- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We are going to call this the summer of lean. I want to really contain our spending.
- 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.
- Zach has agreed to be on the swim team this year! I love going to swim meets!
- My first $50 Disney gift card is in cabinet. This is so exciting!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
1. Pictures-The above is my favorite Christmas tree from Disney. It was located at the marina in the campground. I have enjoyed spending extra time looking at and ordering pictures to make a scrapbook with in the coming months. We have ordered several calendars, mouse pads and other items as well. The bright orange box containing the first 600+ pictures I ordered arrived yesterday. I am planning to spend at least 30 minutes a week on my scrapbook with a goal to finish it prior to June.
2. Water Park Tickets- After some debate, we decided to purchase season passes to the water park that is 30 minutes from our house. The park opens the last week of May and is opened until September. This is an expense that is equal to our pool membership. We did purchase parking and have free passes for 2 days which means both Lily and Kendall will be able to take a friend with them this summer. The cost of the season pass was $12 more than a one day pass. We decided to try it out this summer and if we really enjoy then may consider in the future. I love water parks so I am hopeful that the kids will enjoy as well. A nice surprise was the $300 bonus I received on my American Express this month as well. This bonus will cover the cost of all 5 tickets!
3. Shopping- Our Christmas shopping is completed with all presents wrapped and either under the tree or mailed out. I was also able to use the extra time this week at home to get ahead with lots of food preparation!
4. I am so thankful to have had the last week off of work. I stayed at home until Tuesday, meaning I did not even leave the house. . Each day I was able to spend extra individual time with the kids working on homework and see how they are really doing in school. I planned ahead and prepared several meal or meal pieces to make the next month. We were able to hit several groceries stores including the meat store and have plans to avoid grocery shopping for at least the next 4 weeks. Matt and I also spent some extra time cleaning which means even more free time this weekend.
5. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year. I love everything about it! With catching up on shopping and cooking. We have decided to drive an hour south of us to visit the town of Christmas lights on Tuesday. I am more excited than the kids.
I really want to write this post and it has been in my head since our return but… I know these numbers are huge and almost scary. It is much easier to spend quietly but I struggled and searched for hours prior to the trip to locate and make a realistic budget and really nobody is talking. So I am going to be honest this is what we spent. We had the best vacation EVER and yes we will be doing some penny pinching in the next several months but we do planning on going back in a couple/three years after we have met some important goals, see bottom of post for these.
Disney Vacation package, including 6 day non park hopper ticket and dinning plan for 2 adults and 3 children $4913.62
Cheap hotel room (I will not be staying here again, got exactly what I paid for.) $41.41
Gas $115.22- I did observe that gas prices inside Disney World were $1.93 which were cheaper than our stations at home. We did not pay over $2 a gallon for the whole trip.
Food- Tips, drinks and other expenses outside of dining plan $523.83
Souvenirs– This did include a lot of Christmas presents but these are things we came home with $1575.94
Total Expense for trip:$7169.98
Pictures taken– 1425- this included Photo Pass and Lily, myself and Matt. I am planning to complete a scrapbook and so is Lily.
On our date night, which we both really enjoyed, we talked about another trip because this one was so awesome. Our goals to begin planning the next trip included paying off all credit card debit and having an emergency fund to cover one month expenses or approximately $3500. I am up for the challenge and would like to accomplish this in less than 2 years but God’s timing is always better than mine so I am going to wait and see.
- At 7:30 pm, Disney becomes the most tired place on earth! Don’t believe me look around on a bus!
- On Sunday, we manage to ride every form of transportation offered in the park; ferry, monorail, bus, tram and train.
- In order for any of my kids to eat an entire kids meal they must have been swimming for the past 2 hours.
- Art of Animation has the best tasting food and is so easy to maneuver around the cafeteria .
- The above picture is of Zach meeting Minnie Mouse, he was tired of doing girl things and this is what happens. On the second attempt, he was embarrassed and still refused to talk to her.
- Each resort has a different themed tree, ours is white and I think the ugliest.
- I definitely recommended a “down” day during the trip. You never realize how tired and busy you will be. Plus when else are you going to blog?
- I also recommend using a travel agent especially for booking fast pass. Ours have been great and well timed. We have been able to get all the important to us things done around the fast passes. I really hope to get to the “Be our Guest” resturant but if not that will be the one thing we miss. I have called reservations 3 times but have to try one last time on Thursday for our best shot.
- I know the meal plan is expensive but I am really enjoying using it and it also reduces the stress of finding food and drinks, while we are in the parks. It has also reduced the amount of stuff we are carrying around the parks.
- The mass transportation system is really new and strange to me being from a small town and really this is the only place I have ever used one but it makes things easier and honestly probably saves time as well.
- The best part of being at Disney this time of year is finding all the cool Christmas ornaments especially what we call “jingle buddies” with small bells attached on the bottom of figures.