Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Financial Goals and Frugal Accomplishments

I am still excited about the new year and all the possibilities that it seems to possess.  I have been pondering dreams and thinking of goals and adding to my to-do list
This year has the potential to be a very busy year with travels and transitions.  Christian will likely be graduating at the end of this year and will need to move on to a graduate program, this will involve a move and, prior to that, possibly even scouting trips.  He has been invited to go on an international relations related trip to China for honor students.  We would like to be able to make this happen.  Maceo and Bishop haven't seen their dad in a year and a half so it seems that a trip to South Korea is in order for the three of us.  It would be ideal if we could spend more time in New Mexico as my grandparents are ailing and I would love to visit my daughter in California.
All of this is very exciting but very daunting as well, as it will be very costly.  So, naturally, my attention turns to financial matters.  It will be necessary for me to take an honest look at my debt and expenditures and update my financial accountability log.  Of course, this has been added to the master to-do list.  I have also added a couple of other finance-related items to the to-do list including:

* doing my own version of the 52 week money challenge which will allow me to save close to $1400 by years end in a relatively painless manner.  This will help defray moving expenses for Christian.

*nspired by Patsy at A Working Pantry I will collect my change throughout the year and devote it to Christmas expenses.  December is typically a costly month for us with Christmas, property taxes due, vehicle registration due, and, hopefully, travel expenses (I really like to get my daughter home for Christmas, it means so much to both of us).  We anticipate that this December will be even more costly with Christian's graduation and pending move.  I must be prepared.

* also, inspired by The Prudent Homemaker, I will attempt to document my weekly frugal accomplishments.  I am hoping that this exercise will impact the way that I view even the smallest of my finance-related decisions.  I hope that it will inspire me to be more steadfast in doing the things that I know make a difference and more creative in finding new ways to make a difference financially.

For the purposes of accountability and inspiration, I am thinking that I will occasionally post an update on these particular items on my to-do list.
Consider this the first bit of documentation towards that end.
*52 Week Savings Plan:  There is presently $10 in that savings account.

*Christmas Jar of Change:  I started with a jar that I had already been dropping some change in to.  Now this jar is specifically for Christmas expenditures and will be added to with deliberate intent.  The jar's starting balance was $28.03.  At the end of last week I cleaned out my purse and found an additional $11.44 worth of change (no wonder my purse felt so heavy).  The current total in the jar is $39.47.  That is a nice start.

*And now for some of my favorite frugal accomplishments from last week:
-I had received a free pocket calendar from a local business while doing Christmas shopping and I have now tucked that calendar in to my purse and am using it to document my daily spending. 
-I returned to utilizing cash for grocery shopping to prevent me from going over my budget.
-I used a 40% off coupon for an educational-related item that was necessary to purchase.
-I utilized a $10 coupon at a local department store to purchase a really nice, warm shirt that was on clearance.  I paid $8.61 out of pocket.  This will be a 2014 Christmas gift for Bishop unless we find that he is in need of it sooner then that.
-I used fuel rewards points when filling up my vehicle.  It was a .30 per gallon savings.
-I bought a bag of lemons for the highly discounted price of .99.  I was originally planning to juice these and freeze the juice for future consumption; however, while dropping some items off at the thrift store, I serendipitously stumbled across a .25 book entitled The Science of a Lemon and the lemons then became the subject of numerous science experiments.  $1.25 makes for a frugal science curriculum.
-Another item on my master to-do list involves going through every nook and cranny of my property in order to purge and organize (I have presently taken two garbage bags and a box of items to the thrift store).  While sorting through items I have unearthed items that I had purchased as gifts and then promptly misplaced or tucked away in a place so hidden and safe that even I couldn't find them.  I have also been able to go "shopping" for gifts amongst the items that I was willing to let go (ie. someone will be getting a really fabulous vintage Christmas decoration as a gift for 2014 Christmas).  It has been really rewarding.

I am excited about becoming more disciplined and deliberate.  I am excited about the financial adventure that I am embarking on.  I am really excited about all the possibilities that this year holds. 

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