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5 Frugal Goals for the New Year


Though I’m not a big New Year’s Resolution kind of girl, I did post a list of finance-related goals last year. I reported on them pretty regularly for the first half of the year, and then I kind of fell off the wagon with the updates.

So, here’s a new list, and hopefully each month I’ll manage to write a post about how I’m doing with each of these goals (feel free to nag me about it if I forget!).

1. Eat non-cereal breakfasts 4 days a week

I made quite a bit of progress in reducing our dependence on breakfast cereal over the last year, but I still feel like I could stand to improve in that area. I mostly want to do this for financial reasons (cereal is expensive), although there are some green benefits (cereal does have a fair amount of packaging) and some health benefits (as long as we don’t switch to sticky buns 7 days a week! In that case, shredded wheat would be a better choice!).

The difficulty is that most non-cereal breakfasts require a bit more time and effort on my part, so to try to counteract that, I’m going to try to be more intentional about this and do some planning, just like I do with my dinner meals. If I don’t think ahead, I’m much more likely to serve cereal than pancakes, but if I plan for pancakes, I think things will go more smoothly (I know I could make them ahead of time, but I really do not prefer reheated pancakes!).

Another difficulty is that some of my kids, especially my oldest, are big cereal fans and not such big pancake, oatmeal, and toast fans. But, the fact that some of them, especially my oldest, are not big fans of spinach and broccoli has not kept me from serving them, so I think that perhaps for four days a week, breakfast will just have to be less of a multiple-choice affair. There are worse things than having a mom who insists on serving homemade bread and granola at breakfast, right??

2. Update Quicken once a week

This goal is a repeat of last year because I was a big fat failure at it (I did pay every single bill on time, and I did record every bit of tax-relevant information, though).

I think I was maybe not specific enough last year, so this year, I am setting a very concrete goal of updating it once a week. And I am going to have my husband help to keep me accountable too.

3. Start saving to pay for a new van in cash.

I know this goal is sadly lacking in specificity, but I’m just not entirely sure at the moment how much we will be able to save each month (I’ll figure it out shortly).

I currently drive a Sienna from the year 2000 (we bought it used in 2003), which has just shy of 100,000 miles on it. It’s a Toyota, so we are hopeful that we can get another 50-100K miles out of it, but since it takes so long to save up for a vehicle, we thought we should really get started on that now.

Happily, I stay home a grand portion of the time, so it’ll take a while for me to put even another 50,000 miles on the van, and that = time to save.

(Obviously at some point we need to save up to replace my husband’s vehicle as well, but since mine is way older than his, we’re saving to replace mine first. Once that’s done, we’ll save to replace his).

4. Spend $80/week on groceries whenever possible.

I’m still going to budget for $100 a week, but I’m going to aim for $80. Each month, I think I will pick a different purpose for any extra money, just to keep me motivated…a charity one month, a fun date with my husband one month, and so on.

5. Save up enough money for a new camera body by vacation (in September).

This is arguably the most frivolous goal on my list, seeing as I do have a camera body, and I don’t really NEED a new one.

I would really like a new one, though, for the following reasons:

  • My current camera body is the entry level SLR model. It is not made to withstand the incessant shooting I do. If I keep up at this current rate, it will give out on me at some point, and I am going to be one sad girl if I don’t have the money saved to replace it/fix it (what is life without a camera, anyways?? and how would I blog??).
  • I will get better image quality with a better camera body, and I’ll get more focus points (the limited focus points on my current body are driving me nuts!). There are a lot of other features that would come with a new camera, but those two are the important ones to me.
  • I would love to have a backup camera body, especially when I am doing paid photography, and especially for vacation (thus the September goal!). Being on the beach is bad for a camera, and I’d like to be able to use my old camera body for stuff like that, and keep a newer camera body for less messy shooting.

I haven’t decided for sure which camera body I even want (I am vacillating between the 50D and the 7D, for those of you who are interested), but I’ll probably need to save up at least $1000.

That’s a lot for a frugal person, I know, but to me, being frugal isn’t just about saving every single penny possible. It’s about spending your resources in way that reflects your priorities. Photography is something that brings me a lot of joy, so for me, it’s a worthy savings goal. And, because I earn money with my camera, I can deduct the expense from my self-employment taxes.

However, because this is a want and not a need, I’m not going to take money out of our regular budget to save for this. I’ll use what we call “fun money” for it, which is money that I get as gifts or that I earn on the side when I do things like photography or playing for weddings/funerals.


So, there’s my list. I’ll be back at the beginning of February with an update on my progress!

photo by faeryboots

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Frugal Deb

Wednesday 11th of December 2013

I am already planning a joyful and frugal 2014. I am looking forward to reading your 2014 New Year thoughts. I read your posts every day. You give me energy, creative collaboration and purposeful planning. Many blessings to you, dear sister in Christ. May you and your family experience the deepest peace and greatest joy in 2014


Wednesday 2nd of February 2011

Just came across your site. You mentioned lowering your grocery bill to $80 - my friend uses e-mealz that will plan your meals for the week using the store of your choice's coupons and sale items at the cost of $5 a month. It's suppose to a feed 4-6 people and average $75. She loves it - I just can't cook. :)

Goal Update for February

Tuesday 2nd of February 2010

[...] Since it’s a new month, I thought I’d give a little update on how things are going with my goals for the new year. [...]


Thursday 14th of January 2010

Found your site through Re-Nest. I love your ideas on reusing household items!!!

If you are looking for a camera body, I would suggest looking through craigslist. A nice 40D can be found for $600 and spend the rest in getting a nice used lens. 40D has live view which is really useful for shooting stills. All of the photos on our site is taken with the 40D with the 100mm macro and 50mm.


Monday 4th of January 2010

One other question for you. Do you have a strategy to shopping at Goodwill? Our store here had over 300 donations at the end of the year and I'm waiting on them to catch up to get the stuff put out. I saw a lot of great donations in the time that I was there. Do you go at a certain time of year, day of week, season, etc? How do you stop yourself from getting the things that are great deals, but you really don't need them?? :-) Thanks!

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