Thursday, January 19, 2012

Yes, it's only January...

But I've got a bad case of Spring Fever!

It was 60 degrees today! Oh my goodness, it was beautiful. I did some yard clean up and sat daydreaming. Thinking of everything in bloom.

So, when I came back inside, I did what any normal person would do. I logged onto YouTube and watched homesteading/gardening videos. I just love to watch the video blogs. It makes me long for Spring. I start planning my garden. I look through gardening catalogs. I don't think of the 4 months or so of cold weather still ahead of me.

I also spent time cleaning out my files and my desk today. All of that shreded paper will be composted. I sprinkled it all over my garden. The melting snow helped to keep it from flying away. In the Spring, it will be turned under with the tiller.

Oh, Spring. Will you please hurry up?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Checking in

There are 13 days left in the month. That would make me over halfway through my budget. As part of my accountability, I will share where I am as of today.

All bills due the first half of the month were paid in full and on time.

For variable expenses:

grocery: I have my menu plans for the next 3 weeks, and just went shopping for all necessary ingredients. I have $117.30 left in my envelope. Yay!

Clothing: I've bought socks for the kiddo and a pair of pants for me. Total spent $15.56, I have $24.44 left.

Pets: we've had a very sick dog. We are way over our $200 budget. We've spent $617 so far.

My blow money: I've spent $14.08 so far. That leaves me $35.92.

Entertainment: we went bowling! That was fun we budget $40 a month. Bowling cost $35.96. Under budget!

Eating out: we've spent $48.98 of our $50 budgeted amount.

Hubby has spent $16.86 of his blow money.

And we are at $58.53 of budgeted $100 for misc expenses.

So, we are pretty much done eating out and going places for the month. That's okay, we have library DVDs and popcorn.

With the exception of vet bills, we are right on target. It has been a long time since I've been able to say that. This feels good!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ways I saved money this week...

There are so many ways to save money. Use coupons, shop around, reuse items, repair items or maybe even don't spend money at all.

These are some of the ways that I saved money this past week:

*I was so sick and wanted to just pick up dinner somewhere, but I made dinner!
*I was so tired after work, and wanted to order out, but I made dinner!
*I used up end bread pieces and buns, in place of making/buying rolls for dinner
*I made my lunch, on the two days that I worked, instead of buying lunch
*Instead of buying glass stove top cleaner, I used baking soda and vinegar. It looks like new!
*I was tempted to order a magazine subscription, but checked to see if my library carries it. They do!
*I need new dark pants for work, but I am going to wait until Monday. The thrift stores are having 50%
off sales for the holiday.
*I didn't do any shopping this week. I received a bunch of email ads as well as print ads and I didn't even look at them.
What I don't know about won't hurt me! Every little bit of saving adds up!

Ways I didn't save money? Major vet bills. Bummer.

We are almost halfway through the month. We are over budget on pet expenses, but under budget on everything else! I'll take it!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Getting ready for the holidays...all of them!

Since we have tightened our budget even further for 2012, many more gifts will be thrifted or homemade. For that reason, and not wanting to get stressed at the last minute, I've decided to start early.

I just went to the library and checked out many books on crafting, holidays and money saving. I will research and take notes. I will make many copies. I will get started next week, preparing for Valentines Day. The next gift giving holiday will be Easter and then summer birthdays.

I plan to be prepared this year. No more stressing out two weeks before Christmas when my crafting has barely begun. I will have my Christmas cards made by the end of summer.

Oh yes, I will!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dollar a day food challenges

I just finished watching this DVD, "Food Stamped" and am almost through reading this book, "On A Dollar A Day". If you are at all curious about how we spend money on our food, then I highly recommend both of these.

The DVD was not only informative, but also entertaining. {I confess to skipping through some of the statistical parts} I found this movie while browsing through my library. I was curious and checked it out. I'm glad that I did. The filmmakers took part in an experiment to see if they could live on what the government gives folks, in food stamp benefits, to live on for a week. They did not want to buy the cheap convenience foods, but wanted to continue to live on an organic healthy diet.

The book is similar. It is a another couple wanting to see if they could live on just $1.00 per person a day for food. {The movie had the couple living on $1.00 per meal.} The couple in the book are really struggling with hunger and exhaustion. So far, they are making it work. They also have a blog, but I haven't searched for it yet.

I do not plan to try either of these experiments, but it is eye opening. It made me take stock of how much was in my kitchen, that was considered non healthy convenience foods. I will confess to buying what some would call "crap". My family requests most of it, and I find coupons for it. I do plan on finding healthy, homemade alternatives. Watching the DVD did give me some great ideas as to ways to make cheap healthy meals.

I'm starting today. I plan to make chips from kale, snack bars from dates {similar to Larabars} and cookies and bread made from bananas. I am also planning to go through my recipe file and purge any non healthy recipes. I owe that much to my family. Some recipes and foods may be cheap, but the health of my family is more important. And I need to do this while staying under budget. Good luck me!

Monday, January 2, 2012


Um, so do you ever find yourself on a nice run or walk, and think hey..I can make it a few extra blocks/steps/yards/miles? Then you wake up the next morning and wish you hadn't done that?

That's me. And that's today.

Hello Advil, my old friend. Meet heating pad, my new friend.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 recap

To follow up on my sidebar goals...
2011 personal goals:

Pay extra on mortgage: goal ($1200) $667.36 poor planning and over spending prevented this
Pay student loans goal ($15,636) $13,073 and this from happening
Pay extra into savings $2330 {goal- $1200} got it!
Pay extra into IRA $440 {goal- $600} so close...
20 minute workout every day I will get this this year!
eat out only once per month we did spend less than the previous year!
expand veggie garden done!
preserve more foods from garden even though we lost the garden in a storm, I was able to replant and harvest some!
spend more time with friends did this!
new grocery budget...$525.00 per month! This remains a challenge, but it is far better than the $400 that I started the year out with!
20 minute devos daily: I need to prioritize and make time for myself daily, I am starting a new daily devotional today. I can do this!
read the Bible in a year: I finished with just about an hour to spare in the year!! Yay me!

I have really enjoyed this blog. I love how it makes you accountable. Someone is going to read your goals and wonder how you are doing. Its so awesome when someone comments. That makes my day.

I plan to work up new goals for the year and I think I will try to have monthy goals as well. I will try to post a few times per week. I love reading blogs, but can confess to not making time for my own.

I plan to increase my health. I want to lose those stubborn 5 pounds and increase my energy. I want to run up those stairs or ride my bike without being too winded! I can do this!

Happy New Year!

I did it!!!

I started out 2011 with the goal of reading the Bible in a year. I have studied books of the Bible, in a small group, and have studied Bible stories during church and independent study. I have tried before to complete this task, but life sometimes gets in the way and I fall behind. It's a real commitment, to say that you are going to read the Bible every day. I will be the first to admit that I don't remember or have time for daily devotions.

I have an hour left in 2011, and I just read the final book, Revelation!

I'm so proud of me.

Happy New Year!