40 Goals For 2017: Week 5

I’m keeping myself accountable this year by tracking my progress on my 40 Goals for 2017 every week. 

This post may contain referral/affiliate links.

Week Five

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000. I have $250 in my fund. The mister still hasn’t closed out his month yet.
  2. Cash flow 4 months of swim lessons at Aquatots for our son and older daughter: $1200. This will start in late May. I will be working more then and should be able to easily cash flow this.
  3. Save $3000 for HVAC replacement. Not yet.
  4. Save $4000 towards the mister’s car replacement fund. Not yet. Waiting to see the fallout from the ceiling repair.
  5. Save $1050 for Christmas. I transferred $88 to my savings fund.
  6. Save $1800 for outdoor playset.  We’re talking about moving to make sure we have space in case family needs to move in with us. We’re shelving this completely.
  7. Save $750 towards next year’s 2018 family vacation and $ 750 towards my 2018 40th birthday trip ($125/month). We have $113 from last year’s garage sale earnings that I put towards our vacation fund.
  8. Spend $500/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on entertainmentI spent $123.26 for groceries out of my $500/month budget this week.   I will get a $1.50 Ibotta rebate and $1 from Checkout 51 that will get tucked away and eventually added to my Roth IRA fund.  As far as entertainment, I spent nothing on activities this week, but I did spend $15 for a $30 Arcade day pass for my son’s birthday in three months, $10 for a $20 vegetarian restaurant group deal, and $8 for a special buy one child ticket get a free adult ticket to the new Beauty and the Beast movie. That’s $33 for February entertainment so far, even though they will be used in March, April, and May.
  9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks. Not this week!
  10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo. I maxed my January volunteer time with two Girl Scout meetings and one field trip to the police station. I also helped my neighbor with babysitting twice this week. I volunteered 5+ hours and donated $74.

Personal:

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I had three pieces of homework that I completed on time, plus I worked 21.5 of my practicum hours. Last week was not typical, and my usual number of hours will be more around 16 hours per week for the first 6 weeks. This does not include preparation time, so it was a rough week between practicum, the 16 hours I worked at my part-time job, the kids, and my homework.
  2. One date per month with the mister. Impromptu Chik-Fil-A date for January. Check! We have plans fora date in mid-February. I have a Groupon for this movie/fine dining place that we will use.
  3. Read 1 book/month. I did it! I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in January. I may have time for some more reading this Sunday to get a jump on February.
  4. Monthly me-time with friends. I met my two fellow Girl Scout troop leaders at a local place for drinks to plan some meetings and kvetch. I saw A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and lunched with a friend beforehand. My sister and I saw a show on Saturday and ate donuts in the park across the street beforehand. Monthly January outing with friends: check! I’m seeing Something Rotten at the end of February, so there is something lined up.
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nothing this week.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. This is going to be languishing until April.
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. It’s still in its container. My Aunt Judy gave me scrap fabric to practice with for Christmas. No time this week.
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake.  I made Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes in January and we are hosting a combined birthday party for the girls in two weeks. I am going to stretch my icing skills by making an Octonauts cake.
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily.  I have hit it 4 out of 7 days this week. I need to do better on days I am in clinical.
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. I made it through last week without eating trash! This week, I bought frozen pizza and we will have it ready for when I get home.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland. Sometime this summer.
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child. The girls and I did art several times. My son coached me on defeating Candy Crush. Our kindergartener and I played Sports Rivals on the Xbox One S with Kinect.
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. These are hiding in the closet.
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. We plan on making the girls’ combined birthday present a fish tank. We need to finish this weekend because that birthday party is coming up!
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. The clearing off I did is still intact and looking good.
  6. Get the toddler potty trained! We are using a free printable reward chart. Our youngest has been keeping dry pretty often during the day but still has daily accidents.
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope. They are now neatly stacked and ready to go though.
  8. Plant front yard tree. It’s still winter.
  9. Paint half bath. Not yet.
  10. Visit 6 different parks. Too cold!

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins courses. Not yet. School has the priority this week again.
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. Woefully behind again.
  3. Purchase the virtual real estate for the other four sites I want to create. Not yet. Waiting for a sale.
  4. Incorporate as an LLC. I am putting this off until after my practicum.
  5. Explore affiliates for my sites. I signed up for Share a Sale but need to look at which ones to work with.
  6. Double my daily traffic for Frugal Stepping Stones. I’ve hit it maybe one day this week.
  7. Start a monthly newsletter. Not yet.
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year. These are my most popular posts by far! I have the ideas for four more menus. This is on my agenda but no time last week with my bust practicum hours.
  9. Do one guest post. Not yet, but I have a few ideas where to reach out.
  10. Interview one person for the blog. I have someone who is interested in being interviewed.

How are your goals going?

 

40 Goals for 2017: Week 4

I’m keeping myself accountable this year by tracking my progress on my 40 Goals for 2017 every week. 

This post may contain referral/affiliate links.

Week Three

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000. I have $250 in my fund. The mister hasn’t closed out his month yet.
  2. Cash flow 4 months of swim lessons at Aquatots for our son and older daughter: $1200. This will start in late May.
  3. Save $3000 for HVAC replacement. Not yet.
  4. Save $4000 towards the mister’s car replacement fund. Not yet. Waiting to see the fallout from the ceiling repair.
  5. Save $1050 for Christmas. I transferred $88 to my savings fund.
  6. Save $1800 for outdoor playset.  We’re talking about moving to make sure we have space in case family needs to move in with us. We’re shelving this completely.
  7. Save $750 towards next year’s 2018 family vacation and $ 750 towards my 2018 40th birthday trip ($125/month). We have $113 from last year’s garage sale earnings that I put towards our vacation fund.
  8. Spend $500/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on entertainmentI spent $119.25 for groceries out of my $500/month budget this week.  My monthly total was $502.93. I will get a $1 Ibotta rebate, $0.25 from Savings Star, and $0.75 from Checkout 51 that will get tucked away and eventually added to my Roth IRA fund.  As far as entertainment, I spent $10 on parking when I went to see a show. My sister and I got milk and donuts beforehand at Holtman’s Donuts for a cheap $3. This place was featured by Alton Brown as one of his favorite’s in the US. We tried the maple bacon donut to be adventurous, and it was good! We could barely taste the bacon. It was more of a slight salty counterpoint to the sweet maple donut.
  9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks. Not this week!
  10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo. So far, I have given 90 minutes of my time to the Girl Scouts. We have a meeting tonight, plus a field trip to the police station on Saturday,and that should max my volunteer hours. The kindergarten was raising funds for a local foster program, and we donated $2. We sent in about 50 box tops that the school collects as a fundraiser, half of which my MIL kindly collected for me. I also donated $10 to another organization. My monthly charity total is $74. Tip: if you collect box tops, use a magnetic clip on the fridge to hold your box top baggie for easy collection.

Personal:

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I completed an orientation last week for my OB clinical site. Today my practicum officially begins! I have three quick pieces of writing to do, two of which I completed this morning. I am touching base with my preceptors today, but I will start planning my project, getting an idea of what is going on in the three classes I am teaching, and will help run  a labor and delivery simulation Thursday and Friday. Thursday night I will sit in on the population health class I teach for my shadowing hours. Tomorrow the girls go to the sitter so I have uninterrupted time to prepare and do work.
  2. One date per month with the mister. Impromptu Chik-Fil-A date. Check! We are planning an in-home date night Saturday night. I’m going to try and make our own Chick-Fil-A nuggets and we will use a free Redbox code to rent a movie.
  3. Read 1 book/month. I did it! I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child , finishing up last night. I have now started reading Joan Chittister’s The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century. I have been reading some historical cooking blogs about medieval monastery food, and am interested to read about other monastic rules and traditions as well as modern interpretations.
  4. Monthly me-time with friends. I met my two fellow Girl Scout troop leaders at a local place for drinks to plan some meetings and kvetch. I saw A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and lunched with a friend beforehand. My sister and I saw a show on Saturday and ate donuts in the park across the street beforehand. Monthly outing with friends: check!
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nothing this week.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. This is going to be languishing until April.
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. It’s still in its container. My Aunt Judy gave me scrap fabric to practice with for Christmas. No time this week.
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake. The toddler officially became a preschooler last week and I made Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes and fancy icing using a YouTube tutorial
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily.  I have hit it 4 out of 7 days this week so far.
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. It starts this week. Last week I ate a packed snack and water from my bottle instead of hitting the cafeteria. This week I have to drive to Richmond twice,and I will be using the same strategy. On Thursday I drive straight from OB clinicals to another class I m teaching, and I will have to bring twice as much.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland. Sometime this summer.
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child. The Boy had a man’s night with the Mister on Saturday. He had a robotics tournament and I took the girls to Grandma’s while my sister and I saw a show, then we spent the night. The menfolk had pizza and an epic video game night. The girls and I each did art projects during the week. The Toddler and I have done some bean counting, and the Kindergartener and I worked on her Montessori Hundred Board.
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. These are hiding in the closet.
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. We plan on making the girls’ combined birthday present a fish tank. We want to be ready by their birthday party next month. We didn’t do any more clearing off this week, but have kept up the progress from last week.
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. I spent Sunday afternoon working on this. It has four shelves and I took out all of the books and dusted the three main shelves. I then replaced the most important books and sent a few non-sellable books to the Goodwill box. It looks pretty good, but I need to tackle the top and find homes for things. I have a box of old grade school papers and mementos and have no idea how to preserve and keep them. Any ideas?
  6. Get the toddler potty trained! We are using a free printable reward chart. Our youngest has been keeping dry pretty often during the day. She has a cold this week and is fighting it a bit, but we are keeping on keeping on.
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope. They are now neatly stacked and ready to go though.
  8. Plant front yard tree. It’s still winter.
  9. Paint half bath. Not yet.
  10. Visit 6 different parks. Too cold!

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins courses. Not yet. School has the priority this week again.
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. I’m working on this today.
  3. Purchase the virtual real estate for the other four sites I want to create. Not yet. Waiting for a sale.
  4. Incorporate as an LLC. I am putting this off until after my practicum.
  5. Explore affiliates for my sites. I signed up for Share a Sale but need to look at which ones to work with.
  6. Double my daily traffic for Frugal Stepping Stones. I’ve hit it maybe two days this week.
  7. Start a monthly newsletter. Not yet.
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year. These are my most popular posts by far! I have the ideas for four more menus. This is on my agenda for this week.
  9. Do one guest post. Not yet, but I have a few ideas where to reach out.
  10. Interview one person for the blog. I have someone who is interested in being interviewed.

How are your goals going?

 

40 Goals For 2017: Week 3

I’m keeping myself accountable this year by tracking my progress on my 40 Goals for 2017 every week. 

Week Three

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000. We’ll see where we are end of month.
  2. Cash flow 4 months of swim lessons at Aquatots for our son and older daughter: $1200. This will start in late May.
  3. Save $3000 for HVAC replacement. Not yet.
  4. Save $4000 towards the mister’s car replacement fund. Not yet.
  5. Save $1050 for Christmas. Not yet.
  6. Save $1800 for outdoor playset. Week three and we are already scratching this! We ordered a new toilet for our upstairs bath, and the mister will be installing it himself.  We are still letting every layer in that ceiling air out, and our dehumidifier has been working overtime. Sometime in the next couple of weeks we will start getting estimates, once the toilet is here and the mister has replaced it. Of course, Murphy called again this week and we had to replace all four tires on the van. That was $1300. We have another issue that has come up and we’re not sure we’ll be in this house long-term. We’re shelving this completely.
  7. Save $750 towards next year’s 2018 family vacation and $ 750 towards my 2018 40th birthday trip ($125/month). We had a garage sale last year and I put the cash in a box,and that box seems to have gotten tucked away in a drawer. I found it while cleaning this week. We have $113 in there that I am putting towards our vacation fund.
  8. Spend $500/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on entertainmentI spent $134.28 for groceries out of my $500/month budget this week.  I will get a $0.25 Ibotta rebate that will get tucked away and eventually added to my Roth IRA fund. Why bother fussing with those rebates? Just $5 per week adds up to $260 to add to my fund by the end of the year. That’s about 5% of what I need to save to max my Roth.  As far as entertainment, we spent $9.50 on Bill’s Donuts.
  9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks. Not this week!
  10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo. So far, I have given 90 minutes of my time to the Girl Scouts. We have one more meeting, plus a field trip to the police station this month. We had an ice storm and I cancelled my Gifted Children’s Association meeting.  I donated $35 towards cancer research beyond what I give monthly to sponsor a child, so my giving goal is met. I am donating our Pack’n Play to a young mother at a local foster program we support, and I donated one of my Broadway Series tickets to charity, as I wasn’t too keen on seeing The Little Mermaid.

Personal:

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I was up until 10 last night completing the last of my homework for this class session. Today is a new week, and we have a break!  I will have to head to Indiana University East to do a few things to be ready to start clinical next week, so my mother will hold down the homestead. I will have to email IT at my school to get myself added to one of the classes I am teaching, but other than these things I can take a break. Next week begins a busy 10 weeks of student teaching.
  2. One date per month with the mister. Impromptu Chik-Fil-A date. Check!
  3. Read 1 book/month. I am going to indulge this week. I have Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and intend to read both if I can. I got both for free using a coupon code and credit card rewards on Amazon.
  4. Monthly me-time with friends. I met my two fellow Girl Scout troop leaders at a local place for drinks to plan some meetings and kvetch. I saw A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and lunched with a friend beforehand. Monthly outing with friends: check! On Saturday my sister and I are having dinner and seeing a drag show, while my mom babysits the girls and the mister and the boy have a man’s night. I bought the tickets for the show months ago.
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nothing this week.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. This is going to be languishing until late spring.
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. It’s still in its container. My Aunt Judy gave me scrap fabric to practice with for Christmas. No time this week.
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake. The toddler officially became a preschooler today. It’s her 3rd birthday. I am making Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes and will try to fancy up the icing using a YouTube tutorial.
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily. I started keeping track on MyFitnessPal again.  I have hit it every day this week so far.
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. It starts the last week of January. My clinicals will be from 12p-5p once a week with an hour drive each way. I won’t need a meal break but I think I may bring a small cooler in my van with cheese, crackers, jerky, nuts, and bottled water for the drive home.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland. Sometime this summer.
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child. The girls and I did this marbled paper shaving cream art project. I played with our youngest while she practiced to count with dried fava beans. The boy and I watched a couple episodes of the new Lemony Snickets series on Netflix together.
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. These are hiding in the closet.
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. We plan on making the girls’ combined birthday present a fish tank. We want to be ready by their birthday party next month. This looks cluttered and messy but was way worse. The mister spent his day off recycling old art, throwing things out, and organizing the craft supplies. He even bought an extension for our rainbow drawers. We are getting close to goal with this.
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. I haven’t done any extra this week as it was a double homework week. Nothing has been piled back on there though.
  6. Get the toddler potty trained! We are using a free printable reward chart. Our youngest has been keeping dry pretty often at the sitter’s house. She has worn underwear most days this week at home, with a few refusals.  Slowly but surely…
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope. But my SIL sent us a framed family portrait from my in-laws’ 50th anniversary, and I hung it right away above the piano.
  8. Plant front yard tree. It’s still winter.
  9. Paint half bath. Not yet.
  10. Visit 6 different parks. Too cold!

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins courses. Not yet. School has the priority this week again.
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. I’ve been in school emergency still mode and have not posted once. This week!
  3. Purchase the virtual real estate for the other four sites I want to create. Not yet. Waiting for a sale.
  4. Incorporate as an LLC. I am putting this off until after my practicum.
  5. Explore affiliates for my sites. I signed up for Share a Sale but need to look at which ones to work with.
  6. Double my daily traffic for Frugal Stepping Stones. Facebook locked me out from posting for most of this week. It claims I had a virus and wants me to download something. (This is legit, we checked). However, I have not been hacked and no viruses, my husband checked. Apparently if you wait it out, they give you access back.  I could upload pictures and comment on posts, but I can’t share a link until 3 PM today.  I get a lot of Pinterest traffic, but some from Facebook too, so my stats are a little lower. It just shows you, don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
  7. Start a monthly newsletter. Not yet.
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year. These are my most popular posts by far! I have the ideas for four more menus. This is on my agenda for this week.
  9. Do one guest post. Not yet, but I have a few ideas where to reach out.
  10. Interview one person for the blog. I have someone who is interested in being interviewed.

How are your goals going?

 

40 Goals for 2017: Week 2

I’m keeping myself accountable this year by tracking my progress on my 40 Goals for 2017 every week. 

Week Two

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000. We’ll see where we are end of month.
  2. Cash flow 4 months of swim lessons at Aquatots for our son and older daughter: $1200. This will start in late May.
  3. Save $3000 for HVAC replacement. Not yet.
  4. Save $4000 towards the mister’s car replacement fund. Not yet.
  5. Save $1050 for Christmas. Not yet.
  6. Save $1800 for outdoor playset. Our 6 year old flooded the kids’ bathroom two days ago, causing it to rain in our living room, and we had to cut a hole in the downstairs ceiling to let it dry out and keep mold from growing. Depending on the cost to fix the ceiling, we may be nixing this goal. Stay tuned. 
  7. Save $750 towards next year’s 2018 family vacation and $ 750 towards my 2018 40th birthday trip ($125/month). Not yet.
  8. Spend $500/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on entertainmentI spent $126.02 for groceries out of my $500/month budget this week.  I will get a $1 Ibotta rebate that will get tucked away and eventually added to my Roth IRA fund. Why bother fussing with those rebates? Just $5 per week adds up to $260 to add to my fund by the end of the year. That’s about 5% of what I need to save to max my Roth.  As far as entertainment, we spent an impromptu $30 at Chick-Fil-A where we let the kids run wild and we had “date” time on Saturday, and I spent $18 on lunch and parking on Saturday before seeing a show. We’re already at$63!
  9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks. Not this week!
  10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo. Yesterday we had our Daisy troop meeting from 615-745. That clocks 90 minutes for me this week.

Personal:

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I was up to the wee hours Sunday night completing all of my portfolio submissions. I was up until 10 last night completing all of my homework that was due by midnight. Today is a new week, and we have work due in two classes instead of one. *sob* I had a meeting with my clinical preceptors at Indiana University East and we have set all of my clinical dates. It will all be OB, and I think it will be fun. I love OB! My preceptor sent a couple copies of the books home with me, so I didn’t have to purchase them. I also learned the campus police will allow me to park as a visitor as long as I check in every time I go there, so no need to buy a parking pass. I bought the books I needed to teach an online session of Leadership and Management, and since I will be helping to rewrite the course as part of my master’s project experience, I only had to buy books for a single class. I used my $25 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks to help with the costs. I did have to spent $72 to buy a scrub top, pants, and lab coat, and replace my watch, which appears to have croaked. Since I will probably be teaching again at some point, and am considering subbing as a school nurse in our district, that watch purchase is not a waste. I bought the scrubs on sale and I can sell my scrubs on Ebay if I need to do so.
  2. One date per month with the mister. Impromptu Chik-Fil-A date. Check!
  3. Read 1 book/month. There will be no time until next week.
  4. Monthly me-time with friends. I met my two fellow Girl Scout troop leaders at a local place for drinks to plan some meetings and kvetch. I saw A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and lunched with a friend beforehand. Monthly outing with friends: check!
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nothing this week. So. Much. Homework.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. This is going to be languishing until late spring.
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. It’s still in its container. My Aunt Judy gave me scrap fabric to practice with for Christmas. No time this week. My friend Dawn is talking about coming up for a visit and teaching me to sew.
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake. I am detoxing from the holidays. No cake and cookies for us- at least until our Girl Scout Cookies are delivered.
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily. I started keeping track on MyFitnessPal again.  I have hit it every day this week so far.
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. It starts the last week of January. My clinicals will be from 12p-5p once a week with an hour drive each way. I won’t need a meal break but I think I may bring a small cooler in my van with cheese, crackers, jerky, nuts, and bottled water for the drive home.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland. Sometime this summer.
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child. This week may be a bit of a fail. I have had to sequester myself writing papers.
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. These are hiding in the closet.
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. Don’t tell my kids, but I secretly threw away a few of the broken toy bits that had been shoved up on that counter.
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. I was forced to move things around to try and find out if I had some of the old textbooks from my BSN program. (Nope, I sold them all). I have three bankers boxes full of books in my hall now, but I shredded and recycled quite a few papers. I now have space on the bookcase to actually put all of my nursing texts. As a bonus, my wallet had been falling apart and I knew I had a Tommy Hilfiger wallet that my SIL gave me when she worked for Tommy Europe years ago. I just couldn’t find it! I found it on the bookcase and am now using it instead of buying a wallet on Ebay.
  6. Get the toddler potty trained! We are using a free printable reward chart. She had been refusing to even consider wearing underwear, and she let me put some on last night. She peed on our floor 4 times before bed.
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope.
  8. Plant front yard tree. It’s still winter.
  9. Paint half bath. Not yet.
  10. Visit 6 different parks. Too cold!

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins courses. Not yet. School has the priority this week again.
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. I’ve been in school emergency mode and have not posted once.
  3. Purchase the virtual real estate for the other four sites I want to create. Not yet. Waiting for a sale.
  4. Incorporate as an LLC. I am putting this off until after my practicum.
  5. Explore affiliates for my sites. I signed up for Share a Sale but need to look at which ones to work with.
  6. Double my daily traffic for Frugal Stepping Stones. My traffic was up this week! Several days I hit double what I usually hit.
  7. Start a monthly newsletter. Not yet.
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year. These are my most popular posts by far! I have the ideas for four more menus. This is on my agenda for this weekend after I finish my school work.
  9. Do one guest post. Not yet, but I have a few ideas where to reach out.
  10. Interview one person for the blog. I have someone who is interested in being interviewed.

How are your goals going?

 

40 Goals for 2017: Week 1

I’m keeping myself accountable this year by tracking my progress on my 40 Goals for 2017 every week. 

Week One

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000. We’ll see where we are end of month.
  2. Cash flow 4 months of swim lessons at Aquatots for our son and older daughter: $1200. This will start in late May.
  3. Save $3000 for HVAC replacement. Not yet.
  4. Save $4000 towards the mister’s car replacement fund. Not yet.
  5. Save $1050 for Christmas. Not yet.
  6. Save $1800 for outdoor playset. Not yet.
  7. Save $750 towards next year’s 2018 family vacation and $ 750 towards my 2018 40thbirthday trip ($125/month). Not yet.
  8. Spend $500/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on entertainmentI spent $123.38 for groceries out of my $500/month budget this week.  I will get a $5 Ibotta rebate that will get tucked away and eventually added to my Roth IRA fund. Why bother fussing with those rebates? Just $5 per week adds up to $260 to add to my fund by the end of the year. That’s about 5% of what I need to save to max my Roth. I spent $15 at a restaurant Monday night. Saturday I see a show using tickets through a subscription I bought last year. I will have to pay for parking and lunch though-maybe $15?
  9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks. Not this week!
  10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo. I had an hour-long orientation session for a local organization that works with refugees and immigrants. We sponsor a child in Guinea through Plan USA, and have paid our $27 sponsorship fee for the month (I have been sponsoring since 1996, so my fee is lower than a new sponsor fee.)

Personal:

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I have 8 portfolio submissions due by 1/9/17. I completed one on Monday, two on Tuesday, and two are planned for today. The remaining three will be done this weekend on Saturday/Sunday. I submitted three required documents for my practicum and followed up with two preceptors whot still need to sign and submit the agreements. I talked with one preceptor for 30 minutes on Monday to discuss my goals for my onsite teaching experience and I have good footing to start preparing for that teaching experience. I completed one homework submission on Tuesday and have one planned for today. I will do the third, fourth, and fifth over the next two days,since I need to focus on my portfolio this weekend. If I have to, I can finish homework on Monday that is due that night at midnight
  2. One date per month with the mister. No dates this week!
  3. Read 1 book/month. I put a few things on hold on the digital library app, but I have no time to read between homework and my portfolio.
  4. Monthly me-time with friends. I met my two fellow Girl Scout troop leaders at a local place for drinks to plan some meetings and kvetch. I’m seeing A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder on Saturday and will lunch with a friend beforehand. Monthly outing with friends: check!
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nothing this week.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. This is going to be languishing until late spring.
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. It’s still in its container. My Aunt Judy gave me scrap fabric to practice with for Christmas. No time this week.
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake. I am detoxing from the holidays. No cake and cookies for us.
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily. I started keeping track on MyFitnessPal again.  I have hit it everyday this week so far.
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. It starts the last week of January. No planning done yet.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland. Sometime this summer.
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child. I played with the toddler on Sunday while the other two were occupied. I played Battleship with my son yesterday and am plotting some Easy Bake Oven time with the soon-to-be six-year-old before Saturday.
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. These are hiding in the closet.
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. There was a random roll of wrapping paper sitting in that mess and I put it in the gift bag tote in the basement. Does that count?
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. My son’s old coats were sitting on the pile and I sent them back to the closet. I went through a small stack of papers and shredded them..
  6. Get the toddler potty trained! We are using a free printable reward chart. At least she isn’t refusing to sit on the potty every time,but she is still going in her pull-up a few times a day.
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope.
  8. Plant front yard tree. It’s still winter.
  9. Paint half bath. Not yet.
  10. Visit 6 different parks. Too cold!

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins courses. Not yet. School has the priority this week.
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. I got one post done this week. It’s been so long, I had to scramble around to find my login password!
  3. Purchase the virtual real estate for the other four sites I want to create. Not yet. Waiting for a sale.
  4. Incorporate as an LLC. I am putting this off until after my practicum.
  5. Explore affiliates for my sites. I signed up for Share a Sale but need to look at which ones to work with.
  6. Double my daily traffic for Frugal Stepping Stones. Not yet.
  7. Start a monthly newsletter. Not yet.
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year. These are my most popular posts by far! I have the ideas for four more menus. Stay tuned mid-month for the first of those!
  9. Do one guest post. Not yet, but I have a few ideas where to reach out.
  10. Interview one person for the blog. Not yet.

How are your goals going?

Forty Goals For 2017

Am I the only one who loves making lists and plotting out a budget? The beginning of the year is an especially delightful time for me, because I can see where our goals hit and where we get to take them this year.

When you make your plan every day, every week, and every month, you are more likely to hit those big yearly goals. The key is to make them realistic and part of your habits. Write down what you would like to achieve this year and then do yourself a favor and rewrite, dialing each goal down a notch.

I don’t dread the end of the year because I know that for the most part I’m going to be high-fiving myself. 

My High-Fives for 2016

  1. I stopped drinking tea with sugar or honey. I really thought I would never get used to it, but I did! I only use honey now when I have a sore throat.
  2. My cholesterol labs were normal for the first time in my entire adult life. Even when I was a skinny 20 year old vegetarian, they were whacked out. We switched to grass-fed meat and eggs, I added chia seeds to my diet, popped fish oil, and dropped fast food to once a month at most. Boom! All normal.
  3. I worked up to being able to plank for 30 seconds. I couldn’t even get into the position laying flat on the ground when I started. After 3 c-sections and a gallbladder surgery in the past 9 years, I never thought I would get strength back.
  4. I won a $2500 scholarship! I applied for over 20 scholarships and won one of them.
  5. I maintained a 3.8 in grad school while working and managing our children.
  6. I got life insurance.
  7. I helped write two chapters of a textbook.
  8. The mister and I maxed our Roth IRAs.
  9. We paid cash for my graduate school tuition.
  10. We have a new roof.
  11. I got an Indiana nursing license.
  12. We finally got away by ourselves to a Star Trek convention and met William Shatner.
  13. I doubled my daily blog hits.

As we enter 2017, here are my Big Forty, 10 goals for each area of my life. 

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000
  2. Cash flow 4 months of swim lessons at Aquatots for our son and older daughter: $1200
  3. Save $3000 for HVAC replacement
  4. Save $4000 towards the mister’s car replacement fund (we want to pay cash instead of financing)
  5. Save $1050 for Christmas ($85 per month)
  6. Save $1800 for outdoor playset
  7. Save $750 towards next year’s 2018 family vacation and $ 750 towards my 2018 40th birthday trip ($125/month). Because my grad program has been stretched out to July and the mister is saving his vacation days to help out if a family member needs surgery, we will only be going to Cleveland to see family this year.
  8. Spend $500/mo on groceries and no more than 100/mo on entertainment
  9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks. I know where I am putting it, I just have procrastinated.
  10. Give: 5 volunteer hours and at least $50/month. Since I am a Girl Scout leader and am starting up a parent affiliate of our state’s gifted children association , those volunteer hours are going to be easy.

Personal:

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I cannot wait to be done.
  2. One date per month with the mister.
  3. Read 1 book/month. Let’s face it, with school going on for half the year, anything more is unrealistic.
  4. Monthly me-time with friends. This is a mental health necessity.
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Once school is over, I want to write for me again.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. I started it when the boy was still baking in the oven. He turns 9 in May. I have a month-long break in March and I plan to watch copious Netflix and crochet.
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. I bought this adorably retro Singer Sewing Machine on Black Friday and this beauty is getting used. I have Girl Scout patches to sew, but I also want to try something super simple like a hot rice bag. Ultimately I’d like to make my own period costume, like the ones in my DIY Sewing Pinterest board. 
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake. I am going to try this Octonauts cake in February.
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily.
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. I’m a stress eater, and one of my clinical sites is an hour away. Another clinical is a 4 hour long class. This will take some planning.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. We have a high counter that separates our kitchen and sun room. It is basically a hot spot for collecting junk we don’t want the toddler to get. A fish tank will keep us from dumping things there again.
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. We have quite the pile on and around our bookcase in our study, including my son’s old coats that need to be sold. I figure I can commit to clearing out a corner and won’t be so overwhelmed that I will procrastinate and never do it.
  6. Get the toddler potty trained! Seriously, we are ready to be a diaper-free household.
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. I have all these original sci-fi pictures that need to be hung yesterday.
  8. Plant front yard tree. Since the tree fell on our house, the front of the house gets broiled by the sun in the afternoon. We really need to get a tree in there this spring. 
  9. Paint half bath. We have always hated the color. Eleven years later and we still haven’t painted. Once I finish school, this is on my agenda.
  10. Visit 6 different parks. We have so many great and free places to go here. We need to take advantage of them.

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins courses. I have done some but not all of them. Since I took Brilliant Pins, my Pinterest followers have doubled.
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. It’s the website I wish existed when I was pregnant.
  3. Purchase the virtual real estate for the other four sites I want to create.
  4. Incorporate as an LLC.
  5. Explore affiliates for my sites.
  6. Double my daily traffic for Frugal Stepping Stones.
  7. Start a monthly newsletter.
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year.
  9. Do one guest post
  10. Interview one person for the blog

What are your goals this year?

This post contains affiliate links.

Playing The Long Game: Personal Finance Edition

I’m a Game of Thrones fan, and I have been tuning in every week with my free HBO Now 30 day trial this month. If you watch the show then you know this world is full of plotters and schemers,  some of them obvious and some of them still pulling invisible strings for an end game we can’t even comprehend yet.

What this world has in common with ours is that we all play our own game of thrones in a way, making chess moves that we think will bring us to the life we want.  The truth is, some of us plan ours out carefully, and some of us kind of bumble around, reacting to what is in front of us or following our desires, until sometimes we find ourselves up you-know-what creek. Now, we can end up in that creek no matter how carefully we plan (I’m thinking catastrophic illness, etc.), but it’s less likely if we carefully consider our moves.

From Game of Thrones Wikia
From Game of Thrones Wikia

Sometimes when I am up until midnight writing a literature review for school or tweaking a website or running downstairs to soak some dried beans so they will be ready for the next day, I am reminded of Littlefinger carefully making a small move here and a small move there to be prepared for larger and larger moves as the game moves on. The short game might yield me pennies or dollars. It may also yield me some stressful late nights as I work on an extra project that will take a long time to build and have no appreciable short-term gains, but in the long game it could potentially yield a gold mine of passive income or be a source of flexible work opportunity.

Take this blog, for example. It has cost me a lot of time to get it up and running, and has just started to earn a few dollars every month. As I tweak it and grow it, I hope it will start bringing in a little more. My graduate degree is a potential source of flexible at-home work income.  A retirement account is similar, adding to the stockpile and steadily growing until it is enough to support you a few decades down the line.

Looking at the short term gains and the short term costs can be discouraging. Why bother eating lentils and rice? Why drive that old beater car? Why subject yourself to a few years of late nights going back to school?

An old friend once told me that there are only so many chess moves you can make in life, so don’t mess up your end game by starting out with bad moves. An extraordinarily bad move might destroy your end game completely. Some extraordinarily good moves might bring you to checkmate much faster than expected.

I myself have made some bad moves (choosing an anthropology program the first go round instead of nursing or pharmacy) and some better moves (choosing the in-state school I can commute to that offered me a full scholarship over the out of state private college with the six-figure price tag). While the end goal for us is having enough to free us from working, you can start thinking of your own end goal and the moves it might take to get you there. Even if you are already retired, it’s not too late for a financial goal, whether it be to live within your means, have a legacy for family or charity, or have enough to be buried without straining your family.

What about you? What are you doing to up your long game?

 

Our Garage Sale Plan: Check-In

Garage Sale

About a month ago I wrote about our plan to hold our first garage sale to hopefully earn some money for our 2017 Disney trip while getting rid of a lot of stuff.

This Saturday is the sate of our sale, and I wanted to give an update on my plotting and planning.

I probably shouldn’t have, but I picked up three shifts for this week, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Yes, that’s the three days before the sale. I don’t have much choice about the days I work, though, as I work on days my coworkers take off, and I need to earn something to avoid decreasing our savings rate. It’s just going to be a couple late nights!

Monday I took the toddler to Hobby Lobby while the older two were in school and bought price stickers and poster board. Yesterday, I decorated those boards and priced most of what I had stashed in the garage sale pile.

I also am planning to sell food and drinks. I have two cases of water from Aldi and a huge pack of Aldi hot dogs. I have made and frozen two dozen batches of cinnamon rolls, and will make and freeze two more batches before Saturday. Friday I will bake oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, and snickerdoodle cookies and run to Aldi after work to buy hot dog buns and to Kroger to buy ice for the cooler.

We are going to move our garage sale pile to the garage tonight and pull that and the tables out at the crack of dawn Saturday. I plan on being out there by 6:30 for the early birds. My husband will start grilling hot dogs at 11 while my sister watches the kids.

I am going to drag the water table to the front yard and duct tape long skinny tubes of bubbles to the tree out front to give the kids something to do.

I also decided to print out business cards for my blog to hand out to customers. Wish us luck!

 

Make A Plan: One Week At A Time

Frugal SteppingStones.com

This post contains affiliate links.

Make a plan, then make that plan happen.

Here’s my plan for this week:

School:

  • Four pieces of class work due by Saturday at midnight, including a group PowerPoint presentation.  I work three days this week, so I did one assignment on Sunday to work ahead.  My girls are at the sitter Thursday so we can go to an appointment, and my mother comes over Wednesday when I am off, so I will get the majority of what I have to do done on those days.
  • I have to prep one assignment for my master’s portfolio and will do that next Sunday. I have submitted three of seven that are due by April 14th, so this is basically one extra paper per week until then. Yay?
  • I have everything I need to submit for a scholarship, except I am waiting on one last recommendation from my manager. As soon as that comes in, I will submit. I am going to spend Saturday morning at the library finding more that I can submit.

Work:

  • I picked up three shifts this week, which will be great come payday, but is a little rough with grad school work, and a little hard on the girls. Three 8-hour shifts are my max in one week. Honestly, I prefer one or two days per week.

Kids: 

Home:

  • I am going to spend Saturday afternoon in the kitchen going through the lengthy process of making homemade pierogies and a fancy cake for my husband’s birthday.
  • I haven’t touched our landscaping in a few years and want to plant a few more things and mulch. This week’s step is to do some planning and decide what I want to plant and when.
  • I found out the process for requesting approval of our intended play set from our homeowner’s association, and I am still waiting for them to send me the paperwork I need!.

Blog:

  • I have one extra post to write this week.

Health/Fitness:

  • I plan on walking on the treadmill 6 days this week.
  • I should lift weights, but with all the work shifts I will be lucky to get 1-2 days in.
  • I have massage therapy this week.

Downtime:

  • I am going to watch the 2nd DVD set of Outlander Season One. I didn’t watch any last week. I just couldn’t stay awake past 9! I will watch them on my lunch breaks from work.
  • I am still eagerly awaiting the next available library copy of Rosemary (about the Kennedy daughter who was institutionalized for years). This week I am reading The Passive Income Book, a book about how to grow multiple streams of passive income.

 

What’s your plan for your week?

Make A Plan: One Week At A Time

Frugal SteppingStones.com

This post contains affiliate links.

Make a plan, then make that plan happen.

Here’s my plan for this week:

School:

  • Four pieces of class work due by Saturday at midnight.  I work Thursday, so I did one assignment on Sunday, and am trying to get everything done before Thursday.  
  • I have to prep one assignment for my master’s portfolio and will do that Saturday.
  • I found a scholarship to apply to, and I am reading some books on the Ohio Digital Library to try and find more.  Know of any ones for adult grad students- please let me know!

Work:

  • I picked up a a shift on Thursday and plan to hunt and peck since it’s a dance class night for Miss E. We also have a medical appointment, so I am starting early and staying late if needed.

Kids: 

Home:

  • I am hosting for a work party/baby shower Friday. I know I will be spending that day cleaning and doing food prep.
  • I found out the process for requesting approval of our intended play set from our homeowner’s association, and now I need to prep and send it in.

Blog:

  • I have one extra post to write this week.

Health/Fitness:

  • I plan on walking on the treadmill 6 days this week.
  • We ate too much crap food last week for my birthday and now I need to get back on the hog.

Downtime:

  • I am going to watch the 2nd DVD set of Outlander Season One. It was finally available from the library. It is not appropriate for children though, so I have to wait until the kids go to bed.
  • I am eagerly awaiting the next available library copy of Rosemary (about the Kennedy daughter who was institutionalized for years), but until it is available I am reading The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers (did you know he was a Presbyterian minister?)

 

What’s your plan for your week?