September in Review

1. Blogging
Post 20 per month. Fail. This is post number 18. This number is slowly but surely going up.  We are currently in an extremely busy season with work till 6 most nights for me and multiple practices and games every night.

2.Weight Loss– 175#. No comment.

3. SpiritualSpend at least 5 days a week, reading and studying The Bible. This continues to be a challenge for me. I need to find a time to set for this but so far not happening.

Personal goals are a failure for the fourth month straight. But on a positive note, things are improving.  I know that once things settle down and I get my school groove back it will get better.


1. Set aside money each month in every budget category. Fail. We have been able to meet all expenses but this is a huge struggle.

2. Establish and maintain Emergency Fund- Fail.
3. Groceries: Goal is for $550. I knew once Food Lion started their sale that I would be way over for the month. I currently have spent $920 which is close to two months. The good news is that I am going to order fruit trees in October and may make one more trip for sale items at Food Lion but otherwise the month of October I don’t plan on a trip until the end of the month if at all!

4. Gas: Spend $300 a month- Fail! We spent $313 this month including an oil change for the van. In October, the truck needs an inspection and tags so it will continue to be a expensive time.

5. Pay off all Credit Card debit by December 2016- Fail. I am meeting bare minimal payments on everything but really was hoping to begin to get control and reduce this number.

6. Money Making Apps- I am adding this for monthly reporting. Matt and I both are trying to see how much we can earn doing small things. This month has been very successful. Matt cashed out for 2 $25 gift cards from Swag Bucks and 2 $5 gift cards from MPLACES. I have cashed out for a total of $75 in gift cards from Swag Bucks and $20 in gift cards from MPLACES. Total of $145 for the month. Extra money is awesome and helping to work our way back to a budget.

Wordless Wednesday- Baseball

Playing the outfield

Playing the outfield

Up at bat……

Random cuteness


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And finally, his biggest fans…. his sisters

Random Tuesday Thoughts

  • Zach got a hit and ran all the way to 3rd base last night. He ran and  touched home plate!  Even a loss is fun when you are learning.
  • We have been without air conditioning or heat for the past week I think we save approximately $25 a week this way.
  • All three kids have field trip this month. I am sad to say that Lily’s trip to play putt putt was the cheapest at $15. What happen to “free public school.”
  • We are continuing to earn extra money to pay toward our next Disney Trip. September has been a great month, by friend we should have earned $100 in gift cards.
  • I get to speak at Kendall school on Thursday.  She is so excited, I hope she will be proud afterwards.

Menu Planning-9/25/2016

Another busy week in store. We are determined to keep our food bill down so with a plan in place here we go.

Breakfast–  Saturday-We splurged- Breakfast from Biscuit King, Sunday- Yogurt and leftovers.  Monday- Grits and Eggs (I am not planning to head to work till 9 so good morning to cook) . The rest of the week will be leftovers including Waffles, cereal, toast including French toast  or yogurt.

Lunch- This week, I will have leftovers and salad. Zach and Kendall have 2 days of chicken nuggets, 2 Uncrustables with pirate booty and a sandwich. Lily and Matt will have salad or leftovers.

Dinner-  Saturday- Lunch- leftovers.   Dinner- leftovers.
Sunday- Lunch- Stuffed Green Pepper Soup. Dinner- Cheeseburger Pizza
Monday- Rice Kreola
Tuesday-Cowboy Beans from freezer
Wednesday- Turkey breast and stuffing
Thursday- Beef and Broccoli or left overs
Friday- Squash lasagna or leftovers.


Simple and quick are the cues for the week. Maybe we will get more creative next week.

Saving on Saturday – 9/24/2016


Took this cutie with me on my trip this morning to Food Lion!

I am doing more shopping than normal the last couple of weeks and will continue for at least two more due to my favorite yearly sale at Food Lion. To learn more about how I plan for these trips check out this post. I have been very pleasantly surprised during both my trips that the cashiers have been very nice and supported even with 3 different transactions. Remember I always use my $10 reward from transactions 1 and 2 in the next transaction.

I have actually made two separate trips to Food Lion this week, the reason sale on Diet Cokes.  My first trip on Wednesday was very planned.  This week, frozen vegetable are on sale for $1 a bag, pasta sauce is $1 a jar. I also stocked up on yogurt and bought pasta to go with the jarred sauce.

Transaction #1
10 bags frozen corn         $10
5 bags frozen Broccoli     $5
6 jars of Alfred sauce       $6
4 jars of Spaghetti sauce $4
10 containers of yogurt    $5
4 boxes of pasta              $3.56
2L of Ginger Ale               $0.84  with a 20 cent off coupon that printed.
Total Spent          $34.91

Transaction #2
4 containers of sour cream    $5.16
6 containers of mustard         $4.14
30 containers of yogurt          $15.00
Total Spent       $14.59

Transaction #3
10 Diet Coke    $0.99 each
Total Spent $0.49

Total Spent $49.99
Total Saved $36.06
  This is the store calculation and does not include how much cheaper store brands are usually. So this is sale items only.

We, Kendall and I headed back to Food Lion this morning. I did not have a list but just knew I wanted to purchase 10 more Diet Cokes. I decided to walk around and see what items I could find that I could put in our pantry. I did need the butter which is the most expensive item I purchased.

Transaction #1
10 packets of brown gravy       $5
10 cans of tomato paste           $5
20 containers of yogurt            $10
Total Spent    $20.44

Transaction #2
5 bags frozen peas and carrots   $5
5 bags frozen broccoli                  $5
5 bags shredded cheese              $10
4 cans of black beans                  $2.72
2 cans of chill beans                    $1.36
5 packs of pasta                           $3.95
4 jars spaghetti sauce                  $4.00
4 2L soda                                     $4.20
Total Spent 32.66

Transaction #3  I used this to gain some ibotta cash. These are all things we use so I did not mind adding
10 Diet Coke                             $10
2 Apples                                    $2.24
2 Oranges                                 $1.38
4 Bananas                                 $0.92
Package of Bologna                 $0.99
Total Spent $6.03

Total Spent $59.09
Total saved

I am trying to keep each trip around $50. I did receive an additional $4 off $50 that I will use next Saturday. My saving percentages are only in the 40% range but I know this is savings I would not get otherwise so worth the effort for me.

5 Things Friday-9/23/2016


  1. The weather is finally starting to cool off here. This week we went from highs in the 90s to Highs in the low 80s and even some 70s. We decided to turn off our air conditioning on Tuesday night. If we can survive tomorrow, with predicted temps around 85 then we should be good for the rest of the month and hopefully all of October.
  2. I knew this week would be crazy busy but I am exhausted. Monday night we all arrived home around 9pm. Wednesday night is was 8:30pm and Thursday night 9:30pm. Zach’s ball games are an hour earlier this coming week so hopefully that will help.
  3. I am over budget in both groceries and gas but neither are a surprise.
  4. Zach loves baseball. He is actually starting to hit the ball. I am so proud of him for trying his hardest.
  5. My plans for the weekend include getting the October schedule put together and watching television, sounds industrious to me!

Saving On Saturday 9/17/2016

sos We have been taking advantage of some really good deals this week. On Thursday, Moes Southwest Grill  offered a free cup of queso with any purchase. Zach decided that he wanted to share everyone food so we purchased lunch for five of us for $19.65. We even had enough queso left over that I have it warming in my dipper slow cooker to enjoy as part of lunch.

Next, the local grocery store has my absolute favorite sale of the year. This particular sale is running for a month this time with different special each week. For each of the house/store/generic brand item you buy you receive a quarter back to use on your next purchase. Initially this sale ran twice a year in January and June, unfortunately for the last two years it is only running once a year. The reason I LOVE this sale is that it is a perfect chance to stock up on items that normally don’t go on sale.  I have discovered via math calculations that I can purchase bread flour, regular flour, and sugar in bulk at a better rate, so I am leaving those out.  The limits of the sale are, you must buy at least 4 house brand items in one transaction and the limit is 40 per transaction.

Here is a breakdown of how I am shopping this sale.  First I checked the pantry for items that I may need. My goal is to have 12 of most items as I “plan” to fix each dish once a month. I don’t stick to this especially if we like something but it at least gives me a plan.  After making the list, I check my price book and/or Aldi to make sure if I can just purchase regular at Aldi at or below the cost.  Next is to check the sale ad to see which if any of the items are on sale for the week. My plan is to only buy items that are on sale or a best deal to round up to even dollar. The remaining items stay on my list and I will wait till the final week of the sale to purchase unless a better price comes first.

Here are the items and transactions I used this week.
Transaction #1
20 boxes of store brank gelatin (jello)  2/$1
10 boxes of pudding                             $0.72 each
5 packets of Gravy                               2/$1  but they only had 3 so the remaining 2 were $0.72 each
5 packets of Ranch Dip                        $1.09 each
Total out of pocket $26.54 and received $10 off next order

Transaction #2
20 cans of Tuna                               $0.78 each
15 cans of can veggies ( 10 mixed vegatables)  $0.68 eacyh
5 boxes of Tea                               $1.58 each
Total out of pocket $23.97  and Received $10 off next order

Transaction #3- This was things we needed and keeping as close to no out of pocket
2 packet shredded cheese     $2.00 each
Gallon of OJ                           $3.89
Packet of Diet Coke (for IBOTTA deal)  $2.50
Packet of Gravy                  $0.50
Total out of pocket $1.25 and received $1 off next order.


Other items that would make good deals if you did not need as much as we do on one item include 2L soda  $0.84 each, packets of Taco and Chill seasoning, and cans of beans for soups and chill.


Let me know if this helped.

5 Things Friday-9/16/2016


  1. We decided after our long and busy week, we need a treat tonight so we head out to grab some ice cream.  I am trying to balance life with budget. Tonight I am really glad to spend some extra minutes with my kids.
  2. Zach and Kendall both had eye appointments yesterday. I have recently been more concerned with Kendall and the degree to which her eyes cross. After discussion  with the doctor, unless they cross in the glass, we have nothing to worry about. The really good news is no more appointment for 6 months.
  3. We stopped by 5 below yesterday, all three of the kids got new headphones. As we start back traveling regularly, these are very needed items. I am hoping they will last at least a year.
  4. I don’t have to go or be anywhere tomorrow so my goals including getting ahead with some cooking and working on our new Autumn sign.
  5. Gas prices in our area have jumped by 15 cent in our area. Today, I heard that it was due to a break in a pipeline. I am really hoping they stop. We did feel the van yesterday so only paid $1.97 a gallon.