Turning financial dreams into reality

Do you have financial goals for this new year?  What about next year? Here are some of the goals John and I have:

  • Pay off our son’s braces
  • Save for our 2012 family vacation.
  • Save cash for another vehicle. We have a minivan and a full size van, both of which have more than 150,000 miles on them. At some point we’d like trade one of our vans for a smaller, more gas-efficient car, but we aren’t going to take on car payments.  No way, no how.  So that means saving.
  • We’d lovelovelove to add a larger dining room onto our house at some point, to fit our growing family when we gather together on the weekends.  We don’t want to add to our mortgage to do it.  So– yup– there’s more money to save, probably at least $20,000.
  • We’re on track to have our home paid off in 7 years, but we’d LOVE to shave a couple years off that. All other goals are going to be more doable without a house payment.  So we’ve been playing around with mortgage calculators to see how we could make that a reality.  And I’m once again evaluating our grocery budget– looking critically at what we spend and thinking about ways to shave a bit off here and there, so that we can funnel a bit more cash toward our mortgage.

It’s great to have goals.  Good goals are at the core of money success.  If you’re aiming to get someplace important to you, you’ll be much more likely to have the resolve to make those small daily decision to get you there.  You know, to cook dinner instead of ordering takeout, to check the thrift store instead of going to Target for that new shirt, to put off grocery shopping a couple days and instead eat out of your pantry, or to buy a $10 microwave on Craigslist instead of forking over $200 for a new one.  You might even decide you can live without a broken gadget rather than buying a new one.

Are you in need of ongoing financial inspiration?  One thing I’ve been doing lately is to listen to Dave Ramsey radio.  I’ve heard people rave about him for years, but just started listening to his radio program recently.  The show offers information and inspiration, whether you’re a 30-something struggling to get out of debt, a newlywed wanting to start life out on a strong financial foundation, or a 50-something scrambling to get retirement money in place.

A book that’s free on amazon today is  Saving for Retirement without Living Like a Pauper or Winning the Lottery.  I read it a few months ago and found it to have good information.

Another awesome resource for money saving inspiration is the blog Money Saving Mom written by Crystal Paine.  She’s always got helpful inspiration on tap.  A couple years ago she wrote a review of my book.  She has a great series of We Paid Cash posts. And today she shared info about a coupon from Gardens Alive  that might be useful as you plan this year’s veggie garden.

And a news bulletin here– I’m so excited about this!  I’m currently hard at work writing an e-book designed to give anyone a jump-start into saving money on groceries. This is an easy-peasy beginner’s intro to Family Feasts for $75 a Week, with lots of additional information: menus, recipes, grocery lists, and step-by-step kitchen instructions.  Instructions will simply, clearly guide anyone on a one-week kitchen adventure to feed a family of 4-6 for $75 or less.  If you’re currently living on more than that, you may think that goal is impossible.  Nope.   I’ll show you how.  You won’t have to spend all day in the kitchen either.  And once you’ve successfully done it for a week, you’ll have the skills in your back pocket to call upon at any time.  Knowledge is power, folks– AND more money in your bank account.  Stay tuned!


  1. Have you read: http://www.amazon.com/Millionaire-Next-Door-Surprising-Americas/dp/1589795474/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325537564&sr=1-1

    That gives some good, encouraging perspective, too.

    Right now I’m reading http://www.amazon.com/F-Wall-Street-ebook/dp/B0047T73QO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325537665&sr=1-1 (not the best title, but a book my dad recommended)

    I also recently joined http://www.aaii.com/ and have gone to one local meeting (with my dad).

  2. Mary,
    I am excited to hear of your upcoming book on grocery budgeting. I have your other books and enjoyed them immensely. I only wish I had your Sane Woman book when my children were little.

    As two of our three adult children are still at home, and with my father living across the street, we are still spending a lot of money on groceries. I cook our evening meal for 6 adult portions (our 20 yr old son still has the appetite & metabolism of his mid-teen years) and plan for intentional leftovers of 2 dinner portions to be taken for lunch by my hubby and son who work physically demanding 12 hour shifts, 6 days a week. I can use all the hints and recipes you can offer!

  3. Yay! I can’t wait for your new book! How exciting!

  4. Really looking forward to your new book. I have learned so much from you!! And, your blog continues to inspire me. How do you find out about the free amazon books? Do you check it every day or get a notice??
    Thanks for all your help

  5. So excited for you, Mary!


  6. Katherine says:

    I am so excited for your ebook, I have both of your other books and use them all the time! I also love the incentive to keep plugging away at our financial goals and dreams. 2012 is going to be so awesome, I cannot wait to see what happens. Thanks for all you do to help us moms and best wishes to you and your sweet family.

  7. Oh my gosh, I am so excited about this book. We currently spend 150 a week on groceries to feed a family of 5, and I would love to cut my bill in half and place the rest of it in savings…we too have big plans and dreams for the New Year as well…

  8. Can’t wait for the new book. I am fighting with my grocery budget now. Our family has taken on The 11 Month Project this year (the11monthproject.blogspot.com) to closely look at every single purchase we make and not to purchase a single non-consumable item. We are going to live with the abundance we have been blessed with and do with out that new baking dish I just HAVE TO HAVE or the new toy that will make our hearts happy for a moment and then be tossed on the pile of toys awaiting the next new thing.

  9. By making a huge pot of chicken or turkey dumpling soup (with just the broth and dumplings) and putting in containers in the refrigerator, I have found the perfect comfort food for evening snack for the girls before bed—at a super cheap price. We have had a bunch in the refrigerator since the start of winter. They love it.
    Long range financial goals would have to include paying more each month on my student loans and saving a bit for the next big vacation. This winter it is a trip to New York for ten days! Last year it was a trip to Seattle for three weeks. Important for kids to experience different cultures, foods, travel, and people.

  10. I am so excited about this post! Paul and I said “good-bye” to our social worker when she completed our last post-placement visit a couple of weeks ago. We have been involved in adopting children for the last 6.5 yrs and we FINALLY feel complete and feel we can start hunkering down on our financial goals. We actually did Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University once before, but we were in the middle of an adoption so we didn’t make much progress on our actual goals. We are signed up to do it again (once you’ve paid for the class, you get a lifetime membership and can attend for free as many times as you want). We are so excited.

    I was also excited because I had forfeited gifts for my anniversary, Mother’s Day, and my birthday earlier this year in so I could get a Kindle Fire for Christmas. I just downloaded that free book you suggested. I love all the FREE books I can read now without having to wait for them to become available at the library or purchasing them, which I did sometimes if I was super impatient or if it was a book I knew I would read more than once.

    Anyway, I think your goals are fantastic and look forward to hearing more tips in the future!!

  11. I was very interested to see you mention saving for retirement as one of the goals Dave Ramsay helps with. I love your blog and money saving tips, and to be honest, whenever I read about families with oodles of children I always wonder how they manage to fit in retirement planning with such an extended helping of the supporting-kids years. Although most of the families (2 kids) I know started saving early for retirement, they were really able ramp it up after college expenses were over to meet their goals.

  12. I’ve been interested in your books, I read the samples online but have not purchased them yet. I was wondering, is the 75 dollars a week for just dinner meals or does it really cover all of the food for the family. We have 4 children, 2 are teens or pre-teens. I am excited about trying out your new e book.

    • Hi Lorrie,
      $75 a week ($300/mo) is for all the meals for a family of 4-5. I am currently feeding 9 people (7 of whom are adults or teens) on about $750 a month and that includes shampoo, toiletries and pet food (1 dog, 4 cats).

      • Alisha Martin says:

        Wow that’s amazing!

        I honestly have an issue with ‘over buying’ when it comes to groceries because I have a deep rooted fear that we wil be without. My husband gawks at the amount of food I come home with (and it’s only us 2, no kids!). I really need help in this area…

        I’d love to get our grocery cost down to $75 or even cheaper being just us two. Thank you!

  13. Mary, you and your readers may be interested in the blog christianpf.com. Bob has started a new 4 week series on personal finance that he plans to turn into a paid course at some point. He has loads of archives too that will help readers with their personal finances. Congrats on your new ebook!

  14. My financial goal for 2012 is to have $20,000 in the adoption fund by December 31 (we currently have around $12,000).