5 Ways We Are Saving 9/8/2017

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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?

Tuesday Thoughts 9/05/2017

  • My computer died on Saturday. I was thankfully able to get a replacement but I am still trying to re favorite and find all the things that I had carefully arranged on my monitor.
  • We ended up celebrating Zach’s birthday Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He had a great time. Thursday evening his friend came over and they played with Nerf Guns inside because it was raining. Friday night was cake and family. Saturday was a trip to ToyRUS and eating out at Red Robin. I am hopefully to get some picture up soon.
  • The weather here in North Carolina is much cooler than normal. We were able to turn off our air conditioning last week for a total of 4 days, have been running for 4 days and again turned off the air. I am very grateful for the stretches of time that we are able to not turn on the air. This is definitely the earliest I can remember not running air constantly.
  • September is going to be a no spend month for us.  Zach is playing Baseball so we will have the expense of games but unless it is broken and or empty then I really want and need to tighten down on our spending for September, October and November.
  • This weekend along with some major food preparation, I took a good inventory of what meats and other items that we have. Currently our plan is to purchase another cow in January and purchase chicken breast in February.
  • Lily auditioned for and received a part in the Lexington Youth Theatre production of Annie. She does not have a solo but we are all very excited for her to be part of this.
  • I have been successful at using my Electric Pressure cooker for 3 things this weekend. I am actually really surprised but glad that I have been able to use this and hopefully will get more use as the winter comes.

Sunday Savings

This Sunday, I spent a lot of time to save time and money.  After church, lunch and school preparation. I decided to tackle some cooking. I had several reasons that factored into this decision including the NEED to save on groceries for the next 3 months in addition to our schedule returning to it’s normal amount of busy.  I asked the kids at lunch what foods they really wanted to have, they all three came up with the same answer…twice baked potatoes.

I decided to go ahead and prepare 20  potatoes. One thing that I did learn is that next time I will most likely stick to 10 at a time, my hand was really tired by the end.  The kids came in and out of the kitchen to help with some of the recipes. Matt helped before he headed out to do a couple of errands.

By the numbers..
4-5 total hours spent
4 meals completed, 40 twice baked potatoes, 6 boiled eggs and 2 dozen banana chocolate chip bites.

After completing all 4 meals which were chicken, we have decided to wait to order chicken breast until the spring. This is a HUGE money saver and probably worth the entire afternoon.

August in Review

The weather outside makes it easier to remember fall is just around the corner. And another positive note is that I see small progress.

Debit Reduction:  Failure
Summer is always a tough season for us in regards to spending. Accountability is going to make me get these number down.
Blog Post: Fail
This is post number 14 for the month. I am back to steadily increasing  I should hope to get back on a minimal of 15.  I did some checking and this is actually the closest I have came to meeting this goal in a long time maybe even this year.

Days on Treadmill or Walking for Disney: 16
Water walking days-1
I am so excited to see this being met. I hope to continue in the next couple of months as well.

Groceries- Fail!  We spent a total of $792.17.  I am hoping that we can manage a couple (or 3) months of low grocery bills in order to get us back on track.

Gas: Goal Met! We spent $211.35 for gas including filling both our vans today (31st) in anticipation of a price jump and maybe shortage.

Earnings:  August ended up being a good extra money month of us. We had a week break for our beach trip in addition to being out of data for the final week of the month which really affected MPlaces.
Swagbucks: $75 for Me, $105 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $10
Shopkicks: $10
Total for the month $200!

I am choosing to celebrate the small gains this month with extra money and gas budget met. I can also see progress toward all the other areas so even if we did not met this goal we are making progress.

Menu Planning Monday 8/29/2017

Everyone is back on school, which means it is a little bit crazy but of the manageable sort.

Breakfast–   Saturday-Bacon, Eggs and Grits   Sunday- Cereal  Monday-Left-over hash brown casserole and sausage balls Tuesday- Banana Chocolate Chip muffins  Wednesday- Choices . Thursday- Choices .   Friday- Choices.  Choices include : eggs, grits, left-overs, pancakes, French toast , toast or cereal.

Lunch- We are back on track with the kids picking out lunches and packing on Sunday, which also makes me get a head for the week.

Dinner-  Saturday-Baked Ziti
Sunday- Lunch-Breakfast including pancakes, hash brown casserole and sausage balls Dinner-  Hamburgers and hot dogs
Monday- Twice baked potatoes
Tuesday- Salisbury steak, rice, green beans and white slaw. Matt made brownies for desert.
Wednesday-  Rice Kreola
Thursday-  Beef and broccoli .
Friday-  Mexican something

At least we have most of a plan in place!

Thursday Thoughts- Summer Ending

  • Zach and Kendall have Meet the Teacher night today. They will start school on Monday so it will be back to a crazy busy regular routine again. Zach is planning to play baseball and Kendall wants to try a couple of new things at school.
  • Lily is almost finished with her first week of school. She has been working for several hours each day this week. She is very excited to continue in the online charter school and even more excited that she is planning to join several clubs this year. Another big thing in her life right now is that she is planning to audition for the youth theater.
  • Our garden is nearing the end as well. We ended up pulling up two huge carts of dead plants this week with. We do have several watermelons that are left and peppers but otherwise there is not much happening.  I spoke with my neighbor this evening and at least she made me feel much better that her garden did not do very well either especially the tomatoes.
  • We completed our back to school shopping trip tonight. I had not been looking forward to the trip so at least it will be easier to start packing lunches and snack now that we are stocked back up.
  • Matt and I had a date night Monday. The not so little kids went over and spent the night with Amanda for pizza and a movie. We used an Applebee’s gift card for dinner. After the experience, we had it has solidified our decision not to purchase any more gift cards to Applebee and therefore not returning to that restaurant chain for a very long if ever again.  We ended our date night by going to Walmart where we used 2 gift cards from MPlaces and finished earning and use 2 additional gift cards from Shopkicks to buy some cereal.

Menu Plan Monday 8/14/2017

Vacation was awesome but now it is back to reality. I am hoping to keep our total grocery bill to under $300 each month until December so I am going to focus on using food especially meat that we have on hand. This week I also am able to add in vegetables from the garden for variety.

Breakfast–   Saturday-BEACH.   Sunday- BEACH Monday-Breakfast burrito bowls  Tuesday- Choice Wednesday- Choices . Thursday- Choices .   Friday- Choices.  Choices include : eggs, grits, left-overs , toast or cereal. No real plan this week but we have 2 boxes of cereal and I can always add a baked oatmeal one day if I get motivated.

Lunch- I have salads for several day and may even add tuna salad with crackers one day. This is a find and take kind of week for Matt and the kids as well.

Dinner-  Saturday-Beach
Sunday- Lunch-Wraps , . Dinner-  Spaghetti
Monday- Salisbury steak, rice, green beans and white slaw. Matt made brownies for desert.
Tuesday- Taco Tuesday
Wednesday-  Chicken Fried Rice
Thursday-  Stuffed green peppers from the garden again. .
Friday- Breakfast- Matt and Lily will be out of town so it may be a pizza night for us.

What does your menu plan look like

July in Review

July- Where did it go….

Debit Reduction:  Failure
We broke even for the month. This is an improvement from last month but still not where I want to be.

Blog Post: Fail
I had 12 total blog post for the month. Again an improvement from last month but still not where I want to be.

Days on Treadmill: Zero
Water walking days-7  Getting better……

Groceries- Goal Met!  We spent a total of $306.92  for the month of July in groceries! Second month in a row under budget with this and it did include our snack box for the beach trip.

Gas: $450 for the month. This is about $170 over budget which is the cost of annual inspection, tag and taxes on my van.

Earnings:  July was an awesome month for earning. Total $285
Swagbucks: $100 for Me, $75 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $10
Mileup: $100

Thursday Thoughts – Electric Pressure Cooker

I was so excited and pleased when Amanda purchased me a electric pressure cooker for my birthday and even let me start playing with it early.  I have been watching for about a year and it was on my list of things I wanted but could not justify.  I was planning to LOVE it!  But I have waited a full two weeks before writing this post because I really don’t love it.  I am not even sure I like it.  I am also thinking that once I learn this appliance and find the right uses for it I will LOVE it.  For the present here are some things I have learned.

  • When reading a recipe I really wish that it would say, Allow 30 minutes to pressurize.  This is major reason that I am not in love with it. I have been searching out recipes and reading where it says Cook for 15 minutes. So my brain says ok I can make this in less than an hour. Nope hold up, I need to add 30 minutes to my time in order for the pot to pressurize.
  • BBQ Chicken legs  will be the bomb. I even cooked chicken wings today without unthawing so this will be a great thing to remember when I have not laid out meat to unthaw and need a good meal in an hour.
  • Cheesecake is the bomb in the pressure cooker. I can’t wait to try this desert again.
  • Sunday Soups are going to be much easier especially beef stew. I made a trial run on Sunday and it was easy and really good!
  • Frozen ground beef is easier to unthaw and fry in large batches or even small batches and makes less of a mess than trying to use the electric pressure cooker.

I guess in the end, I prefer my Crock pot for the ease, clean up and convenience.

Monday/Tuesday Menu Planning

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.