Finances: Week in Review 1/1 – 1/5/13

One of the things that I’d like to do on Glowing Gazelles is to highlight a few ways I help my family to save money throughout the year. My goal is to do a weekly round-up but if some weeks are lighter than others, I may combine them into two. We’ll see what happens!

Here are some of the things I’ve done through 1/5/13:

~Rather than spending a lot of money to celebrate New Year’s, we stayed home and had some family fun instead. We watched some re-runs of our favorite show and put together our annual puzzle, which I picked up during Christmas on a deal. We spent around $4 at the dollar store on party hats, poppers and noise makers for the midnight celebration. (I packed away the hats and noise makers to re-use next year!) No carry-out or expensive party/outing for us and we had just as much fun!

~We started taking a look at our 2012 Spending and checking to see what areas we could cut back. Here are a few we decided on so far (we are still working on more!):

1) Cutting back our TV package to basic to save each month. We don’t subscribe to Netflix or Hulu and opt for TV still. Just a personal preference.

2) Instead of our yearly Valentine’s (and 100 days of school celebration) overnight trip that we treat the kids to in February, we are going to have a family “camp-in” instead. The kids are actually excited about it and keep asking when it will be. (I’ll share pics when it happens!)

3) Instead of signing up for a veggie CSA this year, I’m going to focus more time on my garden and grow more in Spring-Fall and not just mostly Summer. I’ll be canning/freezing any excess veggies for Winter. My garden area is fairly well established now and I have some gift cards saved up for any future expenses.

~Last year, we picked up some window film on clearance at the end of season. We stored it and used it this year on our living room windows.  It’s already helping to keep the cold air out and the heat in. It might save us a little on our heating bill and it’s making our living room a lot warmer to hang out in! Later this year, we may have someone come in and inspect where any air is leaking out of the house/garage. My neighbor did this and was very surprised at the results. Sometimes the heating companies will offer a deal on it (sometimes in April for Earth Week) so we are waiting for one of those.

~Pledging to make a very conscious effort of using everything we can before it gets trashed/recycled. I’ll be highlighting the things I find new uses for when I try them.

~Instead of buying a lot of groceries, I only spent $27.46 at our Dairy store for Organic milk and ice cream and used the foods from our stockpile. There’s no point of a stockpile if you keep growing it too big and don’t take time to use up a lot of what’s in it.

~I cooked a whole chicken in the crockpot and made my own broth, which I turned into soup from leftover veggies in the fridge the next day. I saved the meat from the chicken for meals all week. This was a nice way to stretch our grocery budget, too.

~I’m putting a plan into place for the kids to start learning how to earn their allowance through chores and being a “good helper.” This year, anything they want will come out of their money, aside from parties or special events. I want to teach them how to plan ahead for things and have goals for saving for bigger items. This will help prevent them from adding to my shopping trips when they happen to be with me when I shop.

~I’m working on my 2013 budget. The holidays are a busy season for me with blogging so I never seem to get it completed until mid-January. In the meantime, we try to just watch our money we spend in January. I usually have an idea of what we can spend from the year before.

These are just a few things so far this year. I’ll share more next week!

Thank you for stopping by Glowing Gazelles! I value my readers and their advice, tips and comments. Please remember that Glowing Gazelles is a positive, family-friendly and upbeat site when leaving your comments.

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