If you want something badly enough, you can usually find a way

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post on surviving on a $30 per week grocery budget. Many of you found the post helpful and inspiring. But a handful of people really disliked the post.

In the blogging world, that’s totally to be expected. You can’t please and inspire everyone all the time and I’ve learned and grown a lot as a person and a writer from the constructive criticism I’ve received as a blogger.

However, what I found interesting was that most of the people who didn’t like the post got hung up on the fact that I was suggesting you eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every day for a week.

The grocery list and menu I shared was meant to serve as an example that you can eat on $30 per week and still set aside a little extra toward your stockpile so that, within a few weeks, you can have more wiggle room and variety in your diet. I wanted to show that it can be done — if you’re willing to get creative and you’re willing to make short-term sacrifices.

Truthfully, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches Are Not All That Bad

While eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day for a week might sound outrageous to some, it’s actually not all that bad. In fact, one of the many little things we did to stay out of debt while my husband was in law school was to eat lots and lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

We didn’t eat peanut butter and jelly every single day of the year, but choosing to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on a very regular basis over Subway or Sonic — or even turkey and cheese sandwiches — was a simple thing we could do to help inch us in the direction we were aiming for.

How Motivated Are You to Get Where You Want to Be?

Where do you want to be financially in a year from now? What about five years from now? What simple short-term sacrifices can you make to help you get there?

If eating peanut butter and jelly every other day isn’t your thing, consider what short-term sacrifices might work for your family. When Jessica and her family were working really hard to get out of debt, they set their thermostat up a number of degrees in the summer in order to save money. Jessica was pregnant at the time and I’m not quite sure how she managed, but their family was highly motivated so they made a lot of sacrifices — including sweating out a hot Kansas summer — so that they could get out of debt much more quickly.

When There’s a Will, There’s Usually a Way

If you want to get out of debt, stay out debt, save more, or give more, it’s likely going to mean making some sacrifices — especially in the short-term. You can’t change your financial situation unless you also change the way you’re doing something.

But you have to be willing to change, willing to cut back, willing to give things up, willing to eat less than gourmet meals, or willing to not have the latest and greatest gadget or gizmo. How willing you are to make changes is directly dependent upon how motivated you are to get where you want to go.

If you want something badly enough, you can usually find a way. It won’t always be easy, fun, or glamorous to make short-term sacrifices, but it will be every bit worth it.

What simple, short-term sacrifices is your family making to get where you want to be financially? I’d love to hear!

photo credit

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May’s Challenge: 4 Weeks to Fill Your Freezer

In May, we’ll be filling our freezers together in the 4 Weeks to Fill Your Freezer Challenge.

Whether you’re a freezer cooking newbie or an experienced pro, I hope you’ll find inspiration, ideas, and maybe just the extra motivation you need to get some freezer cooking done in order to save time, money, and your sanity!

I’ll be cooking or baking something every weekday for my freezer and I’ll be blogging about what I cook or bake each evening along with a link-up for you to share any freezer cooking or baking ahead you did that day.

I’ll be sharing my weekly plan and recipes at the beginning of the week so that you can follow along and cook what I cook, if you’d like. We’ll be tackling breakfasts the first week, lunches the second week, dinners the third week, and snacks and desserts the fourth week.

If you’d rather create your own plan, that’s wonderful, too! Just do what works best for you.

And if you don’t have any time to do extra cooking, than you can just read along and get some new recipe ideas. Or, you can skip these posts altogether. :)

Come back tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. and I’ll share the list of recipes I plan to tackle this week.

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2012 Goals: April Update

How are you doing on your goals for 2012? I’m excited about the progress I made in April…

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’m almost finished with April’s books and have read quite a few other books!}
Listen to 12 audiobooks. {I just finished April’s audiobook and am starting on May’s!}
Run in at least one 5K race. {Finished the Couch to 5K program and am now working on getting my time down. Hoping to sign up for a race soon.}
Complete the Couch to 10K program.
Tackle 12 Do-It-Yourself Projects. {I made homemade poptarts last week!}
Focus on one habit per month. {I made some good headway on my morning and evening routines 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’m behind on putting my album together, but I’ve been doing good about taking lots of pictures!}
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 (Went to Cincinnati together in April).
Have monthly date nights. {We had one date in April.}
Read four books together. {Jesse read Rekindling the Romance in April and we talked about it since I had just read it in March. We also read parts of One of Us Must Be Crazy… And I’m Pretty Sure It’s You together!}
Read at least 3 books on marriage. {I’ve read two so far this year.}

Children/Homeschooling
Continue regular dates/outings with each of the children individually. {I went on at least one outing with each child individually in April.}
Continue Grace and Truth memory book. {The children finished memorizing the Lord’s Prayer plus two other verses and one verse of a hymn this month.}
Ice-skating lessons for all three children. {The children finished up their second round of classes and we enrolled them in a third round since they are enjoying it so much!}
Swimming lessons for all three children.
Finish second grade, begin third grade with Kathrynne. {We should finish this in May!}
Finish kindergarten, begin first grade with Kaitlynn. {We should finish this in May!}
Start preschool with Silas. {Started this in April.}
Go on at least one field trip every month. {We went on one field trip in April.}
Go on at least one family vacation.
Finish at least 15 read-aloud books. {We’ve finished nine 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 April, but I did pretty well most days.}
Plan blog posts out at least a month in advance. {I made some great progress in this area in April!}
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’re still looking and haven’t found anything we love in our price range yet!}
Finish saving for and purchase a rental property with cash. {Thanks to finding out we set aside too much for taxes this year in our tax savings account (we got burned last year when we had to pay more than we expected, so we set aside quite a bit more than we thought we’d have to pay this year), we ended up with a lot of extra money in our tax savings account after paying our taxes. So we’ve almost fully funded our rental property savings goal amount and are beginning our search for rental property — woot! We’re still investigating our options right now and we’ve not completely settled on what we want to invest in, so we may decide we need to save quite a bit more depending upon what we find now that we’re starting to look. I’ll keep you posted!}

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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Giveaways Galore!

Of the 439 entries, the winners of the Simple Language for Adoptive Families are:

Darlene (racefanusa@)
Sara (hopefulfirefly@)
Erin (cemerrihew@)
Tracy (tlaroy02@)
Kevin (kevichele@)
Kelly (kelly.pensiero@)
Marti (kuppajo@)
Cristy (cmreesor@)
Sharon (msvarns@)
Robyn (robyn.yoon@)

Each of you should have received an email with further instructions on claiming your prize.

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Are you giving something away on your blog this week? If so, post your link below and let all the readers here know so they can get in on the action! Your giveaway must be family-friendly and no-strings-attached. In addition, to make it easy to navigate, your link must go directly to your giveaway post. Links going to the homepage of your blog or any other part of your blog besides the direct link to your giveaway post will be deleted. Links left solely for the purpose of promoting an affiliate link will also be deleted.

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