June/July Goals 2018

June/July Goals

  • Maintain
  • Save for Dental Work
  • Schedule Appointments
  • Finish the Pantry Challenge
  • Plan/Have Octavia’s Birthday Party
  • Work on House/Continue Decluttering
  • Work on Breaking Down our Long-term Plan

We are doing a lot this summer and we hope to just maintain our current financial standing. We are not planning to pay-off the next credit card at this time. I am taking the girls on a trip and I know that it’s going to cost us a lot of money. I am really looking forward to sitting on the beach with my daughters. Our oldest, Ivy, also needs her wisdom teeth removed before they come in so we are starting to save for that. I have to make the appointment but we are thinking July or August is likely. Oral surgery is expensive even with insurance. I need to schedule her appointment and they all need to see the doctor soon. We like to do check-ups before school starts if possible.

We hope to finally finish the pantry challenge this month since we can now cook easier. Ivy and Isabella are interested in learning to cook so they will be cooking more going forward. We are planning meals around what is already in our kitchen. This is good for them because they are learning to make new foods and learning to work with what is available. During the last few months, we have used up many of the easier ingredients and we are now working on the more unusual items. I am toying with the idea of playing a game of “Chopped” with the girls to get rid of some of the odd leftover items.

My sweet baby, Octavia, is two this month. I don’t know where the time goes. We are planning her birthday for the end of the month. I think we are going to have it outside and her theme will be Bubble Guppies or Moana.

We are planning to do a little more work around the house and continue the decluttering process. We are focusing on things that we can do for free or very cheap that will improve our home. Decluttering, cleaning, organizing, and doing projects that we already have the stuff to complete is what we are focusing on.

We will continue working on breaking down our long-term plans into small achievable goals. In order to travel in two years, we need to accomplish quite a few different things. These things became our first list of goals and they include many things from paying off our debt to minimizing our possessions to teaching the little girls to swim. There are so many moving pieces in a goal this large that it requires a lot of planning to make sure that no part of it is missed. Some things are time sensitive and need to be started by a certain date. We are hoping to have a full plan that is easy to follow by the end of summer that fully encompasses all of the different parts that are needed to undertake something so massive.

We are hoping this month is much less stressful than May was. I will update you soon with our progress. Are you working on anything this month? Any summer plans you want to share? Any huge goals you need to break into smaller chunks? Please share with us in the comments.

May End of Month Review

May Goals

  • Finish paying off the 6th credit card on the list
  • Pay toward our 7th credit card
  • Finish something on our list of home remodeling
  • Air Conditioner
  • Sell Some Stuff
  • Finish the Pantry Challenge
  • Continue Decluttering
  • Break Down Long-Term Goals and Plans

We started off the month with a balance of $765.29 on credit card #6. We were able to pay it off. This was our only accomplishment on our debt payoff plan in May. We had a busy and draining month. It drained us both physically and financially. The air conditioner going out was just as big of a nightmare as we thought it was going to be. We started by buying two window units which set us back over $300 but did give us time to figure out our next move. We knew when we bought them that they were only a temporary fix but we needed time to come up with the best plan. We do intend to sell them and recoup part of the cost.

Replacing our central air was a nightmare but we definitely went with the best option. We had an older furnace so it needed to be replaced too. It was still functional but a new one would ensure that we were not dealing with the potential loss of heat and will increase our resell value. We intend to sell our house in a couple years so that was also a consideration. It was cheaper to buy the furnace and air conditioner unit together. We did most of the work ourselves which helped to offset a lot of the cost. We did have to take out a personal loan for $4,000. We didn’t want to do it but our savings were not going to cover it. We got a decent interest rate and we are going to pay it off after we finish paying off our credit cards.

We didn’t do anything else around our house. We didn’t sell anything. We were honestly just too busy to think about anything but the air conditioner, work, and finishing out the end of the school year. We didn’t finish the pantry challenge but we are back at it again. We mainly ate easy to prepare foods like salads, sandwiches, and fruit. We didn’t want to cook too much because it made the house hotter. Our kids were sick this month which added to the drama. It was quite a mess of a month.

We did continue to declutter. Each of our daughters has a memory book that is a drop-in style scrapbook. We started going through our photo and memory boxes to try to organize and make sense of things. Our goal is to make the things that are truly important to us easier to access and to store them in a better manner.

We have started to figure out the details of our long-term plans so that we are better able to see our path. We want to break the big steps down into smaller portions the same way we did with our debt-free journey. We broke our debt down into individual debts and worked out the order to pay them in that made the most sense. We also broke that down into monthly goals. It has made that process so much easier that we decided to apply it to the other aspects of our long-term plan.

It was a crazy month but we survived to fight another one.

5 Things you can do today for Free…that you’re future self will thank you for

You can do so many things today that your future self will thank you for. Some of these things are completely free. We are currently on our debt-free journey and I have been astounded by the number of things I have been able to accomplish without spending a dime. This is a list of the things that are a good starting point and I felt had the most positive impact.

  1. Set Up Your Budget – Many people do not have a budget. Many people do not understand budgeting at all. There are so many resources available for free online to learn about budgeting. There are free apps if you prefer to do it that way. EveryDollar is really good and easy to use. Having a budget helps you to save money, pay your bills in a timely manner, and work toward your goals. The best part of setting up a budget is that it will make every month easier forever if you simply continue with it. Once you have your base budget you only need to update it every month. If you take the time to set up a good budget it will take very minimal effort to continue with it. You will be thanking yourself for this every month for years to come.
  2. Declutter – It doesn’t matter if it’s a drawer, a closet, or your whole house, it will make a difference. Clearing out the junk is something that will make you happy in the future because you will not have to continue to deal with the clutter.
  3. Life plan/5 year plan – Take some time to figure out what it is that you really want. Take at least a few hours if not the whole day. Turn off all the distractions so you can actually hear your inner voice. So often we are simply following the path laid before us without deciding if it is the path we want to spend our lives walking. Make a list of things that you would be the most disappointed not to accomplish during your lifetime. This is different than a list of things that you want to do. We all have a crazy amount of things that we want and being bombarded with advertising our whole lives only makes our list longer. Really narrow down your list and you will start to notice that your list has an overall theme. Is it security you are looking for? Do you want to retire a millionaire? Are you hoping to raise your kids and grow old in the same home? Do you want to travel the world? Hoping to finish your master’s degree? Wanting to move to a certain place? Discuss lifetime goals with your significant other if you have one. That way you can figure out how their goals and yours fit together. It’s important to plan together. Once you figure out what it is that you are hoping for during your life, start planning how to achieve these goals. The biggest, craziest wishes become goals the minute you begin planning how to get there. Sometimes the wish that seemed so crazy becomes realistic when you start figuring out what steps would be needed to achieve it. You may not like all the steps to get to where you want to be but if you want to get there you will have to make some sacrifices and put in some hard work.
  4. Read a Book – Do you have a book sitting around that you have been meaning to read but never get around to reading? Do you have a list of books that you would love to read? Are there books that would help you with your job or a hobby? The book sitting there is already paid for. Read it. Want to read a book that you don’t already have? Check the library. You can also ask to borrow books from friends and family. Are you a major reader or want to read more? Consider setting up a book swap. Your future self will thank you for the knowledge and you never know when you will find yourself in a conversation where a certain book will come up. Reading helps you to become a more well-rounded person. It also keeps your mind and your imagination working.
  5. Take a free class – Does your work offer any free courses that would help you to perform better at work? Any classes at your local library that interest you? Any free online courses for things that will benefit you in some way? Our family has taken many free classes over the years. I work in healthcare at a hospital that offers many perks including free classes. My children have taken many free classes at the local libraries. The area we live has multiple county libraries and we can enjoy neighboring counties as well without driving too far. I took online classes for typing years ago and more recently have enjoyed some free courses about blogging. It is amazing what knowledge is available to you for free if you are willing to look.

Hope this list gets you started on bettering your life while paying off debt or saving money.

March End of Month Review

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 did so well in February that we set some lofty goals in March. The first goal of the month was to pay off our personal loan which had a balance of $926. We crushed it! If we had continued to just make the monthly payments we wouldn’t have paid it off for 8 months. This one was huge for our debt snowball. The payment on this was $120 a month. This will now be going toward paying off our credit cards and eventually our student loans each month. This brought our debt snowball amount to $197 a month.

The next thing we wanted to pay off was the fourth credit card on the list. We owed $835 on it at the beginning of the month. It took a little work but we managed to pay it off completely as well. This brought our debt snowball total to $223. We were on such a roll that we immediately started working on paying off the next credit card on the list. The beginning balance was $1,445. We hustled hard and were able to pay $647 toward it. We plan to pay off the remaining $798 in April. I’m shocked that we were able to pay off $2408 in debt in March!

We are working on decluttering our home using the Konmari method. I really enjoyed the book “The life-changing magic of tidying up.” This month we have gone through Ivy’s and my clothing. I will be writing a post about this as soon as we finish with Michael’s clothing. He has been working a ton lately and hasn’t had time to do it. We have started with the paper portion. We have gotten rid of 9 bags of clothing and 3 small bags of paper so far.

I have been drinking much more water and much less soda. The budget-friendly, healthy eating has been going well. We are really working hard to eat well without breaking our weekly food budget. We are eating many more fruits and vegetables. We have eaten much less meat and junk food over the last month. I have been making our weekly meal plan based on which produce is in season and cheap.

We continued to try to spend more time with friends and extended family.

I have been trying very hard to dedicate enough time and effort to this blog to reach my goals. I love writing and I have enjoyed the many aspects of blogging. I love being able to start with a completely blank page and turn it into something I am proud of. I managed to get caught up on loads of posts about past trips this month. I wrote a couple current posts about finance and our journey to becoming debt-free. I set up the contact me page, edited photos, made new connections, and I’m working on a few posts that are not quite up yet. I’m proud of the progress I’m making and will continue to work on this site at least 3 times a week.

I’m so excited to see what we accomplish in April!

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!