Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Status of 2009 Goals

I left on Friday evening for a short weekend away with my mother. We rented THIS house on top of the mountain that had breathtaking views. Although our trip was cut a little short, due to a family emergency (that turned out not to be an emergency), we had a wonderful time relaxing in the hot tub and chatting about life.

It was also a time of reflection for me. I had some time to think about the progress of the goals that were set at the beginning of the year. Since we are at the half-way point this year, I wanted to do a status update for each of my goals.

1. Continue living within or below our means. Except for our mortgage, we have no other debt. This was not always the case, but we've worked hard to get to this point. Keeping our monthly expenses low allows us to enjoy life and be free from financial stress. We don't drive the newest cars, but it feels so good knowing they are paid for.

Status: I am pleased to report that we have continued to live beneath our means. Our only debt continues to be our mortgage and I've been paying extra on it each month. Every little little bit helps to reduce the balance. We also continue to max out my husband's 401(k) contribution.

2. Continue recycling and encourage others to do the same. I started one year ago and am amazed at how many reusable items my family was throwing away. I recycle paper, magazines, newspapers, plastic bottles, plastic bags, cans and glass bottles. I take the items to the recycling center near my home every week. It feels SO good to help out in this small way!

Status: I have continued to recycle on a regular basis and have encouraged a few other people to begin doing it as well. This is such a small thing that can make such a big difference for future generations.

3. Rent condo or cottage at the beach 3. Rent condo or cottage at the beach for three or four weeks. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I am an avid traveler and have had the pleasure of seeing many beautiful places all over the world. I cannot wait to take my son to the beach for three or four weeks this summer and create memories that will last a lifetime. If everything works out, my husband will join us for atleast one week.

Status: I'm sad to report that this one will not be happening this year. I refuse to take money from our emergency fund to pay for this. So, I need to be more diligent in saving for this to take place next summer. We have been on numerous weekend trips so far this year and are heading to South Carolina to spend a week at the beach the first week of August. We will also be going away a few more times later this year. Next year, I am hopeful to achieve this goal!

4) Stick to our food budget. Every month I end up spending most of my blow money on eating out. I've come a long way this past year and have been cooking at home more often. I want to cook at home even more this year because it is less expensive and healthier for our family.

Status: I've been doing great with cooking dinner at home. Eating lunch out continues to be a struggle for me, especially during the summer because we're out of the house more. I am happy to report that I've tried some new recipes this year and have been doing lots of baking. Homemade quesadillas are my latest obsession!

5. Increase charitable giving. I want to give more to charity-both money and volunteering of my time.

Status: My son and I have dropped off donations of dog food, cat food and treats to the local humane society several times this year. We've also made and dropped off meals to numerous friends who've had surgery or babies. I am also pleased to report that my family has made monetary contributions to several non-profit organizations so far this year.

How is everyone else doing with their goals this year? Lets encourage one another and keep each other accountable!


Ginger said...

Sara: I linked over here from Money Saving Mom's site. Thank you so much for posting your ongoing struggles with staying with the food budget and spending your "blow" category on eating out. I likewise have this same struggle, and it's not something I see a lot of people talking about. So I was happy to see your blog entry. I keep saying that when I call into the Dave Ramsey show to shout I'M DEBT FREE and he asks me what the hardest part of all this was, I am going to say FOOD. I've never heard anybody else say that, but I will. Anyway, thanks for your honesty here. Much appreciated.

Sara said...

Thanks for your comment, Ginger! Eating out has always been a struggle for me. I watch Dave Ramsey's show on a regular basis and love his common sense approach. Good luck with your debt snowball!

Whitney said...

Thank you for sharing your goals. I think those are down-to-earth goals and are very inspiring!

Staci said...

Thanks for sharing! I was looking forward to reading your update since you mentioned typing it out! You are doing great... I am so proud of you guys! Eating out is sooo hard NOT to do! I can ALWAYS find a reason to eat out! lol!

Vicki said...

Sara, I'm so proud of you and all your hard work to achieve your goals. Sometimes we learn a lot from not meeting a goal or perhaps we find the goal is still important but just needs some revision. I had a wonderful time on our week-end away even with the drama!! Love, Mom