Marching Toward Those Resolutions
We’re into March and you may be wondering how we are doing sticking to those “resolutions” we set back at the beginning of January. To recap, it was my goal to increase the quality time spent with the kids, and while I’m at it, increase my patience. I also wanted to work on saving more money on less income and become a budget guru. And lastly, make more memories for free or cheap with our kids.
So, let’s see how I’m doing on the first part—more quality time with the kids and increasing my patience. Eh, some days are better than others. We’ve had a lot of snow days recently, so there has been more time with the kids, and some of it has been quality time, but I also feel like winter has drained my energy and patience. To combat this, we have decided to institute a no TV during the school week policy. It is too easy to get sucked into a show on TV and ignore everyone. I’m not just talking about myself here. The kids don’t even hear me when I talk to them if the TV is on!
Travis and I have also talked about finding a way to institute more one-on-one dates with the kids. This will tie into the making more memories for free or cheap, so we will touch on that in a bit. BUT, one-on-one time will go a long way in stretching my patience and increasing quality time.
On my Way
As for saving money and becoming a budgeting guru, I’m maybe 65% there. We have significantly increased our savings, though, I’m still not sure what we spent all our money on before. There definitely seems to be more of it now. Not to say we’re flush with cash, furthest thing from it, but we are able to put aside some money each month. As a teacher that only gets paid 10 months of the year, this is a huge deal. As for being a budgeting guru, I don’t see myself there quite yet. I’m still learning, and I don’t write it all down, but the fact that we’re saving has really pushed me to become a better budgeter.
The meal planning board has been a HUGE help in the budget department. 99% of the meal time struggle is trying to figure out what to make and the meal plan board has solved that problem for me. We are 100% less likely to call for take out now because we have an idea of what to make. Hmm…. maybe that is where our money went before?! We are also really careful with our entertainment expenses. We basically don’t go anywhere we have to pay for. Now, this will likely have to change some over the summer if I want to save any ounce of sanity, but we first look for free activities!
Now see how nicely I tied in the free and cheap entertainment to my next resolution? That’s because all of this is related. If you want to save money, you can’t blow all your extra cash on entertainment. We have been doing well by not spending money for entertainment, but I’m not convinced we’re actually making memories with the kids by staying in all the time. Moving forward, we will take to Facebook, as it is a treasure trove of free and cheap events. We will also check out our local community webpages for their event calendars.
As Spring nears, and hopefully the weather clears, we’ll take to the outdoors for more entertainment. One of the things we listed on our summer bucket list is a challenge to see how many different playgrounds we can visit this summer. You know what? Playgrounds are usually free! SCORE! You can also take a hike (no I don’t mean that as an insult, but literally, go into the woods and take a hike). Just make sure you pack enough water and snacks. Also check yourselves and your kids well for ticks when you are done. Lyme’s disease is no joke.
Family Time Options
Here are some free or cheap ideas to keep you and the kids occupied that we do regularly. And, we plan to keep these going ourselves.
- Start a garden. While there is some cost associated with the start-up, you can enjoy it all summer and hopefully reap some fruits and veggies from it
- Check out local festivals and fairs
- Walk to the farmers’ market
- Check out public splash pads in the summers as a way to cool off and enjoy some free entertainment
- Try out a new recipe together. Pinterest is full of ideas on cooking with kids!
What Lies Ahead
Overall, we are making slow but steady progress towards our Winey Parent resolutions. We still need your help to stay committed to them, but this is some kind of record for me! How are you doing with your resolutions? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know!
Plus, stay tuned to the Winey Parent and we’ll share a massive list of cheap or free activities for you and your family to do during spring and summer months.
We’ve all been there. Feeling good about how life is going and then, BAM, you see a picture of yourself that makes you think, “How did THAT happen?” I had that moment this past summer, after getting home from our trip to Colonial Williamsburg. This was our first family vacation, so Travis made sure to take plenty of pictures. In looking through them, however, I didn’t love the way I looked in the pictures.