The month of February has come to a close and lord the first two months it has been crazy. We had some expenses that came up unexpectedly and expected but didn’t plan properly for. Being the first month in the calendar year is a learning curve for me as in previous years we didn’t have to plan as closely to our budget as we do now.
2019 Goal Update
In my first post to this series, I said that I had big savings goals for my family. Each month I want to be real with you guys and give you an update on how we are doing with those goals. With the flu season in full swing in January and part of February, it seemed like we could not catch a break. If you remember the goals I set for my family, they were:
- Save at least $50-$100 per week towards our housing fund
- Spend $100 or less towards groceries
- Pack all lunches and snack to prevent going out
- Save towards organization stuff for around the house
The question you are probably asking now is “did you hit those any of those goals in January and February, Brittany?” As much as I want to say we did, I want to completely be honest with you and that we only hit two of our goals. Packing lunches and spending $100 or less in groceries per week. This has been easy for me when grocery shopping. As I am the main provider for our little family, I want to make sure that we can save for those items we really want or need now that its hopefully going to be getting warmer out. I have been able to bulk shop on our meats so we don’t have to buy them every time we go to the store.
Meal Planning Update
Packing lunches has been a struggle a little bit. My husband is notorious at going to the vending machine to get a pop or a small snack at school or work. Finding items that matches to what he might be craving at the time or want has been a struggle. Packing the main lunches is easier now. Hubby normally just wants a sandwich with chips. Me on the other hand that’s different. I do not like sandwiches for lunch nor leftovers. In order for me to pack my lunch and not eat out, I have to be very strategic when doing our meal plans each week.
Dinners have been much easier to plan and we have a plan. At the beginning of January, there were a lot of ideas on what we plan for in terms of breakfast, lunch and dinner. As you can tell in the picture there were a lot of crossing out of dinners or moving around. That was because that was my first month of planning what we would have each day.
As the weeks went along, I began to mix things up. I didn’t plan breakfasts for every day except for the weekends when we would all be home together. Lunches were still up in the air for myself. But I was able to get a pattern of what I knew I would want for lunches when going to the store. But then we changed up how the meal plan would look. In February we planned mainly dinners and snacks. We were able to stick to the meals better in February without hardly any diversions except when one of us were sick.
Now that we are in March, we have a steady idea of how to meal plan for dinners at least. Now we want to establish theme kind of days. For example, Taco Tuesday or Spaghetti Sunday something like that. How many of you do theme dinners each week that makes meal planning a little easier?
Also, before we started this challenge we did not have a list of meals that we have really enjoyed as a family that is a staple that we have. Now that we have an idea of how to meal plan, my goal now is to gather all the recipes we have tried and really like and put them in a Pinterest board or my bullet journal to refer back on. Most of my ideas for dinners come from Pinterest or the Pioneer Women cookbook. When I got my transplant, I really enjoyed watching her show and couldn’t wait to start cooking like her. I do have one of her cookbooks that we have began using.
Housing Fund and Organization Items for House
During the first two months we have not been able to put anything back towards the house savings fund. But instead we have had to take money out of it. This is due to having to pay for the unexpected items we didn’t account for in our January and February budget. This house savings fund is a savings fund we set up in 2017 when we were pregnant with our daughter so we can save to build a house. The house we live in now is 1400 square feet for four people, two dogs and a cat. So, it’s getting pretty tight and small. This fund we are wanting to put enough to buy land and build the house of our dreams.
We are going to adjust this goal to be a little more realistic. Instead of putting back $100 per week towards this fund, we will put back $25-50 per week. This will give us a little wiggle room in our budget for those unexpected bills that might show up. If at the end of the month we have enough extra in our account, I can move some more money over in this fund in order to save more. During this revision of budget, I have started gathering or looking over our house to see how we can organize things better. We are going to declutter a lot inside the house in order to create more space. We will be having a BIG yard sale this coming spring in order to sell the items we don’t use anymore. The money we get from the yard sale will go toward the house savings fund or items for organizing the house better.
Looking Forward into March
I have talked a lot of what happened during the past two months and a little of what we are going to change going forward. But now I want to talk about how we will continue with March and going forward.
Our meal plans are becoming easier and not taking hours to create thankfully. Going forward, I want to create days where we have a theme of what we will have each week on those days. I believe these will help out a lot more and help build those recipes that become a staple to our diet. Also along with Kroger having the click and save where I can order my groceries and pick them up, the Walmart in our town has it now too. While I do love Aldi and how it saves us money each week, I can’t always find the time to go there without the kids. Having the order and pick up options at Kroger and Walmart will be easier and make me accountable towards my budget more. The picture above is the groceries last week to last us till March 15th. As you can see it was only $118 at Walmart. That leaves us quite a bit for those items like milk or diapers that go quickly each week that I might have to get next week. If those items are not needed next week that remaining amount from the $200 grocery budget for 2 week can go towards the house savings fund account.
As we are in March, January and February were not a complete bust. But we are hoping to improve how we did things in March and going forward in the year. How are you meal planning for your family? What are your savings goals that you are doing this year to help your family? Let me know in the comments below.