- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- We are FINALLY starting to enjoy fall temperatures which also mean a reduction in our electric bill.
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.
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 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
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.
The stomach bug has been making its’ way around our house this week. Zach was sick on Monday and Tuesday. He ended up missing his first baseball game and we ended up with a extra night at home. Today, Kendall threw up before school and Lily started around lunch-time. Thursday is my usual day off but I had also taken tomorrow off to go to an Antique festival with my Mom. Unfortunately, the plan has change and I am now going to be spending the day at home with the girls as Matt is scheduled to work.
I had stocked up on Sprites and Gatorades a couple of weeks ago. So the girls are using those along with rice and ritz crackers.Â
Lucky for me I actually have lots of things that need to be done around the house that will keep me occupied at least for a couple of days. My overall goal is to stay at home and NO spending. Today, Thursday, both Matt and I are home so it was easy to get things done and I already had a short list of things that needed to get done.
We washed and hung out to dry all of the sheets and comforters. Matt had washed Zach’s already that is why we have at least one load less than usual. I counted a total of seven loads that were hung out today. I am guessing that would be at least a total of 10 hours of dryer time that was saved.
I am finding some deep cleaning that needs to be done. We ended up cleaning screens and windows last night. I will admit this has been on my list for a couple of weeks but man they do look good. This afternoon, we ended up spending some time cleaning in the kitchen. I know that both the refrigerators could still use some work but for the present everything else is as clean as it has ever been. I am planning to work on some problem areas in the bathrooms tonight as well.
Another way that I am spending my time today is menu planning. I have a plan in place for the month of October. I will need to purchase a couple of galloons of milk and at least 6 dozen eggs next month but my overall goal is to keep the grocery budget at $150 for the month.
Hopefully by Saturday everyone will be back to normal and I can enjoy a nice relaxing day.
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.
- We were unable to repair the kitchen faucet so we ended up purchasing a new one yesterday. We decided to go with a name brand and great warranty. It was expensive but this should be the last kitchen faucet that we ever buy.
- Lily is really enjoying the youth theatre this fall, they are working on “Annie” Each family is required to provide a silent auction item. We purchased 2 stainless steel cups and Matt has customized to make a special souvenir.
- We did end up spending more money than I had anticipated on groceries this month again. We also had to renew our Costco membership as well. The total spent for the month is $353. My strategy for the rest of the month is to avoid grocery stores. I am sad that Food Lion is running their quarter back sale but I am not planning to go.
- I was able to score an awesome deal on soda. We managed to grab 4 cases for my mom, 5 8 packs for our Disney trip and 11 12 packs for us to use. Spending a total of $40.14!!!! This should keep us stocked until the end of November.
- I have returned to using a paper planner. Partially by choice and partly because of the new computer. EVERYONE is assigned a different color and so far I am liking the ability to glance ahead and behind.
- 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.
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!
- 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.