Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 2016 update of goals

I just created the goals so there is not much to update, but since it is the last day of the month, I felt I needed to do some kind of update. So here goes:


A Dozen Goals For 2016

1. Pay off two cars
I have not had the opportunity to put extra money this month towards this. I am just getting back into budgeting so I am hoping by the end of February that some extra money goes towards the 1st car loan.

2. Cut spending and figure out ways to cut spending even more
Working on a budget should help cut spending. I am trying to think outside the box on this one. I am also trying to to figure out ways to make some extra money. I have added apps on the phone to try to earn points towards gift cards for stores. So far in January, I have added $2.00 to the Checkout 51 balance. $1.50 with Ibotta. $1.98 + one receipt pending from Walmart Savings Catcher.  Also, I have 249 Shopkick points. Now I am not sure how all these apps really work as I am just figuring it out, but I think using them will help save money.  Also, the man and I have decided that as soon as our garage is cleared out, we will be doing our own oil changes. This will save some money, but I am not sure exactly how much. This will be something I have to track. 

3. Lower the grocery bill and reduce our eating out substantially
This goal is what I have focused on since creating these goals.  February will be the month to start watching for savings.

4. Turn our junk into money and find new ways to bring in extra money.
So far I have not sold a thing. I do plan on listing some items soon though.

5. 12 house projects in 12 months
Nothing in January.

6. Vacation on the cheap
The man mentioned canceling our trip to NYC this summer for the concert. He knows that it is more difficult to bring extra money in now that I am a salary worker. We are still debating though.

7. Have Christmas gifts made or paid for before December
I scored part of a gift at the thrift store this past week!  I also found part of another gift at the Dollar Tree. I am compiling ideas!

8. Lose 50 pounds in 2016
I forgot to weigh myself today (I try to do it every Sunday morning). I do know that when I was weighed at the Dr office this past week I was almost 8 lbs down!

9. Declutter, organize, and decorate the house
Well, I did organize the pantry and deep freezer.

10. Learn more about blogging and keep up with this one
I did set up drafts for each monthly goal updates. It should save me time.

11. Learn new one new thing a month
Hmmm..other than continuing getting used to my job, I do not think I have learned anything new. 

12. Put forth more time for family and friends
This I have done!  My bfff moved to my town so I spent a few hours at her house this past week and she came to mine for a bit another day. I also met up with two other friends for lunch and coffee on two other occasions.  

Goal #3: The Grocery Budget - February 2016

Here is a reminder of Goal #3:

[3. Lower the grocery bill and reduce our eating out substantially.  This is where we piddle away our money. I am hoping to get this under control with the help of $5 dinners.  Erin has a Grocery Budget Makeover that I started back in May of last year. Once you take the course, you get to use it forever!  I am restarting it this weekend. Plus I hope to actually garden this year to help the grocery bill. I haven't figured out how much we actually spend but as soon as I do I may reword this goal to add a specific number to work towards. ]

The man and I only get paid monthly now. The payday that I will use for February was this past Friday. I sat down Friday evening after work and paid the bills for February. This gave me an idea of what we have left for the month to spend on everything else. 

Saturday morning I brought out the Grocery Budget Makeover binder I made and reviewed it some. It looked like for our family we should be allowing ourselves a little over $800/month for groceries. Ok, there is our starting point. 

I then created a meal plan for the next 4 weeks. I decided to make many freezer meals for easy dinners since I get home late most nights. Since we liked all but one of the dishes for the freezer meal plan I had already purchased from 'I Am That Lady", I decided for easiness, I would use this plan for the month of February and then add in extra meals on the days I am home to cook. 

With the list on a clipboard, pen in hand, the man and I went out. We also went out Sunday morning to finish the trip for the month. The only shopping left to do will be quick produce, milk, or lunch meat trips for the rest of the month.

Here is the breakdown of our spending so far:
Aldi - $128.00
Kroger - $117.26
Costco - $313.42 minus ($24.89 + $14.99 +tax) on items for the car so we will just say $270.85
Harris Teeter - $5.40
Walmart - $52.79
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TOTAL = $574.30   

Not bad. Not bad at all.  This leaves us with $225.70 for the rest of the month. I think we can stay within budget.  Some of what we bought we know we could get cheaper but we just bought it where we were at. For instance, the Harris Teeter stop was only for sushi wraps and they were expensive. We were tired of being out and about so we just stopped at the first store we knew would have them on our way home from Costco. Also, the shopping took us longer because not only did I shop, I wrote down numbers to start a price book. This will help us in the future. 

Also, at Kroger, we ran into a great deal on french bread pizza (9 @ $1.39 each) and Gorton fish patties (8 bags @$2.49 each). We didn't want to pass these up so BONUS! 

Another point to add is that this time, I did not use paper coupons. I did have some already loaded onto my Kroger card so with them and the general Kroger card savings (including the clearance savings), I saved $54.83. 

I have several new apps I loaded onto my phone to help save money or earn points I can redeem for gift cards or whatever.  My phone is about dead so those will have to be in another post. 

I think I will roll over what is leftover each month and at the end of 6 months, I will add whatever is left over from all the rollovers to a bill. So, we will say in June and December there will be a extra payout for a bill. 

Overall, I am very pleased with how things turned out with the beginning of our monthly shopping sprees.  We should have plenty of food to last us the month. We shouldn't have to eat out, but I know we will stop once in awhile. We are still getting back into a savings routine again.  






Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Time keeps on ticking, Update of 2015 goals, and 2016 goals

2015 has left us and we are about a month into 2016 already!  My last post was in June of 2015. Time sure does keep ticking away, doesnt it?!?

I have been thinking often of this blog, but really have not had the time to sit down and add to it.  A quick run down of where the time has gone.
Yep, graduated...in May.  Took the certification test in August. Passed. 1st try. Whoop Whoop! 

Started paperwork for credentialing to become a full-fledged psych nurse practitioner. 
Also started the process for the new job. (O.M.G, was that an adventure I never want to do again!). 

Left old job, Started new job. 

In between that, we hatched, raised, and processed our turkeys (another adventure I really do not want to do again). 

Did the whole fall and winter holidays (which by the way are MUCH more fun when you dont have school stuff hanging over your head!)

And now, in January, we are.

I wanted to review my goals from last year. One, because I could not remember the goals from last year and Two, because I wanted to see if I actually completed them and Three, because I wanted to see if I still wanted to complete these goals. So, instead of putting a link, I am just copying and pasting the goals below.

Homesteading goals for 2015.

1.  Raise and process a batch of meat chickens. Nope, never did.
2.  Fence in the yard to allow the chickens and ducks more run.  Umm, partially completed.
3.  Pressure wash and treat the deck.  Waiting on the man is fruitless. 
4.  Get the garage cleaned out and organized.  I did make some progress in this!
5.  Build some raised garden beds...and actually garden in them!  Nope
6.  Get fruit trees planted.  Nope, again
7.  Get berry bushes and vines planted & grape vines planted. Nope, triple time.
8.  Learn about fishing and actually go at least once. Ok, this I did. I went with a coworker. I actually learned and retained some of this knowledge!  (Not enough that I want to go alone yet!)
9.  Get the worm bin going again.  Nope, see a trend starting....
10. Start learning about bees.  The nope trend continues...
11. Increase our poultry population.  Ok, so we increased and then decreased it. We hatched plenty of ducks, gave away some ducks, hatched, raised turkeys, gave away a few more ducks, and processed the turkeys (well, ok, we took them to be processed)
12. Learn how to put together this blog a little better.  Nope, again.


So, not much got done. That's okay. Just wasn't meant to be, I guess. Even though I worked less days, I really think night shift was getting to me. I did not realize that until I went to day shift two months ago. I have so much more energy now! Well, maybe it is because I am FINALLY done with school and becoming a nurse practitioner. The process was grueling!  I've been reflecting and I just keep thinking of GOALS. I am motivated more than I have been about goals. Not just homesteading goals, but goals in general.  I decided I needed to write these goals down. I may even print out these goals. So, here we are. The 2016 goals...

A Dozen Goals For 2016

1. Pay off two cars.  Since moving to the new job, I am now a salary employee...who only gets paid once a month. My husband is also a salary employee who only gets paid once a month. Our last paychecks were just before Christmas. We are two days away from our next paycheck. We are living on eggs and scrounged up veggies from the fridge. This is ridiculous. We make a decent living, we should not be living paycheck to paycheck. This is goal numero uno!

2. Cut spending and figure out ways to cut spending even more. Ok, I stole this goal. One of the blogs I read is One Hundred Dollars A Month. I have read this for a few years now, but this year she is focusing on debt, as am I.

3. Lower the grocery bill and reduce our eating out substantially.  This is where we piddle away our money. I am hoping to get this under control with the help of $5 dinners.  Erin has a Grocery Budget Makeover that I started back in May of last year. Once you take the course, you get to use it forever!  I am restarting it this weekend. Plus I hope to actually garden this year to help the grocery bill. I haven't figured out how much we actually spend but as soon as I do I may reword this goal to add a specific number to work towards.

4. Turn our junk into money and find new ways to bring in extra money.  Normally, I just take decluttering items to the local thrift store. It was easier for me to pick up a shift at work to earn extra money than spend the time selling items.  Well, now that I am salary, it isn't that easy. I could do "extra service" BUT, there aren't many shift available. Plus we only get those paid out quarterly which is a bummer. I have NO idea how much I can make, but I bet it is a decent amount!

5. 12 house projects in 12 months.  Again, another copy cat goal from Mavis at One Hundred Dollars A Month. She plans to do 52 in 52 weeks, but she also does not work outside the home. PLUS I think she is the energizer bunny. She seems to have so much energy!  I do not. I also do not have the knowledge so I have to learn how to do the projects on my own. I am tired of waiting on the man to either do the project or show me how. I will be watching many a youtube videos and doing them myself!

6. Vacation on the cheap. We have one big weekend trip to NYC planned. Ok, so I impulsively bought tickets to The Cure concert in June and now I am trying to figure out how to pay for the rest of the trip (remember, we are on a fixed income now). I also am planning a 2017 trip to Europe so I need to start saving now!

7. Have Christmas gifts made or paid for before December.  Since our big goal is to pay off two car payments, I need to spend down this coming Christmas. I need to think outside the box for gifts.  I already have plenty of thoughts in this department!

8. Lose 50 pounds in 2016. I really need to accomplish this goal!  My health actually depends on it.

9. Declutter, organize, and decorate the house. On a budget, of course. I have NEVER lived in a decluttered, organized house in my marriage!  I'd love to know how it feels.

10. Learn more about blogging and keep up with this one.  I really want to work on this goal!

11. Learn new one new thing a month. This should be easy to do. It also can be combined with other goals. Bonus!

12. Put forth more time for family and friends. Family and friends are important to me. Not that I need to remind myself this, but by making it a goal, it forces me to slow down and make the time for them.