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.

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?

5 Things Friday- Christmas Edition

  1. With my ever changing crazy schedule at work, I ended up having a half day off on Monday and another half day off today. I did enjoy the extra time with the kids today!
  2. I am actually head of schedule with our preparation for Christmas Day. I should only have a few hours of work tomorrow and then be able to enjoy the entire day off Sunday! Here is a list of my original plan, I have been able to go ahead and prepare all three of the casseroles today. I let each of the little kids help with one so it took twice as long but really was nice to spend extra time with them.
  3. The insurance company has already settled with me in regards to my fender bender last Friday. I am have really amazed and happy with how smooth it has been. After discussion with Matt, we are not going to have the van repaired, instead that money will go to pay on our planned Disney World trip.
  4. December has been an awesome month for extra money coming in. So far we have cashed in $200 for Swagbucks and at least 50 via Mplaces.

Ways I Am Earning Money

I have been using all three of these for several months now so I am confident that they are legit. You will notice up front I am not making an income but extra money is extra money.

  1. IBOTTA- this is an app on my iPhone. I actually have been using for over a year now. I earn extra slow on it because I don’t look at it until after my trips to the store, if I purchased something on the list great if not so what. I earned approximately $20 in the last year but no money spent so a great extra.  To use you simply download the app and every time you shop you pick your store and see what rebates are available. To claim a rebate you first either watch a short video or answer a question, then you must scan the bar code of the items and barcode on receipt. I have to submit a picture of my Costco receipts but not difficult at all.
  2. MPlaces- another app on my IPHONE. This is like a GPS. The idea is that you “check into” all the places you visit in a day. You can complete 25 daily check in each day and you also receive “prizes” for the check-ins completed the day before. I use this app at stoplights. I will occasionally pull in a parking lot to complete several additional check-ins if needed. I compare this to “Pokémon Go” except I am receiving actual money for this. Just to give you an idea, I try to achieve my 25 check in daily mainly at stoplights and typically earn 500 points a day. I cash out at 12500 for a $5 gift card and start again. I usually watch a couple of short videos as part of the “prizes” so this increases my points as well. Matt has linked his tweeter account and received 10 extra points for tweeting each check in but I don’t have a tweeter account so that does not work for me.  Currently, I am earning about $5 a month again not a windfall but it is easy and does not require extra money
  3. Swagbucks- This one is easy to do but difficult to explain. I am going to give some step by step instructions and examples of how I complete. If you have a question ask I love to help people earn extra money.  First this is an app but I usually complete on the computer.   You can find a bit of everything and many different ways to earn swagbucks. I typically take surveys and watch videos. Here is a referral link that will take you directly to swagbucks.  This link will not hurt or cost  you anything to use but it does link you to my account and I get 1 SwagBuck for each 10 you earn. I want to stress that I am not taking anything from you but am being rewarded for getting you signed up. Ways to earn include:
    1. Everyday I go to the left side of the page and complete the daily survey(1), daily crave (1) and Daily Offers (NOSO) which is 2. The key to Daily offers is to hit the skip button until you get to the end. I NEVER fill in any  information.
    2. At some point during the day, I will open the SwagTV app on my IPAD and run the movie trailers. They will usually just run without me having to touch. You can earn a total of 10 swagbucks this way.
    3. Watching videos- Click the watch button on the right side. I usually start with NCrave videos which again is a button on the right side. Find the auto run ones because they will run without you interacting. A couple of tips I have learned is that you can not run two of the same type of videos at the same time, however you are allowed to watch an NCRAVE in one window and a regular video in a second window.
    4. Surveys- These can be found under Answer. I usually set a time limit for myself and if I have not qualified for a survey within 20 or 30 minutes I simple stop.
    5. Purchases online- If I am planning to make an online purchase I will go through shop first to see if it will qualify. I did purchase my new freezer this way and had no trouble using my Home Depot account with it. I am planning to make reservations this way as well.
    6. Subscriptions- I will state upfront that I only purchase things that I would normally buy and only if making money. Today I purchased the Birch Box subscription which is under discovery. I paid $9.99 out of our grocery budget and received 1500 SB ($15) these credit instantly.
    7. Searching the internet- You can be rewarded for searching using the bar at the top of the screen. This is very random and never certain so I use if I remember.

At the top of your swagbuck screen you will see several items one is your daily goal. This changes daily, by reaching your goal,  you receive the extra SB, for example today my goal is 90 to receive 8SB and 106 to receive 10.  These extra SB are awarded separately once a month between the 1st and 15th. I usually stop after reaching one or both of my goals for the day. If I qualify for one survey and reach my goal, I stop. This way I don’t spend more than an hour a day on swagbucks. Under the smiley face are your record and is pretty self explanatory.  They usually issue 1 or 2 extra swag codes a day but I usually miss because I am at work.  So how much am I earning. I try to earn 100 SB a day but this is about 60% of the time. I am earning approximately $50 a month with this. This money goes straight to my Disney trip.


Any questions? Let me know if you have any success!





Five Things Friday

  1. Today is the fifth Friday of July which also means I receive my third paycheck for July. I am paid every two weeks but budget based on two checks a month. This third check will cover our trip to the beach and our grocery overages for the past couple of weeks.
  2. Tomorrow night we are planning a “girls night in” as Zach is spending the night with Amanda. Matt will be working.
  3. Tonight is the end of one of the two “quiet” weeks of the summer. Piano and cheerleading were all the activities for the week. Next week is back to busy with a trip planned to Emerald Point and the girls have sign language camp all day Friday.
  4. My best friend used the same analog yesterday to explain MPLACES as I have been thinking all along. It is like Pokémon Go, as I am always trying to “check in” places at stoplights but in two months I have earned $15 in gift cards.  MPLACES is an app on my phone, ask me more if you are interested.
  5. I have officially booked our next trip to Disney. The goal of this trip is to pay for all or as much as possible by using apps and other found money. This money will not come from our regular budget at all and does not including saving on any bills or the differences in budgeted amounts vs. amount spent.

Monday Musing 1/25/20016

  • We have 5 weeks before Zach and Kendall start back to school and 4 before Lily begins her adventure in a Charter School. The next three weeks are what we consider slower because the girls have cheer on Monday and Thursday. They will also have piano once a week.
  • I was able to make a deposit on our next Disney trip this week using money that we have earned from Swagbucks. Matt and I are both using this site to earn extra money. I am so excited. The goal of this trip is to totally pay for it with money not included in our regular budget!
  • Our garden has not produced like we had hope but one of the biggest reason is the heat. Currently in NC, we are experiencing Day 26 of the summer with highs in the 90s. A typical summer is 29 days of 90 degree temperatures.
  • Matt has assembled the new water barrel to start collecting any rain water. Hopefully we will be able to water the garden on a regular bases without increasing our water bill.
  • I did plant 3 additional tomato plants and a dill plant this weekend with hopes of increasing our harvest.
  • We have really enjoyed our 2 trips to Emerald Point, a water park, this summer. We hope to go a couple more times but plan on spending only 4 or 5 hours at the park instead of 8.
  • The plan for August is to re-stock the pantry so our spending may be really close to budget.

5 Things Friday


  1. Tonight, while the kids watched Toy Store, I was able to spend a couple of hours with our budget. I am relieved to say that I have developed a plan that should get us back on track for the year by August. We had several big set backs in May including a contract for Matt that fell through and the freezer.  I have been avoiding looking at the accounts but made some realistic decisions and have a plan. I know that continues to provide for us but I also realize that I have to work with the income we are given.
  2. Matt is on board with planning a Disney trip in November 2017. My current goal is to use Swagbucks to place the deposit in September or October. This trip will be paid for entirely from outside my income. It is a huge challenge but something I want to prove I can do.
  3. Our new freezer is AWESOME. We still need to install the solar powered fan in the building to help protect it but yesterday I was able to re-organize all the freezer in preparation for the summer harvest and chicken delivery.
  4. I officially have a three day weekend starting today. I am off work on Monday so that I can attend several different events at the school for the end of the year.
  5. We have four and half day of school left. I am probably more excited about this than the kids. Tonight was also the first official pay out for chores. I know at least one of the kids was upset. I am hoping they will pick up and do more chores with ice cream at the pool as the goal.

5 Things Friday-5/27/2016


  1. I am all ready for a yard sale tomorrow. The current plan is to make a stop at the Goodwill on the way home. We(Matt) have spent the week cleaning out the buildings. I pulled the last couple of boxes out of the attic and the front building is empty as well. I have already made $45 on this yard sale, so my goal is $55.
  2. We are going to call this the summer of lean. I want to really contain our spending.
  3. The garden is still growing and we have gotten a couple squash, I am hoping that we will have plenty to eat and freeze this summer.
  4. Zach has agreed to be on the swim team this year! I love going to swim meets!
  5. My first $50 Disney gift card is in cabinet. This is so exciting!

5 Things Friday-5/13/2016



  1.  The garden is doing the best EVER!  We have corn growing, cucumber and squash with huge blooms and we are already picking dill and basil to use! I am hoping this continues and we get to enjoy the benefits for the entire year.
  2. In checking the freezers, I realized that we were out of beef stock. Between yesterday and today, we have made and frozen 3 gallon that should last for a while.
  3. The air conditioning in the house is still off. I am so excited as this is definitely the longest time in May we have been able to keep it off. I have already checked the forecast for the next week and with temperatures in the 60s till Wednesday, May 20th is now my goal date!
  4. I am going to head out tomorrow night with some friend from work to Dinner and a Movie. I am excited as this is the first time in years, I have been able to do something like this.
  5. I am planning to add a goal to my financial side to earn a $25 gift card each month from Swagbucks. This will help to boost my saving significantly.

New Year Eve- Reflections

I like list type post but really never have enough to make a complete list so therefore I like to make list of random things… not changing now!

  1. Matt and I both will be working this holiday. Tonight, Matt is currently at the Greensboro coliseum working. I am on call tomorrow for inpatient and already have a couple to go in and see. I am actually thankful for this. Sounds strange, I know but I used most of my vacation time up with the shingles and this has turned out to be a very slow week at work. Actually I have only worked 20 hours so far. I don’t have enough time to cover the difference so by working even 3 hours tomorrow it will start us in a much better financial position.
  2. I received my final paycheck of the year today. This ended up being the third of the month so I was able to catch up on some things. I spent several hours working on a budget for next year and thinking about realistic expectations for 2016.
  3. After much thought, I will not be posting an year end update for the goals I set. The main reason is that we could never have expected the huge financial changes that have occurred this year including re-financing our mortgage to a lower interest rate and reducing the expected pay off year. We also purchased a van which added an additional month payment that we have not had in several years . Overall this has been an excellent year for us financially as I finally feel we have achieved a steady income level and are no longer struggling to just stay afloat. I will be sharing my 2016 goals hopefully tomorrow which include lots of financial stuff.
  4. Our Disney vacation was AWESOME! Honestly one of the best trips ever! It was so much fun that we stared talking about our next trip on our “date night” Being the “adults” we decided that in order to really plan date for our next trip we need to complete pay off our credit card debit. This amount is currently sitting at 15,656. The majority of this is interest free and will remain so until November 2016. Once this amount is paid off, we will officially set dates for the next Disney trip.
  5. I do want to share about the progress or lack of progress that I have made on my personal goals this year.
    Blogging- Post 15 per month- I achieved this goal 11 of 12 months. I will now be expanding to post 20 a month.
    Weight Loss- This continues to be a HUGE challenge. I met this goal 2 of 12 months. I will maintain the same goal and expect progress this year.
    Spiritual- Spend at least 5 days a week, reading and studying The Bible. I was able to achieve this 3 of 12 months so again I am going to focus on this as the new year begins.