I will admit that I have been doing quite a bit of shopping both online and some in person the past week. Last weekend, I ordered the girls some new boots. Kendall needed a new brown pair and both needed black boots to wear to cheer competitions. I found a decent sale at The Children’s Place. This weekend OLD NAVY has a good sale on jeans, Kendall does not have enough jeans to wear for a week so I ordered both girls a couple of new pair. The best part of both of these is that I shopped online and order through a link on Swagbucks so should receive back money on both. I did not pay shipping on either.
I went to Harris Teeter on Thursday and spent $90, I was able to save $160. This was a very planned trip that included 10 cases of diet coke and 3 6 packs of bottles. Everything I purchased was on sale or a rain check and my saving average was right at 60% so I count it a win.
I have been finishing up my Christmas shopping. Today on Shutterfly I order a calendar and a couple of other small gifts. I also used a cartwheel at Target for 30% off toys which was in addition to 5% off and free shipping for using my Target card.
I am extremely happy to say that I need to order one additional calendar and purchase a gift card which will be the official end of my shopping for the year.
I finished in one and half days! I am thinking that the ladder may have speeded up the process especially with all the electric cords. I am so excited at how it turned out this year!
opposite side or I like to call it the farm!
Individual shelf of the farm. Lily LOVES the flamingo house and I am really amazed at how pretty it turned out.
Now some closer pictures of the ladder. Each level represents a different scene but together they make a mountain!
Most if not all this weeks event are financial!
- Several of our monthly bills are lower than expected this month including cable (refund on over tax), water and electric bill.
- I purchased an Orchard In A Box. We will be planting when it arrives in November. I am super excited! We should be harvesting fruit in 3-5 years. This is long range planning for sure but in 5 years we will have 3 teenagers including a boy so I am fairly certain that our food bill will go up instead of down! I did take this expense out of our normal grocery fund.
- Zach is growing! I really this morning that we are going to NEED to purchase at least 5 new pair of pants for him. He and I will be heading to the local goodwill tomorrow. If we are not able to find things there it will be a major trip to Winston on Sunday.
- I have finished the majority of my Christmas shopping! I still need to buy my nieces gifts and we will be purchasing pictures for my parents. I am so excited to have this expense out of the way.
- In addition to the orchard, we are going to add pavers around the square foot garden in order to make it easier to maintain! We are using gift cards earned from Lowes and Swagbucks to cover this expense.
This past weekend, my sister in law, who lives in Atlanta, made a trip up to visit with us. Eric, her son, was able to come as well. My kids absolutely loved having them both for the 24 hours they were here. Saturday night was spent opening gifts eating and playing a board game that she had purchased for Lily.
Sunday after church we decided to work on some new decorations for our front sign as Christmas has passed. This turned out to be a load of fun and the results are even better!
The buckets we found in the Target $1 bin several weeks ago, I was so excited to find that the colors just about perfectly match the color of the letter. The snowflakes are hand painted and just perfect, enjoy a closer look.
Today is my Mom’s birthday, which means we are fast approaching the end of the year. I am already in the process of looking and working on a budget for 2016. I will do a final update and set new goals hopefully this week but today I want to focus on Food.
- Menu planning is still happening although I have not been posting the last couple of weeks have been about a couple of special meals and using up leftovers. This week we have already had a meal using meatballs my sister in law brought, tonight we made a roast and used some the sides we had left-over and tomorrow the plan is to use and make pork fried rice from leftover Christmas Eve shoulder. I am also adding some “convenient” meals to the freeze with the extra time we have this week.
- Our grocery spending for the month is close to $900 which is way over budget. I have been taking advantage of some sells and stocking up, in addition to some extra meals and appetizers.
- Our average monthly grocery spending for the year is at $691.59. I am totally amazed and excited for this number as it is under my $700 a month that I started in July.
- I have been looking into some “average” numbers for grocery spending for our size family a “thrifty” plan is $770 and a “Low” plan is $1028 per month.
- After finding these numbers I am very comfortable with maintaining our grocery spending to $700 a month. I am going to continue to focus on each month but not beat myself up for spending over now that I know it averages out within the year!
- I was also able to find that the “average” family spends about $200 a month on eating out. In the past, I have not budgeted anything for eating out but this will become a regular expense in the year 2016.
- We are starting the year with lots of meat in the freezer. I have already paid for 80# of pork that Matt will pick up the first week of January. We also just recently purchased chicken and a large order of ground beef. I am hopefully to not purchase any additional meat until March.
- Our garden this year did well and we have been enjoying a variety of things. We have enlarged the garden to it’s capacity and hopefully will be able to multiply our freezing stock for the year.
- I did not even attempt to lose weight with our trip to Disney and the holidays so I will back on track with eating healthier again in January.
- Total random thought but at least it is food related. I just received in the mail a total of 6 free 12 packs expiring March 31. I will hold on till CVS offers ECBs or I just need them.
Amanda was working on Christmas Day so she came over around lunch on Christmas Eve for a gift exchange before we all headed over to Paw Paw’s and Granny’s for the real fun. Amanda purchased all three of the kids’ really cool name wall hangings, a “chip cup” for me and Matt received a Starbuck’s ornament.
We all then headed over to my parents to spend the afternoon and open more gifts. It was an awesome time and the kids played for several hours.
Kendall unfortunately did not want to go to sleep and with the windows open she used ever sound outside to stay awake. She finally fell asleep around 1am and of course was awake prior to 6am. Haley after getting off work came and spent the night with us so she would not miss any of the fun of Christmas morning.
Christmas morning and most of the day was quiet as the kids played with their new toys, Matt sat up the TV in the playroom that Santa brought and we just relaxed. Unfortunately, that all changed because of a fall my mom took. I ended up spending from 4pm to after midnight at the hospital with my parents till my mother shoulder could be relocated. Thankfully after prayer and waiting, her shoulder is back in place and the doctor is fairly confident that she has no other damage.
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.
We made 3 kinds, chocolate chip, peanut butter and of course sugar cookies.
We could also call this a keeping it real post because we are all still in pjs and no one has brushed their hair! But it was still a blast and continues a tradition started long ago.
Since I have been at home for the last few days I have been doing a lot of window shopping online and even purchased several things. Here are a few of my best finds.
Shutterfly– As I mentioned we have around 1400 pictures from our trip. I definitely am planning on making a scrapbook and knew that the sooner I printed these the more like the scrapbook is to happen. The offer a “pre-paid” plan for prints that currently is on sale for $54 for 600 prints. I purchased 2 and yesterday afternoon picked out 650 pictures to print. I used the code “SHIP49” which gave me free shipping so including shipping ended up paying $60 for these pictures or ten cent including shipping. I was also able to grab a magnet with some cute pictures for $3.45 and purchased my dad his yearly calendar which included about 75 pictures for 13.75 using a free $20 from my coke rewards. I must still print another 400 pictures within the next year.
Flirty Aprons– 70% of any apron with free shipping. I purchased an black apron for Matt to use in the kitchen for $7.48
Bath and Body Works- Over the past week, I have purchased hand soaps at $2.50 or less each and body cream for $4. These were one day deals but I did grab a lot of stuff. I found out with the hand soaps that you can purchase bundles and they will be discounted but only count as one item in your limit.
JCPennys- They are really offering some great deals right now. I was able to purchase twin size sheet sets for $12.50 each and the kids some fleece jackets for less than $3 each! I also get back rewards so these were awesome deals.
Amazon- finally today is known as green day because online stores are taking to have the biggest day of the season. Kendall has been asking for Doc McStuffins toys and I was able to grab on at half off today.
Have you found any great deals that I should check out?