17. Juni 2018

Low Spend June Week One Review

Today, I am finally able to write about the first week of our Low Spend June Challenge. I know it's already the end of week two, but this month has been kind of crazy so far. I will try to do a review of the second week tomorrow, so that I am back on track.

title picture with glasses of home-made chilli

The task for day one was to take inventory of your freezer and pantry. If you're interested, you can see my inventory list here. In addition to that, there was also a "Use It Up Meal Challenge" on day one. These happen on every Friday of the month and each of them has a specific "theme". The first one was "meat", but since we don't eat a lot of meat we didn't have any in stock, so I decided to use up something else.

We had had some rhubarb in the freezer for a few weeks which I wanted to use finally. So I just made some jam: quick and easy to make and always welcome at the breakfast table.

rhubarb jam

For day two the tasks were to mark special events on your calender and to ask everyone in the household what they would like to eat during the month. This was to prepare for day three when you were asked to meal plan for the month.

I cannot make monthly meal plans, because we get fresh vegetables and fruit delivered to our home every week and to make sure that we use up all the fresh produce before it goes bad, I have to meal plan weekly. However, I did create the meal plan for the first week and also jotted down a few ideas for frugal meals we could have throughout the month.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do the task for day four "Cook something from scratch that you normally buy", but this is also a recurring task for every Monday of the month, so I am hoping to do better for the rest of June.

Day five was Double Batch Cooking Day, which again is the recurring theme for Tuesdays of the month. I decided to make a huge pot of Chilli sin Carne which we had for dinner twice. From the leftovers I was able to fill three jars for storage and I also had to more servings for lunch.

chilli sin carne in glass jars

Wednesdays during the challenge are "Plan your Shopping" days with different focuses. I couldn't really do this weeks "Coupon Focus" because we don't have a lot of coupons here in Germany, but I looked for sales on the flyers of our local supermarket.

The next day was shopping day with the goal for week one being to only spend 80% of your usual grocery budget.

Our normal grocery budget is 50 Euro for the week for my fiancée and me. This does not include the subscription for fresh produce I mentioned earlier. We get this (almost) every week and it is about 15 Euro per delivery. So actually our usual budget for groceries would be around 65 Euro per week, which might seem a lot for only two people. However, we buy mostly organic food which is of course more expensive and we spend very little in other areas (such as clothinig, entertainment etc.). Since I didn't want to change the subscription for produce, I used the 50 Euro we usually spend in cash as my starting number. 80% of that would be 40 Euro and I managed to only spend 40.92 Euro for the week, so I am pretty happy with that.

Day eight was the second "Use It Up Meal Challenge" with the theme being side dish. We had had boiled potatoes as a side the day before, that I fried in the skillet to make fried potatoes.

potatoes frying in skillet

After frying them for some time I added tomato paste for flavour and then sprinkled some Gouda cheese on top. Then I just put the skillet in the oven for about 15 minutes for an easy, delicious dinner.

The task for day nine was to plant something. I haven't gotten around to do that as of today, but I want to grow a few herbs on our balcony during the summer months.

The last task for week one was to "Makeover a Leftover" which was really fun. I used one of the jars of chilli I had made a few days earlier to make "Chilli-Lasagne". This tasted better than I had thought and it was also a great way to use up the rest of the shredded Gouda.

dish with lasagne

So this is the wrap up of week one of the Low Spend June Challenge. I think so far it is going pretty well.

Please leave me a comment below if you are also doing the challenge and share some of your tips and ideas :)

For the resources for this challenge visit frugalfamilyfood.com from Tangi and Amanda who created the challenge.

4. Juni 2018

Joining the Low Spend Month Challenge from FrugalFamilyFood

This year my fiancée and I have set a few financial goals for ourselves and we were actually doing pretty well with those until...
we had to make an unexpected payment to our landlords last month. (-__-)
Because of that payment we couldn't save as much as we wanted to for our emergency fund and nothing at all for travel or Christmas. So this month we are on a tight(er) budget to get back on track with our savings.

Luckily, I stumbled upon the "Low Spend Month" challenge from the Frugal Family Food website. The perfect challenge to keep me motivated while trying to stay on a grocery budget that is a lot smaller than our usual one.

The challenge started June 1st, but I found it just yesterday, so I am a little behind. I joined in anyway because I love a fun challenge. And if I can lower our spendings for the month a bit - awesome!

The goal of the challenge is to spend 35% less than you normally do on groceries and I am exited to see how much we can save.

But first things first, I copied their tasks for each day of the month into my budget notebook:

You can find their calender for the month to download or print on their resources page. I just prefer writing things down. #penandpapergirl

The first task was to take inventory of your pantry and freezer to see what you already have and what needs to be used up. You can see my list below. I know it's not pretty, but I also think it doesn't have to be ;)

Inventory List

We have a really, really small freezer so that's why you don't see a lot in that section. I also wrote down some things from the fridge like condiments or yeast, but not the stuff that gets eaten everyday.

For the things in the pantry, I put a small star next to the things I definitely want to use up throughout the month.

That is all I have done so far, but I am committed to catching up within the next few days.

I will be writing about our progress every other day or at least once a week.

Please leave me a comment if you are also joining the challenge. I would love to hear about your experiences and ideas!

Have a wonderful Monday,

29. Januar 2018

Meine Ziele für 2018 / My goals for 2018

[English below in grey and right-aligned]

Ich weiß ich bin etwas spät dran mit dieser Art von Post; der erste Monat des Jahres ist schließlich schon fast vorbei. Aber was soll's? Besser spät, als nie. Ich  will meine Ziele für dieses Jahr (oder zumindest einige davon) hier veröffentlichen um mich selbst anzuspornen, sie auch zu erreichen. Mein Plan ist, alle drei Monate ein Update zu posten, wie weit ich in den einzelnen Bereichen gekommen bin.

I know I am a little late with this kind of post, the first month of the year being almost over. But I think that's okay. Better late than never, right? I want to share my goals for the year (or at least most of them) here on the blog to hold myself accountable to actually reach them. My plan is to post an update every quarter on how far I have come in each area or category.

Bevor ich über meine Ziele für ein neues Jahr nachdenke, schaue ich mir das vergangene Jahr noch einmal an und ziehe Bilanz. Das mache ich am liebsten in der entspannten Woche zwischen Weihnachten und Neujahr.
Es gibt sicher viele gute Ansätze wie man das machen kann, aber ich nutze am liebsten die Ideen aus der "New Year for a New You" Serie von Lisa Jacobs, die sie jedes Jahr im Dezember auf ihrem Blog Marketing Creativity teilt. Sie richtet sich eigentlich an (zukünftige) Selbstständige, die ihr Unternehmen auf- oder ausbauen wollen, aber ihre Fragen sind wirklich gut und sie lassen sich auf alle Bereiche des Lebens anwenden.
Als ich auf das letzte Jahr zurückgeschaut habe, war ich irgendwie ziemlich enttäuscht von mir selbst. Es gab zwar ein paar echt tolle Höhepunkte in 2017 für mich, aber ich hatte das Gefühl, dass ich seit Januar nicht wirklich weiter gekommen war in meinem Leben. Nicht viel hatte sich verändert, mit der Ausnahme, dass ich jetzt verlobt bin!! :)

Ich habe also das Wort "growth" als mein Thema für 2018 gewählt, sozusagen mein Wort des Jahres. "Wachstum" im Deutschen trifft es nicht ganz, vielleicht eher "Entwicklung"? Jedenfalls möchte ich dieses Jahr viele neue Dinge lernen und ausprobieren und außerdem neue Leute kennenlernen und mich allgemein mehr in unbekannte Gewässer wagen.

I will try to give you an insight on how I come up with and categorize my goals:
Before I even think about my plans for the new year, I really take time to review the previous one - usually between Christmas and the new year.
I'm sure there are many great resources online to help you with this, but I just love the "New Year for a New You" series by Lisa Jacobs which she shares on her blog Marketing Creativity every year in December. It is actually aimed at creative business owners, but she asks really good questions that apply to all areas of life.
Reviewing 2017 I was kind of disappointed in myself. Although a few great things happened last year, I felt like not much in my life had changed since January. With the one exception that I am engaged now!! Yay! :)

 So, I decided "growth" would be a good theme for 2018. You could call it my word of the year. I want to learn and try many new things this year as well as meet new people and get out of my comfort zone in general.

Mit meinem Thema "growth" im Hinterkopf habe ich also versucht meine Ziele in verschiedenen Lebensbereichen zu formulieren. In "New Year for a New You" schlägt Lisa Jacobs die fünf Kategorien physical, mental, spiritual, financial und relational vor (also körperlich, mental, spirituell, finanziell und beziehungstechnisch). Da ich den Unterschied zwischen mental und spiritual im Englischen nie richtig verstehe (ich glaube "spiritual" ist etwas anders gemeint als "spirituell" im Deutschen), habe ich aus diesen beiden einfach eine Kategorie für persönliches gemacht.
Dann habe ich diese Seiten in meinem Bullet Journal genutzt, um meine Ziele für 2018 festzuhalten.

With my "growth" theme in mind I tried to come up with goals in different areas of my life. In her "New Year for a New You" series Lisa Jacobs suggests the five categories physical, spiritual, mental, relational and financial. Since I never really understand the difference between mental and spiritual in the English language, I just combined these two into a "personal" category.
I then made this spread to keep track of my goals in my Bullet Journal.

Ich habe jeder von meinen Kategorien etwa eine halbe Seite gegeben um die Dinge, die ich dieses Jahr erreichen will aufzuschreiben. 

PHYSICAL (körperlich):

Diese Kategorie sieht ziemlich mager aus, was daran liegt, dass ich zur Zeit in wirklich schlechter Form bin, weil ich echt lange keinen Sport mehr gemacht habe. Ich will mich nicht selbst total unter Druck setzen, nur um dann völlig demotiviert ganz aufzugeben. Also nur die zwei Ziele vier verschiedene Sportkurse über's Jahr zu belegen und dreimal die Woche Yoga, Pilates oder etwas ähnliches zu machen. Wenn ich mit denen vorankomme, kann ich immernoch neue Ziele hinzufügen, wie zum Beispiel einamal pro Woche schwimmen zu gehen.

PERSONAL (persönlich):

Auch in dieser Kategorie habe ich noch Platz um über's Jahr neue Ziele hinzuzufügen. Bis jetzt habe ich mir vorgenommen
- mindestens ein Buch pro Monat zu lesen,
- eine Woche lang nicht das Internet zu nutzen,
- 50 Blog-Posts zu schreiben und
- sechs Online-Kurse oder Challenges mitzumachen um neue Sachen auszuprobieren.

RELATIONAL (Beziehungen):

Hier ist mein Hauptziel neue Freundschaften zu finden. Das ist natürlich schwer zu planen und ich kann nicht einfach sagen "ich will zwei oder sieben oder ... neue FreundInnen". So funktioniert das nicht. Also ist mein Ziel eher zu versuchen aktiv auf andere Leute zuzugehen.
Dann möchte ich noch mindestens ein "richtiges" Date pro Monat mit meinem Verlobten und außerdem anfangen jede Woche eine Art Meeting mit ihm zu machen, bei dem wir die nächste Woche besprechen und planen können.

FINANCIAL (finanziell):

Diese Ziele sind definitiv die am einfachsten zu messenden. Hier liegt mein (oder eher unser) Fokus dieses Jahr in drei Bereichen. Wir wollen
- 1000 Euro als kleine Rücklage ansparen,
- 200 Euro für Weihnachten sparen
- und Geld für verschiedene kleine Reisen sparen.
Falls wir gut voran kommen, wird eventuell noch eine weitere Reise zur Liste hinzukommen! :)

As you may have guessed "Ziele" means goals in German. So I put that at the top of the pages and then gave every category about half a page to write down the different things I want to achieve this year.


I have quite a bit of room left in the physical category as you can see. This is because I am in really bad shape right now because I didn't exercise at all for a long time. I don't want to put to much pressure on myself which would probably cause me to give up completely very soon. So I just have two goals in here, that are to attend four different sports courses throughout the year and to do Yoga or Pilates or something similar three times a week. When I make progress on these two, I can add new goals, like maybe go swimming once a week.


The same goes for the personal category, where I also may add a few more goals during the year. So far my goals here are
to read at least one book a month (for fun, not for university),
to write 50 blog posts,
to go one whole week without Internet,
and to do six online courses or challenges to learn new things.


My number one goal in this category is to make new friends. That's going to be a tough one for me and it's also very hard to plan and measure. I can't just say "make two new friends" or "make seven new friends" or whatever. That's just not how life works. So my goal is actually to try more actively to get to know new people with similar interests to mine.
I also want to have at least one "real" date with my fiancée every month. And lastly, I want to start having weekly meetings with him where we discuss the upcoming week and can make plans together.


This is by far the category that's easiest to measure. I (or rather we) have three different focuses this year. We want to save up
a 1000 Euro emergency fund
200 Euro for Christmas
and some money for various trips.
If we are doing well with these goals there may be added another trip to the list!

Ich werde diese Seiten in meinem BuJo ausmalen wenn ich ein Ziel erreiche oder Fortschritte mache. Das ist immer das Beste beim Planen! :)

Welche Ziele habt ihr dieses Jahr?

Viel Spaß beim Planen,

As I (hopefully) achieve my goals, I will colour in this spread in my Bujo. That's kind of my favourite part about planning - so fun and satisfying! :)

What are your goals for the year?

Happy planning,