Our Savings Today- 10/21/2017

sos

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!

Thursday Thoughts 10/05/2017

  • Yes, this week has been crazy busy, Monday night- Lily had practice, Tuesday night- Lily practice and Zach ballgame, Wednesday night Lily practice and Zach ball game, Thursday night- Lily practice and school night for Kendall and Zach. I also have been working at least 9 hours each day except Thursday to add to the crazy.
  • I was suppose to spend the day with my mom but she asked if I needs some down time today. THANK you Mom!
  • We have decided instead of trick or treating on Halloween, we are going to IHOP to get the kids free pancakes and use our gift card. Please don’t worry the kids will be trunk or treating on Sunday night and I am positive that we will have no shortage of candy
  • We are using a cash envelope system for groceries this month in order to control cost. The only downside is that I can’t fund the envelope until I get paid. We ended up digging up change to purchase sweetener and eggs this week.
  • I am super excited that we order the shirts and materials today to make our matching shirts for our Disney trip and the best part. Zero out of pocket! I can’t wait to show them off.
  • The weather is continuing to be weird, we have not had any rain in 19 days and temperatures ranged from 49 this morning to 80 this afternoon. The house is staying comfortable and I am refusing to use the air any more this year!
  • We ended up doing yard work this morning and I honestly think this is one of the last time we will be mowing grass this year!

Monday Menu Planning

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.

 

Thursday Thoughts- 9/28/2017

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.

5 Things Friday 9/15/2017

  1. We were unable to repair the kitchen faucet so we ended up purchasing a new one yesterday. We decided to go with a name brand and great warranty. It was expensive but this should be the last kitchen faucet that we ever buy.
  2. Lily is really enjoying the youth theatre this fall, they are working on “Annie” Each family is required to provide a silent auction item. We purchased 2 stainless steel cups and Matt has customized to make a special souvenir.
  3. We did end up spending more money than I had anticipated on groceries this month again. We also had to renew our Costco membership as well. The total spent for the month is $353. My strategy for the rest of the month is to avoid grocery stores.  I am sad that Food Lion is running their quarter back sale but I am not planning to go.
  4. I was able to score an awesome deal on soda. We managed to grab 4 cases for my mom, 5 8 packs for our Disney trip and 11 12 packs for us to use. Spending a total of $40.14!!!! This should keep us stocked until the end of November.
  5. I have returned to using a paper planner. Partially by choice and partly because of the new computer. EVERYONE is assigned a different color and so far I am liking the ability to glance ahead and behind.

Tuesday Thoughts 9/12/2017

  • Lily and Kendall both removed the training wheels from their bicycles this weekend.
  • We decided to go ahead and dig up our sweet potatoes as some of the vines appeared to be dying. It was a huge success with approximately 25# of sweet potatoes. These are completely free as we started the plants from the potatoes that were dug from the year before!
  • I was able to save 89% at CVS this week!  This is huge as they have been changing coupon policy and I have not been receiving many of the coupons I wanted.
  • The windows are still open in the house!
  • Matt remember that we no longer needed the digital convertor in our dinning rooms so he returned it. This should save us $2-3 dollars a month.
  • My goals for September and October were to keep the grocery budget and all other expenses as low as possible. I had not planned a Costco trip but it will be needed this week. I am still hopefully to keep the budget at half of it’s usual.
  • Our kitchen sink started to leak. Matt was able to repair it for less than $2!!!!

5 Ways We Are Saving 9/8/2017

  1. Tis the season for weddings at least in my department at work. Matt and I were able to make a gift this week. The bride to be really liked the gift as well. Total Saved $40.
  2. Windows are open!  This means no air conditioning and/or heat. We ended up running the air from Thursday to Monday last week but based on the predictions for our weather for the next 10 days and the average highs after those 10 days/ Our plan is not to use air until next spring!
  3. Eating from the freezers and pantry. I have a lot of food in our a stockpile. This month I am really sticking to the idea of eating what we have. The one exception is if we run out of a staple such as eggs. We currently do not have any sausage for breakfast but I am going to attempt to use lunch meat in omelets for the month.
  4. Staying at home, I know that I have said this before but I need to post it again for my benefit. If we don’t run out to pick up x then I am not spending money. I am also saving gas money!
  5. I wanted to have a no spend month but I needed a haircut this week, cost of $10. Matt is anticipating starting a job and is in need of black shirt and pants. We were able to locate 2 additional shirts at Goodwill but will most likely need a couple of pair of pants. We ended up spending $8.54 for the shirts.

How are you saving money?

Tuesday Thoughts 9/05/2017

  • My computer died on Saturday. I was thankfully able to get a replacement but I am still trying to re favorite and find all the things that I had carefully arranged on my monitor.
  • We ended up celebrating Zach’s birthday Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He had a great time. Thursday evening his friend came over and they played with Nerf Guns inside because it was raining. Friday night was cake and family. Saturday was a trip to ToyRUS and eating out at Red Robin. I am hopefully to get some picture up soon.
  • The weather here in North Carolina is much cooler than normal. We were able to turn off our air conditioning last week for a total of 4 days, have been running for 4 days and again turned off the air. I am very grateful for the stretches of time that we are able to not turn on the air. This is definitely the earliest I can remember not running air constantly.
  • September is going to be a no spend month for us.  Zach is playing Baseball so we will have the expense of games but unless it is broken and or empty then I really want and need to tighten down on our spending for September, October and November.
  • This weekend along with some major food preparation, I took a good inventory of what meats and other items that we have. Currently our plan is to purchase another cow in January and purchase chicken breast in February.
  • Lily auditioned for and received a part in the Lexington Youth Theatre production of Annie. She does not have a solo but we are all very excited for her to be part of this.
  • I have been successful at using my Electric Pressure cooker for 3 things this weekend. I am actually really surprised but glad that I have been able to use this and hopefully will get more use as the winter comes.

August in Review

The weather outside makes it easier to remember fall is just around the corner. And another positive note is that I see small progress.

Debit Reduction:  Failure
Summer is always a tough season for us in regards to spending. Accountability is going to make me get these number down.
Blog Post: Fail
This is post number 14 for the month. I am back to steadily increasing  I should hope to get back on a minimal of 15.  I did some checking and this is actually the closest I have came to meeting this goal in a long time maybe even this year.

Days on Treadmill or Walking for Disney: 16
Water walking days-1
I am so excited to see this being met. I hope to continue in the next couple of months as well.

Groceries- Fail!  We spent a total of $792.17.  I am hoping that we can manage a couple (or 3) months of low grocery bills in order to get us back on track.

Gas: Goal Met! We spent $211.35 for gas including filling both our vans today (31st) in anticipation of a price jump and maybe shortage.

Earnings:  August ended up being a good extra money month of us. We had a week break for our beach trip in addition to being out of data for the final week of the month which really affected MPlaces.
Swagbucks: $75 for Me, $105 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $10
Shopkicks: $10
Total for the month $200!

I am choosing to celebrate the small gains this month with extra money and gas budget met. I can also see progress toward all the other areas so even if we did not met this goal we are making progress.

Five Things Friday- 8/25/2017

Today I am going to post 5 things we are currently doing at our house. Some are an new attempt and others are ways we stay sane around here.

  1. Each child is responsible for their own laundry.  To break this down, you are responsible for getting your dirty clothes in the basket. A parent, usually Matt will place in washer and move to dryer, if you are younger than middle school. We started this several years ago, around the age of 2, a child starts helping put away the clothes after they are washed and folded. By Kindergarten, you should be folding and putting away most of your own clothes. Currently, Zach needs help folding socks and with some hang up clothes, he is second grade. Kendall, fourth grade is totally responsible for moving from dryer and getting put away properly. Lily, 7th grade, is responsible for doing her laundry completely.
  2. Clothes for school must be picked out and approved on Sunday afternoons.  This saves a ton of time each morning. The difficult part is “fun” weeks when you get to wear pajamas to school and such.
  3. Lunch and snacks for the entire week are planned and prepared on Sunday as well. The only excepts  are sandwich days. They must be planned but I try to make the day of for fresh bread. I will be the first to say this also encourages me to plan ahead so I don’t have to spend 15 minutes each morning figuring out what my lunch for the day is going to be or worse yet spending $7 for lunch in the cafeteria.
  4. 100 miles to Disney- We have our Disney trip planned for Thanksgiving. Our 100 day mark was just after our beach vacation. I enjoy walking down the beach but the kids really disliked it and complained about how far it was. Their complaining got on my nerves but also got me to thinking. I have read several times that you can walk up to 10 miles a day at Disney, this translates to several hours of whining which really is no fun. Here is my interesting solution- Each person needs to walk 1 mile a day in preparation. So far we are doing excellent. I am encouraged to see the kids walk and it is super motivating for me to make sure I get at least a mile of walking in.
  5. This is our newest thing. I am making the kids responsible for keeping all toys,clothes and crap out of their floors. Each night when I kiss them goodnight if they have stuff in the floor it will go in a bag. You may purchase the bag back for $5 at the end of the week. I started this yesterday and allowed extra time and reminders to clean up. My goal is by the end of December for this to become a habit and I wont have to reminder everyone to clean up before bed.