2012 Goals: March Update


How are you doing on your goals for 2012? March wasn’t the best month for me when it came to goals, but I did make some progress…

Personal
Read through the Bible in a year. {I’ve been keeping up with this faithfully.}
Read through the 24 books on my 2012 booklist. {I’ve finished all the books through March plus read quite a few other books!}
Listen to 12 audiobooks. {I’m still working on March’s audiobook–it’s a longer one and it’s taking me awhile to get through!}
Run in at least one 5K race. {Almost finished with week 8 of the Couch to 5K program.}
Complete the Couch to 10K program.
Tackle 12 Do-It-Yourself Projects. {I bought the stuff to make March’s DIY project, but after my allergic reaction, I decided to postpone the Face Wash project for another month or two!}
Focus on one habit per month. {So I totally bombed the morning routine goal in March. Can I try for a redo in April?!}
Learn to use my new DSLR camera (huge surprise Christmas present from Jesse!!) & improve my photography skills.
Take at least one photo a day and put together a page every week for my Project Life album. {I kind of fell off the bandwagon with keeping up with my album in March, but I have high hopes of getting caught up in.}
Memorize Colossians using the plan and free download here. {I’m almost caught up with this.}

Marriage
Go on the Love Like You Mean It Cruise. {Done–read my recap here.}
Go on two Marriage Retreats (overnight trips sans children for planning, talking, goal accountability).
Have monthly date nights. {We had one date in March.}
Read four books together. {We didn’t read anything together in March… must try to make this more of a priority in April!}
Read at least 3 books on marriage. {Finished Rekindling the Romance in March.}

Children/Homeschooling
Continue regular dates/outings with each of the children individually. {I went on at least one outing with each child individually in March.}
Continue Grace and Truth memory book. {The children memorized part of the Lord’s Prayer plus two verses of a hymn this month.}
Ice-skating lessons for all three children. {We started the second round of ice-skating classes in March.}
Swimming lessons for all three children.
Finish second grade, begin third grade with Kathrynne. {Plugging away at this!}
Finish kindergarten, begin first grade with Kaitlynn. {Plugging away at this!}
Start preschool with Silas.
Go on at least one field trip every month. {We went to the park multiple times and on some family bike rides, but didn’t actually make it on any “official” field trips.}
Go on at least one family vacation.
Finish at least 15 read-aloud books. {We’ve finished seven read-alouds so far this year.}

Ministry/Friendships/Extended Family
Write at least two handwritten notes every month to encourage someone. {I wrote & mailed two handwritten notes this month.}
Continue being involved in our local church, homeschool group, young couple’s group, and blogging accountability group. {Ongoing}
Continue with weekly get-togethers with both sides of our extended family. {Ongoing}

Business/Blogging
Continue to take Sundays off from blogging/business work. {Ongoing}
Continue keeping strict Office Hours for the business/blogging time each day. {Still plugging away on this!}
Switch to a paperless planning system. {This is going well for me, though I’ve decided I’m probably never going to be 100% paperless for all things.}
Follow my weekly blogging plan. {I didn’t do this perfectly in March, but I adhered to it somewhat.}
Plan blog posts out at least a month in advance. {Not quite there, but I’m at least being much more intentional with my blogging this year than I’ve ever been before!}
Write and schedule blog posts at least a week in advance. {Making some headway with this, though I’m far from where I want to be!}

Financial
Continue to tithe 10% of our income. {Ongoing}
Give generously to needs in our community and around the world, as God prompts us. {Ongoing}
Pay cash for a new-to-us vehicle to replace our family’s van. {We picked out the specific vehicle we’re planning to buy and started our vehicle search in March!}
Finish saving for and purchase a rental property with cash. {We were able to set aside some for this in March.}

How Are You Doing on Your Goals for 2012?

If you’ve posted goals for 2012, I’d love for you to post an update on how things are going and share your link in the comments. If you don’t have a blog, feel free to just leave your update as a comment. Let’s encourage one another to live lives of intention and purpose!

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Rite Aid: Deals for the week of April 1-7, 2012

Here are the best Rite Aid deals this week, with thanks to Shannon for her help in compiling them. If you are new to shopping at Rite Aid or have questions about their coupon policy, click here.

Russell Stover or Snicker Single Serve Easter Eggs – $0.50 (must buy 2)
Use $1/2 coupon from the 3/18 RedPlum insert
Free after coupon

Scunci Elastucs – $1.99
Get $1.99 UPR
Free after UPR

Hershey Pot of Gold – $2.99
Get $2 UPR
$0.99 after UPR

Dentyne Gum or Trident White Multi-Pack Gum – $2.99
Get $1 UPR
Use $1/1 coupon from the 3/4 SmartSource insert
$0.99 after coupon and UPR

Halls Cough Drops – $1.50
Buy 2 – Get $1 UPR
Use $1/2 printable or coupon from the 2/5 SmartSource insert
$0.50 each after coupon and UPR

Haribo, Russell Stover or Whitman’s Choclate, & Select Non-Chocolate Peg Bag Candy – $0.99
Use $0.30/1 printable
$0.69 after coupon

Hershey’s Bliss or Dove Eggs – $2.99
Get $1 UPR
Use $1/1 printable
$0.99 after coupon and UPR

Breathe Right (10 ct) – $3.99
Use $1.50/1 printable
And use $1/1 Rite Aid Video Values, Mar
$1.49 after coupons

Hershey’s, Reese’s or Cadbury Easter Bags, Reese’s Pieces, Pastel Eggs, Easter M&M’s – $2.99
Get $1 UPR
Buy 2 and use $1/2 coupon from the 3/18 RedPlum insert
Or buy 3 and use $2/3 coupon from the 3/25 SmartSource insert
As low as $1.32 each after coupon and UPR

Polident or Dentu-Creme – $4 (must buy 2)
Buy 2 – Get $2 UPR
Use 2 $1/1 printable
And use $1.50/1 Rite Aid Video Values, Mar
$1.25 each after coupons and UPR

See the full list of deals at Rite Aid this week here.

Find 

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Rite Aid deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your Rite Aid deals post will be deleted.

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CVS: Deals for the week of April 1-7, 2012

Here are the best deals at CVS this week, with a big thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher for her help in compiling them:

ECB Deals:

Buy 1 Complete Multipurpose Solution at $8.99, Get $8.99 ECBs (Limit 1)
Free after ECBs

Buy 1 Depend Silhouette or Real Fit 3 ct. at $3.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $2/1 printable 
As low as free after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Colgate Optic White, Sensitive Pro Relief or Optic White Toothbrush at $3.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $0.75/1 coupon from the 3/25 SmartSource insert
Or use $1/1 coupon from the September Allure magazine
As low as $0.99 after coupons and ECBs

Buy 4 Hershey’s Easter Candy $2.50, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use 2 $1/2 coupon from the 3/25 SmartSource insert
Plus use $2/$10 Easter candy coupon printing from CVS coupon center (4/1/12 – 4/4/12)
As low as $1 each after coupons and ECBs

Buy 2 Advil Tablets, Caplets, or Gel Caplets (80-100 ct), Advil PM (32-40 ct) at $7.99 or Thermacare Wraps at $5.99, Get $5 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $1/1 coupon from the 4/1 RedPlum insert
As low as $2.49 after coupons and ECBs

Buy 1 Tums at $3.99, Get $1 ECB (Limit 1)
Use $1.50/1 printable or coupon from the 4/1 RedPlum insert
$1.49 after coupons and ECBs

Other Deals:

Buy 1 Allegra Allergy (5 ct) - $6.49
Use $7/1 coupon from the 4/1 SmartSource insert
Free plus overage after coupon

New to shopping at CVS? Be sure to check out my CVS 101 post that gives you the full scoop on how to get the best bargains at CVS. See the full list of deals at CVS this week heree.

Find 

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your CVS deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your CVS deals post will be deleted.

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Walgreens: Deals for the week of April 1-7, 2012


Here are the best deals at Walgreens this week, with thanks to Mercedes for her help with compiling these:

COUPON DEALS

Dawn Dish Liquid – $0.99
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the P&G Mailer, Have You Tried This Yet?
$0.49 after coupon

Zantac Relief – $7.99
Use $5/1 printable
Stack with $2/1 Walgreens printable 
$0.99 after coupons

Jell-O Pudding or Gelatin – $0.59 with in-ad coupon

Bisquick – $1.50
Use $0.50/1 coupon from the 3/25 SmartSource insert
$1 after coupon

Blue Diamond Almonds at $3.79 – On Sale Buy One Get One Free
Use $1/1 coupon from the 1/29 SmartSource insert
$0.90 each after coupon

Charmin Ultra Bathroom Tissue - $3.99
Use $0.35/1 coupon from the 4/1 P&G insert
Or use $1/1 coupon from the P&G Mailer
As low as $2.99 after coupon

Bounty Paper Towels – $5.49
Use $1/1 coupon from the 4/1 P&G insert
$4.49 after coupon

Hefty Trash Bags – $5.99
Use $1/1 Walgreens printable
$4.99 after coupon

Allegra Allergy Relief – $17.99
Use $7/1 coupon from the 4/1 SmartSource insert
Stack with $2/1 Walgreens printable
$8.99 after coupon

Claritin – $19.99
Use $5/1 coupon from the 3/25 SmartSource insert
Stack with $3/1 Walgreens printable 
$11.99 after coupons

REGISTER REWARD DEALS

Buy 1 Luster Toothpaste at $4.99, Get $4 Register Rewards
*4 Day Sale (4/04 – 4/07)*
$0.99 after Register Rewards

Buy 2 Colgate Dental Care at $2.50, Get $3 Register Rewards
Use 2 $0.75/1 coupon from the 3/25 SmartSource insert
$0.25 each after coupon and Register Rewards

Buy $15 Worth of Garnier Fructis Products, Get $5 Register Rewards

*Deal Idea*
Buy 2 Garnier Nutrisse Easy Foam Hair Color – $7.99 each
Use 2 $3/1 coupon from the 3/4 RedPlum insert
$2.49 each after coupon and Register Rewards

*Deal Idea*
Buy 6 Garnier Fructis Shampoo or Conditioner – $2.50 each
Use 6 $1/1 coupon from the 4/1 RedPlum insert
$0.66 each after coupon and Register Rewards

Buy 1 Gillette Venus & Olay Razor at $8.99, Get $4 Register Rewards
Use $2/1 coupon from the 4/1 P&G insert
$2.99 after coupon and Register Rewards

 New to shopping at Walgreens? Be sure to head over and check out Walgreens 101 where I explain in detail how to maximize the mileage of your money at Walgreens. See the full list of deals at Walgreens this week over at Common Sense with Money.

Find

Do you have your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link below. To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Walgreens deals post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your Walgreens deals post will be deleted.

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4 Simple Steps to Start a “Fun Money” Cash System

Guest post from Jadah of Family Sponge

My friend Linda introduced me to the term “fun money.” It seems like a funny concept, and it took me over three years to finally adopt it into my own life, but now I want to share this life-changing and simple cash system to you.

My husband and I have always had a toxic relationship with money. If we have the money, we spend it. If we don’t have the money, we spend it. Then one day, we maxed out our credit cards, and we could no longer spend money we didn’t have.

I actually used to be good with paying my full credit card balances at the end of each month. I had an excellent credit score, owned my own condo by 22 years old, and was very responsible with bills and credit card payments.

But then I had a baby and fell in love! I left my job to stay home with my daughter, our income got smaller, and our expenses increased. I mean I “had” to have a Phil and Ted’s stroller. I had to.

Even if I already had a Graco stroller and Peg Perego stroller and was a baby-wearing enthusiast who didn’t even use a stroller much. I thought I “had” to have that $400 stroller!

Fast forward three years later: my husband and I use a cash system.

We were forced to really look at our budget and enter the world of conscious spending. The funny thing is, we never had a budget, so I had to create one.  We only use our debit cards for paying for gas, a few random online purchases, and our online bill pay. We use our cash system for groceries, toiletries, and “fun money.”

Here’s how the “fun money” cash system works:

1. Designate what the “fun money” will be used for.

Our “fun money” is for anything that is not a living or survival expense: movies, eating out at restaurants, iTunes music, clothes, tickets to a concert or game, gifts, enrichment classes, books, office expense splurges, etc.

2. Budget a set amount of money per person.

We budgeted $200 per month per adult and $100 per child (Zoe’s fun money goes towards her classes like ballet). So that’s a total of $500 per month budgeted for “fun money” in our family. That might sound really high to you. If so, choose a number that is doable with your own budget.

3. Set up a “fun money” payout date on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.

We chose to distribute “fun money” bi-weekly based on my husband’s paydays since his checks from work get direct deposited into our bank account.

4. Choose a person who will withdraw and distribute the “fun money.”

Since I work from home, I make a visit to the bank on payday and put our “fun money” into an envelope labeled with our names on it.

It’s nice to have this fun money to do what ever we want without having to worry about going over budget or spending money we don’t have.

Do you have a system for “fun money”?

Jadah Sellner is the editor of Family Sponge and a work-at-home mom who blogs about creative inspiration and balancing family life. Her passion is to build a community who strives to reach optimal levels of love, respect, and healthy living.

photo credit

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Super Savings Saturday: Our 7 (yes, really!) shopping trips this week

I didn’t do a lot of grocery shopping or couponing the first three weeks in March because I somehow ended up with three trips scheduled those first three and a half weeks. {I enjoy traveling, on occasion, and I love the opportunity to get to speak and meet some of you, but I’ve decided that three trips in three weeks is definitely not something I want to make a habit of! I much prefer quiet days at home with my family! :)}

However, I think I made up for my lack of grocery shopping and couponing this week. Here are the groceries we purchased:

My husband’s shopping trip at Dillon’s that ended up being pretty “screwed up” thanks to both of us miscalculating and misreading ads – Spent $34.97 — Read the full details and price breakdowns here.

Health food store shopping trip — 7 pounds of fruit for $0.99/lb.

Target shopping trip — Spent $38.01 (most of that wasn’t grocery money, though, since the games came out of our household envelope and the girls paid for the Hello Kitty house) — See the full details and price breakdowns here.

Dillon’s shopping trip #2 — Spent $1.26 — Read the full details and price breakdowns here.

Walmart shopping trip — Spent $1.17 — Read the full details and price breakdowns here.

Dillon’s shopping trip #2 — Spent $5.16 — Read the full details and price breakdowns here.

Aldi shopping trip — Spent $15.19 — Read the full details and price breakdowns here.

Didn’t You Waste a Lot of Time and Gas Making All Of Those Trips?

I’m sure that some of you are wondering why I made all these little shopping trips and thinking that I could have saved myself a lot of trouble, time, and gas money if I would have just gone to one store.

Well, yes, I definitely did do more shopping trips than I usually do this week. However, all of the stores were either on my way to somewhere else I was headed or they are really close to my house. I also had extra time this week since we didn’t have that much planned outside of the usual homeschooling and household life.

And finally, it was so nice to be able to just have fun shopping and getting bargains again, after taking a few weeks “off” from it. Yes, I know, I’m crazy that I consider grocery shopping a leisurely activity! :)

Would you like to know what the best deals and coupon match-ups are for your local stores? Be sure to check out the Store Deals section of our site where we post the best deals and coupon match-ups each week for over 100 different stores across the country. You can sign up to receive the top deals in your email inbox each week as soon as they are posted!

Find

Did you snag any great deals or bargains this week or save money in other ways? If so, be sure to post about them on your blog and leave your link below. Please remember that this weekly round-up is to share deals you personally got and/or money you were able to save this week. In order to keep this weekly round-up focused on helping and inspiring others in their efforts to save money, links which have little-to-no content other than promoting affiliate links, etc. will be deleted. Also, to make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post.

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