I mentioned yesterday that we had purchased a trailer of mulch. The cost of the mulch was $15. I was totally amazed at the amount of mulch that we received. Here is a picture of the trailer AFTER I worked on spread for a couple of hours on Friday night.
This was a picture of the mulch uncovered about half way through Saturday.
I have never purchased mulch this way before. I am used to purchasing by the bag at Lowes. I would have been able to purchase approximately 7 bags at Lowes during the best sale which is $2 a bag. This was ALOT of mulch. We were able to apply mulch to all 3 flower bed around the house in addition to the two areas in front of the building and the new area I started in front of the kids play house.
Finally I decided to add mulch around the square foot garden and mulch in the area directly beside several of the beds. I have been doing some research and the mulch should help maintain the temperature better, hold water and prevent weeds.
I will admit defeat, I was unable to use the entire trailer of mulch, left approximately a fourth of the mulch for someone else. It did take a lot of effort or more accurately plain old hard work but we saved over $200 in mulch.
We received our income tax return today. I was very determined to use it in the most efficient way possible. In order to accomplish this I have spend the better part of the morning, looking at budgets and trying to put together some plans and strategies. One of my main concerns and areas of focus was “known” expenses. These are expenses such as yearbooks, pool dues, brakes, and oil changes that I know are coming at some point. These are also where I feel like I really don’t plan enough. I have tried to come up first of all a list of these expenses and more importantly a plan to pay them. My overall goal is to be able to set a budget and any money saved from that budget can be used to help cover kids expenses, or reduce our debit. Currently it is more like a move money to cover this expense but opps now I need to cover this expenses. I am overall really pleased with where I think we stand as far as a budget goes.
The tax return will be used to cover the deposit on our beach vacation in August. The rest of this will be paid from my “extra” check in June. We will also replace the windshield in my van, replace the brakes on Matt’s van and get an oil change for his van. The rest of it and our state return will be used to help fill some gaps that I have identified in our budget.
The weather for the last few days has been cloudy but with temperatures in the low 70s. We have turned off the heat and opened a couple of windows. Both our electric and water bill have decreased in February but an extra week without heating and air goes a long way. Matt has also been able to stop a leak in the hall bathroom and did some minor repairs on the dryer. We are very hopeful that these small changes will bring both bills down to a lower level.
A huge surprise or change that we expect in March is a reduction of our cable television bill. With Septrum our bill that we just received jumped $35. We have made no changes to our service. Matt called and it was a “your promotional period has ended” increase. We are currently researching options and will honestly give Septrum one last chance to match our current price. If not then we are cancelling our landline and switching to HULU live. This change will save us around $40 a month. I know that the first two months saving will be used to purchase one additional box for our televisions.
The thing I am most excited about is my plan to purchase mulch and all plants for the Square Foot Garden this year with earning from Swagbucks. In the past, I have used the grocery budget for these purchases but this way the pressure is off to “harvest ” enough to cover the expenses!
I am reminded today that we start in November next week, so I need to be thankful for even the small things.
First Matt was able to design and create some really cool shirts for our Disney Trip. The best part is that we purchased both the shirts and the vinyl using gift cards earned from Swagbucks so total out of pocket equals ZERO.
Next the weather has finally started to feel like fall. In fact we are suppose to receive our first official frost this week. Because I was able to get off work earlier today, we picked the rest of the pepper and pimentos from the garden. I froze 4 cups of green peppers and saved enough for several omelets in the next week. We have been searching for ways to save money. I am thankful to have discovered two. First Matt has been able to arrange Roku boxes in the house so that we have turned in 3 of our cable bill. I am thinking that this should reduce our total cable bill by around $30 a month. The best part is that it will not affect any of our viewing! Next, because we are attempting to eat out of our freezers and pantry for the last couple months of the year, we are able to clean out and unplug one of our freezers. This will also allow it to be clean really well prior to our purchase of a cow next year. I am also thinking that after our trip we should be able to turn off a refrigerator as well. Finally, by watching the weather and opening and closing windows we are currently in our second full week of no heat or air.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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?
- Overall, I have been really disappointed in the amount of vegetables that we have been able to harvest from the garden this year. But each time, I say that or think about it, I realize that we have not had an abundance but we did harvest enough. We have enough diced tomatoes to last till next summer in addition to 4-5 containers of spaghetti sauce. We have had enough cucumbers to enjoy in salads but not enough to make relish. We have enough squash frozen for the entire year. We also definitely have enough peppers. I am beginning to wonder if this is not something that we need to learn. Enough is enough to be thankful for.
- We did not harvest any corn this year. After two years of very poor performance, I know that we need to move this to a different bed. I am not sure if it is the seeds or the soil or a combination of both that is the problem. I do have enough seeds in the freezer to try again next year so I am going to try to corn in both the “squash bed” and in the long front bed.
- We have really enjoyed the watermelon from the garden. The watermelon have been small in size but we are definitely keeping the watermelon in the same spot for next year. Currently, we have eaten 6 watermelon and have 4 more ripening.
- I am really disappointed in the amount of tomatoes so I am going to try a different bed with the tomatoes as well. Currently, I am thinking that I will plant tomatoes in the corn bed, using large tomato cages to support the growing vines.
- The biggest surprise this year from the garden has been the pimentos. I planted one plant on a whim. We are really enjoying homemade pimento cheese spread. Next year we will definitely double if not triple the number of plants.
On a side note, I am hoping that I can locate this post next spring before planting!
I am continuing to try and find ways to love my instant pot. On Friday, I read that you could brown ground beef using frozen meat, so I gave it a try. I will have to say that honestly it was more work than it was worth. I did have success with beef stew on Sunday so at least I can make a new delicious Sunday lunch now.
Our other really good food news of the week is that our garden is continuing to produce, not huge amounts but just enough. I have already frozen what I hope is enough diced tomatoes for the winter. My goal over the next couple of weeks is to collect enough tomatoes to make a batch of spaghetti sauce a week, this means I need to collect 8 pounds of tomatoes. We are also eating tomatoes on a daily basis, if I cant collect the 8 pounds I will continue to freeze half cup packages for the winter. Matt harvest pimentos and made an awesome homemade pimento cheese but my favorite still remains the watermelon we are getting.
Finally in food news, we are continue to plan and eat out of the pantry and freezer, I currently have a meal plan until September but with school starting we may have to make some small changes to this.
Breakfast– Saturday-Biscuit King-treat before the swim meet. Sunday- French toast with a freezer stash made as well. Monday-Choice Tuesday- Sausage biscuits and gravy Wednesday- Choices . Thursday- Pancakes . Friday- Baked Oatmeal with blueberries?. Choices include : eggs, grits, left-overs , toast or cereal, pop-tarts
Lunch- This week sandwiches and left overs make the list for lunch. No special plans at all.
Dinner- Saturday-Lunch-Pasta salad . Dinner- -Pizza from gift card
Sunday- Lunch-Beef stew in instapot . Dinner- left-overs
Monday- Hamburger helper and fresh green beans
Tuesday- Taco Tuesday
Wednesday- Breakfast casserole
Thursday- Coconut shrimp if I am home.
Friday- Pulled pork and glazed carrots.
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