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.


September in Review

September brought about some major changes from us. The first of which is that Matt started a part time job which will mean a weekly income. I have choice not to include his checks in our budget until after our trip. We will use the money to supplement what is missing and also to pay on the trip.

Debit Reduction:  We managed to hold the debit to the exact same level as August. This is not quite a success but a huge jump in the right direction over the last several month.

Blog Post: Fail
This is post number 12 for the month.  Life is busy and I have got to still find a good balance with work, kids and life. .

Days on Treadmill or Walking for Disney: 28!  This is a huge accomplishment! I am so excited!

Groceries- Success !  We spent a total of $392.08.This alone is a savings of $400 when compared to last month!

Gas: Goal Met! We spent $189 for gas including filling both our vans which is a $50 decrease from last month.

Earnings: We are continuing to make money via apps this month things are starting to improve but we also saw huge changes in MPlaces. I have been averaging $15 a month and now $5 is good. But free money is free money. 
Swagbucks: $100 for Me, $50 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $5
Shopkicks: $5
Ibotta: 21.78 (you can only cash out for greater than $20, so this amount has been building for a couple of month. And I don’t expect to cash out with this one again this year.)

Total for the month $190!

We officially have 55 days until our Disney Trip. My goal is to tight the belts and save as much as possible.  I will be going back to a cash envelope for groceries this month. I already have a menu plan in place so I am optimistic that we can keep the groceries down to $200 or less for the month. I do anticipate a trip to Costco but this will have to be part of my cash only. October also bring Amanda’s birthday. We will be going out to dinner but I have already given her a DVD player so that definitely will save on expenses.

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.

July in Review

July- Where did it go….

Debit Reduction:  Failure
We broke even for the month. This is an improvement from last month but still not where I want to be.

Blog Post: Fail
I had 12 total blog post for the month. Again an improvement from last month but still not where I want to be.

Days on Treadmill: Zero
Water walking days-7  Getting better……

Groceries- Goal Met!  We spent a total of $306.92  for the month of July in groceries! Second month in a row under budget with this and it did include our snack box for the beach trip.

Gas: $450 for the month. This is about $170 over budget which is the cost of annual inspection, tag and taxes on my van.

Earnings:  July was an awesome month for earning. Total $285
Swagbucks: $100 for Me, $75 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $10
Mileup: $100

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


  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?