Category Archives: Budget

How To Save Without Walmart Price Matching

how to save without walmart price matching, walmart price matching, how to save money on groceries, how to save on groceries, budgeting help for groceries

Hi friends!  It’s been circulating online for about 6 months now how Walmart was going to start phasing out their price matching policy.  Well the time has come and Walmart has stopped price matching.  Gasp!  I know, I know.  Honestly, not all stores have stopped (yet); however, Walmart is being tight lip on which stores still allow price matching.  Price matching is how I saved the bulk of my money on groceries.  I don’t coupon.  Not because I can’t, but because I always felt it was a waste of time for my little family of three.  I am still adamant about not coupon clipping or printing off coupons online (unless it’s too good to pass up).  

What is price matching?

In case you aren’t familiar with what price matching is – it’s the best way to save money on groceries.  Your Walmart would typically match their competitor’s price on name brand items and even store brand to store brand items.  

When I heard how Walmart was going to be doing away with price matching I started developing a new strategy to help you save money on groceries.  

Price matching was always a double edge sword.  You saved money, but you had to deal with the mess that is Walmart, grumpy cashiers and impatient customers.  Part of me is relieved it’s over, but another part is a little sad because I liked the challenge and loved saving money.  

To combat the new policy backlash Walmart is supposed to be lowering their already low prices to help. I guess we’ll see how that turns out and if it’s really a savings, but until then I have a new plan to save money since Walmart stopped their price matching.

Here’s how to save without Walmart price matching:

Switch Stores

You can switch which grocery store you shop at.  Find a new one that can help save money without the hassle of price matching.  Simple – I plan on switching stores for most of my day-to-day grocery items.  I  started shopping at Aldi lately and I’ve noticed a huge savings on most of the essential items that my family needs.  My local Aldi doesn’t carry everything we need so I know there will be trips to Walmart or Walgreens in my future, but for the bulk of my items I plan at shopping at Aldi. 

Shop Online

The other option is start buying items online. I’ve started adding is ordering more from Amazon. Shopping on Amazon is by far the easiest and most convenient for our family. I use the Subscribe and Save for our dog food, diapers, toilet paper and wipes.  As I’ve learned when we need to replace items, I’ve added them to our Subscribe and Save too.

Money Saving Apps

You can utilize money saving apps to rack up extra money for fun trips, purchases, and anything else you want.  I use my money saving apps like the Walmart Savings Catcher And Ibotta. The savings catcher app doesn’t quite price match what I consider good deals. You have to shop name brand and it has to be on sale at a store within the vicinity of the Walmart you shop at. But honestly I feel that it only compares my shopping to stores like Walgreens and CVS in my hometown.  I don’t think it compares to the actual grocery stores nearby. 

Since I plan on stopping most of my Walmart shopping I won’t be using this app nearly as much. I use the Walmart Savings Catcher app when I shop at Walmart because it’s convenient.  I already have the Walmart receipt and it only takes 5 seconds to upload it, so why not? I don’t get a ton of money from the app and I usually try to save as much as possible to use for Christmas; however, it’s not typically enough to pay for my entire Christmas budget. That’s when I use Ibotta to help pick up the slack.

I do plan on using Ibotta with my Aldi shopping, but I’ve noticed a serious lack of rebates available from them.  It’s a little disappointing, but I can’t complain too much since I’m getting such a good deal in-store.  I also know I won’t be able to do all of my shopping at Aldi so it’s nice to know I’m still going to be getting some savings from the other local grocery stores.

Check Sales and Meal Plan

The third option I’m going to be doing is checking the sales ads. I do meal planning for two weeks to help us save money, so by having a plan with a grocery list of what I need then I’ll be able to see which stores have specific items on sale. I won’t mind going into multiple stores since I’ll have a plan for my grocery list and know which stores to buy which items then I can save time and money. Because let’s be honest price matching at Walmart though it was nice and saved money it could be time-consuming if you had a lot of items with a lot of price matches and you had a grumpy cashier.

What are you doing without Walmart’s price matching?  Leave a comment and let me know, I always want to learn new ways to save money.

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If you’re looking for a great tool to help keep your family on budget, then check out out my budget spreadsheet.  Each month is laid out right in front of you where you can keep track of what you budget and what you actually spend. Now you’ll know in real time how you’re doing each month.

DIY Mother’s Day Gift or Birthday Gift

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. Thank you!

DIY mother's day gift, DIY birthday gift for mom, DIY photo gift

I wanted to treat my Mom to something special for her birthday and Mother’s Day last year.  I know, I know I can’t believe I am just now getting around to sharing what I did last year! #momissues

Our little guy was right around a month old, I was still struggling with the recovery from my c-section, I was tired and learning to adapt to this whole motherhood thing.  My Mom was great (a little overwhelming at times, but what new Grandma isn’t), she had really helped with the Baby and there were a lot of days she would just bring me lunch and sit with me for an hour.   When it came time to start thinking of Mother’s Day and her birthday, which is just a few days later, I knew I wanted to do something special for her.  Our son is my parents’ first grandchild and they were over the moon with excitement for him, so I knew he had to be a big part of her gift.  That’s why I wanted to create a DIY birthday gift for her.  

Honestly this gift can be created for a birthday, Mother’s Day or even Father’s Day gift.  Heck, it would even work for Grandparents’ Day.

J and I were trying to mind our budget, like always.  And with medical bills and some home projects our money was pretty tight.  I had to put on my thinking cap and come up with something creative that wouldn’t break the bank.

DIY birthday gift

I headed to Hobby Lobby and came across this pretty picture frame that holds three 5×7 images.  Luckily it was on sale and was 50% off.  After taxes I paid a little over $13.00 for it.  You can find the exact same frame on Amazon for less than $16.00 if it’s just easier to order one.  I typically buy everything on Amazon, but for those last minute items I tend to go shopping in-person.  

Once I saw the frame, I decided I would do something similar to my DIY Father’s Day gift I created for J.  I created a simple image using canva.com.  They had the heart image under the elements heading and under the shapes tab.  I then added his name, the month and year to remember when it was done.  

DIY mother's day gift, DIY birthday gift idea

I came home and used the same ink pad that I used in J’s gift that was leftover from our wedding thumbprint tree guestbook.  I simply pressed his feet into the heart by overlapping his heel prints.  I let it dry then placed it into the center frame.  I used plain printing paper so there wouldn’t be a problem with the thickness when I tried to close up the back. 

I then headed onto walgreens.com to upload a few pictures.  I of course googled a coupon code and found one for 40% off.  I ended up paying less than $3 for the images.  I placed them in the remaining slots and that was it.

DIY mother's day gift, DIY birthday gift for mom, DIY photo gift

I updated the image so feel free to download the DIY Mother’s Day PDF or click the image above to print. 

So for right around $17.00 I created a really sweet and memorable Mother’s Day gift.  My Mom loved it and she still has it proudly showcased in her home.  I have plans to do personalized gifts for both grandparents every year – that way they can get gifts that show off how their grandson is growing and I know they’ll be gifts they want to have around.  

How to Create A Simple Budget

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Did you know everyone has a budget? Yes, everyone.

Even you have a budget. Even the anti-budgeter next door has one.

What you spend is your budget. Whether or not your write it down and keep track of it.

Your income less your expenses each month is your budget. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.  I’m sharing my tip on how to create a simple budget.

The people that are turned off by budgeting are the ones that tend to overcomplicate things. I’m sharing my one tip that can help turn you into the pro-budgeter you’ve dreamed of.

You can watch the video or keep reading.

The easiest tip for sticking to and creating a simple budget is by tracking your money. Not as you spend it, but before you spend it. Before you write your rent check, swipe your debit card or ACH your car payment. You need to track your money on paper (or spreadsheet) first.

We use Google Sheets as our check register, but I take it one step further by pre-tracking our monthly expenses. I know about what day each bill will hit, when our paydays will be and when I need to go grocery shopping.

I’m going to assume you probably know all of those things too. You run your house pretty smoothly and you know when the baby will need more milk and diapers, and when you will need more toilet paper.  It’s a mom thing for sure.  J has no idea when we’re about to run out of food and when the baby is going to need more wipes.  But I do.  Just like you do.

Most of us moms and wives are pretty up on logistics when it comes to our household. So I take the knowledge I have about grocery shopping, loan payments, rent, and daycare costs then write it down on my check register.

I start with the first of each month then I write down the date of each bill, payment or expense. I add in any income and the day they will be deposited into my account (I love direct deposit and don’t have to think too much about it). I subtract any expenses from income to keep a running total. Now I know on the 20th of each month how much I’m going to have after all the bills have cleared and before I get paid on the 30th.

For instance, if you look at your check register on the 20th and see you have two more bills that come out around the 23rd then you will know on the 20th how much money you can spend until you get paid again.

Does this make sense?

No more guessing. No more cutting it too close.

You know on the 20th if you need to be eating at home the next 10 days so you have enough money to put gas in your car.

This one tip on how to create a simple budget – pretracking your expenses – has saved my family over and over again.  

There are no more surprises when it comes to our bills.  Nothing gets overlooked and you won’t have to write a hot check hoping it doesn’t get cashed before payday.  

If you want to download the budget template my family uses, check it out. It has helped so much on keeping us on track and allowing us the ability to see where our money is going. No more guessing or not knowing.

If you’re looking for a great tool to help keep your family on budget, then check out out my budget spreadsheet.  Each month is laid out right in front of you where you can keep track of what you budget and what you actually spend. Now you’ll know in real time how you’re doing each month.

Packing for the Beach

Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. Your support in purchasing through these links enables me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. Thank you!

packing for the beach on a budget

J and I are planning our next trip to the beach in just a few weeks.  Eek! I’m so excited!  I love the ocean and this year our little guy is walking and so much more active then when we took him last summer.  We’re planning on doing so much while we’re there.  I’m not sure how we’re going to fit it all in!  I’ve let J be the vacation planner this year.  He booked the trip and he’s planning what things we’ll go do.  I know there will be some put-put in the mix somewhere… that’s one of his favorite things to do on vacation.  The only thing I’ve requested is some time relaxing and playing at the beach.  Other than that – it’s up to him!  

We’re not staying to far from Daytona Speedway so we’ll probably make a drive out there so J can see the track.  He’s always wanted to go to the Daytona 500… so visiting the track is pretty much the same thing, right? ha!

I’ve been in full planning mode for a few days now.  While packing for the beach I realized we don’t have any summer clothes that aren’t completely worn out or still fit us. #losingweight  I’ve ordered a few new shirts and shorts for J, but I needed a new swimsuit.  I’m pretty sure I’ve had the same two suits for the past 4 years.  They needed to be retired.  I also wanted to mix things up this year and get a cute tankini.  I found some one Amazon that were super cute and seemed really flattering.  But I needed to stick to a budget. 

 
 
I loved this bralette tankini swimsuit so much that I ordered it.  Plus it was less than $25.  WHAT?!?! I really liked how it has some added coverage with the tank top, but still looks cute.  Plus it totally fit in my budget!  I can’t wait to wear it on the beach!
I also ordered these swim trunks for our little guy to wear. I just thought the octopus was adorable!  I like swimwear that has built in UPF protection for our son.  It gives me a piece of mind knowing he has a little more protection over his body then just sunscreen.  Also, they were less than $10, which was a huge bonus!  I added in this super cute rash guard for some extra protection up top.  Again, this shirt was less than $10. I think he is going to look so cute in it!  Ah! I can’t wait!

Now the only thing left to order is J’s swim trunks.  He’s not the easiest to buy for.  He’s picky than I am when it comes to his clothes.  We’re flying this year instead of driving, so we aren’t packing as much as we did last year.  We’re only staying for part of the week instead of the full 7 days, too.  I wrote a blog post on some awesome beach hacks for baby and I plan on packing a lot off that list so we can make sure to have a stress free vacation.

Packing for the beach is so much fun!  I know as our trip gets closer I’m going to be buying sunscreen and aloe (just in case) and loading in all of our new clothes.  I’m so excited for our first family vacation as a family of three.  This is the start to something great – I know it!

 

DIY Nursery Decor

DIY nursery wall art, DIY nursery decor, DIY boy nursery
My little guy is almost a year old and I realized I never shared the DIY nursery art I created.  I’ve been asked how we decorated his nursery and to be honest, I’ve kept things super simple.  Not a lot on the walls because I knew as he grew I would be changing a lot to meet his tastes.  I kept it basic with a few DIY art pieces I created on the computer and then had printed.  Here’s how I made those DIY pieces for his nursery. 

I wanted cute artwork for our little boy’s nursery.  However, I wasn’t a fan of the prices I kept seeing everywhere or I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for.  I wanted something colorful, that fit in with our color-theme, but I didn’t want it to be too overwhelming or something that would break the bank.  I just kept thinking there would be a time he would no longer want these pieces on his wall and I’m not one to splurge on something that can be easily replaced.

I already have some minor skills with Photoshop and I use canva.com for most of my blog pieces, so I figured I would just create some artwork myself.  I found quotes or ideas that I liked, but then played around with the colors and layout to make it work for me.

You can use canva to recreated these images or create your own.  Open canva and click on A4 as your size, or use a custom size to create a piece for a picture frame you already have.

Then get to work.  It may take you awhile to find the perfect combination of colors and fonts, but you’ll get there.  I think 30-45 minutes spent creating my own was well worth it compared to the price of similar (but not the right colors) options I found at Hobby Lobby and online.  

Once I had a few created, I just saved them to a thumb drive and had my local print shop print them out on good quality paper.  Then I headed to Hobby Lobby to find some frames.  I had a gift card from my birthday that I hadn’t used yet so I purchased the picture frames with that. All of the pieces only cost $1.50, which was for the prints.  Not too bad for a cute little nursery wall.  

DIY nursery wall art, DIY nursery decor, DIY boy nursery

DIY nursery wall art, DIY nursery decor, DIY boy nursery

DIY nursery wall art, DIY nursery decor, DIY boy nursery

DIY nursery decor was made!  So easy and so inexpensive.  

I created a nice little gallery wall with really no expense added to it.  I think these pieces really add something to the room and I know when the time comes and he has outgrown them then I won’t be too heartbroken to replace them.

DIY nursery wall art, DIY nursery decor, DIY boy nursery

I’m all about saving money where I can.  I know diapers, wipes, clothes and everything else is going to be insanely expensive over time.  So I wanted to make sure I saved as much money as possible on everything else.  We received so many pieces from family and friends, clothes were all given to us and the furniture was either a hand-me-down or given to us.  So the last thing I wanted to do in this budget nursery was go crazy on artwork.  It was very sensible and it pained me to think about it. 

DIY nursery art, decor for nursery, boy nursery

Plus, he’s the cutest and he deserved to have the cutest nursery to match!

I really think these DIY nursery decor pieces make the whole room.  A nursery tour is coming soon!

Financially Preparing for Baby {An Update}

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My financially preparing for baby post has been repinned quite a bit on Pinterest.  I did a little digging into my analytics and realized how popular this post has been.  I’m not talking viral or anything, but for my little blog it’s a lot.  

financially preparing for baby, an update on how to prepare for baby, how to prepare for baby

I started reading the comments left on my pin, which most were great… Then there was this one.  Most people wouldn’t be upset, but I was.  

My first thought, “who does she think she is?”
I searched her profile and her pins.  I’m a crazy that way.
My second thought was, “she doesn’t even have a blog, who is she judging me?”

I wanted to address the feeling I was having after reading it.

Ahem.

It’s hard to put yourself out there.  To have your thoughts read and critiqued by everyone, people you know personally and people you’ve never met, is hard.  If you aren’t willing to put yourself out there, I think you should keep your mouth shut.

But that was my first reaction.  After I thought about it for a bit, I still feel pretty much the same way.  Okay, okay… maybe not about keeping your mouth shut.  Criticism is okay, if it’s done constructively.  I don’t agree with this woman’s tactics – leaving a random comment, but that’s what I open myself up to by being online.

So I guess I need to have a disclaimer on my blog:

I am not an English professor.  Grammar was not my strong suit in school.  Math was, which might be why I have a Bachelor’s and MBA in business.  It might be why I’m studying to become a Certified Financial Planner and going to school for my accounting degree so I can sit for the Certified Public Accountant exam one day.  Numbers make sense to me, they flow.  Grammar doesn’t.  Ask my 7th grade English teacher because she’ll remember me struggling.

If you find an error on my blog and it bothers you to the point where you would like to make a public comment, that’s fine.  But please shoot me an email at meredith@merelynne.com.  I would like to know so I can learn from my mistakes and make any necessary corrections.  

What the lady on Pinterest did is fine.  But I’ve re-read that post over and over.  I’ve uploaded it to a few different grammar sites to see what was so terrible with it.  I can’t figure it out.  So if you notice an error, please let me know.  

Thank you.

Rant over.  

financially preparing for baby, an update on how to prepare for baby, how to prepare for baby

Let me get back to the topic I am supposed to be talking about.  An update on my post financially preparing for baby.  Let me say you can never fully prepare for a new baby, just as another one’s comment mentioned on Pinterest.  She’s so right!  It’s impossible.  However, our goal was to have money set aside for those things we weren’t planning on.  We didn’t know how our little guy was going to come 3 weeks early, which meant 3 weeks less work for me.  Luckily I had a plan for work while I was on maternity leave, but it wasn’t supposed to start 3 weeks early.  

We didn’t know he would end up in the NICU, which meant more medical bills.  We didn’t know I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed and would have to purchase formula.

If I would have known those things I would have been squirreling away more money.  However, we had a good foundation.  A foundation that helped us cover our medical deductibles without any worry.  Having money set aside helped us, because we saved money on our medical bills by paying in full.  

We lucked out by having a baby that can tolerate most formulas.  We’ve heard stories of special formula costing families close to $100 a week and that was for a newborn!  Our little guy could tolerate most brands without any problems so we were able to go with what was on sale or had coupons for.  Our pediatrician told us baby formula has to go through such a rigorous test and qualifications most of them are going to be so similar.  So find one he likes and stick with it, but don’t be afraid to buy in bulk or on sale.

I like to be transparent so I’m going to talk about the smallest additional cost with having a baby.  Now this next cost didn’t change our budgeting or our spending habits.  But I like to be open.

One of the other costs we didn’t consider was water.  A jug of water costs $0.88 for us.  We are buying 3 every 2 weeks.  Which is less than $100 a year, but it’s still an additional cost we weren’t prepared for.  

With purchasing gallons of water we’ve had to give our little guy fluoride tablets since he’s not getting it from city water.  Again, we’re lucky because insurance covers the cost of his prescription.  

I was able to find a sitter who charged less than the local daycare did.  She is smaller, which I like.  She has a few children as opposed to 10-15 like the daycare has (I know they have multiple caregivers, but it’s still crowded).  My son adores her and loves going to Mrs. Karen’s each morning.  While we were preparing for our son to get here we started saving the amount each week I thought daycare was going to cost us.  We ended up being able to use the savings to help with our medical costs I mentioned above.  It was great.

Overall our preparedness worked great.  Now whenever we want to add something to our budget or splurge, we still use our tricks I talked about:

  1. Make an educated estimate of the cost of the new expense.
  2. Figure it into your monthly or weekly budget at least 6 months before the expense will start.
  3. Physically transfer the money from your checking account into a separate savings account.  We transfer ours into our emergency fund.  

Instead of preparing for our baby’s birth, we’re preparing for summer trips and fun things as a family of three!

 

Wrapping up February’s Focus on Finances

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February’s Focus on Finances is done!

How did you do last month? Did you hit your goal of increasing your emergency fund or making a dent in your debt? I set a pretty lofty goal for our money and I knew it would be hard to hit it. But I made a serious dent in reaching it. It won’t be long before we have $3,000 in our emergency fund.
Why did I want $3,000?

Well each of our health insurance deductibles is $1,000. Since there is three of us in the family I wanted $3,000 in the bank. You never know what will happen and having that amount would be a weight off of our shoulders.

What did you focus on to increase your money?

We planned our meals for the entire month. It was hard to not give into temptation, but if we didn’t have eating out in the plan that week then we stuck with it. I was able to create some new recipes that we really loved.

We also sold quite a few things on our area’s Facebook Swap Shops. That money went straight into the savings account at the bank. Whatever I didn’t sell I ended up donating at the end of the month to our local Rescue Mission.

Now that you have spent the past 28 days really focusing on your money and what areas you need to improve, it’s time to stick with it. I understand it may be hard to stay so strict, but don’t relax all of the way. Keep working with the cash envelope method. It can help you stop overspending. We use an easier cash method that I’ve talked about before.

Leave me a comment letting me know one thing that really helped you through February’s Focus on Finances.  I’d love to know!

Check in on our Focus on Finances Month

focus on finances month, finances, money help

Alright, we’re about half-way through February and I thought it was time to check in. At the beginning of the month I declared it to be February’s Focus on Finances.

I still love that alliteration!

How are we doing? It’s hard isn’t it? I’m not going to lie I set a pretty hefty goal of bumping our emergency fund to $3,000. Luckily we had paid off some debt before 2016 ended, but we still have money needs that keep coming up. Last year I wanted to save $300 by the end of the month. And it was hard, but I achieved it. This year I increased that goal quite a bit by wanting to save $2000 in 28 days (we already had our emergency fund at $1,000 so I only needed $2,000 more to hit our goal). I shared some really great ideas on how to cut spending to hit that $300 mark.
This year I added one to that list… selling our old stuff.

I went through our closets and garage to find items we no longer needed. Now I’m selling them. There are a variety of places you can sell stuff – Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook Swap Shops. My top choice is Facebook. It’s easier for me and for some reason I feel safer doing it. I can check out someone’s profile before meeting them. I also meet at my work during the day. I don’t meet in the evenings and I never let anyone come to our house.

I’ve shared my love of Facebook Swap Shops before when I scored some great buys for our little guy. I plan on utilizing this more when I need more clothes for him. I don’t think it’s necessary to buy brand-new clothes for a growing boy that isn’t going to stay in them for very long.

Anyway, back to my focus on finances. I plan on selling what I can for a good price. That way I can increase our savings while getting rid of junk that’s taking up space. If something won’t sell then I plan on donating it. That way the junk does not reappear in the garage.

I also plan on shopping at flea markets and thrift shops if anything comes up that we need.  I put together a handy cheat sheet to make sure you get a good deal when out shopping.  You can even put some of these tactics to use if purchasing something through a FB Swap Shop.

2017 February’s Focus on Finances

focus on finances month, finances, money help

Last year my Focus on Finances was a huge hit in February so I decided to bring it back.

I love alliteration – February’s Focus on Finances. It’s hard not to bring something back that just sounds good. So here we are. New year, same focus on a much needed area.  During last year’s focus my sights were a lot less than last year, but since I achieved my goal I figured I needed to make it harder.

Last year I was pregnant and had no idea our little guy would only be staying in 11 more weeks. I was so happy that I took time to really focus on our money to help prepare for the baby. I actually share how we were financially preparing for baby awhile back. But all of the focus really helped us with his early arrival.

I know, I know this picture doesn’t really have anything to do with focusing on your finances.  But you just have to love a boy on his brand new trike.  Look at that face!  I want to give our kid so much more than I ever had.. and I had it pretty darn good!  So by buckling down and working on our money situation now then J and I will be able to do so much for our son.  So maybe this picture does have something to do about getting your money right… maybe it was my secret plan to tie a seemingly unrelated photo back to the topic… or maybe I just wanted to include a picture of our son and somehow managed to connect it all.  Who knows…

This year there is no baby coming, but we do have a quite a bit of fun we’re planning for. My biggest is our little guy’s first birthday in April, a trip across the state to visit one of my best friends, a work-trip to Vegas (bummer I know!) and so much more.

One of my main goals for this year was to not stress over money. I know it’s easier said than done… but I am making a sincere effort. The main goal of February’s Focus on Finances is to pick a few money areas that need work.

This year it’s about our emergency fund. I want to build it up a bit more. It’s nice to start with $1,000 as a minimum, but once you hit that and have some debt paid off it’s time to build it more. So now my goal is to have enough for each of our medical insurance deductibles, which would be $3,000.

I started the 52 week savings challenge in January and it has been a big help on keeping me from impulse shopping. A dollar here and a few dollars there can really add up. This month I’m going to be adding an additional savings challenge so we can build our emergency fund. I don’t know if I’ll hit my goal of $3,000 but I’m sure going to try!

What part of focus on finances are you going to work on? There are some many money areas to pick from. And honestly you can pick more than one. Just don’t spread yourself too thin and get overwhelmed. Remember you control your money, it doesn’t control you!

You can set a debt pay off goal
You can reach towards that $1,000 in your emergency fund
Start saving for next year’s real and personal property taxes
Begin retirement planning

Whatever you choose, stick with it. February is a short month and it will be over before you know it!

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52 Week Savings Challenge

52 week savings challenge

Can you believe 2016 is over? I mean, seriously that year flew by! So many changes happened in our household that it’s hard to keep track of them all. Of course, I remember the big one – you know, having a baby. That was probably the most important part of 2016 for our family.

However, we had a lot going on. We had to remodel the house a bit to make room for the baby. I kept working towards my CFP designation and am one step closer to being a Certified Financial Planner (yay!) and I survived another #taxseason without killing anyone.

We traveled a lot and just had an amazing year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for us. With all of the surprises and planned expenses last year, we decided to kick off the new year with a bang! We’re setting an additional savings goal on top of our budgeted one.

What?!

Yep, that’s right!

We plan on starting a 52 Week Savings Challenge on top of what we’re already putting aside each month.

We looked at our budget and decided with all of the highs and lows of last year, it wouldn’t hurt to have an extra $1,300 in savings for those unexpected needs. So instead of increasing our savings goal, we chose to go a fun-route.

Yes, savings can be fun!

We created an easy-to-follow 52 Week Savings Challenge. It’s easy to follow and you can really tackle it any way you want.

Here’s the gist of the savings challenge:

Start off with saving $1 the first week, then add $1 every week to you new goal. Here’s what it looks like for the whole year:

week 1 – $1, total of $1
week 2 – $2, total of $3
week 3 – $3, total of $6


week 52 – $52, total of $1,378

52 week savings challenge image

I created an easy PDF for you to download to keep track. You can download this free printable here.

Here’s another way to tackle this new 52 week savings challenge:

You can start with week 52 and work your way backwards. That way you’re starting with savings $52, $51, $50 and so on now then when it’s closer to the holidays your savings would be less than $10 a week. It’s up to you.

Just decide which way is best for your family to follow and then get started. The biggest thing is to start now and keep going with it.

Don’t give up!

You can have an extra $1,378 saved by the end of this year. That’s quite a bit for only a few dollars each month. We plan on finding the extra money by cutting out our eating out. We’ve been watching what we’ve been spending for awhile now. By following our easier cash envelope system, we will be able to easily find the extra dollars each week to add up.

What are you going to do with this extra savings at the end of the year? It’s going to be good to use towards Christmas gifts or you can add it to your emergency fund or even debt! Whatever you want to do with it, it’s up to you!

Just think, $1,378 can be yours by saving a few dollars each month for the next 12 months. So easy!