Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just a quick post

I really couldn't think of a catchy post title, so what you see is what you get.

Several of the goals I set for myself in 2009 were a carry over from 2008. Since I had not mastered them in 2008, I thought I'd give them more attention in 2009. Sometimes a habit takes a while to catch on. So, here are more goals from my list for 2009. Several of these might be in prior posts..sorry..not a big news day today.

1. Save at least 10% of our paycheck EVERY paycheck .

I had been doing this in 2008, but found that due to overspending, I'd dip into the savings and spend that--and sometimes more. Not good. I know it is just the first two weeks of 2009, but I am going to pat myself on the back for not overspending and dipping into savings. I put 10% away and have been very careful with the budget that I have outlined for myself. Not that I haven't been tempted--I did slip on a pretty big yarn sale splurge, but I've been really careful to curb any other spending that I usually do since I did go a little off track.

I am going to work on the 10% goal for the next two months, with the goal of increasing this to 20% each check. That will get us on the path to having the suggested emergency fund as per Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover.

2. Make 2 week meal plans and stick to them.

I follow a couple bloggers who faithfully write out and follow meal plans, so I know they work.

The advantages of a meal plan is that I have a chance to look at our weekly grocery sale ads, find any matching coupons and can save money by planning my menus around the sale ads. Although the ads come out weekly, I plan 2 weeks at a time off one ad. If I see anything that is too good to pass up in the next week's ad, I purchase it. However, I have found that the advantage of doing a two week meal plan and doing the two weeks shopping on one or two days is that I do not go to the store as often and that cuts out the possibility of impulse buys.

I love knowing exactly what I am going to prepare that day. No standing in front of the fridge trying to put together a meal when I am tired and not thinking clearly. That's how we end up with the ingredients for soup getting used up for a side dish, then having to go to the store..Before I leave the house in the morning, I look at the menu and pull out anything that has to thaw. Easy. I can also look at the next day to see if there is anything that can be done towards prep work for the next day's meal. We're having chili tomorrow, so I will be cooking the meat and making the chili in the crockpot after I finish posting this. Tomorrow the pot gets pulled from the fridge and we take out what we need.

Eventually I will start doing once a month cooking to have prepared entrees waiting in the fridge at least part of the month. I figure if we have even 15 meals made ahead of time and frozen, that is 15 meals for days that might be too busy for regular cooking. No fast food has to be bought if there is something more nutritious in the freezer.

Another aspect to saving faithfully is that we are looking into getting a freezer in the next month. We did get some Christmas $ from my in-laws, and put that towards the freezer, so we are closer.

The savings goal goes hand in hand with the meal planning goal.

3. Lose weight.

I know, I could have picked a more original goal, but this one is a real need. Let's just say I have a significant amount of weight that I need to lose. I have lost about 6 pounds to date, but am working on more aggressive weight loss. I am a snacker and that needs to change, or my activity level needs to get bumped up. Probably both. We recently bought a resistance weight station from a friend that was not using her station and I am going to make time at least 30 minutes a day to do a resistance workout. This will start Friday night. I figure I can keep up a 30 minute workout.

4. Get my house decorated.

We brought a couple new pieces of furniture into the house over the past couple weeks, and they are basically just sitting in the middle of the room obstructing traffic. I also have dining room chairs to recover soon. I will purchase the batting that goes under the chairs next payday since I did blow a little on my impulse yarn purchase. Hopefully this will remind me of what impulsive purchases mean- that something else has to be delayed if that money is blown.

At this point, there are only 4 really big and important goals I am working on, but they are significant goals that will definitely help our house run smoother. I know we are hearing a lot about the recession and the impact it is having on everyone's household, so I am trying to get to the point I should have already been at. As bad as this sounds, the recession has been a long time coming. Again we Americans got too "spend friendly", and as history shows, all good things bottom out eventually. I saw this in the 80's when the bottom fell out of the oil market. I lived in Enid, Oklahoma at the time and everything revolved around oil. Overnight the bottom fell out and businesses closed. Since the money from oil had stopped coming in, people lost jobs, houses were foreclosed on...pretty much the same thing that is happening now. It is scarier now since I am older and the reality is that now we have a house payment. I am thankful that we bought a house below what is "normal" (3 times your annual income was "suggested as normal") and we don't have any car payments at this point. Still, it is scary since one business failure can have a domino effect on others.

What are you doing in your household to weather the storm?

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