My Goals 2018 | Let The Life Planning Begin

Goal Setting - Where Life Planning Begins

My Goals 2018

Let the life planning begin! 

It’s a new year, and I’ve been busy working on new goals and hoping for grand achievements this year.  Whether you have a plan of action going yet or not in your life, let’s talk.

Goal Setting - Where Life Planning Begins

Goal Setting – Where Life Planning Begins

With the first days of a 2018 now in the rear view mirror of your life and new days on your horizon, may I ask if you have been setting life goals for yourself?  If so, what are your personal goals in life?  

Have you been putting your goals in writing?  Do you have a goal setting planner, or even just a piece of paper, to help you stay on track with the goals and wishes you hope to make happen this year?  

Have you thought about what you want to tackle in your life right now?  What have you been doing well already?  What do you need to improve upon?  

Have you thought about these things, or are you taking in the scene still and thus still getting ideas?  
It’s OK no matter where you are here!  Those are only questions to get you going.    

I guess I’m asking because I’ve been busy myself with some goals and life planning recently, and I’m so excited, I would like to share them with you in hopes that you might be spurred on yourself some too, especially if you haven’t quite completed your thoughts on any New Years resolutions, goal setting, or new goals in life to begin (or continue) this year. 

If you’re ahead of the game, congratulations!  I’m wishing you and your family well! 

If you are somewhere else other than ahead of the game (or standing around still LOOKING at the game board, lol), I’m hoping that perhaps seeing a normal gal like me start a life planning process might help you get started too. 

Furthermore, I figured putting my goals in writing, out there for all to see, would make me just a little more accountable to moving my own game pieces forward on this game board of life.

After all, I want to succeed in my goals in life!  Why not tell the world what those goals are and either get going on what I need to do in my life or face the music if I don’t.  I know I would rather get going and make life better for myself and others I love than face the music if I don’t make the changes I know I need to make.

So here we go: 

My personal goals for 2018 include: 

1 Lose 60 pounds on a whole food, plant based diet

This includes 30 pounds before my husband and I take a trip to the Ohio Amish County with my in-laws in the early summer and then 30 pounds after that time period. 

2 Write 100 blog posts on The New American Home with Chris Stevens before December 31, 2018

3 Write and publish 4 ebooks this year.  

I’ve got the topics already chosen but will keep those close to my vest for right now if you don’t mind.  🙂 

4 Start 1 niche blog this year and prepare for a 2nd one to start early 2019

5 Join a small group at our church with my husband

6 Set up a $5.00 per week automatic transfer from our checking account to a new savings account, ending the year (at any point this year, even the end if I so choose) with a $10.00 per week automatic money saving transfer 

7 Place $200.00 per month into an IRA / Investment account

8 Complete John’s breakfast, lunch pack, and morning send off; my shower, grooming and breakfast; and worship and prayer before 8:00 AM M-F.

9 Office Work and Family Finance time between 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM, M-F

10 Prep for a new blog post 10:30 to 11:00 AM

11 Take one class in social media marketing, 

The specific class TBD, but I’m thinking about either Public Relations Fundamentals or Integrated Web Marketing and Google Analytics, either good towards the Social Media Marketing Certificate I began at University of Texas in Arlington a few years back.

12 Learn how to invest and trade

Here is one of the books I am currently studying on how to begin investing in the stock market.

13 Read and discuss two books, together with my husband, this year

14 Do a Bible / Christian book study with my Texas daughter and daughter-in-law 

15 Go Fluoride Free in our entire home

This includes purchasing a water filtration system, a filtering water pitcher, filtrating water bottles for on the go, and shower heads that filter fluoride as well as other heavy metals from the water. 

16 Experience four 4-day water fasts throughout the year (spring, summer, fall, winter)

17 Have a salt lamp in every room of the house

18 Incorporate one green juice drink per day into my husband’s and my daily eating routine

19 Take our oldest grandson Liam on an overnight trip

I’ve got him thinking about what kind of trip he would have fun doing.  However, his mama has already told me that, so long as there is an indoor pool, he will be as happy as a clam.

20 Bless each one of our childrens’ families (Carrie’s family, Amy’s family, and Scott’s family) with a special fun event or trip this year, lodging, food, activity/ activities, etc courtesy of my husband John and me

21 Prepare for and enjoy a trip with my mother-in-law Jo and her husband Vince to the Ohio Amish Country, that trip to include a much longed-for trip to see my brother and his family in West Virginia and a special aunt I have in Ohio 

My husband and I are still trying to determine if we want to incorporate meat into our meals there, want to just be vegetarian, or stay plant strong, vegan (vegetarian, no eggs, no dairy, ie “vegan) while in the Amish Country.  That is very possible.  After all, as my husband remarked upon one of our discussions about this so far, there should be lots of great vegetables and grains to eat, courtesy of the Amish farmers!   

22 Help my husband John get an updated teacher’s certification for the State of Texas

23 Help set up a website, marketing plan, and social media accounts for my husband and son’s duo music group

24 Work on a VA Disability appeal with my husband

25 Buy most of our produce at Town Talk, organic when possible but will not insist on organic as a means of saving money on groceries

Town Talk is a discount salvage grocery store in the area where we live.  Salvage grocery stores are all over the country.  If you don’t know about them, do an internet search on “salvage grocery stores”, get the information you need to get to one, and you can save money on food… like big time!  

26 Begin buying more online, especially nicely-priced food items from my Amazon Prime account (Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime Pantry); well-priced home goods from Amazon; and home, personal, beauty, essential oils, and natural grooming items from Amazon Prime and Thrive, and office supplies from Amazon

Experience all the benefits of Amazon Prime.  

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27 Pay off 4 credit card bills this year (all early)

28 Complete last payments of one unsecured loan and put that money towards investing in peer-to-peer lending as a lender ourselves

29 Trade in our small car for a little bit larger, nicer car

This will keep a car loan going for us, but hey, we are at least used to having a car loan, and we both feel this is the best option we have right now given all considerations in our life

My van will be on next year’s list, I’m sure, and THAT will be paid for in cash. 

30 Put a new tin roof on our back patio

31 Paint and tile John’s office

32 Lay an extended concrete patio from our back porch patio to our garbage can area

33 Plan and attend two festivals with my husband

These do NOT include the festivals I attend with him where his band plays. These are OUR trips! 

34 Visit our daughter Carrie and her family in Tennessee two times this year, once this summer and again early December or thereabouts  (time based on everyone’s schedule)

I hope that will be more next year, Carrie!  

35 Mail something special to my mother-in-law sometime this year… just because. 

36 Mail a birthday gift basket to our two granddaughters in Tennessee this year

37 Purchase a used but nice wooden playground for our grandchildren

38 Take each one of our grandsons (three, 3+ years old and older) on a date two times this year

39 Go on a romantic weekend getaway with my husband sometime this fall

40 Meet my husband AT THE DOOR every evening when he comes home from work.

Yea.  Yea.  Call me old fashioned.  I love being old fashioned, and I love my husband enough to make sure he feels loved. 

41 Write a daily to-do list on my beloved clip board at least 5 days a week

42 Develop my own process of personal organization, life planning, an organized housework schedule (daily, weekly, monthly, etc), and an organized home and garden timeline, the development and testing of such to be work on throughout and then completed sometime this year but then ready to perfect, write, and publish sometime next year 2019. 

OK.. Whew, that’s a lot!  So how do I get to my goals? 

First of all, I believe I’ve taken one first big step.  To make a list of goals is a great start!  (Yes, I’m patting myself on the back!)   

Although setting an overall life vision and yearly vision first helps many with setting up a life plan and then yearly life plan, I wasn’t organized enough in my thoughts yet to quite be there.  I’m planning on working on those areas better now though! 

However….setting goals, for ME anyway… was a great help in envisioning the life vision I had, at least for this year.  It was the beginning of this year’s life planning for me. 

My next step is coming.  I’m going to buy a life planner like this one. 

I chose one that has a daily life planner as well as a monthly life planner.  The goals as I have them above will require a lot of daily organization.  Lord help me.  I sure need some personal organization skills.  I need personal organization help!  

OK, so my goal setting now public, I stand fully accountable for working on goals and working towards a more organized life to be more successful in my areas of focus this year. 

Whether you are already great at goal setting or struggling with your own life planning tools and skills, I hope my own challenges and my transparency here help you all in some way. 

I need to go for now.  (Other work.. and fun activities…. await,)  We’ll talk again though soon.  

Blessings!  

Chris Stevens

Editor and Publisher, The New American Home

8 Incredible Money Saving Tips for February

8 Incredible Money Saving Tips For The Month Of February

Save money this month with these great money saving ideas that are perfect for the month of February.

You’ll learn where the February deals are so you can:

  • Save money on tax software,
  • Save money on furniture,
  • Save money buying a house,
  • Save money eating out,
  • And a whole lot more!

We think you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy all over when you see the things you can do in February to save money.  If you can find some ways here to save on the February purchases you would need to make anyway or to get more out of your budget or planned expenses, we’ll feel all warm and fuzzy too!  Here we go!   

1.  Be on the lookout for drastic discounts on entertainment and recreational purchases right now.  

The winter is lingering at this point, but it’s not nice enough to do much outside yet.  The mass is getting antsy here, folk, and businesses know that!  

Cable and satellite companies want to give you something to do while you are still stuck indoors, and you’ll see some good introductory deals to grab your attention right now.  Now don’t get cable if it’s not in your budget, but if it is, or you want to find a competitor’s deal that will lower monthly bills, you’ll find some good lock-in prices and incentives right now.

You can also find some good prices and deals on season passes right now if you take the time to go to some websites of amusement theme parks, water parks, sports team sites, and fitness centers with gym memberships.  

Additionally, you’ll find outdoor sports gear like ski and snowboarding supplies and indoor fitness equipment like stationary bikes and treadmills on sale during February. 

Is that cabin fever getting better yet?

Another great recreational deal just got better in February too, and this one will give you savings all year long.  

Entertainment Books from Entertainment.com are now 50% off!  (Until February 13, 2015)

You probably already know that when you use these well-respected coupon books, you save money on eating out; on hotels, airfare, and travel; on movies, events, and attractions; and everyday things you purchase at many of your favorite local stores like Target, Office Depot, Gap, and Michaels.  

With one modest annual purchase of an Entertainment Book, you are saving money throughout the year.   Even at a regular price, this purchase adds up to fantastic savings.  Half off?  That’s even better.

Purchase Entertainment Books here: All 2015 Entertainment Books are 50% OFF with Free Shipping, only at Entertainment.com! (Valid 2/06/15 – 2/13/15)

Money Saving Tips

2.  Purchase hot-weather home purchases now before the warm weather really comes your way and prices begin to rise right alongside the temperatures.  This is true whether you are buying those items new or used.    

 First of all, if you see summer items like grills, lawn mowers, or room air conditioners on the shelves in February, before all the stores begin getting filled with summer items to sell to the masses, chances are you are seeing some left-over models that will have lower list prices on them than the newer models will have.  

Not only may these year-old models be lower priced than the new models will be, the stores may have lowered their list price even more to better guarantee this inventory off moves off the shelves to make room for new products coming in.  

Even if you know you are going to have to purchase these things but plan to do so on Craigslist or some other local buy and sell group, you will have a much better chance getting it cheaper now than when everyone else has realized they need the very same thing.  Supply and demand can really be seen in play when it comes to one person selling one item and lots of people wanting to buy that one item!  

Money Saving Tip_Save Money on Furniture

3.  Keep an eye out for good deals based on Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.

There will be sales galore on jewelry BEFORE Valentine’s Day as jewelers compete to offer treatment for that romance bug going around this time of year.  

(NOTE:  April usually boasts some pretty major discounts on jewelry as well.  Just tossing that out there so you know!)    

You’ll also see some good sales prices on perfume before Valentine’s Day.  It’s hard to find flowers discounted right now, so if you want something sweet smelling and you don’t have your heart set on giving flowers, maybe perfume would be the way to go instead.  Or maybe this is just the time to stock up on perfume!  

Candy will be there for thrifty shoppers AFTER Valentine’s Day.   You know, some of those cute little boxes of Skittles and stuffed animals might work quite well for Easter baskets.  Some of the chocolates might work quite well in a gift basket for Grandma on Mother’s Day!  

Then we’ve got President’s Day where you can easily find huge discounts on mattresses and furniture at most stores that sell those items.   

For those who want a good deal on used furniture this year, watch for the very first nice weekend after President’s Day to see if some people who just purchased new furniture then will put their older furniture out to sell.  These pieces of furniture may alternatively arrive at Goodwill the Saturday after President’s Day.  You might even find these new furniture buyers have placed ads on Craigslist right on President’s Day since they are home and trying to make room for their newly-purchased furniture collections.  

4.  If you are buying Turbo Tax or other tax preparation software and have not purchased it yet, you will most likely get a better deal on it this month than if you purchase it closer to April 15.  

As with everything else, if you know you are going to purchase it anyway, buy it when it is at its cheapest price instead of holding off and paying even more.   Being prepared and moving forward at the right time is one money saving tip I can not emphasize enough. 

If you have not yet purchased your Turbo Tax software, you can purchase it here to make use of Amazon’s offer to get 10% more money from your federal refund.  Shop Amazon – TurboTax – Get 10% more on Top of Your Federal Refund

5.  While December and January may be great months to purchase a house at a lower price, February may still yield a healthy list of desperate home sellers willing to negotiate a great price on a new home for your family.  

 Save Money on a House

Here’s the deal – Some of the houses that were put on the market during the winter months may still be on the market.  These sellers were motivated enough to put their house up on the market at a bad selling time to begin with.  If after the lean winter months (by lean I mean fewer buyers out and about) a house is still there, those sellers may be getting a little antsy.  

Add to the mix that spring buyers and summer-moving families are not quite moving about yet.  In fact, it may be at least a couple more months, and possibly longer than that, where sellers might expect to see activity substantially pick up.

This might be where the rubber meets the road for some of these sellers.  When you combine a motivated and possibly now slightly-frustrated seller with the thought of having to hold on to their listed house for an even longer period of time, it is possible you could be looking at some of the lowest list prices (and possibly most highly-motivated sellers) you will see before the spring housing market starts up in full force again.  

If you are going to be in the market to buy a house anyway this year, consider your ability to write a contract on a house in February.  If you are ready to fly anyway, jump out of the nest a little early, and take advantage of that worm.  

6.  If you are in college or plan to be in college soon, you should be applying to every college scholarship you can this month.   This may not save you money right now, but it will sure save money in college later!  

I don’t think many realize that many businesses and organizations still offer scholarships for college.  However, while there still are many of these available, you have to apply before the deadline for each one to be considered for them. 

What even fewer people realize is that the scholarship opportunities for this upcoming fall are quickly going to pass you by if you don’t act soon.  Many of the application deadlines have come and gone.  Many are still available, but you may start finding fewer and fewer to apply for after February.

If you are a parent, get that FAFSA done ASAP for your child!  If you are a college student returning to college or a high school senior entering college this fall, get your parents going on that FAFSA if it is not done already.  (Be nice guys, but you can remind mom and dad at least… or make sure they are aware of how important this is.)

Here’s a good place to get started on college scholarship searches:   http://www.fastweb.com/.   

7.  Plan dinner menus and recipes around food that is in season during the month of February or that is on event sales at your local grocery store.

You can save money at the grocery store and still eat healthy if you eat seasonally!  And yes, there are still seasonal fruits and vegetables in the winter!

Here are some of the fruits you can find on sale in February:

Oranges, Tangerines, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Lemons, and Raspberries

Here are some of the vegetables you can find on sale in February:

Cabbage, Spring Onions, Celery, and Red Potatoes, Russet Potatoes, White Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach, and Cauliflower

Money Saving Tips for February

Do a web search for seasonal fruits and vegetables in the United States (or wherever you may live), and find out what seasonal fruits and vegetables are available to you at a lower cost in February.  Also check the grocery store circulars for sales.  If you see something coming up for sale over and over again at different stores in one given week, that’s probably an indication that it’s priced at a low seasonal price.

It’s good to save money now.  It’s even better when you can do something healthy for your family during the dead of winter.   

8.  Take advantage of the numerous national days and national holidays in February since these days spur stores and restaurants to offer coupons, promotions, and sometimes even free samples, free activities, and free food products.  

February is National Cherry Month, National Children’s Dental Health Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Heart Month, National Fiber Focus Month, and National Hot Breakfast Month.  There are probably some more national months or days out there as well.  

Now take a look at all the special days in February:

http://nationaldaycalendar.com/calendar-at-a-glance/february/

You know that these very smart stores and businesses like to have a reason to put something on sale to get people to notice them above the competition, so keep your eye out for sales that may correspond with the above national days, national weeks, and national months.

And for those of you who want to plan ahead to a special national day and to be prepared to move forward when the price is right, keep March 3, 2015 available for FREE PANCAKES AT IHOP 2015!  

Hey, I told you all above to be ready so you could move forward when you saw a good deal, didn’t I?  

See, sometimes I do know what I’m talking about.  🙂  

Hope you find yourself saving money with these great money saving tips for this month. 

If you know of other ways to save money in February or can tell us how to save more money than we have talked about here, let us know!  

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