One Year of Blogging Done! Last weekend was the one year anniversary of Oscoey. I can’t believe how quickly the last year has gone! I have learned a lot about blogging over the past year and gotten to know many fabulous bloggers as well. […]
I have been taking a break from the blog the past week or so and just been interacting a little bit on Twitter. I thought I would stop in and talk a little bit about end of life planning. One of my close relatives is […]
We have come to the end of our Uber Frugal Month Challenge and we were pretty successful! We kept to our super low grocery budget, were mindful about our purchases and had some great discussions about where we want our life to head and what we need to do to get us there. Even though we had an expensive month with a hot water heater replacement and unexpected car repairs we were still within budget on the expenses we were focusing on.
One of our main focuses this month was our food. I am sure that if you have been following my posts on Instagram and Twitter displaying some of the meals we have eaten that we tend to eat the same thing over and over again. That is one of the ways we save money. We bought a huge chunk of pork from Costco and my husband broke it down and made several things out of it including breakfast sausage, garlic meatballs, and what we call basic cooked pork which is pork cooked in a pan with salt and pepper. Basic cooked pork is very versatile and you can add it to all sorts of dishes such as salads, burritos, over rice, in sandwiches and anything else you could think of. We also ate much healthier this month with many vegetables and more vegetarian meals which I am proud that our meat-loving family was able to do with very little fuss. Our goal was to spend $500 on groceries for January and we ended up spending $430.36! We did this without creating a large deficit in our pantry either and made sure to stock up on our basics as we ran out of them. Too many people fall into the trap of cutting way back on groceries one month and then over spending the next because they run out of basics. We will probably need to buy a few such as rice, flour and more vegetables next month but we are not out of “everything” so we should still be able to keep within our budget. Yay!
One of the things we also did to be Uber Frugal was to cut back on our outings from the house that cost money. This was pretty easy for us since our kids spent most of the first half of January miserable with colds but it did lead to some mischief making due to antsy children. We did purchase a membership to the Pacific Science Center which we will be using regularly and will give us a discount on summer camps but for us the $140.00 over the course of a year was well spent. Sundays there is free parking and we always pack a lunch so the cost per visit if we go only 6 times this year will be less than $25 for our family of four (oldest will have to use free guest passes when she is in town) which comes out to a little over $5 per person which isn’t bad at all. The more we go the better the deal too!
When we were doing the Uber Frugal Month Challenge we noticed that we spent quite a bit of money on clothes last year so part of our focus this month was to reduce that. We were able to score some brand new thick leggings for our daughter and a bunch of clothes for our son in the next size up from our local Buy Nothing group. We also passed on some clothes that our kids have outgrown and other household items that we no longer needed. I am a huge fan of the Buy Nothing Project! We have both given and received some awesome items from the group. Our group has bonded quite a bit and there was even a meetup this month for group members that we missed but I am super excited to make the next one.
Another frugal activity I participated in was walking this month. I have a friend that I walk with pretty regularly but we had gotten out of the groove with the holidays and sick kids. We made an extra effort this month and were able to meet almost weekly for our 2+ mile walk through a nicer neighborhood with plenty of gorgeous views. Fitness is a huge part of being frugal because when you are unhealthy it will cost you more in health expenses. Walking is a great free activity and it also gets you out getting to know your neighborhood.
My biggest takeaway from this month’s challenge was how creative being Uber Frugal made us. We ate some interesting meals and had great fun thinking outside our box with taking the kids for a walk in the rain, reducing our clothing spending and figuring out how to reach our financial goals on paper. We were previously stuck in a spending rut and this month’s challenge was an awesome way for us to get out of it. I am excited for all of our frugalness next month and to see how it will change our spending over the long term.
How did the Uber Frugal Month change your habits?
We are entering our final days of the Frugalwoods Uber Frugal Month Challenge and it has been a great refresher for us to get back into our frugal habits. I am finally caught up on all of the emails and they really made us think […]
Usually this time of year I start looking over our finances for the year, project our income a year ahead and start setting some goals for the year. I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions because I am not great at following through with them but I am good at setting some goals for our finances for the next year and achieving a reasonable number of them. This year however everything is up in the air. I am attempting to go back to work in the next couple of months and I am not sure of what my final salary will be. Since I am a pretty precise planner and a little suspicious of counting on future income that may not exist I am hesitant to put numbers down for some of the goals I have in mind. My job search has been pretty wide and I have time so I am making sure that I find something I will love and is a good fit.
That being said, everyone should review their “numbers” at the end of the year and formulate a rough outline of where you want your finances to head in the next year.
I can’t emphasis this enough. One of the best things I did for our finances was to start looking ahead towards the end of the year (and beyond) and plan out roughly where our money would go for the year. Originally most of our goals were about paying down our debt but now that most of that has been paid off and we have moved into a bigger house needing constant work I focus on planning out our house/garden projects, how much we will put into savings and how we are going to pay off our remaining debt.
Last year when I sat down and looked things over our goals consisted of paying off our car (check), paying off our credit cards (check, sort of), and putting a bunch of money into savings (not so great). We also planned on several smaller house projects and the gigantic one of putting up a fence so that dogs and kids could roam free.
Our gigantic fence project was completely derailed by the cutting down of more trees that were extra expensive and by the water pipe that burst in our front yard in the early fall. We did however redo our pantry, replace our entire chimney cap, update the main bathroom, paint some walls/windowsills that badly needed it, replace light fixtures for ones that use less energy, buy a fridge for the garage, purchase garden supplies to grow our own food and paint our son’s closet. Whew. It looks like a lot when I write that all out! Most of our projects were very small and done on the cheap over a weekend or two. We had two of the 5 trees taken down that needed to be removed for safety. We chose the two worst ones and I am really glad we took care of it. One of them was very close to falling and would have hit our house directly in the center causing a large amount of damage. The three remaining trees are so close together that they have to be taken out all at once since their branches are intertwined.
Our expenses for next year will change dramatically when I get a job and with school costs for all three kids (independent of the job). I am still not quite sure what the final numbers will be. Needless to say, I am a little more hesitant to set firm goals this year with so many changes looming.
I am a firm believer in setting some goals you know you can achieve by following your plan, some goals that are just enough out of reach that you have to consciously work at them and some goals that are a challenge and require regular sacrifice and ingenuity to achieve.
For next year our tentative goals are:
1. Pay off the remaining balance on our student loan.
This goal is one of our easy ones, as long as we stick to the plan! I set up our payments at the beginning of 2017 so that our student loan will be paid off by December of 2018 so as long as we continue our automatic payments we should achieve this one! My stretch goal is to pay off our student loan by the end of April with our tax return but it isn’t set in stone yet.
2. Pay off our credit cards.
We met our goal of paying off our credit cards and keeping them paid every month for most of 2017 but we ended up choosing to put the water pipe on our credit card since it came up unexpectedly and we had already used our yearly home improvement funds for other projects. Yes, we could have used our emergency fund for it but with so many uncertainties coming up at the start of the year we decided to take on the debt. We should meet this goal for sure by mid-year or sooner if we apply ourselves and put all of my excess salary towards it.
3. Bulk up our emergency fund.
Sadly our emergency fund is a little lighter than we would like at the end 2017. We had a lot of large expenses and focused on paying down debt versus saving so we did not put as much in there as I would have liked. Our goal is to save up at least one more month’s worth of money in our general emergency fund next year. Ideally we would save up two months worth but with everything else that would be our stretch goal for sure!
4. Invest as much as possible!
Yes, this is a very vague goal! There are so many what ifs that I have no idea how much we will be able to put into our newly opened Vanguard account. I have it set up to put a small amount in there every month but I am hoping for more!
5. Continue to work on the house.
Yay, another vague goal! We do have plans to cut down the remaining three trees that need cutting in the back and building some sort of woodshed for all of the wood we will be cutting. We also need to replace our hot water heater, fix the master bathroom faucet (already have most of the parts), and add/replace fans to the bathrooms and laundry room. Everything else will have to depend on if we have enough in the budget for it and time to get it done. We need to finish painting window trim (should already have the paint), do touch up paint on a couple of random areas, paint our daughter’s closet, and continue to replace outlets as we have time. All of those projects are small and can be done as needed. There is also the possibility of repainting the living room but that will be very time consuming and expensive and it might take us at least one more year to get around to it. The trees, fans and hot water heater are our priority for next year for sure!
I have way more ideas and what if goals in my head but for now these five goals will have to do! I am excited for next year. We met a lot of our goals last year and have been working hard at reducing our spending, being mindful of what we buy and trying reduce our food waste. I will be growing another garden in 2018 and my mother-in-law gave me a bunch of seeds for Christmas so I won’t have to buy many this year.
What are your goals for next year?
Hello and welcome to the third installment of our A New Beginning in Budgeting Series! Our first installment was “A New Beginning in Budgeting Part 1: Using Quicken to Build a Buffer” and our second was “A New Beginning in Budgeting Part 2: Adjusting our […]
Summer is upon us and the vegetable garden is in full swing. My pumpkins have taken over the garden space and the spaghetti squash is not far behind it. The kids and I are harvesting berries, green beans and squash every other day. I have […]
I want to thank Katie from Sled Dog Slow for nominating Oscoey for the Leibster Award! It was completely unexpected and the email was a wonderful surprise after a long week of craziness in our house. I have only been blogging for a few months so for somebody to recognize my little blog is amazing. I love reading other blogs and especially those that are about homesteading. We are just starting out with our little urban homestead and many of the articles at Sled Dog Slow have inspired me to do more. I especially love the honesty of Katie about the toughness of living out in Alaska and homesteading in general. Thank you once again!
What is the Liebster Award?
The Liebster Award started out as a way to recognize other bloggers in 2011. Liebster means beloved, dearest or sweetheart in German and the term is used in the award to show which blogs people are fond of. It is a great way for bloggers to connect, get to know one another and to highlight new or smaller blogs.
My Favorite Blog
My favorite blog has to be Old McDavis Farm. Nicole at Old McDavis Farm has a wealth of knowledge about urban homesteading in the Pacific Northwest and she has helped me tremendously with advice on raising chickens. Many people in our community turn to her with advice and she is always ready and willing to help. Nicole’s post about healing your chickens at home is especially informative and great for new chicken keepers. I also love her ability to write about her learning process and how she worked through the mistakes she made early on. Her article about moving her new chickens into a new coop was both entertaining and informative and I loved reading it! I will definitely be talking to Nicole before we buy our own chickens and most likely buying one of her hand made coops as well. She and her husband use reclaimed material to make the most amazing coops! You should definitely head on over to her blog and read all about them!
10 Random Facts About Me!
Hmm this is tricky.
- I have never traveled outside of the continental United States and Canada.
- When I was little I had Anoles as pets.
- I hate peas but I eat them almost every day because they are my kids’ favorite vegetable.
- My husband and I met in Kindergarten.
- I am a third generation dachshund owner.
- I love Forget-Me-Nots even though they are weeds.
- I am ok with spiders as long as they don’t touch me.
- I was a huge American Girl Doll fan when I was growing up.
- I love playing legos with my kids.
- I have always wanted to plant a Giant Sequoia tree in my yard but have never had enough space.
My Liebster Nominations
- Old McDavis Farm
- 15 Acre Homestead
- WholeHearted Homestead
- Coffee, Grace and Tomato Paste
- Just Keep Momming
What to Do if Nominated for the Liebster Award
If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you should do the follow:
- Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
- Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.) At the bottom of this post I’ve included a whole lot of images you can use for your 2017 Liebster Award.
- For the 2017 Liebster Award I will be shaking things up! Write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
- Provide 10 random facts about yourself. (This year I’m making this optional. If you wish to engage with your readers it’s a great idea to include random facts about you.)
- Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
- Answer all 11 questions asked and ask 11 questions that you would like those bloggers to answer.
- List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or simply link by to this post.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
- Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post or mine if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it! Post a comment in the comments below so I can view your post and check out your blog. I personally visit each and every one. I visited a few hundred last year!!
What is your favorite flower?
I don’t really have a favorite flower. They are all so beautiful. I guess my favorite flower is whatever is currently in bloom.
Who is your real life hero?
Probably my grandma. She has always been a leader by example in helping those in need.
When is the best time of day?
This one is tricky because it never happens any more. My favorite time of day is when I get up before the kids and sit quietly in the living room enjoying a cup of coffee while I collect my thoughts for the day.
Where is your happy place?
I love being outside working in the garden.
Why did you choose your blog name?
Long ago when we had two dachshunds named Oscar and Zoey I decided that when I finally got around to writing my own blog I would combine their names into Oscoey. Oscar is no longer with us but I still love the name so I used it.
Which is better: Climbing in bed after a long day, or waking up after sleeping in?
Climbing in bed after a long day!
How do you prefer your eggs for breakfast? (Over easy, scrambled, etc.)
Over easy for sure! Runny eggs are my favorite!
What is the best movie you’ve ever seen in theaters?
Hmm. We never go to movie theaters any more and it has been so long that I can’t remember which ones I actually saw in the theater.
What is your favorite smell?
I love the smell of the woods near my grandparents house after the rain.
Can you sleep with the light on or does it need to be completely dark?
Are you a dog person or a cat person?
Dog person for sure!
My 11 Questions:
- If you drink coffee how do you like it?
- Would you rather be able to fly or breathe underwater?
- What is your favorite fruit?
- What is your ideal cheap vacation?
- What is your favorite grocery store?
- Would you rather have a flower garden or a vegetable garden?
- What do you do first when you wake up in the morning?
- How many pairs of shoes do you own?
- What is your favorite way to cool off in the summer?
- Are you into camping or glamping?
- What is a favorite childhood memory?
Thanks once again to Sled Dog Slow for the nomination! It came completely out of the blue and is greatly appreciated! Keep blogging everyone!
We have had a busy week in the garden! Lots of flowers are in bloom and we spent many hours pulling ivy along the property lines in anticipation of our fence measure this week. We are very close to being done with the fence line […]