Posts Tagged ‘new year’

Happy New Year! 2011 here we come.

Friday, December 31st, 2010

As the last hours of 2010 pass into history, I am lucky to have a few minutes to reflect back on this year while the children are asleep.  Our boat was rocked by big changes this year: going from a two-income household down to one, transitioning from a career woman to a stay at home mom, starting a blog, raising a toddler, being pregnant, and having a new baby.

Adopting a frugal lifestyle has been the key to our success, not only our financial success, but our family bonding as well.  Living a simpler life has been an adventure.  How can we do more with less?  As my hubby would say, “How can we increase our happiness and decrease our costs?”

Looking back on my blog posts we’ve had some hits and misses.  Here’s what we’ve learned this year and what we will carry into the next year.

Coupons – There are people that swear by coupons and then there are people like me who are ambivalent.  I found that using a coupon here and there was easy, but creating a system to maximize the savings (ie. matching coupons to store sale items, stockpiling sale items, menu planning around coupons) was harder and time consuming.  At times, we did save enough money for me to see the potential and I am willing to give coupons another go next year.

Making homemade supplies – Making our own supplies was definitely a win-win.  We had fun testing different methods and hit upon some excellent money saving ideas.  My all time favorite is still the powder laundry detergent.  Next year, we will keep up the research and test more recipes.

Cloth diapers – Big bomb here.  I was so intimidated by cloth diapering that I never gave this a fair shot.  I did try a few on Oliver, but cleaning them was a mess!  However, after spending over $100 already on diapers for Evelyn after 7 weeks, I’m willing to revisit this in the New Year.

Gardening – Gardening is one of my hobbies and I love doing it.  I hope to expand on my little garden next year now that I am not pregnant and cumbersome.  My goals are to grow more items that we like to eat and get the kids more involved with the process.  We also want to install drip irrigation and soaker hoses.  Definitely tune in next year to see how this goes.

Consignment sales – This is a huge, huge, huge money saver for us now that we have kids.  I cannot express how much we save buying second hand clothes, toys, books, furniture, baby gear, etc…  In fact, the next big sale is coming up in January and we are making our 6-month list of things we will need to get us through to the summer and beyond.

Inexpensive family outings – We really bonded as a little family while we searched for ways to have frugal fun.  It made us evaluate what was important to us and to identify the things we really loved.  Turns out we really love to be outdoors!  We had fun camping, visiting a pumpkin patch, attending the state fair, and many visits to the local parks.  I also scoped out some places with Oliver, like the public pool, which we want to take Daddy and Evelyn to next year.

Baby stuff – Being pregnant for most of the year, I’ve had baby on the brain for the life of this blog.  Having been through this once before we can see the opportunities where we can shave off expenses.  Babies are expensive and every penny counts.  I hope that our experience can help other families to save money too.

Toddler stuff – One of the biggest challenges I have faced as a stay at home mom is finding ways to entertain, yet educate my son at the same time.  He needs to exercise, to have social interaction, and to be challenged to develop his mind.  Finding ways to do this frugally takes a lot of work, creativity, and time.  I hope to be better at this in the New Year, so that Evelyn can benefit from our trials and errors.

Frugal food – How to cut-down on the grocery bills, yet have healthy home cooked meals.  During my pregnancy we let this one slip a bit.  I was either too tired to cook, too nauseas to eat, or didn’t have enough time because I was slowing down dramatically towards the end.  Next year I hope to have regular weekly posts about ways to save in the kitchen from shopping, to planning, to eating, and to storing.  

All in all, I think we have done pretty good this year.  We look forward to settling in with our little family and enjoying what life brings our way.  Each day brings an opportunity to have an adventure, try something new, and to have fun.  Remember that sometimes the best things in life are actually free (hugs and kisses from your family).  We hope you have had a good year too and wish you the best for 2011! 

Happy New Year!

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