Our Savings Today- 10/21/2017

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In preparation for our trip, we have been taking inventory and making a list of needed items. The goal is that once we start packing, I don’t have to run out in a panic to grab items. A unique challenge is that this trip is actually longer than our normal ones by 3 days. I also have absolute no plans for doing laundry on vacation.  The girls , Kendall and I spent most of the day in Winston- Salem shopping but we manage to maintain some decent savings as well.

But first, I am going to start with Matt’s savings, one of the blogs I regular follow Couponing to Disney, posted yesterday about combining Dollar General digital coupons and Ibotta. Matt was able to purchase 8 20 oz drinks for $10.17 in the store. He came home and submitted the items to Ibotta and with a $5 bonus received back $8 in rebates.  This puts his total out of pocket to $2.17 for 8 drinks or 27 cent each. Total Savings $9.50

The girls and I stopped for lunch between piano and shopping. I used my McDonald’s app to grab 10 chicken nuggets for $2. Because we always carry drinks, our total was $7.91 to feed all three of us. For the sake of fairness I am only count the saving from the app in my grand total.  App savings $1.98

Last week, I received a “rebate/coupon” from a “settlement ” with the Justice company for $30.  I vaguely remember filling out a form online. Lily was able to find 2 bras she liked for a total out of pocket of $1.92 cent. Total Savings 30.00

Our next stop was JC Penny. I will admit to splurging on several items that were not on my “need” list but I am so glad I did. We ended up purchasing 4 bras, 2 dresses (that matched) and a pink pair of converses for Kendall. I saw the person in front of me use a coupon and asked. The sales associate had a coupon for 15% off. I was also able to use a $10 reward coupon that was sent with my new credit card. Total Savings $42.11

During the inventory I realized that I was in need of some items as well. I headed to Lane Bryant where I asked to ring up 2 separate purchases to use a coupon that was sent via text twice.  Total Savings $93.

Kendall requested to go to Walmart to check out the Christmas Ornaments, she has a $25 gift card from her birthday to use for this purpose. I did purchase 5 2-liter Diet Coke.  Total Savings $2.50

Grand total for saving today $179.   Not bad for a Saturday in my book!

Saving on Sunday- 10/15/2017

We are approximately six weeks from our Disney vacation. As you can guess, I am in fully saving mood.  Here are the ways that I have been saving money and or time this weekend.

  • Coupons- I found and printed rare coupons for sodas this weekend, saving a total of $1.50 on the sale price which was a .75 cent savings from the regular price.  I also found coupons for $1 kids meals at Olive Garden. We were able to save $15 dollars just on Amanda’s birthday meal by using these.
  • Apps- I don’t always talk about this but free money is saving money in my book. On Saturday, we headed to Walmart, I was able to earn a $2 gift card while in the store and used it to reduce our total expense.  This month alone with money made from different apps we have purchased 5 T-shirts and 3 Christmas presents. Total saved $60
  • Planning ahead- yes we have another busy week scheduled. In order to save time and money, by not eating out, we plan ahead. I am taking sandwiches to church tonight for Kendall and Zach to eat instead of a quick trip to McDonalds. I have to be at work at least 2 mornings by 8am so I have muffins made in addition to green peppers and onions chopped for eggs to make things quick and simple. I will not be home to eat dinner on Monday night so Matt is bring chicken nuggets to the ball game for Lily and I to eat. I estimate each meal to be $10 so that is $40 saved right there.
  • Waste not/Want Not- It is a deliberate effort for us to use things and not be wasteful. This weekend we were gifted 5 pounds of potatoes and 3 pounds of ground beef.  I honestly was not in the mood to cook and shepherd ‘s pie which would use both of these ingredients does not sound appealing right now. Instead, I used the 5# of potatoes to make mashed potatoes which went right into our freezer for use in the future. Out of the ground beef, I made a pot of chill. This is at least 2 meals if not more for lunches and 2 meals of meatloaf muffins. Peppers of all variety were picked from the garden and cooked or chopped for later use. The three banana left on the cabinet were turned into muffins for breakfast.  I can honestly say that we waste less than 5% of the food that is brought in the house.

How are you saving money?

5 Things Friday 10/13/2017

  1. I have started my Christmas shopping. I had decided to scale back on Christmas this year, simply because my kids are blessed and don’t have any needs just wants. I am super excited that I have purchased a total of 5 gifts one for eachfor  a total of $15.10!
  2. Matt and I both were able to pick up extra work this week. This should be very helpful in keeping us on budget for the month.
  3. I do anticipate our credit card debit to increase overall this month. The reason is that I paid for a continuing Education class today. My company will reimburse me once I have completed the class and have a certificate. The only down side is that will take at least a month so the balance will be higher than I anticipated through October.
  4. Free food is the best! This week we have been given 5 pounds of potatoes and 3 pounds of hamburger. The plan for Saturday is to turn this free food into quick delicious meals!
  5. We are FINALLY starting to enjoy fall temperatures which also mean a reduction in our electric bill.

Menu Plan Monday 10/9/2017

I made a trip to Aldi this weekend to grab some items that we were total out of or need to complete our meal plan for the week. We ended up spending right at $70 which included ice cream for desert as well. I will say that we may end up changing plans on the fly this week as we are going to celebrate Amanda’s birthday at Olive Garden one day of her choice.  You will notice that we also ate out for lunch on Sunday. I did have soup in the crockpot however when we arrived home it was not cooked so we had to improvise.

Breakfast- Saturday- Bacon Biscuits Sunday- Sausage cheese cresant rolls ( we actually have enough filling to make at least one more if not 2 more days of these. . Monday- Pumpkin spice muffins. Tuesday- Choices, Wednesday- Choices. Thursday- Cheese Grits or baked oatmeal , Friday- choices. Choices include- left-overs, eggs, French toast, cereal or toast.

Lunch- Saturday- Sandwhiches Sunday- Godfather’s Pizza . We are back to a regular lunch week here this week we have salad, sandwhich, grab and go, dipping day and wraps.

Dinner- Saturday-BBQ beef, squash casserole, deviled eggs, ranch potatoes and apple pie desert.  Sunday- Stuffed Green Pepper Soup. Monday-Pancakes and sausage balls, Tuesday- Hamburger and Tator tots Wednesday-Spaghetti Thursday- left-overs   Friday- meat loaf muffins, glazed carrots and fruit.

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.

Menu Planning Monday on Tuesday

Zach ended up with a stomach bug yesterday and most of today(Tuesday) so that is the reason I am later than usual.  A couple of things are influencing our menu planning for the next couple of months, first we are trying to manage our grocery budget, meaning spend as little as possible. Next the current plan is to purchase another cow for our freezer in February. So we are using as much of the beef in our freezer as possible. Matt is working some mornings so that also changes the plan. And finally our schedule is crazy busy through the month of October so we will be trying to keep our meals simple.

Breakfast Saturday- Breakfast burrito bowls Sunday-leftover Monday-choices Tuesday- Toast Wednesday- Choices . Thursday-Choices .  Friday- Choices. Choices include : eggs, grits, left-overs, French toast , toast or cereal.

Lunch-The kids have packed with leftovers and grab and go. I am going to pack wraps a couple of day and left-overs for others.

Dinner-Saturday-Cheese Quesadilla and Mexican Rice
Sunday- Pot Roast, mashed potatoes, carrots and pineapple casserole  Dinner-McDonalds for $15 due to crazy busy church schedule.
Monday- Rice Creole ( last of our kielbasa)
Tuesday-Hamburgers and French Fries (last of our fries)
Wednesday-Sonic (50 cent corn dogs)
Thursday-Good Question?   Maybe beef and broccoli as we have not actually had this in a long time.
Friday- Steak, twice backed potatoes, 7 layer salad and desert. Yes it is a company night.

Saving on Saturday 9/23/2017

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The first way I am saving is the easiest and I have blogged about it several times. I am staying at home. Even if I decide to run out just to grab one item, I am 100 times more likely to spend money than if I simply stay at home.  I should also add that I am avoiding online shopping as well. Unless I find a deal that is below stock up price I simply do not shop.

I am saving time and money both my cooking ahead. This morning, since we are at home. I made a batch of Breakfast Burrito bowls. Totally cost for at least 3 mornings of breakfast for all of us $4. I was able to use green pepper from the garden which helped reduce the cost. The kids love Banana Chip Bites. These are basically milk and bananas blend and frozen in muffin tins. They also add chocolate chips to make them special. My using bananas that were previously frozen, this makes a really cheap breakfast or desert. Some of our other favorite for cooking ahead right now are meatloaf muffins and chicken enchiladas.

The final way I am saving money this Saturday is by shopping my pantry and freezers. I am trying to dramatically reduce our grocery budget over the last several month of this year. In order to accomplish this I am trying to make sure I use what is in our freezers and pantry. I headed out to the building this morning to bring up stew beef, cubed steak, roast, ground beef, chicken and chicken fried rice.  We have a menu plan but I usually don’t plan ahead for weekends or Thursdays. This gives us a chance to eat up leftovers or be a little bit more creative, the only problem is that I forget what we actually have in  the freezers. This morning I brought up several items that are not on the plan but that I can use to create a meal. I also made sure to restock our snack drawers and found three additional boxes of pasta that can be used over the next several months. I know myself well enough to realize that if my freezer’s are full than I won’t “think” I need to go shopping even if that is really not the case. At least for the next week or so, I know we have plenty of food so I will continue to try and use what we have to make meals.

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!!!!

Monday Menu Planning 9/11/2017

This week we started our normal busy lives, we are still in a bit of flux as we are not sure of Matt’s work schedule or Zach’s baseball schedule yet.

Breakfast: Saturday-Bacon, eggs biscuits and grits. Sunday- left-over French toast and left- over biscuits and gravy. Monday- Cereal, Tuesday- choices, Wednesday- choices, Thursday- scrambled bowls, Friday- Baked oatmeal (maybe it will be pumpkin?) Choices include: eggs, grits, left-overs, pancakes, French toast, toast or cereal. 

Lunch- Saturday- Sandwiches, Sunday- Taco Soup. We were able to pack the kids lunches on Sunday, which included taco soup, grab and go, sandwich, chicken nuggets and wrap. I packed 2 salads that Lily and I will share and I hope to start taking some leftovers soon. 

Dinner- Saturday- Sausage, peppers and onions on rolls and French fries, Sunday- taco soup or left overs. Monday- Broccoli-chicken casserole, Tuesday- steak Fatijia and Mexican rice. Wednesday- Spaghetti, Thursday- undecided? I am thinking this will depend on the weather? Friday- beef and broccoli

A plan always makes things easier.