February Recap-2017 Goals

Crafts, Debt Reduction, DIY, Faith, Finances, food, Frugal living, Home, Sewing, Uncategorized
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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.

 

–Lisa

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Terry calkins
    March 6, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I vote to buy an instapot. My daughter sent me one for Christmas. I use it several times a week. I can poach a whole chicken in30 minutes making the most wonderful chicken stock and wonderful tender chicken. When its done I take out all the chicken and let the pot cool down then refrigerate the broth right in the instapot liner. By the next day I can peel off every scrap of fat from the broth then put the liner back into the instapot and add veggies etc to make a fabulous veggie soup in 10 minutes. Its a winner. It will save you time money extra dishes all the while cooking low fat. Frequently I will fish those veggies out of the chicken soup to save for other uses and use the leftover broth to cook rice using the rice function….remember I still haven’t washed the liner! I could go on and on. But you get the idea!

    • Reply
      lisabrooks01
      March 6, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Thanks so much, Terry. I appreciate the comment–it really helps making the decision.

  • Reply
    Juls Owings
    March 6, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    I have a small instant pot…advice BUY THE LARGE ONE. My daughter with family of 7 has one, would kill anyone that tried to take it from her. She talked my SINGLE son into getting one and he uses it ALL the time. He does nutrisystem (2 jobs.) BOTH have the large ones, in fact my daughter has 2. One for the main entree and the other for the side. GO FOR IT. I regret having the small one. Will get a bigger one when I can afford it. As for the negative comment… blow it off…12K for a wedding is cheap . My one daughter paid for her own (we bought her dress and that stuff) and she told me even with my sister putting the flowers together that we grew ourselves, wedding dress and stuff bought and her friends doing the catering that she only bought the food and drinks it came in over $18 K. She had over 100 at the wedding with just family and close friends. Our dinner for Tday is at 40-50.

    • Reply
      lisabrooks01
      March 6, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      Thanks, Juls. I didn’t even mention that I wasn’t sure what size to get. I am SO glad you left this comment. I won’t even consider the small one. There are only three of us, but I was wondering if we should get the large one.

      I also appreciate your support about my daughter’s wedding. I think the venue we have chosen is lovely and a good value. Also, I work a lot of hours in a fairly stressful job so having an all inclusive venue will be so helpful. I think it will really allow me to relax and enjoy the day.

      I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

  • Reply
    Jenny
    March 6, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    It sounds like you are working really hard to achieve a lot of goals this year. Well done you for accepting so many challenges and working at them with grace.

    I haven’t personally used an instapot but I also have meal delivered and/ or I cook in bulk so I don’t usually need food quickly because my freezer had a lot of meals I can whip out and heat up.

    • Reply
      lisabrooks01
      March 6, 2017 at 10:08 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate you mentioning using a meal service. I have debated about it and whether it is frugal, but have decided that the value is good at this point in my life. I work a lot and want to make eating healthy easier.

  • Reply
    Linda walker
    March 6, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Hi Lisa,
    I absolutely agree with you that if you want to spend your hard earned money on making your daughter’s wedding dreams come true, you should. My daughter was married 2 years ago and the memories and photos that we have from a beautiful family occasion are priceless.
    Linda

    • Reply
      lisabrooks01
      March 6, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      Linda, thank you so much for your comment. The support really means a lot. Its a shame how some folks can be so unpleasant and judgemental.

  • Reply
    Paige Still
    March 7, 2017 at 10:46 am

    I will look forward to hearing about your meal service. I’ve been contemplating trying one out. I would not worry about the negative comment about the wedding. Some people are just negative thinkers. It seems in this time of wedding costs, that your budget is appropriate and reasonable. Do you sew other than quilt projects?

    • Reply
      lisabrooks01
      March 7, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      I do a little other sewing. I have made bags, curtains, pillow cases, jewelry holders. I am about to start a jacket–loose fitting, using some batik fabric. It is a kwik Sew patter and is supposed to be easy. I am definitely not a garment sewist. I made a bunch of tunic costumes for my church’s live Nativity, but that is very easy and loose fitting.

  • Reply
    Roberta in So. Cal.
    March 7, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    What a lovely wedding venue. How nice that you can bless your daughter and future son-in-law in this way.

  • Reply
    Becky
    March 8, 2017 at 10:04 am

    I was given an Instant Pot for Christmas and did not know if I would like it. I LOVE it! I have used it to make rice, refried beans, clam chowder, and more. I want to use it even more, I just have to get the time to find a few recipes and try them out until they become as natural as grabbing my Crock Pot, which has been my go-to for years. I am very, very busy as well, and have liked having it for those times when I didn’t plan well, need to be done in a hurry, didn’t fill the crock pot in the morning because I ran out too quickly, etc.

    Negative comments always hurt, and they are uncalled for. The reason you work hard and save money is so that you can spend it on whatever you want to. You may want a wedding right now. I may want to take a trip. We both might want to buy 20 lbs of chocolate and sit in the back room and gobble it up on stressful days. That’s the beauty of it–we get to decide. (We’d both better not decide on option #3, for obvious reasons!) The reality is that time is also a precious commodity. There are times when there simply is not time to cook a meal from scratch, or even go to 3 stores to get the best bargain. I think we all just do our best, and that’s all we can do. Hang in there.

  • Reply
    J
    March 9, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I just discovered your blog via Prudent Homemaker and I love it. My husband and I both work long hours as well, although I am currently on maternity leave after our 2nd baby. One thing that is important to remember when you work is time is money. So I am sure the meal service you subscribed to is totally worth it for you and your family. With regards to the wedding – enjoy!! My parents spent well on my wedding and it was beautiful. We were very frugal in some areas and spent well on others. Priorities, right? You have actually inspired me to write a post about weddings….soon. Good luck with your goals!!

  • Reply
    Mariana
    March 12, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Sorry to hear about some unpleasant comments. I got a couple throughout my ‘blogging career’ and they went straight to the ‘trash bin’. Not sure why people bother. It shall be as simple as the second grade “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. We are here to inspire and uplift each other! 🙂

    I see you have lots of sewing projects planned out. Hopefully you will have the time to work on them all. My sewing (and ironing) piles are growing again…

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