Saving money often takes a little time. This Saturday, we spent time doing some things at home that will save us big money later in the week.
First, we spent about 3 hours this morning cleaning and detailing our vans, in addition to my Mother’s car. This was a family project because we all get to enjoy the benefit of a clean better smelling car to ride in. My mother paid the kids for helping with hers so it was definitely a winning situation. I am basing my prices from my local full service car wash. A comparable package is $37 plus tax. I am subtracting $7 that we will spend at a car wash for the exterior wash, total saving of $30 a car times two cars is $60.
Next, our trip to Michigan is coming up very quickly so I did some extra cooking today. The items I cooked will each reduce our need to purchase meals by 2 meals so that is a total saving of $100. Matt has a list of other items that we will be bringing with us that will make this trip even more affordable. I plan to post detail descriptions in addition to total spending and savings once we return.
Matt is working at the coliseum this evening so the kids and I decided to go to a local church which was sponsoring a community day. The kids had lots of fun in the bounce houses and even a horse back ride. They provided a meal of hot dogs and hamburgers. The kids enjoyed 2 snow cones each for desert! Total savings $40.
Savings for today =$200!
As we continue with our busy lives and race into the Summer, meal planning becomes even more important for us. We enjoy spending time at the pool. In fact we spent close to 18 hours at the pool just this 3 day weekend. If we are not diligent about making and sticking to a menu plan, we often end up ordering pizza, picking up fast food or Chinese on the way home. Today was our anniversary, so as a treat we had planned to order pizza, we spent $33 for pizza for our dinner. Even at once a week, that adds an extra $120 a month to our budget, over the course of the summer that is half the cost of the condo we rent at Myrtle Beach, so 4 days at the beach vs. pizza once a week. We have built in a little bit more flexibility this summer as we are beginning to start some harvesting from our garden. I want to use and maximize as much of this food as possible.
Breakfast– Saturday-Pancakes. Matt ended up making a super double patch, which means they will be a choice for breakfast over the next couple of weeks. Sunday- Gray biscuits. (I made extra gravy, to use as dinner or as a choice as well.) Monday-Banana/chocolate chip muffins. Tuesday- Choices Wednesday- French toast in crockpot . Thursday- choices . Friday- Choices. Choices include : fried bologna, eggs, grits, left-overs , toast or cereal.
Lunch- Zach and Kendall have sandwiches, grab and go, and salads. I have a salad packed for Tuesday, chicken salad wrap for Wednesday and leftovers for Friday.
Dinner- Saturday-Lunch- Hot Dog with chili and slaw Dinner- -Pasta salad with chicken
Sunday- Lunch- Roast and sauté squash. Dinner- Leftovers (Zach-hot dog with cheese grits, Kendall-broccoli cheese soup, Lily pancake, Matt- sausage ball, and me egg over grits and gravy.)
Monday- Pizza to celebrate our anniversary
Wednesday- Pork chops with squash and/or carrots
Thursday- ?? Beef and broccoli
Friday- Grilled chicken salad.
After starting this post I realized that I have not posted this since mid March. Opps. So I thought I would give a food update as well. We have used approximately 1/2 of our whole cow. One of the biggest problems right now is not eating beef 5x a week. We are actually starting to run out of vegetables which works out well. I did purchase and freeze 2 gallons of strawberries earlier this month in addition to make jam. We have to finish up out sweet potatoes from last year before September. A final food challenge of the month is our planned trip to Michigan at the end of the month. I need to sit down and make a plan, at least for our travel days, we have already been gathering gift cards that will make it much easier and decrease the overall expense.
Today was a really exciting day for me… we harvest our first items from our garden, broccoli!
They don’t look very large but they make excellent Mickey ears and we harvest two of our four plants. Just two gave us enough for 2 meals.
I stockpile for a couple of different reasons, first is savings, second is convenience and third is nutritional. Today, we used up our loaf of sour dough bread that I made on Thursday so I decided to make another batch. I have been putting dates on the items I buy in bulk to determine if I really am saving money. I used the last 6 cups of bread flour that was purchased in March 2016. The savings is broken down this way, $15 for a 25 pound bag which lasted fourteen months. That is $1 a month for not only bread but also pizza dough. Even if the cost of the other ingredients is $1 a week, I am still saving at least $5 a month on bread by making our own.
Today was also the day that we chose to go strawberry picking this year. The kids LOVE this and it actually saves us $3 a gallon to pick our own. We have enjoyed lots and lots of strawberries today in addition to make strawberry jam that will be enjoyed for the next year. We also have frozen a gallon for use in smoothies.
I am super behind on blogging for the month. Our cheer trip threw me off, in addition to our crazy busy life. I am hoping to get up several post in the next day or so.
Debit Reduction: This month our overall debt increased by $175. This is sad but because our trip was the last couple days of the month it had a negative effect. I will establish a goal to reduce our debit by at least 200 next month.
Blog Post: 14
Days on Treadmill: 0 Everyone feel we should get credit for the day we spent walking at the outlet stores.
Groceries- $220- This is a great success! I am hoping to keep spending down to $300 for the month of March. My favorite sale of the year is on but other than a trip to Costco this should be our spending for the month.
Gas: $370 spent. This is over-budget, we purchased new windshield wipers for all the vans and our trip to the beach is included on this purchase.
Earnings: Matt and I combined for a total of $180 this month from our apps and Swagbucks. This is a higher number than both February and January.
I am a bit frustrated with us raising our overall debit but we needed and enjoyed our trip to the beach. I have high hopes for April, small changes over a long period of time always works.
Today I went to Walmart, to search for a special hair product for Lily. I was not able to find what I was looking for but decided to pick up some special treats for our trip next week instead. I grabbed 3 different snack size candy bars, a box of Chex mix, a can of hair gel and some special treats for dinner tonight. My total out of pocket was twenty four cents.
You will notice on the above receipt that I used three separate gift cards. The first one was from Shopkicks. Which is the newest app I am using. It is super simple, open the app as you walk in the store, find certain items and scan the barcode. I do know that additional credit is given for purchasing items but since there has not been any items that I normallly purchase I have not. I have only been using this app for six weeks and this was my first cash out. I asked for a gift card last night and it was available for use within five minutes.
The other two card where redeemed on the cricket app. We do not use cricket services but the app offers additional rewards through the mplace app. Currently I am earning about 1000 points on Mplaces a day. Which this month is averaging out to be a five dollar gift card every 7-10 days!
Free food always takes better!
This morning we were running really low on breakfast items, in fact we had no cereal, poptarts or grits. So a trip to Aldi was definitely in order. We attended an early service this morning so were able to breeze through the store and totally restock our breakfast supply. Total spent was $45.
The next stop was CVS. I was unsuccessful in grabbing the scrubbing bubbles deal from last week so I started with 12 ECB. I was able to purchase 2 18 double roll packs of Scott Bathroom tissue and 2 containers of mouthwash for $3.87 out of pocket or a 92% savings. I also received 9 ECB in return. I am really excited as this was an easy transaction with no glitches!
Total Grocery Spending for March $135
This month has been hard. I miss my dad more than I ever thought possible and have found myself crying just because. I can honestly say, I have spent most of the month in a fog just existing. I am starting to regain my balance so I wanted to at least have a written record for this month. I did achieve the goal of filing our taxes in February and have actually already received our Federal Refund.
Debit Reduction: $850 . The only downside to this number is that I paid over $2100 toward debit but I did not acquire this in a day so as long as it is being reduced that is progress.
Blog Post: 10
Days on Treadmill: 2 This was actually spent out side walking but at least I can say I was consistent.
Groceries- $454- Below my goal of $500 so a HUGE success for us. I am actually expecting this to be lower for March and April.
Gas: $187 spent. Again under budget
Earnings: Matt and I combined for a total of $160 this month from our apps and Swagbucks. Considering my brain function for February, I am pleased with this number. .
In February, we were able to hold the course in the wind and rain. I am very proud of our progress this month.
I am optimistic that March will continue us on a positive financial note. I am so grateful to know I am shield by prayer for the other needs.