February 2016 – This month, I am a THRIFTY mom.
The Challenge: Each month I’ll choose one characteristic I want to build upon to help me be the best mom I can be. I will determine four goals to help me carve that path, and I’ll report back on my successes and (undoubted) failures, too. In February, my theme was THRIFTY.
1. Read a relevant, popular book on the subject and start taking action as I read. February Pick (affiliate link): Living Well, Spending Less
Ruth Soukup is an extremely successful blogger, and for good reason. She writes in a very engaging, easy to relate, manner. Nothing in this book is mind-blowing, however. I would say most of her “12 Secrets” are anything but secrets. Yet, it’s a quick read and it offered great reminders.
My favorite suggestion was meeting with your spouse and coming up with a list of couples goals to achieve in five years and beyond. I’ve always set personal goals, but I never tried couples goals. But why not? If we plan to spend the rest of our lives together, we should probably be aligned on what our goals are, right? Not only was this a great exercise, it was a lot of fun. My husband and I discussed our dreams, hopes for our family, and re-visited our individual bucket lists. I encourage this exercise for every couple!
I also loved her chapter with ingredient lists on how to make your own household products. Why waste money on cleaning products with so many harmful ingredients, when we can make our own with simple ingredients already at home? I will definitely implement this into my household routine.
3. Try one new activity that may help me accomplish my goal. Make lunches for the family
I already make lunches for myself and our son, but making lunch for my husband was a new endeavor. It also will require developing new habits, as I kept forgetting to give him the lunches to take with him in the mornings! Over time, I’m not sure how sustainable this activity will be, though. My husband can only tolerate so many turkey sandwiches and I only have so much time and creative ideas. But it’s probably saving us about $40 a week, so it’s worth the effort.
4. Determine how I will involve the husband and kids so it’s a family experience, or at least, family benefit. Try free activities with my son, meet with my husband each week to track our budget and spending.
Our local library offers toddler time a couple times a week, in addition to lots of other activities. I finally stepped up and attended one with my son. It was a bit of chaos, as you can expect. My son was fascinated with the book reading, for about five minutes. Then he wanted to see what else the library had to offer. Maybe he’s a little young to be expected to sit for 30 minutes, but he’ll grow into it. At least now I know it’s a resource for us. Also, I noticed that 90% of the parents take their kids to the local park after toddler time ends. Suddenly this 30-minute activity turns into 90 minutes of stimulation and playtime for kids. Perfect!
This month, I also made a concerted effort to schedule playdates with friends. It’s been cold, so spending time outdoors has been challenging. But playdates are easy and indoors. Moms can catch up and take a breather, kids can run around and double up on mischief. Win win! The hardest part is scheduling because everyone is so busy. Perhaps planning something ongoing is the way to go. In the meantime, these dates are great fun but hard to execute.
On the budget front, my husband and I have designated Wednesday night as “sit down and review the budget” time. Most weeks, it’s quick and simple. We make sure we’re in order and review anything outstanding or big expenses looming. Once a month, we transfer money to our savings and track our spending for the month. Easy peasy! I feel so much more confident about our financial situation now than I was going into this month.
Overall, it’s been a great month! I don’t feel like I’ve got the THRIFTY thing down, just yet, but I’m heading in the right direction. Get ready for March… My focus will be GRATEFUL! Gratitude is the cornerstone of fulfillment and happiness. This is definitely something I’m looking forward to building on in my life!
Oh, and follow my progress on my Facebook page!