Sunday Savings 7/23/2017

This month, my focus has been not only saving money but specifically using up items in our pantry and freezers. Our stockpile runs over and I am starting to find some food that I know would not get used if I don’t force the issue or I had completely forgotten we have.  It sounds strange to say that I am trying to use food we have on hand in addition to freezing items from our garden but this is definitely the case. I have a menu plan in place until the first Thursday of September. This has a lot of wiggle room as I don’t plan until the week of for Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. We are starting to run low or completely out of some items that need to be replaced. I am trying to buy only what we are out of. After my purchased today, I am hopeful that we can avoid shopping all together till at least Mid August for even the basics.  Today, I specifically used “free money” to purchase most of the items. I did end of spending a total of $3.50 between CVS and Walmart.

CVS will occasionally send me a survey to complete with the promise of 10 ECB. I was able to complete one of these surveys for the first time in at least six months last week. I checked the sales last week and decide to wait for a better sale. The better sale occurred this week. Today, I picked up: 2-24 packs of water, 2 small tins of Altoids, a can of hair spray, a can of mouse, Irish Spring body wash and Dial hand soap. My total out of pocket was $3.33 with $4.50 in ECB back.  Because the reward was in ECB it does not cover tax so $.43 was actually sales tax. The only “need” on this list was for the waters and body wash.

I earned a $25 Walmart gift card by submitting my driving record on line. Matt used most of this card last week to purchase items that Lily needed to pack for her missions trip. I started the trip with $8.34 left on the card. Last night we discovered that we were completely out of several items, mayonnaise, Worchester sauce and cream cheese.  I did a little bit of research and discovered that I could also purchase a large box of cereal for less than $1.50. I needed to add $1.08 to my gift card in order to purchase all four items however I claimed $1.00 worth of rebates from Ibotta.

I am very excited and proud to be able to purchase the needed item for less than $4.

5 Things Friday 7/21/2017

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  1. I am so excited that our garden has finally started to produce some tomatoes. I have been able to harvest enough to get a basic level of diced tomatoes in the freezer and have made 3 batches of spaghetti sauce. The diced tomatoes are no where near what I consider enough but we are enjoying sandwiches and freezing some for now.
  2. Lily is on her first mission trip. She has been spending the week in Mami Florida. I am so proud of her, even if we all miss her.
  3. Our county swim meet starts today and goes through tomorrow. Kendall and Zach are both excited to finish up this season.
  4. Amanda is moving into a house close by. We have been spending a lot of time helping with this.
  5. I have not been to the grocery store in 2 weeks. I really want to focus on cleaning out the food we have here in addition to saving money. My prediction is that this week is one of the hardest as we begin to run out of our normal easy foods and need to look for things to enjoy. I do have a menu plan that does not require a grocery store trip until after our beach trip. I seriously wonder if we will be able to make it that long?

June Update

June was certainly not the month I expected it to be. We did not increase our income and we ended up with two major house repairs that have definitely knocked up back a bit with our debit reduction. We still are living very comfortable but July-October are going to mean some serious belt tightening.

Debit Reduction:  Failure
Due to the things stated above we actually have increased our debit by close to $1000 at this point. Ouch

Blog Post: Fail
I had 9 total blog post for the month. I can honestly say that June was an extremely busy month, including 4 afternoons for swim meets and a week long trip to Michigan. I have some very good intentions and plan so I hope to at least hit 15 this month.

Days on Treadmill: Zero
Water walking days-7  In addition to a full day of walking on Mackinaw Island.
I am actually documenting improvement in this year!

Groceries- Goal Met!  We spent a total of $405  for the month of June in groceries! This is a huge win as the past several months have been over budget!

Gas: $355 for the month. This is about $50 over budget but does include our entire trip which was 5 tanks of gas!

Earnings:  June was a positive month in this area as well. I am expecting some changes starting in July but our earning is consistently increasing. Total $220
Swagbucks: $100 for Me, $75 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $15
Shopkicks: $5
Ibbotta: 24.75

 

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.

5 Things Friday

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  1. June is a very promising month with lots of fun planned. The little kids are all on the swim team. We will participate in swim meets on Tuesday afternoons starting the second week in June.
  2. June is also a three paycheck month for me. I get two of these a year. Because I base my budget on two paychecks a month this become extra money. This extra money will be used to help fund our beach trip and other travel plans for the summer.
  3. We will be traveling to Michigan this month with plans to spend a couple of days on Mackinac Island. I really enjoy this trip with Amanda, Haley and Lily (at 9 months) and look forward for the younger guys to experience something totally new and different. Other plans include time spent with Matt’s family and of course Bronner’s.
  4. The Square Foot Garden is slowly starting to produce. This week I was able to harvest snap peas and squash. I am trying something new and “pre-breading” squash for frying. I would like to have 12 packets of frying squash and 12 packs of squash casserole for the freezer.
  5. Matt discovered a major leak in our main water line late last night. We will be repairing it ourselves not so much fun but necessary.

May in Review— April Review just Because

Yes you read that right, I totally skipped/never got around to posting an April in Review. I decided to included both with the best information I have available.  I know that I have some vacation time coming up so I am hopeful to get back on a better schedule. June looks to be a promising month and I am determined to make the best of it!

Debit Reduction:  April- our debt increased by $300.
May- reduction of overall debit by $550. This actually puts our overall debit at less than it was in February so it negated the increase with our payments this month!

Blog Post: April 10
May- 8
Work and our busy schedules have taken over but I am determined to get back on track this month.

Days on Treadmill: April- O
May- 3 days of water walking

Groceries- April – $601
May- $653.62
Both of these were very high spending month of us. Our yearly average is $658 a month and my goal is to reduce this over the summer.

Gas: April-$303.75
May- $275

Earnings:  April $170
May- $200- best month EVER
Matt has been able to earn around $1500 this month through a variety of side jobs and also an upgrade to one of this websites.

 

As I was typing up this update, I realized that April was a month of complete failure. I did not manage to come close to any of my plans or goals for the month. This is most likely why I did not get around to an update.  I am hoping for more steady progress in the next couple of month

Saturday Update 5/27/2017

As predicted, this past week has been busy. I have struggled this week and realized that I NEED to “Count my Blessing” more than I need to worry. So my plan for this update is to “Count my blessing, name them one by one, to PROVE what God has done.”

  1. The extra hours at work do mean extra pay. We are slow regaining financial ground and extra pay is always helpful.
  2. We scheduled a trip to Disney World for this November. I actually booked the trip almost a year ago. Because of the struggles we have been experiencing, I was considering changing/postponing the trip. However, God has provided a very unexpected but concrete method to ensure we can pay for  this trip. In the morning, I will be making dinning reservation.
  3. We are very blessed to be able to travel to Michigian this June to celebrate Matt’s father 90th birthday. This blessing is so much more real and important with the lost of my dad.
  4. Our square foot garden is growing and thriving, I have frozen several packs of broccli, made a squash side dish and the kids enjoyed a handful of snap peas. The plants all appear healthy and relatively bug free. I anticipate a good squash harvest this week and we should actually start with cucumbers in two weeks or less.
  5. The kids and I got to spend 6 hours at the pool today. We really enjoyed the time with friends and I was able to just sit for several hours.
  6. I somehow got a screw in my tire last Saturday. My brother was able to patch it on Sunday. The patch worked until Wednesday and then Matt was able to take to the dealship to have fixed.
  7. I will NOT be working on Monday. Instead the plan is to spend most of the afternoon/evening at the pool just enjoying life.

Seven is the perfect number and the number of completion so I will stop there. Do you have any blessing to share?

Update 5/21/2017

To say the last week has been busy and stressful would be an understatement in addition to the sad truth being that this coming week does not look any better. The business is cause by a couple of factors, first baseball and swim team are overlapping for at least 3 weeks in May. Next is my work schedule, which is entirely full with NO opening last week and no opening this week. I honestly don’t ever remember it being this full before. In addition to all the fun already mentioned, we have less than three weeks of school left which means end of year activities several days/evenings a week. I am so looking forward to a 3 day weekend over Memorial day. I am very hopeful that it will be an actual 3 day weekend but in reality I am going to assume that I will need to put a couple of hours of work in so that I will not be too disappointed next Monday, when I do end up working.

I am so very sad due to a death of a close friend this past week. At the funeral service today, someone said, “I did not realize that your heart can actually hurt but it does.”

Now on to more positive news, I think we have again weathered the financial storm and things are definitely starting to look better. Matt has been able to pick up some extra work which helps and I am working crazy hours which in the long run also increases our ability to stay overall on track for the year. I am planning to go back and post an end of the month update for April since it got missed, but May is definitely looking better and better.

Our square foot garden has started to produce small but taste items. I planted 4 broccoli plants earlier in the spring and have been able to harvest enough broccoli for at least 4 meals. This is really exciting for me as this is the first time that I have successfully grown broccoli. I may even attempt again in September when the weather starts to cool down.

One of my plans for the week, includes a HUGE trip to Costco. I managed to stay under budget for January, February and March of this year. But in April I was 50 over and I fully expect to be over by $100 or more for May. Because of the summer, I expect to remain at or under for June, July and August which will definitely balance things out a bit.

Bring on the summer with day spent at the pool.

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.

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.