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Savings goals are...

April 24th, 2007 at 07:58 pm

on autopilot for the next year and some. I set up individual ING accounts with automatic savings.

We've got a working budget saving enough for retirement, a nice emergency fund, extra money for "the unexpected," to pay school entirely and pay off one of two large student loans before I graduate next year.

In a year and a half we will have:
-Put 10k a year into Roth IRAs PLUS contributed the maximum matched amount to the employer sponsered 401k
-Pay off at least $14k in student loans (Will still have one more and the remaining mortgage)
-Pay the remaining tuition in cash.
-Take a decent vacation this summer.
-Fund my travel abroad rotation (already done).

There is no extra give/cut backs in the budget other than the occassional dining out and I am working on eliminating that now. (This expense is about $100/month). Also no way to "increase" income until next year, when I start working. ALL of my income will be going to eliminate our remaining debt at that point.

Tonight as I write this... It's almost depressing that there's nothing left I can think of to tweak. Of course all ideas for new financial challenges will be considered!

So time for a new goal. As I posted last time I am switching my focus to my health/weight. I'm in pretty good shape, but could lose a little weight, increase the intensity of my exercise, and eat a little better.



Adding Health to My Goals; New two week goals

April 23rd, 2007 at 04:23 pm

The $20 challenge and posting has been great for my finances. Goal is to be out of debt in 5 years or less. As a lot of Americans, I can stand to lose some weight. I am fairly active and in generally good health, but tend to eat in response to stress. With school stress is a way of life, but I have about a month left before I have a nice break.

So I am adding to work towards health (and hopefully lose some weight) in the process. I'm hoping to add a habit every two weeks. I might also work in some new financial goals as well.

My first goals which I will be focusing on in the next two weeks are:
(1) Eat 9 servings of fruits and veggies a day. I average 4-5. I could do better. I'm going to cut up and package veggies in the beginning of the week to take to lunch and to snack on throughout the day. I manage to eat 2 servings for breakfast and 2-3 for dinner. Focusing during the day seems to be the best.

(2) Financially I am going to eliminate ALL eating out
for the next two weeks or ordering in. I rarely do this now adays, but could still stand to lower this. I don't actually want to eliminate eating out, but would rather focus on preplanned outings. To do this, I am first going to completely cut it from my budget, then add it back in as a preplanned event.

Another no spend day and why I OAMC

April 16th, 2007 at 06:12 pm

OAMC or once a month cooking. I don't do it every month. I actually love to cook, but when I have months where I am running from 7a-9p or later, I know I am going to go home and pickup something not healthy and expensive for me. If DH goes shopping to make something, it costs half the week's grocery bill.

If it's in the freezer, honestly a 5 minute microwave or even an hour baking while I take a shower/relax is easier than going out yet again. It's all about making it easy to save money and live a healthier life. At 9p if I have to think -- it's over with the fatty no thought place down the street wins.

OAMC Cooking DONE! and $10 more to savings challenge

April 15th, 2007 at 05:43 pm

Well, it's been a long day but I got the following OAMC done today:

5 days of chili
4 days of taco chicken
2 days of orange chicken
2 days of balsamic chicken
4 days of black bean quesidillas
4 days of whole-wheat lasagna/spinach rolls (vegetarian)
4 days of whole-wheat pizzas
2 days of meatloaf
4 days of vegetarian stir=fry
4 days of red pepper spaghetti sauce
Whole wheat pancakes, french toast for breakfast on the weekends.

Also walked 10 miles this weekend, adding $10 to my savings challenge. I can't wait to put my new totals up for April in a few weeks.

Homemade cornbread, barley pilaf, mexican brown rice, blueberry whole-wheat oatmeal muffins, raspberry sorbet. Also have lots of frozen veggies and will buy fresh veggies/fruit for the coming weeks. Also put together several whole wheat bread mixes so I can use the breadmaker to make fresh bread 1-2x a week as needed.

Tax Refund, $20 Savings Challenge and Another Student Loan

February 11th, 2007 at 05:33 pm

Got my federal refund and paid off my second smallest student loan! Another small, but important milestone. Guess I get to update my totals. February is looking like a great debt month -- maybe I should enjoy tax time more often.

Updates on $20 savings challenge:
$2 for Walking and Eating Healthy today
$100 from the tax refund

Also got ahead on some school work this weekend.

Time to set some new financial goals!
1. Keep grocery spending below $200 a month, including dog food, cleaning supplies and toiletries.
2. Get my entire debt down to

Unexpected bonus of saving money! and a January update

February 5th, 2007 at 03:13 pm

Well, Definately have the grocery/dining out bill below $200 monthly now with no problems and stocking up. Rebates/coupons have been great. I don't want to go any lower, although we probably could. I feel if I can save more money, I will probably use it to buy fish or fresh (vs frozen) veggies more often.

For the good news, since I haven't been eating out and have been exercising (sporadically), I've lost 10 pounds in the last 2 months. Most of this I think comes from just not eating out. Smile This was an unexpected *bonus* as I'm not dieting or trying to lose weight. So cheaper and losing weight. I think I can deal with this.

January totals including Savings Challenge and Debt is updated.

Cooking for January

January 1st, 2007 at 04:19 pm


(a) I made two batches of rolls (24 total) for DH for sandwiches for lunch. Much cheaper than buying them, and able to make them with whole wheat flour and no "salt" or preservatives.
(b) Cooked 2 lbs of lean ground beef (93% fat free) we got on sale for tacos on nights things are just too crazy to cook.
(c) Made 6 pizza crusts and froze also for dinners. Just mix a homemade spice mix with no-sodium tomato sauce, add some veggies and grated cheese for a quick dinner.
(d) Made a new batch of granola for breakfast.
(e) Froze some individual servings of homemade minestrone soup for lunches.

Total time: 1 1/2 hours.

Since I really organized the kitchen in December things have really been a lot easier. Gladware containers have been great -- easy to freeze things and easy to store rice, beans, cereal, dried fruit, and other "necessities" that usually end up all over the place and are hard to find.

I've also made a "pantry" list and started a price book. Both are helping me to knock down making a "grocery list" to about 15 minutes when the circulars come out at the end of the week. DH has even been helpful for putting things we need on the list.

It hasn't even snowed yet and I can't wait until summer. I don't have much of a garden, but did plant some blueberry bushes last year. Unfortunately the blueberries never made it in the house for cooking. Smile Hopefully this coming year some will make it to the freezer or at least to the dinner table.