friend.

6.) Get Back to Basics – Simply pay your bills, pay your transportation costs for work, and don’t starve. What is the bare minimum that you can get by with? Can you go without buying anything that you can live without?

7.) Break the Rules – This is extra fun if you have kids! The only rules about food are the rules that we have learned from society. Breakfast food is cheap and easy to make. Try having breakfast for dinner once a week to give your budget a break. Think pancakes, eggs, toast, and fruit. There are not many meals that are cheaper or easier than an omelet. They are also great for using up leftover meat, cheese, and vegetables. Vegetables and rice is a perfectly acceptable meal and so is PB&J. Do you want to eat only a banana for breakfast? That’s fine. We love peanut butter, banana, and cereal sandwiches. Really get inventive with low-cost options.

8.) Cancel subscriptions Are there any subscriptions that you are paying for that you don’t need? Do you have multiple television options? Do you need cable? Netflix? Hulu? Amazon Prime? Could you just use one of them? Could you give one of them up for 6 months? We tend to cycle between them. Do you have a gym membership or anything that you don’t use? Anything that you have been meaning to cancel and haven’t yet? Even $10 a month helps. That’s $120 a year. If you are paying that on a credit card every month, you are also saving even more on the interest you would have paid.

9.) Tell Your Friends & Family – You will be surprised by how supportive people can be. You don’t want your friends to think that you are avoiding going out with them because you are upset with them instead of just trying to save some money on dinner. They may invite you over instead of out to dinner and be much more understanding when you suggest that they come to your house for a drink instead of going out to a bar. They may also help in unexpected ways. An amazing friend of mine gave us a ton of clothing for our youngest. A complete wardrobe, even for a toddler, is a small fortune.

10.) Be Boring – You can save money by being extremely boring for a month. Stay home. Watch Netflix or work your way through your DVD collection. We signed up for a free month of Netflix and binge watched a few shows. You could also watch YouTube or rent library movies for free. If you want to get together with friends, invite them over for a pot luck or coffee. Play free games on your phone. Read that stack of books you have been meaning to.

Try some or all of these to help make a difference in paying down your debt or building up your savings. By making these little sacrifices, we were able to pay off some of our smaller debts so that we could snowball the payments forward to the next debt. Every little bit counts when you’re on this journey.

February Goals 2018

February Goals

  • Pay off the second credit card on our list
  • Pay part of the third credit card on our list
  • Spend more time with friends and family
  • Read “The Joy of Less”
  • Have a clean laundry room

Our February Plan

The second credit card on our list currently has 0% interest and we want to make sure we pay it off before time runs out and the interest is added. We currently owe $475 on it. We will be focusing everything we have on clearing this debt. We are going to avoid buying anything but groceries. We are going to try to avoid going out to eat this month. We are eating the cheapest dinner options that I can come up with that are still reasonably healthy for our family. I will be taking the kids to the library a couple of times so that we can get out of the house together but not spend anything.

The third credit card on our list has a current balance of $464.89. We didn’t think we would be able to completely pay off both but we wanted to at least start working on it. I would like to pay $100 of it this month. It is actually the credit card with the lowest balance. We will be paying them in order of lowest to highest balance starting with this card. The first two were higher on the list for other reasons.

We have been so busy with work, sick kids, and developing our goals/plans that we did not get to spend much time with anybody outside of our immediate family in January. We wanted to make friends and family a priority in February. We already have four days over the next week planned to visit with people. Two are with family and two are with friends.

I have been attempting to read “The Joy of Less” since I bought it in December. I am making it one of my goals this month to finish it. I want to read through it and then go back through it to implement the teachings in it into our life/home. I plan to dedicate at least ten minutes a day until I finish it. I used to read a lot and I miss it.

Our laundry room has become the bane of my existence. I hate even going in there and I have to walk through it to get to the garage every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I will be working on cleaning it out. We had a ton of extra laundry in January because of the girls being sick multiple times. We are now behind on it. We are going to spend the first weekend of February catching up on laundry and getting it put away. We bought a hanging rack for our broom, mop, and things. We will be putting that up. We are also considering putting a shelf in our laundry room for detergent and stuff. There is a closet in there that we use to store art supplies and games. I am trying to decide if these items make sense in this area and where else we could possibly store them. Maybe we could get rid of some of the stuff in that closet too.

Are you working on anything in February? I’d love to hear about it! I’ll do an update at the end of the month. Wish us luck!

Update on January 2018 Goals

January Goals:

  • Pay off my Capital One card
  • Do not go out for dinner more than 3 times
  • Pack our lunches for work
  • Continue to Simplify/Declutter/Minimize Our Home & Possessions

We have done extremely well on our January goals! We have worked very hard and sacrificed a lot but it has paid off. The first goal on the list was to pay off one of our credit cards. We started the month with $745.01 on my capital one credit card and we have paid it off completely. This was just the first of many but it is a success and we will celebrate every one of them, no matter how small.

The second goal was not to go out to eat more than three times. We can check this one off too. Ivy and I went out for sushi for her birthday. Michael got take-out on the way home from work one night. The little girls were sick and it made life easier. We all went out to a sandwich shop one night. I had to work that weekend and then we ran errands afterward so going out for dinner made sense. We tried to pick inexpensive places for the two nights that we went out unplanned.

We have done better at packing our lunches and having breakfast items available. We were a long way from perfect though. There is room for improvement but at least we tried. We managed to pack lunch about half of the time. We did much better with breakfast. We ate breakfast at home or took easy items with us most days.

We played the minimalism game and will finish with it in a couple of days. I’m proud of us for continuing with it. We are enjoying the small benefits of the items gone already. There is still a long way to go around here. The idea that we want to live out of suitcases or backpacks in a few years time is hilarious when staring at the amount of stuff in our house. We are only buying items that are necessary to our daily life and slowly editing the unnecessary items out of our home. We will save money by not buying excess stuff which will help with our other goals too. We will be continuing to work on this throughout 2018.

I will be posting our February goals and plan tomorrow. I hope that by sharing every step with you that we inspire others to make a plan toward their goals. Are you working on anything big or even just big to you this year? Have you found anything that helps keep you motivated? Drop me a comment. I’d love to hear about it!