This has been an extremely busy day but I have a huge feeling of accomplishment!
The first exciting announcement of the day….Kendall will get her braces off February 1st! She has already counted the days until her next appointment! Along the same line, Lily has an appointment that same day and I anticipate that we will begin with braces for her.
Next a little background. In December of last year, we purchased a 800 pound cow. We have been enjoying this meat, and have already placed an order for a second cow. Unfortunately, it will most likely be March before we can claim our cow. Another piece of information is that since September, I have been limiting our food budget and trying to get a good handle and use out of the food we have in storage, this also has been a huge saving for our budget. My initial plan was for a huge grocery trip the first week of December after we returned from Disney. Then life/ Disney happened, I remembered to pay our Verizon bill during out trip and even told Matt that I had paid it. But I forgot to record it in our bank account. So in preparation for the huge trip, I was checking out our account and found the mistake. The good news is that we were not complete broke nor did it cause anything to be over drafted. So we decided to put our major trip on hold.
Fast forward to today, Matt has significantly increased his hours at Dollar General and he also is designing a new site, so we began the process of restocking our freezer and panty. Part of our day was spent at the local meat market and we also made a fun trip to Food Lion. I will admit, we still are planning a huge Costco trip this weekend as well. I found frozen turkeys at the meat market at my buy price, so I purchased one for Christmas and a second one for the freezer. We also purchased 20 pounds of ground beef, which has been fried and divided into one pound bags. We also purchased several hens to cook later and chicken wings for our planned Super Bowl Party.
The next stop we will call “Our Christmas trip to Food Lion.” Because of the extra income and the fact that we have been lean for so long, we spent time buying some items that we normal do not purchase or enjoy. Zach was with us and we let him pick out several items. Even at 8, he is aware of what a sale is and that we usually don’t purchase things unless they are on sale. This is honestly the least plan shopping trip I have made in a long time. I did print and use several coupons from the coupon machine, found some sales that I knew were at or below my price point and then we splurged. We ended up spending $137 at Food Lion and saving $45. I think this is awesome for an unplanned trip.
To end the day, we decided to go to Sonic for the BOGO boneless wings. I was really unsure of how many to buy so I ended up with 48 boneless wings which fed us dinner with Haley. I have lunch for tomorrow at least and Matt has several meal. We will definitely participate again with this deal but spend $10 instead of $20.
Menu Planning has taken on a new level and meaning this week. I “forgot” to record the paying of a bill last week. This mistake meant that we were not able to make our huge restocking trip to Costco on Thursday as we had originally planned. Instead, we scaled way back and spent less than $100 to purchase meat and several other items that we were completely out of. This week, the plan is to shop on Saturday. I know this is not the smartest thing we could do but it will be easier this Saturday as opposed to next Thursday prior to Christmas. This weeks menu plan is simple and uses what we have or were able to purchase last week.
Breakfast- Saturday- Cereal and milk. Sunday-Big Breakfast ( eggs, bacon, grits and toast), Monday thru Thursday Choices or cereal and milk, . Friday- Baked oatmeal-Choices of eggs, fried bologna, grits, French toast or toast.
Saturday- Kids ate at Amanda’s, Matt had Burger King and I had Biscuit King (both Matt and I ended up working) Sunday- Baked Potato Soup in Instapot. I am so excited that this worked and turned out awesome! Lunch are planned out with a special treat on Thursday of IHOP since everyone has doctor appointments and we have a gift card left over from our trip!
Dinner- Saturday- Chili from crock-pot. Sunday- Burger King (total of $5 after gift card), Monday- Pork Chops with stuffing and green beans. Tuesday- Spaghetti Wednesday- Salisbury Steak, rice and fruit. Thursday- not sure yet but it may just be left-overs. Friday- Church dinner!
To be honest, I am starting to get a little freaked out over here, the pantry and especially the freezers are starting to look empty. Don’t get me wrong, we are not out of food. In fact I sat down today and planned out our meals through the month of November and we have enough to cover that many meals if we use what we have and don’t just give up. So I am trying to make myself more accountable by posting a meal plan in addition to any failures (going out to eat) that occur.
Breakfast- sadly all the cereal has been eating. Our standard choices now are toast, French toast, eggs/omelets and fried Bologna. Saturday- Omelet with green peppers, onions and cheese. Sunday- Sausage,egg and cheese biscuits. I will say that keeping chopped onions and green peppers make life much easier and quicker in the morning. Monday and Tuesday – choices, Wednesday- Baked oatmeal, Thursday and Friday choices.
Lunch- I did buy a couple of items to use for lunch this week. Saturday- McDonalds, Sunday- Wraps and left-overs. Kids are having sandwiches, grab and go, tomato soup and wraps. I have a salad for Monday, Orange Beef for Tuesday, Chicken Salad wrap on Wednesday and soup on Friday.
Dinner- Saturday- Chicken from Costco, potato salad and slaw from the party Amanda gave last week. Sunday- twice backed potatoes and more left-overs (yes we need to clean out that many) Monday- Steak Fajitas (using beef stew) Tuesday- Taco, Wednesday- Chicken and Broccoli, Thursday- debating between left-overs soup or Breakfast. Friday- steak and baked sweet potatoes.
Now to just stick to the plan!
In preparation for our trip, we have been taking inventory and making a list of needed items. The goal is that once we start packing, I don’t have to run out in a panic to grab items. A unique challenge is that this trip is actually longer than our normal ones by 3 days. I also have absolute no plans for doing laundry on vacation. The girls , Kendall and I spent most of the day in Winston- Salem shopping but we manage to maintain some decent savings as well.
But first, I am going to start with Matt’s savings, one of the blogs I regular follow Couponing to Disney, posted yesterday about combining Dollar General digital coupons and Ibotta. Matt was able to purchase 8 20 oz drinks for $10.17 in the store. He came home and submitted the items to Ibotta and with a $5 bonus received back $8 in rebates. This puts his total out of pocket to $2.17 for 8 drinks or 27 cent each. Total Savings $9.50
The girls and I stopped for lunch between piano and shopping. I used my McDonald’s app to grab 10 chicken nuggets for $2. Because we always carry drinks, our total was $7.91 to feed all three of us. For the sake of fairness I am only count the saving from the app in my grand total. App savings $1.98
Last week, I received a “rebate/coupon” from a “settlement ” with the Justice company for $30. I vaguely remember filling out a form online. Lily was able to find 2 bras she liked for a total out of pocket of $1.92 cent. Total Savings 30.00
Our next stop was JC Penny. I will admit to splurging on several items that were not on my “need” list but I am so glad I did. We ended up purchasing 4 bras, 2 dresses (that matched) and a pink pair of converses for Kendall. I saw the person in front of me use a coupon and asked. The sales associate had a coupon for 15% off. I was also able to use a $10 reward coupon that was sent with my new credit card. Total Savings $42.11
During the inventory I realized that I was in need of some items as well. I headed to Lane Bryant where I asked to ring up 2 separate purchases to use a coupon that was sent via text twice. Total Savings $93.
Kendall requested to go to Walmart to check out the Christmas Ornaments, she has a $25 gift card from her birthday to use for this purpose. I did purchase 5 2-liter Diet Coke. Total Savings $2.50
Grand total for saving today $179. Not bad for a Saturday in my book!
I did spend some time looking at the food we have available for the next couple of month. We definitely have enough meat but the real trick is that we need to use parts of the meat that are not always our favorites or that I don’t know how to change up. This should get interesting in November in regards to meal but prior to then, I think if we can stick to the plan, we will definitely be ok.
Breakfast- Saturday- Cheese grits (used American cheese instead of cheddar) Sunday- Cereal. Monday- baked oatmeal. Tuesday- Choices, Wednesday- Choices. Thursday- Biscuits, Friday- choices. Choices include- left-overs, eggs, French toast, cereal or toast.
Lunch- Saturday- Leftovers Sunday- Panda Panda for Chinese. We were at Walmart on Saturday and the kids grabbed 5 lunchables each to make it through the week. I am going to be taking left-overs, soup or tuna this week in random order.
Dinner- Saturday- Pizza soup. Sunday- Pizza or Left-overs . Monday- Fajiti Rice Casserole or left-overs , Tuesday- chicken nuggets Wednesday- Chicken Enchillas Thursday- Steak Fajitas using beef stew Friday- Salisbury Steak rice and carrots.
The stomach bug has been making its’ way around our house this week. Zach was sick on Monday and Tuesday. He ended up missing his first baseball game and we ended up with a extra night at home. Today, Kendall threw up before school and Lily started around lunch-time. Thursday is my usual day off but I had also taken tomorrow off to go to an Antique festival with my Mom. Unfortunately, the plan has change and I am now going to be spending the day at home with the girls as Matt is scheduled to work.
I had stocked up on Sprites and Gatorades a couple of weeks ago. So the girls are using those along with rice and ritz crackers.Â
Lucky for me I actually have lots of things that need to be done around the house that will keep me occupied at least for a couple of days. My overall goal is to stay at home and NO spending. Today, Thursday, both Matt and I are home so it was easy to get things done and I already had a short list of things that needed to get done.
We washed and hung out to dry all of the sheets and comforters. Matt had washed Zach’s already that is why we have at least one load less than usual. I counted a total of seven loads that were hung out today. I am guessing that would be at least a total of 10 hours of dryer time that was saved.
I am finding some deep cleaning that needs to be done. We ended up cleaning screens and windows last night. I will admit this has been on my list for a couple of weeks but man they do look good. This afternoon, we ended up spending some time cleaning in the kitchen. I know that both the refrigerators could still use some work but for the present everything else is as clean as it has ever been. I am planning to work on some problem areas in the bathrooms tonight as well.
Another way that I am spending my time today is menu planning. I have a plan in place for the month of October. I will need to purchase a couple of galloons of milk and at least 6 dozen eggs next month but my overall goal is to keep the grocery budget at $150 for the month.
Hopefully by Saturday everyone will be back to normal and I can enjoy a nice relaxing day.