A brief year in reflection

A brief year in reflection

It’s 2019, can you believe it?  I have to say the year went by way to fast and I fell short on many of my life goals, not just the financial goals I set for myself.  I didn’t get my series finished and I’ve been beating myself up about that, but I’m working on giving myself a break.  Although the books are in various stages of completion I plan to keep at it and revisit the time line I laid out, adjusting it to more realistic levels with my hectic schedule.

Life happened, as it always does and we just weren’t prepared for the moments that seemed to bombard us one after the other.  There were times I just couldn’t seem to catch my breath, I felt as if everything happened all at once.  Although I have a strong faith, there were moments I questioned the purpose of the fire I felt surrounding me.

The unpreparedness of it all left me shaken but determined to better prepare for the inevitable that would always come.  The year of 2018 left my family of seven going from two incomes to one, car accident that left us without a car, major car repairs (not part of the accident), and the death of my dad.  It was his death that caused me the greatest setbacks as I found the desire to write hard, I put my books on hold, leaving my passion to the side as I tried to find the new norm.  I’m still trying to find the new norm.  The year also brought us joy and an unexpected promotion where I’m making more money and numerous moments I’m forever grateful for.

My setbacks weren’t complete failures, they were learning lessons for me to reexamine what I need to change in my spending and saving habits.  It reminded me I need to reexamine where I am on my goals.  I plan on doing better, much better with the New Year adjusting my goals and sticking with my plans.  I have goals I want to accomplish not just financial but milestones in my personal and career life as well.

2019 will include new challenges such as a change in the dynamics of my family, my oldest will be graduating in May and heading off to college.  Her leaving the nest means a need for an increase in my income to provide for the necessary expenses and emergencies that will come up for her.  The last thing I want is for her to worry about these will she is in school.

Some goals for the New Year:

  • Pay off my debt, I’ll have another post with my debt, the payment plan to getting it to zero, and keeping it there.
  • Buy my daughter a car with cash, deadline May 1, 2019.
  • Save an emergency fund. This is a goal that I will be working towards.  It will be difficult to accomplish this without finding ways of increasing my income, even with budgeting, but it is a goal with ways I hope to make this task accomplished.  In order to accomplish this I have to save half of my gross income.  It means drastically cutting unnecessary expenses.
  • Save towards my retirement. This is automatic for me – it comes out of my check and is matched through my company’s matching 401k program.  I will not be changing this, as I have the minimum deductions in order to get the match.
  • Save towards home down payment, this will be my biggest challenge, but I’m tired of paying someone else’s mortgage.  I have a plan set in motion to buy my own house by 2020.

Once a month I’ll revisit my goals and see if there are any new ones I want to add.  This blog is not only a journal of my goals to financial freedom, but a day to day log of my journey to having more.  By more I don’t mean just money, but more memories, time, and less worry.

 

Happy Savings!

Chrystal

 

 

Weekly Tip – DIY Cleaning

Weekly Tip – DIY Cleaning

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We’ve all seen the Pinterest posts about all the savings from natural diy cleaning products.  Create your own air freshener to not only save on harmful chemicals in your home but money in your pocket. Air fresheners sold in the store can be as expensive as $4 a bottle.  If you purchase just one bottle a month you’d be spending $48 on air freshener alone.  Imagine a whole arsenal of natural cleaning products you can make at home will save you.  My absolutely favorite cleaning products are vinegar and baking soda.

Weekly Tip – Coupons

Weekly Tip – Coupons

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Coupons please! At one time in my couponing days I would save 75% on my grocery shopping.  It takes time, but you can significantly reduce your grocery bill!  now many stores make it easy for you to save a few extra dollars by providing digital coupons.  You can download your store’s app, create an account and start adding your coupons today!  Not sure where to find coupons?  You can use a coupon clipping service.

Weekly Tip – Cut Water Usage

Weekly Tip – Cut Water Usage

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This week let’s look at ways to reduce our water usage.  I’m a big fan of long hot showers, with a house full of kids it’s sometimes the only place I have a moment of silence, to save on your water consumption limit your shower to 5-10 minutes.  A few ways we can reduce our water usage include

  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.
  • Turn off the water while soaping your hands.
  • Reuse your water.  Boil pasta, save the water to water your plants.  Shower, place a bucket to catch excess water you can water the plants, flush your toilet, mop you floors.
  • Fix water leaks.
  • Wash your car in the rain.
  • Replace your water wasting toilets and faucets.
  • Wash your dishes and clothes only when the machines are full.
  • Wash by hand and conserve water by using sinks and remember to turn the water off when washing.
  • Have  garden? Collect rainwater in  barrel to water them.  You can also use your collected rainwater to wash your car and pets.
  • Save as much as 15 gallons a day by placing a plastic bottle filled with sand or pebbles in your toilet tank. It’s a great alternative if you can’t replace your toilets with low flow toilets.

 

Valentines Day Tips

Valentines Day Tips

Valentine’s Day Tips Under Budget

The desire to spend lots of money often happens around February 14th. It’s a time when prior planning, savings, and budgets can go out the window to show loved ones how much you care. This Valentines use these helpful tips to keep your budget in tack and your spending under control.

1. Buy on sale. Just about every store will have some sort of sell for the upcoming holidays. Make sure you save big buy buying on sale. You can find heavily discounted jewelry this time of year.

2. Comparison shop. Find something in store you want to purchase, make sure you check the price online. Most stores will have a price match for the same item. If the store won’t price match, buy it online and save.

3. Create your own flower arrangement. My local Kroger often has flowers on sale, they are can be heavily discounted. Purchase a few bunches for a fraction of the online price and create a wonderful arrangement.

4. Think outside the box. Come up with a creative alternative to spending money like surprising your sweetie with a homemade lunch, bake some cookies, compile a book of love poems, create a photo book of memories of you two.

5. Create personalized notes. Leave personalized notes around for the whole month of February for your spouse.

6. Belated Valentines. You can shop the day after Valentines and get discounted chocolate for your significant other or even yourself. Just a word of warning, saving a few bucks by celebrating the holidays later could get you in the dog house.