MoneySavingMom.com
FREEBIE LIBRARY!
Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

My Goals for 2011 (plus some blogging changes)

I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions; I think they only set one up for failure and discouragement. However, I’m a huge fan of creating realistic goals and breaking them down into bite-sized pieces. So, at the beginning of every year, my husband and I sit down and come up with a list of goals for each facet of our lives.

Normally, being an optimistic over-achiever, I come up with many more goals than I could ever actual accomplish in a year. This year, though, I decided to make a new policy for all goals on my list: they could only be on my list if there was a time slot for them on my schedule.

Taking the things I learned from Amy Andrews’ ebook, Tell Your Time, I tweaked our daily schedule and created a slightly different schedule for each day of the week for 2011. This allowed me include time slots for everything on my 2011 goal list — from reading to sleeping to once-a-week lunch dates with my husband to time with my children to ministering to others to blogging.

This was incredibly helpful to me in streamlining and just picking goals which are actually doable. Instead of being a bit overwhelmed by an ambitious list, I’m excited this year as I feel like — barring some major catastrophe or unexpected upheaval in our lives — most of these goals will, Lord-willing, become reality.

My Goals for 2011

Personal:
Read through the Bible in a year (I’m using the chronological plan here.)
Read at least 25 inspiring books (I’ll share the books I’m planning to read in 2011 on Wednesday.)
Continue to eat well, exercise faithfully and drink enough water (I’ve finished P90X and am taking a break at least for a few months to do my own and slightly less intense workout regimen. I’ve been tracking my exercising, eating and drinking through SparkPeople and it’s been very helpful in keeping me accountable and on track with my personal health/fitness goals.)
Continue to make getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night a priority
Tackle 12 Do-It-Yourself Projects

Marriage:
Once-a-month evening dates with my husband
Once-a-week lunch dates with my husband
Twice-a-year Marriage Retreat
Flirt with my husband every day 🙂
Read four books together
Go on a cruise! (Something we both decided we’d do if we paid cash for a house before I turned 30!)

Children/Homeschooling:
Once-a-month dates/outings with both of the girls individually
Play with the children at least three times each week (games, Wii, etc.)
Finish reading through the Little House on the Prairie series together
Memorize Psalms 1 and Psalms 23 together
Finish first grade, begin second grade with Kathrynne
Finish preschool, begin kindergarten with Kaitlynn
Go on at least one field trip every month
Have a weekly Family Night

Ministry/Friendships/Extended Family:
Have at least one family over for a meal each month
Write one encouraging handwritten card or letter at least every other week
Be involved in ministry opportunities in our local church
Continue with weekly get-togethers with both sides of our extended family

Business/Blogging:
Continue to practice media-free Sundays
Continue working towards keeping strict Office Hours for the business/blogging time each day
Follow a weekly blogging plan (see below)
Plan blog posts out a month in advance
Write blog posts at least a week in advance

Financial:
Continue to tithe 10% of our income
Give generously to needs in our community and around the world, as God prompts us (We’ve been looking for 1-2 specific needs to give to each month and find so much joy in giving as God leads us!)
Complete all items on our current Financial Goals List
Save at least 40% towards our Commercial Real Estate Investing Goal

One major change I’ll be making is in the area of blogging. Thanks to the help from my team, I’ve gotten much more organized and efficient this past year (and also really good at saying “no” to stuff — one of the most freeing things ever!). Instead of feeling constantly overwhelmed and behind, I’m actually keeping up with things most day.

But, there is much room for improvement — especially when it comes to the actual writing of posts. While I’ve actually been planning my blogging out a week in advance, I’m still writing most of the posts the day they are supposed to be posted.

Amy Andrews has helped me to re-prioritize things enough in my life and blogging work, that I’m finally to a point to be able to blog ahead — something I’ve always wished I could find a way to do! During the last month, I’ve been working behind-the-scenes to come up with a way to have my blog posts, features and series planned out at least a month in advance and written at least a week ahead.

One thing which is going to help me carry out this plan is to actually have set days for posting set things. I know that I’ve been a source of frustration to many of you all many times because you just never know what is going to be posted when. I’m sorry and I hope you will find much more consistency here in 2011.

In fact, for the sake of accountability — and so you’ll know pretty much exactly what to expect! — here’s my blogging plan for the first half of 2011 (I’ll be re-evaluating and changing things up somewhat halfway through the year):

Monday: A guest post, our weekly menu plan, Giveaways Galore and a new 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget video blog series (starting next week)

Tuesday: Ask Jesse feature, a DIY idea and possibly a Shopping Trip post with pictures and price breakdowns

Wednesday: The next post in whatever series I’m working through (During the first half of 2011, I’ll be finishing up the How We Paid Cash for a House series, then the 31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget series then re-writing and re-posting my Blogging for Profit series.), and an Ask the Readers question

Thursday: A recipe, a DIY idea and possibly a Shopping Trip post with pictures and price breakdowns

Friday: We Paid Cash feature and a weekly rotating feature (Week One: Financial Update, Week Two: My DIY Experiment, Week Three: Book Review, Week Four: Frugal Family Fun post)

Saturday: Super Savings Saturday

Most of these items will start this week, though a few aren’t starting up until next week. Of course, there’ll be the usual fare of hot deals, coupons, freebies and the occasional giveaway, as well. And I’m sure I’ll throw in some unexpected, written-on-the-fly posts here and there, too, when inspiration strikes and I can’t keep silent. 🙂

Thank you to each and everyone of you for reading here, for leaving comments, for sending in deal ideas and frugal tips, for your encouraging letters and many suggestions for how I can improve this blog. My hope is that you will find better content and consistency in posting in 2011, which will, in turn, allow you to glean more ideas to save money, spend less than you make and give generously!

photos by Paul Worthington; jek in the box

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!

Read Newer Post
«
Read Older Post
»

90 Comments

  • I love it! I am with you on your policy of not making goals that can’t be added to your schedule. I am really looking forward to reading your blog this year…especially your blogging for profit series.

    I too am working on blogging in advance…just figured out the schedule post feature in blogger. 😀 I’ll pray for you as you work on this area too! 😀

    2011 will be a great year!

    Blessings!

    Mary Joy

  • Kirstin says:

    I am so looking forward to seeing more frugal/healthy recipes on here! You always have such great ideas and recipes and I can’t wait to see more of them! In fact, I have your pumpkin chocolate chip muffins baking in the oven right now! 🙂

  • tkessler says:

    Note on cruise. Just got back from our 4th cruise Dec. 11th. Look at vacationtogo.com for a good price. I live outside of balt. and we have been using that port (we get dropped off). If you drive and are not using a local port find a hotel nearby and make arrangements for them to keep your car. Even with the cost of the hotel it will save you alot of money because the ports parking lot costs are outrageous.

    • Whitney says:

      @tkessler,
      We have also used vacationstogo.com for cruises in the past and are always amazed at the deeply discounted rates you can find on there for well-known cruise lines. We have bought Princess & Royal Caribbean cruises from them for a fraction of the advertised prices. Also- sign up for their “cruiseletter” email where they send specials and featured discounted cruises.

  • Jennifer says:

    Sounds like some great plans..Cruise tip, if you get to go, go on Royal Caribean.They are wonderful, my husband and I are able to be going on our 4th cruise, due to the wonderul deal we get every January.Prices is great, customer service is Wonderul, the boats are very clean and the food is amazing.good luck

  • crystal says:

    i agree with kirstin, the only thing i really miss is your monthly cooking and your frugal blog posts. i loved your picture break downs ect ect. and pantry cooking challeng, those were my favorite things on msm, and the things that set you apart from the other awesome blogs. your doing great girl can’t wait to read!!

  • Yeah for going on a cruise! They can actually be quite frugal as vacations go. My husband and I are thinking about taking one this summer after he (finally) graduates with his undergraduate degree. If you book just 30 days in advance, you can get rock-bottom prices, because the cruise lines sell off the bookings that have been canceled. If we had wanted to go on a 5-day Caribbean cruise in January, it would have been an all-inclusive $400. For the both of us.

    I love reading your blog and it has given me a new perspective on our budget. This year I did so well with keeping our Christmas costs low, thanks to the fact that I started shopping early and kept up with all the deals you share with us. Thanks!

  • Carrie says:

    I’m reading the Little House books with my girls and our evening chapter is my favorite part of the day. Watch out for “On the Shores of Silver Lake,” though — there are parts of that one that I had to skip over because they were too scary. And “The Long Winter” kept making me cry but the girls were kind of oblivious because they did not realize how close those poor kids were to starving to death. Now we’re on Little Town on the Prairie. Oh, and I’ll be skipping The First Four Years until they’re much older — way too sad for little ears.

    • Crystal says:

      Thanks for the head’s up! I’ve never read the series before so I have no idea what to expect! It’s been fun to experience/read them for the first time with the girls.

  • jan says:

    I love your goals that looks great! You will love a cruise!

  • Anna says:

    Love your ideas, Crystal! Happy 2011 to you and your family!

  • Holly says:

    Thank you so much for all of your hard work. Your blog has helped me not only become more frugal; it has also helped me rethink how I prioritize certain aspects of my life. I’m looking forward to seeing your posts in the new year; your goals for yourself are inspirational.

  • Love your goals – the flirting with your husband one {which I saw on FB a couple months ago} has been an inspiration to me since I read about it and made me really think about my “husband goal” this year – which is to woo my husbands man heart through developing enjoyment in his hobbies and interests.
    Happy 2011!

  • Rae says:

    Oooooh fun! I have always wanted to go on a cruise. My husband and I are hoping to go on one for our 10 year anniversary as a belated honeymoon lol.

  • Erin says:

    Crystal, you are too hard on yourself!! We all love the blog! You do a wonderful job and are so helpful in my life!! Thank you for all you do and can’t wait to see what is in store for 2011!!

    • Crystal says:

      You’re kind! But quite a few people have requested for me to be a little more dependable and consistent in posting, so I think it’s about time I step it up a little. 🙂

  • Great goals! It’s funny, I’ve never really noticed disorganization in your posting schedule. But maybe that’s because I’m disorganized myself!

    Looking forward to 2011 on Money Saving Mom!

  • danna says:

    When we paid off our mortgage last year. We went on a Disney Cruise. If you shop the Disney site and are very flexible with your dates, you can get an inside cabin and cruise for 4, for $2,100. With a family larget than 4, I recommend bringing the grandparents and booking 2 adjouning inside cabins, it is cheaper than a deluxe family cabin that will accomodate 5 people. My husband worked for Holland America Cruise lines for 7 years and we both agree, if you are going to cruise with kids, Disney is worth the extra $$. Our boys were 1 & 3 when we took our cruise and the both LOVED it.

  • Awesome goals! You are amazing. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Paz P. says:

    I Love the writable mug! Just carry around your to-do’s with you!

    P.S I love your blog!

  • Marie C says:

    My daughter (5) has been enjoying The Little House easy readers with me this year in our homeschooling. Her older bother even enjoys them! My sister has been so sweet to get her the paper dolls for her birthday, and sticker books for Christmas. I love these books! Great choice. 🙂

  • Bek says:

    wow! good job with all of the organization and plans 🙂

    ok…so I love the picture of that mug….is there *really* such a mug? I gotta’ get one, if so 😀

  • Samantha says:

    Have I ever told you how much you inspire me? Because you do!!
    I love how realistic your goals are and yet they are awesome goals too! 🙂

    Your commercial real estate investing goal intrigues me! I can’t wait to hear more about that. That is something that has been an interest of our family as well; not to mention we’d love to have our own business someday.

    I hope you get to go on your cruise; that would be so much fun for the two of you and something you deserve too 🙂

    I’m still working on my 2011 goals but I have a few tangible ones written down and am getting ideas/inspiration for others. This year I really want to “reach out” and give and not be so “selfish”.

  • Kimberly Hicks says:

    Love the goals and plan on doing a few on your list myself!

  • michelle says:

    Great post Crystal! I love the idea of family nights!

    Have you seen Whittaker Woman’s blog? She has the most creative family nights. All her family nights are themed, like “Back to School” or “Wizard of Oz,” etc. I love seeing pictures from the Whittaker’s family nights because you can just feel the love in the pictures, and it always looks like they are having a blast!

    Anyhoo, thought I’d send over the link if you ever need ideas. 🙂
    http://whittakerwoman.typepad.com/whittaker_woman/family-night/

  • Meredith says:

    Please please please research cruise lines before you book one. We just got back from a cruise and granted we had a wonderful time, we booked the cheapest we could find. It wasn’t the romantic getaway I expected. I learned while on board that a cheap cruise equaled a party cruise. We changed our mentality as we were there and ended up having a great time (we paid cash so I was determined to have a good time). However, I would do some research beyond pricing when looking. Also, budget out the cost of seasick pills before you go. I didn’t know I would get it and ended up paying 12 dollars for two pills in a different country!

    • @Meredith, So what cruise lines would you recommend (or not recommend) as we are looking into our first cruise this year and I would rather it not be a “party cruise”. And thanks for the tip about the seasick pills–I wouldn’t have thought about that!

      • Meredith says:

        @Jessica-MomForHim, We went on a Carnival cruise and it was party city. I would only go on a Carnival again if I was bored and had money to waste. Both sides of my family are frequent cruisers and they both swear by Royal Carribbean and Princess. If you’re taking your child, I have a friend who has done many Disney cruises and loves them. Good luck!

  • Jamie says:

    Great resolutions.

    Do your girls read The Little House box set or the My First Little House books? My five-year old girl loves the “first” Little House books and I’m not sure if she’s ready to move on.

    Thanks!

  • Rhonda Owens says:

    Awesome goals. I would love to hear more frugal healthy grocery ideas. I keep ours around $75.oo a week with two teenage boys. Food prices are rising. My dad who has owned several grocery stores, says prices will continue to rise this year. (Alot has to do with sugar prices) My husband is a Pastor and we are seeing several families struggle with rising prices. I have referred several women to your blog for ideas. Keep the frugal ideas coming for 2011.

  • Amanda says:

    I agree that you are too hard on yourself! I love reading your blog; you are so REALISTIC.

    I am curious about your marriage retreats? What are those, and how are they different from taking a vacation together?

    • Crystal says:

      Basically, we are just aiming to take a “retreat” together of some sort which is expressly for the purpose of discussing goals and building our marriage.

  • April says:

    I am looking forward to reading your ideas & suggestions in 2011. I stumbled upon your blog last year and it’s been life changing. Thank you for making saving mom seem so easy. The flow and organization of your site is wonderful =) Keep up the good work!!

  • Brandi says:

    What is your Sparkpeople username? I am on Sparkpeople too. It’s a wonderful site.

  • Ginger says:

    You continue to be such an inspiration to me, and your ideas help my life in a functional way. I have also set my 2011 goals and have broken them down into bite-sized pieces. Like you, I also do a mid-year review/reassessment of goals. I’m not really sure why, but I LOVE seeing other peoples’ goals posted.

  • Nicole says:

    I really enjoy your blog, too. I visit daily. Looking forward to hearing about your cruise–it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

  • Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to see how you tackle everything! Going on a cruise sounds good right about now – somewhere warm 😉

  • DeAnn says:

    Great post, and good luck on all your goals. My comment is just a personal thought, because I have also been reading the Little House series to my daughters. Your girls are still really little, and the last four books in the series are more grown-up and won’t be as appropriate or intersting for them now as they will be in a few years. There are lots of other classic books out there to share with your girls while they are so little (and I’m sure your readers could give you a lot of suggestions). Reading to your children is always a benefit, I just thought I would add my 2 cents!

  • Alli says:

    As I was reading the beginning of your post, I was thinking to myself…That’s exactly what I think about New Year’s Resolutions! I had the same kind of thought process when I mapped out my goals for this year.

    Our church is doing the Bible in a Year also. We did it last year, but I fell really behind when I got pregnant, so this year I vowed to make it the whole way. A bunch of us are interacting on facebook each day with the reading. It’s awesome.

    Praying for you this year 🙂 2011 will be great!

  • Cassidy M. says:

    Maybe I already missed this since I am new to your site. what is your comemrical real estate investing goal. We are very interested in doing this and have been beginning to save, but would be intrested to see how others are approaching this. please let me know. Thanks!

    • Crystal says:

      We’ve decided that we’re going to pay cash for a piece of commercial real estate property as our next goal. So we set a figure we’re planning to save and, once we hit it (hopefully by the end of 2012), we’ll start looking in earnest.

  • Ellen says:

    I have only just begun following your great posts and savings, and I am thrilled to know that you are a follower of Christ! Praise the Lord! My husband and I are in the ministry and are excited when we see people, such as yourself, living out your faith in such bold ways! May the Lord bless you and your family as you honor him in 2011! 🙂

  • mindy says:

    i have been looking for a read-through-the-Bible yearly list. thanks.

  • Crissy says:

    Thanks for all your encouragement and proud of you!!! We love cruises!! Royal Caribbean is great. We loved the Alaskan cruise of course I hear great things about Disney Cruise if the kids go too!

  • Beth R says:

    I was wondering if maybe you, or one of your readers could point me to where in the bible (if it’s there, I can’t find it) it says that we are to give our tithe to a church?

    • Nancy says:

      @Beth R,

      People use this one
      Malachi 3:10 (New International Version, ©2010)
      10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.

      But I’ve read much about this being an old Testament command. Not that we aren’t supposed to give, but we are to give sacrificially – the 10% isn’t a command to Christians.

  • Jennifer says:

    I have been very encouraged and inspired by your website. Growing up my family was not very frugal and with 3 kids I am needing to learn how to be. For the first time in our marriage my husband and I sat down and made financial goals for our family. I also made smaller goals for me to focus on so that I can feel like I’m actively working toward the larger goals. My January goal is to spend $125 less a month on groceries./eating out. I know that horrifies most of you since you spend $20 a week on groceries but I feel like it’s a good start for me. Hopefully in February I will continue or lower my grocery goal and add a new one. Thank you.

    • Crystal says:

      Oh goodness! We spend more than $20 on groceries per week! We’re averaging somewhere around $40-$60/weekly right now.

      Way to go on your goals — babysteps, babysteps!

  • Heather says:

    1st – go you!!

    2nd – i am soooo looking forward to your better grocery budget posts!

  • Liza says:

    wow… i am very impressed. thank you for sharing your goals and it is nice that you include every aspect of your life in your goal.. I am not very good at keeping up with my new years resolution but your goal changes how i should make one… — by making it more achievable and realistic. thanks..

  • Your an inspiration. I am so impressed with all you do. I can’t wait to read most of these. I have goals posted as well. I am hoping to get accountability by posting them. If anyone wants to see them and post a comment I would love the encouragement!!!!

    http://www.thesassysaver.net/year-end-review-and-new-year-goals/

  • Wow – these plans sounds terrific – I’m so excited to keep reading in 2011! keep up the great work – your posts are really fantastic.

  • Leslie says:

    who watches your kids for date night and the individual outings for your girls? We/I have a hard time finding someone to babysit.

    Love the blog!

    • Crystal says:

      We are tremendously blessed to have moved back home two years ago and have a lot of extended family who volunteer to babysit on a regular basis. We also hired a wonderful girl who comes over once a week and helps out and I often take one or two children out for errands while she’s here.

      • Leslie says:

        @Crystal, We have moved back home too, about 1 1/2 years ago. The family works except for my sister-in-law and she has 3 little ones too! No one volunteers! Need to keep praying for someone who wants to help us.

        • Lindsey says:

          @Leslie, Totally know the feeling. We just had our third baby in November and live a short 45 minutes from my family but NEVER go on any kind of dates because no one “volunteers.” And you know when you have to ask and then your family isn’t really excited about it you automatically just wish you never woulda’ asked. So I definitely know where you are coming from. =(

        • @Leslie, We don’t live near any family, and we have 5 young children, so getting out on dates is hard for us. We have traded kids with other families for date nights (though now it seems “unfair” since we have 5 and most people have 3 or less). We have also come to the point where we just need to budget some money to pay a babysitter so we can go out, even once a month. Not cheap (esp. for 5 kids!), but it has to happen somehow and it can’t always be free.

  • Christine says:

    Crystal,
    That is a fantastic idea to getaway with your hubby! You both deserve it for your dedication to making do with less and living like no one else. I commend you and Jesse for paying cash for your house. Though my husband and I were not able to pay cash for our house, we are paying a lot extra each month towards paying off the house. It will be such a blessing when we can own our own home and save, invest, give, and spend the money we are currently paying towards our home.
    I love how your goals are simple, yet “do-able”. Your website is an absolute inspiration. Many blessings to you!

    • Crystal says:

      We are really excited about getting away together in February. It’s something we’ve been dreaming about doing for a long time!

      Way to go on paying extra on your house payment every month! In many situations, I’d say this is the wiser route than paying 100% cash.

  • Megan says:

    can’t wait to see your better grocery budget videos!

  • Peggy says:

    Thanks for the link to the chronological bible! I was hoping to buy a new bible, now I don’t have to; free is good!

  • Claudia Matei says:

    You have been such an inspiration for me since I started reading your blog about a year ago. I have made many changes in my life and especially in my financial life because of your godly advice. So thank you! Thank you sharing your experiences and thank you for advice. I pray that you have a blessed year and that all your goals get accomplished. I look forward to another year of your posts.

  • Nancy says:

    You could be me!! It seems we like to do all the same things – and also feel the same way about goals and resolutions. I’m a huge list maker – and love the way you broke this down!
    By the way – I’m also a cruise travel agent so if you need one when you are ready to book – email me 🙂

  • Love your goal list…sounds quite similar to mine – although there are no plans for a cruise in my 2011! Keep up the great work and I look forward to sharing the year with you! God bless.

  • Crystal,
    Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ve got a great blog, a kind personality that actually shows through your blog, a wonderful family, dedication to home schooling, financially savvy, … and you seem very well organized too. And I agree with you, I never set New Year resolutions because of the same reasons, instead I set achieveable goals to keep me encouraged, as well as goals that may seem way out there to keep me challanged. I linked your blog to my blog roll – that’s how much I admire your blog 🙂 Keep up your great job, and I look forward to following you through 2011 and beyond. And happy New Year to you and your family. Like you, I’m excited about this year as well, and I pray it brings the best to everyone of us!

    • Crystal says:

      You’re very kind! I had quite a readers who have gently suggested I work on being more consistent in blogging as it’s been frustrating to them that they never know what I’m going to post when. 🙂

  • Kim says:

    I just want you to know how much of an encouragement you have been to me. If you haven’t been consistent, well I benefited a thousand times over anyway! Thank you for sharing in this blog all that God has blessed you with. You are making a difference in my life. Blessings to you,
    Kim

  • Brittny says:

    I can’t even tell you how much reading your blog has blessed my life!! I’m a young mom with two small boys and husband who works a lot of overtime and felt very overwhelmed a lot of the time staying home with them. You have really helped me organize my life from cooking, scheduling my day, to saving money, and earning extra money…you even inspired me to create my own blog!

    Thank you for all you do, looking for to reading in 2011!!

  • liz says:

    Great! I too like to make goals. It was nice to see the ones that I had done well with in 2010. And to set new ones for the new year!

    A look back at my 2010 goals:
    http://mylifemyexpedition.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/resolutions-part-one/

  • Jessica says:

    You do such an amazing job and your heart for God is so evident, so if your heart for your husband and your family. God has really gifted you with a heart to help others and give of yourself but it is nice to see your struggle with “keeping” your priorities in order. I know that I have great plans but after a week or two, they fizzle out and I constantly need to keep my eyes on Jesus for direction.

    The thing that stood out the most in this post was that Kathrynne will be starting second grade this year. Kathrynne and Ranen are a few months apart and he will also be starting second grade. I feel like I can read peoples thought as he is so young but he is very capable and I want to challenge him. I know we have similar homeschool styles and this works because Ranen is not in PS. But all that to say that I find it very encouraging that I am doing the right thing for my child even when it looks different from others.

    Thank you for all your encouragement and dedication.

    • Crystal says:

      It sounds like Ranen and Kathrynne are a lot alike! We’re just going with the “flow” here and taking it one year at a time. If, at any time, it seems like she’s at all overwhelmed or it’s too much for her, than we have breathing room to stay on a grade for extra time. The beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility it gives to specifically tailor education to each child’s needs. I love it!

  • Our personal finance goal of 2010 was to pay off our mortgage so we would be completely debt-free, and we did it! We mailed in our final check in the beginning of December! Now we are able to significantly increase our giving both to our church and to missionaries and save more for retirement and education. We have already saved up cash for a “new” used car for my husband, though he is still driving his until it quits, and plan to pay cash for a cruise for our 10th anniversary this summer (if we can ever decide which cruise to take and book one!–any ideas?). Where are you going on your cruise and how did you decide?

    Now we are setting our new BAGs (Big Audacious Goals!), like saving money for our whole family to take a trip to Israel (there are 7 of us so far, but we wouldn’t go for another 10 years or more, when the kids are older).

  • Mare says:

    Awesome goals! I have no idea how you do it all. I just thought I would pass on info on this “couples cruise” since you mentioned it. She’s a Christian marriage counselor. Her book is awesome. Plus, you get the group rate! Anyway, here’s the info if you’re interested. Thank SO much for all your hard work!

    http://www.strengtheningmarriage.com/cruise.php

  • Karen says:

    How in the world do you read even one or two books in a year? I used to be a voracious reader and I have trouble reading one book a month. I’m homeschooling an 11 y/o, 9 y/o, and 6 y/o. I also work part time. I’m a gym rat too. 🙂 Hmmmm…

    • Crystal says:

      Can you listen to audiobooks at the gym or in the car? That might possibly work!

      I shoot for 15 mins of reading per day and then an hour or two on the weekends (usually Sunday afternoons). I can usually get through around 4-5 books per month at this rate. I sometimes read in the car (when Jesse’s driving, of course!) and then I just snatch in minutes here and there.

      I love to read, so I guess it’s one of those things I just try to always make time for!

  • Sandy says:

    This is what I love about this blog! As much as I appreciate the posting of great deals and high value q’s, my favorite part is the sharing of goals, and suggestions on how to manage life in ways which help me to organize and think about what’s really important. While I have made a committment to honor my mother in being her 24/7 caregiver, and am exhausted by the end of the day after completing all I need to do for her, I am still a woman, and I want to find a way which allows me to focus a little on myself. It’s easy to let all other areas of my life wither, but this blog and posts like this make such a difference for me. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Sharon says:

    Your goals are definitely realistic…kudos to you 🙂 #1 on my list this year is to save more and spend less. I started off by switching to a prepaid cell phone with an unlimited plan so I no longer go over minutes and ended up with huge bills every other month! (Hooray for StraigtTalk). I’ve also been making a habit of buying the Sunday papers just to clip coupons for grocery shopping and have been saving quite a bit of money….every little things add up. Plus, now I’m an expert at comparison shopping and know for example, for the best deals in pampers this week…must visit Walgreens! Let’s just hope I can keep this up 🙂

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *