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Happy New Year!
Welcome to 2013! Are you making New Year's resolutions? Are you changing anything, hanging new calendars, spring cleaning in winter, preparing to file taxes?
|Watching ma cook from a handy perch in the hiking backpack|
My New Year
Twelve New Things
Every year I like to come up with 12 New Things to do in the year ahead. Each item is assigned a month, although mine don't necessarily happen in that order. I got this idea from Sarah Mae's blog, one of the first blogs I started following when I joined the world of blogging, and one of my favorites to this day. I finished almost all of my goals last year, except for Poor Man's Caviar - any unfinished goals will be rolled over into my 2013 list, which has not yet been completed!
12 New Things 2012 (somebody said #6 was cheating because it was inevitable, but you tell me if it's fair to include it in the list!)
12 New Things 2011
There are a variety of different versions of this, but the basic goal is to spend a month eating primarily from your pantry, "until the back of every freezer, fridge and cupboard shows" and to get creative with that half a box of orzo, the container of rice noodles you never finished, the bag of filo dough, and all that other stuff that can languish and be overlooked. Some things, like milk and eggs, are still brought in fresh, but ideally you save money on the grocery bill, put the cash in the bank, and have a fresh start for your pantry! I'll be evolving my own method, but we've already started a version this month and I've been excited to see some old familiar things finally hit the table!
Good (Cheap) Eats Pantry Challenge
No Spend Month Challenge
This is a great challenge that pairs quite nicely with the Pantry Challenge! You can engage in varying levels of intensity, but the concept is pretty well spelled out in the name - you buckle down and really don't spend anything, as much as possible (and you have to be serious for it to really have an effect on your bank account!). Bike or walk instead of drive; if you see a tool or book you'd love to have, write it down and save it for later - who knows, you might get one for free or decide you don't need it ... this happens to me more often than you might think! In short, do everything you can to keep the purse strings cinched shut for a month, something that is sometimes easier accomplished by knowing it is only temporary. And, after the month has passed, you may find that some expenses just don't need to be added back in! (Be forewarned that my goal might look more like "no spend deployment challenge" ... hence a little longer than just a month!)
Shannon's No Spend Month Challenge
Living Large in Smaller Spaces
There are all sorts of different organizing challenges and plans for clearing out junk, freshening your living space and losing dead weight. You just have to find one that resonates with you - for me, it's a variety of choices. To start things off gently, try Junk Your Kitchen, the 21 Day Organization Challenge, some of the many challenges and tips at Bowl Full of Lemons, or the 8-Week Housekeeping Challenge. I'm using a variety of these, in parts, and two books which have rocked my world.
Guided by the truly liberating and motivating principles in this book: Scaling Down : Living Large in a Smaller Space
And loosely following the excellent, simple one-year plan in this book: One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good
While I keep a pretty meticulous filing system, I think my management of our finances has a lot of room for improvement. I've taken over all the bills and finances since we joined the military, as Mr H's deployments and sporadic training schedule interfere with him being able to take a consistent management role in this area. I keep him apprised of all our statuses, of course, and he is involved in large purchases and decision-making; but the bulk of paperwork and day-to-day purchases falls on me. We are blessed to be debt-free, but manipulating the finances to stay in the black and also set aside for the future still takes serious effort! Follow Melissa and her family of 11 as they live on $8,000 a year!
I am following the year plan in this book: One Year to an Organized Financial Life: From Your Bills to Your Bank Account, Your Home to Your Retirement, the Week-by-Week Guide to Achieving Financial Peace of Mind
I try ... but they keep flooding in so quickly, it's more than I can take! We have a new external hard drive, and I want to dump all our photos (from various computers and laptops) here, sort, and clean up the files.
Organizing Photos by A Bowl Full of Lemons
What We Eat
Eating better isn't about cutting foods out, or restricting certain items - it's about eating so much good stuff, you don't have room for the junk! With a kitchen loaded down with fresh produce, home-grown and home-canned goodies, and delicious raw milk, home-made yogurt and crackers and more, I've started a slow resolution over the past few months to gradually cease buying anything processed (prepared foods - this includes items such as cream-top yogurt, gourmet pickles and other items that aren't really bad for you). While we don't buy foods such as Twinkies or bread, we still buy enough prepared foods to give me cause for concern. This may seem work-heavy, but the core of our diet is really quite simple foods and much of which can be prepared in advance or during down-time. Why eliminate all purchased prepared foods?
Save money because homemade yogurt is cheaper, and better-tasting, than store-bought
Cut out unnecessary snacks because it's easier to buy and eat crackers or ice cream on a whim, than to take the effort to make them
Avoid mystery ingredients because even the most meticulous vetting can still result in some strange additives, sources and contamination
10 Green New Years Resolutions
Maybe you already do some of these things, and maybe you want to do better at them: bring reusable shopping bags, walk or bike instead of drive, bring your own water bottle - funny how "green" things are also "lean" things! Save money and the planet? That's a win!
10 Green Resolutions from Small Footprint Family
Do you have resolutions, goals or plans for the new year? What would you add to these ideas - is there something you think I should include?
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