Category: goals

How To Plan Your Monthly Activities? + Printable

 etHow to plan your monthly activitiesI used to share my monthly goals on the blog. I stopped sharing here because I’m not sure how useful it is to see My goals (do let me know if you find it useful. I don’t mind sharing with you guys). I still plan my upcoming month and important events in that month.

Planning doesn’t have to be related to money, time management etc. It can be as simple as cleaning the bathroom sink. But here, we are going to focus on major categories to plan your month. Writing in a paper on putting it somewhere visible shows us the list of things we need to do that specific period. The word “goals” might sound too technical. The point is to plan your month ahead of time to avoid any surprises in the middle of the month. Who want to be in a situation when you don’t have any good pajamas at home for your kid’s pajama day at school the next day?

The reason I started planning my month was, on multiple occasions, I was either missing an event or was exhausted after planning something at the last minute. Maybe I am one of those people who have less energy overall. But I perform and thrive well when planned. You don’t need to spend 2 hours planning your month. Sometimes 10 minutes is enough to plan your month. Download the printable below and start filling your dates/events in each category. Make sure you fill it up and stick it in your fridge.

List Of Categories To Plan your Month:

All of us wear different hats in our lives. Mom, dad, wife, daughter, son etc. Whether its an event that we attend or our kids attend, it should be on OUR schedule. Because we are the ones who need to plan and prepare for the event. Below are list of categories that can be planned for your upcoming month:

Kids School Activities:

It’s one of the active categories each month. Every month, something or the other is going on for kids either in their school or daycare. For us, Jeev will start his preschool this month. It’s a big event for us and I’m preparing what to do on the first day, how to plan his transition (he will be moving from one class to another in the daycare itself. I would like his transition to be as smooth as possible). I will be doing a photo shoot and we will be making muffins to celebrate the new class as well. It’s just that I want to create an excitement around the change for my little boy.

Religious Festivals:

There is no major religious festival/event this month in the religion I follow. However, by knowing ahead of time, I will be able to prepare my day/week/month to celebrate the festival without running around like a mad woman. In my religion, festivals involve lots of cooking. Someone who doesn’t like to spend too much time in the kitchen, it’s essential for me to plan ahead, freezer cook, or meal plan for that special day.

The only significant event related to religion for this month is, Anna prasannam for Meera. Meera turned 5 months and our doctor recommended starting solid between her 5-6 months. We have decided an auspicious day to start her first meal (more of a first taste of a puree). I bought a material for her dress, my mom stitched it, I’m looking for some ideas to take pictures of her day, where to start the feeding, what to take to the temple etc. I enjoy planning all these and celebrate important events in our life.

Special Occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries:

We don’t have any birthdays in June, but we do have Father’s Day to celebrate. Buying gift needs major planning in here. My husband enjoys experience gift than material gift. I enjoy utilitarian gift. We also don’t believe in showing our kids with too many toys. So, we do need to plan ahead for that special occasion every time.

Events to Attend:

You might have invitations to attend birthday parties, friends meetup, kids playdate etc. Plan ahead and be prepared for the event ahead of time.

Did you buy a gift for your friend’s kid birthday celebration? Start looking for a deal right away instead of waiting until the last minute and pay double for the same gift you would have bought for a much lesser price if you have planned earlier.

You might need to check your closet for those unopened, quality gifts for regifting. Here is more on regifting.

Budget Meeting:

Can’t stress enough of the importance of budget and spending discussion with your spouse/family. Set aside a time and discuss the spending of the previous month, what you did right and wrong, how you want to take this month ahead etc. Just make sure you do this meeting sometime in the first week of every month.

Holidays/Vacations:

Are you traveling, planning a vacation, someone visiting you home, or there is a long weekend around the corner? Plan ahead on how you want to spend your holiday/vacation. Book that flight ticket as early as possible. I’m super guilty of this one. Husband’s work has been super volatile lately that we are having a hard time planning ahead for vacation. But we are trying to make it work. On an ideal situation, I want to plan our vacation, book tickets etc as early as possible.

Date Night/Day/Shopping:

When was the last time you went on a date with your special one? Our last real date was just days before my daughter was born. We put our son to sleep, asked my parents to watch him, and went for a movie. It was a great movie and we had such a good time together. However, we still try to sneak in once a week. It might be just to get a take-out from a nearby restaurant to the grocery store when the kids are asleep (and mom watching them). But that 10 minutes time together is so valuable and I always feel refreshed when we are back. I can’t stress enough the importance of spending alone time with your spouse. If you’re not doing it now, please try {and don’t talk about your work when you’re alone. Joke around and have fun even if you’re in the grocery store household aisle getting toilet paper 😉 }

Projects/Learning/Reading:

Do you want to read a certain book that you’ve been trying to read, want to learn something, want to make some progress on the big project? Note it down. The power of setting up a goal and having it in your notepad is so powerful that you’ll at least make one step ahead than the month before.

Big Spending:

My husband and I don’t discuss or ask for approval for small purchases. Both of us are not spenders and we discuss our spending at the end of every month in our budget meeting. However, if we are looking to buy something big, whether it’s for the house, family, or for the individual, we discuss it. We put an alert in places such as Slickdeals and continue to look for deals. If it’s something urgent that will save time/ money, waiting for a good deal might not makes sense. In that case, we will just go ahead and buy. For something that can wait, we will continue to look for deals and wait till we get one. However, it will be in our monthly planner so that we are continuing to look for a better deal before we buy one.

It’s important to note down big purchases because, it’s visible to all the family members, you’re waiting to buy it and continue to talk to your family about this. Sometimes after discussions, you might realize you no longer need that product. We have decided not to buy many items after much thoughts/discussions with each other. Hence, it’s important to note it down.

Here is the planner printable for your monthly events. Print it out at the starting of every month, write down your list, and stick it in the freezer for tracking and visibility.

Ideas For Relaxed Weekends With No Chores

effects of overscheduling weekendsAre you like me who feels like the weekends fly by in a jiffy? Weekdays are so busy that most of us look forward to Friday evenings. However, weekends get much busier than the weekdays if we lot more things filling up the plate.

Unsurprisingly, many weekends are filled with household chores and activities. It can be trips to grocery store to laundry to house cleaning. If not chores, we pack our weekends with taking kids outside. Spending quality of time with kids is sooo important. But it’s equally important to relax and rejuvenate before the next week starts. Even if it’s 30 minutes, spending time for ourselves is essential. But what about the pending tasks that need to be done during the weekend?

Below are some of the ideas I have tried that made a difference in our lives:

Catch Up Chores On Weekdays:

This is something I have been following religiously for years. Complete the chores during weekdays rather than waiting till the weekend. House chores like grocery shopping, house cleaning, mopping and everything else can be done during the weekdays. Plan 30 minutes a day to complete these tasks.

I have a cleaning schedule I follow to complete our household cleaning. Do I follow them every single day? probably not. But most of the days I stick to my cleaning schedule.

By the time weekend hits, I’m ready to relax. I’d rather sit idle for 2 hours on the couch rather than cleaning the bathroom. I want the weekend to be with minimal chores. Again, if I miss any chores during the weekdays, I do complete them during the weekend. But I don’t want it to be a routine.

Multitasking:

Time and time again I realized I’m not good at multitasking if I want to complete a work effectively. Focusing on just a single task helps me complete it faster than trying to juggle 2 different tasks. I also came across multiple articles that confirmed the same. If you try to multitask, I’d suggest you try to focus on one task at a time and I’m sure you’ll notice the difference.

No Social Media Saturdays:

This is something I have been trying in the last few weeks. Not surprisingly, I love this routine. A few people I know follow this routine on Sundays. Unfortunately, I start checking work emails on Sunday evenings, do some blogging on Sundays etc. So I moved my no-social-media day to Saturday.

Social media has a lot more effect on our behaviors than we realize. That’s why it’s important to connect with the right people even in social media. Only the good things are shared in social media and what you see in there may not be a complete picture. Staying away from social media at least one day a week helps us bounce back to reality. It definitely made me calm, relax, and cherish the current moments.

I don’t know if I am able to explain all of its benefits in words here. But I know I feel good and I would highly suggest you try this approach.

TV Time:

Relaxing doesn’t need to involve TV.  I used to be a person who would switch on TV if I wanted to relax. Back in the days, we used to spend way too many hours in front of TV. Now, Friday evenings are our TV time. Saturday evenings, we either hit the bed early or Husband and I talk instead of switching on TV.

What’s the problem with watching TV?

Nothing except we will be glued to TV rather than conversing with the people next to us.

We made one simple change in our TV setup that made a huge difference in controlling the urge to switch on TV. We moved TV to the end of the living room and it’s not longer a centerpiece of the living room. Now it doesn’t even occur to us to watch TV unless we got to know a specific program and want to watch it.

Once we do follow all the above ideas to clear out the schedule and mind, below are the things we can do to further enjoy the weekend:

Plan Your Weekends:

This may sound like a no-brainer. But planning the weekend ahead of time helps us predict what comes next. My husband and I talk about our weekend plan every Friday evening. It’s a 10 minutes discussion on what we can do during the weekend, where we can go, whether we need to book the tickets, the weather, kids sleeping schedule etc. With 2 kids, we cannot function without planning our schedule. It also keeps us sane especially if the weekend schedule involves any trips.

Family Rituals:

I think it’s important to mention family rituals here. I love family rituals whether it’s pancake breakfast every Sunday morning or watching movies every Friday evenings. It eventually becomes a family tradition that creates some fond memories among us. Our kids will remember these rituals forever and they might end up recreating these when they have their own family.

We already follow some family rituals and we are looking to create more rituals that can be incorporated without too much work/planning.

It’s easy to follow rituals during the weekends because we have more time and our body is more relaxed to try new things. But if you have jam-packed schedule even during the weekend, these things might not be possible.

I’m always on the look for ideas. Please share yours if you follow any rituals in your family.

Meet With Friends:

Even in a hectic schedule, spending time with good company can make a huge difference. Who doesn’t love some good conversations? At the same time, avoid spending time with negative people. They can let you down.

The reason I specifically mentioned “Friends” because they’re your friends for a reason. We choose our friends and it’s obvious that we enjoy their company.

I love game nights with friends. Those are so fun that I still remember some of the fun nights we had with friends. With young baby and toddler, our game nights are non-existant right now. But we are looking forward to resuming it as soon as the baby sleeps longer hours at night.

Post Pregnancy Weight Loss Tracking

I gained 24 pounds in my first pregnancy and a whopping 30 pounds during this pregnancy.

When I checked my weight within a few weeks after delivery, my scale showed 18 pounds less. That happiness short-lived. Then, our newborn got fever and we had to admit her to the hospital. I was so upset that the doctor asked me to leave the room when they did her tests. We stayed at the hospital for the next 2 days and this unhappy mom did lots of binge eating that added 3 more pounds on my weight. Ironically, the hospital didn’t provide any healthy meal nor do they have any healthy options in the nutrition room (pantry). So, even the hospital didn’t help either. That said, now I need to lose 15 pounds to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Food:

Throughout the week I eat clean and once a week I splurge on my meal. It’s mostly pizza or our favorite Chinese takeout.

I also don’t track my calorie intake. I eat whatever I like as long as its healthy.

Workout:

I just started working out last week. Definitely not able to run like before. So starting out slow and walking 20 minutes every day. Then 10 minutes of Yoga. My work out routine will change/improve eventually.

Tracking the Progress:

I will be tracking my progress, meals, snacks, and workout in my Instagram page. It’s more apt for Instagram than Facebook page. If you’re in Instagram, ping me to get to know you.

If you have some extra pounds to lose, I’d love if you can join me in the process. It will be fun if we do it together. Just let me know.

Centsible Indian – 2016 Year in Review

As we wrap 2016 in few days, our family wish you a wonderful New Year 2017!

When comparing 2015, 2016 was such a whirlwind ride: I got pregnant, hard first trimester, some hectic work schedule, cross country move etc. I’m sure I missed some other things in the mix. I feel confused whether the year went by fast or slow. In some cases, super fast and in some cases, reaaallly slow 🙂

Recent Fun Family Moments:

Here are some fun moments I recently captured and shared in Instagram:


Blogging 2016 Recap:

Top Posts Based On Views:

  1. My Favorite 4 Cashback Websites For Online Shopping – If you’re in US and does online shopping, you don’t want to miss trying these cashback options for some extra $$ savings
  2. 8 Baby Freebies For Expecting Moms – If you or anyone you know is pregnant, I have shared some great freebie resources for expecting moms
  3. How To Plan Monthly Grocery Budget – It’s a 3 series post with lots of insights on how to grocery budget and save money on grocery shopping. I have got some really good feedback from you all and it made me so happy that you found this series helpful
  4. How To Choose A 529 Plan For Kids Education? – I was asked this question multiple times by different people. It was/is also one of the posts lots of you found useful
  5. Review Of Instant Pot For Indian Cooking – Considering how famous InstantPot is nowadays, this post provides you detailed pros/cons of InstantPot. I also included Indian alternative to InstantPot
  6. 52 Weeks Savings Challenge For 2017 – I got some great interest when I shared this challenge few days ago with you all. We created a Facebook event page to track the savings progress. I’m super pumped 🙂
  7. How To Sell Your Used Items On Facebook? – I strongly believe in avoiding clutter in home and one of the best ways to get rid of it is, to sell it and make some money out of it. Facebook is a great place to do that if you’re not already doing it. Shared step by step instruction on how to sell stuff on Facebook
  8. Printable: Grocery Shopping List – this is the first printable I hand created for you all. I put so much thought into it and worked on this for weeks to create one that helps you track your grocery spending as well
  9. At Home Hair Removal Options – Have Been Using Them For Years – Yet another popular post that a lot of you found useful. Shared my at-home hair removal experience and tools here

Posts That You Might Find Useful:

  1. Financial Goals Planning For The New Year – Highly encourage you to do financial goals planning for the upcoming year if you have not done so. We have been doing annual goals planning for a few years and I shared my approach to the goals planning as well as step by step process
  2. Four Important Lessons I Learned From Our Married Life – I wrote this around the time of our 8 years wedding anniversary. The lessons I shared are very personal and I strongly believe they helped a lot in our marriage
  3. We Stopped Eating White Sugar And Here Is Why – This was a really important change we made that had a considerable impact on our health. I even talked about how it helped on my weight loss. I shared multiple options of white-sugar alternatives and where you can buy them
  4. Family Financial Planning – Where To Start? – this new series of financial planning is for those who wants to learn financial planning from basics. For now, it’s a 2 part series and I’m going to write the 3rd part soon.
  5. The Think Positive Challenge and Blessings Journal – this challenge as well as blessings journal has been a huge help in my life. As I mentioned, 2016 was so different with lot of twists and turns. This really got me going and still gets me going. I highly encourage you to read this if you are looking for some positive thoughts in your life.

Enjoy this Holidays season with friends and family. We are going to take things slow with our newborn and cherish the moments I spend with my kiddos. I hope to see you in the next year as we continue on our journey together.

52 Weeks Savings Challenge For 2017


Have you ever come across 52 Weeks Savings Challenge before? I have been thinking about this challenge for weeks now and I thought it’s a great idea to start from the New Year (from January 1st, 2017 Sunday) considering it’s quite simple and easy to follow.

What Is 52 Weeks Savings Challenge?

This challenge was creates few years ago in an attempt to promote savings. You save a certain amount every week and after 52 weeks, you get to enjoy the money you saved diligently.

The main benefit of this challenge is creating the habit to save money. By starting with such a small amount, we are encouraged to continue this savings habit weeks after weeks without giving up.

How It Works?

Dollars: You start off Week One by saving $1; then Week Two you save $2; Week Three you save $3, etc., until you reach the last week of the year, Week 52, when you’d save $52. Your savings would add up to $1,378.

Rupees: You start off Week One by saving ₹100; then Week Two you save ₹110; Week Three you save ₹120, etc., until you reach the last week of the year, Week 52, when you’d save ₹610. Your savings would add up to ₹18,460.

Where to Save The Money?

PIGGY BANK. Put your deposits in a piggy bank every week. Even though you miss the benefit of compound interest, this is the most effective method for this challenge.

How to Track This Challenge?

Print out this chart (Chart in Dollars / Chart in Rupees) and start checking the box next to the Weeks once you complete the challenge every week.

Also, I created a Facebook Group where you can share your weekly victories as well as ideas to save money. Community help is powerful and encouraging when needed.

When Does This Challenge Start and End?

The challenge starts on January 1st, 2017. Jan 1st is a Sunday and that’s why you deposit your first week money into the piggy bank. From there, every Sunday is the Deposit Day until December 24th (Sunday).

Since 2017 has 53 Sundays, to make this challenge easier we are going to skip the 53rd Sunday on December 31st and use that day to open our Piggy Bank and enjoy the money 🙂

If you don’t have piggy bank, now is the time to buy one. Are you ready?

If you find this challenge interesting, do share it with your friends. More the merrier 🙂