5 Things Friday- Financial

Fair warning this is not a happy post, I had even considered naming it 5 Financial Woes but decided that was a bit dramatic.

  1. My snow days last week, which I did enjoy ended up being unpaid.
  2. On Saturday of last week, the windshield of my van started to crack for no apparent reason. The crack has now spread to cover 3/4 of the windshield. It is not actually in the line of site but the entire windshield will need to be replaced in the near future.
  3. Our water bill increased this month by $18.
  4. Our electric bill increased by $160 from last month and $80 from our average bill.
  5. Our earning apps, extra money has slowed to a crawl.  This is expected for the first several month of the year but still a cut in pay.

Saving on Saturday- 1/22/2018

This week we , Matt, kids, my mom and myself, decided to search out some clearance deals.  I will go ahead and say that Matt was able to get the best overall deal.  Matt works at Dollar General.  Until Tuesday of this coming week, the majority of Christmas items are twenty-five cent each.  After hearing of his awesome deal, we decided to browse the other Dollar Generals in town.

On Friday night, Matt found a candle that was placed in the wrong area with a twenty-five cent coupon on top of it. He purchased the candle for me and a box of candy canes for a total of twenty-six cent. He also submitted his receipt to Ibbotta and receive a twenty five cent rebate so a candle and box of candy canes for one penny after rebate.

One store had lots of canned pumpkin (I purchased 12 cans) a container of green sprinkles and a container of cloves all priced at twenty-five cents. We also found a Cars stocking also priced at twenty five cent.  I also purchased tissue paper, gift boxes and bows of varies sizes.   Plastic round ornament boxes were priced at $3 each, I purchased at total of three at two separate stores. I also found some paper plates for a Ladies banquet that I am responsible for a table at. These were not on clearance but a great deal.  I ended up spending a total of $50 !  I will say I am very impressed with my self.

Our final stop was the local Big Lots, we found all Christmas items between 50% and 75% off. We also discovered at the register that this weekend, we received an additional 20% off. I am excited to say that we found wrapping paper that will work for several occasions for less than seventy five cents a roll! This was a huge score and completes re stocking our wrapping paper.

Today, we claimed and sorted the recycle paper bin at our church. I started with many years ago.  After less than an hours work for the sorting we have a case or more of paper that will be used for printing coupons, art work and recipes for the next six months or so.




Thursday Snow Thoughts 1/18/2018

  • Today is actually day #2 of Snow her in NC. I ended up not heading in to work yesterday because of the weather and today is my normal day off.  Yesterday, I cooked several things and today I worked on doing some extra Spring cleaning. Which includes 6-7 loads of laundry and vacuuming of the walls in the living room.

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  • The kids all had eye appointments scheduled for today but because of the snow, they have been rescheduled to March. Lily is most worried because she has 2 pair of contacts left.
  • January continues to be a tight budget month but we are doing excellent with our grocery budget which was $160 for the entire month. Currently, we have $6.41 left. The snow has also helped our gas budget. Neither Matt nor I have been anywhere since Tuesday.
  • For Breakfast, I tried a two ingredient recipe for pancakes. Lily and Kendall LOVED these, Matt and Zach ate theirs but did not want seconds. I liked them and it was a great way to use up bananas.
  • Lily is upset because her charter school, which is online, is continuing while both Zach and Kendall have not had school in the last two days.  I had to remind her that she has days out of school when they attend as well.


Monday Menu Plan 1/15/2018

I have always said that menu planning saves us a ton of money, now I have the proof.  On Saturday, we headed to Aldi to purchase some items that we were out of, we even added in three boxes of cereal to help with breakfast this week.  Our total was $25.57.  Matt was working Sunday morning and the kids and I decided that we wanted to make a big “Cracker Barrel Breakfast”. After checking, we need a couple of items to make the things we wanted.  Kendall and I took our list and headed to Food Lion.  The one meal list cost $25.47.  No more special meals for us. Everyone is home on Monday but then it is back to reality.  To end on some good news, we have $6.41 left out of our $160 grocery budget.

Breakfast- Saturday- Pimento Cheese and Bacon Biscuits, Sunday- Cereal and toast, Monday- Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs or left-overs, Thursday(kids have eye appointment) pancakes or waffles.

Lunch- Saturday- Left-overs/sandwich, Sunday- Baked Potatoes, Monday- Sandwiches. The kids are taking 1 day of sandwhiches and 2 grab and go days. I will be taking left-over soup all this week.

Sunday- Saturday- Chicken Tacos, Sunday- Egg Casserole, Hashbrown casserole and cooked apples, Monday- Pizza Rolls, Tuesday- Chicken Pot Pie (from freezer), Wednesday-Hamburger Helper, Thursday- Country style steak or pulled pork, Friday- Chicken Nuggets and French Fries.

We are eating a lot of quick simple meals and sandwiches this week but it is just what we feel like. The menu may change depending on the weather and my work schedule.

5 Things Friday 1/12/2018


  1. I took a sick day today.  This is the first time I have totally called in sick since working at the hospital. The last and only other time I have used a sick day was two years ago when Shingles put me out of work for a week.  I am really tired tonight but at least feeling some better.
  2. I received my first paycheck of the year today. I am very excited that we were able to meet our the required obligations as budgeted. We also are starting a second checking account to use for monies that don’t have a designated name. This way, if the account has money we can spend without touching our budget. I want my budget to be as close to zero as possible but also a way to have some extra money.
  3. We decided to order pizza for dinner today, first because of how I feel and second as a little reward for working so hard at the budget.  Total for dinner was $10.76!
  4. My goal for this long weekend (total of 4 day including today) is getting the snow village packed and put away.
  5. The weather here is crazy, school was delay one week ago because of the extreme cold, today it was 70* outside. The predicted temperature for Sunday is a high 35.

Savings this week- 1/11/2018

As I have mentioned before, we are on a tight budget this month in hopes to get us on a good financial track for the year.  I have been able to find some really good deals while staying on track this week.

CVS has the best sale that I have seen in a while. Add to the fact that Matt is completely out of deodorant and it was a definite stop. I was able to grab a tube of free toothpaste. Which BTW, I have not paid for toothpaste in at least two years. Matt ended up with one stick of deodorant, two were purchased for me and 2 bottles of shampoo. Total out of pocket was $6.38.

Lily had most of her Christmas money left so I took her to the stores of her choice today.  I was able to grab Oreos on clearance along with a couple of items for Easter baskets at Target for $3.17.  The overall best deal of the day was at “Five Below”, their Christmas items were discounted by 75%. I grabbed 7 rolls of Disney wrapping paper for $3.50, I also added a couple of items for Easter as well. So for a total of $8 between the two stores I am very pleased.

The final deal of the day, cost me the least. We continue to earn extra money through Swagbucks every month. This month, I was able to grab a $25 Bath and Body Works card.  Bath and Body Works also has their semi annual clearance sale in January and July. I was able to use a coupon code in addition to the sale for 20% off. I ended up with 5 bottles of shower gel shipped for twenty four (yes $0.24) out of pocket.

5 Things Friday 01/05/2018

  1. We did a budget reset this month and today was the first paycheck. The good news is that everything is covered but I had to use “other” money to purchase gas. I am hopeful that if we can stay lean in January, February forward will be a much easier budget-wise.
  2. The little kids are staying with Amanda tonight!  A huge win for us is that Matt and I cooked dinner. Shrimp Alfredo with Penne Pasta and cheddar bay biscuits.  We really enjoy eating out and that is always our first instinct when the kids are gone.
  3. So far this month, we have spent $20 in groceries.  I am very hopeful to keep our spending at this weekly level for the entire month. I did budget $160 for the month but need definitely need to spend less as we have had an extra couple of bills pop up this month.
  4. Lily is currently practicing to audition for the Youth Theater in a couple of weeks. I am amazed at her talent and glad to see she is practicing and not expecting it just to happen.
  5. IT IS COLD!  In fact, we have not been about freezing the first 5 day of January! I DISLIKE  the cold and would just love to stay in bed all day.

How We Use Left-overs

This week has been filled with food. Starting last Sunday(Christmas Eve), my family has a huge dinner with BBQ shoulder. Left-overs are divided up, because we don’t like food waste. Christmas morning, I made country ham biscuits and orange cinnamon rolls, because only the five of us at home ate, we had left-overs. We also had a huge meal for Christmas dinner, again left-overs.  As you can guess my refrigerators were full to the brim.  I am proud to say that we have managed to use most of these left-overs up this week with a little creativity.

Tuesday and Wednesday we ate straight left-overs, one evening we all ate pork and the second evening it was turkey.  Lunch were a combination of left-overs or make a left-over sandwich/wrap.

Thursday, the little kids, Mom and myself spent the day shopping. We treated ourselves to lunch at Chick A Filet.  I grabbed a rotisserie chicken, I add the “cold/salad” left-overs and it was an awesome meal.

Friday was my Mom’s birthday and she requested hamburger steaks, sweet potatoes and  salad. I was very glad that we used our  fresh salad, cucumbers and tomatoes.  Matt decided to venture out and made “bbq pizza” using crescent rolls and pork. He again realized that we need to eat up our food.

Saturday morning, I cooked the remaining piece of country ham, some eggs and toast.  For lunch, I used the remaining turkey to make Turkey corn chowder, this was a huge hit and I will use for lunch at least one day. For dinner, we make chicken and cheese quesadillas from our left-over chicken.

Sunday, I made baked potato soup, this included the remaining pre-cooked bacon that we purchased for Christmas dinner. Again, I planned to use for at least one lunch this week. Dinner – sandwiches using left-over buns, chicken, pork or pepperoni. The pepperoni was in the top of my closet so I needed to use as well.

Today, we had sandwiches again for lunch. For dinner, I used the remaining BBQ dip with our last pack of Beef ribs and pulled out all the remaining leftover sides.

We are down to left over stuffing, macaroni and cheese and green bean casserole. I plan to use soups at work a couple of days! I will definitely call this a win!

2017 End of Year Financial Update

One of the reasons that I continue to blog after 7 years is that I enjoy having a record of our lives. I decided to go back and read what we were doing last year at this time and it is amazing how similar my years are starting to look. I am also able to see where we are financial and make plans that should work.

This year has brought about many life and financial changes for us. The biggest change is that Matt is working a part time job. Our goal is to return to a stable financial ground and then begin to complete some of our “wish” list. I spent several hours between last night and today looking and gathering data  in order to get a good picture of where we are and how to achieve our overall goal for 2018. I am planning to continue the monthly review post as this make finding things much simpler. I have decided on two big changes that will occur. First, we are returning to cash for both gas and groceries. I am talking the actual cash that you carry. I will plan to transfer money to cover any Costco trips on the day the trips are made as well. It has become very easy to just bring out a card but that is not how I want to live so to stop takes a drastic action. The second is more of a mind set change, we are budgeting all money except for extra earnings. These extra earnings from apps will be used for eating out. We enjoying eating out and this is basically fun money that the whole family can enjoy. Other small changes in amount will also help us gain a more stable financial ground.

As you read you will see I like the idea of January being a time to reset our budget. Now on to the numbers…

  • We increased our overall debt this year by $6500. Our current minimal credit card payment is $989.69 a month.  The plan for at least the first six months is to keep this minimal payment the same each month, which should get us started in the right direction in order to reduce it by $10,000 this year. We will focus on paying extra on the small cards as we earn or save it.
  • Extra earning in our budget is money earned from apps. I know that this amount may decrease this year due to several of the apps are no longer paying out. I have said all along every little bit helps and it adds up quickly. In 2017, we earned an additional $2,315.  In 2017, this money was designated to help pay on our Disney trip. This year, we will use the extra money as a “slush fund” it will cover unexpected expenses or treats including eating out and gifts.
  • Groceries- I am amazed by these numbers in a good way. We did not include the cost of purchasing a cow but we also are eating more food as the kids grow. In 2017, we spent a total of $5,578 on food or an average of $464 a month. These amount include anything we use in the house such as toothpaste and laundry detergent as well.  I set the January grocery budget at $160 due to our December stock up. Otherwise, the grocery budget will be reduced to $475 a month!
  • Gas- We are going to change the way we budget for this as well. We will begin budgeting $70 a week strictly for gas, this will actually decrease the monthly budget by $20 but should be easier to maintain especially for 5 week months. Along with this change, I am changing the “insurance category” to  included taxes, tag and repairs. This will increase $20 a month to $92.
  • In the past, we have had a “pool” fund however this is changing to “Summer fund” which will include the pool along with summer camps and swim team expenses. My goal for this fund is $2000. . We will plan to place $100 a month into this fund with an additional $400 from each of my “extra” paychecks going into it as well. This first year is budgeted a little differently as the money will need to be available sooner, so we will use our income tax return to fund at least $1000 this first year.

I am actually excited to start with our new budget and see if I can save even more!


5 Things Friday 12/22/2017

  1. I am on call Christmas Day. I am trying to plan around the expectation that I will need to spend at least a couple of hours at work.
  2. I am cooking dinner on Christmas Day to be ready at 5pm.  Going to be very interesting due to #1.
  3. The menu for Christmas dinner is turkey (never cooked a whole one before), rolls (from the freezer), stuffing (using my sister in laws hack), cream corn (crockpot), green bean casserole (crockpot), cranberry sauce (with fresh cranberries, most requested by kids), turkey gravy (another first),deviled eggs,  broccoli salad, 7 layer salad, (both will be made on Saturday). Lily is making sweet potato pie, candid pecans and brownies (from Costco) are the deserts.
  4. I was asked to teach the Beginner’s Class (2-3 year olds) this week at church. It is my absolute favorite “Jesus Birthday Party”. I headed to Walmart today to get the party supplies. It was crazy but I survived!
  5. The goal of Saturday is to clean out the refrigerator of left-overs so we can fill with Christmas food.