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.

5 Things Friday 8-11-2017

  1. This is our beach vacation week. It has been awesome to spend time with all 5 kids and my mother at the same time.
  2. The weather has been less than ideal with storms and rain most of the week except for today!  The kids and Matt rode jet skis this morning and then we spent the rest of the day on the beach.
  3. i am usually a little kid person but I am really enjoying this age of the little kids. They are pretty self sufficient but like to hold my hand while walking,
  4. i have never had a problem with my life proof case on my phone until today. My phone got wet and started acting wired. It is drying out and seems to be working better so hopefully it is not a total loss.
  5. Our biggest decision of the week……to head home on Saturday night or Sunday morning…. decided to let the weather decide!IMG_2569

Wordless Wednesday- Baseball

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Thursday Thoughts – Electric Pressure Cooker

I was so excited and pleased when Amanda purchased me a electric pressure cooker for my birthday and even let me start playing with it early.  I have been watching for about a year and it was on my list of things I wanted but could not justify.  I was planning to LOVE it!  But I have waited a full two weeks before writing this post because I really don’t love it.  I am not even sure I like it.  I am also thinking that once I learn this appliance and find the right uses for it I will LOVE it.  For the present here are some things I have learned.

  • When reading a recipe I really wish that it would say, Allow 30 minutes to pressurize.  This is major reason that I am not in love with it. I have been searching out recipes and reading where it says Cook for 15 minutes. So my brain says ok I can make this in less than an hour. Nope hold up, I need to add 30 minutes to my time in order for the pot to pressurize.
  • BBQ Chicken legs  will be the bomb. I even cooked chicken wings today without unthawing so this will be a great thing to remember when I have not laid out meat to unthaw and need a good meal in an hour.
  • Cheesecake is the bomb in the pressure cooker. I can’t wait to try this desert again.
  • Sunday Soups are going to be much easier especially beef stew. I made a trial run on Sunday and it was easy and really good!
  • Frozen ground beef is easier to unthaw and fry in large batches or even small batches and makes less of a mess than trying to use the electric pressure cooker.

I guess in the end, I prefer my Crock pot for the ease, clean up and convenience.

5 Things Friday

  1. Our square foot garden is producing just not in the manner we had hoped for. Today, we picked our first watermelon, we have pimentos and a variety of peppers. a few tomatoes and a few cucumbers. I did invest in two additional tomato plants that I hope will provide a second and third harvest of tomatoes to place in our freezer.  I have frozen green peppers so far and we have enjoy cucumbers and tomatoes.
  2. I was able to complete some summer cleaning this week and place 8 totes of yard sale items in the attic.  I also am catching up and reducing the to do list for the summer. The goal is to spend a couple of weekends just relaxing by the pool.
  3. One of the area that got a “clean up ” was our kitchen pantry. I am very determined to reduce our spending on food during the next two months. This will involve a couple of things, using the items we have on hand instead of purchasing anything new. For example, we do not have any red spaghetti sauce but do have 5 cans of Italian style tomatoes. I plan to use those to make a homemade version instead of purchasing more. Next to achieve this goal, meal planning becomes so important. I even started writing plans for August on the calendar in order to use some of the hidden items in the pantry.
  4. Because of my work schedule in addition to Tuesday being the Fourth of July, I honestly feel like I have worked three Mondays this week.
  5. Lily will be leaving on her first ever missions trip next Saturday. This should be an interesting experience to say the least.

Things I Learned This Week

  1. The amount of daylight and the time the sunset changes dramatic if you travel far enough.  In Michigan, I noticed one night that is was 9:15 and still daylight outside. I actually watched a second time to make sure I was not crazy and the sun did not set until 9:45pm.  We were on the far west side of Michigan but still crazy to me that it varies that much.
  2. Driving at night is ALWAYS the quickest and best way to travel even with kids that are “older”.  On the trip to Michigan, we left at midnight and travelled until after 5am,when  we needed gas before making the first stop. On the way, home our longest stretch of driving was from 8:30pm until 11:30pm.
  3. Check the weather prior to travelling and remember to take at least one extra change of clothes. I had everyone pack one pair of long pants and a jacket in our suitcases. The night we left North Carolina, the temperature was 75*, the same day in Michigan the high was 68*.  Our jacket needed to be in the car with us and we could have worn at least one other day of long pants if not two days with warmer clothes. It was also VERY wet in Mackinaw City. My pants were wet and I did not bring another pair to change into.
  4. Mackinaw Island is home to 17 different fudge shops, 2 Butterfly house and has a motorized fire truck and ambulance.
  5.  In Mackinaw City, where we stayed two night, most business are open from April to October only, including Starbucks.
  6. It is fun to just explore and take suggestions. One of my favorite stops this trip was the Soo Locks. We only ended up seeing this because it was raining and I asked on Facebook for suggestions.
  7. The fort on Mackinaw Island was taken by the English in the War of 1812.

5 Things Friday

  1. Today is one of my “extra” paychecks. I budget for 2 paychecks a month so on the 2 months a year that I receive 3 paychecks it allows a little bit of wiggle room. This time the majority of the check is going to travel. We are headed on two major week long trips this summer.
  2. Our garden is starting to produce. We are enjoying squash, zucchini, cucumbers and peppers. I have also harvest and frozen basil and oregano. I have been disappointed so far with the cucumbers but there is still hope. I am most excited about the watermelon. We already have one that is soft ball size with lots of blooms and other small one starting to form.
  3. The first week out of school has been just as crazy busy as the weeks before school ended. Monday night was swim team practice. Tuesday night was suppose to be Swim Meet but a storm cancelled that so we headed to Costco. Wednesday night- I got confused and we ended up relaxing at the pool for an hour. Thursday- make up swim meet. Friday- yard work.
  4. We recently lost a close friend who was the spouse of our piano teacher. The girls got a 5 week break from lessons but I am thankful they resume this week. Zach will be attending a reading camp in July so as you can see we are staying busy.
  5. Extra earning this month have been awesome. The current goal is to purchase Zachary’s birthday present with these earns in addition to adding to our Disney fund.