March felt like a jam packed month, in the best possible way! Our spending average in 2016 was $2500 a month, so any month we come in below that feels like a win! We don’t really need to spend less, but I feel like the year to year months are in a competition. The month that can pack the most fun stuff in for the least amount of money is crowned the champion. March 2017 won this time! Sometimes I wonder how two people without 9-5 jobs can have so many things on their plate!
March had a slightly unfair advantage. We used two gift cards!
Hotel Stay: We had a hotel gift card that was about to expire so we decided to kick off Spring Break with a local hotel stay, complete with indoor pool, a very generous complimentary breakfast and fresh baked cookies. The kids had a blast! Between hours of swimming, cable TV in the room and those fresh baked cookies, I think they would move in! I prefer camping to hanging out in hotels, but even I had fun.
Cost: Hotel (free) Take out food for Mr. Mt and me: $13 (We packed sandwiches and snacks for the kids!)
Family photos: Did you notice the lovely new photos on the site? We had some family photos taken in March! It had been on my to-do list for quite a while but the weather never seemed to cooperate until March. We also had a gift certificate that covered the sitting fee plus 5 digital prints. It was our favorite family photos yet party because we took them at our favorite state park on Flathead Lake, and partly because the kids could run around the whole time.
Ski Day: Mr Montana took our oldest kid out skiing. It was his first time skiing the big hill! Whitefish Mountain has a fantastic ski hill plus they offer a 50% military discount. Mr. Mt loves having a new ski partner. They both had an amazing time. It will be a few years before all the kids are ready to hit the hill, but we are cherishing the one-on-one time for now.
Public Speaking: I was so happy to be able to share Grow the Gap: Guard the Gap with a group of families in March! I had some great conversations after the talk with people who were very excited about creating some financial freedom. One of the coolest things about not going back to the 9-5 right away has been having the time to invest in our community.
Chatting with you all!: Between having two new mentoring partners, sending out a private Skype request to my email community, doing a drawing for a free consult from my email community and some money consultations, I felt like I got to chat with at least 1 person almost every day! It was really fun….and kind of crazy! But it was amazing to get to know you all more, hear your stories, and all the amazing insights I glean from you all every time we chat. (I have 2 mentoring spots left, but will only be taking on new partners till the middle of May, you know…because summer is almost here!!!)
All the other good stuff!:
March is a funny month for weather. We started the month a pile of snow for skiing, sledding and snowy hikes.
March ended with a week long Spring break complete with sunny hiking, playing in the yard, flowers in bloom and smores in our fire pit. Montana has 4 very distinct seasons, and while I was signing the praises of winter and cold back in January, I’m on tiptoes waiting for warmer weather now! Every few months brings a whole new swirl of activity and we race around to soak it all up.
We also finished up the trim in our new master bath, did car/motorcycle tune ups ($180) and had some family come into town. We treated them to our $3 ice cream and donut excursion. We almost never take the whole family out to dinner, but ice cream and donuts are at least a monthly trip! It’s probably my kids favorite way to spend $3! (OK, mine as well.)
Winter coats: I don’t frequent used clothing stores very often, but we made a pit spot to check out the winter coat selection. We found 7 that will work nicely for next year. Having good quality winter coats is important in Montana, spending $40-$60 per coat for new ones, is not. Lands End was kind enough to send me a catalog with their half priced coats, which still were $30-$50 per coat! For 5 kids that would have run at least $150. Instead we hauled home this rather nice selection of 7 coats for $28 in total. (One of which happened to be Lands End!) They averaged $4 per coat, which means that when one of the kids loses it on the playground (that only happens 10 times a year!), I won’t be too stressed about it. Either they find it, or the lost and found donates the coats back to the Salvation Army. It’s the winter coat circle of life. =) (Baby’s coat not shown)
We also signed our boys up for soccer this spring. We gave up year round sports a while back because the schedule was a hassle and we wanted to free up more time and money for travel while the kids are little. But every so often we will put them in 6 week sport camps. They have a blast and get to test out a new sport for a week weeks. It’s the kid version of being a Committed Quitter. =) The best part…it will be over before we start our summer camping trips.
Monthly Spending Target: $2,450 vs actual $1925
Year to date Spending Target: $6,850 vs actual $5979
Yearly Giving Target: $3,000 vs Year to Date $667
All around, March was a great month and rounded out a really exciting first quarter for us! It was 18 months ago that Mr. Mt left his 9-5 job and it’s been a crazy whirlwind for us. Every month feels a bit like a “Choose your own adventure” book. It’s been a qualified adventure for sure!
How was your March?
Would you opt for 6 week sports or year round?
Do you have any bulbs coming up? These are some of my favorites!
ps This guy just melts my heart!