The two biggest things for me have been the birth of Harper and the fact that Christmas looked like it was going to be terrible as we were going to lose Dad. And now Christmas looks like it is going to be wonderful with the whole family together! I attribute this to the amount of prayer he had as I cannot see any other reason for this transformation.
This alone makes me cry to write.
This is a post of random photos I want to show you! My little birdie Christmas tree...
One of my big goals for this year was to turn my scary empty cellar into a store. And it is! Actually it is a shock how much you can do in a year. I think the key was I did SOMETHING every week. Usually it was something small. Sometimes I added six cans of something on special. One week we just added shelving that we found. But each week something.
I really achieved that goal.
Also I added in other areas around the house... I built up the first aid kits, the torches and candles, the car kits, bathroom and laundry supplies in those rooms.
Doing this I learned a lot. Glenda, Vicky and Teri came alongside me with lots of experience in pantries and preserving. It wasn't just knowledge and experience but encouragement!
Patsy at A Working Pantry and participating in her facebook group helped me and inspired me every week! Wendy at My Abundant Life motivated me constantly.
Mimi and Helen supported me as always.
There are too many people to thank especially those who have contributed comments, ideas, photos etc. Thank you so much!
During the year we covered so many subjects. Some that I loved the most where how to build our pantries for free or with very little money. But we covered a lot of subjects! In fact I need to revisit those too.
Now I need to begin to rotate and keep my goods up to date. That will be a new routine to introduce in the new year.
In revisiting the year we can take a look at how far we come, what we learned... and also what we want to do or need to change next year. A goal and a weekly plan make big things possible.
I notice both here and amongst the US girls many people are facing reduced circumstances next year and already know it. I think there are big challenges to meet. I hope that through learning new skills, friendship, support and creativity we can meet these challenges! Not only that but have a happy time doing it!
Mimi just has written a series Orchids on a Budget. Inspired by a wonderful book by a vogue editor during the Great Depression when so many people had the most drastically reduced circumstances she brings to life beautiful and simple things that are stylish and uplifting. She and Mimi are very alike! Anyway I feel this series is valuable and timely as people increasingly need to pare back their budget just to cover necessities.
So how can we do well and make progress next year? Well, one way is to revisit our successes and failures of this year. Already I know things I can improve and even drastically change. You know how things become habits? When you stop and wonder why you do this or that it is often habit.
I remember one year I thought about all the things I DIDN'T like and combined that with thinks I didn't like that also cost money. Although you would assume no one would do anything they didn't like that also was costing them you'd be amazed...
I dreaded a social get together of a group of ladies and it was a lunch date type of thing so it also cost a bit. I didn't enjoy it at all. I felt obliged as I was meant to enjoy it. I stopped going to this and I was much happier and saved a ridiculous amount each year. I could maintain the friendships I wanted without going to this.
I can think of a heap of things I ended up quitting that I didn't enjoy but did cost money! I only freed myself of these things as I had a review. A review is a great thing! (I could spend pages listing stupid, unenjoyable, expensive things I once did! It makes you wonder...)
Rosanne's Magnificent Christmas tree!
This is Vicky's story of some revisiting she did in her life... and also in part an answer to someone who asked a question in comments...
Revisit that is a good word for today.
Someone had asked because she is a little confused if we put the savings in an account or just keep track on paper so I wanted to revisit this and clarify a little better if possible.
To answer that question it is both, but if you are just starting out it may take a little time. Facing income loss can be daunting even if it is a small income. Again the first thing I decided was instead of spending a 40 hour work week paycheck if I could save it. Meaning could I be a better steward of our resources and not have to have that additional income. The little that I made didn't really get us that far ahead and we ended up in the credit trap. We had a lot of debt. We worked for that debt and would have to sacrifice to get out of it and I knew it would not be easy, but was up for the challenge! So this is where the revisiting begun,
I had to revisit what we did to put us in that debt?
I had to revisit all the bills and devise how I was going to manage it.
I had to revisit the budget and create a workable budget based on my husband's income.
I had to revisit our goals and determine if we really had it in us to achieve them?
I had to revisit with my husband on our spending habits and budget and get him on board with changes and how we would save.
I had to revisit all the useless items sitting around that I probably thought we had to have and the overspending at Christmas and birthdays.
And I had to pray for answers that I was doing the right things.
Budgeting can be the biggest homemaking tool we can use. I made mine as simple as possible, we really do have to be our own accountants
We have x amount coming in per month and x amount going out that is a given Example= mortgage, utilities, insurances We have to pay these regardless. I did not add any overtime into the budget just base pay to see what I had to work with because overtime is not a given, nor bonuses.
As far as the saving goes the old adage a penny saved is a penny earned that is true because it is work to save. Annabel has hit the nail on the head and I'm sure everyone will agree that although those savings may not be actual cash in the bank we are living very well on the cash income we do have.
By keeping track of what you have saved by all of the different things mentioned in the last post it is a good way to see how much of that cash income you are not spending and by not spending it all each month at some point there will be a surplus even if it is small.
Since everyone's incomes and debts are different I can only say that for me it was a lifestyle change and a frugal mindset. A few of the ways that I shifted money towards debt is: Example: My husband wanted a new TV for the bedroom. I budgeted $150 for a new TV and he would have to find something for that price. A week before he was going to get a TV (researching prices and sales) someone set a nice TV with remote out with a free sign on it since it's not a flat screen. I moved that $150 to debt payment since he no longer needed that item. If the electric bill was lower than I budgeted I put the difference for that month in the savings account.
Some months the money saving efforts don't necessarily equal a surplus of cash in the bank, but the most satisfying part is it is not taking cash out of the bank account and that money is still there for bills. Example: Since it's hunting season here we'll use this(just an example not a given if you don't eat it) ok , so I am almost out of burger and a friend got an extra deer and gave us 20# of deer burger and a few roasts, I now how the burger and a few roasts and spent none of my bank dollars to purchase it. Blessings come in many forms big or small we just have to see them for what they are Blessings. Gratitude not Attitude I say!
If you are reading Annabel's blog you will see all of the wonderful ways through herself and each and every lady that comments there are to make do, cut back, shop wiser, DIY, barter or negotiate to start getting ahead.
I hope this helps even just a little or even makes sense!
Leslie missed Mondays Show and Tell post as she needed her husbands help with this. But I want to include it anyway!
She and her husband made cutting boards and handmade dish towels. She added Bay Leaves, Cinnamon sticks, sea salt, Pistachios and then also was making fudge and snack mixes.
What great gifts! Cutting boards are a fantastic thing to make especially if you have timber on hand.
(Thank you Leslie!)
This is the last Pantries and Preparedness Post for the year. Have a review of how your year was and revisit what are your goals, aims, needs and what would you like to try to achieve next year? I am thinking the same and think a new year is really exciting! Reviewing and planning can be an amazing exercise. It can result in great changes and progress.
I know some of the new things I have planned for the new year. The Christmas Challenge and The Vicky Challenge for starters. In the next couple of weeks we will lay down the ground work so we can hit the ground running in the first week of January! Both will be fun and huge money savers.
Just now my goals are to enjoy and truly celebrate Christmas and have some spare cash to add to my freezer and pantry in the January sales. This gets me ahead for the year!
With love and Christmas Blessings to everyone.xxx