New Year’s Resolutions

When I was growing up we gave more thought and attention to the new year than we did to most other holidays. I’ve heard my mom say many times that the new year is a chance for a fresh start–a chance to make good on a brand new set of goals. I’ve spent most new years following the family tradition, and this one is no exception.

This year Fred and I are hoping to find out just how little we can live on. We’ve had years when we were forced to live on very little and years that included a bit more feasting than famine. We’ve gotten out of the habit of doing the most we can with the least possible. Instead we’ve found a balanced middle ground of living within our means, but not significantly under our means. While this means wer’re not going into debt, which is good, we’re not savings as much as we should be either, which is bad.

For the month of January we are being as frugal as we can, even to the point of pushing our comfort zones. We aren’t doing drastic things like living only on beans and rice or selling one of our vehicles to see if we can live with only one. We’re doing small things and trying to really make money savings our priority for January.

We decided to only do it for 1-month because we may find it too harsh and have to go back to our comfort zone. But we may find it relatively painless. This is our hopeful prediction. If we make it through January in tact, then we’ll try again for February. One month at a time.

Fred and I tend to be especially frugal for a while and then lapse into a case of the spendies. And for us, the spendies are contagious. If I get them, then inevitably Fred will catch it. If Fred gets the spendies, then I follow suit. It’s a terrible state of affairs, and while it’s not out of control, we would rather it be much more under control.

Already we’ve decided not to go tot he movies because it costs $20 that we could save instead. We also decided to pay cash for as much as we can this month. If I only have so much cash, then I can’t overspend. There’s no getting around it.

I haven’t been to the supermarket in about 2 weeks and we’re running low on a few items. I thought about running down to the market to pick up a few things and then realized I could wait until Thursday evening and do my regular shopping while the boys are at Karate. I don’t know about you, but every time I go to the store I am tempted by unplanned purchases. Terribly tempted some weeks. I figure the fewer times I go to the store the less temptation I’ll have to face. I’m aiming for shopping twice a week. Once at the super Walmart on Tuesdays and once at the Dollar General on Thursdays. This week will be a little different, but the rest of the month should be easily scheduled. I’m hoping that by consciously planning these trips in more detail than I usually do, that I can do better at the checkout.

Since I mentioned Walmart above and I have fussed at many times for supporting Walmart, I feel I should explain that it has the lowest prices and like it or not, the bottom line is pretty significant in the Fred & Maggie household, especially with the boys getting closer to college age and the oldest due to get his learner’s permit for driving in the next few months. Ugh, the increased insurance is a scary thing to think about.

I’ll try to keep my blog updated with our challenges and victories this month, and if we’re able to keep it up, then for the whole year. If we’re not able to keep it up, I’ll share that too. Honesty is the best policy I always say.

As a side note, I wanted to say that I”m starting this year at the lowest weight I’ve been in 8 years.  200-1/2 pounds. That may seem like a lot to my skinny sisters, but my curvy sisters will understand that being so close to under 200 is an enormous achievement and a benchmark to be savored. This year I’ll include occasional updates on my continuing battle with weight loss. For now I’m eating whole grains, limiting sugar, have given up most meat (not fish) and am following the general principles of the Weigh Down Diet. The rules are easy enough. Eat when you’re hungry and Stop when you’re full and Pray and Pray and Pray. So far so good.


Filed under Budget

8 responses to “New Year’s Resolutions

  1. kristina

    oh maggie,
    it is so good to hear about your journey you are about to undertake.
    God will be there gently guiding you on your path.
    i was thinking about your comment about not going to the store as often and how you eat whole grains ect. i do this and i dont have to go to the store for about a month. i had the problem of storing bulk items like flour, chick peas, lentles. i use the big flour buckets that the bakers get the flour delivered. i have these in the shed and “weekly” i go shopping in my shed for what i want. they seal tight to keep out the nasties, stack well.
    this system has helped me curve my urges to impulse buy. we have paid off our cc and are now starting to save.

    i love the new site maggie. it’s great.

  2. Thanks Kristina. Like you we stock up on lots of dry goods like beans and grains. When push comes to shove I can stay away from the market for a couple of months, but I like the convenience and nutrition of fresh veggies and fruits. I’m hoping if I can keep myself focused on holding onto my money instead of spending it, that I’ll be less tempted. Glad you’re enjoying the new site 🙂 Maggie

  3. C D

    WDW’s outline works well — I lost 25 lbs one summer, and appreciate that there isn’t ‘bad’ or ‘good’ foods (though there are better choices, or ‘more bang for your buck’ as I like to say in taking in calories/fat etc…). So I’ll be praying for us, because I think I’m going to be going back to that premise — need to get back to God and that was a wonderful experience for me. Simple, but not easy!

  4. Hi Maggie,

    Hope your new year will be a wonderful one : )

    My finace and i are doing something similar: if there’s a cheaper alternative to anything found and it even feels it ~might~ be doable then we’re going to try it to see. Things that right off the bat we really know arent doable we’ll pass, but if it has even a shot of working once we adapt to it then we’ll try it. That seems to be the way “calling” becuase i’ve noticed i can be really resistant to doing something… until suddenly circumstances force me to try it and to my surprise it often ends up doable. So anyway, that’s the plan, we’ll see how it goes.

    That market buisiness is a biggie i agree, one of the things trying to cut. When he’s not in Alaska my finace will often go in my stead (list in hand) to the store to bypass my impulse buying (hehe). But the thing is, there are still frequent trips becuase ~something~ always seems to come up being needed (honestly often its more like wanted) that i didnt think of last trip. But the gas money there for frequent trips is really adding up, and thats gotta change. Bottom line is i need to be more organized and planning ahead better. You have been a real encouragement there!

    Anyway, really looking forward to how your “challanges and victories” unfold!

    Blessed New Year! : ) Wendy

  5. You and your husband sound just like us! We do the same things as far as finances go. We are starting the New Year out with the same purpose to save, save, save. Congratulations on your weight loss! Have a wonderful year!

  6. Hello Maggie!
    I was so excited that I found your new website. I enjoyed the old one very much and had just found it before the new owner took over. I still enjoy it but I’m glad to see you back as well. I absolutely loved your articles on headcovering & modesty. I am looking forward to your newer writings on these subjects. I am also trying to lose weight this year. January 1st was the first day for eating right & exercising.

  7. Dh and I tend to be frugal/save money and then we tend to have a relapse for a bit as well.

    Dh just stepped out to take dd to her friends and when he gets back we will be going over our goal/finances together for the New Year.

    I have some weight I would like to lose too, I look forward to your updates! :).

  8. Mandy

    I am was over 200 lbs 3 years ago. I was thrilled when I was able to stay between 182 and 185. I stayed at that weight until September of this year. In September, I severely sprained my ankle (don’t test the crawl space door to make sure it’s secure by stepping in the middle of it). That was when we went completely off of milk (I’m the aquavegan :D). Now, I couldn’t exercise because of the severe sprain, which still causes me pain four months later. I am now 165. I think it is by eliminating milk. I also feel sooooo much better. I still have about 30 lbs to lose as I am only 5′ 4″. We also don’t have trans fats or MSGs. I use your bread machine recipe for bread (after I mix the dough, I cut it in half and put it in two small bread pans). I notice that our grocery bill is smaller from not buying animal products (‘cept fish), and the kids are healthier as well.

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