October in Review

Blogging:  Goal: 15 per month I am posting this on Thursday and post number 15 is scheduled for Halloween (Friday). This is a GOAL MET!

Weight: Goal to exercise 3x a week and to be down to 175 by December 2014.  This is the goal that I wanted to skip this month.  I have not lost any weight since August. I know that it is a struggle but grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!  I have been getting to the Y at least once a week so hopefully soon it will help!

Financial Goals:

1.  Pay off all debit by July 2015, except for mortgage.  This is still the goal, but I have taken advantage of a free interest period of 6 months to purchase some needed up dates around the house, so in reality we have went backwards on this goal but with all the Christmas shopping done< I hope to document significant progress in the next several months!

2. Emergency Fund to $2000.  Added $150 to this so for the first time in a long time GOAL MET!

. 3. Groceries: Spend $600 a month . Goal Met  $545. This definitely is not the $300 I had anticipated and hoped for this month however it does include $110 for the Costco membership that I thought had paid and is still under for the month. We are continuing to clean out the stockpile, I actually have an empty shelf. I am not sure where this will end up in November, a goal would be under $300 but I do have 120# of chicken that we will pick up on Saturday so I know that I will be spending some money to get this prepared for the freezer.

4. Gas: Spend $400 a month with any remaining to be move to Auto fund for repairs.  Total Spent $453. This does include tags, title and insurance for the truck so that is what set up over the top. In November we will be making a trip to Michigan and anticipate some major changes in our cars but I don’t want to talk about that until it occurs. I have not doubt that I will not met this goal in November!

50% this month. I had really anticipated that October would be a lower spending month for use however it happened to be the opposite. I anticipate November being around the same because of our trip and the holiday. At least I can see progress!

Budget Update- October

leaky faucet : conceptual illustration of a dripping tap coins Illustration

This is exactly what my budget feels like for this month. Yes, I will take full credit for most of it but I also really want to stop some of the leaks. I have completely failed at the Low/No Spend challenge for the month. The good news is that all my Christmas shopping is done.  That makes my life so much less hectic at this point so that will be counted as a positive. We have spent a chunk of extra money this month on updating both the tower and playhouse for the kids to enjoy. I am think that when all is said and done around $300 for updating and fixing both in addition to new mulch for the playground. We also have update the hall bathroom with a new coat of paint, new flooring and new shower curtain.  I am adding around another $200 for these updates and finally a new roof for our outbuilding with a price tag of $250. As you can see these have added up fast. Other unplanned spending included clothes for myself and the kids and of course new shoes.

In the ok but not great budget news, we have spent $545 of our $600 grocery budget which includes our Costco membership fee that I thought I had already paid but had not. This is not as good as I had hoped or expected but I have been doing some research and grocery prices are on the rise so staying in the budget is a win at least. We are starting to make a small dent in the stockpile and I am only replacing what we are out of so I am hoping to make a even bigger dent in the next two months to average our grocery spending down to $600 a month from $625 that it currently is.   In the second ok news we have spent $399,68 of our gas budget this month. This includes tags, inspection and  taxes for the truck.  This may increase if we are unable to hold out on putting gas in the van. Gas prices have dropped significantly and this should help use next month as well.

I did add $200 to our Emergency fund so this is a definite win!

Not a total loss but definitely not a low/no spend month!

Weekend Work~10/20

I literally spent most of the weekend working as I was attending the state Occupational Therapy conference in Winston-Salem on both Saturday and Sunday. I did gain knowledge from the educational class so it was not a complete waste. Matt on the other hand was really productive. He finished up with the “tower” today.  Just to recap this is what it looked like off the truck.FullSizeRender (2)The extreme makeover included a bridge, a steering wheel, periscope, canopy top and climbing wall. The rest was pressure washing and repainting.  Zach spent some of his birthday money to purchase both the steering wheel and periscope so in total we have spent about $120 for the materials including the new items. It is awesome and I am sure will be played with for years! Enjoy a picture overload…

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Low Spend/No Spend Failure

I knew it would happen. Every time I decided that I am going to try and keep our spending to a minimum  something always seems to come up. This month it was shoes.

All three of the little kids needed shoes this past week. So we ended up spending most of last Sunday, shopping for shoes. We were able to find 4 new pair of shoes, Kendall was the lucky recipient of two pair, for $95.  I don’t think that our shoe problems has been entirely solved but at least they have been pushed back for the moment. I anticipate that both Lily and Kendall will need new boots this year but for now they are fine wearing what shoes they have. I will also need to buy a pair of new shoes for work  but my plan is to wait till we are in Michigan and attempt to go to the Nike outlet for those.   The other unexpected cost this month are directly related to home repair and upkeep. As a home owner, things wear out and need to be repaired and updates as is the case with our house this month. So I am going to declare that I am a failure at this low spend month.

However I am thinking in the long range, I may actually meet most of our set financial goals for the month.  We currently have spent $320 of our $600 grocery budget. This  does include our Costco membership that I thought I had paid in September. I don’t see any other large purchase for this month so I expect to stay around $350 total for the month. In other good budget news, gas prices have significantly dropped in the last week. I saw prices today at less than $3 a gallon. This should allow us to stay under our $400 a month gas budget. Anything left for the month will be used for our Michigan trip, which will also be reduced if gas prices decide to stay at this level.

In some  other good budget news, we have been able to increase our income for the month by selling a couple of items, a $20 rebate from P&G, a refund of $70 for my weight loss challenge and Matt has picked up some additional work as well.

 

Crazy Busy Weekend- Outside toys!

FullSizeRenderThis arrived at my house on Friday night, the kids were so excited! They even got to stay up late (after 9pm) to watch it get off the trailer! Thankfully no one got hurt!  In the future aka when my brother has time, it will be rotated so the porch and window will be facing outwards. Saturday morning  was spent nailing and cleaning/prepping the outside for a fresh coat of paint. This was given to us by my BFF, but it is in serious need of TLC.

The list of things to do with this house include 1. Rotate and level
2. Paint the outside. We were given some paint and I have already purchased a quart of red for the porch and windows
3. Windows will be filled with screen and casing placed around the inside and plastic on the outside for the winter.
4. New roof
5. Door handle and new latch added.
6. Quarter round placed around the inside walls
7. Finish cleaning out the inside and move out kitchen and laundry room toys into it.

I will update pictures as we cross things off the list.

We ended up picking up this on Saturday afternoon. It again is a gift but needs some refurbishing to make it awesome. Zach has purchased a steering wheel and periscope. We will attach this to our deck with a cool bridge with rope handrail, add a climbing section to the side, add new cover for the top and connect the slide. I hope to post pictures of this completed project in the next couple of weeks.

As you can imagine these addition took a lot of time this weekend in addition to a major shopping trip to Lowes and a very full Sunday.  I can actually say I am glad the weekend is over  because I need a break!

Sermon Notes

I have some very strong opinions/beliefs about children and church. But sometimes my opinions and reality don’t quite go together. Matt and I have talked at length over the years regarding church and at what age a child should be expected to not only sit in church but actually listen and gain something from a message. One of the things that we both agree on is that unless you expect a behavior and facilitate the behavior then it is not going to happen.

Our current church offers Sunday school classes for all ages  and Children’s Church (which occurs during the regular services) up to middle school age.  there is also a separate program for kids on Wednesday night that all three of the little kids love. Matt and I agreed long ago that middle school  was not the right time to begin training a child to listen and learn during a sermon so we had discussed with Lily that starting in September, since she is in the fourth grade, she would no longer be allowed to go to Children’s Church. Lily is very smart and she didn’t complain about the idea. As I watched her last Sunday, she was doing nothing wrong in fact she had me help her find the passage that the message was from; however I quickly realized that shortly after this she was no longer listening to what was being said.  This lead to a discussion between us and a post of Facebook for questions that we could expect her to answer about the sermon. A friend, who is both a teacher and principal, shared an awesome idea about allowing Lily to choose questions to answer.  I am excited to say that for a first attempt, it worked and worked well. Lily was given a composition book this morning before church and on the first page was this…

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It is a tic tac toe board, with a different question in each square. The question from left to right are : Who are the main characters?  Reference? Who preached?  (2nd row) What emotion did the sermon make you feel?  Name three things you learned today from the sermon? How can you apply to your life? (3rd row) What was the topic? Did another Bible reference get used? what was it? and Does this connect to last week’s sermon? How?

Lily is allowed to pick which three question she is going to answer as long as she gets 3 in a row.  This morning she paid much closer attention to the sermon.  I did realize that she does not know what the word Reference means so I will help her learn that this week.  Overall I am very pleased with this and hope it will lead us into some good discussions as well as teach her to listen and apply not only sermons but information from lectures in the future.

Can you think of any better or different question for us to use?