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My adventure as I jump into life all in!!

Foster Parenting Series: Paperwork

In my last post, I talked about what led us to becoming foster parents. In this post, I will talk about the process we went through to get licensed as foster parents.

In 2012, we decided to look into becoming foster parents. We attended an informational session that was a sort of overview of what becoming a foster parent entailed and a bit about being a foster parent. After the session, we signed up to take the classes required to become licensed.

We attended classes for three months, once a week for 3 hours in the evening at our local community college. The classes were provided free of charge. There were about 10 to 15 other couples in the class with us, all of different ages and different reasons that led them there. The class was taught by a current foster parent and someone from the licensing agency. Throughout the class we talked about issues that foster children may have, the circumstances that may lead them to foster care, and tips on parenting them and correcting behaviors. It was highly stressed the corporal punishment (spanking or hitting) was a no-no, so we talked a lot about other ways to correct behaviors, and how some of their behaviors could be caused by their previous environment or their lack of control over their current environment. After all, the children don’t choose to leave the only home they’ve ever known, and they usually aren’t happy about it.

After the class, everyone was given the choice to continue and become licensed, or decide that foster care isn’t for you and leave it at that.  We chose to move forward and become licensed. Thus began the barrage of paperwork and home visits.

I cleaned our house like it had never been cleaned before and we filled out mountains of paperwork. I swear we even filled out the same papers twice because it was misplaced by the licensing agency. I felt like I filled out my name, birth date, and address hundreds of times by the time we were done.

People are often curious of what a home visit entails. What is the agency looking for, why so many visits, etc.? They are not looking into every nook and cranny of your home, they will not dig through your underwear drawer or the back of your closet or anything crazy like that. They simply want to make sure you have a clean home and that you have things necessary to take care of children, like a bedroom with a bed and dresser for them (and a certain amount of square footage per child, including your own), a bathroom, and functioning kitchen, and functioning fire alarms and CO2 detectors. They also want to make sure there is nothing in your home that is dangerous for a child, and that your cleaning supplies are locked out of reach of children as well as any firearms (if you own any).

As for the mountains of paperwork, they want to fingerprint you, learn about your past and how you interact with children in your own life (the licensing agency in our state asked for references and then ask those references for more references about us). They also need to do a background check, and they want to make sure you make enough money to take care of the child(ren) placed in your care (although you get paid by the state, they want to make sure you can function without it, so you aren’t just ‘doing it for the money’).

After what seemed like an eternal mountain of paperwork and multiple home visits, we finally got the news that we were licensed in the Spring of 2013.

In the next post, I will discuss what it was like to get our first call and placement.

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Foster Parenting Series: Our Story

Today I am starting a blog series on foster care, specifically our journey with foster care. I always hear people say “I could never do foster care” and “you’re a strong person, I could never do that” about being a foster parent, so I thought I would share our journey so that you could hear from a real person’s experience with foster care.

I have always been interested in adoption. When I was in elementary school, my best friend was a girl who had been adopted from Seoul, South Korea so I have almost always been aware of the idea of adoption.

When I was in junior high, one of my other friends had some experience with foster care. She had 2 cousins that were removed from their parents. My friend’s parents did what was necessary to become licensed and have the children move in with them, so that was my first introduction into the idea of foster care. Her cousins ended up living with them for nearly ten years.

We also have a sister-in-law who was in the foster care system as a child and was adopted, along with her brother.

My husband didn’t have as much direct experience with foster care or adoption as I did, but we talked about kids and adoption before we were even married. He agreed with my view that there are children all over the world who need homes. We decided that after we got married, we would have a few children and adopt a few children.

When we got married, we were in college, so we put off the idea of kids until we were done. He graduated in 2011 and we settled into married life outside of college. In 2012, we decided to look into what it takes to become foster parents.

That is where we will end for now, and we will pick up where we left off in the next post.

 

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Goal Progress – August

Still plugging away and tracking my progress. I seriously think this is the longest that I have stuck with a New Year’s Resolution or yearly goal!!. I have been sticking with a general goal of becoming debt free for years now, but I think that’s the only other thing I’ve been able to stick with, plus I haven’t hit it yet, so I needed these other goals to keep me on track.

Here’s the update on my goals:

Financial Goals:

Start a Side Hustle – Fail. – I would still like to have a side hustle, but I have yet to really follow through on any of my random ideas like selling on Ebay, Amazon, facebook swaps, or craigslist….. But I’m still tracking the goal! LOL!!

Earn $100 extra each month – Fail –  I just was not able to get in the overtime necessary for this, and obviously didn’t have a side hustle.

Pay down vehicles so they aren’t upside downPass- Our budget barely scraped by last month, but we still had enough that I sent $50 extra dollars with one of our car payments.

Grow our Net Worth by $10,000 (20%) – Pass – The year is more than half over and we only have $5000 left. You would think we should have less left, since that is half of the goal, but we did lose a little in net worth when we sold the truck and bought another, so we made that up as well as getting halfway to the goal at this point.

Personal Goals:

Read the Entire Bible – Fail – It is still hard for me to remember to make this a priority. Maybe I should put a sticky not on the television or something.

Write at least two blogs post per month – Pass-ish- I did my usual goal update, and wrote most of a post about traveler’s notebooks. But I didn’t end up finishing and uploading the post until August 1st.

Read 13 books – Fail– I need to kick my but into gear if I’m going to hit this goal, but I really do want to spend more time reading. I waste so much time in front of the television that it should be easy to find time to read, but alas, I forget my plans to read and get sucked into the television.

Grow Deeper in my relationship with God – Work in Progress – Definitely something I need to focus more on, but I wouldn’t say it’s a “fail” this month either.

Make a point to do something special for my husband once a month – Fail – Seriously, this year of tracking this goal has made me realize how little we truly take time to focus on one another. We may be in the same house or watching the same TV show, but are we truly focusing on one another? I did spend some time praying for him and our relationship during my commutes to and from work, but we still didn’t focus much on each other, even though our 10 year anniversary was in July!!! (We did go out to dinner that night, but our budget didn’t allow us to do much else….we are planning a trip in October, though)

Keep Our House Tidy – Pass – Still a continual work in progress. The dishes never seem to be done!

Well, there you have it. Not too shabby and still chugging along.

What about you, how are your goals or resolutions doing? If you are hitting your goals, great! If not, don’t get discouraged and keep pushing towards those goals! The best way to stay accountable is to share you goals and progress, so feel free to comment below.

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Have You Ever Heard of a Traveler’s Notebook?

Recently, I was watching the Young Wife’s Guide YouTube channel and one of her videos caught my eye. It was about traveler’s notebooks and using them as a planner. She had heard about these notebooks from various friends of hers and had finally started using one. She raved over the fact that it was customizable. You could have a monthly planner, weekly planner, recipes, grocery lists, and even such random things as sermon notes and prayer journal (and more!!) all in one place, but organized separately. I loved this idea and subsequently went down a rabbit hole of traveler’s notebook YouTube videos (seriously, just search traveler’s notebook on youtube and you will find tons of videos or how to organize and decorate them).

If you are wondering how it all works, here is my explanation: The traveler’s notebook is actually multiple notebooks within the same binder. The binder comes with elastics down the spine and each notebook loops into one of those elastics to be held into place. (You can see an example in the YWG video I linked to above, or just search traveler’s notebook on Pinterest or Youtube) The reason they are called “traveler’s notebooks” is because they were originally created (by the Midori company) as a way to log your travels. For example, you could have a notebook for each country you visit or each year that you travel and fill it with pictures or thoughts from your travels.

But some people have taken the idea of a traveler’s notebook and used it to create their own planner. You can have a yearly, monthly, weekly and daily planner in there as well as various other journals or trackers. The possibilities are endless!

I have never been one to stick to using a planner, but lately, I have truly been needing somewhere besides my phone to write down appointments and various dates for our foster daughter’s appointments and court dates, as well as just general notes. When I heard about the concept of the traveler’s notebook, it peaked my interest.

So, I ordered this one from Amazon with a gift card that I had and hoped that I would stick to it!

When I got my notebook, I was excited to put it together. I found a free monthly planner printable on Pinterest to use as the first insert. The second insert I am using is a weekly planner, where I can breakdown more of our weekly plans and things I want to focus on at home (shopping, cleaning, etc). The third insert I have is important dates, notes, and developmental milestones of our foster daughter. And my last insert is currently my ‘random’ notebook. So far I have Christmas gift ideas in it, as well as financial goals and eventual home purchases we will need in the next year or so (our washing machine is on it’s last legs!! Also, we could use a few more hampers since we only have one!)

I think I may eventually add one more insert as a prayer journal, but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself. I also want to eventually set up a prayer closet, so I’m not sure whether to have the prayer journal always in the prayer closet or to carry it with me in the traveler’s notebook so that I can add prayer requests whenever they arise.

So, what do you think? Is the idea of a traveler’s notebook as a planner something you would try? Or is it just too much and you’d rather stick to a simple planner? Let me know your thoughts! Comment below!

 

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Goal Progress – July

I am proud of myself for sticking with my goals longer than half the year this time. I may not get these updates up close to the beginning of the month, but I’m still sticking with it and getting them posted. Plus, posting them helps me stay even more aware and re-focus on my goals. Here’s the update on my goals:

Financial Goals:

Start a Side Hustle – Fail. – I would still like to sell on Ebay, but I haven’t gotten around to that. Also, I pretty much fell off the wagon of selling It Works products (My mom, who got me into the business, also stopped selling recently so that didn’t help my motivation). I think if I was more passionate about the products, I would have stuck with it or tried harder, but I mainly got into it to help my mom while earning a little extra. Since Mom quit selling, I lost my motivation as well.

Earn $100 extra each month – Pass – I did earn $40 from It-Works but I believe that is my last payout because I’m no longer commission qualified. I also worked some overtime in June so I was able to barely exceed my goal of earning $100 extra this month.

Pay down vehicles so they aren’t upside downPass- We had some other bills and stuff, but were still able to pay $50 extra dollars towards one of our vehicle loans. I would like to put more towards our cars, but we are also working on paying down credit cards from our trip to Hawaii.

Grow our Net Worth by $10,000 (20%) – Pass – We got our travel reimbursement from our trip, so that helped our net worth get back to where it should be at this point. We haven’t hit this goal yet, but we still have the other half of the year and I think if all goes well we should be on track to hit this goal by the end of the year.

Personal Goals:

Read the Entire Bible – Pass – I did spend some time reading, but I’m in no way caught up to where I want to be.

Write at least two blogs post per month – Pass- I did my usual goal update, as well as a post about a unique way to earn extra income.

Read 13 books – Fail– I didn’t finish the book I was reading, but I am getting close. I’ll need to read more than a book a month to stay on track at this point, but I think I can still do it.

Grow Deeper in my relationship with God – Work in Progress – Definitely something I need to focus more on, but I wouldn’t say it’s a “fail” this month either.

Make a point to do something special for my husband once a month – Fail – Guys, this year of tracking this goal has made me realize how little we truly take time to focus on one another. We may be in the same house or watching the same TV show, but are we truly focusing on one another?

Keep Our House Tidy – Pass – We have been able to keep the house picked up, except for the dishes. I just can’t stay on top of them (plus I hate doing dishes). But even with my hatred of dishes, if there are any that aren’t done, it has usually been enough to fit in the sink, so that is progress!

Well, there you have it. Not too shabby and still chugging along.

What about you, how are your goals or resolutions doing? If you are hitting your goals, great! If not, don’t get discouraged and keep pushing towards those goals! The best way to stay accountable is to share you goals and progress, so feel free to comment below.

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Earning Extra With A Referral Bonus

We could all use a little extra money once in a while, right? Well today I’m going to talk about one small way that some people can bring in a little extra: a referral bonus.

A referral bonus is a bonus that you receive when you refer a friend to work at your job and they get hired and stick with it for a certain amount of time (usually six months or one year)

Of course, this sort of bonus isn’t something that everyone can earn. Perhaps your company doesn’t offer signing bonuses, or perhaps you are self-employed. But, if you work in the corporate world, there is a good chance that your company will pay you to refer people to work there as well.

If you aren’t sure whether or not your company does this, talk to your human resources representative and find out whether or not it is offered and what the stipulations are.

Obviously, this sort of extra income is not an immediate cash-flow, and is only a one-time bonus (per employee that you refer). And of course there are other factors, such as if your friend even gets hired, or if they stay with the company the amount of months needed to earn the bonus.

Also, you should try to refer people that would truly be a good fit for your company. It is sort of a win-win, your company can gain a good employee, and you get a bonus as well as the pleasure of working with a friend/helping a friend get a job.

 

Have you ever earned a referral bonus? What are some other unique ways that you have earned extra income? I’d love to hear from you, so be sure to comment below!

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Goal Progress – June

This year is just blasting by! I am still chugging away on my goals, how about you? Even if you fell off the wagon, this is a great time of the year to pick yourself back up and keep trying to aim for your goal. Even if you end up missing your goal, you will probably be much closer to it than you would have been had you not made the effort to aim for it. Here’s an update on my goals:

Financial Goals:

Start a Side Hustle – Pass-ish – I still would like to have sold more items on ebay or Facebook marketplace, but I haven’t set aside the time to list anything. I also didn’t make much effort at my network marketing business with It Works. The distributor that I signed under decided to leave the company, so I don’t know whether to stick with it or not, since I mostly signed just to help her earn a little more by having a distributor under her.

Earn $100 extra each month – Fail – I earned about $40 again from being an It Works distributor, but was unable to get much overtime last month. Since I didn’t sell anything or do any other side hustles, I didn’t earn extra last month. We didn’t even get much money from the state since we no longer have a foster child (we were paid up until he left, but used that money for expenses for him such as diapers, food, gas to get to daycare, etc). We didn’t receive our travel reimbursement until after we got an interest charge on our credit card, so that didn’t help us to have any extra money either.

Pay down vehicles so they aren’t upside downPass- Even though we didn’t make much extra money last month, we were still able to pay $50 extra dollars towards one of our vehicle loans.

Grow our Net Worth by $10,000 (20%) – Pass – After purchasing a different vehicle at the beginning of this year, our net worth is finally back to where it was before that purchase. Now we just have to get those vehicles paid down so that we won’t be upside down the next time we need a new vehicle. Our net worth had this boost even before we got reimbursed for our travel expenses, so it will look about $1500 better next month when we check it out.

Personal Goals:

Read the Entire Bible – Fail – I made an effort to read a little, but I am still behind on where I want to be with this goal.

Write at least two blogs post per month – Pass- I did my usual goal update, as well as a post about saving money on food.

Read 13 books – Fail– I read a bit more of “What’s so Amazing About Grace” but, to stay on track I needed to finish another book this month. I am planning to finish that book this month.

Grow Deeper in my relationship with God – Pass– I was a little mad at God in April, so I didn’t spend much time with Him. But I feel that I am learning to trust Him and rely on Him to comfort me, so I am working on getting back to where I want to be with this as well.

Make a point to do something special for my husband once a month – Fail – Still not very intentional in this area, and it sometimes shows when we argue rather than working through things. We need to be more intentional.

Keep Our House Tidy – Pass-ish – We have been keeping the house picked up, so the mess stays contained on the table and counters. I still would like my home to be fully clean all the time, but…..baby steps….

Well, there you have it. Not too shabby and still chugging along.

What about you, how are your goals or resolutions doing? If you are hitting your goals, great! If not, don’t get discouraged and keep pushing towards those goals! The best way to stay accountable is to share you goals and progress, so feel free to comment below.

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10 Ways to Save Money on Food

  1. Stop eating out
    It’s so convenient to eat out, but it is much cheaper to make meals at home than it is to eat out. The more people in your family, the pricier it gets to eat out. I’m guessing most people could save $20 minimum if they stopped eating out altogether. If you eat out quite often, why not just start by making a few meals at home?
  2. Meal plan around grocery ads
    I never remember to do this one, but I know people who swear by the ads. Some people never buy certain items unless they are on sale, and when they find a sale, they stock up. You can start out by noticing what items you buy often and try to stock up next time there is a sale. It can make a difference.
  3. Use coupons, Groupon, Living Social, etc.
    You don’t have to become a crazy couponer to save money with coupons. Granted, you may not walk out of the store with a cart full of items that only cost you one dollar, but using coupons and deal sites can help to make your grocery budget cheaper. My rule is to only use a coupon on items that we were going to buy or that we use often. For example, if I find a coupon for almond butter, I’m probably not going to use it because I don’t like nut butter and my husband only eats peanut butter. So we would never use it. But if I find coupons for milk, butter, or cheese, I’m more likely to use them because we use those items.
  4. Buy in bulk
    This one can be more costly up front, but if you price things out and realize how much you pay per ounce for some of your food, you may want to consider buying in bulk. Just make sure your family will eat it all before the expiration date, otherwise it is not saving you money.
  5. Make food from scratch (bread, cakes, even potato chips can be made from scratch with minimal cost)
    This is another one that I don’t do much, but the more processing that goes into a food item, the more it costs. You can buy a cake in the bakery section of most grocery stores, but you’ll probably spend over $15. Or you could buy a cake mix for $2 and a $2 container of frosting. Or you could go completely homemade and use a recipe for a cake, and your ingredients will probably cost even less than the $4 box cake! This applies to all sorts of foods, from cakes and desserts to taco seasoning and pasta sauce. Try to be aware of the groceries you are buying and think about how you could make some of them yourself. You could even go ‘extreme’ and raise chickens for eggs and meat, although that is a big time investment that you need to consider.
  6. Eat leftovers
    When eating out or eating in, the cost of food can be stretched by saving a portion of your food for the next day. This turns one meal that was let’s say $5-15 at a restaurant into 2 meals that were $2.50-$7 per meal. Plus this saves food waste if you were possible going to throw leftovers away a few days later. And if you saved money already by making your meal at home, the savings will be even greater if you can stretch your meal into leftovers. Make a point to eat your leftovers!
  7. Check your cupboards/freezer
    You may be surprised that you have enough food to get by for a few days. Even when I think I have “nothing to eat” I can usually find a few chicken breasts & a pizza in the freezer and a few boxes of rice or pasta in the cupboard. That means pizza for dinner, and chicken and rice for dinner tomorrow. I thought I had nothing, but I had 2 nights worth of meals! Get creative and make meals with items you already have. Quite often when I try to put off grocery shopping until the last minute, we will have egg sandwiches or grilled cheese because we have some bread and cheese and eggs but not much else!
  8. Eat your food before it expires!
    How often have you thrown food away? From produce, to meat to canned goods, make sure you are using these items before they expire and you will save yourself money. I know those produce drawers in the fridge are made to keep items fresher, but I swear, at my house, they are made to hide the food until a month later when I realize I bought produce and forgot to eat it! 😦
  9. Buy produce only when it is in season.
    It is much cheaper rather than buying it throughout the year when it costs more to bring it in from a location growing it out of season. It also tastes better when it is in season and fresher.
  10. Figure out if you have “budget-busters” in your grocery list.
    Are you eating filet mignon every night of the week? Search your grocery receipts to see if you have some expensive items that can be removed from your list or swapped out for cheaper items. This also helps if your cheaper swapped item is on sale. Next time you plan on making a meal that uses beef or chicken, look at the meat section of the store and find a cheaper cut of meat or one that is on sale for a cheaper price.
  11.  (Bonus tip) – Consider how much meat your family eats, perhaps you can make a meatless meal a few nights of the week. Or stretch one cut of meat through  multiple meals. Americans tend to eat a lot more protein than is actually recommended, so consider ways you can save money by eating a little less meat. (Grilled cheese, cheese quesadillas, macaroni & cheese, and a potato & veggie skillet meal are just a few meatless things we enjoy)
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Goal Progress – May

I can’t believe it is May already!! Before you know it 2017 will be over! How is everyone doing on their goals? I think this is the first time in a while that I have kept up on my goals this far into the year. I tried to use the blog to keep me in check last year, but I still stopped around March or April. Go me *clapping* *cheers* for sticking with it!! Hopefully it lasts all year. Here goes the update:

Financial Goals:

Start a Side Hustle – Pass-ish – I still didn’t post any more items on Ebay, but I did continue to work at my new network marketing business as an It Works distributor. My It Works paycheck for March came through April 14th at around $40, so that was nice. The only downside is that I spent more than that to join and on some products so far. But I am keeping track of whether this business venture is profitable overall, so hopefully after a while it will become profitable, otherwise I will probably not continue in this business. I know that you get out what you put in, so I need to make sure to spend some time promoting my business if I expect results. We will see how this goes 🙂

Earn $100 extra each month – Fail – I didn’t have much overtime last month due to using some PTO for an out of state trip. I maybe earned $20 extra from my job. Added to the $40 that I ‘earned’ from my It Works business and that is only $60 extra. Hopefully next month, I can get some overtime as well as put more effort into my business. I am also curious to see how much my April It Works income will be compared to March.

Pay down vehicles so they aren’t upside downPass-ish – We ended up only making the usual payments this month due to our trip out of state. So, technically we do owe less than we did before, but no extra was paid towards these loans. I am hoping that in May the budget will allow for some extra to be put towards our cars, so we will see.

Grow our Net Worth by $10,000 (20%) – Pass – We are still working on recovering from a dip in January due to the markets as well as the dip in our Net Worth after transferring the auto loan balance into another auto loan. But we are still chipping away. Our net worth only grew by $850 last month, but that is partially due to some travel costs that we will get partially reimbursed for. If we receive what I assume we will receive in reimbursement, then our net worth will have been around $2000 higher than last month, so I am hoping we get reimbursed soon. Especially because the charges we are getting reimbursed for are on credit cards and I don’t want to receive fees on them before we get them paid.

Personal Goals:

Read the Entire Bible – Fail – Last month went by so fast, mostly because I didn’t want it to. But again, I didn’t open my Bible at all, other than at Church. I definitely want to be more purposeful in this area, even if I don’t get the entire Bible read this year, I want to spend some time in the Word.

Write at least two blogs post per month – Fail – The only post I made last month was my goal update, and that was barely posted before the month was over. In my defense, we had a lot going on in our personal lives as well as a trip out of state, so I am okay with missing this goal last month. But I do hope to be back on track this month. [One post down once this is posted 😉 ]

Read 13 books – Pass – I finished reading The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis right before the month was over, so I am still on track. I am still working on finishing reading What’s So Amazing About Grace by Philip Yancey. I also started reading another book (I pre-ordered it even, so it is a brand new book!!) called Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves by Christy Wright. I heard about this book on Dave Ramsey’s radio show and though it would be good to read for my new venture with It Works as well as if I decide to start my own business of any kind down the road. One of my long-term goals is to be a stay-at-home mom, but I know I will need to bring it some income in order to do that so I want to learn all I can until that is a realistic possibility.

Grow Deeper in my relationship with God – Fail – Not exactly trackable, but I didn’t read my Bible and didn’t end up spending much time in prayer (other than some begging for personal wants, but that is a story for another time). I yelled at God a lot this month because something big in my life didn’t work out the way I wanted. I know that God has more in store for me, even if it isn’t until I reach Heaven, but I was still upset and didn’t spend much time in the Word. I am hoping to work through this and focus more on this relationship this month.

Make a point to do something special for my husband once a month – Fail – We spent some time on a sort of vacation out of state, so perhaps some of the downtime on that trip could be counted as spending time specifically with him, but I’m not sure. We really need to focus on each other a lot more than we do. We need to be more intentional.

Keep Our House Tidy – Pass-ish – For the beginning of the month, our house was definitely not as clean as I wanted it. But I cleaned a little before our trip out of state around the 20th and then finished cleaning when we got back. Our foster son moved in with some of his extended family, so we no longer have a toddler leaving his toys everywhere (although I love him to pieces even if his toys were everywhere, which was probably partially our fault for not having him put them away every day). Anyway, our house has stayed a little cleaner without his presence, but I would take a messy house with him in it any day!

Looks like April wasn’t the best month so far for hitting goals, but I am still pressing onward and hoping to do better going forward. There’s always next month, right?

What about you, how are your goals or resolutions doing? If you are hitting your goals, great! If not, don’t get discouraged and keep pushing towards those goals! The best way to stay accountable is to share you goals and progress, so feel free to comment below.

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Goal Progress – April

Well, I made it to April! Obviously, I am very late posting my April update, as it will be May in a few days, but here goes. All the stats used will be from the end of March/beginning of April so that my May update isn’t pointless.

Financial Goals:

Start a Side Hustle – Pass – After selling one item on Ebay, I made a subconscious plan to look around and list up to 5 items on Ebay each week. Well, that never happened! But…..I did start another Side Hustle. My mom has been using and selling It Works products for about a year. She has had good results from the products and has been able to make a decent side income from it. In March, she encouraged me to think about becoming a Distributor as well. I thought about it for a bit, and she encouraged me that I wouldn’t be alone and the whole team works to help each other as well as help themselves gain customers. So, on March 8th, I make the bold decision to become a distributor for It Works. Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing (here is my link if you’d like to shop around, but contact me to get a discount: https:\\beccado86.myitworks.com\shop )

Earn $100 extra each month – Pass – I received 3 paychecks in March as well as a bonus and we received our tax return during March. So although I may not have earned $100 during side hustles in March, I did receive over $100 in “extra money” outside of our normal bi-weekly paychecks.

Pay off at least 1 student loan this year  Pay down vehicles so they aren’t upside downPass – As I mentioned last month, I was considering changing this goal from student loans to vehicle loans. Our last vehicle lost value quicker than we could pay it off and we ended up putting part of the remaining loan into our next loan when we traded it in. Ideally, I would like to have no student loans or auto loans, but that isn’t something that will happen this year. But I want to at least make sure our vehicles are worth more than the loan values that we owe on them, so that we won’t have to do something like transferring balances again. It is still a lofty goal to hit this year ($15,000) but we are going to hustle hard to get as close as possible. After we got our tax return, I was able to knock that down by $1000, so we got a good head start on this goal.

Grow our Net Worth by $10,000 (20%) – Pass – We are still working on recovering from a dip in January due to the markets as well as the dip in our Net Worth after transferring the auto loan balance into another auto loan. But we are still chipping away. Our net worth grew by $2500 last month, so if only we hadn’t had those issues, we would be ahead of where we wanted to be this far into the year.

Personal Goals:

Read the Entire Bible – Fail – I am still choosing to give myself a little grace in this area, but I can’t remember if I picked up my bible once last month other than at church or Bible study. I definitely want to take time to spend with God, but it is definitely hard with a 2 year old in the house!

Write at least two blogs post per month – Pass!!! – I posted my 2017 goals last month as well as a post about a hypothetical windfall.

Read 13 books – Pass – I finished the C.S. Lewis biography on March 31st! So that makes 3 books read so far this year. I am also nearly done reading The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis and What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey so when I finish those, I will be ahead of schedule for April.

Grow Deeper in my relationship with God – Pass – Not exactly trackable, but obviously without much time spent in God’s word, I didn’t spend much time on my relationship. I did pray often, but mostly about prayer requests for family, friends and church members. Listening to K-LOV radio is some great worship time for me, but I need to dig a little deeper.

Make a point to do something special for my husband once a month – Fail – Again, these personal goals are a bit harder to track. My husband’s birthday was last month and we went out to dinner, but I feel like I could have done more. Maybe I am too hard on myself about this, especially since my husband’s work schedule is all over the place right now, but I know that I could do a little more to help our relationship thrive.

Keep Our House Tidy – Fail – This is always my downfall!! But with our busy schedules and a two year old in the house, it takes some effort to keep our house in order. I was not good about putting forth that effort, but that is why I made this a goal this year, so I would focus on it more. Hopefully I can focus more next month.

Gosh, what does that say about myself that all my financial goals passed last month, but my personal ones suffered? I definitely want to focus more on God and my family than I do on money. I am glad that overall, I did pretty well, but I do see some areas that I need to work on. Onward to April goals!

What about you, how are your goals or resolutions doing? If you are hitting your goals, great! If not, don’t get discouraged and keep pushing towards those goals! The best way to stay accountable is to share you goals and progress, so feel free to comment below.

Also, what type of posts do you find most encouraging/helpful? What kinds of posts would you like to read on this blog. In the past I have done recipe posts, budget posts, foster care/kids, Christianity, book review/recommended reading. I could also post about homemaking or my process in becoming a better homemaker. What type of posts are you most interested in reading? Please let me know so I can help out my readers the best I can. Thanks!

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