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Goal Update for March

At the beginning of the year, I make a list of finance-related goals that I want to meet over the next 12 months. At the beginning of each month, I report on my successes or failures. If you’re new here, you might want to read my original goals post and my February update.

1) Eat non-cereal breakfasts 4 days a week.

I’m happy to report that we are still rockin’ on this goal. In fact, I’d say that on average, we are avoiding cereal more than 4 days a week. One thing that has helped in this area is simply not buying much cereal (I know, brilliant!). If I have it around, I’m much less prone to bother with making oatmeal, toast, cream of wheat, or pancakes.

Happily, I think my kids are eating more healthfully this way…homemade whole wheat toast, yogurt, whole wheat pancakes, and oatmeal are all a little more nutritious than, say, Kix or Honey Nut Chex, and they’re much more nutritious than Frankenberry, Lucky Charms, and Golden Grahams!

I still would like to be better about planning my breakfast meals ahead of time…that would give us a little more variety and would keep us from repeatedly eating toast at breakfast!

2) Start saving for a replacement van.

I’m plugging away at this, but I’d be lying if I didn’t have moments of discouragement when I realize exactly how long this will take. I figure that somewhere around $20,000 is about what I could expect to pay for a low-mileage used van, and even if I saved $500 a month, it would still take me 40 months to save up enough (that’s 3.33 years, if you’re interested!).

But, I am reminding myself that I’m pretty sure we can keep our current van running for quite some time, hopefully enough time to save. The van is getting close to having 100,000 miles on it, but it’s a Toyota, so we feel confident that it should keep running smoothly for a while.

I’m not impatient to buy a van (if we had the money now, I wouldn’t buy one. I’d just let the money sit in the savings account until our van died or regularly racked up repair bills)…I’m just impatient to have the money all saved up.

3) Keep Quicken updated once a week

I’d say that I met about half of this goal. I think I updated Quicken twice in February, which is much better than my usual mode of not updating it at all. However, I do think once a week is still more ideal, and I’m going to keep trying for that.

4) Spend $80/week on groceries whenever possible

I didn’t do at all well on this, though I did not go over my $100/week limit. Perhaps once we get past birthday season at our house, this will help (between mid-February and the end of April, 5 out of 6 of us have birthdays!). I tend to spend a little more on food when we celebrate birthdays, which is totally worth it, but which makes it difficult to reach that $80 goal.

5) Save enough for a replacement camera body by September

I haven’t made any new progress on this goal yet, but I think that next month I’ll have some extra money coming in and I hope to be able to put at least some of that into the camera fund.

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Friday 5th of March 2010

Kristen, I find it strange that you have so many bank accounts! Do you still have a mortgage? If you kept all that money in a floating mortgage and kept tabs on all the money that you're saving for in a spreadsheet, you'd gain so much more!


Friday 5th of March 2010

What is a floating mortgage? Is that a mortgage that you can take money in and out of? We do have a mortgage, but ours is not like that...once you put the money in, you can't take it back out again except through a home equity line of credit.

If we had such a thing, though, yes, it would definitely be the way to go because the interest on our mortgage is higher than the interest we earn in savings accounts. As things stand, the multiple accounts at ING are what works best for us.

Frugal Liz

Thursday 4th of March 2010

I had no idea that vans were so expensive! My parents used to have a Toyota Sienna, but I never asked them how much it cost them. I think they bought it new, anyway.


Thursday 4th of March 2010

I say drive it till it drops dead. But, I'm having a hard time processing this. If you can afford to save $500.00 a month, how is that much different than buying one brand new and making payments? I am assuming you're like me - idealistic thinking/planning. For me it never works the way I so nicely mapped it out on paper.

I too would be impatient to save up such a large sum. The fact that your on target with your goal needs to be the focus - a very happy focus at that. Way to go, just gotta keep pluggin along now.


Thursday 4th of March 2010

When you buy brand new and make payments, the price is higher and you pay INTEREST. If a bank or finance company fronts you the money for your vehicle, it's not from the goodness of their hearts; it's so they can make money charging you INTEREST. The longer the loan term, the more interest you pay. When you buy a house, for the first few years you are paying more in interst every month than you do in principal (the actual purchase price of the house). We had a 25 year mortgage that we paid off in 10 years - we saved at least the cost of the house in the interest we did not pay as a result.


Thursday 4th of March 2010

In the past when I needed a vehicle God supplied the means for me to get it and I haven't had any car payments. I experienced once having a car reposed and that was when I was married. I am since divorced and my ex-husband has pasted away. So I made sure to pay for my vehicles in full. I know that what God did for me in the past He is able, willing and ready to do it again. God expects me to do my part and trust Him to do His.


Thursday 4th of March 2010

This is entirely random and not related to this post, but I'm not sure where else to put it!

I went to Target on my lunch break, and on the clearance rack in the lingerie section they had CuddleDuds for $2.98, marked down from around $15! I was all set to get some, but it turned out that they only had sizes XL and XXL :(

Just wanted to mention it because it had come up earlier on your post about keeping warm without turning the heat up and someone had mentioned how awesome those things are. It might be worth stopping into a Target if you are in the market for some thermos. I know it's almost spring, but I'm pretty sure it will be cold next year too :)


Thursday 4th of March 2010

Oh, I hate it when they have a great deal like that but it's not my size! $2.98 is an AWESOME price.

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