2011 Goals Update

I thought I’d take a few moments and share how we’re coming along on some of our goals for 2011. It’s important to look at the goals every few months for a couple of reasons:

  • To be encouraged if there’s anything you can check off the list
  • To be reminded about what you put on the list in the first place (yes, some of us- *ahem*-can totally forget what we wrote down…)
  • To be motivated to continue working on your goals

Of course I’d be the first one to admit that sometimes I don’t look at the goals for 6-8 months (and I didn’t even make formal goals for many years…), but there’s something kinda wonderful that happened last week that caused me to review the list:

  • We paid off our “Garage Debt” and are debt-free except for our mortgage!

Those of you who’ve been with me awhile may remember that although we spent many years without carrying debt (besides a mortgage), we took out a low-interest equity loan to build our much-needed garage. While we had prayed about it and felt it was the right decision (which I’m still happy with!), we did attend a Dave Ramesy Financial Peace University shortly after and became determined to pay it off early with the “snowball” method he advocates.

We thought it would be another year before we’d be able to totally pay it off, but two things happened last week: 1) we found we didn’t owe as much in taxes as we had thought and 2) we decided to put all of it plus a bit more from our budget towards the debt in order to pay it off. We will be tightening the budget a bit over the next few months, but not too much (*smile*) and it’s SO worth it.

Since we are able to check this off the list (which has taken three years!), I decided to review the other goals we made back in January as well:


  1. We’ve started on the kitchen update by installing an overhead microwave.
  2. We are making weekly progress on our back deck remodel– we’ve torn it off and have been reconfiguring the area with a smaller deck/porch, gravel patio, and gazebo. In fact, make sure to visit tomorrow to see the updated pictures- you’re not gonna believe the difference already! (Hint: subscribing to An Oregon Cottage is the easiest way to always get the updates!)
  3. We’re stalled on the living room carpet, even though we’ve got the money sitting in it’s category, ready to be used. It’s really a thorn in our sides- we HATE it, but haven’t been able to find a prefinished flooring that we like and can afford. So we wait.


  1. I’ve been able to spruce up the blog design, which is nice and clean looking (I think!), and I hope is easier to find things. I’d still like to add some streamlined categories to make it even easier and work on the indexes I wrote about in the goals. And did you notice the picture of me I added? I have to say that I really don’t like looking at me every time I log in, but when a garden writer from the Oregonian referred to me as “he” in a link on growing potatoes, I felt it was needed. Drats. One of the pitfalls of having a name that both men and women have, I guess.
  2. I was really excited to be able to have a week of giveaways for my 2-year blog anniversary. I had a blast with that, and I hope you did, too!
  3. Hmmm…the ebook has a folder on my desktop- does that count as progress?


  1. Yeah- NO DEBT! Now to work on the next “baby step,” the 6-month living expense
  2. However, we will be placing a good amount into a new-to-us car fund, as our Jeep is in it’s last years.
  3. Oh, yeah- a vacation. See? I forgot I put that on the list…I guess I better start planning that, as we do have a bit saved for it!
  4. I’m finding it harder to stay within our food budget as the prices rise because I don’t really use many coupons anymore that may or may/not offset the rising prices.

And here’s what I wanted to ask you: how’s it going on your food budgets? Are you finding it hard to keep to your budget with prices going up? What strategies are you using? I’m having to constantly think about what I’m making or buying and using up what we have, even more than before.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you’re saving (or not!) in the food area- and with rising gas prices, what changes, if any, you are making in your goals. Leave a comment or visit An Oregon Cottage on Facebook to share your strategies!






  1. Linda G says

    Food budget!!! Yes, food is getting more expensive, and even more so in California! I miss the days in Oregon where we lived near farms and had a large yard or acreage for a big garden. We knew farmers who would let us glean after the main harvest, or sell us seconds. Now we live in a small city lot and have to squeeze food plants in wherever we can. We even started two bee hives on our roof this year! But I think the biggest savings I can make is to be careful to use up the food I have stored and not let things go to waste. It is amazing how much can be saved by planning and taking care of the garden, freezer, and food stores, and not letting things slide because of being “too busy”. Also making food from scratch saves a lot too. I was doing a good job with that until the last two weeks, when a string of family emergencies knocked me off track. I think that I need to plan some quick meals to freeze ahead for times like this.

  2. says

    Wow, thanks for the reminder to check on my 2011 goals!! Yep, I have seen my receipt total climb greatly! Great deals are getting less and less common and produce has gone crazy high! Gas prices made me think twice about 4-H activities I had volunteered for but in the end I’m sticking with it all for this year. Most of them are one-time events but the once a week stuff is kind of tough. I don’t want to do the math and find out what it’s costing me!

  3. says

    I budget $500 a month in food for our family and that allows us plenty of groceries, as well as one or maybe two dinners out. However, our gasoline budget is the tight one so I’m trying to stay home at least two days a week to cut down on gas used. I’m also finding our electric bill is higher than it usually is. I need to check with the electric company about our usage, but I don’t think we’ve been using more kwh than we typically do this time of year.

  4. Michelle says

    Our grocery budget was already climbing due to my little one’s (and now my) gluten-free diet. I make almost everything from scratch, follow a monthly meal plan, eat seasonally, and now I’m trying to save gas by making fewer trips to the store. I think I need to be more conscious of the cost of individual ingredients when planning meals. This is our first year with a food garden (not counting growing our own herbs, which I’ve done for years), and I’m planning to expand on that as the year goes on.

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