- I took a sick day today. This is the first time I have totally called in sick since working at the hospital. The last and only other time I have used a sick day was two years ago when Shingles put me out of work for a week. I am really tired tonight but at least feeling some better.
- I received my first paycheck of the year today. I am very excited that we were able to meet our the required obligations as budgeted. We also are starting a second checking account to use for monies that don’t have a designated name. This way, if the account has money we can spend without touching our budget. I want my budget to be as close to zero as possible but also a way to have some extra money.
- We decided to order pizza for dinner today, first because of how I feel and second as a little reward for working so hard at the budget. Total for dinner was $10.76!
- My goal for this long weekend (total of 4 day including today) is getting the snow village packed and put away.
- The weather here is crazy, school was delay one week ago because of the extreme cold, today it was 70* outside. The predicted temperature for Sunday is a high 35.
- I am on call Christmas Day. I am trying to plan around the expectation that I will need to spend at least a couple of hours at work.
- I am cooking dinner on Christmas Day to be ready at 5pm. Going to be very interesting due to #1.
- The menu for Christmas dinner is turkey (never cooked a whole one before), rolls (from the freezer), stuffing (using my sister in laws hack), cream corn (crockpot), green bean casserole (crockpot), cranberry sauce (with fresh cranberries, most requested by kids), turkey gravy (another first),deviled eggs, broccoli salad, 7 layer salad, (both will be made on Saturday). Lily is making sweet potato pie, candid pecans and brownies (from Costco) are the deserts.
- I was asked to teach the Beginner’s Class (2-3 year olds) this week at church. It is my absolute favorite “Jesus Birthday Party”. I headed to Walmart today to get the party supplies. It was crazy but I survived!
- The goal of Saturday is to clean out the refrigerator of left-overs so we can fill with Christmas food.
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!
- We leave for Disney next week! I am so excited. This will be our longest vacation ever!
- All five of us at home will be part of our Church’s Christmas musical. I am not excited about this because I have a small speaking part at least no singing.
- I decided this year to be a “minimal” year for Christmas decoration. I have my snow village in my bedroom. Our huge Christmas tree in the living room and the girls both have small trees in their rooms. I am excited to be finished!
- December is a 3 paycheck month! This is awesome timing as it gives up spending money for our vacation!
- In addition to be a minimalist in regards to decorating, Christmas gifts are the same way. I am planning on 3 gifts from us and 1 from Santa. This is a HUGE change as my older girls remember the 12 days of Christmas, where we opened one gift each day and still have several for Christmas morning.
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!
- 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!
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.