Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Resolutions: Frugal Edition!

OK, so aside from the traditional New Years Resolutions -- lose weight, exercise more, spend more time with family, etc. -- I thought it would be fun to share my list of frugal resolutions.
  • Learn more about "Once a Month Cooking" (OAMC). We eat out here entirely too much and it's not good for our budget or our waistlines. I've always freezer-cooked, freezing pots of chili, soup, spaghetti sauce, etc. But I'd like to learn how to do it on a larger scale. Imagine not having to cook for a month? HEAVEN!!
  • Get our kitchen sink faucet fixed. It's been dripping occasionally -- especially when we don't shut it off just the right way. This wastes water and money!
  • Look for any bulbs that aren't energy efficient and swap them out. We have a lot of energy efficient bulbs in the house, but I think there might be a few lights here and there (in a closet, the kitchen chandelier, outside lights, etc.) that could still be upgraded.
  • Have the hubby build or create a pantry space in the garage for stockpile items. I have a tiny kitchen pantry and I hate turning down a great deal just because I don't have room to store it. We've talked about this for a while now -- time to get on it!
  • Continue to build my stockpile. I'd most like to work on my stockpile of grocery staple items - canned beans, tomatoes, vegetables, and fruit; pasta; spaghetti sauce; soups for recipes; hot and cold cereals; juices; cooking oil; sugar and flour; condiments; peanut butter and jelly. Plus some non-food essentials like plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and freezer bags.
  • Limit myself to a $50 a week budget for grocery and toiletry goods. Now that my stockpiles are filling up, this shouldn't be too difficult. The hardest part will be tracking my purchases and keeping up with the budget. It would be easier if I shopped from a cash envelope, but I like earning points on my credit card, so I'll have to be diligent in monitoring my balance on a weekly basis.
  • Contact Sprint and block all text messages on my phone. I don't have a text plan so every time a friend or family member sends me a text, I'm billed $0.15. Those pennies add up. DONE!
  • Make money!! Now that I'm unemployed again (after nearly 3 years of home childcare), I need to get back in the habit of searching out opportunities to bring money into the house. Surveys, paid-to-clicks, resale, moneymakers via rebates, hourly babysitting. With a toddler in the house now, I know I'll find it more challenging than before, but I just have to commit to it.
  • Get quotes on home and vehicle insurance! We might be paying more than necessary.
  • Consider a home refinance. With interest rates at an all-time low, we really can't afford not to.
  • Teach at least ONE new person how to use coupons, budget, and live more frugally.

On a more personal note, and unrelated to budgeting, I'd like to offer more of my time and attention to my husband. While I'm busy making plans and saving money, I often forget that he's the one who works everyday to support our family. There wouldn't be a budget to balance if not for him. I'd like to spend more quality time with him and show him in special ways throughout the year how much we love and appreciate him. I always try to honor him by respecting the money he earns - being frugal in all ways and saving as much as possible so that he can retire someday and be free of money worries. And I know he appreciates that.. but I think he'd like me just to kiss him more often or make room in the budget for more date nights. I'll have to work on that.

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