I will admit, my New Year’s Resolution of “save money” isn’t really a new one. If you’ve read about this site so far, you will see that. No, this resolution was thrust upon me back in…September, I believe. My husband made a very profound comment the other day while speaking with my mother: “I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions. If you resolve to change something, you need to start then, not wait until January 1. If something needs changing, change it.”
I agree with this statement completely. I don’t think of January 1 as the be-all end-all of decision making. It is more like a chance for my husband and I to sit down and think of the goals we would like to accomplish and to think back on what we have accomplished so far. 2010 was a major year for us–an engagement, a wedding, buying a house, buying a car, a new job, a new income, and starting our life together. So far, 2011 will bring my husband’s business starting, me learning new skills in frugality, and all sorts of other challenges. So, I often find it is best to set goals–goals are more flexible than “resolutions” (the root word being “resolute” or firmly set) and can change should your circumstances change.
As for clipping coupons, I feel like this will no longer be such a major part of my money-saving adventure. Most coupons I have encountered are for name brand foods that are generally pre-packaged and unhealthy. While saving money is great–if I have to do it by sacrificing on my family’s health, it’s not worth it to me. On the off chance I get a coupon for a food that we do consume (almond milk, for example) I will use it, but I won’t go out of my way to find coupons for things that aren’t good for us. I find that keeping a price journal is a bit more work, but it does pay off in the long run because I can stock up on things we use at their cheapest price.
Another of my goals for 2011 is to learn more about, and possibly implement Freezer Cooking into my home. In this method of cooking, you would cook for one day (or two, depending on how much you need to cook) and in that time frame, make several meals that are frozen whole and then cooked when the need arises. This tends to be helpful for families with limited time near dinner for cooking and who need to save money on a larger scale. While the money-saving aspect of freezer cooking appeals to me, as does the time factor (who doesn’t want to cook one day a month?), there is one significant hurdle. My husband and I only have a teeny freezer in which to keep food. Our fridge/freezer is nearly brand new (thanks to the refurb. of the house) but it is a lower end model with very little space in the freezer. Part of this is because of the ice maker that takes up a chunk of space. Another issue with the freezer is that the temperature cannot be controlled individually. While this is not a problem for most people, it presents a unique challenge to the freezer cooker because it means that you could, if you’re not careful, ruin a month’s worth of food. I am planning to work around all of these variables, but it could mean that I can only do 2 weeks worth of food at once. This could cause issues, too, in that I would be unable to store the frozen meat that I picked up while super cheap because the meals themselves would take up a great deal of space. I am committed to trying freezer cooking, though, so I will find ways to work around these issues.
My third major goal for 2011 in the money-saving arena is to start a garden in my back yard. Our yard is small, but since we would only need to have enough food for two of us, I feel the the size is adequate. I will continue to investigate container gardening and square foot gardening as a means to provide fresh, healthy produce that can be used during the summer and canned to be used all year long. I am hoping that this will not only quiet the food budget monster, but will also allow me some much-needed outside time.
So, gentle readers, here are my money saving goals for the coming year. I have goals in other arenas of my life, but I don’t feel that sharing everything about my marriage and personal life is of any worth to anybody who reads this. I hope that this will inspire you to create your own goals to strive toward. Happy 2011!