A Couple Things I’ve Accomplished, Plus How I Plan To Go Forward

This year has been a pretty awesome year for me. I earned my black belt in March, ran my second half-marathon (which was also part of a three-day series including a 5k on Friday, an 8k on Saturday, and the half on Sunday), and my Damsel in Defense business exploded (I have a team, and my parties and vendor events are consistent, finally!)

I had people in one of my Facebook groups ask me how I did it. Answer, schedules, routines, and priorities.

First, I worked the minimum on my business while I was earning my black belt. Then I slowed down on Tae Kwon Do while training for my races, while building my business by pointing out my credibility as a person who could teach you about self-defense because I earned my black belt (plus I’m former military law enforcement, so I have that going for me as well).

Did I mention that I homeschool my four children as well? This is where the importance of a schedule comes into play.

Everyone has their preference as far as how to schedule, and I’m no different. I based my schedule on the “Managers Of Their Homes” from Titus2.com. Basically, list the things you need to do (meal prep, basic housekeeping, school time with the kids) and how much time it takes, list the things you’d like to get done (hobbies, a set declutter time, working out, quiet reading time) and how much time it takes, then transfer the must-dos to little bits of paper and stick them to your schedule board. Repeat with like-to-dos, then do the same thing for each child (you could try to schedule your husband’s time, but I don’t).

It takes time to set up, but it is so worth it! I may do a more detailed post about Managers Of Their Homes another time.

Now I’m in a new transition. I’d like to start lifting weights again, plus I’m training for a Marathon that’s happening in March 2016. Also, I’d be lying to you and to myself if I didn’t admit I’d like to lose 40 pounds as well, partially for vanity, but mostly so it’s easier to do Tae Kwon Do and run! As a black belt, I have a lot more jump kicks in my forms and fighting combinations, and hauling all that weight into the air is hard! I’d also like to get my run time down, and I know from past experience that its easier to be faster when you’re not dragging an extra 20-30-40 pounds.

Also, my kids are involved with more activities since they’re older, including swim lessons for the younger boys, Scouts for the older boys, and my nine-year-old recently got into rock wall climbing. And of course I still have two in Tae Kwon Do. It sounds like a lot, but it’s not.

It all comes down to scheduling and priorities. I have a set time every afternoon after lunch, after my youngest goes down for a nap, where the big kids read quietly and rest for an hour, and I make all my business phone calls, check in on my business-related Facebook groups, and answer business-related emails and Facebook messages. Some people refer to this as a “power hour,” and yes, intense focus for an hour can do some crazy things for you home business! I’ll write a post on the Power Hour later.

What have you accomplished this year, and how do plan on ending this year with a bang?

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31 Days of Spending Zero– Day 2

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Day two of 31 Days Of Living Well And Spending Zero has us cleaning out our pantries and cupboards and inventorying our freezers. Makes sense! This month we’re going to use up what we have, but how can we use up what have if we don’t know what we have?

Since my husband is retiring from the Army next spring, I’ve been using more of our food storage so we have less to take with us when the time comes. This project was actually really easy!

 

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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And here’s my pantry inventory. Please don’t judge harshly!

 

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I put the inventory sheet into a page protector so I can easily wipe off stuff as we use it. Aaaannd, you can see that I did already!

 

 

31 Days Of Spending Zero– Day One

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My husband is retiring from the Army next year. Oh, yes, he’s actively looking for employment for when he gets out, but we have been so spoiled! In addition to his base pay, we also get housing allowance, and health, dental and vision insurance. Short of a job in D. C. (shudder), there is really no job out there that can match what he gets in the Army.

Before everyone starts jumping all over me (why don’t you get a job!), I feel I must point out that I homeschool our four children. I also run a small party-plan business that at this point is not replacing his income. Since home educating our children is a priority for both of us, I will not be able to get a job outside the home (well, I could go back to bartending a few nights a week, if we were that desperate).

As I’m sure those of you who are also stay-at-home-moms know, one of the best ways we can help with the family finances is to be frugal. I’m no spendthrift, we don’t hit the drive-throughs, we try to mainly make food from scratch, we shop the grocery sales and buy generic, we hand down clothes and shoes until they’re falling apart, we shop thrift stores and clearance racks (sometimes I find clothing on a clearance rack that costs less than the same thing used from a thrift store), we outright own our older used vehicles, and we don’t have cable.

BUT, I am guilty of almost daily Starbucks beverages. And not the $2 cup of plain coffee, the $5.83 grande pumpkin spice latte type coffee. That’s *gasp* about $30 a WEEK before tips! That’s $120 a month! And don’t get me started on the ice cream runs, and the couponing (uh, that will be the end of me). “I thought couponing saves you money?” No, not always. Sometimes it tempts you to spend a whole lot, a dollar or two at a time.

So when I saw this “31 Days of living well and spending zero” challenge hosted by Ruth Soukup at Living Well Spending Less, I decided now was as good a time as any to cut out the extra spending. I think it would be a great kickoff to a new habit of overall spending less than I do now.

With pledge signed, I’m ready to embark on this fun challenge!