Monday, August 18, 2014

This Week's Goals: 8/18-24/14

Goal Line

Last week's goals:


Classroom Goals
  • Continue teaching our summer bridge program
  • Finish lesson planning for summer bridge program
  • Start lesson planning first week of school year
  • Place classroom orders with 2014-2015 classroom fund
Household/Family/Mommy Goals
  • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our August budget
  • Finish putting up plastic to cover the wall insulation in the basement as part of our organization project
  • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves
  • Get power washer to finish the back deck
  • Organize shoe/coat closet and replace broken shelf
  • Move stepping stones to downstairs patio
Personal Goals
  • Exercise at least twice this week
  • Journal at least once this week
  • Continue back to school shopping
  • Continue rereading the Outlander Series (I'm finally on book #8 - the new one!) 
Blogging Goals
    This Week's Goals:

    Classroom Goals
    • Start lesson planning for the first week of school
    • Finish teaching summer school this Friday
    Household/Family/Mommy Goals
    • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our August budget
    • Finish putting up plastic to cover the wall insulation in the basement as part of our organization project
    • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves
    • Start sanding our deck
    • Organize shoe/coat closet and replace broken shelf
    • Move stepping stones to downstairs patio
    Personal Goals
    • Find some motivation - I'm slacking ladies, totally slacking! (Anybody have a motivation tree I can pick some fruit from?!?!) LOL
    • Exercise at least twice this week
    • Journal at least once this week
    • Continue back to school shopping
    • Read my coworkers book - Flowers for Rodney
    Blogging Goals
    Wish me luck! What's on your schedule this week?



    Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    Family Memberships = Family Fun + Budget Friendly Price Tag


    I'm guessing it won't shock any of you to hear that as a teacher, education is very important to me. (Gasp - I know!) That's why exposing my son to great opportunities to explore and learn is important to me. Because I'm a public school teacher, I'm blessed to have my summers home with him which makes going on these adventures very feasible. There's only one problem.... our budget.

    On this blog I often share about our Total Money Makeover Journey (if you're new to my blog, check out the link to explore my many posts on the topic). While paying down debt using the debt snowball, we limit our spending by following a strict budget most of the time. That means we miss out on some cool opportunities just because the funding is not available, but we realized last year that our budget doesn't have to stop us from great learning opportunities for our family. :) 


    Last year, I posted about our experiences visiting the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. We had only planned on making a special one day trip, but soon found out that many attractions, the Henry Ford included, allow you to purchase a year long family pass for the same cost of just 2-3 visits depending on the size of your family. This was a budget friendly, no-brainer for our family! Unlimited visits for only one small price, making our trips free starting with the third visit. Ever since discovering this budget friendly trick, we've been taking full advantage.

    This year my family is enjoying a family pass to both a local zoo & children's science museum. Because we go frequently, it means we can stay as short or long as we like. There's no rush to see everything, but also no push to stay longer than you wish, just to get your money's worth. Instead we often visit for only 45 - 60 minutes each week. That way we avoid an over tired child or grumpy parents! :) I also love the freedom it gives us - we can pack a picnic and enjoy the shade of large oak trees growing outside of our local zoo while other families rush to see all the different animals and my son can visit the same exhibit over and over until he tires of it.

    Do you take advantage of family memberships to meet your family's budget & offer great educational experiences for your children? I'd love to hear about your successes in the comments below! 



    Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.

    Monday, August 11, 2014

    This Week's Goals: 8/11-17/14

    Goal Line

    Last week's goals:


    Classroom Goals
    • Start teaching our summer bridge program
    • Lesson plan for week 2 of our summer program (next week)
    Household/Family/Mommy Goals
    • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our August budget
    • Finish putting up plastic to cover the wall insulation in the basement as part of our organization project
    • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves
    • Get power washer to finish the back deck
    • Organize shoe/coat closet and replace broken shelf
    • Move stepping stones to downstairs patio
    Personal Goals
    • Exercise at least twice this week
    • Journal at least once this week
    • Continue back to school shopping
    • Continue rereading the Outlander Series (I'm currently on book #5)
    Blogging Goals
    • Post at least 2 times this week
    • Announce our July Giveaway winner :) 
    • Promote our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts
    • Highlight & add sticky notes to my copy of  Mom Blogging for Dummies (This job is going to be on here forever at the rate I'm going!)
      This Week's Goals:

      Classroom Goals
      • Continue teaching our summer bridge program
      • Finish lesson planning for summer bridge program
      • Start lesson planning first week of school year
      • Place classroom orders with 2014-2015 classroom fund
      Household/Family/Mommy Goals
      • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our August budget
      • Finish putting up plastic to cover the wall insulation in the basement as part of our organization project
      • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves
      • Get power washer to finish the back deck
      • Organize shoe/coat closet and replace broken shelf
      • Move stepping stones to downstairs patio
      Personal Goals
      • Exercise at least twice this week
      • Journal at least once this week
      • Continue back to school shopping
      • Continue rereading the Outlander Series (I'm finally on book #8 - the new one!) 
      Blogging Goals
      Wish me luck! What's on your schedule this week?



      Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.

      Monday, August 4, 2014

      This Week's Goals: 8/4-10/14

      Goal Line

      Last week's goals:


      Classroom Goals
      • Collaborate with my coworker on our 8th grade units of study/curriculum changes
      • Meet with coworkers to plan for our August summer school program
      • Lesson plan for summer program that starts next week (August)
      Household/Family/Mommy Goals
      • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our July budget & creating our August budget
      • Finish putting up plastic to cover the wall insulation in the basement as part of our organization project
      • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves
      • Get power washer to finish the back deck
      • Create list of items to purchase at garage sales for my son's closet in the coming year
      • Change heating/cooling filter
      • Organize shoe/coat closet and replace broken shelf
      • Prepare side yard for fencing that will be going up in our dog area next week
      • Move stepping stones to downstairs patio
      Personal Goals
      • Exercise at least twice this week
      • Journal at least once this week
      • Continue the Doctor's Diet
      • Continue back to school shopping
      • Continue rereading the Outlander Series (I'm currently on book #5 - a bit behind on my reading)
      Blogging Goals
        This Week's Goals:

        Classroom Goals
        • Start teaching our summer bridge program
        • Lesson plan for week 2 of our summer program (next week)
        Household/Family/Mommy Goals
        • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our August budget
        • Finish putting up plastic to cover the wall insulation in the basement as part of our organization project
        • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves
        • Get power washer to finish the back deck
        • Organize shoe/coat closet and replace broken shelf
        • Move stepping stones to downstairs patio
        Personal Goals
        • Exercise at least twice this week
        • Journal at least once this week
        • Continue back to school shopping
        • Continue rereading the Outlander Series (I'm currently on book #5)
        Blogging Goals
        • Post at least 2 times this week
        • Announce our July Giveaway winner :) 
        • Promote our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts
        • Highlight & add sticky notes to my copy of  Mom Blogging for Dummies (This job is going to be on here forever at the rate I'm going!)
        Wish me luck! What's on your schedule this week?



        Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.

        Monday, July 28, 2014

        This Week's Goals: 7/28 - 8/3/2014

        Goal Line

        Last week's goals:


        Classroom Goals
        • Collaborate with my coworker on our 8th grade units of study/curriculum changes
        • Meet with coworkers to plan for our August summer school program
        • Research "following procedure" science labs (ex. PB&J lab for those of you that teach science like me)
        Household/Family/Mommy Goals
        • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our July budget
        • Fill my new storage shelves with holiday and seasonal stuff from the basement (The shelves look great AND we have tons of left over room to organize other items as well that I hadn't expected!)
        • Get power washer to finish the back deck
        • Create list of items to purchase at garage sales for my son's closet in the coming year
        • Change heating/cooling filter
        • Organize shoe/coat closet and replace broken shelf
        • Prepare side yard for fencing that will be going up in our dog area next week
        Personal Goals
        • Exercise at least twice this week
        • Journal at least once this week
        • Continue the Doctor's Diet - Stat Plan (started over the weekend)
        • Paint my nails (every girl needs some ME time every now and then)
        • Continue back to school shopping - I'm looking for some jeans & shorts this week :)
        • Continue rereading the Outlander Series (I'm currently on book #5)
        Blogging Goals
          This Week's Goals:

          Classroom Goals
          • Collaborate with my coworker on our 8th grade units of study/curriculum changes
          • Meet with coworkers to plan for our August summer school program
          • Lesson plan for summer program that starts next week (August)
          Household/Family/Mommy Goals
          • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our July budget & creating our August budget
          • Finish putting up plastic to cover the wall insulation in the basement as part of our organization project
          • Continue to organize the basement by filling my new storage shelves
          • Get power washer to finish the back deck
          • Create list of items to purchase at garage sales for my son's closet in the coming year
          • Change heating/cooling filter
          • Organize shoe/coat closet and replace broken shelf
          • Prepare side yard for fencing that will be going up in our dog area next week
          • Move stepping stones to downstairs patio
          Personal Goals
          • Exercise at least twice this week
          • Journal at least once this week
          • Continue the Doctor's Diet
          • Continue back to school shopping
          • Continue rereading the Outlander Series (I'm currently on book #5 - a bit behind on my reading)
          Blogging Goals
          Wish me luck! What's on your schedule this week?



          Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.

          Monday, July 21, 2014

          This Week's Goals: July 21-27, 2014

          Goal Line

          Last week's goals:


          Classroom Goals
          • Collaborate with my coworker on our 8th grade units of study/curriculum changes
          • Start planning for August summer school program
          • Start setting classroom back up when floors are finished
          Household/Family/Mommy Goals
          • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our July budget
          • Build storage shelves in the basement utility room (This is actually my dear husband's job!) 
          • Get power washer to finish the back deck
          • Purchase two more cans of deck stain in preparation for that project at the end of the month
          • Organize my son's closet and create list of items to purchase at garage sales
          • Change heating/cooling filter
          Personal Goals
          • Exercise at least twice this week
          • Journal at least once this week
          • Give myself an at home facial spa experience
          • Enjoy the company of my family while on vacation 
          • Continue rereading the Outlander Series (I'm currently on book #4)
          Blogging Goals
            This Week's Goals:

            Classroom Goals
            • Collaborate with my coworker on our 8th grade units of study/curriculum changes
            • Meet with coworkers to plan for our August summer school program
            • Research "following procedure" science labs (ex. PB&J lab for those of you that teach science like me)
            Household/Family/Mommy Goals
            • Continue our Total Money Makeover by following our July budget
            • Fill my new storage shelves with holiday and seasonal stuff from the basement
            • Get power washer to finish the back deck
            • Create list of items to purchase at garage sales for my son's closet in the coming year
            • Change heating/cooling filter
            • Organize shoe/coat closet and replace broken shelf
            • Prepare side yard for fencing that will be going up in our dog area next week
            Personal Goals
            • Exercise at least twice this week
            • Journal at least once this week
            • Continue the Doctor's Diet - Stat Plan (started over the weekend)
            • Paint my nails (every girl needs some ME time every now and then)
            • Continue back to school shopping - I'm looking for some jeans & shorts this week :)
            • Continue rereading the Outlander Series (I'm currently on book #5)
            Blogging Goals
            Wish me luck! What's on your schedule this week?



            Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.

            Thursday, July 17, 2014

            How To Make A Food Budget AND Stick To It: Mini-Series Part 3


            In part one of this mini-series we looked at cutting back your "eating out" expenses. Then in part two, we took a look at the other major food category - the food you prepare at home, better known as your "grocery budget". Now we're ready for part 3 - meal planning!

            The Basics

            In part 2 of this food budget mini series you calculated your family's monthly food budget range. For the purpose of this post, I'm going to use my family's budget as an example. Our monthly grocery budget is $300. That includes all food purchased (except $50 per month for eating out) plus other 'grocery store items' such as toilet paper. Once you know your monthly food budget, the best way to help your family stick to it is through meal planning!

            What Is Meal Planning?

            Meal planning is exactly what it says... a plan for your meals. I know it sounds obvious, but we know from experience that tons of us aren't doing it on a regular basis. Prior to starting our Total Money Makeover journey, my idea of meal planning was to make a list of everything I needed for Thanksgiving dinner in order to ensure I'd purchased everything prior to that morning. Turns out, that WAS meal planning, but the problem was I was only meal planning for one meal (a year)! Yikes!

            *Side Note: If you aren't on a tight budget you can still meal plan to help keep your family organized, just list the meals you'd like to eat each week and make your list from there. But for those of you like me, that are on a tight meal budget, keep reading!*

            Let's Get Started... Breaking Down The Numbers

            Now that we know what Meal Planning is, it is time to break down the numbers.

            My family has 3 people (two adults and one toddler). That means that I have $100 per month to feed each of us, but obviously my son eats a lot less than his dad does, so I prefer to break down the numbers by day and meal.

            $300 per month divided by 30 days means that my family has $10 per day to spend on food. That is an average of $3.33 per meal. Wow! That can sound really intimidating since just a package of chicken is likely to cost that much - how on earth are you supposed to supply a whole meal for such a small price? Thankfully there are a few tips to making that happen...

            How To Stretch Your Grocery Budget Strategically


            1. Make a list of your family's favorite meals - I divided my paper into 3 categories: breakfast, lunch & dinner. I listed things like spaghetti, lasagna, chili dogs, grilled chicken salad, etc. All of my family's favorite meals.
            2. Price Out Your Ingredients - Spend an hour at a local store (or break it into many smaller trips) to price out your recipe ingredients. For example, my family likes macaroni & cheese with hot dogs. That meal requires: 1 package of hot dogs, 2 boxes of macaroni and cheese, one cup of milk & a scoop of butter. The total cost for these ingredients is approximately $1.94. (Using this method does mean you need to estimate the cost of the cup of milk compared to the whole gallon for example.) Add the total cost of each meal into your list from step 1 above. 
            3. Analyze Your Results - Now its time to take a look at the trends. Are your favorite meals on the cheap or expensive side? How do your meals compare to your per meal budget? In our case, my goal is to have each meal cost $3.33 or less. My mac & cheese with hot dogs example only cost $1.94 so that means it fits our budget well. Consequently, meals that are more expensive appear less often in our meal plan. You can also consider a few other questions: are these meals ones you like to have a on a weekly/monthly basis? Are there cheaper alternatives - such as generic brands or homemade versions? Answers to these questions will help you to have a more clear vision of your meal plan.
            4. Filling In Your Meal Plan - Now the fun begins... its time to fill in your meal plan. Our normal breakfast costs us about $1 per day. So on a day where we have our normal cereal, followed by our hot dog with macaroni and cheese lunch that leaves us with just over $7 for dinner. That means we can have a slightly more expensive dinner and still stick with our $10 per day budget. By pairing together expensive meals with less expensive ones you can do the same thing quite easily. Fill out your meal plan on a calendar or our helpful printable (link in resources below).
            5. Make Your Shopping List - Since you know exactly what you plan to eat in the coming weeks, you know exactly what to purchase. Make your list and head to the store with cash in hand. Stick to your list and your budget without cheating and you'll be successful!
            Helpful Meal Planning Resources
            • EMeals: (Save 20% with code SCHOOL on any eMeals Meal Plan) - Perfect for busy working families that don't want to take the time to make their own meal plan. EMeals will deliver a meal plan & shopping list to your email for less than $5. 
            Congratulations! You've reached the end of our 3 part How To Make A Food Budget AND Stick To It Mini-Series. Now you have all the tools needed to make a food budget for your family to follow and a long list of tips to make it work. I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below. Let us know what positive and negative experiences come up during the process - I LOVE hearing from my readers. :) 

            Happy Meal Planning! :)



            Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.
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