Thursday, May 29, 2014

Second Half Goals

I am a super list person. I make lists for literally everything. I get a lot of satisfaction out of crossing things off my lists. One of my favorite lists to make is "goals". I usually break them up into daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. I am going to start posting them here to help me stay organized and accountable.
My second half goals are the goals I would like to achieve in the last half of the year. So by the end of December I would like to:

1. Put 10,000 into savings
2. Pay off/down current credit card balances to within $100
3. Lose 35 lbs....possibly more

In order to reach these goals I need to continue some current behavior, create some new behaviors and break some bad habits. I know the easiest one will be savings because now that we are able to save money every month I enjoy seeing it add up in the account! Paying off/down our credit card balances will rely heavily on how much extra income I can bring in. I need to stay motivated here. I make extra money by selling things on ebay, selling things on craigslist and by babysitting here and there. All this extra money will go directly to credit cards until they are gone. We put some extra every month to credit cards but its not enough to have them gone in 6 months. The last goal will require motivation too, continuous motivation! Losing 35 lbs in 6-7 months is more than doable in a healthy way. I have always lost weight before in really unhealthy ways and now that we are focusing on living more naturally I know I can do it the right way. I plan on cooking more of our own food (less take-out, less processed garbage) and being more active. As a family we enjoy hiking, going to the beach and playing in the yard, but, its not enough for me to lose weight. I need to add in some hikes/walks on my own and I would love to get back to yoga. A few years ago I worked the check in desk of a yoga studio in exchange for classes but now I think even just doing a dvd in the basement would be great. Especially since I have plenty of them! Maybe a good motivator would be that once we pay off our credit cards I can purchase a class card for yoga!
Here's to staying motivated to reach the last half goals!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Last weeks's frugal accomplishments

These past few years of financial insecurity left us many times without. Without money for groceries, without money for rent, without money for any kind of extra....candy at the checkout? no. Magazines at the checkout? no. Christmas gifts? nope.
We went without for so long that now that we don't have to I have a big fear of blowing all our money on things we have come to realize we don't need. Maintaining frugal practices even though they are no longer a necessity is important to me and I hope to hold myself accountable here. Every week on Mondays (well, today is Tuesday but yesterday was a holiday!!) I want to recap what frugal practices we engaged in the week before and where there is room for improvement.

Last week I made bagels with a recipe from and they came out INCREDIBLE! My husband is an incredible cook and is usually the one in the kitchen. Now that he is back working full time it is a goal of mine to do more in the kitchen. I like to bake because I need directions to follow and I was so happy with how the bagels turned out. The recipe made a HUGE batch and I have been eating a bagel for breakfast every day this week. My son loved them too and my husband.....and I know if my husband likes it its good because he is a really critical taste tester. Because we have been eating bagels for breakfast all week we have saved having to buy waffles and have saved on bread for toast. I definitely need to do more "from scratch" cooking!

I made laundry detergent and have been hang drying clothes. I'm not that happy with our laundry soap and plan on tweaking it with some essential oils.

I made dishwasher soap that works better than any commercial soap we have ever used. I am so impressed with it I wish I had made it years ago!

We used cloths instead of paper towels. I bought two packs of face cloths at Walmart a few months ago for $4 a pack. We have not bought paper towels since!

We made homemade popsicles by freezing our homemade smoothies into popsicle molds.By doing this we eat super healthy popsicles and save our produce by freezing leftover smoothies instead of tossing them. This is a good way to use up any produce about to go bad too!

Last night we shopped around for car insurance and found an agency that will save us combined $250 a month! That is incredible and I am so happy about it!

I sold a few things on ebay. All of our money from selling things on ebay goes to our credit card debt. We have $2500 in credit card debt from using credit cards for regular living expenses in the time my husband was out of work. Our credit card debt and some other debt we have haunts me as mistakes we made during our difficult financial times. I know we have learned from these mistakes but the time its taking to pay off the credit cards it driving me crazy. I know the debt will be gone soon enough and we won't be in this place again. I just need to keep reminding myself of that!

We checked out books and movies from the library for FREE.....who doesn't love the library? I think it is one of the best places in the whole world. They lend you everything for free and trust you to return it! When my son is a little older there are some awesome programs we can participate in through the library that are free as well.

We accepted a gently used full size mattress and box spring from our friends. I had just said to my husband that I wanted a full size bed for our son's room and the very next day my friend told me they were switching her sons bed out and would we want it? Its only two years old and in great shape! I used to be so snobby about accepting freebies. When I was pregnant this same family gave us so much of their kids hand me downs that we didn't have to register for anything but clothes and diapers! Being so low on money and being pregnant changed my mind about hand me downs. I saw them as wonderful blessings to be grateful for and now I understand that second hand is also a greener choice. There is nothing wrong with second hand....or third or fourth hand! We are so grateful for all our hand me downs!

I started planting our garden over the long weekend. We found a great sale on dirt and saved over $30 from what I had budgeted for dirt! I filled in my garden, filled three boxes, my two huge deck boxes, and several pots for $25. I had budgeted $60! I also found a super memorial day deal on a hanging plant for the front porch. There has been a hanger out there since we moved in that has been empty. I found a hanging plant for $5 that I saw at another store for $25! I had the cashier check the price before I bought it because I couldn't believe it was such a great deal....but it was!
Much of what is planted in the garden was grown from seed. We have peas growing from seed, spinach, tomatos, zuccinni, cucumber and basil all from seed. I hope everything grows well! We also started marigold seeds but they aren't growing just yet.
I was able to spread out alot of my flower garden just because everything has been growing so big. When we first moved here we were gifted plant clippings and they have taken over the flower beds! I was able to fill in my side bed that was empty without having to buy a thing!


We took A to Chuckee Cheese over the weekend and should have looked for a coupon first. We didn't eat there, just played games and played in the playground. He loves the playground there because its all up above the ground.

We ordered dinner out twice last week because we didn't plan well. This all goes back to me wanting to be better in the kitchen!! We did make a meal plan for this week so the goal is to stick to it!!

We ordered the lego movie for $15 from our cable provider. If we had waited we could have got it from the library but we were too excited. We do not go to the movies because 1. IT IS WAY TOO EXPENSIVE and 2. both myself and my son have sound sensitivities and are uncomfortable watching movies at the theatre.

I hope this week finds us with lots more frugal accomplishments!!

New Beginnings

Life has twisted and turned so much since I last caught up here. I would like to be better about writing in this and today seems like a good day to start. I am transitioning back to being a stay at home mom after 4 years of being a working mom. There were times that were so hard financially that I worked 7 days a week just to make ends meet. I have such gratitude for the situation we are in now that will allow me to be home with my son.
I have new hopes for this blog.....mainly to document our frugal living, our back to basics natural living, and our financial goals as we save and dig out of debt in order to buy a house in the next few years. All of these things are intertwined with each other. We are practicing frugality by living as naturally as possible and by living naturally we save money and maintain better health. It is my intention to document this in this blog moving forward.
In the coming months we are planning to begin homeschooling as well. The beginning of summer starts the beginning of me being home full time with my son. I want to have an active but frugal summer filled with joy and fun and then begin our homeschool in the fall. Eventually I plan to school year round because I believe learning takes place organically at all times of the year but for this summer I want to slowly transition into our new lifestyle and come into a natural rythm before we introduce a schooling aspect.
I so looking forward to all that life has to offer us as we navigate the coming years.