I decided during the month of December that our kitchen was simply too small and after some discussion with Matt, decide that we would begin to tackle this huge project. I posted on Facebook that the anticipated time line for total completion of this project was 2 years. I have had several questions as to why it is going to take so long, I decided to lay out our anticipated time line for you today and to also discuss why this is such a complex project.
I honestly think it will be 2 years or longer before we sit in “our new dream kitchen.” There are few reason for this. First is money, we do not want to go into debit for this remodeling project and with the loss of several of Matt’s websites at the end of the year, we really don’t have any extra to spend on the project. Reason number 2- time. Matt and I along with some help from friends will be completing all the work. The problem is that we also have 3 small kids and 2 big kids that each have schedules and expectations of us. The next reason sounds silly but it is the truth and ties in to both of the other reasons I have mention, I am having a hard time, trying to decide on themes and colors. Finally, I like a orderly house and can not stand to live in a construction zone for longer than a week or so at a time.
Now on to the fun stuff, stages of remodeling: 1.Wall Destruction. 2. New sink and Dishwasher 3. Painting/New cabinets. 4. New Floor.
We are about 90% finished with the first stage. The wall has been removed and the electric wires have been relocated. We added 12 recess lighting cans to add light in both the new kitchen and out in our living room. The ceiling was scrapped and painted. We have decided to install a beam to make the transition between the two rooms, which needs to be completed. Finally we have to remove the old baseboard heater. My goal is have this step complete by February 21st.
The second step includes several major decisions about colors and style of sink, faucet and dishwasher. We have been given a counter top which reduces the overall expense so we will start making decisions and purchasing the new items . The walls will be painted in this step along with new window facings and new molding around the ceilings. The Goal for completion of this step is end of March.
Stage three is by one of the most labor intense steps. We will first repaint and repair all the upper cabinets in addition to adding a shelf around the top of the cabinets to provide additional store space and add function to a “dead space.” We will have to replace all the lower cabinets and may add additional cabinets if we can afford and decide it would be beneifical. I have already pick out a new back splash to be add as well. My goal is to complete the cabinet repainting and have the back splash installed by the end of May. Based on our current financial situation this will most likely be the stopping point of the remodeling. The purchase of new cabinets will be placed on hold until we can decide on what we want and can afford to make this large purchase. I have an estimated budget of $1000 for lower cabinets. I also have an additional $2000 budget for the new “bar area” which includes replacing our current countertops as well. My estimate for the completion of this items is next February.
Stage 4- New floor is approximately 18-24 months away due to the huge expense of both time and money that will be involved. In addition, this decision has already been the most discussed and hardest one to make so that may also add to the length of time it will take.
1. Blogging– Post 20 per month. Fail. This is post number 19. I honestly had a post in my head for yesterday but just not the energy to get out.
2.Weight Loss– 175#. I have used the treadmill on at least 2 a week but still. FAIL
3. Spiritual– Spend at least 5 days a week, reading and studying The Bible. Fail but improvement noted with 50% success for the month.
It would not appear that January has been a good month because I did not achieve any of these goals. One way to look at it is that I have lots of room for improvement.
1. Set aside money each month in every budget category. Fail-4 of the categories are without funding this month.
2. Establish and maintain Emergency Fund- Fail.
3. Groceries: Goal is for $700. SUCCES- Total spending for the month is $199! I am so excited and surprised at how easy it was. I am going to increase the goal to $400 for February but that still stays way below the goal amount.
4. Gas: Spend $400 a month- SUCCESS. We spent only $250 in gas this month!
5. Pay off all Credit Card debit by December 2016- I am not exactly sure how to report on this. Matt unfortunately did lose 2 accounts in the month of January so we are not going to make stellar progress but at this point any progress is a success. So I reduce our overall credit card debit and will count this as a success.
Financially, I am very proud of the month of January. We are making small but steady progress and just need to keep things moving in the right direction.
- The snow has pretty much kept all spending to a minimum for the past week. Although I am starting to get the itch to start purchasing things for gardening and definitely want to get started on our kitchen remodel both sooner rather than later. My goal is to last the final week of the January Money diet.
- I have officially decided to work with monthly menu planning this year. I am going to give it a good years try and see if it reduces my grocery budget overall. It has worked really well for January and looks the same for February.
- I have not even begun to work on my income taxes yet, this is officially the latest I have done this in recent memory. I am now going to wait on the final three official piece of paperwork before even opening a program. I have all the numbers I need but just decided at this point, why not wait.
- I am finally starting to see some positive aspects of Windows 10 after a full weeks use. One of my biggest overall complaints is that it does not allow me to print a copy of my calendar.
- My Sunday school class is completing Priscilla Shirer study called “The Armor of God.” I can honestly say I am learning a lot and it is most definitely my favorite study I have completed.
- I feel really good about the progress I have made toward my goals this month except for one.
The sun came out today which began the melting process for us! Matt has worked most of the afternoon clearing our driveway so I can head to work tomorrow. After he finished he asked if we wanted to venture out to CVS and Walmart. Considering that I had already opened my last 2L of Diet Coke, I agreed. This was another excellent week at CVS. I completed 3 transactions spending $1.92 and saving $27.16 or 93% I grabbed 8 bottles of Diet Coke and 3 tubes of free toothpaste. I should have grabbed another Diet Coke but my calculations were off. Next stop was Walmart to grab a couple of items that we will run out of prior to the end of the month, I was able to use a calculate and list and stay on track spending $30.73 which puts me at $199.83 for the month.
Since we all have been at home since Thursday and the kids really have been at home for a week, we used some of the time to clean and re-organize. I was seriously thinking about needing to push some more storage containers on Thursday but instead, found and repurposed things we already had. We are in the process of reducing the playroom and I took the shelf from it and moved it to Zach room.
The best part of this shelf is that it originally was a kitchen cabinet/bar in a house that my brother and sister in law purchased when they were first married. I was helping with some of the work and originally place this shelf in my building. As you can tell it has been moved and reused but still is a large steady piece of furniture. I also reconfigured my closet and was able to place this smaller shelf in the playroom.
Total spend on this project which ended up taking a full day Zero.
A final way we have saved money this weekend is cooking at home and using items that we already have. I am hoping to stick to a lower budget for at least February and most likely even March. I am realizing that we have a lot of food that I have purchased and by keeping a rolling stockpile, I should be able keep at least that line item lower for several month this year, therefore reducing our total expenses significantly even with resuming the $700 a month budget in April or May.
- Today was my first official paid Snow Day EVER! I am so thankful because worse than snow is the solid sheet of ice that currently covers our road.
- I was able to clean out the playroom, and re-organize Zach’s room. He is able to play with all his toys and has a spot to return each. I am so excited as this also puts us closer to beginning our kitchen remodel. I manage to move reduce and reuse everything today so the total cost of this is ZERO.
- After spending most of the day cleaning and organizing we had a family game night. The little kids are now old enough to play UNO. Zach had a hard time at first because he did not win but even asked to play again at bedtime.
- The kids have been out of school at home for a solid week now. Monday was a holiday, Tuesday and Wednesday were scheduled teacher work days,Thursday and Friday, school was cancelled due to the weather.
- This week is also rare in the fact that we have only had cheerleading one night and don’t have a competition to go to this weekend. I know this is probably the last time this happens till April.
I am not surprised at all to say that several thing have occurred this month that I did not originally think about or plan for. Fortunately, we have adapted and managed to spend as little as possible. One of the bigger things that has happen is the sudden dramatic weather change that has brought us temperature not rising above freezing for several days in a row. I discovered that we had a significant draft in our living room. We were able to purchase and reduce this draft for around $20 but this was totally unplanned. Next up was a computer problem, we ended up purchasing a new operating system for one of our computers which was $130 but in addition after spending several hours working on and around this problem, Matt and I both needed a mental break and headed to Cracker Barrel for Dinner. I am honestly glad we did because after coming home it took another 3 hours to get the computer back to a workable state. I am really enjoying this diet challenge because it allows us to stop and thing before spending, even if we decide to spend the money. Now on to more positive news.
1. Grocery spending of $200 or less- Currently I have spent $168 after both a trip to Costco and Aldi. I am so excited by this number. I don’t see any reason we can not stay in our goal for the month. We also went ahead today and did a rough menu plan for the month of February. I can see that we should be able to maintain a low budget of $400 or less for February!
2. Challenge #1– Give away 31 things- I have a box of kids clothing already packed and have a couple of options. I am going to make sure this box is gone before the end of the month.
3.Challenge #2– Figure your Net Worth- I did not complete this totally simply because this number has no meaning to me at this point. What I have done is make a spreadsheet to keep up with real number as I work at paying off credit cards and other debits. I also know the value of all our vehicles. Finally today, I set up access to my retirement account so I can at least glance at it from time to time. As an interesting side note, it has lost over a thousand dollars in January already.
4. Challenge # 3- Do something to earn an extra $25 or more this month.– I have several items listed on Facebook for sale right now.
5. Challenge #4- Reduce at least one expense– I stay pretty on top of this to begin with. But I was able to get a $14 credit on our cable bill due, this month and finally think we have that bill straighten out. I do need to check on our cellphone bill to make sure it is as low as possible.
Overall I am happy with our progress and this challenge is definitely helping me to find some money that can be saved.