Friday Finds

We have been very fortunate this week to find and be given some great items.  Since I have not done a post with bullet points in a long time this is a fun way to be random.

  • Food Lion had a sale on “Suddenly Salad” $1 each. We discovered last year that we could add chicken, cucumbers and or tomatoes to make a great lunch or pepperoni and tomatoes for a very different but just as good lunch. I grabbed 10 with plans to use weekly this summer.
  • Purchased tomato plants from a local nursery for 50 cent a plant.
  • Found a couple of blueberry bushes on clearance at Walmart for $3 and onion starters for $2. We planted the blueberries and placed the onions under our house in storage for next spring.
  • Use a $2 off coupon to purchase “Got2b ” hair spiking glue for $0.87 cent. I went to a CVS in High Point and the cashier tried to make me feel bad for using coupons. Didn’t work but seriously just scan coupons I promise they will work. We also grabbed Easter Twizzlers for $1.50 a bag.
  • Used gift cards earned from Swagbucks to purchase drinks for everyone at Starbucks.
  • Matt has been enjoying his birthday freebies including a drink from Dunkin Donuts
  • I used office depot rewards to purchase a pack of AAA batteries and a notebook. Spent zero out of pocket and earned another $14 in rewards to spend later.
  • We have been given several bags of clothes recently so the only purchase has been swim suits for swim team.

What are your good finds?

DIY Teacher Appreciation Gift

The first week of May is teacher appreciation week in our area, sounds like it may be a national thing as well. Unfortunately, I am not a craft person but I am excited to share my FREE gift this year. I do have to give credit to my mother as she suggested I give pots of mint.

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The plants are from my garden. I purchased one pot of mint last year and planted, so far I have separated several times and it continues to flourish. The pots were left overs from Kendall’s birthday party several years ago. Matt used his machine to come up with the cute quote which is “I am so happy you were MINT to be my teacher.” The kids used a sharpie to sign the bottom of the pots.  These are definitely my most crafty and frugal gifts so far!

Random Thoughts

The weather in North Carolina is just about as random as my thoughts and updates. Yesterday, it was 83 degrees and sunny, today 52 degree with rain and wind.

  • We are currently working on fourth week with no heat or air.  I am doubtful that we will make it a full six weeks because of the forecasted temperatures for the end of the week.
  • Our electric and water bill for the month of April are both significantly lower than budget. Our water bill is most likely due to fixing the leak that has been present in the front yard for six month or so. We are also utilizing our rain barrels for planting.The electric bill is from lack of heat or air and diligence in turning off things.
  • The weather has been helpful in some ways. Because it has been so warm, I was able to begin planting a full 3 weeks soon than I expected this year. I have been very cautious but our last possible frost date is April 30th. I currently have planted 14 cucumbers, 5 yellow squash, 15 sweet peppers, 2 banana peppers, 2 jalapeno peppers, 4 broccoli, 2 cabbage. I also have planted 5 asparagus plants for the future. My oregano, mint  and rosemary all survived the winter.  The plant is to finish planting the square foot garden this coming weekend.
  • I seriously did not think our schedule could get more full, but we were unable to attend piano last week because we did not have an hour of spare time.
  • I am spending part of the day cooking ahead for the week. I am scheduled to attend a continuing education class on Friday. The following week, I am working only 2 days as Kendall has field day on Monday and Zach has one of Tuesday.
  • Summer plans are starting to come together. Currently, we are planning a trip to Michigan in June and a trip to the beach in August. Swim team and lots of pool time will also be on the schedule.
  • We are planning a yard sale in mid May. The kids are actually sorting through toys and clothes today to add to the sell pile.
  • Lily has decided to continue in charter school for the next year!  We all agree that this is the right decision!

5 Things Friday 4/14/2017

  1.  The kids have really enjoyed Spring Break. Monday-Starbucks and Krispy Kreme Donuts. Tuesday- Zach spent the day with a friend. Wednesday- Day at the Zoo with Amanda. Thursday-Lunch at our favorite Sushi Buffet Restaurant, Friday- Celebrating Easter with Cross Walk.
  2. I did some shopping on Thursday. I used 2 printable coupons and grabbed 20 female disposable razors for free at Walmart. This should last for the summer!
  3. We purchased and planted several mosquito plants yesterday. I think I have decided to ask for a tree for Mother’s Day and not purchase any more plants. l will be purchasing vegetables for the garden.
  4. Lily has decided to attend charter school next year. She will finish her classes by the end of May
  5. We are planning a family dinner at my mothers. So I will be cooking or actually preparing crock pots most of the day tomorrow.

Eating on Vacation

As a family, one of the things we enjoy doing together is travelling. This works out well with the girls competition cheerleading in addition to Matt’s family being so far away and in several different states. By far, the most expensive aspect of traveling is food.  I have tried several different methods over the past several years to reduce this expense. I am very please with how my latest method work on our trip to the Myrtle Beach for the cheer competition.  Since December, I have been purchasing and earning gift cards to use on this trip.  I am excited that we ended up feeding 6 of us for each meal.  Gift cards were purchased each month and taken from our regular grocery budget. Total spent on food for four days for six people is $438.31 or $18 a person per day. However the actual amount spent is $174.86 or $7.28 a person. Since we normally do not eat out but once a month, this trip was definitely a treat and we managed to contain our cost!  I am planning to continue using this month as it does reduce our cash outlay and increases our enjoyment!

Below is a break down of each day.

Thursday- Breakfast at home!, Lunch KFC $24.71, Dinner P.F Chang’s $87.10  Total $112

Friday Breakfast IHOP (purchased gift card) $50.00 with tip. Lunch  Chili’s (purchased gift card) $40 with tip    Dinner Olive Garden to Go (used Buy One Take One) $37.86 Total= $127.86   Total cash $37.86

Saturday- Cracker Barrel (gift cards/no purchased) $54.00   Lunch- Left-overs or home made chicken nugget Lunchables      Dinner Steak and Shake  (gift card purchased) $50.00 with tip.  Total = $104.00  Total cash $0

Sunday Breakfast McDonald’s $24.45 (used McDonald app for savings)  Lunch Appleebees (gift card purchased) $49.00 Amanda paid the tip for this. Dinner- Wraps in parking lot. We did stop for TCBY yogurt $10.00 used gift cards and Krispy Kreme Donuts $10.34.  Total = 94.45  Total cash $35

March in Review

I am super behind on blogging for the month. Our cheer trip threw me off, in addition to our crazy busy life. I am hoping to get up several post in the next day or so.

Debit Reduction: This month our overall debt increased by $175. This is sad but because our trip was the last couple days of the month it had a negative effect. I will establish a goal to reduce our debit by at least 200 next month.

Blog Post: 14
Days on Treadmill: 0  Everyone feel we should get credit for the day we spent walking at the outlet stores.

Groceries- $220- This is a great success! I am hoping to keep spending down to $300 for the month of March. My favorite sale of the year is on but other than a trip to Costco this should be our spending for the month.

Gas: $370 spent. This is over-budget, we purchased new windshield wipers for all the vans and our trip to the beach is included on this purchase.

Earnings:  Matt and I combined for a total of $180 this month from our apps and Swagbucks. This is a higher number than both February and January.

I am a bit frustrated with us raising our overall debit but we needed and enjoyed our trip to the beach. I have high hopes for April, small changes over a long period of time always works.

Saving on Saturday 3/26/2017

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Today has been a good day. One of the main reason is that I was able to check off most if not all of my to do list!  In the process, I have been putting my idea of each little bit helps into practice. The list of the ways I am saving today is a great starting point for anyone who wants just a little extra.

  • My laundry goal for today is 15 loads, I currently have load number 13 in the washer. The ONLY reason that I have been able to complete so many loads is by hanging things up to try. I did SEVEN load of bedding today and all went outside. These would take at least an hour and half each to dry in the dryer so there is 11 hours that my dryer did not run. I also washed my uniforms, I chose to hang these as they last much longer and actually look less wrinkled. I also have a load of sweaters laying around drying. Spring is here and I seriously doubt I will be wearing most of these again. Total savings 15 hours of dryer use = $5
  • The heat is off!  I actually have a window open. The goal of course is to make it 6 weeks without use of heat or air. This will place us in mid May. By eliminating heat and air, our electric bill should drop below $200 for both April and May!  Total savings= $100
  • The kids spent a hour or so this afternoon painting wooden items for our outdoor sign. I was able to purchase these last year after Easter for 50% off. Hopefully I will get them hung and pictures posted for Wordless Wednesday. Total savings= $2
  • The girls asked for some flowers to place outside their playhouse. I decided to check out a local discount store this afternoon instead of heading to Lowes. We found flowers for $1.79 a six pack and dirt for $1.99 a bag. The girls enjoyed planting these flowers and even if they all die, I can replace for the same cost I would spend to purchase at Lowes.  Total savings= $10
  • I also stopped by the SAVE ALOT store to grab 6 cases of Diet Coke. Total savings= $6
  • Ate at home for all three meals today.  I made French toast for breakfast and also some croutons for salads to use up bread. Lunch was leftovers so that is the meal I am going to count toward saving! Total savings = $20

How did you save today?

5 Things Friday 3/24/2017

  1. I am starting to really enjoy my work schedule. I have two really long days on Tuesday and Wednesday but Thursday is my day off. I switched things up a bit and Friday (today) is designed to be a shorter day. This actually is giving me time in the morning at home to get ahead and I am home by 5 so dinner is very easy to enjoy.
  2. Matt is working Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. This is a great thing but it also means that I have some extra chores to finish as we have a competition next week and will leave on Thursday for a mini vacation.
  3. One of our planned activities for our  mini vacation is shopping at an Outlet Mall. I am very excited to grab a couple of Nike gift cards using Swagbucks. My goal is to get at least one pair of shoes for FREE!
  4. I have ended up shopping quite  a bit this week. Including two trips to Walmart and a trip to Food Lion and a trip to Lowes.
  5. Food Lion is changing things up and running my favorite sale of the year. This is the quarter back sale. I made a trip on Wednesday night and plan to make at least 3 more in the next month during the sale. This week I did a total of 3 transactions spending $57.

Monday Menu Planning 3/20/2017

I am very hopeful that Spring has finally arrived and will be staying around for awhile. This week, we have 3 baseball practices, 2 nights of cheerleading for each of the girls, piano, church and Matt will be working 3 nights this coming week.   Thankful our breakfast choices have definitely improved after a trip to Aidi on Sunday.

Breakfast–   Saturday-Breakfast burrito bowls.  Sunday- limited choices Monday-choices Tuesday- Spinach egg cups  Wednesday- Baked oatmeal. Thursday- choices .   Friday- Choices.  Choices include :  poptart , fried bologna,  eggs, grits, left-overs , toast or cereal.

Lunch- Zach and Kendall have sandwiches, chicken nuggets, , homemade lunchable and salads. I am taking left-overs this week. Nothing new or exciting here. I have gotten slack with taking my lunch so I already have a salad packed for Monday!

Dinner-  Saturday Sandwich and chips Dinner- Dinner out for  Haley’s birthday
Sunday- Lunch- Hamburger and hot dog’s at Mom’s   Dinner- Gumbo over rice
Monday- Grilled chicken pasta and mandarin orange salad
Tuesday- Chicken Enchilada
Wednesday-  Beef and Broccoli
Thursday-  left-overs or homemade pizza
Friday- Breakfast casserole.