Every year at this time, I have a good think about some of the things I want to change or improve in our lives and it seems to have become a bit of a tradition that I share them with you all here.
Usually, my annual resolutions are very similar but this year, I feel like they’re a bit different because our priorities are changing. We’ve reached a point in our life where we have no debt other than our mortgage and we want to start to be more grown up with our money.
1. Meal Planning
Ok, I know I say meal planning is mentioned in my resolutions every single year but this year it’s a bit different because I’m not just planning to meal plan and stick to it like I usually am – I have BIG meal planning plans for 2019.
I’m pretty sure I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my work life is changing slightly this year and from next week I’m going to be leaving the house a bit earlier on a morning and getting home a little later on an afternoon. This means that I need to be even more organised with my meal planning and I’m going to need more help than ever from the kids and Mr Frugal.
Batch cooking is definitely a priority to help me with my meal planning! We had a fully stocked freezer not too long ago which I kept topped up but we pretty much wiped out all of our freezer meals back in September when Master Frugal was in hospital and in the weeks afterwards. I just didn’t get back into it but I know I need to get back to where we were and replenish our freezer ‘ready meals’.
I’ve already started to get back into it – last night I came home from work and made two vegetable lasagne which I’ve already put in the freezer – one as a whole lasagne and one in four single portions.
I think my Muscle Food order of chicken breasts is due tomorrow according to Mr Frugal so I’ll be making some chicken dump recipes and maybe some slow cooked shredded chicken to add to things like pasta bakes for packed lunches.
I’ll be sharing my weekly meal plans over on my meal planning blog, meal planning made easy every Monday and I may even get around to sharing some recipes on there this year. I’m not making any promises though. 🙂
I also need to be much more organised with my packed lunches as if I forget to take my dinner in, the only alternative to starving would be either spending £4-£5 a day in the work canteen or walking to the nearby Greggs which is a little cheaper than the canteen but obviously still not ideal.
2. Investigate investing
At the moment we’re overpaying our mortgage by £300 a month which will mean we’ll have our mortgage paid off at least 11 years early. The £300 is set up as a Standing Order and we’re trying to make manual payments on top of this when we can although we’ve not managed much extra over the last few months if I’m honest.
I know that putting all our spare money into our mortgage isn’t necessarily the best thing to do as I could be getting a better return investing the money elsewhere but just knowing that we’ll own our home outright in 10 years is a very motivating thought.
I do buy shares through my works share purchase scheme and I pay extra into my pension but I know there’s more we could be doing to plan for our future now that we’re debt free.
I think we’ll need to take some financial advice at some point this year to make sure we’re doing the best thing for us but in the meantime, we’ll continue to do what we’re doing and do some research of our own as to what we can do to invest a small amount each month to get us started.
3. Grow more of our own food
Last Summer, I got a greenhouse which I am absolutely in love with!
It’s a small greenhouse so perfect for someone like me who has never really grown anything other than herbs. It was a bit late in the growing season to grow much but I did manage some cherry tomato plants, a chilli plant and some strawberries but I have huge plans for this year to make full use of the space in there.
I’d also like to have some fruit bushes and mini fruit trees in our garden but I’m keen to investigate container plants rather than actually planting things in the ground as the quality of our soil is very poor for growing things (so I’m told). I need to do some research on what I can grow and when I need to get started with sowing things which is something I’m planning to do in the next few weeks as I don’t want to miss the boat with some of the things I want to grow this year.
I also have a little DIY herb garden which I’ll be planting again in the Spring!
4. Try to live a more natural, sustainable lifestyle
Over the last twelve months, I’ve definitely become more aware of the world around me and the impact that we’re all making on our environment. I can’t change the world but I am changing the things I can control. I’m trying to make more of my own cleaning and beauty products and am making much more of an effort to make more sustainable choices. I’m hoping that I’ll be sharing lots of my ideas on here this year.
I’m not perfect though and I do like my nice things so I’m not going to suddenly become an eco-warrior but I like to think I’m making more of an effort and that I’m much more conscious about doing the right thing.
5. Build our Emergency Fund back up
As soon as we hit our debt-free goal last year, we switched all of our focus to building our Emergency Fund up and finally hit our first goal of having £1000 set aside for emergencies in the Summer of last year. We then had a bit of a traumatic time with Master Frugal and went a bit off the rails and booked a trip to take him to New York next month which we justified by telling ourselves that life’s too short not to enjoy it.
I don’t regret booking the trip and I would rather have memories than money but in hindsight, we should have saved and then booked up rather than using our emergency fund for it.
What are your goals for this year?
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