It’s that time of the month again! Here are January’s 10 things, that is, 10 things that have been on my mind this month, some personal finance related and some not. We have some exciting things on the horizon.

(1) If you follow us on Instagram, you know that we started a different budgeting technique for our variable spending (spending on groceries, business expenses, etc). We LOVED it during its first month. We’ll be tweaking it a little in February but I feel like this has been super helpful in sticking to our budget! It puts us both on the same page and helps us to be mindful about our spending. I’ll write a full post about it, but basically the ideas is we write how much we want to spend for the week and the dates of the week at the top of the envelope. So take our grocery budget for example. This week I’d write 1/28-2/3 at the top and $100. Then every time I go to the store, I subtract what I spent. THEN I stick the receipt in the envelope so we have a record of it (and so I can use Ibotta later). Then we repeat the following week.

(2) We’re going to be listing our house for sale soon and I’m SO SAD about it. I feel like we became a real family in our house and have had so many growing experiences here. It’s doubled as a home office for Deeply in Debt and Contracts Counselor. We live just off a trail, close to a really fun park that we visit almost every day. We’ve skated, biked, ran, laughed, and cried on that trail! I passed the Oklahoma bar studying at our house. We’ve figured out big life problems in this house. I know I shouldn’t grow attached to material objects but I just love our house and it’s going to be hard to say goodbye. (Plus we were on this episode of HGTV’s House Hunters lol!)

(3) January used to be my least favorite month. I’m usually paying penance for all of the goodies I overate during the holidays. I’m usually fairly shrewd with my budget due to all the presents or other holiday activities. And it’s cold and dark outside. I’m happy to report that I felt almost none of that this year. We were careful with our budget so our holiday spending wasn’t crazy and we didn’t have to eat Ramen noodles all month. Yes, it’s cold and dark and I definitely overate Christmas goodies last month, but I’m learning to embrace different seasons of life. Plus, this is the month that M was born, so it just can’t be my least favorite month anymore!

(4) Speaking of holidays, Valentine’s Day literally ALWAYS sneaks up on me. It just seems like you have so much time between Christmas and Valentine’s Day and all of the sudden those 6-7 weeks just disappear, it’s wild. Speaking of, go to this post for some seriously cheap but awesome Valentine’s day gift ideas.

(5) Life does not always go as planned. I’m not a huge planner anyway, but there are certain aspects of my life that I imagined would be a lot different than they are. Specifically, I always envisioned having a huge family with lots of little crazy kidlets running around and a lot of happy chaos. That hasn’t happened for us. To be honest, this has been completely devastating to me. I don’t know what the future holds for our little fam bam, but I do know that I’m learning to let go of things that aren’t in my control and embracing the things that are.  And just loving life for what it is– beautiful, imperfect, and unexpected. There’s beauty in the unexpected.

(6) Danny once bought me some charcoal pencils and a sketch book, and it’s been really fun flipping through it and seeing how it mirrors the things I’ve been dealing with at different points in life. Also a reminder that I need to express through art the happy moments of life, and none just the sad things, even though those are easier for me to express through art. Don’t want future posterity to think I was just a negative Nancy after all!

(7) Today I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed with butterflies in my stomach. I have no idea why! Maybe because the sun is starting to peek out a little earlier than last month? Maybe it’s some exciting changes that I hope are coming up in our life? I don’t know but I wish I could bottle up that feeling and make it feel that way every time I wake up!

(8) We visited Danny’s family in Utah this month. M got to go to Disneyland with his great Auntie while we were there. We skied, sledded, visited friends and family, and most importantly got to hang with Danny’s grandma who broke her leg in a few places but is SO TOUGH. Our flights out were only $177 round trip on Delta, which I could not even believe. If you have flexibility in your schedule, January is one of the cheapest months you can travel, at least domestic in the U.S.! I had to work quite a bit while I was there. Still trying to navigate work life balance between the blog, my full time day job, and a few other side hustles. In this instance it worked out nicely since M was in Disney a couple of the days we were there so I didn’t feel like I was missing out on momming.(9) For Christmas, I bought Danny and M matching Vans and gosh I knew I would love seeing them in them all the time but M is literally obsessed to be matching with Danny everywhere he goes and insists on wearing them 24/7. My in laws felt bad for me since I wasn’t in the club and bought me my own pair of light pink ones! So now, on M’s insistence, we match as a family everywhere we go and I LOVE IT.

(10) Little man turned 4 this month and I can’t handle it. We had a really simple birthday– we took him to Urban Air (trampoline place with inside playground, ninja warrior style courses, etc) and it was EPIC. They have a “parent pass” that gets parents in for $5.99 and a kids pass for kids under 7 to get them in for $8.99. If we’d gone without M, it would have cost us $19.99 each! Then we had a really small gathering with a couple of his friends and had cake the next day. As much as I want to throw him big extravagant parties, they’re just not necessary! He had SO much fun. I really think parents get a little wrapped up in kids parties sometimes and tend to make the party about impressing friends etc instead of making our littles feel special. Pinterest parties are great and all, don’t get me wrong, but throwing our budget friendly bash was pretty great too. 🙂 [Related: Cheap Places for Kids Birthday Parties]

How was your January? I’d love to hear from you, drop a comment below!

P.S. Have you subscribed to our newsletter? I share all of the tips and tricks we’re using to pay off $650k of student loan debt, plus the behind the scenes of our budget. 

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