Goals

New mini-series: A Week in the Life

by Melody on February 17, 2013

When I first started this blog a little over three years ago, my main focus was on saving money through couponing at the grocery and drug store.  We had just started living solely on one income after having our first child and our grocery budget seemed to be the most logical place to start saving money.

Over the past few years, our family (and the blog) have grown and changed together.  We have made some serious changes to our eating habits and lifestyle, which has meant less focus on shopping with coupons.  While we do use coupons for some of our toiletries and paper products, the majority of our shopping is done in the produce section, at our local farmer’s markets when they are open and Costco.

With these changes came the realization that we had to figure out different ways to stretch our budget.  We started looking more seriously at our expenses and where we could cut back.  I’ve been sharing some of our (mostly) simple and basic ideas with you on a weekly basis, but I’d like to kick it up a notch.   Starting Monday February 18th, I am going to give you a daily breakdown of everything I do related to saving money, saving time and using both more efficiently and effectively.

This post series is for those of you who want to learn to save money, but can’t imagine yourself going shopping at midnight just to snag a few free rolls of toilet paper.  The vast majority of  us are just average, everyday folks who are trying to stretch our budget and help our families live a better life for less.

This won’t be some lengthy, drawn-out post about what I’m doing every minute of every day, but I just want you to get a general idea of what an average week for me looks like.

I know we are all in different stages of life, so here’s a quick bio on me just so you know where I’m at:

  • I’m a married, stay-at-home Mom to two boys, ages 2 and 4
  • My husband works full time Monday through Friday (gets home around 4:30 PM)
  • My husband and I both go to the gym 3-4 times per week, rarely at the same time
  • I work on the blog early mornings, during nap time and late into the evening so my “extra” time is pretty rare
  • I take care of our entire family budget and pay all the household bills
  • I clean, cook, carpool for preschool, shop, visit with friends, play, cook, clean, do laundry, manage a blog, manage our family calendar and cook some more.  Did I mention I have a blog?

After this week is up, I will give you a general recap on how much TIME I spent trying to save my family money.  I want you to get a glimpse of the non-glamorous, totally average life of a girl just trying to live within her means.

This will be the re-launch to my weekly series that will explore different ways to save your family money, including eating out and entertainment, travel, clothes shopping, buying gifts for everyone in your family and much more.

Leave a comment if there is anything you’d like more information on or if you have any ideas on how to save your family money outside of the grocery store.

Welcome to a week in the life.

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Each day this week, I will be sharing a different personal goal for the coming year.

:: Goal #1 – Separating work and home
:: Goal #2 – Streamline our daily routine

Strengthening relationships with friends and family

I read somewhere last year that we should always make decisions that will strengthen the bonds with the people in our lives.  When faced with a choice to spend time with people or work (or clean or pay bills or vacuum or go grocery shopping), we should do our best to choose personal interaction.

I’ve found that especially with toddlers, choosing to stay home instead of going out for a drink or coffee with friends is SO much easier.  While I always know it will be fun to spend time with those I love, the thought of just sitting on the couch and staring at the wall in my pajamas often times sounds more relaxing.  However, once I get out there and make the effort, I’m always glad I did.  Spending time with good friends and family is good for the soul and can definitely recharge our batteries.

Several times last year, I can recall consciously making the decision to set aside the computer or force myself to actually put some makeup on so I could go spend time with friends.  Although I may have felt a little behind at home, I was always glad I made the choice to strengthen those ties and let loose a little.

While it’s so easy to get all wrapped up in what’s going on at home (laundry, dishes, meal planning, SLEEP), it’s also very easy to let some of our relationships slip through our fingers without giving them the attention they deserve.  After having kids, I found I really needed to work to keep my relationships strong.

My plan for the coming year is to continue to make dates with friends.  Make dates for coffee.  Makes dates for kid play.  Make lunch dates.  Make gym dates.  Invite friends and their families over for dinner.  I have a friend who really loves having people over, but struggles to find the perfect time or the perfect dinner or the perfect group.  Over the holidays, we invited friends over almost every weekend.  It was always chaos and we always stood around talking over a ginormous pile of dishes and the kids always ran around at MACH10, but it was always amazing.   It was worth every dirty dish to reconnect.

Please share with us if you have set goals for yourself or your family.  How do you ensure that your relationships stay strong?

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are supporting this blog. Thanks!

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Each day this week, I will be sharing a different personal goal for the coming year.

:: Goal #1 – Separating work and home

Goal #2: Streamline our daily routine

With my son in preschool three days a week and living farther out of town, I have noticed that we really have to stream line our weekly schedule to keep everyone from losing their minds.

I have gotten back into the habit of using my amazing weekly planner and writing in all events, school days, meal planning ideas and pertinent errands or tasks for the week.  Knowing what is coming for the week (with mostly no surprises) helps make things easier with two toddlers who are constantly full of surprises.

As much as possible, I pack for the coming day in the evening.  I make sure we have backpacks out, snacks ready for any errands we may have to run, items we need for those errands set out (returns, receipts, recycling drop-off), gym clothes washed.  I’m nowhere close to perfect, but it has helped make our mornings run a lot smoother.

With this comes a little more time for play in the mornings and a LOT less frustration.  Life is crazy enough with toddlers, being prepared takes away some of the edge.  When we are running late, 99% of the time it is my fault.  I haven’t been prepared and have pushed things to the last minute, which just creates anxiety for everyone.  Although, sometimes it is because my 2-year old can only seem to find one of his favorite green shoes.

My goal for the year is to try to sit down every Sunday and plan out the coming week (or two).  Plan may be a loose term some weeks, it may be more like “Take a look at the calendar and make sure the world isn’t ending anytime soon and do we need milk in the fridge”.

Please share with us if you have set goals for yourself or your family.  How do you keep your sanity throughout the daily and weekly craziness that comes along with life?

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are supporting this blog. Thanks!

My 2013 Personal Goals: Separating work and home

by Melody on January 15, 2013

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I’m not sure about all of you, but I was actually really looking forward to the promise of a new year.  While I love the holidays and all the hustle and bustle, we tend to lose the identity of our family and our routine in the month of December.  Life just gets busier.  Busy in a wonderful way of course, but busy nonetheless.

January brings feelings of promise and hope, the chance to take a look at our lives and streamline and simplify.  There’s something so refreshing about diving into our everyday and creating spaces that make life easier.  Reorganizing, shuffling and recreating the budget, purging, making new routines.

I’ve been taking a good hard look at what is going on in our house and in our lives and have set some personal goals for the coming year.  These aren’t really drastic or life-changing, just things I think about on an almost daily basis and wanted to give them a solid base.

Goal #1: Separating work and home

Ha.  And ha.

I work from home about six hours each day, on average.  I don’t have an office.  I have a couch with a laptop and piles of paperwork and 27 to-do lists in 27 different places.  I have two little Dudes who claim every square inch of the house and insist on sitting on my lap if I’m attempting to blog during Mickey Mouse.

After we moved into our new house, shockingly, my kids routine changed.  5 AM wake up calls, potty training, bed transitions, room transitions, house transitions.  All of these added up to a crazy non-routine and a frenzied Mama who tried to squeeze everything in, even if it meant blogging from the bathroom.

My husband and I talked a lot about what we could do to ease the guilt and anxiety I was feeling about trying to make time for the blog and the family and the house and the and the and the and the.  My blog is a business and a career and we decided we needed to treat it as such.  He offered to take one night of the week as sole parent and let me go get some business done at Starbucks, run errands for the blog or anything else that needs attention.  This will help alleviate my anxiety, as I know I have one dedicated evening to myself (on top of nap time and early mornings and late nights).

Along with this, I decided that I would like to take one day off each weekend for my sanity.  I took several days off over the Christmas break and NOT focusing on the blog every spare second I had was amazing and so refreshing.  I ran errands at nap time, I sat and played on the floor with my kids more and I didn’t feel guilty for one second.  I’m hoping that one dedicated night “on” and one dedicated day “off” will balance each other out and I will get a chance to rejuvenate my blogging mojo at the end of each week.

Each day this week, I will be sharing a different personal goal for the coming year.  Please share with us if you have set goals for yourself or your family.  I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for finding balance in the home.  Do you work from home?  How do you keep your time separate?

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on these links, you are supporting this blog. Thanks!

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