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February turned out to be a super busy month and I wasn’t able to post about my 2017 Goals. Here is my recap for the month.
1. Pay Down Our Mortgage
We added an additional principle payment to our February mortgage payment. We are going to try to continue this every month, however, due to our daughter’s wedding in October, we have also decided that, if needed, we will leave the option of just paying our regular payment.
Total extra paid in 2017–$1500.
2. Frugal Gift Giving
I am planning on making all gifts this year for Christmas. I have so much fabric in my stash and so many projects plans, that I can easily have a handmade gift for everyone—if I can get them all made!
3. Buy only what is essential and choose to buy used when possible.
I have been thinking a lot about what frugality means. So much of the time, frugality seems to equal deprivation. There are times in our lives where it is necessary to scale back to bare bones on spending. I have decided that I am not going to make this a priority in our lives right now. I don’t plan on going on a spending spree, but I also am not going to obsess about having to buy some items I want or need just to prove I can.
4. Plan and install Edible Landscaping
We are still not in the planting season. We will try to plant a few things in April, but we also know that there won’t be a large scale garden this year. With our daughter graduating from college and then getting married later this year, we just have to choose our priorities. The reality is that we just won’t have a lot of time to spend on this goal.
5. Look for new ways to cut spending.
If you have read 1-4, you might see that this isn’t going to be a big priority. However, I always try to not be wasteful. The basics: turn off lights, turn down the heat (wear a sweater), eat most meals at home, etc.
6. Look for side hustles to earn an extra $5000
My husband has picked up a tutoring session at school. Its just an hour, but a little extra each week will allow us to have the luxury of eating out a couple times a month, or buying something we want.
7. Declutter–Get rid of 1000 items.
I am slowly filling a box with unwanted clothing items. The box is living in our closet. It is almost full. We have about 50 clothing items so far. The real work on this goal will come when my husband is on Spring Break. I am taking a few days off that week and we can get some work done. Summer will also be a good time for this goal.
8. 10/7/17–Cash Flow our Daughter’s Wedding
We have worked out a plan where we are setting side a large chunk of my paycheck every two weeks to go into a sinking fund for the wedding. We are on track to have the entire goal amount of $12k in the sinking fund by the end of June.
The wedding venue we have chosen had an Open House/Tasting this month. We were able to see things set up and also taste all the different entrees, appetizers, some wines and cakes. It was a fun event and made everything real! Our daughter is getting married!!!
On a side note, I got a really UGLY comment when I first posted about spending this money on my daughter’s wedding. I deleted the comment, but it has made me think a lot about the definition of frugality and about how judgemental some folks can be about how we all spend our money. Basically, we have made this a priority, it is something we want to do to celebrate our daughter’s wedding, and we can afford it–we work very hard at our jobs and make a good living. We are not neglecting other bills or going into debt, we are saving for retirement and still working to pay off our debt (extra mortgage payments). Why should we be criticized or judged for wanting to make our daughter’s special day fun and beautiful?
We didn’t spend anything during February towards the wedding. My daughter’s dress got delivered along with all of the accessories. She and I need to go shopping for her shoes so that we can take the dress to be altered. She has to be wearing the shoes that she will wear at the wedding. The next thing to do is to decided on the invitations.
Total Spent so far $2386.00
Total in sinking fund now $2600
9. Lose 50 pounds
I have lost a total of 8 lbs. It is going too slow, but I have joined weight watchers online. I have also ordered a meal service for 4 nights of dinners next week. It is service that has a weight watchers plan. It is one of the services that delivers all the fresh ingredients and then you cook the meals. Again, some may consider this to not be frugal by their definition, however, when you work 50+ hours a week and have a long commute, as I do, this will be frugal since it will avoid the temptation to eat out. The other advantage is that there is no waste. I decided on the 4 person option. That will leave an extra serving that I can take for lunch. The meals turn out to be about $6 each per person. I will report back on how I like the service.
I am also considering purchasing an Instant Pot. I have been hearing a lot about the Instant Pot and some fellow weight watchers say it really helps with making health meals faster when you have a busy lifestyle. If you have an Instant Pot or have tried one, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I am going to wait a week or two before making the purchase to be sure I want one. I am also hoping that Amazon puts them on sale. I was thinking about purchasing the Instant Pot at Christmas and talked myself out of it. They had great sales on them before Christmas. Ugh!!!
Here is my breakfast from this morning. A light English Muffin, fried egg, 1 gm reduced fat cheese, sliced tomato and grapes. 5 Smart Points. Yum!
10. Devote time 3-4 days a week to Self-Care
Self care always seems to get pushed to the bottom of the list, but I did do better in February. Even though I worked a crazy amount of hours the first three weeks of the month, I did well the last week with leaving work on time. I have also fit in a couple of walks and some time in my sewing room.
11. Spend no more than $300/month on groceries
I ended up spending $341.09 on groceries in February. Some of that was at the very end of the month, so some of that food carried over to March. Even though the amount is over my goal, I am satisfied. Eating healthier is not inexpensive. $300 may not be realistic for 3 adults for a month who are trying to eat healthier.
12. Finish 12 sewing projects
I made a list of all of my projects. I have 25 projects that I have supplies/fabric already planned for and purchased. That doesn’t even count fabric in my stash that isn’t dedicated for a specific project. My list includes 8 projects that I have started and are in various stages of completeness. I worked this month on a lap size quilt that I am making with patriotic colored fabrics. I am planning on this as a gift to one of my nephews.
I want to finish as many projects as possible from my started projects by the time I go on a trip to Paducah, KY in late April. The big quilting convention is in April and I go with a group of quilty friends. I want to be able to buy some new things and I need to have some completed project to justify buying more supplies.
God Bless you all! I hope you had a great February. I hope we can all continue to support each other in our journey. Even though our definitions of FRUGAL may be different, we can still be supported and loving to each other.